So, yeah, it was cute. I have to admit, the photos and synopsis alone for “Last Holiday” screamed filler, and it was. But filler comes in many shapes and sizes. There’s the instant classic filler, warm or happy filler, “I’ll never get that hour of my life back ever” filler, and “absolutely so freaking hideous that I will spend years cursing it’s name and swearing my eyeballs will never set sight on the atrocity ever again” filler (I’m talking to you “Hammer of the Gods” and “Man’s Best Friend With Benefits”). Luckily, this fell in the warm category.
I suppose if you’re Jeremy Adams, a new writer to the team whose mission is to help close out an iconic long running show in a way pleasing to mega loyal fans, this was the ideal way to go. Come up with some clever lore, deliver a sympathetic MOTW that entertains and captivates, create a plot that leaves us guessing until the end, and work in plenty of fan shout outs that help us check some of those minor wish list boxes. Did I want to see the grenade launcher and Thor hammer again? Strangely, yes. Especially the Thor hammer. Did I wonder when one of the guys would actually take one of those amazing classic cars in the garage out? Yes, but I would have never guessed Sam. Good for him! Did I wonder whatever happened to the Dean cave? Not anymore! Glad it didn’t go by the wayside and the TV is finally fixed, although could it have hurt to buy a new one?
Yes, Adams played it safe, not wanting to overstep his bounds in this limited engagement. One can argue that with only 7 episodes left in the series and the end of the world looming in the background, a “Supernatural” version of Mary Poppins might be too light for these dark times, especially when the show was coming back from on a months long COVID hiatus. Still there was so much to love on the surface, even when the substance underneath was a bit light.
Who knew a Wood Nymph had that much power? In Greek Mythology it is a minor deity. In Harry Potter, it’s a magical creature, like a fairy or pixie. We know all about fairies! No one really knew what sort of power Mary Poppins had, but she had something going. Put it all together along with a sordid tale of chauvinistic MOL history and you get Mrs. Butters. Not bad! I mean wow, she’s a regular Loki, who actually turned out to be an archangel, so yeah, up there in the power spectrum. Think about it, who else can fold Dean's underwear like a champ?
Or make the best Boxing Day omelettes ever? That's how you control men.
We haven’t seen many happy holidays for the Winchesters. In the brief glimpses we’ve gotten of each, holidays have usually been horror days. A hunter’s work is never done. But in this scenario there was time for work and play and it was a blast to watch, despite it being limited to a montage. My only regret was that Castiel wasn’t there to join in the fun. After the smile left my face though, I wondered why we were getting all these joyous moments at once after they were neglected for the entire series. It does make we wonder if the Winchesters are being setup for a horrific fall and this is the last hurrah for dying men. After all, I know what show I’m watching. But I suppose this was about living in the moment and we just need to go with the flow. It is the first happy birthday we've ever seen for Sam, but that's probably a low bar considering he's actually died on his birthday before. Rice Krispie treats for everyone!
Ultimately, the episode existed in a round about way to exonerate Jack. I have to admit, after his little trip to the garden, something that hasn’t happened since early biblical times, the only topic was killing Mary? What happened to, “Wow Jack, it looks like you have your soul back,” or “Exactly what has changed inside you Jack?” or “You saw the %$&^#$! serpent and cherub in the Garden of Eden???” But instead the story stuck with the same old theme, Jack killed Mary and everyone is feeling blue about it. Dean can’t forgive, I’m not sure Sam did either, and now Mrs. Butters brings up to the surface something that the brothers couldn’t because she could. Jack is evil. He’s not, but think about it, that’s what the brothers think in the back of their mind and worry about down deep. “Jack in the Box” wasn’t that far away, even though it feels like it was ages ago to me. Ages. Can they forgive? Having the issue pushed by a deranged Mary Poppins certainly helps set priorities.
I get it, Jack has some things to reconcile before his big battle. I still adore him as a character. But doesn’t it feel like they’re still stretching out 3 seasons of handwringing over his kid? Only Castiel has endless faith in him. Man, we really could have used Castiel in this. It does feel like that Sam and Dean are holding Jack back with those human qualities of mistrust and doubt. It makes for an okay story for a little bit, but it’s gone on far too long by now. I like in the end they all accepted he is the one the save the world, even an off the rails Mrs. Butters. Speaking of which, I’m glad she got redemption too and didn’t die. If they can do that for Mrs. Butters, it’s time to take the literal handcuffs off Jack too.
(Time to save the world and make us proud)
Dean’s gesture of one sorry ass birthday cake at the end was a sweet gesture of reconciliation, but this means no more backsliding writers. No more dropping back into, “You killed Mom, I can’t forgive that.” Come on Dean, she’s in a happier place, get on with it! Hopefully the stakes start getting a little higher so they have real problems to worry about.
As I mentioned earlier, there was so much to love. I’ll just list the things I adored:
- We got to see another room in the MOL cave, the boiler room! That actually makes sense that they would have one given the industrial nature of the building. I’m not even speculating about the whole reset button thing though. I’ll leave that all up to you and see how it plays out.
- I loved the monster alarm going off and the boys jumping into action, Ghostbusters style. It’s great to see the boys enjoy their work for once. The montage even featured a BusBoys song to cement the whole theme.
- Dean in an actual real live dressing gown and hat. I never thought that would go beyond the cartoon. Just…love…it.
(That priceless moment when you get flashed by your brother)
- Dorky Sam going on a real date! I mean, getting dressed up in the non-threatening sweater vest, a bouquet of roses, ugly jacket, sweet car and everything. But I wanted to know how it went! Actually, I can guess. Sam returned without his jacket and tie on. They so did it. I laughed quite a bit over Dean not calling Sam when he and Jack were trapped in the dungeon because he thought Sam was “practicing his sign language” with Eileen. Best line of the season. “It’s been a while for you, man, you know?”
- Speaking of Sam, wasn’t it awesome that he was Mrs. Butters’ favorite? She obviously had a soft spot for gentle giants. Maybe it’s because he wasn’t spouting the off-color language. She was willing to brain wash him rather than kill him. That’s so adorkable. Sam should have told her he’d been there with the fingernail thing before though and it wasn’t going to work. At least he got a healing this time.
- Love that the movie of Cuthbert Sinclair showed the beheading of a member of the Thule. I applaud Jeremy Adams for digging into his MOL lore. “Everybody Hates Hitler” is still one of my favorite episodes. They really should have done more with the Judah Initiative. Mrs. Butters and the Golem would have been great together!
- Yes, I would have thought that the boys would have felt a little more alarm over seeing nothing in the interdimensional geoscope. I suppose they knew Chuck was destroying worlds because of the existence of the other Winchesters, but why is that bad Mrs. Butters? I’m assuming it’s foreshadowing for the very obvious “this world is next.”
Overall grade, a B. It was a nice warm up after a long break. Time for the real action now show. Oh and Jeremy Adams, I like your future in television writing. Great job!
A special thanks to the amazing Raloria for the screen caps! This would be a pretty dull review without them.
Read more of Alice's insights on Supernatural! Reviews on every episode of the series are on Alice's Writer's Page and in WFB's Episode Guides!