Creepy should be good though. So why do people dislike this episode so much? Why is a girl ghost/demon a good kind of creepy while a stalker dog monster is bad? Is it because of his looks? Because he really looks like a pathetic homeless guy that you wouldn't want near you or your family? Let's imagine if Jensen had played the part of the dog. Would we have enjoyed it then? You know... I think I might have. Not that I don't have mixed feelings for this guy as well, but I would have totally forgiven him if it had been Jensen.
I actually think this episode is worth a rewatch just to take some time think about why we dislike it so much. If you have any input, I'd love to hear some different opinions and theories. Analysis - my favorite hobby <3
That's not all though. Soulless Sam is pretty creepy as well with his "shoot first, ask questions later" attitude, which he actually accused Dean of in a previous episode. Dean is trying hard to work with this new Sam and wouldn't send him back to the cage for the world, but he is feeling a bit lonely for those relatively carefree times with Lisa and Ben and possibly wishing he could go back.
Aaaaand we have a whole bunch of heartache at the end... which is always good, right?
So here I go.
"City Blues" by Black Mustang(plays when Sam and Dean meet Crowley at Fat Mack's Rib Shack)
"Flirtin' with Disaster" by Molly Hatchet(plays in the bar when Dean and Sam watch Cal)
I realized something as I talked with friends in the comments and I thought I'd add it here. I'd never really understood the title of this episode, but it just occured to me that the writers might be reminding us that we are NOT dealing with dogs here. All dogs may go to heaven... but these are monsters, and where do monsters go? As in the hint our Alpha Vamp so kindly gave us last episode - All Monsters Go to Purgatory.
We start with Sam and Dean at a cafe.... Oops, no. We do have an animal attack on a guy who just got into his car after talking with his wife or nanny about his kid doing pee pee and poo poo. The animal supposedly breaks the windshield and kills the guy. (Doggy, me thinks it would have been easier to attack BEFORE he got in his car?) Anyway, splat.
At the cafe, Dean is pleading with Bobby on the phone to find another way to get Sam's soul out of the cage when Crowley just suddenly pops in for a visit. Dean tells Crowley - like hell we are going to work for you, and Crowley tells him to stop being unreasonable.
CROWLEY:Dean, Dean. Been through this. Quit clutching your pearls. You've been working for me for some time now. Sam here, longer.
SAM:We didn't know.
CROWLEY:Like that makes a difference to you. You'd sell your brother for a dollar right now if you really needed a soda.
Wow... that's really hard for Dean to hear. When Dean still insists he will not, Crowley gives Sam a bit of hell fire to scare Dean into compliance. I'm wishing at this point that Dean could have just said fine, send him back to the cage - because when you think about it, it's not really Sam unless he has his soul - but then I guess it's not that cut and dry with Dean and Dean can't bear to see Sam hurt. Not to mention soulless Sam would have killed Dean on the spot (or in his sleep) if he did that :P Sam is depending on Dean being the caring brother that he is because he needs his help, but he has no loyalty to Dean, which is really quite scary.
Crowley then shows them a case that looks like a werewolf attack. Dean points out that it was not on a full moon but Crowley and Sam both agree that the monsters have been acting erratic lately.
CROWLEY:Werewolves turning on the full moon – so '09.
SAM:He's right. Samuel and I ganked one about six months back on the half-moon. Things have been out of whack for a while now, I guess.
DEAN:Yeah, I guess.
The way Dean says that last phrase is not agreeing with Crowley and Sam, who seem chummy all of a sudden. To me, it is laced with sarcasm with regard to Sam's soullessness, and how he has been working for Crowley this whole year.
Sam and Dean are in the car and Sam's telling Dean about the case very matter-of-factly when Dean says, wait a minute.
DEAN:Crowley. He's so far up our asses we're – we're – we're coughing sulfur, but you – you're just gonna work the case?
SAM:Well, he's got us by the short and curlies. What else are we supposed to do?
DEAN:It's just – you know, man, I... I'm working for a demon now. I don't even know who you are. I just... I just need a second to adjust.
SAM:Look... this is a crap situation. I get it. But, Dean, I am still me – same melon, same memories. I-I still like the same music. I still think about Suzie Heizer.
DEAN:Biology class Suzie Heizer?
SAM:Can you blame me? Look, I know you don't trust me. And I can't take back what I did. But I'm going to prove it to you. I'm still your brother.
So, first, Sam is right. It doesn't look like they have any choice but to work the case. But we do get an idea of just how much he cannot stand working for a demon and also how hard it is for Dean to be working with this strange soulless Sam. Just because he knows what is wrong with Sam doesn't make any difference in how uncomfortable he is with him.
When they get to the crime scene, Sam is all charm with the local police.
DETECTIVE:What are the Feds doing here?
SAM:Oh, we're specialists. They call us in to answer the questions of mouth-breathing dick monkeys.
Which is I guess how FBI usually act toward local police - on TV anyway LOL The detective thinks nothing of it (or at least it's useless to get angry over).
He tells them that the incidents are animal attacks, but the fact that the hearts have been eaten suggests to Sam and Dean that this must be indeed a werewolf and this time it's Dean that has his sarcastic remark:
DEAN: An animal out here. What, you think it came for the sailing?
The next scene. This in itself is another reason why the episode is worth a rewatch for me. Excuse me for a minute while I wallow in that nice muscular arm, that adorable way he rubs his nose against the pillow and then rubs his eye with the back of his hand etc. etc..... (click for original - larger - sizes ;) )
While Dean has been sleeping, Sam has been working. Because he doesn't sleep. He found a connection between the victims so they are on their way to question - and possibly kill a werewolf. This scene is again pretty enjoyable.
They talk with Cal, who blacks out practically every night while drinking, and is behind his rent (with the landlord who was the first victim) and had called the cops on his brother (the second victim) for drunken disorderly conduct. He also just happens to live with his girlfriend, her child and their dog, Lucky.
Sam is sure this is a werewolf and thinks they should take him to Crowley, but Dean insists on making sure before they hand him over to a "lifetime of demon rape."
They stake out on Cal as he stays up all night drinking and finally at daybreak Dean insists he's not going to wolf out and they go home for some shut-eye... Dean's at least. While they are gone, Cal gets attacked by Lucky his dog, and dies. Actually, this is very interesting. I don't think we've actually seen many episodes where WE know the culprit before the boys do, have we? We see Lucky (what a name!) turn into human form, then go back to his home. (Wait... did he go home naked? Or was that transformation just for our sake? That is a bit weird.)
We do see him seemingly naked again - but cleaned up now, staring at his "woman" as she sleeps (Cannon: Vampires and skinwalkers both watch the people they love as they sleep), then turns into a dog again and nestles up to her, licking her awake. This is such normal behavior for a dog and we'd think nothing of it if we didn't have the image of the creepy guy in our heads.
As Mandy wakes up, she hugs Lucky and tells "him" that he is the only decent boyfriend she's ever had. Again something we'd totally say to our own dogs right? But totally creepy when we think of guy and what he must be thinking of that. More than possessive obviously, because he trails her to the shower and watches her take off her clothes. (This dog is awesome by the way. His face is so expressive!)
In another part of town, Sam and Dean are checking out Cal's body. It's obvious now that Cal was not the werewolf. So who? Sam thinks that the only other person it could be is Mandy.
SAM:I mean, Mandy is right at the deep end of the vic pool. Can you do it?
SAM:Shove her in the trunk, serve her up to Crowley.
DEAN:Yeah, Sam, I can do it.
Now, Sam has already been wrong about Cal, but he is still throwing caution in the wind and acting as though Dean's reluctance is some sort of weakness. He doesn't seem to understand that it would be much more efficient and in their interest to make sure and not make a mistake. He doesn't seem to have much of a brain here - well I guess this is one of the things he is missing. He isn't scared. So, he's not hesitant. Which means that he gets the wrong person and probably misses the monster quite a bit. And it doesn't matter to him. We see that later on when they start looking up the case he worked during this time.
While this is happening, Mandy is taking care of her boy. It seems he has a fever. Lucky also brings him a toy and they play with it together. Lucky is a bit too rough and the toy rips apart. Mandy doesn't think much of the toy ripping. It's a mistake a large dog might make, possibly, but it is also actually pretty telling of how Lucky's love for the "family" tends to express it's self violently.
Later, Mandy is ready to take Lucky off for a walk and Lucky is sitting by the television watching the news, to see what they say regarding his own attacks.
MANDY:What, am I interrupting the morning show? Come on. Let's go for a walk.
While they are out, Sam and Dean come up to them and find out that Mandy doesn't know about Cal's death - they have to break it to her. She is obviously shocked when we see them again in the kitchen in the next scene.
Sam is determined to put Mandy in the trunk and insists she come with them right away "to answer some questions" but when she tells them that her son had been sick all night and she had not had more than a half an hour's sleep for taking care of him, Dean asks to see the son. Sam is totally dense and doesn't understand why. But Dean confirms with the son (I guess) that his mom indeed was there taking care of him all night and that puts her off the hook. Sam is still sure that she is the only suspect.
DEAN:She's got an alibi.
DEAN:You heard the kid, dude. She's not lying.
SAM:Fine. She still had time to wolf out, Dean. The last werewolf was in bed, with me, and she wolfed out.
DEAN:Don't make this personal. Look, all I'm saying is that between this and the daylight attacks, something's not adding up.
That was such a sad episode, but soulless Sam incensed with the fact that a werewolf dared to wolf out while he was in bed with her is very funny.
He suggests that Dean go back and research while he watches Mandy. Dean at first is reluctant to let him watch Mandy on his own - thinking of the possibility that Sam might act before making sure or do something behind Dean's back. But Sam insists that he is just going to watch and so Dean agrees.
SAM:Dean, I still know how to do my job. I'm just gonna watch her. That's all. Trust me.
(Dean is definitely not convinced.)
While Sam watches the house, he sees Lucky turn to his human form and go off to talk with someone in the park. I guess Lucky is using Cal's clothes here? I wonder if he just throws them away every time he comes home so that (Cal and) Mandy don't notice?
Luckey catches Sam's scent after his randezvous and bolts. Sam runs after him as he changes form into a dog (leaving the clothes behind in a pile) and there is no way that Sam can catch him now, until Lucky stupidly runs into the street where a car is driving by. He gets hit, and the driver quickly puts him in the back to take him to a hospital as Sam tries to shout at them to stop.
While that's happening, Dean is sitting on the bed in that brooding position we saw last ep, cellphone in hand. The name LISA is visible in his phone list and he's staring at it sadly and with longing. To me, this really indicates how ungrounded Dean is at this point. As he said before, he's riding around with a person who is just not his brother, he's working for a demon and he just wishes he could have that little bit of happiness and stability he had had with Lisa before. But he closes his phone, flings it to the table and is walking to the kitchen to get something when the phone rings. It's Sam. Dean answers tiredly and hears how their target is not a werewolf but a skinwalker. An animal shifter that shifts from it's animal form into human form with ease and has the same sort of appetite and weakness and infection method (single bite) as a werewolf does.
Sam has an idea of where Lucky is and I guess confirms before getting Dean to come with him. When they get to what looks like the pound, Dean tells Lucky about the silver bullets in his gun (Lucky whines) and then shows him some clothes and scary looking silver collar.
DEAN:Okay, time to go. Now, we can either do this the easy way –
DEAN:Or the hard way.
Sam laughs inappropriately and Dean glances back at him.
SAM:What? Soul or not, that's funny.
So, they actually walked out of the place with Lucky in human form? I would have liked to see how they got him back to the motel without him bolting... They wouldn't have been able to stop him if he had I don't think. Anyway, the next time we see him he's tied up with rope that's lined with silver on a chair in the motel.
Sam takes a go at the interrogations - which consists of making fun of Lucky and threatening to carve him up. (CRINGE! But like most of those cringe worthy scenes, it's actually more bareable and a bit funny even as a gif :P Anyone want an icon? :D)
It doesn't work. Lucky's not talking. But then Dean takes the communicative, empathetic approach (This reminds me of a scene in Season 9 where roles were reversed).
LUCKY (MAN):Look, I can't say anything.
DEAN:But if you don't, then you're gonna put the girl and the little boy in danger. And sooner or later, all this crap is gonna come for them. Now, look – We don't give a rat's ass about you. We want to help them. That's our angle. That's it.
Lucky, knowing what the skinwalkers have planned for his family, blurts out everything he knows about the plan to increase skin walkers quickly. Dean then convinces him to help stop this plan from happening to save the family. ... well, after Sam treats him like a dog again and throws a ball which is so totally not appropriate or even useful. Sam doesn't have tact because he can't feel and he can't understand how other people are influenced by feeling either. This is one of those scenes I can't watch. I cringe and look the other way and - if this wasn't a public rewatch where I had to make sure not to miss anything relevant - I would have totally skipped over. (I really don't know why he has a ball in the first place. Did he swipe it from the hospital? or did he buy it to goad Lucky with?) Anyway, it is very important to note and remember that this is not soulled Sam. This is a "heartless" Sam without any feeling for anything other than his survival, and he probably thinks this "talk" is useless. Faster to just do some carving.
I've also realized in my talks with friends in the comments that loyalty is what Lucky is showing here toward his family. He is taking action to defend his family - which is what dogs (and cats) usually do for their loving family because he cares about them. It is a risk, yes, because the skinwalkers are strong and many and he could be put in danger. But it doesn't matter. He would make the decision to save his family over his own interests. Lucky can also be seen in comparison to Sam because Sam obviously doesn't care about his family in that way. He doesn't have this same sense of loyalty. In the same situation, he would give his family up.
The next scene is one of my favorite in this episode - not just for the talk between Sam and Dean but just the imagery of them walking toward us under the bridge(and the wind in Sam's hair :D). In the talk, Dean shows Sam the long range rifle to take out the skinwalkers so that they don't have to go near them. Which means that Dean has no intention of trying to capture anyone and hand them over to Crowley.
SAM: Crowley's not gonna be too happy about that.
DEAN:Who gives a rat's ass? We let that thing live one second, and it sends out that psychic dog whistle and [hand motions] phew!
SAM:On the other hand, it could lead us to an Alpha. Then Crowley would give me my soul back.
DEAN:Are you kidding? 150 people turned into monsters. That's what you want?
SAM:No. Of course not. I... I'm just asking.
DEAN:All right, you know what? That's it.
DEAN:You say you're "just folks," yeah? That – that you like baseball and apple pie or whatever. But truth is, I don't know what you are 'cause you're not Sam.
SAM:Dean, come on.
DEAN:I mean, it's your gigantor body and – and maybe your brain, but it's not you. So just... stop pretending. Do us both a favor.
Sam here is more interested in getting his soul back than in diminishing the threat of monsters and saving people. He would have been a perfect hunter for Crowley on his own. The funny thing is, Sam went out of his way to try to convince Dean in the beginning that he really still was Sam, but maybe from the relief of Dean knowing what is wrong and still being with him, he doesn't seem to be pretending to be caring at all and Dean sees how cruel and un-Samlike he is. Sam is looking worried as he looks at Dean and I suspect he is genuinely worried that Dean will leave him and not help him get his soul back as he mentions later. The last part of the scene where they are walking toward the screen, we see Sam glancing toward Dean like he's trying to read his thoughts as Dean walks purposefully. It may be that Sam is thinking how it might be better to be completely honest with Dean and tell him the truth.
Next we see them at the top of a building next to where Lucky has called the leaders of the pack for a talk, possibly. Or maybe they called him and he just let Sam and Dean know. I'm not sure. I will tell you all again that I just looove Dean with a rifle or any sort of weapon. While Dean gets his aim ready and watches Lucky, Sam at first gets the binoculars to take a peak at Lucky. He sees that Lucky is walking back and forth nervously and notes that if it were him, he's double cross them.
DEAN:Nah, he'll go through with it.
SAM:You mean 'cause he loves that family?
SAM:I'd double-cross us.
DEAN:Thanks, Dexter. That's reassuring.
SAM:Just making conversation.
I love the way Dean looks back at Sam like, thanks for showing how heartless you are. Again, Sam is not trying very hard to hide or pretend to be the old Sam, even though he seems to want Dean to think he is still Sam. But he also seems genuinely curious about why someone would choose to go through with something that was a danger to them just to protect others. I like this scene of Sam as he's sitting with his back to what is going on, trying to puzzle out why Lucky would go through with such a plan/ have such loyalty - Sam in thought (albiet soulless Sam) under that incredibly blue sky is pretty awesome looking.
The pack leader is not happy with all the killings Lucky has been doing without orders - which now reminds me that the vampire alpha also did not allow the vamps to kill people either. The skinwalkers have kidnapped Lucky's family (Mandy and the little boy) and brought them as bargaining chips.
Dean tries to get a clear aim at the leader but he can't because the heads of those around him are in the way. They only have one shot at it, and Dean can't risk getting someone else instead. When everyone goes inside, Dean puts down his rifle, and Sam pops up to suggest Plan B - which is going in and a major attack on all of the skinwalkers. While the skinwalkers are talking and telling Lucky that he has to prove loyalty by turning Mandy and the child right away, they smell the Winchesters. Sam comes in through the front, brandishing his pistol, and gets two or three while the skinwalkers are still reacting.
Dean is up in the rafters with the rifle and gets a few more. He sees Lucky urge Mandy and the child to come with him to a safer place and keeping them in his aim (possibly too protect them from the others), he lets them go. Lucky takes Mandy and the boy to the office of what looks like a factory and tells them to bolt the door. He then turns to face one of the leaders who was possibly the one who turned him. He tries to punch the guy but he's obviously not very good at a fight in his human form and he decides to turn into the dog again, possibly because he thinks he has a better chance that way, but maybe also because he wants Mandy to see who is protecting them. I'm not sure.
The leader basically tells him he's stupid for thinking they'd have a dog fight and takes out his gun and shoots Lucky the dog in front of Mandy's eyes. We see Mandy's shock here in seeing her dog get shot. Of course she still has the love she had for the dog and can't conceive what is happening at this point I guess. Then, Dean gets a clear shot on the leader and shoots him. While Lucky doesn't turn back into human form with just an injury, the leader and those that are killed do turn into human form.
Sam checks around then comes back, possibly to finish Lucky off, but Lucky has disappeared, leaving a pool of blood.
We next see Lucky the man, knocking on Mandy's door.
LUCKY (MAN):Hi. One…. I'm not here to bother you. I just...Uh, I just want to say one thing. You and Aidan... You're the only family I ever had. And I know – I know that sounds – I know... I know what I am. It... it's just that no one has ever been so nice to me before, so... So, thank you.
MANDY:Get away from this house, you psycho. And if you ever, ever come near me or my son again, so help me...
And this again is a scene that I cringe and don't want to watch or listen to if I can help it. I don't know what the writers are trying to say with it. I don't know what Lucky expected either. Maybe he thought that there was a chance they might take him in? Or maybe thank him for saving their lives? Or maybe he truly just wanted to let them know how thankful he was? Which is very courageous of him except - he's killed all those people and that's just not acceptable behavior in the eyes of a normal human being. One thing we have to remember and which we were reminded of in Live Free or Twihard as well, is that monsters think differently from human beings. Maybe if he HAD turned them, they would have thought differently of him, understood him better being the same monster themselves. Maybe he would have truly attained a family then. (Maybe if he had the face and body of Jared or Jensen Mandy would have BEGGED to be turned on the spot :P) Well, we will never know. Poor doggy limps away not caring if a car came and killed him on the spot. Let me note here though that Lucky seems to be surprisingly unhurt despite being shot. All he has is the limp and a bit of blood on his leg. Maybe the bullet wasn't silver and he recovered really fast? (Although, I'm pretty sure the guy who shot him said it was silver)
Jumping to Sam and Dean, they are eating their takeout at a park bench and soulless Sam is ready for a very surprising confession. He lied. He's not Sam. He doesn't care about anyone. Not Lisa and Ben, not even Dean. In other words, it's true what Crowley said at the beginning. Dean knows this, I think, but it's still painful to hear from Sam. Dean's expressions here are so heartbreaking. I feel his loneliness so much.
DEAN:Is this supposed to make me feel better?
SAM:You wanted the real me. This is it. I don't care about them. I don't even really care about you. Except that... I need your help. And you're clearly not gonna stick around for much longer unless I give it to you straight, so... I've done a lot worse than you know. I've killed innocent people in the line of duty. But I'm pretty sure it's not something the old me could've done. And maybe I should feel guilty. But I don't.
DEAN:Sam, get to the punch line.
SAM:I don't know if how I am is better or worse. It's different. You get the job done, and nothing really hurts. That's not the worst thing. But I've been thinking. And it was... it was kinda harder. But there are also things about it I remember that I... Let's just say I think I should probably go back to being him.
DEAN:That's very interesting. It's a step.
Tada! And here it is. The reason why Sam came and got Dean in the first place - even when he didn't know the reason he didn't feel and didn't sleep. He wants Dean to help him return to the way he used to be because although sometimes it's easier without all the pain, somehow it's better with all the feels despite the pain.And we don't really get an answer on WHY he thinks it's better. I think we do get some hints of that from Dean in the future episodes. This whole soulless Sam reminds me of a person who's gone through so much trauma and hurt from loss of a loved one that they shut off all their feelings and go through life mechanically. Life feels easier if they can just shut off all that pain, but maybe that pain is what they need to feel and overcome in order to truly feel alive.
Anyway, bla. I think I'm done.