‘Supernatural’ Reveals Secrets of the Bunker & Drops an Ominous Warning (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 15, Episode 14 of Supernatural, “Last Holiday.”]
It’s the beginning of the end, and the road so far has been so good. Will the final stretch (of seven episodes) give Supernatural the farewell it deserves?
They certainly get off to the right start with “Last Holiday,” which not only offers a look at previously unseen parts of the bunker (and tells us the function of that telescope!), but also gives Sam (Jared Padalecki), Dean (Jensen Ackles), and Jack (Alexander Calvert) a chance to sit back, relax, celebrate the holidays (like Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Halloween), and briefly forget that they’re still figuring out exactly how they’re going to kill God (Rob Benedict). It’s so rare that we get to see smiles on the boys’ faces that we can’t help but immediately enjoy this episode.
And it all begins with Dean running into problems in the kitchen while making burgers…
What’s the Harm in Just Pushing a Button?
Since there are also problems with the hot water and air, the brothers set off to fix the bunker. “We fought the devil. I’ve killed Hitler. I think we can handle a few old pipes,” Dean says. And since they can’t call a plumber, it’s up to them to head down to the boiler room, where there are buttons for “Reset” and “Standby” on the control center. Dean decides that the best course of action is to do what he does when his computer has too many pop-ups and hits Reset. That seemingly works, rebooting the bunker … but then he finds a woman (Meagen Fay) folding his Scooby Doo boxers in his room.
As he and Sam learn, Mrs. Butters, a wood nymph, was a “helper” for the Men of Letters, her “boys,” and took care of their cleaning, laundry, and cooking “since before the War.” They have to inform her it’s 2020, not 1958, and the Men of Letters never returned because they were killed by the Knight of Hell Abaddon (Alaina Huffman). To keep the bunker safe after that, she’d placed it and herself in Standby mode.
Yes, they’ve been operating on half power; the Men of Letters used Mrs. Butters’ magic to give the bunker an extra “oomph.” And with a snap of her fingers, she does just that in the present day. The telescope is lit up, and “monster radar” chimes, alerting them to a nest of vampires 50 miles away.
Sam’s the one to hesitate, questioning if they can really trust her. But for Dean, if the nest is real, she’s telling the truth, and he lets Jack know, through the door to his room where he’s holed up dealing with having his soul back, they have a guest before they head out on the hunt.
While Sam’s worried about Jack’s emotional and psychological well-being, Dean thinks “he’ll be fine. I’ve been through worse. Look at me, I’m the picture of health.” But “ignoring your trauma doesn’t make you healthy,” Sam argues. They quickly dispatch of the vampires and return to find Mrs. Butters has decorated the bunker for Christmas. “We are so keeping her,” Dean declares.
Holidays, Home-Cooked Meals & a Hammer
It’s as Sam’s sitting down to plates of pancakes and bacon that Jack emerges from his room, and Mrs. Butters immediately asks what he is. “He’s a millennial. Don’t let that throw you, he’s a good kid,” Dean says, walking into the kitchen in his “Scoobynatural” nightgown. When the alarm sounds for their next hunt, the brothers leave Jack behind to enjoy his smoothie (courtesy of Mrs. Butters) and head out with packed lunches and a car trunk stocked with weapons.
While they’re gone, Jack tells Mrs. Butters that while Lucifer may have been his father, his family is Sam, Dean, angel Castiel (Misha Collins), and Mary Winchester (Samantha Smith), as well as the fact that he killed her. She encourages him to hold on to this second chance and gives him another smoothie.
After that, Sam and Dean head off on hunts (breaking out Thor’s hammer for one) and come home to holiday feasts, pumpkin-carving, and a birthday celebration for Sam. Life seems great, so of course it can’t last.
After catching Mrs. Butters looking at something in a file cabinet, Jack investigates and uncovers the Men of Letters’ classified file on her, “Subject B.” It includes “instructions for a procedure to interrogate,” a mention of “unearthly powers,” and an old film, “documenting experiment Classified 23-F.”
On the film, Man of Letters Cuthbert Sinclair (Kavan Smith, from Season 9’s “Blade Runners” and Season 10’s “The Werther Project”) details how “Subject B” destroyed upwards of 200 men before being restrained. “Wood nymphs, it would seem, though naturally docile, react violently when home or family are threatened,” he says. She agreed to join the Men of Letters family “for service and security.” He has her rip the head off a member of the Thule after he’s of no more use to them. Then she asks if anyone would like tea or cookies.
At Least Date Night Isn’t Ruined
When Jack goes to warn Sam, the younger Winchester is about to leave to meet Eileen (Shoshannah Stern) in town for a date. Mrs. Butters sends him off with the keys to one of the old cars in the garage and a bouquet of flowers. She then distracts Dean by telling him she fixed the TV in the “Dean cave.”
When Jack follows her to the dungeon, he realizes the wood nymph wanted him to see the movie. She thinks he enjoyed seeing the “dog’s” (“Nazis are hardly men”) death and relished his pain, and it’s just a matter of time before he hurts Sam and Dean. So she does “what I’ve always done,” she says, tossing him aside with her power before cuffing him. “I’m protecting my family” by getting rid of “all the monsters.” Those smoothies she kept giving him? They made him “as weak as a puppy.”
Mrs. Butters then waits for Dean in the kitchen, a sandwich ready because he needs his strength to kill Jack, she informs him. But he won’t be swayed. “We had a good thing going, and of course, you had to go full Nurse Ratched,” he says. He tries to convince her to let Jack go, but instead, she tosses him into the dungeon with the half-angel.
Sam returns from his date a “bit past [his] curfew,” so at least something worked out that night. Mrs. Butters fills him in on what he’s missed, and he plays along long enough to escape to his room for his gun and call Dean. Why didn’t his brother reach out to him? “I figured you were practicing your sign language,” Dean says. “And that’s more important than coming to save you?” Sam asks in disbelief. “It’s been a while for you,” Dean points out.
Since neither of them ever looked into how to stop a wood nymph because they got too caught up in the holidays and everything Mrs. Butters, the best bet seems to be to see if shooting her works. Sam never gets the chance; she sees through him and ties him to a chair before trying to make him understand Jack’s a monster, like Cuthbert helped her, by pulling his fingernails off. (Anyone else having flashbacks to Season 3’s “A Very Supernatural Christmas”?)
Meanwhile, in a much-needed conversation, Jack asks if Dean still thinks he’s a monster. “Jack, I’m trying, OK? I really am,” he says. “What you did, that’s not easy to forgive. Now, I was angry with you for a while, and maybe I still am a little bit, but I’m not going to let some evil Mary Poppins take you out, do you understand?” Once they’re out of the dungeon, they head down to the boiler room and Dean hits the Reset button with a hammer.
But that only momentarily gets rid of Mrs. Butters, long enough for them to regroup with Sam in the library. Again, the Winchesters try to make her see reason. “You hurt him, you hurt us,” Sam says, while Dean reminds her of the Men of Letters’ mission of “saving the world,” which is exactly what Jack can do. That works.
With that, Mrs. Butters heals Sam’s fingers and apologizes for everything. Upon hearing that she wants to return home, the boys tell her that’s what she should do. Without her magic, however, the bunker will revert to Standby mode. And the wood nymph is the one to tell them what the telescope is: “an interdimensional geoscope.” When Dean says he looked in it earlier and “didn’t see anything,” she warns them “that’s not good.” (That’s because God has been busy destroying worlds, right?) After Jack gives her the old photo of the Men of Letters, she says her farewells (with reminders for Dean to eat his vegetables, Sam to cut his hair, and Jack to save the world).
But even without Mrs. Butters, there’s one more celebration: Jack’s birthday, with a cake Dean made. “I made it myself, obviously,” the hunter unnecessarily remarks. “It’s not like Mrs. Butters makes it, but…” “It’s great,” Jack says. All that’s left to do is for him to make a wish.
With that, there are only six episodes left, and if they’re anything like this one, Supernatural is going to go out on a high note.
Supernatural, Thursdays, 8/7c, The CW