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Supernatural - Peace of Mind & Don't Go Into the Woods - Review

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This week we learned that next season, Supernatural’s 15th, will be the show’s last. It seems almost inconceivable to think of a season without the show, and that’s a real testament to the fans – because for so many seasons it seemed like this show was always in danger. It’s nice to see a show go out on its own terms. It’s just another way that the television landscape is changing.

This week, I have to apologize for playing a bit of catch up with the show and giving a quick shout out to two pretty good episodes. “Peace of Mind” was written by the team of Meghan Fitzmartin and Steve Yocky and was directed by Phil Sgriccia. Fitzmartin moves up from executive assistant to Andrew Dabb. I liked how the title captured both threads of the episode – Sam (Jared Padalecki) seeking some peace of mind after the traumatic events that saw the death of Maggie and the other hunters and Dean (Jensen Ackles) taking Jack (Alexander Calvert) to see Donatello (Keith Szarabajka) to get some peace of mind over Jack’s state of mind – or at least the state of his soul.

The episode starts with the usual teaser as Conrad (Camden Fitness) runs down Main Street of Charming Acres – past the cinema which is showing a Scooby Doo matinee – nice shout out to Scoobynatural! Conrad says goodbye to Sunny (Caitlin Ashley-Thompson) before running into the nearest convenience store where his head explodes spectacularly a la Scanners! It’s a great effect. I loved Griffin’s (Daniel Kai Lin) “Dude? Do you need help?”

Cas (Misha Collins) checks in on Jack, who is caring for the snake. Jack is worried about it not feeling well. Cas points out that both the snake and Jack have been through a lot of changes lately. Jack has his powers back and he tells Cas that he feels different now. Jack can’t answer when Cas wants to know how much of his soul he had to burn off to kill Michael – and he tells Cas that he tries not to think about it.

Cas and Dean compare notes on Jack and Dean. Sam says he’s coping, and Dean declares that both Sam and Jack are full of crap – they both are clearly not fine. Sam finds another case, and Dean insists that he wants some time off. Cas volunteers to go with Sam, and because Jack looks up to Dean and Dean has dealt with Sam being soulless, Cas thinks Dean will have better luck with Jack.

Sam and Cas discuss the possibilities behind an exploding head – a witch or a demon probably. Cas tries to get Sam to agree to take a rest after this case when it’s clear that Sam is exhausted, but Sam insists they can’t rest – there are a lot fewer hunters now – and clearly, Sam feels guilt over that. It’s also hilarious when Griffin says that Conrad went all Scanners – and Cas wants to know Scanners one, two, or three! Griffin points them in the direction of Charming Acres, which Cas likens to stepping into the Saturday Evening Post – which he reads when everyone else is sleeping because he finds them soothing.

Cas suggests calling Dean, but there’s no cell signal. They meet Justin (Guy Christie) and Cindy (Kimberley Shoniker) Smith, and Justin becomes very interested in Sam’s cell phone – and they recommend that they try the milkshakes at Harrington’s. Big kudos as always to the care that went into these sets and props – amazing attention to detail. Sunny gives them their first milkshake for free. Sam loves it – but Cas doesn’t eat. They also meet Chip Harrington (Bill Dow) – who is also the mayor.

I loved Cas describing Conrad’s death! His head exploded like a ripe melon on the sun! Cas defends it as an apt metaphor. Chip sends them to Dowlings where Conrad was staying. Ms Dowling (Gigi Jackman) is adamant about only renting to young men – and Sam distracts her by asking for coffee while Cas searches the room and finds love letters from Sunny. It’s never not funny when Padalecki holds a tiny china cup! He surprises Cas by wanting to put the case on hold and stay overnight. Meanwhile, Justin Smith suddenly remembers his old life because of the cell phone…. And his head explodes!

Jack is convinced the snake is sad, so he’s trying different foods. Dean is hilariously surprised by a couple of mice in a box – and suggests bacon. Because he likes bacon…. Dean also suggests a field trip and takes Jack and the snake to see Donatello. I loved the conversation between the two in the Impala. Dean lies that he always thought snakes were kind of cool – “Yellow Fever” taught us differently! Jack points out that most people are afraid of snakes. Dean points out that it’s not the snake you need to be afraid of – it’s the bite. And of course, the snake is a metaphor for Jack. It’s not Jack they need to be afraid of – it’s his power. It’s also a little on the nose when Jack has to choose between Devil’s Food Cake and Angel’s Food Cake – and of course, picks Angel’s. It’s also clear that Dean wants the chocolate one! Or maybe this is just a Dean test? Rather a silly one….

In the morning, Cas finds Sam gone – Ms Dowling tells him Sam went for a walk and a milkshake. At Harrington’s, Sunny tries to avoid answering, but then mentions what happened to Mr Smith. Cas goes to the Smith’s – and finds Sam, in a cardigan, convinced that he is Justin Smith. I loved everyone describing Sam as tall – and then Cas adding his beautiful hair into the description. Sam finally kicks Cas out for saying H-E – double hockey sticks!

Dean sends Jack in to talk to Donatello by himself and waits outside – as far from the snake as he can get. Jack asks Donatello how he lost his soul. Donatello tells Jack that Amarra ripped it out – it wasn’t his best day – nor his worst. Donatello compares himself to the universe – bright and shiny on the outside but on the inside – he’s a black hole. He’s empty. But he also points out that losing your soul doesn’t make you bad – it doesn’t make you anything. It’s an absence of pity, empathy, humanity. And of course coupled with unlimited power, lacking those things would be bad.

Jack says he doesn’t feel nothing, but he doesn’t feel the same – and he wonders if he just doesn’t know what nothing feels like. Mostly, he doesn’t want Dean, Sam, or Cas to worry. Donatello points out that family does worry. Jack says he just needs time to process. Donatello tells Jack that when he needs to “blend” he just thinks “what would Mr Rogers do?” – because he’s the best man he knows. Jack says that Sam and Dean are the best men that he knows. Donatello advises Jack that every time he doesn’t want them to worry, think “WWWD” – What Would the Winchesters Do? Jack affirms that he can do that.

Dean checks in with Donatello. He thinks that if he seems ok, he probably is. Donatello also points out that Jack is likely the most powerful being in the universe – who knows what’s going on in his head.

Cas goes back to Harrington’s to get answers from Sunny. He accuses her of being a witch – and then her father the Mayor shows up – and he has Sam with him. It turns out that it’s all the Mayor. He saw people weren’t happy and things started getting worse. He used his mind control to make sure everyone was happy. Chip can’t control either Sunny or Cas. We get another great Cas fight scene!

Sam comes after Cas and pins him. Cas tells Sam that he has to fight it – but Sam’s happy and doesn’t want to – I do wish Padalecki had spit his gum out before doing this scene. Cas also tells him that he knows what it’s like to lose your team – Sam can’t lose himself. Naturally, it’s the name of Dean that finally gets through to Sam. Sam and Cas then go after the Mayor – but it’s Sunny’s power that ultimately stops him. Sunny traps him in his own mind – in a beautiful world where he can never hurt anyone again.

Back at the Bunker, Sam admits to Dean that he can’t keep running. The Bunker is their home, even if he does see all the dead hunters there right now. He tells Dean that he just needs some time.

Cas watches as Jack destroys the snake. Jack’s reasoning is that the snake won’t be happy until it is reunited with its friend in heaven. He seems to feel that it’s what Sam and Dean would do. And will that in fact be a bit of foreshadowing as to what they will have to do to Jack? Padalecki and Calvert get shout outs for terrific performances in this episode.

“Don’t Go Into the Woods” was written by the team of Davy Perez and Nick Vaught and was directed by John Fitzpatrick, who moves behind the camera from Editing. I have to admit that I wasn’t impressed with this episode on first watch and only really appreciated it in hindsight when looking at the entire episode. Each of the story threads examine the consequences of lying or telling the truth. I was quite disappointed in the monster of the week as the Kohonta was really just the Wendigo tweaked slightly.

The episode begins with two kids necking in a car and creepy whistling happening in the nearby woods. The two are interrupted by the arrival of sulky Tom’s (Phillip Lewitski) dad, Sheriff Mason – played by Adam Beach – it was great to see him as a guest star. As the two fight, Barbara (Paige Shaw) goes to the washroom and is taken and killed by the Kononta. Naturally, it’s Tom who finds her.

Sam comes across the case and assures Dean that he’s good to go. Cas has gone off on his own with an excuse to Dean that he was feeling cooped up. Sam suggests taking Jack, but Dean doesn’t want to – he’s nervous about Jack’s control of his powers. When they tell Jack they’re going and he’s not, Dean lies and tells Jack that they need him to stay back and look after the Bunker – and go shopping. Jack is happy to do it.

When Sam and Dean arrive in Iowa, the Sheriff isn’t happy to see them. He lies and tells them that Barbara was attacked by a coyote. He’s reluctant to let them examine the body but knows that he has no choice. It’s clear that it wasn’t a coyote attack.

In town, Jack finds the store closed and Max (Skylar Radzion), Stacy (Zenia Marshall), and Eliot (Cory Gruter-Andrew) show up. Eliot has become obsessed with the Ghostfacers – and it was a lot of fun getting to see them again. Clearly, their stuff is still up on the web! When Eliot asks Jack if Sam and Dean are off hunting ghosts, Jack asks “what’s a ghost?” – lying very badly indeed! Max tells Jack that it’s ok, Sam and Dean told them about the whole hunter thing. Jack admits that he doesn’t like lying – it makes his stomach hurt. It turns out that Stacy works at the store and has the keys.

Tom comes to his father and wants to talk to Barbara’s parents. His father tells him it’s not a good idea – they’re grieving and just need time – they all just need some time. Tom is adamant about Barbara’s death being his fault. Tom is determined to do something, so he decides to go after the coyote that his father insists is behind the killings.

I loved that Jack’s shopping list clearly included pie – in addition to beer twice. Eliot asks Jack if he’s heard of the Ghostfacers – he has not. Eliot is obsessed with monsters, and Jack is happy to share. Max asks if Jack ever gets to hang out with kids his own age, and before he thinks about it, he blurts out that he’s two – and then awkwardly amends it to 22. Stacy invites him to hang out with them, and Jack accepts.

It doesn’t take Sam long to come up with the Kohonta. Meanwhile, two more people are attacked in the woods. It was a really good and pretty creepy effect as the Kohonto emerged from the woods. He was a bit too swamp thing up close, but still a pretty good monster. When Fitz (Shaquan Lewis) goes missing, a search party is sent out, but the Sheriff shows up and shuts the whole thing down. He even forbids Dean and Sam from going in to check out a lead from Sara (Kimi Alexander).

Jack turns up at the cabin. He doesn’t recognize their music because he only gets to listen to Dean’s music – and Max deems Dean and his music “old.” It’s hilarious when Jack asks what the “SAT” is. Max just assumes that Jack was home schooled. Jack tells them the truth about demons, which freaks them out – but then they’re impressed with he tells them that he’s killed one.

Jack shows them the angel blade when Max wants to know how he killed a demon. Of course, when Jack goes to impress them by throwing the angel blade, he sucks at it until he uses his power. They’re impressed then. Eliot wants to know if he’s a Jedi, and Jack happily says kinda. Stacy has the good sense to be freaked out by Jack’s power. Eventually, they are all freaked out, and then Stacy steps into the path of the angel blade and is stabbed. Jack heals her but it just freaks them out more.

Sam and Dean head into the woods – they know the Sheriff is afraid – and lying. And the Sheriff gets the drop on them. When they ask if he knows the word Kohonta, the Sheriff lies… again. Dean and Sam tell the Sheriff the truth about who they are and what they do. This encourages the Sheriff to tell them the truth about the Parkers.

When Dean and Sam tell the Sheriff that they hunt monsters and that werewolves etc are real, the Sheriff wants to know why they don’t tell people to give them a chance to fight back. Dean tells him that a lot of people won’t believe them. The Sheriff says why not put it on YouTube – imagine the lives you could save. But Sam chimes in. It doesn’t work like that. People die – even when they do know how to fight.

When Tom goes into the woods after the coyote, the Sheriff blames himself for lying to Tom about the coyote. The Sheriff knows how to kill it – silver blade through the heart – and Sam just happens to have one – of course!

The three arrive in the nick of time to save Tom and Dean and the Sheriff work together to stab the Kohonto through the heart. I loved the monster melting – great effect! But I thought it was more Wicked Witch of the West than Raiders… Later the Sheriff admits he didn’t know what to tell Tom. Sam suggests he owes his son the truth.

Sam is angry with Dean for not telling Jack the truth. Dean insists that Jack said he was fine and that telling him the truth wouldn’t do him any good. Sam points out that Jack is just a kid – and then reminds Dean that when they were kids they’d tell John they were fine because they thought that’s what he wanted to hear.

When they get back to the Bunker, Jack is back at the books. He asks how the hunt was – Dean tells him disgusting. Jack tells them he got all the supplies – except the beer because he didn’t have ID. Dean points out that Jack has tons of ID – and Jack replies that they’re all fake! Ah. Truth and lies again! Sam starts a conversation about Jack’s powers.

         They tell him that they were worried about him using his power – at least for now. And of course, Jack proved that he still can’t use his powers without pretty severe consequences. Dean semi-apologizes and says that they didn’t tell him the truth to spare his feeling but because they care about him, they owe him the truth. And then, like any teenager, Jack lies to them about what happened while they were away. He promises not to use his powers without permission. And Jack is much better about lying to them – maybe taking WWWD into consideration…

What did you think of the episodes? Should Jack have told the truth? Is it a sign that he’s lost his soul or is it an indication that he still has it? Is it right to lie to protect someone? Should Dean and Sam have lied to the kids in Lebanon? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! And jump in if you’re just looking for a prayer circle about the end being in sight for this amazing show…

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