After a strong season opener last week, “Mamma Mia” felt a little anti-climactic, but saw the boys reunited, as well as introducing some more key players.
I’m sure even casual viewers would have realised quickly that the opening scenes of Sam in bed with Toni were an illusion, just another method of getting inside his head, and so his eagerness made this pretty uncomfortable to watch. Sam Winchester has a long and storied history of loss of agency, so having him perform non-consensual acts while under the influence of a spell in an episode which brought up his addiction and dependency on Ruby, as well as Lucifer’s pursuit of a new vessel, left me hurting for this character. Toni’s enjoyment of ‘enhanced interrogation’ made me wish for a sticky end for her. And once we were reminded of the fact Sam has been used against his will (both sexually and as a conduit) by Meg, Ruby, Lucifer, Gadreel, and even Becky over the years, it cast a murky light on Dean’s version of how Sam got back into hunting after Stanford. Telling Mary he and Sam realised that, after John disappeared, they only had the Impala and each other, Dean omitted the fact that he broke into Sam’s apartment and dragged him away for the weekend, effectively removing his choice, and leaving Jessica vulnerable. Dean’s skewed perception was nicely paralleled by Mary when she told her visibly dismayed eldest that John was a great father.
While Dean tried to find a way to speak to his recently resurrected mother, even asking Cas, the King of Awkward, for advice, the angel was out scouring Missouri for Sam, and finally found him in a heavily warded farmhouse. But the rescue mission didn’t quite go to plan, and Dean found himself trussed and bloodied alongside his brother. There were some really nice moments here – especially Dean’s sass in the face of physical pain, and the performances from both leads in conveying the emotional wounds re-opened for both of them at the mention of vampire, Benny. Luckily, Mary was there for back up, and the Winchester clan was almost free when they were interrupted by Mick, a British Man of Letters with a Mockney accent and a beef with Lady Bevell. It seems Toni had gone rogue, and Mick wanted a more peaceable relationship with the hunters, although he’d gone to the precaution of calling in mysterious assassin, Mr Ketch, should things go pear-shaped.
Over in Hell, Crowley paid a visit to his mommy dearest, Rowena, who having survived the wrath of Amara, decided she wanted to marry rich and leave the world of monsters far behind her. She was even dressed conservatively, not a fabulous gown or an immaculate flick of eyeliner to be seen. But the King of Hell soon had her doing his bidding, and the pair tried to re-cage Lucifer, who was now residing in the body of a grief-stricken rock star by the name of Vince Vincente (played by Rick Springfield of “Jessie’s Girl” fame! Now it’s stuck in your head too. You’re welcome.) Rowena’s obviously lost some of her mojo playing all that lawn-tennis though, and her spell didn’t quite go according to plan. Crowley fled (very wise) and abandoned his mother to her fate. It seemed like Lucifer was going to snap her neck for a second time (how many lives do witches have?) but then decided she was more valuable to him as a prisoner. Poor Rowena. She may not be in line of any Mother of the Year Awards, but look what she’s working with.
So this episode ended one family separated after a brief and eventful reunion, and another reunited after half a lifetime. Sam and Mary’s hug was touching, with neither knowing how else to express the enormity of the situation. Mary clearly feels guilt over Sam’s Yellow Eyed Demon encounter, and Sam is just thrilled to have the mother he never knew in his life to ‘fill in the blanks’. Dean’s perusal of their family photos was bittersweet. While he’s clearly glad to have Mary back, it compromises the ‘we’re all we’ve got’ dynamic between him and Sam. So while this episode didn’t set me on fire, it did pose some interesting questions about what’s to come this season.
Final Grade: C
+ Mary’s “good talk” was so on point. Like mother, like son.
+ Can we talk about the look of guilt and shame Jared Padalecki conveyed when Toni accused him of enjoying their dalliance. Wow.
+ It’s good to have Rowena back on the scene. Long may you reign, our ginger queen!
– I do feel a bit cheated out of an epic brotherly hug. Sam thought Dean was dead. And then on top of that, he had Mary’s return to contend with. I think, having just been mind-raped, he’d have assumed their presence was all another trick, and the relief of finding out they were real deserved more screen time and gravitas.
– I’m not sure how I feel about Vince yet. He needs to be more Lestat and less Showaddywaddy. I mean he’s The Morning Star, after all!
– Dick Van Dyke English accents abound this season!
Extra Thought: I’m not sure whether Lucifer is the Big Bad this season, or whether his arc is a more private battle with Crowley for Hell. Having the (presumably human) Mr. Ketch and the MOL being the main adversaries this year would be interesting…
So what did you think? Did this episode rock out with its cock out? Or did it die on its arse? Sound off in the comments, or tell us on Twitter!