Supernatural Spoilers

Supernatural Preview: Is Mary in the Right? And Can She Recruit Her Sons?

Supernatural is no stranger to flawed parents — cough, John Winchester and Samuel Campbell, cough — but Dean and Sam’s resurrected mom has proven to be an especially polarizing figure.

Between secretly working for the British Men of Letters and putting her boys’ lives in danger, Mama Winchester hasn’t exactly been the picture-perfect mother. But during this Thursday’s installment (The CW, 8/7c), “the audience will see and understand a lot about Mary,” Samantha Smith tells TVLine.

The hour contains “a lot of action” and “some nice surprises,” the actress adds. “And selfishly for Mary, she’s really busy in this episode. She has a lot going on and realizes a lot of things.”

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Read on, as Smith compares Mary’s parenting style to John’s and previews her struggle to get Dean and Sam to come around to her side.

TVLINE | John Winchester has gotten a lot of flak over the years for the stuff he did as a father. How would you rate Mary as a mother at this point?
I know, for one, the fandom is not very much in favor of her recent behavior. I understand Mary. I know why she’s doing what she’s doing. I get it. She’s making decisions that she, in her heart, knows are the right thing — or at least she thinks they are — and she knows they’re not going to be popular decisions, but she doesn’t see any other way. Sometimes, as a parent, that’s your job. So from Mary’s perspective, she’s doing what she can, even if her kids don’t like it. But as far as the boys are concerned, they’re probably a little disillusioned. John, as you said, got a lot of flak because he abandoned them a lot, et cetera. Now here’s the difference: The boys are now in their thirties. When John was doing it, they were children. In Mary’s defense, that would be a differentiation to make. [Laughs]

TVLINE | One of the arguments I’ve seen is she’s acting like a Campbell rather than a Winchester. When Dean and Sam’s grandfather Samuel came back in Season 6, he was also very secretive and had a hidden agenda.
I would argue that he was doing that for his own agenda, whereas Mary’s keeping things to herself, ideally, to protect her boys. Maybe that is a misguided idea, and obviously, in Episode 12, it put them in danger. But the goal and the intention is always to help them, to keep them safe, to give them a life away from hunting and danger.

TVLINE | Do you feel like because she’s been gone for most of the boys’ lives — in Sam’s case, his whole life — that they’ve put her on this unfair pedestal?
One hundred percent. She’s been canonized in memory, especially because Dean was four years old. Your mother’s perfect when you’re four. And now she’s come back as a full human, flawed and frightened and selfish and confused, as well as loving and amazing in all the ways that they thought she was. That’s also been something interesting for me, as an actress, to explore. As far as Mary is concerned, I don’t even know if she knows that she’s living up to this image, and that may be one of the reasons that all this is so confusing for her.

Supernatural SpoilersTVLINE | Last week, we saw her finally come clean to Dean and Sam about working with the British Men of Letters. How will that play out in this Thursday’s episode?
As we saw at the end of the last episode, they were not pleased. And yet, it’s not going to stop her from continuing. She so believes it’s the right thing to do that she will not stop trying to get the boys to see it from her side. In fact, she has Sam come [on a hunt]. She wants to show him what they’re doing and why she thinks it might be the right way to go. But it’s a long road to convince them after their history with the British Men of Letters.

TVLINE | Could one of the boys be swayed a bit to her side? It sounds like Sam might be more malleable.
Sam is more open to understanding her point of view. Dean and Mary are so similar and stubborn that it’s harder for them to maybe take a step back and be open to being wrong or seeing someone else’s perspective. Sam is definitely more sensitive and understanding.

Supernatural SpoilersTVLINE | What does the future hold for Dean and Mary, then? Are they on the outs?
He’s very angry with her for working with the British Men of Letters. Dean is much more black-and-white. She’s going to have to earn his faith. He loves her, but I don’t think he understands her yet. Mary loves Dean straight through. There’s no problem, but she still knows she has to do what she has to do. It’s kind of beautiful to me that Mary is willing to jeopardize all of that to do what she thinks is right, ultimately, for the good of her children, even if it makes them not like her.

TVLINE | Going into this season, the fans had a lot of expectations for Mary’s return because she’s such an important character in the show’s mythology. Did you have any expectations of what you thought her storyline would be? And did the show meet them? Did it turn them on their head?
It has not gone the way I had anticipated, per se, although I can’t say I really had an idea other than Mary is going to find her footing. I guess I just assumed I would be hunting with my boys. In retrospect, it wouldn’t have had longevity. That could only go so far, and it wouldn’t have been very deep of the character. That’s not what is interesting, and that’s why I’m not a writer. They have given me such an amazing, deep process for this character. As much as some of the fans are really, really, really angry with Mary right now, I think that had Mary just come back and been like, “OK, I’m part of the team! Let’s go hunt!” she would have been a third wheel and boring. A perfect, loving mom all the time would have added almost nothing.

TVLINE | She’s just making sandwiches in the bunker for them for the road.
Yeah! Vacuuming, washing dishes. [Laughs] No, this has been so much more than I could have thought it was going to be.

TVLINE | The show kills off characters left and right. Are you hopeful that Mary will stick around for the long haul?
Yes. Every script, I skip to the end and see if I’m still alive. [Laughs] But so far, so good!

Supernatural fans, what do you think of Mary’s storyline? Hit the comments with your thoughts!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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26 Comments
  1. maermae says:

    I’m sorry, Samantha but every single thing you just said in this interview, I do not want.

    I do not want Mary being 100% right about the BMOL, while Sam & Dean were 100% wrong. I do not want Sam to have to work with his torturers..yet again. Like he had to work with Cole & Lucifer. I do not want Sam to essentially “choose” Mary’s side over Dean here, when Sam & Dean always have each others’ back & have been in the trenches together their whole lives.

    I get Samantha is protective of the character of Mary but everything she just described? So much no. I think she has this idea of Mary in her head but the writers are not showing Mary to us, not really. I don’t buy that a woman who loves her sons so much would choose to not really spend any time with them nor really get to know them.

    The execution of Mary’s return has just been awful.

    • They should have never brought Samantha back. How she NOT gone fight along side with her son’s

    • geegee says:

      I dont believe (or hope) they (the writers) would truly allow the choices to be that simple, and not just because I would never feel it is realistic that either Dean or Sam at this point, choose anyone’s side but each other’s. Even if that anyone was Mary. It would depend on what the situation is, how “wrong” the consequences of choices would be.

      And I am trying to think back on their conflicts, and there was never a time when they were 100% wrong – even Sam drinking demon blood was done out of ignorance of the big picture (that killing Lilith would actually set Luci free). Dean taking the mark of Cain as well.

      They make impossibly tough decisions, with crushing consequences – Sam working with his torturers is one of those decisions. He isn’t a victim of circumstance, since it wouldnt be believable at all that Sam or Dean would do anything they werent ready to accept responsibility for as their own choice.

    • Norma says:

      Absolutely. Dean’s “doesn’t understand” Mary? How about Mary hasn’t done anything to even attempt to connect with and learn about and form a bond with her sons? Because she hasn’t. The fact is her sons and especially Dean are much more experienced hunters than her at this point. She should be listening to them, to their opinions, to their knowledge.

      But she has done everything to NOT do so. If she really wants to have a life of her own as a hunter, Dean and Sam are pretty much the most experienced she could possibly have as teachers and Dean has shown time and again that his good instincts are second to none. Mary has shown no respect for them.

      in Dean’s case does Mary even have an inkling of what he went through? Of how he was turned into a second and in many ways Sam’s default parent after she died, even though he was only 5 years old himself? Does she know the way he was forced to shoulder the heavy burdens of adulthood, of life and death, before he was even ten years old? Has she spent any time truly thinking about the fact that both her sons were horrifically tortured in Hell for decades? That Dean spent a year in Purgatory, he didn’t eat, he didn’t sleep, he had to do nothing but fight to survive for a year? Does she have even an inkling of the experiences they’ve had and the suffering they’ve gone through? Because from what I can tell she’s been too busy catching up with old friends, visiting old places and betraying her sons with the British Men of Letters to have learned even half of anything about her own kids. She hasn’t even tried to learn about them, unless it somehow aligns with her own goals.

      Yeah now she’s suddenly all about family, now that she wants them to join up with the BMOL.

      • Norma says:

        Also that line about the “more sensitive” one just shows how little Mary(and apparently Sam Smith) know about her sons. Dean’s always been the sensitive one, the more instinctive one, the caretaker. Dean feels things very deeply and more than that he’s never been black and white, that’s just what people say when they decide they don’t like his opinion on something but Dean’s always been able to work the gray and he’s always been open to new things.

        It’s not that Dean doesn’t “get” Mary, it’s that he’s not an idiot and he’s not just going to be bowled over because she’s mom. He was at first, this was his beloved mother whom he saw die, back with him but as soon as she started acting shady, well he’s not just going to ignore it.

        Dean’s got excellent instincts and more than that he knows people, he gets them pretty quickly – he was the one who knew something was up with mom, while Sam was just “what nah”. Yet guess what? Something was up with Mom. He didn’t allow the fact that she was his mother blind him to her actions or stop him from being suspicious. He wasn’t wrong, was he?

  2. Ninamags says:

    I think fans are upset at the unrealistic expectations of her return. As Samantha said above, she was not going to stay in the bunker and keep house and make them food. That notion was done away with immediately when she said that she didn’t cook. It was all take-out. That crushed Dean and the rest of us.

    Right there, that let us know that she wasn’t going to be a “mother” to the boys. Maybe that’s why some are having a hard time with her.

    She’s working with the MoL because she thinks this will benefit her sons. Whom she wants safe. If they have all the fancy toys and weapons then they won’t be put in danger so much.

    The boys have been forced to work with awful people throughout their story. They know they have to for the good of humanity. Good thing they don’t have such hang-ups as some seem to. I also don’t think Sam will ever have to choose between Mary and Dean. She’d never win.

  3. geegee says:

    I love everything she said – she cant be ‘Mummy’, they are grown up men, they need to deal with her personality, who she is, what she does. Not like the boys themselves didnt do a LOT of stuff the other had no understanding for.

    And I think that parents should risk how their child sees them, if they think they are doing good for said child. Whether she is right or not remains to be seen, but I am glad the writers didnt prolong her coming clean, because another ‘Winchester keeps secrets for half a season’ storyline would be repetitive.

    But I also understand Dean – it’s hard to let go of idealized images of parents even in an ordinary life, when you hopefully get to spend so much time with them, let alone when you basically grow up cherishing that idealized image for 30+ years, like Dean had. WHen your whole life has been built around one event that drives your values and actions.

    But this is also not the first time that Dean has set expectations of those close to him, and not the first time that it is hard for him to let go of those expectations in the light of the other person’s choices. I appreciate the psychological continuity in this respect, because I would agree that it would be very hard to change that aspect of yourself, especially living the life Dean had, full of ambivalence and sacrifice and pain.

    I could say the same the Sam’s continuity, he has always been more accepting of other’s faults, because he manages to accept his own. And I love how they are writing Sam’s and Mary’s relationship – he is reserved, like he feels that he has to be careful because they didnt even have those 4 and a half years Dean had. Which is why it is probably easier to accept her as a person than just a person who is his parent. Also quite possibly atoning for the mistakes and assumptions he did make with John.

    I like that they are in low intensity confrontation, that is based around how they interpret what’s right to do, and not some half-a$$ed family melodrama (which I wouldnt even expect from SPN anyway).

    And I certainly do not mind the writers putting them (all of them) in positions to make difficult choices, which is probably the single biggest reason among countless many that this show is so much more than a horror road story :D

  4. Hope says:

    I have the impression that Mary does not like to live with her children. It does not fit into their lives, it is forced too much. I’d bet my chips that she dies.

    • geegee says:

      I can understand that – not only are the boys fully grown up, but she also needs to find her own place in the world, and her choosing to be an independent hunter (and probably coming to terms with it, since she died not wanting that exact life) is good for the character herself, and for Dean and Sam as well.

      It’s awful and hard to deal with, but Dean will probably never had that mowing the lawn life djinni tried to goad him to. Even then, Dean was aware if wasnt real – literally not real then, metaphorically not real now.

  5. The ‘boys’ may be adults but they crave that motherly affection, especially Dean. True John left them to hunt when they were kids but at the end of every hunt he always came back to them. If you look at it from the beginning if Mary had lived and continued to live their normal lives, like the rest of the Physic kids Sam still would have ended up in Cold Oak South Dakota only he would know what was going on and would permanently be dead at age 23. It was because of John training them that Sam knew what was going on when Azazel kidnapped him, and because of their life as hunters Dean had Bobby to help him find Sam and knew a way of saving him. Yes John may not have been the perfect father but he kept his boys alive and because of they way they’ve lived as made their relationship what it is today. As for Mary not being able to cook or being their motherly type to grown sons, just look at how Jody acts around the boys. She can cook a proper meal for them and on many occasions has shown them great affection, just look at what she said to Dean in Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox. Even in only her first few episodes Jody has acted more like a mother to the boys then Mary has. Even if Mary is doing this to ‘protect’ her boys, they are grown men who have had experience with working with these kind of people. Yes they have made the same mistakes and its only ‘fair’ that Mary is aloud to make them too, only she should have learned from their mistakes like the boys slowly have, two wrongs don’t make a right as the saying goes. I guess only time will tell to see what everyone’s true agendas are.

  6. Lulu says:

    The fact that Mary thinks Sam is more sensitive shows how little she knows Dean. Dude wouldn’t be nearly as upset and hurt if he had a thicker skin. Maybe if Mary’d spent more time with her sons instead of just taking this “I know what’s best so suck it up” attitude, Dean (and the audience) would be in a different head space regarding her character right now.

    • I agree. I hate it whenever she tells someone to shut up, especially with her boys at the diner. She knows nothing about them yet expects them to do whatever she says because she’s their mother. Both boys are sensitive, stubborn, strong and willing to do whatever for ‘family’ they just show it at different times.

  7. June Bug says:

    If the writers wanted fans to side with Mary, maybe they should have tried harder to make her sympathetic. But all I’ve seen is someone who bailed on her sons the first chance she got, barely keeps in touch, and seems really disinterested in their lives. And when they do get together, Mary acts more like their hunting partner than their mother. I know Samantha is doing the best she can with what she’s been given and the script has skewed towards Super Huntress Mary. But the result is that Mary’s interactions with her sons have felt so….cold. Does she even like her boys? Sounds like Mary’s starting to bond somewhat with Sam but I don’t think she gets Dean at all. I hope that changes in the future because at this point, it’s hard for me to root for her character.

  8. Wow. I get it. Samantha’s job is to be supportive of her character but nothing I read makes Mary look any better. On top of everything she calls Sam “more sensitive”. Shows she doesn’t get Dean AT ALL. I haven’t enjoyed that storyline one bit and I’ll be glad when it’s over. I can’t believe how excited I used to be that Mary was coming back.

  9. myfanattic says:

    She is so detached from the boys and she downright told them that she loved her little kids, not them. Jody, and Ellen before her, were more motherly to them than she is, and its not like they are all household types either. I dont accept she’s doing anything to protect them. That ship’s sailed. In case she hasnt noticed, her kids are perfectly capable of protecting themselves. As for working with the BMoL I dislike them enough by themselves. The heroes here are Sam and Dean and no other.

  10. Priya says:

    Oh man, Sam is so NOT the more sensitive one. Mary doesn’t know her sons at all. And the fact that Dean doesn’t understand her?! How about she tries to understand him for a change. I do agree though that Mary and Dean are a lot alike so it’s gonna take some time to bond with him. I get Mary’s intentions and Sam and Dean have worked with far worse people in the name of the greater good but the fandom’s hatred for the character is justified too. I guess like Dean we all have glorified Mary Winchester all these years. She’s the perfect woman and mom. But in reality she’s flawed just like her boys. I think she’s acting more like a Campbell than a Winchester. I think she’s torn with this aspect of her personality and I’m intrigued with which part she’ll embrace eventually. For Sam and Dean’s sake I hope it’s the Winchester part.

  11. Kenny Mack says:

    She acts like her dad,I was mad with Dean but I can see she is doing what she thinks is right but I don’t like her not telling S&D about that Colt! Mary Mary Mary

    • SueP says:

      But on the other hand, Mary died well before the Colt came into play, so does she even realize its significance to the boys? Is she even aware Dean used it to avenge her and John? there’s so much WE know but how much does SHE know? She read John’s journal, but how much info have Sam and Dean relayed about themselves and their lives? So as far as we know, she may just think the Colt is a tool she can use that the boys really don’t know much about. This is the mystery to me.

      • Norma says:

        But that’s the whole point – and that is completely on Mary. She is not even trying to talk to her sons, to learn about their lives and more importantly as a hunter to LEARN from them. If Mary doesn’t know what the Colt really signifies that is because of MARY and the distance she’s kept from her sons, the way she’s been completely disinterested in learning about their lives. And their lives, for the most part have been hunting. They are basically the creme de la creme but she ignores that for everyone else and expects them to go along. Mary is the one who distanced herself that isn’t her sons faults, it isn’t Dean’s fault she couldn’t be bothered to find out one thing about his actual life from his OWN mouth.

  12. Sara says:

    I don’t think it’s really fair to say she bailed on her kids. She’s dealing with this ridiculous, insane situation of coming back from the dead. That’s not normal human stuff. She was spiraling…she need to get her head on straight. I understand her thinking she is doing the right thing by working with the BMOL…..but I think most viewers are smart enough to know that it’s going to blow up in her face. She may be a parent….but her boys have too much experience to be ignored.

  13. Destiny says:

    Maybe Dean’s angry because Mary lied and went behind his back. Not because she’s not making soup and tucking him in. I would think that pedestal shattered pretty fast when she told them, she was leaving.

  14. Mary Dulgeroff says:

    Just wondering a little. In Season 4 when Dean found out Sam was with Ruby and learned about his psychic powers, they had the fight in the motel room, Dean said that if he wasn’t Sam’s brother he would want to kill him and that other hunters will want to kill him. Could this be what the BMOL are trying to do? Maybe they see Sam and Dean as monsters and want to kill both of them. Could they be using Mary to lure Sam and Dean to their group so they can dispose of them?

  15. Dan says:

    The problem isn’t that Mary isn’t as domesticated as fans had hoped. I quite like that she’s her own woman and a bada$$ in her own right. The problem for me is that she barely shows any concern for her sons, one of whom was almost killed by the British Men of Letters. She threatened to burn the organization to the ground after Castiel was almost killed because of her duplicity, but was fine working with them after one of their operatives almost killed Sam? Not to mention the fact that she hasn’t even really tried to get to know either one of her sons since she’s been back. I just don’t feel like they’ve done a very good job of making her seem sympathetic at all.

  16. SueP says:

    I think Samantha has a perfect interpretation of what Mary would be going through. She is suddenly back after 30 years and confronted with her adult sons who were babies when she died. The entire world has shifted and she has to find a place in it. She still has the attachment (willing to give up her life to the Reaper in place of either of the boys) but can’t just pop back in and be their ‘mother’ since they are adults and don’t need her to be that for them. Dean has put her on a pedestal for so long — it would be impossible for anyone to live up to that image. She’s human now, not the dream he built over the years. She has flaws and she can only do the best she can. I have no problem with how the character is developing. She doesn’t know the boys any better than they know her. That doesn’t mean the love and family connection isn’t there, it just means none of them have figured out who they are in the others’ lives. I love the dynamic with Dean — their shared balance of stubbornness and affection — and it gives Dean some real emotion to grapple with trying to rectify the Mary he’d built up in his head to the stark reality of the flawed person she really is. Great stuff and wonderfully played out by the cast. It’s given the show a much needed shot in the arm, creating drama and conflict that isn’t forced and repetitive.

    • Norma says:

      I don’t agree. See Dean was perfectly willing to go through all of that WITH Mary. To figure out all this stuff together as a family. Mary bailed and Mary hasn’t come back, except to use them. I think Dean got over the pedestal quite quickly the problem isn’t that she isn’t perfect it’s that frankly she’s really an incredibly selfish and self-centered person.

      She has shown zero interest in them as people. So they are adults, that means they aren’t worthy of finding out about them? Lots of people only meet their parents as adults, like adoptees and what not, sometimes nothing much happens, there is no real connection formed, but a lot of times they are still able to form a good relationship as adults.

      Why? Because they actually try to get to know about each other. Mary hasn’t even attempted this. Quite the opposite. You can’t figure out who you are in each other’s lives if you avoid them, lie to them and just are generally completely disinterested in anything they’ve been through and in their own knowledge.

      Plus she’s got a massive resource in Dean and Sam – they are literally legendary hunters and even as a hunter, never mind as a mother, she’s avoiding them instead of trying to learn from them. She prefers to go behind their backs with the BMOL’s who already tortured one of her sons. She’s been arrogant, she acts like she knows better about everything – yet they’ve been hunters longer than she has and they’ve been at the front lines almost constantly.

      As for the situation being of coming back after 30 years being “weird” – hey you know what Dean and Sam were both in Hell for decades, being tortured. Dean was in Purgatory with no sleeping or eating for a year, every days was a literal fight against monsters for survival. Somehow they managed to come back and were expected to be right back in the fold immediately and mostly were. Mary was gone for 30 years during which time nothing particularly bad was happening to her, then she woke to find things changed, frankly she’s been pretty lucky in that regard. Certainly enough where she could get over being so selfish and arrogant and actually try to act like a decent family member who is all take and no give.