Friday, November 7, 2008

Snarky Supernatural Recap: "It's The Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester"

In the “Supernatural”-verse, everyday is Halloween. The Winchesters seek out the scariest creatures and dispatch them with their trademark style. But what would they do when confronted with the very founder of Halloween, Samhain? That is what “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester”, the first Halloween-centric episode since the show’s debut in 2005, poses in a very special episode that takes place on the days surrounding October 31st. Let the slaughterin’ begin!

It’s two days before Halloween in a picturesque, suburban town that clearly loves the holiday. Kids spookify their front yards into haunted cemeteries or and hang homemade ghosts and goblins from trees. Susan Soccer Mom carries a pumpkin and a bucket of Halloween candy into her own festive home furnished by Martha Stewart, judging by the crisp greens and grays of the foyer and kitchen. Inside, Scott Soccer Dad feeds his infant son a vibrantly orange slop that I hope is baby sweet potatoes and not the disgusting strained carrots. They chatter amiably about her trip to the market, and Halloweentown’s mad rush to stockpile candy. Susan tells her husband that he cannot have any of the Halloween candy until after the trick-or-treaters have come and gone. Their conversation is so pathetically boring that I remind myself to never get married and live in the suburbs. She takes her toddler upstairs for a bath. Predictably, the husband sidles over to the enormous bucket of candy and wastes no time eating one. He grunts in satisfaction and grabs a few more pieces. Suddenly, his eyes widen, he puts the candy back in the bucket, and reaches into his mouth, alarmed. For a second, I think I’m watching “CSI: Miami” as the shot switches to a mouth’s…eye view of Scott Soccer Dad’s index finger and thumb tactilely examine the roof of his mouth. His fingers graze a razor blade that was in the candy and has now embedded itself in the roof of his mouth right by his molars. He draws his bloody fingers back before gathering enough courage to it out, which of course, allows blood to flow freely. Immediately, he folds to his knees in pain and spits out another razor blade and splatters the hardwood kitchen floor with crimson. In a series of stylish quick cuts, we see poor Scott Soccer Dad hacking up blood and choking before face-plants on the floor and dies. Susan Soccer Mom must have heard the choking or the thuds for she ventures into the kitchen with the little one, asking her husband what’s wrong. She, of course, finds him dead-eyed on floor and promptly screams while the child she’s holding sucks on his rattle completely unaffected. We fade to black before David Caruso and Sunglasses of Justice arrive.

Kick-ass title card. One day before Halloween. David Caruso and his Sunglasses of Justice have sadly departed, after handing the case over to Fed-Like Sammy and Un-Fed-Like Dean. Sammy’s wonderfully broad shoulders and strong back cut masculine lines in his dark blazer. Dean discreetly canvases the kitchen, searching for any supernatural evidence, while Sammy questions the widow. “So how many razorblades did they find?” He asks. Susan Soccer Mom, despite her customary grieving widow ensemble of dark, shapeless layers, doesn’t seem all that broken up about her husband’s death as she answers Sammy, “two on the floor, one in his stomach, and one was stuck in his throat. He swallowed for of them, how is that even possible?” Fed-Like Sammy makes an adorable face that screams, “if you only knew.” Both Fed-Like Sammy and Susan Soccer Mom turn their heads to gawk at Un-Fed-Like Dean as he noisily examines the oven. “The candy was never in the oven,” Susan snipes. “We just have to be thorough, Ms. [Soccer Mom].” Fed-Like Sammy asks if there were razorblades in the rest of the candy, but Susan says there wasn’t. Un-Fed-Like Dean rummages through the fridge, which the candy definitely wasn’t in, but he’s just looking for some beer tenderloin to swipe for later. The widow continues to not have a nervous breakdown about her husband’s terrible demise and answer Sammy’s questions while Dean sees fresh scuffmarks on the floor, indicating that the fridge had recently been moved. He discovers a hexbag behind it. Behind the widows back, he shows it to Fed-Like Sammy, who immediately adjusts his line of questioning to see if Scott Soccer Dad had any enemies who may be female, because they suspect a witch was responsible for the murder. Susan Soccer Mom, of course, is outraged, and then points out the obvious, “if someone wanted to kill my husband, don’t you think they’d find a better than that a razor in a piece of candy he might eat?” And scene!

Motel room. I have realized with great sadness that “Supernatural” has stopped creating the over-the-top theme motel rooms. In the past, the boys always checked into hotel rooms that were as refreshingly tacky as they were impeccably designed. I still covet the trippy, psychedelic, black and white wallpaper from the ‘70s disco room in “Provenances.” This season has opted to use the same two layouts, even the same table by the window and just change the flooring, bedspreads and walls. I’m sure it saves money for more important things, like Jensen Ackles’ mascara or Jared Padalecki’s big and tall wardrobe, but those tasteless hotel rooms will be missed! This room, however, is still visually offensive with its red and black-checkered floor, green couch and purple crushed velvet bedspreads. But I digress, a lot. Sorry. Dean enters the motel enthusiastically opening Halloween candy. Sammy sits on a vibrantly green couch, engrossed in his research on the contents of the hexbag. “Really, after that guy choked down all those razorblades?” Sammy questions. With his mouth full, Dean shrugs with a groovy, “it’s Halloween, man.” “For us, every day is Halloween.” “Don’t be a downer,” Dean says. Straight-Laced Exposition Sammy proceeds to totally bring the room down by explaining the contents of the hexbag: “Goldthread, an herb that’s been extinct for 200 years; a Celtic coin that’s 600 years old” and “the charred metacarpal bone of a newborn baby,” Sammy says, referring to the small, blackened object that Dean is currently sniffing and touching. Gross! “Witches, man, they’re so freakin’ skeevy,” Dean recoils with a shudder. His hatred for witches was made known in “Malleus Maleficarum,” and that was before the witch tried to kill him with a torture spell that nearly made him cough up his lungs. “It’s a pretty powerful one to put a bag like this together. More juice than we’ve ever dealt with before,” Sammy says. While Sammy was researching, Dean was investigating the late Scott Soccer Dad. The results: “He was so vanilla that he made vanilla seems spicy. I can’t find any reason why somebody would want this guy dead,” Dean laments.

Cut to the most boring basement Halloween party ever. The basement is as festive as the rest of this Halloween-loving town, but there are only about twelve kids at this bash and no one is dancing, making out or smoking weed. In other words, it’s like all the parties I went to in high school. Two girls, a brunette and a blonde, stroll through the lamefest. The brunette is wearing a slut-tastic nurse outfit, complete with red garter and a red patent leather accents. Her friend, who I immediately recognize as a grown up Abby Devreaux from “Days of our Lives” is wearing the cheapest cheerleading uniform I’ve ever seen. It’s nothing more than a tiny blue pleated skirt and a skimpy tight tee-shirt with a WW and a megaphone emblazed across the bust. Go Team Winchester! And the skanky cheerleader stereotype continues to live on. Abby and Slutty Nurse sidle up to Justin, a kid in a clothes and tireprints across his chest and face, and hope he got into his parents liquor cabinet, but it’s triple-locked. He’s a skinny, awkward kid and brags about how he’s going to get “so baked” at the mausoleum party on Halloween night. Instantly, we see the love triangle. Justin stares at Abby as she laughs and Slutty Nurse laughs too hard at while making eyes at him, “Well, it’s gotta be better than this G-rated ass-fest.” Stop with the pseudo-trendy slang, “Supernatural” and kill someone please, preferably Abby. And it suddenly clicks, Slutty Nurse is wearing a SLUTTY NURSE COSTUME very much like the one our poor, flambéed Jessica Moore wore in the series premiere. She’s toast! Boo! I liked her.

Anyway, Abby boasts that this party isn’t that bad, and she struts over to a tub filled with water and apples, and kneels down, inviting Justin to check out assets (which are about as round and supple as a pancake) and skillfully surfaces with a shiny red apple in her mouth. She bites it while making eyes at Justin. Jealous of the attention Justin is giving only Abby, Jessica 2.0 decides to give it a try. The water-cam shows her trying to complete the task in the same way that Abby did, but the apples bounce away when she bites for them. On the third try, she submerges her entire face in the water. There is a magical woosh on the soundtrack and Jessica 2.0 struggles like some force has locked her underwater. Justin compliments her on her ability to hold her breath. Dumbass. Jessica 2.0 (who’s real name is JENNY) starts flailing, her shoes scrape against the basement floor and her hands open and close against the rim of the tub. Abby and Justin call for help, and tug at her shoulders and hands, trying to get her out of the water before she drowns.

Common sense would tell these kids to knock the tub over or at least scoop the water out so she could breathe. They continue to tug at her and scream as The Tragic Re-Embodiment of Sammy’s Girlfriend fights for her life. What happens next is the strangest, wrongest thing I could ever imagine. The water stars BOILING! That’s right, folks, the tub of water launches into a rolling boil, poaching Jessica 2.0’s pretty face until it is golden brown, flaky and a well-done 212 degrees. Yummo! Underwater, Jessica 2.0 is screaming in agony. Above water, Justin wonders what the hell is going on. Mercifully, Jessica’s 2.0’s hands relax and her feet, strapped into some fetching white heels, go slack and flop against the basement floor. Abby cries as Justin pulls Jessica 2.0 out of the tub, and cradles her in a way that she would forever remembered and cherished if, you know, her face hadn’t just been boiled off. God, I thought drowning was the worst way to go. The show spares us a close up of the carnage. I can’t tell if I’m relieved or disappointed.

Fed-Like Sammy and Un-Fed-Like Dean enter the crime scene. Dean takes one look at the petite blonde “Days of our Lives” album, Abby, puts a hand on Sammy’s chest, and says, “I got this one” and then licks his plump lips. Sammy warns his older brother who has now turned into a dirty old man, because he’s thirty-years-old (if it wasn’t so annoying to type, I’d call Deano Milo Ventimiglia for the remainder of this recap), and is about to hit on a high school cheerleader, “Two words: jailbait.” It’s one word, Sammy. One. “I would never!” Dean barely dredges up faux outrage before Sammy shoots him a prim bitchface with pointedly wide eyes. Dean definitely would and probably has. Eagerly, he approaches her for questioning, while Sammy moves around the basement to search for hexbags. And I need to interject. I love the writer’s decision to subtly hint at Sammy’s past by putting Jessica 2.0 in the slutty nurse costume. I imagine that was blatant choice and point of discussion in the writing room and it was made for a very specific reason. Naturally, I was disappointed when there was no trace of the body at the crime scene, and thus, no chance for Fed-Like Sammy to look at the dead girl in an outfit that is painfully similar to one of the last things his girlfriend wore, and be affected by that for a moment, but “Supernatural” isn’t a soap opera. Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives! The melodramatic reunion of the two “Days” alum is everything I ever thought it would be, complete long-winded declarations of how strong their love is and patented John Black facial expressions. Except it’s really not because Jensen Ackles left the soap opera years before Ashley Benson (Abby) was cast (and eventually replaced because she’s not that great of an actress. She just so happens to be blonde and pretty.) All he does is ask if she knew the late Scott Soccer Dad. She vehemently denies it. Sam finds the hexbag in the couch, and they roll out without any lingering looks of betrayal or suspicion.

Motel. Dean finds that “both of these vics are squeaky clean. There is no reason for wicked bitch payback.” Sammy, with his face buried in a book, suggests that maybe the victims aren’t dying because of revenge, but maybe their deaths are a part of a bigger plan. “’Three blood sacrifices over three days. The last before midnight on the final day of the final harvest.” According to the Celtic calendar, the last day of the harvest being…all together, kids, HALLOWEEN! The witch is slaving over her proverbial cauldron to raise “Samhain” or “Sam Hain” as it’s pronounced on this show, which is fine with me, because I have no clue how you pronounce the traditional spelling that has more unpronounceable symbols than consonants. Although I’m disappointed Dean didn’t make a snarky comment about Sam Hain’s name to Sam. But then I guess since Sammy’s about fifteen episodes from turning evil, it wouldn’t be all that funny. Moving on. After Jared does his adorable lip purse, flashes his dimples, and simply looks gorgeous, Straight-Laced Exposition Sammy continues, “Sam Hain is the damn origin of Halloween. The Celts believed that October 31st was the one night of the year when the veil between was thinnest between the living and the dead. Masks put on to hid from him. Sweets left on doorsteps to appease him. Faces carved into pumpkins to worship him. He was exorcised centuries ago.” Breathe, Sammy, breathe. Halloween traditions stuck except now it’s about “kids, candy and costumes.”

Dean still isn’t as impressed or as bright-eyed as our Stanford Grad Sammy, “So some witches want to raise Samhain and ‘Take Back the Night?’” Wet Blanket Sammy to the rescue! “Dean, this is serious. We’re talking heavyweight witchcraft. This ritual can only be performed every six hundred years!” And you all know when the 600th anniversary is, right, kids? HALLOWEEN! Good job! You get a gold star. Apparently, once Sammy Hain “is raised, he can do some raisin’ of his own,” which sounds vaguely dirty. “Raising what exactly?” Dean asks. “Dark evil crap, and lots of it.” This line tickled me for no reason. Sammy isn’t so straight-laced during the mandatory exposition of this episode, and the looseness given to the character (FINALLY) makes the scene more fun and compelling. Kudos to writer Julie Siege. I really love when the show takes something firmly rooted in history and use it in the show, with artistic license, of course. And they do that with more than you could ever imagine. “They follow him around like the friggin’ Pied Pipper.” And now we’re no longer talking about Sam Hain, but R Kelly. Can they go after him instead? Dean quizzes Sammy on all that could be raised, which is pretty much everything, and also bashes leprechauns. “Those little dudes are scary, small hands!” He says, holding up a fist. And I’m definitely not touching that one. Annoyed, Sammy breaks it down for his smart ass of an older brother, “It just starts with ghosts and ghouls. By night’s end, we’re talking about every awful thing we’ve ever seen. Everything, we fight, all in one place.” The gravity of the situation finally sinks in on Dean’s pretty, pretty face, but he isn’t as scared as he is intrigued. He gives me some much-needed eye porn by blinking slowly, and declares, “it’s going to be a slaughterhouse.” Yay! Massacre is the new black! The episode is off to a running start, and so is The Battle of the Pretty!

Metallicar. Halloween afternoon. Alone, Dean stakes out the Widow’s Soccer Mom’s house and apparently passed the time by devouring roughly four pounds of Halloween candy, judging by the wrappers covering the front seat. He pops another piece into his mouth, and then adorably clutches his stomach in discomfort. I’ll rub it for you, Dean! Sammy calls to checks in. “I talked to Mrs. Razorblade again. I’ve been sitting outside of her house for hours, and I’ve got a big steaming pile of nothing,” Dean recaps. Sammy is convinced that there has to be some sort of connection between the victims. “Well, I hope we find them soon because I’m starting to cramp like a…sonofabitch!” Hee! Dean’s period is right on time. “Quit whining!” Sam shoots back. “No, Sam, I mean, Son of a bitch!” He corrects as he watches Abby enter Susan Soccer Mom’s house (and walks right past a life-sized ghoul I honestly thought was real person) and takes the infant from her arms.

Moonlight Motel. Sammy is still researching, stretched out on the bed. And after rewinding this part several times, I can honestly report that for Jared Padalecki to actually lounge on the bed, he has to rest his hips all at the head of the bed in order for the nine feet of his legs stretch out to the foot! I notice stupid, inane things like this because I’m a short freak of nature, and I love tall men. Jared Padalecki, and therefore Sammy Winchester, is the epitome of tall, dark and handsome. Mama like! Dean enters to the hotel to announce that Abby is the Soccer Family’s babysitter. Dean, a man who lies for a living, is apparently outraged that someone would actually lie to him. Hypocrite, much? “Interesting look for a centuries old witch,” Sam notes. Good news is she’s fair game for Deano, right? “Well if you were a 600-year-old hag and you could pick any costume to come back in, wouldn’t you go for a hot cheerleader?” Dean asks rhetorically, and then sinks into his dirty old man daydreams. “I would…mhmm.” He imagines that cheerleader doing all sorts of bendy things until Sam gawks at him with a deeply furrowed brow because he’s imagining sesky time with a murdering, demon-raising witch. Sammy’s research uncovered that Abby wasn’t nearly as vanilla as they first imagined. “Apparently, she got into a violent altercation with one of her teachers, got suspended from school.”

Local High School. Fed-Like Sammy and Un-Fed Like Dean stroll into the impressively outfitted high school art room. A variety of exotic and masks of both human and the supernatural masks hang from the ceiling. Dean studies them. The scariest mask looks as f it was carved in stone with severely hooded eyes and a nose, and no mouth. Gooey blood is caked around its orphises, and upon second glance, it looks like a face-meat is melting off the skull like wax off a candle. The camera alternates between tight shots on Dean’s pretty, pretty face and an equally close shot of the mask accompanied with the jarring combination of people screaming and the growl of some kind of monster. Dean’s eyes are large and they narrow slightly as he stares at the mask. “Brings back memories?” Sammy asks. That’s when I realized our poor Dean was having sensory flashbacks of his time in hell. Poor Deano, he suffers from Supernatural Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (SNPTSD). “What do you mean?” He asks, jerkily looking around. He hides whatever horror he was reliving quite well while still conveying distress to the viewer. This is what critics called a “nuanced performance”, I just called it AWESOME. “Being a teenager, all that angst.” Sammy answers as if their lives are completely angst-free, and they make ice cream for a living. I’ll take the angst of not being able to go to prom over stopping the impending Apocalypse. “What did you think I meant?” Sammy wonders, and grins because he has not a clue as what just happened to Dean. Poor stupid, giant Sammy. Dean shakes his head, “nothing.” He watches a skid-mark free Justin trying to fit a pottery bong into one of the kilns. “Now that brings back memories,” he smirks. “Dude,” Justin says to no one in particular, “I’m gonna need a bigger kiln!” The art teacher enters the room, and is immediately pegged as the Generic Cool Teacher who encourages his students to sculpt pottery bongs and call him by his first name. He’s even wearing the Generic Cool Teacher Uniform: button down shirt, blazer and jeans. Don expresses remorse about Abby’s suspension, but says that if another teacher hadn’t walked by Abby would have “clawed his eyes out” because he “just wanted to rap with her about her work. Yeah, he actually said “rap” because in this town, it’s still 1995. “It had gotten inappropriate and disturbing.” Dean scoffs, and points to the rows of scary masks, “more disturbing than those guys?” “She would color page after page of these bizarre Celtic symbols.” This catches Sammy’s attention. “And then were the drawings: detailed images of killings—gory, primitive--and she would depict herself in the middle of them, participating.” This is a double DUN! The symbols were Celtic, matching the engravings on the ancient coins found in the hexbags and he establishes a pattern for “primitive” violence in Abby’s past. We all know demons love dispatchin’ folks old school style. The teacher goes onto to tell our boys that Abby was an “emancipated teen” with her own apartment. Oh, did anyone find it odd that the teacher specifically identified the coins as Celtic? I did. Hmm.

Motel Exterior. The Metallicar rumbles into the empty parking lot of the Moonlight Motel. Sammy and Dean return from trying to find Abby, but no one seems to know where she is. Dean complains, “it’s like the bitch hopped a broomstick.” Sam conveys the importance of finding her, because the third sacrifice could happen anytime. A rather large child in an elaborate astronaut costume approach the Winchesters with a polite “trick-or-treat.” “This is a motel,” Dean says, “We don’t have any candy.” Dean, the greedy, bow-legged heathen who is literally taking candy from a baby, cuts Sammy off when he begins to say they have a ton of it in the Metallicar. “We did but it’s gone,” he snaps. “Sorry, kid, we can’t help ya.” The camera switches to the child’s point of view, shooting through the helmet of his costume as Dean says, “I want candy.” “Well, I think you’ve had enough,” Dean says to the brat. And yes, he probably needs a nutritionist more than a Nestle’s Crunch, but you can’t say that to kids! The kid glares at Dean and actually bumps his shoulder as he angrily waddles off in his cumbersome costume. Dean looks at him and spreads his arms out, hilariously ready to rumble with a nine-year-old.

Sammy enters the dark hotel room and instantly draws his gun on two unseen figures, who have somehow broken into their room. Honestly when are they going to start booby-trapping the door? The camera slides to the right, to the right to reveal…HOLY MOTHER OF MARY WINCHESTER…it’s Castiel perched on the edge of one of the beds. His face is holds an expression of infinite anguish, and his large eyes are a beautiful crystalline blue, but incredible sadness or maybe guilt? Dean runs in, “Sam, wait! That’s Castiel, the angel.” After three seasons of Sammy being a bit wary about using weapons, and being the more sensitive of the two he finally mans up to the trigger-happy plate and ends up drawing down on an angel. Hee! Dean pushes Sam’s gun down and eyes as another figure in the corner. In a simple, but ridiculously stunning shot, a man who challenges Sammy in the Tall, Dark and Handsome competition, stands stoically in front of the white chiffon curtains in a black suit, back to the boys…and angel. “Him, I don’t know.” We know from “Houses of the Holy” that Sammy has a great deal of faith, and eyes the two figures in the room with unabashed slack-mouthed wonderment of a child on Christmas morning. Aww! “Oh, my God!” Sammy gasps, dumbfounded. He quickly stumbles to apologize for using the Lord’s name in vain. Sam steps forward, thrilled. “It’s an honor. I’ve heard a lot about you,” he extends his hand for Castiel to shake. Castiel seems hesitant and regards his hand like it’s coated in angelic kryptonite, but he eventually shakes it. “And I you,” he replies in a voice that is deep and rich and a pleasure to listen to through headphones. Ever since Ruby 2.0 challenged Sam about him not fearing the angels, I wondered if they would ever meet and how such a meeting would go down. Out of the 513 scenarios I concocted, I never thought that Castiel would simply offer polite salutations. “Sam Winchester, the boy with the demon blood,” he announces pointing out the irony of their meeting. There, that’s more like it. Castiel gently shakes his hand and places his left hand ontop of his. After watching this fabulous scene many, many times, I cannot pinpoint why he did it. Is that how angels shake hands? Is he trying to gage Sam’s faith like he did with Dean in the season premiere? Does he see how much Sam believes in him? I honestly have no clue, but it’s an important gesture nonetheless. “Glad to hear you’ve ceased your…extracurricular activities.” “Let’s keep it that way,” Tall, Dark and Rude says his back still facing the group. He has yet to introduce himself. Poor Giant Sammy now feels like more of a freak than he ever has.

Dean frowns, “Who’s your friend?” Castiel ignores him. “This raising of Sam Hain, have you stopped it?” The angel asks Sam. “Why?” Dean asks. “Dean, have you located the witch?” “Yes, we’ve located the witch,” Dean answers, irritably. “And is the witch dead?” “We know who it is,” Dean says, subscribing to the glass-half-full philosophy for the first time in his life…both of them. “Apparently the witch knows who you are too,” he produces a hexbag. “This was inside the wall of your room. If we haven’t found it, surely one or both of you would be dead.” I need to interject for a moment. After Dean’s last encounter with the mostly harmless witches in “Malleus Maleficarum” that involved an extremely well hidden hexbag and Dean in excruciating pain and Sammy almost meeting his maker (again), why on earth do they not take extra precautions to protect themselves? Stupid boys. Back to the action. Dean reiterates that they don’t know where the witch is right now, and Castiel methodically says, “That’s unfortunate.” He announces that the raising of Sam Hain is another one of the sixty-six seals that need to be broken so Lucifer can walk free. “The breaking of the seal must be prevented at all costs,” Castiel says. Dean shrugs, “Okay, great. Why don’t you tell us where the witch is, we’ll gank her and everybody goes home,” Dean simplifies. “We are not omniscient. This witch is very powerful. She’s cloaked even our methods,” Castiel explains. Sammy pipes in that they should work together, and Tall, Dark and Rude finally decides to come out and play. “Enough of this!” He yells. “Who are you and why should I care?” Dean snaps back. “This is Uriel. He’s what you might call…a specialist.” Castiel ominously introduces. Crap, that can’t be good. Uriel turns around, and sadly looks much older than I imagined like a veteran gangster who is desensitized to pretty much everything, except anger. “What are you going to do?” Dean questions. There is underlying fear in his voice and you know that he truly doesn’t want to know the answer. “Both of you need to leave this town immediately,” Castiel advises, “because we’re about to destroy it.” And that, my friends, is a motherfuckin’ DUN!

We return from commercial break, and all four men are standing in the checkered floor like living chess pieces. And I will note that Castiel is huddled with the boys while Uriel is standing on five feet away. “So that’s your plan, you’re going to smite the whole friggin’ town?” “We’re out of time. This witch has to die. The seal must be saved,” Castiel explains. “There are a thousand people here,” Sammy implores. And wow does his hair look really, really good. “One thousand two hundred and fourteen,” Uriel coldly corrects. “And you’re willing to kill them all?” Sammy gasps in horror. Uriel is unfazed by the idea. “This isn’t the first time I’ve…purified a city.” This angel has a unique, almost lyrical cadence to his deep, deep voice that makes him quirkily creepy. I forgot to mention that our new angel is black and bald. The part of me who took that damn Media Studies class in college and simply cannot turned off what I learned, wants to point out that he is doing a fantastic job of reinforcing the Intimidating Black Man stereotype TV loves so much. The part of me that’s a snarky recapper tells the other part to shut the hell up. “I understand this is regrettable. We have to hold the line, too many seals have been broken already,” Castiel says. “It’s the lives of 1,000 versus of lives of 6 billion. There’s a bigger picture here.” Needless to say, the tension in the hotel room steadily rises as decisions are being made that will somehow affect the future of the entire world. Sammy, who has just encountered the angels, currently reels quietly as the weight grows on his ridiculously broad shoulders. “Right, ‘cause you’re bigger picture kinda guys,” Dean snarks, which is dumb, because they really are. Castiel, who is probably all of 5’8’’, steps forward and does the Tough Guy Eskimo Kiss with Dean, and he still has to look up. There’s no way he could pull that crap with Sammy without a step ladder. “Lucifer cannot rise. He does and hell…rises…with him.” Castiel’s face twitches when he utters the word “hell” as if it causes him physical paid to say it. “Is that something you’re willing to risk?” Dean is speechless. But he senses that Castiel could be a contender for The Battle For The Pretty For This Episode, and licks his lips to prevent that from happening. Well played! Sammy cuts in, and he promises that they’ll kill the witch and protect the seal. Uriel is bored and wants to commence with the smiting. “We’re wasting time with these mud-monkeys.” Media Studies Kira and Recapper Kira think it’s effin’ AWESOME that a black man refers to the human race as (mud)monkeys, a known slur for black men, and that it got on network television. Sammy winces at Uriel’s derogatory term for human life. And I pretty much want to kiss his badass bald head.

“I’m sorry, but we have our orders.” Castiel says. Sammy’s is at his wit’s end. “But you can’t do this…y-you’re ANGELS.” Uriel laughs at him. It’s obvious that Sam, like most people, subscribes the homogenized and pasteurized Hallmark school of thought and believes that angels embody mercy and grace, wear shapeless white robes and communicate with humans through grand acts of benevolence. Biblically, angels are God’s Warriors who protect His creations through a mighty smiting, and those are the kind of angel “Supernatural” wisely has decided to use. The power of this storyline lies in the dichotomy between the two vastly different beliefs. So, we understand when Sammy’s divine disappointment morphs into holy indignation. “You’re supposed to show mercy!” “Says who?” Uriel smirks. God, this angel is an asshole. I love him. Castiel, now gazing away from Dean with his beautiful eyes, assures Dean that he has no choice. Dean argues that of course they have a choice, “You never questioned a crap order? What are you, just a couple of hammers?” Castiel’s decidedly un-cherubic face tightens with contained anger. “Even if you can’t understand it, have faith. The plan is just. It comes from Heaven.” Castiel continues to drive his point home and aligns his need to follow orders with Dean’s obedience to Papa Winchester. “Tell me something, Dean. When your father gave you an order, you obey?” Bad move, Castiel. Dean’s hero worship for John Winchester died the second he told him he had to off his baby brother. Dean’s face never flinches or changes, but that question pushes Dean to play a card of his own, and we immediately know it. “Sorry, boys, it looks like the plans have changed.” “You think you can stop us?” Uriel scoffs. “No, but if you’re going to smite this town, then you’re going to have to smite us with it, because we’re not leaving.” Sammy’s all “Um, I want to leave! I’ve died before too, and it kinda sucks.” Well, okay, not really. Dean approaches Uriel, unafraid. “You went to the trouble of busting me out of hell, I figure I’m worth something to the man upstairs. Go ahead, see how he digs that!” “I will drag you out of here myself,” Uriel promises. “Yeah but you’ll have to kill me. I mean, come on, you’re going to wipe out a whole town for one little witch? Sounds like you’re overcompensating for something!” ZING! That’s the Dean Winchester I love…intense, determined, with a popped collar and offering up his life for the greater good. “We can do this!” He says, channeling Notre Dame’s Rudy, because they are extreme underdogs, but they’ve accomplished more with less. “We will find that witch, and we will stop the summoning!” Dean’s brazen disrespect has finally ruffled Uriel’s feathers (HEE!) and he is about to go off on the elder Winchester, but Cas reigns him in. “I suggest you move quickly.” CHECKMATE.

Exterior of motel. The Metallicar has been defiled, streaked with a gloppy white substance that looks more like paint than eggs. Silently, Dean surveys the damage, pauses to keep himself from tearing the hotel apart to throttle a pudgy nine-year-old, and rages, “ASTRONAUT!” through the empty parking lot. And it’s kind of sexy. His jaw is clenched and his nostrils are flared and I really wish this moment last a lot longer, but it doesn’t. Dean, still seething, gets into the car where Sam is fidgeting the hexbag and broodily quiet. Sam confesses that he thought the angels would be different, “righteous,” and Dean’s positively sparkle as he says, “They are…that’s kind of the problem. Of course, there’s nothing more dangerous than an a-hole who thinks he’s on a holy mission,” and we know that that is a pointed statement. Hee! Sammy remains understandably morose, “I mean this is God and heaven? This is what I’ve been praying to?” He wonders pessimistically. And we feel for him, because he’s seen tremendous evil, and needed to believe that angels and heaven were as divinely good as demons and hell are fiendisly bad. And Castiel and Uriel just destroyed that belief, and further grayed Sammy’s black and white philosophies. Ever the big brother, Dean does his best to reaffirm Sam’s faith while establishing a bit of his own. “Look, man, I know you’re into the whole God thing—Jesus on a tortilla and all that—just because there’s two bad apples doesn’t mean the whole barrel’s rotten. Don’t give up on this stuff. Babe Ruth was a dick but baseball’s still a beautiful game,” he argues in a way that is unusually patient for our Deano. But it fails on me because I think baseball is a stupid game. Sammy half-smiles as he plays with the charred infant’s metacarpal bone from the hexbag, but doesn’t say anything, which irritates me. Does Jared Padalecki have a clause in his contract that limits the amount of words he can say per episode? “You gonna find a way to track down this witch or are you just going to sit there fingerin’ your bone?” Dean snarks. Hee! Wet Blanket Sammy again has no smartass reply to that. I grit my teeth. Does Jared Padalecki have a clause in his contract that limits the amount of words he can say per episode? For an episode that’s supposed to center on Sammy’s crisis of faith (which is a very clever first step of Sammy’s step toward Darth Sammy) and the anniversary of his girlfriend’s death, he was written as blandly as he as been in previous episodes. Anyway, he realizes that it would take an extreme amount of heat to char the bone, something hotter than your average oven, something like the kilns in the high school art room.

The next scene is really boring, so I summarize. Straight-Laced Exposition Sammy points out that the hexbag didn’t show up in their room until they spoke with Don, the cool teacher, not after they spoke with Abby, who they first suspected. Sammy finds a locked drawer, breaks it open with a HAMMER and finds a bowl full of uncharred bones of children. Creepy. But it means the witch performing the summoning is a none other than Don, the dude-witch.

In one of many artful and lush shots, we cut to adorable trick-or-treaters moving down a misty path littered with giant trees. Uriel and Castiel sit near a bench, watching the Norman Rockwell-ian image unfold. “The decision’s been made.” Castiel says, indicating that we’re joining them in the middle of a conversation. “By a mud-monkey. What? That’s what they are,” Uriel gripes,” just plumbing on two legs.” Strangely, it’s not that hard to me believe that angels, who were seemingly created to protect humans, don’t exactly love their “savage” charges, especially since they have a bird’s eye view of the wars and the ethnic cleansing and the Republican National Committee. “There’s a reason we were sent to save him. He has potential, he may succeed here.” Castiel says. “Either way, it’s out of our hands.” Castiel suggests that they can go rogue, get Dean to safety and “wipe this insignificant pinprick off the map.” “You know our true orders. Are you prepared to disobey?” Um, DUN? What are their true orders? I hope it’s to smite that heinous beige jacket Sammy wears all the time. THAT thing is pure evil!

Trick-or-treaters flood Halloweentown. A mother-daughter pair of classic witches—pointy hat, stringy hair, and black robes—move by a darkened home that belongs to none other than Don, the dude-witch. Very cute! In the basement, MIA Abby is gagged and bound with her arms above her head. I don’t know if that’s a DUN! or not, but I’d prefer that he killed her as to spare me the torture or recapping her upcoming villain soliloquy. After a “Matrix”-y slide jump-slide that is needless, but cool, we find Dude-witch is performing an incantation over a dark alter. And he’s going to sacrifice recently vindicated Abby in order for Sam Hain to rise. Yay! I have not idea what language it is and I’m not going to waste hours googling to find out. It’s Witch-ease. Another “Matrix”-y slide jump and Dude-witch does the Standardized Evil Knife Torture and gingerly glides the blade around her neck and down her breasts sadistically as she shudders and cringes and cries. That shit’s not even scary because he’s doing it wrong! Get Evil Sammy to show you how to do it! Just as he raises the knife, a bullet blasts through his chest just below his collarbone, followed by another, then another. And you’ll never guess who killed him. Nope, it’s not Sarah Palin who mistook him for a moose or even Dick Cheney who mistook him for a Democrat. It is our very own Trigger-Happy Sammy! Dude-witch faceplants onto the cement floor below, dead. Now it’s time for Abby to show us all why she was booted from “Days of our Lives” and has to settle for throwaway bit parts. Take it away, Abby! She flings off her gag and shrilly faux-rages, “that sick sonofabitch!” Um, sweetie, the Magic Winchester Catchphrase doesn’t work for shitty actors. While I grit my teeth in the effort to fight not to fast forward, she reveals that she is in fact a witch by sneering, “did you hear how sloppy his incantation was?” Jensen Ackles, who was wincing at Abby’s thin, squeaky voice and unflatteringly blonde hair, remembers to react to this moment. Oh yeah, dude-witch was her brother so Don’s attack was nothing more than witch-sibling rivalry. Her speechifying screams of my high school drama club monologue except worse (and I was one of three kids who didn’t make it). Sammy and Dean attempt to unholster their guns, but Abby curses them with the binding spell all men fear: Cruciatius Crampyolis! Our poor heroes are thrown to the floor, unable to move or stop her from raising Sam Hain because they are doubled over with the DEE-MONIC Menstral Cramps of Doom! Hurts, don’t it? Sammy and Dean writhe in agony as Abby monologues hating her brother, but putting up with him for 600 years, blah blah yada yada snore. She collects blood from his corpse in her first edition pimp cup, continues with the incantation. I want to move on with the action so much that I’m not even going to question how a 600 year-old witch would be killed by three bullets or, in a few minutes, a simple neck snap.

Sammy, blinded by cramps and probably hankerin’ for a tub of ice cream, can’t stop her, so he crawls over to the corpse of Dude-witch, places his oversized mit into a pool of his blood and SMEARS IT ALL OVER HIS FACE? Okay, I’ve heard of some exotic facials, especially in Hollywood, but I can’t see that catching on. Dean asks what he’s doing. “Follow my lead,” Sammy deftly and enthusiastically paints Dean’s face in witch blood, and then flops on his back to play possum. The floor begins to rumble as Abby finishes the reverse exorcism and then it cracks, shifting tectonically as the demon-black smoke rises from hell and tornadoes into the corpse of her brother. I don’t really care what happens next because the next sequence is so fucking badass that I will super-summarize. Sam Hain is an ice-blue eyed, eerily quiet demon (that looks nothing like the ram-horned man-beast in the pictures we saw during the initial exposition) who snaps Abby’s neck for no reason. He is also in dire need of a trip to Lenscrafters, because his vision is extremely blurry. He sees the limp bodies of Sammy and Dean, faces covered in a makeshift mask of blood, in a muddled fashion and steps over them. Once he leaves, Sammy recounts Halloween lore, “people used to wear masks to hide from him” and he “gave it a shot.” Dean’s all “you gave it a shot?!” Hee. Done.

Sam Hain evilly walks through the streets of Halloweentown, and perceives the throngs of trick-or-treats as actual demons and other devilish creatures. Sammy and Dean scrub the blood off their now rejuvenated and pore-free faces, and figure out that the best place to start raising nightmare things would be the cemetery. They tear off in the Metallicar, and Sam uses this time to strategize. “So this demon’s pretty powerful,” he bushbeats. “Might take more the usual weapons.” Dean immediately clues in one what he’s suggesting and shuts him down. “Sam, no, you’re not using your psychic whatever. Don’t even think about it. Ruby’s knife is enough.” Dean makes some surprisingly good points about why he shouldn’t use them: the angels warned him not to, and just a few weeks ago, after dispatching our very own human-sushi loving Ruguaru, Sammy admitted that using his powers were like “playing with fire.” Sam argues that the angels don’t seem to be right about anything, even though they just saved their lives by finding the hexbag and resurrected his brother, but Sammy’s struggling with the reality of the angels, so I forgive him for that. Dean tells him to take the knife, and actually says “please.” Sammy, like you and I, can’t fight Dean’s sparkly green eyes, so he begrudgingly takes it. But I can tell by the look on Sammy’s gorgeous face that he has no intention of listening to Dean, but he will at least humor him. Dean’s critical sideways glance tells us the he is aware of the same thing.

Badass Sequence of Badassness. In a pleasing move of continuity, Sam Hain heads to the mausoleum and finds the kick ass Halloween party. The partygoers aren’t actually dressed as scary creatures, but slutty nurses, sailors, aristocrats, and superheroes. And there’s a lesson here: slutty costumes may be fun, but they’ll get you killed, kids! Guest star Don McManus has no actual dialogue, but does a fantastic job of making Sam Hain wickedly skincrawling. He slinks down the stairs and sees Skid Mark Justin and about twenty others in their wack costumes. He wordlessly closes the gate, smirking in a way that cannot be good for the teeagers. Skid Mark Justin recognizes his art teacher’s meat suit and panics. He is confused when he locks them in, and probably thinks he is keeping them there and notifying their parents. Sam Hain quietly away, trailing his fingers along the locked gate of the crypt. Suddenly, the cement lids housing the deceased vibrate and shake. The kids scream and move away from the shaking drawers. Skid Mark Justin backs away from the coffins in front of him. Behind him, an unidentifiable, scary bald creature pushes the cement grate off his grave, whips him inside the grave by his ankles, and juices him like a Florida Orange. An abundance of bloody pulp splatters out of the grave and poor young Skid Mark Justin is reduced to…well, a skid mark? Very clever! The kids now bang and shake the locked gate as Sammy and Dean arrive before the slaughterin’ can truly begin. I hate them! “Help them,” Sammy says, backing up. “Dude, you’re not going off alone!” “Do it,” Sammy orders and he runs off in search of Sam Hain. Dean blows off the lock with his pretty, pearl-handled gun, and orders the kids out. He steps into the crypt as two more cement grates shatter on the ground. Two corpses slither out of their tombs and dumbly stand upright. These are classic zombies, folks, not the rage-happy chick who broke Sam’s wrist from “Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things.” They shuffle forward like lemmings searching for braaaaains. And hey, it’s our very own Scott Soccer Dad! He’s back. And decomposing. Dean brandishes a metal stake, and engages, “Bring it on, stinky!” Only Jensen Ackles could make THAT line kick-ass.

Sammy, in that fucking heinous beige jacket, determinedly searches for Sam Hain in the halls of the elaborate mausoleum. Sam Hain is in another room, assumingly trying to raise more hell, which is strangely taking longer than it did before. Sammy narrows his pretty eyes at the back of Sam Hain. This is when I notice Jared Padalecki’s eyebrows are perfectly arched. And it’s weird. Because he’s a dude. After the Witch Blood Facial, did Jared get his eyebrows threaded by a gremlin? Anyway, Sam Hain whirls around and tries to vanquish Sammy with that nuclear burst of white light. The white light gobbles up Sammy, and eventually the entire screen. The light fades, revealing Sammy advancing unarmed and unscathed with a cocky swagger that’s hotter than anything really should be and also lets me know that he’s done this shit before back when Dean was dead. “Yeah, that demon ray gun stuff doesn’t work on me.” Sam Hain charges, enraged. Let the Sam vs. Sam Smackdown BEGIN! From Hain’s garbled point of view, Sammy awesomely launches an uppercut to Sam Hain’s chin and decks him with his left, then right. I LOVE THIS FREAKING SHOW! And Sammy Winchester’s Rating of Badassery just soared to 8.4! I swear I will never tease him for wearing that damn jacket again! Oh wait, Sam Hain blocks Sammy’s next punch and starts wailing on him like one of the drunk bitches from “The Bad Girls’ Club.” And seconds later, Sammy’s Rating of Badassery plummets to a dismal 5.7 because—surprise—Sammy’s getting choked!

Cut to mausoleum. Dean is violently subduing Stinky Scott Soccer Day just out of frame. Seconds later, the dead un-dead thing falls into frame with a metal stake in his belly. Dean expertly shoves it through him, thus pinning to his grave bed. Sort of. Out of the corner of his eye, Dean sees bony feet in some hideous stiletto heels venture towards him. Quickly, he snatches another stake from his knapsack, and jumps up to dispatch her, but she flickers like a malfunctioning hologram, disappears, and pops up behind him. She’s not a zombie. She’s a GHOST! And I understand why! She needs to haunt whoever buried her in those fugly shoes. Before Dean can react, she telepathically flings him into a wall and disappears again. “Zombie-ghost orgy, huh? Well that’s it, I’m torching everybody.” Scrappy Doo decides. He’s such a Pyro. And wait! Hold the phone. Dean promised me a slaughterhouse. So far, we have one human skid mark and a ventilated art teacher. Slaughterhouses require a six-corpse minimum! This is an outrage!

Yawn. Sammy’s still getting choked. He produces The Knife from his jacket pocket. How he managed to fight with it in his packet without shanking himself, I’ll never know. I’ve always thought the Winchesters were like the immortals from “Highlander,” and they have magic coats that store their weapons safely, regardless of the size. One day Sammy will pull a bazooka from his pants. Sammy attempts to stab Sam Hain with it, but the vile demon blocks that too. It does, however, shallowly slice his arm, which electrically pops and flickers with escaping life. Angrily, he bats The Knife away. And even SAM knows he’s about to be chucked across the room like the neighbor’s cat, and has mastered a magnificent “I’m about to hit a wall” expression. Seconds later, he does indeed careen into the stone wall. Now, Sammy is unarmed and overpowered. He scrambles to his feet, anticipating the demon’s next move. Sam Hain doesn’t hesitate to bumrush him. Reflexively and instinctively, Sammy lifts his hand, thinks real hard and stops him in his tracks. Sam Hain hits Sam’s telekinetic force field like an unseen brick wall, and is utterly baffled by it. And I am too, because he’s never done that before! What else can he do?! He dumbly pushes against the invisible thing holding him back as Sam cringes, but keeps his concentration. Sam Hain struggles helplessly as wisps of demonic black smoke seep from the three bullet holds in Dude-witch’s meat suit! And that is so freakin’ cool! Incensed, Sam Hain throws all of his evil power at Sam, whose face is painfully twisted in the mental effort it takes to keep the demon at bay. Both Sam and Sam Hain are digging into their reserves, hitting their opponents with everything they have and more. Sam Hain inches closer, feet sliding against the floor. Sammy holds his ground.

Dean rounds the corner, orange flicker of flames from the fire in the crypt reflecting off the far wall behind him. He deflates with heartbreak and disappointment as he discovers Sam working his mojo on Sam Hain. The brothers share a loaded look before Sam pulls his eyes away to finish the job. Sam Hain animalistically fights, engaged in the weirdest game of supernatural tug o’ war. Sammy’s head bursts with agony as he pushes his power farther than he’s ever taken it before. He grabs his head and the camera moves in tight as Sam’s NOSE STARTS TO BLEED. His face changes from one contorted in agony to superiorly wicked as if he finally gained control of the unadulterated energy pumping out of him, and he likes it. Fans have passionately debated whether Sam’s eyes turn black at this moment, and after dozens of viewings and an embarrassing amount of thought, I’m voting a resounding NO on Proposition Black-Eyed Sammy (like people should have voted for Prop 8). Black eyes would mean that that Sammy would be possessed by a lower-level demon, and not that he’s beginning the transition to the dark side. I also think if he was, it would be much more obvious for the folks in the back. Granted, just last week I realized Jared Padalecki’s eyes are blue, so take my observation for what its worth. Back to the action. At long last, Sam Hain’s demonic essence pours out of him and sizzles back to hell. Dude-witch’s body thuds against the floor, skin powder white and obviously dead and his evil ice-blue eyes snap back to their normal, dark color. Flushed, shaking and exhausted, Sam reluctantly meets Dean’s eyes. He looks ashamed and vulnerable and so young. Dean doesn’t look angry anymore, just worried about Sammy and the power that resides in him. Kudos to Jared Padalecki for doing an amazing job! Bravo!

Motel room. Day After Halloween. A positively ripped Sammy packs in solitude when Uriel abruptly appears on seated on the green couch behind him, and scares Sammy senseless. “Tomorrow, November 2nd, that’s an anniversary for you, right?” Uriel asks, and his tone is noticeably lighter, almost conversational. “That’s the day Azazel killed your mother and twenty-two years later, your girlfriend.” If you want to know how awesome the writers are, google November 2nd. And I know you’re too lazy, so here it is: traditionally, it is known as All Souls’ Day or a day to commemorate lost souls. Jessica’s death tragically honored that of Sammy’s mother. But I digress. Uriel seems almost sympathetic that Sammy is Boy, Interrupted, and has such a heavy “burden to bare,” but seamlessly transitions into an attack on Sam for “brazenly use the power [Azazel’s] given you.” Sammy explains that he had no choice because Sam Hain would have destroyed the entire town. Of course, Uriel doesn’t care, because he’s “been warned twice now.” “My brother was right about you. You are dicks.” Sammy’s upper lip twitches when he says it. Oh snap! Sammy’s Rating of Badassery is now 11.3, and his Rating of Stupidity is 15.7! Uriel cuts his eyes in Sammy’s direction, and we know he’s about to open an angelic can of Whoopass of Sammy that’s far worse than the Cruciatis Crampyolis. Sammy stumbles backwards and his hair flutters as the camera soars closer tight on Sam’s face. Uriel is now an inch away from Sammy, looking him directly in the eyes. In the wickedly cool and minimalist effect, Uriel just FLEW across the room to threaten Sammy’s life, “the only reason you’re still alive Sam Winchester, is because you’re still useful. The second that ceases to be true, one word, and I’ll turn you into dust.” Sammy gulps in fear, and we know it takes a lot to rattle Sammy Winchester’s resolve. Uriel steps back, but he’s not finished. “As for your brother, tell him to climb off that high horse of his. Ask Dean what he remembers from hell.” OH SNAP! Uriel flies away leaving Sammy confused and panicked, because not only are God’s Angels menacing, wingless freaks who want to obliterate towns, they now want him dead. Poor Sammy. And now I need to interject. I’m glad that the Halloween Special referenced Jessica’s death, but I feel that it was completely half-assed, and didn’t add anything to the story. Sammy Winchester never personally wrestled with The Angst that would understandably swirl around the time of her death. Dean never even brought it up when there were perfect places for him to mention it. It wasn’t a plot point until Uriel mentioned it. And damnit, I feel cheated! AGAIN! First, you deny me my slaughterhouse, and then you won’t even give me some Sammy Angst?! Suck it, Supernatural!

Playground. Dean might be risking a visit from Chris Mathews because he is sitting in a park watching the carefree kids play when Castiel abruptly appears. Are the angels playing divide and conquer? Hmm. Apparently, Sam and Dean are taking some time from each other to process everything that happened. I can imagine what transpired on Halloween night (even though I’d much rather SEE IT): Sammy’s head hurt him too much for Dean to punch him in it or scream at him, but Dean was too worried to do either, so they opted to avoid the Supernatural elephant in the room and have barely spoken since. Dean doesn’t want to hear Castiel’s lecture about not stopping the summoning. Castiel confesses, “our orders were not to stop the summoning of Sam Hain. They were to do whatever you told us to do.” Angels ARE dicks! LYING, MANIPULATIVE LITTLE DICKS! The only thing that makes them different from demons is that they’re on our side. “It was a test to see how you might perform in…battlefield conditions, you might say.” Shit. Dean seems insulted, and not terrified that he was plucked from hell to lead a war so big that that Castiel uses the fate of an entire town as a dry run. “It was a witch, not the Tet Offensive,” Dean says. Castiel seems amused, and almost laughs. Aww, they’re bonding. Dean assures Castiel that he would make the same exact decisions if Castiel were to “wave his magical time traveling wand” because “this: the kids, the swings, the trees, are all here because of my brother and me.” “You misunderstand me, Dean,” Castiel begins, “I was praying you would choose to save the town. These people, they’re all my Father’s creations. They’re works of art.” Finally, he says something profound sweet and sounds like the type of angel that will be topping my Christmas tree in two weeks. Regardless of Dean’s intentions, the seal was broken and they’re one step closer to literal “hell on earth. You of all people should appreciate what that means.” And Dean’s face darkens with a flood of hellish memories. Castiel then shares a secret with Dean, confiding in him in a way that makes him seem far more human that we’ve ever seen. He isn’t a hammer as Dean called him, but a being with “questions and doubts” and a serious mancrush on Zac Efron. You and me both, Castiel. You and me both! “I don’t know what is right and what is wrong anymore, whether you passed or failed here.” I think Castiel realized that Sammy’s Sleight of Hand can be useful, and is may be a necessary evil if used for the greater good. But the Captial-I Iimportance of this moment is that Dean and Castiel have found improbable common ground. They sit side-by-side and feel the same smothering uncertainty and trepidation about the future. And because this is “Superntural,” Castiel has to completely ruin the moment with this little ditty: “In the coming months you will have more decisions to make. I don’t envy the weight that’s on your shoulders, Dean.” Dean looks at the children for a source of courage and when he looks back, Castiel is gone.

“It’s The Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester,” had some hiccups that worked against the story, but never negated the quality of the episode. This installment continues the fervent, dramatic and sophisticated trend the show has taken since the season premiere.

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