Saturday, November 5, 2016

Supernatural, Season 12, Episode 4: American Nightmare

Oooh flashbacks waaay back to eaaaarly Supernatural when we had Azazel and the human psychics – including Sam way back in the day.

Since this is a monster-of-the-week-ish episode it has to relate to some emotional issue the brothers are having. Specifically, Dean, master of not dealing with his emotions, is feeling all abandoned by Mary leaving for some space. While Sam has some sense of emotional maturity and recognises Mary may need a break to absorb the massive changes in her life, Dean is pouting that she doesn’t respond to his text within 10 minutes of him sending it.

This brings us to the case of the week – people dying of apparent stigmata. Dean focuses on a woman who works for the CPS after her boss was the first victim – because the woman is a wiccan so Dean reads “evil witch” in a moment of murderous religious prejudice. But mainly because she works for the CPS and is examining a close knit family and Dean is having huge family issues and is hissing at anything he sees as threatening his idealised idea of family

And the hyper religious family who are home schooling and off the grid aren’t presented as inherently evil form the beginning. They raise some decent points about how modern life had been far from fulfilling for them (though the point of long working hours is a good point it is also accompanied by an all too frequent demonisation for medicine that treats mental health). Dean in his waaah-I-want-a-family mode is totally enamoured of this close knit simple family

Sam, however, is less enthralled by a family who apparently let their eldest daughter die because they opted to pray rather than seek easily available medical care. He has no time for that at all.

They split up, Dean pursuing his witch lead (only to find out his suspect absolutely does not want the job she now has thrust on her and absolutely no-one would. Oh and she gives Dean her number because he’s hot. Ok, I get this is supposed to be a joke and, yes, Dean is hot. But can we at least try to address the fact Dean was completely willing to murder this woman because of her religious faith).

So, following Sam’s leave – where we find Magda, the supposedly dead daughter. She’s not dead. She’s locked in the basement torturing herself at her mother’s urging due to her mother’s religious fanaticism. Magda is one of those psychics from early Supernatural, she can read minds, move things with her mind and cause distance stigmata injuries (similar to the ones her mother is forcing her to inflict on herself). Her mother has decided this is all due to evil devil possession and wants to torture the evil out of her, having faked Magda’s death so they can hide their child torture from the CPS

This is all explained to Sam when he is captured by them (honestly, the Winchesters really need to work on their awareness. The number of times they have been captured by people they really should have seen coming is ridiculous. Also, I’d advise a brain scan or three because being knocked unconscious every 3 episodes must be causing long term damage) because expositioning to a captured Winchester is a time honoured tradition.

The family now realises that their secret is out (they think Sam and Dean are CPS agents) and they need to get a short cut to heaven that doesn’t involve filling their child’s mind with self-loathing while torturing them – so the religious mother decides to poison them all. She poisons dad and then tries to browbeat her son into eating the poisoned food – only thwarted by Magda using her telekinesis to get rid of all the poison. To complete the tragic bloodbath, mother tries to stab her magical daughter and her son gets in the way. This leaves everyone dead except mother who is heading to prison screaming about the devil and the daughter who is now headed to a ranch and, hopefully, ALL THE THERAPY.

This all comes to a life lesson for Dean that, yes, sometimes family members need space from each other. Especially if mother is a religious fanatic with a knife and poison. It helps that Mary finally remembers to text back and reassures him

We don’t find out if Magda does get her therapy or whether we’re going to see more of this psychic storyline which has been hastily dug up after so many years. Because the British Man-of-letters assassin who thinks it’s a great idea to tattoo a cross on his hand murders Magda: they see it as cleaning up after the Winchesters. More evidence that these visiting hunters have absolutely no sense of grey areas at all