Yes, Supernatural, we are fighting. You went and introduced the delightful Max (Kendrick Sampson) and Alicia Barnes (Kara Royster) back in the actually-very-good "Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox" and then this. Why this? WHY DO YOU DO THESE THINGS? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?
In all fairness, "Twigs and Twine and Tasha Barnes" was a good episode. It's true. The case was interesting. The witchy wonder twins from earlier this season were featured. The British Men of Letters stuff finally squeaked forward, and Mary Winchester (Samantha Smith) figured out that maybe Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Sam (Jared Padalecki) but mostly Dean were right all along and the B-MOL can't be trusted. SURPRISE!
Yeah, I know, it's kind of anticlimactic in the sense that we all knew this was coming and it was only a matter of time. The joy of watching Ketch (David Haydn-Jones) and Mary finally slug it out was a result of finally letting out that breath we'd been holding since, like, January. Oxygen is good. Living things — and some undead things — need it. Thanks for letting us breathe again, Supernatural, because I don't think anyone was actually hoping for a Mary vs. the Boys smackdown this season.
So yay for all of that. Really. This felt like vintage Supernatural in a way most of this season's episodes have missed out on, right down to the fact that we're fighting. To watch Supernatural with both a fannish and a critical eye is to accept that most of the time we're going to be fighting. This season hasn't, objectively, been great. We can debate lots of reasons for that: age and repetition, cast and crew growing up and away, even ourselves, and the fact that over the course of 12 seasons, our own tastes and preferences can, will (and should!) change.
This latest spat is purely personal though, and since I haven't felt personally victimized by Supernatural in awhile, this flavor of outrage is hitting the spot: I LIKED THE WITCHY WONDER TWINS AND THE SHOW HURT THEM AND BROKE THEM AND NOW I AM MAD. What purpose did this wanton destruction of Alisha and Max serve? Another "look at these parallels between this set of siblings and the Winchesters?" Another "hunting is sad and it always ends sad and everyone should be sad about that?" Yes, to everything. And that's fine. If ever there was destined to be a pair of co-dependent siblings to follow in Sam and Dean's bad-decision-making footsteps, then Max and Alicia were prime candidates and, truthfully, there was something satisfying and complete in watching Dean try to reason with this other overprotective brother willing to sell his soul to save his family. Dean's been there. Dean knows this can only end badly. And I think Dean knew, in the end there, when he and Sam left Max alone to torch the corpses of his mom and sister, that Max was going to do Max. Nothing Dean said was going to stop him, just like nothing anyone said to Dean (or Sam) ever stopped them.
I hope that this isn't the last we see of Max and his newly undead sister. Supernatural loves to draw its parallels between the Winchesters and literally anyone with any attachment to anyone with a pulse (or not), but despite the narrative abuse, the show still manages to make a good connection from time to time. I'm mad about the wonder twins because I like the wonder twins, which is a refreshing change from being mad about everything else I've been mad about this season.
Supernatural airs Thursdays at 8/7c on The CW.
(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS, one of The CW's parent companies.)