Good God, bad God
UK Broadcast E4, Wednesdays 10pm US Broadcast The CW, finished Episodes Reviewed 11.01-11.23
With The CW starry-eyed over the success of its slowburning cult phenomenon and season 12 already greenlit, things are looking good for Supernatural’s long-term future. We could sound a word of warning about the fact that a huge chunk of the creative team have announced they’re leaving, however – especially showrunner Jeremy Carver, who gave the show a kick up the arse when he returned to the fold in 2012 – but we’ll just cross our fingers and hope that the magic stays firmly in place.
In the meantime we can look back on a mostly successful season 11, especially the extraordinary “Baby”, an entire episode shown from the perspective of the Winchester brothers’ iconic Chevy Impala. Elsewhere there are all the usual innovative creatures and entities, including a fantastic take on imaginary friends in “Just My Imagination” that ended up nominated for a Hugo, and the return of Lucifer, who’s as much fun as ever.
But things get really good in the season’s final four episodes, which reintroduce Rob Benedict’s cuddly Chuck Shurley as God Himself. Just imagine the sheer amount of balls-out guts it took to write a scene in which God and Lucifer sit down and have a discussion about their behaviour – an authoritative dad vs a grumpy child. Just wow.
One thing doesn’t quite work, though: Amara, aka the Darkness. Making God’s sister the season’s antagonist was a cracking idea, but from then on the writers were hamstrung by the fact that... well, she’s God’s sister. She’s weak at first, yes, but once her powers kick in she could have destroyed everybody in her path with a mere thought; instead we get her messing around with some spooky, mind-controlling fog and repeatedly failing to take down the Winchesters (apparently because she’d fallen for Dean... yawn).
Amara gets there in the end, however, and you can’t deny the idea of God being frightened is powerful. It’s just another one of those bravura, groundbreaking concepts that have made Supernatural such a pleasure over the years, and this season is no exception. Jayne Nelson