“Mother’s Little Helper” is another reminder of how much Sam and Dean Winchester have changed over the last nine years. We’ve seen them brought together by a family crisis then split apart as Sam battled with an addiction to demon blood. We’ve seen the boys drawing back together to save the world then splitting once again when Sam found out about the angel who moved into his body in order to save his life.
Now that the brothers are inhabiting the same space, it seems like they would be drawing closer especially as they hunt for Abaddon. But this time the brothers are so distant emotionally that it’s difficult to see any glimmer of hope that they can work this out. It’s also interesting to note that while Sam seems to have become the adventurous hunter, taking the Impala on a case, Dean is now introverted and staying at home, battling his feelings on the Mark of Cain by consuming copious amounts of alcohol (but is it the Mark or the drinking that is the addiction? Maybe both?)
While Sam investigates a town where people seem to become cold-blooded killers with no conscience in under three seconds, Dean struggles to stay on top of things but finds himself sliding into a morose mood filled with lots of alcohol. The King of Hell descends and speaks to Dean in a manner that is strangely parental at times (while still maintaining his flirtatiousness which is, admittedly, a mite creepy).
Sam finds a woman who saw his grandfather (before he became a Man of Letters) and tells him a horrific story about Abaddon and her evil plan to create a new demonic army by stealing peoples’ souls making them essentially into Soulless Sams. And to top that off, the convent where Sam uncovers this isn’t the only place where it has been happening, and the process has been going on for years. How many soulless soldiers does Abaddon have?
I’ve got to hand it to the Supernatural writers (Adam Glass wrote “Mother’s Little Helper”), they sure know how to keep my attention, draw out my sympathy, and heighten the experience. I’m loving season 9 and am excited about the possibilities of season 10. With this arc, I’m really hoping we finally get to see where God is in all of this. I feel like we’re headed toward that point.
The end of “Mother’s Little Helper” brings the boys back together (continuing the pattern) as Sam realizes that they both need to make finding and killing Abaddon their top priority. With both the Winchesters back on board and Crowley at their back, a confrontation is on the horizon. I have a bad feeling that someone’s going to get the short end of the stick. I’m really hoping it isn’t Crowley. I’m rather fond of that detestable demon.
I thought it was interesting that the character helping Sam with his investigation was an ex-nun and a woman who survived by hiding what she knew. She never told anyone about the soul harvesting until it began happening again. When she was young, Abaddon threatened her and pressured her to keep her secret, but she was so ashamed of her choice that when a chance came along later, she made the decision to disclose the secret rather than have it gnawing at her for the rest of her life. The boys should take note. It does not benefit anyone to keep dangerous secrets. Even if you are protecting someone, the secret will come out eventually.
I really loved what Misha Collins did with “Mother’s Little Helper” as the director. There used to be more grit to the film quality in earlier seasons, but I think seasons 8-10 have a beautiful new quality and one that goes well with the older Winchesters. There’s a deeper feeling about it, as if the show carries more weight. It isn’t solely an adventure show anymore. This story is about family, about the way our relationships change, and about the choices we’ve made that define the people we become. Misha’s focus on candid shots, taking a step back to see the boys through windows and around pieces of furniture almost brings a documentary-like quality to the scenes, enhancing them, and bringing it to a classical art level.