Family is complicated. Relatives stir up strong emotions, bringing out our best and our worst. In “Family Feud,” Supernatural gives us an intense episode that’s all about the good, the bad, and the ugly of kin. Supernatural presents several intermingled narratives reminding us that dealing with family is never easy. “Family Feud” introduces a new Prince of Hell, Dagon, who is focused on Lucifer’s unborn child. Crowley’s son Gavin MacLeod, a Prince of Hell of a different kind, reappears after three seasons.
“Come With Me if You Want to Live”
We see parenthood from different perspectives in “Family Feud.” Kelly is a pregnant mother on the run, with both feelings of terror and protectiveness in regards to her unborn child. When you’re pregnant with the spawn of Satan it’s natural to feel some trepidation, especially when the other angels are trying to kill you. She finds protection with Dagon, one of the Princes of Hell we first learned of in “Stuck in the Middle (With You).” Dagon tells Kelly that things aren’t as black and white as she might think:
“Don’t believe what you see in the movies. No one is born good or bad. It’s all in the upbringing. This child—your child—he could save us all.”
Dagon points out the Winchesters and the angels, the so-called good guys, want Kelly dead. She paints an intriguing picture of the complexities of good and evil. Though we’re not sure we really believe this child could save everyone, the demon Dagon plays the white knight and convinces Kelly to trust her.
If we’re to believe Ramiel from last week’s episode, with the exception of Azazel, the Princes of Hell have pretty much stayed out of the affairs of Heaven and Hell while leaving humanity to itself. Dagon’s interest in Lucifer’s baby changes all that. Now that Lucifer has called to her, who knows what trouble she will bring. Dagon is played by Ali Ahn, who can also be seen on the cult hit The Path. Dagon seems like an interesting character. Let’s hope she’s tougher to kill than Ramiel.
“Oh My Dad!”
Despite his captivity, Lucifer’s spirits seem buoyed by his son’s impending arrival. Crowley has Lucifer locked up in Administrative Hell, not the Cage. He hopes to force the angel to bow to his will and call him master. Good luck with that Crowley.
Back in “LOTUS” when everyone was focused on preparing to trap Satan, Crowley perverted the spell, sending Lucifer’s essence back to his previously discarded, but newly improved, vessel, rather than the Cage. We would’ve accepted a half-explained premise full of plot holes and historical mistakes if that’s what it took to get Mark Pellegrino back on Supernatural, but writers Brad Buckner and Eugenie Ross-Leming provide a surprisingly coherent explanation for his return.
When Crowley asks why Lucifer has no snarky, devilish comments, Lucifer exudes his dangerous charm: “You could have had me back in the Cage, but no, you needed your sad little revenge. How do you think this is going to end? Nice new digs, by the way. Cozy.”Crowley looks a little fearful and we’re pretty scared for him too. Lucifer could be the death of Crowley.
Anytime we get to see Mark Sheppard and Mark Pellegrino act together, sign us up! These two are impressive actors and seeing them on screen together is spellbinding. Both actors make the most our the material they are given, making the few minutes they’re on screen together the most riveting of the episode. Mark Pellegrino’s Lucifer is one of malevolent charm, while Mark Sheppard breaks our heart with a Crowley who just can’t get any satisfaction.
“Hopefully, this is all for the best.”
Sam and Dean are investigating a witch ghost that is killing teachers. Teachers seem to make good targets because instead of running away when objects in the room start to shake, lights flash, and ice starts to form on mirrors, they stand there slack-jawed. Working with kids must give you a high tolerance for freaky events.
When the Winchesters realize the deaths are connected to a ship called The Star that sank in 1723, Dean remembers that The Star was the ill-fated ship that Crowley’s son Gavin MacLeod failed to board after being taken into the 21st century by Abaddon. When the Winchesters ask Crowley for help in finding Gavin, the King of Hell is much more concerned about the fact that they lost Lucifer’s baby mama. He scolds the Winchesters: “It turns out behind that whole moron façade, you and your brother are, in fact, morons.”
Instead, Sam and Dean turn to Grannie MacLeod, better known as Rowena, who appears to welcome her grandson. She tells Gavin how he looks like her father, though we suspect that Rowena probably hated her father. It turns out the ghost is Gavin’s long-lost love who stowed aboard The Star in hopes of being with him. Her mistreatment onboard led her to become an angry spirit in death.
Sam and Dean aren’t sure how to kill the ghost since her bones are at the bottom of the Atlantic. Sam notes that they could destroy the locket, but she might also be tethered to something else on the ship. Gavin is quick to offer himself, and the Winchesters are quick to accept his sacrifice. Dudes! Aren’t you even going to try to destroy the locket first? Even if she is tethered to something else on the ship, won’t she then become an ocean ghost if the locket is burned? Or try to burn the other recovered ship items from the museum.
We’re supposed to believe that it’s OK for him to sacrifice himself because it will right time and bring back the three people murdered by the ghost. But we don’t. It seems like a cruel act, not a righteous one. For people who have gone back in time themselves and caused changes, they’re pretty quick to play time police. Their own mother is living in the wrong era, after all, but perhaps this trip in time hints at Mary’s own future. Letting Gavin go back in time to die doesn’t seem in character with the Winchesters, and it’s hard to believe they couldn’t come up with any other plan. At least Crowley tries to stop it:
“Never gonna happen. Just ’cause Dim and Dimmer here can’t keep their own family all in the same dimension doesn’t mean they can mess with mine!”
Rowena tells Crowley to let Gavin go:
“Fergus, he’s not like us. He believes in things. Let him do what he believes is right.”
Before Crowley can zap Gavin away, Rowena stops her son. Crowley stares helpless, with great anger and sorrow in his eyes, as the Winchesters take Gavin away. They use their Grandpa Winchester’s spell modified by Rowena to send Gavin back. When we see Gavin and Fiona together we’re supposed to feel happy for them. But we don’t. We feel cheated that Gavin was so poorly used after being a loose thread on the show for so many seasons. Let’s hope if Adam returns he gets better treatment. We also feel angry at Sam and Dean’s total disregard for Crowley, even if Crowley is a baddie. Didn’t Crowley just save Castiel’s life in the last episode after going out on a limb for the Winchesters with Ramiel? Guess they don’t think they owe him anything. The Winchesters can be pretty heartless when it comes to anyone who isn’t a part of their own little family.
“Jogging, tai chi, meditation. Melting rugaru brains.”
Mary has been hunting with Mr. Ketch. He tells Mary she’s one of the best hunters he’s ever seen. For someone once so desperate to escape the hunting life, Mary has sure taken a 180. After watching her lie to Dean about where she is and what she’s doing, Mr. Ketch is quick to dismiss the softness she displays when she talks to her sons. He tells Mary: “Now you might play at being the good mummy, but when you’re in the thick of it, nothing but a blade in your hand and blood in the air, that’s the real you, the best you. And I think you know it. And I think that scares the hell out of you.” We kinda agree with Mr. Ketch. Mary seems more hunter than
Mary seems more hunter than mother. Instead of hunting with her sons, where she might actually keep them safe from things like kidnapping by the Secret Service or receiving a memory hex from a witch, she’s secretly out using fun gadgets to kill monsters alongside the group responsible for torturing her son. We’re not so convinced about that rogue agent thing.
After a long absence, Mary returns to the bunker with burgers and beer. When she confesses to her sons that she’s been working with the British Men of Letters, Dean appears angry, while Sam is hurt. She tries to justify her actions, but Sam reminds her, “Mom, we have our own toolkit and it works just fine. And for obvious reasons, like broken ribs and burnt feet, we don’t trust the Brits.” Mary tells Sam and Dean that they are still family, and asks them to hear her out. We won’t learn how this discussion goes until the next episode. We still have some hope that Mary has a secret reason, a good secret reason, for betraying her sons to work with the British Men of Letters, but it seems increasingly unlikely.
“The Child I Loved More Than You”
Crowley has been mocked by Lucifer, misused by the Winchesters, and, it turns out, punished by his mother. Crowley suspects his mother of ulterior motives for sending her grandson to his death, and he’s right. She wanted her own revenge against Crowley for making her kill her beloved Oskar in the episode “Brother’s Keeper.” Then it hits us … as soon as Rowena learned about Gavin, she was probably thinking about how she might exact her revenge. She really hates her son. Rowena wanted to watch Crowley suffer the loss of a child, just as she lost Oskar. As The Rolling Stones’ “Play with Fire” begins to play, Rowena tells Crowley, “I’m your mother, dear. Who better to crush your shriveled heart?” Poor Crowley. He’s breaking our heart.
Family Feud Review
“Family Feud” was a complicated episode with a lot of moving parts that Director P.J. Pence manages to keep flowing. It brought together a lot of pieces, moving along the storylines of Mary, Lucifer, and Kelly, while centering on a MacLeod family drama. Crowley is brought low by the loss of his son and his mother’s vengeance, as well as his own sadly unfulfilling attempt at revenge. Rowena reveals just how cruel she can be to Crowley, using the fact that he cares for his own son against him. While Mary Winchester won’t be winning any mother of the year awards anytime soon, she’s no Rowena. Family is very important in Supernautral, but “Family Feud” reminds us that family can hurt us in ways no one else can.