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.


I liked this episode like I love all SPN episodes. However, my only gripe is that there is so much bouncing around this season. Charlie, Sam's girl, Benny, Garth, Kevin Tran, Henry - just pick a story line arc and go with it! I know the article mentioned information control as a theme, but that's a lot weaker than, say, the Leviathan story line - that was the thing every episode circled back around to last season. I feel like this season is floating along - where the heck is Cas, Naomi, Benny, Garth, and Kevin Tran? I miss Cas the most . . .


I have to say I have only looked at this show a couple of times over the years it has been on so I am lost but I have to say I really enjoyed this eposide. I may have to pay more attention since NBC is being so stupid and not showing Grimm again until March.


Boring, boring, boring. I'm sorry, I like the show, but it had such a "been there, done that" appeal to it.
Only, I'd like to point out that calling Cas would have been the smart idea, however, I was glad they didn't as I am over his character at this point in the show.
I'm hoping for a good episode next week, however, judging on the preview I can't say I'm in for a good time.


Only problem i have with episodes like these is with Cas. I mean you think that with the fate of time and "legacy" on the line an angel would pop in the see what the hell was going on, especially when such a bad ass demon comes out of nowhere


Good ep!


It was kinda ehhh for me. Felt like a filler. Super funny Dean moment with the *who are u NOT calling* moment


This isn't the first time a soul has been used to power a time-travel spell - Castiel borrowed Bobby's soul power to bring the boys back to the present in episode 6.18, "Frontierland". Which resulted in the fantastic line of Bobby to Cas: "Just don't explode me."


Classic Supernatural! This is supernatural mythology from season 6 since Julian Richings from Meet the New Boss. Really interesting how they brought it back to this show.


Holy crap !! this was my favorite episode of the season by far..... I really do wonder about them possibly tapping into their soul power like grandpa Winchester, that would be cool... I hope they find the location all of that supernatural vault so to speak. it sounds like it will be really handy in the neverending war against Crowley. definitely a 5 star episode

Sp mckenna

@Alexa - Thanks! No idea why I put that. Yes, really top notch episode for the season.

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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.