Week two is on the books and I have to say, I’m really enjoying this show. Is it Supernatural 2.0? No. It’s a new story born from an original premise. The rules here are looser, but there are still some callbacks to the original series just to remind us of where it came from. That can be both a blessing and a curse when you’re really rooting for this series to find its own voice.
Episode 2 of any series is always a wild card. Here, it’s a basic monster of the week story designed to start fleshing out character dynamics. The title of the episode says it all, “Teach Your Children Well.” A nice parallel to the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young song from 1970, the underlying theme is about tenuous relationships between parents and children and the consequences from them. The Monster of the Week, La Tunda, is some sort of tree monster that likes punishing disobedient children by chopping them up and feeding them to her flowers, but binds them with tree branches first for slow torture. Not exactly mother of the year.
I think it’s pretty obvious that when “Teach Your Children Well” was constructed as a monster of the week story they had “Wendigo” in mind. It is similar in structure (something Nate Winchester noticed in his review), and had a similar premise aka when Samuel left clues at a zombie kill of where to find the next hunt for Mary. He wants her to carry on while he’s working on something bigger. Just like “Wendigo,” this episode introduced some of the more complicated family relationships, particularly John and Millie. I know that people didn’t think that their bickering was organic, but I took it to mean that they’ve been at each other’s throats for a while. That’s precisely why John joined the Marines at 17 without her permission. We don’t know the full reasons behind it, much like we didn’t understand a lot of why Sam and John were that way early on. It's something that will likely progress as the weeks go on.
There is also a little unfolding of Mary’s relationship with Samuel, aka her being an obedient little soldier that’s trying to be him while he’s gone. Sounds a lot like Dean, doesn’t it? She fails at this only because her friends call out her bullshit. That’s something Sam did a lot with Dean, but here that’s a benefit of a group ensemble. Yes, the parallel of “dad is missing on a hunting trip” yet leaving clues about another hunt to follow is a bit anvilicious, but I’m willing to see where they are going with it. The payoff worked for the original series, it could work here as well.
But that’s where the comparisons end. Otherwise, it was a fresh story. Nate didn’t care for the two musical montages, but I loved them. I’m with Nightsky, my favorite scene was the shoutout to the musical “Hair” with the Aquarius montage. The way that montage was put together, weaving between Carlos in the motel room and the hippie commune working together in song reminded me of watching a local high school production of “Hair” and it was wonderful. The version of “Aquarius” was even from the soundtrack of the musical, adding to the true feel of the song. It went longer than it should and I didn’t care because I loved every bit of it. JoJo Fleites obviously had a blast with that and also scored with the best hippie outfit of the bunch. They were clearly in their element.
The second musical montage was needed to tie up the whole parent/child drama, a theme that is highly prevalent in Supernatural. It makes sense to go there here, especially when we really didn’t know much about John’s relationship with his parents, especially Millie. It was sweet and sentimental, much like the song, but we know that they’re not wrapping up issues in a neat little bow either. There’s a lot more to come here, especially when Samuel Campbell comes out of the woodwork. But the real wildcard they’re setting up here is Henry.
I hear the calls of “foul” on continuity errors when it comes to Henry and I think that’s intentional. They aren’t going to miss the obvious error that Henry disappeared in Normal, Illinois and that’s where the MOL clubhouse was. I still think we are in some sort of AU scenario, but perhaps the trigger point wasn’t John receiving the letter like I previously speculated. There might be more to this and Henry is at the heart of it. Just look at Ada. How did she know Henry? What was the jasmine growing on the side of the garage all about? Was that a Men of Letters ritual or was that put there for another purpose other than Ada using it to help with her spell? Something is unfolding there and I think the clues are important for later.
While I did enjoy the adventure, I still feel like I’m watching a live action version of the Scooby gang, solving mysteries in their decked out hippy van. I won’t mention the missing dog like so many others have noticed. I do like how each member compliments the other perfectly in some way. Lata has been given the “walking encyclopedia of weirdness” title that Sam had in Supernatural. Carlos is kind of the outcast among the group, but I like what he brought to the table this week. He’s the one who has to center Mary, probably because John doesn’t know her well enough yet. In the meantime, if he wants to grab a tambourine and break out into song every now and then, I’m all for it.
All in all though, it was a pretty cool monster of the week story. I didn’t think it was any worse than the wendigo. The reveal that Millie in the motel room was really La Tunda was pretty clever, especially since we knew that Ava gave her the address earlier of where John was staying. The lore behind it too makes me amazed that it never made its way into the 327 episodes of Supernatural. That show didn’t have a Mimic either. It just goes to show, there is more to work with than what I imagined. We haven’t seen it all.
(They had payphones at Hippie communes?)
Overall grade of "Teach Your Children Well," I keep waffling between an B- and a C+.
Fortune Cookie Wisdom for The Week
So, some of the criticisms I’ve read among fans I think are a little harsh for episode 2 of a series. This series is not Supernatural and isn’t trying to be, despite the little callbacks and shoutouts they litter through the episodes. There are only two series I’ve watched in the history of television where there was stunning chemistry between the lead actors from their first scene together. One of course was Supernatural. The other, The X-Files. It’s a very rare phenomenon and it can’t be expected here. The only option is to allow the characters to develop and grow.
When I’m watching, I have the mindset that this is an original story with original characters. Sure, two of the characters have the names of John and Mary, but that’s where the familiarity ends. I’m happier watching this as an original story rather than trying to tie it to the original. It helps me focus on the character dynamics and how their back stories are being built. I’m interested in the new lore as well and digging into the Men of Letters more, an area that was not well explored before. Anything between John and Millie is on the table. Same with Mary and Samuel. We only got a glimpse of the latter before. All we knew was they were a hunting family. That had to do something to her head by the time she was 19.
One thing that got me really irritated is when I complained about Supernatural, particularly in the later years, a common retort I got online is “Well, why don’t you stop watching?” That was a dumb response in my mind because once you’ve invested years in a show, you can’t drop it that easily. You need to ride it out, unhappy or not.
However, The Winchesters is not in that category. This is an original series and one that needs time to evolve like all original series do. I don't want to discourage anyone, but if you have issues you can't get past, don’t like it, would rather see a spinoff with other characters, that’s okay. You really don't have to watch this show. There’s no reason to ride it out. The Winchesters is going in a direction that is against established canon just because the circumstances are now different and it has new characters. The reason will be revealed later. If that’s not interesting to you, it’s okay to walk away. You won’t be losing anything. I’ll keep allowing complaints and venting of frustrations here, but if a show is truly making you miserable, life is too short to be wasting it on TV you don’t enjoy. Pull out those Supernatural DVDs or online streaming and go to your happy place. If you see potential though, then come join us each week and we’ll follow the clues together. It may be awesome, it may be lame, but I’m ready to explore the journey.
Episode 1.03 Preview
So, with that all out of the way, how about a sneak peek at the next episode? Episode 1.03 is titled “You’re Lost Little Girl.” What does that mean? Here’s the CW synopsis:
FACE YOUR FEARS – When Mary’s (Meg Donnelly) next-door neighbor mysteriously goes missing, she and John (Drake Rodger) start digging into the disappearance. During their investigation, John unexpectedly reunites with someone from his past. Carlos (JoJo Fleites) and Ada (Demetria McKinney) bond as they stakeout a potential lead for the demon’s partner. Meanwhile, Latika (Nida Khurshid) taps into old folklore passed down from her family in hopes it helps Mary and John. Claudia Yarmy directed the episode written by Gabriel Alejandro Garza (#103). Original Airdate 10/25/2022. Every episode of THE WINCHESTERS is available to stream on The CW App and CWTV.com the day after broadcast for free and without a subscription, log-in or authentication required.
There are 14 preview photos this week. They tell us...nothing.
Finally, here's the official CW preview clip. Looks really creepy!
I've shared a lot so feel free to sound off in the comments. I'll accept anything that's on your mind! Wondering what this next episode is about? You can speculate or share your thoughts here after the episode has aired.
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