Supernatural S12E13: “Family Feud”

reviews, TV

Well, I guess Supernatural’s good-episode streak had to end sometime, and it’s no surprise that it ended with one written by the Dynamic Duo themselves, Brad Buckner and Eugenie Ross-Leming. It might just be my inner Masshole talking, but whenever I hear Brad Buckner, I immediately think of Bill Buckner, whose infamous ground-ball-through-the-legs blunder paved the way for the Red Sox to lose the 1986 World Series against the Mets, and if that’s not saying something, then I don’t know what is.

“Family Feud” starts out with a woman getting ready for bed while something is very clearly creeping through her house. Even if we hadn’t been able to see the spook so clearly, it’s the cold open of Supernatural, so unfortunately, we’ve already started paying our last respects to her ten seconds in. She gets into bed without incident, though, and for a second everything’s fine until ghost hands shoot up through the bed and kill her.

Cas hasn’t been able to find anything on Kelly, so in an attempt to make the best use of their time until they get a lead, Sam finds them a case in Des Moines, Iowa, where a teacher’s tongue was ripped out and organs crushed (the woman from the cold open had been a teacher, too). Before they head out, Dean calls Mary to see if she’d like to join, but she doesn’t go, opting instead to train and test out weapons with Mr. Ketch, which…rude.

In the meantime, we get more info on Crowley and Lucifer in Hell. What we learn–that Crowley tampered with the spell Rowena used in the motel back before the midseason break to send Lucifer back into his discarded vessel, not the Cage–could have been weaved into the story so much more, but instead we got it through the info dump to end all info dumps, holy shit. It’s like Buckleming didn’t even try.

There’s another death–yet another teacher–in Des Moines, and Sam and Dean go to the museum where it happened. There’s a Shipwrecks of New England exhibit going on, and one of the ships featured in it is the Star, which Gavin MacLeod, Crowley’s son, was supposed to be on before pinballing through time until Crowley told him to make a life for himself in the 21st century.

You guys remember Gavin? Yeah, me neither.

While the Winchesters are trying to figure out how to find Gavin, Kelly is in yet another diner, in a constant state of trying not to faint from everything that’s going on in her life. To add another thing to her plate, two angels try to kill her, but before they can, a demon named Dagon–Ramiel’s sister–smites them and offers her both help and protection, which, after some understandable hesitations, Kelly takes.

When Sam and Dean try to get Crowley to help them find Gavin, he refuses, and chews them out for not killing the nephilim. And like the thought goes, if nobody else will give it to you, ask Grandma. Rowena is all too willing to meet her grandson, so she helps the brothers track him down so she can meet him, too.

We check back in with Mary and Mr. Ketch, who tells her that she should “disengage” from Sam and Dean for a bit, that they make her soft and unlike the incredible hunter he knows her to be. He says that Mary hunting is the best her, the real her, that she knows it– and it scares her.

Back in Des Moines, Sam and Dean learn that a locket Gavin’s lover, Fiona, had given him before he was about to board the Star, has gone missing from the shipwreck exhibit. The museum curator told them that the last tour of the museum was taken by a group from the Pembroke Day School for Girls, so they all head straight there in the hopes that they won’t be too late to stop another killing.

In classic Winchester fashion, they show up in the nick of time, and have Gavin summon Fiona to try and get some idea of why she’s hanging around. When she appears in the school, she tells him that she hid herself on the Star to go with him to America, but he wasn’t there and she was attacked and ridiculed with no one to protect her. Their teacher said she deserved it for throwing herself at Gavin; Fiona couldn’t punish her before she died, so she’s punishing other teachers as revenge instead.

The only option on how to fix this is a grim one: to send Gavin back into his proper timeline so that he and Fiona can spend eternity together. Because Gavin (unlike his dad) is a good dude, he agrees. Crowley shows up and tries to stop it from happening, but is ultimately shot down. In a bit too easy of an ending, especially for Supernatural, Gavin and Fiona are reunited, and the killings stop.

Once Sam and Dean are back in the bunker, Mary arrives, offering burgers and beers as a peace offering for missing the case. When her sons ask what she’s been up to, she does something the Winchesters are infamously bad at: she comes clean, telling them the truth about working with the British Men of Letters. Dean closes off immediately, and while Sam is obviously unnerved, as well, he tries to figure out her line of thinking, which is that she thinks they can learn from them.

Learn from the people who tortured your kids–that’s a funny joke.

I’ll definitely give Mary props for expressing her feelings and telling the truth instead of keeping everything bottled up, but I also can’t think of any way Sam and Dean will be able to forgive or trust her after working with their enemies. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

It’s also revealed that Rowena supported the idea of Gavin being sent to his death not because it was the right thing to do, but because she wanted to watch Crowley suffer the loss of a child like she did with Oskar back in season 10.

I wish I could go into more detail, or make this review more in depth, but the problem with this episode is that I really didn’t care. The writing was flat and awkward (especially the dialogue, one of my favorite parts of the show), it felt like 80 different things were going on at once, and Buckleming have a bad habit of forcing mentions of sexual assault in many of their episodes; this one was no different. The fact that it’s coming on the heels of such a strong second half of season 12 doesn’t do it any favors, either, but even if the last few episodes hadn’t been stellar, I don’t think this review would be any different.

We’ve got a Robert Berens-written episode coming up next week, so hopefully that’ll be able to make up for this shipwreck (sorry, I’ll see myself out).

 

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