This Supernatural review contains spoilers.
Supernatural Season 14 Episode 16
In Season 14, Episode 16 “Don’t Go Into the Woods” Supernatural seems to take a page from an earlier chapter of its life, turning back to a traditional monster-eating-people-in-the-woods story.
When we started getting the setup for a Native American monster I thought immediately “Wendigo” but that’s a blast from the Supernatural past, and they decided to mine some more Native American folklore for a unique monster. A monster that originally wasn’t a monster. The origin story was sufficiently creepy enough, and I think I’m going to picture the monster’s human face far longer than the monster’s tree bark like creature form.
Meanwhile, our B story is about Jack on a shopping trip and meeting some new friends. I enjoyed the reintroduction of the kids in town Sam and Dean met in the episode “Lebanon.”
Seeing Jack generally stumble through conversation with the kids is a reminder of how socially awkward and innocent Castiel was in the beginning. Jack’s experience with normal people has been limited, so he still has a lot to learn. But the kids express interest in the supernatural, and suddenly Jack has a lot to say about the subject, even revealing that he has powers when he fails to impress them with his angel blade throwing skills.
Jack showing off with his powers is such a kid response to try to gain friends. It’s really sweet. But his shock when his magic trick accidentally impales one of the girls gives me hope that Jack hasn’t in fact lost all of his soul. Crossing my fingers over here.
The sheriff has a good point about how Sam and Dean could get the word out about their “monsters are real” speech. He says why don’t they just record evidence of monsters, put it on YouTube. But Sam adamantly states that it doesn’t work like that. The boys have been operating under the knowledge that people generally can’t handle the truth. They only share the truth in specific circumstances. By the end though, the Sheriff changes his tune and decides not to tell his son what really killed his girlfriend.
This comes full circle to the boys talking about Jack again. They decide to tell Jack the truth about how he shouldn’t use his powers until he’s ready. Of course Jack understands, he just experienced a major life lesson when he almost killed that girl. What’s notable in this final scene is that although Sam and Dean come clean with Jack, Jack doesn’t reciprocate. Sam and Dean have no idea what happened while they were gone.
What was at first a traditional monster-hunting story morphed into an allegory about the truth, and how damaging hiding it can be. Should the world know about monsters, and can regular people be trusted to handle that information? Should Jack own up to his mistakes, even if it risks proving he’s not trustworthy to handle his own power. You know this is going to come up later.
The episode could probably best be boiled down into a single lesson: the real monster of the story is hiding the truth when people can be hurt.