The Winchesters: Season 1 Episode 11 “You’ve Got a Friend” Review

An ex-turned ally, and a dark secret are on deck for Tuesday’s episode

We pick up immediately after the events of the last episode with the gang busy cleaning up the mess in the lab when John shows up covered in Kyle’s blood. Millie helped him evade the cops, but everyone agrees it’s best if he skips town. Unfortunately, before John and Mary can disappear, John’s ex Betty hauls him off to jail. Meanwhile, Carlos and Lata are trapped in their own nightmare after Lata gets a magic bracelet stuck on her wrist. Millie tries to get Betty on their side when Mary is hell-bent on a prison break, while John gets a visit from an Akrida possessed detective who wants to know who the guy in the picture is. Lata is forced to confess her dark secret to Carlos, and it saves them both from near death. Millie finds them and they all catch up with Mary to help her rescue John — Betty helps once the bracelet opens her eyes to the real evil around her. John and Mary drive off into the sunset, and Betty agrees to be their cop on the inside and work with Millie to get the charges against John dropped.

So a lot went down in this episode, even if it didn’t exactly feel full. While the Carlos/Lata storyline took a huge chunk of our time, the John-in-jail storyline gave us a juicy dish to chew on. John’s time as a POW served him well, but the Akrida-possessed detective didn’t lose out entirely. Both of their games of chicken reached satisfying conclusions. The Akrida now know they don’t have to wear kid-gloves with the Monster Hunters since they have zero info on the man in the photo, while John has learned that the man in the photo might be the key to killing them.

Speaking of the man in the photo… John says that “nothing of this Earth” can kill the Akrida, which means the man in the photo must not be of “this Earth”. It’s a tantalizing egg to drop — does this mean that Dean Winchester has visited a parallel Earth? Is that why the John and Mary romance isn’t going the same way it did when the mothership showed it?? Could it also be why there are no Angels intervening with the Akrida??? I’m plenty curious to see if they’re gonna make good on this tease or if they’re gonna use semantics to wiggle their way out of a real revelation.

Anyway, back to the bread and butter. We also got to learn, along with Carlos, that Lata’s been harboring a pretty heavy secret. Her breakout at the farm wasn’t the whole truth. As it happens, she had a nanny — Sania — who she loved very much, and one night when her father had a business dinner, she stole some sweets to share with Sania. Her father found out and lost it. He was about to beat the nanny when Lata took an oil lamp and hit him first. If that wasn’t bad enough, her mother sided with her father, which is why Lata ran away. Her folks, being the level-headed people they are, blamed Sania and locked her in a room on the coldest night of the year. She froze to death. It’s a painful memory, but the confession proves cathartic enough for her and Carlos to be freed from their shadow prison.

Fleites, as always, is fantastic. His Carlos is grounded while still being sympathetic towards his tortured friend. Khurshid, though she gives a lively performance, goes a little ham for my taste. I will wholly admit that I didn’t like her confession only because I’m very tired of these “dark secret” teases a lot of shows seem to enjoy. Which is to say that Khurshid isn’t at fault for poor writing, she’s just trying to polish a turd. From Robin’s bullshit confession that he “killed” Slade’s son in Titans, to Lata being made to feel responsible for the death of her maid when her parents are clearly the villains, I’m over it. And yes, guilt is a real thing. I recognize that people tend to blame themselves for tragic accidents, but when the culprit is blatantly NOT them, it can become a fatigued theme. John feeling guilty for a fellow soldier’s death, sure, I can buy that because the odds are equally stacked against them. Survivor’s guilt is a real thing, and soldiers are prone to it. But, Lata isn’t stupid. She recognizes that her father is a bad person; she attacks him because of this, and having her mother turn against her checks — that part of the story I admire — but, feeling guilty because your evil-ass folks killed your nanny? I dunno. Granted, they do throw in a line about how Lata feels the guilt for leaving Sania, but still. I was kind of hoping maybe Lata killed her folks trying to protect Sania, even though we learned in an earlier episode her parents aren’t dead. Like I said, it’s not Khurshid’s fault here. She gets back in the groove when Lata confides in Carlos that her parents are alive.

Kajlich’s Millie plays a solid momma bear, and as always Donnelly and Rodger hold their own as Mary and John, respectively. Donnelly gives Mary a warm vulnerability when she’s comforting John but then switches perfectly to a strong determination when she’s made up her mind about busting John out of jail. Rodger has an equally duel task of embodying John’s reluctance to dig into the part of himself that survived being a POW and then later allowing that wound to quietly consume him in the car with Mary.

Although, my favorite performances in this show come from Ed Amatrudo’s Detective Klett, and Andrea Londo’s Betty Donelan. Amatrudo truly enjoys playing the villain, and it shows; he steals every scene he’s in with Rodger and I’m hoping we see him again. Londo does a good job of turning Betty from a disgruntled ex who doesn’t trust the new girl to a willing partner in crime — complete with a sucker punch from Carlos! If you’re only as good as your costars then Rodger, Donnelly, and Kajlich can send many thanks to Amatrudo and Londo. Speaking of bit players, I wished we could have gotten more of shadow Maggie (Bella DeLong), but since this is The Winchesters I’m sure she’ll make another visit eventually — maybe even the real ghost of Maggie, not the bracelet version.

This was a pleasantly paced episode. The story chugs along briskly without many lulls, one being a moment when a shadow Maggie confronts Lata about the secrets she’s been keeping, and another when Mary tries to console John over Kyle’s death. But otherwise, events move swiftly from Carlos and Lata being trapped to John ending up in an interrogation run by his enemy. I like a show that knows when to breathe, but given there’s only two more episodes after this one, I can appreciate the acceleration. I’m excited to see where this is heading, and honestly, getting your audience excited for the next episode is really all any show can ask for.

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