Supernatural season 11, episode 18, “Hell’s Angel,” featured the return of all the big players yet ended on a hollow note.
Well, let’s start with the positive from that episode: Rowena lives! In a shocking turn of events, Supernatural brought a dead female character back. Rowena begins the episode helping Amara in an effort to gain revenge on Lucifer for killing her, though midway through the episode she switches sides to help Crowley and the Winchesters, who are also targeting Lucifer — if for different reasons.
Crowley has obtained a new God-powered artifact to use since using the Hand of God failed. He calls the Winchesters and wants to make a deal — exorcise Lucifer from Castiel’s vessel in exchange for the Horn of Joshua, which can be used against Amara.
Dean wants to get Lucifer out of Cas, but Sam understands Castiel’s perspective a bit better, having taken Lucifer in himself and jumped into Hell with him to save the world. What Sam wanted in season 5 was for his choice to make the sacrifice respected, and Dean finally agreed, though it broke his heart to do so. Understanding that Cas chose to let Lucifer in, Sam advocates respecting Castiel’s choice.
And really, what will be the point of the Casifer arc if Lucifer is removed from Castiel without the possession mattering? It feels, yet again, like the writers aren’t sure what to do with Castiel’s character but refuse to kill him off so he remains on the periphery, not quite fitting into the narrative.
Still, the episode ends with Dean saying they’re going to bring Castiel back. There was definitely something off about that final brother scene.
Meanwhile, Casifer breaks into Heaven and tries to convince the angels to accept him as their leader. He’ll take out Amara and become their new God. When Amara sends some kind of shockwave into Heaven in protest of the failed smiting, Casifer’s offer starts looking more attractive to the angels.
Heaven has become pretty irrelevant in terms of story in recent seasons, and the more we lose the strong characters that once populated Heaven (from Zachariah and Uriel to Balthazar, Naomi and Hannah), the less interesting stories taking place there seem. They are also increasingly more removed from the Winchesters, which, again, becomes less interesting since they are our main characters.
While Rowena hides, Crowley, Sam and Dean summon Casifer. Dean briefly manages to reach Castiel, but Lucifer quickly takes control back. Recognizing things aren’t going according to plan, Crowley also jumps into Castiel’s vessel. There, he finds Cas in what looks like the Winchesters’ kitchen, watching television. He’s just waiting for the big deathmatch to go down. Crowley tries to talk him into fighting back, but Lucifer arrives and starts beating the snot out of Crowley. Crowley is able to send an S.O.S. to the Winchesters, so they exorcise him.
This is a pretty interesting sequence, evoking the sequence when Crowley possessed Sam while he was also being possessed by Gadreel and encouraged Sam to kick the angel out. However, this time Crowley finds a defeated Castiel who is passively being possessed. This mindset seems to run counter to the Castiel who surfaced long enough to save Sam from being killed by Lucifer a few episodes ago, but being possessed by the devil must be oppressive.
However, while all this was going on, the warding holding Lucifer fails. Crowley flees, and Lucifer is about to kill the Winchesters when Amara arrives. Lucifer tries to use the Horn on her, but it fails because he’s not God’s chosen. Amara releases Lucifer’s grip on the brothers and then takes Casifer with her to a separate location. She decides Lucifer could be useful to her: he will be bait to lure God out.
So, will we finally be seeing God this season? Rob Benedict is coming back…
Perhaps what feels so off about this episode for me, however, is how little it is about the Winchesters. This episode felt like it could have happened even if the brothers weren’t present, and that’s not how you should feel about your main characters. The standalone episodes this season have been excellent, but the mytharc is definitely lacking.