Supernatural: Season 11

| September 5, 2016

To be honest, I’d never seen an episode of CW’s hit paranormal thriller Supernatural until I got the eleventh season in the mail to review.  My brother is a longtime fan of the series and has admitted to me that he only has kept watching out of morbid curiosity to see how things wrap up.  If they ever wrap up.  From what I’ve seen now, I am curious to go back and check out more, knowing that this is presumably the series at its worst and it’s been in decline for a while.  I rather enjoyed watching these later episodes, even without knowing everything that has led to this season and what has brought our two leads to where they are now.

After the events of season 10, Sam (Jared Padalecki; Friday The 13th) has made a deal with a witch to free his brother Dean (Jensen Ackles; Smallville) from the mark of Cain that was (I guess) set to kill him throughout last season.  By removing the mark, Sam and Dean unleash an evil force known as The Darkness on the world, who inhabits the body of a young girl, eats people’s souls, and causes general chaos while teamed up with everyone’s favorite king of Hell, Crowley (Mark Sheppard; Firefly, Doctor Who).

I imagine in early seasons of Supernatural, the show has a more standard monster-of-the-week structure, with Dean and Sam hunting down a monster and killing it.  I’m guessing each episode is somewhat disconnected from the rest, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that in the eleventh season, the off-week monster-of-the-week episodes are still tied into the overall narrative of the season and The Darkness.  One early episode sees the guys going to the pacific northwest to investigate a potential paranormal attack by a creature that seems to be a cross between a vampire and a werewolf.  They get there and find the creature, but it turns out these particular creatures had until recently been content living in seclusion and secrecy to not attract any unwanted attention from monster hunters like Dean and Sam, but have felt compelled to increase their numbers with The Darkness being unleashed.  This is also the episode that made me decide to go to the beginning of the series and start making my way through it, as the entire episode is told from the guys’ car’s point of view.  The camera does a few exterior shots, but we stay grounded with the guys’ beloved car.  This gimmick allows for a perfect episode of Supernatural in that it has action, horror, and comedy all rolled up into one.

There are definitely elements of the show that feel stale even though I haven’t watched the ten seasons leading up to them.  A lot of the jokes are really flat, a lot of the dialogue is just a few words too long, and Sam’s unwavering idealism coupled with Dean’s casual alcoholism and self-destructive nature are not the most interesting character traits I can imagine.  If I start the series and they’re exactly the same, I don’t know if I’ll continue to watch.

The one thing that may save the show for me is the presence of Mark Sheppard as Crowley.  I’m a huge fan of Sheppard’s work and this character fits him like a glove.  I’ve read a little about his character arc and background in trying to confirm that he is the King of Hell in this universe, but the more I read, the more interested I am to see his story play out on the series.

I imagine people who have stuck with the series this far won’t be disappointed by this latest season and will continue on to check out Season 12, premiering soon on the CW.

Available on Blu-ray and DVD from Warner Home Video on Septemeber 6.

About the Author:

Joe Sanders Joe Sanders is a podcaster, playwright, and college instructor in Kalamazoo, MI. He has a master's degree in playwriting and a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Western Michigan University, where he currently teaches thought and writing, and is the host of the Quote Unquote Guilty podcast, part of the Word Salad Network.
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