Supernatural: The Devil in the Details Review

Supernatural returns in grand fashion to kick off the second half of season 11. Here's our review...

Supernatural returns, moody and brooding, to present Sam with a difficult decision and to let us see the messy aftermath of Amara’s angel killing spree at the end of the mid-season finale. Twists and turns ahead. I hope you’re all caught up. 

Let’s look at the three distinct artistic lighting choices in this episode. The aftermath of Amara’s destruction shows the forested area during the afternoon—but it looks like midnight. There’s a note of the surreal in the lighting before Castiel tells us it should be daytime. The scenes here were likely shot during the day, and color graded during the editing process to look like nighttime (aka “Day for Night”). It is a technique used in many TV shows and movies, but the look always has something just slightly wrong about it. It served well for this depiction of true evil. And then, Amara revives and gathers the darkness back around herself, letting the sunlight return. Ah, angel grace. Better than a cup of coffee in the morning.

The other two lighting schemes were in different levels of Hell. In Crowley’s Hell, now a fixture in our series and a standing set, is familiar and …dare I say, friendly? We’re used to this setting, and the warm reddish tones are almost inviting compared to the utter unnatural cold hues of Lucifer’s Cage. Here the lighting is predominantly blue, with lightning flashing in the background. The oddest point is how the actors in the Cage are lit mostly from the ground up, putting jarring shadows in the wrong places on their faces. Very spooky, very well done.

The mini B-story between Castiel and Ambriel was quite of sweet. I loved this mousy little angel, not all high and mighty like most angels we’d met. She also served the purpose of making Cas realize that they were both disposable. If they died, the fight would still go on. It seemed to echo the chat a Reaper had with Dean oh so many seasons ago. Ironically, that theme of “Mortality—it’s real this time!” was mirrored in Dean seeing Billy the Reaper, the one who doggedly proclaims that if Sam or Dean die, she’s going to make sure they stay that way. I like this Reaper’s attitude and the stakes she lays on our main characters.

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We got the opportunity to understand some of Rowena’s backstory near the end, when Crowley takes advantage of his Witch Catcher to make her tell the truth. He asks a simple, emotion-heavy question, “Why do you hate me?” Rowena was a spurned woman-on-the-side who turned to witchcraft to avoid feeling weak. She equates love with weakness, and is actually afraid of feeling anything for her own son. 

But then of course Castiel busts up their little party. His posture changes, a crooked smile grows, and we see immediately—the Devil has taken over Castiel. It was a genius turn around for the episode. Misha Collins did a spectacular job emulating Mark Pellegrino’s Lucifer. It was uncanny.

A truly fantastic way to swing into the second half of Supernatural season 11. Adios until next week, Ass-Butts.


5 out of 5