Brrrr. Is it a little cold in here? Oh wait. It’s not. Supernatural just said goodbye to ANOTHER badass female character on “Absence.” Now, Sam wasn’t perfect. She messed up a lot as a woman, mother, confidant, and all sorts of other things that make characters like her feel real. But really? This is the goodbye we deserve? And is this the Destiel pain I’m meant to endure for a week?! *GRABS TISSUES* I don’t know if I can do this but let’s try for Mary Winchester!
The Good – All the Mary Flashbacks
Mary was never an easy character. We knew who she was according to the memories of her children, a ghost appearance here or there throughout the years, and the handful of times Sam & Dean went to the past. But we never got to know her as a woman, a mother, and just a person. And before I dive into the epic fridging that was done to this character, I want to talk about what I loved about Mary Winchester and this send off.
Mary was a survivor. She made it through being brought back to life, spent time with her boys, and got to be part of something bigger aka Team Free Will. And she fit. You could see it in the flashbacks, the little moments that made Mary who she was; a kind, considerate, supportive, and badass woman here to guide her kids in any way she could until her time was done. Mary was strength.
This Winchester was also a sign of something rarely seen on Supernatural: independent women with their own agency. (I really want to dig into this part and lay out all the bad that became part of her story but I’ll save that for “The Bad” of this review.) Mary wasn’t perfect. In fact, she fucked up a lot. But the fact that she fucked up, learned, and kept going is what made her fascinating. We don’t see enough women like her on TV and I wish to whatever celestial TV god that rules us all that more women like her are written and brought to life on our screens.
And maybe Mary is a sign of changing times? A time where women are given the opportunity to be messy, brave, loving, kind, and not just all about their kids because believe it or not we are more than what we push out of our wombs. We are women, lovers, friends, sisters, and a whole shit ton of things that make us painfully human. And that’s what Mary Winchester was. Please give us more of that.
The Bad – That Basic Ass Fridging of a Great Character
Now that all “The Good” is out of the way when it comes to Supernatural’s “Absence,” let’s be honest about how we felt about the fridging of another female character. WE. HATE. IT. It’s like Supernatural had no idea what to do with Mary. Instead of giving her quality time with her kids so they could get to know each other, there was more time spent putting Mary into relationships or as moving piece in someone else’s story. Same old story, different show and day.
Mary is a WINCHESTER! We didn’t want to see her drive other stories. We wanted to see HER story. Was it too complicated to have her in the bunker getting to know her kids and truly become part of Team Free Will 2.0? Was it not dramatic enough to have Mary at the bunker more often than not? Or is The CW so used to writing heroes without parents that they don’t want to change it up now?
I’m here to call bullshit on the fridging of Mary Winchester. Yes, she got time and flashbacks dedicated to her. But was it too much to give Sam and Dean a chance to say goodbye to her as a means of wrapping up her storyline? Yes, she was more than just a mother but when you write a death like this where the children are left behind, you expect more from showrunners and the show you’re watching. I expected more from Supernatural and looking back at the female characters that came before Mary Winchester, I should’ve known.
Supernatural doesn’t know what to do with its female characters. It’s either relationships, death, or ignored on the side Wayward Sisters style. Which, if Supernatural is going to come back for one final season, it’d be a great idea to help your bad image, The CW and Supernatural. Invest in some female characters and show us that you can do more than fridging great women because you have no fucking clue what to do with them.
The Ugly – Dean and Cas Leaving Things Unfinished
Seeing Dean and Cas acting the way they were in “Absence” tore at my heart. Seeing Sam hold back Cas from comforting Dean absolutely destroyed me. And look, I get it. Dean and Sam just lost their mom to a young man they took in and treated like family. And it took a bit to get to this point where Jack was like their son so Mary’s death hurt even more. But this shit isn’t black and white.
I need Dean to take a second, breathe things in, and get some perspective about what happened and how they must move forward now. Cas is still your family and saying things like, “You’re dead to me” or holding back Cas from comforting Dean isn’t going to help anyone in the long run. In fact, it’s just going to make things more difficult and the hunt for Jack even longer.
But, “It’s their mom!” you say while waving your arms around in #SPNFamily pain! Of course, I know that. Mary, no matter how badly they fridged this woman, mattered to Team Free Will 2.0. But they’ve known Cas for years. He’s just as much family as Sam and Mary are to Dean. And it’s unfair and just plain wrong to cut Cas off like that when everyone and their mama has hid secrets on this show TO PROTECT THEIR LOVED ONE!
So I’m going to need for everyone to take a deep breath and start working things out with Jack. He’s not alright. None of them are. But together, that’s how they’re going to fix things. It’s how they always fix things.
Check out the trailer for next week’s episode titled “Jack in the Box”:
Supernatural airs Thursdays at 8/7c on The CW.