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7) There is a theme about mothers and parallels in the appearance of Mary and Constance are strong (white gown most prominently) in this episode. Was that intentional to suggest Mary wasn't as naively pure as she may appear in this complex game of murder and mayhem?
Elle2 - I think it was used to set the women in their respective roles: Mary as the loving mother, killed too soon – making the reveals from In the Beginning even more stunning, as well as bringing into sharp contrast the graphic nature of her death with the blood and the fire; for Candace, the idea of ghostly figures being clad in white is so ingrained, I think the choice was made without them even thinking too deeply about it. Then again, perhaps I don’t always look deep enough. ;-)
Metamorphic Rocks - The parallels of mothers - or even more encompassing, of families - definitely seemed deliberate. They are just too blatant not to notice: A dead mother; two children who weren’t allowed to be children (though with very different outcomes); a family forever torn apart by tragedy; the inability to go “home” to what once was – the story parallels abound.
I think having both women wearing white was a deliberate visual parallel that helped illuminate the story parallels. Of course, the ghost mother was referred to as “The Woman in White,” in the lore, so she had to have the white dress. Having Mary in the white nightgown most likely served several purposes: A white gown is a symbol of purity, which Mary would always be in Supernatural mythology, most especially to the character of Dean (even though we later learn she made a bad choice compromising Sam in making the deal with The YED). Also, a white dress has universally denoted an “other worldly” female in works of fiction. Supernatural has certainly used this trope in the past with Mary, Jessica (she appears to Sam in a white dress), Eve, and probably others I can’t recall. The white nightgown also contributed to the horrific nature of that infamous scene when Mary is pinned to the ceiling (the pure white contrasting with the blood red - literally – right before Mary burns). I didn’t see the parallel as suggesting Mary wasn’t as pure as she initially appears (like The Woman in White), but that’s an interesting concept to explore.
Percysowner - Although I hadn't thought about it before, that really makes sense. White is code for purity in our society, but it is established that Women in White are not pure, but instead did damaging things in life and continue in death. Mary wearing white seems to be an example of the white equals innocent and pure view of women, when we later find out she was not so innocent. Since Mary apologizes to Sam in Home, I think it is a good bet that putting her in white was intentionally showing Mary as more than she seems.
Elle - Obviously the mother theme was threaded through the show as well and the imagery of the seemingly innocent mother in white in the forefront. And looking back, maybe it was a teaser choice - Mary wasn't a murderous mother, but she wasn't innocent either, in that her choices led to some serious suffering for her children much the way Constance's choices did. It's only a few episodes later that Mary apologizes to Sam, let's not forget. Both had two children, both made a choice out of grief in response to their relationships. It's not a direct replica, of course, but perhaps just a hint. Kripke is crafty like that, so you never know.