A lot of TV episodes this week have been evoking that cheery family-oriented Christmas cheer in their storylines in anticipation of Dec. 25. For Supernatural, that meant that a lot of awkward family reunions and drowning of sorrows in dingy bars. “The Things We Left Behind” wasn’t exactly cheerful, but it was certainly heartfelt.
This show is no stranger to kids with daddy issues, but Claire Novak has got to take the cake in that department. As if having her dad body-napped by an angel wasn’t enough, Claire’s mother abandoned her to go and find herself, causing Claire to end up in the foster system. This girl has had it rough, so it’s no surprise that, when Castiel showed up at her group home, Claire was less than thrilled to see the angel who wears her father’s face again.
And get this! Castiel finally confirmed, once and for all, that Jimmy Novak is gone for good. Apparently when Castiel was reassembled after being destroyed by the archangel Michael, Jimmy didn’t survive the trip. I thought maybe some part of his human host was still hanging out in a corner of Cas’s head, although maybe that would have been worse. Who would be sane after riding around in Cas’s brain for the better part of a decade? So I guess Jimmy got lucky, but sheesh!
Claire noticed right away that this Castiel was different than the one who had requisitioned her father’s meat suit years before. That Castiel had been arrogant and self-righteous, literal in his interpretation of the rules and convinced his cause was just. But Castiel has changed a lot since then, especially now that he has chosen to remain on Earth. He is more humble now and more self-aware, which is what prompted him to seek Claire out in the first place.
That didn’t stop Claire from ditching him the minute she had a chance though. She clearly blames Castiel for her father’s death, and you know what? She’s kinda right you guys. I mean, when Cas first possessed Jimmy, he didn’t exactly have a long life expectancy, what with him being heavily involved in the war to stop the Apocalypse. It’s not like Cas borrowed Jimmy for a bit, intending to return him in one piece. It was never going to end well for Jimmy and we all know it. So as much as I felt for Castiel, as he obviously wanted to make amends with Claire, I appreciated the fact that the show was mature enough not to make it easy for him.
Speaking of making amends, Rowena was still languishing in Crowley’s dungeon. Clearly Crowley was not anxious to catch up with the mother who had abandoned him at the tender age of eight. Unsurprisingly, he was still holding a grudge centuries later. But this was the woman who raised the dastardly King of Hell, so I was fully expecting her to work around her son’s hatred for her. More on that later.
It was clear from the episode’s opening flashback that the Mark of Cain would be causing trouble soon. Castiel was the first to notice that Dean seemed preoccupied. At first Dean denied it, but then, in a measure of how worried he really is, Dean made Cas promise to take him out if he went dark side again, even if Cas has to go through Sam to do it. Not good you guys!
Meanwhile, Claire was clearly headed down a twisted path herself. She had fallen in with another former foster kid and an older man who was pushing her steal to pay off his gambling debts. What a creep! Fortunately, Cas stepped in before Claire could get herself into real trouble, but she wasn’t exactly grateful.
Back in Hell, Rowena managed to get into Crowley’s good graces with a bit of manipulation and a lot of lying through her teeth. I still wonder how much of Crowley is still human from the cure Sam gave him. Is part of him secretly hoping to mend fences with his mum? Or maybe it’s just Crowley keeping his enemies close. One thing is for sure, Rowena’s scheming is only just beginning.
Despite their advice to Cas about leaving Claire be, Sam and Dean didn’t hesitate to help in rescue Claire from the clutches of a very pervy loan shark. Cas and Sam managed to get Claire out of harm’s way, but when Dean stayed behind to hold off the bad guys, his Mark is triggered and he started murdering folk left and right.
- Is Claire Novak going to be hanging out with the boys for a while? That could be either very interesting or very annoying.
- Castiel has never been a good liar, so when he tried to pretend to be Claire’s dad, it was bound to have hilarious results. So the best quote of the episode goes to…
Castiel: “I fight certain deadly threats to humanity”
Claire: “He’s an exterminator.”
- One of my biggest Supernatural pet peeves is sandwiches. Yes, sandwiches. It breaks my heart when I see the boys eating sandwiches as if they were part of a balanced diet. Sandwiches are all good and well…as snacks! But come on guys! You have a full service kitchen and all you can make for dinner is a grilled cheese? Sad. And even sadder? How excited Dean looked when he saw it. Someone get these boys the Food Network!
- I always get a lump in my throat when Sam and Dean mention John Winchester. Nothing says impending holiday season like telling stories at a bar about the time your dad busted you at a New York nightclub when you were underaged. Feels!
- Guys, guess what? Guess what?! I peeked ahead and Charlie Bradbury is baaaack!!!! How’s that for an early Christmas present?
From the previews, though, things are going to get worse before they get better…
See you after Christmas!
Supernatural returns next year on January 20.