Monday, December 5, 2022

‘The Winchesters’ Recap: Season 1, Episode 4 “Masters of War”

RECAPS'The Winchesters' Recap: Season 1, Episode 4 "Masters of War"

This week’s episode of The Winchesters was a doozy. Monsters are had, trauma is revealed, and grief is felt as the Scooby Gang races to solve another mystery selectively affecting veterans and gank another monster. Read on to see what happened in this week’s episode.

Monster Of The Week (MOTW)

We open with our poor, agitated victim of the week walking through a hospital hallway, hearing sirens and seeing flashing lights, smoke, and fire. He runs into a room, but it doesn’t look like it’s about to be his salvation. A shadowed figure wearing a gold breastplate and dragging a glowing gold sword confronts him as a spear appears in our vic’s hands. As he asks what’s going on, the figure has only one thing to say: “destiny.”

Trauma… Trauma

Elliot Brasseaux/The CW

John and Mary are training in the backyard. John reminisces about training like this during his time in the service, using the term “gym class with grenades” as Murph used to say. The mention of Murph gets him down, and his hits seem to kick up a notch in intensity. Mary switches them over to sparring to help John work out some of his frustration, and the two have a charged moment as Mary flips them to the ground — and not the angry kind. Carlos enters, interrupting their “hetero mating ritual” as he calls it.

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Carlos brings them news of a strange death at Hannibal Park Hospital he heard about from his buddy, Manny, whose veteran bowling league has been up in arms about. John’s surprised Carlos hangs out with veterans. The victim, Thomas “Patches” Pasternak, a decorated WWII vet, was found dead in a locked psych ward room. The death was ruled a suicide, but what tipped Carlos off was the singe marks on the walls of the room that Manny reported. Lata believes what they’re looking to gank could be a Persian manticore, a rare huge lion with a flaming mane. Mary guesses a dragon. John wants to immediately jump into action, all keyed up, but Mary calms him down, saying they can’t arouse suspicion or the psych ward will get locked down.

John, Mary, and Lata rush a gurney with a body bag into the hospital under the guise of a doctor needing a cold morgue after a power outage at their facility. The body bag turns out to house a disgruntled Carlos, who apparently lost a game of rock, paper, scissors to Mary (the Sam and Dean energy is strong). The gang pulls out the body and finds cauterized blade wounds. John sees a cross necklace and has a flashback to kissing an identical necklace out on the field right before Murph got blown up by an IED. Patches’ wife comes to pick up his belongings, and John hands her the cross, thanking her for Patches’ service before hastily excusing himself.

Mary learns from Mrs. Pasternak that Patches was in a therapy group for anger issues he came back from the war with and had gotten into it with another doctor the day of his death. When Mary inquires who, Mrs. Pasternak tells her that a junior reporter, Kyle Reed, had asked her the same thing earlier. Meanwhile, John is having a panic attack mixed in with flashbacks in the bathroom. He looks up and sees the same figure that murdered Patches in the mirror, but when he turns around, he’s gone. Hands trembling violently, John turns and punches the paper towel dispenser, denting the metal. His hands stop shaking and his breathing evens out.

Mary enquires if he’s okay but John brushes it off. Mary fills him in. He and Carlos are to enroll in Patches’ therapy group to gain access to the psych ward while Mary and Lata interview Kyle.

But Then His Number Came Up And He Was Gone With The Draft

Elliot Brasseaux/The CW
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During the course of the case of the week, we find out that our very own Carlos was in the Navy, specifically Task Force 116 — forcibly, not a volunteer. This comes into play when he and John go undercover in the hospital’s psych ward. John’s… not thrilled… about the prospect of therapy to say the least. Millie agrees that talking about their feelings has never been the Winchesters’ strong suit (and doesn’t that just trickle down generations it seems).

When John and Carlos check themselves in, they discover Patches’ therapist was a Dr. Zimpano. Carlos sweet talks the receptionist into switching them over to Dr. Z’s care. At a group session, John is skirting around the snacks table when he starts talking to a fellow patient, Jimmy, who informs him Dr. Z is actually not so great. In the group session, Carlos opens up about his forcible conscription into the service and the trauma he brought back, telling a story about watching the Viet Cong watch him from his ship. He pushes John to share and excuses himself under the guise of emotion to go snoop in Dr. Z’s office.

John is pushed to share and his hand begins to tremble again. Jimmy stands up for him, saying Dr. Z shouldn’t push John since they were taught to bottle up their emotions and it was hard to speak up. He storms out after accusing Dr. Z of not doing well enough with Patches. John chases after him only to see Jimmy’s disappeared into a room. He runs in after him, but is too late; Jimmy’s dead.

Carlos finds out Patches was seeing the horned figure with armor and a spear and relays this to John, who’s been seeing the figure as well. John confronts Dr. Z in a fit of rage at having lost another veteran, especially when he’s seeing the same figure, and storms off after Carlos talks him down. The pair splits up to look for more scorch marks to lead them to the monster’s hideout.

Unfortunately, on his search, Carlos gets sucked into the same room that’s plagued all of our dearly departed vets from the case after having some baddie-induced flashbacks of his own in the hallway. Once John realizes this, he rushes in without a second thought and finds himself smack dab back in the middle of the jungle.

He manages to find Carlos, who informs him they’re trapped. John is ready to chase down the monster, and Carlos moves to talk him down. However, he finds himself with his foot on top of a land mine. The horned figure approaches John and Carlos and takes his helmet off and reveals himself as none other than… Jimmy? Jimmy/Neto says that everything he was doing was to sharpen John to become a weapon, a soldier-hunter hybrid against The Akrida. John barters for Neto to let Carlos go if he joins up for Neto’s cause. Neto tells him he must fight him and defeat him for that to happen. Against Carlos’ wishes, John accepts.

This decision proves to be a poor one as Neto tosses John around like a rag doll, taunting him about becoming the man he needs to be.

“There are centuries of violence and rage in your blood, John. Become what you were born to be”

Neto

As the ladies break the vase and depower Neto, John breaks Neto’s spear in half and plunges the wooden spike into Neto’s chest, spear tip out. That’s not enough for him, though. No, John’s out for blood. He takes Neto’s helmet and hammers it against Neto’s head until the job is done. Right before he dies, Neto declares John is ready for the war against The Akrida. Carlos runs over, freed, to find a bloodied John. He looks extremely concerned, having finally caught a glimpse of John’s darkness creeping out.

After everything’s said and done, Dr. Z tells Carlos he sees a potential for healing in him and hopes he comes back despite everything that happened. Carlos thanks John for what he did when they were trapped and tells John that he’s there if he needs to talk. Carlos is seen in group next to an empty chair that’s obviously meant for John. Back at home, Millie finds John hunched in the shower with boiling hot water pounding down on him, shaking. Not knowing how else to help him, she hugs him tight.

So Let It Out and Let It In

The CW

Lata checks in with Mary about how she’s coping with Maggie’s death. John accidentally opening the door to her room in the Campbell’s house brought up a lot of feelings for her. Mary and Lata are both still struggling to learn how to live without her.

The two finally reach Kyle, who Lata instantly takes a liking to, thinking he’s handsome — Mary has to tell her to act casual, which Lata decidedly does not do. Mary gives Kyle his dime from her movie ticket back and flirts with him a little for information. Posing as a family friend of Patches, she presses him for information. Kyle reveals that the whole reason he’s in Lawrence is he’s been chasing a story; other vets just like Patches have been involved in mysterious deaths in psych wards across the country.

After Carlos calls Lata and Mary and fills them in on the horned figure, the two find themselves confronting their grief, braving Maggie’s room to retrieve a mythology book since the Men of Letters mini-bunker is sorely lacking in lore deviating from pre-Christian religious lore. Nobody has been in her room for an entire year — not since her death. Mary and Lata both reminisce about what details of her room told us about her personality. Lata finds the lore book under the bed with both answers and a postcard from every one of Maggie’s hunts detailing two bad things and one good thing that happened. The creature John and Carlos are up against? Mars Neto, a Celtiberian deviation of the Roman god Mars, who’s capable of using the fog of war to manipulate the reality of his adversaries in order to trap and kill them.

Elliot Brasseaux/The CW

After the two realize John and Carlos are up against a god (and in way over their heads), the two pull in Millie in order to gain access to the psych ward and bust out John and Carlos. The item they’re looking for to stop him? An amphora, a symbolic vase linked to his immortality. If they break that, John and Carlos can kill Neto. Millie proves to be a good entry ticket as she threatens to expose what’s going on at the hospital. The gang finds the vase and Millie smashes it, depowering Neto and allowing John to gain the upper hand.

After everything is said and done, Dr. Z tells Mary and Lata that he’s truly committed to figuring everything out and doing right by the vets in his care. Mary gives him Kyle’s card. Carlos is pretty shaken up after everything that happened, and Mary offers him Maggie’s room, saying she needs to face what’s happened in some way. Later on, Mary and Lata are seen picking up postcards and a pen.

Winchester Stupid Count: 2

If you’ve been following along with our The Winchesters podcast, On The Road Again, you’ll know of our newest segment. All season, we’ll be keeping track of moments our lovably hardheaded Winchesters have thrown themselves into danger or generally made some questionable decisions. Knowing these characters, the count is expected to be high by the end of the season. Without a do, this week’s incidents include:

  • John running headfirst into the murder room after Jimmy
  • John running headfirst into the murder room after Carlos and subsequently fighting Neto (I’m sensing a theme here).

The Winchesters airs Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on The CW. You can find our other coverage of the show here. Additionally, be sure to check out On The Road Again, Nerds & Beyond’s podcast covering all things The Winchesters!

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