TV

"Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox" Offers a Fun Bottle Episode Resolved a Bit Too Quickly

Jessy Krupa
Billie (Lisa Barry) offers to take Mary back to heaven.

A lot of family drama, and a little demon action, comprise this mostly stand-alone episode.


Supernatural

Airtime: Thursdays, 9pm
Cast: Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins, Mark A. Sheppard
Subtitle: Season 12, Episode 6 - "Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox"
Network: CW
Air date: 2016-11-17
Amazon
"Was that why you spent the entire ride up here telling me in extreme, excruciating detail how you killed Hitler, but you neglected to mention the fact that your mom is back from the dead?"

-- Jody Mills

Tonight's episode of Supernatural featured two characters from the show's past and a few new additions that we might see again in the future, but the plot was wrapped up so speedily that the whole thing just seemed like a missed opportunity. All in all, it continued season 12's pattern of great character development and an interesting season-wide arc, but with half-baked, quickly resolved weekly plots.

Thirty-four years ago, Mary Winchester (Samantha Smith) rescued a little boy from a werewolf. That boy grew up to be Asa Fox (Shaine Jones), an obsessive hunter with a lot of fellow hunter friends. One of those friends was Sheriff Jody Mills (Kim Rhodes), who, after hearing about his untimely death, invites Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) to his funeral.

Because their father told them that going to a fellow hunter's funeral "would only be trouble", Sam and Dean are surprised to see exactly what a hunter's funeral looks like; instead of the Winchesters' usual solemn words spoken over a grave or burning pyre, Asa's funeral is more like a sleazy friends-giving, with people downing beers while either boasting of past exploits or telling inappropriate stories from their friend's past.

Most of the attendees, including twins that were raised by a witch (Kara Royster, Kendrick Sampson), an awkward guy named Elvis (Billy Wickman), a quiet guy named Randy Bull (Darren E. Scott), and Asa's best friend, Bucky (Mac Brandt), are surprised to see the Winchesters in person, and ask them if the crazy stories they've heard about them (the events of past seasons) are true. It's only Asa's mother Loraine (Laurie Paton), however, who's surprised (and angry) at Mary Winchester's presence.

This leads, of course, to more emotional talk between the Winchesters and their mother, who still doesn't feel quite right about being alive and living with her now-grown sons. It's in the midst of one of these conversations that Dean and Mary notice blood dripping down from the ceiling onto Asa's body, blood leaking out of a dead Randy, who's stuck on the ceiling, demon-style.

Dean immediately goes outside to retrieve some supplies as Mary explains what's happening, but Dean soon discovers that the demon inside has barred anyone from coming in or going out. Luckily, Billie the reaper (Lisa Berry) arrives to take Randy's soul -- and apparently to taunt Dean about the whole situation -- but he's able to convince her to get him inside.

If there is one thing Dean Winchester should know by now it's that he should never make a deal with any sort of supernatural creature, particularly one who wields power over life and death, but that's exactly what he does with Billie. She zaps him inside of the house, asking for "a favor later".

Once inside, the episode turns into a thrilling sort of haunted house mystery, as the demon Jael jumps into various characters, trying to trick everybody else along the way. In addition to killing Randy, Jael also taunts the hunters, revealing that Jody, who had slept with Asa, "fantasized about having a life with him", Loraine hated the fact that her son was a hunter, the twins were fathered by Asa, and that it was actually Bucky who killed Asa by accidentally shoving him onto a sharp rock during an argument.

There's a lesson here in the fact that even the closest friends and family sometimes have dark secrets, but this is all brought to an end rather quickly. Mary Winchester exorcises the demon into a flaming hole of smoke, and everyone gathers around the funeral pyre.

As for Dean's deal with Billie, one would think it would have serious consequences,; instead, she just threatens to take Mary away, because she can feel her confusion at being brought back to life. Mary didn't seem bothered by the concept, but still, states that Billie will have have to wait.

Which is true for viewers as well; Supernatural won't be back until December 1, in an episode that looks to be more mythology-heave, with Vince/Lucifer (Rick Springfield) singing and more of Crowley and Castiel's odd couple teamwork.

6

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