The third episode of Season 12 Supernatural aired last night. A group of writers from Nerds and Beyond got together to share their reviews of the episode, which you can read below.
Episode 12×3 of Supernatural, “The Foundry” aired on the CW last night, and it broke the heart of the collective Supernatural fandom. The season’s plot being a little more securely established allowed for a transition to a good ol’ monster of the week hunting adventure for the Winchesters. Before they head out there are a couple of meaningful interactions between them and Castiel in the bunker.
One of my favorite moments was when Mary confided in Cas her continued feelings of being an outsider. This being something he can very much relate to allows him to assures Mary that “she belongs.” I am glad that their relationship and mutual understanding continues to be developed this season. Cas also had an endearing moment with the boys. After Dean calls him “sunshine” and offers him some morning coffee, Cas matter-of-factly announces that he is headed out to hunt Lucifer. Dean and Sam express their concern for him going off on his own and offer to go with him, but Cas insists on going alone to correct what he set in motion last season. There are some great moments between Cas and Crowley (AKA Agents Beyoncé and Z), as well as a badass Rowena taking down Lucifer, but I want to focus my review more on the Winchester family storyline this week.
I’m not going to rehash the plot of the actual hunt, but I do want to share a few personal takeaways. Dean and Mary are more than superficially similar. They not only have the same taste in food (bacon!) and music (classic rock!), but they are also both fierce hunters that tend to push through the pain, pretend things are okay, and use their charm to get a “win.” Mary proves to her sons how developed her hunting instincts are when she figures out a key piece of the case, even without the use of the internet. There is clearly concern and love from the boys towards their mom, and visa-versa, but there is still a sense that they are strangers.
When they return home after the hunt, Mary shares her plan to take some time away from Sam and Dean. She explains how she misses her husband, and mourns the years she did not get to spend with them as they grew up. She also shares that being with them serves as a constant reminder of those years she lost with “baby Sam” and her “little boy Dean.” The writing and acting in this scene is nuanced in showing the complexity of her decision. Sam and Mary hug and he gives her an expression of understanding, but he physically flinches when the door closes behind her after she leaves. Dean, on the other hand, is unable to even look at Mary or give her a hug. It’s as if an invisible wall wedges between them and the unadulterated pain on his face is heartbreaking. I can’t imagine the feelings of abandonment he might be feeling. His fears of being wanted or needed have been well document throughout the series, especially in relation to his family dynamic.
My feelings towards Mary’s departure have run the whole gamut of emotions from anger, disappointment, sadness, pride, and eventually understanding (this is also a testament to Samantha Smith’s phenomenal acting). Writer Robert Berens’ portrayal of Mary shows a complex woman who is there to do more than further a plot line. I deeply appreciate this, as it is something the show has struggled with over the years. So far, we have known her though the eyes of her sons, but this episode reminds us that there is more to her than just her role as a mother.
This week’s episode started out strong with the feeling of a true Supernatural ‘monster of the week’ episode. Everything is going fine, normal couple going for a stroll, and then the couple is standing in front of this, “you know if you walk in there something bad is going to happen” house. And, of course it does. The monster in this week’s episode was a fantastic choice because here we have Mary, who has just come back from the dead, has missed her sons growing up, and now here’s this young boy -who even though he is dead – needs her help. It was so great to get yet another taste of the truly amazing hunter that Mary is. She’s brave and she’s resourceful, and I feel like we are going to see so much development in her when she finally does come back home to her boys.
Then we have Castiel and Crowley who have decided to team up and go track down Lucifer. The banter between the two of them made for some of the more entertaining moments we’ve seen in awhile. Cas is more than capable of finding Lucifer, except when it comes to interacting with humans trying to track him down. Crowley, however, seems to have no problem with taking a more direct approach. Everyone’s favorite antagonist Rowena was as fierce as ever in making her escape from Lucifer. This was probably one of my favorite moments of the episode. Rowena is sharp tongued, smart and quick on her feet. The line about Keith Richards and Iggy Pop was fantastic.
All in all, this was great. It was well written – it made you feel, it made you think and it made you laugh. Also, seeing the female characters in action was a huge plus. The ending of the episode was a little hard to watch – Dean and Sam just got Mary back only to have her leave again, but I’m excited for her to come back and hopefully she will take the time away to find herself again, and process everything that has changed since she’s been gone. This episode really felt like the opener to all the exciting things that are to come for the rest of the season.
This week’s Supernatural… It was like whiplash after the previous one. We get a fairly tame Monster of the week and So. Much. Development.
This is the one that makes up for the mess that was last week’s episode. We get the comedy, the fun references (and cringeworthy musician reference cover names), badassery, and heartbreak.
However, there was some… oddness. For instance, Castiel had a moment where he acted more like Casifer than Cas. I don’t know if this is a side effect of having Lucifer wear you around, or if it’s supposed to be character development. Either way, it was definitely something that struck me as odd.
Also, Dean and Sam seemed to discount Mary’s opinion way too quickly during the hunt. Yes, they’ve still been adjusting to her, but if they wanted to try to immerse her into their lives, shouldn’t that include some degree of deference to her own knowledge and skills?
But then again, Mary has shown that she is definitely Dean’s mother, showing a preference for the same foods, music, etc. She’s charismatic, brash, likes to choose musically themed cover names (Partridge, Cassidy, and Bonaduce), and tries to pretend everything’s fine, when it’s really not.
In this episode, not only did we get to see Samantha Smith portray a badass, but let’s not forget how deftly Rowena took out Lucifer with her wiles, magic, and intelligence. Rowena has definitely grown from the petty, power-hungry witch from season 11.
Robert Berens wrote a script that included women with agency. Women that weren’t there just to serve the men. And I love that. Rowena refused to follow along on the quest to search for Lucifer, but was gracious enough to offer her help when they found him. She’s trying her damnedest to live her own life, maybe retire to Boca.
Then we have Mary: Yes, it was painful to see Dean’s heart get ripped out by her confession that she needed to resolve her new reality on her own, his pain evident in his refusal of physical comfort. With Dean, that is a glaring indicator that he’s beyond hurt. And yes, we saw the last of Sam’s fantasy of his mother crumble with the slamming of the bunker’s door. But it was necessary.
She didn’t want to “play mother” to two men who were older than her, who were raised by a version of John that she never knew. And yes, it hurts, but it’s not fair to Mary as an individual, separate from the men she never got to watch grow up. It’s reminiscent of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when Buffy was resurrected in season six. She had been in Heaven, happy. Then she was thrust back on Earth, and thought it was Hell.
While Mary’s experience hasn’t been as extreme, at least she didn’t bury the truth in order to be who she was expected to be for the sake of others. Besides, Mary promised to return. She just needs time. Isn’t that the least the boys can give her after being yanked unwittingly out of Paradise?
Yes, there are paragraphs to be written about characterization and blending comedic elements with horror, essays about Dean and Sam’s emotions involving their mother and how that makes them treat her, and so much else I could ramble on about. But for me, it was refreshing to see, in Supernatural, women portrayed as something other than storyline fodder, not to be discarded like tissue once their purpose has been fulfilled. No, while they have been temporarily set aside, they’re not just waiting in cold storage.
Here’s hoping Andrew Dabb keeps them out of the fridge.
There is so much to say about season 12 of Supernatural, and it is only three episodes in.
Now that we have already gotten to see the Winchester boys reunite with their revived mother, “The Foundry” gave us a more in-depth look with how they are all handling this major change in their lives.
Dean is happily embracing having his mother back, especially when realizing all of the things the two share in common. Meanwhile Sam is also seeing the similarities he and his mother share as he confronts Dean about how Mary is struggling to deal with everything. Mary is, as Sam correctly guessed, having a difficult time with trying to belong in this different world. However, her struggles run deeper as she admits to how much she misses John and their old life with Sam and Dean being her little boys rather than the men she sees today.
It was also interesting to see how quick Rowena was to turn her predicament around and send Lucifer to the deep end (literally). I have a feeling that she will play a big role towards the end of this season as Crowley and Castiel track Lucifer down. I am excited to see how that will play out and if it will correlate with what the British Men of Letters have in store.
The Foundry started off on a very light note, even giving me some of the vibes that earlier seasons of Supernatural gave off. It is so far my favorite episode of season 12, but I am sure that the writing and acting in future episodes will continue to wow me. Despite the somewhat sad ending of this episode, it is definitely one to remember.
What were your thoughts on the episode? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to rate the episode below!
“The Foundry” Recap of ‘Supernatural’ Season 12, Episode 3
Nerds and Beyond Staff