The second episode of season twelve was written by my least-favorite writing team, Brad Buckner and Eugenie Ross-Leming, so to be honest, I wasn’t expecting much, and not much is exactly what I got. “Mamma Mia” has a handful of good moments, but then there are moments like the opening scene that are…not so great.
We start with the definition of a clickbait opening, with Sam in bed with Toni. Everything’s fine and he looks happy, and not at all like you’d expect someone who’s in bed with their kidnapper and torturer to act. Toni dangles sex over Sam’s head, telling him that she’ll sleep with him once he answers her questions, and that triggers Sam back into reality, where he’s still in tied up in a dingy basement, Toni looking on as she explains that she’d used hallucinations once again to attempt to pry information from him.
So yeah, things still aren’t going well for Sam.
With its non-consensual themes, the scene is eerily reminiscent of when Dean tricked Sam into agreeing to be possessed by Gadreel back in season nine, and it’s something the show’s honestly gotta stop sooner rather than later.
Meanwhile, Dean, Cas, and Mary are still searching for Sam, and Dean is trying not to overwhelm his mom, while also struggling with the idea of her going on hunts with them. He’s nervous that he’ll be too concerned for her wellbeing during hunts– so much so that it’ll distract him from doing his job properly. An interesting little bit of their interaction came when Mary told Dean that John was a great father. Dean’s prolonged pause and uncomfortable smile made it clear that he didn’t necessarily agree with that, which shows awesome character development from earlier seasons, where Dean worshipped the ground John walked on.
Cas eventually finds a lead on a recently-purchased barn, and calls Dean to tell him that it’s heavily warded, so there’s a good chance that Sam and his captor are inside. Dean and Mary have more time to catch up as they drive to Cas’ location, and Dean fills her in on how John changed after her death, and Sam’s Stanford origin story.
Once they arrive, Dean insists that he goes in alone, and Mary begrudgingly stays outside with Cas, who can’t enter because of the warding. Shortly afterwards, Dean and Sam finally reunite, and Sam learns that Dean isn’t dead! Hooray! The timing could be better, though–Toni managed to capture Dean outside the barn and plans to torture him instead to get Sam to talk.
Now this is when Toni gets really creepy. She roughs Dean up a little bit, and then pulls out a long, slender knife/needle/I don’t care what it is but I don’t want it near me and ticks off different parts of the body that are most sensitive to pain: the eardrum, decaying teeth, below the belt, and under the eyelid. She offers Dean a little tidbit you can use in your next trivia game–it’s possible to die from pain–before Mary bursts in and demands Toni let her boys go.
After a scuffle, everything comes to a screeching halt when another mysterious Brit shows up. His name is Mick, and he apologizes profusely for everything that happened before offering the Winchesters an olive branch, asking, “What have you got to lose? Except your worst nightmares,” which isn’t creepy at all. Mick leaves his card with Cas–who, by the way, mysteriously disappears after this altercation, which, okay (but not really)–and tells them to think over their offer. The very end of the episode, though, reveals that both Mick and Toni are prepared to do whatever’s necessary to eliminate supernatural threats from America, and if that means killing the Winchesters, they’re prepared to do it; in fact, they’ve already got a hitman on the job.
While the Winchesters are dealing with the British Men of Letters, Crowley’s got his own issues trying to find Lucifer and send him back to the Cage. He recruits Rowena to help him track Lucifer down, but she’s having none of it. She just wants to settle down and live a normal life with Ben, her ridiculously rich suitor who knows nothing about her being a three-hundred-year-old witch. Crowley uses that against her, and threatens to divulge it all to Ben if she doesn’t help him.
Eventually, they do find Lucifer, who’s possessed aging rockstar Vince Vicente, and try to subdue him before sending him back to Hell. This plan backfires pretty quickly, though, when Lucifer overpowers Rowena’s magic. Crowley bails before Lucifer can attack him, leaving Rowena to fend for herself; because of her knowledge and possession of the Book of the Damned, Lucifer decides to keep her as his slave. Rowena is a smart, strong, independent lady, though, and I’m hoping she’ll figure out a way to outsmart Lucifer, escape, and kick Crowley’s ass for abandoning her.
Back on the Winchester side of things, the episode closes out with some sweet family moments between Sam, Dean, and Mary, and I’m not even being sarcastic here: the scenes are adorable. I had a lot of feelings here, from Dean sitting in the kitchen looking at old family photos to Mary saying they should, “…call the Internet and find out as much as we can about these people,” but the scene that hit me hardest came when Sam brings Mary a cup of tea in her room. He’s all awkward and nervous and trying to be casual, and when she explains that she just needs time to fill in the blanks, he tells her that, “Mom, for me, just having you here fills in the biggest blank.” I start crying, Mary and Sam start hugging, and all’s right with the world.
At least until next week, where it looks like the Winchesters take on some kind of weird creepy doll curse…thing. But hey–at least it’s not clowns.