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

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

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

“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.

RATING 6 / 10