I’ll start by apologising for being so late with this review, but as many of you know, I was at the All Hell Breaks Loose convention in Melbourne this past weekend, and have only just had the time to focus on the episode! Though I did watch it straight away, in a fangirl mosh on Jules’ (of Superwiki fame) couch, along with our friends Kate and Megan. I don’t often get to watch the show with other people, so I always appreciate it when I do! I then spent the weekend hugging the holy hell out of fangirls and actors alike! As I tend to do! So, sorry I was late…but you know…I was a tad Jenstracted! And by a tad I mean completely and utterly *sighs contentedly*
“Twigs and Twine and Tasha Banes” was directed by Richard Speight Jr., who is one of my favourite humans. I got the chance to tell him personally how much I enjoyed the episode, and his other episode this season, “Stuck in the Middle (With You)”. He’s had 3 cracker scripts to direct so far, for which he feels super lucky - but let’s face it, he’s done a bang up job on each, putting a lot of thought and attention to detail in each one. His action and fight sequences in particular are super exciting to watch, and you can see the care he puts into the work. He knows this show, he knows these characters, and he knows and loves the crew and the actors, and all of that shines out of the screen. I’m happy to report he said he’d be back directing again next season, so….YAY! He really is such a good guy, it’s great see him knocking it out of the park.
I enjoyed the hell out “Twigs and Twine and Tasha Banes”. It was creepy - like horror movie creepy and gut wrenchingly painful, as Supernatural tends to be. There were definitely a few vocalisations as I was watching, resembling gasps and moans and stifled sobs - because lordy, that was sad!
The two storylines, that of the brothers and the witch twins, Max and Alicia, and Ketch and Mary ran seamlessly side by side and were both as engrossing, and as troubling as each other! We got some great brother moments, from enlightening conversations, to small nods and gestures that remind us how well the boys silently communicate. There were some nice sibling/family parallels and some good mum themes going on, which have both been powerful anchors throughout this season.
At All Hell Breaks Loose, I had a 20 minute meet and greet with the boys, which was super awesome. There were lots of cool questions and some fun Fantales trivia! I asked the first question and got to talk to Jensen and Jared about the brothers and where we find them this season. I asked them if the physical closeness that we have been seeing in Sam and Dean - like how they sit/stand shoulder to shoulder when confronting someone that they feel in opposition to - alongside the “we”and “us” language that has peppered through scenes, was 100% scripted or any of it was their adds, because the brothers seem so damn tight this season. Jared answered me saying that they agreed. He and Jensen (“he and I”), talk about where the brothers are in season 12 and love it. Jared complimented Andrew Dabb big time for this. Big time. “Andrew Dabb, right? We love it.” He said both he and Jensen (Jensen was sitting next to him, listening and nodding by the way), are super happy with how the brothers are in season 12, because it’s what they originally saw in the story that they found so attractive. I said yep, I loved it, and particularly the small things that showed their unity, and Jared said, they agreed and that some of it is scripted and some of it comes from them, and how they’ve discussed Sam and Dean and where the brothers find themselves in a particular scene. I said it was interesting that it felt so pronounced, this us and them, just the two of them against the world thing, particularly as their mother was now back on the scene, and Jared said that they thought it was more pronounced because their mother is back on the scene, because the brothers have never had to interact with each other like they are now, as sons and brothers, not just the men they have become, this is a new situation for them, and that has added another layer to what we’re seeing. They are both dealing with these feelings that have come along with the reintroduction of Mary and they are dealing with it together, so it very much feels like they are alone in this thing. It was great to get their insight into what has been one of my favourite aspects of season 12, and great to hear them talk about how much they are enjoying that too.
We kicked off the episode, pretty much where we left off, with Sam and Dean trying to figure out what the hell went down the night before, with Cas and Kelly and Lucifer’s brewing baby, and them finding themselves angel whammied! It was interesting to hear Dean talk about looking into Cas’ eyes and not recognising the guy looking back, which certainly suggests what we’re all thinking, that Cas is under the power of the Nephilim. What I thought was also pretty cool was hearing Dean saying that he’s always understood Cas’ misfires in the past because they’ve always come from a place of wanting to do the right thing. There has been such an overwhelming sense of understanding and forgiveness between not just the boys, but also between the boys and Cas over the past season or so. It’s nice to feel like their old transgressions will not be thrown up into each other’s faces anymore! And who didn’t squeal when we found out that the Colt is alive and…well, not really alive, in pieces, but still in the possession of the brothers! Woohoo! I wonder if they’ll be able to fix it? If it was just any old gun, either one of them could reconstruct it - we’ve seen Dean taking apart guns and putting them back together again, many times over, but this is a bit more than just any old gun… A least it’s with them, where it belongs!
Like I said earlier, the show loves a good parallel and we saw a lot of mirroring with the relationship between the twins, and between the twins and their mother. When we first met the witch twins, Max and Alicia, I think fandom as a whole took to them. Apart from them being outrageously beautiful and totally sassy, their tight bond reminded us of a couple of brothers we know and love with wild abandon. Even though the witches are hunters, their lives were quite different to the boys. There is a close bond between not just them, but also with their mother. They were raised in a loving family. The Winchesters, of course, were raised without a mother, and their father, though he undoubtedly loved them, raised them as warriors.
We can see Dean, wistfully watching the witch twins and their mum, witnessing what could have been Sam and Dean’s life had their situation been different. I think this wistfulness is probably even front and centre due to the fact that Mary Winchester is back, and absolutely nothing like either of her sons had envisioned, fantasised about, wished for, or anything. When both the brothers are asked separately about Mary, they both say the same thing in a different way. Alicia had earlier suggested to Sam that Mary wasn’t a hugger and Sam sadly agrees…a great hunter, not much of a hugger, she vanishes when she gets into a case. Dean says that his relationship with his mother is “complicated”. This is after earlier in the episode, when we saw him leave a plaintive request to his mum to call him, because stuff had gone down, he was a little spun out and he needed to talk to her. This phone call was such a powerful callback to the season 1 episode “Home”, when Dean called his dad for help, leaving a tearful message on John’s phone. His message to Mary broke my heart, it’s a lot for Dean to allow himself to be so vulnerable, especially now with the man he's become, it takes a lot for him to allow that side of himself to be seen.
There is a parallel between Sam and Alicia, and between Dean and Max. Alicia feels out of the loop with Max and her mum, they have magic, they have that thing that bonds them in a different way, Alicia is not a natural witch like them. Sam of course, did not have the same passion for hunting that Dean and John did, hunting was definitely their thing, and he has spoken many times how he felt out of sync with them.
In that way, Dean and Max are also aligned, Max and his mum, just as Dean was with his dad, and also in the final act that Max carries out when he reanimates (for want of a better term), his sister. Like Dean said in the car to Sam, they’ve done terrible things to save each other. Dean in particular has done things to ensure Sam lives that he knows in his heart is not right, and that Sam would never agree to. But he cannot live without Sam, just as Max cannot live without Alicia. Sam and Dean understand how far their will go for family - all the way, and we see this in Max too.
In addition to these parallels we also have Tasha, a mother to two hunters who is still doing the job, just as Mary is. Tasha dies doing the job. Is this some kind of foreshadowing?
And while the boys are struggling with a desperately tragic situation - lord, their faces as they were trying to protect Max from seeing his dead mum, how they could barely look at his grief, understanding it all too well - Mary is fighting Ketch, and discovering that there’s something stinky going with the BMoL. FINALLY! Good lord. She discovers Mick’s dead, Ketch is actually a barbaric, cruel torturer and the BMoL are tracking the American hunters…including her boys, who have been bugged. FINALLLLLLLLY! YAY! And she kicks some serious ass, even if she does end up getting tasered. Yes Ketch, Enochian brass knuckles are brass knuckles….ooooo straight in the gooleys! Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy…unless it was Lady Bevel whose nasty ass returns with that damn note book of hers!
“Twigs and Twine and Tasha Banes” was a super sad emotional rollercoaster, and a cool, action packed episode. Another episode with great brother moments, some nice conversations - including an Impala D&M - and powerful recognition of the confusion and disappointment both brothers feel in regard to their relationship with Mary, even if it wasn’t said implicitly, it was most certainly felt, as was a definite sense of impending doom! Everyone did a great job with the heavy emotions playing out, especially Kendrick Sampson who was completely heartbreaking as Max. I was happy to see Sammy getting some sleep, and Dean getting a much needed heartfelt message from their mum, followed by that Houston we have a problem message! I’m glad that Alicia ended up getting brought back to life, even if she’s built of twigs and twine, her heart is there, along with her memories….and I think, with another season (at least) on the cards, we may well see the ramifications of that decision by Max, for both him and her. It reminded me so much of when Sam was possessed by Gadreel, and how Dean tried to ignore it, but it was always there…something always reminding him that Sam was not entirely Sam.
So onwards we go to the season finale! Woohoo (except for the terror and the horrid hellatus awaiting us). At least Mary is now in the picture more about those people she put her trust in (I could say instead of her sons…). The storylines are now due to intersect as is usually the way around this time, and I’m sure we’ll all end up fighting on the same side, by all I mean Team Free Will will ride again (yes, I’ve seen the promo pics). I’m looking forward to the BMoL going down and being sent back to Old Blighty quite frankly!
Thanks for reading and being patient. I can’t promise when I will have the next review up…but I’ll try to do it as soon as I can.