A new column at The Nerdy Girl Express is The Miller Twins Talk Supernatural Season 12. Here twins and The Nerdy Girl Express writers, Stacy Miller and Tracy Miller, will share their thoughts about the heroic Winchester boys, Sam and Dean (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles) as well as the many other wonderful characters on The CW’s longest running show. Will these twins agree on the characters and plot themes for each episode? Read below to find out.
Supernatural once again reached back into both its horror and canon with an intensely thought-provoking episode, “American Nightmare.” A religious theme was the foundation for an episode that also explored an important piece of Sam Winchester’s psychic past that hasn’t been addressed in years.
A young woman, Olivia Sanchez, entered a church with noticeable stigmata and appeared to be flayed. Olivia died from her wounds. It isn’t long before the Winchesters are on the case. Dusting off the priest collars they used way back in the Season 1 episode “Nightmare”, Fathers Penn and De Niro (aka Sam and Dean) interrogate a priest who told them that the victim was speaking in tongues. The Winchesters’ probe included their mainstay questions about black smoke and sulfur, clearly they’re pursuing the demon angle.
Sam and Dean talk about Castiel and Crowley new buddy adventure of hunting down Lucifer who now wears rocker Vince Vincente. Thanks so much boys for the concise recap of Castiel and Crowley’s storyline. Sam notes that Vincente wasn’t “horrible” (not exactly a ringing endorsement) while Dean considers Vincente a douche.
Since being priests didn’t yield as much useful information as they had hoped, the Winchesters go the federal agent route which give them access to the coroner and some alone time with Olivia’s body. They soon learn that Olivia’s brain became “gooey mush” and that her body exhibited signs of stigmata. Later,Sam and Dean questioned Olivia’s co-worker Beth who also happened to be a Wiccan. Dean equated Wiccan with witch and wondered whether Beth could have been working a grudge to get Olivia’s job. But when a grocery store clerk later died from the same injuries as Olivia, the boys aren’t really sure what they’re dealing with.
A subplot in this episode is Dean’s lingering anger about Mary leaving them while Sam contends that Mary needs time alone. I’ve always liked episodes that have Sam and Dean talking about their feelings. In addition to balancing their brother relationship with the unforgiving demands of hunting, I feel that Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles do their best work in these honest and emotional moments.
Sam and Dean pretend to be the new social workers assigned to replace Olivia as social workers on the Peterson case. The Petersons are a deeply religious family that strictly follow the Old Testament, isolate themselves (by living away from civilization) from what they feel are the materialistic leanings of society. The Petersons’ daughter died when they refused medical treatment for her. Mrs. Peterson asks the Winchesters if they know God to which Dean replies, “yes, we’re besties.” Despite the seriousness of this episode, I appreciate this sprinkle of humor that effectively captured Dean’s personality.
Sam is angry that Mrs. Peterson let her daughter die because she refused her daughter medical treatment. Sam believes Mrs. Peterson’s daughter is a ghost while Dean argues that a witch is involved. The brothers go in separate directions pursuing leads.
The twist is that the daughter, Magda, wasn’t dead after all. Mrs. Peterson had imprisoned Magda who she blamed for the deaths. Mrs. Peterson’s contention is that Magda has the devil inside of her. Consequently, Mrs. Peterson forced Magda to lash herself as well as to repeat over and over again the Aramaic words that Olivia was saying when she died. Mrs. Peterson felt this is the other way that Magda can cleanse the devil from her body. Later, Sam is captured and witnesses Magda move things with the power of her mind. He realizes that she is a psychic. Magda feels that she is evil because she was using her abilities to reach out to Olivia for help when Olivia died instead. Sam tells Magda that she is not evil but that she needs to learn how to control her powers. I was pleased to see this exploration of Sam’s psychic past. We know that being psychic and one of the Yellow-Eyed Demon’s “special children” was an ongoing fear for both Sam and Dean in early seasons. How often had Sam lamented the possibility of going “dark side”?
Mrs. Peterson poisons the food killing Mr. Peterson believing that the family’s deaths means that will enter Heaven together. Elijah is about to eat the food despite Sam’s pleas. But Magda uses her abilities to force the spoon out of her brother’s hand. When Mrs. Peterson accidentally stabs Elijah, Magda is controlling the knife that is precariously close to killing her mother, Sam pleas for Magda to control her power. “The power doesn’t control you, you control it.” Sam reminds Magda. This powerful scene was reminiscent of “Nightmare”when Sam tried to prevent Max Miller’s murderous intent. Jared Padalecki skillfully rose to the challenge of conveying both emotion and strength in this scene. Thankfully, Sam was more successful in reaching Madga then he had been with Max. Madga spares her mother’s life.
In the end, Mrs. Peterson is arrested and Beth arranged for Magda to live with an aunt. But there is no happily ever after for Magda when she is later killed by the mysterious motorcycle riding man tailing the Winchesters with the mission of cleaning up their messes.
“American Nightmare” was a solid episode. The Lucifer plot was put on hold this week to enable the story to begin (I believe) building towards an arc that will see Sam’s psychic past playing a huge part. Foreshadowing was alive and well. I don’t feel that the mention of Sam’s psychic powers was meant as a one shot episode contrivance. I’m excited to see how this point is further examined as the season progresses.
Supernatural does a great job in relating the case the Winchester brothers are investigating with something that they are going through or have gone through. In the latest episode “American Nightmare,” we got reminded of Sam’s past as a psychic through Magda, a young girl who was mentally and physically abused by her overly religious family who mistook her psychic abilities as the Devil doing his work through her. Magda was locked away while the world believed she had died. A parent’s job is to protect their child but instead the Petersons treated Magda as a living breathing blasphemy. Dean has said many times “Monsters I get, people are just crazy.” The fear that their daughter was evil drove this family to extreme, crazy actions. Mrs. Peterson was the biggest culprit as she forced her daughter to whip herself in order to beat the evil out of her. Even Madga herself started to believe it and said to Sam “I’m not Magda, I’m the Devil.” Paloma Kwiatkowski did an exceptional job in her portrayal of Magda. By looking into her eyes, we could feel Magda’s pain. She was a girl screaming for affection and understanding but all she got was a family that was terrified of her because she could do things that couldn’t be explained. So, they created the most logical (to them) explanation. And in doing so, alienated Magda from everyone around her. I found it interesting that the Petersons claimed to believe in God but chose to think the worst about their daughter. When Magda started showing her abilities, why couldn’t God have been speaking through her? Probably because heightened emotion (like anger) cause Magda to exhibit signs of violence and violence spelled evil, which spelled the Devil.
Viewers of Supernatural haven’t seen people with psychic abilities since the show killed off Azazel’s ‘Special Kids’ back in the Season 2 episode “All Hell Break Loose, Part One.” But could Magda have been one of the special kids that was missed? That was the first thing I thought, and I wonder whether anyone else thought the same thing.
Mrs. Peterson took her fear of Magda to a dangerous level. She decided that the best thing for her family was for all of them to die so they could enter Heaven together. But did that include Magda? If Mrs. Peterson believed her daughter was the Devil, and would probably go to Hell,did she intend to separate Magda from her family even in death?
Although he was unable to save father and brother Abraham and Elijah, Sam convinced Magda she wasn’t evil. “You control the power, the power doesn’t control you,” Sam told Magda. Jared Padalecki and Paloma Kwiatkowski had an amazing connection in these scenes. It was good to see that Sam’s words worked and saved the girl from going over the edge.
Meanwhile, Dean (Jensen Ackles) was still dealing with Mary’s decision to leave to have time to think. He was hurting as he thought his mother was walking away from them. The mother/child bond is the first one we experience in our lives it helps to shape who we become. Dean may have loss his mother at a young age but he never lost the bond he had with her. My favorite scene of the episode was Mary’s text to Dean reminding him of her love.
Not to take anything away from the characters of Castiel, Crowley and Rowena or the actors who play them (Misha Collins, Mark Sheppard and Ruth Connell) but for me an episode focusing just on Sam and Dean have always been a favorite of mine. They are the meat and potatoes of Supernatural’s evil fighting stew. That being said, I do wonder what Castiel could have offered to the case and the Peterson family as an angel. Could he have convinced Mrs. Peterson not to kill her family and saved Abraham and Elijah’s lives? We’ll never know.
“American Nightmare” was a well written episode. Davy Perez did a fabulous job combining all the right elements in a thought provoking script. His work captured everything fans have come to love about Supernatural and we look forward to seeing future episodes written by him.
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