In “Hell’s Angel,” Lucifer and Amara lay plans to battle for Heaven and Earth. Dean is more focused on battling for Castiel. In true Supernatural style, the Winchesters work with their sworn enemies in order to defeat even bigger baddies. Do these guys have any allies left who aren’t evil? Oh, yeah, there was that one angel, but he seems to have developed Stockholm syndrome. As we head to the final episodes in Season 11, Supernatural reveals that Amara may be just this side of impossible to defeat, even for God’s most rebellious archangel. The boys may need to find themselves a higher power.
Hello Old Friend
“Hell’s Angel” is the 35th episode directed by Phil Sgriccia, which is reflected in how well he knows these characters. Sgriccia excels at humor (“Nightshifter,” “Hollywood Babylon,” “Ghostfacers,” “Yellow Fever,” and “Fan Fiction”), as well as emotional conflict (“Two Minutes to Midnight,” “Sacrifice,” “Abandon All Hope …,” “The Executioner’s Song,” and “Brother’s Keeper”). Humor, emotion, conflict are the bread and butter of Supernatural.
The writing team of Brad Buckner and Eugenie Ross-Leming also have quite a few Supernatural episodes under their belts, “Hell’s Angel” being their 15th. They most recently wrote the Season 10 episode “Soul Survivor” and Season 11’s “The Bad Seed.” There were some wonderful lines of dialogue in “Hell’s Angel,” such as: “Castiel—one of Heaven’s most wanted, possessed by Heaven’s most hated.”
Thanks to Sgriccia’s directing, the scenes weren’t rushed, giving the funny and clever bits the space they needed to flourish. Despite several interesting twists and turns in the plot, the narrative was easy to follow and remained entertaining. It isn’t a powerhouse episode, but it moves the season’s story along.
You can’t go wrong when Mark Pellegrino and Mark Sheppard are battling. Their war of words turned violent when they were all nestled up together inside Castiel’s vessel. Castiel’s apathy turned what could have been the Three Stooges into an especially violent, angry version of Abbot and Costello.
It was exciting to see Rowena (Ruth Connell) return. Some complain that when characters return from the dead it cheapens the danger of death on the series. We say, this isn’t The Walking Dead! It’s a fun, supernatural series. Lots of characters don’t come back, so why complain when Rowena, a villain perfect for the Supernatural series, comes back to our screens? In fact, let’s see a lot more of the dead return (wait, didn’t we just say this wasn’t The Walking Dead?). It appears that being killed by Lucifer has given Rowena some kind of traumatic stress disorder, and she hides in terror from him. We’re not used to seeing this powerful witch afraid of anything.
Having escaped Lucifer’s clutches, Crowley wants revenge for his humiliation. The former King of Hell wants Lucifer back in the Cage, even if it means that Lucifer won’t be able to battle the Darkness. The Winchesters figure that Lucifer is already walking the earth, so let him battle Amara, and then they’ll put him back in the Cage. They may disagree with Crowley, but the brothers themselves are divided on when to free Castiel of Lucifer. Dean wants Lucifer transferred to another vessel right away, while Sam continues to point out that Castiel chose to let Lucifer be his vessel and believes they should wait until after Casifer has defeated Amara.
Letting others make choices that could cause him personal pain has never been one of Dean’s strengths. He’s had a lifetime of grief watching Sam putting himself at risk, and now his BFF has allowed the Devil in. Dean is all about sacrifice if it means saving family, but he’s not as sold on self-sacrifice for the vague notion of the greater good. We’ve been reminded throughout Season 11 that Sam is all about putting others before himself, even if he’s not related to them and if they’ll try to strangle him afterwards.
Amara is recovering from the smiting by the angels with the help of the recently deceased Rowena. It turns out that Rowena kept a wee subcutaneous casket of magic set to revive her when her life force started ebbing, like a needle full of adrenaline. Rowena’s quick to join whatever she thinks is the winning side. But her real plan is vengeance against Lucifer. The Devil killing her seems to have had a traumatic effect.
Lucifer is busy making a sales pitch in Heaven. It doesn’t seem like the other angels are buying it, as they remind Lucifer he was cast out Heaven and that God described him as “evil incarnate.” Angels in Supernatural are normally so desperate for leadership they’ll follow any charismatic divine figure, but when it comes to Lucifer they’ve bought into God’s marketing. Lucifer tells the angels, “He’s creating a need in the consumers’ mind. Can’t have a super-savior if you don’t have a supervillain.” He campaigns for their support, adding that if it helps them feel comfy, they’re welcome to call him God. As they leave, he pulls the angel who referred to him as an abomination aside:
Lucifer: “But what about your people? They on board, or we need to do a little wing-twisting?”
Angel: “I’ll have to think about it.”
Lucifer: “Don’t you think about it too long. You know what they say—He who hesitates … disintegrates.”
The art of the deal indeed.
Having the Horn of Joshua gives Crowley the upper hand, and so Dean and Sam agree to Crowley’s plan. When Lucifer arrives, they find the spell doesn’t work as well as planned, and Crowley has to literally jump in to try to salvage it. Cue the red smoke. Inside Castiel’s vessel, Crowley finds Castiel, but the angel is busy watching an old television. He’s waiting for the battle to begin and not interested in expelling Lucifer. Before Crowley can try to convince Castiel, Lucifer confronts Crowley and begins beating him (when you die inside an angel’s vessel do you die in real life?). The Winchesters have to save Crowley through exorcism. Weird.
Once everyone’s back on the earthly plane, Lucifer awakens, free of the spells binding him. Lucifer tells the boys, “As much as I get a giggle out of you two, and I do, there comes a time when every relationship has … run its course.” Before he can kill them, however, Amara arrives and we learn that Lucifer plus a Hand of God is not enough to defeat the Darkness, seemingly because Lucifer is not God’s chosen. Poor Lucy.
Despite this setback, the Winchesters remain hopeful. We love when they are getting along and not keeping secrets—this is when they are at their best to watch. Sam reminds Dean that they agreed they were going to swear off getting in the way when one of them makes a decision the other doesn’t agree with. Seems like this new policy is going to get someone killed.
Amara has taken Lucifer away, much to Dean’s chagrin because he’s still in Castiel’s vessel. Recognizing the danger he’s in, Lucifer’s attempts to gain favor with Amara, giving her an idea for a plan:
“As God’s favorite, his first son, you may be the one thing in all of Creation that he still cares about—the one thing that could finally make him show himself so that I can confront him and he can acknowledge the wrongs he’s done me.”
In “Hell’s Angel” we got a lot of great characters, and the return of our favorite witch, Rowena. It’s always fun to see the Winchester and MacLeod families work together. Having Mark Pellegrino make an appearance as Satan was a nice touch. Misha Collins is doing such a great job playing Lucifer that it actually felt as though they were the same character.
“Hell’s Angel” was a solid episode, but not a standout in such a terrific season of Supernatural. We learned that Lucifer isn’t the weapon everyone hoped he was—in fact, he’s now become a weapon for Amara. Though the boys are no closer to defeating the Darkness, at least Lucifer won’t be killing them anytime soon.