Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided Cinema Sentries with a free copy of the DVD reviewed in this post. The opinions shared are those solely of the writer.
In Season 11, the Winchester brothers took on one of the most powerful beings in the universe, Amara (Emily Swallow), who is God’s sister. But even teaming up with angel Castiel (Misha Collins), the King of Hell Crowley (Mark Sheppard), and Lucifer (Mark Pellegrino), they couldn’t stop her. It took a heavenly intervention by God (Rob Benedict) himself to stop the omnipotent threat.
So what possibly could follow an entity that big in Season 12? Thankfully for the audience, the writers did not try to do something bigger and better because there isn’t anything that they could do. Instead, they decided to revisit Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean’s (Jensen Ackles) past. As a thank you for re-uniting the all-powerful siblings, they were rewarded by the return of their mother, Mary Winchester (Samantha Smith), who was killed by the yellow-eyed demon, the pivotal event that forever changed their childhood and sent them upon the road to become hunters.
At first, it seems like a blessing, but things don’t go as smooth as the boys hoped. It’s as if Mary was plucked out of time from when she died and she has no understanding of the modern world and has a difficult time relating to her sons who are now almost as old as she is. In order to cope with her new reality, she takes some time away by herself to hunt monsters and ends up joining the British Men of Letters behind their back.
The group is much like the now defunct one the Winchester family came from, scholars studying the supernatural mixed with hunting monsters. But the Brits take their work seriously. Mick (Adam Fergus) is the leader of the organization who studies the books and doles out the assignments. Ketch (David Haydn-Jones) is the no-nonsense hunter who is half James Bond and half Jack the Ripper. Killing monsters is justified with any means necessary and collateral damage is not only expected but part of the job. The real reason they are in the United States is to either subjugate the American hunters into their organization or destroy them outright.
Along with this new threat there’s a small mess left over from the previous season that needs attending. Lucifer, who was let out of his cage to fight Amara, has returned to his devilish ways. Having lost his previous vessel, he searches for a new one and stumbles into the body of rock star Vince Vicente (Rick Springfield). Not only is he enjoying his new life with adoring fans that worship him, he is also looking for the woman carrying his baby and about to give birth to the Antichrist.
This season has a lot of good episodes, but a few stick out for recognition more than some of the others. “Celebrating The Life Of Asa Fox” was fun because you finally get introduced to a large number of other hunters, which not only increases the world of the show, but also lets the Winchesters experience their place amongst their peers. “Who We Are” is all-out war between the American Hunters and the British Men of Letters that not only settles the matter once and for all, but gives the audience a sense of relief as the obnoxious self-righteous organization finally gets what’s coming to them. And finally, “The One You’ve Been Waiting For,” where a group of Nazis are trying to resurrect Adolph Hitler. There’s nothing better than watching Nazis getting their asses handed to them.
This newest season was a nice change from some of the more recent seasons. Since you really can’t top an appearance by God from last year, the show decided to go back to its roots. At its core, it’s about the Winchester family and with the addition of Mary, it adds a dimension that has not been delved into before. Not only do the boys have to learn how to deal with her but both of them have their own expectations of what she should do and how she should behave. It’s also refreshing that the show isn’t trying to one-up itself with the villain. Not focusing on defeating an ultimate bad guy who is impossible to beat led to a different type of storytelling and was reminiscent of the show’s earlier seasons. It also provided a more in-depth look into what it means to be a hunter and provided some storylines involving other American hunters that we had not heard of before.
The four-disc Blu-ray set contains all 23 episodes from Season 12 and contains four special features. “The Winchester Mythology: Mary Winchester” is the actors and crew discussing how crucial the character of Mary is to the series, what it’s like finally bringing her on the show and the motivations for the decisions she makes. “The Winchester Mythology: Clash of the British Men of Letters” is a discussion about the differences between the two divisions and how the British are more focused and trained than the wild Americans. “The Winchester Mythology: A Hunter’s Life” describes what it is like to be a hunter and how Sam and dean are the most legendary of the hunters and what they do differently to obtain the level of success they have. “Supernatural 2016 Comic-Con Panel” is the yearly video with the cast during Comic-Con International. This one includes a marriage proposal and gives hints of the direction season 12 will take. There are also “Deleted Scenes” for many of the episodes and a “Gag Reel” that is more entertaining than most as they tend to ad-lib silly lines while trying to remain in character and make each other laugh.
The Blu-ray is presented in 1080p High Definition 16x9 1.78:1 with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio Track. The video is sharp with good light and dark contrasts as evident in the number of scenes that are shot in the dark. The audio is a nice surround sound that accents the action nicely.
After all these years, the writers manage to pull together an enjoyable comprehensive season and the show appears to have many more to come. Great lengths have gone into the development of the characters and even though it’s about hunting monsters and the supernatural, you feel as if you know them and the world they live in is relatable to our own. As long as the writers can come up with different ideas like The British Men of Letters or bringing mother Mary onto the show, the Supernatural franchise will continue to roll on.