Last week I was bowled over by the return of Supernatural, with a season premiere that kicked ass in so many ways. That’s always a dangerous place to be for the next episode, so I really should have tried to rein in my expectations a bit. But hey, I was enjoying being in that heady space, so I just dove in without talking myself down. The second episode of Season 12 had more ups and downs than the first.
Alas, there was no Abba despite the title. Instead, the episode started out with the definition of a WTF moment. As in, I was screaming at the television screen, WTF????!!!!! Sure it’s nice to see Jared Padalecki shirtless from time to time, but the fact that he was rolling around the bed with that Nasty Crazy Lady took any possible hotness and extinguished it within a microsecond. Do you think I’m that shallow, Show? That I’ll take some shirtless Sam no matter what the context and not be bothered? That it won’t matter the circumstances?
Look, I’m plenty shallow at times when it comes to this Show, but no. (Jared doing pushups in the workout trailer, on the other hand? Oh hell yes, shallow shallow shallow…) I vacillated between okay-calm-down-this-clearly-isn’t-real and but-omg-what-if-it-is because a redemption arc for Lady Toni is my nightmare right now. I might actually mean that literally.
We’re not left wondering too long, thankfully, and sure enough, it’s not real. It’s more of Nasty Crazy Lady’s psychological torture, this time enhanced by some spell work. It’s also creepy as all hell.
Luckily, I hadn’t seen this tweet earlier in the day: Tonight on Supernatural – rock, romance and reunions. Tune in!
My timeline immediately let me know about it though, because a substantial portion of the fandom was rather dismayed by it.
My timeline: I think the word you meant to use was rape.
This most definitely wasn’t romance and it most definitely was not consensual, whether it was a hallucination or not, and that makes it all really creepy. I understand that tweet was meant as an exhortation to get people to watch by intentionally misleading them, but eww. I felt sick to my stomach last week from the graphic torture and Jared’s amazing acting during it, and there I was right back to that awful feeling. For more than one reason this time! I’m going to have to start watching Supernatural with a box of tissues and a bottle of Pepto Bismol.
Nasty Crazy Lady’s snarky suggestive ‘Was it good for you?’ turned my stomach even more.
Have I mentioned my nightmare??
That creepy scene over, we’re back to physical torture again, which most definitely did not help my poor tummy. Though once again, good job Show – this time on the make up effects!
And then we bounce to Mary and Dean, which was a relief. They’re dealing with family awkwardness, but that I can take. In fact, that I usually like. But none of the Dean and Mary scenes worked as well as they could have here, because SAM IS MISSING! You found blood on the floor, whoever took Sam was powerful and knowledgeable enough to zap Cas out of there, and have I mentioned, SAM IS MISSING??? The Dean Winchester I know and love would not have wanted to stop for a chat with Cas about his communication problems with his mother, nor would he have stayed at the bunker manning the computer while Cas went out and looked for his brother.
Cas: You humans tend to make everything needlessly complicated.
He’s right. Right now, nothing should be complicated. Everything should be boiled down to one thing and one thing only. That’s right — SAM IS MISSING!
I get that Dean now has two family members to worry about, and that he’s off balance trying to deal with the reality of having his mother back (and her being basically a stranger). I get that Mary is off balance too, out of time and place and trying to love a son who is also basically a stranger. But why weren’t her first words “Where’s Sam?” He’s her baby, she’s been transported through time and the last thing she knew she was sacrificing herself to save him. No mother would not immediately demand to know how BOTH her sons were! In my humble opinion, everyone is much too calm.
I was glad to hear Mary open up to Dean a little, expressing her guilt that “I started all of this” and worrying about how she’ll face Sam. Canon, yay! (Though does Dean even know what she did? Did we miss her explaining it to him?). We learn that John really was a good dad before his life turned upside down, which is heartbreaking, and we hear more of Mary’s ambivalence about hunting. And yet, she is clearly still a hunter. As much as she tried to get away from the life, it’s still her identity. Already she’s back in hunter mode, and unapologetic about it.
Dean is clearly struggling with reconciling this flesh and blood version of his mom with the mom of his four-year-old’s memories, and with how to tell her about what happened after she died to her husband and sons.
I like that we get more glimpses of just how much Dean is like his mother, which has always been a mainstay of fanfiction – so I’m delighted to see that in canon!
Dean: I can’t do my job if I’m worried about you.
Mary: You don’t have to worry about me. Okay, good talk.
Dean: Oh boy.
We definitely see where Dean gets it. How many times has he used that ‘okay good talk’ routine on Sam as he walks away?
And later –
Mary: I’m your mother, you have to do what I say.
Didn’t Dean use that same line on Sammy, with I’m the oldest?
I enjoyed all the Dean and Mary scenes, including the one where Dean tries to explain to Mary what we all know so well.
Dean: When Dad disappeared, Sam and I looked around and something became very clear. The only thing we had in the world, besides this car, was each other.
Supernatural in a nutshell. I hope Mary gets it, because I certainly do.
But what was missing throughout all that was the sense of urgency that should have been painting the entire episode. For godsakes, people, SAM IS MISSING!!!
It’s five days later, and I’m still so frustrated I can’t keep the capslock off.
Anyway. I was happy to see Rowena again in this episode, because I’m basically always happy to see Rowena and Ruth Connell grace my screen. She’s back to her old tricks, ie. taking care of Rowena. When we got some Crowley and Rowena together I was even happier (and woah, did Mark Sheppard look dapper or what?) I can listen to Rowena and Fergus go back and forth forever, both of the actors so good at inferring there’s more to their relationship than just simple hatred.
Have to say that most people were confused by the whole Lucifer can’t be sent back to the cage while he’s in a vessel thing, though. Since when? Doesn’t that conflict with Swan Song??
I guess we’re not going with canon as much as I thought.
Rick Springfield was another high point of the episode – this whole Lucifer as rockstar thing has a real Anne Rice Vampire Lestat vibe to it, which I liked alot. Tom Wright pulled a fabulous acting performance out of Springfield – he really made me feel his agony and unresolved grief. Anyone else get Nick vibes as Lucifer once again picked out a vulnerable, grief stricken man who would be willing to say yes to someone looking just like the woman he lost?
His confrontation with Crowley and Rowena was well played, full of suspense, though once again I was wishing for the Pepto when Rick Springfield’s face melted right off.
Kudos, VFX team, but ewww! (Also, look at that gorgeous winged shot!)
Poor Rowena, so close to making her escape and running off to live a life of being pampered, is once again a captive. This time of Lucifer himself.
Finally, halfway through the episode, Dean and Mary and Cas head out to save Sammy – because my stomach cannot take much more of this! Also I was clenching my teeth way too much, and was really tired of screaming at my television BUT SAM IS MISSING!
Misha got some of the best lines of the episode, like this one –
Cas: You brought your mother?
Unfortunately Dean steps on something magic and gets himself captured, and now Crazy Nasty Lady has two Winchesters to torture. Apparently Cas forgot to tell Dean anything helpful about the warding and what it might do.
But that’s not the worst of it. Not even close. The worst of it is, this is the reunion scene we have all been waiting to see since last May. This is Sam FINALLY knowing that his brother is not dead. This is Sam and Dean having the most epic bro hug in the history of epic bro hugs….oh wait.
That is not what happens. In fact, almost nothing happens. Sam blinks a few times and Jared gamely tries to make us see the gravity of his realization that his brother is alive, but he’s given no dialogue and no time to communicate any of that at all.
I sat there cursing out loud for so long that the rest of the family thought I’d stubbed my toe and was in agony or something – until I started yelling about being effing cheated, and then they knew it was Supernatural.
Seriously, Show???? THAT is the Sam and Dean reunion you give us? After all this time??? Sam was convinced his brother was dead, and Dean didn’t know if Sam was dead or alive, and THAT is what we get??
Absofuckinglutely I needed a hug! I’m calmer now, so I’m going to move on. But it’s hard.
Nasty Crazy Lady decides to torture Dean, because she is smart enough to know that the best way to break one of the Winchesters is to torture the other. By this time, I’m begging for some Pepto (unsuccessfully, alas). She taunts both of them, and at this point she is seeming to absolutely delight in causing them pain – and if anyone even mentions the word redemption around me, I’m going to lose it.
Luckily Mary Effing Winchester comes to the rescue, and though I was spoiled for that, which reduced the impact, it still felt really good to hear her tell Crazy Nasty Lady to get away from her boys. Nice nod to previous canon also.
There’s a fight scene that’s well done, and Dean gets to show some smarts, so yay!
Dean: Turns out this ape did read a book or two…
Just when you think the Winchesters have FINALLY prevailed, the other Men of Letters dude appears, trying to convince everyone that he’s a good guy. Which thankfully the Winchesters don’t seem to be buying. He insists they will deal with Crazy Nasty Lady, who wasn’t even following orders exactly – she just enjoyed torture that much, apparently – and make sure she faces consequences.
Dean: You could take a walk and she can face those consequences now.
Me: YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There’s the Dean I know!
But no. They leave, and the Winchesters and Cas go back to the bunker.
Misha got another fabulous line here too.
Cas: I don’t sweat under any circumstances.
And then they’re outta there.
Most of us were spoiled for a bunker scene with the photo of Dean with pie all over his face and the three Winchesters around the table. I would usually love a scene like that. But with what came before? Sam’s horrific torture, the lack of any Sam and Dean reunion conversation let alone a hug, the disgusting rapey mind control sex thing….it was all too much. I couldn’t suddenly make the transition to a scene played for laughs, it just felt stilted. Where was the conversation between Sam and Dean, the emotion that’s always been there when they find out the other is okay after all? We were cheated out of that and Sam was cheated out of being comforted, ‘healed’ physically (we presume, by Cas) but what about the psychological aftermath? It all seemed swept under the proverbial rug far too quickly.
I get that Mary would want to ‘mother’ her grown-up boys, and Dean’s love of pie is one of the continuities they can all cling to. But even Jensen’s adorable pie-smeared face, which would usually make me smile, fell a bit flat for me. (Though Jensen is often so thoughtful about such things that maybe he played it purposely that way, with Dean desperately trying to be the comic relief that will ease things for his traumatized brother and mother. That sounds like Dean, doesn’t it? I’m gonna go with that. It may be giving these particular writers too much credit, but I wouldn’t put it past the actors. They can pull off miracles.)
The awful “hey this is funny” music playing over the scene most definitely did not help.
The last few scenes were the strongest of the episode, largely because Jared Padalecki and Samantha Smith once again knocked it out of the park. Sam comes to see Mary, bringing her a cup of tea. Jared portrays Sam’s awkward earnestness so well here, it’s both heartwarming and heartbreaking. Sam, who has never known his mother, is finally getting a chance. He doesn’t have the ambivalence that Dean does – the memories of another mother that he’s held onto for so long, that don’t mesh completely with the flesh and blood mother he has now. Sam doesn’t remember his mother, and never thought he’d get to have a mother. Never thought he’d get to BE mothered. It makes me tear up just thinking about it.
Sam wants desperately to connect with her, and he brings her what he thinks can help. Because Sam is empathic, and caring. He’s just been through a horrible trauma, but he’s thinking of his mother and her own trauma instead of his own. He brings her John’s journal, saying that it helped him when he felt lost, that it “helps keep him with us.”
Oh, my heart!
Sam: I know what it’s like to come back and not feel like you really fit.
Mary: I have a lot of blanks to fill in.
They talk about hunting, and we get to hear Sam affirm his identity as a hunter, as Dean has also done.
Sam: This is my family. My family hunts, it’s what we do.
Before he goes, he turns to tell Mary something important – to her and to us.
Sam: You being here, that fills in the biggest blank for me.
I needed tissues then, instead of Pepto. Mary hugs her son, and Sam clings to her, all 6 foot 4 of him, and it’s absolutely beautiful.
Then I remember that I didn’t get that same sort of hug between the brothers – or anything at all really – and my heart aches all over again.
The ending was painful. There’s Dean, alone, sitting on the floor of the kitchen, family photos spread out around him. Mary and Sam are connecting, reunited and helping each other through their respective traumas. Figuring out where they fit. Dean seems cut off from both of them, trying to make sense of who he is in the context of this new version of family. Clowning with pie on his mouth instead of talking seriously or reaching out for that hug he clearly needs as much as his brother and his mother.
Where are those tissues??
We end with the Big Bad of the season being introduced, but honestly I cared more about what’s happening with the Winchesters. I needed so much more than I got from that episode. So now I need a little time to get over my own trauma, to grieve what I needed Show to give me in order to heal myself and didn’t get.
And I’m stocking up on the Pepto Bismol and the tissues before next week – just in case.
Big thanks to @kayb625 for the caps!
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48 thoughts on “Mamma Mia! Supernatural 12.02”
I was on the same page as you all with regards to the brother reunion. … but then I thought about it. Sam had gone through so much during his torture session ( I must mention his fantastic acting this season at this point before I forget 😊) that he’s probably in a place where any other feeling would break him. SO he must keep that wall up at all cost. As for Dean…. he’s still in shock about not blowing up and his mom being back…then losing Sam .I feel hugging would have been out of place at that time. It’s like watching a action movie and during a crucial scene the star stops to have a romantic moment! Tee hee hee I’m usually screaming by this time asking what he’s doing. save it for later!!! Now I’m rambling. HOPE that made some sense….it did in my head.
I was curious as to what your reaction was going to be for this episode as we usually agree on most points. We agree again! I didn’t see any need for the bed scene with Toni & Sam. It was useless and unbelievable. I missed the brothers reacting to seeing each other like they should have done. I think mom coming back is not a good thing. It’s going to put a wall between the boys. Besides, nothing good ever, ever happens to the boys and this will be no different.
Lucifer talking to Vincent seemed all wrong. When he talked to Nick and Sam, he said he would never lie and that it wouldn’t be pleasant. This time, he lied and the whole thing felt wrong. Did he change? Why? All in all, a disappointing episode.
Yay, I was waiting for your review. Agreed with everything you said in your review! Sam was brilliant in this episode yet again. He’s killing it this season and giving me all the feels! And damn these particular writers constantly giving me things to criticise about this show. Their fondness for writing noncon/dubcon sex scenes just has me shaking my head. What’s with them? That scene made me so uncomfortable like you, especially when they marketed it as romance. So wrong.
My only three things, I would have loved to have seen you also comment on was (1) Lucifer’s red eyes (have we seen that before? It felt so wrong…just because he’s always been depicted as an angel and not a demon and it was just different, and repeatedly shown which took me out of the scene). (2) That when Sam comments on how he got out and got back in, he never mentions that Jess died. Like that was why he got back in (Jess deserves better *sigh*). And (3) Cas not actually returning to the bunker. Like in your review, you say “and the Winchesters and Cas go back to the bunker”, but like, where was Cas around that dinner table? Why wasn’t he in that scene? He just disappeared. With all this talk about family not ending in blood and Cas as a brother and a Winchester, there’s a couple of writers/producers on this show who really like to stick to the ‘blood=family’ narrative instead. I wish Cas was included in that final scene. But I’m bias I guess, because found family is one of my favourite themes on this show.
Anyways, great review as usual!
Late reply! But yes, we see Lucifer’s red eyes recently when everyone was in the Cage together (I forget which episode, but it had Pellegrino in it.) So there’s some precedence for it.
Regarding Cas, his “brotherhood” is metaphorical, it’s not literal. And there is a metric crap-ton of baggage that Mary and her sons need to hash through. Cas is not a part of that. So it makes perfect sense to me that he wasn’t in that scene.
Just my 2 cents!
Thanks for this review! I have been so frustrated & disappointed & almost heartbroken all week about this episode…so reading your take on it made me feel a little better – like I was a little less alone in my rage. Just..nothing really worked. & I can’t wrap my head around how anyone in the writer’s room could let this script get through as it was. The episode was simply hollow.
I agree 100% that there was absolutely NO urgency to rescue Sam. & so many WHY’s. WHY were Dean & Mary hours away (literally) chilling at the bunker while Cas was pounding the pavement to find Sam? WHY were we not given a single significant Sam & Dean moment – especially when last Sam knew Dean had thrown himself into the empty for eternity & last Dean knew Sam’s blood was smeared on the bunker floor?? It all felt so, so, so wrong & not like the characters I know (& love). WHY did it take Mary (& Dean) so long to even begin to discuss Sam? It seemed more like Sam had gone on a camping trip away for the weekend rather than having been kidnapped.
The Dean I know would be going all Taken! as Jensen as hinted at..but aside from breaking a phone, I didn’t see that..at all. Dean was calm, cool & collected while at the bunker – relaxed even ..and nothing about that made sense. Sure, Dean, let’s have coffee & reminisce with Mom while Sam’s whereabouts are gravelly unknown.
I get needing to lay the foundation for all of S12’s storylines…but the writers simply cannot detract from Sam & Dean to do so. Sam & Dean ARE Supernatural and to completely rush their story in every possible way is unfair to them & the viewers. The brothers are the SPN’s emotional center & that emotional center is VITAL to the show…you can’t just skim over it. It’s the human connection, experience. We need that.
So many scenes between Dean & Mary (and Dean & Cas – specifically the awkward Mom convo) I would have really enjoyed…had they occurred AFTER Sam was rescued.
Prior to the season starting, I was super excited & intrigued for Mary’s return…& now…I’m really worried that Mary being back with completely mess with (& ruin) the Sam & Dean dynamic that we have had for twelve seasons – a dynamic I firmly believes the entire show rest upon. It’s incredibly worrisome. Mary being around should enrich the Sam & Dean dynamic, not detract from it. It almost feels like the writers are trying to replace it…and that is terrifying.
I’m not even going to get into the Sam/Toni scene at the opening of the episode..as I’m still so appalled by it. or how Cas simply “poofed” disappeared at the end of the episode with no explanation.
So many loose ends. Such sloppiness. No heart. This episode was just…plain awful.
I liked the episode between all the character. I like it when the brothers hug too but I know that they cant hug after every event or they would never stop. I didnt like the ending with Mick and Toni I dont care about them. I get that Mary is home now and I get that is why the brothers didnt get emotional with each other due to their mother is home and that is why they have other things on their mind. I disagree some with this review. I loved all the Cas scenes. I also loved Rick Springfield. There are a lot of shows that wont be perfect. I personally love the writers and the actors have said they do mostly what is in the script. They dont put their own stuff in very often although they do more now then before due to they have played the parts so long. The scene with Sam and his mother is great. I liked the Dean scene at the end but that usually is the case. He takes a lot hard and always has. I loved the episode even tho it wasnt perfect but I trust the writers and cant wait for the next episodes, It doesnt bother me they didnt hug at all. I like to see it every so often but I dont see men hug very often whether they are brothers or not. I think the episode was great and the acting of all the actors were great. Mark was so good too.
“a redemption arc for Lady Toni is my nightmare right now”
Same here! After the mind-rape scene, she’s irredeemable for me, and I’d be really upset if the show just glosses over that with “Oh, she’s a loving mother and she was a bit misinformed about the Winchesters but she only meant well”…
I really love the show and always try to be positive about it (and there were things I squeed about even in this ep, yes!), but this episode seriously dampened my enthusiasm for S12. What doesn’t help either is that according to a M&G report from the latest con no reunion was scripted between either Dean and Cas or Sam and Dean, so what little we got was added by the actors. Add to that Rowena’s careless line about “the Winchesters” when she’s supposed to believe Dean’s dead, and it really seems like they simply forgot the events of the season finale. Which aired a couple of months ago, true. But they CHOSE to have S12 pick up directly after the S11 finale, so on the show only a couple of days have passed!!! This isn’t some small careless writing mistake, this is seriously sloppy writing!
I don’t have a ton of time this week to write out a response, so here goes my rambling unedited phone posting.
I simply won’t make any judgments on the season based on a work by Team Nepotism. Historically they are the weakest writers on the show and they seem to think they are hilarious when the jokes fall flat or make no sense where they are inserted. Case in point the whole pie thing.
I’m willing to grant them a pass on the opening because I find it plausible that some weird sexy time spell work is in Lady Toni’s hex bag of tricks. Also, I approve of the wardrobe choice.
I was expecting a little more disbelief on Sam’s part that Dean was real based on all the mind games. I wasn’t initially surprised that Sam wasn’t losing it when Dean showed up. I expected some sort of “sure, torture him. He’s not real.” I can also accept the premise that Sam was in shock about it. But even though those things make sense, it doesn’t mean that the writers delivered that well.
Yet somehow I was still all in the feels.
One thing I have to give credit for though is the way that the Sam-Mary dynamic is different from the Dean-Mary dynamic. I thought the scene of Dean sitting alone trying to figure out where this leaves him was excellent.
I’m not sure where this Mary storyline is going. There’s an obvious out down the road of her sacrificing herself for her boys, but I agree that the entire show is built on Sam and Dean’s isolation and codependency. That’s why we’re tuning in. Because while that’s terrible in real life it is really compelling on the show.
“Team Nepotism” — perfect descriptor!
I’m not really sure why there was such a huge expectation of an emotional, huggy reunion for the boys when that’s been done and done and done, like a lot. S8 was a hugfest but that was pretty much it on that front until the end of S11, which was one of the most epic moments of the show – ever. I’m okay with them not hugging it out all the time. Means more when they do.
I’m 100% in agreement about the mind rape being horrific. Puts us in the very uncomfortable position of really enjoying naked Sam and being disgusted at the same time. Thanks a lot Show. No redemption for Toni. Nope. They can try, but it isn’t going to work on me this time. She talked about the mysterious Mr. Ketch being the psychopath but she fits that bill already.
I really enjoyed Rick Springfield as Lucifer. Everything about his introduction and seduction by the Angel of Light was spot on and super scary. Welcome to the family, Rick! However, the todo over Rowena saying Lucifer couldn’t go into the cage in a vessel is a complaint somewhat out of context. She was referring to the spell she was obviously going to cast so yes, Lucifer couldn’t be in a vessel. Besides that – we have no keys to the cage anymore, so this is the only way Rowena knew to get it done. Nothing anti-canon about it at all.
I enjoyed this ep as much as the first one. I get why Dean was by himself – knocked off his feet, literally. And Sam watching the fan spin around was a perfect analogy to what he must have been thinking. It’s too much! For both of them.
The hug between Mary and Sam knocked me off my feet. That’s been a loooong time coming and I’m glad Show spent some time with that moment between those two. Now THAT hug was 12 season’s in the making and well worth the wait.
Totally agree with you about the hugs … and honestly they were still in such a tenuous position when they reunited. I’m guessing there would have been hugs that we didn’t see once the MoL people left. I don’t think we need to see them all to know they exist.
Also, agree about the spell, which I wrote in my comment as well. Nothing anti-canon at all. 🙂
Great point about the spell and not being in a vessel!
Honest question about your hug comment: if you thought a loved one died & you would never get to see them again (in life or death) and then said loved one showed back up, wouldn’t you want hug them…? Wouldn’t you want to have a significant moment with them to express your relief & reassure yourself that they are back with you & OK? To me, it’s a no-brainer.
Cas thought Dean’s reappearance was worth a “welcome back” / “I’m glad you’re alive” hug – so wouldn’t you think Sam would think the same..? That fans / viewers wouldn’t also want to witness the reunion between the brothers after an entire hiatus in which we were left on edge?
It’s not like the brothers have, as you put it, “emotional, huggy reunions” all the time. We only see them when one brother dies or is about to die or comes back from the dead. We didn’t even get one when Sam cured Dean from being a demon (also a duo episode, by the way).
Seeing the hug on-screen is important too. It’s the emotional payoff that viewers need that also keeps the brothers in character with the Sam & Dean we have known for 12 seasons. It’s lazy storytelling to just let your viewer assume their proper reunion happened off-camera.
I too think they should be used sparingly for more impact, but this time, OF ALL TIMES, should have been the time for some sort of reunion aside from a “Hey.”
Your forgetting Mary is in the mix. Dean had told Mary about Sam going to Stafford, like a proud father. Mary was surprised Sam had the opportunity to get out and Dean saw that reaction. Dean didn’t say he pulled Sam back into hunting because he didn’t want to disappoint Mary. (Figured she would say why did you do that, he was out.) Dean can see he is losing a big part of himself — above all else protector of Sam. But now mom is back so Dean now has to rethink or reinvent who he is…protect Sam, protect Mom, go out on his own which Dean doesn’t like to be alone. This adds so much more depth into Dean’s persona. And Sam is going to find out he is much more like his father, through Mary’s eyes. Good thing we have 20 more episodes to see how this all works out.
I agree with the lack of need for SD hug. As I said in my general response to article – I think as its only been a few days for Sam – not really long enough to fully properly process grief and move out of denial…. and part of him would totally be thinking ‘He’ll be back – he always is’… which so far is truth for the Winchesters. Much more so than for us. I also think they’ll think it always when one of them dies – it took Mary 12 years yet here she is. Also, I think Sam wasn’t entirely sure it wasn’t all a hallucination till they were back at the bunker and then he was just quietly processing new reality, torture etc. etc. I love the exchanged knowing looks more than the hugs. That’s real intimacy and connection with your loved ones and gave me the SD warm fuzzies. My fave things with my siblings is the eye and face conversations we have that no one else sees/can decode and watching them do it around Mary is awesome.
I really enjoyed the episode. Yes, it was a very WTF opening, but on the other hand, it makes me very curious about the spellwork knowledge that the MoL have. I hope that Sam & Dean begin to dig further into that because it seems they are a long way behind.
I’m not sure why everyone immediately assumed that Andrew Dabb was referring to the opening scene as romance. After all, Rowena is on a date! Couldn’t he have been talking about that scene? Particularly as he said ‘Rock’ first, implying that the ‘Romance’ came after Rick Springfield’s first scene. Either way, it dismays me to see people jumping all over the show-runner about a tweet that was obviously tongue-in-cheek. It’s remarkable that we get to have interaction with him, given that we didn’t with the previous show-runners. I’d prefer we didn’t assume the worst about his tweet, particularly when it’s open to interpretation about which scene he was actually talking about.
The other point you’ve made about canon regarding Rowena’s spell is interesting. However, my immediate thought was that they no longer have the Horseman rings, which actually opened the cage to allow a vessel to fall in with Lucifer. Last season, when Rowena was trying to put Lucifer back in the cage (while he was talking to Sam) she said that her spell wouldn’t work if he’d found a vessel (which ended up being Cas). So, this was not a new thing in this episode. It makes sense to me.
I loved the scenes with Mary, particularly when she and Sam got to talk. Beautiful performances by Jared & Sam. And I needed a lot of tissues too. 🙂
Thanks for another thoughtful episode review.
I was really conflicted about this episode; I shared your visceral discomfort with Sam being manipulated through non-consensual sexual interactions and disappointment in the anti-climactic rescue and reunion between Sam and Dean (although I have since wondered if my disappointment was due to a true flaw in the narrative or simply my desire for emotional resolution). I am impressed with the delicate and complex way Dean and Sam’s interactions with Mary have been written and acted.
My interpretation of the apparent canonical disparity regarding Lucifer being returned to the cage with (or without) a vessel involves the fact that when Sam made the great leap into the cage while he was Lucifer’s vessel, the cage had been physically opened by using the Horsemens’ rings unlike in Season 11 when Rowena transferred Lucifer’s non-corporeal self to a “holding cell” while the physical cage remained intact. Lucifer then required a vessel to return to Earth unlike in Season 4 when Sam opened the cage and Lucifer was able to leave the cage without a vessel. (I may be stretching – I have been known to over think these matters.)
Ooh, I really like your explanation! I’d been assuming it was just a matter of Crowley and Rowena not being strong enough to force Lucifer back in with their spell if he was ensconced in a vessel (which makes angels stronger) which would also not conflict with S5: if there’d been any other way to force Lucifer into the Cage, Sam wouldn’t have had to sacrifice himself in the first place.
I have to say, I think Mary being there is throwing off brothers, and that’s why we didn’t get a brother hug. Either that, or it was cut for time. The episode felt packed to the gills to me.
I’m curious to know exactly what Sam told Crazy Nasty Lady during that hallucination, though. Exactly how much info did he give her?
As the british Girl of letters took Dean down the basement stairs, Dean looked the whole time around the basement ceiling. Not one look at Sam, the whole time they took to go down there! That was disturbing and not like the Dean we know. AND that was Jensen’s doing :/ (because I don’t think the writers wrote something like “and Dean looks at Sam after a few minutes” in the scrip). The nonexistend hug, and what all, that I can deal with. But this. That’s the thing I find absolutely non-Dean like. At all.
That Lucifer can’t be sent back to hell still in a vessel actually doesn’t conflict with Swan Song. Then Sam sacrificed himself with Lucifer still inside him. Now they can’t communicate with Vince. He doesn’t know that he maybe could but will not be able to take control.
So long as Lucifer stays in control they have no chance unless they push him. And what of Death’s ring?
Also, why doesn’t Sam has a new protection tattoo? Dean would never let Sam go without one. At least in my opinion.
Haha my hope re: the protection tattoo is that it was a dream/hallucination and Toni and/or Sam overlooked/forgot about it!
My initial thought was, ok. She will now die horribly. Teehee.
Thank You! That was my thought as well. They guys won’t have to do anything at all. Toni is already doomed 🙂
Again spot on review. Sam & Dean come first, above time restraints, villians, B-plots, and B-characters, but we see time and time again that this pair of writers don’t get the show, and they ALWAYS either seperate Sam and Dean, downgrade them to B-characters in their own show, or completely neglect their bond. It’s like they just don’t know how to write the boys together OR in true character. It’s WEIRD. Just look over all of their episodes. And I’m still just uncertain how to feel about Mary. I adore the beautiful Sam Smith and her performance is very intricate and poignant, but I just don’t trust the creative team to do justice to what has always been Mary’s unspoken legacy. Some things should just remain unseen to retain its impact, like the inner-workings of hell. I know this show better not neglect my boys this season, i.e. the entire effing reason we have a show!!! I think Dabb will do justice to that bond like he always does. Never expected justice from these two writers though. Thanks so much for your review!
Agree completely, as always.
No Bro Hug = sad me.
The whole episode left me feeling a bit off balance. Like the things I had expected weren’t there. The writers found some great Canon moments but missed the biggest one…we needed that hug!!
I had hoped that Mary’s return would be good for Dean but I can already see that this may turn out to be a season of more pain for him. Watching Sam and Mary find their relationship will only lead to Dean distancing himself, being the martyr to give them this moment together as he deals with all his own insecurities and the fact that Mary may not be the Mother he remembered her as.
Also, agree with Masja_17 re: Sam’s protection tattoo. Let’s get that taken care of!!
Thanks as always Lynn, for giving coherency to my jumbled emotions and thoughts!!
I am in 100% agreement with you on this episode. I was pretty horrified by the rape, which was just as much a violation of Sam as if it had happened to him physically. And clearly it was gratuitous, and no, I’m not that shallow either, Show. The lack of urgency to find Sam confounds me. I don’t like or trust these writers, but what worries me is that the script got past Andrew Daab. I’d like to know the dynamics there. Did he want changes that the “power couple” executive producers didn’t agree with? Was he hesitant to confront them? Or did he just not see the problems in the script?
The Lucifer special effects were quite good, and sure, Crowley and Rowena are fun to watch, but I wish they’d put that whole plot line in a different episode.
However, I’m completely loving Mary being back. She’s tough and brave and smart, and the strangeness of the new, for all three Winchesters, is being handled beautifully, so far. They could be making a big joke of Mary being catapulted three decades into the future, but so far, it’s been genuine and subtle. “Call the internet.” Ha!
Again, great review, thanks.
And yes, I really, really was hoping to see the brothers hug, after their reunion. So my reaction was like: come on, what? Really? Are they serious? But then I started to think about it. In every Season there was a moment when I expected a hug and nothing happend. like in the Beginning of S 10, when Sam cured Demon Dean. Everything we got, after all they’ve been trough, was a talk in Baby one Episode later. But for me this talk was so deeply emotional in its calmness that I didn’t need a hug, frankly it showed more of the brotherly love than a hug could have . So maybe we get something similar in the next episodes. I would be fine with that and this explanation finally gives me peace.
Another thing which makes me feel like I have a pit in my stomach is Mary being back. Even if Sam and Dean wanted her back in their lives, for me it looks like she’s kind of a “disturber” because with her being around it creates an awkward situation which no one can deal with at this moment. I needed tissues when I saw Dean sitting on the ground, alone with these pics and seeing these doubts paired with so much sadness. And then Sam acting like a little child, bringing his mother tea in order to connect and get a reaction from her which he clearly needs so desperately. I loved the hug which Dean already had, but look at the different expressions in their faces….
I’m really curious what the writers have in mind. But I don’t think she’ll be around in every episode. I think she will go out hunting by herself, like John did and there might be a family reunion from time to time. Sam and Dean together against the world – that’s my perfect Supenatural world.
What I’m thrilled about is the perfect acting of Jared and Jensen, again. These guys are marevouls. What I don’t like this Season is Lucifer – I need Mark Pellegrino to be Lucifer, sorry, but for me he’s the perfect one and only Luci.
I’ve been waiting for your review on this one to come out because I was wondering if my expectations for the Show have gotten too high. My answer after reading your review and a lot of the comments is no. This episode had so many issues from beginning to end. The duo seem to try bite off more than they can chew. For one thing, there was too much going on in this one. I understand that they need to set up the season, but all I cared about was Sam being found. I also had issues with the opening scene (I knew it wasn’t real too), the lack of urgency to find Sam, the non-reunion between Sam and Dean, and the delayed proper reunion between Sam and Mary.
There were a few things I liked. I thought Rick Springfield did a good job as Lucifer. I’m in the club that was confused by the red eyes though. I loved the scene between Sam and Mary. Both actors nailed it. My problem with it was a scene like this should have come before the pie scene, because during the pie scene all I could think about was how I was cheated out of brother reunion and a proper Sam and Mary reunion. I was happy to finally get it though.
This writing duo proves once again that they’re the weakest link on the show. They continually mess with or disregard canon ie Lucifer not being able to be sent into the cage while in a vessel. If they want to change cannon they need to explain why this fact has changed. This same duo also messed with Lucifer’s cage having Sam and Dean act as if they never knew how to open it.
I hope things get better. I pray Dabb and company remember why we all feel in love with the show. It was because of the relationship between Sam and Dean.
Also, wasn’t Dean aware of Mary’s deal from when he saw it all go down in “In the Beginning” from S4?
I was trying to remember back to that, too. I’m fairly certain Dean gets there after the deal is done and doesn’t see Mary make it.
But then again, the deal might’ve made it into the Carver Edlund books. Which, honestly they should just give to Mary at this point and tell her it’s a rough read, but this covers about 5 years. 😉 She’s going to need some more tea with Sam after reading Swan Song.
I think Dean’s well aware of what’s just happened in that episode, whether he actually saw it or not (and I think he did). Because the next episode, he tells Sam all about it.
The next question is if Mary knows that Dean knows. They actually discussed his going back in time (twice) last episode, although it implied Mary’s memory was wiped of both his visits, not just the second? But I don’t think it’s too big a stretch that it got covered. Indeed, since the entire point of Dean’s first trip was to prevent (or discover he could not prevent) Mary’s deal, she might have been able to surmise he knew even if he didn’t explicitly say it.
A side from the opening scene (reasons), I can see where the Winchester story might be heading. Evil lady mentioned both Ruby and Benny, both of them represent a wedge between the boys. Both were outsiders who entered the relationship between the brothers causing a riff. Now, enter Mary, who is blood. See where I am going with this? You mentioned it a little bit as well. Dean is very much Mary’s son. So now we have Mary being Sam’s caregiver instead of Dean. And Dean falling into the roll of obeidient and rebelkious child. Who needs a body swap when you can add one person to change the dynamics of the family. Now, if the writers are truely going that way. 🙂
I thought that was the most telling part of Dean by himself with the photos, too. If Sam has his mom back, then what does that make Dean? That was the bigger emotional blow for Dean than figuring out his own (both emotional and practical) mom issues.
Ooh, interesting point! Though the guys have been growing into their own, Dean has seen his role as that of Sam’s Protector. (There are reams of meta on the “Parentification of Dean”.) Now, that role is being recast, and he might be feeling pretty derned conflicted…
Really good thinky thoughts. Mary is obviously being set up as a sort of third-wheel, an outsider who inserts a spanner in the well-oiled machine that is The Winchester Brothers. Conflict is inevitable, and I can’t help but root for the boys, although if Mary leaves it will be so devastating for Dean all over again. I hope the show gives due weight to that.
I love this show but I felt a little let down after last week’s “Mamma Mia”. I purposely stay away from all social media in order to go into each episode blind. I want to take in the full effect without preconceived expectations. I’m willing to admit that I had perhaps set myself up expecting more than an hour of television is capable of delivering although Show has done it many times in the past. However, I think there were a few weak spots in the overall tone of the episode. Like you, I felt cheated and in need of a little time to unruffle my emotional feathers.
P.S. It was lovely to finally meet you face to face in Toronto.
Yes. we expected a reunion hug but show keeps us on our toes. I think the looks btwn the boys said it all and at first neither was in a position to hug. The hug at the end with Sam and Mary was THE HUG and I don’t think the other hug needed to conflict. Dean needs a hug- he got a punch down when he met Mary. Pie works but it is not a hug, Padalecki knocked it out of the field the whole episode. The Toni/Sam bed scene was supposed to make us feel what Sam feels as he realizes this activity is NOT real. It works. Torture of any kind is usually non-consensual.Usually.
Lol. Totally agree – esp. the torture comment. hahaha
I always love how you can so perfectly express my feelings about Show details when I cannot even begin to find the proper words for them myself. At the opening, I swore my DVR had somehow changed channels on me so I actually restarted the recording episode a couple of times before I believed it. This is when you know a scene is not working, when a viewer cannot even enjoy shirtless Sam for a microsecond because the narrative has gone off the rails so quickly and it’s only the teaser!!
I too missed Dan’s romance tweet, but chose to believe it reflected Dean’s romance with that blueberry pie, which was cute, but seemed shoehorned into the episode. Once again, the Nepotism Twins completely missed the mark on what should have been a thrilling, emotional episode. There are zero episodes of theirs that I do not either skip major scenes (or entire subplots) or simply refuse to rewatch on my repeated viewings of Show. For example, Season 10’s Soul Survivor, brilliantly directed by Jensen himself, I can watch in less than 30 minutes because I skip 98% of the Castiel/Hannah storyline (pausing only long enough to watch Crowley fix Cas).
I still believe the Dean’s abandonment issues discussion with Chuck at the end of last season was written by another writer entirely (I assume Robbie because it picks up right out of Don’t Call Me Shirley) because the quality of the writing was so much greater than that of the remainder of the episode.
I’ll stop there or I will nitpick every Nepotism Twins episode to death and I need to make breakfast for the family.
I finally got around to catching up on reviews (just in time for TONIGHT’S episode), and I agree with your 2000%. Perfect review is perfect.
The only nugget I have to add is that MAYBE (and this is just conjecture) opening the Cage via Horsemen’s Rings is different than opening the Cage via spellwork, and that MIGHT be why a vessel could enter it the first time. (Lotsa “mights” and “maybes”, I know.) That’s all I got.
I just hope tonight’s tale sees a little more inter-Winchester polish and emotional through-lines respected. We shall see…
I’m gonna go with your explanation for the vessel/Cage thing. Thank you! I needed something to make sense, and that sure works better than what they gave us!
Ooh! Just thought, maybe that’s why Michael/Adam didn’t come out when Lucifer did (despite what Lucifer said on the matter?)
Great review! I feel a little better knowing I’m not alone…..BUT I don’t know if I’ll ever get over the lack of urgency in finding Sam and the underwhelming reunion. What the He!@ were the writers thinking? Do they know these boys at all? Makes me scared for the rest of the season. I’ve been thinking about it all week and it’s left a pit in my stomach. Shout out to the AMAZING Jared Padalecki!!!!!
They just have to stop letting you-know-who write episodes. And we all know they won’t. So all we can do is buckle up when we see those names on screen. 🙁
Reblogged this on SUPERNATURAL AND OTHER SHOWS.
This review was spot on and helped me refine my own thinking about this episode, so thank you! In the final scene of Dean on the kitchen floor, it struck me how memory defines who we are. How has Dean’s self-image changed now that his memories of his mother are faulty? How does that alter the way he thinks about his life, his choices, and who he thinks he is as a hunter and a brother (and now, as a son?) Poor Dean. I’m looking forward (with some trepidation, no doubt about it) to what the writers and Jensen do to explore the ways Dean’s self-perception alters as a result of his mother’s resurrection. Maybe it’s already happening, which is why we got so little of the Dean from 12.01 who promised to take Toni apart if she hurt Sam (and pretty much every Dean we’ve ever seen up to this point…)
Anyway, thank you 🙂
I always love reading your reviews. You are dead on about the need to brace for episodes by these writers … I’m so used to their writing the third episode of each season, I got caught off-guard by this one and ranted a bit on lj. But the scene between Sam and Mary made up for a lot, and at least ended the episode on a good note!
I’m going against the tide and saying I LOVE this season so far. It’s certainly got everyone’s attention.
The not very PC but head-messing bed scene made us all go – WTF (which is excellent – not done like that for a while – and I love being challenged and moving away from predictable tropes), also loving the new take on the Winchester dynamic with Mary.
I can see why some felt Dean wasn’t concerned enough but I’m loving that they bought him back in a bit from ‘psycho I’ll just go out killing everything Dean’, because he felt a bit cartoonish a points in Seasons 10&11 and since he has just watched God and his sister work their epic shit out… Surely that calms you down somewhat.
To me this season feels like the early seasons – awkward funny still-working-it-out family dynamic combined with inward and proper scary in psychological and creepy ways. We don’t know where the shoe is yet… Let alone when it’s going to drop.
Also we’re getting to know the boys again.. from another layer and perspective. Just like people change as they age and grow – watching this happen to the Winchesters is what makes the show so good.
My take on the reunion was – I think Sam wasn’t 100% sure he wasn’t still hallucinating until he got back to the bunker and they were eating pie… So much had gone on for him – I think he rolled with it till he was really sure it was real… And then he just quietly drank in the new reality and processed it when alone. For him it had only been couple of days of thinking Dean was dead (not like Season 9 for example!), and big bomb or not – part of him had to be thinking ‘he’ll be back’. Was too soon to have moved into acceptance. Heck – I think one Winchester would spend the rest of their lives thinking the others will be back. Took Mary 12 years after all – but here she is. So overall I didn’t need the hug. I much prefer seeing the new perspective of bonding between two siblings knowing things their parent doesn’t. The looks, glances and quips we’re getting this season show me how much the brothers know, appreciate each other and how deep the love and affection is. Waaay more fun, telling, clever and entertaining than the usual hugs.
Just my lonely opinions – but loving the fresh take on the show and after feeling like Dean was looking a bit too ‘old hunter’ vibe at times in last two seasons – it’s lovely to see him lighter and not so tortured soul.