October 20, 2016
THEN: “Screw. You.”
Sam is having the sexy times with Lady Cardboard and I just threw up in my mouth a little.
It’s a spell induced hallucination. Another attack on Sam’s mind designed to gather information. You know, if Lady Cardboard does end up being Sam’s love interest, the upside is it will give his Peen of Death a chance to do us all a solid.
The spell begins to wear off. Sam comes to back in the chair in the middle of the cellar.
“So … was it good for you?”
At a hotel in Cleveland, rock star Rick Springfield is thinking about his life, thinking about his choices, and not feeling very good about them. He holds his hands under the tap and stares into the bathroom mirror. He leans down and splashes water on his face. When he stands up his face is covered in blood.
The lights flicker and objects fly around the room. And then his dead girlfriend Jen is standing in the room with him. For Lucifer, the old school is the best school when trying to gain entry to a vessel.
Also, it just feels like a lost opportunity to not call her Jessie. Brad Buckner and Eugenie Ross-Lemming are why we can’t have nice things.
“I can’t believe I’m once again down some dank hole seeking the devil! When does it end?!”
Crowley tells Rowena it ends when they put Lucifer back in the cage. He says she’s the only one that can do it. Rowena refuses. She’s going to retire to Boca to sip martinis with Republicans at her tennis club. Good day. SHE SAID GOOD DAY! Crowley threatens to reveal her witchy true identify to new boyfriend Ben. Or maybe just kill him.
“Either way, it’s bye-bye Boca.”
Dean is on the phone with Cas. He’s monitoring surveillance and traffic cameras from the Bunker. The angel is running down every motel and abandoned building in Aldrich, MO for signs of Sam and coming up empty. Dean suggests he look into real estate – purchases or rentals. Maybe the people they’re looking for actually do things legit.
It may seem out of character for Dean not to be in Missouri with Cas, but he has Mary to worry about too. He tells Cas they don’t know how to act around each other. They make small talk and pretend like everything is normal, “but it’s so not normal … it’s like it’s all just too much.” Dean says he just doesn’t want to overwhelm his mother.
Cas is a bit out of his depth in the conversation. His “people skills” are “rusty.” He tells Dean not to make things needlessly complicated, “as you humans tend to do.” Dean is like, my mother is back from the dead. It’s complicated. NOT HELPING.
Mary comes into the Map Room and asks about news on Sam. She’s wearing a dead guy robe. I’d like to think it’s Dean’s and that he doesn’t mind. He tells her Cas is in Missouri and that he’s cracked every database he can think of. Mary has a confused because technology. She changes the subject, asking if Dean is really afraid of overwhelming her. He looks pained by the question.
Dean reassures her that he’s thrilled she’s back. He says he’s so damned happy he can’t stand it. If his joy is not outwardly apparent it’s because he’s seen the show and is waiting for his happiness to be snatched out from under him. He knows it’s going to take her some time to catch up. He tells Mary to take all the time she needs.
“And when we do find Sam … how am I going to face him?”
It’s Dean’s turn to be confused. Mary’s smile falters. She’s talking about the YED. HOLY CRAP THEY’RE ACTUALLY TALKING ABOUT YED! KRIPKE BE PRAISED! She says “that yellow-eyed thing” would never have come for Sam if … She can’t get the words out. She takes a deep shaky breath.
“I started all of this.”
Dean doesn’t know what to say. What can he say? I’m just so ding danged thrilled Show brought it up and stunned that it’s occurring so early in the season. Now I just need Mary to have this conversation with Sam. Because I imagine Sam has forgiven his mother, but they each need to hear the other actually say the words.
Dean is still at research the next morning when Mary gets up. She’s wearing plaid. Wear plaid; don’t die. She says she dreamed all night. Her brain dredging up things she’d forgotten about. Funny stuff John did.
“He was a great father.”
Dean’s ringing phone saves him from having that conversation. Cas has found an old farm, powerfully warded, that was rented two weeks earlier to a woman with an English accent. Does that mean Sam has been gone for two weeks? That timeline seems unlikely. It feels like 3 or 4 days at most have passed since “Alpha and Omega.”
Why do I even ask these questions in a Buckner and Ross-Lemming episode?
Mary is ready to roll. Dean balks. He carefully suggests that maybe he should take this one solo. He admits he can’t do his job if he’s worried about her. Mary full body blesses her son’s heart. She says she can handle herself. She’s coming.
“I’m your mother. You have to do what I say.”
Mary is riding shotgun in Baby. She grins at Dean. He rolls his eyes like a teenager. She points out that the Bunker was targeted. They know Dean is coming for Sam. They’re expecting him. “I’m the last person they’d expect.”
Dean can’t argue with her logic. He’s realizing he underestimates his mother at his own peril. He says she was good at this, wasn’t she? Mary quietly responds, “Very.” A bitter hint of a smile quirks at her mouth. She reminds him, again some more, that no matter how good a hunter is, “they all end up the same way.”
Dean tells Mary that her death changed John. “The hunter life, it just took him over.” Dean shrugs. He guesses he was the same. He’ll save the story of embracing the life when he was 16 for another time. But he says Sam was different. There’s pride in Dean’s voice when he tells Mary Sam went to Stanford. She’s stunned that Sam came back to the life when he had a chance to get out.
“When Dad disappeared, Sam and I looked around and something became very clear. That the only thing we had in this world – the only thing, aside from this car – was each other.”
The next conversation I hope they have with Mary is the one about Bobby. She needs to know how much he loved her boys.
They meet Cas the next morning at the farmhouse. He makes a face when he sees Mary. He’s like, is it bring your mom to work day? Dean goes to check out the house. Mary is right on his heels.
“You can keep me from driving Dean, not from hunting.”
Dean looks over her shoulder to Castiel. Little help? The angel reluctantly plays along. He says he’s locked out by the warding. He could use the company.
So despite knowing he’s dealing with an adversary with means and resources, who knows how to banish an angel, and who can both ward and cloak their magic, Dean just scouts around the house out in the open. He rattles loudly on the locked cellar door for good measure before activating a spelled MoL sigil.
Because the only way Buckner and Ross-Lemming can propel a story forward is to have their characters behave like brain-damaged kittens.
The door to the cellar opens. Lady Cardboard appears at the top of the stairs. Sam is breathless and bloody. It takes some effort to hold his head up, but his voice is strong and clear. “Go screw yourself.” She tugs Dean into view and propels him down the stairs. His hands are shackled. He winces with each step. Lady Cardboard finally has leverage.
“While you may be able to withstand my snapping apart your body joint by joint, can you watch it happen to Dean?”
Lucifer stalks into the throne room. Crowley is waiting for him, passing the time reading a comic. He’s not impressed with the devil’s choice of vessel. A second tier star? “I would have thought Bieber was more your style.” Lucifer hisses that Crowley is either mad or dim.
In response, Crowley questions why in the hell Lucifer would want to rule Hell when he could reclaim Heaven? Crowley offers to hold things down at the branch office. Lucifer counteroffers with a smiting into oblivion.
Before he can rain down his wrath, Rowena hits him with a paralysis spell. It will work long enough for Crowley to douse Lucifer with acid and burn the vessel off of him, allowing Rowena to send him back to the Cage.
Last season you could assume that exorcism was needed to avoid imprisoning Castiel right along with Lucifer. But now, Buckner and Ross-Lemming have just decided to ignore “Swan Song” because LOL!canon.
Right? Remember that? Remember that time the earth opened up and swallowed Lucifer and Michael while they were still wearing Sam and Adam? And in the name of all that is good and holy, please tell me someone on this show remembers that THERE IS A BLOODY CHUCKDAMNED KEY TO THE BLOODY BOLLOCKY CAGE!
I can’t. I just can’t. Not even my love for Rick Springfield can make me can with this scene. The spell doesn’t work, Crowley peace outs, and Rowena is left as Lucifer’s prisoner, the end.
What is worth noting in this scene is the absolutely top-notch work by the F/X and makeup teams.
I mean, really. Kudos. All the fruit baskets because that is just upsetting in the best kind of way! Not to mention we got a bonus unfurling of wings, which is always a delight.
Sam doesn’t seem at all certain that Dean is real. After several days of drug and spell induced mind fucks one can hardly blame him. Dean spits the blood out of his mouth. He says he just came by for some tea and a beating. Lady Cardboard hopes he’s up for a chat about this mate, Benny. Dean fixes her with a dead-eyed stare that suggests he intends to beat Benny’s name right out of her mouth.
And also random much? Lady C name dropped Ruby to Sam earlier, so I can’t decide if she’s just probing at soft spots or if she’s making a specific threat against Benny. Is Chapterhouse London going to drag him out of Purgatory and use him against Dean? LEAVE BENNY ALONE!
Sam gasps at Dean that he thought his brother was dead. Dean quips that he’s not sure that he’s not. He promises to tell Sam everything, but first, “who’s Angry Spice?” Dean decides that their English colleagues have the WORST. SECRET. HANDSHAKE. EVER.
Lady Cardboard takes a break from physically beating the boys to mock and berate them for their ignorance. Surrounded by the world’s greatest collection of occult knowledge they’re just two Jon Snows. She says in London they pursue an exhaustive study of even the most arcane topics. Inflicting Hellish Pain 101 for example.
Lady C tells Dean it’s possible to die from pain. Dean tries to steel himself for what’s about to come. There’s a glint in her eye that suggest Lady C is looking forward to seeing just how far she can push him until he breaks. Her hand is stayed by the click of a hammer.
“Get away from my boys.”
The ‘OH SHIT’ look on Lady Cardboard’s face is a thing of beauty. I’d like to frame it and hang it over my mantle. Sam can’t believe his eyes again some more. Dean is like, oh it’s her, and she’s about to kick this bitch’s ass.
Mary moves forward with purpose. She tells Lady Cardboard to drop the sharp pointy thing and get on the ground. Lady C stares her down. Mary cracks her in the face with the butt of her gun. She quickly passes the shackle keys to Dean.
“That’s the ground.”
Mary spares a quick glance at Sam and Lady Cardboard pounces. Fight fight struggle fight. It goes badly for Mary at first, but she was just roping this dope. HIT HER AGAIN MOMMA WINCHESTER! HIT HER AGAIN! Dean frees himself and fires a warning shot in the air.
Lady Cardboard grabs a piece of broken glass from the sink. She drags it across her palm and uses it to cast a spell. Which okay, apparently you can just pull spells out of your ass and the thin air now. No sigils or summoning salads needed.
And here’s my problem with the BMoL story line. It’s a whole chapter of smug bastardy, hand wavy Cuthbert Sinclairs. I can only hope their story ends the same way his did.
Anyhoo, Lady C uses the blood spell to slowly choke the life out of Mary. She warns that if Dean shoots her, Mary will have no chance.
Dean watches his mother on her knees struggling for air. He puts the gun in Lady C’s hand. Then he punches her in the face, knocking her out cold. Mary drags in a long rasping breath. Dean helps her to her feet. He says Lady Cardboard was using a Chinese mind control technique. “Hard to do when you’re unconscious.”
“Turns out this ape did read a book or two.”
Lady Cardboard’s minder, Mick, compliments Dean’s quick thinking. “Well played.” He’s standing at the foot of the stairs with Castiel. He says it’s true that Chapterhouse London was keen to know more about the Winchesters. And he agrees that Lady Cardboard went too far, but some in their group suspect American hunters of working with the monsters.
Mick tells them Lady Cardboard will face consequences in London. Dean suggests cutting out the middle man, but Mick stands firm. Lady C is one of theirs. He pivots to a sales pitch for working together, but Sam cuts him off. Why should they believe anything he has to say?
Mick blandly says if he meant them harm there are a dozen ways he could have come in and taken them. Instead, he’s unarmed. He powered down the warding to allow Castiel entry. Mick reckons Castiel could finish him off without breaking a sweat.
“I don’t sweat under any circumstances.”
Literal Cas is literal and I am here for it. Mick leaves his number. He tells the Winchesters to take their time and think it over. What have they got to lose … except their worst nightmares?
Cut to some time later AFTER Sam has had a chance to fully absorb that his brother and his mother are both alive AFTER the boys have hugged it out and AFTER Castiel has healed them all and excused himself because, while he is family, he recognizes that the boys need some time alone with their mother. Because these are all emotionally cathartic moments that aren’t important to the story at all.
Anyhoo, the map table is littered with the remnants of a bucket of chicken. Dean thanks his mother for the meal. Mary laughs and said all she did was point at items on a take out menu. She would have cooked but she … doesn’t. Dean has a confused. Her meatloaf was amazing.
“Came from the Piggly-Wiggly.”
She pats Dean on the shoulder. Those memories may be a lie, but pie … pie is truth. FINALLY. FINALLY, DEAN GETS HIS PIE.
Mary glances over at Sam. He’s sitting at the head of the table. Dean is between them. It’s not just a physical distance. Sam’s posture is stiff and anxious. Mary says he’s looking at her like she’s going to explode.
Sam apologizes but is cut off by the yummy noises Dean is making. He lifts a quarter of the pie onto his plate. Honestly, I’m surprised he’s not just eating it right out of the box. Mary asks if they’re buying Mick’s ‘let’s be friends’ routine. The boys agree – not even a little.
Dean begins shoveling pie into his pie hole, groaning in delight. Sam is like, welcome to my life. Mary asks him if he could eat that any faster? Dean suddenly realizes he’s not actually alone with his pie. Mary says they should call the internet and find out as much as they can about Chapterhouse London.
I’m going to embroider that on a pillow and start using it on the regular. I don’t Google anymore. I call the internet.
The boys look at each other, trying to decide who gets to take that one. Mary realizes her mistake. Did she say that right? They tell her she was close. So close.
Sam knocks on Mary’s door later than night. He brings her a cup of tea. He doesn’t know if she drinks tea but here it is. Tea! Sam shoves his hands in his pockets. He’s about to jump out of his skin. He nervously offers that if his mother ever wants to talk, he knows what it’s like to come back and not feel like you fit.
Mary says she just has a lot to catch up on. A lot of blanks to fill in. There’s a sad awareness of all the moments with her sons that she’ll never be able to get back. Sam offers her John’s demonic day planner. “His writing. His words.” Sam says it helped him fill in some blanks and answered questions he didn’t know he had. And it keeps their father with them. Sort of.
Right now Mary has a question that only Sam can answer. Why did he come back to the life when he had a chance to get out? Sam shrugs as though the answer should be obvious.
“This is my family.”
Sam says they hunt. It’s what they do. Mary tries to hide it, but she’s not comforted by his words. I see this developing into the central conflict within the family this season. Mary still wants out, but how does she reject hunting when it’s so much a part of who her boys are? Is there a way for her to get out of the life without it feeling to Sam and Dean like she’s rejecting them? I think it’s a great story to explore and I really hope our writers are up to the task.
Before he leaves, Sam acknowledges that he has some gaps to fill in too. He says that just having Mary there fills in the biggest blank. Mary smiles and – slowly, cautiously – reaches up to hug him. Sam leans into her, wraps his arms around her, and holds on. Jared crushes in this scene and now it’s raining on my face.
Dean is alone in the kitchen, sitting on the floor. He reaches back behind him for a beer. He drops the cap next to the two empties. His family snapshot collection is spread out on his lap. He sits with his feelings and thinks about what they’ve lost, what they’ve gotten back, and how long it’s going to last.
Mary hesitates as she opens John’s journal. She pulls out a photo tucked on the first page. I thought at first it was a picture of John with his platoon, but nope. It’s clearly the End!verse photo of Bobby and Castiel taken at Camp Chitaqua.
What? Who? How?
If the End!verse was a construct made by Zachariah, that photo shouldn’t exist. And if Dean really was dropped into a future timeline, he would have had to bring it back with him. And why would he put it in John’s journal? Either way it really doesn’t make any sense.
The only explanation I can come up with is that Amara did more than just bring Mary back. She changed the very fabric of their reality. Because there are no Piggly Wigglys in Kansas. At all. THE MEATLOAF IS A LIE!
Mary looks at the photo and shakes her head. She just can’t with Buckner and Ross-Lemming either.
Lady Cardboard says she’s not getting on the plane. Mick tells her she is. Her job was to identify American hunters and gain their trust – and she failed spectacularly. Lady C insists she’s just getting started. If their goal is to end the supernatural threat in America they need to destroy every obstacle. She says the Winchesters are no better than the monsters they fail to control.
“They need to be eliminated.”
For Lady Cardboard, seeing the world in shades of gray is not a luxury they can afford. It’s interesting that Sam and Dean have always adhered – mostly, at least in the early seasons – to a no-kill rule when it comes to humans. That’s why I’ve always thought that Dean killing one of the #Thinmans in Season 9 was intended to telegraph just how much the Mark of Cain had changed him.
Mick respects the successes that Sam and Dean have had, but he’s a company man. He says if push shoves, he’s prepared. Lady Cardboard wonders if that means he’ll get his hands dirty. Mick says they have Mr. Ketch for that. He’s already on his way.
Supernatural airs Thursday at 8:00 p.m. on The CW.