Last week on Supernatural we left Sammy sitting on the stairs of Toni’s torture basement, looking hopeless and forlorn after his plan to escape failed, so it was eye-rollingly annoying that “Mama Mia” (written by Eugenie Ross-Leming and Brad Buckner and directed by Thomas Wright) opens with Sam and Toni rolling around in bed together, lit by the soft glow of candlelight, and on pristine sheets. Jesus Fucking Christ, I know Sam has had terrible taste in women these past few years, but they usually wait to torture him until after the sex bit. But, there you have it. Here we go into “Mama Mia:”
While Sam is communing with the old country, Cas has been searching high and low for him (look lower, Cas…lower) and when Dean calls to check in, Cas informs him that Sam is somewhere in Missouri. With that business out of the way, Dean gets to the heart of the call: He’s not sure how to talk to his mom. This is an understandable quandary for anyone whose mother is now younger than them, and whom they haven’t seen since she died when they were four. It’s made tougher for Dean, though, because a lot of shit has happened in that time, more than the usual “first crush, first lost tooth” shit. A. LOT: Apocalypse, going to Hell, coming back from Hell, meeting angels, going to purgatory (and that’s just the abridged version). Add all this life and death and everything in between to Dean’s serious lack of communication skills and you arrive at his dilemma. He doesn’t want to overwhelm her, and I see his point. That feels like a Floodgates Conversation, and hearing everything that her sons have gone through because of one desperate choice she made might just kill Mary. All of this shit under the surface makes Cas’ advice to “not make things needlessly overly complicated” both hilarious and frustrating. It’s hilarious because it’s so completely ridiculous. I feel like Dean and Mary’s relationship couldn’t be more complicated. It’s frustrating because, as much as Cas may still need to learn about humanity in general, he fucking knows Dean Winchester better than nearly any being in Heaven or Hell. He knows Dean’s life, he knows how Dean feels about his mother, how hard it is for Dean to ask for help, and this is his big advice when Dean comes to him? Grr.
They hang up and of course Mary has overheard. Mothers literally know and hear everything (as I say to my kids daily). The usual awkward politeness of two strangers who are closely related, but don’t know much of anything about the other ensues. Dean’s little story last week was great to convince Mary of who he was, but it is only a tiny bit of who she is. Dean doesn’t want to worry her, or scare her, or lose her. He’s thrilled she’s home, but he is simply not equipped to deal with this kind of relationship. Mary tells him she just needs a second to catch up, but that she will be okay. Then we learn that the Winchester Guilt™ didn’t just come from their dad. Mary is worried (of course) about how she will face Sam, when the entire reason he grew up without her was because she made the deal with Yellow Eyes to save John’s life. Sam got out of The Life and came back, because all he and Dean had in the world was Baby and each other, and Mary takes that all onto herself. I can’t lie, if ever there was a reason to worry about your child, that would be it. Mary also breaks the world’s heart by telling Dean about a dream she had about John, mentioning that he was a wonderful father. I believe this. I think that before his world was shattered and everything he knew was shown to be a lie, John Winchester was the kind of dad who had time to play with his kids. He was tickle torture and bedtime stories dad, before. Which makes the comment so much sadder, knowing the After.
Oh Mary, maybe he was…
Meanwhile, in “gross sex and fire hazard land,” Toni keeps asking Sam questions about the American hunters and how they work, who they report to, etc. It’s only when she suggests that some hunters may have been compromised or bought off that Sam seems to wake the fuck up and realize that this shit isn’t real. He’s still tied to the chair, Toni having cast a powerful “can’t do it again or it will melt your brain” kinda spell on him. I wonder if just having dream sex with Sam is enough to kill someone… Literally no one is surprised that this was fake. She then decides to go with the more traditional torture route, even if she isn’t well-practiced. She mentions some Winchester shenanigans highlights and even brings up Ruby. Before she gets to have too much fun, though, she gets a call from a hot British dude scolding her for disobeying orders and informing her that her bestie was killed by Dean & Co.
Cas calls Dean to let him know that, after checking around, he thinks he found where Sam is being held. The place was rented out two weeks ago to a woman with an accent. Oh, and it’s heavily warded so he can’t get anywhere near it. Cas knows how to bury the lead. Dean says he’s on his way, and Mary is right behind him, despite his protests. She’s a good hunter, and they won’t be expecting her (understatement). It’s really cute to see Dean try and “handle” his mother as if she were anyone else, and the dynamic is one I’m excited to explore in future episodes.
Okay. Let’s take a break from the Winchester family drama and move on to…. The Crowley/Rowena drama! Yay!! I’m so happy Row Row is still alive. Ruth Connell is such an asset to this show and her dynamic with Mark Sheppard is fantastic. We come upon Rowena as she is catfishing a rich, pretty handsome man, who knows nothing of the Royal Ballet. Rowena has plans, and none of them involve her son showing up, threatening to expose her if she doesn’t help him with his Lucifer Problem. They are together again and my heart sings. Rowena’s plans to retire to Boca and hang out with old Republicans is thwarted and it’s lovely. She searches for Lucifer, but as long as he has a vessel, he can’t be returned to his cage. Crowley rolls his eyes, says he has a plan, and again threatens that retirement she so desperately wants.
Speaking of Lucifer: HEY IT’S RICK SPRINGFIELD! Our honored guest star starts his stint on the show as washed up has been rocker Vince Vincent, who is so sad over the death of his lady love that he doesn’t even want to check out Cleveland with his bandmates. Honestly, this might be the best choice he made of the night… although it did lead to some scary shit going on in his hotel room. Lucifer has a type, and it’s mourning sad sacks with severe guilt issues. He’s pretty much a one-trick pony which surprises me, given his imaginative torture methods. Long story short: Lucifer pops up as dude’s dead girlfriend, who I am assuming committed suicide, saying they can be together, if he just says yes. He does. Sigh. Never say “sure!” to dead people. Come on, Vince. The next morning, his buddy comes to pick him up for rehearsal, and Vincifer beats him up because goddammit he’s the star and he’ll go to rehearsal whenever he wants! We get a new “treat” with this Lucifer, too. Flashing red eyes which, ugh. Okay. This was effective that ONE TIME we saw it in the cage last season, but now it is annoying. We know the Devil is bad, even without the Halloween trick.
Dean and Mary meet up with Cas who is surprised Dean brought his mother. Dean wants Mary to stay behind, and enlists Cas to have her “keep him company” while Dean goes off on his own. Dean going off on his own is always a brilliant choice, which is proven when he is immediately caught in a ward and brought down to Toni’s basement of fun. I am shocked. I think the only person who is less surprised than I am about Dean coming into the basement is Sam. I mean, he says “Dean?!” but you would have no idea that he’s spent the last two weeks thinking his brother is dead. Although, I mean, Dean dying and coming back ain’t exactly new.
Meanwhile, Crowley’s chillin’ in Luci’s throne when Vincifier shows up, ready to smite. Crowley instead suggests that Lucifer go after Heaven while Crowley mans the fort downstairs. Not surprisingly, Luci isn’t moved. He’s also not moving, as Rowena puts a paralytic spell on him, and while Crowley can’t hurt the angel, he can sure fuck up his vessel. With sulfuric acid. Holy fuck, owie. Better than the lame-ass red eyes (which pop up again) are the effects of half of Vince’s face melting off. Lucifer is pissed, Rowena can’t hold him anymore, and of course Crowley bounces. I’m not surprised, but I like the reluctant teamwork of Row Row and Fergus. Lucifer debates, but decides that an imprisoned witch is FAAAR more valuable than a dead one, and decides to keep Rowena close by.
Speaking of prisoners, Toni decides that Dean will be a better subject of torture than Sam. Okay, look, she is wanting to get Sam to talk, she’s been working him for a while, but has EVERYONE fucking forgotten that Dean was in Hell, too? Toni brings up Benny, which, after her earlier mention of Ruby to Sam, has me curious. She is shocked that, with all the resources of the bunker, that Sam and Dean know nothing. “What a waste!” Oh Dean. I fucking love you. Before she has a chance to poke the oldest Winchester, Mama shows up and has no time for this shit as the two women get into a knock down drag out fight. Toni’s shock at seeing Mary was perfect and frankly what I expected from Moose. They fight, Dean tries to stop it after breaking free, but the threat to Mary’s life gives him pause for about a second until he knocks Toni out. Suddenly, Cas and the Hot Brit show up. Hot Brit tells the boys that Toni will be “handled” in London for going against orders, but he hopes that they can become allies, since Sam and Dean have, at least partially, kept the legacy of the Men of Letters alive in America. He assures them that he means no harm. Hey, he even cleared the warding for their attack dog (a sentiment neither Cas, who sweats under NO circumstances, nor I appreciate)!!
The quartet heads home, where we have a cute, domestic Winchester-y family dinner. We find out Mary was not the great cook that Dean remembers; Piggly Wiggly was. And Dean’s table manners have not improved. After dinner, Sam and Mary have a nice, private moment in her room, in which he gives her John’s journal and they talk about filling in the blanks of their lives together. It’s really sweet and I’m so happy Sam has a mom, but that happiness is dampened a bit by seeing the much more complicated, nuanced feelings Dean is having, as he sits on the kitchen floor, drinking while looking at pictures. The legend of who his mom was as he remembers it through the lens of a toddler who idealized her contrast starkly with what he is learning of the woman in front of him. Most of us have the luxury of gradually knowing our parents as equals. We have them as infallible beings, only to learn piece by piece and with the benefit of time that they are flawed. Dean doesn’t get that. He went straight from the myth to the woman, and it’s heartbreaking to witness it.
While I’m crying here, I almost miss the short convo between Hot Brit and Toni. Toni done fucked up. She was supposed to gain trust, not torture. She’s a rule breaker, too. But not the fun kind. Hot Brit lets her know that in case there should be additional messes to clean up, he called a guy, whom we see packing up and on his way from London.
BAMF: Mary Fucking Winchester. I fucking love Mary and I want her to live forever. She went to the mat for her babies and will be ruled by no man. *heart eyes for days*