By the hammer of Thor!
Supernatural kept its momentum going this week after a premiere episode that seemed like a return to form for the show. “What’s Up, Tiger Mommy?” introduced Kevin’s mother, a strong-willed woman who insisted on traveling with the Winchesters to ensure that Kevin was protected from Crowley. Mrs. Tran was a welcome addition to the memorable (yet brief) list of strong Supernatural women, and although her character was a type, there was enough implied backstory that she didn’t feel one-dimensional. The disappearing act she and Kevin pulled at the end of the episode was a necessary evil in this season’s quest to close the gates of Hell forever. The brothers need stumbling blocks in order for their journey to be worthwhile, and after a year apart, Sam and Dean need to work some straightforward jobs and figure out where the other is mentally.
Warrior Castiel, hippie Castiel, God Castiel – now introducing, coward Castiel!
This week’s episode had some interesting flashbacks to Dean’s time in purgatory. The shot that kept cutting between Dean’s different interrogations was particularly well done. We learned in that scene that Castiel fled because he was trying to keep the Leviathan away from Dean. That’s an admirable goal, but as Dean pointed out, he’d done a pretty good job smoking the big mouths topside. It seems likely that Castiel had an ulterior motive for steering clear of Dean. Perhaps Castiel wanted to stay away from Dean given that the elder Winchester is responsible for sending hundreds of monsters to purgatory?
The final shot of the episode showed us Castiel clutching Dean’s hand and begging. Whether he was begging for Dean’s forgiveness right before sacrificing himself, or he was genuinely begging Dean to help him, it’s hard to tell. But the fact that Dean flashed back to that moment right after Sam’s assertion that the brothers didn’t “use people and then watch them die” seems to imply that Dean was responsible for whatever fate befell Castiel in purgatory. I don’t think Dean would intentionally sacrifice his friend, but I do think Dean’s purgatory mindset would’ve made it easy for him to leave the angel to fend for himself.
You’re telling me Alfie couldn’t have bid the sun during that auction?
The focus of “What’s Up, Tiger Mommy?” was the search for the tablet. Sam, Dean, Kevin and Mrs. Tran finally tracked the word of God to a hotel but were interrupted by Plutus, the god of wealth (not greed), out in the parking lot. He informed them that the tablet was up for auction and that the four of them were invited to attend. I love when Supernatural draws from other areas of mythology, such as the Season 5 episode “Hammer of the Gods” that introduced us to gods like Kali and Baldur. Here we were treated to Mjölnir aka the hammer of Thor. Not only that, but Sam actually got to smite two “others” with lightning from the hammer! If Sam lets his hair grow a little longer and dyes it blonde, we’ll know the Supernatural writers are planning a trip to Asgard.
There was a nice moment before the auction when Dean meets Samandiriel, an angel in the body of a fast-food employee named Alfie. Samandiriel asks about Castiel and reveals that a lot of angels believed Castiel’s heart was always in the right place. I’m hopeful we’ll get to meet more angels this season. We’re very familiar with how demons work in the Supernatural universe, but I feel like we’ve barely scratched the surface with angels thus far. Speaking of demons – Crowley also attends the auction and offers everything from Alaska to the moon before bidding his soul for possession of the tablet. However, he encounters two problems: 1) he doesn’t have a soul and 2) Mrs. Tran offers up her soul as well, and it’s her sacrifice that wins her the tablet.
It’s the old demon-switcheroo.
Thanks to some offscreen shenanigans, Crowley possesses Mrs. Tran, hijacks the post-auction transaction and snags the tablet in the ensuing chaos. Dean comes thisclose to slashing Mrs. Tran’s throat and Kevin’s seen enough – he splits with his mom the minute Sam and Dean leave him alone. It was admittedly a dumb move by Kevin but one that I understand. The erosion of Dean’s decency has been a disturbing development this season. I understand the guy just spent a year in purgatory, but I mean… have the brothers given up on trying to save the poor saps who get possessed by demons anymore? They iced three innocent people in this episode and for what? The knife kills the demon regardless, so why is it necessary to stab the victims right in the chest?
It looks like we’re headed for a couple standalone episodes that will probably feature some meaty flashbacks. These episodes have always been the show’s bread and butter, and as long as they don’t involve killer ballet slippers, I think they’ll be an enjoyable change of pace. There are some big stories that need to be told – Dean’s time in purgatory, Sam’s time with Amelia, what’s going on with Benny and what happened to Castiel come to mind. The quest to close the gates of Hell will drive this season forward story-wise, but I’m ready for some good, old-fashion hunts. A few quick thoughts as we close: I love that Dean is calling his car “baby” again; did anyone else recognize Lyle from the pawn shop as “fishboy” Jake Pollen from Season 3 of Smallville?; Crowley has really taken a liking to calling Sam “Moose”; any guesses as to which sword that might have been at the auction? Excalibur maybe?
Line of the week
Mrs. Tran: “What? Like it’s my first tattoo.”
Next week on Supernatural
Sam goes on a picnic!