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As is typical of the show we all know and love, Supernatural likes to take a hard left turn after hitting us over the head with a big bomb episode. Mary’s decision to leave her sons at the end of “The Foundry” was one of those bombs. So this past week we had a filler episode, “American Nightmare,” in order to give us, along with Sam and Dean, a chance to breathe. And by breathe I mean a chance to investigate some super creepy stigmata deaths and send sad texts to Mary.
Why can’t the boys just go on a beach vacation for once?
“American Nightmare” was pretty solid for the first filler of the year. Weird humans are always scarier than monsters and I was NOT OKAY with this week’s evil matriarch. Of the things that creep me out the most (a list that includes spiders, sharp objects combined with eyeballs, and porcelain dolls) hyper Christian psycho ladies rank pretty high.
In one of the more shocking cold opens in a while, a woman stumbles into a church yelling in tongues. Then she starts bleeding in a stigmata-like fashion, and collapses dead on the floor. Sam and Dean pick up on the case, and, like his mother before him, Dean throws himself into the investigation while trying to ignore his feelings regarding Mary. Or at least he puts on a show of ignoring – he still manages to send sneaky texts that equate to “LOVE ME.” I’ll deconstruct the texting at the end.
The boys figure out that the dead woman was a social worker, and Dean assumes the culprit is her wiccan coworker Beth who wanted to usurp her job. Sam is unsure. A second stigmata-death then crops up in the form of a local delivery boy. The only connection between the two vics is their association with a hyper-religious family who lives off the grid. The Petersons (mother, father, son, dead daughter) went all-Amish after the a bout with addiction and poor grades; a decision to not medically treat their daughter for pneumonia led to her death. While Beth assures Sam and Dean that the family is really weird, they don’t seem too far off the reservation. Dean immediately strikes up a rapport with the father, and he believes that Beth is still their key suspect. Sam however can not get over the fact that the family was so concerned with being overly religious, that they wouldn’t take a sick child to the doctor, ostensibly killing her. (See? Dean is looking for an outside supernatural source to blame. Sam sees the failing of a parent as the ultimate evil. One day I will write a sad jingle about Winchesters and their grief coping mechanisms.)
Turns out Sam was the closest without going over. Magda was not haunting her family as Sam suspected; she was being kept in the basement. Which I called right before it happened and proceeded to yell “I AM YOUR NEW GOD” to no one in particular.
Magda it turns out was a psychic, kind of like Sam and Azazel’s other special children, and could force people to do her will. When she accidentally caused a car accident with her abilities, her mother decided that she was possessed by the devil and chained her in the basement, forcing her to commit self-flagellation. And the rest of the family was cool with it. … Did I mention how religious fanatics freak me out?
Sam attempts to save Magda as he sees her mother abusing her, but ends up kidnapped himself. He spends his time in the basement with Magda trying to convince her that she’s not evil and she’s certainly not possessed by the devil. Turns out though that Magda did indeed kill the social worker and the grocery boy. She used her abilities to reach out to them for help, but since she had no training, she overloaded them by mistake.
Before Dean can rescue his wayward brother, Sam is invited upstairs for dinner. Rat poison soup. I’m sure it was delicious? I called that a bit before it happened too and when the father started foaming at the mouth I proceeded to yell “BOW DOWN TO ME” to no one in particular. I am a *very* chatty person to watch television with.
The mother decides that the only way they can stay together is a family is by going all Jonestown and ascending together to Heaven. (Spoiler alert: she is not going to Heaven.) Sam is able to keep the young brother from eating his meal for long enough that Magda is able to use her powers to stop her mother, and even makes a move to stab her. But Sam talks her out of it just in time for psycho mama to grab the knife and accidentally kill her son instead of her daughter. It was a wild ride. Such a loving family. Thanks for the meal!
So mom is off to prison, and maybe hell, and Magda is off to live with a relative nearby. She and Sam share a really sweet moment where he gives her his cell number and tells her he’s always available if they need to talk. And just when I thought we might be getting a fun new addition to our Wayward Daughter crew, we see Magda get MURDERED AT A REST STOP. UGH. Looks like the mysterious Mr. Ketch from the British MoL is in town to clean up the messes or murder innocent girls you know, all for the greater good.
The episodes when Supernatural decides to make normal humans the villains are always great, and “American Nightmare” was no exception. But, because this is the season that saw the return of Mary Winchester, we needed a moment or two of angst. Near the top of the episode Dean sends a text to his mother to check on her, and he can’t stop himself from asking if it’s still ok to call her “mom.” My heart pretty much broke in two. But then it stitched itself back together so that it could chastise Dean as he called himself “a 13 year old girl” as he waited eagerly for a response. No Dean. You are a grown man whose mother came back from the dead and just when you started getting used to it she left. You are allowed to feel like a child again. To be frank, I’m very surprised that Dean only made it a week before reaching out to her. He typically is stubborn much longer than that. But I suppose Mary was always going to be an exception to the rule.
But the best moment? Of all of this? Had to be Dean’s face when Mary finally texted back in the end, telling him she loved them and of course that she’s “mom.” He was so happy. I was so happy. I would like Dean to always be happy. Someone pass that message along to Andrew Dabb and the writers, thanks.
Quotes and Notes and Other Things:
- Sam and Dean in church collars is hotter than it should be. I’m ashamed.
- When Dean paused to look at a mom helping her son light a candle I literally yelled “NO ONE TOUCH ME.” I was alone in my house.
- Dean: “Cas is chumming it up with Crowley. They’re hunting Lucifer together. That’s right. One’s an angel, one’s a demon and apparently they solve crimes.”
- Gail: “Do you know God, gentlemen?” Dean: “Oh yeah. Yeah, we’re besties.”
- Sam: “God didn’t kill your daughter. You did.” Sammy coming for the anti-vaxxers. Hot damn boy was livid in this scene.
- Sam: “What did Beth want?” Dean: “She gave me her number. Her personal number.” Sam: “You were gonna shoot her.” Dean: “Yeah I know. It was kind of weird. Kinda hot.”