WARNING: This Supernatural review contains SPOILERS!
Supernatural Season 15 Episode 14
The Final Countdown Begins. Supernatural is back, baby, and there are only seven episodes left until the end.
The previous episode of Supernatural aired all the way back on March 23, 2020. A little over six months later, the highly anticipated fifteenth season continues with “Last Holiday,” a mostly light hearted affair—and very nearly a bottle episode—that brings the boys out of quarantine and back into our lives.
We discussed the meaning of a “bottle episode” as evidenced so brilliantly in the episode “Baby,” a Season 11 highlight that cleverly told a story centered around the titular ‘67 Impala. A bottle episode restricts the number of actors, sets, and other production essentials in order to make a cheaper standalone piece. “Baby” was a bottle episode because it was set only in the Impala. “Last Holiday” primarily restricts our characters to the bunker, save for a few hilarious cutaways showing the boys kicking down monster’s doors with more and more force, and the simple mentioning of Sam’s date with Eileen. We never get to see Eileen or the date itself, but it makes sense. That scene was not necessary, though it would be nice to see Shoshannah Stern once more before the series ends.
Ever since television productions ground to a halt earlier this year, shows like Supernatural who were lucky enough to return to production rather than being cancelled had new challenges to face. COVID-19 compliance for television productions require certain changes in how a production runs, notably how many people can be in the same vicinity. How then does a season planned pre-pandemic carry on while following such guidelines?
Showrunner Andrew Dabb in an interview with TV Line said that some small tweaks and changes had to occur for the remaining episodes this season, including streamlining scenes to feature less characters. It is likely the rest of the episodes will not be as bottled as “Last Holiday,” but that does lead to speculation on how scaled down the finale might be. Dabb indicated though that in terms of plot and character, nothing was fundamentally changed. That raw, emotional ending is still coming for all Supernatural fans.
The episode tonight was a delightful return, with numerous fun gags as Dean, Sam, and Jack interact with their new bunker guest Ms. Butters. This led to a couple of wardrobe and prop related gags that are fun at first, and gain new meaning as they callback to season’s past.
Dean’s robe in this episode is a direct callback to his nightgown on “Scoobynatural,” a purplish affair with a slit on the side, V-neck, and long trailing hat with a puffball end. You might also have noticed that in Dean’s “underthings” are a pair of boxers featuring Scooby and Shaggy. The writers of this show have always been keen to give fans something to latch onto, and this item of wardrobe will not be the last.
We might also note that Sam wields Mjolnir in the last in a series of monster hunts while Dean brandishes an automatic weapon reminiscent of the time of fast-talking gangster movies. Thor’s hammer last appeared in Season 8, semingingly falling out of the Winchester’s possession. It was discovered amongst Cuthbert Sinclair’s treasures in the Season 9 episode “Blade Runners.” It’s a blink-and-you-miss-it production design detail hidden amongst the other objects. The moment that corroborates this detail? The Road So Far intro that mentions Cuthbert Sinclair. They set this joke up on purpose. It’s no coincidence that this psycho Man of Letters who kept a personal zoo of monsters in his collection was mentioned here, and it’s not just due to Ms. Butters being kept in the bunker for over 50 years like the monsters in his zoo. This is definitely the season for eagle-eyed viewers. Fans should expect more little inside jokes like the Scooby Doo references and the random props from other seasons as the final episodes tick away.
Meagan Fay wonderfully portrayed the equal parts delightful and slightly creepy wood nymph Ms. Butters. She can be likened to being part wholesome Mary Poppins, part snappy Candy from Wonder Woman and maybe a smidge Mommie Dearest. The way she prances around displaying her Christmas cookies, causing Dean to get that school boy grin and declare they were keeping her around was so disarming. Doesn’t everyone need such a ball of positivity in their lives when they go to fight their monsters? Asking for a friend.
Equally disarming were the quips thrown in here and there. When Ms. Butter’s tone darkens as she sees Jack and asks “What are you?” Dean arrives just in time with “He’s a Millennial! Don’t let that throw you, he’s a good kid.” The second best line of the episode though went to Sam, who told his brother as if he’s done it a thousand times, “Ignoring your trauma doesn’t make you healthy.” Wise words for all.
Also poignant was the moment where Butters declares she needs to make the bunker safe again. It should more accurately be written Make Bunker Safe Again, as she goes on to describe destroying all the monsters in the world. The real-world jabs here can be felt.
Butters seeking to help rid the world of monsters also makes commentary on exclusionary practices, especially when it comes to this wood nymph, technically a monster herself, being forced to jump on the Men of Letters’ monster-hunting bandwagon. As Supernatural has brilliantly displayed before — not all monsters are actually bad, and Butters is simply a wood nymph led astray by those she considered her family.
This episode cantered along at a good pace, with the quick cut comedic timing that reminded us this was a funny episode, with the sprinkling of darkness that solidified it was still Supernatural returning for an ending that awaits around the corner.
Are the general good vibes of the episode just due to Miss Butter’s influence on the boys lives— packing them bag lunches, prepping their hunts, worrying about their wellbeing like a certain missing maternal figure—or is it also due to the long wait and the bittersweet march towards the end? In any case, this reviewer found a smile on her face throughout the episode.
Despite Miss Butters’ turn towards the homicidal, the Winchesters and Jack were certainly affected by her more positive influences. Dean in fact, has to retrain himself to curse, becoming furious with himself when he accidentally belts out “Dangit!” instead of “Damnit!” On the other hand, the opportunity to kick back and enjoy life has certainly given the boys a little more to fight for, and perhaps the smallest reward for saving people and hunting things for their whole lives.
Butters does bring up a possible story point for later—that of the Interdimensional Geoscope, the unexplained telescope we’ve seen in the Men of Letters bunker all this time. Dean says he looked in it and didn’t say anything, and Butters explained that wasn’t good. Was this reference the only purpose for this ‘scope? To point out that the other dimensions are gone? Has Chuck finished his destruction of the multiverse? I’d like to argue that this device will become important again, but it could still play out to be an offhand remark to tune us back into the seriousness of the situation at hand. Jack has to kill God and Amara to save the world. That’s a big job.
So here’s counting down to the final six episodes. The series finale is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 19 as part of a two hour event on the CW. The CW will air Supernatural: The Long Road Home retrospective special prior to the final episode.