This was a family themed episode that only can happen on Supernatural. This one was definitely dark and gloomy and sad. This ep was very reminiscent of old school Supernatural. It's also one of those eps that really causes one to go deep, beyond what we think we know, and question what could possibly be. When I first learned the title of this ep, I did ask myself "what is up with these names? what happened to the good old days of titles being taken from rock songs....you know like Houses of the Holy, Hammer of the Gods, What Is and What Shouldn't Be, Stairway to Heaven, or even Painted Black? I must admit I miss those shout outs. This title, I was clueless as to what it could possibly signify. Now I know, and I find the title to be quite appropriate. Good on you writers. Good on you.
I am one of those fans who enjoy when the show parallels the boys lives with other characters. It provides a better understanding for the audience as well as for Sam and Dean regarding the boys themselves or those they love. A walk in the other's shoes is always the best way to understand one's behavior and decisions. It also allows the characters to connect with each other, thus resulting in a commonality that allows the character to feel better about themselves, or to know that they are not alone, there are others out there just like them. I thought this was well executed in this episode. There were quite a few parallels explored here.
Alicia and Sam
Sam and Alicia have a lot in common and with that a connection was borne. Alicia loves her family. She loves her mom, yet she tells Sam that she felt left out. Max and her mom shared a special bond that she didn't have with her, one of magic. Yet even though Alicia felt like an outsider, she worried for her mom. She was the one who reached out to Mary to help find her. Alicia tried the most. Alicia needed to share this with someone. She wanted someone to know how she felt and she felt a level of comfort with Sam to share such personal demons. Sam had admitted to feeling like an outsider as well when it came to his Dad and Dean. They shared that special bond with hunting, as Sam never really wanted that life for himself or them for that matter. I think Sam feels the same way about his Mom as well. I'm pretty sure by now that Sam has recognised, as much as the viewers have, that Mom doesn't really connect to Sam. Her contact, as little as it's been, has been with Dean, mostly through phone contact. Sam has tried though with Mary. He's opened the door for her. He has offered her his affection and his understanding, to which Mary seems to have blown off, ironically in the other episode written by Steve Yockey, The Celebration of Asa Fox. When Alicia asked Sam about his relationship with his mom, he said it was complicated. Alicia noted that Mary wasn't much of a hugger, in which woefully Sam responded with a "yeah". Sam might not say it to Dean, but this exchange with Alicia has allowed him to reveal, out loud, that he is totally aware that he doesn't share a bond with his mom either. He never had the chance to have one with her, and now that she's back, she has made no effort to have one this time. This talk between Sam and Alicia is really so very sad. It does however explain Sam's bond with Dean, as Dean is the only person that has willingly connected to Sam on every level.
Max and Dean
Max and Dean were meant to parallel each other. They too share similar qualities. Max and Dean are less prone to worry as Sam and Alicia. In this particular instance, Alicia was worried because their mom hadn't checked in, as she apparently does so every four days. Max had told her she was busy. He didn't seem worried at all. There have been quite a few occasions in the past where Sam would worry about something and Dean would brush it off or make lighter of it. He wouldn't be as worried as Sam might seem to be and would often try to comfort Sam, much the way Max was attempting to do with Alicia. Max and Dean also have a knack for enjoying life when they can, especially when it comes to the ladies (for Dean) and the cute guys (for Max). They both seem to me more inclined to have fun than Sam and Alicia, more likely to allow for a little hedonism in their lives. Men, women, drink, food, sex the joys that make life worth living, especially in the line of work they're all in. Sam does find ways to enjoy life though, it's just in different ways. I think Sam's joy comes from research and reading books. He has the occasional bout with a lady, but he's more likely to want to stay in and research than go to a bar and hook up. It's ok....joy comes in all forms....even this one Max and Dean share another common trait, the inability to even fathom a life without his sibling. Dean and Max both have a bond with their sibling that is unlike any other. Neither one of them can do without them, and both are driven to measures that will keep that sibling with them, even if, as in the case of Max, it isn't truly his sister anymore.
Sam/Dean and Max/Alicia
Max and Alicia are close, closer than your average siblings. They have that special bond that twins often do. They are literally a part of each other since conception. I've heard stories about twins, knowing when the other was in trouble from thousands of miles away. It's really an incredible thing. Max and Alicia, like Dean and Sam have chose to work together in a life of hunting, rather than to go their own way and do something different. Their father was a hunter, their mom a witch and they likely grew up in the life as Sam and Dean had. They too lost their father and were raised by one parent, though judging from what we've seen and heard, Max and Alicia had a happier and more loving upbringing. They also seemed quite content in who they were and what they did, as long as they did it together. It's also quite apparent that neither one of these siblings would fare well without the other. The codependency for both sets of siblings is blatantly obvious. Sam and Dean's bond has always felt more than the average sibling bond. I've always equated it with a twin bond. Sam and Dean are two parts of the same coin, and it's been obvious throughout the series, that one cannot really survive well without the other, even if they make the attempt to try. When one is gone, something inside them just dies. Sam and Dean also cannot be when one of them is gone. We've seen them try and fail at the attempt. They need each other, plain and simple. They would do anything for each other...anything....just like Max has done with Alicia. Sam had tried to comfort Dean, letting him know that he'd done the right thing in preventing Max from selling his soul. Let's face it, the boys know how this will end and they were trying to prevent that from happening. Dean's question though made sense, again from their own experience, who was he to stop Max? After all Max is doing what Dean has done, what his father has done, what Sam was willing and tried to do. When you love your family you do whatever it takes to save them. But should you? Max didn't really save his sister, she died. Alicia no longer has a soul, hell she doesn't even have a body, what Max has now is mere tree puppet for a sister. I'm afraid the repercussions of this won't be good. Max sold his soul and there is a good chance now that he will become corrupted. Alicia, who isn't a human at all, will basically fall to the will of her brother, and if he does turn evil, she could end up being his weapon. I think Sam was right here, in the end, what Dean did was the right thing. I fear that the next time the boys and the twins meet, it's not going to be pretty.
Tasha and Mary share some parallels as well. Both have great influence in leading their children into the life of hunting. Both mothers seem to have a bond with one child more than the other. In both cases each mother has made one of their children feel like an outsider. Tasha has made mistakes and is apparently aware of them judging from her comment to Dean about parents being "just people". The difference with Tasha though was that her family was happy. Alicia didn't feel the same connection to her mom, but that's not to say a connection wasn't there. Her mom loved her children and she demonstrated that by being there for them their entire lives. Even as adults they still work together, even if they decide to pursue different cases. They still keep in close contact with each other. Mary does not. Mary has had minimal contact with her children despite her words about loving them. She's made no effort to connect with Sam on any level, and really hasn't connected much with Dean for that matter, though she does keep phone contact with him. Whether it's her massive guilt over her deal with Yellow Eyes and her inability to face them, or some kind of secret agenda she's been working on to try to make the world better for her sons because of that deal, or possibly both, I'm not so sure. I do know that she wasn't there for them in the past and now that she's back she's not there for them in the present. If Mary had been there in the past, would things have been so different, would Dean's fantasy have been more of a reality? We know that Mary didn't want her kids in the life, yet we also know that even after Dean was born, Mary still hunted. Would she have ever been able to stop? What was the unfinished business she spoke of that had her sneak off while her toddler was home with who? Dad? a babysitter? Dad did have a job after all. How long and how often did she sneak off on these hunts? If she couldn't stop then, would she have been able to keep her secret life away from her family had she lived? If she kept hunting, on her own the way she had, if she had been killed on a hunt, would not John and the boys still ended up where they are right now? Hunters. Are Sam and Dean not who they are because God/Chuck commanded it when Mary and John were fated to be united. No matter what, as Michael had told Dean in The Song Remains The Same, they were always going to end up where they were.
Well it looks like this fine little romance has come to it's expected end, hardly a surprise for all of us. I did enjoy the scenes with Ketch and Mary. Ketch is most definitely a psychopath I very much enjoy watching. He's just pure crazy which is downright scary. It was very telling that Ketch wasn't inclined to show any mercy for the shifter regardless of what form it took, Mary and his own. Needless to say, I don't think Ketch will have that hard a time killing Mary if he feels he has to. I liked the whole scene in the BMOL bunker, the cat and mouse thing going on and how she found out that Ketch killed Mick. Mary had told Dean on the phone that she needed to finish what she started. I didn't think she was talking about ridding the world of monsters. The question her comment raised in me was, did she not trust the BMOL from the start and she infiltrated them on purpose? Or Did Mary come to realise during her hunts with Ketch that he is basically a psycho and she grew more and more to distrust the BMOL the longer she stayed? Either way I feel like she has made it her mission to investigate the BMOL and not so much rid the world of monsters. I really enjoyed the fight scene between her and Ketch. You can say a lot about Mary being a lousy mom, but she most definitely can kick ass. Her fighting skills were pretty impressive and I rather felt she'd won that one had Ketch not cheated and pulled out a taser...well bad form Ketch....bad form. I do like the fact however that Mary knows that Ketch's eye twitches when he lies. I do so wonder if that little tidbit will come in handy in the future.
And then of course Mary finally gets to have a face to face with the one who tortured her son. I am intrigued to see what happens when these two finally have a chance to chat. I wonder what Lady Toni really knows as opposed to what she thinks she knows. I'm very interested to hear what these two will reveal to each other and where it will go from there.
Lady Toni Bevell
It's going to be a very interesting reunion between these two I must say, and I'm very curious indeed. I wonder where Lady Toni's loyalty will truly lie. She has made it quite clear that she believes Ketch to be a psychopath. They do have personal history as they did date. Mary has been working with Ketch and she clearly recognizes his sociopathic tendencies, as she's witnessed it first hand. I wonder if this will be something that these women have in common. I would love to learn a bit more about Toni. She clearly isn't rogue as she was made out to be by Ketch and Mick. It was obvious that she was following orders. That's what the BMOL do after all, they follow orders. The question though is, how will Lady Toni feel about these new orders regarding the elimination of all American hunters? Ketch had made a comment to Mary about not needing a Jiminy Cricket. It's obvious that Ketch doesn't have a conscience anyway and he's pretty much beyond reach. He would kill Mary in a heartbeat, and still might. Mary doesn't have a chance with Ketch, but could that also be said of Lady Toni?
I know, there are many out there who are counting the minutes til Sam puts a bullet in that woman's head. She certainly deserves her comeuppance for what she did to him. Here's the thing though, I'm not sure if she should necessarily be counted out of the possibility that she might have that conscience after all and end up helping the boys. I know, why would she do that, she was the one who told Mick that the Winchesters were worse than the monsters they hunted and they needed to be stopped. I mean, in her eyes, they are the ones who have been a part of world ending events on more than one occasion. Toni didn't hold animosity towards other American hunters. I mean she likely believed they were beneath her and the BMOL, but in her mind, the mission was to find these hunters and get them to join the BMOL so they could be properly trained. If the Americans refused to yield, then it would seem likely that Toni would just give up on them. American hunters are hardly a threat to her or the BMOL. They are a ragtag fleet that get the job done on a smaller scale, but they do get the job done. It would seem more apropos that Toni would simply settle for the disassociation with America as a whole, perhaps just keeping tabs and if and when another end of the world situation comes up, the BMOL actually do something instead just stand by watching drinking tea and eating scones and biscuits.
I'm not sure Lady Toni is all in on this killing every American hunter mandate. This isn't really what the BMOL are about. They aren't about killing people, they're about ridding the world of monsters in a quicker and more efficient manner. What if Toni was sent by one of the "old men" who is actually pro Winchester and wanted their involvement in the first place because someone in the BMOL is all about power and not about ridding the world of monsters for the greater good at all. Toni seemed genuine in her disgust for Ketch, what if her arrival is based on orders that she appear to be on Ketch's side. What if she is really there to help the Winchesters?
Maybe during Lady Toni's interrogation of Mary, she learns that Mick was killed by Ketch's hands. What if Lady Toni was simply told that Mick had died on the job. She may know he's dead, but it could be possible that she doesn't know that he died at Ketch's hands. Mary has been on the inside for some time now, what if she has information that sway's Toni's opinion? What if Mary can Jiminy Cricket her way into Lady Toni's conscience?
Given the promo pics for next week, it seems to me that there could be more to Lady Toni that meets the eye. I'm very curious to learn where her true loyalties lie. Is she frenemy or foe?
The Puppet Theme
The whole concept of the tree people play an interesting role here. What we are basically dealing with here are puppets. They have no will of their own and do what their puppet master, in this case the old witch, commands them to do. They have no soul. They are literally created from twigs and twine. Their strings are invisible, yet there. They have the memories of those who's hearts are now contained in the tree structure, but that's it. They are simply a shell. They are not those who have been lost, those souls, like Alicia and her mom, hopefully went to Heaven. This episode's premise does bring up rather interesting questions regarding the entire season thus far.
The BMOL: Is there someone or something in the BMOL that is pulling the strings, using Ketch, Lady T, and Mick as tools to do so? Is there some type of evil being (Asmodeus perhaps) who is disguising himself as one of the "Old Men". Is the goal of ridding the world of monsters simply that, or is someone trying to rid the world of any monster and now hunter that might be a threat to it's very power it's trying so hard to retain? Is Ketch who he says he is? Is Lady Toni? Is there more going on here than we know? Who's real and who's not in this little game? Who is the puppet and who is the puppet master?
Cas/Kelly/Baby Luci: Dean had told Sam that he didn't recognize Cas. He believes that Cas is being controlled by the Nephilim and one is prone to wonder if Dean is right. Is the baby controlling both Cas and Kelly? Is he sending visions that aren't necessarily true in order to gain their protection? Or is this baby a force of good that can help bring the world to it's feet rather than take it to it's knees. Is this baby even the one sending visions to Cas or could it be Lucifer doing so through his connection with the baby?
Crowley/Lucifer: It seems that Crowley has gained the upper hand on Lucifer, but is this truly the case or does Lucifer have a means of escape up his sleeve? Could Lucifer have sent those visions to Cas so he wouldn't kill his son, knowing full well that he would at some point get Cas and ultimately Kelly right in his clutches?
The Colt: The Colt was brought back with the implication that it's a very powerful weapon that the BMOL want very much, or at least someone in the BMOL. The BMOL can kill a Prince of Hell, so does that mean it's importance to the BMOL is because a POH is among one of it's leaders? The Colt was destroyed, yet still there is the possibility that Sam can fix it. Is the Colt the answer or is the Colt, merely a red herring, who's purpose is to make everyone think it's relevant, but there is another more powerful weapon that the BMOL could be after?
I would also like to acknowledge the shifter aspect of the story also contributing to the theme of puppets , of who is really who and reality from false perception.
I can't help but conclude that the death of Tasha was a foreshadow of what could be ahead for Mary. It seems to me that Mary's path to any kind of redemption she could take regarding her children would likely end up with her sacrificing herself in some way. It started with her sacrificing her child for her husband, so maybe it's time that Mary sacrifice herself for her children.
I fear nothing good will come of Max selling his soul. He truly lost everything, including himself. I think if we do see Max and Alicia again, I fear they won't be the same as they once were. I think Max may end up turning evil due to deal to sell his soul. That would certainly make for an interesting reunion, if we get one, next season.
“Parents always seem smart and strong and perfect. It’s only when you grow up that you realize they’re just people.”
-Tasha Banes to Dean
" We do terrible things all the time to save each other. That’s what you do for family."
-Dean to Sam
"Don't talk about my boys".
-Mary to Ketch
"Dean, drink" (Sam pours his wine in Dean's glass)
"You should probably return Dean's call. You don't want him to think Mommy doesn't love him."
-Ketch to Mary
Tasha: "You must be drunk".
Dean: "Off of wine?"
"Their mom's on a hunting trip and she hasn't been home in a week".
-Sam to Dean (great call back to the Pilot ep when Dean got Sam to go with him to look for Dad.)
Jared and Jensen were so incredible. They brought such heart and sadness to this episode. Ultimately though, even though this episode was based on the tragedy that befell the Banes family, it was through Jared and Jensen that I felt more inclined to feel for the Winchesters. Richard did a fantastic job directing and I so hope he comes back for a few more next season. (though I rather his return as the trickster). The actors that played the twins did a fantastic job. They both really sold the tragedy of this family. They not only sold us on their special and unique twin bond, but they managed to magnify the Winchester's bond as well. I was very sad to see Alicia die, but more than that, I was sad at what her death did to her brother. The actors did a tremendous joy portraying their devastation. The actor who plays Ketch entertains me endlessly. His insanity is both scary and sometimes amusing and he is most definitely never uninteresting. He is a great foe for the boys and I kind of hope he survives the season to wreak havoc in s13. Sam Smith was kick ass, and yet there is promise that she might actually be able to redeem herself in the eyes of the fans....at least some of them. I find that even the dislike that is aimed at Mary's character is also a testament to the good job she is doing. Whether she's seen as cold and detached from her children, to her yearning to seek some kind of redemption for the pain she caused them in the first place. I also enjoyed the old witch. It was nice to see another familiar face from the past, as this is the same actress who played Ezra, in Time after Time, after Time. Overall, I found this to be a really great hour. I am so looking forward to the next three eps.
Til next time.
Thanks for reading.