Friday, November 28, 2008

A Pop Culture Thanksgiving

By this point in your Thanksgiving holiday, the turkey has been devoured and the pants are unbuttoned and you’re either curled up by the fire watching movies and dozing, or huddled over the Thursday sale papers to gameplan how to get the most Black Friday loot. I’d like to take a brief pause between slices of homemade coconut cake and my mother’s sweet potato pie to list what I am thankful for in pop culture! I know you’re excited! Let’s go!

*Rihanna’s “Rehab” Video featuring Justin Timberlake.
Justin’s Timberlake’s recent surprise “SNL” appearance reminded us why he is a Grammy-winning, Emmy-winning superstar at the ripe ole age of 27. He can do the impossible: upstage Beyonce and look fierce in a leotard and heels. In the music video for a song he wrote and produced, Mr. SexyBack and Sasha Fierce’s biggest competition, Rihanna, combine their uber-hottness in a way that is nothing but scrumptious, sexy candy for the senses. The video has no actual plot, but is a live action work of art. There’s a gulf-stream trailer and leather and tattoos and those weird one-piece fashion suits celebrities have suddenly decided are the new black. All of these pieces add up to three-and-half minutes of visual ambrosia that will leave you very much addicted.

*Pink’s “Funhouse”.
Pop’s baddest bitch discovers her inner singer-songwriter just in time for The Divorce Album. True to Pink form, she’s not crying in the corner. In her most coherent and focused LP, Pink honestly and cathartically presses the bruises and scars left by her split with motocross champ, Carey Hart. The crash-bang fury of “So What”, the party anthem-turned-ex-husband-hate-mail that launched the album, ebbs away to expose the softer side of a rocker chick in beautiful ballads like “Glitter in the Air” and “Crystal Ball.” It saddens me that Pink doesn’t garner the unabashed praise that is erroneously heaped onto her poptastic competition (Katy Perry, Beyonce, even Miley friggin’ Cyrus), because she is a consistent, self-aware and open musician, who wholeheartedly deserves it. I downloaded this disc when it leaked two weeks before the album’s release date, and loved it enough to buy it when it was in stores. A month later, I am suddenly enamored with songs I usually skipped, like “One Foot Wrong” and “Please Don’t Leave Me.” Other tracks, like “Funhouse,” “Ave Mary A” and “Bad Influence”, make you selfishly glad she got divorced.

If you haven’t noticed by my extremely detailed and snarky blogs immediately following this entry, I have been completely obsessed with this show, and have been since early last season. It is the best television show (about two brothers who hunt demons and other “supernatural” monsters) you’ve never heard about, complete with dreamy lead actors in Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles and fantastic writing. I’ve stopped watching the shark-jumping “Grey’s Anatomy” for this show, and you should too! Jeffrey Dean Morgan died on this show before Denny was a even a figment of Shonda Rhimes’ imagination. So it’s odd that he is playing a ghost on a medical drama. It’s just one more reason, you need to watch this show.

Oh and just for laughs, find their Supernatural Convention videos on Youtube. Those two riff off each other and make the most mundane of stories absolutely hilarious. You can also discover how scarily dedicated their fandom is. Hee!

*“Seven Pounds” Trailer.
There is nothing better than a trailer to a new movie. Trailers are an adrenaline-packed promise of what a movie can be or what the producers and directors think it IS. They’re all gleaming and slickly spliced and hit all of the right buttons in order to get butts in those expensive, red velvet seats. The promo for Will Smith’s new movie, “Seven Pounds” is thirty-seconds of mounting drama that leaves me aching for its opening day, Dec. 19th. Will Smith’s character has apparently done something terrible and decides to pay it forward to seven strangers—one of which is Rosario Daweson—before doing something unthinkable to himself? Yes, please!

*Ugly Betty, “When Betty Meets YETI.”
Last week’s installment of “Ugly Betty” reminded me why American Ferrera is nothing but awesome, and why “Ugly Betty” is still a fabulous fun. While I find the show a warm and fuzzy guilty pleasure with its frothy, pop art aesthetic and deliciously eccentric characters, I also have a very real and very sincere appreciation for its entire premise: a big-hearted, hardworking, not Elle’s versions of pretty woman works at the nation’s hottest fashion magazine. She’s no “Gossip Girl” or tarty career woman desperate for a man, she’s a Queens raised daughter of a Mexican immigrant who wants nothing more than to succeed in a cut-throat business while maintaining her innate goodness. “When Betty Met YETI” pits Betty and Marc against each other as they vie for a career-launching slot in the Young Editors Training Initiative. In true Betty form, she has two days to come up with an idea, goes the most logical root, then starts over, compelled to follow her heart. Her application pitch for B Magazine is not a fashion mag, of course, but one that encourages young women to be smart, intelligent, confident and powerful. In short, it’s the anti-“Cosmo”. She is picked over Marc, who spent three months creating an entire magazine that serves as both of a subscriber and critique of the celebrity machine. He nastily points out that it was because of affirmative action, and Betty’s reaction is so viscerally real that I wanted to cry watching her reaction.

“Ugly Betty” uses the backdrop of kitsch and camp to comment on the true uglies of society, and uses the completely wonderful brilliant, undeniable talented American Ferrera as the main source of beauty. As a woman of color who has to put on heels to reach 5’2’’ and hasn’t been skinny since 2004, I can relate to Betty (and America) more than any character on television, and for that I am truly grateful.

*Barack Obama.
After a 20-month president campaign, I constantly have to remind myself that it is over. That we have a winner, and it doesn’t involve the (feminist) nightmare that is Sarah Palin. That when I see Barack Obama speaking with Barbara Walters or Dianne Sawyer, he’s speaking as the President-elect, and not the Democratic National Nominee vying for votes. And every time that happens, I swell with a pride I didn’t think I would feel in my lifetime, and simultaneously breathe a sigh of relief, because not only is he an admirable man who's rejuvenated the American Dream through his smart, no-nonsense politics, swagger and unflappable aplomb, he is this country's first black president. This writer has no way of expressing how she felt during those historic moments on Tuesday, November 4th even though I've tried every day since. I’m awe-stricken and hopeful for the first time in eight years. The icing on a truly wonderful cake? My birthday gift will be watching President-elect Barack Obama become President Barack Obama. That is a present for the entire nation.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Snarky Supernatural Recap: I Know What You Did Last Summer

Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles are 87 miles away from me at a “Supernatural” Convention. 87 miles. That’s all the preamble you’re getting for this awesome episode, because knowing that fact, I can barely concentrate on anything else. Let’s delve into the angsty goodness, shall we?

The episode opens in the patient’s room in a mental hospital. The décor—the old-fashioned bed with white metal headboards, the windows with antique moldings, even the stark white of the walls—screams, “Girl, Interrupted.” It is a classic mental hospital setting. And our patient is playing classic crazy: slackened mouth, aimless gaze as she listens to the crescendo of voices in her head. A soothing, female rich voice calls the patient’s name, asking her if she knows where she is. She looks as if she has been given the Paula Abdul cocktail of drugs, and isn’t aware of anything really, except the whispers in her mind that immediately cease when the doctor speaks. “You’re at the Connor-Beverly Behavioral Medicine Center.” Against the white of the walls, Anna’s hair looks as if her colorist is three packets Cherry Kool-Aid, and not Ken Paves. Free from her happy place, Cherry fingers the medical bracelet on her wrist as if she’s never seen it before. The unseen doctor asks her if she knows why she is there, and Cherry gives her a groggy shrug as an answer. “You were hysterical. It took four people to restrain you.” “I was trying to warn them…everyone. Forget it. It was stupid,” Cherry begins, but loses her confidence, because she knows they thinks she is “nuts, but it’s all true.” The doctor speaks with an irritatingly slow and melodic cadence that is reserved for crying babies and crazy people. She is a professional woman with her make-up perfectly applied, every curly over-highlighted hair in place. Since this scene is classic, she has her legs crossed in her lap and a pen in her hand—the classic psychiatrist. “You can tell me, I’m here to listen,” Doc says. And I take a moment to realize that this is the first time (in months? Years?) I can remember two women occupying a scene on “Supernatural” in which they weren’t naked, hysterical, or under the Jedi-mindtrick of some pervert. This is groundbreaking television, people. “The end is coming. The apocalypse.” Cherry explains in jilted speech. I can tell the drugs are controlling her terror. “Like in the Bible?” Doc says, and she seems oddly hopeful (because Anna is talking to her) and stupidly unaffected (because she’s thinks this girl is three meatballs short of spaghetti). “Kind of Anna says. Same bottom line. This demon, Lilith is trying to break the 66 seals to free Lucifer from hell. Lucifer will bring the apocalypse. So smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.” Wait, she ain’t crazy?! She’s right on. I am officially rooting for this girl, because if you honestly knew about the apocalypse, wouldn’t you lose your damn mind? I know I would. But this also makes me wonder if schizophrenics are really just people who are somehow receptive to The Truth, and it’s so violently awful that they can’t articulate it and who would believe them if they could? Now, that is a terrifying thought.

The whispers pull Cherry back in a trance-like state, and once again, her head tilts to the side, and her mouth parts. Doc asks her what she was doing once she snaps back to…earth and Anna says she was “just listening.” She recounts more about Lilith’s progress bringing about the apocalypse, but then confesses that Lilith just has to open 66 out of 600 possible seals, so that makes it “nearly impossible to stop her. That’s why the angels are losing. That’s why we’re all gonna die.” Cherry sure is a breath of fresh air, isn’t she?

Outside of Cherry’s room, a ridiculously large orderly wheels a creaky medical cart and enters with her paper cup of pills. Cherry, of course, is rocking back and forth and drawing in a sketchbook, because that’s what classically crazy people do when their not bouncing around padded rooms in straight jackets and listening to angels. Cherry turns around, and is immediately and inexplicably scared of the approaching orderly. “What’s the matter, sweetie?” The orderly in a such a breezy, innocent way that I almost believe he’s not there to kill her, but I’ve watched this show for three years now and I know what’s what. “Your face!?” She gasps and slides backwards on her bed and back to the wall. “What happened to your face?” To the normal, non-supernatural eye, the orderly’s face is perfectly ordinary, but Cherry can see something beneath it. She can see through it like Dean could before he bit it back in “No Rest For The Wicked.” “I know,” Demon Orderly says, letting his eyes flip beetle-black, “I’m downright kissable.” He shushes her in an entirely creepy way and takes his time stepping inside the room and securing the door. Cherry cowers against the wall, but then her eyes grow wide and she stares at bureau a few feet away from the demon like it is some sort of weapon. Like it occurs to her that she can heave it at him in order to protect herself. So she does. WITH HER MIND!111. The enormous bureau careens forward and slams into the demon’s chest. The sheer force knocks him backwards, head shattering glass window, and rendering him unconscious. Cherry darts forward, sidesteps the subdued demon pinned against the door and bodily yanks it open just enough so she can slip through the space and presumably out of the hospital. FREE WINONA!

Awesome title card. Our beautiful heroes are…in a skeevy bar hustling some poor stupid bald biker. Why do I know they are hustling pool? First, they’re playing pool. Second, because Sammy’s “drunk” and we all know he doesn’t drink. Third, Dean runs up to the bar and pleads for his brother to stop, which Dean would never do. He’d beat him with a pool cue and drag him out of the bar by his collar if he actually sloshed enough to loose so much money. Finally, the devious duo shares a conspiratorial eyebrow quirk after Sam pushes the bet up to $500. Part of me wishes Sam was drunk so he can hilariously go off on Dean like he did in the awful “Playthings.” Remember Sam’s fine bod draped in that chair and laughing, all “you’re bossy….[giggles] and short……..stupid”? We like Hammered Sammy! Sorry. Again, 87 miles! My mind is going to wander! Dean stands sentry as Faux-Drunk Sam leans all the way down to take aim and sinks four balls on the break. Bald Biker sighs in disbelief. Sam’s fake-drunk face is hilariously pinched and his eyebrows are primly knitted together. He looks pleased with his break. Man, Sam truly has embraced the life. Sam’s blue eyes swing out and in the negative space of bar patrons, he sees Ruby 2.0 sitting at a distance table. He instantly sobers. “Keep the money.” Dean’s gorgeous eyes fly to Sam in horror. And if that’s not eye porn, I don’t know what is. “Keep the money?!” Dean and I echo, horrified. Sam says as stands all the way up, slides the cue on the table and walks away. Dean is confused until he sees Ruby 2.0 and he too forgets about the cash and remembers his violent disdain for the black-eyed skank whom we haven’t seen since I started my lucrative recapping career with “Metamorphosis.” Sam approaches Ruby 2.0 but can barely weep about how much he missed her before Dean bursts in, “You have a lot of nerve showing up anywhere near me.” AND OMG, I just said that to a disgusting guy at the bar the other day. Hee! “I just have some info and then I’m gone,” Ruby assures him. Yay! Make it snappy, Wildfire! Ruby has updates from the demon grapevine, “a girl named Anna Milton escaped from a locked ward yesterday. The demons seem pretty keen on finding her. Apparently, some real heavyhitters turned out for the Easter Egg Hunt,” she says directly to Sam because Dean steps away to procure some much-needed alcohol. Ruby doesn’t know who this woman is, but assumes she is valuable, because the demons want her ALIVE. She suggests that they “find this girl before the demons do.” Ruby and Dean snipe at each other, because he hates her both on principal—she’s a demon, thus the enemy—and he believes she tricked Sam into using his DEE-monic Telekinesis. I don’t know about you, Dean, but that’s a GOOD thing…for those of us who like Bad Sign Sammy. Ultimately, I don’t care who hates whom for what reason, I just love bitchy Dean. “Well it sure ain’t goose-chasin’ after some chick who for all we know doesn’t exist just because you think she’s important.” He thinks Anna doesn’t even exist and lies about being on a case. Ruby’s all “I told you, I’m done with it.” Sam nearly pleads for the name of the hospital.

Metallicar. Back road. Rainy night. On the phone, Fed-Like Sammy asks to get a copy of the missing person’s report as Dean steeps in his bitchiness at the wheel. When Sammy hangs up, he then relishes in the opportunity to tell Dean that Anna Milton is in fact a real person. “Don’t mean the case is real, and this hospital is a three-day drive,” Dean grumps. Man, I wonder how many miles are on that car. “We’ve driven further for less, Dean.” Sam points out. Silently, Dean shakes his head and steams in unspoken frustration in the exact way my mother does, which drives me absolutely batty, because grown-ups should USE THEIR WORDS. Apparently, that fucking expression has the same effect on Sam and he challenges, “You got somethin’ to say, say it.” And Dean’s all, “oh it’s on now,” but can only come up with “this sucks.” Sammy needlessly points out that Dean’s not mad that they’re following up on the girl; he’s “pissed Ruby threw us the tip.” I think they’ve established that. Pull over, take off your shirts and start throwing punches, please. “As far as you’re concerned that hell-bitch is practically family. Man, something major must have happened on while I was downstairs, because I come back and you’re BFF with a demon.” Sammy is as defensive and guarded as ever, and says that Ruby just helped him go after Lilith. “Thanks for the thumbnail, real vivid.” Dean asks for more information, for more details, because he just can’t wrap his mind around why he trusts Ruby 2.0 so completely. And I need to interject for a moment. Besides the season premiere when Dean thought Sam used some black mojo to bring him back to life, when has Dean ever asked Sam how he coped after he died? He hasn’t, has he? Punk. Back to the action. Now it’s Sammy turn to be a fabulous bitch, “Sure Dean, let’s trade stories! You first, how was hell? Don’t spare the details!” He snarks in scathing sarcasm. Hee! Dean, as we saw last week, refuses to talk about hell, so he says nothing. Sam turns his eyes back to the road, and angrily triumphant because Dean isn’t sharing his the dark traumas that haunt him, so neither is Sam. As the Winchesters settle into yet another long drive, Sam’s face settles in one of stony sadness, because he is remembering his own personal hell.

The screen flashes in a cool and literal transition into a flashback to “Six Months Later” as indicated by the words on the screen. It is dark. Sammy digs a huge hole with his bare hands. When he grabs the rusted tin and sets it in the hole, I know that he is at the crossroads that Dean went to save Sam’s life in “All Hell Breaks Loose Part 2.” Sam claws dirt over the box with one hand and clutches a liquor bottle in the other. The Woeful Orchestra of Woe creates an intense ambiance Sam sloppily stands up and guzzles from the bottle not caring about the burn. He’s self-medicating, but there’s not enough liquor on the planet to staunch the aching loneliness. Swaying, he kicks dirt over the hole with his giant feet. Sammy is truly inebriated, and it’s anything but funny. Sam’s giant shadow looms over the ground as he stumbles and drinks and waits for the Crossroads Demon. When it doesn’t come fast enough, he rages, “COME ON!” and hurls the bottle into the cold night air. “Where the hell are you?” Sammy spins around and squints into the night air. A tight shot reveals that our pristine darling Sammy looks very worse for the wear, all unkempt hair and shadows under dark eyes. “I was wondering whether to come or not, I mean you shot one of my co-workers,” the MALE Crossroads Demon says as he stands a distance away under a light. Remember, folks, the Crossroads Demon that Sammy killed in “Bedtime Stories” was played by none other than his former fiancée, Sandra Not-Padalecki. And that was really mean. I apologize. Her name is Sandra McCoy, and I loved her in the video for NSYNC’s “Pop.” She was quite bubbly and effervescent and adorable.

And wait just a damn minute! Every other Crossroads Demon has been female, so why are they suddenly sending a man? Is there just as much sexism in the demon world as there is in the mortal one? And no, Sarah Palin’s candidacy for Vice-President isn’t a valid argument for progress the women’s movement. Her presence in government and the national spotlight makes Gloria Steinum CRY. Do they think a guy would have been chance against a distraught Sammy Winchester? Or do they just not want to completely obliterate Sammy’s trademark goodness and decency in one episode by having him doing bad things with demons in female meatsuits. But I’m getting way ahead of myself.

“Don’t take this the wrong way, Sam, but you don’t look so hot, buddy. I guess burying your brother didn’t agree with you.” XY Crossroads says as his eyes flash red. This flashback takes place in first few days after Sam insisted they bury Dean instead of salting and burning his corpse. And I just had a pain typing that. I hate this show. Stop torturing the pretty. Grief-Striken Sammy spreads his arms out, showing off his impressive wingspan, and is more than ready to get down to business. XY Crossroads wants to see The Knife, so Sammy pulls it out of his magic hoodie (which he was rockin’ in season one!) and slams it ontop of a weathered table. “No Devil’s Traps either. I’m not here to play games,” Sammy snarls. XY Crossroads approaches in a casual manner, hands in the pockets of his dress pants. His unbuttoned collar and loosened tie makes him look like a businessman who just got off work and is on the way to the bar. “Lemme guess, you want to make a deal. And round and round the Winchesters go,” he singsongs as he approaches and (stupidly) puts his hands flat on the table like a lawyer. “Sorry, Sam, that’s not going to happen.” Sam’s face is blank for a second, but Jared Padalecki is doing something indescribably awesome with his eyes, and faster than I’ve ever seen him move, Sammy snatches up the knife and plunges it through the hand of XY Crossroads. Ouch. The demon groans in agony as his hand snap-crackles-pops with supernatural light and he fights to get free, but Devastated Sammy holds it in place and pins his other hand to the table. “I don’t want ten years. I don’t want one year. I don’t want CANDY. I want to trade places with Dean.” DUN! And that DUN was just my heart breaking. I just want to hug him and love him and cut his messy hair.

XY Crossroads shaking with pain offers up a manly…erm, demonly, “No.” Sam rages, “JUST TAKE ME, IT’S A FAIR TRADE!” “NO!” XY counters, relishing Sammy’s torment and desperation. The Last of the Winchesters abandons rage for complete flabbgastedness, because this is his last hope for getting his brother back. You can pinpoint the second he realizes that he will never see Dean again; that Dean will be tortured in hell for eternity because he offered his soul to save Sam in a moment of similar and complete grief; and Sammy actually has to live without him, and it’s so soul-shatteringly wrong that he can’t even fathom it. “Lilith wants me to dead. Just let him go; she can have me.” He pleads, and there’s spit on his chin. XY Crossroads has the upper hand—and the irony of it all isn’t lost on me—because “it’s not about your soul. Dean’s in hell right where we want him. We’ve got everything exactly the way we want it. You want to kill me, go ahead, I’ve made peace with my lord.” Sammy, of course, kills him, and we hear his death echoing in Sam’s mind back in the present. I’m still reeling from it all. And so am I. I just might need a cigarette, because I’m quite satisfied after waiting to see Grief-Striken Sammy since the season premiere. FINALLY, we get ANGSTY GUILT and ANGSTY GRIEF and RAGE WRAPPED IN ANGUISH AND SMOTHERED IN ANGSTY GRAVY. As a viewer and an Equal-Opportunity Winchester-er, it’s cathartic and riveting to watch Jared Padalecki devour some truly terrific material like Jensen has been doing all season. Bravo! He made Sam’s misery palpable. Although the nitpicker in me wonders why this wasn’t at this at the beginning of the season. And WHOA! It seems the demon world is playing divide and conquer with the Winchesters! They figured out that Dean was keeping his brother firmly on the straight-and-narrow as well as protecting him with his life. So once they bought Dean’s soul, they traded the contract up to the higher demons, and waited until he died so Sammy would be unprotected and vulnerable for the advances of the darkside or death. Demons are patient as they are demon-y, I see. Back in the present, Sam and Dean are silent, remembering their awful time apart. We can hear the patter of the rain against the car. We can hear the windshield wipers squeak against the windshield. We can hear the rumble of the engine. But the air between Sammy and Dean is so cluttered with everything they’re not saying to each other, and that is the loudest thing of alll. I say it again, stop torturing the pretty, “Supernatural.”

“Girl, Interrupted” Medical Center. Fed-Like Sammy and Un-Fed-Like Dean are wearing their beautiful black suits in the whitest hospital ever (Random Fact: Something like 82% of hospital rooms are actually mint green, not white). They speak to Doc about Cherry Winona Jolie’s escape. Doc explains that Cherry knocked the orderly unconscious and “he doesn’t even remember coming into her room.” Maybe because he was possessed. Dean points out that subduing the orderly would have to be a mighty feat since the orderly had “eighty pounds on her.” Doc assumes she planned the attack by waiting behind the door and she just punched him. Wait, no one noticed that the bureau was about five feet closer to the door than it should be? Or the orderly’s magically broken ribs? For someone who went to school for 12 years just to become a doctor, she’s pretty stupid. He was pinned to a door by a BUREAU. All of the inaccuracies are making my eye twitch, so I’m going to summarize: No less than two months ago, she was a normal college girl, a Journalism major (HOLLA!). Then, she was overtaken by DEE-monic delusions, because she apparently suffers from television’s favorite mental disorder, Schizophrenia. Doc hands over Cherry’s Sketchbook O’ Crazy and her drawings depict everything that has happened this season in awesome stylized pictures, which Dean calls “Revelations.” We also learn that Cherry’s father was a church deacon, and so it’s not all that shocking that her schizo paranoia took religious overtones, specifically centered on Lucifer’s rising. Sammy and Dean know that Anna knows The Truth, and are very concerned…and pretty.

Cut to a house that is presumably Cherry’s. There are two cars in the driveway, but no one is answering the door. Un-Fed-Like Dean tries the knob—his suit jacket pulling tight across his back, I might add—and walks in. I hate people who are too stupid to lock their front doors. Unfortunately, Cherry’s not there and her parents are dead, throats slit by demons, judging by the sulfur scattered on the floor. Dean finally sees that Ruby 2.0 wasn’t lying, and the demons “want her, and they’re not screwin’ around.” Thankfully, Dean and Sammy didn’t buy the recounting of how Cherry escaped from the asylum. “So I’m Girl, Interrupted, and I know the score of the apocalypse. And I just busted out of the nutbox—possibly using superpowers by the way—where would I go?” Dean thinks aloud as he sorts through their mail. That’s a moot point, because we all know Dean would be at the nearest strip club, regardless. Sammy continues to spread his fingerprints and DNA around the house by picking up a photo from the buffet table. He notices that the beautiful stained glass window that was in the Sketchbook O’ Crazy is that is the picture, it’s her family’s church. So, he continues the roleplaying game, in a completely non-sexy way. Boo! “If you were religious, scared and had demon on your ass, where would you go to feel safe?” Entertainment Weekly’s New York Office, duh! What? That’s MY church.

AWESOME establishing shot of the Milton’s church with the front bumper of the Metallicar in the foreground. Suck it, “Heroes.” This show is everything yours should be, but better! Sammy and Dean, out of their sheriff suits, and in their hunting ensembles, enter the attack of the church with their guns drawn. I would riff about the beautiful detail of church setting is, what with dark wood buttresses and antique light fixtures, but I don’t want to bore anyone with my love of art history. Hee!

Sammy sees the shadow of Cherry crouched behind a stained glass partition, so he puts his gun away and motions for Dean to do the same. Gently, he says that he and his brother are there to help, and specifically gives her their names. That coaxes her out of her hiding place. She asks if Dean is “The Dean,” which I know is going to be his new nickname, and she too is in battle gear—jeans, white cleavage-friendly shirt, and an Army green jacket that’s almost as ugly as Sammy’s. “It’s really you,” Cherry marvels as she stands in front of an enormous white and lavender checkered glass window that is way too modern to fit in with the décor of the church. “The angels talk about you. You were in hell, but Castiel pulled you out and some of them think you can help save us.” She says as she advances towards Dean. Dean is amazed and looks positively gorgeous. She reluctantly talks to Sam, “some of them don’t like you at all.” Hee! “They talk about you all the time. I feel like I know you.” Now that Cherry is free from the hospital and all of the drugs, we can tell that she is timid and shy, despite her cherrylicious red hair. She has big brown eyes that are silvery and jump from beautiful man to beautiful man as she tells them that she can’t speak to the angels, she just overhears their conversations but believes the angels probably don’t know that she even exists. And we all know that will come back to bit her in the bum. “Like right now?” Dean asks lifting his eyebrows in a way that is completely adorable. She isn’t hearing them now, but she can’t ignore the voices, because there are so many of them. “So they lock you up with a case of the crazies when really you were just tuning into angel radio?” Dean sums up with his trademark eloquence. Cherry is finally glad someone believes her. “Yes. Thank You.” Oh, and the first words she heard were on September 18th: “Dean Winchester is saved.” They now understand why the demons want Anna so badly, because she can hear everything they are planning. “You’re 1-900-ANGEL.” Dean jokes to Anna, and she smiles. God, she’s a Deangirl! And Dean does too, softly, pleased that he put her at ease for just a moment. I must note that Dean hasn’t even attempted to look at her rack. Does he LIKE her?

Cherry then asks if her parents are okay, because she was too scared to go home. Um, awkward? Before either of them can share pregnant gazes and avoid the question, Ruby 2.0 bursts in tell the boys that the demons are coming. Cherry recoils, because she can see Ruby 2.0’s true face, her putty face. You’ve heard of a Butter Face (or Butherface), Genevieve is a Putty Face. I think she’s a very attractive girl, her skin is so smooth and she has thick features, and sometimes, it looks like her whole face was molded out of silly putty. Sam tells her that Ruby 2.0 is a good demon (OXYMORON!), but Dean points out the convenience of Ruby popping up with a demon on her tail. And he’s not being adorably bitchy anymore, now he sounds like a broken record. Shut up, Dean! Ruby 2.0 says that the “big time” demon followed them from Cherry’s house. Sam points to the statue of The Virgin Mary, because her EYES ARE BLEEDING! Whoa. “It’s too late. He’s here.” Ruby 2.0 says. Sam stashes Cherry in a closet. Dean stares at the bleeding statue as he’s seen it before, but he can’t remember where or when. And neither can I, because that’s NEVER happened on this show. Sam walks back out, pulling out a tiny flask of holy water, which seems like it would be useless against a demon that can make carved pieces of rock BLEED. “You have to pull him right away,” Ruby 2.0 commands. Dean, of course, is having none of that. And Ruby sets him straight, “Now is not the time to bellyache about Sam going darkside. Sam exorcises that demon or we die.” Dean has no snarky comeback for that, so Sam puts away his flask and turns to the doorway as the soundtrack shakes with an intensifying rumble. The door flies open, revealing a sour faced man with close-cut white hair, who looks like he just left from a polo match in his navy blue blazer and khakis. Calmly, he walks up the stairs. Sammy raises his right hand and thinks real hard. The demon clutches his neck as his eyes flash yellow in a way that looks like he’s blocking Sam’s mojo, and then adjusts his collar and coughs, mildly annoyed. “That tickles.” That was PIMP! Get that dirt off your shoulder, Demon!

I just noticed this, but there is a quick flash to Ruby 2.0’s putty face tinted with guilt, like she knew Sammy couldn’t pull him or that this was a set-up to see if he could. Please tell me this black-eyed skank isn’t pulling the dee-monic wool over Sammy’s eyes. “You don’t have the juice to take me on, Sam,” Pimp D announces and then uses his own DEE-Monic Telekinesis to yank Sammy forward. His feet skid helplessly over the floor and his arms flail before he tumbles through the banister and careens down a flight of stairs. I really hope that was a stuntman, because OUCH. Dean, pissed, wields The Knife and lunges for Pimp D. But the demon easily stops him and instead of hitting him, he sucker-punches the audience with “Hello again, Dean.” MY HEAD IS ALREADY SPINNING! How does Pimp D know Dean?! He slams Scrappy Doo into one of those lovely buttresses I didn’t mention earlier. Meanwhile, Ruby 2.0 snatches a petrified Cherry from the closet and they presumably leave. Pimp D is now pummeling my poor Dean all about the head and face AND HE’S SO NOT PIMP ANYMORE! NOT THE FACE!NOTTHEFACE!NOT THEFACE! The Knife falls to the floor because Dean is getting his ass kicked and bleeding a lot. “Don’t you recognize me? Oh wait, I forgot I’m wearing a pediatrician.” Heee! He’s pimp again. Sorry, Dean. “And we were so close…in hell.” “Alastair.” Dean chokes, blood in his mouth and streaming from his nose. Alastair apparently has demon sense because he doesn’t continue smashing Dean’s head in like a pumpkin, but turns around expecting an incoming attack. This opens him up for Badass Sammy, who plunges The Knife directly into Alastair’s chest, just off of the heart. Go ‘head, Sammy! “You’re going to have to try a whole lot harder than that son,” Pimp Alistair teases, before tossing Sammy aside. The Knife did hurt him however, because he groans as light snap-crackle-pops inside his chest as he pulls it out. Sammy grabs Dean and both know they need to escape and fast. They eye the hideous, checkered window, and then each other before they take off. Tell me they’re not. OH, YES THEY ARE! Sprinting, they hurtle themselves against through the glass, and plummet at least a story to the ground below, because as motherfuckin’ awesome as Winchesters are, they can’t fly. Alastair watches, grimly defeated, but he now has The Knife. Crap.

Bloody, half-stitched gash. Yes, you read that correctly, Sammy (ONLY?!????!!) sustained a five-inch long laceration in his lovely, tanned bicep from their dive through a stained glass window, and onto the pavement some 30 feet below, and he’s now stitching it up himself! And that’s it folks. *stands up, places hand over heart* I officially pledge my allegiance to Sammy Winchester! Sorry again, Dean. He pushes the needle through his own flesh and vocalizes the pain. In the bathroom, Dean spits blood into the sink ands asks if Sam’s almost done. Sammy, who is now pulling the thread through his own flesh, snarks that he’s “going as fast as he can.” Dean walks into the room, “Good, cause I got a dislocated shoulder over here.” Don’t be a wussy, pop it back in yourself, sugartits! I will admit that it’s kind of shitty of Sammy to opt to stitch himself up before tending to Dean’s arm. But judging by the amount of blood on Sammy’s shirt, I’m sure they thought that wound was pretty serious. Dean self-medicates with alcohol as Sammy holds the threat with his teeth and snips it. Breathless with pain, he impatiently motions for Dean to give him the bottle of booze, and uses it to disinfect his freshly stitched wound. Dean completely adds insult to injury, “We lost the magic knife, huh?” “Yeah, saving your ass!” Sammy snaps and he gained a ton of badass points for it too. “Who was the hell was that demon?” “No one good,” Dean cryptically answers. Wow, now that’s specific. Dean is a hypocrite! “We gotta find [Cherry].” “Ruby’s got her, I’m sure she’s okay,” Sammy says, panting. He looks at Dean, remembering that, despite Dean’s uncannily high tolerance for pain, his shoulder is still dangling out of the socket. Sammy gingerly stands up and moves behind Dean as he leans against the bed, bracing himself for what’s to come. He knows it’ll hurt but he’s prepared for the pain, and whatever comes next…and no, I’m not even kidding. I can only write what is on the screen, and that’s exactly what happened. I can hear Wincesters swooning as we speak. Dr. Sammy says that he is going to pop Dean’s shoulder back in on three, but he is an asshole and does it on one. Dean screams and literally walks away gripping his hair in reaction to the pain that is so realistic, it makes my stomach hurt. Shut up! I’m empathizing! They’re in PAIN. “You sure about Ruby? I think it’s just as likely she sent us to find Radio Girl and then sent that demon in to kill us,” Dean says for the 54th time in 17 minutes. Sam insists Ruby will keep Cherry safe and she hasn’t contacted them because “that demon is probably watching us right now, waiting to follow us right back to [Cherry] again, that’s why he let us go.” Sammy has grown quite smart since Dean’s demise, and again, I think he’s faced off against some heinous demons during his Deathwish Phase. He sure does know how they operate. “You call this letting us go,” Dean scoffs, icing his poor mangled shoulder. “Look killing us would have been no problem for that thing, that’s why we just have to lay low and wait for Ruby to contact us.” Sam assures him, but later admits that he doesn’t know how she is going to do that. Tossing the ice pack aside, Dean tells Sam that he needs to know why Sam trusts Ruby so much. Put that back on your shoulder, stupid! He promises he is “not trying to pick a fight,” but he just “deserves to know more.” This is completely valid, since Sam’s entanglement with Ruby puts Dean’s life in jeopardy. A lot. Haunting strings from the Woeful Orchestra of Woe lilts as the camera creeps closer to Sammy’s sad face. He avoids Dean’s gaze and confesses, “because, she saved my life.”

“Six Months Earlier” flashes over the blurry frame that slowly ebbs into focus and tracks a drunken Sam as he wobbles down a hallway. I’m assuming this takes place immediately after The Crossroads Disaster (and no I’m not talking about the 2002 Britney Spears movie, although that was a major clusterfuck). He unlocks the door and shuffles into the hotel room with the balance of a dizzy toddler, holding his arms out and inching woodenly towards the bed, ready to collapse inside of it, and not get up for weeks. A line of light from the window illuminates Sammy’s face, and despite his clean-shaven jaw, my poor Sammy looks absolutely terrible—his eyes are dark, red-rimmed and dead. He senses something in the room and turns to catch a first to the jaw. Deathwish Sammy reels in stupefying pain and surprise, and by the time his booze-drenched mind can comprehend that he is being ambushed, and try to fight back, he is punched again. HARD. At this point, Sammy’s attacker could be a run-of-the-mill human lowlife, because Sammy is downright blitzed he can’t even see straight, and frankly, my dear, Sammy doesn’t give a damn. The attacker actually manages to restrain giant Sammy and a woman in a cheap billowy trenchcoat that screams “Matrix” materializes to knee him in the ribs until his legs collapse. Whoever this is? She needs to be put down now! WE HATE HER and her abdominal-damaging knees! The henchman snatches Sammy up my his hair as the henchwoman reaches in his puffy magic hoodie and retrieves The Knife. “Thanks for keeping this warm for me, Sam.” She singsongs, trying to be nasty. “Ruby.” Sam says almost immediately. Really? So Ruby 2.0 is really Ruby 3.0? Fuck that. From now on, it’s RUBY. Done. I can’t keep track of all the bodies she ruins. “It’s nice to be back. Even for hell, it was pretty nasty. I guess I really pissed Lilith off.” Ruby’s current body is that of a lithe blonde woman with ice blue eyes I’d almost kill for, and dimples that rival The Padalecki’s. While she’s about as threatening as a Carebear, she is a breath of fresh air from Wildfire's stilted interpretation of Ruby. “Imagine my relief when she gave me one last chance to take it topside, and all I had to do was find you and kill you.” New Ruby jabs the knife in a hilarious mime of a lethal stab. She’s so cute! But Sam doesn’t really seem to care about THAT right now, because Ruby’s demon henchman, who is pulling out clumps of his hair, is all of 5’9’’ and he’s bending Jared Padalecki backwards in all sorts of painful shapes. Defiant and suicidal, Sammy slaps henchman’s arm away and extends his neck out to Ruby in a brazen invitation. “Fine. Do it!” He hisses. They share an intense gaze and for the briefest of moments, she looks incredibly sad at what The GRIEF has done to Sammy. She whips her arm back, ready to put Sammy out of his misery. At this point, I’m ready for her to do it, because maybe Sammy can be reborn and rehymenated and rejuvenated like Dean was. I kid, I kid. We all know she’s not going to kill him. I am shocked, however, when she drives the knife into the henchman who has probably left Padalecki in dire need of chiropractor. Score! Sammy’s face flashes with disbelief and then…fucking disappointment as he watches that poor man’s body fall to the floor, dead. “Grab your keys. We gotta go. Now,” Ruby commands. Deathwish Sammy just wishes he was dead.

Sammy is driving the Metallicar. I repeat Drunken Deathwish Sammy Eugene Winchester is driving the Metallicar. I really think Jared and Jensen need to film a drunk driving PSA before the season is over. And Ruby is defiling Sammy’s dead brother’s wheels by sitting in the front seat. Ew! I bet the leather will rot right off the frame when she gets out. But she’s giddy about being topside, and she wants some fries. “I just escaped hell. I deserve a treat.” Yeah, rub it in Ruby. Sammy looks despondent, broken. “You know a ‘thank you’ would be nice.” “Who asked for your help?” Sammy replies wearily. “You have no idea what I’ve been through. When Lilith gets pissed, she gets creative. You want to hear about the corners of hell I’ve seen?” I’m gonna say NO since his brother is there, and Sam is already two minutes away from driving the Metallicar off a cliff. “I’m a fugitive for you, Sam,” She stresses. I see she has pledged her allegiance to Sammy too, but WHY? I really don’t believe this demon could endure centuries of torture and anguish and still cling to her humanity only to throw her support behind a human who was (is?) supposed to play a pivotal role in the approaching Apocalypse. “I took all this risk to get back to you, so yeah, I deserve a damn thank you.” Why does Ruby sound like less of a badass demon and more of like a mopey, clingy ex-girlfriend-turned-stalker? He simply asks if she knows of anything that can save Dean. “Nothing I know of is powerful enough to do that,” Ruby resigns. Sam jerks the wheel to the side of the road, “then I have no use for you. Get out.” She doesn’t leave, of course, so he levels her with this: “Whose body are you riding?” Ruby is flabbergasted, “You’ve never asked me that before.” “Well I’m asking now.” “Some secretary,” she admits, ashamed. “Let her go,” Sam demands, “or I’ll send you straight back to hell.” Do it! Sam, please do it!

Cut to hospital. The body that Ruby started the season with is in the bed currently occupying a bed in the ICU. A label at the foot is labeled Jane Doe. Now isn’t that convenient! Two doctors in scrubs stand over her body. One doctor says, “All right, pull it,” and resident detaches the respirator (that has no tube in it by the way) and all of the monitors scream as Jane Doe dies, because she was probably brain dead for a specified amount of time before the state decided to cut off her lights. As the doctor calmly writes on her chart, Jane Doe melodramatically gasps back to life and shoots ramrod straight breathing even as the monitor still reads a FLATLINE. We never see Ruby’s black cloud of demon smoke enter the body, but Ruby’s got tricks, I guess. Whatever. “Who do I have to kill to get some french fries around here?” I have refrained from riffing on what a terrible actress this girl is, but I’m saying it now. She is awful! I can’t take it anymore. I don’t even believe that she’s breathing hard! I was never crazy about the character, and Genevieve’s Ruby makes me hate her. I miss Kate Cassidy, DUIs, overacting and all. COME BACK KATE!

Abandoned house. Sam has taken to Dean’s favorite hobby of cleaning guns after a meal of crappy take-out pizza and cheap whiskey. Sammy is squatting in a dilapidated cabin previously occupied by the Unabomber judging by the looks of things. One of the walls has completely eroded to studs, allowing lush overgrowth and the sun to stream inside. There is a harsh knock on the door and Sammy grabs his trusty sawed-off, holds the forend to cock the weapon one-handed. Hee! He walks down the hall of rotting walls and warped floors and presses the barrel of the gun to the door before opening it. Um, paranoid much? There stands Ruby with a note from her very confused doctors, proof that her new body is “ 100 percent socially conscious. I recycle. Al Gore would be proud,” she says, entering the house uninvited. Sam seems almost amused that she “grabbed a coma patient.” His voice sounds strange, like he hadn’t spoken since he saw the last time he saw her. “You said you wanted a body with no one in it. Apartment was empty. You happy?” Ruby continues as she surveys Sammy’s new digs. Sam does the same to Ruby. “Why are you here?” He wonders and his mouth moves in an eerie, deliberate way, over-articulating words that still come out slurred. Sam’s drunk. I doubt he’s been sober since Dean died, but he's just functionally drunk right now, which is good since he was playing with guns. But wow, Jared plays drunk quite well. I wonder how much research he did for this episode. “I can’t bring Dean back, but I can get you something else you want.” Sam can’t imagine wanting anything ever again. “Yeah, what’s that?” He inquires, trading the shotgun for the ever-present bottle of booze. “Lilith.” This gets Sam’s attention, “You want me to use my psychic whatever?” Ruby begins her hard-sell and Alcoholic Sammy interrupts. “Skip the speech, I’m ready. Let’s go.”

And I need to interject. Jared Padalecki is absolutely rocking this entire episode, especially this scene. In “Yellow Fever,” Dean’s overwhelming fear turned him into a character I didn’t recognize, and Jensen Ackles’ performance was one for the “Supernatural” history books. Now, I feel the same thing with Sam. Sam’s debilitating grief has turned him into someone I don’t recognize. He isn’t the sweet-faced, well-intentioned, rational nerd who happens to be a fifteen-foot-tall lethal weapon. He is a gigantic, intimidating, embattled alcoholic who is fueled by grief and little else.

“Slow down there, cowboy,” Ruby warns. “Just show me what I have to do.” Ruby finds another bottle, and takes a swig. She raps about her time in the joint and how her cellmate, Lilith, is cookin’ up something that is “apocalyptic big.” She will teach Sam everything she knows but he has to promise her “patience and sobriety.”

Back to the Future. Dean is still hunched over cradling his injured shoulder that he’s still not icing. Now would be a great time to ice your mangled shoulder, moron! “So, what’d she teach you?” He wonders, engrossed in storytime. “That I’m a crappy student.”

Back to the past. Sam stands, sweaty, and painted orange by the light of the fire. He eyes Ruby before he focuses on another being in the room. The camera pulls back to reveal a demon that is riding the body of a balding, thirty-something man who probably works for The Geek Squad. Sammy lifts his hand and thinks real hard. The demon doesn’t really struggle but seems confused when his mouth involuntarily opens and gooey black smoke escapes. Finally, he realizes what is happening, and the demon white-knuckles the arms of the chair he’s lashed to. He’s symbolically clinging to this body and this mortal coil. The smoke stubbornly slides back into its body as Sammy stops and grabs his head. Geek Squad seems tickled by Sam’s pain. Determined, Sam tries again, and pulls the shit-eating grin right off Geek’s face, along with his essence. The demon visibly struggles this time, because Sammy’s fighting so hard and rolls with the pain until his nose starts to bleed, and it intensifies. He bends over with agony, head in his hands. Ruby, in her form-fitting, badass leather jacket, stands sentry with The Knife, overseeing this whole process even though she never says a word. Some Ms. Miyagi you are! Geek Squad laughs demonically at Sam’s inability to perform. So Ruby stands by her man, and kills him by stabbing The Knife through his face so hard that the blade comes out though his neck as the life snap-crackle-pops out of him. “Not funny.” Ruby declares to some poor man’s dead body. Um, Sam still knows the 50 words of Latin. You didn’t have to kill him.

Cut to Cabin. Sammy walks back into his shack with a shovel, and tramps over the devil’s trap with Ruby right behind him. A close up of the pentacle shows that Sammy was kind of enough to scrape the paint off so Ruby wouldn’t get stuck in it, although I think he might regret that move in about three minutes. Sammy, in a form-fitting blue tee shirt, slams the shovel down on the table and digs through Dean’s duffel bag for a bottle of painkillers. “Just give it time, Sam, it’ll get better,” Ruby promises. “What? I need more practice?” He winded from, ya know, burying the poor man Ruby killed. He pops the pills and washes them down with a long, searing of liquor, and I worry about Sammy’s liver. Also I can see the lean wave of his stomach beneath the cotton. O that I were a shirt upon that stomach, that I might touch that stomach! But sadly, Sam sinks to sit on the table and I can’t see it anymore. Boo! And we all know the only reason he sat down is so tiny little Genevieve could talk to Ginormous Sammy without breaking her neck. “I’m not talking about pulling Demons,” she pauses. “I know losing Dean was—“ “HEY!” Sam reflexively snaps, “I don’t want to talk about it.” The camera switches to film over Sam’s head for Ruby’s side, and we get a shot of Sammy’s beautiful back. I hate that tee shirt more than I hate Ruby right now. “You know what? Where do you get off slapping me with that greeting card ‘time heals all’ crap? What the hell do you know?”

Ruby inches closer. “I used to be human, and I remember what it’s like to lose someone.” How? Ruby was human “back when the plague was big,” and tortured in hell for centuries, how could she possibly remember grief and anguish? I don’t buy it. Her character is becoming more human, and the more that happens, the more I suspect her motives. Ruby is softer now and she places her hand on Sammy’s shoulder and seriously says, “I’m sorry.” Sammy recoils, sweeping her arm off like she burned him. He can’t be touched. “Don’t.” The camera switches to his face and his shoulder is literally shaking where she touched him, and he weakly confesses, “I can’t.” And his face twitches like he’s going to cry or completely fall apart, because he is talking about everything, not just Ruby’s sudden need offer demony comfort. “Sam, you’re not alone.” Ruby swoops in to kiss him, off-center and sloppy. Sam doesn’t kiss back or do anything for several agonizing seconds. Finally, he shoves her away in disgust and jumps to his feet. “What are you doing?” He walks across the room and sits on the ratty couch. “Sam, it’s okay!” Ruby says, and her putty face is gone. She looks pretty. Sam wipes his mouth off. “That is ANYTHING but OKAY!” Sam yells. “What’s wrong?” “Where do I start?!” Sam is still rubbing at his lips, leaving his hands over his mouth. Ruby advances, and fluidly strips off her leather jacket and tosses it aside. I bet you wished you kept that devil’s trap intact, huh, Sammy? “Is it because of the body?” She asks and she places her hands on Sam’s knees and kneels down in front of him. “I told you, it’s all me in here.” She puppets his giant hands on her stomach and inches closer. “There’s no one else in here, and it’s nice inside this body, Sam. It’s soft and warm.” She’s SEDUCING him. Her voice gets breathy and porny. Sam valiantly tries to fight it, but it’s a losing battle. Her rubs the soft skin of her stomach. “What are you doing?” Sam duhs. Ruby kisses his forehead and trails her lips along his face, knowing all of the manly buttons to push, “is it because you’re really scared to go there with a demon? Because it’s wrong and it’s bad and we shouldn’t?” She taunts and teases her mouth against his. Sam’s face twists in a valiant effort to push her off or send her back to Hades, but he finally gives in, and kisses her hard. He lifts her up so she is straddling him. Ruby’s shirt comes off and Sam continues, yanking fiercely at her hair and kissing and biting. His shirt flies over his head, and they are officially the beast with two backs. I don’t even realize that Sam is doing the dirty with a demon because I’m identifying all of the muscles in Sam’s magnificent back, and there are some extras that aren’t in my college anatomy book. It’s also amusingly obvious that Jared Padalecki is flexing all those muscles because he knows just how hot he is. Thank you, Padelecki! I wish I could eat sushi and pudding off that back. I wish I would have gone to the “Supernatural” Convention that’s a mere 87 miles away just for that back. I wish I was a putty-faced wildfire who got to this part on “SPN.” And I’m…yeah, sorry.

Even though I’m ready to build shrines to the SexyBack of Padalecki, there is nothing beautiful about this tryst, despite the roaring fire and passion involved. It’s ANGRYGRIEFSex. Sam is in such an ugly state that this is just another kind of release like drinking or fighting or screaming, just with orgasms, hopefully. I know the Samgirls are camped outside of Erik Kripke’s office with torches in a protest against necrophilia or rape, but this is where I would point out that it’s a fictional, and it’s really not that serious. But I don’t think Dean would buy that. We flash to Dean’s horrified face, because remember, Sammy is telling Dean this story in vivid detail. “Um, Sam? Too much information!” He hisses, horrified. “I told you I was coming clean,” Sam says. “Yeah, but now I feel dirty,” Dean shoots back and starts drinking. “So far all you’ve told me about is a manipulative bitch who screwed you, played mind games with you, and did everything in the book to get you to go bad,” he summarizes. Sam promises that he’s not finished with the story. Dean leans forward, still scarred “skip the nudity, please.” “Pretty soon after…that, we put together some signs, omens. Lilith was in town, and I wanted to strike her first.”

Five Months Earlier. Shack of Sin. Sammy’s zips up his fugly brown jacket thing as Ruby tells him he isn’t ready to face Lilith. Sam isn’t listening, because he is trigger-happy and ready to attack. Happy. He’s downright giddy. This is can't end well. Ruby points out that Sam hasn’t been “too successful” with his training (maybe because she sucks as a teacher), but he says that he’ll use The Knife if he needs to. It’s simple. Ruby snatches Sam’s wrist and demands, “stop! You can’t just fly in there reckless, Sam. We need you to take the bitch out.” Sam is overly confident that he will. “You get one shot, and that’s it. You’re the only one who can do it Sam, so if she kills you first…” Sam tears his eyes away. When he looks at her again, there is no fear, no hesitation. “You don’t want to survive this. It’s a kamakaze attack, you want to die fighting Lilith,” Ruby understands now. “That’s stupid!” Sam scoffs, but he’s walking away again, and Ruby is right behind him. “No, it’s the truth, because if you kill her and you survive this, you have to go on without your brother!” Ruby, who barely comes up to Jared’s shoulders, has to run to get in front of him, to get through to him. “This isn’t what Dean would have wanted! This isn’t what he died for!” She throws herself against the door in an effort to stop Deathwish Sammy. “Get out of my way!” Sam fumes, quiet. His jaw is set and he barely controls the rage and the desperation that resides just beneath the surface. “No, Sam, this is suicide!” Sammy explodes, and slams Ruby into a wall, The Knife at her throat. The creepily, wild expression on his face shows us all that he will kill her if he has to. Because the ANGRYGRIEFSex wasn't about love and it didn't fix anything. He opens the door, knife still at her throat and leaves. And that’s her big speech? Please tell me there’s more, because she didn’t starfishing him to get him to stop or tell him how awful death really is. There HAS to be more.

Normal suburb. Sammy walks alone down a street filled with regular people living normal, danger-free lives. Sammy seems so out of place. He searches for something and finds it in through the window of a beautiful home with pink flowering plants hanging from the window: a little girl, sitting motionless at a table that is covered in desserts and candy. The set-up is eerily similar to Lilith’s infamous shore leave in “No Rest For The Wicked.” Deathwish Sammy makes his move. Stupidly, he enters the house through the front door with The Knife at the ready. He clears the front closet before venturing further. The house is dark and silent. There are no guards or dead bodies in foyer. He inches towards the dining room and finds the girl in a blue dress with white bow at the back sitting in a gorgeous black and white upholstered chair. She’s Alice in Demonland. He inches forward with The Knife above his head, ready to dispatch a 12-year-old girl possessed by a demon or die trying. For one horrible minute, I actually think “Supernatural” was going to go THERE. Having Sam kill a child, possessed or otherwise, would be 73 times worse than human-demon sex. Suddenly, she turns around, and sobs, “please I wanna go home!” Shit. It’s a set-up. I think I realized that before Sam does, because a motherfuckin’ giant knocks The Knife out of Sam’s hand another demon henchman materializes. I guess the economy is better in hell than topside, because Lilith has a ton of employees. You think they get a 401k? The leader shoves Sam against the wall. “Lilith sends her regrets. She couldn’t make it!” He laughs with his gravelly voice. Crap. Sammy is trapped. And this time, there is no one to come save him. He’s alone, unarmed and outmanned. He eyes The Knife that he can’t reach, terrified now that death is a certainty. I don’t know why he doesn’t try to exorcise the demons. I also don’t know why these guys aren’t bludgeoning the life out of that wretched Sammy Winchester, who’s probably exorcised most of their friends. While they waste preicious ass-kicking time, a feminine hand scoops up The Knife. Surprise! It’s Ruby! She dispatches one of the lesser henchman with a grand slice of his throat. Tiny Ruby pulls the other guy off of Sam, and commands that he save the girl. Sammy does just that, leaving Ruby to fight a man bigger than Sam. She goes in for kill, but the leader blocks it and holds onto her tiny little wrist. Ruby punches him twice across the face, but that has absolutely no effect on him. He easily disarms by breaking her arm and then flings her into a wall, lifting her off her feet by her neck. There is no special effect needed, because this ox of a man is THAT strong. “Ruby, you’re in so much trouble!” He seethes. He heckles her so more, until he gags and coughs to the side. That’s weird. Ruby frowns until she sees Sam behind him, hand outstretched, thinking real hard. Sammy’s face bends into that almost-evil expression as he rides out the pain that causes a nosebleed, and expels the demon almost instantly. “Thanks.” He says, and finally Deathwish Sammy is no longer.

Back to the Future. “Whatever you have to say, she saved me. More than that, she got through to me. What she said to me, it’s what you would have said. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be here.” As Sammy shares this, the camera moves in tight on Dean’s battered face as he understands why Sam trusts Ruby with their lives. He doesn’t need to hear anything else, that’s more than enough. While I agree it was noble that Ruby came back for Sam, I think that defining moment in their relationship should have been much more dramatic and dire to drive the point home, because I completely missed the first time I watched it. Sam has been in the very same position hundreds of times and always survived. Ruby has been swoopin’ in to save the fine Winchester asses since last season, so for a dramawhore like myself, it doesn’t feel as big as it should. Maybe it would have if those demons had done their job and kicked Sammy’s arse. Dean doesn’t have to agree with my awesome insight or compliment my beauty, because housekeeping knocks on the door. RATS! Dean tries to get rid of her, but she insists that she has clean towels. He gets up to open the door, and a large black woman on the other side (Media Studies Kira is rolling her eyes!). She pushes the towels in Dean’s arms, closes the curtains and stalks right over to Sam, handing him a piece of paper. “I’m at this address.” She tells him. That’s RUBY! She really is burning through bodies, isn’t she? Sammy’s slow on the uptake. “Go now. Go through the bathroom window, don’t stop, don’t take your car, don’t pass go. There are demons in the hall and in the parking lot,” She rattles off. Finally, Sam understands, and makes an adorably shocked face once he figures it out. “So, I’m possessing this maid for a hot minute!” She sasses. Jane Doe’s body is “slowly rotting on the floor back at the cabin with Anna.” Dean grimaces in disgust as he probably realizes that Sam bumped uglies with a dead chick. Again.

The cabin Ruby stashed Cherry is more of a boathouse or a barn. It’s constructed of bare wood and no insulation with high open ceilings. Cherry promises the boys she’s okay, and then tells that that Ruby “isn’t like other demons. She saved my life.” “I hear she does that,” Dean smiles at Cherry and then pointedly looks at Ruby. “I guess I…ugh…ya know,” Ruby waits, arms folded, as Dean fumbles over an apology. “I guess I owe you…for Sam…I just wanted…ya know.” “Don’t strain yourself,” Ruby snarks, lifting an eyebrow. But I think Dean just pulled every emotional muscle he has. “Is the moment over? Because that was awkward.” Sam smiles at them fondly. Aww! Then they chanage into matching leather outfits and sing, “We Are Family!” Who know that Dean Winchester could tapdance?!

Cherry interrupts the bonding to ask if she can call her parents. Sam and Dean exchange loaded looks. Sam lets out a weary sigh as he sits down beside her. She searches his face. Poor Sammy has just relived visceral aftermath of his brother’s death, and has lost everyone he’s cared about, so can’t even say the words just, “I’m sorry.” Cherry collapses into sobs and rocks back and forth as Dean looks away, feeling it too. Sammy lays his giant hand on her back as she cries. He looks so much older now and a little colder than the Post-Dean’s Death Sam Winchester I knew and loved. He's forever changed. “Why is this happening to me?!” Cherry sobs. “I don’t know,” he answers. Anna continues to cry, head in her ands, until she shoots up, mouth parted, hands frozen on either side of her head, listening. “They’re coming!” She ominously announces. The lights flicker and Sammy hustles Cherry into back room as Dean goes for the weapons. Um…she can her angels, y’all, not demons. Ruby should be scared, but you should be relieved. Sam returns and Dean hands him his trusty sawed-off and Ruby rifles through the gun bag, searching for The Knife. “Where The Knife?” Ruby can’t believe they lost The Knife even though it doesn’t matter because THE ANGELS ARE COMING! NOT DEMONS. Even though Jensen and Jared are only 87 miles away, they still can’t hear me! “Hey, don’t look at me!” Dean yells. “Thanks a lot!” Sammy shots back. Aww, they’re being cute in the face of danger! Dean offers him one of his amazing fake smiles as Ruby berates them for losing the knife even though it DOESN’T MATTER! The wind mounts and the door to the cabin shakes and shutters until it blows off its hinges much like it did when Alastair arrived. Sam, Dean and Ruby wait at the ready, guns blazing. There’s a familiar flapping of wings and then Castiel and Uriel strut into the cabin. Ruby’s putty face melds in fear and her eyes flip beetle black. Angels, prepare to smite! Relieved, Dean hopes the angels are here to protect Cherry, because they’ve “been having demon issues all day.” Uriel nearly snarls at Ruby, “I see that. You want to explain why you have that stain in the room?” Uriel demands. But Castiel doesn’t give them a chance, “We’re here for Anna,” he says, stoically. The Brothers Winchester want to know if they will help her. Castiel proclaims, “She has to die.” Um, crap!

87 miles. God, I’m a fucking dumbass.

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.