It's tempting to think that after nine seasons, that "Supernatural" has wrung out every ounce of brilliance and cleverness their demon-hunting brothers premise contains. "Mother’s Little Helper," directed by the co-star Misha Collins, proved that notion wrong in epic fashion.
Grab your favorite glass jar and let's dive in, shall we?
It was Freaky Tuesday in the "Supernatural" bunker when Sam leaves to investigate what seems like a slam-dunk possession-driven murder in Milton, Illinois and Dean stays back to “research.” The murder, as we saw in the cold open, is a violent one, and much more than the usual scream of terror and campy spray of blood. An incensed wife tenderized her husband's brain out and then hanged herself in her cell after painting the walls with blood. When did “Supernatural” get scary again?
There is no evidence of demonic possession or anything else for that matter. Just as Sam’s about to say, "this isn't our kind of case" a follicely blessed kid named Billy mouths off to a waitress then stabs her with a knife, forcing Sammy into action. At the precinct, the cells are filled with what look like decent people in the throes of murderous psychotic breaks. When Sam is left alone with Billy, he splashes him with holy water. But he doesn't smoke out or scream. He lunges for the bars and snarls, "I'm clear...of everything."
When Sam calls to check in with Dean, he mentions that the victims remind him of when he was soulless even though the reactions are more extreme than his (and they tend to wear more clothes). Sam intercepts an elderly woman named Julia who has practically bursting with answers. "I say demons and you don't bat an eye. Everyone else thinks I'm nuts on toast. You're one of them aren't you? Men of Letters? They came here in 1958."
In a series of flashbacks, a the bright-eyed and unpossessed Josie (Alaina Huffman) and Henry Winchester, Sam and Dean's grandfather, arrive at St. Bonaventure, the convent where Julia was working. The two are dressed as a nun and a priest, and want to investigate the Sister who'd murdered two people before taking a swan dive off the bell tower. Henry is nervous about their last field assignment before becoming full-fledged members of the Men of Letters. "If anything were to happen to me, what of John, Millie? My wife would be a widow and my son, fatherless," Henry worries. Josie has no family to speak of.
In the late Sister’s room, the walls are gruesomely stained with blood and pre-Enochian sigils are carved into the walls. One refers directly to the knights of hell. That night, young Julia and several others were taken hostage in the convent's basement by the possessed nuns. "I was so scared. I prayed and prayed but God didn't answer my prayers. Henry and Josie did" by kicking down the door and exorcising the lower demons. Sister Agnes was possessed and knocks Henry out with a flick of the wrist, leaving Josie alone with the Knight of Hell. She wants to possess Henry to "study" the Men of Letters. In an surprisingly poignant act of love, Josie offers up herself instead, not because she’s thinking of Henry’s family, but because she loves him. "Abaddon takes what she wants, and she wants everything!" As we know from last season's "As Time Goes By," this is the beginning of the end of the Men of Letters, which is perfect karma for their sexist name.