The title of The Winchesters third episode is the message of the episode as well: ‘You’re lost, little girl.” It’s about loss – of all kinds – and also about being lost, and figuring out how to find yourself afterwards. And that does not just apply to little girls.
The Kids Next Door
The episode revolves around Mary’s neighbors, a young girl and boy (8 year old Carrie and 12 year old Ford) whose mother is a long haul trucker who is often away for days at a time. It’s the 70s, but it still seems really iffy to have kids this young at home alone for days at a time – I know, I know, shades of John Winchester later. How much did he learn from the Campbells and their neighbors anyway?
The little girl, Carrie, contacts her mother on the CB radio, saying she can’t find her stuffed bear Bernice anywhere, and asking her mother to come home. The mom says the family needs the paycheck, she’ll be home in a few days, she needs Carrie to be a big girl – which is all kinda heartbreaking and also once again reminiscent of John Winchester of the future asking his son Dean to step up and be a big boy long before he should have.
Side note: I remember CB radios from the time before cell phones (yes, I actually remember those times) – I once went on a cross country trip with my husband-to-be and he had a CB radio in the car and we made the whole trek going back and forth with all the truckers we were sharing the road with. When we stopped at the first truck stop for dinner, they were all amazed that we were “a four wheeler”!
Anyway, there’s eerie music, a thud thud thud, and then there’s a burlap sack on the table. Carrie opens it and Bernice the bear is in it. Yay? Not yay. No sooner does Carrie happily crawl into bed with Bernice than the sack starts wriggling and then a freaking creepy as hell hand comes out, nails like claws, and then we see Carrie scream as a giant shadow looms over the bed.
Now that’s an opener! Worthy of the mother ship and its horror show roots – and it’s scary because we don’t see the monster, we see Carrie and her terror instead.
Cut to the title card and our erstwhile narrator, Dean Winchester.
There’s no map to being a hunter, no playbook. You’ve gotta follow your gut, but that can only take you so far. Truth is, you can’t do it all on your own. You need other people to help guide the way. Your friends, your family. Otherwise you just end up lost.
I guess that’s a theme of Supernatural too, from the pilot episode on, where Dean came to get Sam at school and said he couldn’t do it alone (Sam: yes you can. Dean: yeah well I don’t want to…)
Dean hasn’t forgotten that lesson, but apparently Samuel Campbell is actually trying to do it alone, and it turns out there’s more than him being missing going on in Mary’s life. Her mother is also out of touch, no word from her and last Mary heard she was working with hunters in Minnesota a few months ago. Mary says sadly that she’s not even sure her mother knows her dad is missing. Apparently Deanna and Samuel are separated, which – what?! That’s a canon change I didn’t see coming (assuming it will make sense whenever things are explained in episode 13 if not before…but surely Deanna would be keeping tabs on her hunter husband even if they were separated?)
Mary says that nothing has been the same for their family since Maggie died, for any of them. I hope they explore that more – I could get behind the show going a little deeper into things like loss, which really can turn a family upside down. It’s such an inevitable part of a hunter’s life, this show could benefit from digging into it.
It’s Mary’s turn to be discouraged, John’s turn to be determined. Mary worries that maybe her father just wants to stay lost, especially because the last time she saw him, they got into a big fight about her quitting hunting. Guilt, such a big part of loss for so many.