I really enjoy this episode for several reasons. One of these has nothing to do with the episode itself but with the character Brady who I had fun acting the part of in a wolf/mafia game two years ago. Another reason is that I just love Crowley and his cynical/angry dialogue and his self-preservation instinct which lets him work against Lucifer, the Father of all demons, and with the Winchesters who are the enemy of all demons LOL. While Ruby worked with Sam in order to bring about her "Father's" release from the cage, deceiving Sam with half-truths for the sake of her religion, Crowley's reasons are not disguised at all. He just wants to have the good life he's been having until now. At a first watch, we may have doubted his sincerity on that regard just as Sam so naturally did. But it turns out to be true. This is also an episode where we find out what Sam has been thinking of doing to get Lucifer back in the cage, and also an indication of the kind of anger that Sam has inside of him and how Lucifer might use that against him. And of course that suspenseful trip to get Brady - Crowley using Dean as a pawn almost, but successfully capturing Brady as a result. I admit Dean looks very nice with a bit of blood on his face :P
Let's get started.
The episode begins with two lab technicians (is that what they are called?) for a pharmaceutical company complaining about the research for the new drug as they gather their data on some animals in a lab. Suddenly the janitor butts into the conversation and then shoots one of them up with a syringe, locks the door on them and watches the drugged technician kill the other - or so we are lead to believe. The demon seems delighted with the results.
Sam and Dean are then seen in a hospital, talking with one of the doctors about the swine flu epidemic. They were expecting the epidemics to be more like croatoan virus, and are surprised to find that they are just simple diseases - treatable if they had sufficient vaccines. I like how Sam and Dean talk to each other out loud about some statues crying right before the epidemic, and have to cover it up to the doctor.
DOCTOR I'm sorry. What was that?
DEAN What was what?
DOCTOR Did you just say a bunch of statues started crying?
SAM What? (laughing) why, no. No. W-who would --
DEAN Who would say that, huh? Crazy people.
DEAN Yeah, which we are not.
Actually, this mention of crying statues is kind of interesting in itself. We don't hear of it again and I guess the writers just kind of stuck it in there for something crazy for Sam and Dean to talk about but I guess this would have been one of the signs they would have looked for in other locations to find Pestilence... if things hadn't gone the way they had.
From a health standpoint, I am very happy to find Sam and Dean with masks on here. Michael Jackson had the right idea. Unfortunately, I guess they wouldn't have done any good anyway when they came in contact with Pestilence himself next ep. but at least they don't get sick and have to lie in bed while the apocalypse raged around them. Smart move. (For the information of anyone not aware, Japanese people are a stickler for masks. Everyone wears them.)
We then have Sam and Dean in the car talking with Bobby. We find out that this is the fourth town that's been hit. Bobby has not found any new leads on Pestilence except that he is probably heading east... and east from West Nevada is practically anywhere.
As soon as they get off the phone with Bobby, Crowley makes his surprise entrance.
Dean swerves, with the wheel, more it seems to me to get to the side of the road and gank Crowley ASAP than with surprise. Sam acts pretty fast too, grabbing his knife and stabbing the back seat (cutting the cloth !!!). Crowley is faster though and has disappeared from inside the car by the time they've stopped. He knocks on the window from the outside and actually its quite a funny sight seeing Sam in that very uncomfortable looking posture as he gapes out of the window at Crowley.
They finally get out of the car and Sam is so angry he wants to kill Crowley straight away.
CROWLEY: After what I --what I did to you?! I gave you the colt!
SAM: Yeah, and you knew it wouldn't work against the devil!
CROWLEY: I never!
SAM: You set us up. We lost people on that suicide run --Good people!
CROWLEY: Who you take on the ride is your own business! Look, everything is still the same. W-we're all still in this together.
SAM: Sure we are. (Sam attempts to stab Crowley again, but Crowley teleports)
CROWLEY: Call your dog off --please.
DEAN: Give me one good reason.
CROWLEY: I can give you Pestilence.
DEAN: What do you know about Pestilence?
CROWLEY: I know how to get him. That's got your interest, doesn't it?
SAM: Are you actually listening to this?
DEAN: Sam --
SAM: Are you friggin' nuts?!
DEAN: Shut up for a second, Sam!
CROWLEY: Shut up, the both of you! Look...I swear... I thought the colt would work. It's an honest mistake. It's all part of the learning process. But nothing's changed. I still want the devil dead. Well...one thing's changed. Now the devil knows that I want him dead. Which, by the way, makes me the most buggered son in all of creation.
DEAN: Holy crap. We don't care.
CROWLEY: They burnt down my house! They ate my tailor!
Two months under a rock, like a bloody salamander! Every demon on hell and earth's got his eyes out for me! And yet... Here I am...Last place I should be --In the road, talking to Sam and Dean Winchester, under a friggin' spotlight! (Crowley gestures to the light above them, and it explodes) So come with me. Please. Do you want the horsemen rings or not? Yes, I know all about that. Shall we?
This conversation is so interesting! (And Sam's faces are so hot!! and Dean LOL!) First, as I said, Sam is angry - irrationally angry - and we are supposed to notice this for future reference. Sam has been tricked by a demon before and after the failure with the colt, ... well he says it in Sam, Interrupted. He's angry. So angry that they have been tricked again by another Ruby in disguise. Dean, however, is a bit more cautious. He is also maybe more desperate for any lead on Pestilence. I have to point out here the characteristics of Sam and Dean we continue to see into Season 10. Sam tends to blame others for his problems while Dean tends to blame himself. Here again Sam has been blaming Crowley for the mission failure and Jo and Ellen's death, while we know that Dean has been blaming himself. That is where and what his anger is directed at, and that is what fuels Lucifer when he takes over as well. We could say that this is one of the main effects of the demon blood.
Secondly, Crowley tells them about all the suffering HE has been through because they failed to kill Lucifer. Doesn't the "They ATE my TAILOR" sort of sound like he's appealing to their feelings regarding loss of life? Just as you lost Jo and Ellen, I lost my tailor? We are in this together? His rant is sooo entertaining!
Anyway, Sam grudgingly lets Dean take the lead - still very wary of being deceived as he once was. They go back to Crowley's dismal lair, where Crowley bitches about how terrible his life is now that he is on demon's most wanted while showing them some power by lighting the fireplace. He then goes on to tell them that he had hidden a tracking device (a magical coin) in their car when they broke in to get the colt, so that he knew where they were at all times and he could listen in on what they were talking about in the car. ... Come to think of it, if Crowley was paying attention, he may have even heard Dean/Gabriel's conversation of last episode as well as the last conversation between Sam and Dean regarding the rings. He would have heard Sam and Dean's conversation at the car after Sam, Interrupted - about Sam's anger. He would truly have heard some really interesting things.
Then he tells them that well, he can't get them Pestilence per se, but he can get them a demon that is pretty close to him and would know where he was. Interesting the parallel with Ruby finding Lillith's "chef."
DEAN: Well, how do we get him to spill? Rip out his toenails?
CROWLEY: No. Nuts at his pay grade don't crack. We bring him here, then I sell him.
SAM: Sell him?
CROWLEY: Please. I've sold sin to saints for centuries. Think I can't close one little demon?
(Hehe! love Crowley :D)
We then jump to Brady in his company meeting telling everyone to hurry up with the "vaccine" which would actually spread the violent virus.
MITCHELL: We're doing our best.
BRADY: Oh, you're doing your best? You're doing your best? Well, then do the best of somebody better!
Poor Mitchell gets called up to Brady's office and told he is wanted for a new position. Communications. And then Brady cuts Mitchell's throat to phone Pestilence and ...
BRADY: How soon? Distribution on this scale --I mean, we do need some humans. We can't possess them all. And don't even get me started on the teamsters. I --
BRADY: I know. I'm doing my best.
BRADY: Yes, sir.The best of someone better.
gets told the same thing :P I guess he's glad Pestilence didn't kill him for it.
We then have a scene between Sam and Dean - Sam again expressing incredulity at working with Crowley - a conversation Crowley walks into and seems to have heard most of. Crowley then tells them that Sam can't go with him and Dean to get this demon. He has to stay behind. Sam is not happy to hear this, and Dean refuses at first as well, but when Crowley makes as to leave, he stops Crowley and agrees to go.
CROWLEY: Because I don't like you...I don't trust you...And -- oh, yes --You keep trying to kill me.
SAM: There's no damn way. This isn't gonna happen!
CROWLEY: I'm not asking you, am I? 'cause you're not invited. I'm asking you.(points at Dean) What's it gonna be? (scoffs) gentlemen...Enjoy your last few sunsets.
DEAN: Wait. I'll go. (to Sam) What can I say? I believe the guy.
Crowley is lying here (mostly) - we know the real reason he doesn't want to take Sam. He is genuinely worried that everything will go to pot if Sam comes in contact with Brady because of what he has seen and heard about Sam's "anger management issues." Sam is obviously not convinced by Crowley's reasons and I don't think Dean is either, but he believes that Crowley does know how to get to Pestilence so he agrees to go without Sam.
I like this next scene as well - Sam drinking whiskey from the bottle, getting drunk? (darn... I will get a gif of that later) and complaining to Bobby on the phone. Obviously Sam is a little hurt that Dean would consider going off with Crowley without him, but Bobby reminds them that they haven't had any leads and suggests maybe it's time to act a bit crazy. We can see that Sam's calmed down a bit and that he also has something else on his mind. He's trying to think of how they can get Lucifer back in the cage once they get the rings and he asks Bobby what it was like to take control of his body just for that second in Sympathy for the Devil - just enough to stab himself instead of Dean. Hearing what Sam is considering - saying yes and being possessed by Lucifer so that he can take control just to push Lucifer back into the cage - Bobby is angry that Sam is even considering saying yes.
BOBBY: Are you idjits trying to kill me?!
SAM: Bobby --
BOBBY: We just got done talking your brother off the ledge, and now you're lining up to say "yes"?
BOBBY: Kid...It's called "possession" for a reason. You, of all people, ought to know.
SAM: I'm strong enough.
BOBBY: You ain't. He's gonna find every chink in your armor, Sam, and use it against you --Your fear, your grief, your anger. And let's face it -- You're not exactly Mr. Anger management. How are you gonna control the devil when you can't control yourself?
And we remember how Sam actually has been possessed before and how impossible it was for him to control it then. And we also, as rewatchers, remember how Lucifer does use that anger and grief to control him when he does possess Sam. There is of course the question of where Bobby got the idea of Sam not being very good at controlling his anger. Just the fact that Sam says "I'm angry all the time!" in Sam, Interrupted - and has hardly ever actually SHOWN this anger would seem to prove that he is controlling it very well. I remember Afterschool Special, where I came to the exact same conclusion. But we do know that he was burning for revenge from the first time they started out in Season 1. That is one thing he is very angry about. The demon manipulations - killing their mother, killing Jessica, putting the demon blood in him and then tricking him into opening the cage. We will see a bit of that this episode, and again later.
Even though Sam tells him that he wouldn't do it unless they all agreed, Bobby is not willing to think of it as an option - at this point. He does have a chance to mull it over though which helps him talk Dean into agreeing to the plan later.
Meanwhile, Dean and Crowley arrive at the pharmaceutical company and Dean is peering through his binoculars checking out what he thinks are demons. Crowley tells him that they are just human shields, and when Dean suggests they find a way in the back so they don't have to hurt them, Crowley just all of a sudden appears inside and Dean sees him cutting the guard's throat with this look of glee on his face.
DEAN: All right, then. We'll have to find a way in through the back.
CROWLEY: You Winchesters make everything so complicated. (Crowley disappears)
DEAN: Ah, crap.
DEAN: Oh, crap.Crap! Crap!
CROWLEY: Door's open! What?
DEAN: You killed them?
CROWLEY: We're on a tight schedule. Come on. Now you're squeamish? Please.
We and Dean are reminded that this IS a demon - different values, different priorities. And Crowley is not like Ruby either. He doesn't pretend to be sympathetic of humans or their plight. It's all about doing what is best for himself and if he thinks the Winchesters can do it, he will work with them and help them and save their lives even. But he's going to be the one giving the orders as much as he can.
He then pushes Dean in the elevator with a "Go get'm Tiger" and I'm not going up there - it's dangerous. There are demons up there LOL. The real reason of course is that he is aiming for the element of surprise. So, Dean goes up and has his little talk with Brady.
BRADY: Dean Winchester. What, no appointment?
DEAN: Kind of an 11th-hour thing, you know?
The first thing Brady asks Dean is, "How's your brother?" And only we rewatchers know why he's even interested. When Dean tells Brady (as agreed with Crowley) that they will give him the rings if he comes with them, Brady goes on to say that he doesn't want the rings. The two that wore those rings were hollow shells and couldn't do anything any more. What he wanted was revenge.
BRADY: See...(clears throat)...War and famine, even if I could cram the rings back on their bony fingers, I doubt it would do much good. They're withered husks right now --Fetal position on the floor --All thanks to you. So I don't want the rings. What I want is retribution.And I'm gonna rip it right out of your ass!
It's sort of interesting to know that taking the rings (and the fingers) off those two had resulted in them being "withered husks" While Death can take his ring off and give it to someone to be Death for a day or just use it to put Lucifer back in his cage. And did Death automatically get his ring back when the cage closed?
[Spoiler for season 10!(click to open)]Wait. What happened to Death's ring when he died?? I guess anyone could become Death just by putting it on right? Is that what is going to happen?
And basically Brady starts to do his worst and Dean is scrambling away - into the elevator where he is safe as he goes down, then when he gets down to the lobby and steps out, Brady is behind him again. Luckily, behind Brady is Crowley and he puts a sack with a devil's trap on Brady's head and bashes his head with a crow bar. They've got Brady captive.
CROWLEY: Evening, Uncle.
(OK, why does he call him uncle? Is this another movie reference? It's not in SuperWiki.)
Dean's like what was that? It didn't go as you said!
CROWLEY: Your ignorance and misinformation --I mean, completely authentic. You can't fake that. What? I-it went like clockwork.
DEAN: Not for me, you son of a bitch!
CROWLEY: That's what you get --working with a demon.
And again Dean's learned the lesson the hard way.
As they are leaving in the car, Crowley is carving another sigil in Brady's chest so he doesn't get out of the meat suit. Dean is prepared to go back to Sam but Crowley tells him to go another route - and after that previous bit of trickery, Dean decides it's time to get the truth from Crowley. He stops the car.
CROWLEY: They got history, all right?
DEAN: You want to go anywhere, you start talking. What history?
There, Crowley tells Dean how Brady had been watching Sam along during college, and possibly that he had been the one to kill Jessica. But Dean doesn't want to leave Sam out of it anymore and he believes that Sam will listen to him. So they go back, despite Crowley's better instinct.
CROWLEY: I begged Dean not to come back. We should be miles away...from you. He replied with a colorful rejoinder about my "corn chute."
CROWLEY: So, go ahead. Go --ruin our last best hope. It's only the end of the world.
So, I'm guessing, besides the colorful rejoiner, Dean probably told Crowley he wasn't going to go through with it if they didn't go back and do it together with Sam and Crowley had no choice but to come back.
Sam goes to find Dean in the interrogation room with Brady, still with a sack over his head.
SAM: What's going on, Dean?
DEAN: I need you to stay on mission, okay? Focused.
SAM: I don't understand. What's all this about?
DEAN: I'm doing this 'cause I trust you.
SAM: Trust me to what?
While Sam and Dean are talking, Brady wakes up and hearing Sam, calls him by name. Dean takes the bag off of him and Sam recognizes him right away. Brady goes on to make fun of him - it's like he is trying to get Sam to kill him, since he'd be killed just for being caught anyway. Or... he just has a big mouth and is not very smart. But we see this at the end as well.
BRADY: That's right. You had a devil on your shoulder even back then. All right, now, let it all sink in.
SAM: You son of a bitch. You son of a bitch! You introduced me to Jess!
BRADY: Ding, ding! I think he's got it!
DEAN: Damn it, Sam!
SAM: I'm gonna kill you!
SAM: Get out of my way!
SAM: Get out of my way, Dean.
DEAN: There is only one way to win, and it ain't by killing that thing in there.
DEAN: Listen to me. We need pestilence to get at the devil, and we need Brady to get to pestilence.
SAM: Why? Because Crowley said so? Because we trust him now? Like I trusted Ruby? Or like I trusted Brady back at school?
And Sam's definitely got a point. We can't blame him for not wanting to trust any demon at this point. Dean is able to stop Sam from killing Brady here, and Sam goes off to cool down while Crowley tries to do his thing - selling to a higher up demon - which doesn't work very well. Brady knows he's going to be killed anyway if he talks or not, and he'd rather "die on the winning side." Whereas Crowley, who has so obviously rebelled, will never get to die. He will live in eternal torment.
BRADY: Maybe you should be a little less worried about our necks and be a little more worried about yours.
CROWLEY: Has crossed my mind. That's not really the point.
BRADY: Actually, Crowley, that is the point. No one will know greater torment than you. Lucifer is never gonna let you die. As for me, I know the score. I'm dead, whether I tell you anything or not. So I think I'll die on the winning side, thanks.
CROWLEY: Good talk. Cheers.
DEAN: Well, how'd it go? He buy your girl scout cookies?
CROWLEY: Not yet. Where's your moose?
DEAN: He's cooling off.
(Question - is this the first time Crowley actually calls Sam "Moose?")
Crowley, then goes off to kill a nest of demons minus one, and go on to his next plan, which is a bit more risky for him.
Dean goes to the bathroom to wash his face and Sam uses the opportunity to lock Dean inside. While Dean's banging on the door, Sam goes to talk to Brady. Brady tells him how he killed Jessica. How surprised she was because she thought they were friends, and how she had been baking cookies (as we saw in the pilot). Brady brags about how he got to do the dirty work for yellow-eyes. Sam sticks the knife on Brady and nicks his neck and Brady eggs him on.
BRADY: Do it, Sammy! Do it! Come on! Come on.(laughing) Ohhhhh. (chuckles, sighs)
But we know that here Sam maybe realizes what Brady is trying to do and remembers what his brother had said - that they needed him to get to Pestilence. So he restrains himself. Proving to himself and to us that he can manage his anger (but we already knew that). He goes and opens the door for Dean and explains that he didn't do anything. Meanwhile, Crowley comes back and tells Brady that the sole living demon of the nest now knows that Brady is in with Crowley. I love the description!
CROWLEY: Went over to a demons' nest --had a little massacre. Must be losing my touch, though -- Let one of the little toads live. Oops. Also might have given said toad the impression that you left your post last night because you and I are --wait for it --Lovers in league against Satan.
CROWLEY: Hello, darling. So, now death is off the table. Now you get to be on the boss's eternal-torment list with little old me.
"While they are all talking though, they hear howling and confirmation by Crowley that it is indeed hellhounds. Someone planted a coin on Crowley (really?) and so now a hellhound is coming to attack. Crowley throws the coin at Dean and disappears - like he's just getting out of there to save his hide and leaving them to the hell hounds - and Dean is running around trying to find salt while Sam is getting Brady untied. Dean finds the salt but just as he is about to get to it, he's flung by a hellhound.
As they hold the hellhound back with salt bullets, Crowley comes back with his own hellhound and they all get out of the way as the hellhounds fight each other.
DEAN: You're back?
CROWLEY: I'm INVESTED. Currently.
DEAN: You can control them?
CROWLEY: Not that one. I brought my own. Mine's bigger. Sic him, boy!
CROWLEY: I'll wager $1,000 my pup WINS.
Note - Crowley says, "currently." They've got Brady and a chance at getting to Pestilence. He's not just going to run if there is a good chance he can get them out of there. The coin he throws at Dean actually keeps the hellhound there while he goes to get his own hell hound so that he's not attacked. I do love this moment!
Later - looks like they've come to the city and Brady has given them the location of Pestilence. Sam and Dean prepare a demon trap between two buildings. They let Crowley out - the long glance between Dean and Crowley seems to be filled with meaning - maybe something like, "I gave you Brady and Pestilence's location and I could be of use to you yet." and "We would kill you as soon as you are not useful anymore."
BRADY: You've screwed me --for eternity.
CROWLEY: Nah. Won't last that long. Trust me.
BRADY: Where are you going?
CROWLEY: I'm going to do you a favor.
CROWLEY: I expect we'll be in touch.
Crowley does Brady and Sam both a favor and lets the Winchesters kill Brady.
DEAN: All those angels, all those demons, all those sons of bitches --They just don't get it, do they, Sammy?
SAM: No, they don't, Dean.
DEAN: You see, Brady...We're the ones you should be afraid of.
BRADY: Gonna make up for all the times that we yanked your chain --Yellow eyes, Ruby, me? But it wasn't all our fault, was it? No, no, no, no. You're the one who trusted us. You're the one who let us into your life, let us whisper in your ear over and over and over again. Ever wonder why that is, Sammy? Ever wonder why we were so in your blind spot? Maybe it's because we got the same stuff in our veins and, deep down, you know you're just like us. Aaah! maybe you hate us so much because you hate what you see every time you look in the mirror. You ever think of that?! maybe the only difference between you and a demon...is your hell is right here.
SAM: INTERESTING theory.
I love this scene for how well it was done, but am also bothered by it... Why did they give Brady so much space? Were they purposefully giving him room to run around? to be chased? It sort of reminds me of the Benders actually. How those hillbillies let their victims go and then hunt them down. And Sam throughout is seething. It's rather scary. And I think maybe Dean feels there is something wrong a little bit too as he watches Sam go back to the car by himself. It's an awesome scene but also worrying.
[Spoiler for season 10! (click to open)]A bit of thought from Season 10, when Dean tells Cole that he shouldn't take that first step to revenge because if he does, it will take him to a dark place from which he will not come back whole. I feel that a lot from Sam in this scene - that Brady was right in that sense.
We next see Bobby talking on the phone to the boys - this could be right after or a few days or weeks or months after. They have still to locate Death. Crowley drops in and this time, he's not giving out freebies. From what he says later in Season 6, maybe he just wanted a hold on the boys. Some leverage so that he would not be killed as soon as they thought he was useless. It could be that he just did not have another way to find Death. It seems though that Crowley knows a spell that can tell him where Death is, but whether it is a part of the spell or not, he has to get something precious in exchange for the spell, which is Bobby's soul.
BOBBY: What are you doing here?
CROWLEY: Looking out for Crowley.
BOBBY: Get the hell off my property before I blast you so full of rock salt, you crap margaritas.
At first, Bobby shoots Crowley several times to disuade him and make him leave. But Crowley is persistent and he has sold deals to saints for centuries... When we leave Bobby, he looks a bit cornered, and we know that he is going to give in to help the boys. This is not just to do with finding out where Death is. This is Bobby with his insecurity from being in a wheelchair and not being able to help the boys like he would have liked.
CROWLEY: I'll give it right back.
BOBBY: You think I'm a natural-born idjit?
CROWLEY: Quite the contrary. Look, you're right to be suspicious. But I'm your ally. Enemy of my enemy and all that. I need the devil back in his stock. In fact, my delicate ass depends on it. I promise you --temporary LOAN. I'll give it...Right...Back.
Too bad Bobby didn't read over the contract before he signed it.