Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester in "Supernatural" season 12 episode 22 "Who We Are"
Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester in "Supernatural" season 12 episode 22 "Who We Are" The CW Television Network

“Supernatural” season 12 episode 22 gave fans a fearless leader in Sam Winchester (Jared Padalecki) and a forgiving son in Dean (Jensen Ackles). “Who We Are” is full of heart and acceptance.

The following contains spoilers from ‘Supernatural’ 12x22, which aired Thursday in the US. The episode airs Mondays in Australia on Eleven.

Straight from last week’s events where Mr Ketch (David Haydn-Jones) left Sam and Dean Winchester to die in the bunker with Lady Toni Bevell (Elizabeth Blackmore), the episode started with the trio trying to find a way out of the bunker before they were out of air, water and food. They tried everything, but what really worked was Dean using the grenade launcher to break the impenetrable wall.

Mary’s (Samantha Smith) kill list from Ketch included Jodi (Kim Rhodes), but Alex (Katherine Ramdeen) thwarted her nefarious plan. Jodi then called the Winchesters to tell them their mum just tried to off her. Sam and Dean arrived in Jodi’s home to see Mary strapped in and still snarky. Toni, who previously told the boys they needed her to reverse Mary’s brainwashing, admitted that she couldn’t do it because brainwashing was permanent.

Calling other hunters within the vicinity, the boys wanted to mobilise them to attack the British Men of Letters headquarter before the posh librarians kill them first. Sam’s speech about hunting and breaking walls in front of other hunters was nothing short of amazing. The boy who had been reluctantly pushed into becoming a hunter from infancy spoke the truth. He understood it now, better than most, that hunting isn’t about killing and the end justifying the means, not as how the BMoL sees it.

“It’s about doing what’s right even when it’s hard,” Sam told the hunters. The younger Winchester has finally accepted the role of leadership.

Sam then led the hunters to attack the BMoL, but Dean opted to stay with Mary. Even though brainwashing is permanent, Dean did not believe she was lost for good. He brought his mother to the bunker with Toni in a bid to penetrate her thoughts and bring her back.

While breaking into Mary’s thoughts, Dean was taken back into his childhood home, where Sam was still a baby and he was still a 4-year-old. Mary was playing mother. Dean tried to talk to her, first thinking she couldn’t hear or see him. He figured out she was just pretending not to see him because she wanted to stay unaware of what’s happening in real life.

“I hate you. I hate you. But I love you,” Dean told his mum, who was trying so hard to pretend he didn’t exist. He blamed her for everything, from making a deal with Azazel to unwittingly leaving them and their dad all by themselves, thereby forcing Dean to act not only as a brother to Sam, but also as a parent.

Just when he was getting Mary to acknowledge him, Ketch brought him back to the present. The BMoL henchman killed Toni while Dean was doing his monologue with his mother. Mary fortunately woke up just in time as Ketch was winning against Dean. After a few words, Ketch was finally killed by Mary.

The BMoL members in the US, including Doctor Hess (Gillian Barber) are dead. And that’s a good thing.

‘Who We Are’ review

If there’s any doubt left that Sam has fully accepted his lot in life, this episode killed it. Sam not only accepted it, he stepped up to lead as well.

This also positively showed that Dean isn’t just a soldier, as he was treated by his dad all his life, but he is also a son who needed his mother. Probably the best thing about the episode is Sam and Dean separating to take on their roles, Sam as a leader, Dean as a son.

The bad guys getting their comeuppance was sweet as well. However, it may have come a little later for Toni, who finally showed her humane side when she asked for a head start to see his son again.

Read more:
‘Supernatural’ season 12 episode 21 recap, review: Fan-fave character dies, Mary becomes a killing puppet
‘Supernatural’ season 12 episode 20 review: Dean defends Castiel, longs for Mary; Sam sleeps