Supernatural Review: Family Ties

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This was a fantastic Supernatural outingm with major kudos to writer Adam Glass (who also wrote the Garth episodes "Party On, Garth" and "Southern Comfort") and director Serge Ladouceur (who has been the show's resident cinematographer).

It's nice to see a standout episode, especially one that showcases what the series is all about: the Winchester family, its dangerous monster hunting job and the monsters themselves, all while capturing a feeling of past, present and definitely a look to the future.

Granted, "As Time Goes By" was something of a time travel episode, but more so a filling in the blanks of the Winchester blood line.

Sam & Dean's Grandfather?

While we've been privy to Mary Winchester's family (most notably in Supernatural Season 6), John Winchester's side has been a little more mysterious.

Yet, John had always thought his father had abandoned him, essentially turning him into the hardened and monster focused hunter that raised Sam and Dean. Except truthfully, Henry Winchester had simply gone forward in time to stop a powerful Knight of Hell with tragic consequences.

I'm so glad that John was brought up again, and with such positivity. I've always felt like he'd gotten a bad rap as a father, but it was good seeing that both Sam and Dean recognized that he did everything he could. There was always more good than bad.

Really, the whole family history is rather tragic in that each person always tried to end up doing the right thing or protect the ones they loved, only to end up dead. The hunter's life is clearly a lonely one, one with plenty of strife, so the fact that Sam and Dean have managed to not only survive, but excel for this long, is a testament to their determination and their bond.

Now, if Henry had lived, would it have changed how John raised Sam and Dean? Maybe. Maybe not. If anything, Sam and Dean, even with their flaws, turned out more than okay.

Heck, they're legacies after all!

Which is actually an interesting concept that there used to be a sort of frat boy secret society focused on supernatural information. These so-called Yoda's to the hunter's jedi puts a neat spin on the lore.

It also makes Sam and Dean the culmination of brains and brawn, and a couple of brothers that are able to keep at it with the toughest of times.

I did think that perhaps Abaddon would be connected to Naomi and the angel conspiracy, being that she was from the past, but it looks as if she was a one and done type of villain.

But any type of mythology expanding from Lucifer's hand-picked baddies to the revelation of the Winchester bloodline always ends up being cool and a positive.

Gil McKinney was a great casting choice for Henry Winchester, and even though he looked similar in age, he felt and acted very much like Sam and Dean's grandfather. From his "who are you not calling" moment to explaining the past to the boys worked, it never felt campy or overdone.

It does make me wonder about his soul power skills and if Sam and Dean can use something similar, but it was great that they were able to cleverly defeat Abaddon with the devil's trap on the bullet in the meantime.

And while I wish that Henry might have survived or even stuck around longer, it also makes me wish John might return. Stranger things have happened on this show, right?

Of course, even with the family affairs taking place, Sam and Dean learned of another powerful item to fight for: all the supernatural lore, spells and information in one place.

Will they find it? And if so, what would they do with it?

With this fresh introduction as well as the tablets, it looks like Supernatural Season 8 is really focusing in on information control. I wonder if Crowley knows about all of this and what he might do?

What a great way to reel viewers back in and really capture the show's spirit, giving us some more excellent mythology and preparing Sam and Dean with a new quest.

What did you think? Did you enjoy Henry Winchester? Will Sam and Dean use the key? Sound off below!


Editor Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (148 Votes)

Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


@Dean Grimly Re-watch it if you can. Dean himself said he couldn't kill her when he chopped off her head. He said cutting her into strips and sealing each piece in separate blocks of cement would slow her down, but not kill her.


@Richard. Unfortunately Abaddon is dead, as Dean chopped her head off. Hopefully you are right, though. I would love to see her back.


This was the best episode of an overall very poor S8. Abaddon was terrific, and Henry was good, too. S8 needs to keep the interesting characters and stop the nonsense. Amelia was totally pointless to the show, and she took up way too much time. I am struggling to watch Kevin - I think he is miscast. The prophet should be able to read the tablets, so why can't he? I feel irritated by his whingeing, and I disliked the way his mother was a character (she shouldn't have been in it), or the witch, or Amelia's father or husband. Give us hunters, and MOL. Why can't we have another Pator Jim type hunter. Stop the Charlie and Garth rubbish. The LARPing episode was rubbish. Please, no more nonsense. Get to the Naomi story, this could be interesting. Love Cas and Benny.


@ Dean Grimly Abaddon was not killed.


A very nice episode, and with all the puzzle pieces slowly finding their places, season gr8 is on the right track. It was interesting to get to hear a bit more about the Winchester family, and I can't wait to see how this men of letters-thing ties in with the tablet plot. The brothers getting along once again was a nice change of pace, though I hope the codependency will slowly lessen for their own good.
All the side characters have been a joy to watch, too, and I hope for good endings for Benny, Amelia and the Trans' stories.
The only problem I had with the episode was how there was no straightforward mention about Cas, because I find it quite odd that Dean isn't more worried about what happened to him. With Cas around Dean seems truly happy and Sam gets more freedom to do what he wants, and in episodes with all three working together the atmosphere is a lot lighter. Well, I hope we'll get to see a lot more Cas in later episodes and to have Team free will working together again to beat the bad guys. Love this season.


Season 8 had such a good starting premise, but then got lost in a tangle of boring soap opera and brotherly angst. Dean’s purgatory storyline was exciting and entertaining but flashbacks were few and far between. Instead we got doubled dosed with soapy Samelia. Anyway, that’s all water under the bridge now. This episode has put the show back on track with Sam & Dean working together like a team. And it has provided an interesting insight into the secret workings of the MOL/hunter organization. Honestly, this needed to be the 3rd or 4th episode to get the season going with a bang. It is definitely in my top 5 favs. Like everyone else, I wish Henry (and Abaddon too) could've survived to fight another day. Great characters.


4.9!!!This deserves all 5 stars and more. Gil was awesome as Henry and really another powerful object came in to the Supernatural midst. Again Dean was awesome and I specially liked the part that he goes off on Henry stating that family comes first not a book club. Superb episode.


Best episode of the season by far. When SPN goes back to its roots of family and focusing on Sam and Dean it really shines, and that's exactly what this episode did. Now all we need is a better emotional POV for Sam and we'll be all set.


Help MOL has been best described as Giles to Buffy if you've watched Buffy the vampire slayer. Watchers if you're a Highlander fan. MOL are the bookworms who study and collect things if Supernatural order. They however don't kill any actual monsters if they can help it. That they leave to Hunters.


Loved Henry! Every board I've checked loves Henry too. Abbadon was good but she could get old fast with the show me bit and being unstoppable.

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Supernatural Season 8 Episode 12 Quotes

Who are you not calling?


He's my brother and he's the only family I've got.