Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Something About Mary

Major spoilers for 4.3 "In the Beginning"

So, knowing what I now do, I'm guessing that Mary's apology to Sam in Season 1's "Home" (which I took to be a simple sorry I didn't get to watch you grow up and a very maternal, sorry I wasn't able to protect you better) was nowhere near as straightforward as I thought.

But then, what on SPN is?

In retrospect I owe some people apologies. I've always been a harsh critic of John's, for dragging his boys into the Hunting Way of Life. Now, I'm still not prepared to nominate him Father of the Year, but after this season's revelations I see that he himself sort of married into this mess. (Point of debate: how much are we to assume Mary actually told her young fiance about all of this? She was trying to the night he proposed, but they were interrupted by his untimely death. How much did she reveal afterward?)

I owe Mary an apology for my moment during the pilot when I assumed she was TSTL. Here's the scene: you're a skinny blond woman in the middle of the night who just realized that the guy in the nursery can't be your husband because you're looking at your (sleeping) husband. It bugged me that she acted on that horror movie cliche of running off to face the big, bad danger with no back up. I was willing to cut her some slack because she'd gone into Mama Bear mode and wanted to haul ass to protect her child, but still, you can't throw something at the sleeping husband on the way? Yell out, "JOHN! DANGER! WAKE THE HECK UP!" But now I realize she was actually more likely to kick butt than even her ex-Marine husband. So she gets a pass for charging into the demonic fray solo-slayer style.

However, now I have a new gripe for her...

I haven't been able to get my hands on issues of Supernatural: Origins (how many of you have read the series pre-quel comic?) It's my understanding that John found someone to train him after Mary's death and I don't see anything in the show that led me to believe she was giving her hubby advice on how to avoid and defeat demons. I empathize with her wanting to get away from the Hunting life--it's a painful irony that it's the lifestyle her death inflicted on her orphaned sons--but there's making a fresh start (which is what she wanted) and then there's just unproductive denial. SHE MADE A DEAL WITH A DEMON. Desperate circumstances, granted, so I'm not judging, but really, how did she think it was going to turn out? With rainbows and butterflies? I'm just a little surprised that we don't get hints of more evidence of her being cautious or forewarning (thus forearming) the family.

(In an interesting parallel, Sam really is his mother's child. His attempt to deny his dark heritage and go off and have a normal life and normal relationship--not that I blame him--led to the person closest to him being killed by association.)

What I love most about this show is probably a three way tie between Jensen/Jared/and the writing (because, let's face it, Jensen and Jared could only carry things so far if the dialogue and storylines sucked). It's impressive that four years into a show, the writers can turn the mythology you think you know on its ear and force you to reexamine the family dynamics and the backstory (which we get through intriguing but frustratingly limited drips and drabs). I, along with much of the SPN viewing audience, assumed that the boys were shaped and molded by their father...having no inkling of just how much their long-dead mother informed their lives (hunting aside, he kicked off a Winchester cycle of making deals with demons that haunts the boys to this day).

Do you think we'll be seeing more of Mary's character in some way or form? Do you think there's more to Azazel statement that Mary's his "favorite"? What was your reaction to her hunting past and the boys' inherited legacy?


phouse1964 said...

I always thought that Mary had some kind of secret and that she had something to do with the Sam demon deal but never in a million years did I guess that she was a hunter!

Everything I have read on SPN backstory tells me that Mary never told John that she was a hunter and that he came into it knowing nothing. I think he figured alot of what happened years later after he figured out what happened to Sam. And I do believe he knew more about Sam and the YED deal when he died than we do!

I keep hoping that one of her journals will turn up one day. I know she had to have kept them but I always assumed (and it said in John's journal)that they burned in the fire.

Now I keep thinking that, as a former hunter, Mary did something to try and protect her family. If it wasn't telling John, what was it. I think it has something to do with Dean and his going to hell and the angels. I have no idea how it will work, but I bet him being "saved" has something to do with her.

Anonymous said...

ooooh, good theory phouse (about Mary and the angels!)

Tanya, who isn't sure why blogger is calling mine the "Wednesday" post

phouse1964 said...

I think because you posted at 5:18 pm although I know you didnt' because I checked at 10pm last night and didn't see an update.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Wonderful observations!

Watching SPN is like reading Harry Potter. You get to book 3 and learn all about Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew, then re-read book one and realize Sirius was mentioned already and that Peter's missing finger/toe was set up from the beginning. So many things we "learned" in the early seasons have different meaning now.

I'm currently of the opinion that John died not knowing of Mary's hunting background, but I'm prepared to be proven wrong.

I do think there's much more to come. When Ruby first appeared to Sam, he called about all his mother's old friends and they were all dead. I don't think that was the end of it.

And yesh, phouse, you made me go OOOOH with your theory on the angels!

Anonymous said...

>>>about all his mother's old friends and they were all dead

Doh, I meant to mention this, too! It's obviously not a coincidence, but I wasn't sure why they were all killed after her death and waaaaay after her deal with the demon.

>>Watching SPN is like reading Harry Potter. You get to book 3 and learn all about... So many things we "learned" in the early seasons have different meaning now.

YES! I'm a writer and I get that sometimes you have a great idea after the fact, but I've given up on other shows when they tried to shoehorn things in that just didn't make sense or shows where I felt like the writers were totally making it up as they went along and didn't have the first clue where they were going. So I'm in awe when I can look back three years down the road and go, "So THAT's what you had planned. Wow. Did not see that coming."

If Kripke & Co are making it up as they go along, they're at least suave about it :-) (But, really, I think he set out with substantial knowledge of where he was headed.)

phouse1964 said...

I think Kripke had a plan with key points from the very start. If the show hadn't bee picked up, no big deal. But as the show goes into S4 (and S5?) all those little gumdrops can be used. It makes him look brilliant!

I forgot about all Marys friends and family being dead. I have thought about it and I think it goes back to the YED telling her that if he gets to do what he wants and doesn't get interupted, everything will be fine. Since she tried (in vane) to stop him, he just killed everyone off. I don't think he ever intended for everyone who knew her to die all at the same time but just in case she ever mentioned anyting to anyone, well, they all die at some point. Hopfully, Kripke will get back to it and explain a little more.