“Supernatural‘s” mid-season finales like to leave us with plenty of anxiety to enjoy over the holidays. (Remember the year that Dean was about to tell Sam what John whispered to him on his deathbed, and then the end credits rolled? That was not a merry Christmas in our house.) The final episode of 2012 is no exception; fans can expect the episode to end on a nail-biting cliffhanger for the brothers Winchester.
The episode kicks off with Sam and Dean headed to Louisiana to investigate vampire killings, which Sam believes are linked to Benny. Suffice to say that Dean isn’t particularly thrilled to learn that Sam asked their old hunter friend Martin Creaser to track Benny. Yes, the same Martin who we last saw in a mental institution back in Season 5, after hunting became too much for him to bear. In fact, Martin’s history of crazy is exactly what made him the man for the job, according to executive producer Jeremy Carver.
“He was something of a really great character. We really loved him, and you’ve got certain points in this episode where the quote-unquote ‘crazy guy’ might be the sanest guy in the room,” Carver tells us. “He’s dropped into a situation where you’ve got the Winchester brothers literally arguing about how they’re going to essentially deal with monsters in a way that he’s never heard hunters discuss monsters before. The idea of Dean having a relationship with this thing is so far from Martin’s understanding. In a weird way the guy who has had [mental] issues in the past lends a bit of balance to the episode, and, frankly, an element of unpredictability as well.”
Martin becomes convinced that Benny is responsible for the bodies that have been piling up in his Louisiana hometown, where Benny has landed a job at a diner. Sam’s feelings about Benny are pretty clear — but Dean asks the other hunters to hold off on taking action until he can check in on his friend.
The episode marks something of a turning point for Sam and Dean’s relationship, which has grown increasingly tense since Dean returned from Purgatory. He’s still harboring resentment toward Sam for not looking for him, and Sam is distrustful of Dean’s judgment.
“These guys came into the season with some baggage, and this episode really is forcing them to deal with it really head-on, in a couple of different ways — a couple of surprising ways, actually, that no one is addressing yet. We’re relatively spoiler-free so far, when it comes to this episode,” Carver shares. “Sam and Dean challenge and test each other in really interesting ways this week.”
Basically, fans should expect the unexpected — but don’t worry too much. “Can I say that it feels different than years past, sure, but is it totally different? No. No one’s dead on the roadside. Sam doesn’t stab Dean with a bottle of Schlitz Beer or something like that, but there’s some pretty emotional stuff that goes down. I’ll also say that there’s a point in the future where they’ve got to find a way to work this all out. It’s not like they’ll be apart and they won’t meet up again until Episode 22.”
Sam, for his part, is still trying to come to terms with the end of his relationship with Amelia. In flashbacks last week, we saw their relationship begin to come apart at the seams when it was revealed that her husband, thought to be dead, was actually alive. Some fans have speculated that the flashbacks may not be quite what they seem, and EOnline reported that we’ll see a love triangle between Sam, Amelia, and not-so-dead Don.
Obviously, romance and love triangles aren’t exactly in “Supernatural’s” usual wheelhouse, so we asked Carver about the decision to introduce that element to the show this season. He promises that we’ll soon understand how Sam’s flashbacks are relevant to the current action on the show.
“It plays out on a couple different levels,” he explains. “In the way that Purgatory filled out the emotional path that Dean took in the year apart, we really take some time to see that with Sam and Amelia. I think Sam has to deal with the fall-out, just speaking to the flashbacks, of what happened in that year off, specifically the news that her husband, Don, was in fact alive. It really informs what’s going on here in the present, in a couple of surprising ways.”
As for the theory that Sam’s hell memories and damaged brain might be causing him to imagine Amelia entirely, Carver says answers are coming soon. “I know there’s been chatter out there about were these flashbacks real, were they not — I’m not going to answer that theory,” he says. “I will say that there are several things, both past and present, that are dealt with with that storyline in this episode.”
How’s that for vague?
Finally, we had to ask about our favorite angel. Castiel isn’t in this week’s episode, but he will return in January. We can look forward to revisiting his storyline in Episode 10, “Tom and Frayed,” as he deals with Naomi and the fall-out in Heaven. “He’s picking up in a pretty strong way,” Carver promises, but he hesitates to say more than that. We’re just going to take his silence as a sign that there’s really great stuff on the way — too great to spoil ahead of time.
“Supernatural” airs Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. EST on The CW.