♪”Mother…tell your children not to walk my way.”
Warning: Full spoilers for the episode below.
While “Keep Calm and Carry On” didn’t quite accomplish everything a good, driving season premiere should, I appreciated the fact that it brought the boys’ story back to a grounded, rather un-cosmic level. After the astronomical heights, and stakes, involved in Season 11’s story, we’re now back on the tarmac and ready for a simpler saga rooted in family.
Sure, by the end, Sam was still Toni’s (Elizabeth Blackmore) prisoner and Crowley was still on the hunt for a weak, vessel-hopping Lucifer, so not much was resolved here. Because of this, we still don’t have a clear picture as to what Season 12 might hold for us, but the heart of this one centered the celestial return of Mary Winchester and the ways she and Dean both tried to process her abrupt appearance in 2016 – 33 years after she died.
Dean seemed more at peace with Mary’s presence, having seen so much during his tumultuous time as a hunter, while Mary had more to cope with. Not just new technology — and Castiel’s gripping affection for Dean (yes, she noticed) — but also the fact that she’s skipped ahead in time and missed the bulk of her family’s life. Realizing too that, due to her absence, Sam and Dean were raised in a way that she never wanted.
Did anyone else want to see Mary kick Ms. Watt’s (Bronagh Waugh) ass there right at the end? I mean, I liked that she stepped in and killed her, but they made such a big deal of Watt’s prowess as a brawler that I really wanted Mary to physically take her down with powerful punches and killer kicks. Alas, the show played the moment with a bit more sadness as Mary was still rather distraught about her new surroundings and predicament. She took out Watt, but it felt more like someone returning to a life they resented.
Sam got thrashed pretty badly this week, and that blowtorch moment was pretty vile, but I’m still not sold on the reason for Toni’s extreme measures. She’s doing this just so she can locate American hunters? That just feels like something the British Men of Letters, who have their own country locked down tight on the monster front, could figure out on their own.
Anyhow, I ultimately get why Sam didn’t escape. Toni has the wrong idea about him so they can’t have him leave until she starts to see him in a different light (she already knows he didn’t kill her when he had the chance). I’m not saying the two of them are headed toward romance, but she doesn’t seem like the villain here. She’s just misguided at the moment. Even she doesn’t like people in her own organization (like a one “Mr. Ketch”) so we may be in for an uneasy alliance.
That being said, the boys’ cockiness got them in trouble this week. Separately, they both thought they had things handled and then made huge mistakes. Dean had to be saved by Mary and Sam wound up wasting a perfectly good plan because he underestimated Toni’s tenacity. I hope these were teachable moments for the two.