A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 12×01 (That backseat has seen some stuff over the years)

sn-12x01

 

SUMMARY

Dean helps a distraught Mary Winchester understand her return to life and 30 years in the future while Castiel makes his return having been thrown across the state by a Antonia’s ward. A wounded Sam is taken to a local veterinarian by Antonia and her accomplice to patch him up and is then taken to an abandoned house where he’s questioned and tortured to reveal names, locations and gatherings of other American hunters. When Castiel reunites with Dean, the two and Mary journey to locate Sam while Crowley is busy hunting down Lucifer, who is transferring through multiple bodies to stay active. Sam resists Antonia’s physical and mental torture as her accomplice, Ms. Watt is sent to deal with Dean after receiving a threatening phone call from him. She crashes into their vehicle and uses warded weapons to beat Castiel and Dean but suffers a fatal stab from Mary who regrets the lives her sons have been forced to live. Together they continue their search for Sam who narrowly escapes his capture but is unsuccessful leaving Antonia to continue with her mission alone.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

The Men of Letters take center stage as the British chapter unfold their flawless work ethic to the Winchesters, namely Sam who suffers a brutal and painful start to Supernatural’s record-lasting 12th season. With the gas tank barely half-empty, CW’s old flagship title lets loose the next era of monster story-telling this time with their mother along for the ride. Fresh is an easy word to describe the new direction, but more appropriately, the premiere actually held up more than many of the past few seasons. The thought of the Men of Letters handling the bulk of the plot this season wasn’t very enticing until Antonia smugly drilled it into Sam that the British chapter has a successful routine down, keeping the innocent body count to practically nil. There’s going to be a fantastic cultural divide with Antonia getting the American treatment from the Winchesters, but this is opening up a lot of possibilities including possibly monsters that only the Europe MOL teams have encountered. Good start to an otherwise ungodly last season.

 

THE GOOD

Let’s start with the obvious mom in the room. Mary Winchester makes her return as the original hunter who started the family chronicle and newly resurrected, remembering her death and very much a mainstay character for the season. This will open up relationship conundrums we haven’t seen before, which means when the brothers have their falling out, as they do every season, Mary will be there to settle things as only their mother likely can. As a family that hunts together, I’m looking forward to the possibilities that could put Mary in a lot of conflict especially if either brother feels more neglected for whatever reason that comes up. She’s holding her own already and will probably pick things up pretty quick once she gets used to the technology that exists in the present.

 

Crowley hunting Lucifer gives him something positive to focus on. He wants the father of lies dead and with any luck, Lucifer will grab another vessel that will be as good as Pellegrino, but that will be a tough boot to fill in. For now, Crowley has his hands full and hopefully won’t be pulled into too many Winchester fiasco’s as I don’t think the demons will be as big a role this season as they have been previously. My guess at least.

 

Sam is as defiant as ever, someone who has endured the kind of pain that only the devil could inflict. It stands to reason that people like Antonia wouldn’t be able to singularly break the younger Winchester and his daring escape plan is plenty proof of that. But his mind is still hurting, that much we can see. Whether is plays into Antonia’s hands we don’t know, but at some point she’ll need sympathy points because right now, Dean and Sam both have her on the chopping block once this gets resolved. There’s a flair of arrogance easily deciphered but if there’s character development to be earned, she’ll need to come to terms with how the Winchesters operate, otherwise she’ll just be a short story arc in a very long season.

 

THE BAD

This premiere hit it out of the park from a storyline perspective. My one gripe or two comes from the very bland demon lackeys and Antonia’s overall plan. The demons have been portrayed as parodies of their former selves, back when they were a real menace and a tribute to the purity of evil. Now they’re just whiny, echoes of pop-culture that can’t keep up with the memes and not a single demon outside of Crowley has been written well since the days of Meg and Ruby. Give us some side characters that have weight, even if they die in the same episode they’re introduced, it’s just disappointing to see them reduced in such a way and it’s lasted for quite a while now.

 

Antonia captures Sam and inflicts pain while explaining that she’s here to help. There’s something oddly wrong with this concept, and given their track record they’re either really new at this or torture has 100% success rate back home. Her resources are rather stretched thin and given their unwillingness to step in when the apocalypse really matters, they control the small bits they think they can handle, in this case it’s a nation wide restructure of the American way of hunting evil. That’s quite a big role to have and frankly, she’s doing a tremendously horrible job at it given she lost her right-hand warrior in the first episode. Will more of her allies fly in to save her the trouble of getting her hands dirty or is this the start to her understanding that hunting works a little differently in the states? This might have made more sense if there were multiple groups flown in across the states that coordinate as Antonia leads from the center. Being alone isn’t optimal at the moment.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Mary looked in the backseat of the car and Dean quickly deduced where his mother’s thoughts were wandering. That is classic comedy that fits perfectly with this kind of show, both in the reaction and in the silence that we know that Dean knows what Mary’s thinking. If every episode had a handful of these moments, this could potentially the more amusing season yet.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Sam endured a lot to earn his spot tonight. A blowtorch to the foot isn’t something I ever want to think about and he took two swipes across for measure. Although the cold shower isn’t something that I think Sam would have that much trouble dealing with, the mental anguish will always be there to expose and exploit. He’s still feeling guilty over the kind of things that Antonia is saying doesn’t happen in her country. If they don’t come to an understanding soon, she won’t be able to stop him from killing her if he breaks free. After all Sam’s been through, he’ll continue fighting to his last breath and his resistance tonight was a good step in reminding us how much he can take after all these years.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

The Men of Letters symbol is the prominent background in this season’s title card, an easy spot is in the garage when Mary sees their car, you can spot it hanging in the background.

 

Does anyone remember what happened to Ruby’s knife? Dean usually keeps it on him, but I can’t recall the last time it was on screen. Every time an angel blade is used to kill a demon I just keep thinking, why isn’t someone using that blade that still doesn’t have an origin?

 

Antonia expressed concern and doubt against bringing in this “Mr. Catch,” or Ketch, or something similar sounding. Clearly he’s a last resort kind of character that is being put on our radar for an eventual inclusion to the series. How soon? Not sure. Hopefully any future characters from the London chapter will have more worth to remain in more than one episode.

 

Speaking of England, I think it’s high time the Winchesters took a trip to Europe and with any luck something is being put in the works to finally branch out and have the brothers experience new adventures out there even if it’s only for a few episodes. Heck, the Sons of Anarchy did it.

 

One thing to take note is Mary’s longevity on this show. Most supporting characters have an expiration date with the exception of Crowley and Castiel, but does that mean Mary will only be a season 12 character? There’s sacrifice written all over her right now as the end game that may play out by the finale, but speculation aside, so far I like her inclusion into the show and hope she isn’t written off for the sake of being routine as they’re known for doing.

 

OVERALL SCORE

9 out of 10. Fun and plenty of energy came to the premiere with a new goal and a group that may seem like good-natured humans but for now are against the Winchsters themselves which makes them enemies in our eyes. Lucifer hasn’t been forgotten and will likely be a force to deal with later on. Mary and her view of the world will help enlighten and bring the brothers closer as a family, or as drama has it, put a bridge between them, it’s too early to tell. Excellent story telling with the exception of Antonia’s small team meant to arrogantly put a lid on how American hunters handle their monsters, something will have to change there rather quick. Until next week, thanks for reading and carry on all wayward sons.

 

 

No more words

 

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