Television

"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
Music


Books


Film


Recent
Music

12 Essential Performances from New Orleans' Piano "Professors"

New Orleans music is renowned for its piano players. Here's a dozen jams from great Crescent City keyboardists, past and present, and a little something extra.

Music

Jess Williamson Reimagines the Occult As Source Power on 'Sorceress'

Folk singer-songwriter, Jess Williamson wants listeners to know magic is not found in tarot cards or mass-produced smudge sticks. Rather, transformative power is deeply personal, thereby locating Sorceress as an indelible conveyor of strength and wisdom.

By the Book

Flight and Return: Kendra Atleework's Memoir, 'Miracle Country'

Although inconsistent as a memoir, Miracle Country is a breathtaking environmental history. Atleework is a shrewd observer and her writing is a gratifying contribution to the desert-literature genre.

Music

Mark Olson and Ingunn Ringvold Celebrate New Album With Performance Video (premiere)

Mark Olson (The Jayhawks) and Ingunn Ringvold share a 20-minute performance video that highlights their new album, Magdalen Accepts the Invitation. "This was an opportunity to perform the new songs and pretend in a way that we were still going on tour because we had been so looking forward to that."

Music

David Grubbs and Taku Unami Collaborate on the Downright Riveting 'Comet Meta'

Comet Meta is a brilliant record full of compositions and moments worthy of their own accord, but what's really enticing is that it's not only by David Grubbs but of him. It's perhaps the most emotive, dream-like, and accomplished piece of Grubbsian experimental post-rock.

Music

On Their 2003 Self-Titled Album, Buzzcocks Donned a Harder Sound and Wore it With Style and Taste

Buzzcocks, the band's fourth album since their return to touring in 1989, changed their sound but retained what made them great in the first place

Reading Pandemics

Chaucer's Plague Tales

In 18 months, the "Great Pestilence" of 1348-49 killed half of England's population, and by 1351 half the population of the world. Chaucer's plague tales reveal the conservative edges of an astonishingly innovative medieval poet.

Music

Country's Jaime Wyatt Gets in Touch With Herself on 'Neon Cross'

Neon Cross is country artist Jaime Wyatt's way of getting in touch with all the emotions she's been going through. But more specifically, it's about accepting both the past and the present and moving on with pride.

Music

Counterbalance 17: Public Enemy - 'It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back'

Hip-hop makes its debut on the Big List with Public Enemy’s meaty, beaty manifesto, and all the jealous punks can’t stop the dunk. Counterbalance’s Klinger and Mendelsohn give it a listen.

Music

Sondre Lerche and the Art of Radical Sincerity

"It feels strange to say it", says Norwegian pop artist Sondre Lerche about his ninth studio album, "but this is the perfect time for Patience. I wanted this to be something meaningful in the middle of all that's going on."

Books

How the Template for Modern Combat Journalism Developed

The superbly researched Journalism and the Russo-Japanese War tells readers how Japan pioneered modern techniques of propaganda and censorship in the Russo-Japanese War.

Film

From Horrifying Comedy to Darkly Funny Horror: Bob Clark Films

What if I told you that the director of one of the most heartwarming and beloved Christmas movies of all time is the same director as probably the most terrifying and disturbing yuletide horror films of all time?

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.