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‘The Winchesters’ 1×04: “Master of War” review

This was a heartbreaker

The Winchesters 1×04, Season 1, Episode 4, “Master of War” aired November 1, 2022 on The CW

You have to love that Mary and John’s flirting involves full contact sparing. These two are just the cutest, but they are also very connected. Mary always seems to know when John is having a hard time.

This episode has all the usuals – a monster, core four team work and Carlos brilliance, but it also gives us a closer look at John’s struggle with PTSD (although they didn’t use that term back then). The hospital setting also gave off some major Supernatural vibes and we are always happy about that. Here’s what went down! 

Carlos brings the charm 

Before we get into the review of this episode, can we just talk about Carlos? Carlos is everything we didn’t know we needed in the Supernatural universe and such a huge part of why we love this show. Not only is he charming and witty, he looks amazing in his Navy uniform. He flirted to get info in one scene and shared an incredibly detailed, heart wrenching account of his time in the war in another. Carlos is not just here to drop a few witty lines, he has so many layers.  

The Winchesters — “Masters of War” — Image Number: WHS104a_0114r.jpg — Pictured: JoJo Fleites as Carlos Cervantez — Photo: Elliot Brasseaux/The CW — © 2022 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The Case 

The episode opens with a vet in a hospital. The victim, Patches, is talking to someone, but it’s not clear who. Things get a little more spooky when the hallway starts turning into a war flashback. Patches finds himself in a room with a horned masked monster. It’s not clear at this point who the monster is, but it seems to be going after vets. Mary’s reporter friend that she went to the movies with has been chasing the story and tells her that vets have been killed in a similar way all over the country. Side note: Does this guy give off hunter/MOL vibes to anyone else? 

Getting real 

This show may be about monsters, but this episode really dives into a very real issue – veteran mental health. This issue isn’t exclusive to the era that this show takes place, veteran mental health is still very much a relevant topic that should be discussed more openly and we love that The Winchesters isn’t shying away from this huge part of John’s past. 

The case may have brought John and Carlos to the vet group, but it’s clear John really needs the support. It’s a layer of John Winchester that we never got to explore before. He is carrying the trauma of his service and he needs help. 

Maggie’s room 

We have heard a lot about Maggie and how she died on a hunt, but his episode we got to see her room and learn a little about her. Lata and Mary need to find info on the masked monster that is terrorizing the vets (John and Carlos included) and Maggie’s room has a book on it, but he’s no monster – it’s actually a god! Maggie was also big into the research side of things it seems – and Donny Osmund. 

The Winchesters — “Masters of War” — Image Number: WHS104fg_0024r.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Meg Donnelly as Mary Campbell and Nida Khurshid as Latika Dar — Photo: The CW — © 2022 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Saving people 

John and Carlos split up to look for info but they end up in a shared psychosis and come face to face with a vet from the group – Jimmy, aka the masked god! They are in (what looks like) the jungles of Vietnam. The god tells them that he wants to prepare John and Carlos for the upcoming fight with the Akrida. John’s PTSD is triggered when Carlos steps on a landmine, just like his fallen friend Murphy did. This is exactly what the god wants. 

Millie, Mary and Lata go down to the hospital with their newly found info about the god that is targeting the vets and smash a vase that is tied to the god’s mortality. Easy peasy! They smashed the vase, and John sees that the god has been weakened and he attacks. He kills him – brutally – and we can’t help but share the shock that Carlos has when he finds a bloody John standing over the slain god. They “won” but it’s hard to be happy when it’s clear that John is not okay. 

Opening doors 

Mary is confronting her grief and no longer running from it. She even lets Carlos move into Maggie’s old room. A bright spot of Mary going into Maggie’s room is that they found her old postcards that she had written. Before she died, Maggie wrote down one bad thing and two good things after each hunt. It’s such a sweet moment when we see Lata and Mary do it after this hunt. 

A tale of two hunters 

As we have seen in this show so far, both Mary and John have faced a recent loss. Mary lost Maggie on a hunt and John lost Murph in the war. John and Mary’s bond over their respective losses has brought them closer together and strengthened their understanding of each other over time.

In this episode we see them both really face these losses head on, but with much different results. While Mary was able to find closure and find a find a way to carry Maggie’s memory on in a positive way (post hunt postcards), John’s confrontation with his past has only pushed him further into his trauma. It’s a heartbreaking parallel for these two young hunters and we can only hope that John is able to find some peace soon. 

You can find more information about mental health services for vets at

What did you think of The Winchesters 1×04? Let us know your thoughts! 

Watch The Winchesters on Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW. 



Meg Bonney

Meg is a TV obsessed writer based in the Midwest. She is also the author of the award winning YA-Fantasy novel, EVERLY and tends to be overly caffeinated. Find her on Twitter to chat about TV, books and Bellamy Blake's freckles.

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