Warning: some spoilers.
Everyone has noticed that as the seasons pass, the Winchester/Campbell legacy becomes more and more storied.
In Season 4’s ‘In the Beginning’, we find out that Mary Winchester’s family are hunters, and come to accept that Mary’s side of the family are badasses (and in some cases, just asses). In this episode, John’s side of the family gets a look in.
It begins with a scene set in 1958, a secret society, a beautiful lady, and a man named Henry. Oh, time travel and an awesome, ass-kicking red-haired demon called Abaddon are also involved. Cool, right?
Season 8 of Supernatural has felt a little unfocused to me. There’s the whole tablet thing with Kevin going on, and the Benny storyline, but the most entertaining episodes so far (apart from the ones where Mrs. Tran is being all awesome and fiery) are the stand-alone ones. LARPing with Felicia Day, anybody? Cartoon town? That one with the kids that become werewolves?
Luckily for us, this ‘As Time Goes By’ is satisfying as a standalone episode, while offering up future possibilities and backstory. Both boxes ticked – now for the details.
In 1958, the man named Henry is about to enter a secret meeting when his lady friend is possessed by a demon, one of the original Knights of Hell, Abaddon, killing most of the meeting’s attendees. Luckily, Henry escapes through a blood spell which leads him straight to Sam and Dean. This is when it gets interesting.
Did you know that John Winchester was abandoned by his father at a young age? This seemed kind of out of the blue, but maybe I just missed some early references to it. Turns out that that father didn’t abandon him, so much as get stuck in the future…with his grandsons.
Henry Winchester is part of an ancient order known as The Men of Letters (I won’t get into how sexist that is. Typical, ancient orders, typical.) They’re the opposite of the uncouth, brutish hunters, and have passed their knowledge down through the generations. That is, until Abaddon comes along. Luckily the thing she is searching for is also the artifact that will reconnect Sam and Dean with their Winchester heritage.
I get it now. What Cupid said about Heaven busting ass to get mom and dad together. The Winchesters and the Campbells, the brains and the brawn.
I won’t spoil the whole thing for those who haven’t seen it yet, but it has everything needed for an excellent Supernatural episode – the bromance, feelings, the supernatural treasure hunt and plenty of civilian deaths along the way (but sadly, no Castiel *frowny face*).
Perhaps what makes this episode feel so good, and more like classic Supernatural is that Sam isn’t in that whole ‘I-don’t-wanna-hunt-I-wanna-be-a-real-boy’ mindset. We love you, Sam, but it’s wonderful to watch the brothers being brothers again, and doing what they do best.
This episode also sets up a very interesting concept for later on in the series: the “storeroom” that contains all of the supernatural knowledge known to man. If I’ve understood correctly, this might be the Winchester’s new safe place, kind of like Bobby’s house in earlier seasons.
Sure, there’s a lot of inconsistencies with canon and some fairly cheesy lines, but looking past that, ‘As Time Goes By’ is, all in all, a great episode, and possibly one of the best this season.