Sorry for the extreme delay on this. I went from LeakyCon to a wedding and all that travel completely threw my brain and my workload off. But, as this was an incredibly important and heartbreaking hour, there was no way I was just going to skip doing this. Consider this an appetizer before tonight’s episode.
Since this is a week late, I’m not going to bother recapping the plot for you. I’m just going to focus on my favorite part of Supernatural: the pain and anguish of Sam and Dean Winchester.
Wait lies. I also want to speak briefly on the other plotline: Rowena roasting Lucifer and then sipping tea on a cabin porch like the fierce queen she is. That stunt? Making the Vince vessel burn faster instead of making it stronger? That was one of the boldest moves ever made on this show. I was sincerely impressed by Rowena – she literally played the devil. I’m sure you can take it as “well she’s a witch and of course she was gonna try” but think about it from this angle: she doesn’t know what Lucifer knows. All he has to do is blink in her general direction and he can turn her to dust. For her to stand right in front of him and keep her meek character facade at the forefront was risky and ballsy and I’m so glad it paid off. I also really liked how honest Rowena was when she said she was done actively hunting the big bad, but if and when they trap him, she’s game to help slam him back in the cage. I’m glad she survived last season’s neck snap – Rowena is a baller.
On the Winchester side of things though… that was a whole lot of sad. Seeing those ghostly children, and the loss driven madness that made them spirits was just too close to home for Mary Winchester. She couldn’t reconcile what she lost. In her heaven, she had her husband and her young sons. Snapped back to Earth, she’s in a strange technological land, with a dead husband, and sons that she did not get to raise. So at the end of the episode, Mary decides to leave for a little while to sort out her own feelings. At which point I was crying and doing a lot of “noooooooooo.”
From the moment Mary cut her hair I knew this was going to end poorly. Aside from the fact this means Sam Smith doesn’t have to wear that wig anymore, self-cutting of hair is usually a sign of a person in some sort of distress or emotional turmoil. Mary then buried herself in work, food, and jokes. You’d think that would appear familiar to a certain person.
But no. Dean is unwilling to see Mary’s struggle. Or he sees it but assumes it’s something that can be fixed easily.
You know I’m worried about mom.
She’s back. I mean yeah she’s still working out the kinks; we’re all working out the kinks. But can’ we just for once not turn everything into a problem? Can we for once just have one good thing?
Mom’s not a thing.
Look I’m happy too Dean – I”m overjoyed. But something about her, somethings going on with her
Yeah she’s adjusting
No she’s struggling. She’s burying herself in hunting to try and avoid dealing.
And how do you know that?
YEARS of personal experience. I don’t know man… like mother like sons.
Sam vs Dean in a nutshell. Sam is willing to call out the fact that Mary is struggling. Dean is actively behaving like Mary – pretending it’s all OK. Both boys have buried themselves in hunting to try and overcome grief or rage or whatever it’s honestly surprising that Dean didn’t pick up on it the way Sam did. Or, more likely, Dean made it impossible to see the truth for himself.
When Mary gets locked in the room with the ghost early in the episode, you can hear the panic as the boys try to break down the door. They both blanch and freak when she is overwhelmed by memories in the motel room. In the end, when she is no longer possessed, Dean seems to be touching her in a manner that is unconscious, as if reassuring himself that she’s still there. Sam and Dean are trying to play it cool around their mom, but they know that losing her again would kill them. Which is why the end of the episode is one of the more traumatic things the boys have ever gone through. And that’s saying something.
Part of Dean’s abject shock and rejection of Mary at the end of the episode comes from just how much she kept solidifying her boss hunter persona in front of him. She ate cold bacon, she dug his favorite beef jerky, she cranked the Steppenwolf in the car – she was filling her role as both friend and mother perfectly. She was exactly what Dean would want in a mom. But Mary, as much as she probably enjoyed those things, was playing a role. Trying to mask how tough of a time she was having. So when Mary announces that she has to leave, this is the ultimate shock and betrayal to Dean. How could his mother? His hunting, rock and roll, brave, funny, bacon-loving, mother, who has been out of their lives for 35 years, wants to give up? Dean can not fathom this. He can not accept it. Which is proven true when from the moment she solidifies that she’s leaving, Dean does not look in her direction again.
Dean’s reaction to his mother leaving lines up with how he handles most people in his life leaving. He acts petulant and angry: like how he avoids his mother’s offered embrace.
Sam on the other hand has a much more instinctual and base reaction. He has a fear of abandonment – both from feeling left out and “other” most of this life and from all of the loss he’s suffered. It’s one of the reasons why he is the brother who tends to run away himself; Sam leaves before someone can leave him first. So he does not act like Dean. He accepts Mary’s hug. But watch the physical flinch-like reaction he has to her shutting the bunker door.
Dean acts like a child who is angry. Sam acts like one who is scared.
Want to add one more layer of garbage feelings on top of all this? The one thing that Winchesters hate more than abandonment? Rejection. (Especially Sam. Visions, demon blood, Lucifer, soulless, my brother chose a vampire over me – Sam has been rejected time and time again by the people he loves.) Mary, in trying to explain to her sons just what it is she’s struggling with, is rejecting them. Not purposefully. Not maliciously. But these two adult sons? The sons who have wanted nothing more in their lives than to have more time with their mother? They are not the sons she wants right now.
Someone protect my poor boys.
Quotes and Notes and Other Things
- Mary reaching out to Cas for some sort of comfort, and Cas trying his best to offer it made me feel some sort of way. Cas tried really really hard to make Mary feel better. That’s unusual. Not because Cas is mean or callous, but because he’s not good at connecting and he doesn’t know her well. Like c’mon tell me that effort wasn’t for Dean.
- Dean: So what have you found on “her Majesty’s secret suckbags?”
- Mary: *grabs a piece of bacon* Sam: “We can fry up some more that’s probably cold by now.” Mary: “It’s bacon.” Dean: “Wow we are so related.”
- Mary: “Why give the bad guys the advantage of long pullable hair?” Dean: “I’ve been telling Sam that for years.”
- The agent names this episode were ridiculous. Cas, knowing the Winchester’s went with band names, chose Agent Beyoncé along with Crowley as Agent Jay-Z. Mary took the lead on her team and showed her age as she introduced herself as Agent Shirley Partridge along with her partners Agents Cassidy and Bonaduce. Cmon now.
- Cas: “Hi I’m Agent Beyoncé this is Agent Z we wanted to ask you a few questions about your bro…ther.” *door slams in face* “Do you think that happens to Sam and Dean?” Crowley: “Oh all the time.”
- When Cas and Crowley enter the cabin where Rowena is neat the end of the episode, the music that accompanies them sounds a lot like the a theme from Manos: the Hands of Fate. There is probably no one who will read this and also agree with me but I figured I’d through it out there.