Going by this episode’s “Then” intro…
Yeah, who knows? That was one strange clip mix, huh? Let’s forget it happened and move on, y/y?
The episode itself opens with an older camo-capped Oklahoman stuffing animals while listening to sports radio. The only thing off the beaten path about him is that he’s making a set of “Game of Thrones” stuffed mice. Two “Game of Thrones” references in back-to-back “Supernatural” episodes? Now, I haven’t watched or read “Game of Thrones”, but that show is recapped on this site as well, and let’s just say I know a thing or two about it. Just saying.
The man and his dog hear a noise, the dog growls and the man grabs the rifle that is right by his side. Of course it is. Because he’s an Oklahoman. The intruder is a man with a cowboy hat. OF COURSE IT IS. On the alternative side, this guy has some wicked forked-tongue body-mod going on. He grabs the taxidermist and holds him tightly, as the dog barks and barks. And barks. Then he crushes the guy into an origami napkin.
Back home in the bunker, we get our weekly reminder that, while we don’t get to see him, Kevin is still alive and kicking. Last week he was off partying, this week he’s still recovering from said sabbatical. Dean, ever the mother hen, makes Kevin a tall frosty glass of Buffalo Milk to fix him up. If you have a hangover, but are lactose intolerant, stay away from this rich and creamy buffalo-free cure, it’s pretty much a hair o’ the dog milkshake. While Dean’s been caretaking, Sam has been hunt-searching. They have nothing pressing on their day planner, so Sam figures they should do their actual job. Dean is dubious. He wants Sam to rest up and recover, Sam tells him that any more rested and he’d be retired. Sam wants one good reason why they shouldn’t investigate this Oklahoma Crusher case and, of course, Dean can’t provide one, so off they go.
The first thing they see at the taxidermy shop is some bright red death threat graffiti on the windows with a cutesy neo-pagan paw print symbol scratched into the Krylon. On the inside it’s a jungle stuffed with fluff that has Dean a bit wigged out. Sam flashes their DeVille and Michaels badges. Does that make Kevin Rikki Rockett? Fun fact that will make sense later: Rikki Rockett is a vegan.
Sam walks off with the local LEO to poke around while Dean chats up the only witness they have so far, the guy that found the body. He’s a friend of the vic, Max, and is also the animal entrail disposal specialist. All Sam and Dean learn is that Sam has the ability to search an entire store for a hex bag within a minute, nothing was stolen except the offals, and Max was a nice dude and one heck of a huntin’ buddy.
They head back to their motel room to research some more and Sam discovers that the symbol on the window belongs to the Oklahoma chapter of a PETA-esque animal rights group. Considering they tagged the shop with “DIE SCUM”, they’re definitely first on the suspect list. The leaders of the group are also the proud proprietors of the Gentle Earth Vegan Bakery. Dean is not on board with the dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, sugar-free, fun-free hippie-witchy eating. Even Sam looks dubious. Also, it seems that one of the things Sam has forgotten from his time as a soulless jerk is the scent of patchouli. On top of that, the owners are wearing sunglasses. Indoors. They don’t seem to be acting visually impaired so the conclusion is that they must be douchewaffles. Murderous vegan douchewaffles. After a brief meta moment about hunters being selfish assholes whose self worth is defined by nothing more than the notches on their rifle and knife butts.
Turns out, however that they aren’t murderous or douchewaffles, they didn’t kill Max, but they did get a bit freaked when they heard a hissing sound from inside his shop and they the reason they’ll be Corey Hart’ing it for awhile is because someone sprayed their eyes with mace. Still vegans though.
Back at the motel, Sam Googles the intel they’ve got so far. The only sensible thing that would make the vegans’ eyes go all blind faith would be venom, not mace. All signs point to snake monster, in fact too many signs since snakes either hug you to death or shoot you up with poisonous venom, not both. Guess this isn’t your standard native-tongued snake monster. Do I need to make another Poison reference?
Meanwhile, over at the local animal shelter the snake man slips the night shift desk boy a c-note so he can waltz in and steal kittens without being bothered. The boy hears too much commotion and goes to check and he’s appalled to discover that the man wasn’t stealing the cats to spray them down with the newest Thierry Mugler fragrance, but is actually unhinging his jaw and swallowing them like boa snacking on white mice. The kid freaks, so to shut him up snake man Wolverines out and slashes the kid to death. Wait, snakes don’t have claws.
The next morning, Sam and Dean throw on their fed suits and check out the scene. In the lock-up Dean recognizes Max’s dog, Colonel. One dog, two crime scenes. Suspect number two is eliminated when Dean gives Colonel some scritches while palming a silver medallion. I know I always carry a pure silver coin around with me. They decide that the Colonel might actually be a helpful witness, except there’s no way to gorillas in the mist with him. Plan B: Sam once read a book about a guy that tried to teach his dog to talk.
That guy totally failed at it.
But that guy didn’t have Rikki Rockett and a personal library of things that no one thinks are possible at his disposal. Kevin comes through with a spell that brainwaves the caster with the animal in question. Since Dean doesn’t know if Hot Drifter Angel will be able to handle another voice in that head he snatches the swampjuice from Sam and chants the chant. Besides, Sam got to take out the hellhound last year and bathe in its blood, time for Dean to take some canine responsibility for once.
But nothing happens.
The brothers decide to have a nice, quiet fast-food dinner and with some heartache and pain playing softly in the background. The Colonel, however, is not a Foreigner fan and makes it known. Dean is defensive and rightly so. Then the dog goes as far as to insult Styx. Which, hello! Renegade. Dean decides the argument is not worth his blood pressure levels and changes the subject to what the dog witnessed on the nights of the attacks. Since Sam is basically listening to one side of a telephone conversation, he opts to tidy up and tosses a wadded up wrapper into the garbage. Without missing a beat, Dean takes it out and hands it back to Sam. Confusion abounds, but Dean is busy listening to the Colonel. So Sam tries to throw it away again. And again, Dean retrieves it. Before Sam can get a good explanation, Dean and the Colonel leap up to bark in unison at the mailman. Once Sam calms him down, he tells Dean that he thinks the spell might be hyper-driving. Dean resists the urge to continue scratching and to fetch the wrapper. Again.
A quick call to Kevin and Sam relays that the spell caster tends to exhibit similar traits as the animal it Vulcans with. This means no chocolate. Sam is also very worried that Dean might go rump sniffing. Dean tells him, unconvincingly, that it’s not an issue. Well, Sammy, you always wanted a pet. Dogs don’t get any more loyal than Dean Winchester. After a brief, but heated argument with a pigeon that was vandalizing the Impala, Sam drives them to the pound while Dean and Colonel happily hang their heads out the window.
We’re going to skip over the ooh-la-la poodle moment. Not because I’m offended or whatever, but because I thought it was clumsily done. Had I written the moment, it would’ve been the poodle with an attractive owner, the Colonel pervs on the poodle, Dean pervs on the owner, they both pant like dogs while Sam looks on in mortification. Besides, I don’t think poodles are pretty dogs.
Inside the shelter, Dean gets no information from the inmates, but he does get overwhelmed by their complaining. Again, I thought this was clumsy, cartoony and heavy-handed. I mean? Raquel Welch poster and a rock hammer? A turn of phrase would have been nice and would have made more sense. There is one helpful pooch, a yorkie that is willing to exchange information for tummy rubs from Sam. The yorkie is smart; Sam’s hands are almost as big as he is. Sam is not having fun at all. Neither is Dean, who gets all the inappropriate commentary about his brother from the yorkie mixed in with the intel. The yorkie spills that the guy that stole the kittens had a bag with the name of a local French restaurant on it. Before they leave, Dean’s big ol’ heart kicks in and he free birds the entire cellblock.
They find the restaurant, which is oddly closed on a Monday night, like it’s a beauty salon or something. They break in and snoop around the chef’s office and thanks to some helpful mice that are fearing for their lives, Dean finds a ‘fridge full of various animal offal. Sam finds the chef’s notes and discovers that the chef is mixing different animal components to get different effects. That explains the snake symptoms and the curtain-shredding claws.
They sneak around some more and find an apprentice sous-chef’ing in the main kitchen. Apparently, the chef is having a private dinner full of exotic treats. Including a shark fin/tentacle combo meal. Sam blurts out a fake health violation and ushers the help away. The boys split up to cover more ground. Sam, gun drawn, stalks around the kitchen, but unfortunately he doesn’t see the chef becoming one with the wallpaper. Chameleon traits must come in real handy for wallflowers. He gets the jump on Sam and lashes out, claws going right for the jugular. As Sam gaspingly bleeds out, we get a seamless transition from Sam to Zeke to Sam. Sam is now healed, but Chef Leo is intrigued. He wants to know what Sam is and how he did that. Did what? is what Sam wants to know.
We interrupt this recap to bring you the following: I don’t normally do this, but you may have noticed that this season I’m putting a little more review/opinion into my recaps. It’s more fun for me this way and hopefully more fun for you. It also gives me the ability pull away and talk about Jared Padalecki’s recent performances. The cast of this show is always on their game and Jared is no stranger to playing characters that aren’t Sam, but these transitions between Hot Drifter Hunter and Hot Drifter Angel are without flaw. Give this man awards and cookies, please.
Back to the episode.
Sam’s magic healabilty makes him look positively delicious to Chef Leo, so the chef backhands Sam’s lights out and drags him into the kitchen prep area. This is how Dean finds them, Sam knocked out on the floor (typical Sam) and the chef sharpening his knives. Chef Leo can smell dog all over Dean, not on him, but from him. He’s perplexed, but still manages to get the drop on Dean and tie him to the support pillar. But Dean gets it now; the chef is sick, Dean can smell the cancer on him, in him. That explains the bottles of meds they found in his office early. Stage 4. No treatments, no hope. Except this. These animal parts and fancy chants that are buying him time, and maybe, just maybe, eating Sam the Miracle Healer, he may have a cure. The chef is a fair fighter. Ish. He’s going to take it to the mat with wolf heart in his corner, canine to canine. Then he’s going to make a delicacy out of Sam. Dean’s not going to allow that of course, but he keeps the chef talking while he works his restraints. He scolds Chef Leo by telling him that the power asserts over other people’s lives doesn’t make up for the gaping hole of nothing inside himself.
Yo, Winchester, hypocrisy called, he wanted to know if you want to run to the store with him and buy yourself a mirror.
Just as Chef Leo sinks his teeth into a raw wolf’s heart Dean manages to get free. Dean bolts and the chef follows him outside. He thinks he’s got this, wolf vs. German Sheppard? No contest. Except Dean is now the alpha to a whole pack of grateful prison escapees. The dogs tear the chef apart while Dean looks on (with apparently zero urge to join in, thankfully).
Dean rushes inside to revive Sam, who isn’t waking up. Dean calls out for Sam and for Zeke, but nada, until Dean threatens to lick Sam’s face. That pulled Sam out of his mini-coma post haste. Dean and Sam decide that the most loving place to leave the Colonel is with the vegan hippies. The Colonel will never have a steak, but at least he’ll be well cared for. As a thank you, the dog figures it’s only fair to let Dean in on a little secret: the reason dogs were put on this earth was to…
And there went the spell. Connection broken. 42 is not the answer.
As they get ready to leave town, Dean naturally wants to know how Sam is doing. Sam’s fine. He apparently has no recollection of nearly bleeding to death from the neck, nor does he even care about the blood that was all over him, more importantly than any of that he wants to know why the chef wanted to know what he was. The boy who spent his whole life with demon blood in him is suddenly really self-conscious about being an “it”.
Dean adds another lie to the pile and tells Sam there’s nothing to worry about.
I’m really curious about what you guys thought of the episode. Let me know below.