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'Supernatural' recap: 'American Nightmare'

Posted on

Jack Rowand/The CW


TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki
The CW, WB
Sci-fi, Drama

At this point, Supernatural could introduce just about any creature to its world and the fans would go along with it. But after 11 years, there are a few staples — whether we’re talking about a vampire, a werewolf, or even a psychic child. Let’s never forget Sam himself was once, um, gifted. And in this week’s case, we see Sam put his experiences to good use.

We start in Iowa, where a case worker from Child Protective Services walks into a church with holes in her hands and feet…and as she slowly dies, lashes appear on her back. So you know, if this season wasn’t feeling creepy — or religious — enough for you, tonight’s episode should fill your quota.

The best part about this scenario? It gets Sam and Dean back in their priest outfits, and this time, they’re posing as Father Penn and Father De Niro. Because they can.

At first, the boys’ best guess as to what they’re hunting is some kind of rogue angel, but after a quick call in to Cas, Dean discovers that’s not possible. He also discovers Castiel has officially teamed up with Crowley to find Lucifer, though sadly, we see none of that this week. One thing we do see, however, is Dean struggling with Mary’s decision to take some time to herself.

When Dean gets a moment alone, he texts his mom to see if she’s okay and to ask whether he should call her “mom” or “Mary.” There’s no response, and as Dean puts it, “I’m a 13-year-old girl.”

Sam returns in just enough time to get caught up on the Lucifer of it all. And as it turns out, Sam’s a big fan of Vince Vicente. (Perhaps he’s his hair idol?)

The boys head over to check out Olivia’s (the victim’s) office, where her coworker Beth is already making herself at home. Just like that, Dean decides Beth, a witch, clearly killed Olivia to get the better office… Yet, how does that explain the delivery boy who just died?

With a second victim, Sam’s able to draw a connection to the Peterson family. According to Beth, they’re a very religious family that lives out in the country with no cars and no electricity. Their eldest daughter, Magda, died a few years back after coming down with pneumonia, as the family wouldn’t allow her medical treatment so as not to mess with “God’s will.”

Sam and Dean head straight to the farm, where Dean admits he’s worried Mary isn’t going to come back, leading to this amazing exchange:

Sam: “Sometimes families do better after a little time apart.”

Dean: “Yeah, who? The Mansons?”

NEXT: Sam meets Magda


Once on the farm, Sam and Dean meet Abraham and his wife and update them on Olivia’s death. According to them, they’re upset because they liked Olivia better than Beth. It seems Olivia was more connected to God. Of course, that leads to them asking Sam and Dean if they know God. And as Dean puts it, “Oh yeah, we’re besties.”

After Sam and Dean learn just how the Petersons decided to live this way, Sam tells the mother about the dead grocery-delivery boy. But that’s not all he tells her: “God didn’t kill your daughter. You did.” (Needless to say, Dean isn’t the only one running short on patience in this hour.)

And when Sam returns later that evening to check the barn for EMF, he overhears Abraham and his son, Elijah, talking about Magda. It seems the eldest daughter didn’t die, but rather, she lives in the basement, where her mother is currently forcing her to whip herself.

By the time Sam calls Dean to update him, Dean’s figured out Beth didn’t kill Olivia…in just enough time for Abraham to knock out Sam and throw him in the basement with Magda.

Once Sam wakes up, he tries to explain to Magda that she’s not the devil. She’s simply psychic. Sam tells her a bit of his story and promises she can learn to control her powers so she doesn’t end up killing people.

And speaking of killing people, Sam’s lucky enough to be invited to family dinner, which consists of Mommie Dearest over there poisoning her entire family so they can enter heaven together. Abraham’s the only one to eat it before Magda intervenes and saves her brother. However, when her brother tries to save her back, it results in his death. (Fun fact: Mom’s equally as deadly with a knife as she is with rat poison.)

Sam convinces Magda to let her mother live, which results in mom’s arrest. As for Magda, she’s going to stay with her aunt in California. Just kidding! Someone named Mr. Ketch from the British Men of Letters just found her and killed her in order to “clean up the Winchesters’ mess.” So there’s that.

And in the episode’s final moments, Dean admits he’s still working through the mom thing when he gets a text. It seems Mary’s phone had died — she’s still learning how it works, guys — and she reassures Dean she’ll always be “Mom.” [Insert “aww” here.]

Altogether, it was a solid episode, though not one that will stand out from the crowd of nearly 250…but it does get points for those great sweaters.

Episode grade: B