Last week Supernatural opened season 12 with a kidnapped Sam, a parent returning from the dead, and a hunt for Lucifer’s whereabouts. This week, we get to see how they build onto these budding storylines. As episode two begins, it turns out being held captive might not be as bad as it started out for Sam (Jared Padalecki). We open finding him having some naked time with Antonia, his captor, and answering her questions in between sessions of getting dirty. Yet while Sam is busy…ummm…getting busy, Dean (Jensen Ackles) is still searching for his little brother.
Back at the bunker, Dean has done everything he can think of to find a lead using the computer and is on a call only to find out that Castiel (Misha Collins) hasn’t had any more luck searching everywhere he can think of that Antonia would be hiding Sam. Dean has an idea to check real estate offices for recent purchases or rentals, figuring that if they own their own plane that they might have procured a hideout in a legit way. During the conversation, Dean mentions that he feels weird being there alone with his mother, Mary. He doesn’t know what to say to her, and he doesn’t want to overwhelm her during this reentry into the world of the living. Cas advises Dean not to overthink and make things more difficult than they need to be.
As the call ends and Mary (Samantha Smith) enters the room, she reveals that she overheard Dean’s concerns. He assured her that he is thrilled she is back with them. She’s happy to hear it and states it’s just going to take her some time to catch up. However, she shares her own worries, including how she will face Sam. If she had never made the deal with the yellow-eyed demon in the first place, then he wouldn’t have come for Sam. She feels guilty because in her mind, she started all of it. She brought the monsters into their lives.
We rejoin Sam then as he is sharing stories of their lives as hunters with Antonia while they rest. She is intrigued by the tales, especially the parts where he talks about other hunters. During the discussion, she is surprised that with these hunters running around the country, that there is still such a huge supernatural problem in the United States. As she’s planting a seed that maybe some of the hunters are compromised, Sam begins to have flashes. He sees the torture, the basement, and before he can process it is back in the chair with Antonia watching him. It turns out she knows some spells and potions, allowing her to plant the scene of them in his head so she could get the information she wanted.
Yet, Antonia isn’t done. There’s more she wants to know. Doing the spell again would liquefy his brain, so that option is out and she would have to go back to inflicting pain. Torture wasn’t in her training, but she sure seems to enjoy it. So it begins, and she says she wants names and addresses of all the hunters. Also, she wants to discuss Sam’s past relationship with the demon, Ruby. She gets a bit distracted though, when a call comes in from a man telling her she’s in trouble and that Miss Watt has been killed by “Dean and friends.”
The next morning, Mary shares with Dean that she dreamt about times she had forgotten, funny stuff John had done. Before she has the opportunity to elaborate, Castiel calls with a lead. He found out about a recently rented house in the area of their search. And when he checked it out, found it to be heavily warded. Mary jumps up, ready to go, but Dean asks her to stay behind. He explains when she appears confused that he can’t do his job and worry about her at the same time. With a smile, Mary assures him she can handle herself.
This episode then takes us to Rowena (Ruth Connell). That’s right, the feisty red-headed witch has returned too. We find her having lunch with a man that is apparently quite wealthy. Then Crowley shows up, posing as a waiter, and it’s obvious her son just ruined her day. They go to talk privately and we find out that Rowena is attempting to put all this monster, Heaven and Hell, business behind her. But of course, he wants a favor. He needs her to help him settle a score with Lucifer.
At this point, we flash over to our guest star, Rick Springfield, playing a rock star named Vince Vicente. After finishing a performance, he declines going out to party afterward with his bandmate. The man tells Vince that he needs to start living his life and it is revealed that his wife Jen had died and the rocker is still in mourning. As he is left alone, it appears he isn’t so alone when the lights flicker, a cold breeze blows, and the framed picture of Jen falls face-down. Hurry, grab the salt!
Later, back at his hotel room which is decorated with pictures of the woman he lost all over the place, the weirdness begins again. As Vince is washing his face, he hallucinates that the water turns to blood which understandably freaks him out. No sooner is the water back to normal, then the lights begin to flicker again and Jen’s pictures begin to fly around the room. He hears her voice just before he sees her standing before him.
When he asks her why she’s there, she claims that she needed to say sorry, that swallowing the pills was selfish. She explains that at the time, she’d felt it only fair to leave him after all the times he’d left her. And she tells him they can be together again. He doesn’t understand how, with her being a ghost. She corrects him, she’s an angel and can take away his pain, bring him peace. All she needs is to be invited in, and the moment he agrees, her eyes turn red and we know he’s not going to be himself anymore.
In the meantime, Rowena performs a spell to try and find Lucifer while she and Crowley bicker. We find out that he wants his mother’s help to put Lucifer back in his cage. She tries to walk away then, not wanting to be pulled back in to all of this mess. Crowley, not one to take no for an answer, threatens to tell her beau about who she really is. Stuck and thoroughly blackmailed, Rowena reminds him that Lucifer can’t be caged back up while he’s in a vessel. But Crowley apparently has a plan and claims he won’t be in one by the time they are ready.
As we flash back to the others, we find Dean and Mary on the way to meet up with Castiel. Dean comments that he can’t believe he let her come along, to which she replies with some humor that she’s the mother so he has to do what she says. On a more serious note, Mary explains that the woman holding Sam will be expecting Dean, but that she definitely would not be expecting her to show up. The realization hits Dean about how good of a hunter she was, and she agrees. Mary states that all hunters end up the same way though, dead, and not from natural causes.
Dean fills in some more details about their life during the ride such as how consumed John was with finding the thing that killed Mary, and how differently Dean and Sam had seen the hunter life. He tells her how Sam went to Stanford, had actually gotten away from it. Mary is obviously bothered that Sam hadn’t managed to stay out of the monster hunting lifestyle.
The two eventually get to their destination and Dean decides to go take a look at the house, alone. No damsel in distress, Mary informs Dean that he cannot stop her from hunting. After getting a look from Dean pleading for help, Cas tries by reminding Mary that he’s locked out thanks to the wards and would like some company. Despite the lame excuse, the woman does stay behind while her eldest son canvases the house. He does manage to find a cellar, but it is locked tight, and before he can do anything about the lock he realizes he’s standing on a strange symbol. Letting out a curse as he’s surrounded by light, Dean knows he’s hosed.
Big things are also happening elsewhere. We find Crowley sitting on the throne reserved for the King of Hell. Lucifer, now wearing his Vince meat-suit, confronts the demon and the battle of wills begins. Crowley suggests that instead of wasting his time on demons, Lucifer should to reclaim his rightful place in Heaven while Crowley takes care of Hell. It’s tempting, but his contempt for Crowley is far too deep to agree. It was all a ruse anyway, because Rowena comes in and does a paralyzing spell on Lucifer. The spell won’t hold him long, but Crowley is unfazed, holding up what Lucifer assumes is holy water. Only it’s actually sulfuric acid. Sure, it won’t hurt Lucifer, but Crowley really just needs to hurt the vessel.
The acid is tossed and the vessel begins to burn, triggering the next part of Crowley’s plan. Rowena does another spell to send Lucifer back to his cage. As if it would be that easy. Even the spell keeping Lucifer from moving no longer works and we’re left looking at a rather gruesome Rick Springfield while waiting for the proverbial crap to hit the fan. Fortunately for anyone with a weak stomach, Lucifer heals his vessel and looks at Crowley with pure dangerous fury.
In true Crowley form, when faced with a fight he knows he can’t win, Crowley disappears leaving Rowena alone with the fallen angel that has already killed her once before. He decides not to kill her again, instead he will keep her as a prisoner and use all that power she possesses. A declaration that horrifies her. It’s safe to say that Rowena isn’t fangirling over Lucifer anymore.
Now let’s see how this episode ends for the Winchester brothers. Antonia graces a bloody and injured Sam again, who is still maintaining his strong stance of “screw yourself.” That is, until she reveals that she now has Dean and threatens that he’ll have to watch his brother go through the same treatment he’s received. Once Dean is bound and she’s had the opportunity to beat him up a bit, Antonia begins trying to get under his skin by bringing up the man’s friendship with the vampire Benny, revealing how much she already knows about them.
While giving threats and describing the parts of the body most sensitive to pain, Mary shows up with a gun and tells the younger woman to “get away from her boys.” Did anyone really think she would meekly wait at the car? Sam, having no idea Mary had been brought back until now, is shocked to see her.
Antonia goes on the offensive, and a girl-fight begins, only these are some tough girls. Dean gets himself free and puts a stop to it once he has the gun. But Antonia refused to be beat, doing some sort of spell that begins to choke Mary. She explains to Dean that if he kills her, Mary dies. So, he gives her the gun…just before knocking her out cold. Sam is worried what that will do to Mary, but Dean says he knows it was mind-control which she couldn’t very well do while unconscious. Just as we think they might get out of there after all, the British man who had called Antonia earlier shows up, blocking the doorway.
However, it seems he only wants to talk. The man, Mick, explains that they do want to know about the Winchesters. After all, they seem to be carrying on the work of the Men of Letters, to a point. He also states that Antonia took things too far and she will face consequences back in London. He wants to work with them and other hunters, trying to convince Dean and Sam that he is on their side by mentioning that he took down the wards so Castiel could come into the house, knowing the angel could destroy him. There’s no way the boys are going to agree that easily. So he offers his card and asks what they could lose, besides their worst nightmares.
Back at the bunker, they have a family meal of takeout and decide they don’t believe or trust these Men of Letters while Dean happily pigs out on some pie and Sam tries to process that his mother is alive and with them.
Later that night, Sam brings his mom tea and shares that he can understand coming back and not feeling like you fit in if she wants to talk. What Mary wants is to know all about their lives, to fill in the blanks. He gives her John’s journal, says it keeps their father with them and might help her fill in some of the gaps. Before he leaves, she asks why he returned to hunting to which he replies that this is his family and hunting is what they do. In a heart-wrenching moment, a teary-eyed Sam professes that having her there with them fills in the biggest blank.
Before we are done though, we see Antonia getting a tongue-lashing from her colleague. She admits that she wants to destroy every obstacle to making the world safe from supernatural beings, even the hunters. He assures her that they will do what needs to be done, even if it means there is a possibility of him getting his hands dirty. Apparently, they’ve called in a mystery man named Mr. Catch.
As the episode concludes, Mary appears upset looking through the John’s journal, Sam is contemplative in his room and Dean is looking through photographs of their family. We are also given a flash of Mr. Catch packing up at a hotel, complete with sinister mood music, hinting that things are only going to get worse.
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