In 1980, Mary hunts and kills a werewolf and helps a young boy named Asa Fox who grew up idolizing her. After successfully campaigning as a hunter for many years, he mysteriously dies leading many other hunters to appear at his wake including Jodi Mills who knew him personally. The Winchesters join her and learn of his heroic life as Mary Winchester arrives to pay her respects as well. Dead bodies suddenly turn up leading them to believe Asa’s old adversary, a cross-roads demon has returned to kill everyone who knew Asa. After several possessions, those who survive discover that Asa’s friend Buck accidentally killed him and made it look like the signature of the demon. Together, they banish the demon back to hell as Mary decides she still needs time alone even after refusing Billy, the reaper’s offer to die. The brothers agree to let Mary deal with her isolation but remain close nonetheless.
Many checks were checked on my checklist of what Supernatural needed to do to rise above and return to classic roots of old-school storytelling which included the following:
- Bring back supporting characters we like
- Make demons sinister again
- Tell personal stories that actually make our heroes reflect
- Expand on the landscape of North American hunters
Mission accomplished. This was a fantastic episode that aside from Billy’s cameo was practically flawless. They threw in lore that wasn’t hammed up or shoe-horned in. There was a very natural progression of story hear that tapped into Mary’s past and gave us a bit more culture on hunters in the continent, a reminder of how different things truly are between North America and Europe. There are bonds that can’t be severed and a camaraderie that should generally be cherished, and though unintended tragedies occur, the band can still keep going.
The story was remarkably simple, well spoken and superbly told. With broad strokes, Sam and Dean let the stage handle itself as the cast around them told tales of a valiant hunter who had been born under Mary’s final act before turning to motherhood. Those that knew him were believable characters that could have easily been on the show previously or doing their own things in spin-offs that we’ll never likely see, but the important bits are that everything felt fresh and organic and the Winchesters didn’t overtly carry themselves beyond the plot at hand. Asa’s montage had the abrupt ending that we’ve been taught about hunters for twelve years now but the aftermath was one of particular greatness that if followed up would probably be equally as good.
Once again, Jodi Mills proves to be a shining force to the Winchesters, a mother-like character who offset Bobbi Singer’s role in the past. Her caring and fortitude continues to elevate her status on the show and they chose the opportune time to shed more light on her experiences with Asa and still gave Sam, Dean, and Mary things to think about in regards to their relationships with one another. She’s still one of the good ones and it was great seeing her again.
I’ll never be a fan of Billie. Her personality conflicts all-too much with the Winchesters as she’ll never see eye to eye with them over what they did to old Death himself. She’s the only visual force that the reapers even still exist and follow the same old code, but even so, her presence and aspect of death is anything but charismatic or interesting. Outside of a thrilling plot, she was the only part of it that seemed off. Unless she has a bigger part to play later this season, I don’t think it was necessary showing her in this episode except to reaffirm that Mary wants to stay on Earth for the time being.
There were a lot of fascinating moments as the hunters all carried conversations and respects to the departed. Once they tackled with the demon, some familiar territory came about, but at the same time, it was a trip back to the original days when red eye’d demons made an impact against those that vexed them. My favorite moment though was when the demon forced Buck’s confession about killing Asa which was an interesting twist to an otherwise simple story. It shows that even the demon had a few layers it had to contend with such as it’s own path of revenge, something sorely lacking in most demons these days.
Very much on board with Jodi. She showed a lot of good range tonight and captured more attention than she has in the past. She’s always stood on her own two feet and didn’t lose her composure after being possessed by a demon. The brothers look up to her and her guidance is very simplistic but relatable as she lamented to Dean on how she’d handle having her family back if given the chance. Good job, Kim!
I’d have to dig around, but I’m thinking there may be a chronological error in regards to Asa owning an angel blade. It’s placement in a glass case suggests he’s had that for a while and though Angels could easily have been appearing on Earth prior to the events in season 4 I’m not sure an incident like that would have gone around without the Winchesters eventually finding out about it as Angels were never seen by anyone let alone have physical proof of it. Seems slightly off.
Alice in Chains, “Man in the Box” Fitting place for a wake, except Asa wasn’t in a box, he was lying on a pool table. Missed opportunity there for similarities.
Is Dean still going to owe Billie one for giving him entry into the warded house? And speaking of warded, have we seen wards in the past that are capable of trapping humans inside an area? If it was witch related maybe but a demon cast that. Why wouldn’t demons do that all the time then? Old Yellow Eyes was missing out.
Good call back to the Ruby’s knife. I’m glad the show and its writers haven’t forgotten about the one weapon that has no specific origin, just a kick-ass ability to kill demons in one stab. One of these days, one of these days they will tell it’s story and it will be glorious. Just a flashback episode on its creation and how it ended up in Ruby’s possession. That’s all we want, right?
9 out of 10. This episode marked a predecessor for the cultural diversity that separates the Men of Letters in London and the North American hunter groups. We were given a classic tale of friendship, old bonds, stories to enrich the lifestyle and the tragic awareness that befalls all hunters in the end, accidental or not. When the Men of Letters strike, it’ll be important to remember that Sam and Dean aren’t alone in this fight and they will come together to support the Winchesters hopefully in an epic showdown later on. On it’s own, the tale of Asa Fox had the allure of writing and cinematography that pays attention to its fan base and created a compelling plot using a demon that wasn’t a mindless drone of Crowley’s. Acts like these need to be recreated as much as possible to truly keep Supernatural long with life. This season is now on a stone path to awesomeness. There will be a small break before the next episode on December 1st. As always, thanks for reading.
No more words