'Supernatural' 7.15 Recap: Sam Boards The Crazy Train
I took last week off not only because of my Sammy-sized clown phobia, but because I was forced into celebrating a milestone birthday. I’m back, though, significantly older than I was before. I did watch “Plucky Pennywhistle’s Magical Menagerie” in the safety of a psychiatrist’s office, and I thought that what the episode lacked in action on the front end, it made up the crackish humor “Supernatural” is known for, and that’s an episode after my own heart.
After watching “Repo Man,” which welcomed back one of my favorite characters in the devil himself, and unearthed some startlingly ugly realities about hunting, I wished I had booked that shrink for this week too. “Repo Man” was fantastic product of writer Ben Edlund’s eccentric and effed up brilliance and the best of the “Supernatural” mythology at work. It left me sufficiently wigged out and in need of a decontamination shower.
“Repo Man” started with a disturbing flashback to the glory days of Season 3 in Coeur D’Alene (which fittingly means "sharp-hearted" in French) when Dean’s soul was one of many in Lilith’s Lisa Frank purse, when Sam liked to imbibe in the mornings to dull the pain of his brother’s impending demise, and when Dean proudly wore the amulet and drove the Impala. They were in the midst of a demon interrogation that was squatting in a hapless postal worker named Jeffrey (the fantastic and freaky Russell Sams). The make-up was flawlessly realistic from the bluish swelling his of cheek to the deformity of battered knuckles. This demon had found joy in mutilating larger women and he was one of sleeper cell of demons deployed by Lilith. Nora, “the wiccan bitch of the west,” had helped the boys with their research, wanted to see the demon she helped fine. She was quickly overwhelmed by its slithering nastiness and beetle black eyes. After she left, Jeffrey consented to letting Sam and Dean torture the demon (and him by extension) into naming his superiors, which would confine him to the lower levels of hell, which I imagine as sitting through eons of Taylor Swift and Chris Brown Grammy performances. As Dean and Sam slashed and bludgeoned the demon with knives and salt water, and attacked his fingers with a foreboding ball-peen hammer, this easily made a case for Sam’s decision to telepathically exorcise and torture demons just a year later, because this poor schmuck doesn’t deserve this. The injuries he sustained were gruesome: “three smashed fingers, five teeth [knocked] out, a broken wrist, nose, cheekbone, collar bone, 160 stitches.”
Once the demon tattled, Dean exorcised it the old fashioned way and bundled him into the Impala while Sam cleaned up the cabin. Dean dumped the broken, traumatized man in the hospital parking lot and vanished. It was a sobering glimpse at how hunters operate, and it was off-putting to see my boys be so unflinchingly unconcerned. Like their dad.
In the present, Sam and Dean returned to Coeur D’Alene, Idaho because it appeared that the demon had returned and they still had “dick on Dick.” Sam immediately began to work, ignoring Lucifer’s colorful commentary on their latest eye sore of a motel room. He scratched off the avocado paint slapped over cinder blocks, marveling at the patina before eating a few chips. “Like a men’s room with beds.”
Sam used his old trick of pressing on the scar on the inside of his hand to banish Lucifer, and continued to work the case. I thought it was a major mistake for the writers not to use Mark Pellegrino’s Lucifer since this season’s second episode, “Hello Cruel World,” because he was animated and sadistically entertaining, part adoring teenager, part evil personified. Lucifer’s presence only reinforced that.
After finding an obvious cup of sulfur at the newest crime scene, Sam and Dean agreed that the demon was definitely back. They went back to Nora, the found of WiccanWeb.com, an online store for white magic only. She was properly terrified, and had painted a devil’s trap on her office floor. She’d also planned to skip town as she finished some translations of rare banishments. She causally inquired about Jeffrey reminded them that demons could be “sentimental” and often return to the same host. It seemed that she was purposely leading them to Jeffrey even in the first viewing.
Jeffrey was living in a half-way house that looked as was worse Sam and Dean’s motel room, because it was stuffed with ex-cons ranting about the lack of “skinemax.” But he seemed somewhat normal after enduring such brutality and was excited about picking up a pet later that afternoon. The dog was an adorable, if not dirty, little mutt that probably had as hard of a life as Jeffrey’s, but her tail always wagged and she followed him happily. I found it odd that he so eagerly investigated strange sounds from the alley after being jumped by evil four years ago, but luckily, it was only Sam and Dean that scared him and the pooch senseless. The boys informed Jeffrey that the demon was back and he panicked, of course. He explained to him his life after being possessed, how he “drank and drifted” after losing his job and then had to tell the truth because it was “more important than where he was.” Sadly, his truth equated to society’s definition of crazy. Dean knew what had happened next: “drunk tank to psych eval to 72-hour forced hold to a nice long stay at an institution of their choice.” I wonder if it was so neatly laid out as foreshadowing to what may or may not happen to Sam or simply because Dean had seen it before in other victims and hunters.
Jeffrey knew the identity of the next victim, thanks to the kill list the demon “burned into his head.” “Demons aren’t usually in the obsessive, serial-killer crap. They’re just all around evil. Why would he do this?” Dean wondered. They wouldn’t. Please don’t be stupid, Dean.
Sam left to follow the next victim, Marjorie Willis, while Dean stayed with Jeffrey, who was relieved that he wouldn’t be left alone.
As soon as Sam spotted a leather-clad loser leering at Marjorie, the library’s patrons began literally bashing their brains out by slamming their faces against the tables and books. At first I thought the demon was controlling them, but after Sam’s lack of reaction and Lucifer’s arrogant smirk, I knew it was his morbid creation. Sam frantically pressed his anti-Lucifer scar, and Lucifer whined like a five year old, “come on Sam, pay attention to me, I’m bored.” Luckily, the punk trailing Marjorie was just her boyfriend who came for a down and dirty quickie in the quiet corner of the library. Thanks for shattering the boring librarian stereotype, “Supernatural.”
Meanwhile, Dean bought Jeffrey’s story about the demon nesting in an abandoned warehouse and convinced him that he needed to come with him to confront his demons, pun gleefully intended. So Dean, gimpy Jeffrey and his adorable mutt ventured inside. Jeffrey easily led them through the factory even though the demon “kept it hidden” from him. He found a bloodied young man, missing an ear and chained to the chair. Without so much as a look to Jeffrey or a quick glance around that would’ve revealed the freshly painted demonic sigils painted on the windows, Dean rushed to help. The man jerked twisted and screamed into his gag while looking just over Dean’s shoulder to the threat behind him. Jeffrey—the wide-eyed, pitiable douchebag—jammed a hypodermic in his neck and injected its contents. It was a clearly a trap. Dean needed to be saved. Again.
Back at the library, Lucifer has abandoned his violent screams for attention and started helping Sam with the case, pointing out that the women were all dosed with tranquilizers before they were killed. Sam listened, double-checked the reports even as The Devil pointed out that demons can control people from their sheer power and don’t need to incapacitate them first. “Whatever’s going on here, you know that demon’s not coming back to kill anybody.” And what got Sam to engage with Lucifer? Dean’s unexplained radio silence. “You know he’s probably dead.”
“Shut up.” Sam snapped quietly. They were in a library after all.
After searching Jeffrey’s apartment, finding a cell phone scrambler and Nora’s handwritten spells, Sam conversed with the devil on his shoulder like those (hot) crazy guys that babble to themselves at bus stops. This is not good. But Sam’s too driven to notice that he willingly climbed in to the belfry.
Back at Wiccan’s Web, Sam was attacked by Nora, who she was mere millimeters away from hysterics. “Sam, shake her up, she knows what happened to Dean, get this stupid cow to focus, will ya?” Lucifer commanded, bathing in reddish neon light that poured in from the windows. Beautiful effect, production team.
Sam followed his orders seamlessly. “You should a lot more scared of me right now because I’m two inches away from you and I can make you talk,” threatened the 6’5” angry giant who’d broken half of Jeffrey’s bones.
Nora continued season 7’s streak of stellar guest stars as she sobbed, “He has my son!” Yes, the man who seemed so pathetic kidnapped Nora’s son to force her into finding a summoning ritual strong enough to bring Jeffrey’s demon back. She also served up Dean’s fine ass on a silver platter because he needed the “blood of the exorcist” to complete the spell.
I’ll let Jeffrey tell you why he wanted his demon back: “Did you ever think that maybe I loved being possessed? I loved the connection the power, and I loved him. The love of my life actually. He liberated me. Every time I’d walk buy one of them on the street or see one on my mail root. There’s a sound that comes from their brains only I can hear it, like an evil little steam whistle. Every time I saw one, I’d follow her, take down her address…but I was never going to do anything not until he came along. He’s the one who saved me until you came along.” On “Supernatural,” the humans are crazier than demons and monsters. Jeffrey actually devised his master plan thanks to counseling from Alan at the half-way house.
In sequence that will have PETA up in arms, Jeffrey dispatched that adorable little mutt, who followed him with blind trust and a wagging tail. “It’s a bitch of a recipe, I must admit,” he muttered before killing her.
With all of the pieces in place, Jeffrey performed the powerful ritual that shook dust from the rafters and stoked fire. For a beat nothing happened, and then without demonic smoke or a tendril of wind, Nora’s son (who reminded me of “Harry Potter’s” Tom Riddle), spastically broke out of the chains, peeled the duct tape from its mouth and greeted his old vessel with a tender hug and a man-on-man slow dance of freedom and gratitude. The look on Dean’s face, gobsmacked repulsion said it all. I feel like I need a drink after seeing that freak show and hearing Jeffrey mutter, “Come into me."
The demon explained was hell’s “talent scout,” and possessed would-be serial-killers to give them the knowledge to do their morbid work. Jeffrey still wanted the power of the demon inside of him, but was rejected by a demon. And you think your love life is hard.
Sam arrived, after threatening Nora to perform a tracking spell, using her son’s ear. (“You’re giving me chills,” Lucifer swooned) and let the demon launch him 15 feet to lure him into a devil’s trap. And it was Nora, the lioness protecting her cub, who exorcised him. Somewhere in the mix, Dean shot Jeffrey twice. Sadly, it wasn’t in the face like he deserved.
With the case closed, Sam and Dean trudged into their motel roo. Dean collapsed on the bedspread, heedless of icky stains a black-light would reveal, and slept off the rest of the tranquilizers. When Sam tried to do the same, Lucifer loomed. “You let me in. Think you can use your little tricks to banish me again? I do believe I’ve got you, bunk buddy.” With a snap of his fingers, Sam burned in the hellfire that engulfed his bed. The only coping mechanism no longer worked. The visions and trauma is stronger than him now. The episode ended with a fade to black and Lucifer’s maniacal laughter.
There are not enough words to describe how unequivocally awesome this episode was, and I loved every skin-crawling second of it. After months without my beloved demons, it was wonderful to re-visit them again. I hate that I won’t get to see Sam in a straight-jacket until Mar. 16. But if his descent into madness is as brilliant as Jeffrey’s, it’ll be worth the wait.
What did you think of this episode? Do you think Dean was blinded by guilt over what he did to Jeffrey to notice he was walking into a trap? Do you think that Sam’s breakdown was an inevitably? Sound off in the comments.
Check out this teaser for the newest episode of "Supernatural" airing March 9.