The Winchesters – Season 1 Episode 5

Nov 16, 2022 | Posted by in TV

“Legend of a Mind”

The Winchesters digs into the scars left by the past as the team start to close in on the Akrida.

I’ve mentioned in previous reviews that this show has a persistent problem juggling characters. John and Mary are always in the spotlight as expected but the others are resigned to waiting their turn for meaningful coverage. The rest of the time they stand around in group scenes or back up the characters receiving focus with a few lines here and there. It’s far from elegant with no effort made to hide how the show is structured. Supernatural was focused on Sam and Dean with other characters fitting in where relevant. There were points in the show where the core cast was larger but it never came across as rigidly structured in the way this does. It’s curious that a decision was made to make this a team show when the writers only seem to be partially committed to actually delivering that.


Working the problem

This episode is Ada’s turn for further development. As per the obvious formula this show follows, she is connected to the main plot in a personal way. It turns out she has a half-Djinn son named Tony (Tyler Lofton)  who ends up falsely accused of killing a Councilman because the circumstances of his death superficially match what would be associated with a Djinn. The idea of non-Evil monsters is nothing new in this universe with many episodes of Supernatural featuring monsters taking steps to not harm people and live a quiet life. Tony is such a monster and comes across as someone who is cursed. His morality is always in conflict with his nature but he has found a balance that works for him. He acknowledges that he still needs to feed but he will only feed on what he needs to get by which doesn’t harm people -aside from a slight headache in one case- and while he’s doing so he will try to help the person deal with whatever their dream is trying to get them to process.

It’s an interesting idea that doesn’t receive as much attention as it needs in order to be truly compelling but it does connect neatly to what the episode is getting at in regard to Mary. She’s still struggling with her life being decided for her from birth and really wants to break out of it. Working with John on his father’s old motorcycle represents her desire for freedom. the motorcycle is broken and can’t currently go anywhere but when it’s repaired it will be able to take her away from everything she considers to be holding her back. The motorcycle also represents John’s inability to let go of feeling abandoned by his own father but offers to let Mary have it when it’s repaired which signifies a desire to move on from his own past and free Mary at the same time. Mary feels trapped by Lawrence and thinks she has to leave it behind in order to build a new life so the motorcycle ends up being a cathartic object for both of them.

Mary’s thought process involves running from her past and the trauma that comes with it rather than confronting it. The same applies to John to an extent as he would rather rid himself of what reminds him of his past than confront it directly but the episode’s focus is on Mary with John’s exploration of those unresolved feelings presumably to come later. Mary is forced to confront her trauma when she is attacked by the Akrida and the only way to free herself of their attempt to control her is to face those issues head-on; something that becomes possible with Tony’s help and John being let into her mind.


Taking public transport down the road to reconciliation

The common theme in what is depicted is that Mary had a dark childhood. It has been mentioned a number of times that she was inducted into the life of a Hunter from a very young age and this episode depicts the anecdote she previously shared about being told to fight the monster under her bed. One of the doors leads to the 5-year-old Mary wielding a knife ready to attack the monster she fears is under her bed. At that age, all she needed was reassurance from her parents that there was no monster and that they would protect her if there was. Instead, she was given a weapon and told not to be scared. She sees this as one of the key points where choice was taken from her and her life mapped out outwith her control. Mary thinks that this pollutes her future and the doors of opportunity that were closed back then are closed forever.

John is able to provide perspective and tell her that her past doesn’t have to dictate her future. He sets her the challenge of telling her younger self what she wanted to hear back then in order to begin the healing process. Mary tells her younger self that there’s no shame in being scared and that there can be no bravery without fear. It’s a lesson she has learned over the years without ever properly understanding it so having the opportunity to really think about it allows her to realise that she isn’t resigned to the life that was carved out for her. She makes a promise to herself to open the doors that were closed for her and it’s enough to break the Akrida’s hold. One of the best things this show has done so far is to map out Mary’s arc and slowly develop it by focusing on different elements as the episodes progress.

The idea of parents making mistakes that negatively impact their children into adulthood links to Ada with her being in the role of the parent that did wrong by their child. Ada compares people to plants in that they all have individual needs to help them grow and thrive but many make the mistake of assuming that they are all the same. She acknowledges that Tony is his own person who grew up to be a morally upright person despite his mother actively being afraid of him and she admits that she made a colossal mistake in assuming the worst about him. It isn’t enough to entirely repair their relationship but it’s eventually enough to extend an olive branch and start the process of reconciliation.


A promise to yourself is an important one

There’s nothing especially interesting about the mother/son dynamic by itself. All of the intrigue comes from using plants as a metaphor and Mary understanding that parents are far from perfect. It may help her eventually realise that her parents were only doing what they thought was best for her and never intended to do any harm. Ada is her friend so she is able to understand that angle through seeing how much she regrets the mistakes she made.

A large part of the problem with investing in Ada and Tony’s connection is that Ada isn’t well-defined as a character. Smatterings of information have been provided so far such as her desire to be a Witch but there’s very little sense of who she is as a person. The supposed surprise of her having a half-Djinn son fails to register as a shock because there’s no reason to doubt that Ada would be a mother. Her son being half monster is arguably expected considering her desire to be a witch. There’s a huge gulf between the handling of John and Mary and the rest of the characters that is made more evident by clunky plotting as seen with Ada in this episode.

John and Mary aren’t routinely well handled and it’s clear the focus is weighted in Mary’s direction for now. There is an attempt to flesh John out when he goes to talk to Betty. She is definitely being positioned as a recurring character but there’s very little beneath the surface at this point. She exists to provide information and does little to rise above that beyond the fact that Andrea Londo plays her well. The scene plays as if they’re talking business and avoiding discussing their former relationship but the background isn’t strong enough to support that so it plays out as a mechanical scene where John asks her for information and she gives it. There’s no character to it and any intent behind it falls flat.

The ongoing plot around the Akrida still isn’t interesting but the stakes have been raised significantly due to a few details. They are now aware of the team of Hunters that are tracking them and have a sense of how formidable Mary is after she defeats their attempt to control her. The team know that Roxy is behind the Akirda so can focus their attention on stopping her rather than reacting to whatever plan she concocts. Tony’s mention of collecting essence which leads to the realisation that the team have been unwittingly helping the Akrida by killing the monsters they are harvesting is a nice touch and may force them to alter how they handle the next case that comes their way. It may not be interesting but it is progressing and more is being learned quickly so there is hope that it will become more compelling when the narrative pivots to dealing with this directly.


Hmm what next?


A good episode that meaningfully develops Mary’s arc and provides compelling commentary on considering other perspectives. The reveal that Ada has a son doesn’t work as a surprise because she isn’t well-defined as a character so there’s no reason to assume that she doesn’t have a child. There is a huge differential in the handling of characters that aren’t John and Mary that fails to hide the structural decisions in the show itself. Ada receives focus because it’s her turn and the others are relegated to background roles with a few lines during group scenes. There is nothing interesting about the mother/son dynamic by itself with most of the intrigue coming from the metaphor about plants being similar to people in that each of them have unique needs. It’s a lesson she has learned and Mary is encouraged to consider that her parents only acted in what they thought was her best interests without meaning to affect her negatively. Mary is forced to confront her dark childhood and her fear that her life has been mapped out for her. She sees her younger self wielding a knife after being told not to be afraid of the monster under her bed and is encouraged by John to say what she wishes had been said back then. Getting to say those words helps begin the healing process and prompts her to promise herself that the doors of opportunity will be reopened. John also provides her with the option of an escape with the motorcycle. It acts as a metaphor for the trauma that holds both of them back and it means different things for each of them. For Mary it represents freedom as it will be able to take her away when it works but for John it’s a reminder of his father leaving. John’s feelings aren’t the focus of this episode as Mary receives the attention but the suggestion is there. The Akrida plot remains uninteresting but it is progressing and more is being learned quickly so there is hope that it will become more compelling when the narrative pivots to dealing with this directly.

  • 7/10
    Legend of a Mind - 7/10


Kneel Before…

  • Ada’s situation helping Mary see the fallibility of parental figures and understand there was no malicious intent
  • John helping Mary confront her childhood trauma and begin the healing process
  • the striking moment where Mary talks to her younger self and promises not to let her childhood define her
  • using the motorcycle to represent Mary’s desire for freedom as well as John’s inability to let go of feeling abandoned by his father
  • Ada’s metaphor about plants having unique needs just as people do
  • Tony finding a balance between his morality and his nature


Rise Against…

  • failing to hide the storytelling structure
  • the supposed surprise of Ada being a mother failing to register
  • the mother/son dynamic not being interesting by itself
  • the John/Betty scene being nothing more than mechanical
  • the Akrida plot still being uninteresting


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User Review
9/10 (10 votes)

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