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Recap / Supernatural S 12 E 06 Celebrating The Life Of Asa Fox

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Recap of Supernatural
Season 12, Episode 6:

Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox

Sam, Dean, Mary and Jody must take action when a demon begins picking off mourners at the wake of recently fallen hunter, Asa Fox.

Writer: Steve Yockey

Director: John Badham

Body Count

For this episode: 3 humans

For the series so far: At least 1289 humans (of which 19 were witches), 1126 angels (2 of which were archangels), 188 demons, 71 vampires, 59 ghosts, 36 Jefferson Starships, 22 gods, 19 zombies, 17 werewolves, 10 hellhounds, 8 Bisaan, 7 shapeshifters, 7 skinwalkers, 6 changelings, 5 djinn, 5 reapers, 4 dogs, 4 ghouls, 4 Leviathan, 3 Khan Worms, 3 Thule, 2 Amazons, 2 arachnes, 2 kitsunes, 2 rugarus, 2 vetalas, 2 zannas, 1 banshee, 1 cat, 1 crocotta, Death, 1 deer, 1 dragon, 1 fairy, 1 familiar, 1 lamia, The Mother of All, 1 nachzehrer, 1 okami, 1 phoenix, 1 pishtaco, 1 Purgatory creature, 1 qarin, 1 rakshasa, 1 rawhead, 1 shojo, 1 shtriga, 1 siren, 1 soul eater, 1 Titan, 1 wendigo, the Whore of Babylon, 1 wicked witch, and 1 wraith.

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Tropes

  • Acceptable Feminine Goals and Traits: Subverted. Dean is surprised that Jody likes to watch Chick Flicks because to him, her primary characterization is a badass hunter and no non-sense law enforcement officer. Jodi snarks that she is still a "chick".
  • Accidental Murder: The truth behind Asa's death, which was then framed as a demon's revenge.
  • Ambiguous Gender: The demon Jael. Bucky, who knows Jael from working with Asa, consistently uses "he" and "him" pronouns to refer to them, but they have only one known male host in comparison to four known female hosts (this including the First Nations girl and Asa's girlfriend Marlene Bucky mentioned) and refers to themself as a girl when possessing Jody.
  • And Your Little Dog, Too!: Jael once possessed a woman named Marlene that Asa was involved with. What happened to her and her kid is not elaborated on, but they were no longer in the picture by the time Asa got involved with Jody.
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  • Anti-Villain: Bucky is rightfully treated as despicable by other characters for killing his legendary friend and trying to cover it up, but he seemed like an affable guy before that, regretted his actions and defended Asa's name when Jael bad-mouthed him, and quietly accepted the fate the other hunters came up with for him without protest.
  • Black Boss Lady: Billie, who appears as a middle-aged black woman, seems to have replaced Death, a gaunt, older white man.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Averted. The mixed-race Banes siblings are among the group that survives the episode. Alicia even survives possession by the demon at one point, who later kills the white Elvis during his possession.
  • Body Surf: The demon Jael takes over the bodies of three different hunters over the course of the episodes and, according to Bucky, this is the demon's general modus operandi.
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  • Brother-Sister Team: Besides the Winchesters, there's also the Banes hunters, a team of fraternal brother and sister twins who are actually Asa's kids, though he never knew that.
  • Busman's Funeral: The hunters gather to put a fellow hunter to rest but end up having to hunt and exorcise a demon.
  • Call-Back:
    • When Sam and Mary go to view Asa's body, blood drops fall from the ceiling onto Asa's forehead. The pair look up to see Randy suspended from the ceiling. This is a callback to the pilot episode when this happens to baby Sam at the beginning of the episode and Mary is on the ceiling and to adult Sam at the end of the episode with Jess on the ceiling.
    • As with "Freaks and Geeks", the plot twist of the episode is that a hunter caused the death of another hunter and framed a monster for it. When other hunters find out, they spare him in a case of Cruel Mercy. Victor killed himself rather than be alone, but Bucky is resigned to the punishment he knows he deserves.
    • Billie tells the Winchesters "what's dead should stay dead". Invoking Dean's Arc Words from the season 2 episode "Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things".
  • Came Back Wrong: It is implied that because Mary was resurrected by inherently unnatural means, she will never be able to emotionally adjust to being alive.
  • Chick Magnet: In the music montage covering his journey to become a hunter, Asa is shown kissing a number of different women. He was also intimate with Alicia and Max's witch mother, whom they remember talked about him often. Jody was his latest girlfriend, and she hoped it would end up permanent. His mom even commented on how much the ladies liked Asa.
  • Continuity Nod: Dean killed Hitler.
  • Cruel Mercy: After Bucky admits that he was responsible for Asa's death, he tearfully asks the other hunters what they will do to him. They don't kill him, but promise that they will tell every other hunter what he did. Bucky loved stories about other hunters's exploits and now his murder of Asa and cover-up of his death will be all that anyone will talk about Bucky for.
  • Dark Secret: Bucky is harboring a dark secret: he accidentally killed Asa during a fight and then framed Jael for it.
  • Deal with the Devil: Well, Deal with a Reaper, but she is still a powerful antagonist. Dean strikes a bargain with Billie in order to get inside the warded house, after Billie warns him that he will owe her one for it. At the end, it turns out that Billie wants the bargain to be that she reap Mary's soul because Mary's resurrection was unnatural. As a reaper, though, Billie is bound to not kill people herself so Mary must agree to it. Mary considers it, and turns her down because she has decided she wants to keep living, even though she has been suffering from a bad case of Fish out of Temporal Water.
  • Death Is Cheap: Averted. All three hunters who died in the episode stayed dead and Reaper Billie re-appeared to remind the Winchesters that they have no more death do-overs.
  • Demonic Possession: Demonic possession is so common that it almost doesn't bear mentioning, but who was being possessed was the main mystery of the episode.
  • Desecrating the Dead:
    • Bucky hung Asa's body from a tree after his death in imitation of Jael's signature style.
    • Randy's body is discovered tied to a rafter and bleeding over Asa's body.
  • Determinator: Asa. Bucky said he was always so stubborn.
  • Did Not Die That Way: Asa's manner of death turns out to be different than originally believed.
  • Driven to Suicide: In Bucky's account of when Asa and Jael first crossed paths in 1997, Jael forced the First Nations girl they were possessing to hang herself with a noose to spoil Asa's victory in exorcising them.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Jael laments that Sam didn't get tricked into killing his mom when it would've been "a riot" and spends much of their screentime giggling over how much fun they're having killing the hunters.
  • Exorcist Head: The demon Jael pulls this trick, but unlike the Trope Namer, their host Elvis does not survive. Which was of course Jael's intention, since their cover had been blown and they needed a new host to use for their little game, and evidently they didn't want to leave Elvis alive.
  • Famed In-Story: We've seen it often with supernatural creatures knowing who the brothers are sans introduction, but in this episode even hunters from another country knew who Sam and Dean are and what they've accomplished.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Jael, as per usual for a demon.
  • Foe Romance Subtext: An alternate take to The Only One Allowed to Defeat You, particularly when coupled with Bucky's mention that Jael once possessed Asa's lover.
    Jael: Tell them what you took from me. Asa. Was. Mine.
  • For Want of a Nail: A house full of hunters who probably easily have a hundred or so combined years of experience and not a single one of them has a flask of holy water that would expose the demon antagonist.
  • Forgotten Phlebotinum: As fans pointed out, "Christo" would've revealed who the demon was possessing at any given time with just two syllables. This aspect of demon lore has been forgotten by writers since the episode it was introduced, but it hasn't been as glaring until now since this situation was the first where the protagonists needed to know who was possessed by a demon and had no other way to figure it out.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Elvis.
  • Giggling Villain: Jael as played by Kara Royster and Kim Rhodes, bordering on Put the "Laughter" in "Slaughter" with the latter.
  • Honor Before Reason: Even though Mary is still having difficulty adjusting, she refuses to leave her sons again (but she still needed her space for a while).
  • Hysterical Woman: Lorraine Fox. Unlike her son, she is not exactly hunter material, and is quick to scream and jump to conclusions when afraid.
  • I'm Your Biggest Fan: Elvis' reaction to finding out that Sam Winchester was on the premises.
  • Inappropriate Hunger: The Winchesters discuss eating breakfast, specifically bacon, while the bodies of three of their fellow hunters burn in the background.
  • It's Personal: Jael made sure his grudgematch with Asa got personal when he went after Asa's girlfriend, Marlene.
  • Living Legend: The brothers are surprised to discover that their exploits have made them folk heroes in the hunter community.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Finding out that Alicia and Max are Asa's children and therefore her grandchildren comes as a surprise to Lorraine, but she is clearly glad about it and intends to develop a relationship with the Banes in the episode epilogue.
  • Moral Dissonance: When Mary goes to kill the massively evil Jael, who is about to kill all the hunters in the room, Sam stops her because said demon is inhabiting Jody's body. Note that the demon had already killed one of their hosts during the possession and could have done the same with Jody before possessing someone else. In fact, Dean had been trying to exorcise instead of kill Elvis when Jael killed him and escaped, apparently trying to save Elvis simply because he was a fellow hunter. Beyond this episode, the Winchesters regularly kill demon hosts without a thought in the series proper, making no effort to exorcise them and save the hosts even in situations where the demons could be restrained to ensure the exorcism goes smoothly, simply because killing them both is quicker and more permanent. The only exceptions they make anymore are when they know the possession victims personally.
    Mary: What are you doing?! She's a demon, we kill demons!
    Sam: No, but she's Jody.
  • Mundane Solution: The demon has escaped and possessed someone else, and the hunters have no holy water to test everyone and find out who it is. Dean orders they draw a devil's trap. When Mary asks how they're going to lure Jael into it, Dean explains they're not; it's for all of them to enter and prove they're not possessed. Whoever doesn't want to go in is possessed. Whoever can't get out is possessed, powerless, and trapped. By staying inside the devil's trap, all the characters would be safe from possession if the demon tries to change hosts again. Before they can finish preparing the devil's trap for Dean's plan, Jael overplays their hand and exposes themself, getting exorcised.
  • My Beloved Smother: Lorraine didn't want Asa hunting, which is sympathetic and reasonable. Sabotaging him in attempt to keep him home was not. Lorraine failed to realize that it was abusive to go to such lengths to try to control her son and enforce her will on him, or that her meddling could have gotten him killed if he went out on a hunt with faulty equipment. Jael shaming her for it in front of the other characters may have made her regret her actions and helped her be a better grandmother to the Banes twins than she was a mother to Asa.
  • Neck Snap: A gruesome, self-inflicted variation by Jael, with all the fatality and suddenness in the spirit of the trope intact. Neck-snapping is actually attributed to them by Bucky as one step of their preferred murder method.
  • Not Himself: Once possessed, the hunters did not have control over themselves, nor did they behave as one would expect from a hunter.
  • The Nth Doctor: Jael is played in sequence by Kara Royster, Billy Wickham, and Kim Rhodes, in all three cases doubling as Acting for Two.
  • Older Than They Look: Lorraine notes that if Mary is the same Mary who saved Asa as a boy, she should be Lorraine's own age. Throwing out inconsistent time skips between some seasons and assuming it's set in present day, Mary should be going on 62 years old. With all the years she spent dead, she's still 29, which is younger than her sons. This is a Downplayed Trope as, while Mary didn't age during her time dead, her actress Samantha Smith has and is 47 years old at the time she is playing the resurrected 29-year-old Mary who should actually be 62. Got that?
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Jael did not actually kill Asa and is in fact pretty miffed that Bucky killed him. The only time they break their playful persona and show any anger is when they are confronting Bucky and forcing him to confess to the murder in front of a roomful of other hunters. They get exorcised before they can complete their revenge on Bucky.
  • "Open!" Says Me: Averted. Dean tries everything he can do to get the supernaturally sealed door open in order to save Sam and Mary, but nothing works until he is able to convince Billy the Reaper to help him past the seal with her powers.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Jodi's increasing levels of panic and histrionics alerted Dean that the normally calm and unflappable sheriff/hunter is possessed. Once the demon is outed, her behavior becomes even more over the top with maniacal laughter and taunting.
  • Plot-Triggering Death: Asa Fox's death brings all the hunters under the same roof and allows the demon to trap them in the house.
  • Psychotic Manchild: Jael has shades of this, mostly from their cheerfully evil, giggly behavior.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Jael is a crossroads demon with solid, bright red eyes. Flicks them red each time they get found out.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Averted. The possessed Jody tries to trick Sam into thinking that Mary is possessed so she can convince him to kill her. Soon after, Sam restrains Mary from killing the demon to protect Jody, who acts a Team Mom to him and Dean.
  • Slashed Throat: Jael kills Randy by slicing open his throat with a knife before he can notice and fight back, then drags him off-screen to finish him off and stage his body to be found. Bucky says that throat-slitting followed by neck-snapping and hanging is how Jael kills.
  • Socially Awkward Hero: Sam's reaction to Elvis' admiration and the general idea that other hunters retell the Winchester Brother adventure's like campfire stories.
  • Straight Gay: Max is a cool, mellow hunter who tells Sam his mother taught him how to seduce men. Closed captioning on the official The CW website show him agreeing with Jody about enjoying some time with ruggedly hot men. He also seems to take an interest in Sam.
  • Super Window Jump: Dean is thrown a glass paneled door but shows no sign of injury subsequent to being stunned by the initial impact.
  • Ten Little Murder Victims: The plot of the episode. Asa's mourners get locked inside his house and murdered one by one by a demon who is constantly jumping bodies. The demon also tries to get them to turn on and kill each other. Luckily, cooler heads prevail.
  • Time-Shifted Actor: The titular Asa Fox is played by Jack Moore when he is saved by Mary as a child. When he grows up and becomes a hunter himself, the role is taken over by Shaine Jones.
  • Too Dumb to Live: While hunting for Jael (who taunted Asa to chase after him), Bucky realized they didn't have the Angel Knife, and tells Asa they should go back for it. But the stubborn Asa refused to give up the chase and called Bucky a coward, which led Bucky to angrily shove him; Asa tripped, fell, and hit his head on a rock.
  • Treachery Cover Up
  • Villain Ball: Despite the hunters being unable to confirm who is possessed, Jael inevitably breaks out the knives and evil giggles when they get suspected or just plain want to kill Dean. It's especially noticeable in the latter case, as they had been priming Dean to be a main suspect for Demonic Possession due to him being missing, a hysterical Lorraine already thought Dean was possessed, and it would've been very simple to keep the suspicion on him with hunters not able to use their normal demon detection tools on him; instead, Jael gleefully tries to murder Dean in front of Lorraine, blowing their cover as Elvis. Combined with their ineffective attempt at manipulating Sam into killing Mary, it seems that, after the smart tactical move in locking the hunters in and turning off the water and lights to keep them disoriented and unable to make holy water, Jael likes killing too much to be a better Manipulative Bastard.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Everyone's reaction to Bucky for not only accidentally killing Asa, but for lying about Jael killing him.
  • Willing Suspension of Disbelief: Bended hard if not outright broken with the plot. All the hunters in a gathering of hunters decided to leave all their hunting gear in their cars and go to the wake of a fellow hunter's funeral completely unarmed and unguarded, with said hunter have recently been murdered by a sadistic, vindictive demon who had been obsessed with said hunter for years and with a habit of targeting people who knew him. And while they all leave their holy water behind, they also conveniently forget about the effectiveness of "Christo" and salt, which would allow them to quickly identify and help fend off Jael. "Christo" has been Forgotten Phlebotinum after Season 1, but salt remains part of hunters's main line of defense against demons and this is something that should've been already present in a hunter's house.
  • Written-In Absence: When Sam and Dean drop by Jody's house for a visit, she tells them that her surrogate daughters Alex and Claire are in Omaha for the weekend at a Radiohead concert.
  • You Make Me Sick: The hunters' reaction when Bucky is revealed as Asa's true killer.
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