Six episodes into Season 12 and “Supernatural” seems to be taking its sweet time getting to the good stuff. And while we have a little while longer to wait before Lucifer (Rick Springfield) returns to face Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles), Thursday’s (Nov. 17) episode, “Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox,” found Mary Winchester (Samantha Smith) once again crossing paths with her boys.
Walking and talking like a hunter, it’s pretty obvious Mama Winchester has been doing some soul searching of her own over the past couple of weeks. And without really explaining where she’s been or what her true motivations are moving forward, we did get a peek into her hunting past.
Accompanying Sheriff Jody Mills (Kim Rhodes) to the wake of fellow hunter Asa, Sam and Dean learn they’re not only the subject of some pretty legendary stories, but the connection between Mary and Asa. Without her actions — which saved his life as a boy — Asa might have never gotten into this dangerous line of work. And with that bit of backstory, Mary joins Sam, Dean, Jody and the rest of the gang as they face-off against a faceless crossroads demon.
All-in-all, the episode proved to be a dramatic highlight for Season 12. Taking place mostly in one location, it was hard not to see the influence John Badham — the director behind movies like “WarGames” and “Short Circuit”… What!? — took from the likes of John Carpenter’s sci-fi classic “The Thing.” In that detail alone, “Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox” stands way out from the rest of the pack.
But aside from praising style and performance, it’s worth noting just how slow “Supernatural” has been at addressing the bigger threats facing the brothers this time around. Yes, Lucifer is still out there. There’s that issue with the British Men of Letters. And yes, Sam and Dean haven’t even begun to work on resolving their own mommy issues. But what about Mary? It seems she’s having a tough time as well. Fortunately, Jody was able to step in and offer a few nuggets of wisdom to help them forge a path to reconciliation.
As the series continues dropping breadcrumbs for fans to follow, we’re left with one major question from Thursday’s episode: Did Dean offer up his mother to Billie the Reaper (Lisa Berry) so he could save Sam, Jody and the rest of the hunters trapped inside the house? Because it really does seem that way… And if so, the Winchesters’ family issues run a lot deeper than we thought.
“Supernatural” airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.