The Morning After
The Winchesters third episode, “You’re Lost Little Girl”, furthered our knowledge of each of the characters in the newly named “monster club” that Mary, John, Latika, Carlos and Ada have formed to save people and hunt things. It also gave us a peek at the emotional depth the show needs to hook its audience into their quest. With a legitimately scary monster, terrified children, new lore and several teases about what’s to come in both the myth arc and the characters’ stories, this was the best episode of the three we’ve seen thus far. Written by Gabriel Alejandro Garza and directed by Claudia Yarmy, this episode raised my hopes for season one’s potential.
Getting to Know John, Mary and the Rest of the Monster Club
Dean: There's no map to being a hunter. No playbook. You gotta follow your gut. But that can only take you so far. Truth is, you can't do it all on your own. You need other people to help guide the way... Your friends, your family. Otherwise you just end up lost.
Carlos stole the show last week with his purple hippie threads, musical serenade of “Aquarius” and tough love talks with Mary about her militaristic approach with the team. While this week he was relegated to the passenger seat during his assignment with Ada to track down clues to the Akrida, it became clear that Carlos’ role on the team will be helping to keep them all from being lost. He’s teaching them, and us, about their motivations, issues, strengths and weaknesses.
Carlos’ side glances and subtle worried looks at Ada hinted that there is more to her than we know. Her pruning of the bonsai tree at first seemed to reflect a patient, meditative approach to hunting, but her callous threats and condemnation of the demon to a tortured existence inside the tree revealed a vengeful side of her that may be both suppressed and dangerous. Those tendencies were confirmed when she plucked the tree of the embodied demon, suggesting a sadistic, silent rage that is intriguing for a hunter who seems to prefer magic to outright violence. There is more to Ada than we saw at first glance, and I’m anxious to see more.
We were also given more mysterious backstory on Latika. While Mary said that her friend’s parents “died years ago”, we later learned that wasn’t true.
Latika: There may be one other person I can contact. But even if I could get ahold of them, I doubt they'd be willing to talk to me.
To whom was Lata talking and what unresolved issues did she leave behind in India?
Lata: Just tell mom I’m safe. That’s all she needs to know.
Whether Mary lied to John, or whether Lata lied to Mary and Mary doesn’t know the truth about Lata’s past is unknown but it made Lata’s story very interesting. I’m excited to learn more about her.
We also learned a bit more about John’s past. It seems Betty was an ex-fiancée who, like his mom, was suddenly left behind when he illegally enlisted in the Marines. Perhaps the broken engagement was the last straw that drove John to enlist?
You made the right call. We were, um, too young. I was moving too fast.
Could this foreshadow John and Mary’s immediate future? He does seem a bit intense about someone he just met a few weeks ago. Curiously, Betty’s career is hunting down bad people, a socially acceptable form of hunting monsters. Might she become the “club’s” local law enforcement connection, ala Sheriff Jody or Donna? Will she provide the much needed connection to agencies, resources and cover ups for the hunters?
John running away from what was obviously a serious high school relationship hints at the severity of his emotional instability. He lost his father then he lost his love, so he gave up all the promise in his life in order to search for answers about himself. This history and his emotional breakdown when he thought he would also lose Mary shows how “lost” he has been his whole life and how desperate he is for an identity apart from “the kid who was deserted by his dad.”
John: I just... hunting... Okay, this work, this is the first time in my life that anything has made sense, you know?
Lata: The opportunity to face one's demons literally, yes. Yes, I do know.
John: Okay. Then you know that I can't lose her. Okay? Okay, none of this works without Mary. I need her.
In “Pilot”, Drake Rodger gave a nuanced performance that revealed many layers to John’s emotional psyche. This episode took that to a much, much deeper level. Drake made us feel what John was feeling, and connected the audience to the story in a way that hadn’t yet been achieved in the show’s brief season thus far.
It was superb acting that elevated the story and created a compelling scene worthy of Supernatural’s emotionally scarred characters. It seems John’s new “list” has one item on it: make a life of hunting with Mary at his side.
Mary: Being a kid who killed monsters was my only option.
John: You know, when I was a kid, I made this list of all of these places I was gonna go to look for my dad. Kept it for years, crossing off destinations, adding more. Enough time goes by... all you see is a list, you know?
Mary: Are you saying I should stop looking for my dad?
Curiously, John’s new life seems to be at direct odds with what Mary has been saying she wants for herself.
Shedding the Past and the Title Thread, “You’re Lost Little Girl”
John: We're not gonna stop until we find him.
Mary: Okay, but even if we do find something, what does it matter if he wants to stay lost?
John: Okay, do you really think that your dad sent us all the way to Topeka to lose his trail?
Mary: Last time I talked to my dad, we got into a really huge argument about quitting hunting.
Mary was unknowingly stuck in a paradox of wanting to find her dad but at the same time not wanting to find him, because she was terrified of what that meant for her.
John: What did the Bori Baba tempt you with?
Mary: My dad's hat, but it won't burn…
John: The rules are that you have to willingly let go of what he gave you, right?
Mary: Well, okay, how am I supposed to let go of my dad if I don't even know where he is?
John: Maybe the hat doesn't represent your dad, okay? Maybe it represents something else that you're struggling to let go of. Like the search for him or... what comes after. Hey, this morning, I saw the look in your eyes when I asked you about life after hunting. You couldn't even look me in the face. Why?
Mary: Because... if we find my dad, then I'm done hunting, and hunting... hunting is all I have. I'm not like you, John. I never dreamed I could do anything else. I was raised to hunt, and... if I give up hunting, I don't know who I am.
John: Yeah, I know the feeling. I spent my entire life looking for my dad. Maybe... Hey, but I'm trying to find a new way. With the monster club. I know it's scary. It's time for you to start dreaming about what's next.
"Father Sack" was the perfect monster to make both Mary and John recognize the underlying fears that have been dominating their lives: a father who pulls you out of the comfort of a normal childhood into his deadly world then disappears, leaving you alone and afraid. This monstrous father (who looked a lot like Batman’s terrifying Scarecrow by the way) forced Mary to face her fear and take a first step toward finding herself. Carrie may have been the obvious “lost little girl” but John’s “gut” (as Dean put it) identified that Mary was lost physically because she was lost emotionally. Sadly, though, Mary’s first step to independence was with a total stranger instead of with John.
Missing Dads, and Moms on their own
Lata: Still no word from your mom?
Mary: I heard she was working with a group of hunters in Minnesota a couple months ago. But I'm not even sure she knows my dad's missing. Keep leaving messages.
Lata: So they're still separated, then?
Mary: They never gave a reason why. But nothing's been the same since Maggie died, for any of us.
While finding John and Mary’s missing dads is the obvious impetus behind this story, we learned that Mary’s mom has also been away indefinitely, leaving Mary on her own. Similarly, John’s mom is present, but last week’s episode suggested that they have a relationship that has been strained to the point of estrangement by Henry’s disappearance and his, and now John’s, pursuit of the MoL vocation. John and Mary’s moms’ physical and/or emotional absences were reiterated by Mary’s neighbor’s situation, where the dad is also missing and the mom is also often away from her children because of her “job”.
Mary: Their dad's out of the picture, and their mom's a long-haul trucker, so I keep an eye on the kids whenever I can.
Betty connected Mrs. Billups’ return from her trip to Mrs. Campbell’s “job” of being a hunter by stating something we all know to be true about hunters:
Betty: Happy endings aren’t always a part of the job, you know?
Lata’s family drama also revealed a dramatic separation from her mother, and possibly father, for whatever reason.
What exactly is Lata’s family situation? Why did she leave home? Why would her father have told her a horrible monster story that gave her nightmares as a child? Is her family also involved with the MoL or hunters? Why else might they know how to stop the boogey man?
This was one of our new mysteries, but we did get a few new pieces to last week’s puzzles:
The MoL box - We still don’t know why it doesn’t work but it’s not enough to stop the Akrida by itself. There are “too many of them” according to the trapped demon.
The black cloaked figure who extracts black magic from the vanquished exotic monsters - We saw her face and learned a name.
This is Rockin' Roxy, coming at you in the witching hour with a new dark and dangerous sound. It's guaranteed to bring the rarest of hell-raisers from near and far to our beloved Lawrence. So raise the volume and tune in.
Seems the pirate radio DJ is somehow summoning or attracting rare monsters and using Lawrence’s monster club as her unwitting supplier of monster black magic residue.
Mary: Do you guys find it weird that we're coming across so many wayward monsters?
Lata: And all of them so close to home, this one quite literally so.
John: Okay, well, what are you thinking?
Mary: I'm not sure. But all of these unicorns started popping up as soon as the Akrida did. That has to mean something...
Lata: What Mary said earlier... two rare monsters in a row? I mean, it has to all be connected somehow.
Ada: Through the Akrida.
Carlos: And their leader who, turns out, is someone disguised as a human.
Ada: Whoever she is, she is powerful enough to terrify demons.
Is Betty important - She was before, and she might be again.
Are there any other mysteries to track?
The Last Word
“You’re Lost Little Girl” was a compelling story that gave us a tantalizing look into the emotional makeup of many of our friends. It answered questions that had been teased by prior episodes, and advanced the myth arc threat of the Akrida. The episode was significantly elevated by Drake Rodger’s performance, which was supported by excellent acting from several other cast members (including two amazing child actors!).
I’m still not identifying with Mary, but just as Mary is lost and trying to find herself, I’m hopeful her revelations about herself help Meg Donnelly find her as well. Drake had 12 years to get to know John Winchester (my interview with him revealed he had been a long time Supernatural fan), whereas Meg is starting from scratch to develop the complex woman at the center of this story. The quality of this episode definitely earned her more time to find the “lost little girl” that’s inside of Mary Campbell.
Is it possible, though, that the lack of connection toward Mary is the disparity between what I’m seeing - a sweet, small town girl with curled, styled hair and a toe in the sand demeanor who doesn’t even know when she’s being asked on a date - with what I’m hearing about her being a tough fighter who grew up fast, seeing horrible things in her life? I’m trying to decide if that reflects a subconscious bias that sweet girls can’t also be tough, or the CW’s annoying bias that its female leads have to look feminine (makeup, perfect hair, heels and tight fitting clothes even when it conflicts with the story), or if I’ve been programmed to expect the Lara Crofts of the world to wear extremely stylish, Indiana Jones leather ensembles. I know Mary took on an impressive air when she put on her father’s fedora.
It gave her a presence and personality that finally filled the screen! It was exciting to see her light up like that! This is another mystery I hope to solve with continued time getting to know The Winchesters.
Overall, I loved the pace, characters and multi-layered writing in “You’re Lost Little Girl”. Details were tight, providing explanations for events in both this and prior episodes (e.g. differing impact of holy water on demons). Monsters, special effects, cinematography, set design and directing (loved the re-creation of ET’s iconic closet scene!) also added to the believability of the story. More than those aspects of the series, though, this episode began to show us heart, and that’s what’s going to keep me coming back for more.
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Transcript courtesy of TV Show Transcripts
Screencaps courtesy of The CW