Supernatural S11E11 “Into The Mystic” REVIEW
Airing in the UK on E4 on Wednesdays at 10pm
Writer: Robbie Thompson
Directors: John Badham
Essential Plot Points:
- There’s a new Monster of the Week for Sam and Dean to tackle! This time, it’s a malevolent banshee, and she’s out for human brains.
- Sam’s still struggling with his latest encounter with Satan, Dean’s attempting to distract him with a new case, and Castiel, unbeknownst to the Winchesters, is literally Lucifer.
- Speaking of Lucifer, he’s busy enjoying being above ground for the first time in millennia: exploring parks, feeding some seagulls, killing some angels..
- Sam and Dean’s investigation takes them to a retirement home, where they quickly conclude that they’re looking for a restless spirit. It’s only 15 minutes into the episode that they start digging up graves, so it’s hardly a surprise to find out that, nope. Not a ghost, which becomes clear when the retirement home’s owner is killed later that night, witnessed by Mildred, a resident.
- Sam befriends a deaf woman named Aileen, a hunter disguising herself as a cleaner. Their friendship is nearly cut short when she mistakes him for the banshee, but all is quickly cleared up, and Sam discovers that Aileen, like him and his brother, is connected to the Men of Letters legacy, and is going after the banshee to avenge her parents.
- Dean talks to ‘Cas’ for first time since Lucifer took over, and spills the beans on not being able to kill Amara when he had the chance – more than he’s been able to tell Sam, so far.
- The banshee goes after the vulnerable, so the Winchesters assume she’ll go after Mildred, who has an atrial fibrillation. Strangely, the banshee ends up going after Dean, leaving Mildred and Aileen to deal with ganking the monster.
You know that if Robbie Thompson is at the helm of a Supernatural script, it’s gonna be good. He’s written some of the more memorable episodes in recent seasons, for example Fan Fiction (S10E05), the ‘Supernatural turned high school musical’ episode, and Baby, (S11E04), filmed entirely from the Impala’s perspective. Into the Mystic doesn’t have quite as quirky-a premise, but still delivers, and comes out as one of the best ‘Monster of the Week’ episodes of the season so far.
The main setting of the episode is Oak Park Retirement Home, which allows the boys to muse over whether they’ll ever make it to an age befitting of a resident there. This is particularly poignant now that both of them have been told by reaper Billie that if they die again, this time it’s for good. A damning prophecy for men who’ve managed to come back from the dead literally hundreds of times combined in their lifetimes. It seems to weigh particularly heavily on Sam, who’s doubting their longevity more than ever. Dean doesn’t seem particularly bothered, instead spending his time investigating the case and getting hit on by Mildred, a resident of the home.
The episode introduces Aileen, a hunter who’s out for revenge after the banshee killed her parents as a baby and caused her to become deaf as a result of its piercing screams. Taken in and trained as a hunter from a young age, she knows her stuff. When Dean becomes the banshee’s target, she and Mildred band together to kill it, showing that it doesn’t always have to be the Winchesters who save the day. She’s a fantastic and welcome addition to the Supernatural world; Robbie Thompson seems to have a knack for introducing great female characters, and Aileen is no exception! I really hope we get to see her again in a future episode – or even better, her and Mildred as a team together again. It’s moments like that that can really make an episode shine.
Into the Mystic has a decent dose of overarching plot written in as well, in the form of Lucifer parading the Earth using Castiel as his vessel. At rock bottom last episode, Cas allowed Lucifer in as a means to defeat this season’s big bad, The Darkness, even after the Winchesters staunchly denied him the right. In a whole host of bad moves with good intentions that Cas has made over the years, this might just be the worst. It’s a strange sight indeed to see the normally calm and collected Cas emote so much, particularly when you know exactly who is it doing the emoting; even though Lucifer is a fan-favourite, he’s still Lucifer, who probably still wants to destroy the planet and everyone on it. For now we’re only seeing him wreak mild havoc, though this will undoubtedly escalate as the season carries on.
Dean is deceived by Lucifer’s fairly accurate impression of Castiel though, and ends up spilling far more information than he probably should – including that even though he’s had chances to destroy the Darkness for good, he hasn’t taken them. That’s worrying enough, but that it could be because of an attraction to her causes even Lucifer to roll his eyes at Dean in disdain. The Darkness may be dressed up as a pretty lady, but that doesn’t mean she’s not an older-than-time monster who’s set on the path to the Earth’s destruction. Not the best choice for a romantic partner. Still, it’s clear that Dean’s afraid of this supposed attraction, so there’s gotta be something going on behind the scenes that we aren’t aware of yet. It’s brought to a head by an interesting comment from Mildred: “If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from all my years on the road, it’s when somebody’s pining for somebody else.” Though Dean denies it, signs point to the subject of said pining being Amara, which definitely does not bode well.
Overall Robbie’s written a solid, highly enjoyable episode which introduces some fantastic new characters whilst ominously carrying on the main overarching plot just enough to keep viewers interested for what’s to come.
- Sam is actually opening up about his feelings! It’s nice to see this trend continue after seasons and seasons of repression.
- Misha Collins continues to rock his performance as Lucifer, who this episode has to pretend to be Castiel in front of Dean to avoid detection. His petulant ‘Hello Dean’ is miles away from its normal delivery, and it’s perfect.
- The introduction of Aileen is wonderful – not only is she connected to the Men of Letter’s legacy, but she’s a deaf woman who can absolutely kick ass. In a show where women often draw the short straw, Aileen comes out on top here.
- Speaking of which, the power-combo of Mildred and Aileen taking down the banshee is one of the episode’s highlights for sure.
- The show seems to keep pushing Dean and Amara as a viable romantic pairing, which is pretty creepy, given who she actually is. Hopefully this will be fully explained soon enough.
And the Random:
- Dee Wallace, who plays Mildred, is probably most well-known for portraying Elliot’s mother Mary in E.T.
- Sam’s box of memorabilia is a lovely touch, containing for example photos of him, Dean and their mother, and the faux-Samulet from Fan Fiction!
- The boys had some free time filming this episode..!
Review by Jessica Anson