TV

Supernatural: Season 12, Episode 1 - "Keep Calm and Carry On"

Jessy Krupa

A new showrunner and the reappearance of Mary Winchester promises an intriguing season 12.


Supernatural

Airtime: Thursdays, 9pm
Cast: Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins, Mark A. Sheppard
Subtitle: Season 12, Episode 1 - "Keep Calm and Carry On"
Network: CW
Air date: 2016-10-13
Amazon

It's been an interesting summer for the CW's Supernatural. Not only was it featured on the cover of Entertainment Weekly's Fall TV Preview issue, but fans have been speculating on just how new co-showrunner Andrew Dabb (replacing Jeremy Carver) will change the show's dynamic. (Also, the CW's affiliate changes mean several viewers across the country will now face fewer local sports-related delays.)

Season 12 opens, as usual, with a recapping montage, this year set to April Wine's "Bad Boys". Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) finds himself reintroduced to his formerly deceased mother, Mary (Samantha Smith), presumably brought back to life as a goodbye gift from Amara (Emily Swallow) at the end of last season. One might have expected a very emotional mother/son reunion here, but the moment, culminating in an awkward hug, seemed very rushed. As hokey as this plot development is, it does bring in an interesting new (old?) character, with an important backstory for those who've followed the show from the beginning.

Although Mary spends most of the episode bewildered by today's modern technology -- she's been dead for more than 30 years, after all -- she did prove to be a valuable aspect to the team by saving a (too-easily) overpowered Dean and Castiel (Misha Collins) from the brass-knuckled hands of a Man Of Letters goon (Bronaugh Waugh). Adding depth to her character is the closing scene, set to Black Sabbath's "Solitude", in which Mary seems remorseful for her role in killing and disposing the goon's body.

The goon, of course, is one of the still-mysterious members of that organization holding Sam Winchester (Jared Padalecki) hostage. Possible season 12 "big bad" Lady Antonia Bevell (Elizabeth Blackmore) shot Sam in the final moment of season 11, then paid off a bewildered veterinarian (Colin Lawrence) to help him. Apparently, she's been torturing Sam in order to get information on American hunters, as the British branch of her organization is on a mission to make this country monster-free. Another weird plot development but, so far, we know just enough about Bevell to distrust her, especially as we see her order Sam to be tortured. Honestly, though, after Sam's literally been to hell and back at least twice, aren't the scenes of her burning his feet with a blowtorch and shooting him up with a hallucinogenic drug rather underwhelming?

We didn't see much of Crowley (Mark Sheppard) in this episode, but we can assume that he's back in (some kind of) charge of Hell, as he orders random demons to search for Lucifer. Led to a house full of bloody victims, he surmises that the devil is searching for a powerful new vessel.

Also making the most of little screen time is Castiel, who's bounced back from the events of the finale (being Lucifer's vessel) with a more aggressive disposition. Instead of being his usual rational, if not passive self, Castiel was quick to knock out an innocent bystander, steal a car, and threaten a witness. Is there a big reason for this personality change?

All in all, “Keep Calm and Carry On” (which was originally advertised under the episode title of "Family Ties") was an intriguing, if somewhat uneventful, episode that nonetheless offers a promising preview of the rest of the season. It'll be interesting to see how next week's introduction of Rick Springfield as Lucifer's new vessel adds to the season's focus on the darker side of things.

8

In Americana music the present is female. Two-thirds of our year-end list is comprised of albums by women. Here, then, are the women (and a few men) who represented the best in Americana in 2017.

If a single moment best illustrates the current divide between Americana music and mainstream country music, it was Sturgill Simpson busking in the street outside the CMA Awards in Nashville. While Simpson played his guitar and sang in a sort of renegade-outsider protest, Garth Brooks was onstage lip-syncindg his way to Entertainer of the Year. Americana music is, of course, a sprawling range of roots genres that incorporates traditional aspects of country, blues, soul, bluegrass, etc., but often represents an amalgamation or reconstitution of those styles. But one common aspect of the music that Simpson appeared to be championing during his bit of street theater is the independence, artistic purity, and authenticity at the heart of Americana music. Clearly, that spirit is alive and well in the hundreds of releases each year that could be filed under Americana's vast umbrella.

Keep reading... Show less

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less

This week on our games podcast, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

This week, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

Keep reading... Show less

Which is the draw, the art or the artist? Critic Rachel Corbett examines the intertwined lives of two artists of two different generations and nationalities who worked in two starkly different media.

Artist biographies written for a popular audience necessarily involve compromise. On the one hand, we are only interested in the lives of artists because we are intrigued, engaged, and moved by their work. The confrontation with a work of art is an uncanny experience. We are drawn to, enraptured and entranced by, absorbed in the contemplation of an object. Even the performative arts (music, theater, dance) have an objective quality to them. In watching a play, we are not simply watching people do things; we are attending to the play as a thing that is more than the collection of actions performed. The play seems to have an existence beyond the human endeavor that instantiates it. It is simultaneously more and less than human: more because it's superordinate to human action and less because it's a mere object, lacking the evident subjectivity we prize in the human being.

Keep reading... Show less
3

Gabin's Maigret lets everyone else emote, sometimes hysterically, until he vents his own anger in the final revelations.

France's most celebrated home-grown detective character is Georges Simenon's Inspector Jules Maigret, an aging Paris homicide detective who, phlegmatically and unflappably, tracks down murderers to their lairs at the center of the human heart. He's invariably icon-ified as a shadowy figure smoking an eternal pipe, less fancy than Sherlock Holmes' curvy calabash but getting the job done in its laconic, unpretentious, middle-class manner.

Keep reading... Show less
5
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image