Parenting is hard, even for the King of Hell, in the real world and on The CW’s Supernatural. Crowley, out of boredom, curiosity, and some sense of self-interest, has taken on foster care of Amara, the powerful and fast-growing embodiment of the Darkness, whom we now know is also the sister of God! After being released into the world by the Winchester brothers at the end of last season, the Darkness holed up in the body of infant Amara, who has now grown very quickly into a difficult teen by ravenously consuming souls — demon and human — at a dizzying pace.
Crowley, who is taking his parental duties seriously in spite of himself, has been put through the ringer by the selfish, manipulative, predatory, increasingly powerful child. As we find them in this week’s episode, “Our Little World,” Amara has nearly wiped out his demon functionaries and left a swath of soulless human shells in her wake. We see the emotions of parenthood trip over each other on actor Mark Sheppard’s expressive face — pride, confusion, exasperation, duty, chagrin, awkwardness, tenderness, vulnerability — emotions that normal parents get years to sort out, compressed down to mere weeks in Amara and Crowley’s case.
Since he is mentoring the development of her power, and fostering, he thinks, a useful ally, Crowley wants to stay on the child’s good side and is disinclined to tell her “no.” But after she has depopulated his demon minions and taken, again, to plundering humans in the night, Crowley feels an uncomfortable loss of control over his charge, a feeling well-known to virtually all parents.
We don’t want to do anything to hold our children back, to stunt their development, but we don’t want them jumping into things prematurely either. It’s a narrow and treacherous path with conflicting dangers on either side that parents must walk, and it’s clearly important to Crowley, perhaps to differentiate himself from his own vile mother, to at least try to walk it well.
Though unsettled by all these parental feelings, Crowley feels compelled to slow Amara’s roll and grounds her to her room, even adding the classic cliche, “This will hurt me more than it hurts you.” And of course it does, as Dean Winchester shows up and Amara, remembering her debt to Dean who freed her from her cosmic prison, suddenly “comes of age” and summons a power that is now greater than Crowley’s. She saves Dean from Crowley, whom she almost kills, and makes her way out into the world, leaving a bewildered Crowley to wonder how things got so weird so quickly.
Kids! Well, at least in this case the process was over very quickly – the nest went from full to empty in a few weeks. We’ll have to see what mark this brief interlude of parenting leaves on the King of Hell’s soul.