Jack gets a snake and Sam gets a cardigan in Peace of Mind, last week’s episode of Supernatural.
Ever since Jack joined TFW, and especially after recent developments (losing his power, burning through his soul to stay alive), I’ve been pretty certain that the young nephilim was doomed to turn against his family and become the next monster they’d fight. It’s tough, because I genuinely love Jack, and think he’s a great addition to the team, but there is just no way someone that powerful can stick around, and from everything we’ve seen, Jack will break bad before season’s end.
Peace of Mind is honestly one of my favorite episodes in a somewhat uneven season. We get a rare Sam and Cas hunt while Dean takes Jack to see Donny about the soul situation, and the episode has a good balance of the ridiculous and alarming.
The episode starts with an exploding head in Arkansas; a young man is escaping his creepily retro town, and once in a gas station outside town limits his head explodes “like a ripe melon in the sun”, as Castiel so eloquently put it later.
Back in the bunker, things are a bit awkward since the funerals of the AU hunters: Jack is the surly teen we’ve been waiting for him to turn into. He doesn’t want to talk to Cas and insists he’s “fine,” though he feels different than last time he had his powers. Mostly, Jack is concerned that his snake isn’t eating. Sam, on the other hand, is powering through cases at an almost reckless pace, not even stopping at the bunker long enough for Dean to have a goddamn sandwich and a nap. Cas and Dean chat and decide that Cas will go with Sam and Dean will hang with Jack, since Sam isn’t inclined to listen to his big brother, and Jack won’t talk to Cas.
Cas and Sam head to what seems to be an internet Baby-Boomer’s wet dream: a town straight from the 1950’s minus the pesky problems of inequality. They start to ask the all-too-perky townspeople about the ‘splody-headed man, and Sam’s cell phone dazzles one of them, to the point where he walks away muttering about it in fascination. After having milkshakes at the old-timey soda shop and chatting with the mayor, Sam and Cas check into a boarding house that only rents to single men because “morals.” Sam decides 4:30pm is too late to work anymore (plus, pot roast) and the pair turns in.
Meanwhile, Dean takes Jack (and his pet snake) on a road trip to see Donny. It’s hilarious how relieved the older Winchester is when, given the choice between Angel Food and Devil’s Food cake, Jack picks the “good” kind. Once they get to Donny’s house, Dean waits outside while the other two men talk. Donny tells Jack what it feels like to not have a soul (hint, it feels like nothing). Jack explains that he doesn’t think he’s “empty” but he doesn’t know what that is, anyway so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Donny then gives Jack some great advice before totally screwing the pooch in the next breath: He tells Jack that when he’s not sure what the right thing is, he asks himself “What Would Mr. Rogers Do?” which is honestly great advice anyone could use. Unfortunately, he follows up by telling Jack to ask himself “What Would the Winchesters Do?” which is a moral code and life motto that’s skewed, to say the least. After they chat, Donny tells Dean to keep an eye on him, but thinks Jack will be okay.
Back in Charming Acres, Cas exits his room to find Sam nowhere in sight. He hollers at the innkeeper (whose earbuds kinda stand out in this town), who tells him Sam went for a walk. Cas goes looking and sees Sunny, the milkshake girl. Sunny tells him that Sam went to check in on Mrs. Smith, whose husband’s (the cellphone man’s) head popped like a balloon the night before. Cas heads over to the Smith house and meets a super stepford wife who not only doesn’t understand or care that her hubby is dead, but apparently is dead set on proving to him that she makes a mean martini. Cas is at his wit’s end when Sam, AKA Justin walks in. In his cardigan/khakis ensemble, glasses, and ponytail, “Justin” is basically what I picture Jared Padalecki being when he’s fucking around with his co-workers. Cas tries to snap Sam out of it and winds up kicked out of the house. He heads back to the Soda Shop and accuses Sunny of being a witch. Sunny is also pretty freaked out and soon rats out her dad, telling Cas he’s the one controlling the town. Mayor Meddle shows up with his Jeepers goon squad (including Sam-stin) and tells Cas his master plan: After his wife died and the mill shut down, he saw how all the whippersnappers and hooligans were killing his home, so he just decided to make Pleasantville real life using his super psychic powers. He then sics his goons on Cas and runs out, Sunny fast on his heels. Cas fights them off (yay for a writer finally remembering badass Cas) and eventually gets through to Sam before the giant hunter CAN stab him with his own angel blade.
The Angel and now un-brainwashed Sam head outside to see Sunny and her dad arguing. Mayor Chip calls himself God, to which Sam and Cas reply that they’ve met God, and he has a beard. This apparently enrages the follicularly challenged Mayor, as he then tries to kill Sam with his MIND!! Sunny’s had enough, however, and stops her dad. Turns out she’s got some powers, too. She locks her father in his mind, where everything is gee golly wiz perfect, minus the involuntary mind control of other people. Sam and Cas leave, and I presume the town goes back to its modern ways, with maybe a few dozen very confused people waking up from years of manipulation.
Once everyone meets up at the bunker, Dean teases Sam about his cardigan and wife and Sam acts surprised that Cas would tell Dean about it. Cas goes to check on Jack, who, upon deciding the snake must miss the Gorgon who owned him, decides to “help” the snake like Sam and Dean would, by reuniting it with its friend in Heaven, turning the snake to ash. There are a few things fucked up with this, not the least of which being that Jack thinks a Gorgon who ate people would be in Heaven. Cas witnesses this unseen, which is going to require some rumination.
Sam and Dean talk about how Sam is sad about the randos… er I mean hunters who died in the bunker, and now it’s Sam’s turn to be sad and to need time.
Okay so I love this episode. Sam and Cas in this weird fucking town was hilarious, and I don’t think we get to see enough of their dynamic. Cas and Dean are usually all brooding angst, so to have Cas and Sam team up on a hunt while Dean tries to help their kid is a refreshing change. I’m also really excited to see how the Winchesters deal with Jack’s imminent turn to “The Dark Side.” I honestly can’t think of a better phrase than that, since I don’t think Jack is going to be “evil” as much as “everyone is the hero in their own story and the villain in someone else’s” bad.