Twigs & Twine & Tasha Banes had all the perfect ingredients and knew exactly how to blend them in the perfect storm of an episode. Excitement, emotion, drama, cliffhangers and action, 12.20 delivered a quick-moving storyline and left this audience member surprised to see the forty-two minutes were gone already, exceedingly pleased with how it had played out. So, what were we served and where exactly does that leave us heading for the soon-to-be served finale?
Villains All Around
This week we had the direct evildoer in our Borrower Witch at the Inn along with all her (super creepy) twig-doll minion folk. Unlike some monster-of-the-week story lines, our witch was the more obvious villain: she was nasty, took delight in being offensive and made no bones about hiding her power-source of a jewel. This character was fun to watch but was never really the primary focus, totaling very little screen time or even discussion amongst our heroes. Rather, our witch – while delectable – was the sparkling distraction from the true villain emerging in top form this episode.
Before we get to the villainous heart at the root of the episode – and the season – let’s discuss those twig dolls. This was a clever and fresh idea that was also incredibly eerie. There is something about totems that are always so disturbing and in this case, was I the only one to have Scarecrow flashbacks looking at the twig sculptures? The concept that these dolls house not only the shape but also essentially the entire person, including the soul, is truly fascinating and has a lot of potential in future storylines. Thoughts?
By contrast to the borrower witch, though we’ve known Ketch to be a “bad guy” so to speak for a while now, there has been some speculation about what his affection for Mary might evolve to and of course, the Winchesters themselves haven’t been fully let in on exactly what he’s been up to these days. Of course, they were working with/for the BMoL, to the chagrin of many. Ketch was revealed to Mary in stages through the episode but thankfully there was nothing she didn’t question and this included the too convenient and coincidental email from Mick following her mention to Ketch that he’d been incommunicado. Mary was also extremely clear about that line in the sand between her and the MoL favourite cleaner, so we know that they hadn’t been sleeping together on a semi-regular basis before or since – which Ketch was none too pleased about.
It was good to finally have everything come to the head we’ve known it’s been coming toward with Mary and Ketch. And to have Mick’s death out in the open. I’ll admit, this is one of my favourite exchanges that made me laugh out loud:
Why is Mick's body in a box? An unfortunate werewolf mishap. A werewolf shot him in the head?It's not impossible.
Really, Ketch? Come on.
The other benefit here was seeing Mary get her mom-balls back.
“When will you realize that we will do whatever it takes to rid this world of the things that go bump in the night? Something that people like Mick and your sons are incapable of. [ Grunts ] Uhh! [ Bone breaks ] Aah! [ Groans ] [ Panting ] Don't talk about my boys.Why not? I've been cleaning up after them for months. I took care of those federal agents they stupidly allowed to live.I killed a psychic girl they thought was human. Honestly, they're damn sloppy. I think you mean decent.It's the end for the American Hunters. Their time has passed. [Mary strikes again – puts on brass knuckles] Are we done?[ Chuckling weakly ] Those Enochian brass knuckles only work on angels.
And sadly, I'm not an -- Aah!
[Mary punches Ketch. Hard.] Brass knuckles are brass knuckles.”
While she didn’t win the fight – because Ketch tasered her, which isn’t technically fair fighting as she pointed out – she kicked his ass pretty good. And managed – unbeknownst to the BMoL thus far – to get a warning out to her sons. So that hail of fire is about to fall. Get ready to see what Hunters can really do now.
Reflections of the Past
“Dad’s on a hunting trip and hasn’t been home in a while”
It feels like a while since we heard this – but of course, it is both infamous and significant to the history of the Winchester family. So much so, that Sam only has to make a paraphrase for Dean to get on board with what he’s saying when it comes to the Banes family:
“Their mom’s on a hunting trip…”
The line about the missing mother is just the first of several reflective moments: we have of course, mom dies, Alicia dies by being stabbed – much like Sam (the first time) and a soul deal for a sibling. These are loose parallels but because Sam and Dean recognize them, they empathize with Max and of course this is why Dean fights to get his pistol and shoot the witch before a deal for Tasha can be made. Dean has been there, done that and knows it’s ultimately not the way to go – that Tasha would be sorry to be resurrected that way.
This callback to the old days is just the beginning of the parallels that crop up between older and younger sibling sets of course and while the referential storytelling throughout Twigs is easily spotted as it parallels Sam and Dean’s own life – it never detracts from the plot. Instead the writers do an excellent job of delivering a story that is reminiscent without becoming overtly predictable. In doing so, Sam and Dean – and the viewers too – connect with this family even more readily in the short time we’ve known them and understand Max’s choice, even as we know it will be the wrong one.
Ultimately, the final moments of the episode leave us with Max resurrecting his twin – making the much regrettable deal – and burning the bodies and the Inn. This leaves the Banes twins' storyline in a perfectly concluded position …for now and open to incredible potential next season. Oh, the possibilities.
Foreshadows of the Future
Looking back isn’t the only thing Twigs offers; the writers, with that delightfully foreboding manner they are so fond of – offer plenty of foreshadow as well.
First things first: we open with Mary in the torture chair. It’s a startling scene and a bit confusing off the bat, though it quickly sorts itself out – this is a shapeshifter. Of course, this is how we end the episode too, and this time it’s not a shapeshift. There is a significant line following the torture of the shifter, Mary says to Mick:
“Ketch, it was a waste of time, that little torture session…That shifter was never gonna betray his family, and still you –“
“Sometimes pain works…But anyone who tells you that torture is never the answer, they haven't been under the knife… you won't become the Jiminy Cricket of the British Men of Letters…Such a trite idea, but we firmly believe the ends do justify the means.”
At the time, this conveyed her disdain of his approach (and predilection toward) of excessive and unproductive violence. However in retrospect, with real-Mary in the chair by the end and our Lady Bevel posing for interrogation: does this offer something else? Possibly. And if there is one thing we know for certain – Mary won’t give up her family.
Sorry I couldn't pick up before. I've been on a hunt with Ketch. And, Dean I'm sorry I haven't been there for you and Sam. But I wanna be. I will be. I just I need to finish this. I miss you boys. I love you.
This voicemail – while emotional, heartfelt and endearing - also carries an ominous note – particularly having heard it twice in in the forty minute episode. Mary’s promise to be there for the brothers suggests one thing is very nearly certain: her time in corporeal form is coming to a swift (and likely bloody) end. Considering once more Sam’s iteration of the line “…Mom’s on a hunting trip and hasn’t been heard from in a while” well….though I realize it wasn’t directly spoken about Mary, it is true about her in this context. Mary WAS on a hunting trip (with Ketch) and HASN’T been heard from in a while. Let’s just agree it doesn’t look good. Thoughts?
Two key moments worth mentioning because we got a little information and maybe a great moment too.
First, Sam and Dean in the bunker the day after Cas nephiliumed-up and zapped them. Dean is angry and searching for an explanation; he’s landed on the idea that Cas is being controlled by the evil-baby (probably Kelly too). Hmm. I have to vote no on this one, even though it’s a viable theory and for Cas’ sake, it would make Dean much more likely to forgive him going forward. For everyone involved, let’s all hope this baby turns out to be the savior of mankind. That aside, let’s focus on the good news: the Colt, which I thought had been wholly liquefied by Dagon, is still in the game! No telling exactly when or how it will come back into play, but at least it can’t be counted out fully.
The other moments that must be mentioned are the Impala scenes: first of course, Dean got to show her off to Max (along with the grenade launcher: is that a tease for how we’re going to rescue Mary, because I’m game!) and of course the moments listening to Mary’s voicemail with Sam asleep in the passenger seat. It was short, but it was sweet.
This was a great episode all around from one of my favourite returning guest directors, Richard Speight Jr. The story moved at a beautiful clip, treating us to familiar faces all around, favourite references and finally addressing the BMoL elephant in the room. The foreshadow has given us a taste of where we can expect to go in the coming days – and since everyone on Team Freewill is starting to get the memo about the badness that is the BMoL (it’s about time) we can finally take action. Next week: let’s hope some British Men of Letters get their asses kicked by those “sloppy” hunters. Remember boys – the BMoL don't believe in leaving survivors!
What are your thoughts? Share speculations, hopes and dreams below!