From the very first episode of the series, “Supernatural” has always — at its core — been about family. It was the loss of their mother that bonded Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) together in this bloody life of monster hunting: Even though their father was the one to pass down the brutal, often lonely lifestyle they now lead, it was Mary’s (Samantha Smith) murder that gave the boys focus and purpose.

The yellow-eyed demon Azazel — in all his horrific glory — was the one behind her untimely death. And once Mary returned to the series in Season 12, a monster-hunting career soon followed. Now, a secret partnership with the British Men of Letters has revealed an unexpected turn for her character — causing a noticeable divide between mother and sons.

For a show deeply rooted in the importance of family, we can’t help but wonder how Mary, Sam and Dean can find common ground here. Amid the threat of Lucifer’s (Mark Pellegrino) return — with an evil baby on the way — something tells us the Winchesters may have no choice in the matter.

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Ahead of Thursday’s (March 2) episode, we spoke with Samantha Smith about the changes Mary has faced since her return to the series. Will she be able to squash this family drama, or is her partnership with the British Men of Letters only the beginning of some real family dysfunction? Inquiring minds want to know…

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Last week’s episode closed with Mary coming clean to the boys about her work with the British Men of Letters. Something tells me this isn’t going to bode well with Sam and Dean.

Samantha Smith: I think that the boys have a very strong opinion about the British Men of Letters as a whole. But I think that Mary is trying to look at the entire situation as really only she can — with the objective perspective she has as a newcomer. And I would say that Mary’s goal is to eradicate monsters as quickly as possible. What is the most expedient route to that goal? What she wants is safety, and she wants her boys to not have to fight anymore. So I think that Mary sees the British Men of Letters as that avenue. Sometimes — and maybe because she’s a mom — she understands that sometimes what you’re doing for the best isn’t the most popular decision — but you have to do it anyway. She is obviously continuing to work with the British Men of Letters, regardless of how the boys feel — which seems to not be great, but I think that she is going to continue to try and get them to see it from her side.

The lack of empathy on the side of the British Men of Letters is something very new to the series — as we’ve seen on ‘Supernatural,’ the concept of good and evil are relative in the grander scheme of things.

I think you’re correct in that the British Men of Letters have no gray area — and with a complete lack of empathy and sympathy for any creature that’s not human. And therein lies the big difference between the Winchesters’ point of view and the British Men of Letters — so that’s a very wide chasm to bridge, for Mary.

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And this has been a huge change for your character: Mary’s become a no-nonsense hunter with a bunch of pretty cool toys to play with!

Right! I didn’t know that was how it was going to go when we started talking last spring — we knew Mary was coming back but we didn’t know… Well, maybe they knew, but I didn’t know at what capacity. So that was not only a surprise but a thrill. And it’s been so incredibly fun: Mary has her own gun, she has her own car, she has her own machete…

It’s only a matter of time before you get your own action figure.

I have a little pop-art bobblehead — but that’s just from a custom company that does them. But I think that she’s a really interesting character. And it’s actually been really divisive among the fandom: A lot of people are so devoted to Sam and Dean, and whoever causes them any drama is immediately on the trouble list. So the hunting has taken a very interesting turn, because there are a lot of mentalities to juggle — and it’s been causing some unrest amongst the fans.

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Speaking of juggling mentalities: The ‘Reservoir Dogs’ episode ‘Stuck in the Middle (With You)’ caused Castiel pain as a result of Mary’s actions. Will there be a conflict between Mary and Castiel?

I actually don’t know — but I wouldn’t think so. I think Castiel and Mary have an interesting mutual understanding. I think there’s still some mistrust, only because we don’t know each other that well — but we have a similarity: Castiel and Mary are both outsiders trying to do their best, and accept that they are going to be misunderstood at times. I think that there is a mutual respect because of that. I don’t think that Castiel is the type to hold a grudge — and I also think he would understand that Mary didn’t know that demon was a Prince of Hell. The plan was supposed to work! She was as surprised as anybody when it went south. The whole point of how she tried to organize the whole mission was to protect and keep the boys as safe as possible — which, you know, best-laid plans… I hope there’s not conflict with Castiel. As I said, I think they have a really nice understanding.

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One topic that never seems divisive is weaponry. Of all the toys available to the Winchesters on the show, which toy would you prefer to hunt with — and why?

Immediately, I was going to say some big a** shotgun. Because, you know, it just seems to be the all-around, universal, get-stuff-done weapon.

I can roll with that.

Knives are cool, but they’re too close. Pistols are good, but they’re not as powerful. So I’m thinking some sawed-off, double-barreled shotgun activity.

Who doesn’t love a good boomstick?

Right. It can act as a club if you need it to… It’s pretty perfect.

“Supernatural” airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.

Posted by:Aaron Pruner

When he was a child, Aaron memorized the entire television lineup, just for fun. He once played Charlize Theron’s boyfriend in a Japanese car commercial. Aaron’s a lover of burritos and a hater of clowns. TV words to live by: "Strippers do nothing for me, but I will take a free breakfast buffet any time, any place."