Hmmm…. Man this one gave me a lot more thinky thoughts than I expected. Let’s see if I can process through them as I go…. You ready?
[ETA: Sorry for the delay! Good excuse, I promise.]
So, before I get to the traditional rambley part of the Ramble, some thoughts. I liked this one; however, it felt like it was a bit of a ceremonial flipping of a switch in the flow of the overall storyline for the Season. As if after this episode we’re going to go from the boys handling things as best they can – Sam keeping the crazy under one roof, as he said, and Dean doing what he can not to get killed and keep the pain at bay – to their world falling apart around them, completely this time. Because it won’t just be about those they love, it will be about them.
Which, it feels like the right time for it, honestly. We have eight episodes left in the season and a lot of ground to cover; keeping Sam ‘okay’ for much longer (when it was built up so much in the previous season and the beginning of this one as the Great Wall of Sam falling would be a Really Bad Thing) would have tested my patience. Not that it’s all about me, of course, but you get my meaning. There’s only so long I’ll buy the hand-rubbing as a means to keep the Devil away.
Plus, it’s the usual cadence of the show, it seems, to get them to a point when they are doing okay, feeling back on track, and then the rug gets yanked out from under them. SO, Sam ‘letting Lucifer in’ during this episode is the flip of the switch that is going to (as I see it) send them spiraling. The question for me now becomes: how deep will the crack go, and how far down will Dean fall before he’ll be able to climb out, hauling Sam behind him?
Because he won’t lose him again. Not like this. I refuse to believe they (writers) would do that to them (us). *crosses arms*
I think Sam losing control will come very close to breaking Dean – I mean, since Sam went to Hell, Dean’s lost Lisa and Ben, Castiel, and Bobby…if he loses Sam (and there are multitudes of ways to lose someone; this I know from personal experience) so soon after really getting him back, it’s going to rock him severely – but I think that it will also be the catalyst to him recentering on his purpose and finding that reason everyone’s been telling him to find.
Realistically, I think that any person who has been through as much as Dean has would crumble – even just a little bit. But as one commenter pointed out to me last Ramble when I mentioned that Dean had taken a break from drinking, just because it doesn’t happen during the episode doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. So, if I never see him have his ‘straw moment,’ as I’ve taken to calling it, the canon in my head will simply fill it in and follow him forward as he carries himself like the hero he is.
And Sammy…good gracious. He’s shown incredible resilience up to now. Giving way and losing his grip on sanity – especially considering how he was maintaining that grip and the life he was living in the meantime – was only a matter of time. My hope is that he’ll lose it, hit bottom, and be saved by his brother; his return (for lack of a better word) acting as a healing agent for Dean.
That’s my I have to stay positive about their fate outlook. Before it gets to that, though, I have a feeling it’s going to get a whole lot darker. Which…I’m actually okay with. Anything less would make all the buildup that’s come before pointless, in my opinion. I’ve enjoyed the lighter moments, the adventures, the humor, time travel, and sparkly clowns, but I’m all for rolling up my sleeves and getting my hands dirty as we filter through Sam’s damaged noggin, Dean’s desperation, and a way to take out the Big Mouths once and for all.
In this episode, I found myself reminded of a story I wrote with a good friend (sojourner84) called Devil Inside (after the INXS song). In that story, we hypothesized that serial killers were actually possessed by demons…the humans had this ‘spark’ in them that the demons honed in on. Once possessed, the demons exploited that ‘spark’ and basically turned the human host into the killer they were ‘meant to be.’ In the story, we used real-life serial killers as examples, like John Wayne Gacy and David Berkowitz (Son of Sam).
Because of that story, my Spidey sense was tingling early on with the storyline of this episode, but I still think it was well done overall. However, I don’t know if it was the sense that this episode was starting the next chapter or the vaguely familiar plotline, but I found myself with more of a sense of waiting for what happens next than truly engaged with this one.
One last thing before I start with the recap and the rest of my thinky thoughts. I have to confess something. I was completely entertained, and often even amused…by Mark Pellegrino’s Hallucifer.
Don’t judge me.
The THEN was basically just Lilith, Death, the Great Wall of Sam, and Hallucifer. Then we go to ‘Four Years Ago.’ The boys are in Coeur d’Arlene, Idaho (which, according to Wikipedia is a little slice of Heaven), holed up in some random cabin somewhere. A rough-sounding hatchback pulls up next to…THE IMPALA!!
I know, I know, four years ago and all of that but OMGITWASTHEIMPALA! It was so friggin’ good to see her, even if just for a little bit. *wants to kiss her*
A woman gets out of the hatchback and walks up to the door. Sam opens it, calls her Mrs. Haviland and says she shouldn’t be there, but she says she has to see for herself – it’s one thing to study it in books, but….
So, Sam lets her in to the cabin. Now, I have to get a smidge picky. I know they can’t rewind time and make the guys look as they would four years ago, but…Sam’s. Hair. Four years ago, it was shorter and he still had some bangs. I wish they’d at least tried to change his hair. Other than looking a bit more worn and soul-weary, Dean’s appearance hasn’t changed much, but Sam…. *sigh* That’s all I’ll say on the appearance thing, but…it would have sold it a lot better (for me) if his appearance had been a little closer to the way they had then. /hair rant
ANYWAY. Inside, a man is tied to a chair in the center of a Devil’s Trap and he’s beaten bloody. Dean’s leaning against a table sharpening a knife on a whetstone. He looks up when Sam and the woman walk in and his eyes go slightly round with surprise. The guy tied to the chair looks up saying, “Do I smell menopause?”
For whatever reason, that line made me snarl.
Demon: Well…if it isn’t the wiccan bitch of the west.
The demon calls her Nora and says he knows she was the one to help the boys find him...but not before he killed one more girl. Nora is a viper, though, telling him that he’s going to hell. The demon goes black-eyed on her and growls that he’s going to scoop her out like a pumpkin and she very quickly realizes she’s in over her head, drawing back in horror. Sam scoots her out of the room. And as she leaves, Dean squares off with the demon, Sam joining him.
Dean: Your scooping days are over. All you gotta worry about now is us.
The demon goes for the throat, saying there was an innocent guy inside this “fleshy temple” (and says they’ll like him), he knows they’re hunting for Lilith, that sort of thing. Okay, so…four years ago. Straight math would put this at Season 3 and pre-Hell for both of them. Dean with a death sentence hanging over his head and they were searching for Lilith. But if you account for the missing year with Lisa & Ben, then this could be Season 4 when Dean's seen Hell and demons and knows a little more about the org chart down under. The unflinching way he went after Jeffrey made me think Season 4 because Hell took a lot of his innocence and hope away. And S4 Sam was all about revenge on and finding Lilith....
In either case, though, the amount of stuff that hadn’t happened to them yet was staggering. Dean tells the demon that this ain’t their first rodeo, more or less, and Sam chimes in saying that he would make their list of demon-kills hit half a dozen.
Oh, what a tiny, tiny number in comparison to all that comes after. The innocence was a little heart breaking if I thought about it too long.
Just to twist them up further, or so it appears, the demon allows the innocent guy – Jeffrey – to come forward and talk to them. Jeffrey is shaking, in pain, terrified. His vision is blurry as he tries to focus on Sam and Dean and his gaze falls on the sheet-covered body of the last victim. In a trembling voice he says he can’t believe what the demon made him do to all those women. Dean crouches down so that Jeffrey’s eyes find him and in a gentle voice tells him that they’re hunting for a demon, and they know this one has the information they need.
Jeffrey’s all, do what you need to and Dean tells him that means they’d basically have to do it to him – basically asking permission to beat him up. Before Jeffrey can say much more, the demon pushes forward again.
Dean: Y’know, you’re right. We like Jeffrey. He’s a decent guy. And he just signed off on his temple.
Dean and Sam begin to torture it – both throwing Holy Water on it, burning it, both slamming punches against Jeffrey’s face. Honestly…I’m not sure what effect the punches would have on the demon. Not sure how the damage to the human body it inhabited would wear it down. Meg got shot in the gut and while she said it hurt, it didn’t slow her down.
But the Holy Water, that I could see hurting... I had to make myself think about when this was and what they were each willing to do and what they hadn't faced yet… This was back before they had the Demon Killing Knife (because it was Ruby's) or Sam using the Force (on a consistent level)...back when their concern about saving the innocent person was still bigger than their need to destroy the demon, but when they were starting to blur the line. Back when they had no concept of how big and pervasive the demon infestation was or would grow to, and before they knew all the ways to torture a demon beyond the means that would work on a human.
Anyway, the demon screams out a name – Merrick, down in New Orleans – and Dean immediately begins to Latinate and send the demon packing. Now I want a story about them heading to New Orleans after this Merrick….
Next thing we know, Dean has a very beaten Jeffrey in the back seat of the Impala (*squeak* IMPALA! *squeak*) and is rushing him to the ER. Jeffrey wakes, mumbles a question about Sam and Dean tells him that Sam’s back at the cabin cleaning up the ‘crime scene.’ He gets to the ER, pulls Jeffrey out of the back seat and gets him standing. He tells him he cannot talk about what happened. No demon talk. Coaches him to say he was mugged.
Jeffrey’s like, um, okay, thanks – but Dean’s already driving away.
And then it’s present day and they’re back in Coeur d’Arlene, Idaho. They open the door to room 113 (I have no idea why I noticed the number) of some random hotel room and both stick their heads in to look around. The way they entered the hotel had me chuckling. After apparently assessing that it was safe – albeit a tad gack-worthy – they head inside and Dean immediately gets a call from Frank. He hands Sam some police scanners and takes the call.
Frank is apparently the current plot device to say hey, we haven’t forgotten about the Leviathans, but they’re going to be hard to kill and Dick Roman’s a slippery sucker, so meanwhile we’ll focus on the MotW until the episode where we get so focus on the Levi’s again. Or, y’know. Something like that.
As Dean steps away to ‘handle’ Frank, we suddenly – after all this time – see Hallucifer again. I tell you, even though the previews alluded to his return in this episode, it was a bit of a shock to my system to see him just standing there again, dressed in his Nick clothes, all loose green T and flannel shirt combo. In the back of my mind – in all our minds, I presume – we knew that Sam still sees him all the time…hence the hand-rubbing. But it drove it home so much more to have him suddenly there. Made me sympathize with the sometimes short-tempered, bitchiness that Sam lays on Dean. And – in a way – made me feel more sympathy for Dean, as well.
Let me explain. To me, Sam’s visions of Lucifer are like a chronic disease. He can’t get away from it; there’s no cure. He just has to deal as best he can, and sometimes the ways he ‘deals’ has to change because the first way reaches a saturation point and is no longer effective. Meanwhile, he doesn’t want to be known as The Guy With Hallucinations Of Hell, he just wants to be Sam. So, he says he’s got it under control, he says he’s fine, he demand you treat him as such, and he does his best to live up to his claims, even when the pain/fear is overwhelming.
Meanwhile, Dean is the ‘healthy partner’ in this scenario. He knows that Sam has this ‘chronic disease’ and also knows there’s no cure and that his brother is going to have to find a way to survive it and is dedicated to not allowing it to take Sam out of the equation. But there’s really not much he can do. He can adjust how he works, he can keep an eye on him, he can ask him how he’s doing, he can give him the “Stone #1” to build on, but he can’t fix this. It’s the ultimate helplessness. He feels trapped and desperate and suffocated and scared and angry and obligated and committed and this crazy love undercurrents all of those feelings. (Not to mention he's got his own crap to deal with.)
And he recognizes how badly Sam needs to feel normal, so he respects his request to let it go, doesn’t bring it up to be a constant reminder, and goes along with Sam acting fine. And…sometimes he probably forgets. When Sam’s been acting fine for a good stretch of time, it’s easy to allow himself to think that maybe Sam really is fine. Maybe he really does have a handle on it.
When the façade falls, it falls fast in this ‘chronic disease’ analogy. One moment “fine” is true and the next moment your world is falling apart and you realize that the chaos was simply waiting for you all along on the other side of a rice paper-thin curtain and the only reason you didn’t see it was because you didn’t want to.
So, I feel for Sam because keeping it at bay all the time every day is exhausting, and I feel for Dean because he’s trying to shore up the pretense for his brother’s sake and the tearing of the curtain is going to hit him hard. And those of you who know me well enough to know why I picked this analogy will understand when I say I’ve felt that impact.
Okay, with that out of the way…. Luci is talking to Sam, who pointedly ignores him, rubbing at his scar and bbzzpp, Lucifer blinks out. Dean hangs up and returns to Sam saying that Frank can’t find Dick Roman. I think they need a better network….
Sam has a stack of crime scene files – aside, how do they always get access to this stuff? – and says that the victims are the same age, hair color, body type as before.
Dean (with that ling between his brows that does funny things to my belly): Who down there would let our demon out of the can? He squealed on his superiors; we made sure of that. He should be down under until…trumpet day.
Sam says that there have been two women in the last two weeks with the same “parts” missing (gah!) on the same hunting grounds. Dean says that they’ll take a swing at it, but they need to be hunting Leviathans – that should be their focus.
Sam: Yeah…but no. This one is ours. It’s unfinished business, apparently.
Dean (sighing): All right.
Then he does that thing with his mouth that I dig where it’s kinda pursed only not really. I think of it as his Michael Keaton mouth. He usually only does it when he’s doing or saying something he knows needs to be done or said but he doesn’t like it.
Anyway, the boys are asleep, Dean with his back to Sam. The police scanner lights up saying they found another body with the same M.O. Sam’s eyes open, searching. Then Dean’s eyes open, groggy and reluctant. The camera pulls back and we can see that Sam’s looking at Dean’s back and Dean’s looking at the middle distance with resignation. No rest for the wicked.
Suited up, they head to what appears to be a parking garage, show their badges to the uniformed officer blocking the crime scene, and duck under the tape.
Dean: Every time we do this, I wonder if today’s the day we walk up and flash our tin to a bunch of chompers pretending to be policemen.
Yeah, me too.
As they approach the bloody body, a detective (in a trench coat) comes up to them and claps them on the shoulders. He remembers them from last time, saying he wondered how long it would take them to show back up. He calls them the “drummer boys” – Agents Bonham and Watts. Ah, how I miss the good ol’ days of classic rock aliases.
The boys turn and struggle to remember his name, doing the whole, “It’s good to see you, Detective….”
Lucifer is behind the detective, drawing out the name Sutton just before the Detective supplies the name for them. Sam ignores him and walks away with Dean and the Detective. As he does, Lucifer sticks out his forked tongue at Sam. HA! Man, I’m going to Hell for chuckling at that.
They look at the bloody body and Sutton tells the boys that it’s the same M.O. as last time, and still no suspects – since, as Sutton thinks, they didn’t catch the guy last time, he’s assuming it’s the same one. Boys poke around and find sulfur on the car, then decide to check on Nora Haviland. They find her at her store – www.wiccansweb.com – where she does white magic only – herbs, talismans, that kind of stuff.
However, she has painted a devil’s trap on the floor of her back room. Trying to protect herself better. She shows Sam what she’s been up to lately – translating an old spell from Latin – and Sam’s impressed. Says it’s a good job. She tells him she has an affinity for that. Dean smiles at her (love that eye-crinkle…*sigh*) and says she helped track down that demon four years ago, but Nora says she was totally in over her head and after she saw what she did in that cabin, she was leaving that to the pro’s.
She tells them that when the bodies started dropping, she tried to call them, but their number isn’t working.
Sam (grimacing): Yeah, uh…we’ve had…technical difficulties. Phone issues.
Dean (tight smile): It’s a monster problem, really.
Sam shoots him a glare and Dean’s responding expression is all, what? It is! *laugh!*
Nora says she’s had no contact with the demon and is getting ready to leave town, but then asks them if they’ve talked to Jeffrey. For a moment the boys look clueless until she wonders if the demons might be…sentimental at all. Re-possessing the same host again and again. And then they’re like, oh THAT Jeffrey.
Next thing we see is a group meeting at a half-way house. Jeffrey is there and informs his counselor/sponsor guy and the group that he’s going to be picking up a dog from the rescue center that day – a test of his responsibility. Or something. Anyway, Jeffrey picks up a little terrier at the rescue center and the poor thing is wearing a Cone of Shame so that she won’t get at her stitches. He carries her a little ways, then sets her down as he hears a bang/rattle down an alley filled with green trash dumpsters. He heads toward the sound (because that’s always a smart thing to do) with a stiff sort of shuffle-limp to his gait.
Out of nowhere, he’s jumped with a flask of Holy Water and the Demon Killing Knife at his throat. The boys quickly confirm that it’s actually Jeffrey and not Jeffrey The Demon.
Sam: Sorry! We just had to make sure.
Jeff: Make sure what? That I peed my pants today?
He tells them that they scared his dog, and picks the little thing up. Dean looks sorry, but then says they need to talk. So, Jeffrey takes them back to his room at the half-way house. Lucifer is there, waiting for them and Sam ‘rubs’ him away. They sit down and Dean tries to break it to him gently that the demon is back. Jeffrey is all what the actual hell and Dean gives him the facts of the killings of late. Sam tries to reassure him that they’re there now, so it’s going to be okay.
Because they have that super-special force field of hunter power that prevents people from getting possessed. Oh, wait….
Jeffrey asks them the name of the last victim. Together the boys reply that her name was Anna Paxton. Jeffrey suddenly says, “Marjorie Willis. That’s the next name on the list.”
Sam’s all, come again?
Jeffrey: The demon used to recite it all the time, like a grocery list. Names of all the women he was going to kill – in order.
Dean’s like, why would he do that? And Jeffrey says that the demon acted like it was his job. The sponsor guy comes by and knocks on the door, telling Jeffrey that his guests need to sign in when they sign out. While Jeffrey’s busy with the sponsor guy, the boys whisper-talk and Dean wants to help Jeffrey out, obviously feeling terrible about how badly his life spiraled out of control post-possession.
Dean: He’s got a state-assigned dad.
So, they decide that Sam will keep an eye on Marjorie Willis and Dean will stay with Jeffrey. Unfortunately, Sam’s invisible friend, Luci, joins him at the library where Marjorie works as the librarian. The collection of scenes at the library had me thinking a lot about who/what Hallucifer was to Sam. I am not of the opinion that it’s actually Lucifer somehow cracking through the Cage in Hell and slip-stream riding Sam’s consciousness.
I think it’s Sam’s hallucination – a manifestation of his psychosis as a result of his trauma in Hell, and therefore, theoretically, a piece of Sam himself. Just like we saw with the three Sam’s at the end of Season 6, he has this ‘personality’ inside of him. He has the horrors Lucifer teased him with, the memories of what happened to him, the fire that haunts him, he has it all trapped inside his melon because of Hell (and the life he’s lived). So, letting Lucifer ‘in’ was just Sam’s resistance to his own fractured psyche falling away.
That’s my take on it – until I’m shown otherwise. Also makes me wonder what/who Dean would see if his mind were similarly broken.
Sam (and Luci) enter the library, eyeing a pretty, blonde librarian – Marjorie Willis – as she pushes a cart of returns down the aisle.
Luci: You’re right; we just don’t read anymore.
Sam sits down where he can keep an eye on her, but Luci sits across from him, directly in his eye-line. Sam does his best to ignore Luci, trying to look around him, but Luci shifts so that he’s impossible to miss. Like an annoying kid brother.
Luci: Sa-am! It’s been months! Talk to me!
Made me wonder if Sam had actually gone for a stretch of time not seeing Lucifer, y’know? The ‘it’s been months’ made me wonder if he’d just not been around or if Sam had just gotten really good at banishing him.
Meanwhile, back at Jeffrey’s room, Jeff is giving Dean a run-down of all his injuries and how the doctor on duty told him he’d looked like he’d gotten caught in the Spanish Inquisition. I half expected Dean to go Monty Python on us and say something about nobody expecting the Spanish Inquisition….
Dean: Yeah, and we’re the good guys.
I wondered in that moment who he was trying to convince after hearing what their beating had done to Jeffrey. You could see in the lines of his face how badly he felt not only for what they did to Jeffrey four years ago – in the name of their quest – and what his life became as a result of it. He blamed himself for the story Jeffrey told him about how he’d lost his job, his health insurance, how he became a drunk and drifted, got lost, had a mental break and then…started talking about what happened.
Dean (shaking his head): Aww…man, never tell. Never, never….
Jeff: I know that now.
Dean: So, let me guess. You went from a drunk tank to a psych eval to a 72 hour forced hold to a nice long stay at an institution of your choice.
Dean: It’s happened to friends of mine.
Who?? That was killing me. I know there was that one guy back in Sam, Interrupted (totally blanking on his name) but he was more a friend of Bobby’s, I thought. Do you guys know who he might be referring to? Or do you (like me) think that might be a bit of foreshadowing??
Dean: But you got out. You’re pulling it together.
Jeff: And now the demon’s back.
Dean (eyes soft, sad): I’m sorry. I mean it. About all of it.
He looks away, unable to meet Jeffrey’s eyes.
Jeff: You saved my life. I owe a lot of people for getting this far.
And then he realizes – as if it just came to him – that if the demon isn’t staking out Marjorie Willis, he might know where he is. He tells Dean there was a special place where the demon kept souvenirs – kind of like his ‘nest.’ Dean’s all why didn’t you say so before but Jeffrey says he didn’t want to go, so he didn’t say anything. Dean says he doesn’t have to, they will, but Jeffrey insists that he has to go.
And here is where I suspected Jeffrey. I didn’t get it all at once, but I did not trust him.
Back at the library, Lucifer is reading out loud. Sam keeps watching Marjorie and keeps his eyes on her as she walks past a table of people reading. Suddenly he (and I) jumps and looks so terrified I wanted to either hug him or poke Lucifer in the eye as the people at the table next to them start slamming their heads against the table –viciously and repeatedly, bloodying their faces, breaking bones, turning themselves into a mess.
It was incredibly disturbing.
Lucifer smirks and Sam holds himself painfully still until he’s able to pull it together enough to grip his scar making Luci momentarily blink out and the people return to normal. I couldn’t help but wonder how often that happens – and with all they actually see and deal with, how often does Sam have to figure out if the horror is real or hallucinated. I get the impression he’s had control for a bit, but this case rattled that hold enough that his broken brain pushed the horrific stuff to the front. Otherwise, I don’t buy that he’d be able to handle some of the recent cases/episodes so well.
Lucifer (like a petulant child): C’mon, Sam! Pay attention to me! I’m bo-ored!
But Sam’s focused in on a sketchy-looking guy hanging out in the stacks who has also been watching Marjorie. The sketchy guy goes to follow her.
Lucifer (watching sketchy guy, then glancing at Sam): Civil War buff?
Sam gets up to follow.
Back with Dean and Jeffrey, the pair is pulling up to some old warehouse looking building in a Camero-ish looking car. Or maybe an IROC? Trans-Am? Something like that. I didn’t pay close enough attention. My mind was still buzzing from having glimpsed THE IMPALA. Dean checks his cell, but has no service. Of course. Jeffrey has his dog in the back and tells her to stay, laying out some jerky for her.
Dean: It’s not gonna pee in here is it?
Jeff: I don’t know.
Dean’s well that’s just freakin’ perfect face is hilarious as he steps out of the car. He looks around at the building, sizing it up, then glances at Jeffrey, asking, “He’d get you this far, then he’d shut your lights out?”
Shifting to Sam, we see sketchy guy and Marjorie macking in the Historical Fiction section and Sam’s all, d’oh, my bad, and ducks back out of the way.
Going back to Dean, Jeffrey guides Dean into the darkened, empty warehouse by memory, his eyes closed, his hand on Dean’s shoulder. They get to a room with windows – each window covered in sigils, and whatever those sigils mean is enough to alarm Dean. Instinctively, he eased Jeffrey to the side, protected (or so he thought). With his gun drawn and a flashlight up, he edges into the room with the sigils, peering around, looking confused.
He turns the flash back on Jeffrey, then once more into the room and we see a figure of a man bound, gagged and blood, tied to a chair. It’s so much the same as the way we first saw Jeffrey that for a moment I thought that was Jeffrey and the guy that had led Dean here was some spirit or projection or something. Dean’s instincts take over and he hurries to the wounded guy, putting his flashlight and gun down to start untying him.
The wounded guy looks up – and still looks a bit like Jeffrey, only it’s not him, obviously – and tries to warn Dean away. Dean’s all, hold still so I can get you free, but just then someone comes up behind him and jabs him in the neck with a syringe, injecting the liquid into him and – dark.
Back at the library, Sam’s watching Marjorie and her BF (formerly known as sketchy guy) come back from their make-out session.
Lucifer: I’m pretty sure this guy’s the boring sort of chubby-chaser.
Chubby?! Okay, now I know he’s the Devil. I didn’t once consider Marjorie as ‘chubby’ until Luci said that. *sigh* Men. (Also, I hadn’t picked up on the ‘body type’ of the victims as being heavy-set either, so…my bad.)
Sam calls Dean, gets his voicemail: “Leave your name, number, and nightmare at the tone.”
HA!! Okay, that’s kinda awesome, I have to say.
Luci: That’s not a good si-ign.
He peers over Sam’s shoulder as Sam goes through the victim files.
Luci: It’s right there in the coroner’s report…traces of tranquilizer in their blood…but our demon is strong enough to make fat Betty do what he wants to do, right? Why does he need the tranqs? Think he’s got a bad back?
*tries not to smirk…fails*
So, it’s not the demon. Sam tries to call Dean at another line and gets VM again.
Luci: Big brother’s probably dead.
And that trips Sam’s trigger. He shoots Lucifer a death glare and growls, “Shut up.”
Luci’s expression is one of slight awe, but I rubbed my heart thinking back to Sam’s plea two episodes ago for Dean to just not get killed. He can hack it if Dean’s with him. If he’s okay. Made me wonder how hard Luci hit Sam when Dean got sucked back to 1944…and doubley-grateful for Sheriff Mills. If Dean’s gone – if even the threat of his being hurt or killed is there – Sam’s control’s going to weaken to the point of nothing.
Sam grabs the files and gets up from the table, leaving Luci behind to gape and mutter (with a slight fanboy crush): He said ‘shut up’ to me.
Sam breaks into Jeffrey’s room and after a quick frown noting that Dean wasn’t where he’d left him, he starts poking around. Meanwhile, Luci’s following him around with a running monologue.
Luci: Regular interaction. I miss that! The rapier wit, the wittier rape. C’mon. I’ll be good. I’ll even help you solve your little Nancy Drew mystery.
Sam rifles through drawers, picks a lock on a desk and pulls out a box that looks like a modem.
Luci: Cell phone scrambler. But, Luci, those are illegal.
Swear to Pete, he actually calls himself ‘Luci’ – awesome! *laugh*
Luci: Maybe that has something to do with Dean’s phone black out.
Sam searches through more drawers, finds a hidden panel under some T-shirts and in there finds a metal box with some papers containing Latin translations. He leaves Jeffrey’s apartment, Lucifer tagging along, and is walking down the street looking at the papers…and talking with Luci. It’s almost as if he’s so engrossed in his search for Dean, in getting to the bottom of this demon/Jeffrey thing, that he’s forgotten that Lucifer isn’t actually there. Or, more to the point, is a piece of Sam himself.
Sam: I’ve never seen this spell before.
Luci: But you’ve seen this type of demon-summoning spell before.
Luci: Why? To summon a demon, jackass. Start looking at who.
Sam (finally stops walking and turns to face Luci): What do you mean?
Luci: Look at the page.
Luci & Sam at the same time: I know this handwriting.
Sam goes to Nora’s shop and at first it seems that there’s no one but Luci there…until Nora brains Sam with some kind of … lamp or statue thingy, knocking him down, but not out.
Luci (grabbing his head and looking at Sam): Ay carrumba mi cabasa! (And yes, I’m aware I just botched the hell out of the Spanish language…apologies.)
Sam demands to know why Jeffrey has a demon summoning spell in Nora’s handwriting and Nora sits on the couch in the office kinda losing it as she rambles about how it’s all happening just like Jeffrey planned, he can’t change it.
Luci: Hit her.
*bites cheek to not smirk*
Sam (to Nora): Tell me what’s going on.
Nora = silent.
Luci: Shake her up. She knows what happened to Dean! Get this stupid cow to focus, will ya?
Sam (on knees in front of Nora): Nora, listen to me! I am two inches from you and I can make you talk, you understand me?
Yikes, Sammy! Also? You bet your bippy she does, having seen what they did to Jeffrey four years ago. Also? This moment feeds into my theory that Luci is part of Sam – a version of soulless Sam, who would do whatever it took to get what he needed.
So, Nora tells Sam that Jeffrey has her son hostage.
Back at the warehouse, Dean wakes up, groggy, blurry, and tied to a chair next to the guy he was trying to rescue (whom we now know is Nora’s son). He’s trying to piece together what the hell just happened to him and is watching as Jeffrey hauls a table with spell stuff on it across the room to rest in front of Dean.
Jeff: I never asked you to save me. Did you ever think I might’ve loved being possessed? The connection, the power. And I loved him. He was the love of my life.
Dean: You gotta be kidding me.
So…there was no demon. Just Jeffrey the Copy Cat Killer trying to draw the attention of the boys so that he could get them there. Dean tries for the “mommy didn’t love you enough” distraction as he starts to work on his ropes.
Jeffrey: You shouldn’t trivialize other people’s pain.
Dean connects the dots that Jeffrey had that ‘spark’ but, in Jeffrey’s words, was too scared to “live up to his potential” so the demon set up camp in his skull and taught him how to kill. The list was his list, not the demon’s. Jeffrey says the demon saved him…and then Dean sent the demon to Hell. Whoops.
Back with Sam, Nora’s rambling out the whole story – how she kept tabs on Jeffrey, but then how Jeffrey wanted her to give him a spell to summon the demon and then kidnapped her son.
Luci: Boy, you really knocked the cork out of her pie hole.
She gave Jeffrey everything he needed to summon a demon in hopes of getting her son back, but the spell didn’t work, so Jeffrey cut off her son’s ear and sent it to her in a box. Sam’s like, well, yeah, he gave up state secrets, not gonna be easy to get him back.
Nora said that she found a spell that would work for sure – but it required the blood of the exorcist…in this case, Dean. *gulp*
Sam: New plan. Tracking spell. Egyptian, Bavarian, I don’t care. Dealer’s choice. (plunks box of ear down on the spell book) Flesh of the body to find a body…and Dean. Do you want the ear or the kid?
Luci: You’re giving me chills.
Back at the warehouse, Jeffrey’s cutting Dean’s arm (pretty deep) to drain blood into a bowl. One last smidge of pickiness…we never see anyone bind that cut, so one would think it kept bleeding while he was tied up…only we never see any blood or any effects of blood loss. Just saying, if they were going to make ‘blood of the exorcist’ be a big deal, then the blood should stay a big deal until the wound is cared for. That’s how I’d have written it. Moving on!
Jeffrey says he knows Dean, after watching them work over the demon. That they showed a lot of their character.
Jeffrey: You were so desperate to fix the world back then. It kills you that people keep getting hurt and you just can’t stop it.
Dean: Screw you.
Jeffrey: Hey, I was there. And then I was depressed because he was gone. I was an emotional shell. A drunk. I was suicidal.
Hmmmm….. I’m not going to take that thought to fruition, but I bet you know what I’m thinking.
Dean (trying to get his hands free): I don’t usually endorse suicide, but what stopped you?
Jeffrey says it was his rehab therapist – he benefitted from the whole program. “A life well lived comes from the structured pursuit of meaningful happiness.” Um, okay…? Anyway, he realized he was nothing without ‘his demon’ and found a purpose. As he’s talking, he leads the dog out of the room.
Dean: No…. (sounds of Jeffrey killing the dog) Oh, you sick son of a bitch.
I can’t believe he killed the dog. The dog always lives. *sniff* Apparently he not only killed it, he cut out its heart. Gah! He starts the ritual. The building shakes, dust falls, Dean ducks and looks around…then silence. Suddenly, Nora’s son, who’d been out of it all this time, lifts his head and breaks his bonds. Guess the demon wanted some new duds. He stands up, all black-eyed, and greets both Jeffrey and Dean.
Jeffrey is gobsmacked…he cannot get why the demon would not choose him to possess. He never saw it coming. The demon is all I’m done with you, you’ve achieved your potential and then he first hugs Jeffrey before proceed to dance the Creepiest. Dance. Ever. with him. Well, 2nd creepiest. Tom Petty’s Last Dance With Mary Jane video is still the creepiest dance for me. Jeffrey says something else that causes the demon to crack him across the face and land him on the ground.
He hears Dean working on the ropes and turns to look at him.
Demon: Keep sawing away at your ropes, Penelope Pitstop. We can dance standing up if you want.
Dean: This is what you do? Find postal workers and make them go postal?
Demon: I’m looking for the next generation of superstars before they get to hell.
Apparently Jeffrey had the ‘spark’ – but the kid the demon was in now doesn’t.
Demon: I’ll probably burn this meat off on my way to Vegas.
Just then, Sam shows up –
and I’m going to assume that something Jeffrey told Nora clicked for Nora and that’s how they found this warehouse…only why she didn’t look there for her kid before, I don’t know (unless she had and just couldn’t get the kid away from Jeffrey…and now I’ve officially spent too much time thinking about this plot hole) [ETA: Nevermind! I was just reminded about the tracking spell. Duh, Gaelic. I was so caught up in threatening!Sam I forgot there was a whole point to his threat.] – and hits the demon.
Dean gets out of his ropes just as the demon throws Sam across the room. Demon goes after Sam but gets caught in a devil’s trap painted on the ceiling. Nora stepped out and the demon is all, “Where do you keep coming from?!” (HA!)
Dean moves around the trapped demon to stand next to Sam just as Jeffrey comes at them with…some kind of weapon…and Dean shoots him. Twice. Nora starts the exorcism and just before the demon goes all black smoke, he yells, “I’ll be back…in black.”
At first I thought, uh, cheesy AC/DC reference, but then I wondered if he might mean something about the black ooze of the Leviathans…and what the Big Mouths are building out in that open field and if it might have something to do with the contempt Dick Roman had for Crowley – I wonder if they’re planning on something involving demonkind…?
ANYWAY, demon is gone, Nora cradles her son, and Dean looks over at Sam with a pained, weary expression. Sometime later, the boys head back to motel and Dean basically stumbles into the room, falling face-first onto his bed.
Sam sits down on his bed, his eyes on Dean, but not really looking at him.
Sam: So, Jeffrey was just pretending to be the victim. Even way back in the farmhouse. He was just acting.
Dean (voice scratchy and face buried in the bed): Psychopath, Sam. It’s what they do all the time. Act. Act like they’re normal. (He rubs his face.) Act like they’re not balls to the walls crazy.
Sam absorbs that for a moment, the look on his face showing that he knows his brother doesn’t put him in that same category, but that he just might put him there himself.
Sam: You going to sleep?
Dean: Damn straight. Screw consciousness, that’s what I say.
Sam goes to lie down and suddenly Luci shows up.
Luci: No, no, Sam. No nap for you.
Sam rubs his hand.
Luci: C’mon, don’t do that. Let’s talk. I always enjoyed our special little chats.
Sam rubs harder, working to ignore Luci’s voice.
Luci: Something’s different. You let me in. You wanted me.
And Sam knows that Luci’s got him. The image of the Devil has his “finger in his brainpan” and rubbing’s not gonna work anymore. Fire grows up around him, reflecting in his eyes, and Sam pins his gaze on Dean’s unconscious form, not waking him, not asking for help, not telling him that it’s back and it’s bad and he can’t do this on his own.
Which I know should make me feel bad for Sam, but really, it just frustrates me concerning him. Because Dean might not be able to fix it, sure, but he can at least try if he knows what’s going on. He can give Sam something to anchor to, remind him about being his “stone #1” or find a way to talk him back from the ledge – maybe even get him actual medicinal help. But he can’t do any of that if Sam keeps this from him.
So, I hope he doesn’t for long. I hope he tells him in the very next episode that Lucifer is louder and constant and he needs help. But that’s hard -- asking for help. Especially when you have so little control as it is. Asking for help is admitting that you can’t do it on your own…and not everyone can admit that. It’s a blow to their pride, and we all know how proud Sam is, and it's a scary loss of control.
In any case, I’m looking forward to what’s to come. The previews looked fantastic and have me excited for the next eight episodes. I had heard that the next episodes are on March 9th (7.16) and March 16th (7.17), but then I saw something about it not returning until March 16th with episode 7.16, so if any of you hear for sure, will you let me know?
[I’m sorry about the delay. If you saw my note in the wee hours, I started to write this immediately following the episode, but then had to take the hubs to the ER with a severe reaction to his latest meds. He’s okay now; it’s par for the course with Crohn’s Disease and our continued attempts to find a treatment that works.]
Thank you for reading! I look forward to your thoughts. And I look forward to seeing you when we all come back to find out what happens next!