“Oh Brother, where art thou” is a culmination of our worst fears for the Winchesters. It left me speechless except for saying,”oh brother”. Now we wait until January for the second half of what has been a trip for Supernatural Fandom. The episode plays more like a movie than episodic t.v. Read no more if you don’t want spoilers.
The brothers have reached a dead end in their pursuit of solutions for caging the Darkness. Sam is over his fear of the Cage and believes he his protected by God. Since everyone is at risk, Crowley, Rowena, Sam and Dean unite to take a road trip to Hell, more specifically to the Cage since Lucifer was present when God caged Amara, his sister. This choice leads to Rowena being the key ingredient to figure out the spell that wards Sam from Lucifer. (Codex and Book of the Damned with limited access under Sam’s watchful eyes). Suspicion and trust play off of each other for all 4 characters.
Sam sees a burning bush and other signs as he convinces himself that he will be protected since his visions are from God. In season 2, “Houses of the Holy”, Sam’s wanting to believe attitude comes forward so it is not out of character for him to believe God is sending the messages. The viewer has been given hints all season that it may not be God, given Lucifer’s ability to twist Sam’s brain. It is all Sam’s imagination that God is on his side,( hence the previous episode’s title as foreshadow). Dean and the viewer have been skeptical, but what other choice do the writers have? Fire-Lucifer, Young John never fooling Sam-huge hints.
Meanwhile. Amara,in her efforts to get her brother’s attention. reeks havoc on local townsfolk. Her view of religion to feed God’s ego and her desire to bring a different world order, one without pain, makes her even more ambiguous as a character. Is she really evil or just the antithesis of light? Dean must investigate, but this search leads him to follow Amara’s call to him to the exclusion of the real world. Sam tries to call Dean, but since Dean is unable to answer, Sam decides to go it alone to visit Lucifer convinced he cannot wait for Dean as Rowena gives the now or never impetus.
The juxtaposition of the dark corridors of Hell and intricate design of the Cage with the breezy, light, scenery for the Dean and Amara conversation is striking. Before Dean is whipped back to reality, we find out that God and Amara have no parents. She consumes souls but they still exist within her. More importantly, she wants to become one with Dean and instead of sucking his soul there is a kiss. his attempt to kill her is useless. The viewer, like Dean, asks what was that? Free will and destiny tropes are birthed again.
Both scenes terminate focused on the brothers. Dean is at the hot dog stand outside the church,looking as confused as the viewer at this point. Sam’s conversation with Lucifer has not gone well as we find Lucifer asking to use Sam as his vessel-again. Where you shouting at the T.V. at this point? Sam says “no”, but his warding disappears and he finds himself in the Cage. At first he is calm, but then Lucifer lets him know that the Darkness shook Hell so badly, that he was able to reach out to Sam and manipulate him- it wasn’t God at all. Sam’s calmness quietly turns to a tear. Such a powerfully acted scene. Oh brother!
Rowena and Crowley have been observing the Hell conversation and when it goes badly, she suggest they head for safety, but not until she verbally”fangirls”after Lucifer. Are these seeds of her intentions?
Meanwhile, the brotherhood of angels decides it needs to join together as a band of brothers to fight Amara. This is a suicide mission for them. They might ask themselves”Oh brother Cas, where art thou?”
Amara essentially is asking”oh brother, where art thou?” Most importantly the viewer is asking on behalf of Sam,”Brother, where art thou?” now that Sam is a bunk buddy again with Lucifer. All I could say was,”oh brother”.
The sets and lighting are superb and help spotlight the differences between the Light and the Dark. The use of sound or the lack of any sound at times punctuates the Dean/Amara Lucifer/Sam scenes. The camera angles with unnerving close ups do just that to the viewer=never thought a close up of Sam or Dean at the table in the bunker would be so intense.Nice visual set up for an intense episode.There is much violence brought to the town’s people and the angels. but Sam and Dean are not physical in this episode and yet the intensity of their dialogues is just as brutal as the violence. Such a well paced script and editing of parallels!
As always the acting is top notch with facial nuances and subtle changes as the characters’ circumstances change. Special kudos to Mark Pellegrino who revises his role as Lucifer.(see season 5+6) with such embrace. His coy delivery of dialogue to Sam enhanced by the beauty of the Cage and the visual effects evokes such emotion for the viewer as well as Sam. Emily Swallow plays Amara so ambiguously that this viewer is clueless as to her true intentions especially towards Dean. Is this attraction her undoing?
Usually I reserve the top number for a season finale. but this episode is worthy of a 10. It stirs old memories of past dilemnas, but presents them in a new way. Writers you did us a solid. More than episodic television, the producer(s) spent the money wisely on the effects and sets and capturing Pellegrino to reprise “the giver of light” the “morning star” at his most evil moment with Sam. Media has told us that this episode is really a two part episode with the second to run in January. All I could say at the end of this part was,”oh brother” and then take a breath. The preview looks like a Christmas episode with Lucifer. Again,”oh brother”
Questions that linger: Does Rowena seek a hook up with Lucifer? Lore has it that witches get power from Lucifer that way and then they become demons. Food for thought. Oh Ruby, I remember you well!
How will Crowley maintain his rule if Lucifer escapes? Can Lucifer reach out beyond the Cage to control Hell on a bigger scale? While killing the Winchesters is still on Crowley’s bucket list, he will need them. Oh Crowley!
Doesn’t look like God is going to be goaded into responding to his sister or will he? Oh God!
Is Dean destined to be One with Amara? Free will or Destiny trope usually has Dean fighting for his life as well as Sam’s. Oh brother!
How can Castiel help his brothers fight the Darkness? In the past he has taken on Sam’s burden from the Cage. Is it once again his role to question where his brother. Lucifer is and what he is doing? “Oh brother, Cas “where art thou?” And then that Cain/Abel scenario still rattles around in my brain.
Will Dean give in to Amara’s passion in order to save Sam from the Cage and what if any creature would this produce? Oh family….not.
How many dimensions is the Cage as Michael is not in there with Lucifer. Did Crowley re-arrange this brother? Oh,Michael, where art thou?( not an Adam fan so not questioning that one)
Lighter side sort of:Will Dean ever get that hot dog from the stand? For once, he is too confused to eat IMHO. Oh brother.
Will Sam get to sport that white suit that Lucifer wore in “the End” episode. Oh brother! Talk about hot and if so, will Jensen get a vacation to Hawaii?(inside note that during the filming of “The End”, Jared vacationed in Hawaii as he only had that one shot in the episode).
Chilling line from Season 5 Lucifer/Sam to Dean”We will always end up here.”Oh brother!
Is shipping Amaradean the next convention character” Is it the combination that saves Sam as “love is all you need” Oh, brother!
Thoughts? I need to re-watch but need to buck up the courage. Oh brother- January seems so distant. “Oh brother where art thou”- tour de force all around.