A family off the grid. A psychic kid. Mr. Ketch?
Supernatural Season 12 Episode 4 may have been a case of the week, but there was plenty to dive into for Sam and Dean’s latest adventure. Plus, there was the return of the British Men of Letters!
TV Fanatic staff writers Christine Laskodi and Sean McKenna and The Winchester Family Business’ Alice and Nightsky are ready to talk all things Winchester on the latest Supernatural Round Table.
Join in the discussion and let us know what you thought of “American Nightmare.”
What was your favorite scene or quote?
Nightsky: Oddly, when Sam lost his temper with Mrs. Peterson. It was so unusual for him to be judgmental during an initial interview with a suspect. I really liked that Dean witnessed his brother losing it and registered that shocked look at what he was hearing. I'm curious if Sam's reaction is the beginning of something deeper that will be built upon in coming weeks.
Alice: Honestly, it was the end when Mary replied to Dean’s text message. I wasn’t happy with last week’s episode because it was too damned depressing and lacked hope. Those simple words that she’ll always be Mom to him and Dean’s relieved smile was the hopeful sentiment I desperately needed! It restored my faith a bit, until that crappy final scene.
Christine: I'm with Nightsky, on Sam's questioning of Mrs. Peterson. We haven't seen Sam fierce in that way in a long time, and I too wondered if this is an indication of Sam's storyline this season. I also really liked Dean explaining to Sam what Castiel and Crowley are doing. I always like those little moments, the ones that we don't always get to see.
Sean: The dinner table was pretty intense. I wasn’t sure who was going to die or how powerful the psychic kid was going to get. Plus, Sam was tied up and unable to help. It was a riveting scene to watch.
What did you think of the episode focusing on a psychic kid?
Nightsky: A bit out of left field after so many years of it not being mentioned, but I'm thrilled with the idea being resurrected from the archives.
Alice: I loved the idea. I’ve been waiting a very long time for the show to revisit the whole psychic thing. It’s not like this was something that Sam flirted with. His abilities dominated the story line for the first five years!
I thought they would reveal though that Magda got her psychic power from a big demon or something. Yes, they mentioned the Devil a lot but that was religious zealot talk and no real basis. The fact that they didn’t say how she got her abilities made me wonder why they went there.
Christine: It was interesting, and I hope it isn't a one-off. I've been hoping they'd revisit Sam's psychic abilities! Like Alice said, they were such a huge part of the story for years, and then it seemed as though they just kind of dropped it. I think this is a great time to bring it back, especially with Mary in the fold now as well.
Sean: It’s actually pretty cool. I loved the callback to psychic kids from the past and Sam’s abilities. It makes me wonder if he’s going to get powers again or something.
Will there be more psychic kids or Sam getting powers again this season?
Nightsky: Sam's words to Magda were that “there are others out there like you, like me." That opens up both possibilities, i.e., more kids being found and Sam trying out his powers again. He also mentioned that he wasn't sure if he still had his powers. I'm fairly certain that was blatant foreshadowing of him experimenting to see if those powers are still in him. I'm elated with that possibility.
Alice: I’m not sure. Maybe the question should be, “Would I love it if they went there?” YES! But I have this trust issue with the writers. I’ve been burned too much by them throwing nuggets at us like that and then not following through. I’m really, really, really hoping it’ll amount to something.
Christine: I hope so! I think Sam could potentially be a great mentor for other kids who don't quite understand what they can do or why, whether he can still do it or not. That being said, I don't want it to become an Obi Wan Kenobi type of story either. But I wouldn't mind seeing Sam trying alongside others.
Sean: It seems like it, right? I mean, it wasn’t just for the sake of a one-off episode, I don’t think. I do think it could be neat to dive back into the psychic kid angle and if Sam’s powers are still there.
What did you think of how the brothers were dealing Mary's departure?
Nightsky: OK, I guess. Pretty much as I expected. Instead of deep talks about her resurrection or exit, just momentary interludes of Sam helping Dean understand. At least writer Davy Perez had Dean mention that she took cash and a cell phone. The logistics of her being on her own were just impractical as they stood.
Alice: I’m very pleased how well they were dealing. Sam didn’t surprise me at all. He understood that Mary needed space because after all, he’s been there and told Dean as much. Dean though, despite the fact that he was acting like a jerk for no good reason, still reached out to Mary anyway, even if it was by text message. I thought that was a huge step for Dean! He doesn’t take betrayal well so for him to do that showed maturity. He’s good now.
Christine: It was pretty much how I expected it to go down. Sam is obviously handling it better than Dean, and he's forcing Dean to talk about it. I will say that I liked seeing Mary's text message in the end – that basically confirms that she'll be back, she just needs more time.
Sean: I thought they were handling it as expected. Though I liked that Dean got a text message at the end. It helped smooth things out.
Did you enjoy seeing Mr. Ketch's brief appearance?
Nightsky: No. It was great from a plot continuity standpoint and now we know that the British Men of Letters are in America to enforce their hard line standards. Him killing Magda was highly annoying, though. It clearly set the precedent that they will want Sam killed if they find out (which they will) that he is also a psychic kid/adult. Her case might prompt them to investigate if there are or ever were more instances of people killing with their mind.
Alice: No. I’m not enjoying the British Men of Letters in general. I’m definitely not excited by the idea at all that he’s there to kill anyone supernatural that Sam and Dean leave alive, even if they’re good. Ambushing a teenager in the women’s room? Too cold for my tastes. He’s more of a thug than anyone scary or diabolical.
Christine: I was left feeling really unsettled by it, but not in a normal television way. It felt almost too violent. Like Alice said, he stalked a teenager into a bathroom to murder her – that's dark even by Supernatural standards. Perhaps that's the writers' way of showing us that they're raising the stakes on the villain this season?
Sean: I was hoping Mr. Ketch would be some cool new villain. Instead of excitement for what’s next with his character, I was left disappointed. I almost wished that ending didn’t even close out the episode.
Sean McKenna was a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. He retired in May of 2017. Follow him on Twitter.