Sam and Dean tackle a mysterious death involving Christian stigmata. This week’s episode, titled American Nightmare, held great surprises and shocking discoveries. Beware of spoilers ahead.
Sam and Dean deal with the departure of Mary the Winchester way: by diving straight into another case. They investigate the death of a women seemingly caused by stigmata, Christ-like wounds or marks upon the body. As they uncover the truth behind the death, yet another psychic child is revealed. The episode concludes with a brutish reveal of the mysterious Mr. Ketch.
Review and Analysis
This episode deals with the boys undertaking a case, straying from researching the Men of Letters and Lucifer’s hunt. The case starts off peculiar and it’s apparent that religious connotations are applied to it. The introduction to the case is something I enjoyed. You never know exactly what is happening until it has already happened and it leaves you questioning what you’re viewing. The case unravels in a series of patterns and the end result is morbid and a little bit cruel. Magda, another psychic child, has been held captive by her own parents who believe that she is the devil because of her powers. The case becomes messy and gruesome when the seemingly innocent mother is revealed to have been forcing Magda to whip herself as repentance. The episode tackles a lot of questions about faith and religion, with the overall theme questioning religion and morality. It’s an interesting take on religious views and portrays these seemingly white and black views in a palette of grey. Sam’s involvement in the case seems to be the focus here. Having suffered through what Magda has suffered through, he sympathizes with her. The theme of the pshycic children also draws parallels to earlier seasons. Lucifer’s inclusion further emphasizes this. Magda’s struggle with her morality mirrored Sam’s and we get to see how far he’s come since then.
So, this week’s episode tackled matters of both the supernatural and emotional kind. The focus seems to be placed on the case at hand, though there are allusions to the emotional turmoil the boys, Dean specifically, feel. Mary makes no appearance in this week’s episode but her departure is evident. There are multiple scenes that hint at Dean’s take on the matter: he feels that yet another parent has deserted them. Dean Winchester, being a firm believer that family should stick together, is snappy and grouchy for most of the episode. The things he witnesses, with the case in particular, all seem to further emphasize the abandonment he has felt. Although, the episode does work through his acceptance of Mary’s leaving and we’re left with a hopeful ending. Mary may be gone but she still considers them her little boys, her family.
The episode seems to conclude on a fairly hopeful note, but that doesn’t last very long. The mysterious Mr. Ketch is finally revealed and his appearance will leave you staring at your screen in outrage. Earlier in the episode, a strange man on a bike appears near Baby and then leaves after glimpsing her number plates. This mysterious biker is Mr. Ketch, who appears to be on clean- up duty. He makes short work of Magda, emphasizing his brutish nature and alludes to the Men of Letters tracking the Winchesters and meddling in their cases.