In the eleventh episode of the eleventh season ofÂ Supernatural, Sam and Dean track down a banshee and meet THE COOLEST HUNTER EVER. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watchÂ Supernatural.
I found Robbie Thompson’s script charming, and that makes all the difference for a story that otherwise would have felt completely like a large handful ofÂ Supernatural‘s monster-of-the-week episodes. Seriously, if you ignore all the characterization and the plot involving Cas, “Into the Mystic” doesn’t stray much from a standard formula: a supernatural thing fucks everything up, Sam and Dean come in, they do their best in eradicating said thing, and everyone is more or less the same in the end.
Yet I found myself thrilled when I saw Robbie’s name during the credits at the beginning. I’ve come to expect that, more often than not, his scripts hit the mark for me, and I absolutely think that’s the case here. I don’t feel like there’s much analysis to be made of the banshee plot itself, and so I’d like to focus on why “Into the Mystic” manages to stand out.
Marlene / Eileen
I don’t want to say that Eileen isÂ perfectÂ representation, but goddamn, I was utterly floored by the reveal of the first deaf hunter we’ve ever since. The show manages to never condescend to her; we are shown that she’s a brilliant hunter who is highly skilled; her contribution to this story ABSOLUTELY MATTERS. I admit that I would have loved to see more ofÂ howÂ she adapted to hunting, but Robbie Thompson’s script needed to accomplish a lot in a very little amount of time. I think it struck a clever balance between addressing Eileen’s deafness without making it all seem like an after-school special, which most privileged end up accomplishing instead of being respectful.
In what ways does this show avoid doing that? Well, as I said, Sam immediately takes Eileen in stride; he doesn’t get so hung up on her deafness that the episode becomesÂ aboutÂ that. In fact, I think that’s one of the more incredible things about this: Sam and Dean accept her as a hunter IMMEDIATELY. There’s no awkward questions or attempt to undermine what she’s already accomplished because she’s disabled. And while I can’t speak for the experience of being deaf (and wouldn’t presume to), I can at least appreciate that Eileen’s story is her own. Her quest for revenge doesn’t exist to make Dean or Sam grow, to give them an emotional stake in the story, or to reflect on their characterization. It’s here so thatÂ sheÂ can experience. She’s the one who has been tracking down this banshee to avenge her parents, and she’s the one who ultimately decides to keep hunting even after her lifelong goal was met. That matters because she’s elevated to a level that feels more equal than I’m used to. In the end, Eileen is not disposable, both literally and figuratively. She is not killed off. (My review would have been much different if she had, honestly.) And you can’t take her out of the story, either, not without significantly changing it.
For a show that’s so dark and negative asÂ Supernatural, Mildred felt like a breath of fresh air. She’s the sunshine in an otherwise cynical world, and I adore that Robbie Thompson did not alter this core characterization. While an element to her character treads common ground â€“ this is not the first time that an older woman has gratuitously hit on one of the Winchesters â€“ it feels decidedly less creepy here, in part because Dean actually participates in part of the flirting. He sets clear boundaries when Mildred goes too far, and she respects them.
But I think Mildred represents something more to the story than just a punchline. She’s a character who accomplished something that many in theÂ SupernaturalÂ world deeply desire: she’s lived a long, fulfilling life. Her optimism is not hokey or cheesy; it’s merely the result of her attempts to follow her heart. Initially, that’s through her music, and it was impossible for me not to see both the Winchesters in her past andÂ myself. There’s that incredible monologue she gives about her time in a Patsy Cline tribute band that touches on the joys of traveling to make others happy. I don’t know that Sam and Dean think of themselves in that light, but it’s not an unreasonable thing to do. I hope that this is part of whatÂ I’veÂ done over the last four years, as well! (Lord, I just realized that we’re almost at four years since my very first tour in February 2012. Holy shit!)
Given that Sam is struggling with the very real possibility that either he or those he cares about may day while fighting Amara, I think that Mildred’s thoughts on enjoying life were poignant and fitting. Again, this show doesn’t often allow moments like this because, in many ways, they’re antithetical to the life that these hunters live. They don’t get to enjoy the sunset. They don’t get to consider retirement. But just for this episode, I think that Dean and Sam imagine this reality, if even for a few minutes. And it’s nice.
Castiel’s characterization has been all over the place for a long time. I don’t know that the last episode’s twistÂ fixesÂ that, since Cas technically takes a backseat while Lucifer is using him as a vessel. But at least Misha Collins gets to have some fun with this layered character now. On the one hand, I see Lucifer as simply collecting information. I don’t see a reason to disbelieve that he wants to end the Darkness, so I think that he’s still going to doÂ somethingÂ about her. And gathering as much intel as possible is smart!
But this is Lucifer we’re talking about. Trusting him is a TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE IDEA. He’s clearly going to have as much fun as possible while on Earth, so I’VE GOT MY EYE ON HIM.
The video for “Into the Mystic” can be downloadedÂ here for $0.99.
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