Monday, December 5, 2022

‘The Winchesters’ Recap: Season 1, Episode 6 “Art of Dying”

RECAPS'The Winchesters' Recap: Season 1, Episode 6 "Art of Dying"

This week on The Winchesters, Mary gets a call for help from an old family friend who’s looking for some help, but it turns out a few crucial details were left out. Latika struggles with her place as a pacifist hunter, while John’s commitment and eagerness to hunt concerns Mary. Meanwhile, Carlos finds himself in a new situation and doesn’t know how to handle it. Read on to see what went down in “Art of Dying.”

Hunter Hunted

We open up in Elk Falls this week, with our doomed cold-open character running through the darkness. The woman falls, screaming out, but valiantly gets back up and drags her injured leg farther until she reaches a barn. She quickly shuts herself in and digs into her bag, pulling out some chalk, with which she starts drawing sigils on the inside of the door — this woman is a hunter! With a hunting knife in hand, she progresses farther into the barn. But the knife doesn’t save her. Scuttling noises are all that’s heard before she flies up to the roof, blood showering down onto the straw below.

Active Retirement

Hunting has a way of changing a person … Who’s really the monster here, them or me?

Dean Winchester

Latika is trying to meditate and trying being the operative word, as the poor girl can’t get a minute’s peace. John and Carlos shatter her bubble, bursting into the clubhouse mid-argument over whether John is allowed to drive Carlos’ van out to the quarry to search for clues. Carlos doesn’t want John behind the wheel after a previous incident and thinks they should be waiting for his contact at city hall to get back to him with a list of recent land acquisitions. John is very high-strung — shouting and generally far more aggressive than the discussion warrants. He’s got the rage; Carlos makes a point of inviting him to come to a session with Dr. Z, the therapist he connected with during episode 4, “Masters of War.” Lata suggests that maybe he should meditate.

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Luckily, the “hunter only” emergency line rings with far more pressing news: Tracy, a retired hunting friend of Mary’s family, needs help. The nameless cold-open hunter turns out to be Darla, an old friend of Tracy’s. Darla had been tracking a werewolf, but Tracy did not expect to find her mutilated in her barn that morning.

The gang packs up and heads out, driving to Tracy’s remote property. (Remote enough that Carlos is in awe of how much weed could be grown out there.) Mary introduces everyone to her Aunt Tracy, who adorably nicknames her “Cricket.” Tracy thought that Samuel would be the one to turn up. Mary fills her in on her dad’s disappearance and tells her that Deanna is off-grid, too, still not returned from her last hunt. Tracy is chatty, and Mary learns that this isn’t the first time Sam and Deanna have separated. She stayed with Tracy when they separated during her childhood, unbeknownst to her. Tracy calls them “idiots” and claims they will sort it out.

Darla is still in the barn, where she was found. The claw marks on her body, Lata claims, do look consistent with a werewolf, but she plans to take measurements to be sure. It turns out the measurements aren’t needed, though, when eagle-eyed Carlos finds a shed claw embedded in the barn’s ceiling.

John gets to experience his first hunter’s funeral. They prepare Darla’s body and place her on a pyre, in a melancholically beautiful scene that only seems to further sour John’s bad mood. “The hunt’s over now, Darla. You get to rest,” Tracy says. The funeral and unexpected case are emotional for Mary in several ways — Tracy was meant to be retired, yet here they are. Is it ever possible to get out of hunting? Will Mary ever get out?

Carlos loves Psycho

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Tracy brings out some lemonade, and they discuss their options. Lata asks Tracy for some lore books to research the monsters; Carlos moves some of hers out of the van to make room for machetes, and he doubles down on not regretting it. Unfortunately, Tracy doesn’t have anything to help — retired hunters tend not to keep much in the way of lore libraries. She does have some Harlequin romances Carlos can browse, though. Luckily, Lata thinks she knows someone nearby that might be able to help.

As they drive, Carlos asks a pensive Lata what’s wrong, wondering if the funeral upset her. She confesses that it’s not just the funeral before asking Carlos if he thinks she’s a liability as a hunter because she can’t punch back. Seeing Darla’s pyre reminded her of what happens when you can’t fight.

When they arrive at their destination, Carlos is alarmed by the Norman Bates vibe of the store. Every wall is lined with stuffed animals and trophies. He was expecting a monster expert, clearly. What he gets instead is Anton, a helpful and handsome taxidermist who isn’t squeamish about monsters.

In a first for him, Carlos is a bit speechless in Anton’s presence, not because of the dead animals. In the first flirting fail that we’ve seen from Losi, he blurts out a weak “I love Psycho!” to Latika’s obvious confusion (and mild amusement). Things don’t really improve for Carlos, but Anton does help them identify the monster: a soucouyant, a Caribbean type of blood-sucking hag, like a vampire but far less attractive.

Soucouyant

Back at Tracy’s house, Mary is placing hex bags. She and Tracy talk about her parents and what Mary might do if she gets out of hunting; finish school and maybe go to college. Tracy tells Mary about her life outside of hunting and confesses that her only regret is that she didn’t get out sooner.

John still seems off, hyper-focused on finding the monster and killing it. He thinks they can catch the monster and use its essence to lure in the Akrida, though they still have no plan for what they’ll do if they find them.

When the rest of the group arrives with the news about the soucouyant, Tracy explains that the monster was the last hunt she ever did — with Darla and two other hunters named Rob and Mac. Mac and the soucouyant both died in a cave-in during the hunt, or so she thought.

The monster makes its grand entrance. John, in true Winchester form, runs right into battle. He’s headstrong and angry but not as fast as the soucouyant, and the creature has him on his back before Mary saves the day by chopping off its arm. It doesn’t kill it, but it does make it run for now.  

Tracy tells them that Mac never got a hunter’s funeral because of the cave-in. Rob had turned up a while back, talking about retrieving his body for the anniversary of his death. Perhaps the soucouyant somehow survived all this time and was released by Rob.

Lata invites Anton to take a look at the arm Mary cut off. After finally breaking into it with a bone saw, some unexpected dark goop runs out of the wound — ectoplasm.

Accidents Don’t Just Happen Accidentally

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After being stitched up by Carlos, John takes his feelings out on a punching bag. Mary confronts him, telling him that everyone is worried. He doesn’t want her lecture. When Mary admits that Carlos told her what happened with Mars Neto, he says he’s pushing himself to get her out of hunting because seeing Darla’s funeral made him realize it could be Mary. Mary, though, doesn’t want him using her as an excuse for his issues.

Before their argument can go any further, Lata interrupts to let them know that the reason the soucouyant didn’t die when its arm was cut off was because it was already dead, hence the ectoplasm. A vengeful spirit has possessed the monster’s body and has now come after Tracy and the rest of the hunting crew.

In a shocking twist, Tracy admits the cave-in that killed Mac wasn’t an accident. She and the rest of the team killed him. Trying to explain herself, she recounts how she and Darla brought Mac into the group. He was a dark soul from the get-go, with a lot of anger from a bad childhood. When he turned to dark magic, they tried to help him, but he wouldn’t listen. On the soucouyant hunt, Mac snapped and attacked Darla. In the end, they set off some C-4 and buried him alive.

Mary, Carlos, and Lata are horrified and disgusted and make no secret of it. Carlos also voices the similarities between John and younger Mac, calling him a “ghost of Christmas future.”

“Violence is always a choice.”

While the rest of the group is listening to Tracy’s confession, John walks into the barn by himself to calm down from his talk with Mary. The soucouyant ambushes him, and the spirit jumps into John.

Tall, Dark, and Angry

When Mary, Carlos, Lata, and Tracy burst into the barn, they are met with John standing stock still, his back to them. “Tall, dark, and angry can’t come to the phone right now,” Mac’s spirit says.

Carlos tries to get Tracy out, but Mac throws him across the room with a flick of his hand. Mary tries to talk to him and connect with John, but Mac says that John is “along for the ride.”

The inevitable fight ensues, and eventually, Tracy manages to get close enough to shoot Mac — until Lata steps in the way. She talks, telling Mac about her father and how angry and aggressive he was when he came back from war. She lived in anger until she hurt someone. Then she made a different choice.

Mac says that his team gave up on him; he needed them. Tracy apologizes to Mac. She didn’t know what to do or how to help. Finally, after a moment of indecision, Mac stabs his weapon into the ground and leaves John, discorporating off into the night.

Back at the house, Mary and Tracy talk it out. Mary understands why Tracy did what she did, and Tracy knows that she has some making up to do.

Carlos briefly wants to keep the gross soucouyant arm because Anton touched it, but he and Lata incinerate it. Returning to their prior conversation, Carlos tells Lata that she isn’t a hunter like them — because they would have killed Mac.

Once the arm is incinerated, Lata smilingly delivers a note to Carlos from Anton. It turns out that even when Carlos completely fails at being suave, he’s still got it.

Morning, Sunshine

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John finally wakes up to Mary sitting beside him with a glass of water at the ready. He doesn’t remember much, but he does recall his fight with Mary. He admits to her that he’s wrestled with anger all his life. He thought he’d put it to bed, but the fight with Neto woke it up. As Mary said, he’s been using her and hunting as an excuse to avoid problems. But he doesn’t want to end up like Mac. In turn, Mary tells John that she does want to get out of hunting, but she won’t do it at his expense. “You mean too much to me,” she confesses.

Later, at the clubhouse, John interrupts Lata meditating. He thanks her for taking Mac down and tells her he remembers some of the things she said. John asks her how she doesn’t live in the anger and the violence and if she can show him.

Happily, Lata instructs him to sit beside her and leads him in the same meditation she attempted at the beginning of the episode.

I am centered, I am at peace. I create my own path, and I walk in it fearlessly.

Finally, Carlos arrives to tell everyone that his guy at city hall got back to him—they’ve found the radio tower. They found the Akrida.

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 ado, this week’s incidents include:

  • John running right after the soucouyant without waiting for backup.
  • John heading off to the barn alone with the soucouyant still on the loose.

The Winchesters is off next week but will be back on Tuesday, December 6 at 8 p.m. EST on The CW for the midseason finale! 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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