Stillwater, Minnesota. “Stand By Me” level eating contest, but with $0.50 hotdogs. Big boy versus the thin man. You’d think they’d be setting it up for the scrawny kid to win; nope, tubby takes the trophy, but not without accusations of cheating. Later in his car, Chubs removes the hidden hotdog from his pocket and chuckles smugly, right before something shanks him in the back and sucks him into a mummy.
In the bunker, Dean looks done. He hasn’t slept; his breakfast is whiskey and Cornflakes with a cold pizza chaser and he sounds like he gargled a Batarang. He’s been up all night researching, full on Google vortex style, if he’s found anything new about anything we’re all really worried about he’s not telling, but he has found the Stillwater case and Sam is down to investigate with him. Dean gruffly gets up and says he’s just gonna scrub down with some Wet Wipes and be ready to go. Sam stops him, concern seemingly creasing his brow. He asks Dean if he’s okay, if maybe what he said a few days ago (remember? The whole “if you wanna be brothers *ELLIPSES OF HEART RENDING HORRIBLENESS*”), but Dean mocks him; as if his brother breaking up with him is anything new or worth internalizing and agonizing about. Get over yourself, Sam.
For the record, Sam seems like this isn’t bothering Dean enough for his liking. For the other record, I don’t believe Dean at all. I mean, he’s still rocking the face fur, so clearly he’s still too bummed to shave.
Over in Stillwater they meet up with the local fuzz, a softly round sheriff with a penchant for being sweet and eating sweets. She offers Dean a powdered donut while she breaks down the case; the vic was Wayne McNut, competitive eater extraordinaire and his only real “enemy” was a the stick figure he competed against and swindled out of the spoils of supreme scarfing, “Slim Jim”, who has a clean alibi. Speaking of eating like glutton, Dean has powdered sugar unattractively adorning his mouth. Sam helpfully indicates it to Dean, who delicately dabs at his mouth and cleans up nothing what so ever.
Sam and Dean head over to Slim Jim’s to question him. He’s training; overeating lettuce to stretch out his stomach. Dean always knew a rabbit food diet was bad for you. Dean keeps questioning him while Sam creeps around the house. He finds a hex bag belonging to Slim Jim’s Romanichal wife, Mala, and steals it while she’s showering. Back at their motel, they find strands of Wayne’s hair and other personal doodads and thingamabobs. Their research is interrupted by a knock from Mala herself who tearfully explains that it’s not a hex bag, but a protection bag that she made for Wayne because she was eating snacks with him on the side, if you catch my drift.
As they square this away in the motel room we head over to the not-so-24-hour gym where a woman is peddling her way to a smaller wedding gown. Except, despite spinning like a hamster in a cage, she’s actually managed to gain weight, hitting 180.3 lbs. She’s upset and unwilling to believe the scale. She goes in for a redo and gets bashed on the head by a hand weight. The same thing that vacu-sealed Wayne latches onto her and takes her down to a super svelte and deadly 74.6 lbs.
The next morning Sam and Dean investigate the scene. According to the victim’s gym club records she weighed 165 lbs. Dean argues that it’s a fact all women lie about their age and weight. Sam reminds 35-year-old Dean that mere days ago he told a waitress he was younger than Sam is now. Dean accepts that he’s the woman of the team.
Dean spots a hot gym employee and decides they should split up; Sam to the morgue while Dean questions the staff. Sam isn’t into that division of labor, for once he wants to stay and interrogate the scantily clad, distraught female. Dean derisively shoots him down, claiming Sam is weird and awkward and way too “Sam” to talk to girls.
After all, Dean’s just being honest.
What Dean finds out is that the employee and the victim have similar weird, inflamed suction marks on them. Turns out so did Wayne McNut. Dean also finds out that just one month ago the hot Rollz Gym employee was more apt to be a new member, but recently lost a bunch of weight after spending a week at Canyon Valley Spa.
The boys go undercover as certified fitness training brothers, except only Sam is hired to make the spa guests sweat to the oldies. Dean, however, gets to don a hairnet and spoon up tofu-licious delights. He and Sam are trying to outsnark one another by mocking each other’s work attire. One of the fellow food staffers, Alonso, scolds Dean for flirting with hot trainer Sam. Neither brother even misses a beat.
Meanwhile, in the same spa, our adorable sheriff is getting her first taste of cupping treatment. Which to most Westerners is actually as disturbing looking as this episode makes it seem, but thankfully Sheriff Donna is too sleepy to stay awake during it. Good thing, since the woman who runs the spa, Maritza, is apparently a scary, snake-like, fat sucking monster. I was hoping for Adipose. Adipose are adorable. This was kinda terrifying in a sci-fi way.
Sam is teaching his yoga class while Dean skirts around dishing up undeliciously healthy food. He’s also hungry, but Alons tells him that they eat what the clients eat. Dean’s not eating any of that vegan nonsense. Alonso impatiently tells Dean to start serving up pudding cups from a giant vat. Dean is confused, that is not dietarily sound. Alonso informs him that it’s a last meal type of thing, one last treat before food becomes fuel not feelings. Dean gives it a taste and likes it, so he steals a cup for himself. And eats it. And then promptly gets the vapors and hits the deck.
Sam is finishing up his yoga class when he spots Sheriff Donna. She still a little loopy, but she unfortunately recognizes him. Sam is saved by his phone ringing. A pharmaceutically enhanced Dean is slurring at Sammy to come help him. “Sweet potatoes” is now the new “Poughkeepsie”. Sam rushes off to find Dean. By the time he finds him, Dean is face down on a bag of potatoes, champagne wishes and salted caramel roofie pudding dreams. Sam brings him a can of Monster and as soon as Dean is sufficiently caffeinated they go to find the sheriff.
Sheriff Donna is down two dress sizes in just a few hours and happy as unquestioning clam about it. She credits the cupping Maritza did and shows off her markings, which match everyone else’s.
Sheriff Donna also explained that she’d been in a sadness food vacuum for a while now, eating her pain away, numbing the hurt with delicious liquid calories before and after her husband left her. I’m pretty sure there was a lesson here for Dean, but I’ll admit it was much more subtle than any of last week’s anvils so I’m not entirely sure what Dean was supposed to learn, but considering he commiserates with her it must have hit him in the feelings box.
While the boys learn all this, Larry steals Martiza away from a guest to let her know that he went through the new guys’ car and found evidence that they’re hunters. So, not only do Larry and Maritza know about hunters, but more importantly, Larry violated Baby. Martiza tries to get rid of all the larden laden evidence while Larry offers to take care of the problem. Dean catches her in the act and ties her up. She admits to him that she’s a Peruvian fat sucking parasite, but she’s no murderer. The murderer is the problem her husband went to take care of: Alonso, her brother. Because Dean did not make the connection between the only two people aside from him and Sam not Fargo accenting around the joint.
Sadly, Larry isn’t successful at talking down his hoggish brother-in-law and gets his jugular nicked for his efforts. Sam finds Larry’s body and returns to Dean, where they get the rest of Maritza’s story. She and Larry met in Peru. He accepted her and loved her for who she is and together the came up with the idea of a ritzy fat camp so Maritza could feed just enough to live and bonus! the clients all got a better quick fix than cabbage and grapefruit ever could. Since they had discovered an acceptable way to live, Martiza opted to bring her brother with them to show him this more harmonious way of living.
Too bad Alonso doesn’t have the first clue about 80/10/10 dieting and binged on the locals. Sam and Dean head down to the basement to finish this; communicating almost solely without words they agree to split up to track Alonso down.
What’s this? Blood. Bodies. Fights in the darkness. Is it 2007 again? Did I get what I wanted? A strong MOTW and a nice early seasons feel?
Alonso gets the jump on Sam and they hand-to-hand it for a bit until Alonso gets the upper hand and pins Sam. He snakes out his fat vac attachment and aims for Sam… as if there’s any fat in Sam to begin with. Just as he’s about to go in for the kill, Dean swoops in, cuts off Alonso’s’ mini-Tremor, and watches him die. In the aftermath, Dean tells Sam that they have to kill Maritza as well, double-double. Sam disagrees. Dean argues that she’s a monster, they kill monsters, ergo they should kill her.
Um… like you killed Lenore? Or Benny? Or Garth? Or Kate? How soon we forget how grey our area is.
Sam wins though and they send Maritza back to Peru. Why can’t she continue in Canyon Valley? Who knows?
Back home in the bunker, Dean sits and ponders the bottom of a whiskey glass as Sam comes in to say good night. Dean stops him and tries to talk to him about their relationship, explains to Sam that whether it’s a pishtaco or internal burns from gate closing trials, he’s always there to save Sam, because it’s the right thing to do. Sam pulls out the last stable Jenga tile and lets it all spill out. He tells Dean that he while he may think he’s being a heroic, selfless brother he’s wrong. Sam claims that Dean saves Sam for his own benefit, not Sam’s. Saves Sam so that he doesn’t have to be alone. That given the same circumstance, Sam claims that he would let Dean die. And then walks out.
Let’s examine this shall we?
In this episode we actually saw the brothers act more like their bratty, bantery selves with one another than we probably have for years. Probably because no matter what Sam says, siblings don’t have an on-off button.
Sam showed more than a casual co-worker’s level of concern for Dean not sleeping and seemed awfully perturbed that Dean was acting like he didn’t care about the new “no brothers” rule.
They didn’t have to pose as brothers at the spa, but they did.
Dean called for “Sammy” and Sam came running.
But let’s go further.
Sam Winchester, you’re a lying liar that lies. May I remind you, and the writers, that you refused to let your brother die of a cardiac infarction. Even after he told you to let him die. After he told you that you couldn’t stop it. That was the first time one of you did something sketchy to save the other’s life. That pattern was established by you, Sam.
And let us not forget: “Yeah, I’ve been following you around my entire life! I mean, I’ve been looking up to you since I was four, Dean. Studying you, trying to be just like my big brother. So yeah, I know you. Better than anyone else in the entire world. And this is exactly how you act when you’re terrified. And, I mean, I can’t blame you. It’s just… I wish you would drop the show and be my brother again. ‘Cause… just ’cause.” Again, that was you Sam.
Oh and by the way Sam, you know why it’s better that you’re alive? Because you living is not the reason angels are tearing up the earth right now. Because Kevin’s head had a hit the moment he was tapped as prophet. Because things like ghosts and pishtacos aren’t hell demons and wouldn’t have disappeared if you’d closed the gates. You would have left your brother behind, alone, to keep fighting. Wonder if he’d have made it longer than a month?
There are things you can be pissed about Sam: Dean manipulating you while you were in a coma, Dean lying to you. But some things aren’t part of this equation.
And hey Dean, try the words, “I’m sorry”. And maybe try them sober. And maybe try being honest with Sam and with yourself. Because yeah, you don’t want to be alone, but it is about Sam. Not just any person would do and that’s a fact that Sam needs to know.