Emily Dunbar ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Copy Edited By: Lindsey Buttel ‘18
Just when saving people and hunting demons seemed out of style, just when it seemed like the family business might close up shop, Supernatural returned for its eleventh season Wednesday night with “Out of the Darkness, Into the Fire.”
Let’s start with that Darkness.
So far, the Darkness looks like it’s going to be the Disappointment. This villain was advertised as the biggest and baddest evil out there — something so horrible and so unpredictable that even Death (Julian Richings) was quaking in his boots at the thought of it entering the mortal world. Sure, this is only episode one, and The Darkness should have a little more time to prove it’s more than an English glam- rock band. But at the same time, could it have had a more underwhelming arrival? The season ten finale left viewers with these Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince-esque black, smoke figures converging into a tidal wave of horror headed straight for the Winchesters. Exciting! When the beginning of this episode returns to that same moment, there is an equally fascinating dual perspective of what’s happening for Sam Winchester (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles), respectively. Great stuff. Then the Winchesters reunite, decompress, and enter the real world to find that the Darkness has turned some people into what seems like a cross between Croatoan-infected humans and Leviathans. That’s the most horrible thing in the history of existence? Yawn. But let’s try to stay hopeful.
In the vein of good news, it appears viewers may be able to expect a meaningful change in Supernatural’s favorite codependent brothers. Every season, one of the Winchester boys takes the weight of the universe onto his shoulders while the other looks on desperately hoping to pull his brother back from the edge; it’s the Winchester Way™. Excitingly, though, Sam suggested to and pleaded with Dean that they try something different this time around: shouldering the blame together. Even though this doesn’t seem like a novel idea, it’s a whole new ballgame in the Supernatural realm where it’s a constant, season-long trade-off of the blame baton. If Sam and Dean can truly be in it together, there may be a return to the dynamic of yesteryear: the beloved season-one-and-two Sam and Dean who tackled issues as a team and didn’t keep secrets from each other for literally no reason – for the most part. That would be awesome to see again.
There is also a very cool female character in this episode: a police officer named Jenna Nickerson (Laci Mailey) who is new to the business and has a strong moral compass. While she is a driving force in “Out of the Darkness, Into the Fire,” she was given very little character development. It is easy to get an uneasy feeling that she was written in to take care of the newly unattended baby. Even though Jenna expressed both genuine concern and disinterest in being responsible for the baby, it’s pretty obvious that literally no one else in this entire universe could be responsible for her. After all, she’s the only woman around, right? While this critique may be a bit prematurely harsh, Supernatural’s track record with women is appalling to say the least. Fans can only cross their fingers and hope that Jenna will be given some sort of agency. At the very least, Jenna will be seen again since little baby’s got a tiny Mark of Cain! Side note — someone should check to see if there’s a Guinness World Record for how many times the phrase “Save that baby” has been shouted in less than an hour because this premiere is a serious contender!
Overall, as a season opener, “Out of the Darkness, Into the Fire” was a little blah. Essentially, there are zombies and a baby with a tattoo. But there was a lot of set-up and potential. It would be lovely to see season eleven be the comeback season for this CW hit!
Tune in to Supernatural next Wednesday on the CW at 9pm for “Form and Void.”
Episode grade: B-