Supernatural 12.8 “LOTUS” Review

I’m a bit shocked it’s mid-season finale time already. Anybody else? Obviously it’s not really mid-season, we’re only eight episodes in and there will be twenty-three in this season. Regardless, this is the last episode before winter Hellatus. Let’s get to the spoilers.lotus-7

A quick note first. After discussing on twitter for a bit with other viewers, we had some unanswered questions, particularly about the ending. I’m going to be rewatching while I write this in hopes of answering some of those questions. So this review’ll be a combo of reflection and stream of consciousness.

Opening on the men of the cloth and revealing that Lucifer’s newest vessel was an archbishop reminded me just how fond Lucifer is of doing things just to spite his Father. I found it a real shame these poor fools attempted to exorcise the devil himself. Having no idea what they were up against, they just tried to do the best the could. The problem with that, of course, was it kept  Luci one step ahead of the team that could actually do some damage.

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Our demon, Crowley.

Speaking of the team, the other day I read an article Mark Sheppard retweeted about Crowley and how he’s pretty much a good guy at this point. I agree wholeheartedly. This was on display over and over and over during this episode. It began in the autopsy room and was pointed out, sometimes painfully so, at least a half dozen times throughout the episode. Agent Zappa (Castiel’s inept attempts at rock and roll aliases is one of my new favorite running jokes), The Scooby Gang (my new favorite nickname for Team Free Will + 1), Crowley’s knack for information gathering, taking advantage of his teleportation skills.

Does anyone else feel like we’re being set up to lose Crowley? Bets on it being this season. Discussion question: how do you feel about that prospect? The way they’ve taken out his teeth, do you think it’s good to do away with the character? Or does it make you angry we’re most likely going to lose another ally? Personally I love both Crowley and Mark, and I won’t like to see either of them go. Story-wise, however, it makes sense that we lose Crowley. As an ally, he’s too O.P. We already have one overpowered ally in Castiel and let’s be honest. We’d rather keep Cass over Crowley.

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David Chisum as Luci

Back to the story. So we catch back up with Lucifer and see he’s chosen POTUS as his next vessel. Hence the joke I didn’t get until the episode was over because I’m slow, LOTUS. I don’t know about you, but it hit a little close to home. I hoped it would go full-on Supernatural with a quickness, because I didn’t want to think about politics while watching Supernatural. This show is part of my escapism package. I don’t need real life intruding.

Luckily it did go Supernatural quick enough. Lucifer loves to play in our sandbox, but watching him attempt to be the president was another reminder that he really doesn’t know exactly what he’s doing and he’s not very good at playacting. He’s as bad at presidenting as he is at guitar playing, and that will be the Scooby Gang’s advantage. His joke about nuking whoever it was flew right by me, though, because I was completely distracted by the beautiful set dressing with the flames behind him. I adore the set department on this show. They do so much with so little every single week.

Ah, see, now I understand the Secret Service dude and his surprising amount of knowledge. Luci briefed him on the Winchesters. Again, that was my short attention span working against me. I was too busy admiring the Luci of the week’s acting skills. I enjoyed the LOTUS character, he did a fine job.

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Is that a grenade launcher in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

But oh, thank Chuck, we got to see a bit of Rowena again this week. Here we find her with another rich man, trying to make a life away from the Scooby Gang. The reunion of Crowley and Rowena was one of the best mother/son reunions I’ve ever ever seen. And this bonding moment between them? Another hint towards us losing Crowley. He has far too many weaknesses.

At any rate, Luci producing a nephilim is something I should have seen coming. We’ve seen one before, if you recall, in season 9, when Metatron tricked Castiel into kicking the angels out of heaven. Its heart was part of the spell. Anyway, I remembered how human it was, how it wasn’t responsible for being what it was, and I applied that to this child. I cannot say I disagreed completely with its mother as she sped away from Cass. As a mother myself, I understand her feelings.

The problem of course, is that this is not just any child. It’s the child of Satan. That WILL come up again.

So at any rate, we’re finally introduced to Ketch, the mysterious BMoL who’s been tracking the Winchesters. Miss Pants Suit with Accent talked about having him eliminate the Winchesters so while they could make friends yet, we can’t trust him entirely. Talking about this character on twitter, someone pointed out that the Winchesters will not be happy to find out about his “clean-up” efforts. My counter to that, however, is that both Sam and Dean have been known to do the same kind of clean-up. Either they’ll convert him to their way of thinking and make friends, or they’ll kill him. It could go either way at this point. The way to Dean’s heart is through pie. Lacking that, it’s a grenade launcher. Sam was also impressed with the toys. This BMoL is probably the most likely to make friends with the boys, being the most like them. He doesn’t care about you, he cares about killing monsters.

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Team Free Will, not blowing people up. Or teleporting.

So with Ketch’s fancy toy, they get the band back together in order to exorcise the devil. Now this plan is the part of the show that brought up the most sticky questions.

One, why did it have to be Crowley being sent in to extricate the girlfriend? Why couldn’t Castiel do it? There were at least six times in five minutes Cass could have used teleportation and didn’t. Why not?

Why did Castiel leave with the nephilim’s mother and abandon the boys to their own devices? Yeah they can handle themselves under normal circumstances, but these aren’t normal circumstances. This is Lucifer.

Why did that secret service agent recover his memory? What happened there really?

Finally where did Lucifer really go? We, along with Sam, watched his essence go down the vent. That’s not what it looked like last time he was blasted to the Cage. Why didn’t Sam say something? We all know he isn’t contained. He’s still out there, somewhere.

Looks like we’ll be seeing him again.

My answer to at least one question – why did Castiel leave the boys – is that they needed to be captured in order to move the plot forward. Either there was a real purpose, or it was the writers putting the boys where they were supposed to be. I don’t like it being the second one though, because to me that’s a bit of a lazy trick. To advance the plot is fine, but the character motivation seemed questionable. In most cases, the Winchesters would confirm the victim was alive, then scoot the hell out of there. Especially when there’s cops involved. They should have run with Cass. It didn’t make sense.

The rest of the questions should be answered in the next ⅔ of the season.

So welcome to Hellatus. I intend to write weekly blogs while we’re on break until January 26th. Before we return, I’ll go over this half season in depth, plot-wise, talking about where we’ve been and my conjectures about where we’re going. Hope to see you, and enjoy your holiday season!

Supernatural 12.7 “Rock Never Dies” Review

Happy Holiday Season! Being around the holidays, and being 2016, I’ve been pretty busy doing holiday related things recently. This helps to buoy my spirit after this craptastic year. I don’t care if it’s cliche but my favorite flower is a rose and my favorite holiday is Christmas. I suffer from terminal uniqueness in many areas, but that, and my choice in Winchester, are not areas where I am afflicted.

So sorry about being late. Next week probably will be too. Sadly, after that, we’ll be on Hellatus until we return at an all new, ungodly hour. I’ll still be blogging during hiatus, I hope, so keep checking in! I’ll be doing one blog to talk about where we are in the season after mid-season, where I think we’re going, and how the season is doing so far. There will also be non-Supernatural related things.

But now let’s get to Lucifer’s return, shall we? As always, SPOILER ALERT.

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Very Davy Jones-esque look you got going on, Luci.

These knuckleheads who began the show? Summoning Lucifer in a world in which he exists? Yeah, real smart. We all knew this wasn’t going to end well. I was glad to see Rick Springfield return, to be honest, because I felt like he began to do pretty well with our Luci last time though it was agonizingly brief.

After seeing Lucifer’s return from the ocean floor, we turned to the Winchesters. It was fun watching Dean play a game with his mom, even if she wasn’t there, but did you notice the next letters he got spelled “Lucifer”? Also, I appreciate the writers showing us Dean’s phone when it rang, saying “Cass”. A lot of the fandom vehemently disagrees with this spelling, but the fact is the writers spell it with two esses. They always have, and they always will. For what it’s worth, I agree with Misha’s compromise of being OK with spelling it either way. Basically on the show it will be spelled with two esses, and in the fandom with one. Anyway, that’s off the subject.

I loved seeing the Winchesters react to the news they had to go to hell-LA. Funny enough, I feel the same way when I have to go there. Man I hate LA. Nothing against you if you love it, lots of people do. But I and the Winchesters prefer open space, less people, less traffic. As they traveled and Dean opined about the place, Sam not listening at all, I chuckled. I knew exactly what Sam had been listening to and I fell in the floor laughing when Dean found out and Sam called it “research”.

But once they arrived in LA, I truly enjoyed joining Lucifer again. He is at peak Lucifer here. He is all about being adored, being at the top of the pile, being the King of everything. It’s as Mark told Misha: 

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From the interview in EW found here

Everything Lucifer does in this episode reveals the very character we’ve heard about in all the bible stories. It’s fun to see Luci like this, without an agenda. He’s been all about world domination up to this point, or fighting the Darkness. The Luci we’ve seen has always had some kind of end goal. This Lucifer though? He’s playing. He’s having a good time. Doing what he wants. He’s more dangerous than any version of Luci we’ve ever faced. Maximum unpredictability.

One of the highlights of the show was watching our quad team try to infiltrate the concert. Crowley, throwing his power around. Castiel, using his skills as a hunter. The boys. Ah the boys. Man they are smokin hot in t-shirts and leather/denim jackets.

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Hoooooooboy.

It made me pretty happy, though, that what finally got them there was a combination of Lucifer’s ego and Cass’s investigative skills. Way to go, Cass!

The collateral in this episode was high, but the Winchesters mitigated it by clearing the club. Fearlessly standing up to the devil himself to save a club full of people. I read an opinion piece the other day where the author stated she wasn’t sure why she still watched Supernatural. She seemed to indicate she felt it was predictable, not groundbreaking, and even though there are twists and turns, the Winchesters will always fight the bad guys. To that I say, you are watching a show about superheroes. If you haven’t figured that out yet, and you’re waiting for them to be something different, then I’ll have to further say, you’re watching not only the wrong show but the wrong network. Smallville and Supernatural began this superhero thing, and the CW doesn’t show any signs of stopping.

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My hero.

And why should they? Sam and Dean Winchester are my heroes and I’m happy to follow their adventures for as long as the CW will show them to me. Today, though Team Free Will lost Vince and his band, as well as a corporate LA type who operated in deals with a crossroads demon, they saved the world again. I’ll never get tired of that. And I’ll never get tired of the supporting cast of heroes who come with them, angels, demons, and humans alike.

Though I got a little sidetracked, I’ll wrap up by saying I felt bad for Vince and I’m sad to see Rick go. It was a nice surprise to see him one last time. Lucifer’s storyline is quite enjoyable and it’s fun to have a villain we know, yet one who is not only unpredictable but the devil himself. He’s still the devil and always will be. I do want to see more of the British Men of Letters, and I can’t wait to watch their pansy asses get upstaged by our boys. I’m finding this season as fun as any other and while the story might be scaled back a bit, the cast and crew are as good at bringing the story to life as they ever have been.

Also, HUGE congratulations to the Ackles family on the birth of their twins, Zeppelin Bram and Arrow Rhodes! So glad to hear everyone is doing well. Till next time, family. 

Supernatural 12.6 “Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox” Review

Raise your hand if you were in love with this episode after about ten minutes.

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This girl, right here.

Something about all these people being aware of the absolute wonder that is Sam and Dean Winchester and being as in awe of them as we are. It really set the mood for me. And then we find out they were just as in awe of Asa. I think that alone told us more about who he was than the whole montage at the beginning. So while the montage was important, the comments from the people at the party were at least equally so, probably more.

I’ll back up a little because I’d also like to ask who else was unreasonably excited to see Kim Rhodes return? I love her as a person (her panel with Samantha was a true highlight of SPNPHX), and I love Jody. One of the more complete side characters on the show, she is both tough as nails and soft as cotton. AND she has sex. Imagine that!

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Also, since the boys last saw her, Dean killed Hitler. I don’t know if you knew that.

I found it terribly interesting that Mary was still hunting after Dean was born, but I guess she had something personal against this werewolf. Also, as Sam astutely observed, it’s in the blood. She couldn’t help it. When she showed up at the wake I wasn’t surprised, but as her boys turned around I was nervous for them all. How awkward. Kudos to all three of them for telegraphing such complex emotions using basically just facial expressions and body language. Chuckdammit I just wanted to hug Dean.

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No thank you, Billie. Maybe next time.

After the episode was over I thought back on the scene outside as Dean goes to drink and contemplate his feelings. Was it necessary? As far as telling the immediate story, I don’t think it was. Except to elevate the Winchester’s epic status in the minds of the other hunters. It did serve to further the story with Mary, however, when Billie came for her later. It was a nice way to tell us Mary isn’t suicidal, and that she’s learning to adjust. And that she wants to.

Either way, once Dean was back at the party, it was time for some good old fashioned demon hunting fun. As Dean began the exorcism the first time, I thought back on season 3. I’m so glad he’s got it memorized. Remember when a simple breeze would mess him up? He’s come a long way.

The tension surrounding who could be a demon could have been drawn out longer, but revealing itself to be in Jody was plenty of tension for me. Due to the way it twisted the one guy’s neck as it smoked out, I was genuinely frightened Jody was about to die. Especially considering this tweet interaction with Kim a few months back:

I was almost crying with suppressed fear as I watched Kim be an excellent demon. Her portrayal was so fun! But I was scared out of my mind Jody was about to be killed. My relief when the whole room came together to exorcise the demon and send it back to hell was palpable. Leaving a demon to pop back up again was also a great choice.

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Hunter’s funerals are such subtle affairs.

And so the sad story of Asa played out. Poor Jody. I hope that one day she finds someone, if she wants to. I also hope that Dean dies on the job, and Sam lives to 90 and dies in his sleep like he so clearly wants. And I hope Mary has some wisdom to share when she finally returns.

Again, this was an excellent monster of the week. A much needed return for Jody, a little bit more healing for Mary and the boys, and a reminder that as always, Death is out there. Waiting for its turn.

 

And hopefully is this sweet about it.

Supernatural 12.05 “The One You’ve Been Waiting For” Review

Here we are, settling into the middle of season 12 and can you believe it? TWELVE seasons. I have trouble believing it sometimes. It’s not hard to believe we’ve all followed the Winchesters this far, they’re easy to love. The thing that gets me is that twelve seasons in, the story remains compelling. The core of the show retains our hearts. I have a friend who recently began watching. When I told him he’d probably make it through the first eleven seasons in time to catch twelve before episodes began leaving the CW app, he didn’t believe me. Turns out, he watched eleven seasons in three months. Even with a job and kids and a life and everything.

Anybody surprised?

Me neither. Anyhow, let’s get to this week’s episode, shall we?

Captain has turned on the SPOILER ALERT sign.

Ah, the Thule Society. Did you know the Supernatural version is based loosely upon the real version? That there IS a real version? Though there are rumors of their involvement in the occult, in reality it seems it was nothing more than a society of Nazi sympathizers. People who believed in and supported being a “pureblood”, as it were.

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Horcrux!

Fitting, then, that they should hide the soul of Hitler in a horcrux. Haha of course Sam would know what a horcrux is. Dean has tons of pop culture knowledge but when it comes to something like Harry Potter, he’s a bit useless.

So, the Thule have been a thorn in our sides since season 8, and when they popped up, immolating people using one of my favorite unexplained phenomenon, spontaneous human combustion, Sam and Dean turned to Aaron again. Aaron, the boy with the Golem, explained the Thule were up to something big, something to do with blood. I don’t care what it is, when the Thule are up to something big, you should probably not let them do that thing. I think we all remember how that turned out for Europe last time.

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Allison Paige as Ellie, and some guy.

Once the Thule smoked someone else, hipster Tinder guy, our boys were onto their trail. Which also happened to be the trail of Hitler’s heir. From the first moment Ellie opened her mouth I loved her. I don’t know about you, but I just loved Allison Paige from start to finish in this episode. I desperately hope we see her again, even though I know that’s a long shot. Her performance was gold. Maybe she’ll show up again in season 50.

Quick aside, did you see this outtake? These beautiful people sent that out to us on Wednesday, when we needed a laugh more than ever.

Back to the Thule. I know what happened at the end of this episode, but that doesn’t change my mind. These people created Hitler. While losing him, and most of their high command, was certainly a blow, I in no way think they are done. I think the British Men of Letters have been trying to fight them for decades, almost a century, and at some point it is possible that the Winchesters will team up with the BMoL to fight them. I feel like the Thule are the BMoL’s white whale, and at the very least, some of them will see how powerful an alliance with the Winchesters could be after the way the boys handled this situation.

Let’s talk about that scene with Hitler. I can’t leave here without talking about it.

I thought him ridiculous. Not good ridiculous, though he made me laugh. Like, I’ll dance around and be stupid and then feed my great great grand niece to the dogs ridiculous. A dancing, unhinged, buffoon. You know, that might not be too far off. It was a surprise though, and the whole scene set my teeth on edge even as I pointed and laughed.

But let me tell you. If you’ve read any of my blogs, particularly this one, you know I love Dean. That will never, ever change. I’m a Dean girl for the long haul. But I don’t regularly actively swoon. I just love him in that deep red way you love someone you’ve known forever. And I don’t usually gush over him. I tell you what though. When he squared off against Hitler, knocked him to the ground, and aimed his gun in his face, SWOOOOOON. Oh my swoon. I rewatched the episode before sitting down to write this, and there was no less swoon the second time around. My hero. Just thinking about it knocks my brain a little off kilter.

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I mean really. SWOON.

Something that was new watching the second time though, was the true import of the discussion they had walking back to the car. When Dean said he was going to get “I killed Hitler” tee shirts made, and Sam told him no one was going to believe him, Dean shook his head. Smiled like he was on top of the world, and said, “But you believe me.” But you believe me. And that’s all that truly matters to Dean, isn’t it? That Sammy believes in him.

As they released the kid, I thought back to season 10. Remember the Styne kid Dean killed? Episode 10.22, “The Prisoner”. Yes, it was the Mark of Cain controlling him, but I flashed on it nonetheless. This kid, this Thule child, he was just as much a part of evil as the Styne kid. Maybe more. But Dean let him go. If that doesn’t show you how horrible what the Mark did to him was, I don’t know what will. Corrupting Dean’s soul like that was the most heartbreaking thing I’ve ever seen happen to him. It’s at least equivalent to the first time Sam died.

Haha. The first time he died. How many shows can say that?

Anyhow, I’m going to circle back around to the boys to wrap this up. We got several good brother moments in this episode. As Sam pushed his feelings off on Dean, yet again (Season 2, anyone?), explaining to Dean he was sublimating, I said back to the TV, “It’s called sublimation, Sam.” I was proud of Dean though, again demonstrating that his vocabulary is more diverse and rich than he usually lets on. Yes Dean, sublimation is kinda your thing.

The comedic moments Jensen added in the antique store absolutely killed me. I think a corpse is writing this, guys. That scene was too funny, and the whole time it was going on and on I wondered if it was improvised or not. Either way, it is so nice to have those comedy moments. It’s been a long time since we had a funny episode, we need those kind of moments. Somebody tell me, how long has it really been? Like, “The French Mistake”? Someone tell me we’ve had one since then. Hang on, let me look.

Oh you know, I guess I’d count a few here and there. “Dog Dean Afternoon”, maybe “Fan Fiction”, possibly “Plucky Pennywhistle’s Magical Menagerie”, although that was just funny because Sam + Clowns. We’ve had a serious few seasons, huh? Eleven had no funny episodes at all. But “Baby” was an instant classic, so I’ll let it slide.

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If your first thought is, “We should bring the grenade launcher,” you should bring the grenade launcher.

Either way, sorry I got sidetracked. By the end of the episode Dean was ready to move on a bit, heal his heart a bit more. I have to wonder though, how does Sam feel? All he does is ask Dean how he feels, but he hasn’t mentioned his own feelings. Not once. Also he’s a total meanie for not letting Dean play with the grenade launcher.

Overall, I enjoyed the episode. I’m almost certain next week will deal with plot. I know a certain someone is coming back for the first time this season, and I know another certain someone will share the screen with her and I CANNOT WAIT. This week though, it was nice to look in on Aaron and the Thule. I do wish we’d seen more of Adam Rose, but I’m sure we’re not done with him. The Thule are still out there, planning, scheming, killing, Naziing. But I look forward to getting back to the plot and seeing what’s in store for the boys and their mom. And what we’re going to do about the Lucifer problem.

Did Dean mention? He killed Hitler.

RECLAMATION Chapter 1

“Shit.”

As the wooden box slipped from her hands, Addy squeezed her eyes shut. It fell to the stairs, crunching onto a corner. Her dad, leaping from the stair behind her with the speed of a rattlesnake, stopped it from tumbling the rest of the way down. She exhaled.

“Thanks, dad.”

He clapped her on the shoulder. “I’m glad I can help. Even if I wish you’d reconsider.”

Eyes still closed, Addy grinned with tight lips.

“I’ve got it, dad.” Grunting, she lifted the box back to hip height and lugged it down the six remaining stairs. The smell of sawdust still stuck in her nose. In preparation for her move, they’d been putting boxes together for what seemed like a week. Her hands were raw but not sore. Manual labor wasn’t exactly a stranger. Still, her sore fingers felt puffy and slow. A deep desire to ice them when they were done overwhelmed her as she descended, heels feeling the edge of the stair in front of her before stepping.

“Hey Ad, get a move on, will you?” Jane stood at the bottom of the steps, one foot on the bumper of her truck.

Addy’s dad spoke over her head. “You sure you don’t have anything else to get, Jane?”

She grinned, tossing her red hair over a shoulder and pulling her sunglasses down her nose.

“I’m sure I have no idea what you’re talking about, Mr. C.”

Addy could hear her dad chuckle behind her. She could almost see him grinning. She rolled her eyes and shoved the box toward Jane’s waiting arms.

Jane took it, all five feet nothing of her, and tossed it into the bed of the truck like it was empty. Pushing her sunglasses back up her nose, she freed her keys from a belt loop and tossed them at Addy.

Addy caught them in mid air, fumbled, and dropped them.

“Pfft.”

“Shut it.” Addy scooped the keys from the dirt, turning to her dad. “I know it seems like Jane lives here with us already, so we’ll really be living together now. Just, somewhere else.”

He nodded and swung both arms around her shoulders, hugging her so tight she thought she wouldn’t be able to breathe.

“You be careful out there, Adelaide.”

“Careful as I ever am, dad.”

He released her and stepped back. She watched as he raised a hand to his face, swiping under his eye.

Could have been dust getting in it. It was dry out this time of year. Instead of the ribbing he deserved, she gave him the benefit of the doubt. Shaking out the keys, she started around the truck.

Jane leaned out the window. “Hey Mr. C.,” she said. He looked up, squinting against the sun.

“You’re a grown up now, Jane. You can call me Jack.”

“OK. Say hey to Mike for me if you see him first,” she said, voice flat but somehow full of mirth. She turned to Addy, who’d made her way to the driver’s seat and was stabbing the keys toward the ignition. On the third try she found it.

“Onward, dear lady.”

***

Jack watched the girls pull away, dust rooster tailing behind the truck. He frowned.

Maybe he could convince his grown daughter to move back in before she finished moving out. It may have been worth a shot, but she was just as stubborn as he was. It’d never work. He decided to give it a go.

Scuffing the dirt with a boot, he turned and trudged up the stairs, chaining the gates at the bottom and top. After chaining the gate at the top, he swiveled a handle on the wall next to him. It squeaked. He grimaced and finished its rotation. Trip wires popped up along every other step.

Proud as he was of the system, he hadn’t been able to install any sort of protection in Addy and Jane’s new apartment yet. Hadn’t even been inside the new apartment yet. Hell, he hadn’t even been to it. But he knew where it was. He’d get to it.

He walked into the house, snagging the WD-40 from above the fridge. Shaking the bottle as he walked back toward the front door, the refrigerator’s compressor kicked on.

He leapt eighteen inches from the floor if it was a day. Even three years into having electricity again, he wasn’t used to the sound. Without realizing he’d raised his hand, he lowered it from his hip, reseating his revolver in its holster.

“Damn jumpy ass.” Not quite a whisper, not really out loud. It was only talking to yourself if other people heard you.

Walking onto the landing, he oiled the handle and spun it a few times, watching the trip wires raise and lower in silence as it spun. One corner of his mouth turned up. Nodding, he turned to walk back in.

The crunch of gravel under a foot.

The hackles on Jack’s neck rose, painful pricks along his spine. The base of his skull tingled. Hand hovering over the grip of his gun, he waited for the owner of the foot to round the corner and come into his line of sight. The feet took regular, measured steps, and Jack relaxed a millimeter. Only the living walked with a purpose.

As a portly, balding man stepped into view, Jack sighed and pulled his gun anyway.

“Whoa, hey Jack, good evening,” the newcomer said, stopping at the bottom of the stairs and peeking through the gate. Jack shook his head.

“You can call me Mr. Cooke, Wade.”

“OK, Mr. Cooke. Can I come up?”

Jack shook his head and turned, holstering his gun once again. An audible sigh from the bottom of the stairs followed him into the house. As the door snicked closed, Jack exhaled, shoulders falling. The man might be a worm, but he was Mayor Worm. He frowned and turned, opening the door again. Poking his head out the door, he glared at his visitor. Hiding the trip wires again and opening the gate at the top of the stairs, he trudged back down. Dust assaulted his nose as he reached the bottom and he all but sneezed in Wade’s face as he opened the bottom gate.

Wade threw up a hand, spittle covering his palm as he did. “Whoa, hey Mr. Cooke, are you OK? Getting a cold?” His pleasant expression had been replaced with something predatory, reptilian.

All at once Jack noticed the bulge beneath Wade’s armpit. The pommel of a knife peeking from his belt. Boots wider at the top than they ought to be. His slitted eyes took in the man again, reassessing.

“No, Wade. Just dust. Always happens, this time of year.”

The little man nodded, one hand coming out from behind his back. Empty.

Jack shook his head, blue eyes flashing toward the horizon. He scratched at his salt and pepper beard.

“Come on up.”

Letting the smaller man pass in front of him, he closed both gates and set the trip wires. Once inside, he locked and barred the door.

“Never too many precautions, huh Mr. Cooke?” Wade bounced on the balls of his feet, hands clasped in front of him. Jack turned, cool eyes staring through him.

“No.”

Wade bounced. Jack stared. After several ticks of the hall clock, Wade shuffled a foot.

“Do you think I could get some water or something, please?” he asked. Jack shook his head but led him into the kitchen, motioning to the table in the center of the room. Wade took a seat, wood creaking under his considerable ass. Jack sat a glass in front of him, filled with miraculous ice from the freezer and cold water. The glass began to sweat. Wade took a swig, clapping a hand to his forehead as he sat the glass back on the table.

“Brain freeze,” he said with a chuckle.

Jack’s mouth twitched, but he wasn’t sure if it was a smile or a frown. He opted for neither and pressed his lips together as he sat. Leaning on the table, he sucked in a labored breath through his nose. Exhaled.

“What can I do for you, Wade?”

Wade nodded, taking another sip from his glass.

“Well Jack, um mister, Mister Cooke, I, that is the I who is mayor, was wondering if you wanted to be on the security committee.”

Chuckling, Jack leaned back in his chair.

“You’re joking.”

Wade shook his head.

“Oh no, Mr. Cooke. About town matters I don’t joke.”

Jack’s brow creased, and he exhaled a laugh. He watched as Wade’s fingers slipped over the condensation on the glass, almost dropping it to the ground as he lifted it to take a nervous sip. Jack stuck his hand out in time to stop it falling and sat it back on the table, no more than two or three droplets escaping it. Wade tittered.

“See there? That’s one of the things I, that we, want you on the committee for. You’re so quick,” Wade said. Jack wasn’t sure when it had happened, but Wade had begun sweating. His upper lip was beaded with dirty, salty little drops. Also, the longer he sat in Jack’s quiet kitchen, the more it smelled a bit like stale bacon.

Jack’s inner upper lip curled. He could not fathom how this doughy, pasty man had survived the past twenty years. Not when it had taken all of Jack’s strength, skill, and smarts to survive in such a harsh, apocalyptic place. That was over now. Still.

He cocked his head and crossed his arms.

“No, Wade.”

The little man sighed, knocking back the rest of the water like it was a shot of vodka. The ice cubes crunched and squeaked between his teeth, setting Jack’s own on edge.

“Jackson. Jack. We need your help. You’re a great benefit to this community and we need you to take part in its safety,” he said. He reached to his face in what Jack assumed was a nervous tic. When Wade spotted his own hand next to his face, he chuckled.

“Heh. I forgot I got contacts again. It’s been so long since I had them, I can’t remember what it’s like to not wear glasses.”

Jack grunted.

Wade stood, sliding the chair back under the table with a prissiness reserved for actors. No one else could be that over-the-top with it. He walked to the front door, Jack following behind. The boards of the floor creaked under their feet, almost in sync with the hall clock. Wade stopped at the door and turned to Jack, muddy brown eyes looking up into Jack’s clear blues.

“Listen. We’re working really hard here on rebuilding this community. The state. Hell, the planet. We need everyone’s help. You have a skill,” he said, motioning to the bar on the door. “We need your skill. It’s been a long time since we were able to have stability. But it’s here now, and you can help us maintain it.”

Jack frowned down at him, nose itching. Holding his breath to suppress the sneeze, he reached past the mayor, unbarred the door, and set the bar down. He opened the door and motioned for Wade to take his leave. They repeated the process of Wade’s entry, without all the flying spit. The shorter man stared through the security gate as Jack slammed it home and locked the chain.

“The next meeting is in two days. It’s at city hall, noon.”

Jack grunted, pulling on the sun warmed lock to be sure it was secure. He glanced up, meeting Wade’s eyes again.

“I’ll think about it.”

***

“Here, no Addy, back in here,” Jane said. She pointed to her right, and Addy could see something like a makeshift loading dock. Their new home was an old barracks, converted into office space, then converted again into about a billion apartments. Well, maybe it seemed that way just because there were so many people. It was hard to tell.

Moving to put the truck in reverse before they stopped rolling, she ground the gears, forcing the stick back. Jane inhaled across her teeth but stayed silent. Addy swung the truck around, sticking her head out the window to look behind her as she neared the dock. A stray, long brown hair fell into her eye. She shook her head to get rid of it, which did precisely zero good.

“I’ll get mirrors on this thing one of these days,” she said, guiding the truck backwards toward the building. As they rolled to a stop, Jane jumped out and into the bed. She’d tied her thick hair in a knot at the back of her head, long sticks holding it in place. They looked a bit like chopsticks.

Addy grinned and jumped into the bed with her, helping her unload onto the dock. As they tossed the last bag up onto the concrete, she looked around the parking lot.

The entirety of the building, along with the other two barracks next to it, was surrounded in chain link with barbed wire atop that. They’d come through two security fences on the way in, manned twenty-four seven. This place was a nervous parent’s dream.

“Ain’t no dead heads gettin in here,” Jane said from her elbow.

Adrenaline flooded Addy’s arms, fists rounding in an involuntary clench. Jane’s fake Scottish accent was pretty good. Not that Addy had heard many more Scottish accent’s than Mr. Scott’s. But whatever, good enough. She relaxed, arched an eyebrow, and looked down at her friend.

“You think it’ll make my dad feel better if we tell him we’re ‘givin it all we’ve got’?” She threw down her best Scotty impression, but Jane didn’t flinch. She went right into Obi-Wan.

“What we told him was true, from a certain point of view.”

The metal door behind them cranked up with a rickety bang. Two young men walked out onto the dock. The closest one, a freckled boy who couldn’t have been more than a buck twenty, stuck his hand out to Addy. She scoffed, jumping over the tailgate with one graceful leap. Jane laughed and did the same. The other, curly brown hair falling to his shoulders, bowed.

“My ladies,” he said. Jane curtsied. Addy crossed her arms, shifting from foot to foot.

“Tim, sweetie,” Jane said, once again putting on a Scottish accent. Addy grinned. “Do you think you bays could help up with oor bags?” Exaggerating every vowel, Jane lowered her sunglasses again and leaned toward Tim, breasts just grazing his forearm.

Addy could all but see the hair on his arm stand up. She was willing to bet that wasn’t all. With a smile that was more like a frown, she followed Jane into the cool darkness of the building.

“How long do you think it’ll take dad to realize this place is co-ed?”

***

The truck sat tucked away in its own little space. The bags, trunks, and handmade boxes stacked in a corner of the large front room. Addy and Jane sat in the floor, balls of their feet touching. Jane sat knitting and humming, needles flashing. Addy watched her with hypnotic fascination. The room smelt of soap. And something else. Potatoes? Maybe. Bananas? Oh who the hell knew.

“What kind of office was this before?” Addy asked. Jane shrugged without missing a stitch.

“An office where they did things. They don’t do the things anymore.”

Having not lived in the world where they did those things, Addy really couldn’t guess what they were. It probably wasn’t important. It was someone’s life once, though. Now it was hers. Corners of her mouth turned down, she nodded. With Jane turned toward her needles, it was a useless gesture.

“Yeah. Well, it’s pretty cool as apartments. Hey,” she said, pushing the ball of her foot into Jane’s and shaking her leg, “it’s ours now. We live here. Can you believe it?”

Jane grinned with one side of her mouth and peeked at her from the corner of her eye. Folding the needles together, she stuck them to the floor. Their deadly points pierced the floor with a woody thump.

“Dude, high five,” she said, raising a hand. Addy slapped it and they rose, pulling each other up in unison like a carefully balanced see-saw. Addy walked to the window while Jane sauntered into the kitchen. Pulling out a thin knife from who-knew-where, she slit open one the few cardboard boxes they’d been able to get their hands on.

Addy spoke to the window, breath creating a tiny cloud of spit fog. “What did your parents say? You never told me.” Glasses clinked behind her. From the second floor, she could see most of the parking lot and part of the village. The lot before her was still and silent, the two working arc-sodium lights casting everything they touched in orange muck.

Jane chuckled. “What do parents ever say? Be safe, come visit, make sure to write. We love you. The usual blah blah blah.”

Addy turned. “You know what my dad said? When I told him I was moving?”

“Good riddance?”

“Ha. No. He said, ‘Adelaide,’ ” Jane chuckled again as Addy’s voice lowered to match her dad’s pitch, “ ‘you’re too young to go off on your own. And Jane already practically lives here so what’s the point?’ ”

“What’s the point,” Jane said, handing Addy a glass of illegal wine. “Cheers, bitch.”

The girls quaffed their wine and sat by the window, drinking the rest of the bottle with slow consideration and watching as the village went to sleep.

***

3am. Addy’s phone rang. Her skin did its best imitation of snake skin, trying to crawl away without her as she fell to the floor. Into the floor with her came all the detritus from her pockets where she’d piled it on the table, some of it bouncing off her skull. Finally she located the phone, buzzing weakly but ringing to wake the dead. She flipped it open.

“What the hell?” she answered.

“Hey, Ads, didn’t mean to wake you.”

“Damn, Mike. It’s three am. What did you think was going to happen?”

He sighed. The line crackled.

“I’m sorry baby sister. I needed to test the lines. This tower has been nothing but a thorn in my side.”

Addy’s bedroom door crashed open, jerking a cry from her and erasing the last of her sleep. Jane crouched in the doorway, a knife in each hand. Addy flapped a palm at her.

“It’s just Mike.”

Jane grunted, sheathing the knives in dark places Addy was sure she didn’t want to think about. The gesture was as familiar as brushing her hair.

“Tell Michael hello. Since your dad obviously didn’t.”

“Is that Jane?” The line crackled again. Addy nodded, realized what she was doing, and answered aloud.

“Yes. SHE SAYS HI.” Raising her voice, she shouted toward Jane’s retreating back.

“What’s she doing there tonight? Do her parents know she’s spending the night?”

“Jesus Christ, Michael. We’re twenty three years old. We are not having a sleepover.”

She flipped the phone closed.

Sleep destroyed for the evening, Addy waited until she heard Jane’s regular breathing through her door. It was a thick door, but Addy could recall her mother teaching her to sit and listen.

 

“Now, what do you hear?”

“I don’t know. My heartbeat,” you’d answered. Your mom shook her head.

“Stop it. Not that. The rest.”

A whooshing in your ears wanted to take over everything in sight. You breathed deep and it was like coming up for air. Your ears popped and suddenly the whooshing was gone. You could hear ragged breathing. You looked in the direction of the jaggedy noise, eyes closed.

As you listened, your mom stood on silent feet, but for the scuffle of one stealthy heel. You could feel the corners of your mouth turn up, because you bet she didn’t think you’d hear that. But you’re learning already and –

BANG! The door rattles in its frame. The sound of mom’s knife unsheathing. You leap up. Your right foot is asleep from sitting criss-cross-applesauce all that time. You stumble on it, limping into the wall. Just in time for it to get rattled by the thing on the other side. Now you can do more than hear it. You can smell it. The stench of fetid meat and crusted blood. Gone past coppery and over into smelling like rust tastes.

You’re only eight but you’re pretty sure that’s how everyone’s going to end up eventually.

Blood pooled in the fingers until they’re blackened claws. Blood pooled in the feet until they swell and split. Shredded chunks of bone holding up the rotted flesh of the dead as it wanders around, turning everything else in the world into dead meat and bones.

But here’s mom, and she’s picked you up, taking you away from the smell and the blood and the banging. It can’t get you through the door and besides. Mom is made of steel. Everybody might end up that way in the end.

Everybody but her.

 

The front door to the apartments creaked as Addy eased her way through it. As a warning system it was good, but when she was trying to sneak out it was the loudest, most unnecessary creaking she’d ever been a witness to. Even still, with a light rattle of chain, she was through the door as it stood, less than half a foot open. Glancing around the yard she caught no movement. She eased the door closed and latched, then leapt off the side of the loading dock, silent feet landing in the desert dirt next to it. Encased in darkness on the west side of the building, she inched toward the fence. She caught the whisper of one stealthy heel over the scrubby grass, and the palm of her hand itched. Freeing her red handled machete from her belt loop, she gripped it and twisted her wrist. Sometimes it was long and clumsy, and it didn’t get through the holes in chain link very well, and there were times when she absolutely cut herself with it, but it was silent. She’d practiced with all sorts of weapons over time, ball and chain included, but in the end silence reigned.

Dropping these musings like pieces of old rotted clothing, she inched toward the fence. Even with the apartments being toward the edge of town, the village’s perimeter was protected by guards, fences, walls, and a mountain range. In a place this well armored, with the cure long since safely distributed and the hordes rounded up and smoked, embers and ashes blown to the four corners, there was no reason to think she could hear ragged breathing on the other side of the pitch black fence.

But there it was.

Slow, jaggedy, senseless. Because they never laid down, never went to rest, the blood had nowhere to go but down. Sometimes, when death was close behind them, something that had only just taken them and twisted them into this walking pile of murder, it would pool in the bottom of their lungs. It would bubble when they breathed.  It sounded like a coffee pot, percolating over a fire.

She could hear the bubbling now, as she closed the distance to the fence with blind eyes. Even in the desert, when the moon had already set, the stars shone almost as bright. The Milky Way charged across the sky with the light of what her mom had said was billions and billions of stars.

Useless when the clouds were so thick overhead. On the dark side of this building, she couldn’t see the hand she lifted in front of her face.

Her toe hit the fence. Her nose could feel cold chain link.

It bubbled out there, shuffling closer to the fence. Its feet still had shoes. It was so fresh it had to be a villager. Someone who’d gone in their sleep.

Eyes closed, Addy heard it shuffle into the fence. The chain link rattled. If the clouds moved, she’d see she was nose to nose with it. She had to be.

Movement behind her.

She turned as a guard rounded the corner, red flashlight on the ground. She and the guard inhaled at the same time, sharp breaths drawn over their teeth in shock and surprise. As the guard lifted their flashlight – Addy couldn’t see who was holding it, boy or girl, age or weight, just a red beam – she followed the light as it splashed over her, onto the fence to her back, past it to the second fence, and out into the night.

Nothing but trees and rocks.

***

As the morning intruded on her thoughts, Addy thought it time to make some coffee.

After she’d been shooed back inside by a rather testy female guard, she’d spent the rest of the dark hours staring out the window, balancing her machete with one finger at its center of gravity. Something like peace descended as she stood, the blade bobbing by millimeters, the tiniest seesaw in the world, breathing deep and slow through her nose. It was an odd feeling, but one she chased when she could.

When she found it, Captain Picard also descended.

“Adelaide, why are you fighting?”

“Because it’s what I have to do.”

“No, Adelaide. It’s what you think you must do.”

“What choice do I have?”

“There is always a choice. Choose peace. Choose words, not weapons.”

“I can’t.”

“Peace, Addy.”

Too bad the wine was gone.

Sheathing the blade and laying it on the bed, she made her way to the kitchen. Some few of the boxes had been unpacked, and she tried to remember exactly how her dad had set up the coffee pot. It was so different from making it over a fire. What was the thing again? Flitter? No, that’s what butterflies did. Filer? No. Damn.

Filter. That was the word.

She got the coffee, filter, and water all in the places they were supposed to go. Ugh. Why had dad always gotten up so early to make the coffee? She could have used a few more lessons.

Okay, there was the plug. She’d grown accustomed to those over the last couple years. That, at least, she knew what to do with.

When Jane walked in, hair pulled back again, knitting needles holding it in place, she sniffed toward the kitchen without opening her eyes.

“Tell me there’s eggs to go with the coffee.”

Addy grinned and sipped from her cup. “Oh there’s eggs. Just they have to be cracked and placed in a pan over some fire or other heat source.”

Yawning, Jane lifted her hands toward a ceiling she probably couldn’t even reach with a ladder. She slapped herself in the leg as she dropped them.

“Maybe Tim knows how to fry an egg. Wanna find out?”

Addy grabbed the eggs and her coffee cup, while Jane snagged a loaf of bread and a pan.

They wandered out into the hall and took in their new home in the daylight.

***

The door creaked open on hinges screaming for oil. Jack winced.

“Ah, Jackson. Glad to see you could join us.”

The door creaked closed and latched with a tired rasp. Glancing to the front of the room, he saw Wade sitting at what could have once been a teacher’s desk. The chalkboard behind him displayed an organizational chart of some sort. There was one name under the “security” section. Jack’s own.

He frowned. Wade was some kind of special.

“Wade.” He walked to the front of the room, the eyes of the seven other people in the room glued to him, picked up the eraser, and with one swipe eliminated his name from the board. Setting the eraser back in the tray with a puff of chalk, he took a seat near the window, turning the desk to face the room instead of the front. Rather than squeeze into a desk clearly meant for middle schoolers, he perched on the side of the seat and looked up at Wade.

Who was sweating again. Of course.

“Well. Welcome anyway, Mr. Cooke.”

Jack nodded.

“Um. Yes,” Wade said, shuffling and stacking the papers in front of him, “we were just getting to the business I’d spoken to you about. We need to fill out the security committee.”

“You should ask before you put my name on that board, Wade.”

“I apologize, Jack. You were nominated for the committee by three sitting council members. The vote was unanimous. No further discussion was needed, so we added you to it.”

“What if I wanted to decline the nomination?”

“Is that why you’re here?”

Jack hesitated, brow furrowed. A power play was happening here, one he’d rather not be involved in. Still, it might be more dangerous to leave. People had a tendency to do unpredictable things. Probably best to keep his enemies closer, sort of thing.

“No, Wade. I’m here to sign up for it.”

The portly man grinned, made a note on a paper before him, and set it in the “out” tray on a corner of the desk. He stood, chair legs scraping across the laminate floor, and turned to the chalkboard. Frowning, he finished the job of erasing Jack’s name, rewrote it in decidedly girlish handwriting, and wiped his hands of the chalk on a kerchief he produced from his pocket. Shaking out and folding it, he slid it back in his pocket and sat at the desk again. He raised an eyebrow.

“So, Mr. Cooke, who would you like on your committee?”

Jack scoffed.

“You want me to nominate more people for this bureaucratic nightmare?”

Wade reached for his face again, trying to remove glasses that weren’t there. When he noticed his own raised hand, he picked up his pencil, twirling it between his fingers. The other people in the room, all men and women Jack had seen around but never spoken to, eyed the two of them like they were combatants in a particularly interesting tennis match. Not that any of their children would know what tennis was.

“Yes, Jack, I would like for you to fill out your own committee. You have the instincts I’m, we’re, looking for when it comes to who is best to fill these rolls.”

Jack shook his head, looking at the floor.

“I’ll talk to them myself. I’m not going to sign them up for some committee or whatever without talking to them first,” he said.

Wade shook his head. “Jack, maybe you don’t understand the function of the security committee.”

Jack opened his mouth to interrupt, but Wade raised a hand in his direction. Jack shut his mouth, crossing his arms and ankles. Wade went on.

“The committee is being created to oversee all aspects of security. Our constabulary is robust, but there are other aspects of security that are lacking. The purpose of this committee is to ensure the fences are sound, the alarms are maintained, and that the DH Task Force remains ever vigilant. That last one is the most important. It is easy to become complacent in these peaceful times. The DH Task Force is our best line of defense against the dead. They are trained, unafraid, and experienced. I’d like the security committee to oversee their continued training, discipline, and weaponry. And whatever else you, the head of security, require of them.” He swallowed, swiping at his dripping brow with a shirt cuff. The ill-fitting jacket he’d pulled on over it that morning hung limp from the back of the chair.

“In short, your job is to oversee any and all aspects of security. Bring all aspects of security under one umbrella, as it were. Any violations of policy shall be reported back to me, the Mayor, immediately.”

Jack stood, put his back to the room, and stared out the window. This wing of the school, the only one left, faced the village square. The statue in the square shimmered back at them, a sparkling, modern, yet primitive piece of metalwork. Something people like Wade would consider a vision of the future.

Jack shook his head and turned back to the council. Seven frightened rabbits looked back at him, and the wolf at the head eyed him with careful calculation. The bumbling voice, the portly frame, the pasty face, they were all manufactured to engender trust and lower defenses. Jack narrowed his eyes and nodded to Wade.

“Let’s do this.”

***

“So hey Addy,” Tim said. Adelaide turned to him, taking the egg pan he held out. She cocked her head.

“What’s it, Tim?”

“Did you want to come around later? Maybe we could do some target practice or something?” he asked. He looked away, making eye contact about once every two seconds. Addy’s organs cringed. But he’d been nice enough to help them find this place and just now he’d made her and Jane breakfast, even though Jane continued to be completely rude to him. Addy opened her mouth to answer him and her stomach flip-flopped. Turning to open the door, she twisted the handle but nothing happened. She looked at the handle and tried it again. It twisted a quarter turn and stopped. She spun back to Tim, nervous smile playing across her lips.

“Heh. Um, yeah OK sounds great.” Trying to switch the pan to her other hand, she dropped it on the floor with a clang. Glancing up at Tim again she laughed, a nervous, stuttery affair. A moment later she was knocking heads with him as they both bent to pick it up. His hair tickled her nose. As he bent again to get the pan, she staggered against the door frame, rubbing her head. The door swung open behind her as the latch finally gave in. She laughed again, took the pan once more, and retreated to the apartment, door swinging shut behind her. She latched it and fell against it, pan clanging against the wood.

“What is the matter with you, lady?” Jane asked from the couch. She’d beat Addy back by dint of a supposed bathroom break. Leaving the tour of the new building, she hadn’t come back when she was done. A book lay open on her tented legs, pages feathering.

Addy glanced up at her, cheeks heating. At least there was one thing to be grateful for. Jane hadn’t watched her drop the damn pan sixteen times.

“Tim asked me to go target practicing with him.”

Jane chuckled.

“Just when you think somebody likes you, he asks your best friend out instead.”

Addy dropped the pan again.

“No, what? Jane, do you like him?”

Jane laughed, twisting a strand of hair around a finger and returning to her book.

“No, Addy. Not like that. Go for it. And if you drop that pan one more time I’m going to hit you with it. I’m at the best part.”

Adelaide smiled, insides in a twist.

 

*****

What you have just read is the working first chapter of my forthcoming novel, Reclamation, still in progress. Please feel free to leave your thoughts, critiques, and comments! Looking forward to discussing with you.

 

Supernatural 12.4 “American Nightmare” Review

Ah, so here we are finally. I’m using a slightly different tactic this week. Normally I write these on first impressions, having watched the episode through only one time. Today I’ve got the episode to my left, playing on my phone through the CW app, and this review in front of me. Let me know how you feel about it.

As usual, SPOILER ALERT. From 1.1 to 12.4, there will be spoilers.

So the “Then” segment started off in season 1, talking about Sam’s powers. Are we really bringing up Sam’s powers again? I was super curious to see if Sammy’s powers were back. I’ve always kind-of felt like he could still have them if he wanted, but that he was just too ashamed of all the crap they were responsible for. And that he’s always hated being different. So he let them go when Lucifer was raised because of them. Also, from a writing point of view, it just makes him too Over Powered. A Winchester AND superpowers? Too much good in one Moosey package.

american-nightmare-1
Like a million times.

So we begin in this church. Recognize it? It’s been here a few times before. At this point, twelve seasons on, any set is likely to have been used like a million times. I love it. Now, as soon as our first five minutes girl walked in, I knew she was suffering stigmata. It’s fascinating, as they’ve never even mentioned the phenomenon before. If popular culture is to be believed, the Catholic church has actually investigated claims of stigmata. And so our boys claim to be, priests here to investigate it. Just how long has it been since we saw them as priests? I know the first time was the first episode we saw where there was another child with powers. And that has to be significant.

We get the season plot covered here in the first ten minutes, when Dean catches up with Castiel and texts his mom. Awkward text no less. Ugh I just want to hug the poor boy. As usual, he covers it with comedy, making fun of Lucifer’s new vessel and Sammy for liking him.

Pause. I don’t really care for Jared’s new haircut. Just as every other haircut has been able to tell us what season it is, this poofy thing will point out season 12.

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How I feel about that haircut.

Here’s Sam, trying to convince Dean he’s not doing OK now that Mary is gone. You know what Sammy? You’re not OK either. Quit putting it off on Dean.

Dean’s assumption that the girl at CPS was a witch at this point was so obviously wrong I didn’t even know what to think. A real witch would never tell any sort of investigators she was Wiccan. Clearly preoccupied, the Winchesters lose another victim in the delivery boy. I was confused no one was around to hear his weird babbling though. It’s rare we see something the Winchesters won’t later pick up on. The one thing that does come out of the dead delivery boy is the intersection of the victims, leading them to the right house.

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Love the sweaters, guys. This is their perception of social workers.

As they walk up to the house, Dean falling over a tiny little fence he would have hopped with ease in season one, Sammy tries a neat little trick where he attempts to get Dean to talk about his feelings. If there’s one thing we know about Dean, it’s that he won’t talk about his feelings until he’s ready. He does give us a peek though. He’s scared Mary won’t come back, ever. Being the master of running away from his feelings, and being very clearly his mother’s son, it’s not an assumption entirely without merit.

Now, these off the grid people. The dad talking about watching fake people do fake things? I like my fake people, thankyouverymuch. I can and have written thousands of words about what stories do for us. They’re not just distractions. At their best they teach us about ourselves. I couldn’t tell you why that line was included but for now I’ll just assume it was another meta nod and move along.

To Sam, interviewing the mom. Untrustworthy, in a word. She’s a liar and we all know it. The question is, what is she lying about? The important thing about this scene is that we can see Sam’s feelings about his own mother’s exit here. He absolutely dresses this woman down for letting her daughter die. Even without knowing what’s going on here, he puts this woman’s feelings under his bootheel and twists. He feels a mother should take care of her children. He is furious this woman did nothing to care for her own, and he wants to make her pay for that. It makes me wonder just exactly how he feels about Mary. He seems to really be in awe of having her back, seems to be accepting of her being a human being. But how does he really feel about her making a deal with a demon for his life? Sometimes I feel like his well-adjusted veneer is worse than Dean’s clear anger, sadness, and fear. I’d like to see him talk to someone about how he really feels sometime.

So here we find the daughter, still alive. Chained up in the basement. Sigh. This woman is an even worse mother than we thought. Given the opening talking about psychic powers, it’s pretty clear at this point that this girl has powers and as she whips herself, it’s obvious she killed those people. Of course the question is why. Was it an accident? Was she mad at them somehow? Or is it a cry for help?

Meanwhile, Dean walks into the office to kill the CPS girl who he thinks is a witch. Watching him realize he’s wrong is fun, even though we already knew that. Haha I wonder what he told her he was doing there? I’ll bet it was hilariously awkward. I can even see the face he probably made.

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Winchester at work.

Back at the farm, this crazy lady has tied up a Winchester in her basement. Good choice. So Sam takes this opportunity to influence the daughter, who thinks the devil is inside her. If only she knew what we did; that Lucifer is actually inside the “King of Butt Rock”. But she reveals why she thinks that and suddenly Sammy can identify with her. Understand why she feels like an outcast. Sam himself has felt this way. Like he was broken, damaged, a freak. But he’s had the benefit of years to work through his feelings and he can tell poor Magda she’s just psychic, not evil. It’s the choices one makes, not who they are, which makes them good or evil.

It’s lessons like this which make our stories important, by the way. Makes our fake people more than just fake people. Things like this which teach us who we are and what we can be.

Sam speaks with authority on this point. Explaining she doesn’t have to hurt anyone with her powers. It is interesting, however, that the writer decided to make Sam respond to the question of whether or not he has his powers any longer, “No, at least, I don’t think so.”. Leaving the door open for them to come back. But again. A Winchester AND superpowers? So OP.

Who else knew these people were about to eat their last meal when the crazy lady said, “It’s time,”? Poor dad, who was also in the episode, “Changing Channels”, dying with his face in the bowl. Such a perfectly Supernatural moment. Sam did a great job helping Magda work her way through the tense scene. The mom clearly needed killing, but the girl would never have been able to forgive herself for murdering someone on purpose, no matter how much they deserved it. Winchesters 1, bad guys 0.

(Oh dude! A commercial for iZombie! I love that show!)

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The monster isn’t so monstrous after all.

Anyhow, here’s our soft-hearted Winchesters, letting the monster go because they can’t kill the innocent. Even innocent monsters. Again, our fake people are teaching us how to filter out good from evil. The Winchesters are good because they don’t kill the innocent. Someone can be considered a monster because of power they wield, but because they make the right choices, they are considered good. And after doing the right thing, Dean begins to heal a little. Apologizing for being a dick is a big thing for Dean. Finding out Mary answered his text was the icing on the cake.

The hopeful note we should have ended on is short lived. Our stealth Man of Letters, who we saw ride by Baby earlier, is back and following our innocent monster. And this is why the British Men of Letters are bad guys. More than torturing Sam, they kill the innocent. Without remorse. Over twelve seasons we’ve watched the Winchesters struggle with whether or not to kill the monster. They’ve made the wrong choice. They’ve made the right choice. But they’ve always struggled with the choice. These Brits are black and white. We learned seasons and seasons ago that life is not black and white, even in a world where monsters are real.

So this monster of the week was quite fun. As was talking about Sam’s powers again and exploring what is good and what is evil. At the beginning of the episode, Dean clearly needed to shoot something. By the end of it, he’d begun to deal with his feelings without actually shooting anything. It makes me happy we’re continuing what we learned in season eleven, which was, you don’t have to shoot your way out of everything. I’m interested to see how they’ll handle the new threat, and whether or not that lesson will hold.

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See you next week, Family.

Supernatural 12.3 “The Foundry” Review

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.

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It’s been a steep learning curve.

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.

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Nice fruity drink, Agent Z.

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.

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Rick Springfield put Luci on like a jacket this week.

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.

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Mary feels out of place.

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.

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No one can make you cry tears of ectoplasm quite like Supernatural.

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.

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Bonus! Winchester bonding time in Baby the Impala. Turn the radio up! Finally got some “Born to be Wild” in this piece.

Amara: The Best Supernatural Villain?

The season 11 finale of Supernatural. Love it or hate it? I frequent a Facebook group run by the lovely people at Supernatural Fans Online. Recently a discussion began about the finale. There sprung a conversation about Amara. In response to a comment there, which bemoaned the sudden turnaround of Amara from scary godlike killing machine to, and I quote, “I talked to Dean and an old lady, now I’m fine.”, I analyzed Amara’s character arc. Because it wasn’t an arc of a single episode and when viewed as a whole, it becomes one of the most developed arcs for a villain in the history of the show.

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Dean and Amara confront their feelings

Beginning from the point we discovered she was God’s sister (episode 6, “Our Little World”), and especially once she became an adult (specifically ep 9, “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”), her destructive motivation was revealed. This, of course, being she needs her brother to notice her. Her leaning towards needing love is also revealed in that episode (though it’s hinted at in ep 1 “Out of the Darkness, Into the Fire”), when she speaks with and kisses Dean. This episode alone sets up much of the rest of her arc: she needs to be accepted. She yearns for love and places her belief in Dean for this acceptance.

As he resists her, she becomes increasingly despondent. Her brother will not even acknowledge her presence, even after serving as judge, jury, and jailer. Even Dean, mortal though he is, tries to kill her. This is such a pivotal episode. Not only does Dean turn on her, it’s the first time we really see someone try to blow her to kingdom come. All the power of heaven rains down on her and she’s, meh, a little scratched.

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Amara has a heart to heart with Rowena

Bringing it back a bit, and maybe more concrete, is her interaction with Rowena in episode 18, “Hell’s Angel”. Obviously she shouldn’t trust Rowena, but her childlike innocence as well as her inability to interact socially are both on display when she mentions “Uncle Crowley”, and flinches from Rowena’s hand. Her desire to be part of a family is overshadowed by her inability to connect. This brings up another fascinating aspect of her character. She needs to be loved but she doesn’t know how. And you see again her yearning for love and acceptance if you catch her meaningful look at Dean when she comes to steal Lucifer.

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Dean, tricking Amara by using her feelings against her

When Dean uses her feelings to simultaneously trick and reject her in episode 21, “All in the Family”, and God still refuses to speak to her, that is her final straw. Scorned, rejected, and alone (she’s discovered both Rowena and Uncle Crowley working against her as well), she goes on the warpath. But again, this anger is motivated by hurt. By a broken heart. By being cast aside by everyone she ever tried to love.

As they throw the collected power of heaven, hell, and earth at her in episode 22, “We Happy Few”, she finally confronts her brother. At this point, she is furious. She’s been jailed, beaten, rejected, and then He tried to kill her. All because she wanted Him to love her. In the heat of this battle and the complex emotions, emotions she has no means to deal with, she tries to kill Him back.

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Wouldn’t want to be on the wrong side of her


Then, the finale.

She’s accomplished her goal: He talked to her, acknowledged her. Then they tried to kill each other. As she watches His creations die, knowing it’s because He is dying, the fear and anger she’d been feeling turn to remorse.

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Not the face of someone happy with what she’s done

The one person she truly cared about in her entire existence was dying. And it was her fault. It was her doing. All the rejection she’d experienced she turned around and blasted at Him. And it hurt far worse than she could have imagined. Having no frame of reference for these feelings and therefore no way to really process them, she waits for the end.

But then she meets someone who does have a frame of reference. Wisdom to share. She begins to realize there might be a different way. And finally, finally after the whole season, she’s ready to listen to what Dean has to say. He tells her, using his own well documented experience, to let go of her anger. As a bonus journey, we watch the elder Winchester grow as well, seeing it illustrated right in front of him that anger just causes more, and it escalates until it destroys everything.

Once she lets go of her anger, her fear, her hurt, she can face her brother again. And begin to heal. As they fade away, she gifts Dean with love the best way she knows how. From scary god-monster to loving sister, Amara’s arc is subtle and drawn out. But it is the most satisfying arc of any villain the Winchesters have faced.alpha-and-omega2

Supernatural 12.2 “Mamma Mia” Review

Welcome to my regularly scheduled review of the latest Supernatural episode! As usual, SPOILER ALERT.

 

This week, my biggest hope was that Sammy not think he was alone anymore. When we left him last week, I felt bad for him. I wanted to cry for him. He seemed so hopeless there at the end, sleeping sitting up in a cold basement.

When we joined him, I’ve heard reports there was some confusion. Having seen the teaser trailers for this week, I assumed it was all a trick and worked on that assumption. Tricky, Accent. Tricky. I mean it’s pretty clear to me at this point you can only attract Winchesters with honey. The rest is a bloody mess. Also, is it just me, or does Sam have an active fantasy life involving British chicks? 

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You ‘member? You ‘member.

 

So, anyhow, let’s leave Sam here, undergoing some easy torture.

I was #mega excited to see Ruth’s name in the credits. Some of you may not like her, but I just adore both Ruth and Rowena. She’s got to be my favorite foil since Crowley became more friend than enemy. I like her better than Lucifer, even. (blasphemy? Maybe.) So here’s the poor girl, trying to get her life back together, when who should appear but her ungrateful son, the demon. She gave me a good chuckle when she told Crowley she loved that guy she was talking to. Give me a break, Rowena. You do not.

I thought Crowley’s plan a bit foolish, but it was so nice to see him being Crowley again. King of Hell with a capital K. Smooth talking, smooth planning King of the Crossroads, I was nonetheless nervous for him when Luci walked into the room. Proven right, I was not surprised to see him tuck tail once again and run. I think he’ll need the help of a couple humans called Winchester to win this battle.

Speaking of Luci, let’s discuss him a bit, shall we? There’s a pocket of the fandom who want no one else than Mark Pellegrino to play Lucifer. I understand that. He’s my favorite screen Lucifer of all time. No one could possibly measure up. Misha came close, but I really don’t envision ever having a more favorite Lucifer. Prior to Mark, Peter Stormare in “Constantine” was my favorite. I think it’s the sass. And no one delivers that sass the way Mark does.

So when Rick Springfield was tapped as the next vessel, there were those in the fandom who resisted. But let’s be honest, we had to get a new vessel. Lucifer already mentioned he’d have to get a new one when he and Sam spoke in season 11’s “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”. The Nick vessel is no longer available, unless God rebuilds it. Which just isn’t going to happen anytime soon. He’s busy rebuilding Gabriel, one hopes.

The new vessel, a stronger one than the ones he’s been burning through, turns up in rocker Vince Vincente, played by Rick Springfield. No, he’s not Alice Cooper. He’s the guy that did “Jesse’s Girl’, for one. He’s also done some acting in things like General Hospital and True Detective. I went into it with an open mind. One, we don’t know how long he’ll be the vessel, so we might have to like him for a while. Two, no one is going to be Mark, OK? No one. Open minded as I can be, I will say my opinion is that Rick’s acting is good. It’s good, solid acting. The level I’ve come to expect from Supernatural. But is he our Luci?

No, he isn’t.

I’m not trying to bad mouth the guy. Like I said, the acting is good. But he is not our Lucifer. We’ve seen three different Lucifers (right? Someone please correct me if I’m wrong. Besides the visions.), and they all align. Memory refresh- Mark, Misha, and lucifers-wingsJared have all played Lucifer. They’ve all been their own Lucifer, but they’ve all also had something at the core of them that was the same. Some sort of confidence maybe. Not a style, a feeling. That, no matter how much I wanted it to be there, is missing from Rick’s performance. But in the scenes he shared with Ruth, she elevated him. It’s good they’re together. Also, it was wonderful to see the wings of an archangel. I was a little intimidated.

Enough about them all. Let’s get back to our boys.

Sam’s reaction when Dean was pulled around the corner was perfect. So happy to see him, relieved he’s not alone, and the hint of another problem solved for the moment. Miss Lady Bitch underestimated Sam once again, though, when she thought hurting Dean would get Sam to talk. I’m willing to bet it would have taken a lot more than she was prepared to do. Sam knows Dean is tough. He can handle a little pain. He’s been to Hell, too. Pain is nothing new. And when Mary turned up? Pfft. You might think you have a handle on the situation when you have two Winchesters tied up in your basement (you don’t), but three in the same room?

Ha. Haha. Hahahahahaha. No.

It was nice they threw in that little reminder that Dean is smarter than he looks. I love it so much when they do that. He’s not just a monkey with a gun, he’s not a tool. He’s a smart man with a strong arm. He’s all superhero, all the time. He’s Batman.

Now, this new Man of Letters who let the Winchesters go? Too nice to be real, or live long. I don’t trust him, but I will tell you what part of the story he’s serving. You’re not going to like it. He’s there to show Miss Lady Bitch the error of her ways. He’s there to plant the seed of doubt in her head that maybe she shouldn’t make enemies of the Winchesters. And when he dies, she is going to switch sides. She will be a Winchester ally by the end of the season. Maybe even mid-season. Yes, we’re going to have to put up with them getting along. Which is OK with me. She can have Sam, Sam needs somebody strong.

Side note: Dean has Amara, so don’t ask. As I’ve said before, he’s always been at least a little in love with the Darkness. Now she is real, and she gave him his mom back. When he dies, he will go to her without a moment of hesitation. Will the writers do that? Will we see it happen? Probably not. But that doesn’t make it less true.

At any rate, who isn’t just in love with Samantha Smith at this point? Now I know where Dean gets his sassy mouth. His attitude. His humor, even. Sam and John always butted heads because Sam was just like him. Dean is his mother’s child. I don’t know about you but I think it’s perfect the way they’ve written that. But when she said, “he was a GREAT father”, it was a little awkward. Just a bit. There are a few things she needs to catch up on.

I took part in a conversation on facebook earlier today about the episode. The conversation started when someone said they found it a bit jarring that we went directly from the basement reunion to dinner. They felt maybe we got cheated out of Sam and Mary’s reunion. I countered with what I imagine happened between the two scenes. First, we don’t need to watch Dean and Sam hug again. Sam thought he was dead, he’s not, now everyone knows, we can move on. Second, I feel the writers skipped those scenes because we didn’t need to be a part of them. Pretty much what happened, as I imagine it:

Dean tells Sam what happened in the garden with Chuck and Amara, Dean tells Sam about what happened when he stumbled upon Mary, Dean tells Sam about hunting him down. Sam tells Dean about the British Men of Letters. They arrive at the bunker, Sam takes a shower, Mary orders dinner. All the while, Sam staring at his mother, as she aptly put it, “Like [she’s] going to explode”.

I feel the scene we saw in Mary’s room was in fact their first real conversation. The first time he hugged her. He has 33 years worth of issues to dig through. Breaking the ice was not going to come easy, but it made me cry all the tears when he did.

Dean looking at pictures, including a picture of the boys with Bobby, reminded me I hadn’t cried all the tears yet.

It’s going to be a rough road this season, but it’s off to a great beginning.

 

Supernatural 12.1 “Keep Calm and Carry On” Review

Oh my goodness, you people. Are you as happy as I am that Supernatural is back?? Of course you are, that’s why you’re reading this. Let’s dive in, shall we?

You should be expecting this, but I’ll say it for those in the back. SPOILER ALERT.

So, over hellatus, we all had time to wonder what was going to happen to Supernatural when we heard Jeremy Carver was leaving (check out his new show, Frequency, it’s pretty good). For myself, I wasn’t worried for long. The article I read about Jeremy leaving also informed us of the new show runners, Bob Singer and Andrew Dabb. If I had to pick one person still working there who knows what makes Supernatural Supernatural, it would be Bob Singer. I trust his capable hands. If I had to pick two, the other would probably be Phil Sgriccia (who directed this episode), but Andrew Dabb is a solid choice. Anyhow. I didn’t even think about these changes for the first half hour. I did not notice a difference. It’s business as usual over there on set, it seems.

The Business, as Dean explains to Mary, of saving people and hunting things. If she’d mary-deancome along at a different time in their lives, she may have gotten a different attitude. But I can see now I was wrong about Dean. He’s not mad anymore, he’s accepted what he & Sam’s lives look like, and he proved it during that little talk with Mary.

Let’s rewind to early in the episode, though. As Dean explained to Mary who he was and when/where she was, my heart broke for her a little. I didn’t expect it, but Samantha (who goes by Sam, but I’m going to call her Samantha to avoid confusion) did such an excellent job it killed me a little to see Mary realize how much she’d missed. We all know what Dean told her as they sat on that cold park bench all night. I don’t know if she’s realized the full import of some of it, but as a mother of a son I can only imagine how I’d feel if he told me half the shit Dean would’ve told Mary.

So, Dean and Castiel’s reunion gave me unexpected feels. Cass doesn’t usually show much emotion so this was a welcome exception (Destiel shippers rejoice! If you choose to see it, which I don’t – but I don’t judge – this episode was full of subtext). Cass has learned quite a bit about humans and I was impressed to see him immediately grasp how Dean would feel about his mother being brought back to life. Being brought back is not new to Supernatural, but it’s something different when you thought that person was gone for good. Remember, no one in heaven has even seen Mary. Nobody even knew where she was to bring her back. Apparently Amara had the inside track.

Who didn’t just fall in love with the scene where Mary sees Baby? We got to admire Baby with new eyes, and see her in a slightly different light as the place where Dean was probably conceived. And his face when he realizes his mom has the same fun memories of the backseat as he does… Priceless. Jensen’s comedic timing is such a blessing.

And where are they going in Baby? To save Sammy of course. This is where I got my seven chuckles in. This bitch right here?toni This “accent in a pantsuit”? She did a nice job trying to convince us she could hurt Sam with her little pen cap and cool demeanor. Raise your hand if you thought she was going to break Sammy.

No?

Me neither. It was fun to watch her realize her failure, though. She started off on an extra high horse so her fall was more obvious to us. It was almost cartoonish to watch her realize how powerless she is against a Winchester. Lady, you should be afraid of Dean. But it’s Sammy you really need to worry about.

It hurt to see poor Sam getting tortured without any time to mourn Dean. But he’s strong, we know he’ll be OK. When Toni saw physical torture wasn’t working and said, “we break his mind”, I almost fell off the couch with laughter. If Lucifer himself couldn’t do it, really you don’t stand a chance. You either get on their side with a quickness, or your son never sees you again. Those are your choices.

It was nice to see the Winchesters back on top. Even cuffed to a chair, we all knew Sam was in charge of that room.

That’s most of it, but before I wind down on this episode, I need to give a quick shout out to Samantha. She just killed last night. My boyfriend was not surprised and really I wasn’t either, but remember, this is not the role Samantha was cast for. She was cast as suburban wife who falls victim to a Supernatural occurrence. She was cast as the token first-five-minutes death. Who Mary is now is light years away from who she was. And Samantha handled it with grace, strength, and realism. I look forward to seeing much more of her.

One more quick note on Sammy before I go. I knew he wouldn’t be broken. But please, writers, don’t make him be alone much longer. He broke my heart at the end, as he curled up on the stairs and inched next to tears. He’s all alone, and he’s a hero, but he’s also scared and sad. I want to hug him. I want to give him Dean back. They’ve had many reunions over the years but Sam never knows which one will be the last, and he thinks he’s already had it. I cannot wait to see his face when Dean and Mary get there.

 

And a ps. I don’t get to live tweet with the cast because of my time zone, but I did get to watch without distraction as Misha’s Twitter devolved from live tweeting the episode to a fight over how to abbreviate Castiel. For the record, the writers spell it “Cass” in the script. They always have. There’s a couple reasons I won’t bore you with, unless you ask me to, but rest assured they spell it with two esses. Much of the fandom spells it with one, and it was all but mutiny on Twitter last night when they “found out” the truth. I spell it like the writers do, but it’s understood that the one S version is an acceptable alternate. It was pretty funny watching half the fandom lose its shit, though.

As I wrote this, Misha’s heartfelt discussion about what to do came last night: