Well, that didn’t take long. Here’s the thing about coming back from the dead: It’s not always as great as it sounds. And although Sam and Dean have both done it a number of times, neither of them has ever been dead for very long. (Well, unless you’re counting in Hell years.)
For Mary, “returning” hasn’t felt much like a return at all. After all, the life she knew involved John, small children, and a time when nightgowns were still a thing. Instead, she’s been thrown into a new world, and this hour was all about her struggle to try to find some normalcy within it.
We get our first glimpse of that struggle when Cas finds Mary reading John’s journal in the middle of the night. It seems she hasn’t been sleeping well. Mary asks Castiel when he started to feel like he belonged, but he’s still not entirely sure he does. Mary, however, definitely belongs here. At least that’s what he tells her before he runs off to track down Lucifer.
The next morning, Mary arrives at breakfast with a new haircut and what must be a genetic love of cold bacon. As Mary explains, she cut her hair because she’s ready to hunt, and …
Mary: “Why give the bad guys the advantage of long pullable hair, right?”
Dean: “Wow, been trying to tell Sam that for years.”
It seems Mary has been reading newspapers — the internet is still a bit much right now — and found a case in Minnesota. As Dean puts it, they’re going on a family hunting trip, and that means putting Sam in the back seat, introducing Mary to all the flavors of beef jerky, and rocking out to “Born to be Wild.” You gotta love the Winchesters.
In Minnesota, they’re looking into a case that involves victims whose hearts were frozen after entering an old abandoned house. So of course, they head straight to the house. But when Mary finds herself standing over an old crib — historically not a great spot for her to stand — she’s quickly trapped in a room with the ghost of a little boy, who leaves a handprint on her arm before Sam and Dean can save her.
Back at the motel, Mary’s planning to knock on some doors — adorable, right? — as Sam and Dean use their 2016 minds to find out what they can on the web. Long story short, there have been lots of little kid deaths in that house over the years, and if Sam is right and they’re vengeful children spirits, then they need to salt and burn the bodies. Mary tries to explain to her children that the little boy didn’t want to hurt her, but after she nearly passes out, they suggest she stay back at the hotel while they hit the cemetery.
NEXT: Mary makes a heartbreaking decision
But let’s not forget that Mary was a hunter long before Sam and Dean were born, and that’s why it takes her about three seconds to call up the former owner of the house and find out all about her son’s death. The former owner had a son named Lucas, a.k.a. the kid who grabbed Mary. So as Sam and Dean disagree about whether mom is struggling versus simply adjusting, Mary heads back to the house on her own.
There, she finds Lucas … and the man who killed him. By the time Sam and Dean arrive, Mary’s been possessed and is doing everything she can not to kill Dean.
Mary is able to fight the spirit long enough to point Sam to the basement, where he finds the man’s bones in the wall and salts and burns them. With that, the spirit is gone and the children are freed.
Speaking of being free, Mary is now free to return to the bunker and shower off her very long day. But that’s not what she does. She explains to Dean that the killer went mad after he lost his own child. He buried himself alive in the wall and starved to death. Then, with every new family that moved into the house, he coveted their children, so he took them and killed them. Their spirits were bound to his, which gave him his power.
It’s all so twisted that Dean assures Mary “you’re home now,” but she’s quick to tell him she’s not home. Not yet. “I miss John. I miss my boys,” she tells Sam and Dean. “I’m still mourning them as I knew them — my baby Sam, my little boy Dean.” Mary still feels like she was just in heaven with everyone — which, to be fair, she was — and now they’re gone. “Every moment I spend with you reminds me of every moment I lost with them,” she tells her sons.
She thought hunting would clear her head, but it didn’t work. So, for now, she has to leave. Taking John’s journal, she tries to hug Dean, but he’s too hurt. As she hugs Sam, she tells her boys that she loves them … before she walks out of the bunker and out of their lives. Only this time, she’s choosing to go.
The other story this week involved Castiel and Crowley — or should I say Agent Beyoncé and Agent Jay-Z? — teaming up to find Lucifer. (If you thought good cop-bad cop was a solid routine, wait till you see the demon-angel version.)
Only, C-squared isn’t great at finding Lucifer. In fact, by the time they get to Vince’s cabin, Rowena has already used a spell to rip his new vessel apart and send him to the bottom of the ocean. As for what’s next for her, she’s not interested in helping them find Lucy. However, once they have him backed into a corner and ready to go back in the cage, she’ll be there.
Overall, I really enjoyed this episode. It was a nice mix of a case of the week with some deeper familial drama, and of course, you can’t go wrong with the pairing of Cas and Crowley.