Months of waiting in eager, speculative anticipation and I, for one, was not disappointed. As the rock-accompanied recap of the last 23 episodes of the Winchester saga played out, we were left on that dark night in the woods with a stunned Dean and a confused Mary and it’s like no time has passed since that dramatic cliff-hanger in May. So, how did all the pieces of the premiere fit together and what does it look like for the future of season twelve so far (twelve?!)? Pretty good, I think.
Dead Never Really Means….
Over the hiatus there were many a speculation and wonderings as to what mama Winchester might recall of the ‘tween time since death and resurrection – not to mention the ghostly encounter with her sons in Home and of course how those time travelling excursions might fit now. At TorCon there were a few conversations involving theories of addressing the continuity of it all- if, when and how. Well, Supernatural did what it does best with exposition: a package of emotion and family.
Mary and Dean’s first meeting was one of the best moments in the premiere: the audience can feel the hesitation in both mother and son here and, particularly in Dean, the simultaneous urge to reach out and touch to verify it’s not a dream but the hesitation in case it is. Samantha Smith and Jensen had an instant chemistry once again and, unlike we’ve witness adult Mary to date, the hunter shone through this time rather than just the mother.
The story of John and Mary’s meet-cute (oddly untold to this point) was touching on many levels, not the least of which was the affection and familiarity with which Dean retold it. There were only a few independent mother-son moments between Mary and Dean, this was one of them. Finally, the moments with the Impala were both funny and sweet: Baby never ceases to be the grounding centre of the Winchester family.
Samantha Smith slid beautifully into Mary Winchester, mother and hunter with shock and love shining through at varying moments. The recall of Mary’s death was emotional for her but not over played to the audience. Instead, the weight of Mary’s entire ongoing experience was felt throughout the episode with Mary: the time that has passed, the shock of her sons grown from small to adult, her husband dead and gone, the hunter life she escaped from engulfing her family once more, the new world she’s returned to – it was somber, dark and grieving but never overpowering.
The Cas of Season 12 is in fine fighting form: he is forceful, determined and in no mood for lies. I rather enjoy him so far. We have an angry angel on Sam’s trail and he’ll go to whatever degree is necessary in interrogation – something Mary was all for too. One of the most interesting foundations established in the episode, since it was primarily all about the ground work, was the Mary/Cas relationship.
Although a rocky greeting on both sides, Cas was rather sweet (for Cas) in his comfort and conversation of Mary at the coffee shop, talking about his first time on earth after being away and how the world had evolved; trying to relate to her.
Beyond this, one of the highlights was Cas’ reaction to Dean being alive. Much like the multitude of reunions the brothers have shared over the years, there was a hug. Unlike Sam and Dean however, this involved an eager Castiel grip and a bemused Dean with a half-hug in return.
British Men of Letters
Okay, nothing I can say about these people will be nice – so prepare yourselves. These snooty, self-important, bitchy non-hunters are in desperate need of being brought down 1 or 100 pegs, give or take. I suspect the Winchesters (and Cas) are just the folks to do it too. The organization poses so many questions, even with the explanation they offered Sam. If they want to work with American hunters, as they claim, why such a viciously hostile approach? And if they are so incredible (as they claim) with so many resources, why do they need the Winchesters to link them into the American hunting network? No, if they’ve come to the Winchesters, so directly and so aggressively, they want something specific.
So, are we taking bets on how corrupt they are? Yes, not if, but the degree. After this many years, there is just no chance a group that is that slick (or thinks they’re that slick) is as good as they think they are without being in bed with evil. Allegedly, they explained this beautiful system of getting the baddies before they kill in under 60 minutes to Sam – it sounds very neat and tidy and wholly implausible that there hasn’t been a supernatural death in the UK in as long as they claim. No crossroad deals or demon possessions? What about the leviathan? What about when the angels fell? Not one ever slips through? Somebody is sloppy or has a finite system for calculating those stats, sister.
Toni, I will grant, was well played by Elizabeth Blackmore. Snotty and sure, Toni comes across competent and informed as she interrogates Sam. By the end, she is clearly caught off guard in one of my other favourite moments – Sam is too good for you! I even appreciate the attempts to humanize Toni with her chats with her son and her disgust at the suggest of bringing in the “psychopath” to up the torture of Sam (hello, foreshadow); but they’ll have to do better than that to get me to not want this woman dead, by a Winchester or irony.
Sam Winchester: Torture Resistant
Winchesters should never be tortured, but if you’re going to torture Sam, this is the way to do it; Jared was awesome in these scenes: sassy, strong and unflinching. What our British ladies failed to account for was that as far as Sam knew, his brother was dead and Sam has nothing to live for, really. Plus, Sam warned them: once you’ve been tortured by Lucifer himself, what could they do? Again, some of my favourite moments through the episode happened in the basement with Sam, including every time he told the BMOL to “go screw yourself” and his initial reaction to them in general.
We all knew Sam wouldn’t break with cold water, blow torches or even hallucinogenic medications. I will say, this was the one scene that wasn’t 100% up to par, whether by accident or intention. On Supernatural, there have been impressive hallucinations throughout the years; this cloud of replayed dead character images with Dean’s baritone accusing “you killed us” was nothing in comparison. Perhaps that was the aim, after all, Sam didn’t come close to breaking and did a good job of playing to the security camera such that Toni thought he’d slit his throat. Either way, it’s a minute dispute in an otherwise great scene. Even if Sam doesn’t escape, watching the panic rise on Toni’s face as she watches the camera and then as she tries escaping the room are still worthwhile moments.
Sam didn’t escape – but he came close. While I am dying to have him reunite with his brother and learn of Mary’s resurrection, I’m okay with a slow build and am glad he didn’t escape in one episode – everything will be that much sweeter when it all comes together.
Dean: On a Hunting Trip
The sun didn’t die, Dean didn’t play soul-bomb, Mom is back from the dead and Sam has been kidnapped by “some woman” knowledgeable enough to break into the bunker and blast Cas away. It’s been a hell of a week for Dean Winchester and it’s just getting warmed up.
The primary goal, unsurprisingly, is to find Sam and break everyone who stands in the way. Of course, now there is mom to factor in too. Dean was a little gentler (a little) in his tactics considering it was Sam missing than he would have been under other circumstances – perhaps because Mary was there and she was looking just a little thunderstruck most of the time. Consider when he was the one pulling back Cas from the hard-interrogation and Mary pushed the go button.
Having said that, the conversation with Toni was just as it should have been:
“You think you can run from me? Try it. Cause when I find you, and I will find you. If he is not in one piece, I will take you apart. You understand me?”
And when that face-to-face finally happens, somebody will be sorry (Toni). Her “oh shit” face when she realized Dean was alive said she wasn’t unaware of that, really.
Interestingly though, Toni didn’t send her assistant to kill Dean and Cas outright (gun would have done the trick for Dean, yes?) so was that a kidnapping attempt as well? Little does she know about the third Winchester factor.
Finally, the conversation between Dean and Mary about the hunting life was the highlight. Mary, as we know, was horrified with the thought of her children as hunters so it’s no surprise how she struggles to see what they’ve become since she’s died. Dean offers her a new perspective, and in doing so, says that wonderful line:
“Mom, I get it. I do. If I had kids, I wouldn't want them in this. But, Sam and me. Saving people and hunting things, this is our life. I think we make the world a better place. I know that we do.”
It’s a sweet moment and a role reversal for one of them, since Mary isn’t quite up to full ‘mom’ power yet – nor is she used to adult children, but our Dean is always ready to comfort his family.
Personally, I’m still riding the surge of adrenaline and excitement – completely ready for another watch in fact. Like I said, while I’m dying for the group to come together and the relationships to play out with reactions and information disclosure (John was a Men of Letters legacy?!) slow and sweet is pretty good too. I’m interested in how the BMOL storyline will shape as we go and, oh yes, that Lucifer storyline too. It was teased through the episode with Crowley on his trail…what will that look like as we move forward. A new, less grandiose and more personal story this year seems about right and so far, so good. Look out, Toni… the Winchester Family is coming for you.
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