In season 12 Supernatural has taken a step back. Mary has been resurrected and Lucifer is walking around in a new vessel, and the show feels like it is back in the days of season 1 and 2, back when the biggest threats were those on a weekly basis, not a seasonal one. “Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox” was another great episode that reminded viewers why they fell in love with Supernatural in the first place. Here are four ways that Supernatural brought things back to basics with “Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox.”

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Making Demons Scary Again

In all fairness, the problem of demons becoming less terrifying on Supernatural started all the way back in season 3. This is not just an issue of the later seasons. Ever since Ruby was introduced and Supernatural had to find ways to make demons ongoing characters rather than monsters of the week, demons have become more like cynical comic relief than actual terrors. 

In “Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox,” the central demon, J.L., was bone-chilling. J.L. was exactly the right villain for the episode as the demon was entertaining, threatening and above all terrifying. Maybe it was just the fact that J.L. possessed beloved Jody Mills, but still, “Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox” made us afraid of a demon in way that Supernatural hasn’t for years. 

A Focus on Family

Unlike demons being scary, Supernatural never really lost its focus on family. Things just sort of shifted. While Sam and Dean have always been present, their familial relationships have mostly been with their adopted family like Castiel or the aforementioned Jody. 

In “Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox” Supernatural dove back into the messy dynamics of the Winchester brothers and their biological parents. While the early seasons were devoted to Sam and Dean’s relationship with their father, “Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox,” and season 12 as a whole, has been all about Mary. However you feel about Mary and her return there is something undeniably comforting about Dean’s biggest problem being an emotional one with his emotionally distant parent. 

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A Network of Hunters

If you want to address the elephant in the room, Supernatural had entirely too many hunters at the funeral for Asa. Credibility was taken to its breaking point that Sam and Dean would have never met any of these many hunters in their adventures. But it did feel nice, after so many seasons removed from Ellen’s bar, to have Sam and Dean sharing stories with other hunters. Who knows if there will be more appearances by the hunters we met in “Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox,” though I certainly want to see more of the twins who were raised by a witch. It is just nice to know that even though most of Sam and Dean’s friends and family have died there are always new people familiar with their life for them to meet. 

Keeping Things Small

I’m a sucker for a good bottle episode. While a true bottle episode would have taken place solely at the Men of Letters’ Bunker, using Supernatural’s existing sets, “Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox” was close enough to count. Supernatural always takes time out of each season, no matter how crazy it gets, to serve up singular bite-sized stories. “Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox” was especially contained and tightly constructed.

The fact that “Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox” took place in one location, with one demon, with the biggest twist being who the demon was possessing was refreshingly simple. There was no overbearing threat of Lucifer, God’s sister or even the Men of Letters hovering over the episode. It was just a simple but terrifying (and entertaining) episode. 

So what did you think of the episode? Did you think Supernatural is getting back to basics in season 12? Do you enjoy the old approach to new episodes? What was your favorite part of “Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox?”

Supernatural season 12 airs Thursdays at 9/8c on The CW. Want more news? Like our Supernatural Facebook page for the latest updates!

(Image courtesy of The CW)

Derek Stauffer

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Derek is a Philadelphia based writer and unabashed TV and comic book junkie. The time he doesn’t spend over analyzing all things nerdy he is working on his resume to be the liaison to the Justice League.