This review contains spoilers.
11.11 Into The Mystic
This week, we’ve a locked room mystery on our hands in Into The Mystic. After a cold open in Ireland featuring a shrieking, floating woman, a man bashing his own head in and a baby left to fend for itself, we find the boys investigating the case of a man brutally killed inside his own room with no signs of a break-in. Sam’s still reeling from his run-in with Lucifer so Dean tries to get him back on track, figuring that they’ve got nothing to work on the Darkness yet. Of course, they’re both blissfully unaware that Castiel is no longer in residence and Lucifer has taken over his meatsuit, intent on stopping the Darkness in his own, unique way.
Scream queen and Elliot’s mother, Dee Wallace, guest stars in the episode and gets to exercise her lungs in the old-fashioned horror way once again. She also gets to flirt hilariously and near-continuously with Jensen Ackles, which is amusing to watch. It’s only a passing guest role as former Patsy Cline tribute act, Mildred, but Wallace brings nice depth to it and her scene with Dean about sunsets and retirement is yet another one seemingly foretelling the end of the Winchesters’ run, but it’s a moment well-played within the episode.
Those who know their monster lore will have pegged the Celtic bad guy early on in the episode as a Banshee, but it takes the boys a little longer. It’s used cleverly too; preying on the vulnerable means that the boys instantly assume it couldn’t possibly be them next, but the deaf woman or the ageing singer with a heart condition. So, perhaps the best thing about the episode is that it’s the two unlikely heroes who get to be just that.
Shoshannah Stern is excellent too (discerning Jericho viewers may recognise as Bonnie from that ill-fated post-apocalyptic show) and a sign that Supernatural continues to up its efforts to be more inclusive. Not only do we have a new woman hunter on the show, she’s also shown to utilise her hearing impairment as a tactic, observing Dean and Sam when they have no idea she’s watching. The ending with Eileen also suggests she might be back at some point, a new ally along the same lines as Donna or Jodie.
Having Dean as the one targeted by the Banshee shows how vulnerable his connection with Amara is making him. As his scene with Cas-Lucifer (Castifer? Luciel? I’m going to have to work out a way of distinguishing him – suggestions welcome!) confirmed that he’s starting to succumb to his attraction for her, if the kiss earlier in the series wasn’t enough of a hint. Of course, Winchesters are gonna Winchester, so Dean is keeping this a secret from Sam for now, but judging by Lucifer’s grin, it’s not going to remain a secret for long.
The episode doesn’t lack for strong performances from its main cast either. Crowley is sadly absent, but that’s probably more from my own desire to see the fallout from Rowena’s death on the King of Hell rather than a fault of the episode. We get to see Misha Collins in action as Lucifer once again as well as acting as Lucifer impersonating Castiel. He’s always been one of the most gifted in Supernatural’s cast so it’s great to see him flexing his acting muscles with the layer of character work he now has to do. His Lucifer grin also manages to be one of the creepiest closes to a scene we’ve had for some time.
Whilst the episode’s strengths are numerous, it suffers from having to follow last week’s The Devil In The Details, which was one of the best of the current run and returning to a standard monster-of-the-week episode feels a bit flat. It’s a transition the show has made many times between its ongoing stories and the filler episodes in between, but it feels a little clunkier on this occasion. Despite the clever use of the Banshee to mark out Dean’s vulnerability, the linking back to the Darkness storyline never feels smooth.
It may be a bit more workmanlike Supernatural compared to the extraordinary instalment last week, but the presence of Wallace elevates it, as well as the little character moments peppered through the episode.