“Form and Void” written by Andrew Dabb picks up where the premiere ended. It continues the stories of each of the four main characters and the baby Amara.  Although the episode is mostly character beats and exposition, there are a few moments of true horror and some outstanding direction and cinematography by longtime show Director Phil Sgriccia.  In particular the scene with the reaper touching the corpse, viewed in shadow, was poignant, especially because it was the reverse of the famous image from Michelangelo’s painted ceiling in the Sistine Chapel in which God gives the spark of life to Adam with the touch of his finger.  I tip my hat to you Sir.

The Super Sleepy Dispatch

Recap and Review : Supernatural 11:2 “Form and Void”

By P.S. Griffin

“Form and Void” written by Andrew Dabb picks up where the premiere ended. It continues the stories of each of the four main characters and the baby Amara.  Although the episode is mostly character beats and exposition, there are a few moments of true horror and some outstanding direction and cinematography by longtime show Director Phil Sgriccia.  In particular the scene with the reaper touching the corpse, viewed in shadow, was poignant, especially because it was the reverse of the famous image from Michelangelo’s painted ceiling in the Sistine Chapel in which God gives the spark of life to Adam with the touch of his finger.  I tip my hat to you Sir.

This episode was an art history major’s dream because of the rich visual subtext. 

The episode opens with a shot worthy of a horror movie. A disheveled rabid shuffles through town, leading us through the carnage. He’s lured by the trap Sam has set up via the local hardware store.  Sam proves himself trulto be be a young MacGyver with his do-it-yourself electronics, LOL! (The actor Jared Padalecki starred as the titular character in the “Young MacGyver” television pilot.)

Sam lures the shuffling rabid using a sequence from “Night of the Hunter” in which the evil, opportunistic “Preacher” discusses the power of love, the right hand,  overcoming hate, the left hand.   The left hand is often associated with evil, hence the word sinester, because Jesus sits on the right hand of God and judgment was delivered with God’s left hand.   The implication is clear; the rabids are not of God.

Sam questions the rabid he has captured using a homemade taser, after complying with the man’s request for pudding.  He learns that the infection progresses at different rates in different hosts.  Sam’s infection is moving more slowly than that of the man he captured. My guess is that the corruption proceeds more slowly in angel vessels.  I wonder why the most dangerous humans as far as the Darkness is concerned are the least affected by the corruption.  Personally I would want the disease to disable and destroy the archangel vessels first… if I were the Darkness. 

I remain convinced that the scourge is heaven’s failsafe,  a last ditch effort to stop the imprisoned entity from finding a host.  Or it is a scourge on humanity akin to the Great Flood and only a chosen few are meant to survive.  This early in the season it’s hard to tell.

Sam’s captive dies.  Dean phones about the hijinks Grandma’s house; however Sam doesn’t tell Dean his infected status so that Dean will save Jenna and the baby from whatever is causing the telekinesis.  

Sam’s search for a cure is disrupted by a visitation from a reaper named Billie singing “Oh Death”,  a 20th century American folk song.  Longtime fans of “Supernatural” will remember that this song was used to first introduce Death to the Winchesters via Dean in the season 5 episode “Two Minutes to Midnight”.  She tells Sam that she is there to collect souls and deliver a message.  There will be no more cheating Death by the Winchesters;  the next time they die they will be thrown into the “Empty”, a place nobody comes back from.  She also refers to the “Old Death” implying that a new Death is imminent,  if not already here and looking upon the Winchesters less favorably thaapparently amused amused predecessor.  Before leaving, Billie informs Sam that he’s dying and “unclean in the biblical sense”, information that eventually saves Sam in his darkest hour.

Before Sam saves himself he turns to God.  His heartfelt prayer is both a confession and a plea for help.  He asks God for help and he asks Him to spare the innocent, including Dean who Sam believes deserves a life.  Sam waits about two seconds for a sign before he skedaddles.   

Once outside the chapel he’s assaulted with a vision of himself being tormented by Lucifer in the cage.  Sam expresses annoyance to God for the vision which is a clear sign to open the cage housing Lucifer and Michael. 

I think that the vision must be from Lucifer.   Lucifer either has changed his evil ways and wants to help humanity,  or he sees the Darkness and Sam’s desperation as a means of escape from the cage.  

Sam is frustrated by his vision. He’s also nearly succumbed to the infection and it’s affecting his brain.

Sam’s struggle is shown visually with shaky camera work and two competing inner voices.  He suddenly remembers Billie’s words.  He begins to search for biblical purification rituals and finds purification by fire using holy oil which is highlighted yellow (to help the audience or to help Sam).  He tries the ritual by touching burning bandages saturated with holy oil to his neck veins.  Of course it is painful and of course he is cured.

Later he lures the infected to the hospital using the song “Sugar Shack” by Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs, an anthem to really potent Marijuana.   He traps them inside a circle of  holy oil and lights it. This cures them after a lot ofwrithing and screaming.  Sam and the saved go off tocuree whoever is left alive in town. 

Dean’s story dovetails with baby Amara and Crowley’s arcs.  Before we dive into the action,  let’s focus on some subtext.  The left hand spiel that Sam used and Billie’s comment about Sam being biblically unclean tells us that the infection is not from God.  In contrast the subtext surrounding the baby and Dean screams the baby Jesus and the Virgin Mary.  That’s right. I still believe the baby is what we know of as “God” and Dean is her MaDeanna.

Dean is wearing red and blue, the colors of the Virgin Mary.  Dean stands in front of the Virgin Mary statue.  It only becomes visible when Dean steps away, and it is only shown when Dean is standing next to it.  Both Jenna and Crowley note Dean’s facility with the baby. Crowley describes Dean as maternal (and “adorable” and “scrumptious” but these adjectives attest to a different matter.  I told you Crowley was thinking about Dean during that orgy!)

As for baby Amara,  her scenes include many symbols for God and Christianity.  The house has a second story gabled facade in front with three windows.  In painting, a building with a grouping of three windows is a reference to the Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy spirit.  In fact anything depicted in amounts of three can mean this.  Interesting too that Dean touches his car three times before holding the baby Amara. 

There is also a conspicuous cross in the house and the semicircular pillow above Amara ‘s head represents a halo and depicts a rainbow.  The halo is self explanatory.  The rainbow is a symbol of hope, and in Christianity a symbol of God’s mercy: “I will place my rainbow in the clouds, and it will become a guarantee of the covenant between me and the earth (Genesis 9:13).  This refers to God’s promise to Noah that he and his would survive the Great Flood sent to erase the sinful and evil from the face of the Earth. The rainbow also is associated with God himself,  “As the rainbow appears that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of His brightness all around” (Ezekiel 1:28).

Thus the rainbow is used as a metaphor for God and his love for humanity.  Interestingly God often manifests to humanity as a pillar of cloud during the day.  In other words A PILLAR OF CLOUD DURING THE DAYTIME IS A DIVINE MANIFESTATION OF GOD!  Hey!  Didn’t Amara appear to Dean within a pillar of cloud. Weren’t pillars of clouds released before she showed up.   Yowza!  

Knowing this, one can reasonably conclude that Amara is God even if she doesn’t know that name.  Maybe she prefers Yahweh, the ancient Hebrew term for God.  Look and behold!  The Mark of Cain is striking similar to the ancient  symbol for “am” or “become” which appears twice in  Yahweh, which roughly translates to “I am who I am” the name the Hebrew God gave Moses in Exodus 3:14 (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetragrammaton).  The Mark of Cain is the ancient symbol for creation or being, the essence of existence and creation, and the first and third letter of Yahweh ‘s  name. SHE is and  always was!  This seals the deal.  Amara is the Old Hebrew warrior God and creator of the cosmos Yahweh.   As I recall,  Yahweh was a vengeful God, often full of wrath. This isn’t the “Buddy Jesus” per “Dogma” of the New Testament.

As if it wasn’t patently clear exactly who Amara is, she eventually grows and dresses herself in a faded red dress with black band at the waist, a similar garment to that worn by the Christ statue in the hospital chapel. Christ dressed in red appears in Revelation during the second coming (Revelation 19:13).   This is looking like the Apocalypse baby or at least Apocalypse Now Redux!  All one needs is for Lucifer to descend upon the earth in his Apocalyptic vessel. 

Whew!  That’s a heck of a lot of visual subtext Mr. Dabb. You certainly know your bible and your religious symbology.  Kudos, to you Mr. Dabb.  

Dean, Jenna and baby Amara arrive at Grandma’s house.  Dean walks Jenna and child partway to the door. He takes the baby at the car and hands it over to Jenna who remarks on Dean’s ease with the child. As Dean shifts position we see the large Virgin Mary in a niche that decorates the front lawn. She’s dressed in her typical colors of red dress and blue mantle. These are Dean’s typical colors too and to hammer the point home Dean is wearing them. Of course he’s in a red tee and blue Jean jacket, a modern day masculine Madonna.  

He leaves and Grandma puts Jenna and Amara, Jenna’s “little miracle”, to bed remarking that she has enough canned green beans to last until Judgement Day.  Whoops Sammy.  All this talk of the second coming and Judgement Day… I do believe that you restarted the Apocalypse again.   Lucifer in his cage surely knows it, and he wants out to play, the Apocalypse being his raison d’etre and all.  Poor Sam is being primed to say yes again too, with those visions that he thinks are from God.  That boy is pudding in Lucifer’s hands.

Jenna is awakened by the noise of little Amara playing with blocks in her room using telekinesis.  She makes a big show of casting the blocks into the wall. They spell “Feed Me”.  Jenna wants to go to her but Grandma restrains her and insists that the child is evil.  Grandma asks who Jenna’s going to call.  Obviously it’s Dean who answers “Ghostbusters” and does a 180 to return to save the baby.  He and Sam agree that it sounds like “The Exorcist”.  Grandma agrees too because she called her priest who contacted an official Exorcist,  Father Crowley. 

The Father Crowley and Dean scenes are pure gold.  Mark Sheppard excels at line delivery and Jensen matches him. However, Jensen Ackles’ facial expressions which betray his annoyance of everything Crowley are priceless.   In short order Crowley declares that Dean was a scrumptious altar boy and mocks Dean’s predilection for using “pathetic, has-been rock stars” as his aliases.  Crowley’s face lights up as he tells Dean he’s working a case.

Crowley also infodumps alot.  He uses the Father Crowley persona to hunt down rogue demons… and he knows that what’s in the house is no demon.  He opines that the entity is  powerful, “old”, “dark”, “deep”.  In fact we soon learn that this powerful old, deep, dark being also eats souls. In “Supernatural” souls are the food of the gods. 

Amara takes Jenna’s soul but unlike the pagan dieties we have seen on the show she spares her life.  Soulless Jenna murders Grandma with a butcher knife in the kitchen and then goes upstairs to break her beloved angel statuettes.  Grandma wronged Amara and died. I would not want to be an angel right about now.

Dean and Crowley run inside at Grandma’s scream. They find her dead contorted body, then start looking for Jenna and Amara, squabbling as they proceed.  They find Amara crying in her crib.  She immediately stops upon seeing Dean and smiles. Crowley watches and perhaps his heart grows three sizes at the sight of Dean with the bairn.  

Dean surreptitiously checks Amara’s neck for black veins.  He pauses at the Mark of Cain/Symbol for Yahweh and mulls over his discovery accompanied by a flashback  to Amara telling him they are bound to each other and will always help each other (“Out of the Darkness, Into the Fire”). 

The frenemies proceed down the hallway to find Jenna breaking angels.  She tells them that Amara was hungry because she’s a growing girl. She becomes violent and attacks Dean after he tells her that he can fix her.  Jenna doesnt want to be fixed; she likes the new and improved version.  I wonder if she’s a soldier devoted to Amara briefly, until she atracks the chosen one, Dean or MaDeanna if you prefer. They struggle until Crowley throws her against the ceiling,  killing her because he’s bored.   Of course he is.

He informs Dean that he wants the child that eats souls.  Dean tells Crowley that he thinks Amara is the Darkness.  Crowley is intrigued yet scoffs at the idea that Dean can kill that baby.  He senses that Dean the hero is hesitating because even Crowley sees the bond.  Crowley now bored with Dean throws him into the closet and after a bit of evil monologuing,  blah blah blah, colorful threats; he tells Dean he will cut him some slack.  Crowley won’t kill him if Dean walks away.  Dean of course pins Crowley to the wall by stabbing his hand with an angel blade.  I notice that neither one wants to kill the other.

Dean strides to the nursery.  Amara is gone having grown into a young girl, dressed herself and walked out.  He returns to Crowley to find that he’s gone too.  He teleported  away leaving Dean’s blade and some blood behind.

Crowley proves he’s way too big for his britches.  He parodies a pedophile as he tracks down Amara and offers her a trussed up family,  the proverbial stranger with candy.  He thinks he can control her and dispose of her when he’s done with her. He’s either heading for a tragic fall for thiextravagance of hubris, or he’s no demon.

And it seems heaven believes that Cas is no angel.  Angels Ephraim and Jonah are torturing Castiel to find out Metatron’s location as well as for sadistic fun.  It’s awful to watch frankly.  The male Hannah shows up to stop the proceedings.  She chases off the other two angels, frees Castiel and tries to heal him.  Unfortunately the powered up Rowena’s magic is too strong.  Sam you should have listened to Magus; Katja’s Codex, obviously no mere code book, has powered up Rowena in a way that the BotD could not.  She’s stronger than an angel. 

Anyhow Hannah steers the conversation around to the fact that there are sirens ringing in heaven that have never gone off and no one knows what they mean.  Castiel explains that the Darkness was released.  Hannah like Crowley thought that the Darkness was just a story.  She’s very worried and wants to know where it is.  Cas doesn’t know. Then she wants to know where the Winchesters are. At this Cas realizes that he’s been bamboozled and Hannah is simply playing good cop to get him to talk out of gratitude.  Cas is hurt because they were friends.  Hannah implies that Castiel’ s actions to free Metatron against heaven’s wishes broke their friendship. 

The bad cop angels return to tell Cas that heaven voted.   They are going to hack his brain using Naomi’s old apparatus.  It’s just more torture,  especially since none of them really knows how to do it even though the short quiet angel saw Naomi use it once.

Castiel’s pain is too much for Hannah to bear. She  orders them to stop.  Psoriasis angel really likes to get his torture on, and loses his temper at her order.  He starts to threaten and manhandle the smaller Hannah.   This brutal beat down activates Rowena’s Imperius Bestialus spell.  Castiel becomes raving mad in his need to save Hannah.  He uses telekinesis to unscrew the screws, breaks his bonds and goes to Hannah’s aid.  He physically throws Psoriasis through some shelving, turns to deflect Shortie’s blade and quickly dispatches him.  He turns back to Hannah a moment too late.  Psoriasis kills her for no good reason.   Castiel kills him after a brief struggle.

Dean picks up Sam off-screen.  As they arrive at the Men of Letters bunker, the brothers are discussing baby Amara,  whom they believe to be the Darkness.   Dean wonders if the woman he saw was a vision.

As they survey the mayhem left over from the invasion of the evil Stynes,  they hear a noise. They find a bloody Cas on the floor behind a mountain of books. He asks for their help.

I am left gobsmacked and excited. 

Amara is the infant God Yahweh who was both warrior and creator of the cosmos.  Yahweh is old school.  Plagues, smiting, floods, vengeance.  The Old Testament doesn’t really paint a pleasant picture.  All signs point to a second coming scenario which means we are doubling down on the smiting and vengeance most likely.  It is unclear how she connects to Jesus and the New Testament although the red dress certainly fits with he second coming of Christ during the End of Days as described in Revelation.

Dean is this incarnation’s version of the Virgin Mary.   He’s both warrior and protector so this role is quite apt. Let’s hope his influence can temper the righteous anger of Amara, and lessen the vengeance and smiting.  The scene of him asleep in the field of dense posies makes me wonder if the spirit of Yahweh used Dean’s flesh to create a human form.  That meadow screamed creation and life in contrast to the barren soil around Juan’s.

Sam has completed the first baby steps of his redemption arc. He confessed to God, appeared sincere and contrite and conceded that he was to blame for the deaths all around him.  He asks for Dean and the innocent to survive.  He receives a vision from Lucifer (in my opinion) which he believes to be from God.  He saves himself and the other surviving afflicted which is a small step towards atonement.  Sam is becoming synonymous with Death this season.  I cannot help but wonder if he’s heading for death himself… eventually.  Please Sam avoid Detroit. 

Crowley is still smitten with Dean.  I cannot unhear the phrases “scrumptious altar boy” and ” Oh Dean, adorable little Dean”. God help me.  Crowley better be a powerful God himself if he expects to survive the wrath of Amara.  Or perhaps he has God’s scribe and the demon tablet in one pocket and two archangels in the cage in the other.   Since Crowley and Castiel’s storylines are paralleled and staggered,  I predict a bloodied Crowley showing up to beg his adorable, scrumptious Dean for help.  If so,  Sam will not be amused. 

Castiel used his brain despite being magicked.  He’s made his bed with the Winchesters and has lost his only friend in heaven.  He has no where to go but home to his adopted family.  “They say in heaven love comes first.

We’ll make heaven a place on earth” (“Heaven is a Place on Earth” by Belinda Carlisle).

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