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This time of the year is filled with various holiday traditions. There's meals to share, treats to bake, presents to buy---and, of course, an endless list of holiday specials to watch. Everyone has their select favorites. But what about us Supernatural fans? After all, our show is a horror/sci-fi/fantasy show. It's not exactly tailored to the Christmas special market. But that doesn't mean we should despair! After all, we do have our one lone episode: “A Very Supernatural Christmas.”
In the honor of the song “12 Days of Christmas,” here are 12 very good reasons to make this episode a part of your Christmas special watching list.
The First Reason to Have “A Very Supernatural Christmas”
The villains in “A Very Supernatural Christmas” make it worth the watch alone. Madge and Edward Carrigan are a stereotypical 1950s styled couple complete with the heavily decorated home and over the top friendliness. Dean's convinced that they're not involved because of how safe their home looks---the decorations in the front yard beckon and their warm greeting complete with peanut brittle makes it hard to believe they're the ones behind the violent disappearances. Dean even quips at Sam, “So this is where Mrs. Wreath lives. Can't you just feel the evil pagan vibe?”
This episode brilliantly sets us up to think that it must be someone else, and yet when we meet the Carrigans we know they're much more sinister than they appear. Their Leave it to Beaver or Father Knows Best vibe makes them off putting and fake---as if they truly have something to hide. As the brothers later investigate the home and enter the basement that's the complete opposite of the upstairs, we see just how much of a facade their clean cut approach really is.
Once the brothers are caught and in their ritual chairs, the Carrigans keep up that nice facade---all while physically punishing the brothers for being hunters. Edward Carrigan even keeps saying things like “Alrighty roo,” and “Peter on a popsickle stick.” It's ridiculous and perfect all at once. They're the idealized version of normal, the unattainable goal of the 1950s of the perfect marriage and good manners and behavior. The fact that they're really “Mr. and Mrs. God” collecting their annual tributes makes their friendly approach all the more deliciously horrific.
That becomes most apparent when Madge tells them, “Oh, why, we used to take over a hundred tributes a year and that’s a fact.” They don't seem to bat an eye at four or five, especially when she tells them, “That's not so bad, now is it?” In fact, she's incensed that they don't get to take more. She's frustrated that they had to “assimilate” and become these phony cheerful people---when if it hadn't been for that “Jesus character” they'd be worshiped by the hundreds, just lining up to be part of this ritual.
After the doorbell interrupts, the brothers manage to escape and we see the Carrigans give up their 1950s facade and expose the monsters they are by attacking Sam and Dean violently. The fight is fast and brutal, and the brothers end up on top, with Sam staking Madge first and Dean killing Edward second.
They're perhaps one of the most memorable standalone villains the show has ever had, making this Christmas special a must watch each year.
The Second Reason to Have “A Very Supernatural Christmas”
Dean sure likes to set Sam up to stick his foot in his mouth, and when they visit Santa's village, Sam does just that. They're there to scope out the possible suspect---their Evil Santa or Krampus---when a nice elf comes to ask if they'd like their child to be escorted to Santa. Dean tells her, “No. No. Uh, but actually my brother here---it's been a lifelong dream of his.”
The elf is dismayed when she looks up at Sam, and says hesitantly, “Uh, sorry. No kids over---12.”
Sam, trying to recover from his brother's set up only makes matters worse when he tells her, “No, he’s just kidding. We only came here to watch.”
It makes the elf look at him in horror and exclaim, “Ew,” before she walks away to leave Sam bewildered. As he looks over at his brother, he glares balefully and tells Dean, “Thanks a lot, Dean. Thanks for that.”
It's one of the funniest scenes in the whole episode, making it certainly one reason to add it to the seasonal watch list!
The Third Reason to Have “A Very Supernatural Christmas”
Partnered with the fiasco at Santa's Village, the brothers go to the wreath store to figure out where they came from and who else may have purchased one. They enter the place with a cover story that Dean sells enthusiastically, “Uh, we were playing Jenga over at the Walshes’ the other night, and, uh… well, he hasn’t shut up since about this Christmas wreath, and---I don’t know, you tell him.”
Sam's not falling for the set up this time the way he did in the village, and he deadpans, “It was yummy.”
The exchange isn't getting them answers, though, and so Sam has to describe the wreath rather he wants to or not. He may not have taken Dean's bait this time, but by the time he gets done saying, “Right, right, but – but you see, this one would have been really special. It had, uh, it had, uh, green leaves, um, white buds on it. It might have been made of, uh… meadowsweet?” all the shopkeeper can say is, “Well aren't you a fussy one?”
Dean takes his opening and says, “He is,” and we're granted our second bitchface of the episode. Sam had tried to avoid just this particular situation, and yet he somehow ends up right where Dean wanted him: annoyed. The expression really does nothing to refute the shopkeeper's statement, either---which amuses us and Dean to no end.
In the end, the brothers get what they came for and can now continue their investigation.
The Fourth Reason to Have “A Very Supernatural Christmas”
There's nothing quite like seeing Sam and Dean both tied to chairs and being prepared for a ritual sacrifice as they are here. They are even decorated with their own wreaths of meadowsweet. It's a gruesome scene, taking the decorating for Christmas to a new and frightening level, complete with Sam losing a fingernail to the cause. But really, the quotable line here comes from Dean when he swears at Madge, “You bitch!” She tells him that he should replace cursing with “fudge,” and when she goes to cut him again, he shouts out, “If you fudging touch me again I'll fudging kill you!”
What makes this brilliant is that it nods to the network censors, and yet Supernatural thumbs their nose at them all at once. It's also hilarious to see Dean use fudge here instead of the typical freakin' used in place of a certain four letter word that starts with F. And besides, he gets praised by Madge with an exuberant, “Very good!” Dean's expression after is priceless, adding to the ridiculousness of this little ritual scene all the more. It also provides a great counter balance to the horror of seeing Sam lose a nail.
To make it even funnier, just when we think we're going to have to see Dean have a tooth extracted, the doorbell rings. It's ludicrous the way he's telling them, “Somebody gonna get that? You should get that.”
Unbelievably they do, and Dean is saved the pain of having to endure a tooth being ripped out without any Novocaine. We're all just a bit grateful for that.
The Fifth Reason to Have “A Very Supernatural Christmas”
Supernatural fans have a thing for Sam's geekiness and “A Very Supernatural Christmas” gives us that as a beautiful present. When the brothers are still trying to figure out what they're hunting, Sam looks into a possible theory that sounds crazy. He tells Dean, “Evil Santa.” The lore that goes with it is pretty solid---as he tells Dean, “Yeah… I mean, I’m just saying that there’s some version of the anti-Claus in every culture. You got Belsnickel, Krampus, Black Peter. Whatever you want to call it, there’s all sorts of lore.”
There's always been something delightful in listening to Sam spout off about whatever lore he's researching at the moment---and while he's wrong at first here, he's so enthusiastic about looking into it and explaining it patiently to his brother. Sam's always been the book worm of the two---the nerd---and here we get to relish that aspect.
When they get a tip about the meadowsweet wreaths Sam spotted at both victim homes, he gets to expound further on the Christmas/Pagan ties, telling Dean, “No, Jesus’s birthday was probably in the fall. It was actually the winter solstice festival that was co-opted by the Church and renamed “Christmas”. But I mean, the Yule log, the tree, even Santa’s red suit – that’s all remnants of pagan worship.”
Dean just doesn't know how to process this information dump, so he responds, “How do you know that!” It's one of the delightful exchanges within the episode, and anytime we're offered a chance to hear Sam cite some information is more than okay.
The Sixth Reason to Have “A Very Superantural Christmas”
Sam and Dean are bored on the stake out, watching their suspect “Santa” sitting in his trailer. It's apparent from Dean's complaining that they've been at it for hours, waiting in vain for something to happen when there's a scream. They spring into action and burst in on their suspect only to find him sitting on the couch with a giant bong and porn playing on the TV. Both parties are in shock--- “Santa” can't figure out why these two men are suddenly in his trailer and Sam and Dean feel foolish for rushing in to save a porn actress on TV.
But the Winchesters are genius at improvising, and we see that at its finest here. Dean coughs and starts to sing the worst version of “Silent Night,” ever. He starts off key and slow, singing, “Silent Night, Holy night.” With an elbow to Sam, he gets his brother to join in and before we know it the drunk and high “Santa” is joining in with all the wrong words to add to the hilarity. He chimes in, “all is bright,” Sam mumbles through the words, singing, “round and round the table,” before dragging Dean back out with him.
If anything, caroling has been forever changed in the Supernatural fan's world. It's one of the funniest moments in the whole episode---and it's all because the Winchesters made an awful mistake! Besides, we all needed an updated version of the venerable hymn, right?
(Reasons 7 - 12 continued on the next page)