Supernatural Season 12, Episode 5
“Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox”
Posted by Dawn and Jaymee
Yeah, we went there with the song lyric and we are not sorry. Because after “The One You’ve Been Waiting For” left us cold and kind of appalled, Steve Yockey turned out to actually have been the one we were waiting for when he gifted us with an episode that was all we ever wanted and more. Hunters galore, a family dynamic that actually went where we wanted it to go, and terrific one-liners. Sure, we missed Cas and Crowley – again – (who are thankfully back next ep) and we’d like to get back to the overarching mythos of the season (and more Rick Springfield, please), but this episode was our everything and we just couldn’t be happier.
So. Many. Hunters!! We have never seen a happy gathering of hunters before, and we had no idea how much we needed it until it happened. Yes, we had the roadhouse, but mostly that was just quiet hunters drinking on their own. We’ve seen other hunters before, but that rarely ended well. This time was different. This time, we had a shitload of hunters at a proper Irish wake, getting drunk, telling stories, and having as good a time as is possible at a funeral that also ends up with a demon body-hopping like mad. When our boys first showed up and everyone was like “Holy crap, The Winchesters?”, Dawn cheered out loud. Sam had a fanboy, for Chuck’s sake. It was glorious.
JAY: Yeah, yeah, Sam’s fan boy was glorious, or maybe not, because honestly that’s every episode so far that they have brought up Sam’s time with Lucifer, so this is either foreshadowing or just…What…what is this?! WE KNOW ABOUT LUCIFER! We were there! We know, so unless you are bringing back Mark Pellegrino as Luci, I just don’t want to hear about it anymore. Jesus, Sammy, we get it. Lucifer’s chosen son. I’m over it. #BringBackMark
DAWN: That “he said that she said that Garth said” line might have been my fave line of the entire ep. And also, shut up, I love Rick as Luci. I loved Mark too, but this is a new Lucifer and I am liking the darkness Rick brings to him. #youbetterlovesomebody
Speaking of legends, pour one out for Asa. He had such potential and we wish there had been a lot more of him. The tales of his exploits were legendary in the community, to the point where there is a hunter drinking game based on them. Sure, his mother is an asshole, but from all we saw, Asa was well-loved and well-respected. We hadn’t seen a lot of that among hunters in previous seasons and we would have liked to get to know him better. Also, apparently he and Jody were a thing, and she kinda blushes when she talks about it.
The Banes Twins, Alicia and Max were young, hot, snarky, and competent. They were raised by a witch who taught them about bad witches, and good witches, and also some surprisingly helpful magic (apparently that’s more Max’s territory). We love them. Bring them back soon. Or give them a spinoff. (We ask for a lot of spinoffs, don’t we? Sorrynotsorry about that.)
JAY: Did we say hot cause, dayumn, I could look at Max’s face all day and never get bored. Sadly, apparently not his type.
DAWN: Yes, you are missing a vital piece of equipment.
And in case you were wondering if it was official, yes, Sheriff Jody “BAMF” Mills is a bona fide hunter now, not just to the Winchesters, but to the hunter community at large, and everybody loves her. There are rumors and tall tales about her. She is Chuck-damn famous already.
Seeing how Jody, who in reality is a relatively new hunter, has already found herself a place in the hunter community really gets us thinking about the support system the Winchesters have been going without. Sure, they have Cas, but really who else do they have? Jody finding her feet in the community so quickly puts a stark light on how withdrawn and solitary our boys have become. Gone are the days of Ellen, Jo, Bobby, Rufus and Ash, our extended little hunter family. The rumors and legends about the “marveled and mysterious Winchester brothers” are, perhaps, so exaggerated because virtually no one in their own community knows them well enough to do more than that. Sure, the tales of bravery are super fun, but they don’t hold a candle to the reality of what our boys have done – good and bad.
It makes us wonder, how could things have gone differently and who, if anyone, would show up to salt and burn of one of our boys? Where is their family, their community, their support? And don’t think they don’t know what they are missing. But maybe that’s the point. Push everyone away because they will only get hurt if you let them in. Chuck knows, that’s been Dean’s line since the beginning. He’s wrong, of course, but we understand why it’s not easy to make him see that.
With Jody such a stable figure in the hunter community, well, honestly, we don’t ever want to hear how SPN can’t write strong female characters ever again because look at her. Bask in her glory. Revel in her BAMFness. She is Wayward AF and we couldn’t love her – or the amazing Kim Rhodes, who plays her – more. In fact, more on Jody in the next section.
Can we get some mad applause for Billie the Reaper? She is a hunter in her own right – a hunter of Winchester souls, if she has her way. While we desperately miss Death and long for his return, Billie is filling those shoes like whoa. Here we have another strong, strong woman, the Reaper who has taken over for Death himself and who has no time for nonsense of the Winchester brand. (Also Lisa Berry, the actress who plays her, is so effing beautiful, she makes our hearts ache with both admiration and jealousy.)
JAY: So there is something so ethereal about Billie, and I don’t know if it’s the fact that she doesn’t blink, like ever, or if it’s her flawless complexion. I want to think it’s that she doesn’t blink. It separates her from humanity, reminds us that she is unearthly, a being beyond that of mortals. She has this way of staring at her target, much like Cas does, but with Billie it is as if she already knows the answer, where Cas is still searching for it. With Billie we get these deep obsidian pools of her eyes, wide, large, eyes that draw you in compel you and the fact that she like never blinks, that there is never any reprieve from her gaze…well shit. It’s almost creepy! Totally everything a rules-abiding Reaper of Death should be.
DAWN: It’s her entire being—her stance, her walk, her expressions. Billie is not to be fucked with and every single thing about her makes that clear.
One of the interesting things about this show is that for each shitty parent there has been a wonderful surrogate. John was a crap father; Bobby was an amazing dad. We’ve had two terrific surrogate moms over the seasons, first with Ellen (who we miss terribly) and then with Sheriff Jodi Mills. She knows how to talk to our boys; she knows what to say and when, and also what not to say because they need to figure it out for themselves. Also, we love her motherly sass.
Her reaction upon meeting Mary – the actual mother – mixed incredulity with real camaraderie, because Jodi knows the kind of trouble Sam and Dean get into on a regular basis, and she just seemed so happy to meet someone who could join the club of keeping them in line. And while the moment is adorable and exciting, it’s also blatantly apparent that Jody is well aware of the tension between Mary and the boys, and that speaks volumes about who she is as a woman, a mother, and a hunter. Jody is also one of the few people in the entire Supernatural universe who knows what this little family is going through. Because she was there. She went through it. Her son came back, and she had it, she had perfection, for a while. So when Jody steps up to the plate and shines a motherfucking spotlight on the Winchesters’ problems, she goes to Dean first. She goes to the one who is struggling as hard as she did and she lays it out for him in a way that only a person who has been there and seen it can do.
It’s this moment when Jody solidifies her place in the boy’s life not as their replacement mother but as someone they can turn to, someone who has lived it and can offer the guidance these boys – especially Dean – so desperately need.
And when Jody didn’t back down from telling Mary (in a more polite way than we would have) to basically get her maternal shit together, we wanted to hug her, buy her drinks, and give her a standing ovation. Because Chuck knows we needed more from Mary than “I need space.” It wasn’t cutting it, not for Sam and Dean, and sure as hell not for us. So thanks, Mills, thanks for sitting Mary down and letting her know how the cards are going to fall. Sheriff Jodi forever.
So, yeah, Mary is back. We weren’t sure what to do with that at first. We were rather irritated with Mrs. Winchester’s actions in “The Foundry,” and we’ve been pretty damn displeased with her apparent inability to stay in touch with her sons. Good to know we weren’t alone there.
But she redeemed herself in this episode. Mary gave us something John never did—she put the boys first. Despite all her misgivings, despite her fears and doubts and honest-to-Chuck confusion about being alive again, she made the decision to stand up to Billie, stand with her kids, and put their needs before her own. So if you heard a strange noise on Thursday night around 9:50 EST, that was the entire SPN fandom getting to their feet and cheering. Well done, Mary. Well fucking done.
Dean had our hearts this episode. He was upset and angry and had every right to be so, and frankly we were getting more than a little annoyed at Sam trying to talk him out of it. Sam also needs to let go of trying to talk his brother out of how hunter lives tend to end, because that conversation has been repeated so many times and it’s not going to change. It’s a sad reality and sure, maybe they will get lucky. (Though they’ve been pretty damn lucky for 12 seasons.)
And Dean’s ultimate Dean-ness came through in this ep, too, when he and Billie are locked out of the house and he wants in so bad and Billie finally just ports him through. Before he is even fully on his feet, out it comes: “Where’s my brother?” Because that is the show. Nothing is more important to Dean than Sammy. Nothing. DAMN, that line felt so good.
DAWN: That line, and the way Jensen Ackles delivered it, gave me chills. Legit chills. I had no idea how much I missed that, how much I needed it, until it happened.
JAY: I have to completely agree, going back to the old Dean– bull-headed, rushing into danger, making deals with Reapers, don’t get between me and my baby brother– Winchester was one of the highlights of the night.
DAWN: Dean owes Billie one now. That’s bound to work out well.
Speaking of Sammy, he has a way with Mary that Dean doesn’t, and it’s really lovely to witness. Dean knew John better, having spent a lot more time with him. But somehow Sam knows Mary better, having spent basically zero time with her. It’s probably because Mary and Dean have so much in common, particularly how they try to tamp down every single emotion, i.e. “No chick flick moments,” and Sam has been handling that for a lot of years.
JAY: It’s been a really great reflection of the first season of the series. Instead of Dean running interference for John and Sam, here we see how things come full circle with Sam running interference between Dean and Mary.
DAWN: Exactly. EXACTLY.
Because Sam knows how to talk to Dean, he knows how to talk to Mary. Sam is the gentler brother, and it really helps with Mary. He also wants this to work and he knows that if it’s left up to Mary and Dean, they will go around tamping down their emotions and avoiding everything important until one of them is dead…again.
JAY: And here we see why Jody went to Dean, because this is what Sam already knows. He knows Mary won’t leave them because they are hunters. He knows that it’s in her blood just as much as it is in theirs, and that she just needs time. Oh, Sammy, our emotional rock, our beautiful, faithful, too-many-feelings having, floppy-haired puppy. Thank you.
DAWN: Our baby boy is all growed-up.
Our sweet Moose lets Mary know they are just as afraid as she is, just as scared that they aren’t what she wants, that they are a disappointment for being hunters when that’s not what she wanted for them. It’s powerful to have Sam (the son she never knew) talking about Dean (the son she barely knew), and being the one to let her know that it’s all okay. It’s okay to be scared because they are in this together. They are a family, regardless of feelings of inadequacy or failure to meet expectations.
In the end, there is bacon, and a minor reconciliation, and an understanding that time will be given. And you know what? Of course these idjits would bond over bacon. God, we love them so.
Oh, yeah, The Plot
So uh, yeah, there was also a plot and this time it was about a crossroads demon. A not very bright one, apparently.
DAWN: I believe Jaymee has a strong opinion about the intelligence of this demon. I’m just going to let her…
JAY: FIRST MISTAKE! ARE YOU SERIOUS, DEMON? IDK who you are, but you have seriously not done your research…are you actually about to challenge Dean Winchester, the wielder of the First Blade, bearer of the Mark of Cain, current owner of the Demon Blade, to a mother-fucking knife fight? You have got to be kidding me. Worst decision ever.
DAWN: And why did no one call Crowley? How hard is it to dial 666? He was the King of the Crossroads before he was the King of Hell. His Highness could have cleaned that up in no time, I am sure of it. Hail to the King, baby.
SECOND MISTAKE! Possessing Jody.
DAWN: But Demon!Jody, though. So awesome.
JAY: So totally awesome!!!!
DAWN: Also kinda hot.
What about the Winchesters would make you think that they would for a second kill either their mother or Jody? The demon claims to be in everyone’s head and yet makes another fantastic error. Demons lie, we know, but this one picked a really dumb lie to tell. Maybe this demon was suicidal. Maybe death-by-hunter is a thing in Hell. The Demon said it was a mess down there. Perhaps he was just done, and let’s face it—there’s probably no retirement option. Hell is like the Mafia, except forever.
In the end, though we get a group effort exorcism rounded out by Mary (who is surprised by demons, which is pretty weird, SPN writers, given that she made the deal with Azazel that started this entire mythos in the first place [see S4 Ep 3 “In the Beginning”]).
All the hunters know the exorcism by heart and can pick up where another left off without missing a beat. Even Dean knows it by heart now! Awww, bless. Remember when he was like, wtf, demons, that can’t be?
JAY: Correct me if i’m wrong but…if we think way way wayyyyy back to seasons 1-3 Angels and Demons and God and all that jazz, well, it was just myth. At least Dean was very convinced it was a myth until an Angel named Castiel waltzed into a barn. And maybe I’m just reading too much into it, or maybe it’s a continuity error.
DAWN: I have long said that SPN needs a fandom consultant for just this purpose. Let me know where to send my resume.
JAY: Um, package deal here, Dawn. You go, I go.
Lastly, the truth is revealed so maybe the Demon just wanted to clear his name, since he didn’t actually kill Asa because again, humans are the most horrifying creatures on this planet. Even with all the supernatural crap our boys see everyday, humans are still the most surprising, conniving, and demented of them all. Every time.
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