Supernatural S11E18 “Hell’s Angel” REVIEW
Essential Plot Points:
- Crowley’s in Saudi Arabia on the hunt for another Hand of God: the Horn of Joshua.
- He joins forces with the Winchesters to help solve their “collective problem”, aka, Amara. Plus, Lucifer’s still after him, so he’s got a vested interested in getting some protection.
- Speaking of Amara, she’s still reeling from the angel nuke, but she’s got someone on her side: Rowena. That’s right – she’s alive! Long ago she stored inside her a rejuvenation spell, awakened when Lucifer snapped her neck.
- It explains why she’s taken Amara’s side – she’s got a bone to pick with Lucifer, plus she wants to be on the winning side. It’s kind of her thing.
- Crowley’s willing to hand the Horn over to the Winchesters – if they can get Lucifer out from Cas and send him back down to the cage.
- Lucifer’s returned to Heaven, and he’s not afraid to wreak a little havoc. His goal? Getting the angels to accept his help in defeating The Darkness. And then let him stick around once that’s all done with.
- The Winchesters accept Crowley’s terms, but Dean has a condition: he wants Lucifer to be moved to a different vessel before sending him into battle with The Darkness. Cas is family, after all, and he’s at risk.
- To test out how Rowena’s healing powers have done, Amara sends a message up to Heaven – a warning. Rowena’s clearly terrified of what she’s done, even from that small gesture.
- It shows when Amara gets Rowena to spy on the Winchesters. She overhears their plan to use the Hand of God, and lies to Amara about it. Instead, she sends the boys a message to let them know that she’s alive, and they can use her.
- Their first port of call: getting Lucifer out of Cas. They’ve got the Horn as bait, the summoning spell and the holy fire, all together bringing Lucifer straight to them.
- Dean manages to get Cas to show himself for the smallest of moments, but Lucifer’s just too strong.
- Unexpectedly, Crowley jumps in, smoking into Cas to find out just what’s happening in his head.
- What he finds is astonishing: Cas has locked himself away in an imitation of the Bunker’s kitchen, whiling away the time with TV, and he isn’t too bothered about the whole “Lucifer” situation.
- Before he can agree to expel anything, who should turn up but Lucifer himself?
- Lucifer ends up throwing Crowley around the “bunker” whilst Cas idly watches TV – and meanwhile, the wards in real life are fading rapidly. Sam and Dean exorcise Crowley, but not before the holy fire goes out.
- In return for their betrayal, Lucifer sets about draining the life from the Winchesters, but he’s stopped mid-way by Amara bursting onto the scene. Without hesitation, Lucifer uses the Horn of Joshua’s power on her….
- … and she’s left without so much as a scratch.
- Amara takes Lucifer away for a “chat’; more like torture. She uses him to finally, finally try and bring God out from the shadows.
We’re diving straight back into overarching plot territory this week as Lucifer, Crowley and the Winchesters all search for new ways to defeat the ever-looming Darkness. It’s one of those rare knock-outs of an episode from the Buckleming writing team, particularly with the return of our favourite Scottish redhead!
It was, of course, difficult to believe that Rowena was going to stay dead. For one, this is Supernatural we’re watching, and two, someone as manipulative and cunning as Rowena would never be without a back-up plan up her sleeve. Or, well, dug into her thigh. Whichever works. She’s at her most deceptive this episode, switching sides whenever it suits her, and of course to whichever is less likely to put her head on a slab. Guess that revival trick only works once!
One of the main focuses of this episode is, of course, the continued efforts to try and smite Amara. Crowley’s managed to find another Hand of God – third time’s the charm, maybe? Now that all parties involved are aware that they’re one-hit-wonders, they finally manage to keep it charged until the Darkness herself makes an appearance. But not before dealing with Lucifer. Which is probably for the best: his little jaunt to Heaven shows us that he plans on sticking around after helping smite Amara, which can only be bad news.
One of the striking aspects of this episode is that at its core, it’s about trying to save Castiel from his own damning decision to let Lucifer in. It’s not often that so much care and attention is given to Cas, but here we have Dean wholeheartedly defending him; wanting to move Lucifer to a different vessel before Cas can be damaged in the fight with Amara, and capturing Lucifer in holy fire to try and persuade Cas to expel him. There’s more heartbreak, though – Cas is still caught up in a wave of self-pity and depression, believing that he’s better off lying at the back of his own mind and waiting everything out. When even Crowley leaps in to try and help, you know the balance has shifted.
It’s almost ironic to see where Cas has placed himself: right in the Bunker, the closest thing he has to a home. The home where Dean and Sam are trying to bring him back to in the real world. Ironic, and devastatingly sad. Even more so seeing just how resigned he is to everything that’s happening to him. Even when the Real Lucifer in the shape of a surprise Mark Pellegrino shows up and starts beating Crowley half to death in the fake kitchen, Cas ignores it, content to while the time away in his self-constructed “safe place” rather than face reality.
It’s difficult to blame him, though, when things in reality are looking so bleak. The Hand of God proves useless even in Lucifer’s hands, and Amara carts him away, still locked in to Cas’s vessel, despite Dean’s best efforts. Amara’s back on the warpath after being healed by Rowena – something she instantly regretted after seeing only a tiny ounce of what Amara is capable of at full strength – and things are looking bleak. They’re “back to square one” as Sam says, and just where can they go from there?
- Rowena’s alive! And… being a mother-figure to Amara? Not that it lasts that long.
- It’s a pleasant surprise to see Mark Pellegrino as Lucifer again, if only for a moment!
- Crowley’s petty complaining is always good for a laugh! His enraged, “He kept me in a kennel!” is reminiscent of his classic “they ate my tailor” line.
- Despite showing some actual heart this episode when he jumps in to try help Cas, Crowley’s definitely still got his evil streak, as he proves by murdering the entire camp of men at the beginning of the episode.
- The entire scene with Lucifer talking to angels in Heaven is beautifully lit and scripted – Misha Collins shines in this scene particularly. “He who hesitates, disintegrates!”
- Lucifer’s hammy impression of Dean screaming, “CAS!” is just so… beautiful.
- It’s nice to see the real Cas again, given his lack of screen time this season – even if it is bittersweet. But hey, what else would you expect from Supernatural?
- Dean’s lines this episode echo some Cas fans’ thoughts as of late: “It’s not an ‘it’, it’s Cas!”mand, “Cas is family” to Sam as Sam tries to justify Cas’s decision to let Lucifer in. Dean’s desperation to get Cas back in general has been threaded through the past episodes and really comes to a head here; his face when Cas appears for a brief moment is devastatingly open. He wants so badly to save Cas from something he has almost no control over.
- For a Buckleming episode, the pacing and the script this episode are both very well done!
- It feels like Crowley and the Winchesters’ meet-up scene goes on for a bit too long when other things could be happening instead.
- Why has Lucifer kept Cas’s crappy trenchcoat? It would have been the perfect excuse to get Misha Collins into a different costume for once, but nope. Oh well.
And the Random:
- That bit where Lucifer sits down on the angel and gets face-to-face with him during his pep talk? That wasn’t scripted – it was all Misha. No surprises there.
- In a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment, the VFX team have put “AFK’ onto the top of a building in tribute to Jared Padalecki’s “Always Keep Fighting” movement.
- Dean’s line, “Yeah, well, there’s times I wanna get slapped during sex by a girl wearing a Zorro mask,” was not only a source of confusion for Jensen Ackles, but took him a hefty amount of takes to get right!