12x03 “The Foundry”
The Problem with New Beginnings: On Mary’s Struggle and Decision
There are a lot of things this episode was. Sad and painful for one, pretty to look at for another, but subtle it surely wasn’t. Right from the beginning of the episode it was clear how this episode was about to end and the show hammered it down every single second of the 42 minutes it was long. This scene as well as the other one between Lucas and Mary when she tells him that “she spoke to his mommy” and that “she misses him so much” are the one’s though most heavily capturing Mary’s struggle and also directly connecting to the ending scene and what Mary tells Sam and Dean before she tells them goodbye (for a while).
As said before, the entire episode was structured around Mary re-living the night of her death basically. The MotW couldn’t have possibly been any more of a paralllel. The crying baby in the crib serving as a death omen to those being lured towards it and then dying by a frozen heart is a direct callback to the shows’s pilot with Mary waking up to Sam’s cries, seeing the lights flicker - like it did in the abandoned house as well - and not much later getting captured in Sam’s room, pinned to the ceiling and burning alive. This week’s case was almost a direct negative mirror to the Winchesters’ origin story - and in the end even the becoming a ghost part Mary had in common with this week’s case, though she of course protected their home unlike Hugo who preyed upon the children moving into their house). Sam described it pretty perfectly in the episode - yet neither him, nor Dean seemed to have been able to grasp just how directly this case affetced their mom as it brought back so many memories (of what she/they have lost).
“Mom, the victims were all lured to their death by a baby’s cry. The baby marked Natalia right before she was killed, the same way the spirit marked you. I mean if we hadn’t gotten there in time…”
The crying baby and flickering lights as well as the trapping these two stories have in common, it’s only the way of death setting them apart is the cause of death, but even there you can see a strange kind of reverse “poetry” as ithe show played with polar opposites here, with heat and cold. And of course the show made all this unmistakably clear by having Mary remember her own death intercut with her experiences in the abandoned house right before Sam and Dean head out for the salt and burn.
All of that said, what got to me most about these scenes despite the quite exhausting hammering down of “Mary not feeling home, carrying guilt, missing her old life, etc” were these interactions with Lucas. And maybe I am totally reading this into the scene and it wasn’t intended to be taken that way, but I personally could not think that Mary didn’t not in some way see her 4 year old Dean in Lucas. I mean, of course Dean’s hair was a little darker, but the cut and age wise Lucas and Dean surely seem to have been around the same age and I personally cannot not think that Mary saw Dean in that boy, saw everything she lost like she tells them later.
And I won’t even go into details about how one could see that alignment also in relation to 1x03 “Dead in the Water” where Dean bonds with a boy clalled Lucas who doesn’t speak, but communicates through drawings - much like this Ghost!Lucas here didn’t talk, but communicated through his gestures. In that third episode of the show we learn so much about Dean as a character, what he’s been throuh and what he saw (see longer meta on Dean and Lucas in 1x03 “Dead in the Water” here and here). I personally think this week’s episode may have drawn parallels consciously there since Berens wrote the episode and I peg him for the kind of writer to consciously insert such callbacks, but who knows…
So when keeping all of this and the ending scene of the episode in mind, when Mary shares that she misses her husband and her two young boys, looking at this moment and the way she looks up and nods towards Lucas to move on and let go almost gets a “longing” quality to it as she later mentions that she was happy in Heaven with all of them and when looking at Mary swallowing and crying there in the abandoned house I personally could see her in that moment almost wishing she could have her past life back too, the “life” she had in Heaven. It’s so painful and horrible and it just makes me feel more anxious about how Mary’s storyline at the end of the season will be wrapped up, because let’s face it, if this week’s episode’s ending was painful, imagine how it would feel if the brothers truly have to let her go again. It would destroy them, so fingers crossed for that not happening.
Aside from all that what I also found pretty cleverly done here was how one could think of - or maybe I am just grasping at straws here about the past season not just being rendered meaningless in regard to the Empty, etc. - last season and Baby!Amara as well (that was a parallel to the pilot too after all) and especially because Mary wore the colours connoted to the Darkness (burgundy/dark red and black/dark/blue) and was literally “marked”. And last but not least the episode and Hugo binding the kids’ ghost/souls to power him up, also reminded me of last season’s “Safe House” with the soul eater, which seemed like a majorly important episode for the end of the season 11 and especially in relation to the Empty, which I still holding out hope to not just be forgotten completely. But maybe I am expecting too much. ;P In any case this week’s episode was painful, painful, painful. Anybody else thinking that Mary may set out to Lawrence Kansas to visit their old house to find closure? I think that could make one hell of an episode tbh.