supernatural dont go into the woods
Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW

“We hunt things. Fight things and kill things people don’t understand.”

With only a handful of episodes left and seemingly no focused antagonist left to fight, Supernatural has arrived at filler time. Oftentimes forgettable, these type of episodes are often played for fun but, at the same time can present important moments of character development that become vital as the season moves forward. “Don’t Go in the Woods” is that type of episode, presenting another unique (albeit uninteresting) monster while Jack, Sam, and Dean learn specific lessons on trust, truth, and one’s self.

Sam and Dean tell Sheriff Mason the truth about the monsters in the dark. (Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW –  2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.)

One of the great things about Supernatural is the absolute lack of fear in setting up scenes using some of the most overdone tropes out there, but also knowing when to give us that swerve. This week starts with a couple making out before the Sheriff (who is the boy’s father) interrupts.

Unfortunately, as these things go, a victim is necessary to kick start the hunting and Barbara is the sacrifice. Sam gets wind of this and, despite the pain he’s still feeling from Michael slaughtering their hunter friends, he and Dean make their way to investigate the rumblings in Iowa.

It turns own that the creature is a Kohonta, a Native American creature driven to consume flesh. The two brothers, with an assist from the Sheriff—whose descendants are the original Native Americans that called the area home—take down the creature and putting an end to its century-long terror.

Remaining in town at Sam and Dean’s behest, Jack stumbles across the teenage trio from “Lebanon”. Max and Stacy are still together with Eliot tagging along with them. It’s really the first time Jack’s been able to hang around people his own age without Sam, Dean, or Cas around and things are going pretty well, especially since Eliot is completely obsessed with the idea of hunting. Jack is like the awkward teen who doesn’t get out much and, when he does find a group of cool kids, does his best to impress. But Jack really doesn’t know how to read the room and when his telekinetic tricks gets one of the teens injured, it’s a stark reminder that, while he may be powerful, he still has a long way to go before he’s in control of his true self.

Jack’s attempts to impress his new friends goes horribly wrong, leaving him more emotionally isolated than ever. (Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW – 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.)

And truth is the big lesson this week. Early on, when Jack runs into the teen trio, he talks about how he hates to lie; not just because he’s bad at it, but because it gives him such a bad feeling inside. Yet that’s what he does at the end of the day when Sam and Dean—thanks to their time with the Sheriff and his son—come clean about why they didn’t want Jack to come along on the hunt.

The idea of truth, in fiction and reality, is a teeter-totter. In an ideal world, we would only tell others the truth but, in application, the truth is not always the most feasible thing to do. Sure, most times lying is done to protect ourselves, to get away with something we know we shouldn’t do but other times it is used because the truth is not ours to give or we are really watching out for the feelings of those we love. Jack’s decision to lie about his accident is the former; he feels guilty (at least I hope he does) about nearly killing Stacy and knows that, if he tells Sam and Dean, it will only reinforce their concerns about his current state of soul and responsibility. Of course, it’s a no-brainer that they are going to find out what happened (or worse, something else will occur) but, somewhere down the road, Jack’s going to realize that the icky feeling he gets in his stomach from lying is not the worst thing…it’s losing the trust of those you care for and seeing their disappointment, not knowing how you’ll ever regain that trust.

The Good, The Bad, The Supernatural

  • There really has never been a character on the show that does a better job speaking for the layman than Sheriff Mason. He questions why, if hunters like Sam and Dean know these monsters are out there, they don’t share the truth with the rest of the world, to “give us a chance to fight back”. Dean’s reply that people don’t always believe is rather short-sighted and misses the point of the secrecy. Yes, some won’t believe but the bigger issue lies with those that do; if this news wasn’t presented in an organized way, many people would use the knowledge as an excuse to perpetuate their own agendas: “I killed him because I thought he was a shapeshifter”. But still, the point is a good one, especially when one considers just how efficient the British Men of Letters was in eradicating monsters in the UK by teaming up with the government. Personally, my ideal ending to Supernatural (aside from our heroes making it out alive) would be for more of the world to finally discover the truth about what goes bump in the night and respond accordingly.
  • While the Kohonta is a unique enough story, the lessons of how innocent people become victims when justice is by-passed to make a perpetrator suffer is not a new thing. Had Henry Parker—the human cursed to be the Kohonta—just been killed, none of this would have happened and dozens, if not hundreds, of people would not have been devoured by this creature. It’s a reminder that humans often want to share in their misery, not satisfied with the mere fact of dispensing justice. Rarely, if ever, can vengeance be exacted without collateral damage.