Once upon a time there was a beautiful girl by the name of Mary Campbell. A warrior from a family of warriors, she was their best: brilliant, clever and fiercely independent. However, Mary wanted a simpler life, a life without the constant fighting against the things that go bump in the night. Mary had little hope of that happening until she met a young man by the name of John Winchester. John, despite being a marine and all the horrors he had seen, had an optimism about life and all that it could be. Eventually the two would be married and have two beautiful children: Dean and Sam.
Unfortunately for this little family their lives were not their own. You see, since the beginning of time, these two bloodlines, the Campbells and the Winchesters, were being manipulated by the forces of heaven and hell to produce two perfect vessels for the archangels Michael and Lucifer. In order for that to happen the children of Mary and John would have to endure pain in all of its forms, starting with the death of their beloved mother.
Except, thirty three years after dying violently doing what she did best – protecting the people she loved – Mary Campbell Winchester has been returned to Earth, and nothing will ever be the same.
Yes, Mary is back, and immediately thrown into the fray as she discovers all that’s happened since she died. This episode, one of the most heartbreaking premiers the show has ever had, was fantastic in its simplicity. The focus was firmly on the characters with little moments throughout the episode: Dean’s face when he realizes just who is standing in front of him; Mary’s reaction to computer technology; Castiel and Mary bonding over how jarring being on earth is. Basically every scene with Mary as she realizes the enormity of the situation she’s now in, and the fact that, despite everything she did to walk away from a life of monsters and demons, it was for nothing. Dean and Sam still ended up hunters, and not just hunters but the hunters, legends the world over for their brutality, their power and for being touched by Creation and The Void themselves.
That legendary status truly comes into play as the British Men of Letters make themselves known. Having kidnapped Sam (who thinks Dean died saving the universe) at the end of last season, they claim to want to ‘teach’ their American counterparts how to be better at their jobs and to help make America safe. However, as Sam points out, if, and it’s a big if, what they’re saying is true their methods leave a lot to be desired.
Book Of Lore
- Seriously, the MOL are idiots if they honestly think that kidnapping a Winchester will lead to anything other than them being utterly wiped from existence. Just ask the Frankenstein family.
- Cas came back fed all the way UP with everyone and everything that’s not Dean and Sam. He’s also even more rabidly protective of Dean and Sam (and now Mary), which I did not think was possible.
- Crowley’s hunting Lucifer, who’s jumping from body to body in an attempt to find a perfect vessel that’s not Sam. How long before the Winchesters get caught in the middle of Hell’s Civil War?
This episode laid the groundwork for a lot of the season to come but didn’t overdo it in terms of info dumping. Instead the series, smartly, stayed tight on our main cast keeping it narrowed to the Winchester family and letting the superb Samantha Smith’s performance as Mary and the always phenomenal Jensen Ackles’ Dean ground the entire episode. Everyone gives it their all, as usual, but special mention has to go to Jared Padalecki who makes Sam’s anger, resistance and grief palpable in every scene.
Five out of Five Enochian Brass Knuckles