“Form and Void” continues the story of Supernatural’s Season 11 premiere, “Out of the Darkness, Into the Fire.” Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) has delivered Deputy Jenna Nickerson (Laci J Mailey) and baby Amara to Jenna’s grandmother (Christine Willes), while Sam Winchester (Jared Padalecki) searches for a cure for the deadly supernatural infection affecting him and others around Superior, Nebraska. Castiel (Misha Collins) is still cursed by Rowena’s attack dog spell, and the angel assistance he’s received isn’t exactly a rescue. Crowley (Mark Sheppard) has learned the Darkness has been unleashed and can’t help but wonder, what’s in it for him? Weaving the initial story, which centered on the mysterious infection, into two episodes helps to provide the space needed for our characters to settle into the new reality. “Form and Void” was written by Andrew Dabb and directed by Phillip Sgriccia.
The title of this episode refers the first lines of the Biblical Book of Genesis, describing the beginning of the universe:
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.” – Genesis 1:1–4
In the Season 10 finale, “Brother’s Keeper,” Death told Dean that before there was God and his archangels there was the Darkness. The phrase “form and void” describes what existed before God introduced light into the world. Light versus dark represents the fundamental struggle that drives the world of Supernatural, which is only accentuated with the arrival of the Darkness. Typically the phrase “without form and void” refers to the chaos that existed in the void prior to God and his creation. Death told Dean that before God “there wasn’t nothing,” that there was the Darkness. In “Form and Void” we see the Darkness begin to construct its own form as the baby Amara.
“Form and Void” hearkens back to the early seasons of Supernatural when children were frightening, God was worth praying to, Crowley was a badass, reapers were a bad omen, and Sam had visions. Throughout the episode we were engaged by the brisk pace, humor, and interesting surprises (“Well hello, plot twist”).
Nature vs. Nuture vs. Supernatural
Deputy Jenna arrives at her grandmother’s with the orphaned baby Amara. Her grandma (whom we loved as Delores in Dead Like Me) seems pretty accepting of Jenna showing up with a dead stranger’s baby. Baby Amara is left alone in a crib while Jenna takes a nap, and her hijinks begin. Amara starts knocking blocks off the shelves with her telekinetic powers. Did we say hijinks? We meant manifestations of evil.
Deputy Jenna wakes from her nap to find baby Amara playing with blocks, telekinetically. The blocks slam into the wall, spelling out the message “Feed me.” Sure, everyone thinks their baby is special, but Amara, she’s special in more ways than one. Jenna’s grandmother exclaims, “The Devil’s in that girl!” She wants to call a priest, but Jenna calls Dean.
Sam is still in research mode at the hospital of the dead. He stuns an infected man, and not with his good looks, but with what appears to be a homemade cattle prod. He handcuffs the man in his makeshift lab and asks him when he was infected. The man tells Sam that he’s seen some people change fast and some slow, but “you and me, we’re dead. We’re just taking our sweet time about it.” Probably not the answer Sam was hoping for.
Sam calls Castiel, but he’s all tied up. Well, chained up, technically—by angels Efram (Dylan Archambault) and Jonah (Albert Nicholas). They want to know where Metatron is. Castiel warns them that he has been cursed and that they should run, but they don’t seem worried about it. When Castiel uses the term “brother,” it’s pointed out that he always chooses the Winchesters over his angel brethren. Seems reasonable. The Winchesters have only beaten Castiel senseless a couple times, whereas it seems to a regular thing with the angels.
Sam continues his research at the hospital where his infected hostage lies unconscious. He hears a voice singing “O Death” in the hallway, and it turns out to be a reaper named Billie (Lisa Berry). She makes it clear she’s not there to help, telling Sam: “I’m not looking to get friendly with the man that helped gut my boss.” She’s there to collect souls and deliver a message. Reaper Billie notes that Death tolerated Sam and Dean dying and coming back from the dead because he thought it was funny, but now there’s one hard, fast rule in this universe:
“What lives, dies. So the next time you or your brother bite it, well you’re not going to Heaven, or Hell. One of us, and Lord I hope it’s me, we’re going to make a mistake and toss you out into the empty. And nothing comes back from that. I know you’re dying. I can feel it. You’re unclean in the Biblical sense.”
The angels Efram and Jonah continue to torture Castiel. They find it hard to believe that Castiel would help Metatron escape, then manage to lose him. Us too. Their torture is interrupted when Hannah (Lee Majdoub) shows up, in the still unfamiliar vessel we last saw in the episode “Inside Man.” She tells Efram and Jonah, “that’s not how we do things,” and yells at them to leave.
Help, or Something Like it, Appears
After his conversation with the reaper Billie, Sam finds his way to the hospital chapel. He sit in the chapel, taking a moment to pray.
“So … I know it’s been a long time. But, Dean and I, we’ve been through a lot of bad, but this is different. This is my fault and I don’t know how to fix it. And if I have to die I’ve made my peace with it, but please, Dean deserves better. Dean deserves a life. There are people out there, good people, who are going to suffer because of me and I am not asking You to clean up my mess. Hell, I don’t even know if You’re out there. But if You are and You can hear me, I, uh, we need Your help, God. We need to know there’s hope. We need a sign.”
Sam leaves the chapel and has a flash of something terrible. He sees himself being tortured, and has no idea what it means. Could he be remembering his time in the Cage or is he connecting with the imprisoned Lucifer somehow? Is this the sign Sam was hoping for?
Elsewhere, Dean has returned to Jenna’s grandmother’s house. Jenna tells him that her grandmother went ahead and called her priest, and the church has sent over an exorcist. He walks inside and finds Crowley, in clerical garb, sipping tea.
Hannah asks Castiel if what happened to him has anything to do with the disturbance in Superior, Nebraska. Something is going on that’s raising alarms that Heaven that they didn’t even know existed. He tells Hannah that the disturbance they are sensing is the Darkness.
Hannah: “The Darkness is a story.”
Castiel: “No it’s not. It’s real. The Darkness, it’s been locked away since the dawn of creation. And now it’s free.”
Hannah: “God help us.”
Castiel: “I wouldn’t count on it.”
Castiel realizes that Hannah isn’t there to save him, but to trick him into telling the angels where the Winchesters are. He asks her why she’s doing this, and she tells him that the angels hate him. He responds, “And you—do you hate me?” But before Hannah can respond, Efram and Jonah return.
Efram and Jonah bring out the angel torture device to force the location of Winchester brothers from Castiel. As the torture progresses, Hannah doesn’t like what they’re doing and tries to stop them. When they begin to beat Hannah for interfering, Castiel goes into attack mode. Castiel frees himself from the angel torture device and kills Efram and Jonah, but not before one of them kills Hannah.
At Jenna’s grandmother’s house, Dean and Crowley talk outside. It turns out that through his connections in the Catholic church, Crowley gets called for exorcisms when his minions think it’s a demon gone rogue. When Dean asks him if he thinks the baby is a demon, Crowley responds, “Not even a little bit.” Crowley tells Dean, “Whatever’s in that house, I can taste the power radiating from it. That thing its old, deep, dark.”
Meanwhile Jenna goes in to check on the crying baby. When Jenna goes back downstairs, she takes a kitchen knife and kills her grandmother. It appears that Amara has more powers than just telekinesis.
Dean and Crowley hear something from the house. They walk into the kitchen to find Jenna’s grandma murdered. Dean goes into the nursery and opens the baby’s onesie and sees the Mark. Dean remembers that the Darkness told him that they were connected.
Following the sounds of smashing glass, they find Jenna in another room destroying the ceramic angels her grandmother collected. Crowley quickly surmises that Jenna doesn’t have a soul. When Dean asks how that is possible, Jenna answers, “Amara’s hungry. She’s a growing girl.” Dean tells Jenna they can help her, but she’s not interested and attacks Dean. Lucky soulless Sam wasn’t like this. Oh wait—he pretty much was at the end. Crowley grows bored by their fighting and kills soulless Jenna.
Dean tells Crowley that he thinks Amara is the Darkness. Dean says he doesn’t have a choice but to kill her, but Crowley doesn’t think Dean will do it: “I saw the way you looked at her. Me, on the other hand, it’s not like it’d be my first.” Dean threatens him, and Crowley sends Dean in to the wall:
“You and Sam don’t understand. I’m not your bloody sidekick. We had some good times, so I’m going to give you one chance, just one, to walk out that door, or I’m going to take you apart, atom by atom.”
Crowley’s verbosity foils him again. Dean pins him to the wall with an angel blade through Crowley’s hand. Dean takes out his demon knife and heads towards the baby’s room, but Amara is gone. He comes back out of the room and finds that Crowley has disappeared as well.
At the hospital Sam is trying to figure things out. He remembers Billie saying that he is unclean in the Biblical sense and looks up “Bible purification” online. His search indicates he should try holy oil. He takes some oil, lights it, and holds it to his neck and the infection disappears. Once he realizes the holy oil works, Sam attracts the other infected to the hospital, by playing “The Sugar Shack,” so he can cure them as well.
Sam and Dean have reunited at the bunker. When Sam asks how the woman Dean saw is now a baby, Dean responds, “I don’t know. Maybe whaever I saw wasn’t real. Maybe it was a vision.” Behind a pile of books, they find Castiel, bloodied and weak, who gasps, “Help me.”
Amara is no longer a baby, walking down the street as a little girl. Crowley tracks her down, and attempts to entice her with the hostages he is holding in a van, saying, “Want some candy, little girl?”
“Form and Void” shows us that Season 11 of Supernatural is off to a great start. Next week’s episode, “The Bad Seed,” was directed by Jensen Ackles, and we can’t wait to learn more about the Darkness through the lens of this Supernatural veteran. Supernatural’s “Form and Void’ demonstrates Sam’s stubbornness and guilt, Dean’s connection to the Darkness, Castiel’s desperate situation, and Crowley’s ability to look for ways to connect himself to those who matter.