Supernatural Season 12 Episode 4 Review: American Nightmare

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“Demons I get. People are crazy.”

Watching Sam and Dean tackle a case involving an off-the-grid family that believed the devil was in their daughter, I couldn’t help but think of Dean’s quote from Supernatural Season 1 Episode 15, “The Benders.”

Sure, there was a supernatural element with the daughter on Supernatural Season 12 Episode 4, but what the mother was doing as just a plain human was all kinds of messed up.

The daughter flaying herself while locked up in the basement was tough to watch, and the mother was spot on creepy.

Even when the mother was forcing them to eat poison, there was some solid tension on whether or not the whole family was going to be killed. It continued right up to the point where Magda decided against killing her mother, which I actually thought could go either way.

The actual reveal about Magda being a psychic kid probably would have had a greater impact if it wasn’t so plainly hinted at during the “previously on” segment, but it was a neat callback to the early seasons of Supernatural when Azazel was rounding up all the psychic kids and Sam had his superpowers.

Of course, it had to be Sam that was captured — it doesn’t feel that long ago that he was prisoner on Supernatural Season 12 Episode 1, does it? — in order for him to chat about their psychic connections.

And it was good to see that even after all the damage that had been done to Magda both mentally and psychically, Sam was able to get through to her.

Plus, Sam has met both the Devil and God, and neither were involved in the particular scenario with the family.

For a case of the week that could have been standard run-of-the-mill fare, this was an engaging hour that kept you guessing for the most part.

As for the follow-up on Mary’s departure, it was touched upon a few separate times, but I was at least glad that Sam and Dean sort of hashed things out by the end.

Yes, Dean’s a bit cranky and sorting through things, but he understands she needed some space. Plus, Mary’s text at the end was a positive way to end things.

I almost wished that’s how the episode ended.

Seeing Magda on her own had me thinking she might run into Lucifer, and perhaps it would be revealed that he was going to start recruiting psychic kids or capturing them. Something that might involve his story for the season.

Instead, we got our first look at Mr. Ketch in action, and I wasn’t jumping up and down with excitement.

Clearly, the guy has no qualms with killing, so Sam and Dean shouldn’t underestimate him, but he’s going to need more screen time before I’m impressed and entertained by his character.

Really, the ending made me disappointed that Magda was killed after everything she went through with her messed up family life.

And maybe that was the point, to establish the difference between the British Men of Letters and Sam and Dean on how they handle the supernatural.

It just made for a downer ending rather than surprise and excitement that the talked-about Mr. Ketch of the British Men of Letters had made it to America and was on Sam and Dean’s tail.

I want to remain optimistic about the British Men of Letters, but I’m still waiting to be invested in their characters.

So, while I enjoyed “American Nightmare” overall, it would have been a far better ending to close with Sam and Dean wrapping up their latest case and driving the Impala off down the road.

What did you think of Magda and her family? Were you excited by Mr. Ketch showing up at the end? Sound off below and be sure to watch Supernatural online at TV Fanatic!

NOTE: Supernatural Season 12 Episode 5, "The One You've Been Waiting For," airs Nov. 10 at 9 p.m.

American Nightmare Review

Editor Rating: 4.4 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (93 Votes)

Sean McKenna was a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. He retired in May of 2017. Follow him on Twitter.

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