‘The Winchesters’ Explores Monsters of War, Both Literal and Metaphorical

The fourth episode of ‘The Winchesters’ first season is titled “Monsters of War,” which is a good description of what it was about – fighting your monsters, whether you’re a hunter or a veteran or anyone who’s experienced loss, grief and trauma. The opening is an older man stumbling down a psychiatric hospital corridor, walking right into a vivid flashback of his time in the midst of a war, bombs flying, warning shouts of “Incoming!” blaring. He takes refuge in an empty room only to find himself facing something that calls itself “Destiny” armed with a spear.

Blood splatter, title card, Dean Winchester, narrator.

Dean: Fighting the battle between good and evil isn’t easy, especially when the first monster you have to face is the one inside yourself.

I don’t really need it spelled out for me, but yes, true that. One of the main premises of Supernatural from day one, when the monsters Sam and Dean were fighting were not just the literal ones we saw onscreen. Cut to John and Mary sparring like the aforementioned Sam and Dean often did, Drake Rodger shirtless because, well, Drake Rodger, and Mary looking authentically seventies and I’m pretty sure I had those shorts.

John doesn’t want to stop or take a break, saying he missed fighting, even though in the service it was 24/7 “gym class with grenades” which does not sound like fun. He laughs it off defensively, but when Mary laughs too, he admits that was Murph’s line, and the defensive laughter fades away as he remembers his friend’s violent death. Mary realizes that he needs to punch something “that can punch back” to get those kind of big feelings out, so they spar for real. Mary taunts him a bit with “monsters aren’t gonna play nice and neither should you”, and bests him what seems like a little too easily to me – he’s a trained fighter too, after all, and I wouldn’t mind him coming out on top once in a while to make it realistic.

Carlos arrives when they’re in what looks like a compromising position, asking if he’s interrupting “whatever kind of hetero mating ritual this is” which did make me laugh. Sparring always seems a bit like it should engender those kind of questions to be honest, no matter who’s doing it.

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