“It’s been months, months! since we tried to kill each other.”
Supernatural, which began as a show about two brothers devoted to “saving people, hunting things”, has grown to be quite the ensemble piece, with a frequently changing roster of angels, demons, supernatural entities, friends, and family members rounding out the cast. Tonight’s episode, however, hearkened back to the beginning, with most of the action focusing on one character, Mary Winchester (Samantha Smith).
The show’s spent an awful lot of time this season reminding viewers that Mary is unfamiliar with today’s modern technology. It was almost as if we were supposed to feel sorry for her not because she had died in a tragic way and was separated from her family, but because she has no idea how the Internet works. (For the record, Sam [Jared Padalecki] did eventually offer to teach her how to use a computer.) All of this did play a major part in the episode, though, because Mary’s “old-school” ways of investigation not only found the Winchesters their case of the week, but also helped to solve it.
After reading a newspaper article about a couple (Nevis Unipan and Bracken Hanke) viciously murdered after reporting the screams of a baby coming from an abandoned house, Mary urges her sons to investigate. Sam and Dean (Jensen Ackles) uses the Internet to uncover a long history of children who lived in the house dying in tragic ways, and try their usual methods of interviewing a coroner (Nikolai Witschl) and burning bodies. Mary, on the other hand, finds herself compelled to see the house in person, where she bonds with a ghostly boy (Christian Convery) pleading for help. She calls the boy’s mother on the phone (Gwenda Lorenzetti), using sweet-talk to get her number from an operator, and ends up consoling a lonely person who just needed someone to talk to.
Her maternal instincts nearly kill her, however, because upon returning to the house, she becomes possessed by the real monster: the tortured spirit of a father who’d slaughtered his family and kept the souls of innocent children held hostage. Luckily, Sam and Dean arrived in time to save her, banish the ghost, and (in a rare, afterlife-affirming, happy ending for the show) see the souls of the children fly up to Heaven.
Meanwhile, Castiel (Misha Collins) and Crowley (Mark Sheppard) find themselves as the comic relief of the episode, teaming up to find Vince Vicente/Lucifer (Rick Springfield). Castiel feels responsible for unleashing the devil upon the world, and Crowley is supposedly concerned about his mother (who’s strangely described here as “the only person who can put Lucifer back in his cage”). Regardless of the inconsistencies, it does lead to some funny aliases and an interesting game of good cop, bad cop (literally) with Vince the rock star’s sister (Nancy Kerr).
Mirroring the “mother knows best” theme of tonight’s episode is Rowena (Ruth Connell), who’s a completely different kind of mother, but a mother nonetheless. Lucifer’s literally holding her hostage (chains and all), and her crush on him is definitely over. Ordered to cast a spell to strengthen and bind him to his vessel, she instead rapidly ages him and transports him to “the middle of the bottom of the ocean”, where presumably it’ll be hard to find another body to possess. Castiel and Crowley find her sipping tea, and she vows to help them put the devil back in Hell’s cage if the opportunity arises.
Just as we’re wondering if this is the last we’ve seen of Rick Springfield as Lucifer (and his awesome monster make-up transformations), Supernatural viewers found themselves contemplating on another possible surprise character exit: Mary Winchester! Stating that she missed her life in Heaven with John and their young boys, she said she “just needed a little more time” and left the Winchester bunker.
Where will she go? Isn’t that a stupid reason for leaving? It’ll be interesting to see how the online fan community deals with the potential loss of not one, but two popular characters that were just starting to gain traction on the show. A lot can happen in one episode, though, so don’t be surprised if one or both of them will be back soon.