Last night the CW premiered its much anticipated 12th season of Supernatural. Seeing as my life already revolves around the Winchesters, I thought it a good idea to recap and review the new season as it progresses. There will be references to events in the episodes, so beware of spoilers ahead.
The episode, titled Keep Calm and Carry On, centered on the arrival of Mary Winchester in the year 2016. We were left with many unanswered questions after 11’s finale and have now accumulated even more after season 12’s premiere. Season 11 concluded with Amara (God’s sister) bringing Mary Winchester, Sam and Dean’s mother, back from the dead. Castiel, Angel of the Lord, and Sam were left to mourn Dean’s supposed death but, alas, nothing is ever so simple with these boys as Castiel was transported out of the bunker (via angel warding) and Sam was kidnapped by one Toni Bevell, a Woman of Letters. Switch to episode 1 of season 12 and Sam is still held hostage by Bevell, Castiel doesn’t trust computers and Mary really needs a spa day after the events she’s been put through. Also, Lucifer keeps burning through vessels while simultaneously playing hide and seek with previous King of Hell, Crowley. It’s a lot to take in while simultaneously being not nearly enough.
A majority of the episode seems to focus on Mary’s adaption to her resurrection and this new world she’s been thrust into. We’re first greeted with Mary and Dean Winchesters’ reunion. It’s touching in an underrated way that only Supernatural can pull off and it will leave you a bit teary eyed. Mary, whose death sparked (hehe) the reason for the boys being trained as hunters, is brought back from said death 33 years later. Dean is hesitant about his mother’s appearance at first but seems to take her resurrection fairly well. The reunion is bittersweet because they’re both hesitant about one another, seeing as Mary remembers Dean as her little four-year-old boy and Dean has had to live with Mary’s death all these years. We do witness another touching reunion between Mary and Baby, Dean’s 67 Chevy Impala, that turns into a really awkward situation once Dean interprets the moment (suffice to say, I don’t envy the life of Baby’s backseat). Throughout the episode the show alludes to how Mary reacts to the 21st century, from her reaction to all this new technology she’s presented with to her adjusting to the fact that her boys are now men and hunters. Mary is also introduced to the Bunker, where the boys live, and Castiel. Mary’s resentment to the life of hunting is also touched upon and near the end, when she saves Castiel and Dean from a Men of Letters lackey, we see how deeply affected she is by that type of life.
The reunion between Castiel and Dean is touching, as all Destiel moments are. Castiel’s relief at Dean’s not-death is conveyed in an under-toned scene where the boys hug it out. Even Mary notices how close her boys are to the angel. The angel’s relief is only overshadowed by his frenzy to find Sam, who has been kidnapped by a Woman of Letters of the British Division. Now, the Men of Letters were an organization way back when, who catalogued lore and mythology. The series touched on the histories behind the MoL briefly, from its involvement in WWII to its downfall by a Knight of Hell- Abaddon. The episode introduces us to a speck of what the British Men of Letters is really like: the entire episode gives off an air of institutionalized power whenever the European MoL is referenced. From bags of money carrying thousands of dollars to state classified information, I got the feeling that Bevell was a pawn in the grand scheme of things. The purpose of her kidnapping Sam was to gather intel about hunters in America, claiming that the British MoL division simply wanted to, and I quote, “make America safe”. She claims that the British division has the utmost control over supernatural beings in Britain and that they simply want to better America’s hunting strategies. But with all the power the British division possesses, why have need of the Winchesters? Bevell also alludes to figure heads above her and one, Mr. Ketch. That left me curious as to who these characters were. In all, the episode conveyed Bevell as one piece of a much larger institution and emphasized that she was not the intended villain of the series (she has a whole other life with a husband and child). That doesn’t overshadow the fact that she had kidnapped and tortured Sam, however.
While the series tends to focus a lot on the brothers, Sam’s predicament was placed secondary to Mary’s introduction. The younger Winchester was given less screen time in this episode but Padalecki’s performance in it was brilliant and heart wrenching. The episode focuses on Mary’s return and their attempts to get Sam back while Sam is held captive and tortured for information. Sam, known as the nerdy younger brother, displays just how strong and stubborn he really is. Sam, who has literally been to hell and back, is obstinate about not cooperating with Bevell. She resorts to torturing him with cold a cold shower, burning his foot with a blow torch and, eventually, drugs when physical methods won’t break him. The drugs cause hallucinations that portray the deaths of people Sam believes he was responsible for, with the climax being Hallucination Dean telling Sam he should have died instead of the older Winchester. Old hurts and insecurities are brought up but the younger Winchester remains clear headed and even devised a plan to free himself. The plan doesn’t work because Sam is too nice to actually kill a human being and Bevell gains the upper hand at the last minute, leaving Sam still trapped. Although his plan had failed, the encounter with Bevell created uncertainty in the Woman of Letters, which raises more questions as to how the season will progress. I think the episode conveyed the dynamic of Sam’s personality really well: he will not hurt innocent people but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t possess the strength to. While Dean tends to be the more masculine and violent of the two, the episode conveyed that Sam is just as dangerous and skilled as his older brother.
Finally, we’re introduced to the Lucifer plot point as we see a pair of demons cleaning up the corpses of the bodies Luci burnt through trying to look for an adequate vessel. The scenes were humorous and provided a little bit of a relief from the emotionally loaded major scenes, my favorite being a demon that could very accurately convey the emotional turmoil of a teenage girl. Crowley follows the trail of bodies with the intention of ending Lucifer while he is still weak. The episode ends on a somber note, with Sam still trapped and Mary having to adjust to this new and unpredictable new life, while trying to deal with the fact that her sons are living the life she detested and that she has now become a part of that life.
While the episode doesn’t exactly blow your mind with over-the-top reveals and scary monster bosses, it does focus on the emotional aspect of the characters, which I think the show does particularly well. We’re not greeted with mind-boggling revelations but it is still touching nonetheless. The first episode does tie into what the writers hinted that this season would be about: the smaller issues with an emphasis on family. Smaller plots will be explored and the show will return to its roots.
Did you watch the 12th season premiere of Supernatural? What were your thoughts on the episodes? Do you have any favorite scenes? Let me know in the comments!