supernutjapan (supernutjapan) wrote,

Rewatching 4-12 Criss Angel Is a Douchebag

Another week, another episode.  This is not an episode I remember with fondness. Maybe because the story is not as exciting as others - it is in a way similar to our last episode - but maybe also because I subconsciously remember the pain and heartache involved.  There is way too much of that this ep. But when I do rewatch it, I appreciate it and am glad I did.  I see two major themes addressed here.  The first is the question of what is right and wrong?  What's more important, not letting your brother down, or saving people you might not even know?  The second theme is Sam and Dean's different ways of looking at life - their goal oriented and process oriented views of life can be seen quite clearly and influences Sam in his important decision at the end of the episode.

So let's get started!

I Am the Douchebag (Douchebag Theme) by Christopher Lennertz & Steve Frangadakis(the song that plays when Jeb Dexter is killed)
She Makes Me Fall Down by Buva(plays when Dean and Sam meet Jay in the diner)

The episode starts with a stuck up and mean magician, Vance, totally putting an older magician, Jay, down  in front of the ladies.  Not a pretty sight and the ladies don't like it either.  Unfortunately the bartender calls Jay an "old man" and that ends up being the last straw.
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Next scene the three old magician friends, Jay, Charlie and Vernon are watching a young magician practicing for his big show.  Jay's two friends are making disgusted remarks about the young magician Jeb - calling him a douchebag.  Jay, though, feels the guy  has a right to be a douchebag since he's so popular.

CHARLIE:We're doing all right.
JAY:No, we're not. We're sad, we're old, and we're dying.

Jay feels its all over for him. He'd rather go out with a bang than suffer the indignities of being old.  He decides to do a dangerous trick that he's only done once before, of getting out of restraints in time to avoid long needlelike spikes falling on top of him.
CHARLIE:You almost killed yourself the last time you tried it, and that was thirty years ago!
JAY:Oh, who cares if it kills me? At least I'll go out with a headline.

Jay does the act and he miraculously succeeds. Our douchebag magician from the night before dies instead. On a rewatch, we know that Charlie is the one that uses real magic to save Jay here. And this is the first time he does it in this age as far as we know. He is basically saving Jay from certain death - by sacrificing another person who is a douchebag but doesn't deserve to die for it.  But I don't think he thinks he has a choice.  He does it because he feels he has to to save his "brother."

Anyway, this is where Sam and Dean come into the story.  They are walking along outside and see Jeb, another famous magician and just as much of a douchebag -  Dean can smell douchebags a mile away.
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DEAN: What a douchebag.
SAM: It's Jeb Dexter.
SAM: He's famous, sort of.
DEAN: For what?! Douchebaggery?

Sam, it seems, knows him for his magic - sort of.  And we find out that Sam used to be into magic when he was 13 - which is a nice little tidbit.  It bothers Dean quite a bit that people are using "demons" in their tricks when there are actual demons around who can "kill you bloody."

They go to talk with Vance's assistant and find out how much of a douchebag he was, as well as the fact that he had a tarrot card in his pocket.  Vance hated card tricks.  She says.  Which is interesting, considering how he was making fun of Jay's card tricks.

Charlie is with Jay in his room - asking him how he did the trick.

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JAY:You didn't think I could do it did you.
CHARLIE: No, I didn't.
(Charlie thinks: You couldn't. So I did it for you...)  You're my friend, Jay.  My best friend.  I just didn't want you to get hurt.
Charlie also tries to stop him from doing the executioner, maybe because he does not want to have to kill someone for Jay again.  Charlie is not necessarily bad - even though he may have killed some "innocents" he did it for his friend, and (as Jay says) his brother.
JAY: Let's not end up like this, Charlie, a couple old farts doing birthdays and bar mitzvahs.
CHARLIE: Beats dying.
JAY:Does it?
CHARLIE:I would do anything for you. You know that. But I will not watch you die. I'll miss that show.
JAY:No, you'll be there. You're always there for me.

And why am I all of a sudden reminded of Swan Song and getting all teary?

Meanwhile, Jeb is getting ready to interview Jay and complaining on the phone about Criss Angel who is  working with Circ D'Soliel and how he needs a gig like that.  I finally caught this - this rewatch.  Never knew what the title meant before :P  So Criss Angel is an actual magician, very similar in style to this Jeb guy :)  I don't know if the writers have something personal against him, but it kind of reminds me of how they make fun of a singer in a later ep. I guess it's also a play on words regarding the angels in the show and possibly Castiel. Maybe they are trying to make a point that all good magicians are douchebags but all magicians will one day get old and lose their touch so don't begrudge them a bit of douchebaggery? I mean, Jay and Charlie and Vernon must have been douchebags too when they were young and famous?

Anyway, on with the story.

Dean is questioning Charlie and Vernon and they figure out that the badges are fake very easily. Dean gets "had." Quite a funny scene.

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CHIEF: You ain't been had until you been had by the Chief.

While that's going on, Ruby's gone to visit Sam.
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RUBY:Well, you can quit dicking around here, for one. Bigger fish, Sam. And if the seals are being broken, you might want to go after the one doing the breaking.
RUBY:Cut the head off the snake. You're the only one who can stop her, Sam. So step up and kill the little bitch.
SAM:Oh, I'm game, believe me. It's not the psychic thing I got a problem with.
RUBY:Yeah, I know what you got a problem with, but tough. It's the only way.
RUBY:You know, this would all be so much easier if you'd just admit to yourself that you like it. That feeling that it gives you.
SAM:You don't know what you're talking about.
RUBY:Oh I don't, huh? Fine. It's simple. Lucifer rises, the apocalypse starts. You think that you have demons on your hands now? People are gonna die, Sam. Oceans of people. So you just let me know when you're ready.

The fun thing on a rewatch is listening to Ruby here and seeing how she twists the truth to get Sam to kill Lilith, her objective being totally the opposite of Sam's. As I said, this is one demon I love to hate. She is just incredible. And Sam thinks that by killing Lillith he can save all these people. These innocent people... When really, by killing Lillith he would make it happen instead.

He starts to think about what Ruby said seriously. At this point, it's just about saving all those innocent people and maybe about how he likes that feeling the blood gives him...

When Dean catches up to him at the show, Sam is deep in thought and doesn't hear Dean talking at first.

Well, they talk to the two old timers and Dean threatens them, but soon finds out they know he's not really a badge, so he changes his story. They are really aspiring magicians.

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SAM: It's a brother act.
(This suddenly reminded me of a future ep about brother/sister acts - psychics I think...)

And Charlie urges them to watch the spectacular "trick." We actually see him leaving in the middle of the act to go back stage like he did the first time. I guess he needs to put the finishing touches on the spell? Dean is delighted by the executioner but Sam can see there is something unnatural about it.

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DEAN Oh! That was amazing! That was freakin' amazing!
SAM That was...not humanly possible.

In the meantime, the young douchebag Jeb dies in Jay's stead.

Here we have a very important scene between Sam and Dean at the motel. Sam is still considering what Ruby said when Dean brings up how he wants to be dead before he gets old like these old timer magicians.

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SAM: You think we will?
DEAN: What?
SAM: Die before we get old.
DEAN: Haven't we both already?
SAM: You know what I mean, Dean. I mean, do you think we'll still be chasing demons when we're 60?
DEAN: No, I think we'll be dead...for good. What? You want to end up like -- Like travis? Huh?Or Gordon, maybe?
SAM: There's Bobby.
DEAN: Oh, yeah, there's a poster child for growing old gracefully.
SAM: Maybe we'll be different, Dean.
DEAN: What kind of Kool-Aid you drinking, man? Sammy, it ends bloody or sad. That's just the life.
SAM: What if we could win?
DEAN: "Win"?
SAM: If there was a way we could just...put an end to all of it.
DEAN: Is there something going on you're not telling me?
SAM: No.
DEAN: Sammy.
SAM: No. Look, I'm just saying...I just wish there was a way we could...go after the source. That's all. Cut the head off the snake.
DEAN: Well, the problem with the snake is that it has a thousand heads. Evil bitches just keep piling out of the Volkswagen.
SAM: Yeah. Guess you're right.

This reminds me of Dean's talk with Rufus over some old whiskey... remember that? The one where Dean was licking his lips so seductively? Right... so Dean says almost the same thing that Rufus said to him. Unfortunately this has a rather unfortunate effect on Sam because Sam has always been goal oriented. His goal, to settle down and live a normal life after it's all over. Dean, on the other hand is more about having fun on the way - basically doing what he wants. Eating, enjoying the girls, hunting...even this he enjoys. It's his calling and as Zach says later, he'll choose it every time. Dean doesn't have a goal. A light at the end of the tunnel. So it doesn't bother him to admit that he'd rather die young then be a sad old man. Dean admitting this to Sam, though... if only Dean could have been a bit more like Ruby...more manipulative ... Sam may not have chosen what he did. The bleak future Dean portrays makes Sam lean more heavily toward the chance of killing Lilith and ending it all for good (and living happily ever after). Because he needs a happy ending to keep going, Dean!

Anyway, they decide to go and find out more about the case - Sam by keeping track of Jay, Dean with some research on the tarot card. Dean finds out about the second murder and finds another tarot card on Jed's body so they are off to catch Jay (who's gotten away from Sam). They believe that he is the one doing the dark magic. They go to confront him in his room. Jay acts scared and seems like he does not know what they are talking about.

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DEAN Something's not right.
SAM Usually they're whipping some badass hoodoo at us by now.

(I love this. So, they were expecting a hoodoo spell huh? I wonder if they were prepared? Did they have a deflection spell or something? It's funny to think that every time they confront a witch or whoever might have real magic, they are going in with the assumption that they will inevitably be thrown about and they are just relying on their unending luck to get by.)

Anyway, they go off to the other side of the room together after tying Jay up... and this reminds me of our recent Season 10 ep so much... when they come to the conclusion that it is someone he knows and they should ask him personally, they turn around and find that Jay's slipped the ropes! Come on guys!
CW101 DB106
DEAN Guess we should have seen that one coming.

Jay is smart. He's hiding in a closet or bathroom or something while the boys go rushing down the stairs, thinking he went out the door. Jay then proceeds to call the police and has them arrested. It's a good thing he didn't have real magic the way he's flinging them about without :P

Sam and Dean are now out of the picture - at the police station and unable to stop what comes next. But, they've planted the idea in Jay's head and, as unlikely as he would have believed it, it is all too much of a coincidence. He confides in Charlie. Of course Charlie makes little of the whole idea to deflect Jay's doubts and worries. And he urges Jay on, telling him that just seeing Jay do so well now makes him feel young too. But this time, he's planning to stage his own death. I don't quite know how this works, because the trick shouldn't work if Charlie didn't really die. So maybe Charlie does die once aye? Jay is so shocked by Charlie's death that he has to hear more of what Sam and Dean have to say and stop the deaths if he can. He drops the charges against Sam and Dean. Sam and Dean explain to him that whoever is doing the spell likes Jay. And since Charlie is already dead, they suggest that Vernon might be the one working it. Jay can't believe that Vernon would do something like this.

DEAN See, the thing about real magic is it's a whole lot like crack. People do surprising things once they get a taste of it.
JAY You better be damn sure about this. Vernon's all I got left.

And we get a shot to Sam... and we think of his demon powers and how it's probably a lot like crack too...
So they agree that Jay would call Vernon out to talk with him while Sam and Dean would find evidence in Vernon's room that Vernon actually did it. Sam and Dean find nothing in Vernon's room to indicate that he may have done it. All they find is stuff Vernon has collected through the years. But when they look through those, they find an old poster of a magician looking a lot like Charlie and they know.

While they are doing that, Jay is accusing Vernon and young Charlie pops out of the curtains of the stage, telling Jay that Vernon didn't kill him. He tells them of how he got a grimoire from an old magician and learned how to live forever. How he's been doing a different spell on Jay to save him and how he wants both of them to join him in living forever.
CHARLIE:I used them to give you a gift. And you wanted it, Jay. I saw it in your eyes.
JAY: No, I never wanted this.
CHARLIE: You were ready to kill yourself. I saved your life.
VERNON: Is that right, Jay?
CHARLIE: I was there for you, like I've always been. Like I'll always be. Come with me, both of you. You think the first time around was good? The second time's even better. All the know how, none of the aches and pain.
JAY: No, I won't do this. I won't.
CHARLIE: I've never made this offer before. But, then again, I've never had friends like the two of you before. Let me do this for you.
JAY: And who else has to die so that we can live forever? What's the price tag on immortality? This isn't right, Charlie, what you're doing. You know that. Somewhere, you know that.

Dean and Sam come in in the middle of this, trying to stop it, but this time the expected hoodoo. And they go flying. Dean is choking, Sam is cuffed to the table with the pointy things above him,
CHARLIE: Just leave me and my friends alone. All right, I will give it up --The spells, the hexes. This is the last time. I promise.

But Jay uses the spell on Charlie and Charlie dies, knowing that his best friend and (practically) brother chose these people he didn't know over him.
Jay is in the same bar again, working his cards. His fingers are clumsy again and he is unable to cut the cards properly even. Sam and Dean come in and thank him for saving their lives.
JAY: I killed my best friend yesterday, and you want to thank me?
SAM: Where's Vernon?
JAY: Oh, he's gone. He said he didn't want to speak to me again after what I did to Charlie.
DEAN: Listen, know Charlie was never gonna give up what he was doing. Ever. You did the right thing.
JAY: Are you sure about that? You know, Charlie was like my brother. And now he's dead... because I did "the right thing." He offered me a gift, and I just threw it back in his face. So now I have to spend the rest of my life old and alone. What's so right about that?

Maybe it was seeing Jay old and alone without his friends, or maybe it was just such a depressing case - either way Sam decides he can't do this forever. He needs it to end so he (and Dean..maybe?) can have a chance to live "happily ever after". Sam tells Dean he's going to go out for a walk and meets with Ruby to start up the blood habit again.

The End.

Now, we can take Jay and Charlie's relationship and related it to Sam and Dean in various different ways. Dean, who'd rather go out with a bang and Sam who wants to save them both. Sam is also the one with the power - as is Charlie. And he wants to use it to save them, even if it might be considered wrong.

On the other hand, I don't know about you but that last line by Jay really gets to me. Of course he did the "right" thing killing his friend/brother who has killed innocent people for his own purposes. But was it really right for Jay to give up on his friend like that? Jay seems to regret what he did. Vernon leaves Jay because of it. And I'm also left with a bad taste in my mouth as I am sure are Dean and Sam. And so I start thinking about "right" and "wrong." About all the times Dean or Sam has sacrificed the lives of others for their own brother. And of course my mind goes to Season 9[Season 9 and 10 spoiler]and how Sam tells Dean: "everything that has ever gone wrong between us has been because we're family" and then how he ends up doing what he said he wouldn't in Season 10. And Dean who argues in Season 9 that he did it because it was the right thing, but now doubtfully asks Sam "was it right?" for Sam to have saved him.So anyway I'm thinking there may be two opposite "right"s here. And they are right for different reasons.

Of course stopping someone who is killing innocents for their own purpose is right. Why? It's a social rule that was made in order to live together in peace. We can't have people going around killing people. Society would break down. It would be a free-for-all.

And then there's natural instinct. This is all about sacrifice and saving the people you love. It's not just humans. It's an animal instinct to do everything - even die - to save the one(s) precious to you. Because they are what give meaning to our lives. And this is right too. Of course it doesn't mean you are excused from the social rule. But it is right because it is the natural order of things.

Maybe that is why I have a bad taste in my mouth when I think of Jay having to kill his best friend to save Sam and Dean. Maybe that is why I think it was right for Dean to keep saving Sam and Sam to keep trying to save Dean all through the seasons even though they may have inadvertently caused victims. And maybe that's why Sam and Dean are a bit confused by these two "rights."

That's what I gleamed this time around.

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