OK, so this is one episode that maybe a lot of people don't like as much as some others? Because despite a slow coming back of our rewatchers after the holidays I've had VERY few reactions to the poll! If you don't like it, tell me that too!! I'll be honest and say that the ten rating in there is mine. There are 22 episodes aye? You've got to rate some lower than 10. And the reason? Hmmm, maybe just because it wasn't as intense as some others?
But, even such episodes make up for it with some funny scenes and some meaningful ones and this episode is important to understanding Sam's state of mind after the awful revelation by Dean which has brought all his fears from before to a forefront. And I didn't notice, being more interested in Dean's face*blush*... but there are some rather nice Sam scenes in this one that a Sammy-girl might go crazy over. Thankfully I got the heads up on that and did my best to show those.
So, let's start with the music!
MUSIC LINK:"Voodoo Spell" by Michael Burkes (plays when Sam is looking for Ava)
The episode starts with the MOW and our first victim at a very old and established inn in Cornwall, Connecticut where people's grandparents and even their great grandparents have gotten engaged or married. First we see the two cute girls watching what is going on.
As first-timers, Maggie swearing like that just seems like the thing a naughty girl would do to try out the words. But in reality she (the spirit) is expressing her displeasure with this man who is taking Tyler away from her, aye?
And the spooky doll collection! - the way the actual man goes through the same death as the doll in the doll house I guess is supposed to remind us of voodoo dolls and their uses. Poor man - he was very nice.
On to the Winchesters! Sam still looking for Ava and having no luck. Dean is helping by going to various places and using his techniques to ask around and is in charge of the food run as usual while Sam is using his computer to look into various data bases. We have the above music during this time, all in preparation I guess, for the main story. I'm always amazed by the choice in music and the thought that goes into it.
Sam: Look. I'm the one who told her to go back home. Now her fiancé's dead and some demon has taken her off to God knows where. You know? But we've been looking for a month now, and we've got nothing. So I'm not giving up on her, but I'm not going to let other people die either. We've got to save as many people as we can.
Dean:Wow. That attitude is just way too healthy for me, and I'm officially uncomfortable now. Thank you.
So Sam has been feeling really bad about how it ended up with Ava - like it's his fault for making her go home - but reminiscent of Everybody Loves a Clown if you come to a dead end in something, it's best to work on something else. So they are off on a case introduced by Ellen - again. But it is not just that aye? Sam seems like he has a "healthy attitude" but he has another motive, another thought behind his determination to keep going which we and Dean will be surprised to find later.
When they get to the Inn, Dean is excited to be working a case in an old fashioned mansion which might have come up in one of the many horror films he must have watched.
Dean: Old school haunted houses, you know? Fog, and secret passageways ... sissy British accents. Might even run into Fred and Daphne while we're inside. Mmm, Daphne. Love her. (Sorry - had to look that up... that's a reference from Scooby-Doo aye?)
It is Sam who finds the voodoo mark on the planter outside. And they immediately assume that that is what is causing the deaths.
Sam: Right, yeah. You fill this thing with bloodweed and you've got a powerful charm to ward off enemies.
Dean: Yeah, except I don't see any bloodweed. Don't you think this place is a little too, uh, whitemeat for hoodoo?
Inside, they are mistaken for antiquers (which they encourage) and for a gay couple (no, no... we are just brothers.) The second time after Bugs? No, third time after Something Wicked and that worldly-wise older brother... Tyler and Maggie seem to be playing tag or something. They run through the hall. I wonder if the boys saw both girls at this point? Or if they just saw Tyler running. In any case, they go with the understanding that there are two girls. Not just one.
The grandpa doorman tells them how old this place is and how his parents used to work here. In his mind, it is the grand inn where Presidents have stayed. He wants his tip - which Dean reluctantly gives him!
You're not gonna ... cheap out on me, are you, boy?
And here another embarrassing scene I cannot watch. Dean telling the owner that Sam is a doll collector. OMG *cover face* Poor Sam. But he reluctantly goes along with it and they get into the room to look around. Sam remarks on the replica of the inn and sees the doll with the twisted around head like what happened to the man earlier. They find out that these dolls were the grandmother's. Unfortunately she is sick and they cannot see her.
So they go back to do some more research - Dean with the legwork, and Sam with the computer but Dean cannot help but shoot Sam a line about surfing porn - leaving Sam with that exasperated face of his.
While they are doing that, though, we have our second doll-murder victim. Dean is watching outside as they carry the man out, and Sam is watching from the window.
Susan: Had a lot of bad luck around here. Look, if you'd like to check out I'll give you a full refund.
Dean: No thanks. I don't scare that easy.
But Sam is not himself. He is in despair over his future "destiny" and he all of a sudden feels very very discouraged about not being able to save Ava or this second man. He gets drunk! Now we know Sammy never drinks more than one beer but this time he drinks some tequila and is completely plastered. We never see him this drunk until that episode in Season 8 and even then he can still walk. When Dean comes back he is very surprised by Sam being so unprofessional in the middle of a job. It's not like him.
Sam: You're bossy. And short. (remind anyone of asylum?)
Dean: Are you drunk?
Sam: Yeah. So? Stupid.
Dean: Dude, what are you thinking? We're working a case.
Sam has been thinking - if he saves as many people as he possibly can, maybe he can change his "destiny." Well, that is not going so good at the moment 2 people he should have saved are dead. Everyone around him dies! (Remind you of this week's Season 9 epi?)
I wonder what is going through Dean's head at this moment? Fierce protectiveness is my guess. I'm going to protect him and save him if it kills me. He tries to put Sam to bed but Sam won't go unless Dean promises him something.
Sam: No! No, no, no. You have to watch out for me, all right? And if I ever ... turn into something that I'm not ... you have to kill me.
Which is, I guess, what John meant to say and Sam with this horror of possibly becoming the kind of monster he hunts does not let Dean go until he promises. Dean, thinking he won't remember it in the morning, gives his promise, just to shut him up and get him into bed. But it hurts.
Sam: No, please! Dean, you're the only one who can do it. Promise.
Dean:Don't ask that of me.
Sam tucks his hands under his pillow and falls into a relieved sleep after Dean's reluctant, "I promise." Dean stands by Sam's bed watching his brother sleep for a while. Oh Sam! Oh Dean! This scene is what makes this episode worth watching for me - and Dean will be haunted by this promise in future episodes aye?
He walks down to the bar and has a talk with the footman/bartender, who tells him many things. It's always good to have an old man around to tell you tales if you are looking for clues of spirits or ghosts. This scene is supposed to be reminiscent of the same kind of scene in The Shining as is their room number - 237 (which was the room number in Something Wicked as well).
Dean:I'd love to hear some stories.
Sherwin: Boy, you should never say that to an old man.
The next morning, when Dean gets back from wherever he was, he finds poor hungover Sam in the bathroom. I love the shot of Sam as seen in the mirror.
Dean teases Sam and tries to find out how much Sam remembers from yesterday... hoping he doesn't remember anything. The grin of relief on his face...
Dean:How you feeling, Sammy? I guess mixing whisky and Jäger wasn't such a gangbuster idea, was it?
I'll bet you don't remember a thing from last night, do you?
Sam: Ohh, I can still taste the tequila.
Dean:You know, there's a really good hangover remedy -- it's a, it's a greasy pork sandwich served up in a dirty ashtray. (from a famous 80s movie The Sounds of Science)
Sam: Oh, I hate you.
And here is another cute little quote...
Sam:All right. I think it's time we talked to Rose, then.
Dean:Oh. You can brush your teeth first.
So off they go to find grandma Rose sitting in that little room way up in what looks like the attic. Who would put a grandma in such a place I wonder. But it is supposed to be reminiscent of Psycho - that explains things a bit. They find out that the grandma has had a stroke and is in no condition to have been practicing voodoo. Funny quote here too.
(Does that remind anyone of the episode in Season 8 where the kids were prodding at those bloated bodies with a stick?... sorry that was an icky scene. But I really love this look of speculation on Dean's face and Sam's frustration)
So, they get caught by Susan and she tells them to leave or she calls the police. They quickly get into the car and ... pretend to leave. But they must have turned back or left the car somewhere and crept back. They were there to rescue Susan from the car that tries to attack her. Which reminds me of the Pilot and I guess it reminds Dean and Sam too, because they are pretty sure now that it is a spirit. Dean has a hard time explaining and they really don't have time for this. They tell her the truth and she somehow believes them. They go to get Tyler so they can leave when they find her gone. Susan tells them about Margaret, Rose's sister and how she died in the pool. They rush over to the pool and find Tyler standing by herself, hanging on to the rails above the pool, hesitant about jumping in. As soon as she loosens her hold to turn around toward her mother's voice, Maggie pushes her in and down she goes.
Sam and Dean have a hell of a time trying to open the doors to the pool, which have been closed tight through supernatural source but Sam, with his determination to save as many people as possible and change his destiny, is the one to get in there first and dive in to rescue Tyler. By that time Margaret has already been called away by Rose and Sam has a chance.
Does the rescue scene remind everyone of another scene in Season 1? We actually have a Sam equivalent of Dead in the Water here aye? And the interesting thing is there are other parallels between the two as well. Firstly, in both episodes they are unable to save everyone. They don't really get rid of the spirit themselves - it is the parent and the grandparent that sacrifice themselves for their children. Secondly, in this episode, Sam apologizes to the mother for not being able to save the parent or grandparent, and the mother says,
You have nothing to apologize for. You've given me everything.
and... let's see... in Dead in the Water...
Sam: Andrea, I'm sorry.
Andrea: You saved my son. I can't ask for more than that.
And remember the kiss Andrea gave to Dean there? We've got a hug for Sam here...
Sam and Dean, walking back to the car, Dean suggesting Sam could have "had some fun" cause Susan sure looked like she liked Sam, and
Dean: Well, you saved the mom, you saved the girl. Not a bad day. 'Course you know, I could have saved 'em myself, but I didn't want you to feel useless.
But Sam hadn't forgotten what they had talked about and brings up the promise Dean made.
Sam:...it doesn't change what we talked about last night, Dean.
Dean:You were wasted.
Sam: But you weren't. And you promised.
Oh... and we do get that scene with the creepy doll that looks exactly like Maggie, smiling down on the two girl spirits as they play happily.
I wonder if they are going to keep killing anyone who tries to tear down the house, and what is going to happen to them when it does get torn down. It kind of made me wonder if Sam and Dean told Susan to burn the bones....