Back in the fifth season of Supernatural, Death told Dean that eventually even God will die, and Death will be the one to reap it. The intention of this line of dialogue was so that Dean (and the viewers) could fully understand who they were dealing with. Death, not God, was the Alpha and the Omega, and everything must come to an end eventually.
I don’t have the numbers for this, but the number of times that Dean and Sam have died and come back is astronomically high. No matter what, one way or another, they manage to claw their way back to the land of the living. I never really questioned it, because, well, God was the one doing it, and God is the most powerful being in the universe.
But then tonight, we come face to face with a Reaper. This Reaper, a woman named Billy, comes to us singing the same song that introduced Death itself. She walks up to Sam, shrouded in darkness, and tells him that the Winchesters have reached the end of their rope; that this time, dead is dead, and that to make sure of it, she and the other Reapers will drop him and his brother into the endless Void. Sam is, understandably, a little horrified by this.
The thing, however, that sticks with me most is what she said about the Winchesters. Sam and Dean were allowed to come back; according to Billy, Death thought it was funny, and let it keep happening. But that’s not the natural order of things, is it? The entire order of the universe is that everything comes to an end; death begets life, in a very literal sense. Animals die and become food for the surrounding plants; those plants are eaten by other animals, who eventually die. Stars explode, and scatter themselves all over the fabric of space, and new planets, and life, spring up from the wreckage.
But not the Winchesters. Oh no, not the Winchesters. They are the only creatures in the universe that don’t follow the natural order. They die, and get back up. They go to Hell, and they escape. They are the wrench in an otherwise perfect cycle of life and death. Even Crowley will die, eventually. Only one entity in the universe could bend the rules for the Winchesters, and Dean struck him down. Now things are different.
“What lives, dies, ” Billy said. I don’t imagine there will be any exceptions.
I am a sucker for ancient evil stories. I am fascinated by the idea of something old, and forgotten, lurking just beneath surface. That’s why, I think, the Leviathan storyline stuck with me, in spite of the shoddiness of its execution. A lot of ancient evil stories are about exploring the worst of humanity, about digging deep into the worst of our impulses and seeing how far our depravity goes.
The Darkness is an entity that feeds and grows on souls. Now, if you remember, souls are the currency of the gods; whoever has the most has the most power. It’s why the Abrahamic religious figures are so powerful, and why the older, more animistic/pagan/polytheistic religions have faded away. Souls are not to be destroyed but coveted. They are worth changing the course of human history for.
So, to deal with a being that only cares about them as a consumable resource is abjectly terrifying. It’d be one thing if the entire person was consumed, but to rip it out and leave it alive is worse than murder. You’ve taken a thinking, caring entity and turned it into the most advanced killing machine on the planet. Jenna, a selfless deputy who is willing to die to protect the innocent, murders her own grandmother for kicks. She cuts her throat, and then goes upstairs to destroy her things, because why not? She’s not an animal, because animals act out of a sense of self-preservation; they are capable of great cruelty, yes, but they do not do a thing because it is cruel. The soulless do.
The Darkness will swallow everything in its lust for growth. It will consume humans and demons and angels alike.
In his never-ending quest for power, Crowley has aligned himself with a being that he thinks serves pure evil, the kind that he fancies himself the ruler of. But what Crowley doesn’t realize is that The Darkness is not interested in being evil. It is evil because of what it leaves behind, but being evil is a side effect of its hunger. Crowley is simply a supermarket, at least for now. He thinks that by bringing The Darkness souls, it will grant him the world.
But the thing is that Crowley’s power is derived from the millions of souls trapped beneath the cold ground. He is reliant on souls to power his engine just as much as any powerful being in this universe. Crowley is playing the game, so to speak. God goes after souls, he goes after souls, other gods go after souls. That’s the accepted rules of the universe in which he resides, but The Darkness isn’t playing by the rules, or playing the game at all. The Darkness is the little brother who flips over the Monopoly board while the rest of the family plays. He wins because his game is destruction, not domination.
Crowley will figure this out eventually, and it will be too late by then. He’ll survive the swallowing, and then he’ll be in a world full of things like him, and victory will be measured in seconds, not millennia. He will lose everything.
What is happening to Castiel?
The curse that Rowena put on him turns him into a murderous psychopath, but it seems like it’s controllable. It also seems like it gives him extra power, enough to break out of angel bindings like they were nothing. He kills two high-level angels while covered in stab wounds and other injuries.
What does this mean for him? Cas’ storyline has always been a bit of a puzzle to me. I don’t know what the Supernatural writers want to do with him. He was at his best when he was trying to consolidate power; the sixth season storyline where he becomes a lesser God is pretty damn powerful. But since then, he’s been on an atonement tour… and that’s about it. He meets angels, apologizes, and then screws it back up again. One of the angels makes a comment about how he always chooses the Winchesters over the angels, and that is true. I just wish he didn’t have to spend half the season, in each season, coming to the conclusion that he likes his human boy toys more than a load of stuffy, angel crybabies.
Just let him choose the Winchesters and be done with it. Enough with the moral quandary; he’s already made his choice, over and over again. Give Castiel something else to work on; if not for my sake, at least his. Let Cas be Cas again, instead of this broken down shell of a thing that can only get beaten up and come back for more. I want him to be the intimidating angel that drug Dean out of Hell; I want him to be the force of nature that led the charge against Raphael.
Maybe I am asking too much.
So, what have we learned about Supernatural Season 11?
We know that holy oil cures The Darkness’ primary weapon of monster infection. We know that The Darkness is very scary. We know that Sam and Dean are facing the biggest danger they’ve ever faced.
In terms of character, I hope that there is a real shift towards what Sam was describing in the first episode: saving people means saving all of the people, which is something he and Dean haven’t done in a long time. I hope that this is the arc that leads to real Winchester change.
I thoroughly enjoyed this episode of Supernatural, which is evident by the 1200 rambling words. There is a lot philosophically that I can’t wait to explore. I especially can’t wait to see more soulless stuff, and I would be very pleased to see a return of Soulless!Sam, which is the best work that Jared Padalecki has ever done.
This season of Supernatural is off to a strong start. The first two episodes were very serialized, and I hope that continues. It probably won’t, because they have a 23 episode order, and writing 23 serialized episodes would kill most writers (myself included). I just hope that in the episodes that are heavily serialized, we get something like we got tonight.
[Photo via The CW]