But on “What’s Up, Tiger Mommy?,” the Winchesters were tested not only by a new God and powerful forces with infinite wealth but one very badass mama who wasn’t afraid to parent them, too.
Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Sam (Jared Padalecki) have been to hell, stared down the apocalypse, and dealt with endless death, but this was a tough new task for them. For the rest of us, though, it was just an enjoyable new challenge.
Note: Spoilers ahead if you haven’t watched Wednesday’s episode, “What’s Up, Tiger Mommy?”
“What’s Up, Tiger Mommy” started with a murder in a the safety deposit box area of the bank. Let’s be honest, that alone should have been a tip off that we were about to deal with some very ancient artifacts and the beings that created them. After all, who uses a safety deposit box anymore!? And this particular man held the key to box No. 1, signifying he was as old as the bank system itself. Extracting a bone from that box was not surprising — nor was the fact that it glowed when he touched it. The murder that followed suit of the bank employee was just all in a Supernatural opener. But what it set up was much more important: We would be dealing with many more valuable items before the end of the episode.
Dean and Sam were still on the road with Kevin (Osric Chau), who wanted to check in on his mom. Dean fought the idea, which was admittedly surprising to hear. If there’s anyone who’s the king of mommy issues, it’s Dean. So, he should have understood where Kevin was coming from. Maybe his time in Purgatory really did harden him in ways even we never expected, though. He was convinced Mrs. Tran (guest star Lauren Tom) would be used as Crowley’s (Mark Sheppard) bait, and he was more than OK with just letting her stay at home, a sitting duck pawn in the demon’s game.
Ultimately Kevin won out, though, and it was a good thing because Mrs. Tran wasn’t OK. For one thing, she had been recast. Lauren Tom was now in the role. For another, her son had been gone for a year, so she was “sad.” But more importantly, she had demons surrounding her house, keeping tabs on them for their own king… of the demons. So though Dean had fought it at first, it was Winchesters to the rescue. And just when Mrs. Tran thought her son had been lost to her forever, there he was on her doorstep — dousing her to ensure she wasn’t possessed herself.
She wasn’t, but her friend who had been sitting with her was, and what was curious about Sam’s treatment of the woman was that when a demon tried to expel itself from her, he forced it back into her vessel so Dean could gank it — and the friend by association. Whatever happened to not killing innocent people if you could avoid it, guys!? And should we be worried about just where Sam picked up a ritual for a reverse exorcism? Sam claimed he had been out of the hunting game for the past year, but he seemed to have picked up a new trick without even trying…
Mrs. Tran took the news that her son was a prophet surprisingly well, but maybe she was just happy to learn he hadn’t been wasting time watching television all year. Besides, having a prophet for a son is certainly something she could brag about —and something that would be even better than the honor student bumper stickers she currently touted.
Mrs. Tran also took to going on the road with Sam and Dean a bit better than Kevin. She didn’t even blink when they told her she’d have to get an anti-possession tattoo (after all, it wasn’t her first ink), and she sat through it like a champ while Kevin cried out like a child and squeezed his mommy’s hand. When they tracked the tablet to a pawnshop, Mrs. Tran even managed to get the information out of the guy behind the counter by threatening him with an audit.
It seemed a little too easy that Plutus’ minion ended up tracking them down at their motel, but there was a lot of information to get through in only a short hour episode, so we’ll forgive it. Besides, we imagine this God, like any other, is all knowing and could pop in on Sam and Dean whenever he wanted. Anyway, through him, it was learned that Kevin was requested at the auction.
The tablet may have been the true bait in this instance. Sam and Dean were happy to lead their lamb to this slaughter, assuming if he could get close enough to the tablet, he could memorize the words, and they could just leave. But once they arrived, they learned Crowley was in charge, and Crowley would never be so sloppy. He had the tablet covered in its display case. The only way Kevin could get to it would be to buy it. But being on the run from Crowley, Kevin never even graduated from high school, so what kind of job could he get to pay off such a debt!?
Between the four of them, they had stolen credit cards, about two thousand in cash, and a Costco card — but the payment plan for this kind of auction was in tons of gold (literally), pieces of virgins, famed paintings, Thor’s hammer, states, or souls. That’s what you get when you play with the God of greed and the King of Hell. Dean, of course, wanted to try to just steal the thing, but Crowley had his bases covered and his prized possessions guarded. When the lot didn’t go for what Plutus thought was appropriate, though, he added Kevin himself to the auction lot. Twist!
Naturally, that brought out the mama bear in Mrs. Tran for real. And she offered up her soul. One soul shouldn’t be a match for the millions of souls Crowley offered, right? Well, considering it was all she had, it was weighted much more heavily. So, Crowley had to counter with his own soul. But naturally, he didn’t have one, so Mrs. Tran walked away the winner. If you could call it that.
Of course, Crowley had a trick or two left up his sleeve. After Mrs. Tran rejected the angel Alfie’s (sorry, we just can’t spell his real name) plea to let him protect Kevin instead, her new tattoo was burned from her wrist so Crowley could possess her and walk away with the tablet after all. Kevin must have been so conflicted to just stand back and watch Sam and Dean tackle his mother, and Mrs. Tran… Well, Mrs. Tran is going to have a nasty infection on her arm when all is said and done.
Crowley took off in Mrs. Tran’s body with Dean trailing. Kevin tried to keep up, and Sam took some time out to use Thor’s hammer to kill Plutus’ minion and the safety deposit box murderer. Once Crowley expelled himself from Mrs. Tran, though, he took one last moment to mess with Kevin’s head and then advised him to run from the Winchesters before taking off with the tablet — this time for good. Or, you know, a couple of episodes.
Kevin did push them away so he could talk to his mother alone, but she wasn’t saying anything, stuck in a state of trauma. So he took off with her instead, leaving Sam and Dean in the lurch with just a note. Dean took it quite personally, after what Crowley said to Kevin about people the Winchesters don’t need anymore ending up dead. But really, he took it personally because of what happened to his pal Castiel (Misha Collins) in Purgatory.
Yes, “What’s Up, Tiger Mommy?” also saw a number of flashbacks to Dean’s time in Purgatory but none of Sam’s last year (presumably his turn will come next week). Torturing already mangled souls to get answers on what happened to Castiel turned Dean into the top-notch “bad cop” negotiator we saw him as topside tonight, and it had results on both planes. Hell, he came thiscloseto stabbing Mrs. Tran in throat.
Dean and Castiel were reunited in Purgatory, where Benny (Ty Olsson) flat-out asked Castiel why he left Dean. Dean so desperately wanted to believe that something attacked Castiel, but Castiel, the changed man that he became at the end of Season 7, desiring to repent for all of his sins and taking on Sam’s pain then, still wanted to live by that code of honesty and do-gooder nature. He admitted to Dean that he “ran away” because there was a price on his head, and staying away from Dean meant he could keep the things coming after him away from Dean, too.
Dean didn’t question whether or not this was the whole story. He fell in line behind his buddy’s story and had Benny tell Castiel of the escape plan. Dean needed his brother in arms down in Purgatory; he needed a familiar face standing by his side, ganking whatever came at them; he needed to not leave a man behind. But in the end, we saw Castiel, dirty, grasping, calling out for Dean. But Dean was nowhere in sight.
OMG!: Dean tortured in Purgatory just the way he said he did in Hell, only this time, he seemed to enjoy himself and even did it when he didn’t have to.
Thank you, TV gods.: Crowley is back, and we don’t just mean the character returned. After all, he was in the season premiere, too. But on Wednesday’s episode, his witty one-liners returned, and that kind of messing with the boys at the darkest times is what sets this show apart.
Awk-ward: After “rattling around” in Mrs. Tran’s brain, Crowley asks Kevin if he wants to know who is real daddy is. Um, what is it with demons and the delight they take in family secrets!?
Hotness: Castiel looks good with some scruff. Who knew angels could grow facial hair!?
Fab-u-lous: Did anyone else notice how perfectly Sam’s hair seemed to sway in a non-existent wind when he swung that Thor hammer? He is certainly making his case for the remake!
Can. Not. Wait.: Did Dean leave Castiel in Purgatory on purpose, choosing to bring his new brother Benny back instead?
Celebuzz Meter (1-10): 8
How long do you think it will take Crowley to track down Kevin now that he’s without the Winchesters again? Or do you think he’ll just destroy the tablet and move onto the next thing for a little while? Let us know your theories in the comments below!
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