Supernatural – Season 12 Episode 3
Things seem to return to normal on Supernatural as the Winchesters get a bit of a breather from those trying to kill them.
Nothing is ever normal on this show but there’s a formula that it likes to return to now and again. That formula is the simple case of the week where the Winchesters go off and investigate a comparatively small supernatural threat. This season is different as Mary is around so the dynamic must surely change as a result. An episode like this is a necessary one as we need to see how Mary factors into these cases we have seen lots of since the show began.
The dynamic is a good one as Mary brings something different to the whole thing. It has been well established that she feels out of sorts with being back from the dead as well as all of the technology that she doesn’t know how to work. For her, hunting is something familiar that she can sink her teeth into and be useful at. Dean is all for letting her try as he wants to help her adjust as much as possible.
Mary’s problems adjusting are handled really well for the most part. Her lack of being able to sleep is a little cliché but understandable under the circumstances and her decision to cut her hair says a lot about how she is feeling. Mary doesn’t feel in control of any aspect of her life so it makes sense that she would embrace the one thing she does have control over, her appearance. In TV shows and films a haircut can be used to symbolise a fragile emotional state or lack of defined identity and this is no different.
The fragile emotional state is obvious from her behaviour and the identity issue is down to the fact that she can’t get her head around the fact that Sam and Dean are adults now. Her recent memory has them as young children so this would be difficult for anyone to process. A simple haircut helps her recognise that things are different and attempt to move on in some way. She tells Sam and Dean it’s a practical thing so that her long hair doesn’t get grabbed but it’s obviously deeper than that. I did like that this leads to making fun of Sam’s long hair.
In true TV tradition the case turns out to be one that Mary can personally relate to but it isn’t done in a heavy handed way. The crying child aspect of the case drew her in because her own children and how young they were only recently from her perspective is something that has been on her mind a lot. She struggles to resolve all of this in her head and hunting doesn’t really help her in this instance. Her speech at the end about how she feels like she has lost everything she held dear from her children to her husband is heartbreaking and delivered to perfection by Samantha Smith. Having her leave at the end of the episode was unexpected but it made sense within the framework of this story. I dare say she’ll be back but it’s clear she has a lot to deal with.
The case itself wasn’t the best outside of the connection to Mary. It did end with an interesting twist but I don’t feel that it was explored as well as it could have been. As a showcase for Mary’s instincts it was fine but it was still missing something.
I liked how the episode contrasted Mary’s hunting days with what Sam and Dean do now. Mary is keen to knock on doors and ask questions but Sam and Dean point out that the internet has reduced the need for this. Mary clearly doesn’t like it as she remembers the personal touch as it reminds her of the people she is trying to save. Of course her old ways turn out to be what provides the useful information which may be a little too on the nose but also shows that there is a place in this world for Mary as she can still bring a lot to the table.
Mary also fits into the whole hunting formula really well. Samantha Smith can play the fake FBI agent well and generally goes through the motions without feeling out of place. Part of me wishes there was a few more episodes like this before Mary decided to leave but I also like that the season is being kept moving and, more importantly, keeping me guessing.
Speaking of keeping me guessing. Lucifer got himself a vessel that seemed to be to his liking last week so wants to make sure that it doesn’t burn out like the others. To do this he enlists Rowena who seems willing out of a sense of self preservation. It’s no surprise that Rowena would do anything if it meant saving her own life but at least she’s consistent. Having her turn the tables on him and actually accelerate the deterioration was an interesting surprise. I was expecting this vessel to hang around for a while and possibly make Lucifer the big threat of the season. This may yet turn out to be the case but based on this it seems that this season is going to keep the surprises coming. It also makes sense for Lucifer to be so easily double crosses as he is in a vulnerable position as well as being fairly desperate even if he won’t show it.
Attached to this plot was Castiel and Crowley working to find Lucifer. This was the weakest part of the episode as they spent much of it on a wild goose chase but it’s entertaining to see these characters work together. I enjoyed Castiel’s vague grasp on pop culture when he picks Beyonce as his federal alias. It was a nice joke and the reactions he got for it made it all the better. It seems that they will be on a Lucifer hunt for a while but with how quickly things are moving here that could be completely wrong.
A strong episode that proved to be a great showcase for Mary and her difficulty adjusting to the modern day. The case complimented this nicely and the exploration of Mary’s feelings was very well handled. The case itself ends in quite a messy way but it all results in a heartbreaking scene expertly played by Samantha Smith. Lucifer and Rowena’s scenes were good as well and the result was unexpected. This season is so far playing out in an unexpected way. Crowley and Castiel’s team-up wasn’t quite as good as they spent much of their time on a wild goose chase but the scenes between them were entertaining enough.
- the exploration of Mary’s difficulty adjusting to the present
- the surprise betrayal of Lucifer from Rowena
- Agent Beyonce
- the case ending in quite a messy way
- Crowley and Castiel on a wild goose chase