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Supernatural - Mamma Mia - Review

Supernatural “Mamma Mia” was written by the team of Brad Buckner and Eugenie Ross-Leming and was directed by Thomas J Wright. The episode is nicely structured with parallel hunts, featuring mothers, as Mary (Samantha Smith) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) follow Castiel’s (Misha Collins) lead to find Sam (Jared Padalecki) and rescue him from Toni (Elizabeth Blackmore). Crowley (Mark Sheppard) tracks Lucifer down in his latest vessel – b-level has-been rock star Vince Vincente (Rick Springfield) and enlists Rowena’s (Ruth Connell) help to put an end to his challenger for King of Hell.

Samantha Smith continues to impress as Mary Winchester. You have to give kudos to her to essentially pick the role up 12 years after having just a few scenes as the character. It’s true that we know a lot more about Mary now, but that doesn’t necessarily make Smith’s job any easier – it simply adds more nuances to what she needs to convey. There was much to love in her interactions with her boys. Like the fact that she has to remind them that she can’t cook – and breaks Dean’s heart just a little by telling him that her wonderful meatloaf came from the Piggly Wiggly. One of the touches that was the most fun for me was her struggling to catch up and get the nomenclature right. We need to “call the Internet…” Really, she’s simply every mom ever who called a child to tell her how to work the VCR.

Rick Springfield delivered about the performance I was expecting. It certainly seems a bit of type casting to have him play a b-level has been rock star. He does show a bit of range in presenting Vince as being depressed enough to invite Lucifer in – though correct me if I’m wrong (I know you all will), but doesn’t the request have to be a lot more explicit? Regardless, anyone other than Mark Pellegrino – or Misha Collins doing Mark Pellegrino – is simply going to be a lesser Lucifer for me. But it’s only one episode so far.

Rowena has decided to go straight – out of the magic business. Crowley, however, drags her back in. Naturally, the spell doesn’t hold Lucifer long enough, but I did really, really like the VFX effect from Crowley throwing acid on him. It’s hard to be too disappointed in Crowley abandoning his mother as we all know she’d do – and has done – the same to him. It will be interesting to see exactly what Lucifer actually has in store for her. It was nice to see Connell at least dressed a bit more normally, though I will continue to hope for directors who will insist she dial Rowena back a bit more.

Both Ackles and Padalecki deliver excellent performances in this episode. Sam’s hallucinations at the outset of the episode with him in bed with Toni were an interesting echo of Lucifer’s torture of him with visions of Jessica and also an echo of Becky Rosen drugging him and tying him up in “Season Seven, Time for a Wedding.” In some ways, it would make sense for Toni and Sam to be a couple as he would make an excellent Men of Letters. But it also drives home that for all her criticisms of Sam and Dean, she is clearly just as vicious and ruthless as they are.

I loved watching Dean and Mary try to find their footing with each other. Mary, of course, remembers a very different John than Dean came to know. She worries about facing Sam, knowing that he knows that the yellow-eyed demon only came for him because of her. It’s also interesting that she is really interested in Sam wanting to get out and almost doing it. Even more interesting is that Dean skirts around the fact that he dragged Sam back in to hunting. And Sam doesn’t fill her in either.

It was wonderful to see Mary simply assume the role of hunter. Dean wants to protect her, but she’s having none of it. I loved her coming to her boys’ rescue, echoing the words she uttered as a ghost in “Home:” Get away from my boys.

Ackles and Padalecki are terrific as the brothers are reunited. Dean sheepish at having been caught and Sam not quite surprised to see his dead brother alive. While it would have been nice for Mary to simply save the two, it might be unrealistic considering she’s facing a highly trained opponent and being dead for over 30 years has to affect your fighting abilities!

In the end the three are saved by the mysterious Mick (Adam Fergus) – another British Men of Letters. He would appear to represent the “old men” and maintains that he doesn’t wish the brothers harm. He’d like to work together. And really? Why wouldn’t they start with an offer of cooperation rather than torturing someone into submission? Have they not heard the common phrase, You catch more flies with honey?

Toni isn’t happy about being sent home, but as the episode ends, we see that the mysterious Mr Ketch is on the way anyway. Why, we can’t be entirely sure. After all, if he wasn’t sincere about the olive branch, why let the Winchesters go?

The final two scenes with the boys with their mother is fantastic. Dean finally gets his pie – both to Mary and Sam’s shared, fond disgust!

Sam is equally nervous about meeting his mother. He brings her tea and understanding. He tells her that he understands what it’s like to come back and he’s there for her if she wants to talk. Of course, Dean knows what that’s like too, but likely wouldn’t offer to talk about it. More importantly, however, the scene is about Sam passing one of their most iconic possession to Mary – John’s Journal. It’s a way for her to have a lot of the blanks filled in – but it’s also a way for her to be close to John and understand what he went through and why he turned to hunting. Padalecki is really outstanding in this scene, bringing real emotion to Sam’s encounter with his mother.

I’m really liking having Samantha Smith on the show. It may be a bit of fan service, but her acting is making it work. She is clearly struggling with whether she can really go back to the hunting life in order to be near her boys. Sam tells her that he stayed because of family. Will she do the same? Does she have to? What will her decision mean for the brothers? I’m looking forward to seeing these issues explored.

       I have two criticism. First, how is it they all three have the snot beaten out of them, but none of them has a mark left on them at the Bunker? Cas has clearly taken the place of what used to be the magic WB healing cream. And secondly, the picture of John from the war is the same picture used in “The End” for Camp Chitaqua – that’s just lazy. What did you think of the episode? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

About the Author - Lisa Macklem
I do interviews and write articles for the site in addition to reviewing a number of shows, including Supernatural, Arrow, Agents of Shield, 12 Monkeys, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, The X-Files, Designated Survivor, Timeless, Killjoys, and a few others! I'm active on the Con scene when I have the time. When I'm not writing about television shows, I'm often writing about entertainment and media law in my capacity as a legal scholar. I also work in theatre when the opportunity arises. I'm an avid runner and rider, currently training in dressage.
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