Devil's Bargain

“Mary Winchester is complete.”

When Supernatural first started, Mary Winchester was the perfect mother whose untimely death steered John Winchester down a very specific, very dark path. As the show went on, we’d learn more about Mary: how she was the hunter in the family and how her death wasn’t random but rather an aftereffect of a decision she’d made years earlier. Because, like a true Winchester, she’d done everything possible to save her family.

It wasn’t until the end of season 11, when Amara decided to give Dean the thing he needed most, that Mary returned to the show in a major way. And with her return came new facets to the character. She wasn’t perfect. But she cared about helping others. And she loved her boys. And tonight, we said goodbye to Mary Winchester with an episode all about the woman who kicked off this journey and the mark she made.

We start at the bunker, where Sam and Dean grow suspicious when they realize that Jack and Mary are nowhere to be found. Mary’s cell phone is still here, and according to Castiel, Jack isn’t well. Cas finally tells them about Jack killing his pet snake, so Sam attempts to track his cell. But Jack is jumping from country to country. Why? Because he’s looking for help. And he finds it in the form of his subconscious, who looks an awful lot like Nick/Lucifer. As Jack remembers better moments with Mary, Lucy tells him, “You killed Mary Winchester. You cannot come back from that.” Jack swears it was an accident, but he knows it doesn’t matter. And that’s why he’s panicking.

In the Impala, the boys are trying to have positive attitudes about Jack. They’re headed to the cabin where Nick attempted to bring back Lucifer, but when they get there, Sam finds Nick’s body. (So I guess he is dead?) And Dean… well, he finds what he calls an angel blast site. Cas, pulling up to the cabin, remembers a touching conversation he had with Mary soon after she returned to the land of the living. “Sam and Dean, they’re glad to have you back,” Castiel told her. “Finally they don’t have to be so alone.” Mary, still getting used to the idea of trusting an angel, told Castiel, “They were never alone.”

Supernatural — “Absence” — Image Number: SN1418a_0289b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Alexander Calvert as Jack and Ruth Connell as Rowena — Photo: Katie Yu/The CW — © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
| Credit: Katie Yu/The CW

In present day, Cas enters the cabin, where Dean is desperately trying to hold out hope that Jack isn’t behind this. But if he is, Dean won’t be happy. “If he did something to her,” Dean tells Castiel. “Then you’re dead to me.” Dean is furious that Cas didn’t tell them about Jack, and Cas tries to explain that he was scared. After believing in Jack for so long, he saw him kill his snake, but what he saw wasn’t evil. It wasn’t bad. It was an absence of good. And Cas didn’t want to lose the family they’d built. But Dean’s still not having it. Not until they find Mary.

But about Mary… Rowena calls Sam. She’s been trying a couple of tracking spells but she can’t find Jack because his energy is too unstable. As for Mary, she doesn’t know what happened or where she is, but she can say for sure that “Mary Winchester is no longer on this earth.”

Dean takes a moment to get out his anger — R.I.P. to the poor wooden chair in his path — before he makes a plan: They’re heading to Rowena and the Book of the Damned, and they’re finding a way to bring Mom back. As for Cas, he’s going to heaven to find Mary.

Only, when there’s a knock on Rowena’s door, it’s Jack. He had the same idea: He wants Rowena to help him bring her back. But when she stalls him to allow Sam and Dean time to arrive, he zaps them both back to the bunker and forces her to prepare the spell.

Jack then flashes to a memory with Mary. She’s helping him train, trying to show him how to handle a knife. But when Sam enters, it becomes his memory. We’re in the weeks after Michael possessed Dean, and Sam feels guilty for spending all of his time looking for his brother. Mary recognizes it instantly, the look of parental guilt. She knows it well, and she tells Sam that, as a parent, you always feel like you’re failing, but then you look up and realize your kids are the bravest, kindest, most heroic men on the planet. (Well, that doesn’t really go for everyone but it certainly goes for Mary.)

We then cut to Sam, who’s talking Dean down. Dean wants to blame all of this on Cas, but Sam reminds him that they’ve always known Jack was dangerous. He is the son of Lucifer after all! But he had a good soul… until he didn’t. This is on Sam as much as it’s on Cas. And it’s even on Dean, something the older Winchester brother finally admits. Donatello tried to warn Dean about Jack but he didn’t see it. And now, Jack is dangerous.

While Jack takes Rowena back to the spot where Mary died, Castiel waits at the sandbox to heaven for Naomi to answer him. Instead, Duma shows up and tells him that Mary is at peace. Apparently, she died painlessly, instantly, and completely. She’s in a special heaven now. “Mary Winchester is complete,” Duma says, a sentence I love with my whole heart.

But Jack doesn’t know that. And when Rowena refuses to do the spell — she can’t do it without — Jack throws her back to her apartment, at which point she calls Sam and Dean and warns them that Jack could bring back something terrible if he does the spell himself. He does, but all he brings back is a shell of Mary. It’s her body, but it’s nothing more. And it gives Sam and Dean a chance to say goodbye as Dean remembers a time when Mary fell asleep on his shoulder during a long drive in Baby. It’s the simple moments that matter most to him.

Back at the bunker, Cas tells Sam and Dean that he visited Mary’s heaven. She’s happy. She’s with John in a place where there’s no sorrow and no guilt. There’s just joy. With that, the boys throw her a hunter’s funeral — where Sam stops Cas from trying to talk to Dean — and we cut to a final shot of the table in the bunker library. Next to Sam and Dean’s initials are Mary’s, an carved into the wood.
Because she made her mark. In more ways than one.

Episode Recaps

Devil's Bargain

Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki star as the Winchester brothers, hellbent on battling the paranormal forces of evil.

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