So after laying the ground work for the season in episodes 1 and 2,here comes The Foundry which goes back to basic ghost hunting, ectoplasm,possession and such. The case serves to reveal the family dynamic between Dean, Sam, and Mary as well as the re establishment of the uneasy bond between Castiel and Crowley and oh yes, the current red head, Rowena. Even Lucifer fulfills his promise to Vinnie to heal his sister. Ah family!
The writer, Robert Berens, shows proficiency at writing the 4 lead characters. Throw in a bit of Lucifer decaying with special effects and special effects of ghostly souls, and a dash of comedy and you have a recipe for a decent episode that takes the cover off the pot to look inside the stew that makes up our4 main characters, but IMHO, especially Dean.
The distraction is the ghost hunt. We get to see how Mary and Dean are alike in so many ways,but like Sam as in the past,she chooses to leave to sort out her life. Loved the breakfast scene, the loud music in the car scene and the Cas and Crowley dance. It is obvious Mary feels out of place, not even Cas can reassure her that she will ever fit. Like Dean, she immerses herself in a hunt and relies on her instinct more than technology. The flashbacks to her old life are painful reminders of what she missed and the illusion that heaven offered to her. Loved the haircut to match the new Mary, but she cannot say goodbye to the old one even with a physical change. It is nice to know that Cas healed Sam’s “s’mores” foot and the discussion between Sam and Dean at the grave is a nice touch.
In the end, we see an analytic Sam who is as much Mary’s son as Dean but who like a young baby flinches at the sound of Mary leaving; he does manage to express himself in a genuine hug before she takes off.He gets her mood, her need, her not fitting in. Dean, on the other hand, is that 4 year old child who is “abandoned” by a parent and this time it is her choice. He physically pulls back from her in such pain, it is palpable. His non-verbal emotion is underscored by the slam of the door. This scene hits harder than a punch in the gut from hot sauce.
The Lucifer/Rowena/Crowley/Castiel scenes are delicious, although it is hard to believe that Lucifer does not see the possibility that Rowena would double cross him. The aliases used by the Winchesters and Crowstiel are worth a chuckle. Springfield sprinkles his horrific Lucifer with a bit of humor so Berens gets this right in the script as well. So much compressed into an episode.
The ghost story underscores the parent/child/letting go theme of the episode. Dean can’t seem to get one good thing and enjoy it. He can’t let go this time, nor has he ever really let go of the emotion of that 4 year old child. Did John ever give him slack to mourn?. Not one to show his emotions, the pain is all over his face much like last week’s pie.
The Foundry is far from a perfect episode and at first I was “meh”. Wondering how much buffoonery can be tolerated from Crowstiel, but it is a funny bit. However,the last scene as Mary walks away with the journal and her sack, is what the episode builds to using the underlying family themes. Just for that scene and the Lucifer and ghost FX, I recommend it. Dean’s theme music resonates as well. Superb acting, but especially J2. That final scene is the cherry on the sundae that makes it all worth devouring.