Supernatural was serious when they said that the show is getting back to its roots. Monster of the week though the monster isn’t really new, it’s fresh. We also see some real family-centric scenes in this sixth episode of Season 12 titled: ‘Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox.’ Strange title as we didn’t know of someone named Asa Fox ‘til now. It just means that there are other legendary hunters out there besides the Winchesters.
The episode begins with a flashback to Emerson, Manitoba 1980. A boy is running for his life being chased by a werewolf until he gets caught. Before the werewolf strikes his final blow, he gets killed by none other than Mary Winchester who’s supposedly retired from hunting and caring for John and young Dean. It seems that hunting is strong in her blood. She takes Asa back home in a cool muscle car which says much about Mary being a bad-ass. So Asa realizes that monsters and hunters exist and when Mary tells him that she’s basically retired, someone has to continue saving people from monsters like the one that attacked him. The difference between hunters and Men in Black, hunters don’t have neutralizers to mind-wipe the people they save and former victims often turn to hunters themselves especially Asa who thinks that with Mary being retired, someone has to fill her void.
We see Asa growing up and becoming a hunter, seeing his adventures until he gets killed and hung by a rope to a tree. If he was going to bite it that early, why the long flashback? The show basically gave us the usual life of a hunter until he bites the big one, except that he’s significant as his decision to hunt began with meeting Mary Winchester. Fast forward to the house of Sheriff Jody Mills, always a welcome character in any episode, with Sam and Dean fresh from killing Adolf Hitler crashing in on her Netflix session. Their sudden crash is probably partly due to Dean’s excitement to tell her he killed Hitler. From here we see how close they are to Jodi, and they probably already treat her as a surrogate mother. These fellow hunters are already family and Jodi, like Asa, became a hunter herself because she got mixed up with the supernatural and was saved by Sam and Dean. Their Netflix session gets cut off when the bad news about Asa arrives and they have to leave for Emerson Manitoba to attend Asa’s wake and a hunter-gathering. Meetings Sam and Dean usually avoid. But seeing Jodi seemingly hurt, they decide to tag along.
They arrive to a large gathering of fellow hunters and are greeted by Asa’s mother who seem to be close to Jodi. They mingle, and Dean meets Asa’s friends Bucky, Randy and Elvis. They’re surprised to meet Dean in person. Elvis runs off to look for Sam. For a moment there, you’d think these hunters would still carry some grudge on the Winchesters for starting the apocalypse and that thing about Sam being a monster way back in Season 3. But they seemed to have forgotten all about that now. As mentioned, Asa was legendary among the local hunters for killing five Wendigos at once, something they all drink to when the topic comes up. We later see Sam talking to two young hunters who were raised by a witch until Elvis who seemed to be geeking out, asks Sam about his being possessed by Lucifer. Sam dodges the awkward topic that still seems to resonate with him. He meets up with Dean holding an angel blade that Asa somehow acquired, another proof that Asa is one of the good ones. With that, Sam wonders how Asa could have died hanging by a tree in the woods. Dean dismisses the whole thing as simply a hunter’s life that they could get killed anytime at a young age.
All the hunters leave except for the characters mentioned and continue to share stories. Sam and Dean find out that Jodi had a relationship with Asa as well as the mother of the twin witches. Randy goes out to get beer but gets his neck slashed on the way back. Just as one of the twins get back, Mary arrives at the scene. Jodi and Mary get acquainted with Jodi being both surprised and happy. Jodi somehow senses something wrong and opts out. Dean looks pleased but later shows his resentment that Mary would rather go around, read John’s journal and visit some dead hunter they just got to know. Dean leaves to go out, but Jodi confronts him about his feelings, foremost about Dean not telling her that Mary is back from the dead, a sign that Dean has a major issue with his mother. Jodi tells him that she might feel the same things if her husband and child were back from the dead.
Next, Lorraine finally meets Mary Winchester, the woman who got her son into hunting and told Mary how she resents the life her son has chosen filling Mary with doubt and regret. Sam later comforts her, and they decide to say their goodbyes to Asa’s body only to find out that Randy’s bleeding body is strung up right above Asa’s. The hunters become aware of the danger and tries to get out of the house except that it’s magically sealed. Dean, outside the house, meets up with Billie who says she just reaped someone inside and Dean sensing danger tries to get in. Bucky explains that Asa went up against a crossroads demon named JL who he thinks is responsible for the whole affair. The scene becomes a whodunit story as no one knows who JL is currently possessing. With Dean outside, they narrow the possession down to Alicia, one of the twins. The demon smokes out to possess someone else. They pair off to look for anyone else. Outside, Dean makes an unknown deal with Billie to get him into the house. He gets in and meets with Lorraine and Elvis. Elvis turns out to be possessed, tries to kill Dean and fails. The demon kills Elvis before smoking out.
They all meet together and decide to make a devil’s trap to protect themselves. Mary leaves for a moment to get Asa’s angel blade. When Mary gets back, Jodi accuses her of being possessed revealing that JL is in Jodi. JL subdues all the hunters in the room and reveals their secrets. The twins are actually Asa’s children and that Bucky was actually responsible for Asa’s death. JL is mad that he was denied killing Asa hence the killings. They all succeed in exorcising JL safely from Jodi. Bucky was later forced to confess the circumstances behind Asa’s death. While pursuing JL, Bucky accidentally killed Asa during an argument and hung his body up a tree as per JL’s M.O. The hunters resolve to tell every other hunter that Bucky was responsible for Asa’s death but after that, Bucky’s fate is unclear.
While burning the three dead hunters, Lorraine comes to terms with Asa’s death and seemingly forgives Mary and goes to see her grandchildren. The boys go to Mary but Billie interrupts and says that there’s something about Mary. That’s she’s not up to remain living because she can’t fit in. Billie wants to claim her as part of her deal with Dean but not forcefully. Billie offers Mary a one-way ticket up to heaven and for a moment, Mary seems to agree but declines. Billie leaves. Mary still wants her space, but they all agree to breakfast with Dean offering bacon.
It’s heartwarming, and Dean seems to be coming to terms being away from Mary. The purpose of the Hitler episode was basically to lift Dean’s spirit, to give him a sense of euphoria to relieve his depression about Mary leaving. Meeting Mary again brought back those feelings, but after this latest experience, Dean seems to be coming to terms. Hopefully, we won’t get more episodes of morose-over-mom Dean and get all of them working together on more monster-of-the-week cases. It seems that in this episode, you can get the girl away from hunting but not hunting out of the girl. Mary might have had other adventures aside from Asa and may have her own loose ends that they as a family can later tie up. It would also be interesting how they will later deal with Lucifer. Also, because Lucifer continues to seek that perfect vessel, Amara, The Darkness, may have given him one in the form of Mary as the other half of the Winchester bloodline. That may be a possible cusp of the Lucifer arc.
Mary’s situation is reminds me of how weak vampires in Anne Rice novels seek to die as all they know and love slowly disappear, and they are faced with a world so different from when they were alive. Hopefully, this thing with Mary passes as well, but with her continually depressed and in doubt, it could be Lucifer’s way in and I see this as a possibility.
Speaking of possession, maybe it’s about time the brothers share their anti-possession tattoos with Jodi especially with their mom. For a moment there, I thought it might be curtains for Jodi Mills in this episode. As for JL, it’s been awhile since we had a formidable, malicious demon go up against the Winchesters with even Crowley, the king of hell has become a sidekick of sorts. JL kind of reminds us of Alistair while he was possessing Elvis. As mentioned, he’s old MOTW but a refreshing take.
Overall, this was a good episode. Monster of the week and family dynamics. It lacks some real fright and horror and hopefully we’ll get more of that in the future. We could use more fog and noir atmosphere guys.