The shift from story-heavy “Devil in the Details” to the more procedural “Into the Mystic” tells us that Supernatural is hauling season eleven back on the road, with the Winchesters taking on fresh monsters-of-the-week while giving small bits of the main arc a chance to flesh out more until the next eventful episode. In recent seasons past, the connection between both episodic styles has been relatively non-existent, almost to the point where the show seems like it’s just forgot it’s been tackling a far grander scheme from the outset. With “Into the Mystic”, however, there’s an admiral effort to link the everyday happenings of hunting down paranormal forces with the greater controversy at hand.
I enjoyed the attempts this week’s episode pursued in advancing the fight to rid of the Darkness. Lucifer – now in Castiel’s body – already stressing Dean for dirt on Amara was a sensible development since Dean’s starting to crack under pressure. He’s not entirely sure how he even feels about Amara – let alone how he’s to defeat her – so “Castifer” taking immediate advantage of that vulnerability for his own advances made for a smart play that has potentially large consequences in the following weeks.
And how ’bout Misha Collins, here? He’s most certainly got the Mark Pellegrino swagger down pat, with his incessant shrugging, sarcastic eye-squinting, and blasé attitude – but the most impressive factor in his performance is the personality shifting, and how he makes it clear to the viewer that Lucifer isn’t an expert at imitating Castiel’s gruffness. Collins instantly proves himself capable of bouncing around these radically different personas, and I’m glad the show is encouraging him to demonstrate his acting prowess in these unique ways.
The Banshee case that populates the majority of the episode wound up being more than just the standard “detective work leads to clues leads to eventual showdown”. Others may be put off or just flat out bored by the nursing home setting, but I liked the backdrop – if only for it producing the lust-fueled exploits of the adorable Mildred and the intriguing disposition of the deaf-eared Eileen. These two fresh faces were great to have around for a number of reasons. Mildred’s unwavering attraction for Dean – played for some brilliant humor in a sign language-heavy discussion between her and Eileen – led to some very fun moments between them, and also sort of plays off as a callback to when Supernatural garnered a healthy following of female viewers on account of them finding Jared Padalecki and Jenses Ackles so irresistibly attractive at the time. I even loved the the subtlety of their chemistry relative to the age difference, Dean’s conflicted relationship with Amara, and the setting itself. Mildred seeing a tiring will in Dean to keep fighting, while referring her rather accurate assumptions of him to the years of experience she had on the road as a singer, was the standout scene of the whole episode; it gives us more to chew on in regards of the struggle Dean’s had with confronting the Darkness, and questions the integrity surrounding his interactions with her.
Eileen was a lot of fun with Sam, whether she fought her disability to actually speak to him (considering how terrible he is at using sign language), or was gradually developing her own chemistry with the younger Winchester. There’s definitely something special here, which makes it all the sadder than the boys had to skip town to continue their dirty work elsewhere. However, her backstory – losing her hearing to the Banshee thirty years ago as an infant, coupled with the discovery that she’s an inherited kin to a former Men of Letters associate – suggests there’s a chance for this particular dynamic to resume in future installments. The hinted continuity means that this case wasn’t just a one-off fluff-fest, and since Eileen is so good at charming her counterpart and holding her own in the the thick of things I’m actually hoping beyond hope that Supernatural has her back in some capacity.
Here are a few more things I’d like to briefly touch on over this week’s episode:
- The Banshee creature was a decent CGI display (though the show could’ve done without having her so close up to the screen at times), and I loved the effect it had on the “vulnerable” men it preyed on. The head-banging leading to the excess visuals of blood on walls, floors and faces gave a pretty good, classic-Supernatural vibe to the entity’s overwhelming presence.
- Sam spilling all the details of his time in the cage with Lucifer is, to say the least, a winning moment in the history of the Winchester brother’s many heart-to-heart discussions. As a lifelong fan, I was thrilled because I’m now certain that last week’s episode truly affected Sam emotionally, and his apology for staying put while Dean fought on in purgatory many moons ago was the kind of self-aware moment of closure this show has failed to construct for quite some time now…
- …then Dean continued to lie like he’s grown accustomed into doing and has yet to reveal his current situation with Amara. My frustration with this is at an all-time high now.
- Was anyone else confused as to why banshee victim #2 just splurged out his relationship woes to Dean? Did he expect him to solve his problem and get him laid or something? I can’t imagine how that conversation would’ve gone down had he been conversing with an actual FBI agent.
- At first, I truly believed that Eileen was the Banshee, and that the show was prepared to subvert expectations and thrust the monster-of-the-week right into the fray. Of course, that didn’t happen at all, but the plot twist still worked because it showed that Eileen’s devil trap for Sam was the act of a hunter’s instinct – the kind that can be attributed to being the daughter of a Man of Letters.
As far as monster-of-the-week cases go, “Into the Mystic” is a pure standout, giving us interesting new characters who are either indirectly related to the Winchester’s line of work, or were hatching open new character threads in relation to the Winchesters themselves. The “Castifer” situation provided an interesting new avenue for the season to venture, and even the monster itself had its retro-themed moments. The main action definitely took a bit of a break, but it most certainly was not forgotten about here – and that’s practically how these sorts of episodes should work.
+ Mildred and Eileen
+ Effects of last week’s episode, season in general on Winchester brothers present
– Dean needs to stop lying to Sam!!