Supernatural Episode Reviews
"Peace of Mind" 14x15
by Amy Gardner McNeal (@Amymcneal)
After all of the recent high-stakes drama of the Dean/Michael saga, “Peace of Mind” was just the breath of fresh air that we needed. This was a standout episode by first-time writer Meghan Fitzmartin and vet Steve Yockey - the perfect balance of funny, weird, and serious that makes Supernatural shine.
The introduction to this week’s case features a man’s head exploding for seemingly no reason in a convenience store to pique our interest. Some crazy things have happened in convenience stores on this show and this definitely makes the top 10.
In the bunker, Castiel tries to talk to Jack about how he’s feeling. Jack admits to being “different” than before and unsure about the state of his soul, which potentially foreshadows upcoming trouble. It also raises questions about the grace that Jack absorbed. We’ve seen what effects taking another angel’s grace had on Cas in the past. Do the same rules apply to a Nephilim?
Sam is still haunted by the deaths of the AU hunters. He brings a case to Dean, who confirms that they’ve been non-stop hunting (the Winchester version of eating your feelings) and they need a break. With Sam adamant that he’s going, Castiel offers to accompany Sam, leaving Dean to try to get a read on Jack. Cas’s observation that Dean’s experience with Soulless Sam might be useful strikes another warning bell.
Sam and Castiel travel to a town so perfect it might as well be a Norman Rockwell painting - Charming Acres, Arkansas. They notice immediately that the town is odd. As they stop for a milkshake at the picture-perfect diner owned by the mayor, Sam and Cas are directed to stay in the boarding house where the dead man lived and they examine his effects, including steamy letters from the diner waitress.
On the other side of town, as a resident of Charming Acres and his Stepford-perfect wife sit down to dinner, he suddenly remembers that he had a cell phone just like Sam’s and a daughter in Texas. He starts to run away from the house after this realization and we’re treated to another round of head explosion. The detail with Sam’s phone triggering the man’s memory was a really good touch to confirm that Charming Acres isn’t so charming.
A second storyline runs parallel to Sam and Cas’s adventures. Dean takes Jack (and Felix the snake) to visit a recovered but still soulless Donatello, hoping for some insight into Jack’s soul issue. The scene in Baby where Dean has Jack choose between angel food cake and devil’s food cake humorously illustrates how worried Team Free Will is about Jack.
Jack and Donatello talk over coffee and Donatello encourages Jack to measure his morality by modeling his behavior after someone admirable, like Mr. Rogers, or Sam and Dean. Jensen Ackles does a great job of playing a concerned parent figure, and his discomfort with the snake is an especially funny reference to “Yellow Fever”.
Back in Charming Acres, Castiel discovers that Sam has replaced the latest dead man and adopted his life, calling himself Justin, with no memory of Castiel or the case. After several awkwardly funny attempts to get through to Sam, Castiel realizes that he’s on his own solving this one. Jared Padalecki was absolutely hysterical in these scenes, and they’re destined to be fan-favorite memes for years to come.
Cas heads to the diner looking for answers. After a confrontation with the diner waitress, he discovers that it’s her father, the mayor, who is using his psychic powers to maintain his version of a perfect town - and kill anyone who tries to change it.
A scuffle ensues, and Cas is able to break through the mind control is being used on Sam to get him to remember who he is. The diner fight scene offers a great callback to Cas almost getting stabbed with an angel blade by Dean in “The Prisoner”. Misha Collins portrays a wonderfully nuanced Castiel here, with sudden shifts from “Warrior of God Cas” to “Caring Cas” throughout the sequence.
After wrapping up the case, Sam and Cas rejoin Dean and Jack at the bunker. Sam finally admits to Dean that the loss of the AU hunters is haunting him. Cas heads to check in with Jack but arrives just in time to see something disturbing - Jack using his powers to destroy Felix because he thinks that the snake wants to join his previous owner in the afterlife. Another bit of foreshadowing?
“Peace of Mind” leaves us with more questions than answers in a good way. Especially welcome is the great character development for Sam and Jack. It also provides us with some possible clues for what to expect (or worry about) for the rest of Season 14.
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