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Quick Reaction: 12x04 American Nightmare

By the title of this episode, I would assume it was about the election *badum*tiss*

Okay, I apologies - usual rules: been drinking, only watched once, took notes (but poorly), things are going to be wrong and all quotes are paraphrased - don't correct me unless I ask or it's super important to the plot.

This was the first episode from one of our new writers! Davey Perez! I think he did a GOOD JOB!

Let's talk about it!

The Then reaches WAY back to S1 and 2, and we get to see baby Jared - OH MAN, the memories. I am so old.

But anyway, we know that this is going to involve special children in some way, so that kinda gives away our villain (a little anyway), but that's okay! There's a long tradition of SPN giving away the villain by showing who they are in the Then. Anyhoo...

NOW

We see a lady come into a church all stigmata-like. Only, my recovering-catholic friend was sitting next to me going "THEY FORGOT THE ONE ON THE SIDE!" Meanwhile, I was like "Asian priest! Yay more asians on TV! Representation matters!" and then I was thinking "WHY IS NO ONE TACKLING THAT WOMAN TO THE GROUND AND TENDING TO HER WOUNDS! OR AT THE VERY LEAST CALLING 911?!?!" But no one on the TV could hear either of us, so she just DIED.

Now it's time for Sam and Dean to be sexy priests for halloween! (FYI it is not halloween, but the height of summer, as we see when they are outside in the beautiful sunshine).

They are Fathers Penn and De Niro, because... um, priests don't watch movies? I mean, Penn is fairly generic, but De Niro, Dean? REALLY?!?

The REAL priest is all like "all the other priests made fun of me - but it was TOTALLY THE DEVIL" and Sam and Dean are like "was there smoke? Sulpher? What exactly WERE the tongues she was speaking in?" and when the priest repeats it, Sam is like "that sounds like Aramaic" even though no one learns Aramaic anymore -- then they ghost out of there without even explaining themselves. Way to keep the mystery, boys!

On the way out the door though, Dean pouts in the general direction of a mother and son duo, and we are reminded that he is SUFFERING from his massive abandonment issues... also, I mean, it just sucks to be given "what you've always wanted" and then have what you've always wanted to be like "uh, cool beans, but I don't wanna hang out with you..."  I mean, ouch, right?

Seriously though, I kid because I love, I sincerely do feel bad for the dude.

Dean talks to Cas on the phone while Sam gets food from a truck that is SERVING ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD! Truck, that is how people get hit by cars... but you do you, I guess? Also, if you look just to the left of the truck, you will see that the house nearby is about to get torn down or have major work done to it, because the tree is encased in a nice orange "don't hurt this tree while destorying property" barrier. Ah, Vancouver.

Dean gets off the phone and texts his mum, asking if she's okay - and if she wants him to call her "Mary" now, instead of "mom"... and then he makes fun of himself for being a "13 year-old girl" waiting for her to text back. But, uh, I'm pretty sure 13 year-old girls don't WANT their mother to text them... also, it's RIDICULOUSLY sweet how he's TRYING to be understanding and supportive of whatever Mary wants, even though we find out that he really does fear she's abandoned him forever and everything is horrible.

Anyway, Sam comes over and Dean fills him in on what's up with Cas. Cas and Crowley are hunting Lucifer. Dean, besides making jokes and telling Cas it's "weird", seems find with Cas and Crowley working together... so, yeah, many years have passed and a lot has changed since S6, my goodness.

Dean tells Sam that Lucifer is in Vince Vincente - and we find out that although Dean likes old rock, he does NOT like Vince Vincente. Meanwhile, Sam thought his 3rd album was "not horrible" and him and Dean fight about that, the way brothers do. They do this perfectly though, I have to say - speaking as someone who had an older brother who didn't allow his younger siblings to like music that he didn't like without giving them a talking to about how wrong they were for liking it. (That also went for cartoons - I used to have to sneak-watch He-Man, Ninja Turtles, and the Ghostbusters cartoon... and THAT ages me a fair deal.)

Sam was totally right about the aramaic. He looked it up while he was at the food truck, or whatever. The lady was saying "save me oh god." Which, yeah, understandable thing to say while bleeding to death and having your brains turns to goo.

Then it's off to the morgue, where Dean is super curt with Carl, the morgue guy. Poor Carl, he seems so nice!  Sam calls him on it immediately though, and they talk about why Dean is so cranky - which TOTALLY has to do with his mum leaving. And I LOVE the fact that they actually talk about things, or at least attempt to, but then Dean is like "do you know what turns people's brains to goo?" and Sam's like "nope" and Dean is like "then maybe we should figure THAT our and not my stupid problems with which we are VERY FAMILIAR!"

And he has a point...

So then it's off to the victims office, to find out that her assistant is a Wiccan. Too easy, I say! But Dean is like SUSPICIOUS! Because Dean really hates witches, you guys... he hates them because they kill bunny rabbits... he doesn't say that in this episode, but it's totally canon, if you watch the early seasons.

Olivia, who is the woman who died, works at Child Protective Services - so her assistant says that she had a LOT of enemies, because some people don't understand that sometimes splitting up families is the best thing for them. And my goodness, I kinda wish they'd even hinted at a past with CPS affecting the Winchesters directly - because I'm willing to bet they had run ins growing up how they did. Dean is none too impressed by this idea, but Sam gives him an "I told you so, but I agree this is awkward" face, and they focus on getting the case files.

Sam wants to go through the case files, but Dean is all like "IT'S THE WITCH!" and man, Dean is totally going to shoot the wrong person. Also, I kinda forgot how trigger happy Dean gets when his loved ones leave him. I think it's a way to wrest back a feeling of control... like, "I can't control who stays with me and who leaves me, but I CAN control who LIVES AND WHO DIES!"

So, while Sam and Dean no doubt continue to argue in some motel somewhere, across town, a grocery store kid dies, also a slightly stigmata-y death.

Sam and Dean investigate and find out that the two deaths are connected through a family called the Peterson's, who are a weird off-the-grid family out in the boonies. According to Beth, the Wiccan, the daughter of the family died from pneumonia because her parents refused medical treatment - believing that God would heal her. (yikers)

Sam and Dean go to investigate - and even as they pulled up in the Impala, and I was midway through writing a note, I did a double-take and said "Is Sam wearing a sweater?!" which was followed by, "Oh man, is DEAN WEARING A SWEATER TOO?"

And they were! It's a disguise! They are CPS caseworkers. Awwww... I'm totally headcanoning this off them dressing like the CPS caseworkers they encountered as kids.

As they walk up to the house, they have another conversation about Mary. Dean doesn't think she is coming back, and Sam thinks that she is, but she just needs space right now. And Sam points out that at various times he and Dean have needed space from each other and they've always come back - but I think Sam doesn't realize that it was always SAM that needed space in those instances, and that Dean probably DID fully believe that he was never coming back... I think the only time that Dean told Sam to stay away was at the beginning of 5x04, and he had completely changed his tune by the end. And I guess it was Dean who voluntarily left after Gadreel killed Kevin, but those are the only instances that I can think of (besides any time Dean had the MoC and wasn't in his right mind.)

We meet the religious family - and find out that they liked Olivia better than Beth, because Olivia was religious. They ask the Winchesters "do you know God?" HA! And they're like "yeah, we're besties"... because they basically are. :P

Then there's a creepy motorcycle driveby - and it's definitely what the motorcycle was doing in the last episode - being an omnnious warning that they were being followed by the UKMoL "Mr. Ketch" dude.

Dean finds out from the husband that he used to be a computer programmer, 5 years ago - but he explains that he got disillusioned by the modern world and people's dependency on screens, and watching fake people do fake things on TV...and hey! I resemble that remark!

Meanwhile, Sam looks at family pictures and comments on one with their daughter that they seem like a "happy family" and the wife is all like - nope! That family was miserable - the father worked to much, the kids were on mood stabilizers and didn't talk (whose fault was that?!) and the wife was a pill addict too... and then she explains that she was in a car accident and God spoke to her and told her to abandon city life and move out to the country. Right... not creepy at all, hearing voices.

Sam breaks the news that the grocery delivery boy is dead - and the wife is all like "I see - well, God has a plan." and then my notes just say "barf" because I hate it when people say stuff like that when people die. Sam apparently, feels the same way I do, because he's like "God doesn't care what life you live" and "God didn't kill your daughter, you did!"

Then Sam gets kicked out of the house for some reason! So rude, that family. :P

Seriously though... Sam actually DOES know God, and he knows exactly how hands off he is.... so, he's not wrong!

Then despite Sam going on the attack with the family - Dean is still ademant that it's the Wiccan... so they have a little fight about it, and then decide to split up - Sam will take the farm, where he's sure the ghost of the dead daughter is causing the ruckus, and Dean will go to CPS and shoot an innocent Wiccan.

Meanwhile, back at the farm, the mother is being weird... then we pan down to a basement and discover that the daughter ISN'T dead, she's chained up and whipped! Well, that explains a fair bit.

The mother goes down there and we discover that the mother believes the daughter be possessed, and she yells Aramaic exocisms (or something) at the daugher while she has the daughter self-flaggulate (or however you spell that... I don't have spellcheck, remember!) The son sees!

Sam's poking around the farm with the EMF meter, but it's giving him nothing. He's in the barn with the horses when he hears someone coming, and he hides! He overhears the father and son talking about how the mother is treating Magda. Sam is hiding with a really chill horse. He tries to call Dean, but there's no signal.

Meanwhile, Dean casually leans against the office door frame while he questions Beth, the Wiccan, and finds out that she never coveted Olivia's job, and she has absolutely no motive for the murders...and so Dean doesn' shoot her.

Once the coast is clear, Sam goes and looks in the basement windows and sees for himself - but that's when Dean calls him, and actually manages to get through. It's enough for the mother to suspect that he's there.

So, basically, Sam gets maybe two words out to Dean, and then gets knocked over the head with a bat. It's a good thing they're friends with a healing angel, otherwise Sam would totally have multiple-concussion-induced dementia by now.

Dean takes off when it's clear Sam is in peril - but apparently the farm is SUPER FAR AWAY.

Sam wakes up in the basement with Magda - and Magda explains how she's the devil, and Sam is like "you're really not" because he KNOWS the devil too. Then he gets her to explain what she can do - and asks her to show him - and then both me and my friend were like "NON-LETHALLY! SHOW ME IN A NON-LETHAL WAY!"

Magda moves the wooden cross with her mind, and Sam is delighted - he tells her that she's "just psychic" and that she's like him! He tells her that he has visions and can move things - and I thought this conversation was fascinating, because Sam talks about it almost like it's the present tense, but when Magda questions further, he corrects himself and says "not anymore", but in a way like he's not actually SURE. Like, it's been 10 years and he just never bothered to TEST once it stopped happening involuntarily.

Sam's super positive about it now too - because even though back then, he was freaking out about those abilities and what they meant and whether he was a freak or good or evil - now he's like "They didn't make me the devil, they made me ME!"

Awww, healthy attitude Sam is the best Sam.

Magda reveals that she accidentally killed both the CPS caseworker and the delivery boy when she tries to talk to them and get them to save her - only, what she beamed into their heads was her coerced self-torture, and it was too much for their noggins and they died.

Sam's just like "Ah, don't worry! You just need to learn to control it! :D "

Then Dean's STILL not arrived to save the day - so Sam gets tied to a chair and has to sit through a really awkward family dinner. The mother tries to tell Sam that caseworker and the deliveryboy weren't the first victims... but it turns out that she's just blaming the car accident that maimed her on Olivia throwing a psychic tantrum in the car. Sam's not impressed.

The mother then goes on to say that pain purges sin - which Sam REALLY takes offense to. Then they start eating, or at least, the father does - and we find out that it's family suicide night! And the mother believes it's the only way they can remain together, now that Sam's discovered their secret.

Here, my recovering-catholic friend was saying "SUICIDE IS ALSO A SIN!! YOU DON'T GET TO GO TO HEAVEN!" and even beyond that, if the father and son are forced into dying against their will, that's totally murder.

Anyway, Magda tries to save her brother, but then her brother attempts to return the favour and ends up with a knife to the stomach.  Magda nearly kills her mother, but then decides not to - which my friend was good with "MAKE HER LIVE WITH IT!" I was of the "MAIM HER AND MAKE HER LIVE WITH IT!" camp, because that's the sort of person I am deep down, but Magda is apparently a better person than I am.

Dean finally gets there at some unknown time, but we don't know when, because we tune back in the next morning when the mother is being carted away yelling about her daughter being possessed, etc. Magda is being sent by CPS to live with an aunt in california on a ranch. Dean tells her it's a good thing, because sometimes people need space... and Sam is like "are you just saying what I said to sound smart or are you agreeing with me finally?!" only just with his face.

Then Sam gives Magda a pep talk and tells her that her power doesn't control her, she controls it. Awww...

Dean then tells Sam that Beth gave him her number. Sam is amazed, given that Dean was going to kill her. Dean thinks it's a little hot...and I can't make up my mind whether that's hilarious or troublesome.

Dean then admits that Sam was right about their mum needing space, and that he'll try to be less of a dick.

And as though she heard him, that's when he gets a reply to his text, telling him that her phone ran out of batteries, but that she'll always be "mom" and there's no reason to call her Mary...and then she tells him to tell Sam that she loves them both. Dean gets in the car and then doesn't tell Sam anything - so, apparently the always-do-what-your-parent-tells-you only applies to Dad. :P

Then Magda makes her way to California, but is shot by the guy on the motorcycle at a rest-stop on the way... he then calls into the UK and tells them that he's done so. So, yeah, we know that the UKMoL is following Sam and Dean around making sure they kill everything, and then doing it for them if they don't. So...we'll see how long this keeps up. But I definitely think the lesson of the season will be that showing mercy is the preferable method of hunting than what the UKMoL do.

And the promos continue to be mostly opaque.


As usual, let me know what you thought in comments! :)

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
borgmama1of5
Nov. 4th, 2016 07:39 am (UTC)
I had virtually the same running commentary going through my head as you expressed here--oh the snark!

Most horrific moment of the episode was mom hollering about daughter is the devil as she was being put in the squad car...

Most upsetting moment was Magda getting shot. That was so unfair...and highlights just how different UKMoL is from ours...and I already know Mr. Ketch's plot line is going to bother me a lot...
hells_half_acre
Nov. 4th, 2016 05:00 pm (UTC)
Yes, agreed.

I'm glad that SO FAR it's not as "political" as I was fearing - but there's still time. I just want it to end in a fist fight rather than a negotiation or subtle maneuvering. But yeah, if we have too long of a season of seeing Mr. Ketch kill innocent people unbeknownst to Sam and Dean, that'll get quite frustrating and sad.
supernutjapan
Nov. 5th, 2016 11:28 am (UTC)
I enjoyed reading this so much :D<3

This ep wasn't that special for me, but looking back, Nightmare, Simon Says, even AHBLI were not really favorites at the beginning either, even though I find psychic ability fascinating. I've grown to love them for the Sam/Dean scenes. This ep turned out to be similar, although using a weird religious family was totally spooky, being from a missionary family myself. The Sam/Dean scenes with grumpy Dean and too reasonable Sam were a bit unsettling, even though I understand... at least Dean's reaction. Why is Sam so sickeningly reasonable?? Is he hiding his feelings again?

I did love the priest scene and the sweaters and I liked that they are answering a lot of questions we have from previous seasons this season - through Mary, and this week through Sam admitting that he doesn't have his powers now. Come to think of it, I guess the UKMoL want to kill Sam because of all that, just like Gordon and the Disney brothers. Not all hunters in the USA are like Sam and Dean, and if it had been another hunter, they probably would have gotten rid of Magda right away. It was disturbing though. Hope Sam and Dean figure it out and act soon. Dean noticed the bike before, so if he sees it again, he will recognize it.

I also loved Sam and Dean's reactions to the mention of God and the Devil, as you mentioned as well! They've been through so much and know so much more than everyone, which I guess is what they are going to use to their advantage against the UKMoL.
hells_half_acre
Nov. 6th, 2016 07:14 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that's similar to how I feel about this ep, and the last - it's a little bit of a return to the S2 days, where the episodes weren't necessarily instant favourites, but were strong and favourites when looking back on them.

As for why Sam is being so reasonable - I have no clue! It's almost like they want to see what happens if they make Sam emotionally healthy - but these are the Winchesters, so I'm sure it won't last. :P

I'll have to wait for a rewatch, but to me if seemed less like Sam was admitting that he didn't have powers anymore - and more like him saying that he doesn't know one way or the other whether he still has powers. As though once they stopped manifesting involuntarily, he never tried to see if he could still use them voluntarily.

I really wonder how much the UKMoL think they know how much they actually know - because they act as though they know a great deal, and yet they do really really stupid things that show that they have no idea who their dealing with or how the US Hunters work. And, as you say, based on their current ruthlessness, you'd think that if they knew Sam even ONCE had powers, they'd have killed him straight away instead of trying to get his cooperation.

And yes, as you say, the fact that the UKMoL only THINKS they know everything is probably going to be their downfall, because Sam and Dean know SO MUCH MORE.
marlowe78
Nov. 19th, 2016 08:49 pm (UTC)
That episode will always be one of the creepier things I've seen on SPN. I know it wasn#t much, but the magda-actress was so fucking good, I was crying (yes, actually crying) when she was made to torture herself by her mom! O my god, what ... what utter desolation that poor girl must be in. (have been, because British people apparently have no heart) Her mother, the person who should love her most hates her so much. It broke my heart.

It wasn't a great episode in the way some are, but it left quite an impression and a feeling of betrayal (not only the betrayal of the mother towards her child, but also betrayal of the writers for making me care so much and then kill Magda when she finally could have time to heal :-( )
hells_half_acre
Nov. 20th, 2016 11:56 pm (UTC)
It was a great episode! And yeah, the actress was fantastic (as was everyone) and the whole episode just rips your heart out.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )