I know I’ve been especially hard on Supernatural this season, and I know a lot of it is frustration with the, in my opinion, wasted story potential and the Lucifer of it all, so I made a special effort to go into “Absence” with an open mind and to put my (sorta/super) bitter fangirl to bed for an hour.
I’m glad I did because, despite a lot of the bullshit (and there was plenty of it), “Absence” made my heart grow a little fonder.
We begin with the boys in the bunker, wondering where Mary and Jack are, and getting the warm and fuzzies about the newest member of the family. But, Mary’s phone is in the bunker, Jack isn’t answering his, and when Cas returns Dean’s call it’s with unsettling news: Cas tells them about the whole “killing a snake for no good reason” and we’re off. Sam uses a phone tracker (like any parent of a teenager would) and sees that Jack is hopping all over the planet, which always bodes well.
Jack, meanwhile, has landed once again where he last saw Mary. We see some memories of her through his eyes, and even though it seems like Nick is truly dead, somehow we’re still stuck with him, as Lucifer is embodying Jack’s subconscious. Great. Fucking great, even when he’s dead the show can’t not lean on Lucifer’s broken back. Anyway, LuciNick starts playing on Jack’s (healthy) fear that the Winchesters will never forgive him for killing their mom and, with the whole basis of the show’s origin being revenge against the demon that killed Mary, I can see where that comes from.
Sam and Dean head to the cabin, which is the last place Jack’s phone dinged, and Dean is already being completely unreasonable and, regardless of Sam’s great points, decides Cas is the one to blame for all of this, because fuck you Dean. They arrive, and while waiting for Cas, Sam finds Nick’s body and Dean finds scorched Earth, not a great sign for Mary. Cas reminisces about a sad and lovely moment in which a newly-revived, still wary-of-him Mary told the angel that the boys “were never alone” implying the truth, which is that Cas has done more for this fucking family than any one being, human or celestial can be expected to do. Okay, so maybe my bitter fangirl isn’t quite put to bed.
Cas meets up with the boys, Dean’s in denial that A) Mary is dead and B) that anyone other than Cas is at fault. Cas tries to explain that he was afraid when he saw Jack mercy kill Felix the snake, but that his faith in the nephilim had never wavered, and even after seeing it, Cas didn’t see it as evil or malicious so much as the absence of good. So Cas went to find a way to help, like he always does. And he did it alone because in the end, that’s what he always seems to be. Rowena calls and tells the boys she can’t get a pin on Jack, but she can tell them that Mary is “no longer on Earth.” Dean throws a chair since destruction of property is his go-to form of expression, and then orders Cas to go to Heaven and find his mom. Look, Dean can spew all the bullshit he wants about family, but whenever the chips are down, and whenever there is blame to be placed, he seems to turn on Cas really fucking quick for “family.”
Meanwhile, once she hangs up with the boys, Rowrow gets her own visitor in the form of Jack, who comes begging her to bring Mary back. He explains that it was an accident, and Rowena tells him the boys are looking for him, seeing as they’re “kin” and all. Rowena tells Jack she can’t help him bring back Mary, but he insists she use the Book of the Damned, and they poof out to the bunker to get the ingredients once Jack hears the Winchesters coming.
Once they’re in the bunker, Jack has some more memories of Mary and then starts talking to HaLuciNick (AKA himself), making Rowena very nervous which, fair. LuciNick tells Jack the feelings he has right now aren’t anything more than reflexes and echos, and Rowena interrupts his mumblings to tell Jack they need a body for the necromancy spell.
Back in Bullshitville, population One, Dean is still bitching about Cas and how Cas should have said something as if “lack of communication” isn’t the only reason that Sam freed Lucifer, or that Dean sold his soul, or that Cas worked with Crowley, or that Charlie is dead, or that Dean allowed Sam to be possessed by an angel… the fucking list goes on and on. Not to mention that not once has Dean (or anyone else really) mentioned Jack’s name in the “List of Reasons Why Mary WInchester is Dead” column. Sam tells him to calm his fucking body, pointing out that is wasn’t only Cas who saw red flags that went ignored. Sam owns up to the fact that he is the one who fought to get Jack back when he died, and then just left him with Cas like some kind of nanny while Sam mourned the loss of his hunter army. Dean, immediately trying to comfort Sam, because he’s a hypocrite, goes on the mention “oh yeah Donatello warned me about him and I ignored him because I love the kid” because literally everyone gets a fucking pass except Cas. Cas, who is going back to Heaven and potentially facing the Host’s wrath, because that is the shit you do for family, doesn’t get a shred of understanding. Perfect.
Back to Jack and RowRow. Rowena tells Jack that she will not help him since, without a body and with his unstable mood, the potential to raise something dark and definitely not Mary is too high. Jack literally shoves her through space and time back to her own apartment (which is admittedly less costly than an Uber) and begins the spell himself. Rowena immediately calls the Winchesters and they make haste back to the cabin.
Jack tries the spell and it’s pretty damned foreboding, when he sees Baby pulling up. He kills her engine, and when the boys run out to see him, the spell didn’t work. He doesn’t say anything else to the boys before flying away, leaving Mary’s body. Dean hugs his mom and we see more flashbacks and memories. We next see Jack sitting sad and alone when LuciNick comes and tells him the Winchesters will never trust him and so he can’t trust them and this Jack storyline is honestly why I’m sticking around.
Back at the bunker, Sam is sadly looking through old family photos when Cas comes in. He tells Sam (and Dean who is still being an asshole) that he spoke with Duma, and witnessed himself that Mary is at peace, in Heaven, without guilt or sorrow. She’s with John and full of joy. Sam tells Cas that the body Jack left wasn’t hers, but a replica that is “incapable of supporting life” and so they have a funeral for her and we have a little farewell montage. Also when Cas tries to comfort Dean, Sam stops him since, even after acknowledging to Sam that Cas is no more guilty than any of them for what happened, Dean is still giving his “best friend” the cold shoulder because why not?
Alright, you might be wondering to yourself how I could bitch so much about an episode that I objectively liked? Well, my reviews are never objective (none are), and though story-wise, I like what is being set up for the rest of this season and hopefully the next, my bitter Casgirl cannot be contained. I get there should be conflict, and I understand Dean’s character and his lashing out in his grief, but at some point there has to be a reckoning or an acknowledgement that Dean’s inability to act like a grown ass human being and stop treating his friends like shit is going to bite him in the ass. He doesn’t have that many friends to be able to dump his anger and frustrations on, and the moral outrage is the height of hypocrisy coming from Dean Winchester. He may be Righteous, but he’s not right. Headass Dean is my least favorite Dean, and Cas has been used as a punching bag for his toxic coping mechanisms enough.
Oh and why the FUCK is Nick still around?? I sure as hell hope they burned his body, too.
What did you think of Absence? Are you sad to see Mary go? I know I didn’t touch on it too much because my sodium levels were so high about the other shit, but as much as I started out not being a fan, Mary created a nice balance in the bunker.