“Twigs & Twine & Tasha Banes”
May 4, 2017
THEN: “Dad’s on a hunting trip. And he hasn’t been home in a few days.”
Rock River, Wyoming. A wee little smart car pulls up to the Mountain Slumber boarding house. Tasha Banes is greeted by another guest when she steps into the lobby. The bitchy old broad is so clearly the monster she’s hunting that Tasha should just shoot, stab, and/or immolate her on the spot and be done.
That night Tasha casts a reveal spell that leads her down the stairs past the creepy old doll in the wall niche and outside to the cellar. She pulls open the heavy wooden doors and recoils as the smell hits her. She’s surprised by what she finds in the cellar, but not as surprised as she is by the blade that’s suddenly sticking out of her midsection.
That’s going to leave a mark.
Dean is struggling to find some explanation for what happened with Cas at the sandbox. He settles on his angel being “sock puppeted” by Evil Jesus. Sam has his back to Dean. He doesn’t see that Sam is all like, yeah, no. He remembers Dean going through these exact same mental gymnastics back in Season 6. Dean believed in his friend and tried so hard to remain loyal to Cas. But the angel was working with Crowley of his own free will then, and I’m sure Sam suspects the same is true now.
Sam doesn’t have an answer for why, so he moves on to where. He says they need to think like Cas if they want to have a shot at finding him. Dean is at a loss. “How?” He says up until now, if Cas did something wrong but he thought it was for the right reasons, Dean got it.
“But last night when I looked at him, I did not recognize the guy staring back at me.”
Sam’s silence says he agrees. He shifts his attention from that problem to another. The Colt. He unwraps its leather covering and picks up one of the pieces. Dean asks if he can fix it. Wait, what? Since when is Sam the gunsmith? Dean’s the one who made a sawed off in 6th grade. He’s the one we see cleaning the guns. What?
A phone starts buzzing. Sam finds one of Mary’s cells tucked under a pile of books. Alicia Banes is on the line looking for backup to help find her missing mom. Twin Max loudly protests that Alicia is being dramatic, their mom is fine, she’s just busy, stop bothering people. Sam tells her to text the address and he and Dean will meet them.
It’s Dean’s turn to protest, because Cas. Sam argues that until something breaks, all they can do about Evil Jesus is bang their heads against the wall. They should get out there. Sam heaves a cleansing breath and fixes Dean with a look.
“Their mom’s on a hunting trip and hasn’t been home in a week.”
Dean’s shields can’t resist a Season 1 call back of that magnitude. Sam goes off to pack a bag while Dean hangs back in the library. He calls Mary. It goes to voicemail. She can’t get to the phone right now because she’s cuffed to a restraint chair at the BMoL compound.
FAKE OUT! CW promo department made you look! It’s just a shapeshifter that looks like her. Actual Mary watches and cringes as Ketch shoves silver spikes into the thing wearing her face. In a blink it shifts into Ketch and no, sir. That is some “Bloodlines” nonsense and I will not have it. Shifters slip their skin. That is established canon.
All that interrogation has Ketch feeling randy. He suggests to Mary that they slip off somewhere to have the sexy times. Mary looks like her skin wants to crawl right off her body. She curtly reminds him that they agreed it was a one time thing. She snaps at Ketch that his little torture session was pointless. When she suggests that he continued pushing because he enjoyed it, he cuts her off.
“Sometimes pain works. Anyone who tells you that torture is never the answer – they haven’t been under the knife.”
Girl. Run – do not walk – run out of that compound now and don’t look back. Also, as much as Dean doesn’t want to go near that part of himself, I would really like to see him give Ketch a masterclass in pain.
And so what if Ketch did enjoy it? He says the BMoL don’t need a conscience – such a trite idea. She’s not going to become their Jiminy Cricket. “The ends do justify the means.” Ketch sasses that Mary can report him to Mick for a write-up – even though Mick isn’t answering his phone or replying to emails (BECAUSE HE’S DEAD) – before suggesting she return Dean’s call.
“Wouldn’t want him to think mummy doesn’t love him.”
The boys meet the Banes and Alicia gives them the bullet. Mom Tasha was hunting a borrower witch – which is what show is calling them now that they’ve introduced the concept of “natural” witches. And I’m actually okay with that. We’ve seen the boys cast spells in the past – shout out to the Spongebob placemat in place of an altar cloth – so it makes sense to me that there are people in this ‘verse who are naturally sensitive to magic and able to channel it. In conclusion, I’ll allow it.
Max is like, also, I got a hot bartender’s number. Then he compliments Baby, as you do. Dean offers him the tour. A tour you say?
Alicia and Sam bond over being the odd ones out in their families while Dean and Max … tour … Baby’s weapons cache. Is that a grenade launcher in Dean’s trunk or is he just glad to see you?
They arrive at the inn and take it as a good sign that Tasha’s tiny car is still parked out in plain sight. They are taken aback by the squirrelly looking dude who emerges from the cellar. Sam waves. His wave is not returned.
After warning the twins to stay behind them if anything happens, Alicia pulls out a dagger and marches into the inn all ALEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEECIA N’BANES! Andy at reception is like, dude. Your mom is right there in the parlor.
And indeed she is, hale, hearty and not at all stabby-stabbed through the midsection. The twins are both delighted to see their mom, but Max teases that Alicia feared she was in peril. Tasha asks Andy for two more rooms and invites them all upstairs. She has wine. Dean is like, not nearly enough to make the drive and not looking for Cas worth it.
Tasha tells them that Rock River is witch-free and blames her radio silence on an uncharged phone. Honestly, it just slipped her mind. But, she found a fantastic acupuncturist and the people at the vegan restaurant know her order now, so. Tasha struggles a bit with the wine. There’s the sound of a snap along with the pop of the cork. She hands the bottle to Sam to pour and turns away from the group. Her index finger points at an odd angle where it snapped at the knuckle. She pops it back into place. All better!
Dean holds his glass out to Sam. He’s got the stem in a death grip like it’s a very, very, very tiny beer bottle. He steals a quick glance at Sam to make sure he’s not watching, and then dips his nose into the glass to enjoy the wine’s insouciant bouquet of vanilla and black currant.
Dean is minding his manners, so he doesn’t snark when Tasha says she ordered out from the vegan place. Sam offers to run pick up so the family can enjoy their time together. He claps Dean on the knee and tells him to drink. Dean pours the wine from Sam’s glass into his own.
Tasha comments when she see him checking his phone. Dean seems a little caught out. Might be partly that he doesn’t want to appear rude and disinterested. Might be he doesn’t want to admit to himself how badly he wants Mary to call him back. Dean compliments Tasha’s parenting as Max and Alicia bicker about her Jeep. Tasha tells him he must be drunk. Dean is like, off of wine? Have you met me?
Tasha says she did the best she could for her kids. She got lucky. Dean can’t quite put into words what a functional family looks like, so he simply says Max and Alicia are happy. Tasha asks about his own family and being raised in the life. Dean says John raised him and Sam as hunters. And his mother?
” … … That’s complicated.”
Tasha says that all families are complicated. Parents seems smart and strong and perfect … “It’s only when you grow up that you realize that they’re just people.”
Mary listens to Dean’s message. He tells her they’re hunting with the Banes twins. If she can help out, that would be great, but he knows she busy with the Brits, so … The breeziness fades from Dean’s voice. He asks her to call him back. He admits he’s feeling spun out. There’s a long pause and he says it would just be good to talk to her.
Dean’s modus over the years has been to push his emotions down and bury them. He told Sam in “Sam, Interupted” that it’s how they keep going. I’m sure that’s a learned behavior. I don’t imagine John was much for caring and sharing. And while that has slowly changed – Dean had some lovely candid moments with Sam last season – it’s still a big step for him to reach out. I wonder if Mary knows her son well enough to realize that.
She seems about to text him back when she overhears Ketch on the phone in Mick’s office. He mentions a London bound package stored in the armory and lists off the lot number. Mary’s phone buzzes with another call from Dean, giving her away. She strolls into the office trying to pretend that she wasn’t eavesdropping. Mary tells Ketch she uses Mick’s computer to check email. He looms over her as she logs in. There’s a message from Mick. He says he’ll be in London for a few more weeks and is totally not dead.
Sam returns with the “food” and gives Dean a nod. They step out into the hallway and Sam shows him a missing persons flier that was posted outside the restaurant. It’s Cellar Guy McNowave. Sam says he’s been missing for a month. Dean suggests they go check it out and leave the Banes to enjoy their dinner.
Sam picks the padlock on the cellar door. He and Dean have the same experience as Tasha when they open the door. The smell hits them with a physical force. Dean says it smells like death. I think he just threw up in his mouth a little bit.
They find two bodies propped against a wall with a yellowed piece of plastic sheeting over them. It’s Nowave and Andy the desk guy. They both have fist shaped holes punched in their chests. Their hearts are missing. Dean recoils again at the smell coming off them. They’ve clearly been dead for some time.
Sam spots a third body. He pulls back the gray drop cloth to reveal Tasha. Her heart is missing, too. Max is on his way to meet the hot bartender. He sees the light on in the cellar. Sam tries to block him, but Max brushes past him. He stops cold when he sees her. Sam and Dean can only stand by in silence and watch as Max grieves over his mother’s body.
Max storms back into the room and backs not!Tasha up against the wall. He throws the reveal spell on her. Not!Tasha begins convulsing and gasps out, “The room. End of the hall. Top of the stairs.” The old broad with the bad attitude sense Max’s magic. She snaps her fingers and Not!Andy snaps to attention. Nowave blocks the way to her room. Max magics him out the window.
He kicks in the witch’s door and she’s like, really? She mojos Dean into a chair and oozes at Max. She’s impressed by his magic. Maybe he’ll take the deal his mother wouldn’t. Another snap of her fingers and she shares a memory with Dean and Max to show them. She says she’s reaching the end of her very long life. When she dies, her soul will go to Hell … unless she can find someone to take her magic and carry the burden.
Tasha refused, defiant even as she neared death. So the witch took her heart and placed it in a wicker woman. She says the doll has all of Tasha’s memories. It’s her … mostly. If Max kills the witch, Wicker!Tasha will just fall apart. But if he takes the witch’s power and her burden, his mother will stay with him, forever.
“Just one big happy family.”
Sam is steady getting pummeled by Wicker!Andy. Alicia is on the floor trying to rouse her mom. Granted, she’s working off very little information, but I’m reminded of the scene in Season 1’s “Devil’s Trap.” Dean was convinced that John was possessed, and when Sam was forced to choose, he sided with his brother. It’s one of my favorite broments of the whole series. So when Max says the woman wearing Tasha’s face isn’t their mother, I wish Alicia had listened.
Because she never sees it coming when Wicker!Tasha stabs her with her own knife.
The witch holds out her ring. She tells Max to take it and the deal is done. His fingers are only inches from hers when Dean is able to break the mojo and shoot her.
The wicker dolls collapse into a pile of dust.
Max doesn’t understand why. Dean says he had to. If Max touched that magic he would have lost his soul. Dean doesn’t tell Max that he knows something about making deals and even more about losing a soul. Sam bellows Dean’s name. He and Max come into the room, but Alicia is already gone. Max’s grief is terrible. Everything is awful and it all hurts.
Which is basically what the boys tell him. They both know all too well what this feels like, but I don’t know that telling Max that would help. He wouldn’t hear them. Not now. They seem to know that. Max says he’ll burn the bodies. He tells them to go.
Sam reassures Dean that the did the right thing. He says Dean couldn’t let Max make a deal for his soul.
“Sam, we do terrible things all the time to save each other. I mean, that’s what you do for family. Who am I to stop him?”
Max picks up the ring from the floor. He carries Alicia’s body into the witch’s room. He places her heart in the waiting wicker doll. Wicker!Alicia is groggy and confused when she wakes up – even more so when she sees the blood on Max’s hands. He tells her he’ll explain everything, but they need to go. She doesn’t question it. Max pauses at the door and his eyes flash purple with power. He holds out his hand and sets the bed and his twin’s body on fire.
I really hope we see Max and Wicker!Alicia again. I like these characters and Max’s decision seems too big not to revisit. But Show also introduced Jesse the Antichrist in Season 5 and has never spoken of him again, so. I’m not going to hold my breath.
Mary discovers Mick’s body in the armory. She tries several doors, maybe trying to leave the compound, but she’s locked out of all of them. With Ketch coming down the hall she slips in behind a guard as he comes out of another room. Ketch passes and Mary relaxes. Then she realizes she’s in a command room.
A screen fills one wall. It shows dossier information on Claire, Garth, Eileen, Sam, Dean, and Mary herself. The photos displayed for the boys appear to be stills pulled from surveillance feeds – Dean in the convenience store when he was a demon and Sam from the “Nightshifter” bank. Mary taps Dean’s profile and the “low rent Christian Bale” recording plays.
Ketch is waiting in the hall when Mary opens the door. Fight fight struggle fight. Ketch says it’s the end of the American hunters. Their time has passed. But he can keep her safe if she just plays her part. “If you play nice.” Mary headbutts him in the nose.
“I don’t play nice.”
Fight struggle fight some more. Mary puts Ketch on the floor with a rochambeaux and a brass knuckled punch … but she doesn’t knock him out. Then she compounds the mistake by turning her back on him. He drops her with a taser.
Sam sleeps as Dean drives. He checks his voicemail. He has two messages from Mary. She apologizes for not picking up earlier and says she’s sorry for not being there for him and Sam. She tells him she wants to be and will be … “I just – I need to finish this.”
“I miss you boys. I love you.”
In the second message she simply says, call me. “We’ve got a problem.”
A cold splash of water in the face brings Mary back to consciousness. This time she really is the one strapped into the restraint chair. She’s like, a taser? Really? Ketch is disappointed as well. If only she’d been as ruthless as he’d hoped.
“Remember, Mary. I gave you a chance.”
But not to worry. They’re not going to kill her. Lady Cardboard calls her an asset. She says the BMoL have other plans for Mary. “Let’s begin.”
Supernatural airs Thursday at 8:00 p.m. (Eastern) on The CW. Follow Whitney on twitter @Watcher_Whitney.