caranfindel (caranfindel) wrote,

Initial reaction 12.13: "Family Feud"

THEN. Good god, y'all. There is so much packed into the THEN. Mary and the BMoL. Abbadon and Gavin. Ramiel and Dagon. I've got a bad feeling about this one.

NOW. Six months ago, in Andover, Massachusetts, a woman is brutally killed by something flitting around in her house. (And do people really make their beds with hospital corners? Is this a thing? I wouldn't know. I've made my bed, like, once since the beginning of the year.)

Title card!

Bunker. Present day. Sam's at the computer and his hair is flat and sad, which I'm taking as a commentary on what's to come in this episode.

Go ahead and prove me wrong, fellas. Please.

Remember when Sam was a priest and had that awesome choppy fluffy hair? (sigh)

Dean is talking to Cas and we learn, again, that Kelly Klein is still in the wind. Except we already known this, we have known for several episodes, so I'm not sure why Dean's saying it as if it was news. Sam cares as little about Kelly Klein as any of us do, because he's found a case. A teacher in Des Moines was killed in the parking lot of a museum. Dean decides this sounds like something Mom might be interested in, and decides to give her a call.

Cut to Mary in a vicious fight with... something. Something with ragged clothes and a garbled voice. She yanks out a weapon and for a second I think it's the Colt, and that she really truly is trying to wipe out every monster in the U.S. using that thing, but it's something else. I don't know what it is, but it makes a ray gun noise and the monster dies and Mary says "nice toy" and then we see Mr. Ketch is there with her, slicking a stopwatch. Oh, I hope she qualified for the finals. She gets a phone call from Dean and lies about where she is and what she's doing, because she's still a lying liar who lies. She declines the hunt because she's still "resting" from the last one, in which she did nothing but stand around lying about what she's stolen from Ramiel. She signs off with "hey, I love you," and did Dean say "I love you too?" We will never know.

Ketch comments on her admirable lying skills, and she reminds him that her sons don't trust the BMoL because they tortured them, and just as Mary says "yeah, it wasn't you, it was your rogue operative, we see that this is a Buckleming episode, and that's an interesting juxtaposition, isn't it? Is Buckleming the identified rogue operative torturer here? Or the Mr. Ketch, quietly destroying everything that we think has been saved? Discuss.

Next we find ourselves in Not Quite Hell, where Crowley is monologuing toward someone in a chair, explaining how he's going to be worn down by utter humiliation. The someone in the chair is, of course, Lucifer himself, played by Mark Pellegrino himself. And I'm not at all thrilled that Lucifer is back in the mix, but at least they've brought Pellegrino back. (Is this like saying "at least that paper cut was made by a sterile sheet of paper?" Probably.) Lucifer just smiles as Crowley provides way too much back story. Seriously, way too much. Let me sum up: Crowley's minions studied the cage and made a set of chains of the same material, so Lucifer can be safely kept topside. Well, what could possibly go wrong there? In a fake flashback, we see Crowley messing with the spell that was supposed to send Lucifer back to the cage, because Crowley's a witch and knows spells. Right? And that he'd found the old vessel, improved it so it would be strong enough to hold Lucifer, and had it ready. For years. In case it was needed. And now Crowley's going to get his revenge by making Lucifer live under the stairs and lick the floors.

Oh, for fuck's sake. I'm embarrassed for Sheppard and Pellegrino that they actually have to act out this scene. Let's move along quickly and pretend it never happened.

(sigh) No, I can't, because I have to point out that Crowley would not do this. The King of Hell is very pragmatic. He's the only one who doesn't underestimate those denim-wrapped nightmares, and I don't think he'd underestimate Lucifer either. I think his need to keep him safely locked up would be much, much stronger than his desire to humiliate him.

Carrying on.

Let's cut to Sam and Dean in the car. I realize now that I've seen a cap from this scene, which I assumed was a cap from 12.xx because it looks so much like it, with the light hitting Dean's face just right. Sam has discovered the woman who died six months ago, who also happened to be a teacher. Or, as Sam says, "Looks like she was a teacher too. Too bad Mom couldn't make it." Because you know how much she loves mutilated teachers. Dean expresses some disbelief at Mary's excuse of being "too tired;" he thinks she has something going on and is refusing to talk about it. Sam has temporarily forgotten that Mary is also a Winchester and comes to her defense, saying she's hunting again, and that's a grind. Of course, Sam and Dean are also hunting, but, whatever. Sam's convinced she just needs some time. Dean is not.

Shhh. Just enjoy the view.

Cut to Des Moines, at a museum featuring an exhibit on New England shipwrecks. A Timber Trooper (Our Motto: "Not Associated With The Boy Scouts of America") leader is herding kids into a bus, then goes to the bathroom. Because that's an important part of chaperoning - leaving the kids alone in dark parking lot. Okay, maybe there was a bus driver. He pees really quickly and doesn't have enough sense to run when the lights start flashing and the toilet stall doors bang open and closed on their own and the water in the sink freezes. So he dies. I've gotta call "Darwin in action" on this one. If you don't have enough sense to flee when the doors are banging open and the stalls are glowing, you need to be removed from the gene pool.

Back at the same museum, we have boys in suits and if you aren't distracted by Sam and his legs here, you might notice that sign.

Of course, all I thought was "Morningstar? Ha ha."

The manager or docent or whatever she is says they have three new traveling exhibits - one on display and two others still being prepped. They've twigged that the victims are those who supervise children. There's a lot of EMF activity, which makes Dean think ghost (or, as he says, a "chain rattler," which I love).

Then we cut to Kelly Klein, which is an unpleasant surprise. Let's finish her entire subplot at once and get her out of the way, shall we? She's sitting at a restaurant, digging coins out of her wallet, and she orders an orange juice. Small. Listen, Kelly. If you're hurting for cash, you could buy a gallon of OJ with what you're going to spend on a 4 oz glass here. The waitress makes small talk about her pregnancy and I don't care and we find that Kelly has no idea when she's due, because she doesn't know how pregnancy works. Or maybe she doesn't know how math works. Let me reiterate: I don't care. The waitress tells her "you're gonna love the little devil" and we're all, ha ha, who saw that coming, you guys are so clever. But then things take an unexpected turn when the waitress does this.

And I was annoyed that there was yet another type of demon, with blue glowing eyes. I'm hanging my head in shame.

Kelly leaves the restaurant and freaks out because there's a man following her, and then the waitress shows up and drops an angel blade because she's an angel, and that's why she had glowy blue eyes, and I'm going to cut myself some slack for not getting that at first because we've never seen angels flash glowy blue eyes for no reason. Then a yellow-eyed demon appears and kills the two angels and tells Kelly "come with me if you want to live," which I think has outlived its entertainment value on this show.

The demon is Dagon and I have to say, I really do like this actress. She convinces Kelly that she can protect her and the devil spawn, which isn't hard, considering that she saved her life and the angels tried to kill her. Hell, I'd follow her.

Back to things we actually care about. Still at the museum, Dean picks up a knife and says "Aztecs were pretty serious about their killings. Aztec ghosts. Yeah, I like that." And I like this little reminder of smart, well-read Dean. Because yeah, the Aztecs were pretty serious about that shit. Then he does some more bumbling-with-important-objects shtick and Sam does his Dude, cut it out dirty look response, and I'm confused about this room, because it's got objects on display but it's also got crates like it's a storage area.

More importantly, it's got Winchesters.

Sam has discovered an item from the ship called The Star, which I pointed out for your consideration earlier, though you were probably distracted by Sam's legs, and who can blame you? It's on loan from a museum in Andover. Something pings in Dean's brain and he says "I know something about something," which is a good way of describing that feeling. After hearing the ship came from Scotland, he remembers it was Gavin MacLeod's ship. You remember Gavin, Crowley's son, from the THEN.

Cut back to Crowley and Lucifer. You know, I like Mark Pellegrino, I really do. He plays this character so well. His genial veneer over a simmering core of anger and evil is very appealing to me. But I'm still uninterested in the plotline that puts him here on my screen, so let's quickly skim this part. Lucifer says Crowley will be overthrown by him and his child, which is a surprise to Crowley, who thought the Winchesters had taken care of it. Conveniently, Dean calls to ask a favor of the King of Hell, as one does, and gets bitched out instead.

Meanwhile, back at the museum, a locket slips itself into a teacher's pocket. Duh duh duuuuhhhh!!!!!

Oh, now things are getting interesting. It's Rowenchester time! Rowena is in the darkened museum with Sam and Dean. She's not inclined to help them unless there's something in it for her, even though Sam has taken his jacket off and rolled up his sleeves.

Dammit, woman. Are you made of stone?

She reminds them that they still owe her one for Arkansas and gets up to leave, and Sam grabs her arm and stops her, and I'm suddenly reminded of how much I enjoy Sam manhandling Rowena. So if I get nothing else out of the episode, at least I have this.

Goddammit, woman. Seriously.

They explain that if she finds this guy they know of, who has firsthand knowledge of the Star, she'll get something she likes. Because they think Rowena, who disliked her own son so much that she tried to kill him, not to mention attempting to sell him for an insultingly small number of pigs, will love the grandson she's never met? Really?

We don't see what Rowena does to find Gavin, but we do see Sam and Dean meeting his bus. The whole thing seems kind of low-tech. Couldn't she zap him to their location? What did she do, scry his phone number? Conjure up a bus ticket?

The guys greet him like a pal they haven't seen in a while, and not someone they were attempting to send back into time (and to certain death) the last time they saw him. Gavin seems to have adapted well to living in the future - he's got a more modern haircut, nice clothes, and a precious (probably fake, but my standards are low) Scottish accent. It turns out they tricked him into coming by telling him Crowley was sick. Because, since he spent his entire life hating his father, and the last time he saw him was when Crowley abandoned him to carve out a life in the future with no money, no belongings, and no home... sure, he's going to come running when he hears the old man is sick. I swear, it's like these boys think everyone else has their same blind devotion to family. Or like the writers forgot the backstory. One or the other.

Gavin, I'm going to have to ask that you forget all that, and concentrate on Sam's hair and throat here, and Dean's cute little surly expression.

Anyway. They introduce him to his grandmother, who is outwardly pleased to meet him. I don't care how fake their accents are; I could listen to these two talk all day. The Winchesters ask Gavin who was on the doomed ship, and he says it was ordinary people. Farmers, doctors, a teacher. Because of course he would have known the occupations of everyone on the ship. I'm sure it was on the manifest, which the captain was required to memorize. The guys jump on the mention of the teacher - Mistress Halloway or something like that, who "taught most of us in the village." You know what? I'm not going to bother to look up the educational system in Scotland in the early 1700s, but I strongly suspect it wasn't a one-room schoolhouse in the village that all the kids went to. Let's agree not to dwell on that and move on.

Gavin goes through a list of everything found on board the ship and adorably recognizes Mr. McCallum's hook ("had no hand, you see") and then spies a locket he'd bought for his girlfriend Fiona. No one can make any sense of the locket being on the ship, since Gavin was zapped into the future before he was able to board it, and we get another flashback to Abaddon yoinking him into the 21st century. Seriously, no episode should need this many flashbacks. He says she was stubborn and must have stowed away onto the ship, trying to go to America with him. And now she's a ghost, tethered to the locket. And now the locket's missing. Uh oh.

Meanwhile, someplace snowy, Mr. Ketch drops Mary off at her hotel or boarding house or whatever. He's driving a Bentley that has its insignia removed for some reason, as if Bentley said "no, thanks, we actually don't want to be associated with this episode." He suggests it would be best to "disengage" from her sons a bit - this work is demanding and needs to come first. But Mary says "nothing comes before my family." Ketch astutely points out that this does not actually seem to be the case. He tells her she's an awesome hunter but only pretending to be a good mommy, "and I think you know it. And I think that scares the hell out of you." Well, I'm not going to argue on the pretending to be a good mommy part.

At the museum, Sam and Dean ask about the missing locket, and are told it's not possible for it to be missing. They find there was a tour yesterday from the Pembroke Day School for Girls, which sounds like the setting for a vampire movie. Or a Rodney Dangerfield movie. Cut to said school, where two teachers notice flashy lights. One of them is the teacher who didn't notice a locket slipping itself into her pocket. And... the other teacher is dead. Locket Teacher is saved when the Winchesters burst into the room, followed by the MacLeods.

They do a spell to bring the ghost back and confirm that it is, in fact, Fiona. She tells Gavin that when he abandoned her, she snuck aboard the ship, and since he wasn't there to protect her, she was used and abused by the crew. None of the passengers did anything to help her, and she blames Mistress Halloway in particular, who said she deserved it. So now she hates all teachers, because they claim to love children and then they betray them. Okay. This is just... stupid. Just really, really stupid. Why isn't she getting revenge on sailors? Or men who abandon their girlfriends?

(Sigh) Let's move on. Surely it will get better. (Spoiler alert: Not so much.)

The Winchesters and the MacLeods discuss how to put Fiona to rest. They can't burn her bones, and they don't know if destroying the locket will work, since she might be tied to something else on the ship. That makes perfect sense, since the killings started as soon as the locket appeared. And since the locket was missing from the museum. Yes, it makes perfect sense that the locket probably isn't the tether. And it also makes sense that they're not going to destroy it anyway and see if that works, because they never do that. And even if that did work, it wouldn't bring back the people she killed. No, it's best to just abandon that idea altogether.

(Jesus. I can't even with this episode.)

Sam and Dean look at each other when Gavin says it wouldn't bring her victims back, and say there might be a way to fix that. Because if Fiona wasn't a lonely angry ghost, she wouldn't be killing people. If they just send Gavin back in time and let him get on the doomed ship, everything will be okey dokey. Because messing with time again probably won't hurt anything. And because asking Gavin to die a horrible death is the best possible solution. And because, since they have the power to go back in time, they often do that in order to save people who were killed by a monster. Yeah. It's perfect.

Luckily, Gavin was thinking the same thing, and is willing to sacrifice himself. He doesn't like the future anyway. Crowley, who suddenly appears in the room, disagrees. His concern for his son is as sudden as his appearance in the room. He literally hasn't had any contact with his son since he abandoned him in the future, and now he's very concerned that Gavin stays alive. It's ridiculous. It turns out he's there because Gavin called him, to say goodbye (does Gavin have his number, or did he just guess that it's 666?). Rowena stands up for Gavin's decision. "He's not like us. He believes in things." Then she puts a spell on Crowley to stop him from zapping off with Gavin.

The guys leave Rowena at the school, since she apparently has the ability to go where she needs to go, and drive back to the bunker. Sam mixes up some spell ingredients and Dean asks "is that soup yet?" And if you're not old enough, you're probably not familiar with the commercial with a hungry family who keeps asking mom "is it soup yet?" But I'm old enough so I will remember it for you. Sam adds Gavin's blood and paints a sigil on the wall, they tell him he's a good guy, and they do the thing.

And the guys are very pretty in the light of Gavin and Fiona reuniting before their trip to a cold watery grave.

Afterward, Sam and Dean find no record of any of Fiona's victims being brutally murdered, so yay! A happy ending! Unless you drowned. And then Mary shows up with burgers and beer. And a confession! A confession that really needs to be transcribed:

Mary: There's no easy way to say it, so I'm just gonna say it. I've sort of been working with the British Men of Letters.

Sam: You... um... you what? Mom. We, um. We have a history with them.

Mary: I know, Sam, and it was a hard decision, but they're doing good work. I've helped them save people, a lot of people. We can learn from them. Do not give me the face!

Dean: What face?

Mary: You know the face!

Dean: There's no face.

Mary: That's the face.

Sam: Mom. We have our own toolkit, and it works just fine. And for obvious reasons, like broken ribs and burnt feet... we don't trust the Brits.

Dean: So where does that leave us?

Mary: Same as always. Family. Just hear me out. Please.

Okay, this episode may be a chin-deep pile of utter crap, but it gave us one truly wonderful thing. Why do I find it wonderful? Let me break it down.

1. Mary confesses.

2. Sam's immediate reaction. His first reaction is a surprised little head movement and an expression that's a combination of hurt and confused, both of which are things I love to see on Sam's face because, as you know, I'm a goddamn sadist. But he doesn't shut down. Instead he goes to...

3. Sam's response, which is to try to be reasonable, to get Mary to see his side. Also, the way he looks away and then looks down when he reminds her of what the BMoL did to him. And the fact that he only lists two of the injuries, and not the hours of torture and literal mind-fuckery and the fact that they also tortured Dean to try to get him to break... nah, he's not gonna get into that.

4. The fact that Sam finally stands up for himself; finally says these people fucked with me and I'm not okay with working with them.

5. Dean's response, which is to immediately shut down and throw up a wall (otherwise known as the face) and shift a little bit closer to Sam.

5a. The face, jesus god, the face. Y'all know I'm a raving Sam!girl, and he does look absolutely gorgeous in this scene, but SHIT. Dean looks amazing.

6. Dean doesn't ignore or brush off Sam's concerns; he doesn't decide they need to respect Mary's decision since she's holy mother Mary, the way he did with John.

But especially the face.

Unfortunately, we leave this unexpected bounty and join Rowena and Crowley. She's waiting for a bus, so I guess she can't zap where she needs to go after all. She tells him she allowed Gavin to die because she wanted revenge for Oskar's death and she wants Crowley to feel the loss of a child and oh, goody, another flashback! Because no one remembers or gives a shit about Oskar. And Crowley didn't love Gavin as a child. Whatever.

Cut to a montage over the Rolling Stones "Playing With Fire," (which reminds me of a very lovely fic recently posted by crowroad3) - we see Lucifer sitting alone in the dark, Crowley sitting alone at the bus station, Mary trying to convince Sam and Dean that she's right, and Kelly walking with Dagon. End with Lucifer creepily whispering Daaaaagon...

So. Revenge. Playing with fire. Mothers and children and loss. Fathers and children and loss. Some stupid things that made no sense. One and a half minutes of complete and utter greatness. And maybe the last Buckleming episode of the season, if we're lucky? We're probably not that lucky. Oh well. What did you think?

No spoilers in the comments, please!
Tags: 12.13 family feud, initial reaction, pretty, season 12, supernatural

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