Nightsky was unable to write her usual threads article this week due to attending cons, so she asked if I would do a quick threads lite article. I’m happy to oblige, though my insights will lack her depth, especially since I’ve only watched the episode the one time when it aired last night. I thought about rewatching it on the CW app, but I got distracted reading reactions to today’s announcement that season 15 would be Supernatural’s last. Nonetheless, I was able to come up with a few thoughts, and I hope you all will help add more ideas.
Overall, I found this episode to be a bit bland, lacking both the pathos of many recent episodes or the laughs that so often augment the angst and horror of the Winchesters’ lives. However, there were themes that resonate with recurring ideas from this season and the entire show.
As the show opened, I immediately noticed the first thread: FAMILY, specifically father/son relationships. The sheriff and his son were at odds.
Later, Sam mentions a memory of them with their dad to Dean. In addition, Jack doesn’t stay safely in the bunker (except for shopping) as his father figures wanted but instead connected with peers and used his powers in a frivolous and dangerous way. And, lastly, in the most horrible one, Henry Parker ate his family. That reminded me of Ouroboros, with the snake eating its own tail.
The most obvious thread to me in the episode was that of LYING and TRUTH. Dean didn’t tell Jack the truth about why they wanted him to stay behind. Jack was relieved that he didn’t have to lie to the teenagers about the existence of monsters; he said lying made his stomach hurt. He didn’t want to use the fake IDs. Dean and Sam initially don’t tell the sheriff who they really are; later, when he finds them in the forest, they tell him the truth, that they are hunters. The sheriff doesn’t tell the truth to his son or to his community about the attacks in the forest. He also didn’t think that the old stories of the kahunta were true. He tells Sam and Dean that they should tell the world the truth about monsters, though afterwards at the ambulance with his son, he doesn’t take his own advice. In the Impala driving back to the bunker, Sam remembers how the brothers would lie to their dad to keep him happy. When they speak to Jack in the bunker, Dean apologizes for not being straightforward with Jack about how they were worried about him using his powers, and Sam adds that Jack deserves the TRUTH. Ironically, the episode ends with Jack, who’d said lying made him feel sick, placidly stating that he wouldn’t use his powers without letting them know while completely failing to tell them anything of his experience with the teens in town. Now Jack is the one deceiving his family in order to keep them happy.
When the sheriff told the Winchesters that they should let people know that monsters exist, he specifically said that they didn’t have the right to make that choice for other people. In other words, they had the right to know about monsters. This reminded me of the recurring theme of FREE WILL. Are hunters, while saving people, also depriving them of essential knowledge thus making choices for them, denying their free will to make choices for themselves? (Of course, people could always check out the Ghostfacers online like Elliot did!) That reminded me of the snake in the garden, tempting Eve to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
In earlier episodes, we’d seen threads of blindness and sight. In this episode, that theme was illustrated with the strange green lighting in the bathroom and even more so, with people being blind to the danger of the kahunta. Warnings and borders guarding the land where the kahunta roamed went unseen and were forgotten.
To continue the theme of time, the sheriff tells his son that Barbara’s grieving family needs TIME.
I’ve noticed lots and lots of doors this season. Here we had the monster outside the restroom door, leaping onto Thomas through the open door of the cabin, and then getting lured outside the cabin to be stabbed right outside the door. Jack seems focused on his need to fix things, telling the teens that he could fix the wound and then later repeating that he’d fixed her. Will he continue to want to fix people, only to have them respond to him with fear? I was also fascinated with the sheriff saying, in reference to the kahunta, that monsters are made not born. We’ve seen this theme before about what makes someone a monster. Specifically, we are still left unsure if Jack himself will remain on the side of good or if he will use his powers to control and subjugate, even destroy, humanity as Lucifer wanted. Is Jack turning himself into a monster? We also see the unintentional consequences of using magic: the Native Americans cursed Henry Parker to punish him but inadvertently created a scourge that continued to murder and inflict pain. Additionally, they thought they could confine him within the bounds of this particular woodlands, not imagining that years later he would be free to kill again. This made me think of all the unsuccessful efforts to cage Lucifer as well as Dean’s plan to lock himself and Michael away in the Malak Box.
Lastly, finding out that “Supernatural” has only one more season left, I thought about how the Native American stories about the Kahunta were forgotten, and I thought about how the Winchesters might end up forgotten were it not for the Winchester Gospels.
I wish I had direct quotes from the show to illustrate my points. If you have specific lines, other examples, or even different threads that I’ve overlooked, please share them in the comments! As an English teacher, I love picking up on themes and motifs in literature. Do you agree with some of the ones I’ve found here or am I overreaching? I’d love to hear what you think. Thanks, Nightsky, for the chance to try writing something different from my recaps.