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Supernatural - The Bad Seed - Review

         Supernatural, “The Bad Seed,” was written by the team of Brad Buckner and Eugenie Ross-Leming. This is the annual episode directed by Jensen Ackles (Dean). Once again, Ackles brings a steady hand to the camera. We get some interesting shots – like Rowena’s (Ruth Connell) candles in her first scene and Crowley (Mark Sheppard) seen over the feet of his latest dead demon-Nanny at the end. But none of these pleasing compositions distract from the storytelling – a sign of a good director.

The episode deals mainly with healing Cas (Misha Collins) of the attack dog spell and Crowley’s ‘wardship’ of Amara. As with all the episodes that Ackles has directed, there is a nice little nod to his family, and specifically his wife, when Rowena meets with prospective coven members in Café Elta. Elta is Danneel Harris Ackles’ birth name.

I have complained in the past about Connell’s over-the-top performances of Rowena. She skates very close to the edge in most of this episode, though Ackles seems to rein her in fairly well. It does seem a bit harsh to criticize her for a ridiculous delivery of lines that include “Mega-Coven.” Really show? I preferred it when witches were actually scary not just silly. And to clarify, I’m not saying I don’t enjoy the odd bit of comic relief or one-liner, but Supernatural used to be a horror show, and I miss that.

What is scary – and thought provoking – in this episode is Amara (Gracyn Shinyei). The show has long relied on creepy kids and Shinyei delivers a terrific performance. I was sad to see her eating nannies right and left because that could only mean her transforming into a terrible teen (Yasmeene Ball). She has several terrific conversations with Crowley. Here are two ancient beings – granted she’s a LOT older than he is, but Crowley has been around a while, yet it’s her giving him insights. And a quick shout out to both nannies. I was sorry to lose Tasya Teles and Minion, Sergio Osuna, who were both excellent.

Crowley has Amara sequestered within his court and is seeing to her education. She asks him to save her from God who she says tricked her and locked her away. Crowley tries to get her to say how she was tricked – smart, if he ever needs to do the same thing. She dodges the question, however – she’s not stupid either.

She is amazed at all that God created after he locked her away and comments on it to her “adult” self (Emily Swallow) in the mirror. Interestingly, not a conversation that Crowley is privy too – and another nice effect. Adult Amara tells her younger self that God only did it for his own ego and that she must stay fixed on their “purpose.” I’m wary of these grand “purposes” or hidden agendas as they haven’t lived up to expectations very reliably in the past. However, I do like that Amara is not a black and white cut out of evil.

Amara does tell Crowley that she’s discovered that the world doesn’t really work very well. Again, when Crowley asks for specifics on how they will do things differently, she dodges the question. I loved the scene in which she tells him that when God created mankind, He really screwed up. She tells him that every time she eats a soul, she feels how much emptiness there is and that God mad a world where people have to suffer and then they die. She wonders why any of them would want to live in such a world. Crowley assured her that they will shape the world according to their own views. Crowley suggests a world of pure evil. Amara asks if that would really make him happy. She makes him come to the right conclusion himself. He muses that if everyone were evil it wouldn’t be much of a challenge and that the real joy for him is in seeing a human reject the light and embrace depravity. It’s the age hold dilemma – can you have happiness without sorrow? Goodness without evil? Amara ends the conversation by ominously telling Crowley that he’s not seeing the big picture – and that she’s hungry.

There are lots of great exchanges between Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean that really feel like we have gone back to the way things once were. I loved their banter. They too discuss God. Dean and Cas both insist that God has definitively left the building, but Sam still seems oddly hopeful based on his “sign.” Which he still hasn’t shared. So we also have the moment in the car when Rowena drops the bomb about Sam’s deal with her. Dean is clearly pissed off at yet another secret. Yes, Dean, the audience is with you on this one – no more secrets! But then, he’s not being 100% forthcoming about his little zone outs about Amara either. However, Sam’s belief in God is a nice return to “Houses of the Holy” when Sam was the one who believed and Dean was looking for a sign.

Crowley is still focused on killing Rowena, leading to the altercation in Café Elta, which leads the brothers to the one witch who survived – Claudette (Courtney Richter). I really loved the interrogation scene. Claudette keeps insisting she’s not a witch and I loved Dean’s comeback, “and I’ve got a fake badge” accompanied by a wink. They get her to scry Rowena’s location in her compact. While this is a fun episode, I find it impossible to believe that they’d have no one watching that interrogation…

As much as I find Connell’s portrayal uneven, I dread the inevitable return of Metatron. Thank you Dean for not so much as wanting his name mentioned! I did love the fact that Cas was so hurt by them thinking his car was crappy. It’s interesting that Cas is now tuned back in to Angel radio – something we haven’t heard about for a long time – I have to wonder if that will come to anything significant. What didn’t seem at all significant and just some pointless comic relief was Cas finding the shortcut to the Fortune Nookie sight on the laptop. And why was he confused? Doesn’t he understand porn now?

The scenes between Rowena and the brothers were generally quite good. I loved Dean showing up as her cab driver to distract her while Sam got the cuffs on her. And her giving Dean the finger! I particularly liked the scene between she and Dean when she sees how burdened his eyes are and wonders what really happened to him when she removed the Mark. She does uphold her end of the bargain even after the witch-dampening handcuffs are removed. As soon as the spell is removed, she easily zaps the gun – with the witch-killing bullets out of Sam’s hand and locks them in, leaving me thinking that she likely could have done that all along.

There are a couple of really nice moments between Dean and Cas – after Cas’s first seizure and then again in the warehouse after the spell has been removed. In the final scene, we see Dean nursing the bruises from Cas’s mad-dog beating. Cas wants to heal him, but Dean insists he had it coming. After all, Cas wouldn’t have been cursed if Dean hadn’t taken on the Mark in the first place.

Finally, one of the most interesting scenes in the episode, is an angel (Lane Edwards, who also appeared in “Dark Side of the Moon”) and a demon (Adam Hurtig) walk into a bar. It’s clear that the “regular people” are equally bad off in this squabble between good and evil. Both have the same concerns. The alarm bells are going off, but nobody is giving them a lot of information or guidance. The know something’s changed and that it’s something big, but that’s it. They blame it all on management butting heads and worry they could be out of work. They lament that someone’s got to do something, and if not management, maybe the little guy? Are we angling toward a demon/angel strike of some kind? That could be hilarious and disturbing. But it also points to the need for balance. It’s been suggested this entire scene is yet another nod to Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens – the often suggested source text for Crowley.

I thought this was an interesting episode. And I always appreciate the inclusion of a Louden Swain song – “Big One.” Lots of thinky thoughts and good bro-moments in this episode. The episode did seem a bit disjointed, however, perhaps a function of trying to do too many different things. Regardless, I’m happy to see the Cas-spell problem dealt with quickly. As a final note, I apologize for the tardiness of this review due to a personal crisis. What did you think of the episode? Favorite scene? Favorite line? Did you enjoy the philosophical discussions? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Loved this shot that emphasized the height disparity between Sam and Rowena....

About the Author - Lisa Macklem
I do interviews and write articles for the site in addition to reviewing a number of shows, including Supernatural, Arrow, Agents of Shield, Agent Carter, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, The X-Files, Defiance, Bitten, Killjoys, and a few others! I'm active on the Con scene when I have the time. When I'm not writing about television shows, I'm often writing about entertainment and media law in my capacity as a legal scholar. I also work in theatre when the opportunity arises. I'm an avid runner and rider, currently training in dressage.
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