Previously on Supernatural, “Twigs & Twine & Tasha Banes”
Long episode short, the Men of Letters are cleaning up house with Dr. Hess in charge and Mr. Ketch and Lady Toni Bevell (Elizabeth Blackmore) supervising the details of their hunter-killing operation. Rather than torture Mary Winchester for information on the whereabouts and habits of her fellow hunters, Toni has effectively brainwashed Mary to do MoL’s dirty work and eliminate her friends one by one.
It was a tale of two stories. While Samantha Smith successfully evoked the urgency and agonizing reality of a traumatized Mary - culminating in a well-executed scene with David Haydn-Jones - there was the underlying concern on how (or if) her character will overcome her current, potentially irrevocable predicament.
Mary Winchester’s journey’s certainly had its peaks and valleys throughout the season and we, like her, were hoodwinked by the Men of Letters due to the misplaced optimism and certitude of Mick Davies. Once he took a bullet in the back of the head all bets were off and once again, everyone was in their sights. We did learn that Dr. Hess and Crowley have a tenuous working relationship that ensures both sides meet their expectations. It felt more like an easy way to link season twelve’s dominant story lines, if only to clean house in one swoop after Lucifer made his great escape (and he did).
In addition to Mary’s conditioning and Lucifer’s return to power, Crowley seemingly met his demise but saved himself in the form of a common rat; Hess is goading her top agents to fight amongst themselves and instead of killing Sam and Dean outright, Ketch’s flair for the theatrical compelled him to turn the Bunker into their tomb. If there was a glaring issue with “Something About Mary”, it was everything was a little too convenient. It’s obvious none of the main cast will be written off anytime soon as death is old hat for all of them. However, the hope we had for some new blood to swoop in and help the boys combat their latest menace and contain The Fallen One yet again has gone up in smoke.
Perhaps the most shocking moment in the episode occurred during its cold open; with a hellhound on her heels, Eileen Leahy (Shoshannah Stern) is mauled by the beast under Ketch’s command and left to die in the middle of the woods. Really? REALLY? This season has been lacking in its “gotcha” moments but was possibly one of the worst timed kills in the history of the show given the potential of the Leahy family history and Eileen’s connection to Sam.
It’s really, truly becoming difficult to watch Supernatural without recognizing the most significant deaths this season have predominantly involved women. Billie and Dagon were killed by Castiel, Tasha Banes was murdered then her tree doll killed her daughter Alicia, then there’s Eileen. Even Kelly Kline would be dead right now if not for her unborn son reviving soon after her successful suicide attempt.
Technically, the ratio of male and female deaths on the show is nearly even. There will always be a need for throwaway characters that serve no other purpose but fodder during cold opens or the second act to showcase the threat of the monster-of-the-week or recurring antagonist. What’s troubling is Supernatural has a tendency to completely raze the support system of the Winchesters every couple of seasons to renew their motivations for ‘the job’. And for the most part, their more charismatic and popular supporting cast are women.
Perhaps this standard wouldn’t be as tiresome if supporting cast were granted a bit more durability. There’s nothing wrong with the way they are developed; each actor provides a compelling nuance to their respective character. Yet it’s gotten to the point that viewers know most of them have three strikes before they’re axed. The lone exception this season has been Lily Sunder, who is currently in parts unknown.
In any case this episode, which is supposed to ramp up the tension for the inevitable battle between hunters and MoL, ultimately flounders. Nothing that occurred was terribly surprising so much as frustrating, seeing that a show such as this has displayed considerable longevity has what only can be described as an aversion to trying something fresh and unexpected.
"There's Something About Mary"
Supernatural - S12E21 - “There’s Something About Mary” | Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Mark A. Sheppard, Mark Pellegrino, Misha Collins, Samantha Smith, David Haydn-Jones | Writer: Brad Buckner & Eugenie Ross-Leming | Director: P.J. Pesce