-Insert token Jack Nicholson impression here-
This week’s teaser opens up the episode with a scene straight out of “Herbie the Love Bug”…
No, wait, that’s not right.
The scene feels more like Stephen King got his grubby little fingers all over it as we watch a car go all Christine and maximum overdrive itself into our first victim head on. I do love the transition between the splat of the victim and the splat of the title card. Very nice Supernatural, very nice.
The episode begins with Sam and Dean climbing out of the Impala in their serious business suits. I approve of how tailored they’ve been this season. As the car doors creak shut we hear invisi-Lucifer stage whisper “Sam” off camera in a very creepy fashion and see Sam push at his palm to ground himself. It seems to work. Next time I’m having trouble telling reality from insanity I’m going to poke my old chicken pox scar and see if that helps pull me back from the brink.
“Feels wonky” is the first line uttered by Dean Winchester this week and while one may argue that it’s a tad out of character (that “one” arguing is me. Because it is out of character. Because this is not a Joss Whedon production and this is not 1997. Nor is Dean a BtVS fan that insists on speaking as though it’s still 1997. Where was I? Oh yeah…) while one may argue this line’s OOC-ness, as someone whose vernacular is consistently circa 1997-2003 I was mighty amused.
Badges flashed they cross the yellow tape while discussing how weirdly nice it is to be working a good old fashioned, non-biblical flood of locusts, toads and leviathans case. Sam also takes this opportunity to thank Dean for understanding about Amy the brain juice drinker and for trusting Sam and for not killing Amy. Good job, Dean. With the trust and the honesty. I’m so glad you’re looking out for your brother. Your actual factual so-mentally-broken-he’s-hallucinating-Lucifer brother. Yeah, this one’s not gonna bite you in the ass mid-season. Nope.
The Winchesters investigate the ghostly hit and run. The best thing about this scene, aside from Dean making the lame “License to Kill” joke, is the cameo by the much missed homemade EMF meter, which is needling off the grid. In addition to that they find some strange red dirt and an AA 10-year token. Dean is clear in his belief that AA is for quitters and proceeds for the rest of the episode to prove that Dean Winchester is no quitter. They do some digging, figuratively, and find out the man was involved in a not so ghostly hit and run 10 years ago. Upon some literal digging, they burn the bones of the little girl he hit and consider it case closed. We’re only a few minutes into the episode, so I’m really doubting they’ve nailed this one.
In the meantime, another victim, who was a former dogfight trainer, falls pray to whatever it is that’s going on here. This time we get a scene reminiscent of Damien’s dog attacking the father only this time there’s no trap door to save anyone and the man gets his throat ripped out while the 911 operator on the cell phone calming asks him to state the nature of his emergency. This is not her first rodeo.
Note: the show made two Michael Vick references, there’s no need for me to do it.
The important thing is the victim had red dirt under his fingernails. Ah-ha! A tie-in. Sam discovers that the red dirt is from an apple farm. Dean scoffs at the idea of fresh produce and I can almost hear his mind wondering if there’s a fifth of whiskey under the Impala’s seat.
Suddenly a man darts out into the road and, despite the alcohol haze, Dean hits the breaks and avoids hitting the man. The man is, for lack of a better word, freaked. He tells the Winchesters that he murdered the owners of a liquor store… 30 years ago and he’s already done his legal time. The ex-con tells them he’s been retried at the apple farm and sentenced to death by a man in a barn with symbols written all over. Symbols? Sam Winchester is intrigued.
Dean gets a bit superior in this moment, figuring that a drunk driver, an animal abuser and murderer aren’t really worthy of their concern, but he decides to check out the common factor between the three men, Neal’s Bar, anyway. Sam asks if he plans to work or chug, Dean claims he’s not sure, but he’s practically chanting “shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, everybody!” as he ambles off.
At the bar Dean does double duty while tossing back double shots of whiskey, playing “I’m a cop, ask me how!” with the bartendress, Mia. She’s totally buying it and totally wants to be the best cop helper ever. Dean is stoked and immediately switches to beer because he’s been outta the game for awhile and doesn’t was to risk the effects of too much whiskey while trying to function during naked hot waitress time, but before Stella can get his groove back he’s snatched right outside of the bar. What’s a Winchester gotta do to get laid these days?
Bobby calls Sam and informs him that the symbols he’d asked about belong to the Egyptian god Osiris, who pretty much prays on the guilt of those who feel guilty and lets the ghosts of said guilt exact deadly revenge. And who feels more responsible for everything bad that’s ever happened over than Dean Winchester?
Sam heads to the barn to Dean’s rescue and finds Dean on trial and volunteers to be Dean’s Atticus Finch, but as Osiris begins his jive prosecution Sam is not having it and objects. Overruled. He then strenuously objects. Overruled. Osiris calls the ghost of Jo Havelle to the stand, we get montoge of flashbacks and in a clear example of leading the witness, attempts to get Jo to say that her crush on Dean took her down the path to hunting which took her down the path of getting blown up in a hardware store. Jo is under oath and isn’t about to blame her life’s career and demise on a cute boy. Always did like you, Joanna Beth.
Your witness, Sam.
Sam’s cross-examination of Jo proves exactly what Jo was getting at; she became a hunter because her father was in the life, not because of Dean Winchester’s New Jack Swing. Daddy issues, they’ll get ya every time. Osiris does not like where this is going and he makes Jo disapparate on the spot.
Osiris calls Sam Winchester to the stand. Sam finds this almost amusing. Using another barrage of flashbacks, including Jess in her nurse costume and Jess burning on the ceiling, Osiris tries to get Sam to blame Dean for where he is now. Sam remains unconvinced. Dean on the other hand is looking down at his folded hands with shame stamped on his forehead. Don’t fear though, this is a sales pitch. It’s not going to be won by the law, it’s going to be won by the lawyers, and Sam Winchester is a used car salesman, he’s an ambulance chaser with a rank, and as such, he calls Dean Winchester to the stand. And pretty much schools Osiris and Dean on how the prosecution’s case does not hold water. The two youts are about to high-five and rest their case when Osiris threatens to call another witness. Dean, fearing that Osiris will call Amy Pond, accepts his guilt and ends the trial, guilty as charged.
They head back to their motel room to research. And by research I mean sit in front of their laptops, clicking around until Bobby calls with the answer. A ram’s horn to Osiris’ midsection will knock him out cold for a couple hundred years. Good enough in Bobby’s opinion. Sam goes off to snatch a ram’s horn from the nearest synoguage, Dean drinks some more before trapping himself in a circle of salt and giving ghost!Jo the go-ahead to show herself.
The ghost of Jo Harvelle isn’t really into the idea of killing Dean, but she can’t fight Osiris and turns on the gas on the motel room’s kitchette stove. She tells Dean it wasn’t about him, never was, but Dean isn’t buying it, because deep down Dean knows that A) Jo so had the hots for him and B) he never wanted to be alone and constantly dragged people down with him. Because his father left him. Daddy issues, round infinity.
Jo would love to keep chatting, but it’s time and she’s too smart for the condiment blocade. She freezes the air, shatters the windows and the salt is just sodium in the wind. She reaches for his lighter, and there’s so many full circle allusions here for Dean that it is genuinely heart breaking, but just as she’s about to flip the flint Sam skewers Osiris and Jo is gone again.
The last scene. The classic side of the road heart to heart while leaning against the classic car. And for those who have been playing along for the past 6+ seasons, you might be wondering why both Winchesters weren’t on trial. I mean, Dean is definitely heavy of heart, but Sam seems to have racked up a fair amount of tally marks his “this may not have happened if I hadn’t butterfly winged into the situation” chalkboard. Dean’s curious too. He’s constantly drunk, but that doesn’t mean he’s unobservant. Sam explains that yeah, he’s messed up a lot of lives, but he also did his time in Hell, was tortured horribly and now occasionally trips on the electric Kool-Aid so figures that his justice scales have balanced and he’s pretty zen about his life right now.
Dean tells Sam that his Zen master routine kinda gives him the wig. Okay, he doesn’t say, “gives me the wig”, but don’t you wish he had?