Supernatural Season 14 Episode 18 Review: Absence

Jack searches for a solution to a big mistake while the Winchesters search for him on Supernatural season 14, episode 18, Absence.

This Supernatural review contains spoilers.

Supernatural Season 14 Episode 18

What do we do now? “We fight. We fight to bring them back.” Those words were Dean’s as the reality of Mary’s disappearance dawned on the boys and Cas early in Supernatural season 14, episode 18, “Absence.” That outburst by Jack at the end of the last episode? Just as bad as it looked. And the episode was full of searching and hoping somehow the cards would fall into place and Mary could be brought back, like the Winchesters have done many times over. Main characters don’t have to die on this show. They just need a loophole.

A spooky atmosphere and music combine to make Sam and Dean’s search for Jack and Mary all the more worrisome. The structure of the scene around the cabin is very playful with shadows, light streaking through trees in the darkness outside, flashlights revealing details as the boys search. The drone shot flying out to show the wide swath of ash and destruction really sells it. There’s a lot of drone work that makes this episode feel so epic. The shots make the scope big, and the people small. Makes a lot of sense when you think about it.

Black and white flashbacks show the memories other characters have of Mary. The scenes start suddenly, as if Sam, Dean, Cas and Jack can’t help but reminisce as they fret over what happened. Samantha Smith glows in these scenes, giving her all sorts of great interactions with the others.

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Mark Pellegrino must have a blast being so many people’s imagined inner voice. Once for Sam, once for Castiel, now for Jack, acting as the personification of his guilt. Having Jack reacting to a lack of a presence while the audience hears just Lucifer’s voice is a great effect. We get to be crazy right along with him, while being cognizant of what’s really around: Nothing. An absence of something.

further reading: Supernatural Season 15 Will Be the Final Season 

Perhaps the title of the episode “Absence” refers to the crushing feeling of losing your parent after just getting to know them. Perhaps it’s a play on the phrase “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” In any case, Mary’s absence is what sends the boys on their quest this episode, and it’s also what sends Jack over the deep end, hallucinating a vindictive Lucifer to poke at his psyche.

One thing the viewer might find odd is how worried Castiel is about Mary’s demise as well. Castiel is fully aware of Heaven and how Mary would be at peace with her death, but he’s been around the Winchesters too long, humanizing his emotions. He too is desperate to get Mary back, not just because she’s a great gal and he’s also mourning her loss, but also because he feels guilt as well, for holding back his suspicions about Jack’s possible soullessness.

At least we get a sense of Mary’s happy ending, now with John. And there’s a fun little thing to note how Mary’s door needs to have a complicated set of dates since she was brought back to Earth for a few years. Her plaque reads: Mary Winchester 1954-1983 and 2016-2019.

And so the episode wraps up, full circle, with “What are we supposed to do?” “What we always do.” And this time it’s not “bring the person back to life.” It’s the other old standby — the Hunter funeral.

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Goodbye Mary. We were glad to see the Winchesters all back together before the end.

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5 out of 5