Supernatural -- "The Foundry" -- SN1203a_0311.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Samantha Smith as Mary Winchester, Jared Padalecki as Sam and Jensen Ackles as Dean -- Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved
ReviewsTelevision & Film

Recap: It’s Ladies’ Night on SUPERNATURAL

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Season 12, Episode 3 “The Foundry”
Directed by Robert Singer
Written by Robert Berens

This is one of the few episodes of Supernatural where you can say it’s a great demonstration of girl power. Mary (Samantha Smith) and Rowena (Ruth Connell) both do a wonderful job in this episode in their separate story lines. It’s also a very spooky episode.

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It starts out with a young hipster couple being drawn to a haunted house by the sound of a crying baby. It’s one of those instances where you are yelling at the screen for them not to go, because it’s a trap, but what are they going to do? It’s a crying baby. All they find is a creepy doll. The door swings shut and the screaming starts.

Supernatural -- "The Foundry" -- SN1203b_0014.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Misha Collins as Castiel and Samantha Smith as Mary Winchester -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved
I haven’t slept in three hundred years. Photo: Katie Yu/The CW — © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Mary is up late at night, reading John’s diary. Castiel (Misha Collins) catches her, because angels don’t need to sleep. She asks him how long it took for him to feel like he belonged on Earth after he left Heaven. He said he didn’t, but that she belonged here. She then goes to her room and cuts her long lovely hair off. Which just goes to show that you shouldn’t make fashion decisions when you’re sleep deprived.

Castiel goes to Cleveland to find the devil. He leaves the boys there to deal with their mom. Dean (Jensen Ackles) thinks she is adjusting; Sam (Jared Padalecki) thinks she’s foundering. But she has found a case. Through the old fashioned method of reading the papers, she learned of a couple dying in a locked room. They called 911 to report a crying baby. The boys and their mom decide to go on a family hunt together.

Cas talks to Vincent’s friend (Woody Jeffreys). I’m surprised that he survived being tossed through the door. He gives a graphic description of Vince’s (Rick Springfield) strength and mentions that Vince has a sister. On his way out Cas runs into Crowley (Mark Sheppard), who wants to team up to find Lucifer. So they become FBI agents Beyonce and Jay-Z, which are obviously terrible names.

Supernatural -- "The Foundry" -- SN1203a_0128.jpg -- Pictured: Mark Sheppard as Crowley -- Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved
Wanna be partners? — Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW

Cut to the Winchesters visiting the coroner (Nikolai Witschl). Mary is playing the lead, experienced investigator. She introduces herself as Shirley Partridge and her sons as Cassidy and Bonaduce, which is really not any better than Jay Z and Beyonce, except that the coroner is too young to remember The Partridge Family. They notice frostbite marks in the shape of hands on the victims. The coroner says that their hearts were frozen inside their chests, which is why a cause of death hasn’t been announced yet.

Cas and Crowley head out to see Vince’s sister (Nancy Kerr). She won’t let them in the door, so Crowley just materializes inside. They can see that she has a wheelchair that she’s not using. She admits that her brother healed her. This is not a sign that Lucifer is altruistic or that her brother is still in there. It was a promise he made to get to use the vessel, and there are rules about these things. She knows that all is not well, though, and tells Cas and Crowley about Vincent’s cabin in the woods.

Castiel and Crowley reconnoiter outside her house, where you can see the wheelchair ramp and her van with a handicapped sticker. Crowley tries to convince Cas, and himself, that he wants to rescue Rowena because she could be an asset to Lucifer and they need her to put him back in the cage, and not because she is his mom and he cares what happens to her.

Mary and Dean and Sam investigate the haunted house. Mary meets a small child ghost with curls and big blue eyes and a smudge on his cheek (Christian Convery). He leaves a frostbite mark on her arm. She is convinced that he is not trying to hurt her. Sam and Dean find many children who have died mysteriously, and conclude that the thing to do is to burn the bodies. This is not going to work! We know it’s not going to work, it hasn’t worked in ages. It’s always more complicated than that.

Supernatural -- "The Foundry" -- SN1203a_0389.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Jensen Ackles as Dean and Jared Padalecki as Sam -- Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserve
Yeah, well, it keeps us in shape, anyway. Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW

Rowena is shackled in Vincent Vincente’s cabin. He wants her to make his vessel more permanent. His occupation of it is already making it deteriorate. (I guess he heard me about needing a facelift). He complains that he looks like Keith Richards. She does a spell of her own devising. A fusion of The Book of the Damned and some Celtic magic. She puts the spell into motion. He starts to age furiously. No more Keith Richards, now he’s Iggy Pop! She puts a hand on his chest and dispels him to the middle of the ocean, hoping he can’t find a replacement vessel. I can just see it now. He’ll come back as a shark. Who’s at the door? Landshark. Um, I mean, Lucifer!

Mary talks to the mom of the little boy. While Dean and Sam are off on their very busy night digging up corpses, she goes back to the house, where she encounters the boy again. They call her on the phone, and she tells them the ghost is still there, it didn’t work. She encounters a grown male ghost (Cameron Grierson), the father of one of the ghostly children. He lays a hand on her chest but the boys burst in. She has ectoplasm coming out of her eyes so they know she is possessed by the ghost. The ghost child tells them “basement”. Sam runs to the basement and breaks down a wall and finds the man’s corpse while Dean restrains their mom. They burn the corpse and he goes poof-and all the ghostly children show up, then swirl away.

It turns out that the father of the ghost girl buried himself in the basement and died slowly. As a ghost, he collected children to assuage his loneliness.

Rowena is having a cup of tea on the veranda when Cas and Crowley show up to rescue her. She tells them that even though she is out of the business she will help them if they need help with Lucifer in the future.

Dean tells his mother, sincerely, that she solved the case. She counters that she needed to be rescued, but he points out that they didn’t know what was going on at all.

But it’s not a happy ending. Mary says that she misses John. She misses her children and is still in mourning for them. Sam says they are right there. She says she misses baby Sam and little boy Dean. She says she loves them but she has to leave. Sam accepts her hug but Dean turns away from her, which breaks my heart. It also makes me sure, once again, that Sam is more emotionally healthy because he has always had Dean to take care of him while Dean has had no one.

This is a very good episode, full of the family interactions that set Supernatural apart from other shows. It also showed female characters being proactive and brave. Rowena got a win for once, and against Lucifer, who has come close to killing her in the past. She may actually be maturing after all her years of life. Mary was smart, independent, and sensitive.

There’s a parallel between Mary’s situation and the events that transpired. Mary could understand what was going on with the ghost because she is mourning her children. She empathized with the mother of the lost boy. If you stretch it a bit, you could see that she is the same as the man who chose to barricade himself in the basement with his grief. But she is making another choice, the choice to go on with her life and let go of the ghosts of her past. I do think she’s selfish. She hurt Dean, how could I not think that? But she knows that they have survived without her all of these years and will again. And it won’t be that bad. She’s still in the same world and won’t ever quit loving them. Kudos to the writers for creating a parallel that is both apt and meaningful.

Supernatural -- "The Foundry" -- SN1203b_0127.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Jensen Ackles as Dean, Samantha Smith as Mary Winchester and Jared Padalecki as Sam -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved
But MOM-you just got here. Photo: Katie Yu/The CW

I think Dean takes after his mom a lot. I always wondered if that would be the case, since John and Sam clashed and that’s usually what happens with the kid that’s most like you. It seemed likely that Dean and his mom would have a lot in common because he got along well with his dad.

With everything new that was introduced in last season’s ending at least temporarily resolved, what is next? A return to stand-alone hunts, I imagine. Next week they are visiting a very religious family and the previews show them dressed as priests.

 

Supernatural airs at 9pm/8c on Thursday nights on the CW.

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Teresa Wickersham

Teresa Wickersham has dabbled in fanfic, gone to a few conventions, created some award-winning (and not so award winning) masquerade costumes, worked on the Save Farscape campaign, and occasionally presents herself as a fluffy bunny or a Krampus.

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