Before I start, I'd like to make it clear that I have been enjoying most of Season 8 of "Supernatural." It's felt like back to basics, more fun, the brothers are starting to connect...last week's episode was a great standalone. However, this episode was waiting around the corner, sledgehammer in hand.
So, we get the Winchester side of Sam and Dean's family history. Doesn't matter if it has that writer's room "OMG, we're going to be picked up for another season so we need something huge, stat!"
It doesn't matter that they already have the Angel and Demon tablets, Crowley, Purgatory, Amelia, Kevin the Prophet, Castiel being controlled by Naomi? I'm going to start needing a scorecard.
So the writers go see "Star Wars" and "Lord of the Rings" and the Narnia Chronicles, and for all I know, "The Da Vinci Code." The result:
After bidding his young son John good night, Henry Winchester is about to be initiated into one of those cloak-over-the-head secret societies. Sort of like last week's LARPers but less fun. But a demon takes over the sexy redheaded woman going in before him and kills the rest of the (wait for it) Men Of Letters, the Preceptors, the Legacies, those that study all of the magic in the world and keep it in a bunker.
Henry casts a blood spell and rockets into 2013 and the Winchester's latest motel room. Later, he smashes in Baby's driver seat window to steal the car, but the brothers are too fast for him. Mysteriously, the smashed window heals itself (some of Henry's mojo, perhaps?).
When Henry talks about the MOLs, the music gets somber, as Henry tells his baffled grandsons that they are Legacies. In S5, the poor schmucks have already been the intended vessels of Lucifer and Michael, God turned His back on the Apocalypse ("it's not his problem") and the Winchesters are told to go home. By God.
So no one ever heard of these MOLs, mortals who spent thousands of years practicing magic and gathering supernatural lore? Ever? Including the angels, the demons, the witches, nobody? Including God? Okay, they were all slaughtered in 1958, but that's practically yesterday to the Winchester boys. You think Sam's research-fu would have tripped over this somehow. And how did Henry get an angel feather without the angel noticing? And why are the black feathers white all of a sudden? And why, WHY AFTER ALL OF THESE YEARS, WHY DIDN'T THE BOYS EVER NOTICE THE INITIALS AT THE FRONT OF THE JOURNAL?????*
Gil McKenny as Henry Winchester, Jared Padalecki, Jared Ackles
Abaddon, looking like Christina Hendrix's bad-ass sister, is a Knight of Lucifer (conveniently, all of the others were wiped out...this plot has a lot of convenient death in it).
Did Crowley sign off on this? As King of Hell, he would have known she was on his staff and sent her after the Winchesters. But that would mean ret-conning all of S6 and a good chunk of S8. Her one cool power is that she can look at people's memories.
Sam visits the one elderly survivor of the slaughter (sort of like the one survivor of the H.P.Lovecraft dinner in S6). The actor manages a terrible Jewish accent (?) and hilariously gasps out something like: "There's a box. With a key. The key unlocks the door, etc." They run these lines over the credits many episodes later. Am I the only one who cracks up because this sounds exactly like Sam's bad acting in "The French Mistake"? "Where there's a key--there's a box--"
But I digress. They finds out the little box Henry has contains the key to the Fortress of Solitude that contains all of the good stuff. (Guess Cas and Balthazar didn't know about any of this when the latter hijacked all of God's weapons in S6.) Sam is told to throw away the key and walk away.
You know they won't do that. My bet is they're gonna say bye-bye to Rufus's cabin and move into the Fortress of Solitude, where Sam gets far too much power AGAIN and gets messed up with that power AGAIN while Dean stands around being helpless because Sam is his brother. And now they won't need Cas ex machina any more because they'll have all of the stuff they need to create spells, etc. Is that why Henry was dressed in a blue suit and tie? Or am I getting way too meta?
So, Abaddon possesses the coot's wife, kills coot, takes Sam hostage, everybody meets up in the usual big abandoned warehouse/shed/power plant. Everyone gets killed, Abaddon makes off with the key and the demons take over the world.
Abaddon gets more-or-less killed, but not before she shoves her forearm into Henry's stomach and pulls out some guts.
At the end, Henry dies, so that John will never know where his real father went (and by the way, how come YED didn't know about John's Legacy? I guess YED was too focused on whatever his plans were to take over the world). And all at once John isn't the egotistical bastard they've made him out to be up until now but Just Another Little Boy With Daddy Issues. I guess it's wouldn't be fair to tell Henry, "Your son became an obsessed asshole who raised us like killer cage rats and the best thing he ever did for us was croak."
The Winchester boys bury Henry. No salt and burn, unlike their dad or half-brother, so perhaps Henry comes back or the writers forgot about that ritual as well.
Everyone else I've read loves this episode. So take what you need and leave the rest.
*There is also the unsolvable mystery of why Henry Winchester and young John Winchester look alike, but young John Winchester and older John Winchester look nothing alike. Dean and Sam not only don't look like John, they don't look like each other. My head hurts.