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Roundtable Discussion on Supernatural 12×2 “Mamma Mia”

We’re back with another Supernatural Roundtable. This time discussing episode 12x 2, “Mamma Mia” written by Eugenie Ross-Leming and Brad Buckner. Thomas J. Wright directed it. Joining the roundtable are Debbi Bach, Emy Cee, Michele Villery, Kelly Silva, Jackie Bojarski and Sam Pedley. As always we welcome feedback, feel free to leave them in the comments section.  Here are this week’s topics.

 

Sam: 

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Michele: Sam is beyond strong. Both mentally and physically. Jared Padalecki showed that so well in both the season premiere and in this episode. Toni figured that if she couldn’t torture him physically, why not try to manipulate him mentally to get what she wanted? They did say in the premiere, “If you can’t break him physically, break his mind.” As controversial as this scene was, it showed just how far Toni would go to get what she wants. She is evil, vile and it demonstrated that. I do hope that eventually, she dies at the hands of one or both Winchesters for what she’s done. That being said, the actress Elizabeth Blackmore is doing a fantastic job as Lady Toni. She’s the one to hate right now, which means she is doing her job. I do hope, though, that this is the end of Sam being tortured and I hope he tells his mother and brother what happened to him. He’s gotten enough of it over the years.

Also, are they ever going to have Sam get his anti-possession tattoo back?

I did love the scenes with Sam and his mom. Jared was great in these scenes. Sam’s inflections changed completely upon seeing his mom.  From the tone of his voice to his admiring glance, Sam was mesmerized at the site of his mother. Sam in the present day has never met this version of his mother. There was so much both of them wanted to say, but didn’t. Hopefully, after this, we see more interaction between them. Both have a sense of guilt for what has happened to them.

Debbi: Jared Padalecki is just completely amazing, again. The range of emotions that Sam went through was extreme.  He was all soft in his hallucination and yet smart enough to realize that he was being played by Toni. He was still a bad ass in regard to his torture and then, of course, gob-smacked by seeing Dean alive and then completely stunned by seeing Mary.

Sam is still without his anti-possession tattoo; you have to wonder if that is going to end up being a factor at some point this season or if perhaps Sam and Mary will have a little bonding time as they both get their tattoos.  Of course, it is possible that Sam has one elsewhere on his body, but I think we can safely infer that he has yet to have his replaced.

Jared can do it all and then some.  Sam’s interaction with Mary was pretty dead on – of course, he doesn’t know how to interact with her, the only mother he’s ever known is Dean, and that’s an entirely different kettle of fish.  The hug between them at the end of the episode was sweet.  It will be interesting to see how that relationship develops.

Sam: Sam’s torture last week was actually difficult to stomach, let alone watch. This week was even worse, with the added mental rape at the hands of this Men of Letters hag. What the hell was that? Was it even acknowledged that her interrogation tactic was disgusting and wrong? I must have missed it in my anger. I was already elsewhere in my head, trying to get away from this particular writing development.

I also feel like I missed several pivotal scenes somewhere, where Sam actually gave a crap about the fact that his brother was alive and with him after last season’s finale, because he didn’t really seem all that fazed. After the agony of last week, I was watching purely to see the brothers reunite – I felt after watching Sam endure that kind of horror, we deserved to see at least some relief. How anti-climatic to learn that wasn’t the case.

Kelly: The episode started with Sam hallucinating that he was in bed with Toni. I believe that Sam would rather endure both his feet being burned, then lose control of his mind.  When he became lucid, you could feel his pain and humiliation at giving Toni any information.  Sam looked so relieved to see Dean alive his entire demeanor changed.  When Mary appeared you could see Sam’s surprise and wonder. The scene at the end where Sam brought Mary the tea and John’s ledger was so moving. Kudos to Jared Padalecki.

Emycee: Where to begin with Sam. The opening scene of this episode took me by surprise, and not in a positive way. Sam has been tortured in the past, physically by demons, monsters, etc. He had his mind tested to the point of breaking by Lucifer. Being hurt isn’t necessarily new for Sam, however, Lady Toni’s method of torture using a sexual encounter is something I would never have imagined Sam having to go through. The Toni and Sam mind-control is reminiscent of Willow Rosenburg of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, using a spell on ex-girlfriend Tara to guise romance where in reality there was none. Ultimately this is seen as the ultimate betrayal- and this is exactly how I feel about Sam. To be clear, I understand why the scene went where it did. But what I am missing from the entire episode is the after-care. Sam, in my opinion, deserves to have someone tell him- that nothing about Toni was his fault, or at the very least, ask him- if he is okay. The reunion between Dean and Sam left everything to be desired, and I question the motivation behind the cavalier attitude everyone seemed to have upon rescuing Sam. For thinking his brother was dead, and he was alone- Sam’s rather monotone expression could be chalked up to shock. I’m curious to see if any of this is going to be discussed in a classic “BM scene” in the upcoming season.

Jackie: It broke my heart to watch Sam’s mind and body be attacked in this episode. After everything that Sam went through with Lucifer, I knew that he wouldn’t break due to what Toni was doing to him, but I was afraid that it would leave him with an even heavier burden to bear. The opening scene in which Toni created the illusion of a sexual encounter to manipulate him made me nauseous. Sexual assault has been a topic that has only marginally been addressed on the show, especially where Sam was concerned, so I wasn’t happy that the show decided to go this route, mostly because I knew there’d be little to no emotional follow-up. And I was right. The incident–in fact, everything that Sam went through due to Toni–was swept under the rug, much to my chagrin. Now, it could be that it’ll be brought up at a later date, but I doubt it.

Furthermore, I found the reunion scene between Sam and Dean to be very underwhelming. I expected more. I was, however, pleased that the writers gave us those scenes between Sam and Mary–and even addressed Mary’s sense of guilt regarding Sam. I hope this trend continues.

 

Mary and Dean:

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Michele:  Dean has always had these ideas about his mom and the way he perceived her. He is finding out that while he is happy she is back, he now has to worry about her as well. He can’t tell her what to do. There is a control issue. I think Dean is struggling between how he thought his mother was before he died and how she is really is. Mary isn’t a pushover. She’s a strong, capable mother who despite wanting a different life for both sons, now understands that this is the family business.

The dynamics have changed. I think he is happy to have her back in their lives, but it’s going to take some getting used to. Jensen conveyed that indecisiveness well in my opinion.

Debbi: Sam Smith and Jensen Ackles are really doing a great job of being glad to see each other while still being uncomfortable around one another.  It is natural that neither one of them know how to deal with the adult version of the other.  It is also natural for Dean to feel overprotective of his mom.  He’s carried an idealized version of her in his head for 33 years.  He’s found out since that she’s a hunter, but he’s never seen her act like a hunter and doesn’t know how skilled she is at the job.

Added to that is the fact that he’s functioned the majority of his life as the adult in the family.  Taking care of Sam and even taking care of John on occasion.  It is natural that Dean will feel awkward as he and Mary find their way into some type of relationship.  Will it end up being closer to mom and son or colleagues remains to be seen?  This kind of emotional upheaval isn’t something Dean deals with well that’s perhaps why he’s a little off his game in the search for Sam.  He told Mary he didn’t want to have to be worrying about her and he clearly was.  Of course, it is a good thing Mary was there in the long run, and I loved how Dean’s hunter reflexes kicked in as she threw him the keys.

Given time for the newness of Mary being around to wear off, I can see both Sam and Dean’s relationships with her becoming somewhat more normal and less of a hindrance.

Sam: The mother and son talking felt sort of natural because a ‘let’s-pick-up-where-we-left-off’ scenario wouldn’t be realistic. They’ve both been through too much for that. What doesn’t feel natural, however, is the fact that Dean, a guy we’ve been told time and time again is one of the best hunters around, hasn’t gotten any smarter. One of my greatest pet peeves in this show is the fact that both Sam and Dean consistently get their asses handed to them by creatures – or in this case, people – who don’t feel all that powerful, and then they win the fight by pure chance, or a lucky strike. It was old back in season 6, and it’s even more tedious now. And Dean being an alpha male and shouldering his mother aside, only to get outsmarted and have her save him two episodes in a row now is a little pathetic. We get it; Mary Winchester is a badass. But Dean is supposed to be a little a more than a testosterone driven four-year-old with a jonesing for pie. Seriously. Sure, show, write badass female heroines that you will inevitably kill off. But you don’t have to dumb down what are supposed to be your male heroes in order to do it. Jeez.

And don’t even get me started on the Mary/Men of Letters hag fight. That was a poor attempt by the stunt team, director, and editor. What a predictable mess.

Kelly: Last week I predicted that Dean would struggle with the return of Mary.  I think he is having an identity crisis, which is leading him to act very un-Dean-like.  At the start of the episode, he even tried to talk to Cas about the situation.  Since Dean was four years old, he’s been a brother, mother, and even father to Sam.  With the return of Mary, Dean’s place in the family has shifted.  The scenes at the end of the episode where Dean was emotional eating the pie was very telling. Here he was sitting between Sam and Mary just shoveling the pie in while Sam’s eyes were shining at the sight of his mother.  Dean seemed out of place. It seemed like he was trying to sort out what was happening at the end when he was drinking and going through his old photos of his family.

Mary is still struggling with her return from the dead, and I really enjoy her scenes with Dean and Sam.  I was so happy that she brought up the fact that she made the original deal with Yellow Eyes and that she was nervous to face Sam.  Throughout the series, Sam has been the fall guy but really it was Mary’s actions that started everything in motion.

Emycee: Mary wanting to call the Internet is probably going to be one of the most quotable moments of this season. I have been impressed with the blunt, but open communication between Mary and Dean thus far. As I said with Sam, I wonder if both of them are going to be discussing how to kill Toni. And how to kill her quickly. I might be trying to TULPA that discussion.

Jackie: I think I mentioned this before, but I really wish Dean wouldn’t treat his mother like a fragile flower. I get that he’s afraid that she will get hurt or that he’ll lose her again, but she’s a hunter as well as an adult. I think it’ll just take some time for them to find their balance. Dean was overprotective of Sam at the start too, but he’s gotten better at recognizing that Sam can take care of himself so I expect we will see that growth with Dean and Mary too.

As a side note, I just want to say that I love Samantha Smith as Mary and am very pleased that she is back on the show!

 

Lucifer:

Supernatural -- "Mamma Mia" -- SN1202a_0024.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Woody Jeffreys as Tommy and Rick Springfield as Vince Vincente -- Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Michele: Enter RICK SPRINGFIELD!! I had a feeling Rick would knock it out of the park, and I wasn’t disappointed. He played Lucifer as the evil badass he is with his own spin. Vince’s origins of Lucifer taking over his vessel was eerily similar to how Nick became Lucifer’s vessel in Season 5. Both started with a loss of some sort. Loss of a spouse and a dying career. With this new vessel, let’s see how far Lucifer goes in his quest to fight Crowley for the King of Hell crown before he gets sent back into The Cage.

Debbi: I loved Lucifer, but I have loved him every single time that he’s been on the screen regardless of the meat suit he was wearing.  Lucifer is a petulant child, and master strategist all wrapped up in one package and you never quite know which version you will be dealing with at any given time.  His interactions with both Crowley and Rowena were perfect.  He had just the right amounts of snark and threat.

Having Luci wear an ‘aging rock star’ in this iteration is perfect casting.  Lucifer has always wanted to be the favorite, always wanted to be in the limelight and what better way than as a rock-god.  I thought Rick Springfield did a very credible job bring Lucifer to life.  He was a scary presence, and I loved the reminder that Lucifer is an angel – an archangel at that – rather than a demon.  Hope we see more of this Lucifer this season.

Sam: The special effects when he repaired his half burned off face looked decent. The actor in that particular moment had a good amount of scary oomph too.

Kelly: I thought that Rick Springfield was a very creepy and scary as Lucifer. I’m looking forward to seeing his storyline develop.  I also want to mention it was awesome to see Lucifers wings. I tend to forget he is a falling angel.

Emycee: Hands down, Lucifer was the best part of this episode. I was extremely impressed with Rick Springfield’s portrayal; also the entrance of Luci this time around was awesome. The VFX were amazing. Can I shout out Alexandre Boucher (@bouchandre) for the amazing Melting Lucifer? I’m so excited to see where Lucifer is going.

Jackie: I was impressed with Rick Springfield’s Lucifer in this episode. He captured that silky evil aspect of Lucifer very well, in my opinion. I will admit that I was a little worried when I heard that he was going to be taking on that role–only because I was so used to Mark Pellegrino’s Lucifer and tended to favor that version–but this episode assuaged my concerns. I can’t wait to see what else he does with the role!

 

Crowley and Rowena:

Michele: Ruth Connell and Mark Sheppard are so great together. They are a delight to watch. It looks like Rowena has found a new boyfriend in a mogul played by famous Vancouver actor Locklyn Munro. And just when she thinks she has him, enter her son Crowley who needs her help in getting Lucifer back into The Cage. Rowena looks like she’s attempting to turn over a new leaf after last season’s antics. But let’s face it, it’s Rowena. So she reluctantly helps the son she loves to hate, but it backfires for now. I’m sure Rowena and Crowley with maybe some help from Cas will eventually find a way to stop Lucifer once and for all.

Debbi: These two are magic whenever they are playing against one another.  Mark and Ruth portray a contentious mother/son relationship to perfection.  Crowley’s sarcasm which is witty as heck, has met its match in his mother.  The way she says his name “Fergus” reeks of contempt and hatred.  His “mother” in reply is equally as contemptuous – it takes a great deal of skill to pour so much emotion into one word.  You have to wonder why all of their combined schemes to take hell fail….

Kelly: Honestly, I could watch these two all day.  They both know how to push each other’s buttons, and it’s very entertaining to watch.

Emycee: While Crowley and Rowena were not in a much of the episode I appreciated their banter, which is always on point. Honestly, they provided more of a welcomed relief this episode, instead of heavy plot.

Jackie: I always love watching Mark Sheppard and Ruthie Cornell on screen together because they have such a unique chemistry. As far as their characters go, I’m unsure of where the writers are going with them. I think we’re going to see Rowena become an unwilling accomplice to Lucifer, but will Crowley try to help her? My prediction is that he will and that it’ll change their relationship, perhaps make it more positive.

 

Cas:

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Michele: Cas was helping in the search for Sam while also helping Dean trying to figure out things between him and his mom. But where did Cas disappear to after helping Dean get into the warded home where Toni held Sam?? Joining the hunt for Lucifer I hope? It just was awkward and bizarre that he was just gone.

Debbi: Castiel’s own issues with assimilating with the human race are actually a great parallel for Mary’s interaction with her sons.  I love that he is trying so hard to give advice to both Dean and to Mary for working through their awkwardness.  Of course, he is completely obvious when trying to be surreptitious, but he wouldn’t be Cas if he wasn’t.

I’d like to know just what abilities Cas still possesses and what abilities are still offline.  I know we saw his very broken wings last year when he found his grace, but surely angels can heal and if they don’t, it would be kind of cool to know why they don’t.  Cas is driving that truck he stole so he can no longer teleport, but Sam, Dean and Mary all appeared to be healed from their various wounds once they were back in the bunker.  I don’t mind if Cas’s abilities are diminished, I’d just like to know the new rules of engagement for him.

Kelly: I’m waiting for Cas to find his footing.  He wasn’t really in this episode too much. It would have been nice to see him heal the brothers and maybe be with them in the bunker.

Emycee: Oh, Cas. While Cas hiding in the trees was frankly, an amazing GIF, I am antsy waiting for him to use start kicking some ass. Cas is getting what it means to be human, and I appreciated the advice he gave Dean. Humans do tend to make things more complicated. I am very happy that Dean has someone he can call, both Winchesters rely on each other so much, it is good to see them utilizing the support system they have in Cas. And hopefully now Mary. There isn’t a lot plotwise I can say about Cas, since he wasn’t a heavy character in this episode.

Jackie: Cas doesn’t really have a storyline yet and has returned to being the awkward angel that he was in past seasons. Frankly, Cas has been on Earth long enough that he shouldn’t be this stymied by Earthly things, like headlines and newspapers. I really hope that he gets his mojo back soon and that the writers give him an intriguing role to play this season

 

Predictions:  

Michele: Now that Sam is back, and the boys are with their mother. All three have to re-learn how to have a relationship with each other. They are practically strangers to her and vice versa. I’m sure there will be more power struggles and adjustments, but it’ll be interesting to watch. I honestly have no idea what will happen next week.

I do wonder about Mick of the UK MOL. He’s a mysterious guy that clearly has pull over Toni. I’m sure we haven’t heard the last of them.  They seem to have it out for the Winchesters.

Debbi: Further tensions and some strife over Mary’s return.  Dean is clearly unhappy to have her along on hunts (at least for the time being) and is also clearly unsure how to interact with his mom.  I could see there being an argument over what’s best for Sam at some point, which would create further tension between the three of them.

I’d like to see what Mary thinks of John once she’s read through his journal.  I don’t think she’ll end up denouncing him or anything, but I could see her being disappointed in his treatment of the boys at certain times.  Who knows, though, maybe she’ll agree with everything and praise him for the good job he did preparing the boys to hunt.

It is clear that the UK MOL will continue to plague the Winchesters and I am interested to see where this story line goes.  It seems to me that they are perhaps playing with things they shouldn’t be in terms of spells and magically enhanced items.  I’d like to see if there are any rules around that in the MOL charters.

Kelly: I think the Winchesters will start to adjust to Mary being back.  I also believe that the next time the British Men of Letters show up the boys will be prepared for them.  Lucifer will continue cause havoc.

Emycee: Now that Sammy is back home, clearly the focus is going to be on Lucifer. I predict that in searching for him, they are at some point going to team up with the BMOL, however, I really am hoping that Toni isn’t going to be a large part in that. Again, to reference Buffy, the BMOL sound like they have a council, much like The Watcher’s Council Giles had to answer to. Toni deserves to be reprimanded for her actions, and I’m a tad bit bitter that Mary didn’t do that herself. There was mention of an ally, turned against TFW- I’m guessing that either Crowley/Rowena will get ideas with Lucifer, or a “reformed BMOL” will turn. It’s going to be a wild ride; that’s for sure!

Jackie: I think we’re going to see more of the British Men of Letters and that we’ll learn more about what their role is and how they came to be. I also think Crowley will have to go to Sam and Dean for help with Lucifer now that his mother has been captured, and that might get the Men of Letters involved too.

 

Overall Score:  

Michele: B-  For some very awkward plot stuff that wasn’t explained. But the acting was excellent by all. Especially by Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Sam Smith and Rick Springfield.

Debbi: I know that opinions on this episode have ranged all over the board.  People have made some very compelling arguments for and against various things that took place and I know feathers were ruffled.  All that said, I liked it.  Is it top 10 or even 50 – no, but it is not as bad as some comments would lead you to believe.  I give the episode a solid B for the great acting displayed by everyone and for our glimpse of shirtless! Sam.

Sam: I used to be an avid Supernatural fan and an active part of the fandom during seasons 1-5, but I’ve lost more and more interest as the seasons have passed. Instead, I tend to marathon episodes of interest right before a season finale to get caught up, and then hang on long enough to watch the next season’s premiere before giving it up all over again. Mary being back was an interesting curveball, but it’s lost all of its shiny potential just as quickly for me. I hate to be negative, because I wanted this show to remind me why I loved it in the first place, but all it has given me is the motivation to drop it for good. Out of 5? I’ll give it a 1 for effort. Sorry show, I’m tired. I hope one day you rediscover what makes you special so that when the time comes, you can go out swinging for your fans. All the best to you.

Kelly B-

Emycee: C, (mostly for some major character/continuity issues.)

Jackie: I’d give this episode a B.

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