Friday, February 20, 2009

"It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester"

From the title--a reference to a Peanuts television special--we know this episode will be Halloween based. It starts with an "urban legend" that those of us of a certain age will well remember--razor blades in the candy. I think I was in second grade when they first started x-raying candy. But I never knew of it actually happening.

They use it to great effect in this opener, with a really cool inside-the-mouth shot. Cool and cringe-worthy. After the birds/scream/title flash, Sam and Dean are investigating, and Dean finds a mojo bag. Sam infuriates the widow with his implications as he tries to determine who might have murdered her husband.

Now we have Sam in research mode, while Dean stuffs his face with candy. He cringes when Sam describes the charred baby bone and other ancient ingredients in the bag. Um, Sam, exactly how do you know that bone is more than 100 years old?

Sam: Find anything on the victim?
Dean: This Luke Wallace? He was so vanilla that he made vanilla seem spicy.

Now here's the requisite silly teens costume party with all the skanky chicks in revealing outfits. (Crossover Alert: Justin is played by Jean-Luc Bilodeau, who plays Josh Trager on Kyle XY). The more wholesome of the scantily clad chicks--of course--bites it in a boiling apple-bobbing tub.

Don't know how Sam and Dean found out about this one (police scanner would be a good explanation, but they don't have one), but they arrive at the party while the police are questioning the guests.

Dean, spotting the cheerleader: I've got this one.
Sam: Two words. Jailbait.
Dean (indignant): I would
never. *makes a face that clearly says, "Of course I would.*

Cheerleader claims to not know the previous victim.

Dean can't find anything but squeaky cleanness on the victims, but Sam finds a Celtic ritual to summon a demon, Samhain. He immediately incurs the wrath of thousands of people when he pronounces it wrong. :) The ritual can only be performed every 600 years, and if the demon is raised, he'll raise...

Dean: ...ghosts.
Sam: Yeah.
Dean: Zombies?
Sam: Mm-hm.
Dean: Leprechauns?
Sam: Dean.
Dean: Those little dudes are scary. Small hands.

Exposition, exposition, dire predictions, extreme close-ups...gosh, those boys are pretty.

Dean logs another shot in the archives of junk food (piles and piles of candy wrappers) on stakeout. He's gotten nothing in hours, but hey, here comes that cheerleader who claimed she didn't know the Wallaces. She's walking up the Wallace's steps--she's the babysitter. Sam and Dean immediately deduce she's the 600-year-old witch in disguise.

Sam's looked her up--she has a violent history, so they go to talk to the teacher she fought. Dean sees some weird masks in the hall, and they invoke screams and who knows what other memories. Justin is in the background, unable to fit his clay bong into the kiln.

"Agents Getty and Lee" (earlier Sam was Agent Seger, I think) talk to the teacher, who casts plenty of suspicion on the cheerleader because of inappropriate and disturbing artwork with portrayals of herself doing rituals, and because she lives alone with no parents.

A cute little fat kid trick-or-treats the guys outside their motel. Dean doesn't want to give up any of his stash. the kid has no manners, Dean tells him he's had enough candy, and the kid's glare threatens retribution.

Sam draws down on a guy who's in their hotel room. But it's...mmmmmmm...Castiel, and Dean stops his brother. Second best moment of the episode as Sam gets introduced:

Castiel: Hello, Sam.
Sam: Oh, my God. Er, ah...I didn't mean to...sorry. It's an honor.

Sam acts exactly as I expect I will when I meet Jared Padalecki in two weeks, all starstruck. Castiel hesitates, and I tense, waiting for Sam's heart to be broken, but Cas warms up and shakes his hand. Very nice. We like Castiel and his propensity to give everyone a chance.

But now we meet Uriel, badass warrior for God. Castiel asks about Samhain, shows a mojo bag he found that would have killed the boys. He reveals that Samhain's raising is one of the 66 seals and must be stopped. Uriel is ready to smite the whole town, because they can't discern the witch's whereabouts. Cas wants the boys to leave so they won't be caught in the angelic napalm.

Poor Sam. He's completely disillusioned at what the angels are willing to do. Dean argues and refuses to leave, banking on his own raising being too important to waste. He asks Castiel if he's never questioned orders, if they're both just a couple of hammers. Interesting coming from him, who spent his life until recently blindly obeying his father, good little soldier (which Castiel points out--it hits home, but Dean ignores it; he's not that guy anymore). Castiel assumes the plan is just (as in morally) because it comes from heaven.

We learn a little about angel hierarchy when Castiel hushes Uriel. He tells Dean to work quickly.

Sam expresses his disappointment in the angels, even questions his faith. Dean likens them to all other religious extremists and encourages Sam not to give up over a couple of bad apples. "Babe Ruth was a dick but baseball's still a beautiful game." This loving, supportive mini-speech is followed with "Well, you gonna figure out a way to find this witch or you just gonna sit there fingering your bone?"

Sam's pondering the charred baby bone and thinking about what could burn hot enough to do that. They go back to the school--remember the kiln?--and find that Tracy's teacher has suspicious stuff in his desk.

We see Castiel and Uriel talking in a park. Uriel is clearly disdainful of humanity, calling the kids walking by "mud monkeys" and "plumbing on two legs." He wants to drag Dean out of town and blow the "insignificant pinprick" of a town off the map. Castiel references their true orders, implying they have a different goal than just stopping the rising of Samhain.

Costumed families avoid a spooky house, in which the teacher is chanting with the cheerleader tied up behind him. He's about to kill her when Dean and Sam blast holes in him. Dean cuts the girl down, but her rant goes quickly from how he was going to sacrifice her to how sloppy his incantations were. Now her brother will be the final sacrifice instead of her. She sends the boys to the floor, writhing in pain, as she mumbles about their history and plans, collects some blood from her brother, and finishes the ritual.

Unable to summon the strength to fight her, Sam rubs the teacher's blood on his and Dean's faces. They play dead as the floor cracks and torrents of demon smoke rise up and then enter the teacher. He immediately kills Tracy, but his vision is kind of wonky and he leaves the boys alone. His awkward movements remind me of the bug guy in Men in Black. When Dean asks what happened, Sam says people used to wear masks to hide from Samhain, so he gave it a shot. Dean is appalled, but hey, it worked!

The boys follow Samhain to the cemetery. Sam suggests he use his demon weapon to pull him from the body, but Dean says no. They argue, but Sam gives in when Dean says please. He'll just use Ruby's knife. In this case, the body is already dead, so it's just a question of getting close enough to this extremely powerful demon to use it.

Samhain locks the kids in a crypt, apparently as food for the zombies he raises. There goes Justin, yanked into a tomb! Dean breaks the kids out, Sam goes after Samhain. Oooh, Dean's going to battle zombies all by himself! He looks grim at first, but has these cool silver stakes and faces them down... "Bring it on, Stinky."

Sam finds the demon. "Yeah. That demon ray gun stuff? It doesn't work on me." They fight, Sam gets throttled. Ah, good times. Flash to Dean finishing the job with the zombies and now facing a ghost. "Zombie-Ghost orgy, huh? Well that's it. I'm torching everybody."

And here's the best bit of the show. Sam fights, loses the knife, Samhain comes at him, and he throws up his hand. Smoke seeps out of the bullet holes in the body. The demon battles to get to Sam, who is working hard and painfully to vacuum him out. He sees Dean in the background, and you can see the torment on Sam's face as he finishes the job, blood dripping from his nose. Dean stares in sadness and resignation.

Many viewers criticize Dean for just standing there. I pleaded for him to help Sam, not to let this break them, to understand, but I don't think it was innoble of him to not jump in there. He could have broken Sam's concentration. He didn't know what interrupting the process would do to his brother. And though to us it was a drawn-out moment, to Dean, there was too much to process and act on before Sam finished.

So Sam has disappointed his brother, but acted to save over a thousand people, and maybe millions in the long run. Dean's got to understand, right?

But we're robbed of seeing how the aftermath plays out. We jump to the next day. Sam is confronted by Uriel about using his demon powers on the eve of his mother's and girlfriend's deaths by a demon. Sam dares to call the angels dicks. Interestingly, Uriel still considers Sam useful and only blows his hair around a little at this insult. Uriel tells Sam to be careful, and also says that Dean should climb off his high horse. Now we know what that means, since we've had the revelation of Dean's time in hell.

In the meantime, Dean is meeting outside with Castiel, who reveals that their orders were to do what Dean told them to do. He doesn't know how Dean fared in this test, and admits his faith sometimes wavers. He loves humanity and was praying for Dean to save the town. For his part, Dean says he would do the same thing all over again, to save the lives they saved. Castiel also alludes to Dean's time in hell, saying he of all people knows what "hell on earth" means, and they are one step closer to Lucifer being released.

Castiel ends by saying he doesn't envy Dean the weight that's on his shoulders, the decisions he will have to make. So far, we haven't really been shown what those decisions are. He's faced existential giant teddy bears, kids in walls, douchebag magicians, and a gender-neutral succubus. The only big thing he had to make a decision about was keeping the angels from killing Anna, a fallen angel, and that didn't require a lot of soul-searching.

So what is he still facing?


AuthorM said...


"Sam dares to call the angels dicks. Interestingly, Uriel still considers Sam useful and only blows his hair around a little at this insult."


Anonymous said...

Great recap, Natalie!

I anticipate (and dread) that some of the tough decisions Dean wil be facing soon are about his brother. You KNOW that showdown is coming.

And you're actually going to meet Jared?!?! Soooooo jealous.


Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Gosh, sorry you guys, about the mess that was. It's hard to adequately preview it when you're setting a delayed post. :(

Thanks for laughing at that, M!

Thanks, Tanya! I've hated all season the idea that the brothers would end up against each other. I'm dreading it.

And yes! AuthorM and I will meet and touch and smell him...hmm, that sounds kind of stalkery, huh? Never mind.

phouse1964 said...

I expect great things from all you thoughtful people upon meeting Jared in what? 2 weeks? AuthorM, I want a good story! Natalie, make her do something embarassing!

This wasn't one of my favorite episodes except for the Sam/Dean/angels stuff. There is soem much going on underneath everything. I am ready for the return of the mytharch! I think the end of the season is going to be ugly (and great!) and I can't freaking wait!

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

LOL, phouse! I'm not going to promise anything. I'm likely going to be struck dumb AND silly at every event, and M never embarrasses herself. She's the epitome of fun aplomb.

I'm with you, bring on the mytharc! The best episodes this season have focused on Sam and Dean and their past and future.

phouse1964 said...

If you are two overwhelmed by the hugeness that is Jared, don't forget to smell his warm man sweat. He gets so nervous and it's the yummiest smell.

Hopefully, he will be wearing something where you can see how huge he is now.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

I'm very scent-driven. It would be horrible if he smelled bad. I'd never like him again! LOL

There was a recent interview somewhere, and he looked smaller again, like he's relaxed a little.

Like he'll ever be SMALL. LOL

Anonymous said...

LOL! Okay, the whole scent conversation is cracking me up.

phouse1964 said...

I just got an email that said Jared had to back out of the NJ con. I am very sad that the smellfest has been canceled!

MJFredrick said...


phouse1964 said...

Remember when I said Jensen backed out of the Dallas con on my birthday?

Yeah, I feel for you guys. And Jim Beaver does not make up for it. (although he is very sweet)

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

M texted me last night but I didn't see it until this afternoon. I'm so crushed.

Jim Beaver, Andy, Ash, and Dracula have been added, but it still doesn't make up for it.

All those times I said I was almost more excited to meet Jason Manns and Misha Collins? I realize now I was lying. *sob*

MJFredrick said...

That really sucks. So sorry, Natalie.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Thanks, Mary.