This week: Scenes that aged like milk on a radiator, the era when they cared about demon possession victims, mid-00s homophobia that turned into real bisexuality, rescuing a kid from ghost-induced drowning...2!, and Jules’s boyfriend Special Agent Victor Henriksen.
(Supernatural Season 2, Episodes 10, 11, and 12)
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Hello, and welcome to Mensch of Letters—the first, best, and only Jewish Supernatural podcast. I'm Iscah, and I want to see more haunted Barbie dolls.
I'm Jules, reminding you once again that it's a mitzvah to teach your children to swim.
And we're here to make a bad TV show slightly better by making it Jewish. This week we are looking at season two, episodes 10, 11, and 12. Episode 10, "Hunted". In Lafayette, Indiana, a man speaking to a psychiatrist claims that he can electrocute people by touching them. Afterwards, as he's walking to his car, he's attacked and is stabbed to death.
Cut to Sam and Dean, right where we left them at the end of last episode. Dean confesses to Sam that John's last words to him were to protect Sam—and, if he couldn't, to kill him. We see Sam leave a motel, steal a car, and enter a seemingly abandoned house, where he triggers a grenade on a tripwire and dies. A woman jolts awake and tells her concerned fiance that she had another nightmare. At the Roadhouse, Sam learns that Jo has taken off to be a hunter against Ellen's wishes. He asks Ash to run a nationwide search for other psychic kids, and finds Sam, Max, Andy, and one new name: Scott Carey. He's the one who got stabbed in the opening, but Sam heads out for Lafayette anyway, after asking Ellen not to tell Dean where he is. Posing as a high school friend, he gets into Scott's house and up to his room, where he finds a collage/shrine of yellow eyes in the back of Scott's closet.
Back at his motel, he confronts someone following him: the woman who had the nightmare, Ava Wilson telling him that he's in danger. Despite wanting to warn him she barely believes that she's not crazy, and definitely believes that Sam is when he tells her about the other psychics. He convinces her to help, and she poses as a new patient of the same psychiatrist that Scott saw, so that Sam can sneak in and steal Scott's file. In the recording, Scott says that "the yellow-eyed man" told him that there's a war coming, that he and others like him are going to be soldiers. Dean arrives, having gotten a call from Ellen, just in time to see shots fired at Sam and Ava from a sniper rifle. The gunman is Gordon Walker, and Dean confronts him, but ends up knocked out and abducted. Sam calls Dean, who tells Sam to meet him at a particular address, but also drops a code word meaning that he's got a gun pointed at him. Gordon explains to Dean that this isn't revenge, but a hunt: a psychic like Sam, primed to become a demonic soldier, isn't human enough to count.
The house where Gordon is holed up is the one that Ava saw in her vision. But now, forewarned, Sam sets off the trip wires with something other than his own body. He gets the dropped on Gordon, pointing a gun at him, and Gordon tries to goad Sam into killing him saying that he should show Dean he's really a killer. Instead. Sam just knocks him out, frees Dean, and they flee. Gordon wakes up almost immediately after they leave the house and pursues them, shooting wildly—but as it turns out, Sam has already called the cops with an anonymous tip. Dean calls Ellen, because Gordon said he learned of Sam's psychic abilities through a Roadhouse connection, but she snaps that they're neither disloyal nor stupid. Any number of other hunters could have figured it out and told him. Sam tries to get ahold of Ava again, and when he can't, they head for her home. Upstairs, they find her fiance dead, the windowsill covered in sulfur, and the only trace of Ava is her engagement ring dropped on the floor.
All right! Episode 11, "Playthings". At an old hotel in Cornwall, Connecticut, a woman and a mover lament the hotel's incipient closure while two little girls, Tyler and Maggie, watch. A little later Tyler looks into her dollhouse to find a male doll lying at the bottom of a flight of stairs, its head twisted all the way around. And then there's a scream from outside the room. The mother, Susan, is calling 911—the mover has fallen down the stairs and broken his neck.
In Illinois, Sam and Dean are trying to find leads on Ava, but with little luck. Sam offers Dean a case Ellen's found instead: the hotel from the beginning, where, in addition to the man with the broken neck, a woman also drowned in a bathtub, both in the last three weeks. Dean is surprised that Sam wants to check out another case; Sam points out that they've been trying to find Ava for a month, so while he's not giving up on her, he also doesn't want anyone else to die while he's too busy fruitlessly searching for Ava. Dean is impressed, and they set off for Connecticut. On the way into the hotel however, Sam notices a design etched into an urn: a five-spot, associated with Hoodoo. Since the place is pretty WASPy, they're both a little baffled as they head inside, where they're promptly distracted by microaggressions from Susan, the hotel manager, and Sherwin, the elderly bellhop, as well as the deeply creepy decor. They do learn however, that both the deaths were of people associated with the sale of the hotel. The first was a realtor, suggesting that someone or something doesn't like the idea of a change in ownership.
Sam finds the dollhouse—an exact replica of the hotel, it turns out—as we saw it in the beginning, with the doll at the bottom of the stairs, its head twisted around, and talks to Tyler asking if she or Maggie did it. She tells him that no, Grandma Rose would be mad if they did, and the Winchesters learn that Susan's mother, Rose, lives in a room in the attic. Susan shuts them down when they ask if they can talk to Rose, explaining that she's very sick and can't see visitors. Later, Sam and Dean have split up to see what they can learn, and Susan talks to a man from the company that bought the hotel. She asks him what their plans are and learns that they're going to demolish the building. If you're thinking this probably won't end well for him, you are correct. We see the dollhouse hotel again, where a doll that looks a great deal like the man in question is hanging by his neck from the fan in one of the rooms. Cut to one of the actual, life-size room, where the actual man is hanging by his actual neck from the actual fan.
As emergency workers take the body away, Dean speaks with Susan and learns more about the man's death. Heading back to their room. He finds Sam drunk, which starts out funny, but gets less so with every passing minute. It becomes clear that—surprise!—Sam is not handling things nearly as well as his philosophical demeanor seemed to indicate at the beginning of the episode. He blames himself for not only this man's death, but for Ava's disappearance. As Dean tries to get him to go to bed, the increasingly agitated Sam tries to extract a promise from Dean: "if I ever turn into something I'm not," he says, "you have to kill me." He believes that there's something truly wrong with him, that everyone around him dies, and that John was right when he laid the duty on Dean. Despite Dean's protests and arguments, Sam is only appeased when Dean finally, miserably gives his word.
Because what other message would you take from that scene than that alcohol is a great solution to one's problems. Dean heads for the hotel bar, manned by Sherwin. Dean persuades the old man to tell him more about the hotel, and Sherwin ends up giving him a tour. He's Avasive on the topic of Susan's mother, but does show Dean a photo of Rose as a child, sitting in the lap of her nanny, a Black woman named Marie who "looked after rose more than her own mother." The Nanny, Dean notices, is wearing a necklace bearing the same five-spot symbol they found outside, and concealed throughout the hotel. The next morning, Dean alternates between laughing at the hungover Sam and filling him in on what he's learned. Their working theory is that Rose learned Hoodoo from her nanny, and is using it now to prevent the move. They head up to the attic to try to talk to Rose, but find that she's in no state to talk to anyone: she's had a stroke and is barely responsive. Susan finds them and, furious at them for frightening her elderly mother, tells them to leave the hotel immediately.
After watching them depart. Susan finds Tyler and Maggie playing and asks Tyler if she's packed. Tyler says no, because "Maggie says we're not allowed to leave." Susan, who's had a rough day, loses patience, and tells Tyler that she's had enough: Tyler is too old to have an imaginary friend. Maggie is not pleased by this. While Susan packs her car, up in the playroom, the miniature playground equipment by the dollhouse starts to move. Down at the life size playground, not far from Susan, the equipment starts to move on its own as well, and Susan goes to investigate—at which point her car starts rolling towards her. Sam pulls her out of its path, and he and Dean explain what's going on. They think they're dealing with a spirit, and questioning Susan, they learned that Rose's stroke was about a month ago, shortly before the deaths began. The Hoodoo signs they found weren't evidence of a curse, but of protective work Rose was doing. Maggie, meanwhile, is up in the attic, telling the distraught rose that Tyler is going to stay with her and Rose can't stop it.
While they search the house for Tyler, Susan explains that her daughter first started talking about Maggie around the time Rose had her stroke. With the Winchesters' help, she recalls that her mother had a sister—Margaret, who she rarely talked about, and who drowned in the hotel pool as a child. They head for the pool house, but a force keeps them from getting inside long enough for Maggie to fling Tyler, who can't swim, into the pool. Maggie hears someone calling for her as Sam breaks in and rescues Tyler, who tells him that there's no sign of Maggie anywhere. Back in the attic. Maggie is speaking with Rose, making some sort of a bargain. The Winchesters, who followed Susan and Tyler back to the hotel, hear a scream from upstairs, and reach the attic to find Susan standing over her mother's body.
Later, Sam offers his sympathies to Susan, who asks him why, thanking him for everything he's done. Tyler and Susan depart, and Sam and Dean talk a little more. Dean clearly hopes that this has helped Sam. And maybe it has—but Sam also says that he hasn't forgotten their talk while he was wasted, or Dean's promise. As they depart, we get another shot of the playroom, where Maggie and her little sister are playing together happily in the sunshine.
Episode 12, "Nightshifter". In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a news crew is covering a bank robbery when one of the hostages is escorted out by one of the robbers—and we see it's Dean. Flashback to the beginning of the case, with Sam and Dean disguised as FBI agents, questioning the employees of a jewelry store. A longtime reliable employee apparently robbed the store, killed a security guard, dumped the loot, and then killed herself. They go to interview Ronald Resnick, a security guard at a bank that had a similar incident. He claims that he's uncovered exactly what happened: shapeshifting robots, which he calls "mandroids". Though he's correct that it's a shapeshifter, Sam tells him that there's no such thing as mandroids, and confiscates the copies of the security tapes that he made.
Dean questions why Sam was so adamant about shutting down Ronald when he got surprisingly close to the truth, and Sam says that a normal person like him would just get himself killed. They figure out that the next likely target for the shifter is another bank, and pose as employees of the bank's security system. After a very boring security camera stakeout, they finally spot the shifter—and also Ronald taking matters into his own hands with a rifle. Sam and Dean run into the lobby that he's taken hostage, and he's immediately hostile against them. Dean tells him the truth of what's happening, and he agrees to let Dean go with him, but not before locking everyone else in the vault. In the bank manager's office, they find a pile of shifter goop.
Outside, the SWAT team pulls up and cuts power to the bank, leaving the Winchesters unable to identify a shifter by looking at their eyes through a camera. A security guard in the vault seems to be having a heart attack. They're concerned that he could be the shifter, until Dean finds a dead body identical to one of the other men in the vault. When they try to get him out of the vault, he knocks Dean down and escapes. Ronald chases him, and steps directly into the line of fire of a sniper outside. Dean gets the security guard outside, and then gets a call from the recently-arrived feds. It's Jules's boyfriend, Special Agent Henriksen. He's been chasing the Winchesters for a while now, and gives them an ultimatum. Sam finds the dead body of another bank employee in a closet, but when they show it to her she screams and faints—not exactly typical of a shifter. They hear glass shatter; the SWAT team has entered the building. The shifter, disguised as the dead body, jumps up, attacking Dean but he manages to stab her with a silver knife. Sam knocks out two SWAT team members, stealing their uniforms so the two of them can escape. Sitting in the Impala in a parking garage. Dean declares, "We are so screwed," before driving off.
It actually took me a second there. I was like, wait, there's a character named Jules in this episode?
[laughing] No, just teasing.
It's been a very long day.
All right, "Hunted".
Yes. "Nightshifters" ends with, and "Hunted" begins with, excellent needle drop moments. Like I really love that sort of opening with "Hunted". Something I noticed, watching it this time, was that we don't actually see the doctor head on at first. Even the first shot we see of the doctor directly is still filtered through the fish tank, which I just found really, really interesting. And I friggin' love the use of "White Rabbit". It's just fantastic.
Definitely. Oh, before we get any further, the writer for this episode is Raelle Tucker, and the director is Rachel Talalay. Hope I am pronouncing that right. She's only a one-off director. But fun fact, she is Jewish, so.
Hey, there we go.
I was gonna say, it's kind of a shame because two minutes in, I love her directing choices for the episode, so I'm like, oh, dang, shame we didn't see more of her.
Would have been nice. I have to admit, when Scott admitted that he electrocuted a cat. I was immediately like, no. Because I am a lifelong lover of cats.
I don't—have I told my National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation story before?
I don't think so.
There's a scene in that movie where a cat, underneath some chair, starts chewing on the wires and electrocutes itself.
And I first saw this movie at the tender age of nine years old.
And I thought that they had induced a real cat to chew on the wires and literally get itself electrocuted. And I was so upset.
I just got up and I hid behind the couch and I started crying.
And my parents were, like, in and out of the room, so they didn't notice it first, but then they found me and they had to explain to me that, like, they got the cat to crawl under there—
—and then like, they cut, and then they took the cat out and they made The electrocution effect, and they did not actually hurt any cat.
Oh no, that is deeply traumatic.
But anyway, I was very unsympathetic to him. And then he was like, the yellow-eyed demon made him do it, so I was like, I guess I can't completely blame him.
Yeah, that's a shame.
More demon crimes.
Yes, exactly. Also, I am once again asking what the fuck, John Winchester, like, oof, that whole scene. What the fuck? You could have talked to your children about this. You could have used some words.
Maybe instead of worrying your child is going to turn out evil, you treat them in the best way possible to encourage them to not be evil.
Yeah, maybe you talk to them.
Like, even if this is something you have a reasonable worry about, like, maybe don't be completely fatalistic, and continue to believe that you or your eldest child are going to have to kill this child on account of inalterable evil.
And why not, like, write this all down, rather than, like, dumping a very abbreviated version of it on Dean at the last minute? You know, sit down, write it all down, talk to Bobby about it!
I don't think Bobby would have been too happy with John's outlook on it, but—
No, but he—Bobby might have been able to talk to them about it in a less shitty way, also.
Seriously. Also, it just, it, like, drives me nuts, how Dean is talking about how all his life John told him to look out for Sammy and take care of him. That can be, you know, twisted into the euphemistic meaning of, like, as opposed to protect from danger, look out for a danger coming from Sam. Take care of as in, kill.
To take care of him. Yeah, I also found it really interesting—I've been rewatching some later seasons recently, and, like, just yesterday watched the season 14 finale, "Moriah". And sort of hearing this line from Sam, where he gets angry and is like, how could you not have told me about this? And Dean says, well, because Dad begged me not to, and Sam says, "Take some responsibility for yourself, Dean," was just very interesting to watch. After just rewatching the season 14 finale with the author-father-god character and Dean's obedience, and it's just very interesting to me.
Many thoughts, head full.
Cannot wait to get to these later seasons.
I like how once again, we get a vision fake-out. They just—I'm like, I should get tired of those. But they work so many times!
Each time, I'm like, wait, what? What just happened? Oh, okay, nevermind.
Then when Sam gets to the Roadhouse, I really enjoyed how Ellen asks him what's going on, and he just kind of changed the subject, completely ignored it.
He is not good at this.
And then later, Sam asked her, you know, what happened? And Ellen also unsubtly changes the subject.
Yeah, yeah. Love it. Speaking of Ellen, I liked her line, when she's talking to Sam. And is like, "Jo said she wanted to keep hunting. And I said not under my roof. And she said fine." And I'm like, that is interesting. Like, basically the anti-John and Sam, there.
It was very interesting to me. Also, I love how much of a drama Ash makes out of it. Like, good for him. He is just milking it for all it's worth. Every moment he's got in the spotlight.
He loves to show off.
I love it. I respect it.
When we get introduced to Ava, I really like the sort of role reversal of her coming to Sam and trying to reassure him that she's normal and not crazy. Yes, that's really what the Winchesters have to do.
"This is gonna sound crazy..."
It's like, oh, that's not even top 10 craziest things that have happened to me in the last year. Sorry, you're a little late on this.
Yes. Yes. I love it. And at first you'd think she would have been, like, relieved that this guy did not immediately blow her off as insane. But then he just gets even crazier. He's like—starts in on a demon army, and she's like, oh, boy.
"I can explain away me being psychic, but a demon army? What are you on?"
She's like, oh boy, this is so much worse than I thought. Also, I know Sam was just doing it to get the doctor's info but still, when he pocketed that bottle of pills, I just still laughed. I was like, oh, Sam. You're gonna sell those on the street.
Oh, okay. I was confused about that, because I thought he was just going to like...
Just pocket 'em for fun?
I don't know. I don't know. I thought, you know, if he was gonna just take note of the name and not need anything else, I don't know.
Make a few extra bucks, you know, sell Adderall to some college kids. I don't know what the drug was, but I like the idea of him pocketing some victim's Adderall and heading off to the college campus.
Oh, geez. Maybe, probably not the worst thing they've ever done. You know, like, is that better or worse than the credit card fraud?
Exactly! Helping some kids get through finals. The motel room was also a lot nicer than the ones they usually stay in, I feel like. I mean, maybe it was just sort of the metallics and it being a lot more colorful that stood out, but it struck me as somehow kinda nicer, newer-looking.
Maybe Sam just has better taste than Dean.
Maybe. Maybe. Also, Ava's outfit matched it?
Oh, I didn't even notice that.
Yeah, she was wearing, like, a blue shirt. And, like, a light silver-gray jacket over it. Ellen was also definitely rubbing it in a little with Dean. Kinda getting her own back after "No Exit", when he, like, lied to her about Jo's whereabouts.
She was like, I'm gonna tell him, but I'm just gonna let him dangle a little first.
She deserves to get a little revenge.
Yeah, you know what? She's earned it. She told him eventually, so I'm like, that's fine. Make him work for it. Make him sweat a little.
Just because she's a very forgiving person, apparently, that doesn't mean she can't make him suffer a little first. I certainly have not forgiven John Winchester, personally, and it wasn't even my husband he got killed.
Also that whole scene with Ava in the doctor's office, and everything. I'm like, how exactly did Sam get into the doctor's office and his files? Like, he was outside the window, he was literally right behind the doctor.
Why is the fucking Spider-Man routine the most efficient route, here?
Like, you couldn't just break in after the office was closed or something? You know, you couldn't, like, make a phone call, or have Ava call the office, like, while you're in there pretending to be a patient, and then when he leaves the room to take a call, you go through his files and find it?
Or have her open up a back door after she's done with her fake appointment?
Yeah, I did not really see how her fake appointment helped them.
I mean, it's funny, certainly. But it's—
It did nothing to further the plot.
Did nothing to help them with their goal, from what I can tell.
I guess that might be just a nitpick, because it is supposed to be a funny television show sometimes.
Yeah, yeah, that's true.
We're allowed to take some things seriously and nitpick others. This is our podcast.
We're allowed to assume that Sam is selling Adderall to college kids and that the Spider-Man routine accomplished nothing.
And after they got shot at by Gordon, and Sam just took one look at the spent ammo cases and figured out exactly what it was, he was like, "I just watch a lot of TJ Hooker." Which, first of all, I had to look that up.
It was a police drama starring William Shatner that ran from 1982 to 1985.
So that must have had hella reruns—
—to still be on at a point when Sam would see it. Because I mean, even if he didn't actually watch it, because obviously that's not where his knowledge of ammunition came from, you know, for that to be like the first one that he plucked out of the air, it would have been pretty familiar to him.
And he was a literal infant in 1983, so...
Yeah, I'm a little younger than them. And I sort of know what it was, but I never actually watched it. I don't think I ever saw it in reruns. But it probably was in reruns enough that, since they're a little older than me, they would have seen it.
And I mean, like, Law & Order's been around since the early 90s, right?
Oh, Dean and Gordon and their homoerotic violence.
Men will construct intricate rituals. I would love to know what other dorky code words Dean came up with.
Cuz Sam specifically said that was something that Dean came up with. It wasn't—like, some of the code words and default routines and stuff—like if they're separated, going to the first hotel in the phone book—some of that could have been John's stuff, but you know, the Dean-specific stuff like "funky town"? I want to know more about that.
I do enjoy when Ava is like, shouldn't we talk to the cops? And Sam's like, they wouldn't do us much good. Like, oh, yeah, I do enjoy, sort of, the ACAB ethos of the earlier seasons.
Although Sam did end up making use of the cops later.
I was about to say it does make the ending kind of...yeah.
They can't do much for "a guy is trying to kill me because I'm psychic", but later just, "there's a scary dangerous black man—"
"—shooting around wildly at this location—"
"—go take care of it."
Yeah, that ending is—oof. It wasn't great at the time, and it aged like milk on a radiator. Also just recently ran across a Tumblr post that's like, I always feel so bad when a real actor is on Supernatural. You know, it's just so embarrassing for them to be, like, here. And somebody replies with the Google "Did you mean..." image that's just "Did you mean Sterling K. Brown?" I'm like, yeah. Oh, Sterling K. Brown, honey. I'm sorry they did this to you.
Yeah, he does such a good job with the material. But god, I wish that material was in any other show.
Yeah, he does so much better than they deserve. I also found it very interesting, you know, Gordon and Dean are talking, and he says, you can really make a demon talk if you've got the right tools, basically makes it clear he tortured this demon for information. And I'm like, oh. Oh, Gordon is Endverse Dean. That is—
—that's interesting. He's gonna do whatever it takes. He's gonna kill Dean's brother.
Because there's a monster in him. Also, LOL, back when they actually cared about the people demons were possessing.
Right? Like that was enough to make Gordon, you know, just that much more despicable. Oh, it's heavily implied that because of the way he was torturing the demon, the girl died and she wouldn't have otherwise.
Yeah, yeah, I'm like, wow, remember back then before they got the magic knife that will kill demons instantly, and also the people they are possessing.
Do they—do they just never think to stab somebody in, I don't know, the outer thigh or something? Like, would that not kill the demon? Is that the problem?
I guess not? I mean, I guess it'd be kind of like when Sam shot John in the leg with the Colt while he was possessed, where it stunned him, and kind of beat the demon into submission for a little while, and allowed John to kind of gain control over it, at least for a little while. But yeah, I think basically the only way to actually kill the demon is to kill the host as well.
Feh. I don't have anything to say there besides feh.
Yeah, yeah. That's not great. I did enjoy, on a lighter note, though. That moment where Dean says to Gordon, "you're a son of a bitch," and Gordon slaps him and says "that's my mama you're talking about," and the look on Dean's face. I'm like, wow, Dean. Really? Now is not the time man. He is just like, hm, a cute guy has me tied up and manhandling—and is manhandling me. Can I kill two birds with one stone and save Sam by flirting my way out of this?
It definitely crossed his mind. The expression on Dean's face after Gordon slaps him, I'm just like, wow, this is embarrassing for you, Dean. Geez.
"Is this a situation for my masculine wiles?"
He just imprinted on Jim Kirk a little too hard.
Exactly. Also, we've talked a little, and we'll talk more, I'm sure, about how gross that ending is. But having the Black character deliver a speech about racial purity, and race traitors, and psychics "aren't exactly pure humans, but what kind of worthless scumbag do you have to be to turn on your own race?" I'm like, wow, Raelle Tucker. You really had a Black man deliver that line? Really? Yikes.
Yeah, just creepy one-drop rule stuff, but it's not the same because it's about fantasyland stuff! And look, here, Black dude saying it!
Yeah, yeah, yikes.
Y-I-K-E-S. I also like that even after everything, Gordon promises Dean that he's going to make it quick for Sam. I'm like wow, that's such an interesting line and shows that like he said, it really is just—this is a job, Sam is a monster, and that he likes and respects Dean and is not going to draw this out. That it's not personal.
Because he's proven that he's willing to do that too.
Draw it out if he thinks it's necessary.
Ugh, Gordon fuckin' deserved better as a character. And Sterling K. Brown deserved better as an actor than this show gave either of them
Also, is Gordon the first person to refer to it as destiny?
Refer to what is destiny?
Probably not. But I don't feel like I've heard that specific word before, destiny or fate. I'm probably wrong, but I did not remember to go back and check the transcripts before we recorded, so.
Yeah. I also made a note, of near the end, Dean says to Sam, you ever take off like that again? And Sam says, what, you're gonna kill me?
Already joking about it, which, oh, boy, emotions.
That is the kind of dark joke you make with your siblings, though. See also, funny—not the same way for the characters, but certainly the same way for the viewers—when Sam is told "you shouldn't take your shoes off around here, because you might get tetanus." I'm like, oh, now I'm mad about the finale all over again.
Big time. And I made another note about how Dean wants to go to Amsterdam for the week. I—Dean I would like to know how you expect to get to Amsterdam without a plane ride. Are you going to go on a fucking boat? Are you going on a goddamn boat? Because that's your only other option.
Well, maybe Sam stole painkillers instead of Adderall, and they can dope Dean up real good. Knock him out for the whole flight.
God, like giving a dog Xanax.
I was literally about to say, giving a pet a Xanax before putting them on a plane. I'm resisting making an omegaverse joke here, thank you.
I do thank you for that.
You're welcome, everyone.
Thank you deeply and sincerely.
That is what I am here for—to class up this podcast.
But, yeah, and speaking of Sam's potential to be a demon soldier being referred to as destiny—
Dean says that he doesn't believe in destiny.
Yes. Oh, man.
And then Sam is acting like this anti-fate stanc is all for Sam's benefit, just because he doesn't want Sam to turn out to be a demon soldier.
But I mean, obviously, we've seen before, when he was arguing with Tessa, that this is an all-encompassing belief against fate and destiny.
Interesting. Yeah. Yeah. But yeah, like I said, that end was not great at the time, and it has aged very, very poorly, of them, like, dealing with Gordon by calling the cops on him.
It is frankly kind of whitewashing on Supernatural's part to have the cops taking Gordon in alive—
—honestly, frankly, the idea that the police were called and told, "help there's this guy firing off guns randomly," and they find this Black guy shooting wildly out into the distance is extremely optimistic on Supernatural's part.
I made, like, a similar but reversed note for "Nightshifters".
And then they follow it up with having Dean make a prison rape joke. That is—that is charming. Thanks, Supernatural, for reminding us what show we're watching.
Like if you absolutely had to, you could have made a joke about disgusting prison food or—
You know, yeah.
—I dunno, not that.
Can't say it's out of character for like a couple of 20-something dudes in the mid-aughts. But did I need to see it?
I did not. I also like how they just broke into Ava's house. They just kind of let themselves in. Like, I'm assuming she didn't answer when they knocked, or something, but I'm like...
It's the middle of the day.
And they could have at least had a shot of them outside being like, well, the car's here and you know, like, looking in the window or something, given some indication that they didn't just walk right into this woman's house.
Don't you know? They're the protagonists. They're always right, and they belong everywhere.
Yes, of course. How could I forget? Thank you.
Anyway, that's all that I have to say about this episode.
Yeah, I think that's all I got too.
On to "Playthings".
The writer for this episode was Matt Witten. He did this one, and one other, I actually didn't know which one the other one was, but—so they're a recent one, and this is the last one or another one soon. And then that's his last one. He's Jewish—
—so, round of applause for him.
And, fun fact that I found on his Wikipedia page, his dad and his brother are both theoretical physicists.
[laughing] I dunno why that's so funny to me. The family business!
Physicist, physicist, TV show writer. And the director is Charles Beeson, who has directed episodes...I think this must be his first one in season two, because I haven't made any notes about him before but, yeah, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 15. And in particular, he directed "Changing Channels" and "The French Mistake".
Oh, wow. Okay, nice.
So he's done some good work. Good friend of ours.
Yeah. Good at the funnier episodes, too. Interesting. Oh, man. Okay, so this episode, honestly, drinking game for this episode, drink every time there's a friggin' Shining reference. I'm like, man, just so many. There's an episode of Star Trek Deep Space Nine that I love, called "Profit and Loss".
And it's basically like Casablanca, and they actually got a sternly worded letter from Warner Brothers about the original script, because it was just, like, way too obviously, Casablanca. And even now, you watch it, and you can very clearly see it's supposed to be Casablanca. But yeah, they had to like, tone it down.
"This isn't AO3, guys."
Yeah, exactly. And I'm like, wow, I sort of feel like that's what's going on here. Kubrick's lawyers had to like, look this over and sign off on it.
Yeah, I've never even seen The Shining, but—
I still managed to catch a few of the episode's.
Yeah, it's, like, one of my mom's favorite movies. So yeah, I've seen it a few times. It's our traditional family viewing for whenever there's a big snowstorm and we're snowed in. Because that's, that's how things are in my family.
Fair. But, yeah, like, my very first note was "Twins! That always turns out well in horror media."
Mm-hm. Oh, yeah.
And I don't know if it's just that I have seen this episode and it was just a very, very long time ago, or if it's just kind of obvious. May—I don't know how obvious it was. But after Maggie said "son of a bitch", and then Tyler repeated her, there was just a vibe, like, oh, I don't think Maggie's real, actually. Or, she's not alive and corporeal. So points to Iscah for catching that real quick.
Nice, very good. I love when I do that. I just did that recently. Well, one of my oldest friends and I were watching—when I introduced her to Supernatural, she called, like, a pretty big twist from later in the show back in, like, season five. I was like, how did you do that? She was like, I don't think I would have if we hadn't been binging it. And then recently, she has been texting me frantically getting me to watch Squid Game, and I called a pretty big twist on that. I texted her and was like, hey, is this what's going on? And she was like, oh my God, you did it. Yeah.
Yay, points for Jules. I made another note saying that Dean is so stuck on the idea that Sam was in love with Ava, and that he's tragic lover left behind or whatever, and that he has no room to talk given how he is every time Cas dies.
Very funny that I can say every time that Cas dies. I love this show.
It sure is a show. As they say, unparalleled media experience. Also, I had seen somebody on Tumblr mention that, like, some platforms have, like, different subtitles for Sam's, like "they probably think you're overcompensating" line to Dean.
And my, my copy actually does have the Sam subtitle saying, I think you're overcompensating, which, yeah, puts a slightly different twist on Dean's anxiety there.
Yes. Oh, my god, I just—that whole scene, obviously, it is a classic. The fact that Sam just has an answer at the ready. The implication that people assume Dean is gay, first and foremost, and then assume Sam is secondarily. Dean's like sarcastic uneasy smile, and the only thing he says is "right".
Yeah, and Sam is so untroubled by it. Sam's like fine, whatever, who cares? Sam is so, like, unbothered by people thinking he's gay. He was like, okay, sure.
If it was anybody but his brother he might not even bother to correct them, frankly.
Probably not! Yeah.
Oh, man. Like at the time it was written it was just like, haha, homophobia funny.
Yeah, at the time. It was just, ha! Isn't it funny that manly dudes might be gay?
And the way this is literally one of the foundational pieces of evidence for Dean's genuine bisexuality later. Bonkers. Incredible. UnbeliAvable.
This is a television show.
And slightly earlier, when they bring up the Hoodoo again, it's like, okay, y'all bring up Hoodoo a lot.
Couldn't you just say witchcraft?
At least this time, they're implying it's not actually a white people thing.
So that's, like, a slight improvement.
And it turns out to have been, like, used for good. They, like, established that it was the protective force that was keeping the vengeful spirit at bay. So I'm like, okay, you acknowledged that it's not a white people thing. And you had it being used for good, so...
And it was taught to the character who was using it by a Black person who has a, you know, cultural connection to it, even though I think generally, in the real world, Hoodoo practitioners are not super enthusiastic about the idea of teaching white people.
But I guess there's always exceptions.
Yeah. Yeah, I'm like, okay, I guess this is not really a step up, but at least, like, part of a step up, maybe.
And there's such a thing as poppets, which is, like, the general category of what a voodoo doll is. And the idea of sympathetic magic, you know, exists in English folklore.
It's not restricted to this one religious practice. You could have gotten it from somewhere else. I'm like it very much is just..."scary Black people stuff", honestly, is what it feels like. 'Cuz I'm like, a lot of what you're drawing on, when you use Hoodoo as a stand in for, like, evil magic, a lot of this is not restricted, is not unique to Hoodoo. Things like, like you said, poppets, sympathetic magic, you know, dolls as having some sort of power as representations of things, that is not restricted to that, this one cultural practice. You can you can find that in a lot of different magical traditions and folkways.
Yeah, it would be nice if they would limit themselves to writing characters as using Hoodoo only when they are in fact Black.
Yeah. Yeah, that'd be nice.
I mean, obviously this is many years in the future, and we don't have control over the CW television network. I wish we did. We'd be great at it. I completely forgot that the drunk Sam scene starts out so cheerful and funny, and then immediately—
—goes into sadness and the puppy-dog-eyes of convincing your brother to do a fratricide.
And God bless him, Jared is just not really playing it very well. He does not really play the switch from, like, slightly belligerent drunk to maudlin drunk very well.
No, it feels like two different scenes entirely.
It does. He's tryin', bless him, but he's just not quite pulling it off.
Going from telling Dean that he's bossy and short to "you should kill me, actually."
"You gotta kill me." Like, okay, that escalated quickly.
Not very smoothly.
Also that one death. Honestly, I'm afraid to like pull too hard when I'm changing the light bulb in my ceiling fan. And, like, I feel like there's a good chance the weight of a person would just pull that fixture right out of the ceiling. Wouldn't that be hilarious, though? If somebody—like, a ghost made someone start to hang themselves, and then the fan just pulled out of the ceiling, and the guy got, like, a broken ankle, and that was it?
Now I'm thinking about a hypothetical episode where a ghost is trying to get people to kill themselves, but they're just a very incompetent ghost or the ghost keeps misjudging the strength of a light fixture—
The structural integrity—
Structural integrity of something, the angular momentum of something they're trying to swing at, so they just keep giving everybody minor injuries.
Exactly. That's the main thing, is there have to be some minor injuries but nothing really serious. Like a sprained ankle is what this guy ends up with.
The worst they can do is a dislocated shoulder.
Exactly. A very minor, like, stab wound. Misses all the major organs, like, maybe requires a couple stitches. Also, I feel like I've mentioned this before, but again, it just bugs me: hanged. The guy hanged himself in his room. He was hanged in his room. He was not hung. Clothes are hung, people are hanged.
I mean, he could have been hung. We don't know.
That's true. I couldn't quite figure out how to make that joke. I'm glad you did. Thank you.
You're welcome. We can take turns being the lowbrow and highbrow humor here. Anyway, Dean's hangover cure sounds 1,000,000% disgusting.
But also like it would work.
"Greasy pork sandwich served up in a dirty ashtray." Which, if Sam keeps kosher, like me, personally, based on my feelings, the degree to which I keep kosher, those things are, like, equally unappealing.
Fair point. I like that reading of it. That's a fun reading. I was just gonna say for me, I generally do not keep kosher. So bacon for me is often just a surefire hangover cure. So I'm like—
I mean, I will destroy a package of turkey bacon. But pork, no thank you.
—Dean knows what he's talking about. See, there we go, one of them keeps kosher, the other doesn't, and Dean is just rubbing it in. I wish we had also, like, learned a little bit about Marie, the nanny. I'm like, at least they gave her a name, that's something.
And like they make it clear. Sherwin says like, she looked after Rose more than her own mother did. And I'm like, sounds like they were pretty close. It would have been interesting to tell us a little more about that. Or maybe her ghost was also helping Rose to perform this magic and keep Maggie's spirit in check.
Yeah, yeah, that would have been really cool.
'Cuz I mean, it's certainly not unusual for upper-class children to have been and honestly, in many cases, continue to be raised more by nannies or au pairs or whatever title they have—
—who are women of color, more so than their own parents.
But yeah, just expand on that a little more.
Let us know about her. I also—I wasn't 100% sure if Dean and Sam both saw Maggie or if they only heard about her from Tyler.
Because, you know, Sam obviously says right out "daughters".
And Dean's not confused either.
And I think it'd be pretty interesting, like, if only Sam saw her—
That's what I was wondering.
—but if Dean heard about her from both Sam and Tyler—
—and he never saw her himself. You know, he just assumed like, if you hear about a person who exists from two other different people—
—you are going to assume that this person exists, even if you never see them yourself.
At least for this short period that they're in the hotel.
And Sam sort of being the only one who actually saw her—they never actually say that's what's going on, but that was sort of my interpretation as well. I think just because when they first arrive, and are checking into the hotel, like, Tyler and Maggie go running past them, and Tyler kind of bumps Sam.
When we see him kind of react, and we get sort of his point of view a little more, we see, sort of, both of them. So I don't know, maybe we're supposed to infer that he only actually saw Tyler, but I personally like the interpretation that yeah, he actually did see Maggie as well and just assumed there were two little girls.
And that was Dean's takeaway, too, since as you said, both Sam and Tyler kind of referred to her. Also, that is a gorgeous pool house.
It is. I'm jealous.
It's beautiful. But also why the fuck does your kid not know how to swim when she's lived in a hotel with a pool right back there her whole life.
Oh, man, and it looked like she was able to get herself a lot closer to the shallow end of the pool and she would have been fine.
If not for Maggie pushing her head down—
—and you know, keeping her drowning?
Yeah, yeah. I'm like, how how has your kid, like, never learned how to swim? Like, that's just mean, honestly, let alone—leaving aside dangerous. This pool has been right back there her entire life. What, hot summer days, she's not supposed to go out there and like cool off in the pool?
Have you never let her go out there without water wings or something?
Like come on.
Your kid should know how to swim a little, like, why would you do that to your kid?
And that's why the rabbis of the Talmud agree you have to teach your children how to swim!
Exactly. We have discussed this before on this podcast. Mensch of Letters has a very strong teaching your children to swim policy. Also more of the dramatic slomo from last week.
I really enjoyed how Sam also got a turn jumping into a body of water to rescue a child who would have drowned because of the actions of a vengeful ghost.
Look at that.
Like, this is a very specific situation.
They each got a turn. Also, once again, Sam and the MILF!
Dean lampshades Sam's appeal to MILFs, Sam lampshades, his own cursed dick...
Also, the cops are right there. And just last week we're talking about how Dean is in the federal database. Like, you guys maybe wanna—like, leaving aside talking about ghosts in front of people who don't know anything about the supernatural (name at the show), the cops are right there and Dean is a highly wanted criminal. Like, do you maybe wanna, like, put your heads down and get in the car and leave immediately?
Baltimore is not that far—
It is not!
—from Connecticut, and you never know which cops exactly are fuckin' overachievers, constantly looking at federal database warrants or whatever.
And I assume your license plate—Impala's license plates are probably in the system too. Let's hope the cops don't think to check those.
The license plate on this extremely recognizable car.
Also do they just, like, leave the ghosts there?
Looks like it!
Is that meant to be a memory at the end? But, like, they don't burn Maggie's bones or anything, they—
It looks like they just go "oh the ghost just stopped actively attacking us now."
"Guess that's solved!"
Okay, I mean great, I guess? But the hotel's still gonna be demolished, presumably. But I guess Maggie's not mad about that anymore, now that she's not going to be alone, which is nice. You know, she just doesn't want to be lonely, but...
Maybe there's just going to be a ghost hotel still just standing there even after they demolish it.
Maybe, you know?
Just superimposed over whatever other building they put up.
Yeah, maybe. This kind of doesn't seem like your work here is done guys.
Not that I'm mad about them not destroying Rose and Maggie's spirits. But, like, this is not their usual modus operandi.
Exactly. I don't object, necessarily, if the ghosts aren't hurting anyone. Although Tessa said, at the beginning of the season, that every ghost turns vengeful, eventually, that spirits hang around and eventually, no matter what, they do turn angry and violent. So I'm like, well, okay, presumably that's going to happen eventually. But okay, sure.
Maybe it would help to have the two of them. They're kind of keeping each other anchored.
That could be I like that or maybe—'cuz they establish sort of—with the dolls, in season one, and the—the Hook Man—that, like, an object can keep someone there, rather than just their body. So maybe demolishing the hotel will do it.
Could be. Oh, I made another note about Tyler, and I feel like you could read her as being naturally psychic, maybe? Sort of having been, like, more easily influenced, or more easily able to see Maggie.
Just having like a Missouri Moseley-type natural psychic ability. I think she would have been another great one to bring back in a few years.
Oh, yeah, yeah. 'Cuz she's probably, what, 10 here?
Looks like it.
I'm not very good at telling kids' ages. They're all just babies to me now.
Anywhere from seven to 10, maybe.
Anyone visibly under 25, I'm like, what are you, eight? Also, I love Maggie's hair. Love those curls. Amazing.
It's very cute. They had shots of a doll with curly blonde hair a couple times. And I thought that they might have to do another—oh, what's the one? The one with Sarah Blake, the—
That, again, with the doll hair, real human hair from the doll.
"Provenance." There we go. Thank you. But yeah, obviously that ended up not being the case.
That's everything that I have for this one.
That's all I got, yeah.
All right. On to "Nightshifter".
"Nightshifter"! Bedlund, my bestie!
My best friend Ben Edlund.
And the director is Phil Sgriccia.
Nice. Good ol' Phil Sgriccia.
My first note for this one is "who could be responsible for all these bank robberies in an episode titled 'Nightshifter'?"
Also, I love, love, love—every time I see it, I love more—the breaking news update that interrupts the previouslies. I'm like, oh, my God. Especially now, having, like, watched the whole show through a couple times, I'm like—I love the narrative intruding on itself. The narrative itself is, like, breaking the fourth wall. The layers. I'm like...oh, Bedlund, my bestie.
Yeah, it is great, for sure.
This is his first episode writing isn't it?
I believe his first one was "Simon Said".
Oh, that's right, duh. Oh, my God, it has been a long day, like I said. Yeah, this one just stands out in my mind so much, I guess. Like this one, I feel like, makes a really good introduction to the show. For, like, someone who's never seen it, if you're trying to sell someone on it. It doesn't really have a lot of the big story arc stuff that you need a bunch of backstory on. It's just a solid introduction to the characters, to the world of the show, to, sort of, the dynamic between the characters. You know, the only real big bit of continuity is that they're wanted by the police, and they sort of explain that by showing, like, the stuff they deal with is stuff that looks like crime—well, is crimes, but you know, they seem to be involved in these mysterious violent crimes everywhere they go. So there's not a whole lot of backstory that you need for it.
"Mandroids" always cracks me up. "Android" already means "man-like". Oh, then Dean looks so sad when Sam tells Ronald that there's no such thing as mandroids.
He is! He's so, like, aw. He's like, come on, man!
I want to know if Dean thought Sam was going to tell him the full truth, or if he thought that Sam was like, going to confirm the guy's theory.
Like, pretend that oh, yeah, it's totally mandroids. But we need you to stay out of this now, buddy.
"We'll take it from here, man." Also, I love in the opening, that beginning scene, when they're interviewing everyone at the jewelry store—like, the soft focus shots of Dean with, like, the Vaseline on the lens effect. Also, in that scene, I would just like to say, public service announcement. I think it's the one guy Sam's talking to has that line where he's like, oh, yeah, "every year at the Christmas party she said we were the only family that she had." I just want to say that is a red flag. If your employer says "we're like a family", that is a friggin' Soviet parade's worth of red flags right there. Do not work there. If they tell you "we're a family"—
It is always the most horrible, toxic, abusive kind of family ever.
They expect you to put up with crap that you would not put up with from your actual family.
And then Dean's like "friggin' cops" and Sam's like "they're just doing their job". I'm like, shut up, Sam. Don't defend the cops.
Keep this up, I'm going to call you a class traitor for real, Sam. Dean even says "I just think it's creepy how good of a fed you are."
Yeah, don't be a cop, Sam. Gettin' pretty high and mighty for someone who was selling Adderall to college kids a couple episodes ago. I like how this is just my new canon. It started as a joke, but I'm using it now.
And Sam is such a dick to Ronald. I'm like, he's not wrong! He's just in the wrong genre.
I'm surprised it doesn't happen more often—
—that people pick up on monster patterns, even if they don't have the full context, or they get the reason wrong. Like Ronald's mandroids instead of shifters.
And like with the Ghostfacers.
How are they not finding real haunted houses?
Yeah, you know? Yeah, or like, when Ronald describes its MO, he's like "it kills the real person, makes it look like a suicide, and then it morphs into that person, cases the job 'till it knows the take is fat, and finds its opening." I'm like, he's exactly right, he's just got the genre wrong.
He's in sci-fi.
And the, the order of operations is a little incorrect. Because I think it's the—well, it might or might not be, depending.
Yeah, usually it kills them a little later in the process, but—
—he's basically exactly right. I like that Dean likes him!
He's like, "like the Terminator, but the one that can change" and Dean's like, "Oh, you mean the one from T2!" And they're both so, like, happy. I'm like, aw, Dean.
He would be so down for nerding out with this guy.
Mm-hmm. They both deserve friends. Dean deserves to be weird and annoying about pop culture with somebody besides Sam. Come on, Sam. This is a win-win for both of you. Dean gets a friend, and you don't have to put up with Dean's endless pop culture references for a while. But I find it so interesting that what Sam does backfires, you know? Like, he wants to discourage Ronald from taking this into his own hands, and instead it just backfires, and it just pisses him off and makes him more determined to do something about it.
Yeah, if he'd just told him straight up, like, okay, yeah, mandroids are real, but also they're super fucking dangerous, so don't do anything, we'll take care of it. That's what the FBI is for.
Like, say to him, you know, you're right. Or even say, we're not actually FBI, you know, but we fight things like this, we need your help, need you to give us all your videos, and we need you to help keep this quiet.
Or, like, give him busy work.
Be like, hey, we need, like, a local researcher. Can you keep looking up stuff?
Keep him busy.
Exactly. Like, a self-fulfilling prophecy from Sam there, on Ronald getting himself killed.
Which—yeah, that's how you know this is fiction, because IRL, they'd never go straight to sniper rifling the white guy. Even if he took a whole entire bank hostage.
I love, also, Dean calling him Agent Johnson. I'm like, that's a fuckin' Die Hard joke. I'm like, oh my gosh. And then I thought it over, I'm like, the whole episode is just a friendly little Die Hard love letter from Ben Edlund. It is! The robbery, the dick fed, I'm like, yes. I love it. I also love when Ronald goes in and holds up the bank and they're trying to talk him down, and he, like, yells at Sam, "I ain't talking to you. I don't like you." I love Dean's smug little look at Sam on that line. Like, Dean, now is not the time, but understandable.
"Well, if you'd been nicer to him, Sam—"
"—we wouldn't be in this situation."
—told you he doesn't like you. Ha! Dean's so smug about it. I'm like, oh, honey, god bless.
So when the SWAT team turns off the power to the building, and, you know, they don't have access to the cameras anymore. It's not just looking through the camera that makes it obvious that their eyes are reflective. It's any light. So why can't they just get them one at a time and test their eyes with a flashlight. The shifter did escape when they were trying to get the security guard out because he was having a heart attack. But I don't know, if you take them, like, one at a time, and you're, like, holding their arms or something. It would make it a little harder—
Just shine a flashlight—
—for him to escape
—around the vault real quickly. Or—
—honestly, even in the mid aughts, they didn't have smartphones, but cell phones still had cameras. You know, go in with your flip phone.
I definitely expect it of Sam, if not Dean.
Yeah, that was a little weird. Also, ugh, the way Ronald's voice, like, breaks a little. When they're like, "We believe you. That's why we're here." And he's like, "You don't believe me, no one believes me! How could they?" and his voice just breaks a little on that. And I'm like, ugh, friggin' Ronald. I love Ronald.
It would have been great if they did not kill him. Oh my god. Can you imagine Ronald and Bobby interacting?
Oh, he would be so much for Bobby. He'd be like, you need to settle down, but okay. "That guy needs to take a drink and relax a little. He needs to smoke some weed."
I would love to see him finding more weird stuff and always guessing incorrectly what it is.
I also love Ronald slipping on the goo. I'm like, oh. That's something else I've noticed, is that Bedlund is very good at gross dark comedy in his episodes.
For sure. And then Henriksen shows up.
Yes. Henriksen my beloved. He is so underutilized. And I'm gonna yell about this every time he appears. Once again, such a good minor character who could have been so great later on as, like, their source inside the FBI.
His whole intro scene is just—
Initially, I made a note saying that wow, John Winchester sure did look some kind of awful from the outside. But it's like, no, he was a piece of shit whether you knew about monsters or not, yeah. Just different kinds of pieces of shit.
But it's interesting 'cuz like, yeah, like you said, even if you know, sort of, what the deal is, you'd have a different picture of a differently terrible person. But if you don't know anything about this, yeah, he looks exactly like what Henriksen describes, of this like weirdo, like, paramilitary survivalist separatist guy, maybe white supremacist, you know, probably wanting to blow up a few government buildings. Like, yeah.
Oh, gosh, I wish I thought about this before, so I could have found the post. But a post talking about how an interesting idea for an episode would be the boys looking for a case and they stumble across some kind of like, non-supernatural, like, paramilitary operation type thing. And, you know, these guys are like, kind of suspicious of them initially, but then they kind of slide right in with John's paramilitary training and, you know, everything that he's taught them. And at the end of the episode, one of them would be like, "huh, I guess you know, it did come in handy how Dad trained us." And the other one's like "Oh, but was it worth it, really, though?"
Depending on, like, where exactly in the in the show you put it, and, you know, what kind of opinions they're each having that season.
Yeah. Yeah. Also something I find fascinating as the episode goes on. Like, it started with me just laughing at, sort of, Dean and Henriksen's initial exchange and how even over the phone they have, like, tons of chemistry.
But like, there's that initial exchange where Dean's like, "Well, how do you even know I was here?" and Henriksen just says, "Go screw yourself, that's how I knew." And Dean is just so shocked that, like, someone is talking to him the way he talks to other people all the time. He's like, what? They used my own attack against me. But something I found really interesting, then, as the episode goes on, is like, Henriksen has this line where he's like, "No, we have to go in with everything we've got. You don't know those Winchesters." Like, they set up Henriksen as this parallel to them, that even though he's kind of their enemy, he's also—from his perspective, he's the only one who's taking this threat seriously, and everyone else is underestimating it.
He specifically says "There's a monster in there."
Yes, exactly. Like that's—I find it so interesting. Like, even though Henriksen is kind of set up as the bad guy, he somehow—and I think partly this is down to the acting, that Charles Malik Whitfield really kind of brings a little more depth and character to this guy—but also, he's not exactly sympathetic, but you're, like, listening to him talk and you're like, oh, yeah, okay.
As an outsider, you can see where he's coming from. He's actually making some decent points. If I had not watched the show from Sam and Dean's point of view for a season and a half, I'd probably be like, "Oh, he's right. These white dudes who were raised in a weird survivalist cult setting are definitely gonna kill everyone."
I think in like Jupernatural, you know, if we're looking at it from the perspective of like, this white Gentile with Jewish children who is, you know, like, easily seen as a white supremacist...it's just kind of heartbreaking to, like, imagine that situation. Thinking about the ways that Christianity, Christian rituals, you know, the, like, the exorcisms and everything are kind of positioned as the default, and John training them in this way to benefit a society that does not accept them—
—on that level, you know?
Yeah, that's interesting. Also pretending to be one of the hostages, but already dead, was a really cool, clever move on the shifter's part. I found that very interesting.
Absolutely. I would not have expected that.
Yeah. Although I kind of wonder why it didn't just escape when they went back to find her. I guess maybe they didn't—it didn't want to take the chance that they would do what they did and come right back there to kill her. And like, confront her with the body. Also, that ending—and I referenced this a bit when we first started discussing these episodes—but that ending, for my money, is one of the best needle drops on the show.
The use of "Renegade", I'm like—that is so good. When I first got into the show more than 10 years ago, that stuck with me, and was one of the few, like, scenes that I still vividly remembered even though the rest of it I pretty much repressed as best I could. Because it was a very dark period of my life. That and, like, the end of "Lazarus Rising", and like, like a handful of other scenes. I could not get rid of them no matter what I did. And this was one of them, the use of "Renegade" here.
Also that song just freakin' rocks.
It slaps. That's everything I have, unless you have more.
Mostly—my only other note is that Dean did not stop at that stop sign in that parking garage. Very unsafe driving, Dean.
Lock him up and throw away that key.
In an episode full of them as wanted criminals, that's what I have a problem with. That is unsafe driving, Dean.
So with all of our discussion done, now we can play our favorite game of Fuck, Marry, Kill.
All right. So, in this episode, we are doing guest stars again. They are Ava, Susan and Victor.
All right! Oh, man. I feel like we can already see where this is going, except I have a hard time deciding whether I want to fuck Victor or marry him. That's where this is getting difficult for me. Probably marry. I'm—look, I am extremely Dean-coded. And I like Victor a lot. So I just probably marry him. Although Susan seems like good wife material too, though. This is tricky. Maybe just bang Victor. But I feel bad. I have nothing against Ava, I just don't feel particularly strongly about fucking or marrying her. So she's sort of the de facto kill. I guess...for some reason, something is telling me, also fuck Ava, though. I don't know. I don't know why. Don't know why that occurs to me. I'm going to say I'm gonna have to flip a coin at this point. I don't know. Marry Victor. Fuck Ava. That leaves me killing Susan, which surprises me, but I can't marry both of them. So it's either that or like, marry Victor and have an open relationship.
Um, that's a good question.
I know, it's tough.
So much good wife material.
Mm-hmm. I think maybe, marry Susan. She probably tried just her absolute best to keep that hotel up and running.
Yeah, she seems very nice.
And just—just out of her control that, you know, nobody was coming to it often enough to keep it in the black. Fuck Ava. One last hurrah before she gets married. And I don't want to kill Victor—
I will swoop in and save him.
But, yeah, just never see him again.
I will. I will take care of him. Victor, my beloved.
We've got a couple of new questions—
Yes. The first one is from an anonymous listener who said your podcast is great, so much fun. Thank you. And mentioned that I said that I liked the episode "The End", or that it gives me brainworms—and both are true, you are correct—and asked if I have read the epic fan fiction work Down to Agincourt by Seperis. I have started it. I find that I've had a lot of trouble getting into it. I've tried it a couple of times. Because yeah, as mentioned, "The End" just makes the worms in my brain wiggle around at supersonic speeds.
And it sounds like it would be right up my alley, but I've had a lot of trouble—just, I try it every now and then and just have trouble getting into it. So perhaps one day, I will be able to finish it. But that day has not yet arrived.
It's a really big series. It's currently at, what, 1.5 million words?
Over a million words, and it is a work in progress. So yes, I have started the first book a few times. And I have some trouble with the pacing of it. And yeah, I've heard some stuff about it going in very weird directions later, but I would like to, hopefully one day get through it. Maybe this winter.
Trying to look up what's the longest published book series by words. It's—Google does not want to cooperate with me, apparently, by giving me this very specific information. The longest book in the world is 3 million words. But that's a single book. Okay, apparently the Wheel of Time is like 4 million.
I know for sure that's multiple books, but still, it's up there.
It's a lot.
And then the second ask that we received is from friend of the show, Tzofiya! Thank you so much, Tzofiya.
It says, "Did some research: To the best of our knowledge, most actual clowns aren't serial killers."
"Some violent offenders have been known to wear clown costumes, but John Wayne Gacy is the only true clown on record. Meanwhile, you have a 1 in 3.37 billion chance of dying in a plane crash. Deano wins. Loved the episode, I'll check out Kosher Queers as well."
All right, thank you for clearing that up!
Thank you so much. So glad that we could direct a few more people towards other beloved podcasts. Yeah, thank you. Thank you for doing that.
Thank you for doing that work.
You must love us so much to do math for us.
To do any kind of research, honestly, clearly, we couldn't even be bothered to do the math, so.
I think I intended to, and then I saved my recording and immediately forgot about it.
Exactly. The ADHD kicked in. Once I was done it no longer existed.
I've got so many HDs. Oh, gosh. Speaking of ADHD, I looked up something that I meant to bring up with "Playthings", which is how we could make things more Jewish, which is the existence of the Jewish Catskills resorts.
That's New York, obviously, as opposed to just—
—New England in general and encompassing Connecticut. But you know, there's a—there's a history of—
—these resorts that cater to a largely Jewish clientele, and similarly, have become less popular, because I mean, a big impetus was the existence of discrimination against Jewish people in places like resorts and country clubs. So Jews were just like, "well, we'll make our own."
"See if we don't."
Or maybe having one of the Winchesters refer to the fact that if we go with the Jupernatural interpretation, then we would not have been welcome here.
Yeah, I would love to see an alternate "Playthings" set at a Catskills resort, that would be amazing.
Apparently that area is sometimes referred to as the Jewish Alps. It's very fun. So if you have any questions, comments or kvetches, about past or future episodes, we are absolutely willing to talk about things that we've already gone over—
—if you come to us with new ideas—
—or talking about upcoming episodes, things that you're excited about, things that you were mad about. There's a lot of things to get mad about.
Oh, boy howdy.
All the time. But yeah, anytime any of it all of it. You can contact us on Twitter at @menschofletters, on Tumblr at menschofletters.tumblr.com/ask, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you're in our Discord, you can also bring up things there if you want us to mention them. It's open to anybody. We have special roles for people who become Patreon patrons but anybody can just click on the link and join us.
In Jupernatural paradise. Yeah. If you like our show, please spread the word! Retweet, reblog, tell your friends, tell your therapist, tell a shapeshifting mandroid—I'm sure they're out there.
Tell the kids you're selling Adderall to.
We are on iTunes, Spotify, Google podcasts, we are on your favorite podcatcher, and we are on your least favorite podcatcher. Please rate and review us on iTunes, because the more of those we get, the more they start recommending us to the internet at large. Don't you want to put us in front of other people's eyes? It's great.
And ears. I guess that is the more relAvant sense.
You never know.
We are also always taking guests, you know, if you want to be on for a particular episode, if you want to be on a whole season recap, just write us—
—any of the ways that we have previously mentioned.
And we will do our absolute best to get you a slot on the episode that you want.
We would love that.
For more Mensch of Letters, check out our Patreon! If you go to patreon.com/menschofletters you can support us for as little as $1 a month. At the $1 Ghost tier, you get access to Patreon-exclusive content and a special role in the Mensch of Letters Discord; at the $5 Werewolf tier, you get a more special role in the Discord and early access to Patreon-exclusive content; the $10 Shade tier gets you an even more special role in the Discord and all the perks of lower levels; finally, the $18 a month Mensch tier gets you the most special role in the Discord, all the perks of lower levels, and our undying gratitude. If you want to find us elsewhere, you can find me at @clairewinchestermills on Tumblr or at @pinejaysong on Twitter.
You can find me at @juleshastweets on Twitter, and on Tumblr, my main is @lesspopped, and my sideblog for Supernatural is @trekkiedean.
Our intro music is "Fun Tashlikh", and our outro music is "Sarvasso Stomp", both by Yid Vicious, who you can find at yidvicious.com, where they also have four different albums of klezmer music available for purchase. Thank you for listening, and have a great day.