Supernatural Review by John Keegan

Supernatural 12.04: American Nightmare

Supernatural 12.04: American Nightmare

Written By:
Davy Perez
Directed By:
John Showalter

In keeping with the promises made regarding the Dabb Era, this episode is largely stand-alone in nature, though it ties into ideas that were more or less dropped seasons ago and the simmering plot thread of the British Men of Letters and their true motives.  In the process, they deliver a terrifying horror story that underscores how the scariest monsters are often the ones living next door.   



Dean is still reeling from Mary’s decision to strike off on her own for a while.  It might have made a lot of sense from her perspective, since she’s still trying to find her place in the world following resurrection, but that doesn’t make it any less traumatic for the son that remembers losing her.  The concepts in this episode, especially whether families are sometimes better off splitting for everyone’s best interests, hit Dean hard.


Of course, the matriarch of the abusive family takes it to another level.  While both brothers have elements of the story to deal with, Sammy gets to be present for one of the more intense moments in the series’ recent efforts: the dinner scene.  He’s literally rendered helpless as the family is slowly but surely killed.  Had Sam not been almost paralyzed by the shock of it all, he might have thought to call on some help from Castiel.  It would have been interesting to see what this ultra-fundamentalist family would have thought of a true Angel of the Lord!



Sam’s hesitation, however, is actually a bit of a plot point.  There is considerable compassion for Magda and how she has been treated, and letting her go to live a hopefully productive and happy life was a reasonable choice.  The British Men of Letters see it very differently, considering that Mr. Ketch sees it as the Brothers Winchester being awfully sloppy.  Magda is killed as a potentially dangerous loose end.  One is sorely tempted to see this as horribly evil, but it might be worth noting that this might be why the story isn’t set in the UK.  The British Men of Letters may have, in their own view, kept the isles under strict control.


It takes a solid episodic story and places it in a larger context.  Sam and Dean are being watched very carefully to see if they measure up to the British Men of Letters’ standards, and so far, they are falling short.  Beyond simply facing off against Mr. Ketch sooner or later, one has to wonder what other consequences might be in store.  Meanwhile, who wouldn’t want to see a few more episodes of Cass and Crowley solving crimes?

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • One of the more disturbing episodes of the series in recent memory
  • The Men of Letters are shaping up as a viable threat
The Bad:
  • Not enough “Cass & Crowley: Supernatural Detectives” this week!

John Keegan aka "criticalmyth", is one of the hosts of the "Critical Myth" podcast heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @criticalmyth

Supernatural by - 11/4/2016 11:24 AM162 views

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