Welcome back! Everyone got their seat belts on? Tray tables in the upright and locked position? Great. As usual, the captain has turned on the SPOILER ALERT sign.
I love a good monster of the week. Depending on the season, they can be the best episodes of it. This week, there were thrilling scenes of bonding with the boys and their mom, as well as Cassie and Crowley, more Lucifer, and of course that lovely monster. Some high notes, some low notes, and fine storytelling as always.
First thing’s first, our first five minute people. I sometimes feel bad for them, knowing they’re in the first five minutes of an episode of Supernatural. I mean, they don’t know that. They’re just happily going on with their lives, disagreeing about something or other, calling the cops, and thinking whatever it is that’s going on is perfectly normal. Poor, clueless people. Although, whose fault is it they proceed to act like characters in a horror movie? Oh, I’ll just wander around this creepy, abandoned asylum at night. Nothing could possibly go wrong. Oh, here’s an abandoned house with the sound of a baby crying coming from literally everywhere. Yeah, nothing weird about that. Sometimes, as the first five minutes people, you reap what you sow.
Am I the only one who saw the crib in the middle of the room and thought, “Oh, that’s a great place for Mary to go investigate. That’ll turn out well.”? I don’t reckon. That thought was immediately followed by something unkind about the writers, torturing our favorite people. But, it’s why we watch.
Moving on to the bunker, can I just say I was thrilled to no end to see Samantha finally get out of that wig? First the nightgown was banished, and then the wig. Now physically separated from Past Mary, she can begin her mental separation. But first, bacon. If we didn’t get enough proof in the last few episodes, we now know for certain – Dean is her son. That brings up a point, though.
The Sam’s hair joke though? Priceless. I think I missed the next line of dialogue after that, I was laughing too hard. After Mary finds the case using good old-fashioned detective work, and gives us the hint she’s still thinking about her place in the world through that conversation with Cass, we can move on to the search for Lucifer. I’ll circle back to the Winchesters.
Castiel is not such a bad hunter, really. He’s learned quite a bit having worked with Sam and Dean for a few seasons now. He asked the right people the right questions, presumably showed his badge the right way around every time, and had cards at the ready. But, Cass, Agent Beyonce? Maybe use the internet for a name next time. And I mean like a name generator, not pop music headlines. But that set up Crowley’s line about Agent Jay-Z, and Cass’s later introduction of him as “Agent Z”, so I’d say it was worth it in laughs. Definitely got four or five out of that joke.
Seeing Crowley try to convince “Cassie” to work with him was also comedy gold. I love that scheming demon. You can’t trust him any further than you can throw him, but he’s real good at making you forget that. So charming. As partners, Castiel and Crowley make an enjoyable good cop/bad cop combo, and they both have superpowers at the ready. Their investigative skills led them to Lucifer, but what did they find?
That’s right, my girl Rowena. At this point, I think it safe to say she’s my favorite SPN lady as a character. Don’t get me wrong, I adore both Jody Mills and Kim Rhodes, adore, but that Rowena has something I have always just loved. Maybe it’s the eye-roll. When we caught up with her this week, we found her in Lucifer’s clutches. I feel like Rick Springfield did a much better job this week. I know (the real) Bob Singer directed this episode, and besides the excellent dialogue Robert Berens wrote, the direction Rick received and his execution were right on. As I watched the first scene between Lucifer and Rowena unfold, I felt like I was watching our Luci. The magical splash of sass had appeared. He wore the role much better this week, and did a far better job of incorporating that certain something.
So it’s a shame really about what happened. Never, ever let Rowena paint a sigil on your chest if you don’t actually know what it is. I think that’s the lesson here. Even without the Book of the Damned, Rowena is a mere human who has survived over three hundred years. She has a trick or two up her sleeve, I’m thinking. By the time she began the second circle around Lucifer with her burning herb – was it sage? That’s literally the extent of my knowledge of herbs – I knew my girl was up to something. And Lucifer wasn’t going to like it. As she encircled him a third time, Lucifer was really in trouble. I have limited knowledge of witchcraft as well, but I know three is a powerful number. She was binding him, I was sure. Casting some sort of spell of course, but there is no way she’d leave herself vulnerable to him again, not if she could help it. And strong woman she is, she took care of the situation herself.
I have to be honest though, I was a bit surprised when she waited for Cass and Crowley to arrive. And then offered her services for next time they need to fight Lucifer. As for character motivation, it’s a bit weak, but I understand she wants to rid herself of the Lucifer threat once and for all. It’s likely even in her long life, she’s never met any others who had the juice to take care of that kind of threat. Now that he’s got her scent, he’s never going to leave her alone, so she might as well take the advantage while she has it and team up with our intrepid heroes. I look forward to seeing her again.
As for our fractured little family of Winchesters, it was nice to see them in a, um, “quaint” hotel again, working a case. I think they emphasized the computer leg work more this week so that we could see Mary’s reaction to it. We don’t usually see that side of it, we just see Sammy turn the computer around, show Dean a picture, and away we go. Poor Mary though, she wanted the action. The questioning, the poking around, pages under her fingers. Instead she just had to stand around with her thumb up her ass until the boys figured out what to do. Not only did the computer thing make her feel alienated, it made her feel restless. And useless.
Then the boys decided to make little helpless girl stay in the hotel while they went to sort it out. Like, she can’t come salt and burn bones? I mean, how long does it take for two people to dig up a grave? Surely one more set of hands would make it go faster. She’s not glass, guys. She’s not going to break. Plus, if I were Dean, I wouldn’t want to take my eyes off of her.
But they did, and she picked up the phone and solved the case. Her conversation with the mother of the boy she saw was heartbreaking, and touched something in her, while serving to give us the biggest clue of all. I would add as a nit-picky side-note though, she would not have known how to operate that push button cordless phone any more than she could turn on a computer or figure out a smart phone. She’s smart, I know. But it would have taken some trial and error. This is only 42 minutes so I get leaving it out, I’m just saying.
As she entered the house alone, I begged her not to put herself into a situation where she’d have to be rescued. She did, but by fighting the ghost possessing her, she helped win the battle. I was glad to see her elevated from the damsel to the fighter when the boys did eventually have to show up and save her. The three Winchesters working together are an unstoppable force.
Which is exactly why it couldn’t last. I cried my little eyes out when she told them she’d have to leave. Dean’s face literally broke my heart. I understand Mary’s perspective, absolutely, and while I’d like to say she’s running from her feelings, longer consideration has shown me that’s the exact opposite of what she’s doing. Staying with her boys, working cases, trying to fight the British Men of Letters, those things would be running away from her feelings. Stuffing it down to fight the fight in front of her. What she did is actually a pretty healthy thing for a Winchester to do. She doesn’t feel she fits in the world, and she hasn’t had time to mourn the children she lost. I’ve put myself into these shoes reading the news from time to time (I don’t read the news much. Too difficult.). I’ve read about parents whose children have been kidnapped and miraculously been found. But it’s been sixteen, eighteen, thirty years. I mean it must be the best feeling to know your baby did get to live life after all instead of having it stolen from them. But you weren’t there to see it, to help them. What a heartbreak. Your baby disappeared when they were tiny and now here’s this grown up. You don’t even know them, haven’t seen their struggles and triumphs, kindergarten to prom you missed it all. There has to be a mourning period for that. Mary had to leave her boys, so she could mourn her boys. It sounds funny, but it’s probably the most sensible thing I’ve ever seen a Winchester do.
I want to take a moment though and appreciate Jared. Jensen’s face broke my heart, his refusal to look at her, no hugs, no nothing. But as Mary left the bunker and the heavy door made its godawful racket, Jared jumped. As one does when a loud noise surprises you. It was simultaneously perfect and heartbreaking. Jensen is such a fabulous actor, such a delightful treat, I sometimes forget just how wonderful Jared is as well. I know, I know. I love him too. But on occasion I forget and have to be reminded how good he is at his job. They are both wonderful and even twelve seasons in I still feel lucky. Like the gods smiled on us when they walked into the casting director’s office.
Excellent performances all around this week made this one of the more enjoyable monster of the week episodes I’ve seen in a while. “Baby” was the best in season 11 (probably an all-time top episode), and this may have been the best bottle episode since then. It wasn’t 100% stand-alone but the mixture was expertly crafted. I look forward to seeing a mentally stable Mary when she returns, and what the writers have in store for the Cassie/Crowley partnership. As usual our boys have a tough road ahead, and I look forward to seeing them kick its ass.