Stars: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins, Mark A. Sheppard, Osric Chau, Ty Olsson, Lauren Tom, Gerald Plunkett
Writers: Andrew Dabb & Daniel Loflin, series created by Eric Kripke
Director: John F. Showalter
Network: The CW, Wednesdays @ 9 PM
Original Airdate: October 10, 2012
Did SUPERNATURAL really need to call this episode “What’s Up, Tiger Mommy?” Yes, it’s a parody of the title of Woody Allen’s dubbed Japanese spy parody WHAT’S UP, TIGER LILY? Amy Chua, a Chinese-American woman, wrote a controversial book about child-rearing entitled BATTLE HYMN OF THE TIGER MOTHER. Because this episode involves Linda Tran (Lauren Tom), mother of Prophet of the Lord Kevin Tran (Osric Chau), and the Trans are of Vietnamese descent, somebody decided to lump all the Asian references together in the title. There are a lot of words for this kind of thing. We’ll just use a few – ill-advised and unfunny.
This week’s rant over, let’s get on to the episode proper, which is actually a good one. Kevin insists on making sure his mom is okay, as he hasn’t seen her in a year. Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) agree to the reunion and plan to send Linda into hiding. They are thrown for a loop when Linda insists on joining their quest and Kevin backs her up.
Kevin has hidden the tablet bearing God’s word on how to banish demons in a bus station locker. Unfortunately, the locker has been robbed and the tablet has wound up at a supernatural auction house, run by Plutus (Gerald Plunkett), where the bidders offer payment in dwarven gold and other esoteric valuables. Kevin is invited to the auction and brings along his mother and the Winchesters.Crowley(Mark A. Sheppard) is there, ready to bid on the tablet. Plutus grabs Kevin to auction him off with the tablet, as Kevin is the only person on Earth who can translate it. Linda is so horrified that she offers her soul to rescue her son.Crowleytries to offer his soul, but is handicapped by the fact that he doesn’t have one. Kevin is saved and gets the tablet and Linda is ready to surrender her soul to Plutus.
In fact, Plutus has been betrayed by his underling.Crowley winds up possessing Linda. Dean is ready to slit the throat of Linda’s body with Crowley inside, but Crowley is expelled from Linda without physical harm to the woman.Crowley steals the tablet, but can’t persuade Kevin to go with him – though he warns the young prophet that people who get near the Winchesters have a habit of getting killed once their usefulness is at an end. Kevin asks for some time alone with his mother, who is in shock after being possessed. Sam and Dean give the Trans some space, but then realize it’s gotten awfully quiet – and find that Kevin and Linda have left.
Meanwhile, Dean is having flashbacks to Purgatory, where he lost, then re-found Castiel (Misha Collins). Castiel had tried to ditch Dean in order to save him from pursuing Leviathans. Dean insists that he can get Castiel out of Purgatory with him, but from what we see, it didn’t work. Dean is haunted by guilt.
The episode also introduces a new angel, Samandriel, who at present claims to be sympathetic to Castiel. He balks at bidding souls from Heaven in the auction, so he may indeed be a good guy – we’ll likely see more of him.
The auction itself is very funny, with sharp use of mythology – Norse frost giants and Thor’s hammer figure into the proceedings – and a lot of great banter. Linda is a likable character, especially when she straight-out punches Crowley in the face. Tom is aces in the role. Chau continues to impress as Kevin and guest star Plunkett makes a fine God of Greed, as Plutus is designated. Sheppard, as usual, has killer line delivery as Crowley.
Things wind up violent and bloody at the auction house, which is too bad, not because most of the casualties don’t have it coming, but because the setting itself is so rich in possibilities. Let’s hope Plutus left his estate to an equally lively heir.
Meanwhile, Dean and Sam have a worthwhile quest to pursue and we’ve had a solid, entertaining hour of television.
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