The Miller Twins Talk Supernatural will be going on hiatus as my twin and writing partner Tracy Miller is unable to write the feature at this time. However, I couldn’t let an episode of Supernatural pass without sharing my thoughts on the series which seems to have gotten better with age, stepping up its game because of the continued talents of the actors and crew. Additionally, new writers Davy Perez (who I had the pleasure of interviewing recently), Meredith Glynn and Steve Yockey have really added a fresh perspective to the long running series while staying true to the characters and show.
This article contains spoilers so if you haven’t seen the episode “Celebrating The Life of Asa Fox” please do not continue reading.
The Supernatural episode titled “Celebrating The Life of Asa Fox” written by new Supernatural writer Steve Yockey captured everything fans and viewers love about the series. In addition to the return of favorite characters in the Supernatural universe Mary, Jody Mills and Reaper Billie, there were touching emotional moments, humor and danger.
When legendary hunter Asa Fox is murdered, Sam, Dean and Jody travel to Lake Manitoba, Canada to pay their respects. Dean is surprised when Mary, who left her sons for time to think and reflect, arrives. Mary explains that she knew Asa. In fact as the teaser of the episode showed, Mary had saved Asa when he was a boy back in 1980 from a werewolf. It was her final case as a hunter as she intended to devote her time to her family, husband John and baby Dean. As what often happens with children, they find a hero that they strive to be just like. Mary Winchester was that hero for Asa Fox. He learned all he could about the supernatural and spent his life as a hunter. He wrote postcards over the years to Mary but never sent them. I think this glimpse into the mind of Asa Fox as first as a boy then as a man made the character more real for viewers. After all, Asa Fox was a character created specifically for the episode. A throw-away line about Ellen mentioning him at The Road House wouldn’t have been enough for viewers of the episode to feel the loss of this man. It wasn’t like he was Bobby Singer, a hunter with a history on the show and a connection to Sam and Dean. So brilliant writer that he is, Steve Yockey gave him a Winchester connection in Mary. Additionally in taking this direction, we were able to see the impact that Mary had on a young boy’s life even though they only spent a brief time together. Asa was like Dean. Although Mary wasn’t physically present in his life as he was growing up, she shaped the man he became. And when Dean learned that Mary had travelled all the way to Lake Manitoba because of Asa, he expressed his anger as she had only been sending them periodic texts. Dean wasn’t the only person who resented Mary’s influence in Asa’s life. His mother Lorraine (Laurie Paton) blamed her for Asa giving up his dreams and becoming a hunter.
The meaning that Asa had for those in the hunter community was illustrated via supporting characters Elvis (Billy Wickman) and Bucky (Mac Brandt) as well as witch hunting twins Alicia (Kara Royer) and her brother Max (Kendrick Sampson). Bucky often told many stories about Asa’s adventures and the twins came to the wake because of the revelation that Asa Fox was their father. It was realistic to have something like a Wendigo Drinking Game at a hunter’s wake. People find comfort when they are grieving by remembering the good times shared with those they lost, that’s why a wake is often referred to as a celebration. Plus, hunters don’t need a reason to drink but at least they made it fun. I was amused that wendigo was chosen as the drinking game buzz word. But I guess if demon or vampire was chosen every last hunter in the room would have been passed out in a drunken stupor!
The returns of Mary, Jody and Billie (Samantha Smith, Kim Rhodes and Lisa Berry) weren’t merely a plot device based on Yockey saying to himself “Hey, the Supernatural fandom will be happy to have them back.” Although Supernatural may be primarily about guys, the women on the show are by no means the weaker sex. They are strong and determined. And Steve Yockey’s script kept with this idea. He used these three characters to move his narrative along. As I previously mentioned, Mary helped to show paralells between Dean and Asa based upon her influence in their lives. Having Jody, the other strong female figure in Sam and Dean’s lives, meet Mary helped to bridge the gap for Mary so she could see how well her boys were thought of as exceptional men. Mary doesn’t have any history with adult Sam and Dean but Jody does. Here’s hoping that Mary and Jody will have another opportunity to interact in future episodes. And speaking of Jody, let me just say that Kim Rhodes knocked it not only out of the park, but out of the stadium as a Crossroads Demon possessed Jody. She was eerily chilling. Who would have thought that Rhodes could wear villainy as well as she does heroism. In addition, what Crowley did as King of the Crossroads turned King of Hell, Billie (Lisa Berry) is doing for Reapers. Crossroad Demons (as we’ve seen) and Reapers aren’t exactly “best buds” with The Winchesters. But every time the charismatic Berry appears on Supernatural, viewers take notice and can barely contain their excitement. Her “You’re not the boss of me” line to Dean was perfect. Although Billie was helpful in getting Dean back into the house so he could battle the deadly Crossroad Demon, she makes sure he knows that she’s not there to help him. She’s just doing her job of collecting souls. When Billie offers Mary a deal of a peaceful existence in Heaven without pain or uncertainty, Lisa transformed the idea of Reapers into Angels of Mercy wanting souls to have peace. But Mary said “No deal” choosing to remain alive and with her boys, though I did get the impression through Samantha Smith’s acting that she wavered a bit.
I have always loved the Supernatural episodes were Sam and Dean are trapped in one location (like Croatoan’s clinic or Night Shifter’s bank) because we get to see that they use the survival skills that their dad taught them. I wish that some of the hunters who were Crossroad Demon chow had been able to show their survival skills though. And Bucky being the one who killed Asa and framing the Crossroad Demon was unexpected. But for as much as hunters have admiration for each other, they have jealousy as well.
Steve Yockey has shown that he has a tight grip on the genre and Supernatural. My only question now is when will we seen the next episode he’s written?