Sam and Dean track a supernatural and religious-style murder to a rural family who shelter and force their daughter to whip herself because they fear she is under the devil’s influence or the devil himself. Due to the daughter’s psychic abilities, she manifested her pain into people who have had contact with the family. Sam uncovers the truth but is captured and forced to watch the mother attempt to poison her family during supper. Their daughter, Magda stops her mother but not before both her brother and father are killed. After the mother is taken away by authorities Magda is sent to live with her aunt in California. She is later seen murdered at a rest stop by Mr. Ketch (Catch?) who has been stalking the Winchesters.
Nothing too fancy or outlandish, but a tragic reminder that not only are psychics still within the threshold of this series but can and have suffered through modern superstition brought on by judgmental villainy. The tone is often full of regret and sorrow as the Winchesters deal with the isolation their mother as left them with but still manages to lift one or two spirits in Dean’s reaction to his mother giving him a loving text. The stinger with the British assassin killing Magda is unbridled truth that awaits the Winchesters with how brutal and thorough the London chapter can be as they bring their justice to America. Let this lead to more creative storytelling this season.
While manufactured a bit throughout the episode, the brothers often stick out like sore thumbs better when they are on opposite sides of belief. Sam believes in a less violent path that a ghost is involved while Dean goes straight for the witch theory with an eager plan to shoot the perpetrator when he nails his proof. It was easy to spot that both were wrong because the road so far told us there used to be psychics which in a lot of ways ruins a few twists here and there when the show decides to pull one up from under us. Suffice it to say, it was classic in it’s own right and somewhat necessary to keep us informed with how hotheaded Dean can be, and how sentimental Sam can get regardless of current pains he’s endured.
The episode cements a candid message of distraction and a surrender to technology that felt a little too preachy even coming from well-mannered individuals hiding a harsh secret of their own. At this stage in the show, watching deluded characters reference their kin as the devil and having a fierce connection to God does little to serve any freshness to routine-style plots that even the Winchesters have to roll their eyes at because they knew precisely who God and the devil are now and don’t have the luxury or time to placate the misinformed. Sam and Dean can only destroy the monsters that exist, but the family themselves were beyond their help and in the end couldn’t save anyone. It’s bleak but fearless in the long game ahead.
Dean’s text by Mary at the end. Sometimes it’s hard to relate to monster hunters but when you’re waiting for someone special to text back and it takes a while, there’s a certain uplifting feeling when that text does come. Dean sold it easily with his child-like grin probably realizing too late how easy it could be just to call his mother just to say hello.
I think Sam taking some personal responsibility over Magda helped keep him grounded and pure of heart as he remembered what being psychic once put him through. He had a personal stake in the outcome of this journey and wanted to make sure that Magda had a better life to go to. Sadly, he’ll never know how short that life was as the London chapter clean up the messes they judge the Winchesters are leaving. Things will be getting much more personal soon if Sam finds out.
It may seem harsh, but I would have rather watched an entire episode with Castiel and Crowley going through whatever was happening on the other end of that call then go through the remaining beats of tonight’s episode. Mainly because it’s them.
While I don’t know the extent of Mr. Ketch’s abilities, I don’t think omniscience is one of them which begs some questions about how he knew of Magda’s abilities and the storyline that ensued causing him to kill her later down the road. Unless he’s been masquerading on the scene, it seems odd he knew what to do or who to go after in the end.
It feels very backwards that Sam was a fan of Vince Vincente and not Dean, who has been very tailored to like much of the 80’s and it’s rockin’ genre. Sometimes it does take the third album to finally break out.
It’s interesting to note that though Magda’s victims felt the same effect from her whips that the other stigmata wounds appeared on them as well but never on Madga herself. The psychic imprint could easily extend into Magda’s frame of mind thinking she needed to feel all aspects of being crucified, but if she never actually sustained those injuries, how would she be able to create that frame of reference and then cast it to others psychically?
6 out of 10. The Winchesters pushed through a self-contained episode that only really served to show us that the London chapter don’t prefer happy and loose endings. Within the despicable nature of a superstitious family trying to weed out the devil from their daughter, we’re given only a flash of insight between Sam and Dean’s trials over the departure of their mother as they deal with it as best they can. We’re not given much growth beyond Dean giving acceptance to Mary’s decision and are left to move on ourselves just as the brothers are doing. It’s a bit textbook overall and the tone isn’t meant to make us feel any warmer because happy endings are a rarity in the world of hunters and those they try to help. The reality is their role to play this season isn’t fully fleshed out yet which means the filler episodes that are coming need to be more creative than this. Thanks for reading.
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