Supernatural: American Nightmare
November 4, 2016 3:54 AM - Season 12, Episode 4 - Subscribe

Sam and Dean investigate a case of stigmata that leads them to a religious family that lives off the grid. Meanwhile, Dean struggles to accept Mary’s decision to spend some time on her own.
posted by cfoxhi (7 comments total)
 
I thought this was quite a good episode. Interesting case with an unexpected twist. I really like the stand alone episodes that are done well.
posted by cfoxhi at 3:55 AM on November 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I don't have a ton to add here. I agree that it was a good standalone case. Overall, the show really feels like it's back in its groove.
posted by mordax at 1:43 PM on November 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


I felt so bad for the poor psychic girl. She finally gets out of the damn basement, and then boom, bullet to the head. I know that was just to set up Mr. Catch as a scary threat, but as a viewer it felt a little too cruel given what we'd seen her go through.

Maybe it would have worked better if the husband was out of the picture. The mother worked as a kook and the son worked as a confused, conflicted kid, but the dad read as this relatively reasonable, compassionate guy and it kept seeming weird that he was buying into his wife's batshit craziness.

Dean seemed awful kill-crazy about the social worker lady. I get that he was upset about his mom, but he was scarily ready to off some lady without being 100% sure she was a witch. I have no idea why she gave him her number at the end, because when he showed up at her office after closing (I guess he was trying to goad her into witching out, before he shot her?) his behavior read as super creepy, kind of a serial killer/rapist vibe.

There was a lot I did like about the episode. As a "monster of the week" it worked fine, mostly. But the stuff that didn't work for me really didn't work. (I think I'd bump it from a B to an A- if the psychic girl had made it to CA. She really deserved some kind of happy ending, instead of bleeding to death on a restroom floor.) They kind of spoiled the psychic aspect with the "previously" opener though. Thanks to that I had the girl pegged as a psychic a lot earlier than I was supposed to.

I was wondering if this was the episode where they were finally going to deal with whether Jesus was really a thing. It's so weird how they've side-stepped that for all these seasons, with all this other biblical stuff flying around.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:43 PM on November 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


I liked this episode, and appreciate the "previously" because I had actually forgotten about Sam's psychic abilities. Plus, as noted in the last thread, the lore and history of this show is so dense, it's easy to forget some of the story arcs (like Mary making a deal with yellow eyes to bring John back to life).

I agree the Dad seemed way too normal to allow this shenanigans from going on - which the writers play into with Dean clearing the family after spending time with the Dad and Sam suspecting them after spending time with the Mom.

We're supposed to hate that she didn't get a happy ending. British MOL take a salt the earth mentality towards all thing supernatural while American hunters tend to be more of a case by case basis (think Bobby and his half changling that he let live in a closet or Sam and Jewel Staite, or Dean and Benny). That's the central theme of this season I think. Are all things of a supernatural basis evil and should be eradicated or are they potentially redeemable?
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 3:58 PM on November 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


I liked the call-back to Sam's psychic abilities and I think it would be interesting if the show went there again (I suspect not). I'll admit, thought, I thought it seemed a bit weak that he was all, I'm psychic too! You can definitely control your powers! Except he hasn't been psychic in, I don't know, like 10 years? (Maybe 7 if you count the demon blood stuff) and him having had any control over them was pretty debatable. He seemed a bit in over his head here despite the parallels.

I also thought Sam seemed a bit "off" when he was giving the mother a piece of his mind for refusing her daughter medical treatment, like, Season 1-level Angry Sam (before his return to the hunting life ground him down some). Considering he was supposed to be undercover, it was totally not appropriate for him to react the way he did; the idea of someone being forced into being an outsider lifestyle by their parents seemed to have hit a nerve. I think this will probably come up again with Mary and her reaction to her kids being raised in the hunter lifestyle against her wishes.

I wish psychic girl had lived too! Supernatural's world seems a lot bigger when there are all of these characters that we know are out there who could we could possibly run into again. It makes me sad that they are just killed off for plot expediency.
posted by eeek at 4:31 PM on November 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I thought Sam seemed off when he went off on the mother too. That could have very well led to the dad giving Sam a punch in the eye, and certainly guaranteed the family wouldn't cooperate with the bros anymore. As the episode went on Sam's outburst made a little more sense, him being the bleeding heart and all, but Dean's fixation on killing the "witch" just kept seeming wrong. I almost wondered if he was under a spell or something. Come to think of it I remember thinking that Castiel seemed unusually bloodthirsty in the premiere. We've seen a few weird aggro outbursts lately!

I totally get that killing the psychic girl was supposed to make Mr. Catch super scary. But the poor kid's life was so, so grim, kept prisoner in the basement, tortured by her own mother, driven to such crazy despair that she's lying there on the floor with her flayed back bleeding while she sings about the joy, joy, joy down in her heart. That is some dark shit, even for this show, and she just seems like this innocent kid suffering for no reason. And to give her just a glimmer of hope, only to snuff it out... it felt like too much, like somebody stomping on a sick puppy.

I also thought it was odd that Dean didn't tell Sam about the sweet text from Mary at the end, but this is a tiny secret compared to a few seasons ago when the bros were always keeping these HUGE, toxic secrets from each other, so that's progress I guess. (You just know that a season or so back somebody in the writers' room wrote *NO MORE SECRETS BETWEEN SAM & DEAN* on the dry erase board, and thank Chuck for it.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:55 AM on November 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


I was up since 3 a.m. this morning because of you know what. I decided to catch up on some television. Watching an episode called "American Nightmare" featuring Christian bigotry and the devil did not fucking help.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:52 AM on November 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


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