Supernatural Review 12×01: A Strong Family Resemblance


Managing Editor

We made it you guys! We’re out of hellatus and right back into the angst-filled fire that is Supernatural. Just like old times.

And just like old times, I’m Leah, and I’ll be recapping every episode every week for you. Well really I do it for me. It’s for my sanity. Because if I don’t over analyze my boys I’ll burn up inside. Just like all of those vessels Lucifer ran through. We’ll get to that.

After an impeccable season 11 (check out my top 10 list now!) Supernatural had to do only one thing in its premiere: slow down. There was no way to come off God v His Sister and get any bigger – anything less than Supernatural in Space would be a disappointment after that. So the show had to scale back. Sure having Mary back and the new Men of Letters organization as the enemy isn’t exactly small potatoes, but it’s what was needed. The premiere was filled with lots of lovely small moments as Dean and his family hunted for their moose-napped brother, and it felt satisfying, even if it wasn’t filled with the shock and awe that the show usually tries to give us.

So let’s get through the plot so we can dig into the meat of it all, shall we?

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To get him out of the way: we only saw Crowley a few times. He’s trying to track Lucifer because… well I’m not 100% sure why. I’m sure Crowley wants his throne back, but taking Lucifer on head first is definitely not the way to do it. Lucky for Crowley, tracking Lucifer isn’t too difficult as he’s sending two very chatty demons around to pick up the human husks he’s leaving in his wake: Lucifer is burning through less than worthy vessels at an alarming rate. Lucky for us, we’ve known that he’s going to find one in Rick flipping Springfield since SDCC so this’ll all be over soon.

Toni, she-who-shot-Sam-for-no-reason, takes Sam to a vet to get patched up, and then chains him up in the basement from Don’t Breathe. She and her henchperson torture our Moose for a while, trying to get information from him. What precisely she wants to know is yet to be explained. What she did explain, however, is that the British Men of Letters is the best at life. They’ve watched Sam and Dean mess up 6 times too many so now they’re interfering. Apparently the British MoL is so precise in how they hunt the supernatural, that there hasn’t been a monster related death there since 1965. So Toni thinks she’s a big damn hero. Sorry honey. If you’ve been cozy on your island for 50 years, but you didn’t bother to lift a finger in the States, even when you knew your American counterparts were wiped out by a Knight of Hell? You all aren’t heroes. You’re bystanders. #sryboutit

Sammy of course is a bundle of rage and would never tell them anything so he sits in his chair, says “screw you” a lot, and we all enjoy a ton of torture. He’s pseudo-waterboarded. He takes a blow torch to the feet.l (OUCH OUCH OUCH.) And then Toni authorizes a little psychological warfare on our boy. She injects him with some sort of serum that causes Sam to relive every horrible thing ever. Dead Kevin. Dead Dean. Dead Jess. Dead Dean. Dean telling him over and over again that it’s his fault. Good lord Sam didn’t need that. Heck I didn’t need that!

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Sam then pretends to slit his own throat in grief (sidebar: I YELPED because that was awful to watch) and makes a valiant attempt to escape when his captor comes down to check on him, but, since he doesn’t kill her, Toni revives quickly enough to get out of the basement first. And Sammy is doomed to remain alone in the cellar for another week.

I’d like to take this opportunity for a friendly reminder: Sam Winchester is in a basement. Being physically tortured. While living with PTSD from all of the Lucifer related torture. And then he’s forced to see visions of all the horrible deaths in his life. And. AND! He currently believes that his brother is dead. Just let that sink in. Sam doesn’t think his brother is coming for him because he believes Dean went up in a big soul bomb. Yeahhhhhh. That stings.

Dean and Mary and eventually Cas team up to try and find Sammy. They manage to track him from the bunker, to the Vet’s office, and eventually pretty close to the basement where he’s being kept. The head torturer woman shows up to offer a SPECTACULAR beatdown. No but really, it was a beautifully choreographed fight scene. I am also assuming that whatever was etched into her fancy brass knuckles gave her super strength or sapped the strength of others because Dean and Cas stood almost no chance against her.

Lucky for them Mary Winchester is a BOSS. Homegirl shook off a concussion, picked up an angel blade, and skewered that lady. Sorry knock-off James Bond henchwoman. You can’t come between a Winchester and family. You just can’t.

There are a couple things I want to point out before we wrap up here.

Castiel was SUPER angry in this episode. I didn’t dislike it at all, but it definitely had me wondering as to what’s up. He was way too willing to beat on people this episode.

The hour did a great job of using little moments to explain to us who Mary is as a person, as opposed to this canonized figurehead that exist to Sam and Dean. Fresh out of Heaven, Mary lays Dean out on the ground because she’s suspicious of him. She immediately senses that the vet is lying when they interrogated him. Dean hands her a gun and tells her to “stay here” and she doesn’t wait a full 2 seconds before she begins to creep around the bunker. Her hunter instincts have not gone anywhere, and we can see clearly that she is a force to be reckoned with. Not only that, but we see her softer sides. The way she looks at the Impala and relives all of her best memories. (Including the ones of what she and her husband did in the back seat and Dean’s face was PRICELESS.) She’s smart – she has to take in so much but she’s able to do so and keep moving forward. Computers and cellphones and angels and God’s Sister and adult sons – she takes in all of that and manages to do her job. She also took a moment in the bunker to check out a bookshelf and I was struck by the fact that Mary is probably a Ravenclaw. Just like Sam. And I am so excited for the two of them to get to know one another, and then nerd out over stuff that makes Dean roll his eyes.

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But Mary is also the woman who very clearly stated that she was done with the hunter life. That she under no circumstances wanted her sons in it. And then she arrives on Earth to find that not only are her sons active hunters, but one of them is in mortal danger, and, she herself has to jump right back in the deep end and kill another human. That’s what shakes her. Not the angels. Not the resurrection. The killing. Which makes Dean’s talk with her so perfectly put:

Mom, I get it. I do. If I had kids I wouldn’t want them in this. But Sam and me? Saving people and hunting things… this is our life. I think we make the world a better place. I know we do.

Dean doesn’t tell her not to worry. He doesn’t tell her it’s too late for them. He doesn’t tell her that they’ve survived death over and over. He tells her that they do good. They save. They help. Because that’s what a mother would want to here. That her children are doing good.

So yeah. I enjoyed tonight’s episode and I’m very excited to spend more time with Mary. See you guys next week!

Quotes and Notes and Other Things:

  • For your Supernatural playlist needs: The Road So Far featured “Bad Boys” by April Wine. And over the ending scene we had “Solitude” by Black Sabbath.
  • I assume that that bracelet Toni wears is important to her character. Or at least it damn well better be because it looks like it came out of a Dave and Busters claw machine and I don’t believe someone that buttoned up (and wearing silver earrings cmon now) would wear something that gaudy.
  • Dean recounting how his parents fell in love KILLED ME. He doesn’t even need to hesitate in his story; he’s carried every detail like a precious treasure for so long and I was smiling but my heart was breaking.
  • So… every time an angel gets blasted by one of those wards do they turn into a meteor and crash into a random field? Damn that’s rough.
  • ALSO! Cas blasted through a sign for the Mystery Spot! I got a real kick out of that
  • This is also the section of my recaps where I get to remind you all that I ship Destiel really hard. That bit where Cas goes “Dean!” and wraps him in this huge hug of relief. And Dean is kinda embarrassed but he smiles. And Mary looks at them and kinda cocks her head. And you know she’s just like “Are they… dating? Maybe?” Anyway that’s how I saw it and you can’t take that away from me. This ship will never be canon just let me have this.
  • Dean: “He’s an angel.” Mary: “Come again?” Dean: “Yeah. Capital A. Wings. Harp.” Cas: “No I don’t have a harp.”
  • Mary: “Is that a computer?” Cas: “Yes. I don’t trust them.”
  • Sam: “You’re just an accent in a pant suit.” SAVAGE. SAM IS A SAVAGE.
  • The last shot of Sam alone, sitting on the stairs, nearly killed me. So Imma need them to save him ASAP so he doesn’t have to make that face anymore.