In the final premiere of Supernatural (season premiere? Midseason premiere? Special event? Who knows anymore), we get a classic “monster of the week” episode with more humor than tragedy, something that will likely decrease exponentially as the next six episodes play out. From getting to see a delighted Dean in his favorite pajamas on Christmas morning to the early-season Easter eggs, “Last Holiday” serves as a nice bridge episode between the two halves of the final season.
The episode opens with Dean in the bunker, trying to fix the many problems that keep cropping up from a lack of heat to no hot water. He’s confident in his ability to handle a few leaky pipes, and he and Sam head to the never-before-seen basement of the bunker to see what’s causing all the mechanical breakdowns. In a move familiar to anyone who struggles with computers, he decides to hit a mysterious reset button in the basement without knowing it’s purpose. All seems fine, and Dean is able to go back to making his hamburgers.
But it turns out that reset button did a lot more than fix the pilot light. Dean wanders into a mysterious older woman doing his laundry. He screams for Sam to come help as the woman introduces herself. Her name is Mrs. Butters, and she’s a wood nymph who used to work for the Men of Letters since “before the war.” The war she’s referring to is World War II, and the Winchesters realize she thinks they are in the 1950s. They break the news that the Men of Letters are dead, and Mrs. Butters believes them. Just before they left on a mission all those years ago, she went into “standby mode” using her magic to protect the bunker. She’s been in limbo since then, and Dean pressing the reset button brought her back. Wanting to be helpful, she offers her services to Sam and Dean as a housekeeper and general helpful monster tracker, revealing that the bunker has quite a few more monster-hunting toys to aid them than they knew. Dean accepts happily as Sam worries that she may not be telling them the whole truth, with Dean telling Sam they’ve done riskier things before (Dean: “Well, we do have the son of Satan living down the hall”). Before leaving on their next case, they tell Jack about Mrs. Butters. Jack is still reeling from getting his soul back, especially now knowing he may be the only person who can kill Chuck.
When the Winchesters return, Mrs. Butters has decorated the bunker like it is Christmas and even baked cookies. Dean’s childlike delight at this is one of the episode’s highlights. She explains that both they and she have missed out on a lot of holidays, and she wants to make up for lost time. She makes food for Jack in the kitchen, telling him that she senses he is Lucifer’s son. She isn’t sure about him, but says that if the Winchesters say he isn’t dangerous, she’ll believe them. Dean comes in wearing the purple nightgown from the “Scoobynatural” episode, having the time of his life as Mrs. Butters worries over his cholesterol. Sam and Dean are called to another case, and when Jack stays behind he has a heart to heart with Mrs. Butters.
In the next few days, Mrs. Butters prepares hot meals and celebrations when the boys come home from hunting. We get to see the boys experiment with all their new gear, with Dean using a grenade launcher as Sam wields Thor’s hammer. It is emotional to see how much the simple acts of kindness by Mrs. Butters means to the Winchesters, who never really had the chance to celebrate holidays growing up. She even has a birthday party for Sam, as Dean excitedly anticipates his own party (and the Rice Krispies treats he hopes she will make for him). But Jack sees Mrs. Butters going through files in the bunker that night and discovers that sweet Mrs. Butters may not be as harmless as she appears. In a video, she rips the head off of an enemy.
As Mrs. Butters helps a giddy Sam get ready for a date with Eileen by helping him with his sweater vest (a DATE! With EILEEN!), Jack acts strangely around her. Later, she asks him what’s wrong, and he confronts her about the video. She says she wants to prove that Jack is dangerous, insinuating that he enjoyed watching the video. She also reveals that all the smoothies she’s been making him are laced with something to make him weaker. Her goal is to keep the bunker safe – at any cost.
When Dean returns home, Jack is gone. Mrs. Butters hands him a plate of food before breaking the bad news: they have to kill Jack. Dean sighs, realizing that the good times are over. He says they need to let Jack go, that he’s not out to murder them, but Mrs. Butters now thinks Dean is brainwashed and a threat. She throws him in the basement, where she put Jack earlier. Sam comes home to find both Dean and Jack gone and Mrs. Butters waiting for him. She explains that Jack and Dean are compromised and need to die. Sam pretends to go along with this, telling her he needs to go get his gun so he can kill them. He goes to his room and calls Dean to try to figure out how to take her out.
While Sam tries to go after Mrs. Butters, Dean and Jack talk about what happened to Mary and Jack’s guilt. Dean tells Jack that while it is hard to look at him the same, he knows that Jack isn’t evil deep down. Sam’s plan fails, and as Dean tries to escape his cuffs Mrs. Butters pulls off one of Sam’s fingernails as punishment (not so cute and cuddly now). But Dean realizes they can launch Jack through the basement door, and the two escape. Dean hits the standby button, and all the power he released when he hit the reset button goes away. Jack and Dean free Sam, but a less powerful Mrs. Butters is still there.
The Winchesters explain that Jack is the key to saving the world. She breaks down crying, finally dealing with the loss of the Men of Letters. She’s sorry she went after Jack, but all she had left was keeping people safe. They release her back to the woods where she was originally from, no longer obligated to look after the bunker. After imparting some last words of wisdom (and telling Sam to cut his hair), she leaves. Even after what happened, Dean, Sam, and Jack are sorry to see the person who gave them so much joy (and the feeling of being cared for, which doesn’t happen often for them) leave.
That night, Sam tells Jack that he could save them. Jack is worried he’ll fail, especially since he was so easily fooled by a wood nymph. Sam tries to reassure him. Dean enters with a homemade cake to celebrate Jack’s birthday. While the quality may not surpass Mrs. Butters’ abilities, it is just as meaningful. They have a party, and the episode ends with Jack making a wish.
Supernatural airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW. You can catch up now on The CW app.