'Supernatural' season 11 mid-season finale recap: "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"

Wednesday, January 6, 2016 - 5:58pm

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In season 11’s mid-season finale, “Supernatural” keeps up its tradition of laughing in the face of those that condemn it for blasphemy. In related news, God’s in-laws are in town.

In the opening scene of “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” we watch as Amara (Emily Sallow, “The Mentalist”), now a full grown woman, confronts a religious group leader (Ron Selmour, “Arrow”) who is preaching about the end of the world and God’s wrath and his plagues. Amara is searching for God, and isn’t impressed when the religious leader informs her that only God can create. She, as his sister, has just as much power as he does, and she shows this off by turning water to blood shortly before reigning down lightning to burn the religious group off the face of the earth. Now that she is all grown up, Amara is all kinds of badass.

Sam (Jared Padalecki, “Gilmore Girls”), meanwhile, finds himself in the middle of a dream. In this dream he is in the Cage in hell with Lucifer (Mark Pallegrino, “The Tomorrow People”). There is no sign of Michael or Adam, who should also be in the cage, but since this is a dream it’s possible to look past it. Lucifer walks over to Sam and lifts a hand to tenderly cup his cheek and grin at him. And Sam seems remarkably calm about the whole thing considering it seems like Satan is trying to romance him. Sam’s dream changes locations to a forest and Sam asks God if going to the Cage is what God wants of him. As an answer, a bush catches fire.

Back in the waking world, Dean (Jensen Ackles, “Smallville”) is less than thrilled about the plan for Sam to visit Lucifer. He refers to Lucifer as “the biggest monster ever hatched” and Sam is forced to remind him that with Amara on the loose that isn’t the case anymore and that Lucifer helped to trap her the first time. He also explains that in the vision, Lucifer “touches” him and it makes him feel calm, like things will be all right.

Still uncertain, Sam and Dean meet with Crowley (Mark Sheppard, “White Collar”) to ask if he knows a way for Sam to talk with Lucifer without putting Sam in danger, or letting Lucifer escape the Cage. Even Crowley is reluctant to meddle with the Cage, but after Dean breaks the news that Amara is God’s sister he agrees that Lucifer may be the lesser of two evils. Crowley believes that there may be a way to arrange a meeting with Lucifer at a secure and neutral site in Hell.

Amara wanders into a church on her hunt for God and asks a priest (Tim Dixon, “Dead Man’s Gun”) for his help. The priest advises her to pray. When she does so and God doesn’t immediately show up she becomes upset. She asks if the priest has seen God personally and he says that no one living has. “So only dead people get to see him? And this makes sense?” she inquires with obvious dismissal in her tone of voice. She calls the bible manipulation and accuses those with faith of blindly following God’s whim without actually knowing the guy. And then she kills everyone in the church. Take that, organized religion.

Crowley drags Rowena (Ruth Connell, “Sapphire Strange”) out of wherever he had her locked up and offers her a deal. Crowley believes that a way to speak with Lucifer may be found in the Book of the Damned, a spell book which only Rowena can read. Rowena isn’t thrilled about working with the Winchester brothers, regardless of how bad the Darkness is. She is, however, excited at the concept of God’s sister being loose and a chat with Lucifer. As she puts it, it is the kind of event that would have had people burned at the stake in her “day and age.” She eventually agrees, and is almost as excited to see Lucifer as the Fandom has been since last week’s trailer.

Elsewhere, the angels are unionizing. The angel who we met in “The Bad Seed” (Lane Edwards, “Falling Skies”) is organizing a group of lesser angels to fight the Darkness since God isn’t doing his job. Amara isn’t the only person who has noticed that God doesn’t seem to care.

Dean goes to investigate the deaths at the church, while leaving the crime scene he is struck by a strange feeling which draws him to a park. Was it just his stomach telling him to buy a hot dog from the vender? No, surprise, surprise, it is Amara. Her arrival causes Dean to ignore a phone call from Sam and Amara teleports them to an abandoned lake.

Since Dean isn’t picking up, Sam is forced to go ahead with his chat with Lucifer without him. He, Rowena and Crowley head down to the first layer of Hell: Limbo. Once there, they set up a makeshift cage to act as a holding cell for Lucifer and Rowena summons him. Lucifer says that he is uncertain why he’s been called, but is thrilled to see Sam, asking if he wants to “hug it out?” Lucifer is acting more like the over-the-top silly “halucifer” from season 7 than the cold calm calculator he was in season 5. Perhaps the hallucination Sam experienced wasn’t that far off from the real Devil after all, and is merely a different side of Lucifer’s personality.  

Amara explains that she is trying to get God’s attention. That is the reason why she is killing God’s creation. She says that when she consumes the souls of people, they aren’t destroyed, but made a part of her. She understands that Dean doesn’t trust her and she blames her bad reputation on propaganda. She calls religion “monuments to [God’s] ego” and says that God only promised them safety if they worshiped him. God defends religion, admitting that some people find comfort in that. An odd sentiment coming from Dean, who has previously denounced faith.

Meanwhile, Sam explains to Lucifer that the Darkness has been released and Lucifer asks the same thing that everyone has been asking (Hell, what they’ve been asking since season 4): “Where’s God in all this?” Sam, believing that his visions of the cage were coming from God, tells him that God seems to be pointing to Lucifer as the solution.

Amara promises a universe without pain and prayer, only bliss. She says that she deserves everything because she was there in the beginning and will be the end. Whatever that means.  Dean swings at her with a knife, but it shatters against her. She says that she understands it’s his instinct to resist, but she “can’t be resisted.” She leans in to suck out his soul, but instead decides to kiss him. Dean lets her; he can’t understand why he feels drawn to her. She explains that they are bonded because he bore the Mark of Cain and she was the original Mark. One day they will become one.

Back in Hell, Lucifer understands why he has been summoned. Sam would only ever consider turning to Lucifer if it came directly from God. He also says that the Darkness is a force to be reckoned with and he can understand why God would be laying low. She is equal to God in raw power, but she lacks the strategy that God has. He says that is the reason why God contacted Sam. If Lucifer is needed to stop the Darkness, he needs a vessel to go to Earth. And Sam is his true vessel, after all.

Dean and Amara are interrupted by the group of angels who promise that if she doesn’t submit then the entire force of angels in Heaven will smite her. She kills them and sends Dean away right before the sky opens up, sending down a massive energy bolt.

In response to Lucifer’s proposal, Sam refuses. If he consents to being Lucifer’s vessel, he disappears completely and Lucifer is set free on the world in his body. Unfortunately, Rowena isn’t to be trusted, and the warding on the prison fails. With his full power restored, Lucifer teleports Sam inside the bars with him. Sam calms himself, explaining that God told him he was going to be in the Cage with Lucifer. But, it wasn’t God who sent the visions. Lucifer explains that when the Darkness escaped it injured the cage allowing Lucifer to reach out to Sam. It seems like Lucifer’s promise in season 5 to never lie to or trick Sam has been thrown out the window.

Castiel is going to be very confused when he returns from wherever he was this episode.