Supernatural “Family Feud” Is One of Its Worst Episodes Ever (S12 E13 Recap)


Supernatural winds down Season 12 by tying up some loose ends, but tries too hard in the process. “Family Feud” was confusing and problematic.

Okay, Supernatural.

So that happened.

To be honest, I had really high hopes for this episode. Crowley has come so far, and I’m glad they brought Gavin back. I thought Rowena would just be an added bonus of awesome.

Instead, Supernatural gave me one of it’s worst episodes ever. With only a few episodes left of the season, it tried too hard to do everything. “Family Feud” attempted to connect three separate ongoing arcs with a fourth shaky one-off plotline. A nostalgic end-montage was somehow supposed to make the viewer believe Kelly Kline’s nephilim spawn, Rowena’s Crowley issues, and the Mary Winchester Problem were all connected thematically.

If this episode was about bad moms, why did we spend it on Gavin’s Titanic love story?

Apparently SPN wants us to connect mom-to-be Kelly, new mom Mary and evil witch mom Rowena. How, exactly, are they similar? This just a sad attempt at saying, “See? We have female characters! They have…feelings! Like real women!” The writers are really struggling with multiple female characters that don’t die after two episodes. Don’t get me started on the “is Mary Winchester likeable” discourse.

I understand the impulse to use Gavin’s story as a vehicle for bigger themes about family. It’s worked really well this season, bringing back the monster of the day hunting routine that made us all love the show in the first place.

So why couldn’t the message be about family instead of moms? Not only is it disrespectful to its female characters, it just doesn’t make sense within the context of the episode. Gavin and Crowley have a really interesting relationship that could have been an AMAZING foil for the Winchesters and John. This would have been another good Season 1 callback, but instead we all just feel uncomfortable about Mary and that weird nephilim abortion metaphor.

Let’s just get this out of the way – did Supernatural just Cursed Child itself?

Thematic and feminist issues aside, let’s talk plot issues (if you can even call the few and far between Gavin scenes the “plot”). Once the episode stops switching between plotlines like a cartoon flipbook, we finally realize this is about…..Gavin’s dead girlfriend?

Through a girls’ boarding school, a museum, an ancient boat, and some ghosts on the loose, we learn that Gavin is basically just the old lady from Titanic, necklace and all. (I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who sighed with relief that there were no gross girls’ boarding school jokes from Dean). Gavin holds a #HurtBae-esque seance with his dead lady love where she reveals she stowed on the ship to follow him, only to be ridiculed when he didn’t show up.

Fiona also reveals she was sexually assaulted by the crew, because apparently that’s the only way TV writers know how to make us feel bad for a female character. Immediately after telling her rape sob story, Gavin resolves to leave his comfortable life in the 21st century and set the timeline right. This becomes some sort of redemption for Crowley and Rowena since their progeny ends up being the good, self-sacrificing person they could never be.

Somehow, Supernatural botched both time travel and sexual assault at the same time! What a feat!

Why does Abbadon snatching Gavin from the timeline have to be “wrong”? What makes him going back and dying on the ship any more the “right timeline”? Somehow, this was worse than when they did that actual Titanic plotline. (Please don’t make me remember those seasons, SPN writers).

As with The Cursed Child, or any other time travel, please set in-universe time travel rules, and stick to them. This isn’t Doctor Who, where the show is about time travel and everyone’s just here to have fun. Time travel has consequences, and you can’t just whip it out as a plot device when you need to wrap up an immortal character’s backstory.

Time travel and past settings aren’t an excuse for bad representations of sexual assault, either. You wrote a minor female character in a crisis, and all you could think of to make her a vengeful ghost was rape? You’d think after TWELVE seasons, Supernatural, of all shows, would have the vengeful ghost thing in the bag.

It’s also pretty disappointing that her victimhood is used as a catalyst for a man’s redemption. Only on hearing her horrible tale does Gavin decide to turn his life around by……killing himself in the past? Just like the rest of the episode, it’s really convoluted and ends on a confusing note about love (supposedly).

Prince of Hell and Princess of my heart Dagon was “Family Feud”‘s only saving grace.

In one of its many clashing plotlines, Kelly Kline is attacked by an angel trying to kill her nephilim baby. At the last minute, she’s saved by a mysterious woman, who turns out to be Dagon, the Prince of Hell briefly mentioned in the last episode.

She turns out to be sassy, full of Dean-like references, and ready to lend a hand. Even though the episode’s ending implies she’s working for Lucifer, I already love Dagon. I saw her for two seconds and know she’s going to be the kind of quipping, evil-but-loveable baddie this show always does well.

Next: Getting To The Bottom Of The Bottle: 25 Best Bottle Episodes

Supernatural airs new episodes on The CW on Thursdays at 8/7c. Stay tuned for recaps and analysis of every new episode right here on Culturess.