Hello everyone! I’m back from my whirlwind month of cons! Anything happen while I was gone? There weren’t any significant announcements, or any important character changes, or anything like that, right? Geez! Can’t a girl go away for three weeks without the whole Supernatural world changing?? All I wanted to do was go to a few Supernatural conventions! During my first two weeks away, Jared, Jensen and Misha announced that a stalwart institution, a significant aspect of my life, is ending. Then I quietly sneak away for a few days to my hometown convention and the show kills Mary Winchester! It’s been three weeks of heart-wrenching tears and sorrow but I am grateful beyond words for the opportunity to have shared that time in history with the people who bring these characters to life. I was present to witness Jared’s, Jensen’s and Samantha’s tears (Misha less so; he didn’t really break down at the cons the way the others did). I was able to say a few words to them, express my love for them and their work, and give and receive hugs that did little more than squeeze even more tears out of the brave façades we were all trying to maintain. It was oddly appropriate that the fourth wall separating the Supernatural fantasy world and reality fell away at the exact moment I needed to share fictional grief with the actors who are experiencing it for real, since so much of my real life is also dedicated to this show and these people.
Thus, whether by coincidence or design, the latter half of season 14 has been intensely emotional both within and outside the show. We have all - characters, cast and fans alike - gone through cascading traumas: our beloved Jack’s, i.e. the boys’ “son’s” death; Dean’s desperate plan to condemn himself to a “living death” (as Castiel termed it); Sam’s total break down at the thought of losing his brother to eternal solitude and torture; Jack’s triumphant defeat of Michael, but Sam’s resulting grief over his friends’ deaths; and the accidental murder of Sam and Dean’s mom, the matriarch of this whole saga, at the hands of our innocent, gullible, confused, now-volatile Jack. That run of superbly written, emotionally captivating stories is partially what made “Jack in the Box” so infuriating.
THEN: The teenager in Lebanon gets impaled by Jack; Nick gets killed by Jack; Mary gets killed by Jack. Dean says, “We fight.” Cas says, “I failed you; I failed Jack.” Dean tells him he should go to heaven and get Mary back. Jack tries to bring Mary back – spell casting. Lucifer (or Jack’s mind-created image of Lucifer) talking to Jack. The burning pyre. “It didn’t work.”
NOW: The bunker is filled with lots of strangers dressed in rough work clothes – these must be the surviving AU hunters. They are sipping from open bottles and talking quietly and respectfully. Mary’s picture in a frame and other mementos are on the lighted map table. Dean, flanked by Cas and Sam, comes through a doorway and stands in the entrance, a few steps above the map room. Dean thanks the hunters for being there, saying that, while she was family, “her family went beyond just us.” He mentions how they fought with her both in the AU world and on hunts here, saying that he and Sam had gotten a second chance to get to know her. They’d gotten to know her as more than just a mom but as someone who was tough, strong, stubborn, opinionated, skillful, able to handle their old man. He jokes that she couldn’t cook, then, holding up his bottle, says, “Mom, you weren’t here long enough, but we’re so glad for the time we had. Goodbye, Mom.” Sam echoes quietly, “Goodbye, Mom.” Everyone drinks to Mary. Suddenly a machete smashes in the head of one of the hunters. He stands for a moment, eyes wide, blood spilling from the ax embedded in his skull before collapsing to the floor. AltBobby enters in his plaid shirt and ball cap. He smiles.
"OMG, they killed, Mary!"
Can anyone believe we’re almost done with the season? It feels like a minute ago we were watching Sam shout, “ENOUGH!” at some demons. What a journey it’s been and I don’t think there is any slowing down for the last two episodes, if this one is anything to go by.
With the second to last season drawing to a close, this episode emphasizes a lot of the primary themes of Supernatural: family, betrayal, trust, and loss. The title itself, “Absence,” conveys the sense of loss, driven home by the final scene at Mary’s funeral pyre. They’ve also physically lost Jack, he may have lost his soul, and they certainly have lost the ability to trust him if an explosion of temper can cause the death of someone they love.
Then: “I am a Winchester!” shouts Jack as he kills Michael. He inhales grace: “I’m me again!” He heals Sam after Nick’s brutal attack. Cas is concerned about Jack’s soul. Jack disintegrates Felix the snake to dust. Nick viciously beats the policeman and escapes custody. Nick tries to resurrect Lucifer. Mary tells Jack to “do it” (use his powers to help his family). Jack feels overwhelmed and pressured. Mary is trying to talk to him. He hollers, “Leave me alone!” then whispers, “Mary?”
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