Episode 812 “As Time Goes By”
YES. THIS. Do this and more of it.
Writer Adam Glass is my new hero. This is the kind of Supernatural that I want to see every week, and apparently so does everybody else: The fan boards have lit up with excitement and speculation.
Major spoilers follow!
This episode does everything right from beginning to end. I would have turned down Dean’s obnoxious attitude about 40%, but that’s the only flaw here.
We start off in 1958 and learn that Henry Winchester, the boys’ grandfather, was a “man of letters” in a secret society. These men were heavy duty mages, and would use hunters to do their killing for them in case something nasty showed up, such as the demon that takes everybody out. Everybody, that is, except Henry Winchester. Using a blood sigil and some potent ingredients (which included an angel feather and a pinch of the sands of time), he manages to escape the carnage by traveling to his nearest surviving relatives, who happen to be Sam and Dean in 2013.
“Dudes time traveling through hotel room closets? Is that what we’ve come to?” quips Dean when the situation is finally understood after a hasty escape from the high level demon who follows Henry through the door.
The most important aspect of this episode is the discovery that Sam and Dean (and their father John) were supposed to be “men of letters,” not hunters, who Henry regards as “apes” and little more than hired guns. The trouble is, when Henry stepped out of 1958, he also abandoned his son, and was never able to pass this legacy along.
Henry realizes along the way that he must not ever get back to 1958 because he doesn’t survive his trip to 2013. He is, unfortunately, correct. He sacrifices his life to help rid the world of Abaddn, the demon who followed him through in an attempt to get her hands on what looks like a simple wooden box. Of course, this being Supernatural, it’s not that simple.
Inside the box is the key to every spell ever conceived. Henry literally calls it “the supernatural holy grail,” which is of course a giant dog whistle to the fandom. He leaves it with Sam, who has the coordinates to the exact spot where it must be destroyed. That will obviously be dealt with in a future episode.
It may seem as though the secret society has been erased, since every member of the group is now dead, but I think it’s impossible that there isn’t another “men of letters” group somewhere in the world. Now that they know it exists, and that they should keep an eye out for the unicursal hexigram that is one of the group’s main symbols, there is a huge amount of potential here for the Winchesters and for the show overall. Henry could do a lot of things that the brothers can’t, and if they had access to that level of knowledge, they would be unstoppable.
“We’re Winchesters. As long as we’re alive, there’s always hope.” – Henry Winchester
I have a lot more hope for the future of the show than I have in a very long time. Supernatural writers, you hit this one out of the ballpark.