This was a pretty successful, general episode. Nothing overtly flashy while also addressing some lingering issues and hopefully propelling the plot forward into the final, dramatic pieces of the season. It wasn’t perfect, but it was decent. Parenting runs amok of emotions and Lucifer casts shadows over everyone; in the end it comes down to choices and truth.
A running theme of Family Feud was unquestionably this concept of parenting. Between Mary, Crowley-Rowena-Gavin drama, and Kelly/Lucifer issues this concept of parenthood is thriving powerfully from start to end credits. So what was the message then? It is hard to say, at least for me 100% - this was my take away though. Something about selfish desires, protection and ego and how these swirl together as a parent when you’re making decisions about, and sometimes for, the children in question.
Crowley makes decisions for Gavin and while it’s true he is evil – not wanting Gavin to return and die, well that wasn’t made from a place of evil either time. Love? Maybe, maybe not. This time around when he refuses to allow Gavin to make his own choices, well that is selfish desire overriding everything, and par for the course of a demon really. Rowena on the other hand, well, she was motivated by parental love too – but of another kind and for another child.
Again, Ruth did a fantastic job of portraying the complexity of Rowena’s character here. Despite wanting this payback on Crowley the connection with Gavin felt legitimate, so I subscribe to the “vengeance was a bonus” theory here. These moments and conversations through season twelve are what has allowed Rowena’s character to grow substantially and gain depth beyond “nasty, power-mongering witch”, making me appreciate her so much more. Rowena expressed genuine emotion toward Gavin – nevertheless, her pain at the end in the conversation with Crowley was visceral, real and poignant:
“He was a lovely boy. And in your own lizard way, I know you cared for him. Just as I cared for Oskar. …. The child I loved more than you. The boy you made me kill in order to remove the Mark of Cain.…It was the right thing. Maybe for Gavin, certainly for me.
It allowed me to watch you suffer the loss of a child. Payback. I'm your mother, dear. Who better to crush your shriveled heart?”
Yes, there are running parent-child relationship messages throughout this episode (prominently), and growing through this season. Mary lies to her boys, again, and even the BMOL comments that when she is connected to them she is a different person, softer and weaker (so, this will bite him in the ass eventually when she kills him protecting Sam and/or Dean right?). Even Lucifer makes a joke to Crowley about being a “single dad” and Kelly Klein is running around out there, mom-to-be. Where is this heading, ultimately? I’m not positive, but I’m certainly curious. Theories?
Speaking of Dagon & Kelly Klein…
This was equally one of the best and worst part of the episode. How, you wonder? Well, Dagon seems full of some awesome potential as a character. Granted, we’ve only seen her for a few moments but everything we know about the Princes of Hell suggests awesome power and clever mastery of the English language, both we’ve seen from her so far. Hopefully Dagon hangs around for a few episodes and proves as interesting as her brothers were. She has demonstrated she's a heck of a spin doctor and I'm curious to know what happens when you get her and Lucifer in the room together - so much wit!
Kelly Klein on the other hand, is a weak ass character at this point and I’m having trouble choking her down. Perhaps under the tutelage of Dagon she’ll get some spruce or maybe that devilish fetus will kick in somewhere (though I suppose it isn’t evil by nature – Lucifer chose to fall and become evil, the baby is technically celestial, right?) and help her out. Either way, I can’t help wondering if Kelly K. has been this feeble and fearful all along, how has she managed to elude all the angels, Sam and Dean and Castiel this long? Moreover, what about the government, are they still looking for her too?
King of the Underworld
I will never fault Mark Pellegrino as Lucifer – ever. He’s a fabulous actor and divine (forgive the pun) in this role. And it sure was wonderful of Crowley to explain to the audience how, what, when and where those chains were forged and that vessel came back into play. My only question is why? Is it for sheer vengeance over his own humiliation? Crowley is one of the most calculating and clever villains, so you can’t expect I will readily accept he’d risk Lucifer outside the cage – again/still – so soon after all the pain and grief of his recent dethroning to said dark lord Lucifer. Discuss.
Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
Another fail of this episode was the ghost story – possibly one of the weakest ghost tales ever cobbled together. This was clearly a shaky way to pull all necessary elements together around Gavin, so I won’t fault it too badly. Not to mention maneuvering in a retrospective Abaddon appearance AND a mention of Grandpa Henry, both of which I appreciate.
The greatest sin with this Gavin/time travel story is that it doesn’t make any clear sense, ultimately. First let’s talk about the ghost herself. How does her vengeance story make any sense whatsoever? This concept that Fiona is exacting revenge on ALL TEACHERS was simply too weak to sustain itself. This is because her horrible teacher of olden times behaves a-la The Scarlett Letter and slut-shames her after being raped on the ship. So she hates all and every teacher for all time? Generic alert!
Suppose I accept that revenge connection – despite the abundance of teachers (and troop leaders) and that Fiona traveled via locket out of her way for specific teachers even though they were coming to her already. Was sending Gavin back in time really the only solution here? Really? I appreciate the romantic notion that Gavin wanted to go and save his love from the horrible fate she suffered, really I do. There must have been alternatives here. However, admittedly, none that would have allowed the confrontation between Rowena and Crowley at the end and this was a successfully emotional scene.
Which brings me to my final point about the Gavin storyline: what about the time ripples? If Gavin was returned to his time to board the ship, as he was meant to, preventing everything from happening to Fiona, why do the boys have memory of him? The teachers now live, but Sam and Dean remember the “alternate timeline” where they died. This confuses me more than it should, I suppose because we didn’t see Gavin go back, so much as we saw him fade away with Fiona, implying his ghost status and they moved onto the afterlife together? Yes this is nitpicky but what can I say.
Mother Mary Winchester
The episode offered a very interesting, though brief, look at the two divergent halves of Mary’s personality that become more of a dichotomy the longer she is back in this world. Mary loves her boys, no doubt about it. But it is more and more apparent that she is best suited as a hunter rather than fitting into the role of mother of these two grown, adult boys after all these years. So much this season has teased at the idea of things (read: people) being out place or time, or unnatural. How much longer can Mary’s presence be sustained then before she is returned to the afterlife?
The boys aren’t stupid either and I appreciate that they aren’t totally blinded by the “mom” factor. Dean’s clear and quiet suspicion of Mary is as significant as Sam’s justification for her actions, no matter how questionable she seems. Both are clearly struggling and both do not pursue the discussion, underscoring the said turmoil and concern with the silence.
Somewhat surprisingly the final exchange with Mary, Sam and Dean – to the shows credit – involved Mary’s unprompted confession about her involvement with the British Men of Letters. By unprompted I mean there was no imminent threat of death, no overheard/seen meeting with misinterpretation and accusations from Sam and Dean to Mary – nothing along these lines, just burgers and beer. Further, there was no loud, red-faced anger in reaction to the news. Sure there was indignation, frustration and disbelief. And “the face” from Dean. But they listened calmly anyways. Now arguably, silence is almost a worse reaction from Dean than anything else in these circumstances. The seething, deep hurt – it’s going to be harsher when it comes out. That face really says it all. This was an excellent, refreshing update on the “betrayed by family” storyline that we’ve tasted just a couple times over Supernatural history.
Family Feud was a decent episode that generously cleaned up old messes left dangling long enough. In doing so it set up some pathways for the remainder of season twelve, including that bizarre if ominous ending with Lucifer saying Dagon’s name. I am not sure if this was just odd or creepily clever. Again, either way I’m intrigued so 12.13 was successful!
Tell me your thoughts and theories below – and explain time travel too!