Supernatural 8.08 – Hunteri Heroici

Gary sits at a park bench, caressing his wedding ring as he waits. A woman in a super cute dress walks up to him, calling his name tentatively. It’s easy to tell from their conversation that the woman, Olivia, isn’t wearing the other half of Gary’s wedding ring set, but the googly eyes they throw at each other prove this is more than just a romp. In fact, the sound of Gary’s heart is filling the air. Even Olivia can hear it. Wait… what? Gary is floored that Olivia can hear his heart pounding in his chest and Olivia is traumatized as his heart beats right out of his chest and explodes all over her pretty dress.

Somewhere else at the currently local Gas ‘n’ Sip, Sam Winchester fills up the Impala’s tank while catching up with Mrs. Tran. Sam isn’t really used to all this motherly chitchat and tries to fob the call off onto Dean who’s just come out with the sip part of this venture. Dean is less subtle; he just hangs up on her in the middle of his faux-greeting. He asks Sam for a rundown on the info; seems the Trans are hiding out on Garth’s houseboat of safety trying to figure out if their half of the broken tablet is helpful. So far? Nope. Dean struts to the hood of the car to find out if Castiel’s heard anything about the tablet from the great above. Also a big “nope”. Castiel has opted to mute the mumblings heaven. Sam didn’t know that was an option on angel AM-FM, but Castiel explains that it’s all just BPMs so all he did was block the frequency from on high.

Dean’s curious about Castiel’s next step and kinda proposes maple syrup drenched marriage to him in a really round about, subconscious way, but Castiel declines he’s got career path he’s fixin’ to head down; he’s going to save people and hunt things. The Winchester boys scoff at the idea of Castiel joining the family business, but Castiel is stoked about becoming their third wheel, unaware of the social connotations of the phrase because the physics makes more sense anyway. Sheldon Cooper would be so proud on so many levels. Castiel nails his case home by outlining the case he just came across, the thumpa-thumpa heart in Oklahoma City. The brothers decide to let Castiel hunt with them, but both shoot down his request for shotgun.

Over at the OKC morgue the trio and local PD discuss cause of death. One theory was drugs, a LOT of drugs, but even the detective thinks that idea is too farfetched. And she’s staring at a Valentine convo heart-shaped crater in Gary’s chest cavity. Castiel mentally assesses Gary’s molecular composition and concurs that it wasn’t drugs. The detective’s phone rings and she turns to bail on the guys, but before she goes Dean hands her a business card and asks that she call him if anything weird happens. She scoffingly agrees and heads out, calling him Scully as she leaves. It was just a few years ago that Sam was the redheaded woman in this relationship, oh how time changes us. Castiel continues to sniff the body for information and reports that aside form some urinary issues Gary was healthy as a horse. Dean is not impressed by Castiel’s investigative skills, Castiel defends his methods by stating he now knows everything about Gary worth knowing, Sam buzzes in with the correct answer, Castiel is bummed because is nose didn’t smell Gary’s commandment breaking adultery. Dean notices Gary’s wedding ring and they immediately put the widowed wife on their suspect list.

As the men head off to investigate further, Sam randomly daydreams about moving in with Amelia. He flashes back to himself in a great sweater, unpacking a box of stuff. Stuff that is apparently Amelia’s because what his digs out is her pristine wedding album. Before Sam has a chance to snoop through it Amelia swans in fretting about her father being late to their housewarming for three. Just then there’s a knock at the door and Amelia gives Sam a quick cheat-sheet of don’t and don’t, including not using the word “irregardless”, which one has to argue is not a word to begin with. Her father comes bearing wine and condescension. Like father like daughter it seems. Amelia is trying to sell Sam, but it’s hard to get through her dad’s wall of passive aggression.

When Sam comes out of his memory haze, we’re at Gary’s house Crosby, Stills and Nash are paying their condolences to his wife and hoping to get some info out of her. Castiel tells Dean that he’s been researching interrogation and he can handle questioning Mrs. Frieling. Dean lets him and Castiel goes bad cop on her. Kinda gotta wonder if the entirety of his research involved a lazy Sunday and a Law & Order: SVU Stabler-athon.

Dean pulls Castiel away from the distraught widow so Sam can good cop her, but just as they’re getting to the juicy stuff Olivia the Mistress strolls in with a casserole. The guys are agog; Olivia and the missus know each other? Castiel notes the awkwardness and blurts out Gary’s infidelity. Turns out that his wife knew about Olivia and she has a piece on the side, too. It was a very civil swing the couple swung around on. Dean is jealous. If he knew wives that cool existed he’d been hitched years ago.

While Dean is fantasizing about his version of a happy union, a man across town debates ending his life. The man shuffles to the edge of a very tall building and takes that final fatal step… only he doesn’t drop. Gravity, though usually a cruel bitch, is taking the day off it seems. The man stands in mid-air and gazes around, completely overwhelmed by this divine intervention. Then he looks down. Everybody knows what happens every time the coyote looks down. The really pretty detective from the morgue sets the guys on the case, she saw weird and she thought of them. The suicide is legit, but the circumstances of the man’s jump are just a little too Merrie Melodies for her liking. The concept is a little beyond Castiel’s comprehension, he doesn’t see the humor in classic cartoons that Dean does and loves.

At the motel, Sam and Dean continue researching the case while Castiel does some homework of his own and finds the existential importance and philosophical relevancy woven into the Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote’s antics. At least he’s finally found the hilarity. Sam and Dean are stuck; they don’t know whether this is a case of Ahhh! Real Monsters or some freak that doesn’t realize that Aqua Teen Hunger Force is just a stoner’s animated delight not reality. Dean throws in the towel and asks Castiel if he’s going to get his own room. The thought never occurred to Castiel. Dean, on the other hand, is very concerned about the logistics of three men and two queen-size beds. Castiel waves off his worries, reminding Dean that he doesn’t need to sleep. Well, Dean does. Castiel doesn’t see the issue, he’ll just watch over Ren and Stimpy while they snooze. Dean isn’t thrilled with the idea of Castiel watching him sleep and is about to launch into his protest when Castiel catches the police scanner wave in his head. Sam is impressed with Castiel’s frequency finding.

The newest piece of this puzzle involves a bank heist and an Acme anvil. Definitely fits the pattern. As does the painted on black circle on the wall, easily added for either avoiding train to mountain collisions or getting in and out of a building without breaking a sweat. Or so it would seem, however when Castiel attempts to put his hand through the black circle on the wall all he gets is… wall. Sam heads off with the detective to check on the file on this robber, who the police have dubbed “The Black Hole”, leaving Castiel and Dean to look for clues at the bank. Dean gets Castiel to use his angel strength to lift the anvil and sure enough, there’s an “X” marking the spot under the flattened security guard’s body goop. Dean takes the time to explain the rules of the law offices of MGM, Paramount, Disney & Warner Brothers to Castiel.

Back at the motel, Dean and Castiel search for answers. Castiel is leafing through John’s old journal, but Dean wants to talk. He’s wondering if Castiel is okay, because after Dean’s seat in Purgatory got ejected it took him some time to acclimate and he can’t fathom that Castiel is unaffected. He thinks that maybe Castiel should go visit heaven. Castiel declines. Dean, every the angry beaver, pushes the subject and Castiel has to tell him that no means no. He has no intention of facing what he did when he was infected with the Leviathans, he doesn’t think going back to heaven will lead to anything but him walking off a ledge. Sam barges in, effectively breaking the tension, and fills them in on a pattern he’s caught on to: every Black Hole robbery coincides with an animaniac attack of varying degrees. It also turns out that every B&E location hit is owned by someone living in Sunset Fields Retirement Home. Naturally they head there to investigate.

While Dean is wigging out about the nursing home, Sam convinces the resident doctor, Dwight Mahoney, to let them interview the residents. He lets them. One woman, Sheila, whose Bearer Bonds and diamonds were stolen from her old house, is more interested in hitting on Castiel then helping their case. Dean tries to get her to focus, asking her if she’s noticed any classic paranormal markers. According to her, nothing really, except for the talking cat sitting on the sofa across the room. Castiel heads off to question the cat.

Meanwhile, Sam chats up the orderly on call. The orderly has a visible tattoo on his neck and some in depth thoughts about the residents and why they seem to check out from reality. Obviously, he’s involved. No doubt. Sam continues to examine the bulletin board in the main room, but quickly delves back into his flashback from earlier. Amelia is serving Sam and her father dinner; spaghetti with hotdogs, which is apparently a tradition between Amelia and her father, who were on the move a lot back when he was in the Army. Again, this seems to be a shout-out to Sheldon Cooper, but he’d definitely disapprove of the fact that Amelia has sliced the hotdogs lengthwise instead of into little circles. Sam tries to form a connection with Amelia’s father by mentioning his dad was in the Marines. Amelia’s dad, however, seems to have a passive aggressive inferiority complex against the marines. He does catch on to the fact that despite never having served in the military himself, he has a bit of a shell-shocked look about him.

Sam shakes off the memory as Dean strolls up to him. He asks Dean if he remembers a friend of John’s from when they were kids, Fred Jones. Dean totally remembers Fred; the man hooked Dean up with his first beer before he hit puberty. Fred was apparently psychokinetic. Fred is apparently living in this very retirement home. The Powerpuff girls all head in to talk to Fred, but Fred isn’t really plugged into anything but the cartoons on his TV screen. Seemingly not cognizant of them being in the room with him, Dean uses a different tactic to figure out whether all this is stemming from Fred: he beans himself in the noggin with a book. Lo and behold, the dulcet chirping of birds can be heard. He’s their guy. But when Castiel is overheard brainstorming about possible killing Fred to fix all this, they get kicked out of Sunset Fields. Castiel decides to stay back and go invisible to keep an eye on Fred.

Unfortunately, they have to head back when they get word that a potentially delicious red velvet cake with a stick of dynamite in it exploded in the rec room just as Sheila blew it out. Messy, but not fatal. The nurse is wheeling Sheila back to her room, when Sheila tells Castiel that the nurse is wearing her stolen diamonds. The nurse insists that the diamond bracelet was a gift from her boyfriend. Her boyfriend is, of course, the tattooed orderly. Oh yeah, by the way, Fred’s missing.

They find the orderly at his place. His place is filled with stolen loot. Before they get the chance to gang up on the orderly they find him on the floor with a bullet in his gut. Castiel heals him so they can question him. He doesn’t deny his involvement, but he’s not the mustache-twirling mastermind, no, that would be Dr. Mahoney. The doctor has been using Fred’s wacky psycho-kinesis to pull off heists. His most recent heist is Fred himself; the doctor is going in for one last loot and then plans to kill Fred.

On their way to save Fred, Sam slips into another flashback. In this one he’s washing dishes and eavesdropping on Amelia and her father’s conversation. Her father brings up Don, tells her how much of a mess Sam is and tries to get her to come back home with him. Amelia defends herself, her choices and her relationship to her father. Sam overhears it all, but says nothing. Amelia’s dad caves a bit and he offers to help with the dishes. He also throws Sam a bone by complimenting the Impala. Sam says nothing. He does, however, rub his hand in a ghost motion of how he used to press his scar to come back to reality when Lucifer was in his head.

Back in the present, Daffy, Bugs and Elmer split up to take care of this. Dean finds a black hole on a wall and his hand cleanly goes through it. They’re not too late. Good.
Sam and Castiel find the van that Dr. Mahoney has Fred stashed in, but they can’t get a response out of him. Castiel uses his angelic mojo to implant himself and Sam into Fred’s head. Fred’s mind is permanently tuned to Cartoon Network, but in here Fred can walk and talk. Walking, talking Fred wants to know why they’re in his brain, so they explain, not that he believes them. Sam challenges Fred, telling him that he’s so stuck in his own mind that he’s not aware of what’s going on around him.

Meanwhile, inside the vault Dean holds the doctor at gunpoint while the doctor explains his motives for stealing. It’s not like he’s actually stealing from little old ladies and chess playing old men, no, he’s stealing from their legacy, from the children that abandoned the elderly in the nursing home, don’t visit, don’t care, but will inevitably cash in when the people die and the wills are read. Standing there ranting with black holes cutting into various safety deposit boxes it’s far less noble than it sounds. Dean says as much and the doctor runs off, Dean’s left with little choice but to shoot. Unfortunately, his gun was loaded with a “BANG!” handkerchief in lieu of bullets. Dean coyotes after the doc, but Dr. Mahoney is waiting for him, frying pan at the ready. Dean counters with an “X” to mark the spot, but Mahoney is quick and dodges the anvil.

Back in Fred’s melon, Sam tries to reason with Fred. Fred tells him that cartoons are his safe place, Sam counters with saying that Fred is clinging to the cartoons and the feeling, but that he needs to break out of it. Sam, in a fit of mild hypocrisy, tells Fred that dreamworlds are great and all, but they aren’t real and they aren’t forever; reality will come knocking again. Every time. Fred gets it and snaps out of his fugue. With perfect timing, too, because at that moment Dr. Mahoney was headed right for one of his black holes, bag of loot in hand. Of course, now Fred is fully functioning and reality aware, so poor Doc Mahoney bounces right off the brick wall. Fred’s also pissed that the doc was using him and uses his kinetic powers to force Mahoney to turn his gun on himself and shoot. Score one for Fred, but he’s worried about relapsing and losing himself again. He’s worried about the ramifications and pleads for help. Castiel has a way out for Fred. Seems that way is scooping out Fred’s connection with reality and filling his mind with “Ode to Joy” on a loop.

Dean is proud of the way Castiel handled himself on this case and offers him shotgun, but Castiel declines. He’s ready to go back to heaven and face his demons, so to speak. Unfortunately, Naomi has other plans. She’s not letting him back into heaven until she’s good and ready. On the plus side, she gives Castiel the free will to do whatever else he wants. What Castiel wants is to stay with Fred for a few days and then he’ll take life as it comes from there.

Sam drifts back into his flashback. Now it’s happy times, the beer is flowing and Amelia’s dad is at the embarrassing childhood stories portion of the night. The phone rings and Amelia bounds off to answer it. While she gets the phone, her dad offers Sam another beer and opens it with his pocketknife, just like Dean. That’s when Sam opens up a bit to her father about losing Dean and running away. Amelia interrupts the bonding to inform them that the caller is her husband Don. He’s alive.

There are some interesting parallels between Sam and Fred. And some interesting details about Sam’s flashbacks that seem to be reminiscent of when Dean was misremembering his time in Purgatory and losing Castiel.

Interesting indeed.