“Into the Mystic” is a quiet Monster of the Week episode, complete with the usual guilt and introspection we’ve come to expect from Supernatural. After the action-packed “The Devil in the Details” and “O Brother Where Art Thou?” having a slower episode provides an opportunity to take in everything that’s happened. Sam just faced his old nemesis Lucifer while Dean is grappling with his complex feelings about Amara, hence the guilt and introspection. At least we can have some fun watching Lucifer as Castiel (Luciel, CaSatan, Castevil, Casifer?).
As soon as the episode opens in Ireland – what looks and sounds like 1960s Ireland even though it’s only supposed to be 30 years ago–we’re hoping to see a banshee. Supernatural has never had a banshee on the series, so it’s been a long time coming. They went with a CGI banshee that might’ve looked brilliant like ten years ago. We weren’t expecting a malevolent banshee with glowing eyes that eats human brains, but Supernatural is never afraid to forge its own path when it comes to mythology.
The Winchesters pull up to what Dean describes as an awesome retirement home while “Wonderful Wonderful” by Johnny Mathis plays. When Dean suggests they take make a reservation, Sam morosely points out they’d be lucky to live so long. Sam seems to be in a funk, with Lucifer’s accusations keeping him up at night. Sam’s not even enjoying digging graves and burning bones. Dean’s still thinking about retirement. Sam reminds his brother, “Hey, you’re the one who’s always wanted to go out blaze of glory style, preferably while a Bon Jovi song is playing.” Sam admits to Dean that he’s not doing so great, but he doesn’t want to talk about it.
When Sam meets hunter and banshee orphaned Eileen, a fellow Men of Letters legacy, he shares his own experience of the futility of revenge. He talks about hunting with his brother and how Dean’s always been there for him. At the end of the episode Sam finally deals with his guilt by talking to Dean. Sam has never forgiven himself for not looking for his brother when he was in purgatory, but Dean has. By the end of “Into the Mystic” Sam seems to be in a better place, heading off to bed to finally get some sleep.
Jared Padelecki played an introspective Sam very effectively. Padalecki is at his best in toned down scenes like these, just as he was in the quieter moments of the episode “Just My Imagination.” During “Into the Mystic” Padalecki is able to create an emotional response through a pared down and restrained performance. It feels real, and we experience a sense of relief when Sam finally clears the air with Dean.
Dean Ponders the Future
Dean seems to be thinking about what more life may have to offer. The idea of life after hunting doesn’t scare him or seem out of reach, in fact it’s appealing. This isn’t the first we’ve heard of Dean’s pondering in Season 11. In “Baby” Dean asked Sam if he ever thought about settling down with someone. While Sam was quick to dismiss the idea, it’s not clear where Dean truly lands on the issue. Is Amara stirring these feelings in him?
As Dean investigates the banshee case, Mildred, a retirement home resident, develops a crush on him. Though kinder in tone than an episode like “Ask Jeeves,” Supernatural doesn’t do well when it mocks the desire of older women. Favorite 80s mom Dee Wallace plays the retired Mildred, who recognizes that Dean is pining for someone else and suggests he follow his heart. The Winchester-focused conversations between Mildred and hunter Eileen reinforce what we already know-that Supernatural could never pass the Bechdel test.
When it finally attacks, it’s Dean the banshee is after, not Mildred. Dean is seen as the most vulnerable in the group. Sam questions why the banshee went after Dean, but Dean tells Sam he’s overthinking it. Sam needs to do a little more overthinking.
Though Sam is opening up and being honest with his brother, Dean is still hiding the strength of his connection with Amara from Sam. Dean does confess to Casifer there’s a powerful pull between Amara and himself. At the end of “Into the Mystic” it’s Dean who can’t sleep, with this thoughts being focused on the Darkness. Will he follow his heart as Mildred suggested?
Lucifer Plays the Role of Castiel
Lucifer is walking around in the form of Castiel and the Winchesters have no idea. Though apparently, if he gets spotted by a fellow angel, the gig is up as they can see he is Lucifer. As Lucifer walks through the woods he whistles the Christian hymm “Shall we Gather at the River,” a song about a river filled with the water of life issued from the throne of heaven and presented by an angel of God. When the other angel catches up to him, Lucifer suggests the angels need him because only he can defeat the Darkness. He then proceeds to snap the angel into oblivion. It’s fun to see Misha Collins play his role with Lucifer swagger.
When Dean finds Castiel knocking around stuff at the bunker, ostensibly to find a spell to use on Amara, the archangel obsequiously apologizes. Lucifer clearly thinks Cas is a loser. Here Misha Collins does a great job playing Mark Pellegrino’s Lucifer doing a Castiel impression. He goes so far as to start to scold Dean for keeping secrets from Sam, in an imitation of Castiel. Though Lucifer does give himself away by touching others so much. Castiel isn’t into touching. After Dean tells Lucifer of his connection with Amara, Lucifer seems inordinately pleased by this news. His menacing smile leaves us wondering what exactly Satan is up to.
“Into the Mystic” slows things down a notch for Supernatural after a very fast paced first half of Season 11. The conversation between Casifer and Dean has left us wondering what Dean plans to do about his feelings for Amara and what Luficer plans to do when he meets the Darkness.