The monster this week is an angry poltergeist haunting the boy’s childhood home back in Lawrence Kansas and threatening the lives of the young widow Jenny (Kristin Richardson) and her two children who are living there. Sam had a nightmare where he sees Jenny screaming for help so now he finally has to tell Dean about his precognitive nightmares and of course Dean isn’t happy about been kept in the dark.
They try looking into what John did after the fire and learn that he visited a local psychic called Missouri Moseley (Loretta Devine) so they pay her a visit. Missouri acts as if the boys are old friends and, to Sam’s amusement, she treats Dean like a naughty child all the time, scolding him for things he’s only thinking about doing. John had come to her after Mary’s death to try and find out what killed her but though she sensed powerful evil it was gone.
Missouri goes to the house with them and her warm sympathetic manner gets them in the house much faster than whatever lie Dean was cooking up. Missouri assures Jenny that they can help and she has Dean make up some hex bags to place in house to expel the spirits. The spirit tries to stop them but they they manage to do it just in time for Jenny to return from a trip to the movies
Missouri is sure it worked but Sam isn’t so sure and they keep an eye on the house that night. Sure enough the spirits are back and the Winchesters leap to the rescue. Sam gets grabbed by the poltergeist but then a second fiery spirit in the bedroom resolves itself into Mary Winchester and after greeting both her sons her spirit sacrifices itself to destroy the poltergeist.
I like the scene at the end where it looks like Missouri is talking to herself about Sam and his growing psychic abilities only to reveal that she‘s taking to John Winchester.
The boys get an anonymous text message that is simply coordinates and Dean assumes it’s from their father giving them a job though Sam is sceptical. The coordinates are of the derelict Roosevelt Mental Hospital in Rockford Illinois which is full of ghosts but the ghost of the insane Doctor Ellicott (Norman Armour) who ran the place gives a homicidal rage to people he touches. Sam and Dean discover the place was closed down after the patients rioted and there were many violent deaths of both staff and patients with many bodies never found so plenty of potential for vengeful spirits.
The Abandoned Asylum is a popular location for many horror films and these places are always going have stories of grisly goings on and tales of the spirits who haunt the place. This means it attracts teenage thrill-seekers. Sam and Dean find themselves having to a rescue a teenage couple as they search the place. Gavin (Nicholas D’Agosto) and Kat (Brooke Nevin) are there because Gavin thought it would be cool to go somewhere that is like a film without thinking through the desirability of becoming a stupid character in a horror film since that is the only genre of film set in this location. Dean comments on this himself when he is talking to Kat, advising to avoid wandering into haunted places in future.
Sam tries to take Katherine and Gavin out of the asylum but discovers the place is on supernatural lockdown. He gets a call from Dean who had gone looking into a lead in the hospital’s records. This turns out to be a fake call to lead Sam into the basement and Endicott zaps Sam with his rage power.
Sam has a lot of pent up rage and he lets it all loose on Dean, his frustration at Dean treating him like kid, deciding where they go and never getting them any closer to finding John and kiling the demon. After Dean has taken out the ghost Sam tries to protest that his words were from madness but Dean clearly thinks it was Sam’s true feelings that inspired them.
Back at their motel room Dean just crashes out and falls asleep. Dean’s phone ring and Sam answers only find out it is John Winchester.
We start the episode with the phone call from John Winchester that was the cliffhanger ending of the previous episode. Sam has so much to talk to John about and John tells them that he knows what killed Jessica and Mary was a demon. John wants them to stop following him and tries to give them a job to take care of but Sam is furious and really doesn’t want to talk to him any more so Dean takes over, noting down names John wants them to look into.
The names turn out to be couples who all went missing on road trips across the country. They all went missing at the same time of year and all their planned routes passed through the town of Burkittsville, Indiana. They have all been sacrificed to the Vanir, a pagan god that looks a lot like a scarecrow.
This episode features the first of Sam’s huffs where he gets pissed off with Dean and he goes off on his own, this time it is mainly about their father because Dean is happy to do whatever John says. Sam wants to go to California to find John so he heads off on his own.
Sam meets Meg Masters (Nicki Aycox) for the first time, apparently just a young hitchhiker who gets chatty with him and he confides all his troubles to her. Meg seems genuinely frustrated when Sam rushes off to Dean’s aid when he fails to get in touch with him for a few hours. Dean has annoyed the local much that they are going to sacrifice him to the god of the apple trees but Sam gets there just in time save him from the evil scarecrow apple tree god
At the end of the episode we see Meg on her own getting in some guy’s car. Meg seems nice and normal until she pulls out a knife an slits the driver throat, collecting his blood in a strange looking bowl. She stirs the bowl and recites a spell then.she talks to bowl as if talking to someone we can’t hear but the gist of the conversation is that Meg is tracking Sam and Dean and she is frustrated at the order not to kill them .
Dean is dying after accidentally getting an electric shock when killing a monster and rescuing two children. Sam is nearly in tears as he leaves a message for his father and he is calling all their contacts to find some way of curing Dean.
Sam is desperate so tricks Dean into thinking they are going to see some sort of specialist but instead he takes Dean to a faith healer in a tent in a muddy field. Dean is of course grumpy and cynical when the blind preacher Reverend Roy le Grange (Kevin McNulty) starts his sermon. Unfortunately for Dean, Roy heard his smartass remarks and replies to him directly calling him onto the stage to be healed.
Roy puts his hand on Deans head and something start happening and dean goes down to his knees before fainting dead away. When he wakes up his feels better but sees a strange grey skinned figure in a suit walk behind Roy and vanish.
This episode is the first time the brothers have actually spoken about what they believe. They see things all the time that prove the supernatural exists and to Sam this is evidence that God might exist too and miracles are possible. But Dean has only seen evidence of the evil done by the supernatural so his feeling is that whatever is going here is some sort of evil con.
They get Dean checked out at a hospital where tests show that his heart was never damaged. When talking about strange things happening the doctor mentions a healthy young man dying of heart attack the day before. Dean gives Sam his patented “told you so” look. Sam looks into the death and confirms Dean’s suspicion that it matches the time he was cured. It was not a miracle that healed him but dark magic that traded Dean’s life for another man’s.
They figure out that somehow Roy has bound a reaper using dark magic. These are beings who escort the souls of the dead into the afterlife and binding them is very dangerous. They have to stop Roy healing anyone else which is complicated for Dean because he was about to heal Layla (Julie Benz), a woman Dean spoke to before and who has an inoperable brain tumour. Dean stops the healing and discovers it is Roy’s wife Sue Ann (Rebecca Jenkins) that has bound the reaper.
This seemed obvious to me since Roy’s blindness would have been a hindrance finding the ancient book of spells never mind reading from it. Sue Ann bound the reaper out of desperation to save Roy when he was dying of cancer and kept it bound out of ambition, her fall to the darkside, echoing what Dean said earlier about what evil can do to good people.
They stop Sue Ann and the reaper takes its vengeance for being bound but Dean regrets taking away the hope of those people, especially Layla. Sam has laid on a little surprise visit from Layla to say good bye and reassure Dean that she’s okay.
It is interesting to note that Dean was nowhere near as upset about his imminent death as Sam was. This a shared characteristic of the Winchester family in this series, they are literally willing to move heaven and hell to stop each other from dying but are also willing to sacrifice themselves for the lives of others. This is really why they need each other.
13. Route 666
After one Dean-centred story we get another when he gets a call from an old girlfriend, Cassie (Megalyn Echikunwoke). She called Dean because her father has been killed by a ghost truck. Cassie is a journalist and Sam finds it hard to believe but Dean had told her that he was ghost hunter and that’s why she called him. Sam is shocked that Dean told Cassie the big family secret while he kept his hunter background secret from Jessica for over a year. This lapse is how Sam figures that Cassie was more important to Dean than he lets on.
The Ghost Truck appears to killing off important black men in the town and their investigations lead them back to the death of a serial killer Cyrus Dorian who targeted black men in the 60s. Cassie’s father had killed Dorian in self defence but the law at the time would not guarantee a black man a fair trail so he called his friends and they pushed the truck with the body into a swamp. The local deputy investigating Dorian’s disappearance figured it all out but covered it up. He grew up to be the mayor and also becomes a victim of the ghost truck.
Sam keeps trying push Dean and Cassie together and this works eventually. It turns out Dean opened up to Cassie about hunting because he loved her but she thought he was making up a crazy excuse to leave so she broke up with him.
The usual method of destroying vengeful spirits involves dragging the truck out of the swap then salting and burning Dorian’s body but that only seems to make the ghost truck angry so Dean leads it on a chase around the country roads while Sam tries to find another way to destroy the spirit. He has Dean wait in the grounds of an old church that Dorian burnt down when he was alive. When the truck tries to ram Dean car it vanishes away completely. Sam explains that there’s a story that spirits are destroyed by hallowed ground. Dean is bit worried at Sam using him to bait the truck based on nearly nothing.
This episode is all about the psychic Sam plot. He has a vision of a man being killed and rushes them to Michigan to try and stop it happening but they get there too late. While they Investigate what happened Sam has another vision of the man’s brother being killed, this time he’s awake.
They find out Max (Brendan Fletcher), a young man who is the son of the first victim, with powers similar but different from Sam’s. Max is telekinetic and used his power to kill his father and uncle to pay them back for a lifetime of physical abuse. Sam has a vision of Max killing his stepmother and so they try to prevent it.
Max lost his mother the exact same way that Mary Winchester and Jessica died but instead of hunting down whatever killed her Max’s father drank and took out his anger on Max. Sam realises no matter how screwed up his life was it could have been a lot worse. When Sam is trying to talk Max out of killing his stepmother Max traps him in a cupboard. Sam has a vision of Dean getting shot dead and his desperation seems to unleash a new telekinetic power just like Max’s and he frees himself in time to stop Max.
Sam is very worried about his powers and whatever the demon wants with him. The most obvious fear is that he turns kill crazy like Max but Dean claims he isn’t worried because Sam has one thing Max didn’t have – he didn’t have Dean watching out for him.
15. The Benders
While investigating a possible supernatural attack Sam gets captured by a family of red neck torture cannibals who capture people to hunt and kill them. This episode is one I often miss out when I’m watching this season because… well I just prefer the other episodes.
The episode is definitely inspired by Texas Chainsaw Massacre with the family of back woods psychos who decorate their house with mobiles made of animal bones. I think there may be elements of other films that I’ve never seen but humans hunting humans is a common plot in episodes of many TV series. The Bender clan are Pa Bender (John Dennis Johnston) and his three unwashed children and they have made some pretty elaborate cages for their victims.
Dean has to team up with a local cop Officer Kathleen (Jessica Steen) to rescue Sam but only after he convinces her not to arrest him for impersonating a law enforcement officer. Kathleen had younger brother who went missing ten years before so she understands how Dean feels. Dean thinks taking on monsters is easy compared to humans. There is logic to evil of monsters but the evil of humans is just madness.