It was the penultimate episode of the season this week, and things were looking pretty dire for the Winchesters. With the British Men of Letters having captured Mary, Lucifer on the verge of freedom, the nephilim about to be born, and Cas MIA, the brothers then had to contend with the death of their friend, Eileen Leahy. I must admit, I was worried for Eileen when she made a reappearance this season, and I was right to be. While I loved her as a one off character, I felt her return and obvious infatuation with Sam were leading up to something bad, and sure enough, she met her fate in the jaws of a Hell hound this week. Eileen deserved better, franky. It was refreshing to see a capable, self-sufficient hunter who just happened to be a deaf woman, and bringing her back only to fridge her to motivate Sam and Dean’s investigation into the BMoL was a cheap trick.
While hunters were dying in the field, Mary Winchester was subjected to Lady Bevell’s brainwashing techniques and used to kill her own people. I’m not sure what was in the drug they injected Mary with, but it must have been strong because she went from defiant to paid up member of the BMoL in the space of a few days. The super-quick nature of Mary’s transformation from loving mother to cold assassin who held a gun on her own kids undermined some of the good work Sam Smith did this week. She managed to convey Mary’s terror at having her agency stripped away brilliantly, in a scene with Ketch where she begged him to kill her rather than weaponise her. This was reminiscent of Dean’s distress earlier in the year as his memories started to slip away, and reminded us that there are fates worse than death on this show. The idea of possession and becoming a vessel for something against your will is something which has been normalised on Supernatural to some extent, but used to be the source of much of the show’s horror.
While Sam and Dean tried to trap the BMoL into revealing their true intentions after learning of their treachery in a letter from Eileen, Doctor Hess was making deals with Crowley, assuring him that as long as he kept demons away from people who hadn’t sold their souls, and continued to provide intel, the BMoL wouldn’t trouble him. See, this is where the whole British Men of Letters thing falls down for me. I just don’t know what their end game is. They say they want no more monsters, and yet are happy to use Hell hounds and demons against people. At this point they just seem to be rag-tag group of psychopaths. They’re too evil, too archetypal to be believable, and their ambitions seem to change week on week. I’m not sure why Mary has been selected as the cream of the crop, or why they even need her at this point. Ketch’s double cross of Bevell and his explanation of how he was going to leave her and the Winchesters in the bunker to die was straight out of a James Bond villain’s textbook. Why not just shoot them there and then?
It will be interesting to see if Bevell’s allegiance switches now she has been betrayed by Ketch, or whether she will remain faithful to the BMoL cause. Given what she’s done to Sam and Mary, it seems unlikely Dean will be open to offers of help from her, no matter how desperate things get.
Down in Hell, the binding magic which Crowley has been using to keep Lucifer enslaved was somehow reversing after some tinkering from Drexel, leaving Crowley under Lucifer’s control. Luci wasted little time stabbing the former king with an angel blade, but as there was no light and smoke show, I’m assuming that’s not the last we’ve seen of him. It didn’t feel momentous enough for the death of such an established character, and then there was the matter of the rat which seemed to be behaving oddly. Can demons possess animals? I am struggling to remember an instance of animal demon possession on the show, but it sounds like the kind of thing that could have been pretty cool if they’d had the time and budget for some really good VFX. But I digress…
So Lucifer is out of his dungeon and skipping through some green hills just in time for the birth of his son. Mary is under the spell of the BMoL. Sam and Dean are locked in their bunker with limited air and a woman they hate. Crowley is either dead or inside a rodent. And Cas is helping Kelly gestate the anti-Christ. Pretty standard. I’ll be interested to see how many of these plot lines will be resolved in next week’s two hour finale, and how many will be carried over into next year.
Final Grade: C
+ Some nice performances from the entire Winchester clan.
+ I like it when we get to see the angels’ flex their shadow wings.
+ It pleases me that there’s an explanation for how Bela Talbot made a deal with a crossroads demon in Britain post 1965, when the Men of Letters claimed to have wiped out supernatural activity.
– One thing this episode really underscored was how little the brothers have had to do this year. There were some impressive moves in the gun fight, and they entrapped the eavesdropping Men of Letters, but overall they have been fairly passive and reactive this season. More screen time for our boys next year, please.
– Eileen deserved better.
– The British Men of Letters haven’t been a convincing Big Bad for me. There’s been a lot of flip-flopping between recruiting and killing the Winchesters and nothing about the organisation rings true.
Extra Thought: It was interesting to hear Toni bring up Mary’s deal with Azazel and John’s ‘abuse’ of the boys. It implies she’s been in league with demons as well. The whole Mary story line has been a tad disappointing. Bringing her back could have been an opportunity to explore some of the issues between the boys and their parents, but instead Mary has been separated from them most of the time, and has deceived them more than once. I can’t see how this is going to end well!
What did you think? Are you excited for the finale? Has Mary gone to the dark side for good? Will Ketch get his comeuppance? Sound off in the comments, or tell us on Twitter.