“Legend of a Mind”
November 15, 2022
THEN: “You’re ready for the war against the Akrida.”
Spending a lifetime of hunting monsters takes its toll. There comes a time when you gotta let out that pain inside you. If you don’t, it’ll eat you alive.
Mary is in the garage watching John work on an old motorcycle. She wonders when he last rode it.
John says that would be never.
Millie bought the bike for Henry for his birthday; he left two weeks later. It’s been collecting dust ever since. Millie is also the one who taught John his way around an engine. He offers to teach Mary and starts with a basic tutorial, pointing out the manifold and the carburetor, explaining the function of each.
Mary points to another part of the bike and John is like … that’s the front wheel? It slowly dawns on him that Mary might also know something about cars. She smiles and cops to it, saying her parents taught her.
“The last thing you want escaping a pack of werewolves is a starter that won’t catch.”
Also, the spark plugs are loose. Mary tightens them down and whacks John in the arm with the socket wrench in that way that’s become a thing for them.
Given her expertise, John suggests Mary get a job at the garage when she hangs up hunting. A smile tugs at the corners of Mary’s mouth. For a fleeting moment she can picture a different kind of life. But the moment passes and Mary turns awkward, explaining that leaving hunting may mean leaving Lawrence, too. Too many old memories.
John doesn’t really know how to process that information, so he uses the old THIS IS THE WRONG WRENCH I MUST FIND THE CORRECT WRENCH excuse to step away and take a beat in Millie’s office. His mother muses on the number of times she almost took a pry bar to the old “birthday hog.” She’s glad now she didn’t. Millie is delighted that John is working on the bike—happy that he’s taking a little time off. She admits he had her scared after the last hunt.
John reassures his mother she doesn’t have to worry about him. He says the VA case brought up some stuff about the war, and about Murph, but he’s good. He’s fiiiine. The expression on Millie’s face says she’s his mother, she’s always going to worry …
And also, he is a lying liar who lies.
But she doesn’t press the issue. Instead, Millie says she’s glad John is spending more time with Mary. Millie likes her. She thinks Mary is good for John—like Betty was.
John is like WE DON’T LIKE EACH OTHER LIKE THAT, GOD! and Millie calls shenanigans. She says the two women may be totally different, but the look on John’s face is the same. She asks if John knows how Mary feels about him. He says he has no idea. One second he thinks maybe, and the next … John says he can’t read her.
Millie suggests a little honest caring and sharing. Maybe if John opens up to Mary, she’ll open up to him.
Mary walks into the office, and after some sweet banter about still calling Millie “Mrs. Winchester,” she tells John she may have found their next case. The headline of the Lawrence Chronicle reads, “Councilman Gordon Baxter Dead from Unknown Causes.”
Monster Club discusses the case while standing around an autopsy table. Apparently, the MoL clubhouse has a morgue. Carlos allows that while a fancy councilman with mushy brain trauma is tempting, they should be focusing on the intel from their bonsai demon—that the Akrida have a leader running around in a human body. Lata agrees with Carlos. Mary argues that the councilman case could be their way of finding the Akrida—follow the monsters back to the source. John adds that it’s also a direct line to finding Samuel.
The tie-breaker comes down to Ada. She’s holding the newspaper and staring at the article. There’s something haunted about her expression. She casts her vote for brain mush. She says it’s the best lead they’ve got. Also, Mary and John apparently have their own, ’Yes! Score one for us!’, fist bump.
Monster Club don their best square duds to meet with Baxter’s campaign aide, Patty Erickson. John is wearing a cunning navy blue knit short-sleeved turtle neck and Carlos’s big, beachy waves are giving me LIFE.
Mary looks like she’s going to offer you a Chick tract if you make eye contact with her.
Patty says something shifted in Baxter over the past month. He became hyper-focused, barely eating, and sleeping in his office. Ada asks about the nightmares. Patty says he’d been experiencing them for the last week. He would wake up screaming, but wouldn’t talk about them.
For Mary and Lata the evidence quickly adds up to a djinn. Carlos gives John the Monster 101, calling them something like a brain vampire. Ada brings it home, saying they tend to be solitary and like to hole up in abandoned buildings. Carlos thinks tracking their djinn down should be easy.
His tune turns sour after they’ve searched a dozen abandoned buildings. He asks the group to remind him next time not to open his mouth. Ada and Lata hang outside to watch the doors of their current abandoned building while the others go inside. It’s Mary’s motivating clap that gets me every time.
The task seems daunting. Carlos moans that every warehouse they enter seems to get bigger and bigger, but the djinn reveals himself almost immediately. He parkours through the building, easily staying ahead of Monster Club.
Lata cries out a warning as he runs through the door and out into the open. Ada and the man lock eyes and shocked recognition passes between them. An equally stunned Lata asks Ada who the man is.
Tony is Ada’s son.
Mary wonders why Ada didn’t tell them before. A bitter laugh seeps out of Ada. She’s like yeah, why didn’t I tell a group of hunters that my son is half monster? At Mary’s prompting, Ada shares the full story.
She says she was young—about their age—and thought she knew everything. So she fell in love with a djinn. Ali thought he could use his powers for good—that he could help people—but eventually his hunger to feed took over. Ada says she tried to get the Ali she fell in love with back, but he had caused so much destruction … eventually, hunters found him and killed him.
Ada thought their story was over until she realized she wasn’t just grief-sick—she was pregnant. Ada says she was determined to save her baby, to save him from the hunger that possessed Ali. So she hid the truth.
When her son Tony turned 17, the djinn marks started to show and she couldn’t explain them away. And then one night he walked into her dreams and he saw everything … including the fact that he terrified his mother. The memory is something Ada seems to want to pluck right out of her skull.
Demetria McKinney is crushing this scene, y’all.
Ada says that Tony ran and now here he is and she has no idea what to do. The answer seems shockingly simple to John—their job is to hunt monsters. They have to find Tony before he kills anyone else.
The group is nonplussed—except for Ada, who is just devastated. John and Mary search through Tony’s nest looking for something they can use to track him. Mary finds a beaded necklace tucked in a book. Ada says Tony will come back for it. Ali gave it to her—the only thing she had left of him. Tony took it before he ran away.
Ada says through tears that she knows if Tony is behind the murder, they have to stop him. She asks them to at least give her the chance to try and talk to him first. John looks ready to balk, so Carlos steps in and suggests he and Ada stay behind in case Tony comes back. Mary volunteers herself and John to talk to the police and Lata says she’ll call her new contact at the coroner’s office.
Lata suggests that because Tony is half-djinn he may affect humans differently. Something about the way she says it seems intended to remind Ada that Tony is half-human, too. He’s half of her. It gives Ada a tiny bit of comfort.
Mary is quiet as she and John drive back into town. Despite knowing how Ada and Ali’s story ends, she’s captivated by their love story—by the idea of falling in love. But when John nudges her to say more, she shuts down, snapping out of the moment and turning the conversation back to business. And yes, John does have an idea about getting the info they need from the cops …
He drops by Betty’s house to deliver lunch—French dip sandwich with extra au jus. She’s in the backyard touching up the paint on an icon that belonged to her mother—Saint Miguel, Patron saint of law enforcement.
Oh, Saint Miguel, you say?
John brings up the councilman and Betty agrees that his death seems suspicious. She tells John she found two other victims who sustained similar injuries—scrambled brains but no sign of blunt trauma.
John relays the information to Mary, who is surprised he managed to get all that with a sandwich. John teases that, unlike some people, Betty is easy to talk to. They banter, Mary whacks John in the arm and he feigns pain, telling her she gets one per day. It is very sweet and I love the chemistry between them and I DON’T WANT ANYTHING BAD TO EVER HAPPEN TO THEM.
Ada and Carlos are staked out at the warehouse. Ada sees movement inside the building and cautiously approaches her son. She holds out his father’s necklace as a peace offering—and a lure.
Tony is still wounded by his mother’s fear, and angry, and hurt that Ada never told him the truth. He had to figure out what he was all on his own. Tony tells Ada that he couldn’t control his abilities. He just leapt from dream to dream. All he saw was suffering and loneliness. But even though he was in pain, he says he refused to feed because he’s not a killer.
Eventually, Tony says he stayed in a dream and helped someone face their fears. He helped others, and yes, he fed, but only enough to get by. He says the worst he did is give some guy a headache. And then he started hearing a sound and he followed it to Lawrence. When he went into a dream, he found something else already inside it—another monster, like a giant bug. He says the mind monster was controlling the person somehow.
Tony doesn’t care if Ada believes him. He says this will be the last time that she hears from him. And if she and her hunter buddies really want to do some good, they can go find Derek Fisher, because he’s the mind monster’s next victim.
Ada reaches out to Tony, but when she touches his face his image blurs like a ghost. Tony is disappointed—did Ada really think he would visit her in the real world? He snaps his fingers and Ada wakes up, still in the front seat of the Swagger Wagon. Relief washes over her, but it’s tinged with foreboding and underscored by [sinister music]. She tells Carlos her son isn’t responsible for the deaths—it’s the Akrida.
Back at the clubhouse morgue, Lata holds up X-rays from the councilman’s autopsy report. She directs the group’s attention to three entry points at the base of the man’s skull. Access to Baxter’s mind was gained through physical means—giving credence to Tony’s story. Lata adds that three splinter-like objects were found near the body. She calls them stingers and suggests that they could have been implanted by the Akrida, allowing them to take control of the human host.
Lata says she’ll keep looking for answers in the autopsy report. John and Carlos will look for Derek Fisher and try to find any connections between the Akrida’s victims. Mary checks in with Ada in the conservatory. She relays the good news of Lata confirming Tony’s story. He was telling the truth about not hurting anyone. Ada sadly deflects to share a basic botany lesson.
She tells Mary that you can never treat any two plants the same. They each have their own needs and requirements in order to grow. Ada says she was so scared that Tony would become his father that she started treating them like the same person. She never gave Tony the opportunity to just be himself. It’s a mistake she doubts she’ll ever have the chance to fix. A mistake he may never be able to forgive.
Ada worries about Tony being on his own, struggling, but Mary reassures Ada that she taught her son well how to survive. Ada accepts the grace that Mary offers and says she’ll take that win. Mary changes the subject to Ada and Ali’s relationship just as John approaches the door. He hangs back to listen. Mary wonders, given that they were both from different worlds, if Ada would do it over again, if she had the chance. Ada says she followed her heart. She doesn’t think that’s ever a mistake.
Even if you’re scared. Especially if you’re scared.
“It’s just part of falling in love.”
Carlos tracks Derek Fisher to yet another abandoned building. Monster Club finds him working at a desk in the basement. Carlos says they’re building inspectors … college building inspectors … on their first job, and this building is not up to code.
Engineer Derek holds out his hand like, let me stop you right there, sport. He says he knows it’s not up to code. That’s why he was hired—to fix it. Derek asks what’s going on, but before anyone can explain, a snarling Laconian Langolier jumps up on the desk.
Carlos is like, WOULD YOU LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THAT ROACH? The IOUS attacks and Mary throws herself in front of Derek to shield him—and gets stung in the process. Mary is woozy and fading by the time John and Carlos get her back to the clubhouse.
With no idea how long until the Akrida toxin takes effect—or what it might cause her to do—Mary tells them to tie her up. You don’t have to tell Carlos twice. He grabs a length of rope and tries to lighten the mood by asking if she has a safe word.
John suggests removing the stingers to cut off the supply of toxin. Lata says they would need a supernatural brain surgeon to do it. Ada realizes she means Tony. She doesn’t think he’ll help, and she’s certain he won’t talk to her, but Carlos urges Ada to just tell her son the truth.
Ada finds Tony already on a bus at the station. He reacts with disgust when Ada says she needs his help. Ada takes the seat next to Tony and tells him she was wrong to lie to him, and even more wrong for not believing in him. She says she knows Tony is not his father. She knows Tony is not the worst parts of either of his parents. She looks at Tony and stumbles as she says he’s her son. She realizes by his reaction that she’s pushing too hard so she simply says, “you’re Tony.”
“And you’re exactly what you’ve always been from the moment you were born. You’re perfect.”
The apology rings hollow for Tony, like Ada is trying to make their painful past just go away. She reminds Tony that he told her he uses his powers for good. She asks him to let her see that, before she never sees him again.
Mary is bound to a chair in the clubhouse. Her head is slumped forward and she appears unconscious. Ada walks into the room … followed by Tony. He and Lata immediately vibe as they consult on the case. They both agree that the stingers can’t be removed conventionally because they’re not just embedded in Mary’s brain, they’re embedded in her mind.
Tony explains that nightmares are rooted in trauma and take shape in one’s darkest memories.
Yup. That tracks.
Tony says his nightmares are about turning into his dad. Based on his experience with the councilman, Tony believes the mental stingers are hidden in a victim’s deepest, darkest trauma well—hidden in a place they don’t want to face. But Tony says he can’t be the one to help Mary. She would just run from him like Baxter did. So he needs a volunteer. Ideally, someone Mary feels connected to.
Ada is like, John. DUH.
John and Tony sit across from each other. They each take one of Mary’s hands. The djinn marks on Tony’s arms glow with energy. As soon as he closes his eyes, Tony says he’ll be in the dream world, but someone will need to help John. Carlos says he’s on it and cold cocks John in the face.
When John opens his eyes, he’s in the blue-tinged dream world of Mary’s mind. He quickly gives her the sitrep. Looking around, she realizes that the deepest part of her subconscious looks exactly like her house. John asks where they should start. Mary slides open a pair of pocket doors.
Nice callback, Show. Well played.
It leads into a wide, fog-filled hallway lined with doors. The first one Mary tries is locked. It seems like she’s not supposed to go in. John says that’s exactly why she needs to. She can’t fight her trauma, but she can face it.
He boots the door open onto a scene of a younger Mary kneeling next to a boy her age. He’s sprawled on the ground in a pool of blood. There’s an arrow sticking out of his chest.
“Is this someone you lost?”
“Someone I killed.”
Mary says Jacob was just a kid, part of a werewolf pack the Campbells hunted. Young Mary spins around, knife in hand. The shaken girl says Jacob changed back into human form. She says he begged her not to do it. Now!Mary says she knows … and she’s sorry. Her younger self tells her it’s not in here.
The next door they come to has a handwritten sign taped to it—Mary’s Room Do Not Come In! The flowers drawn in crayon really sell the message. Through the door, Mary can hear the faint echo of a heartbeat. She balks and says she can’t do it, hopelessly casting about for some other way. John tells her they don’t have time. He gently takes her face in his hands and tells Mary she will die if she doesn’t go through the door.
And whatever is on the other side of that door, John is right there, with her. She can do this.
Mary takes a deep breath and steels herself. Her wee self is sitting up in bed, clutching a hunting knife to her chest. Mary reminds John that his father told him not to worry about the monsters under his bed because Henry knew how to trap them. Samuel and Deanna told wee!Mary that the monsters were real, and one day it would be her job to hunt them down and kill them.
“This was the night they told me that.”
Mary watches her terrified wee self and her face tenses with fury. She puts her fist through the wall in front of her. Her face is framed in the hole as she tells John she was five. Five! She rages that every door to every future she could possibly have closed that night forever.
John gently agrees that no kid should ever have to go through that (IRONY!). He tells her those doors are not closed forever. But right now, he needs her to be here, in the moment. He asks Mary what she would have wanted to hear when she was five.
Mary holds back tears as she sits on the end of the big brass bed. Wee!Mary says mom and dad told her not to be scared … but she is scared. Mary tells herself it’s okay to be scared. In fact, it’s good to be scared.
“You can’t be brave if you’re never scared.”
She tells her wee self that it’s going to be okay. Not in this moment. Not today. But someday. Mary vows to herself to find a way to open all the doors that were closed. Wee!Mary reaches out for a hug. Yay! Hugging! She moves one of the pillows to reveal the three Akrida stingers. The big hunting knife is in adult Mary’s hand now. She uses it to smash the stingers. Her eyes flash acid green as she and John awaken from the dream.
Tony is slower to come around. There’s a thin trickle of blood running from his nose. A worried Ada asks if he’s okay. He tells her he is. He calls her momma. My heart!
There’s not a lot of music in this episode, but the song that plays in Mary’s mind!bedroom—Windmills of Your Mind—is such an informative choice for the way the lyrics speak to perpetuating cycles.
Round, like a circle in a spiral
Like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning
On an ever-spinning reel
We know that Mary will only be able to pause the spinning wheel—John will unknowingly resume the cycle after she dies. Dean’s journey through his parent’s story seems in some way an attempt to unwind the pain of their past, but we don’t know yet to what end.
Sometime later, John continues toiling away on the motorcycle. Millie asks if he’s opened up to Mary yet. John says no, but that she opened up to him—although it wasn’t what either of them expected.
Mary walks into the garage and Millie slips away. Mary says she’s still processing the experience. Seeing the younger versions of herself was a lot. She smiles and thanks John for being there with her.
John approaches his own mental door, but even with Mary silently urging him on, he just … can’t … quite … go through.
Instead of telling her how he feels, John says when she finally does leave hunting, that she should leave Lawrence. Disappointment flashes across Mary’s face, but she quickly masks it. John tells her she deserves that fresh start they talked about. So, once they finish fixing it, the bike all Mary’s to go wherever she wants … just like she always dreamed of.
John walks away and it’s Mary’s eyeroll of, UGH! WHY ARE BOYS SO DUMB! for me.
Back at the clubhouse, Lata and Ada see Tony off. Before he goes, he shares a final detail about the Akrida that he gleaned from Baxter’s mind—that they’re collecting monster essence. Lata is thrilled to realize the Monster Club has been doing the Akrida’s dirty work for them all this time.
Tony says he’s heading someplace quiet where the Akrida can’t get into his head. Ada wonders if he might like a ride? Tony smiles and says only if Ada lets him drive. Then he asks Lata if he can write to her. She gladly says yes. Team Lata and Tony!
Sometime later again, Monster Club pours over the documents Carlos has collected about the Akrida’s victims. They’re all connected to the building of a new radio tower—what better way to send out a pied piper signal to lure rare monsters to Lawrence?
Mary turns on the radio and tunes it to Rockin’ Roxy. The DJ vamps that she’s playing all the hits that got through the cracks, 24-7 before she drops the needle on Nina Simone’s cover of “I Put a Spell on You.”
Another human-controlled Akrida walks into the radio studio to report that Mary didn’t succumb to their attack. He says the young hunters are going to be a problem. Roxy laughs and tells him not to worry. They’ll get Monster Club the way they want, eventually.
“We just have to make sure the hits keep on coming.”
The Winchesters airs on The CW and streams at CWTV.com. Whitney is also watching Big Sky airing on ABS and streaming on Hulu. Follow her on Twitter and Mastadon @Watcher_Whitney.