Well, that was Season 11! This one was interesting. I liked a lot of the standalone episodes, and the general vibe of the season, but altogether I found the whole thing kind of disjointed and confusing. Mostly the Amara stuff.
I know I complained in Season 5 that Lucifer's whole character and plan was kind of vague and made it hard to understand the stakes, like the writers were maybe coasting on him being LUCIFER and what that name already meant to us to generate tension, rather than clearly outline his goals. But this season, the whole Amara situation was 100x worse, because we didn't have any concept of "God's sister" going in, and all the writing that attempted to show who she was as a character, and what she wanted, and why, was endlessly contradictory. She unleashes a plague that turns people into mindless rage zombies. She sucks out people's souls and leaves them emotionless empty husks seeking her "bliss". So, which does she inspire: rage or blissful calm? She is connected to Dean in a way that seemed profound and deeply rooted in the MoC, but was actually just be because she saw him on her way out of prison and noticed he looked like Jensen Ackles? (Completely understandable on her part, but this "connection" they had ended up being totally arbitrary and ultimately meaningless, as was his resultant inability to harm her which was never even genuinely put to the test.) She wants God to come out and face her, but is warded against him so he can't find her? She's upset about being locked away alone for so long, but wants to destroy existence? She says she wants solitude, but wants Dean to be a part of her forever? But she doesn't suck his soul out when she has the chance, after explaining to him that all the souls she sucked out will be a part of her forever? She kills people in churches semi-apologetically, saying it's not them she wants to hurt, she's only doing it to get God's attention. But when Chuck wants to give himself up to her, he can't, because she wants to kill him and THEN destroy all creation because that IS one of her goals? And when she's finally cornered and Chuck explains to her why creation was important enough to be protected, she understands and agrees up to the point of offering up her LIFE to preserve the world, and Chuck still feels the need to betray her and try to lock her away again, even though she can clearly be reasoned with? And no one thinks about talking to her again until AFTER they construct a bomb made of souls, which are essentially light, which she is vulnerable to, despite having EATEN souls in order to grow up and become more powerful? (Also, wouldn't the exploding light of 100 000 suns, like, destroy our entire solar system?) I'm sorry, but none of it made any goddamned sense.
Besides that, the season made some baffling decisions, like bringing back Lucifer only to downgrade him to a petulant child. And even with the deliberate reminder of Adam in Fan Fiction last season, the boys crack open the cage to get Lucifer out, barely mention Michael, and make NO effort to rescue (or even passingly discuss) their innocent half-brother who is still trapped down there? And why? Why not free Michael now that Lucifer is free? Why does Michael need to be there? Even if he is a gibbering idiot now, as Lucifer claims, why leave him imprisoned? And why would Michael, Heaven's MIGHTIEST archangel, and the only one with a chance of overpowering Lucifer in the apocalyptic battle, be mentally unable to endure a few centuries locked in a cage, when Lucifer seems almost entirely unaffected by the experience? And as much as I enjoyed Misha's performance as Lucifer, I found it a bit strange that he was doing a Mark Pellegrino impression. I get that MP is the sort of "face" of Lucifer on the show, but Misha-as-MP was such a far cry from Jared's portrayal of Lucifer way back when, and since that was Lucifer at home in his "true vessel" the way things were "meant" to be, I always sort of considered JP's version to be the "real" one. He certainly had more menace and gravitas than Misha-as-MP, but for some reason I guess they wanted to take one of the show's biggest and most sinister villains and kneecap him by giving him a "comedy" twist.
But despite the weird logic holes and strange choices, there were a lot of things about the season I liked. Sam and Dean's relationship was great. For the most part, they were very in sync, honest, and worked seamlessly as a team, which is awesome to watch. Some great (and necessary) conversations too. Their relationship seems to have come out of the MoC situation stronger than ever, which is really satisfying. I liked a lot of the standalone episodes - some strong writing there, and the new characters, like Billie and Eileen, and Jesse/Cesar (The Chitters), though I would like to see more regulars, since the new characters this season were mostly one-offs. They've killed off most of their recurring characters, like Kevin, Charlie, Hannah, Death, etc... But haven't really replaced them with new recurring associates. The circle is starting to feel a little small. Even new-ish characters like Claire, who do recur, have a totally different dynamic with the boys than the characters we've lost. Paternalistic, rather than collaborative. It just doesn't quite fill the void!
I didn't skip anything, because it was all new to me, but there weren't any episodes I really disliked and would skip on rewatch except Red Meat, which I came out against. It seemed tonally out of place in the series, and I don't think it really introduced or accomplished anything to justify its awkward/painful choices.
I did like quite a few episodes, especially:
Baby - This was a fun one! Very fanservicey, but damn if I didn't feel nicely serviced! Some surprisingly deep callbacks, too, like Dean's "I Shot the Sheriff" joke back in Jus in Belo... and BTW, Dean's teasing Sam about finally losing his virginity reminded me that I don't think we HAVE seen or heard of Sam hooking up since taking that virginity pledge back in S9. So he DID finally lose it! 😄
Thin Lizzie - Sam's understated glee at finally having an excuse to check out the Lizzie Borden B&B was infectious. This was a fun case! Good stuff for everyone to do!
Just My Imagination - An original concept, that brought just enough comedy to be delightful and balance out the sentimentality. I think it struck exactly the right tone, and brought out interesting angles on both boys.
Into The Mystic - You guys weren't kidding about this being a good one! The case was interesting, but more importantly, the characters were awesome. I loved Mildred (finally, the show manages "old lady hitting on the boys" without being super creepy and awkward!), but especially Eileen. I hope we see more of her! I loved her a lot. I REALLY appreciated how they dealt with the character being deaf. It would be so easy to make her either the Banshee, or the one who is "special" enough to be unaffected by the Banshee's scream and defeat it. Instead, they made her deafness totally incidental to the hunt, bringing all the same advantages and disadvantages it would against any other monster. And while it's easy to picture being deaf as a liability on a hunt, the show seemed to make a point of showing how it worked to her advantage too, helping her to eavesdrop visually on private conversations and sneak into situations as an easily-underestimated and nearly-invisible laborer, acting freely in the background, rather than coming in flashing badges like Sam and Dean. I'm also assuming this episode birthed a substantial Sam/Eileen ship, because they had great chemistry. In short: more Eileen, please!
The Vessel - This one was kind of deceptive. Even though it didn't accomplish much, and Dean was primarily, as he said, a witness to events he didn't affect, it was damn entertaining, and I loved Delphine. I know it's unlikely we'd see her again, but man, it'd be great if we did.
Safe House - RUFUS IS BACK! Also this episode was super touching and well-constructed, and was more of a thinker than cases usually are, but the headline is Rufus. As always.
I kind of also want to give honorable mention to Don't Call Me Shurley. Even though I wasn't riveted, and I don't love the show's choices re: God, it was quite satisfying to FINALLY get some clarity and and dig into the meat of the Chuck/God situation.
All-in-all, an ok season with lots of high points that I don't regret watching, despite the very muddled mythology. And so, it is with trepidation that I embark on Season 12!