While it may have been a week for us Supernatural-ists, the events of last week occurred less than 24 hours ago for the Winchesters. A bit thrown by Castiel’s “Super Mario Power-Up crap”, Sam and Dean decide to head to Rock River, Wyoming after Alicia Banes—of the Banes twins (from “Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox”)—calls for some OG hunter help when their mother, fellow hunter Tasha Banes, disappears. Both Max, Alicia’s brother, and Dean aren’t quite sure about the mission but Sam tells Dean how “Their mom’s on a hunting trip and hasn’t been home for a week”. Familiar words and shades of the original Supernatural pilot. Needless to say, the duo heads to Rock River and despite how things initially look, there’s a whole lot of strangeness going on.
That strange is a good segue to the second storyline of the hour: Mary’s growing discomfort with Ketch and his over the top methods. These methods of torture—putting the literal screws to a ‘shifter—goes beyond Ketch’s own psychotic maladies. It’s a core tenant of the British Men of Letters. We’ve seen Lady Antonia and Ketch in action, not to mention the barbaric ‘test’ Dr. Hess put a young Mick Davies through. Speaking of Mick, he’s been the only person of his organization to show any form of compassion and we know where that got him. Mary’s suspicions of Ketch pushes her to do a bit of digging where she discovers Mick’s fate but, even worse, status screens on several American hunters including Garth, Claire, Eileen, and, of course, Sam and Dean. She’s backed in a corner when Ketch runs into her and they engage in a few war of words before the fists start flying. It’s a brutal bought reminiscent of a comic book scrap—physical attacks interspersed with some verbal jabs—and for a moment it looks as if Mary’s going to get out but Ketch takes her down with a taser shot.
Back in Wyoming, Sam and Dean get to spend some time with Tasha, Alicia, and Max. Though the gathering is full of wine, Banes family chemistry, and laughs, similar to Mary’s extended experience with BMoL, it’s too good to last. They eventually discover that the stranger things are afoot at the Inn and revolve around a nameless old borrower witch whose time is nearly up. Unless she can get someone to take her power, when she dies her soul is headed downstairs. Her powers are trippy to say the least: she kills her victims and then puts their hearts inside a straw recreation of their bodies. Though her victim (including Tasha) have their original memories and seemingly their own free will, the borrower witch can command then. It reminded me of a golem, though they aren’t quite as physically imposing.
The climax of the episode has Max in the untenable position to decide whether he should take the witch’s power, damning his soul to hell in exchange for his mother’s life, as it is. Dean takes that choice from him, killing the witch. Unfortunately, Tasha’s not the only Banes casualty. Alicia is killed during the confrontation and it devastates Max. He pushes them away and they depart. On the car ride, Sam offers the tried and true (and thoroughly annoying) “you did the right thing” spiel but Dean isn’t so sure. “Sam,” he tells his brother, “we do terrible things all the time to save each other. I mean, that’s what you do for family. Who am I to stop him?” Dean is right. Sometimes you have to let people make their own choices, regardless of how terrible they may be.
Alone and broken, no one is around to stop Max the second time from taking the power and resurrecting Alicia. Even knowing the consequences, Max made his choice. I have to wonder if, in the world of Supernatural, we’ll ever see him again…
We don’t have to wonder about Lady Antonia. She’s back and set to interrogate Mary on a load of things, I’m sure.
The Good, the Bad, the Supernatural
Unless Rowena or Buffy alumni are involved, witches in the world of Supernatural are generally boring, one-hit wonders. The Banes twins are a bit different. Their dynamic—Max with the power, Alicia without—is a good one and watching the pair spend time with their ‘mother’ provided me with an even stronger connection to the pair. From what I saw, their bond was every bit as strong as the Winchesters, though with less drama and past jaunts through the hellfire. Max’s staring down at his dead sister put me in mind of Dean holding a lifeless Sam in Season Two’s penultimate episode. Another parallel? Dean ended up making a deal with a Crossroads Demon to save his brother, the same thing (more or less) that Max does. We all know how that deal ended for Dean but, unlike the elder Winchester, Max does have an angel ready to pluck him from Perdition.
The initial pitch from the British Men of Letters was a good one and even I was enamored by their dedication, dismissing Lady Antonia and Watt as rogues. The introduction of smooth-talker Mick Davies, despite attack dog Ketch’s penitent for violence, solidified that for me. So, in a way, I can’t blame Mary for taking advantage of such a well-funded organization. The Winchesters are hardliners against things that go bump in the night but they’ve discovered that not every werewolf, vampire, or psychic is bad. BMoL makes no exceptions in that regard. The funny thing about their position is, if they could have gotten to the Winchesters earlier, maybe Sam and Dean would have been full-tilt boogie on the BMoL train…
Nah, probably not.
Firmly in the category of ‘definitely’ is the reaction Sam and Dean will have when they find out just how bad their mother’s been treated. When that day arrives (coughnextweekcough), a lot of BMoL blood is going to be spilled.
Supernatural: “Twigs & Twine and Tasha Banes”