Last night's episode of Supernatural had a lot to offer: a hot lady in a great 1950s dress, several Aleister Crowley references, and at least one trip to the coolest comic book store in the world. Unfortunately, there was just a little too much self-congratulatory Winchester bonding in this episode to put it over the top into "awesome territory." Seriously, if I have to sit through another "wow how special are the Winchesters?" scene, I am going to carve a sigil into my face and beam into the future.
So here is what was brutally awesome about this episode. We begin in Normal, Illinois, and the year is 1958. A guy in a great blue suit knocks on a door bearing the symbol Aleister Crowley used for his secret magick order, the OTO. Inside, is a beautiful woman in the aforementioned awesome dress. A man in a druid hood ushers Awesome Dress into a back room while Henry waits . . . until he hears blood-curdling screams, breaks into the room, and discovers that Awesome Dress has turned into the demon Abaddon and is murdering the druids left and right. One of them hands Henry a box and orders him to escape. Which he does, by drawing a sigil, using some magical potions in a back room.
And that's when Henry jumps through time and lands in Sam and Dean's closet. Cue a lot of yelling, magical fisticuffs, real-life handcuffs, and the rather belated discovery that Henry is actually their grandfather. Which is why his blood sigil brought him to the boys — "blood to blood" and all that. Henry is also the guy who abandoned their father when he was a boy, turning John into the hard, bitter man who raised his sons to be Hunters. Well, now we know why Henry abandoned his son. To free the world of Abaddon, who quickly follows the sigil into 2013, where she starts killing anyone who bothers her. She's after that box, and she doesn't mind the idea of smashing some Winchesters to get it.
There's some fun stuff with the contrast between our rough-and-tumble heroes and prim Henry, whose experience of the supernatural has been filtered through the OTO-esque organization that refers to its members as "men of letters." He thinks of Hunters as "apes," the low-class brawn who carry out the will of the educated, elite "men of letters." I love the idea that there is this elitist caste of mystics who once ordered the Hunters around — but now they've been basically wiped out and the working class has taken over.
Unfortunately we don't explore that issue much. Instead, there is a lot of stuff where Henry has to learn that his grandsons are awesome, and Dean has to lecture him about how lame it was that he abandoned their father, and then Dean has to double-lecture him about how Henry can't use his sigil to go back to 1958 because that might change the timeline to the point where he and Sam won't be born. Make up your mind, Dean! Which guilt trip you wanna drag grandpa on? Anyway, eventually after Henry has experienced guilt from every possible angle, he decides to sacrifice himself so that the brothers can kill Abaddon and take possession of the mystery box.
Which contains a key that can open an otherworldly "room" that contains information about all magic and all knowledge and an endless supply of clean plaid shirts. So now the brothers have a dead demon, a dead upper class grandpa, and the key to everything. This can't possibly end well. Either something awful will happen as a result of the box, or we'll have to watch them visit the room in every episode to get the ultimate weapons or the ultimate information or some other deux ex machina thinger. I sense seriously bad plot crutches ahead.