For a mere $19.99, you too can begin your own at-home psychic business. That’s right, all you need is some costume jewelry (got that covered), shawl or headscarf (got ‘em), a Ouija Board (just gotta go grab it from the garage) and someone desperate to unknowingly trickle out clues to their inner workings (I’m looking into business cards that advertise that in a more delicate manner). The problem you have to be wary of is, oh y’know, actual vengeful spirits, but what are the odds? Slim to none, right?
The beginning of the episode has us overlooking a standard staged séance. The psychic, Ms. Golden, is at the helm, she has her ghost calling script down and her Ouija Board all shined up. The people enlisting her help are clearly not on the same page about this endeavor. The woman is a believer; a hands on the planchette, tears in her eyes believer. The man, on the other hand is a snide skeptic, but slowly starts to doubt his doubts as the psychic busts out her best parlor tricks. It’s all very typical and you know she’s pulling the strings… until she isn’t anymore. Their breath goes cold, the lights flicker without her flipping her table switch and then, before you know it the Ouija planchette goes straight for her jugular.
We cut to Dean Winchester walking around with a big bag of BBQ, but it’s not to feed two. No, no, Dean is all alone and apparently going to eat his feelings. See, like in-it-for-the-long-haul parents, Sam and Dean bicker and fight, and the Impala is always stuck in the middle. Last week Sam abandoned Dean on the side of the road. Well, I guess he more stormed off in a huff, since Dean’s the one with a vehicle and therefore not stranded, but anyway, the point is we’ve hit the point in the season where the brothers break up and Dean, mother hen that he is, took custody of the Impala. I feel like this moment came early this year.
Except, there’s no Impala.
Dean seems to have left his Baby in foster care for the first time in series history and is carjacking himself a pigsty of a Dodge when he hears DJ Bananas Foster’s voice blare out from the speakers. Two dead psychics in Lily Dale, NY. For those playing the SPN Trivia Game (home version, of course), Lily Dale is a real city and is known for having the largest concentration of psychics per capita. Basically, what I’m saying is if you’re up near Lily Dale, swing by and get your fortune told. And if you don’t like what the palm reader predicted then go knock on the neighbor’s door and try again.
Dean hits up Grandma Goldy’s séance room, flashes his badge and investigates the scene. He pokes around and finds all of her magic knobs and buttons. Suspicion confirmed: this brand of psychic stuff is malarkey. That settled, Dean heads out to check out the town.
First stop: The Good Graces Café
I feel like this place smells of jasmine tea, alfalfa sprouts and crunchy granola dreams. The kind of place that Sam would love. Dean is not okay with the vibe in this joint and is about to bolt… when he hears Sam’s coffee ordering voice wafting toward him from the interior of the café. See? I wasn’t wrong about this restaurant being Sam’s scene.
Anytime you run into your ex-… whatever, there are always two options:
1) Be a freak, act like a spaz.
2) Be an adult about it.
Dean is a total grown up and marches right up to Sam, plops himself down and starts talking shop, heck he even places an order. The waiter is pleased with Dean’s order and tells him that he is a manly man, a hunter, a gather, a beast amongst small, harmless furry things.
Dean is not amused with his complimentary affirmation.
Sam is not amused with Dean sitting across from him yammering about case details.
Dean makes it clear that this is just work and they agree to work the job together.
At that moment, a woman recognizes them as bloodthirsty serial killers, but the brothers are quick sooth her spirit, telling her that yeah, they get that a lot but they aren’t THE Winchesters. They’re very believable and it helps that at that moment this town’s Uri Geller comes to see what’s going on. The man with the faux-Russian accent introduces himself as Nikolai the Spoon Bender. World famous according to his business card. The boys are visibly skeptical and Nikolai fondles a spoon before making his exit. Mere seconds later, Sam attempts to put sugar is his coffee, but the spoon obnoxiously backbends in his hand. Sam does not like the intuitive metal twister screwing with is coffee enjoyment and I don’t blame him.
Sam and Dean head off to Grandma Goldy’s home to interview her granddaughter, Melanie Golden. Melanie is also in the biz, but on a more low-key, modern level. She also admits that she’s not a psychic per se, she’s more of a body language reader. She’s good too, less than a minute with the Winchesters and she’s correctly deduced that Sam is cranky, Dean is an emotional wreck and the brothers are on the skids. Dean powers through her uncomfortably spot on reading and charmingly tells her that her lil trick is cool and all, but he keeps an open mind about the real deal. The boys also tell her they are looking for her grandmother’s necklace. This necklace was the only common thread between the two victims, so it must mean something. Melanie informs them that she doesn’t have it, The Emporium does. Off they go.
The Emporium is just that, a store piled high and stuffed to the brim. It’s owned by the skeevy looking Jimmy Tomorrow, who fills in the Winchesters about the necklace. According to the lore the Romanians used as punishment to conjure Angelus’ soul… no, wait, that’s the Orb of Thesulah, this is the Orb of Thessaly. According to Jimmy it’s no less rare, though. According to Jimmy, Sam is angry and it’s complicated. Jimmy and Melanie are GOOD.
Except, the boys got gypped, the necklace is no Romanian soul globe, nope, it’s just a mass produced, Taiwanese trinket, which is really strange since Thessaly is in Greece, but that’s neither here nor there. Literally. This is bad news, because somewhere across town Nikolai is laying out utensils and getting ready to practice for the festival. The spoon bender has a fine assortment of forks and knives laid out before his lovely glass coffee table. This is totally gonna end well for him. Yup. The lights flicker, the cutlery stands at attention and an unseen force picks Nikolai up and impales him. Stick a fork in him, Nikolai is done.
Sam and Dean scope out the scene and the chief of police tells them that not only have citizens been helpfully calling with tips about Nikolai’s death (top 2 theories: vengeful ghost or vengeful Russian ogre), it also seems Nikolai had a vision of his death prior to it happening. Which makes you wonder why he still chose to practice with forks and knives instead of spoons. Not too sharp for someone that was claiming to be intuitive. While they’re questioning the chief, Melanie calls Dean and they zoom to her house where she tells them that it turns out her grandma also had a premonition of her own death. For a bunch of psychics, they sure weren’t in the habit of taking the real stuff seriously. The Winchesters estimate that with a town boasting this level of psychic energy and residence, there’s a pretty good chance that someone in Lily Dale is an actual a conduit of some kind. Vegas odds.
We now are introduced to the classic Creole bone caster. I could get on the show for playing the stereotype so hard, but I’m not going to because it’s very obviously in jest, because, again for those folks playing the trivia version, Oda Mae Brown here is actually Melanie’s friend, Camille, that was paying her condolences to Melanie as Sam and Dean were stopping by earlier. And just like Oda Mae, this Madame Cleo wannabe is smacked in the head with the real thing and it is messing up her world. She calls Melanie, Melanie calls Dean, Dean goes to check it out. Dean is super thorough and finds a tiny creeper camera in the eye of an “African” mask on the wall. They play back the video and get a clear look at the apparition sending out the oh-yeah-your-gruesome-horrible-death visions.
Melanie identifies the woman. Sort of. The woman was familiar, Melanie had seen her photo on display, so off Sam and Dean go to the Lily Dale Museum of Curiosities. There they find the wall of siblings, photo after photo of brothers and sisters that worked the circuit. The curator informs them that the sibling duos tended to end badly, something about always being in each other’s pockets and using up the last of the toothpaste. Dean recognizes the ghost in one of the photos, she’s the prettier half of the Fox sisters, Kate. Kate was said to be the star of the duo, gifted, mesmerizing, charismatic, etc, etc. Her sister, Margaret, was somewhat homelier and rumored to not have the gift, but was one hell of a caretaker. As they leave, the curator stops Dean and tells him Ellen says to pass it on that if Dean doesn’t pull his head out of his ass she’d climb down from On High and thwap him one good. You don’t have to filter a message from Ellen to Dean twice, no sir. Dean catches up with Sam outside of the museum and lets it all out, he validates Sam’s feelings about the Amy situation, but reminds Sam that monsters are monsters and that he did what Sam couldn’t do, he stepped up. Sam tries to get a few words in edgewise, but Dean isn’t having it, he levels Sam with the hard truth and more or less tells him being upset is understandable, but he needs to pop a Midol, grab a heating pad and move on already.
The brothers head to the cemetery to dig up Kate’s grave, they’re about to salt’n’burn her when she appears, begging them to just listen to her, she reaches out to Dean pleadingly as he fumbles with his Zippo, but Sam is there in the clinch, flaming up Kate’s bones with a match and a dream. I love how it doesn’t occur to them at all to, oh, I dunno, listen to the ghost. I guess the meth teeth made them doubt her intentions.
They call Melanie and Camille to tell them the good news. Case closed!
Yeah, right. On the first salt’n’burn? This ain’t our first rodeo. Melanie and Camille realize this right around the time the lights start dancing, the air goes icy and the ghost of Margaret Fox appears. They call the boys for help and Sam gives them the SparkNotes version of the Ghost Hunter’s Handbook as Dean speeds bad to town. Of course the girls only have enough salt for one attack and they’re not really iron rod wielding trained, so Margaret makes pretty quick work of knocking Melanie down and taking Camille out.
Broad daylight and the Winchesters are grave digging again. If you guessed, like I guessed, that Margaret Fox’s grave was vacant then you, like me, would be correct. Dejected, the boys head back to the Dodge Under-the-radar-mobile to stow their shovels, when Dean comes across a flyer for the Lily Dale ESP Festival and Hot Dog Eating Contest and notices that the first three victims were also the three headliners. They hit up Melanie and confirm that sure enough, after Nikolai was skewered Camille was tapped to be featured and surprise, surprise, now that Camille is gone Melanie is next psychic on the totem pole.
Dean stays with the damsel and Sam heads back to The Emporium to trace a lead, Jimmy Tomorrow is more than willing to help and gives Sam directions to… a benign Ya-Ya Sisterhood Lamaze class. Oh. Now we get it, Jimmy Tomorrow is the bone hoarding bad guy. Sam doubles back to handle Jimmy, while Dean tries to protect Melanie from Margaret. It’s almost a reversal of Dean finding the doll to burn while Sam defended Sarah in “Provenance”. Okay, not “almost”, more like “exact”.
Turns out that Jimmy is really, really, really psychic. So was Margaret. Problem was they weren’t pretty enough or popular enough to get the good roles in the high school plays and are quite bitter about it. Sam needs to get to Margaret’s bones because back at Melanie’s Dean is salting and slinging iron like a madman, but Jimmy is blocking the way, so Sam does what he has to do: he puts a bullet through Jimmy’s chest and storms into the bedroom where Margaret’s bones are nestled in the bed. Real stable there, Jimmy-boy. Sam toasts the bones in the nick of time.
Post hunt the boys are bonding at The Good Graces Café when Melanie strolls in. Sam morphs into an awesome little brother and makes himself scarce while Melanie thanks Dean for saving her life. I always wonder how the girls they encounter choose which brother to throw themselves at/owe their life to. It’s a Team Winchester effort, so does each girl flip a coin? Debate sideburns over crow’s feet? I don’t think I could decide. Either way, unlike Sam and Sarah in “Provenance”, Dean doesn’t get to dramatically kiss the girl, all he gets from Melanie is a wistful look as she uses his hand as a Magic 8-ball.
Dean heads outside to find Sam stashing his meager belongings into Dean’s stolen ride, he figures they should just take one car now, simple as that. Fight and forgive, it’s the Winchester way.