Supernatural Review: Family Ties

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This was a fantastic Supernatural outingm with major kudos to writer Adam Glass (who also wrote the Garth episodes "Party On, Garth" and "Southern Comfort") and director Serge Ladouceur (who has been the show's resident cinematographer).

It's nice to see a standout episode, especially one that showcases what the series is all about: the Winchester family, its dangerous monster hunting job and the monsters themselves, all while capturing a feeling of past, present and definitely a look to the future.

Granted, "As Time Goes By" was something of a time travel episode, but more so a filling in the blanks of the Winchester blood line.

Sam & Dean's Grandfather?

While we've been privy to Mary Winchester's family (most notably in Supernatural Season 6), John Winchester's side has been a little more mysterious.

Yet, John had always thought his father had abandoned him, essentially turning him into the hardened and monster focused hunter that raised Sam and Dean. Except truthfully, Henry Winchester had simply gone forward in time to stop a powerful Knight of Hell with tragic consequences.

I'm so glad that John was brought up again, and with such positivity. I've always felt like he'd gotten a bad rap as a father, but it was good seeing that both Sam and Dean recognized that he did everything he could. There was always more good than bad.

Really, the whole family history is rather tragic in that each person always tried to end up doing the right thing or protect the ones they loved, only to end up dead. The hunter's life is clearly a lonely one, one with plenty of strife, so the fact that Sam and Dean have managed to not only survive, but excel for this long, is a testament to their determination and their bond.

Now, if Henry had lived, would it have changed how John raised Sam and Dean? Maybe. Maybe not. If anything, Sam and Dean, even with their flaws, turned out more than okay.

Heck, they're legacies after all!

Which is actually an interesting concept that there used to be a sort of frat boy secret society focused on supernatural information. These so-called Yoda's to the hunter's jedi puts a neat spin on the lore.

It also makes Sam and Dean the culmination of brains and brawn, and a couple of brothers that are able to keep at it with the toughest of times.

I did think that perhaps Abaddon would be connected to Naomi and the angel conspiracy, being that she was from the past, but it looks as if she was a one and done type of villain.

But any type of mythology expanding from Lucifer's hand-picked baddies to the revelation of the Winchester bloodline always ends up being cool and a positive.

Gil McKinney was a great casting choice for Henry Winchester, and even though he looked similar in age, he felt and acted very much like Sam and Dean's grandfather. From his "who are you not calling" moment to explaining the past to the boys worked, it never felt campy or overdone.

It does make me wonder about his soul power skills and if Sam and Dean can use something similar, but it was great that they were able to cleverly defeat Abaddon with the devil's trap on the bullet in the meantime.

And while I wish that Henry might have survived or even stuck around longer, it also makes me wish John might return. Stranger things have happened on this show, right?

Of course, even with the family affairs taking place, Sam and Dean learned of another powerful item to fight for: all the supernatural lore, spells and information in one place.

Will they find it? And if so, what would they do with it?

With this fresh introduction as well as the tablets, it looks like Supernatural Season 8 is really focusing in on information control. I wonder if Crowley knows about all of this and what he might do?

What a great way to reel viewers back in and really capture the show's spirit, giving us some more excellent mythology and preparing Sam and Dean with a new quest.

What did you think? Did you enjoy Henry Winchester? Will Sam and Dean use the key? Sound off below!


Editor Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (148 Votes)

Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


i just recently became a fan,.caught a mini marathon on tv and that was it,.hooked.what i really love is the shows consistancy,..the evolution of sam from bitter and resentful towards his dad,brother and the life to forgiving his dad and realizing,and accepting his brother cant live without him,.kinda reversing the roles of whos watching out for who,..and dean,.wow..his gruff exterior slips now and then,.but how he's went from always worrying about and protecting his brother,thinking sam NEEDS him,.worrying he might leave for a "life" his own self realization at the depths of his neeed for sam,.and the irony is he now lives in fear of sam leaving,afraid sam will tire of all his lies,.llies that were to cover the lengths he went to keep his brother with him...but anyway,.im curious,if johns dad was part of such a group,.it doesnt seem feasible theyd just leave a family to thier own devices in the event a family member went missing..especially "legacy" members seems like they would have made some contact with the family..not too mention that makes john the only kid in the supernatural series that didnt pick up on thier parent was into something,.if they werent raised in it themselves...anyway,.i thought becoming a hardened and monster focused hunter was the death of mary..not the disappearance of his would the dads leaving make him a hunter if he knew nothing about monsters.and if john had become a man of letters,.would him and mary hit it off?werent hunters second class to the letters?and why doesnt samuel know of the men of letters?..


S8 was awful up until the last two episodes. "Torn and Frayed" wasn't bad, and the Benny episodes could have been good, but they were ruined by Sam's boring "daydreaming" about his "relationship", and for some reason he daydreamed about the most boring aspects of it. Perhaps the writers didn't intend for it to be so boring, but unfortunately it was. Amelia was an unlikeable character - she wasn't even happy when she found out that her husband was alive. She committed adultery with Sam, she was rude, nasty and bitchy to Sam when they first met. For Sam's part, he was a doormat. All he did was change lighbulbs and fix sinks. He let his hair grow, and was asleep for the start of S8, until he got it in his head that he wanted to kill the creature that saved Dean's life. Then he got Martin killed. Sam is the worst character of S8, then Amelia, Garth, Trans and Charlie.


There have been great characters on SPN - Dean, John, Bobby, Gordon, Alpha Vampire, Cas, Lucifer, Zachariah, Raphael, Crowley, Dr. Visyak, Dick Roman, Edgar, & Meg spring to mind. There have also been terrible, useless and unlikable characters - more so this season, although Lisa & Ben were from S6 and they were irrelevant and unlikeable. Ash was another painful character. Amelia takes the award, though. Sam's reveries were just plain boring, and served no purpose to the story. His own character has disintegrated in S8, with his boredom, his whingeing, his long hair, and his indifference to Dean's whereabouts. Benny and Samandriel are good new characters. Hope Benny returns, and Samandriel can be resurrected. The Trans are annoying.


@Richard. Abaddon's consciousness is still alive under the cement, so yes, technically speaking she is alive. Hope she comes back. (Hope she gets Lucifer out of the cage).


Characters such as Cas and Crowley are central to the show. I like the Angels & Demons theme, and adored Lucifer, Raphael, Gabriel and Balthazar. Enjoyed the Abaddon and Golem episodes. These last two episodes are a great improvement to a very poor S8. I have to agree with the majority - some of the S8 characters have been very poor, and ruined the season. Amelia was unlikeable, boring and had no chemistry with Sam. Kevin is badly written and and miscast. Mrs. Tran should never have been a character, and neither should Amelia's father. The witch summoned by Mrs. Tran wasn't needed. Garth and Charlie are just plain awful. SPN needs interesting characters. If SPN didn't pay the wages for unnecessary characters, then they could have money for special effects (like horns for Crowley, should he get really, really angry).


@Richard, hear that sound? That's the sound of the point going over your head. I've read all the comments here and I have not read a single post saying NOT to have new characters. What fans want are GOOD characters. Good, strong characters such as Benny and Henry Winchester and Cas. Good FEMALE characters such as Sheriff Mills and Abaddon. (I'm looking forward to a female hunter who is NOT a love interest.) For my part, I hope they DO get rid of Garth (a fool) and Charlie. These are badly written "quirky" characters whose only purpose is to make Spn a comedy. Nor do we want loathsome, pointless characters such as Amelia. I'm all for new characters - but make them serve a purpose and ADD something to the table - because, for the love of Chuck, this show needs help.


Are there ANY characters on SPN, besides Sam and Dean, the nitpickers and complainers can tolerate? How about Crowley? Get rid of him too? Maybe get rid of everybody. Angels, demons, monsters, all of them. Just have Sam and Dean, week after week after week. Change the name of the show from Supernatural to the Sam and Dean Show.


Dean is still a self righteous dick but oh well at least he was marginally tollerable in this episode. Sam is still too subdued but then who can blame when the guy can barely get a word in around his oud mouth big bro. Got to say do not miss any of the side characters this season, I foresee them killing Benny off by seasons end. Amelia can stay gone but they need to give someone better for Sam to interact with, a friend or love interest because he needs someone outside of Dean who has all his better brothers and his new little sis and whoever else. Hopefully Sam is the one actually doing the upcoming trials and not just adding the behind the scenes support aka research to Dean. Dont care what they do with Dean, he still has Benny to deal with, Cas stuff, an episode with new BFF Charlie and he gets to be 'the best hunter ever'.


I was so nice to see an episode centered on the Winchesters, with the Winchester boys working a Garth, no Charlie, no Trans. This is when SPN shines and it's been too long since we've had one like this. Really liked the episode and the potential it brought to the show. I like the rough and tough hunter's world and hope the writers don't screw it up with more cutesy characters like aforesaid mentioned cutesy characters. Keep it horror/drama, writers, please.


Abaddon is a Knight of Hell. Supernaturalwiki says the only thing that can kill them are the Archangels.

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Supernatural Season 8 Episode 12 Quotes

Who are you not calling?


He's my brother and he's the only family I've got.