This week: Exposure therapy for secondhand embarrassment, making dick jokes about angels, Dean doesn’t know how to destroy a hard drive, the return of Buffynatural, and the JJ Bittenbinder school of vampire hunting.
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Hello and welcome to Mensch of Letters, the, first, best, and only Jewish Supernatural podcast. I'm Iscah, aka the 100% real Father O'Malley.
I'm Jules, and I might love accidental dramatic irony even more than accidental foreshadowing.
And we're here to make a bad TV show slightly better by making it Jewish. This week, we are covering Season Two, Episodes 13, 14, and 15. All right,
Episode 13, "Houses of the Holy". A woman is alone in her room, watching TV in the dark and smoking, when her lights begin to flicker and the room starts to shake. She can't turn the TV off; it's stuck on a televangelist expounding on the glory of God. And then her door opens, and the room fills with light. Later, that same woman—aptly named Gloria—is in a psychiatric hospital, where she has been placed after murdering a man named Carl Gully. She's talking with Sam, who's disguised as an orderly, and she calmly explains that she murdered Gully on the instruction of an angel. When Sam relates the story to him back at the hotel, Dean scoffs, clearly skeptical. Investigating Gully's house, however, turns up something far more troubling—human remains buried beneath the basement. That night, a man named Zach receives a visitation similar to Gloria's, and leaves his home, wandering until the same bright figure Gloria saw appears in front of a house. Zach knocks on the door and stabs the man who answers.
The next day, Sam has discovered that three students have disappeared from a local university in the past year, and all of them were last seen at the library where Carl Gully worked. He's looking an awful lot like a serial killer. Dean, who's been laying low in the hotel room on account of being wanted for armed robbery, has been monitoring the police band, and learned of the latest murder. Investigating the victim's home, Sam and Dean find conversations in his email history that implicate him in grooming a teenage girl online. They also discover that Gully and the latest victim attended the same church: the even more aptly-named Our Lady of the Angels. At the church, the boys speak with the priest, Father Reynolds, who mentions that another priest, Father Gregory, was recently murdered on the steps of the church. Dean theorizes that Father Gregory, who would know his parishioners' secrets, is now a ghost, meting out justice and death that he couldn't in life. Sam is less certain, however, and to Dean's surprise and dismay, admits that he does in fact believe in angels and even prays daily. Returning to the church to investigate Father Gregory's tomb, the Winchesters split up briefly—and that's when the crypt around Sam begins to shake, and he sees a figure bathed in light.
Later, Sam and Dean argue. Sam increasingly believes that they're dealing with an angel, and is awaiting the sign he was told to look for. He's bewildered by Dean's disbelief, and hurt by his clear disdain. Dean, angry, finally tells Sam that their mother, too, believed in angels. In fact, the last thing Mary ever said to Dean was that angels were watching over him—but it didn't do her any good. If angels were real, he believes, they would have saved their mother. Dean makes a suggestion: if he's right, and this is just Father Gregory's spirit, then a simple summoning ritual will work, and they'll know they're not dealing with an angel. On the way back to the church, however, Sam spots a man standing on a corner and briefly sees him surrounded by light. This is the sign he's been waiting for. He insists to Dean that he has to kill the man. Dean, understandably, would like a little more evidence before letting his brother summarily execute someone, and talks him into splitting up. Dean will follow the man and stop him from doing anything if he tries, and Sam will go to the church and attempt the seance. At the church, Sam's summoning ritual is interrupted by Father Reynolds. But before things can get too awkward, Father Gregory's spirit appears. As Sam and Father Reynolds talk to the spirit, it becomes clear that Father Gregory truly believes he has become an angel and that he is carrying out God's work. Father Reynolds is able to get through to him, and performs last rites, putting Father Gregory's spirit to rest. Sam is left with the remnants of the ritual and his own disillusionment.
Dean, meanwhile, has been following Sam's target as he picks up a woman on a date, and then assaults her. Dean interrupts him and helps the woman, but the man flees, and Dean pursues him—until a truck carrying construction materials cuts the man off and a pipe comes loose, crashing through the windshield and impaling the man. Back at the hotel, Dean and Sam talk, and a pensive Sam tries to explain his faith to Dean. The evil they see every day wears at him, wore on him even before learning about his own apparent destiny. He wants to believe that there's something out there that's watching out for them, that cares for them—that there's some greater force for good at work in the universe, as well as the forces of evil. Dean reluctantly admits to Sam that the man's death has shaken him in turn—that it's hard for him to call it anything besides an act of God.
All right, Episode 14, "Born Under a Bad Sign". We open on Dean, frantic, talking to Ellen on the phone. Sam took off a week ago and hasn't been answering his phone. Then he's interrupted by a new call—it's Sam. Dean drives to Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, and finds Sam in a motel room, covered in blood and with no memory of the past week. They attempt to retrace his steps, finding a car that he stole, a gas station where he threw a bottle at the cashier, and finally an isolated house off the highway with a dead man inside, his throat slit. He was apparently a hunter, so Dean quickly covers their tracks, and they flee back to the motel. Sam tells Dean that he's been having uncontrollable feelings of rage and hatred, and that Dean should kill him now, before he does anything else. Dean refuses, anguished, and Sam knocks him out with the butt of the gun and takes off.
The next day. Dean wakes up when the motel manager arrives to kick him out, and manages to find Sam by activating his phone's GPS. He's gone to a bar in Duluth, Minnesota, where Jo has been working. He tells her that Dean doesn't like her romantically, but implies that he does. She's freaked out by his sudden change in demeanor and asks him to leave. He walks away—and then immediately turns around and knocks her out. She wakes up tied to a pole, and he taunts her with the truth of what happened between their fathers. When Bill was horribly injured by the demon, they were hunting, John put him out of his misery by shooting him. Then he declares that she's bait and Dean bursts into the room. Sam begs Dean again to shoot him. Dean's still refuses, but throws holy water at him—and it turns out he's been possessed by a demon this whole time. The demon flees, and Dean pursues. Dean asks the demon why it hasn't killed him, and it says that it wanted to see if it could get Dean to kill Sam. Now unsuccessful in this endeavor, it opts to simply shoot Dean at the end of a dock, causing him to fall in the water. Luckily, it's only a shoulder wound, and Jo is able to find him and patch him up.
Knowing that the demon is going after hunters, he heads for the nearest one he knows, Bobby. When the demon arrives at Bobby's, it's greeted warmly, but Bobby is a rightfully paranoid old bastard, and put holy water in the beer. He knocks the demon out and when it wakes, it's tied to a chair underneath the devil's trap. Dean begins to exorcise it, but the demon had previously burned a binding link into Sam's arm to lock itself into his body. It recites an incantation that cracks the devil's trap and goes after Dean and Bobby. The demon monologues at Dean, and he realizes that this is the same demon that had previously possessed Meg Masters. Luckily, the gloating has distracted the demon enough that it doesn't notice Bobby sneaking up with a hot poker to burn the binding link, causing it to be immediately evicted from Sam's body. In the aftermath, Bobby brings up the hunter who was killed, and Dean takes the hint, saying that they've never heard of the guy. Bobby hands them charms to ward off possession and they depart. In the Impala, Sam reveals that he was aware for some of his possession and asked why Dean didn't kill him. Dean says that the order to kill Sam is only in the case that he can't save him—and he'll save Sam if it's the last thing he does.
All right, Episode 15, "Tall Tales". We open with a scene straight out of the guy in your MFA's dreams, as a beautiful coed shyly approaches a middle-aged professor for help. He invites her to his office in a building named Crawford Hall, where she admits, giggling, that she's not actually in any of his classes, just a huge admirer of his work. She's laying it on pretty thick—right up until her face changes to that of a long-dead ghost. Not long after, outside the building, the janitor who's locking up hears something fall to the ground behind him—and turns to find the professor, who's jumped or been thrown, from the fourth floor window of his office. Later, Dean and Sam are in a hotel room, clearly about three seconds from enacting physical violence on one another, when Bobby arrives and interrupts their bickering. They've called him for help, completely stumped by the current case, and in a series of flashbacks they explain—in between jabs at each other—what they've got so far, and how it doesn't seem to add up. The professor's death seems to fit with an old campus legend about a student who killed herself after an affair with a professor, one repeated with relish by students they question. But when they question the janitor, it becomes clear that the room the girl supposedly jumped from doesn't exist, and further research—at least as far as Sam could manage on his laptop, which was struggling under the strain of all the porn he accuses Dean of filling it with—turns up nothing matching the story. The legend, it seems, is just that, a legend.
Things have only gotten weirder from there, however. A frat boy walking across campus hears a noise overhead and looks up to see a strange light. Later, clearly shaken, he tells the Winchesters that he was abducted by aliens. Bobby, like Sam and Dean, is skeptical, but they explain that where the frat boy reports the abduction happening, in front of Crawford Hall, there's a patch of ground that appears to have been scorched, as if by jet fuel. They questioned people who know the frat guy, Curtis, including a recent pledge who is unsympathetic. "He put us through hell this semester," the guy says, so "now he knows how we feel." Back at the hotel, Sam and Dean are still stumped. Dean posits a connection between the two victims, by which I mean he points out that they're both dicks, and that they seem to have gotten their just desserts. They don't make much progress beyond that, partly because of the strangeness of the case, and partly because their bickering has only escalated further, since Sam's laptop is now missing and he believes Dean has done something to it. Back in the present, Bobby, clearly exasperated, asks them to stick to the details of the case, and the Winchesters explain that there was one more incident. A research scientist who performed animal testing spotted something shiny in a sewer drain outside of Crawford Hall, an expensive-looking watch. He attempts to retrieve it and something in the sewer attacks him. At the morgue, Sam and Dean examine what little remains of the scientist's body, and Sam finds something strange: a reptilian belly scale, like one from an alligator. They decide to split up and check the sewers. Dean finds nothing in the sewers, but emerges to something truly horrific—someone has let the air out of the Impala's tires. Someone, as evidenced by the money clip he finds on the ground, with the initials S.W.
Dean confronts Sam, and their fight descends into wrestling as Sam tries to get his money back from Dean, at which point Bobby interrupts them once more. They sullenly explain that there's not much more to report, as he arrived shortly after, and Bobby, somewhat amused, explains that he knows what they're dealing with: a trickster, an immortal demigod with incredible powers of illusion, a vindictive sense of humor, and a ferocious sweet tooth. They tend to target "the high and mighty", Bobby explains, and like to take their victims down a peg. Sam and Dean, he adds, have been his biggest clue as to what was happening; the Trickster has clearly been manipulating them, keeping them too busy fighting each other to interfere with its fun. When Bobby mentions that tricksters will generally appear human, Dean suggests that it's the janitor—a good guess, as we see when we cut to his apartment, where he and a very cute dog are living the dream, feasting on sweets and partying with beautiful (albeit illusory) women.
The next day, at Crawford Hall, Dean distracts the janitor, while Sam breaks into his locker, but comes up with nothing beyond a copy of the Weekly World News. Dean is unimpressed, and as the janitor watches them from inside, they to start to snipe at each other again, before finally deciding to split up, Sam to report back to Bobby and Dean to keep an eye on things at Crawford Hall. Later, when Dean goes back into the building, dark and empty, he eventually finds the Trickster—along with a "peace offering" of two illusory babes, and also a big bed. The Trickster asks only that Sam and Dean let him move on to another town, and Dean, though he admits he likes the trickster's style, tells him that he can't let him do that. Bobby and Sam show up with weapons, and the Trickster's beautiful ladies prove that they're pretty handy with weapons, too. But Dean is finally able to get the drop on the Trickster, impaling him with a wooden stake through the heart. Job done, the hunters head out (leaving the body, because why would a couple guys who are wanted federally need to keep a low profile?), and Sam and Dean awkwardly make up. Back inside the auditorium, however, it turns out that some poor janitor will be spared the ordeal of starting the day with a coworker's mutilated corpse—the body disappears, an illusion, with a wave of the real Trickster's hand.
A good set of episodes. I have been looking forward to "Houses of the Holy" virtually since we started.
Yes. Oh man, so good. It's so good.
Like, it's—it's a good episode just at face value. And getting to Jewify it is even more exciting.
Yes, yes. Oh man, there is just, whew, so much in it, so much. And it's one of those that—it was, you know, good at the time on its own, but like, looking back on it after everything else that comes after it is amazing.
Yeah, I have no idea how much of the episode, like, any writers in season four and beyond would have, like, deliberately made allusions to, because god knows continuity is not Supernatural's strong suit. But even—you know, everything that's—whether it's on purpose or accidental is just perfection.
Sorry, I'm just trying to decide like what's interesting enough—
—that I made in my notes—
Yeah, no worries.
—to bring up first.
Well, who directed this one? I know Sera Gamble wrote it. But—
Yes, of course. And the director is Kim Manners.
Kim Manners. Okay.
Good ol' Kim Manners.
So, pretty—pretty good duo. Alright. So Gloria, when she was talking to Sam, she said that it was, like, sent to her. And technically, that's literally just what malach, in the original Hebrew, and angeles? Angelos? In Greek, I think, I think it's a soft G, angeles. Yeah, that—it literally just means "messenger". And at the time the Torah was being written, it could refer to any kind of heavenly or earthly messenger. So you kind of had to just depend on context to see if it was a messenger of God or man.
Yeah, yeah. I also love her name being Gloria, that is just—
Ah, chef's kiss. So delightfully, like, on the nose there. That is—that is incredible.
Yeah, and Zach's name is not as focused on, I guess, but technically Zachariah, also, Hebrew name, of course, that means "God remembers".
It is very interesting that like, you know, like I said, there's so much that becomes so interesting, so much—even more interesting about this episode in light of like, later developments on the show. But one thing that jumped out at me immediately is that like, the electronics going haywire, and the flickering lights and the rattling furniture, and everything associated—like, that is actually what happened, what is associated with angels appearing in the universe of Supernatural later.
I find that really interesting. And there's some stuff even Father Gregory says that—I don't remember. I'll have to go through my notes when we get to it later in our discussion of the episode, but—that I'm like, huh, even this early before they actually had decided to make angels part of this show's universe, where I'm like, oh, it's still kind of—leaves some stuff open and hints at how angels actually work in this universe. Sera Gamble was playing the long game.
Oh, yeah. Just got to grudgingly give the Catholics a little bit of credit, apparently, for ideas about how an angel manifestation would look.
Also, oh my god. Like, this episode, I think, is the first time in the show where I'm like, "oh, no". Because at that time, I had the exact same phone Dean has.
[laughing] I'm so sorry.
I'm like, "oh, my God". Back in, you know, 2006 I had that same, like, slide phone. I'm like, oh, no. Oh, no. Yeah, I think I had an AC/DC ringtone, too, which is even more distressing.
Yeah, let's see. I think, 2008, I got my first phone. That was a flip phone. And then the next year, one of my parents decided to upgrade and we were finally allowed to text. I got a slide phone.
The magic fingers bed is—
Oh, man. Like what Sam specifically says, "you're like one of those rats that pushes the pleasure button instead of the food button until it dies." And that line always makes me think of the Rat Park experiment, which was kind of conceptually a follow-up to the Skinner Box experiments that Sam is referencing, you know, where the rats are trained to dispense themselves drugs or push a button that, you know, they've got, like, electrodes wired directly into their brains' pleasure centers. So the thing about rats is that, like humans, they're social creatures. So if you put them in cages, one apiece, nothing to do, with a regular water and a morphine-laced water, they're gonna pick the drugged water nine times out of ten. But if you put them in a huge habitat filled with, like, toys, and structures, and different foods, and other rats to befriend and/or mate with, like, basically any kind of enrichment a rat could ask for, they barely touch the stuff. You have to sweeten it to counteract the bitter taste of the morphine. And when they're in the Rat Park, you have to sweeten it to just a bonkers degree to get them to try it more than occasionally.
Huh, that's interesting. They just do it recreationally, eh?
Yeah! Yeah, like, they'll—they'll do it a little bit. But they don't seem to like having their social structures disrupted by being high all the time.
And Dean's kind of living a miserable existence. He's—
No enrichment in the enclosure.
No, he's, he's got like his brother to talk to, and he's got hookups. But he's kind of miserable.
Oh, also, a little bit earlier, before we move on. When Dean is talking about Gloria, he said "she wouldn't be the first nutjob in history to kill in the name of religion, know what I mean?" Which is literally just—in the context of Jupernatural, so much deeper.
Oh, yeah, that's true.
That's kind of a significant portion of our history, unfortunately.
Being on the receiving end of that.
Yeah. I also like that—again, not to get into too many spoilers—but, like, the reason this probably isn't actually an angel, is that like, as we'll see later, in the universe of Supernatural angels generally are not afraid to do their own dirty work. Like, they generally do not hesitate to go and kill people themselves if need be.
Like, at most, they would have been taking these people as vessels.
Yeah, exactly. I'm like, oh, that's what I find, like—later on, like, the priest, Father. Reynolds, says, like, oh, you know, "to think these poor misguided souls"—"to think that God's messenger would appear and incite people to murder." And I'm like, he's right. Just not for the reasons he thinks he is, unfortunately.
If inciting, as opposed to doing it themselves, was the most efficient option—
—then yeah, they kind of absolutely would.
That's true, they probably would. Yeah, a lot of the angels in Supernatural. Yeah.
Them talking to Christian clergy is always just so—
It felt very much like the Hook Man episode, where I'm like, yeah, if you do a Jupernatural reading of the show, it's very, like awkward. They have no idea how to fake their way through Christianity. It's just—it's very funny.
Like when father Reynolds asked them where they lived before. And Sam is kind of fumbling and Dean immediately goes "Premont, Texas," that's so incredibly specific, Dean. Why? Where—is—what? How has this city made such a big impression on your psyche that that's what you immediately go for? And then he says "Father O'Malley".
Oh my god.
He's like, Irish names, go, it's—like, there's, like, a 50-50 chance.
He went for M*A*S*H. That's what's amazing. I'm like, oh, my god, Dean. Just drawing on TV.
Oh, gosh. Okay. See, this is—this is why I love doing this podcast with you because we have—
—a different. I was going to say you have a different set of pop culture references.
I—like Dean, I was raised—I am—I am a few years younger than Dean. But I was also raised by TV, so, yeah.
I made—I made a note it's gonna take me 10 entire minutes to watch a two-minute bit because I keep pausing out of secondhand embarrassment.
[laughing] Oh, no. Yeah, yeah. Honestly, Supernatural has been great for my secondhand embarrassment oversensitivity just being—
It's exposure therapy.
Exactly! This is—I have said this so many times. Supernatural in general, and being a fan of Misha Collins specifically, will just, like—free exposure therapy for your oversensitivity to secondhand embarrassment. That didn't really even register to me at this point. I'm like, oh, that doesn't even count.
I also made a note about how Father Reynolds says "you can expect a miracle but in the meantime, work your butt off".
Which is something I swear I've also heard like, like, exactly that in Jewish circles.
Like that joke about the guy who's in a flood, and three boats and rescue him, and he's like, "no, God's gonna save me." And then he dies because he didn't get on any of the boats, so he just fucking drowned. He gets up to heaven, he's like, "God, why didn't you save me?" And God's like, "I sent you three boats! What more do you want?"
Yes, exactly. It's amazing. You know I did—who was it? Who was it? I can't remember who it was. I want to say it was Jewish writer, Talia Lavin, but it might have been somebody else on Twitter—who said that Catholicism is the most Jewish form of Christianity. I was like, yeah, that in many ways is accurate.
I've also heard that about Episcopalians.
Interesting. Also, I think that painting of Michael—no, I know it shows up a couple other times throughout the show. At least, I believe, it's used at the end of season four. And then weirdly in, like, season seven, I want to say it's, like, decorating the Alpha Vampire's house.
Yeah, so that—I mean, I assume it's just prop reuse at that point. But yeah, the context of its use in season four is much more, like, directly related to the whole deal. But yeah, I'm like, now I'm trying to remember if it shows up at any other point throughout the series. So listeners if you remember seeing that painting of Michael at other points throughout the series, let us know.
And it's it's one of those classic lines, "Father, that's Michael, right?" and he's pointing at Dean!
Yes, since the painting isn't in the shot, he's like, it looks like he's just pointing at Dean. Yeah.
Michael and his flaming sword.
Oh, man. I also like how he then is, like, trying to sell Dean on angels, it almost sounds like, by like, making them sound cool. He's like, "So they're not really the Hallmark card versions that everybody thinks right? They're fierce and vigilant." And the priest is like, "Well, I like to think of them as more loving than wrathful, but yes, a lot of Scripture paints Angels as God's warriors." I'm like, that feels so much like Sam is just trying to make Dean think that angels can be cool.
See, we can, like, paint racing stripes on 'em!
[laughing] Exactly. They're cool!
I don't know what, exactly, Father Reynolds thinks of Dean, but he's definitely not buying Dean, at a minimum, as a devout Catholic.
Probably not Sam either.
He gives off vibes of like, okay, these guys are not telling me the full truth, but they seem harmless enough, I guess, so we'll go with it. I'll indulge them. Maybe he genuinely is, like, well, if they're lying to me, they probably have reason to do so, so we'll just have to win them over.
Yeah, he quotes the book of Luke, and Sam and Dan both have just—
Just blank stares.
I don't know how this New Testament shit, sorry.
Also Dean repeatedly called—this is the first time, I think, but several other times over the course of the show Dean addresses priests as "Padre". I'm like, Dean, please. You cannot help yourself, can you? He cannot.
He cannot. And then the scene afterwards when Dean is, like, "Next you're gonna tell me you pray every day?"
Sam's like, "I do. I do pray every day." And also a really, really good place to Jewify it—
Like, have him mention the Sh'ma or davening shacharit every morning, and Dean has never seen him do this, because Dean will never wake up before 12 if he doesn't have to.
I like that. See, I was gonna say, having him say like, "well, how have you not noticed?" or something, but yeah.
And I think it's also a really good place to have a contrast between, like, a more culturally Jewish Dean, who has memories of Mary, and Sam having the knowledge, but not really an emotional connection until he tries to deliberately forge one, like, at Stanford, probably.
Yeah, yeah. I like that. I also find it interesting a little later, you know, we get some very, like, poignant backstory from Dean on his resistance. But something that stuck out to me on this viewing, also, was like, that exchange where Sam is like, "This angel hasn't been wrong yet. Someone's going to do something awful, and I can stop it." And Dean says, "You're supposed to be bad, too, so maybe I should stop you." So I'm like, oh, that's interesting. I had not sort of appreciated that as an element of Dean's resistance to this as well, but it's not just about—sort of—his anger and resentment over their mother's death. It's also like, there's an element of destiny to this whole case. And he does not want to believe that it's going to come to this. And I had not picked up on that in previous viewings. It was interesting to me. It really jumped out at me this time.
Yeah, definitely. It hurts every time.
Yeah. Oh, yeah. It's so painful.
Like, if he can prove that there's no reason for these people to be told what to do about somebody else being bad, then, you know, he doesn't have to be told what to do about Sam, who is allegedly going to be bad.
And then Dean's line about Mary, saying, "I'll tell you who else had failed like that—mom."
"She used to tell me when she tucked me in that angels were watching over us. In fact, that was the last thing she ever said to me." Which, first of all, ouch. Second of all, not that I need permission to change anything to suit my whims. But this is definitely a green light for me to go ahead and say that in Jupernatural, like, Mary would have been still actively Jewish and taught Dean Jewish things. And I've seen some people having like ideas and opinions to the contrary, which is—it's fine, of course, two Jews, three opinions. But personally, I do like the idea of Mary not wanting to have left behind the Jewish part of her identity just because she tried to leave behind the hunter part of her identity.
And you know, still like lighting Shabbat candles, observing holidays, trying to make Jewish foods. Maybe, because I know, you know, we end up finding out later that like her pie was storebought and everything.
But I imagine in the 1980s in Kansas, it would have been harder to find storebought Jewish foods.
Unless you were like, in whatever the biggest city is—
—in the state, and even that'd probably be a crapshoot.
But yeah. And then, of course, just want to bring up one more time, the nighttime prayer.
Also called the angel song, or "B'shaim Hashem"—because of course, that's usually how Jewish, like, prayers and psalms are named, after, like, the first couple of words in them.
Yeah. Oh—yeah, I forgot for a second, what I was going to say. But I think there's room for both to some extent, even that—you know, 'cuz Dean was only four when she died. So even if she was actively practicing things, he still probably wouldn't have many very clear memories of it, you know?
Right. That's probably only, like, one round of holidays—
—which he can maybe remember clearly at the age of four.
Like, vague memories sort of, of like candles for Shabbat or something? Yeah, so I think, like you said, either interpretation is fine, but I think yeah, there's certainly room to kind of combine them and get, like, that, even if Mary was actively practicing Dean might not really have a ton of memories of it.
Yeah. And then, just this whole episode, everything about angels has me swinging wildly between laughing my ass off and biting my own hands off.
Like, he says, "I'm gonna need to see some hard proof about the existence of angels." Just like—
Oh, you'll get hard proof.
Like when you stab an angel in the chest two years from now, and he just tells you "good things do happen" and then you carry out a painfully slow burn romance with him for like, 12 years after that.
There's your hard proof, Dean. I—yeah, I like how I immediately go to the dick joke, yeah. Yes, I am once again here to class it up. Yeah, yeah. No, it's—again, like I said in my introduction, I friggin' love unintentional dramatic irony.
Yeah. And I love Dean's explanation to Sam, where he kind of opens up, and talks about their mother and why he doesn't believe. Really—obviously, it's very, very poignant in general and Jensen Ackles does a fantastic job with it. But it hits really hard for me personally, just because—when my little brother was a baby, he was diagnosed with pretty severe hemophilia. And my mom went through a lot of spiritual anger over that. Like, she and I have talked a lot, and she said, you know, that the main reason she kept believing in God, was because she was angry at God—was that yeah, she was like, "if there's no God, then who am I angry at?" And yeah, it just, it really sort of resonated with me. You know, this has been a pretty big part of my own, I guess, my own family and my own family's philosophical discussions. So it just sort of hits me where I live.
Yeah, very understandable.
And I like Dean's line that "one of the perks of the job is we don't have to to operate on faith," I'm like, oh, wow, once again, great line. Amazing.
Then when Sam gets caught doing his seance in the crypt, he says "it's based on early Christian rites, if that helps any."
That was literally what I was about to mention.
Like, oh, it so doesn't help, honey.
Yeah, that was—that was so good. I'm like, oh my gosh Sam, you friggin' nerd.
Then I made another note about how father Gregory has this idea that he's become an angel, which is definitely a sort of prevalent pop culture perception, I guess, the—in kind of—just like, main—mainstream Protestant, I guess, or culturally Christian milieu, that like, oh, so-and-so died and became an angel.
Yeah. Or you put in your time in heaven, and you eventually get promoted to an angel or something, yeah.
Yeah. And I think that not a lot of people are going to do a theological or philosophical deep dive on that. But in Jewish tradition, obviously, there are a ton of different types of angels and many different contradictory angelic hierarchies that have been proposed by many different sages and rabbis over the centuries.
But one class of angel that is said to exist is called Ishim. And that's spelled I S H I M, which is actually the transliteration of both the word for "men". So singular, ish, plural אִישִׁים. And that's aleph, yod, shin, yod, mem. And "flames", which is אֵשִׁים. So that first I in the word, for mem, that's not necessary, particularly, to make that ee, I sound, because Hebrew is fun like that. There's sometimes letters that are just extraneous—the vowels are. And they are "composed of fire and snow, and are described as 'the beautiful souls of just men'". So you know, kind of implied that a righteous person who has died can become one of these kinds of angels, the Ishim.
There's also a certain tradition in Hasidic thought that angels are created by—almost as one text I saw described it—used the term "byproduct" of human actions. So that good actions, righteous actions, will create good angels, and destructive actions will create angels of destruction, and that angels are created by human actions. If not—not intentionally, but as, like, a—as they said, "byproduct". Which is just a hilarious choice of word to me.
But that's really cool. I hadn't heard that before.
Yeah, yeah. No, I've been enjoying—I've referenced it a couple times before, but I've been getting a lot of enjoyment out of the Encyclopedia of Jewish Myth, Magic and Mysticism by Geoffrey Dennis. So—got it a few weeks ago, and yes, it has been proving lots of fun for me.
Nice. Yeah, we'll definitely have to put that in the references.
Yes. I found it interesting, also, that some of what, like—sort of thinking too hard about what Father Gregory says and what he was doing, and it there's still a certain amount of mystery to it, I feel like. You know, he says, like, "I received the word of God, he spoke to me and told me to smite the wicked, I'm carrying out his will." Which is interesting to me, you know, he didn't feel the need to kill these people while he was alive. After he died, something compelled him to do this. And it sounds at least, he believes that he was being ordered by an outside force to do this, just as he told these people in turn, which is—I'm, like—that's very interesting to me. I feel like that still—and probably at this point—because as some behind the scenes backstory, Kripke was against bringing in angels or God, or at least saying anything definitively about whether God exists within the Supernatural universe, which I'm sure you know already, but if any listeners don't. And Sera Gamble was the one who eventually kind of talked him into it—the writer of this episode—for writing, story purposes when the writers' strike of 2007 screwed up their plans for season three, and they needed a sudden, like, solution to the problem that arose because their plan wouldn't work. And Sera Gamble, it sounds like, did a fair bit of arguing in favor of making it angels. But at this point, yeah, that was not a part of Kripke's plan at all. So I'm—it's very interesting to sort of watch this with that in mind that—as I said, at the beginning, it is all totally unintentional, or at least mostly unintentional foreshadowing, and the dramatic irony, given what a huge role angels come to play in—later on. But it's interesting to sort of wonder how much of this was Sera Gamble sort of, like—
Yes. And hedging her bets and being like, I'm not going to be too definitive because I don't want to close that door.
Yeah. Yeah, and, you know, this being Supernatural, it could be literally anything from actual angels to dying hallucination.
Yeah, yeah. There are so many questions. I would like to ask Sera Gamble. This is probably not at the top of the list, but it's, it's up there.
I made another note about how technically last rites can't be given to a person who's already dead, at least according to Wikipedia, and I have no real reason to doubt them.
Think they know more about Catholicism than I do. But I suppose exceptions can be made when you have a ghost—
—of the deceased still standing in front of you.
That is—that raises interesting questions. I would love to hear from some Catholics on this. Like, if the spirit of this dead person appears to you and asks for last rites. Can you provide them? Or is there is there an alternate ritual in that case, perhaps? I don't know.
More of Sam's early Christian rites.
Yeah. They also mentioned—well, Father Reynolds invokes Raphael as the "master of air to open the way to heaven" or whatever it was, he specifically said. I think it would have been really cool if they, you know, remember that little bit and if Raphael, when he did actually show up for real in the show, did have some sort of connection to escorting souls after death? Like they also retconned reapers as a type of angel.
So, you know, what if Raphael—
Oh, yeah, interesting.
—you know, that—what if he's the commander of reapers or something?
That's interesting. Yeah. "Master of the air", he does have kickass lightning wings when he appears, that's something.
That's true. And then of course at the very end, that kind of reversal of their initial positions on faith.
Very classic supernatural, gotta love it
Beautiful. Also, we discussed in our previous episode, in discussing "Playthings", the—what the hell seemed to have happened to the ghosts there at the haunted hotel—but the last rites in this case do help Father Gregory's spirit to move on, so I guess, you know, salting and burning isn't the only option, then. You know, you can also just sort of help a spirit make peace and move on. Although there still being a ritual element is interesting to me. And I like that.
But, but yes, so possibly the ghosts in "Playthings" were just, like, ready to move on then. I'm like, all right. Although it's still very funny to me that the Winchesters may have just sort of left the ghosts there, were like, "All right!" That's still funnier.
Not my circus, not my monkeys.
Exactly. That's still funnier to me. But I will accept that it might not be what actually happened.
Alright, so that is everything that I have for this episode.
Yes. Although the—[laughing] what—you know, often their hotels generally have interesting sort of themes to the decor, sort of kitschy themes, and this one's seemed to be "sexy ladies"? I'm like, okay, sure.
Yeah. dubiously tasteful semi-nude prints on the walls and other similar decor.
Oh, also made a note about how Dean was laying on the bed with his boots on.
Horrible man. Anyway, let's move on to Episode 14, "Born Under a Bad Sign".
So the writer for this one is Katherine Humphris. And the director is Jay Miller Tobin, who, you know, this is the first one that he's ever written. He does three more. One for the next three seasons. He did "A Very Supernatural Christmas".
Season four's "Heaven and Hell", and season five's "Free to Be You and Me".
Oh, okay. Wow.
The first of the two-parter that gives me brainworms. All right.
Excellent. All right. So some solid stuff in there.
Yeah, really solid.
I like—speaking of directing choices—I really like sort of the opening with the really quick, like, J- and L-cuts, and the whole sort of—it's all very, like, disjointed-feeling, and you get sort of this sense of like, skipping time, missing time. So it sort of puts you into, kind of mimics sort of what Sam's experiencing, the disorientation and memory loss. I thought that it was kind of cool. You know, it was very noticeable because it's not something Supernatural does a lot. And it's a very, very distinct stylistic choice. And it was, yeah, I just really liked it. So big ups to what was his name again? The director?
Jay Miller Tobin.
Thank you. Big ups to Tobin.
Yeah, I also made note of that, and I even thought initially that it might be a vision—
—because it had that sort of unreal quality.
That, you know, the visions usually have.
Oh, yeah. Interesting. I also like Dean saying, you know, "the smoking and throwing bottles at people, that sounds more like me than you" like, oh Dean.
Yeah, that was—that was interesting.
Like, I have a hard time imagining Dean throwing bottles at people even absolute—
The smoking thing is a little more—
A little more believable—
He definitely thought it made him look cool. Yes, that's my—
Either—he would definitely smoke either to look cool or to have an excuse to talk to somebody who is smoking.
Yes, absolutely. Or both. Yeah, no, because as soon as he said that, I'm like, that's funny, but also it doesn't really sound that much like Dean, either. It sounds—
—like their dad. Honestly, what little we know. I mean, I don't know—
—in terms of drunken rage.
It sounds like Dean's abysmally low self-perception.
But it does not sound like what he's actually like.
Or, like, him just trying to make a joke and bring a little levity to the situation.
And he does it by, you know, self-effacing humor.
That's the kind he's best at.
Because his self-esteem is subterranean.
Approaching the center of the earth.
And in general I really like the framing of this whole episode as, like, kind of a whodunit with Sam the center.
Yeah, it's cool.
It's really fun.
Sort of starts, like, in media res, and you have to try and put it together along with them.
Also made a note of the gas station clerk, like, continuing to prod Dean for—for more money that he was initially given, but I really cannot have anything but sympathy for this man.
Yeah. Yeah, come on.
He deserves it.
Guy working minimum wage, yeah. Put up with all kinds of crap. Come on.
He's probably had plenty of other people throw bottles at his head.
Oh, yeah, yeah.
Milk this man for all he's worth, Mr. Gas Station Clerk.
Absolutely, good for him. You know what, good for him.
Get as much money as possible.
I mean, come on, Dean. It's not like—it's all either hustled or obtained via credit card fraud so it's not like—it's not exactly your hard-earned money. Although he does work hard at hustling. To be fair, I—that's unfair of me. He works very hard to scam that money.
So yeah, he ends up giving a lot of money out in bribes this episode.
I also made note of when Sam and Dean find Steve's stash of weapons.
All of his notes and everything. And they're like, "either this guy's a Unabomber or a hunter". So I just—I just thought it was very interesting. You know, them making that kind of connection again, that they look very horrible.
From an outside perspective.
They do all look like potential Unabombers.
Yeah, like Timothy McVeigh. Yeah. Yeah, no, like Henriksen said to Dean in "Nightshifter", from the outside they sure look a lot like weird paramilitary loner types. Which makes it interesting sort of to contrast to the guy's, like, letter from his daughter at college.
And like, I—like, I paused and read it, and it was just this very, like—the birthday present he'd sent her, and talking about school, and complaining about her roommate, and it was interesting. So like, it was just a really interesting contrast there and especially to compare this hunter with a settled home and his—
Yeah, yeah, I made note of that, too.
—kid's off at college. And like, I'm like, wow, okay, boy. So like, again—
Yeah, presumably he owns this house, as he's making serious alterations to it, which is, again, proof that it's totally possible to be a hunter—
—and yet still have a stable, stationary living situation.
Exactly. Like, that's not a hunter thing. That's a John Winchester thing.
Like I think most of—well, I don't know about most of, but most of the hunters that we spend a significant amount of time with, like, Bobby, and, you know, Ellen—and she wasn't a hunter, but you know, they still—when Bill was alive, you know, they were living and working in the Roadhouse together, presumably. And Jody later.
And even, there's—there's a hunter's funeral at some point that they go to.
And I believe it is held in the guy's own house.
The wake is.
And look at Mary—
And the Campbells.
Yeah, the Campbells. Yeah. Yeah, that—that's very much—like, if anything, some of them do—a lot of them kind of seem to mostly stay local, and they just kind of deal with issues in their immediate vicinity.
Like, they have a radius.
Yeah. And I think—I think I mentioned ages ago, this novel that I've worked on for several years that began as spite fic—
Yeah. Others it seems like—like, I got the—others are more itinerant. But even then, I get the impression they're more like—more like truckers, almost, you know? That they're sort of on the road a lot for work, but they still have homes and families back at home, that they go to. That it's more like people who just travel a lot for work, rather than, you know, not actually having a home, a la, you know, the Winchesters.
And I have these different categories of hunters basically, like people who focus on mediation between humans and supernatural creatures, or different groups of supernatural creatures, or obfuscation to keep the supernatural world hidden and safe and protection, which is kind of the most classically Supernatural-like subset, where you're—you're chasing down monsters and supernatural beings that put their communities at risk. And even so, it's, they've got this kind of organization behind them, they've got support, they've got home bases still, because it just—
—it just infuriates me, all the—all the lone wolf bullshit. And, you know, the fact that there wasn't any way for there to be other people around to look out for Sam and Dean.
When they were growing up.
Yeah. And that, yeah, it becomes very clear, sort of watching the show, that that was very much a deliberate choice on John Winchester's part and not, you know, just the nature of hunting. Speaking of other heartbreaking things, the way Dean immediately jumps to like cleaning up and covering Sam's tracks, and in fact, calling it covering "our" tracks. I'm like, oh, Dean, oh, honey, eldest daughter disorder strikes once again. That said it was funny to me when he just sort of like smashes the computer. I'm like, That is not going to destroy the hard drive, buddy. You need like—
—you need to take the hard drive with you, or you need to find, like, a real strong magnet somewhere in there.
Or a sledgehammer.
Yeah, because just tipping the computer over is not going to be enough to wipe any data there.
Yeah, we get more puppy dog eyes of begging your brother to do a fratricide on you. Although admittedly it is a demon, but I wonder—I wonder where the demon got that idea.
Yeah, yeah, that's what's hilarious, sad/hilarious/sadly hilarious, is that it's not actually that out of character.
No. Like, he would have—he does many more puppy dog eyes of convincing your brother to do a fratricide in the future of his own volition.
It was fascinating to me watching it, and Dean sort of desperate and certain that, like, he's going to find another way. Mostly just, again, hit me in my Buffynatural feels. I'm like, oh, this is Buffy Season Five. Wow. Where everything is leading up to her having to sacrifice her little sister, and she refuses to allow it. I'm like, oh boy. This is—once—I am once again reminding everyone that basically Eric Kripke was like, "what if Buffy but without all the chicks?" Also Sam handing him the gun and trying to get him to kill him right in that hotel room. I'm like—
That is not subtle. I get that it's a demon and not actually Sam but like...
Even if Dean agreed right then and there, do you really think he's gonna do it right then and there?
Yeah, like, really? That I mean, I get the demon probably won't be too sad if it creates a bunch of trouble for Dean by committing murder right there in the middle of a hotel, but like, really? Like, come on.
Then when the demon goes to see Jo—
And he's, it says "Dean's more like my father than I am."
Yeah. Citation needed.
He's great at superficially imitating John. He is not much like John.
No, he is not.
At all, where it counts.
Yeah, yeah. But then then there's that exchange where Jo says that, oh, "My dad was bait." And Sam says "Yeah, that's just like John." I'm like, wow, yeah, it sure is.
His hunting partners, his children, basically anybody?
Yeah. I also like Jo telling Dean not to be a baby while she's dressing his wound.
Yeah, that's great.
It does deeply annoy me that this is the last we see of Jo for, like, three seasons.
Yeah. Oh, I know that a large portion of it was because the fan base was horrible and hated women. But also, like, suck it up, CW.
Yeah. Yeah. Come on.
Put my girl in the show more.
And also, like, that's on you to choose to cultivate that fan base. Like, like, don't—
Like, if you acquiesce—
—of course, the fan base is going to become more and more horrible—
—about anytime a woman appears on screen.
They're like, throwing their hands up and like, "well, the fans just didn't want female characters. It's not our fault. We had to appease the fans." I'm like, okay, well, that didn't, like, prompt you to actually give us canon Destiel or anything, until you know, the 11th hour. So clearly, you don't care that much what the fans think. Like, it's very interesting that the only thing that applies to is fewer female characters. And being horrible to the ones you do have.
Also, the fans are not the ones writing the show. So ultimately, you're still the ones with the power in this situation.
And also, somehow, I feel like the general audience that they're trying to write to, which is like the dudebros who like the monster-shooting part, and you know, all of the soldiers who made the first what, two or three seasons of Supernatural the most requested DVDs in Afghanistan, somehow, I get the feeling that they didn't hate the female characters—
I don't think so.
—nearly as much as the internal misogyny female portion of the fandom.
A lotta—yeah, yeah. Honestly, yeah, the fandom was just really dire.
Like these—these are the guys who went to Reddit and ask questions like, "Where did all the pussy go in Supernatural?"
Yeah, exactly. Like—
They would have been fine with more female characters.
They were fine with, like, hot women with weapons. Like, they were fine with that, much like Dean.
Yeah. And it also frustrated me because, at the time—and I still see a lot of people interpreting like Jo asking Dean like, when she says, like, "Demons lie, but do they ever tell the truth?" And he says, "Well, yeah, sometimes," that a lot of people seem to interpret that as her oblique way of trying to figure out whether the demon was telling the truth about Dean not being into her. And I'm like, yes, I'm sure it's that, and not all the shit about her father's death. I think it's definitely just about romantic drama, because that is all that girls care about.
—are way too smug about having the opinion that the curtains are just blue.
Like, God bless, but some people need to get better text interpretation skills.
Yeah. And I'm like, that's not really—I'm like, really? No. Like, and she doesn't even say what she's asking about. Everyone just assumes that because they hated Dean and Jo, and didn't want them to be a couple. So were like, smugly like, ha, take that, the demon was telling the truth that he's not interested in you! I'm like, or she's trying to find out about her father's death. Like, I feel like you're not really—I know, this is Supernatural fandom at the time. I'm like, I know this is Supernatural fandom in 2006 or early 2007, and we hate female characters and never give them the benefit of the doubt, but maybe give her a little more of the benefit of the doubt here.
Like the romantic that is literally the least important and least relevant part of everything the demon said.
Yeah, it's such a small part of what they talk about. It spends so much more time rubbing in like, the circumstances of her father's death and John's involvement in it. I'm like, maybe—
That was literally just to get its foot in the door.
Yeah. I'm like, sure. Okay, maybe there's an element of that to it, but—of the, like, she's interested in him, but also, I've never gotten the impression that she was that hung up on Dean. Like, I got the impression he was her favorite. And she kind of had a bit of a crush on him, more of one than she did on Sam, but I'm like, I really, I got about the same amount of interest from him, honestly, like they were both kind of vaguely like, "yeah, okay, they're cute, I wouldn't say no," but I did not really get the impression at any point that she was, like, super hung up on him.
I made a note about how the demon says, "One look at Sam's dewy sensitive eyes, they'll let me right in the door." So everybody knows that Sam has just A++ puppy dog eyes for all purposes.
Yes. It's nice to see Bobby again. I think this is—
—the first we've seen of him since the beginning of the season, isn't it?
Yeah. I believe. I don't know. Maybe he's been in a few episodes since then. But I think it was pretty much just the the first couple episodes of the season. I also love Bobby continuing to, like, calmly drink his beer while the demon is just, like, gagging and sputtering and coughing.
He's my favorite.
Yes, Bobby's the best.
Little earlier, I made a note about how Jo has an actual first aid kit.
Which makes sense because they're, like, in a place of business.
But I still want to shake those boys for never picking one up for themselves and continuing to just use vodka and dental floss.
Yeah, come on. This is not—that is not manly.
I know that's the way that your father raised you, but—
But that is not—I'm like, that's not super-manly. There is nothing unmanly about having a damn first aid kit.
And I saw a post at one point, like, kind of speculating about how maybe Sam could have like, been living with Jess and, you know, he got some sort of injury that required like, I don't know, butterfly bandages. And she goes to get a first aid kit. And she comes back to him in the bathroom with you know, vodka to disinfect it, dental floss threaded on a needle, and she's just like, "What the fuck do you think you're doing?" And he's like, "Oh, I don't have to do this fucked up thing from my childhood anymore."
Yeah, I'm like, come on, guys. Also, I'm curious about—when Bobby gives the demon the beer, I'm like, how—it made me very curious, how much holy water is necessary there? Like is there a certain holy water to, like, other contents ratio that you need to achieve for it to be effective? Like, would a couple drops be enough? Just sort of go in there with his—with an eyedropper and put a couple drops in the bottle once he's opened it? Or like, is there a certain ratio you have to achieve? I'm very curious.
Yeah, 'cuz I remember we previously talked about how in order to make, like more holy water out of existing holy water that you already have—
—it has to be more than half. But if you're not trying to make, like, holy beer—
—does any of it at all count?
yeah. I'm—so I'm curious. I'm like, I would love to ask Bobby that. Do you need to hit a certain amount, or is it just, any will do?
I know halakhically, when it comes to issues of kashrut, if something that is treyf gets into something that is otherwise kosher—
—but it is less than 1/60 of the whole thing.
And it doesn't have any noticeable effect on like, the taste or color—like, a classic example is how it's extremely hard to keep bugs out of wheat products.
You know, like how the FDA has an upper limit on how many—
How many insect parts per—
—body parts you can have in a box of cereal, you know, it's halakhically very similar for kashrut.
It's similar rules.
Maybe we can say that if it's more than 1/60th of the entire thing, the holy water will work.
I like it. Yeah, there we go. One part holy water to 60 parts everything else.
I love it.
I also made a note of how—when Bobby toasts to John, and the demon has this really long pause before saying "to Dad", which I feel like is—interestingly, it would be in character for Sam, but also for the demon, because you know we find out momentarily that this is—I hate calling this demon Meg because that's just—that's a real person whose life it stole—
Yeah, that's not actually the name of the demon.
But that's how she's referred to—
—in the future, so—Meg.
Meg it is, I guess.
Who is—who is one of the yellow-eyed demon's kids who obviously wouldn't want to toast John but would toast the yellow-eyed demon.
Oh, that's interesting. I like that. Yeah, that's an interesting reading. That's a good point. I like that. Yeah, no, I had noted that too, that I was like, we never actually learn this demon's real name, which is frustrating, you know? Yeah. Even later on when the demon shows up in another host. She still just goes by Meg.
Also made another note about how I wasn't sure if he—if Bobby, like, got a call from Dean, or if it was just, like, regular Bobby canniness. But either way—
--either way, yeah.
—I really love him.
I feel like—I tend to lean towards the latter, honestly, especially since I'm like—also, if—probably, you know, Dean called Ellen or Dean was talking to Ellen as well. So I assumed probably he was just calling everybody they knew to be like, "have you seen Sam?" So maybe a bit of both. So that, like, a few days later, when Sam shows up, Bobby's like, alright, that's a little strange. Especially given that he doesn't seem real worked up, and Dean, in contrast has been frantic about him, trying to find him. So...
I wonder if you could brew a beer from the start with holy water.
I was wondering that, too. I don't know. I'm—yeah, I'm curious.
Like, if—it would be so funny if Bobby got into microbrewing so that he can make his own holy water beer.
Yeah. Like, I'm sure by Catholic rules you can't, but like, hunter rules—
—don't really—yeah, Supernatural rules don't—aren't necessarily the same. Since, as we've discussed, you do not make holy water the way they make holy water. If you can just use the holy-ish water, like, with—to brew beer.
And if you add any more water at any step of the process, you know, that might also work.
Yeah, I like it. Yeah, I had been wondering about that too, because I'm like, that seems like a very Bobby thing to do is to just get into—or! Or, could you freeze it? And just make ice cubes with it, and just have drinks on the rocks with holy water ice cubes?
I like the sound of that.
There we go.
You could do so much with holy ice cubes.
Yeah, you know?
You can cool your drinks, you can make milkshakes—
Smoothies. Holy smoothies. Holy lemonade. For the kids.
[laughing] Yeah. Oh, that's—oh god, now I'm picturing like, little hunter children. And just like at some hunter group gathering convention, whatever, they're selling their holy water, lemonade.
Holy water lemonade, holy water Kool Aid.
I love it. I love it. Just put the holy water in the SodaStream, holy sparkling water.
I wonder if that, like—because a SodaStream, you will void the warranty if you use something besides water. I wonder if holy water would count as that. It is still water but maybe the holiness counts as not regular water.
I feel like that binding link is not really something that we see again from demons.
No, it's not anything I remember.
I thought initially that it was some kind of proto-Mark of Cain situation.
Instead of just keeping the demon locked in.
Yeah, it was—and it was interesting, because it also—like, not only did it render the exorcism ineffective, but it also, I assume, is connected to why the demon was able to like, affect things outside of the devil's trap, like making the fire flare up. And yeah, so I'm like that's...
Yeah, I thought it was kind of a reverse exorcism situation and bringing—
—more or demons or something into the room.
Yeah, it was interesting. Although the demon also said Latin stuff so maybe that was why it was able to affect things outside of it. But yeah, it was interesting and it was interesting too that, like, as soon as Bobby burns the binding link and breaks it, the demon just flees, so I'm guessing maybe, maybe it was just like, "Well shit, the game's up, I'm out." But also I wondered if like there's a time limit on the exorcism. There's like a time period where it's effective, like a video game with a timed spell you can use where it just sort of is effective for a certain amount of time. And as long as you can break the binding link in that time, it'll still be effective. Again, probably it's more I'm overthinking it, and it was just that the demon was like "Well, shit. That's it for this adventure. So I may as well just leave before they make me go." But—
"Team Rocket's blasting off again."
Yes. But my idea is funnier, I think.
Yeah, I do like that one.
When in doubt, I just go with whatever's funniest.
Just like, try to pull the demon out, and all of a sudden the lock has been cut. So it just—vwoop!
The exorcism kicks in at that point.
Yup. And also, when the demon says, "Whatever I do to you, it's nothing compared to what you do to yourself."
Oh, yeah, so that was, whew.
Got it in one!
That's our Dean.
Yeah. Oh, boy. And I did like a little earlier where like, Dean is trying to figure out what the game here is, and what the plan is, and how this fits into it. And Meg, like, says, "I don't give a rat's ass about the master plan," which is interesting to me, 'cuz Meg's dad is still out there and still doing his thing. So the demon is out there, still kind of working on its plan. So I'm like—that's interesting to me.
She just wanted her little revenge day trip.
Yeah, yeah, that Meg just sort of took off on her own to do this. Yeah. Now I'm curious like for the canon divergence AU where Dean actually does kill Sam, and how that affects the demon's plans. Because I'm like, oh, I feel like the yellow-eyed demon would have some things to say about that.
Also, the fact that Bobby knows that Meg, in Sam, killed that other hunter and is just warning them to keep saying—
—not tell anybody else and giving them the charges against possession. Literally, he's just thir real dad.
He is. Aw, Bobby.
Bobby! Alright, that is everything that I have to say about this episode.
Let's move on to "Tall Tales".
Ah, "Tall Tales"! All right.
Another incredible one.
And again, some wonderful, accidental—not really foreshadowing exactly, but I love what they do with the character of the Trickster later. Just wonderful.
Absolutely. One of my first notes is, "Hm, I wonder if this perfectly ordinary and unassuming-looking janitor will be important."
Yes. Also, I gotta say, having worked in staff positions at a university I'm like, boy, Team Janitor. Honestly, there—that is a position in which you encounter so many people in need of some comeuppance. Just so many. Yeah, well, the whole staff versus faculty divide is a podcast of its own, I'm sure. But ugh, yeah.
Definitely. Also made note of elder brother crimes of obnoxiously eating a messy food on your sibling's bed.
Dean is so petty and passive-aggressive. It is incredible. I'm like, oh, wow, Dean.
Then elder brother crimes of having destroyed your siblings laptop, which, of course we find out later he's not actually responsible for that. But what I thought at the time. And then third elder brother crime of turning your music up when asked to turn it down.
Yes, amazing. I also liked Sam's attempt to make "pretext" as a verb happen when he starts telling Bobby about this.
I noticed that too.
Yes. About what's going on.
And then Curtis saying "If they don't live to tell the tale how does the tale get told?" Which, first of all, great tongue twister. Second of all, he has a point.
Fair question. I also love how in Dean's version of the beginning of the story, the quote unquote Starla, whose name he can't remember, has enormous breasts. I'm just like—I just picture Dean saying, like, defensively to Sam and Bobby interrupting to say, "She was smart! And classy! And she had the biggest tits you have ever seen!"
Oh, my gosh.
Yeah, the Dean version was almost more embarrassing because—
—we all know you're not actually that classy.
No, Dean, honey. "No time for that now!" I was like, oh my god, Dean. God bless. Honestly, the most unrealistic thing is that in Sam's version, Dean is not snickering at every mention of Room 669.
That's true. It's the Satan number and sex number all in one. What more could you want?
Exactly. And the first instance of their quote-unquote, beloved running gag—"beloved" with the air quotes I'm sure you can hear in my voice—of the racist porn. Thanks, Supernatural, charming.
John Shiban, you will answer for your crimes.
Oh, did we mention the...
Oh, I don't think we did, no. Yeah, yeah.
Yeah. John Shiban wrote this episode, and he will answer for his crimes.
Oh, John Shiban.
And the director was Bradford May, who also does not sound terribly familiar, which its probably because this is the only episode he ever directed. Okay. All right. But anyway, yeah, he could have made up literally any other fake porn brand, one that isn't totally racist and fetishizing.
Like—like, okay, Dean goes on suspicious porn website.
Then gives Sam's laptop viruses.
—doesn't require an Asian angle.
Yeah, exactly. There was no need for that.
On another, still serious, note...
With Curtis's alien abduction—
Oh, yeah. Also charming. Yeah.
Yeah, I—even if it wasn't physically the Trickster touching Curtis, I feel like creating a memory or sensation of having sexually assaulted someone is still just sexual assault.
Yeah, I'm like, oh, charming. And of course rape is funny when it happens to a guy. That's fantastic. Thanks, John Shiban. Once again, John Shiban will answer for his crimes. Come on, man. Although the abduction scene itself—where he's like in front of the building, and there's that light, and the wind, and everything—is straight out of the first episode of X-Files. Like, that actual bit, visually, is just right out of The X-Files, which I do find kind of delightful. And then they like, completely ruined it with the rest of it.
Like, you could have—you could have said something about them stealing his blood or something.
There was no—
Or just poking him with needles.
There was no need. There was absolutely no need. Yeah, this is—this episode has some really delightful stuff, and then the parts of it that are not delightful are so shitty that they just ruin a lot of the fun of it.
Just say that the aliens stuck things up his nose or something.
Yeah, there was no need.
That's like, way funnier because it's not predicated on sexual assault.
Yeah. Anyway, I will say though, later on, the slow-dancing part kind of reminds me of, there's this book called The True Meaning of Smekday, which is a delightful book. I totally recommend it, and it's a great kid's book. And the aliens, like, abduct people, including, like, the main character's mother, and basically make them do weird everyday tasks like folding laundry. Like her mom—and she's like, "Because who's gonna believe anyone when they say 'aliens abducted me and made me fold laundry?'"
I've never read the book. But I have seen the movie based on it, which is completely—
Yes, which is delightful. Yes. It's a great movie. It's very different from the book, but it is a fun movie, as I recall.
During the part where they're still recounting their different sides of the story to Bobby and Dean has alleged that Sam, you know, hugged this frat boy and said like, "You're too precious for this world," And Sam objects to this, and Dean's like, "You're always saying pansy stuff like that," which is honestly like, wow, thanks for the homophobia also, which for some reason, you know, despite the existence of other homophobic jokes before and after this, this one just sticks out as especially grating to me for some reason. I don't know what it is.
All right, fair enough.
But it's another crime that John Shiban will answer for.
Yeah. I also found that funny, because like, Dean is the one, in general, who has a much easier time sort of like ingratiating himself with people and being sort of a sympathetic ordinary person. And he also cries a lot more than Sam in general. So I'm like, it's interesting that they're both sort of projecting on to each other sort of what they're insecure about. So, like, Sam portrays Dean as this, like, stereotypical crass macho hunter. And Dean portrays Sam as like really soft and ineffectual and boring and nerdy.
Yeah, these boys both have problems and issues.
They have the issues.
I would love to know why the hell Dean is putting his socks in the sink. That is an actual transgression. And the moldy food in the fridge.
I mean, probably no laundry, you know, you wash them in the sink.
Wash socks and underwear in the sink and then—
Can't get out to a laundromat?
—and then, you know, in a pinch.
I guess. We get another Sam ability with no context, which is that he can identify a scale of an alligator with no context.
An alligator belly scale, no less. I'm like—
That's very specific.
—what? How? What the fuck, Sam? What the fuck do they teach at Stanford?
Pre-law with a herpetology minor.
And his stupid money clip. Oh my god. Engraved, no less.
Like, I actually made myself very sad trying to think through when and how and why he would have gotten that and I—
Oh, did you come up with Jess gave it to him?
'Cuz that's what I came up with too. Aw. Yes. And I immediately made myself sad thinking about it. I was like, damn it. I just wanted to dunk on Sam because it was such a stupid thing. It's such a lame thing to have. It's not like—I don't know why I'm saying that, but something about it is just really funny to me. Something about money clips in general are just—I don't know why. They're perfectly valid as ways to carry your money around, but something about them, I am just incapable of taking seriously, and I don't really know why.
You can also distract muggers with them like the John Mulaney bit.
[laughing] Yes, it's true! "Go get it!"
Faces down a vampire and he takes out his engraved money clip and he's like, "Go fetch!"
[laughing] Yes. There we go. Detective Bittenbinder was a friend of John's.
Also the keep-away bit with the money clip and friggin'—them wrestling is so fucking familiar. I'm like, oh my God. Oh, wow. Very, very strong sibling vibes throughout this episode. But that scene especially.
Yeah. I recall doing exactly that with my sister one time where we were staying at a relative's house. We were fighting over who got the air mattress. Think she bit me. Anyway.
Also, I'm like, oh, along the same lines as making yourself sad with the money clip. There's also a couple of different bits—first, where Sam remembers Dean as, like, stuffing his face with whatever was, like, in the professor's office, whatever snack or something he had.
Like, the little chocolates.
And then later, like, where he's telling Dean to throw out the food from the fridge, and he never throws any food out. I'm like, oh boy. These are being played for laughs, but also, if you look at them from a different angle, they are very sad and speak to Dean's food insecurity issues.
Yeah, yeah. Oh, it makes a very sad.
On the other hand, when Bobby gets there, and Sam is protesting about something and he goes, "But I—" and Bobby's just like shh, shh, shh.
He's literally just their real dad, is the thing.
Yeah, very big parent vibes, Mom and Dad vibes. Also I resent that, in future episodes with the Trickster, that little dog does not show up more.
I choose to believe it was a real dog and not a magic, illusionary dog.
He should have kept the dog and it should have appeared with him in every single episode, even after they know he's Gabriel.
That little—what is it, a Jack Russell Terrier, some kind of little terrier critter?
I think so.
Yeah, one of those little terrier type dogs.
Listen, even if you for some reason cannot get the original dog back. Just let him continue having a little Jack Russell.
Let him have a different little dog each time and never comment on it. It's just different. It's still a small dog. But it's a different breed every time and it is very visibly not the same dog. But that—I think that would be even funnier, now that I think about it.
Also enjoy when Dean says, well, you know, I can't just let you keep hurting people, and the eyeroll that that is met with from the Trickster. I'm like, oh my God. Yes. And he's like, oh, come on. Like, yeah.
"This old chestnut again."
Oh, he's like, "Lame. Lame. Boo, you're no fun."
Yeah, and the fact that Dean genuinely does like this guy.
And he probably would have been content to let him keep wrecking havoc and giving people their comeuppances if he hadn't gone all the way up to murder.
Yeah, if he had stuck to minor shit and not started, you know, killing and assaulting people, probably Dean would be like, you know what, go for it.
And then, at the end, the fact that neither of them are able to actually say the words "I'm sorry".
But they still, you know, both understand and accept the apology from the other.
Yeah, that was cute. It's very siblings.
I also couldn't remember if, like, before I watched, I couldn't remember if the Trickster was shown to be still alive before the end of it, or if they just, you know...
Retconned it later?
Yeah. And didn't actually die. So I was—I was very pleased to see that at the end of the show, that he's still alive.
I liked that. And it goes back to what we were saying, a few episodes ago, about ghosts just—I think maybe the Hook Man episode—about ghosts just being like, oh, this is embarrassing for you. I'm just gonna pretend this worked for you. Just to save you the embarrassment there. Like that's what Gabriel did. He was just like, alright, I'm just gonna pretend to be dead.
And I have to wonder if that kind of thing would even really work on any other tricksters.
Yeah. I'm curious.
Because we find out later—yeah, that he is not just a standard trickster.
But at the same time, they're still described as being like, so incredibly powerful, you know, they're demigods and everything.
Yeah. I'm curious.
So I think probably none of the other Tricksters are also angels. But still pretty powerful, I guess.
Although I was—I don't know. I'm, I'm pretty sure that, like, tricksters in different cultures, just because they have been all labeled as tricksters through the lens of Western anthropology, that doesn't mean that they're all—
The same creature.
They don't—they don't all serve the same cultural purpose. They don't all have the same—you know, people from their cultures don't all have the same opinion of them. They don't all have, like, the same personalities.
It's not like—yeah.
So it's not—it's a pretty broad category. I don't—they're not all the same. Like—like, Loki and Anansi and, like, Coyote, in North America, in Native American myths—I think they're found in a few different Native American Nations, I'm not trying to be like, all Native Americans—but you know, they're just—they have very different vibes.
They serve different purposes, and they're not all the same. Anyway, that is all that I have for the last episode.
Yeah. Yeah, it's interesting. I didn't see a ton of ways to really sort of...Jupernatural it up.
Although something that I've discussed with other Jewish friends before, I think I probably mentioned this in our intro episode, but it's been a very long while, of course, but before I started, like, seriously studying Judaism and, like, getting getting on the path to convert and everything, I had four years where I was a Norse pagan.
And specifically, I was very interested in Loki, who, you know, trickster and—although, you know, of course I just got done talking about how not all tricksters are exactly the same. But usually one of the purposes of a trickster figure is to have this kind of underdog who gets out of—into and out of—different situations and problems that it's like predicated on their own wiles and not their strength.
And, you know, I talked to a friend who also went through a period of time as a Lokian before getting in touch with his Jewish roots, and his perspective on it was basically like, the Jewish people as a whole kind of occupy a trickster role. You know, we're not the most powerful, we're not the most numerous—
—but, you know, all the way back to Jacob, you know, the Patriarch who gave us the the name Israel, you know, he was—he was a trickster, he tricks Isau out of his birthright and his father's blessing.
He tricks his father-in-law into like, giving him, like, all the spotted goats in his flock, and then made sure that all the spotted goats bred more so that he would have more goats later, when it came time to take his portion of them. And, you know, that's, that's kind of like our whole vibe is, you know, we're not the strongest, but we are pretty dang clever. And that's how we get ourselves out of messes.
Interesting. You know, there's a wide variety sort of, of different portrayals of demons in different strains of Jewish tradition, and often there is with some demons, sort of not necessarily so much evil as just sort of like tricky and mischievous—
Mischief, not malice.
Exactly. There's a certain amount of that in some traditions of Jewish folklore, I guess. Yeah. I think some traditions hold that it was a demon who introduced Noah to wine.
Ooh. Yeah. That did cause some issues.
But I do love a good wine.
Yeah, you know, yeah.
All right. But if that's everything that you have, then we can move on to the next part of our episode, which is our favorite game: Fuck, Marry, Kill.
This week, your options are a priest ghost, the demon called Meg, and the Trickster.
Hm. This is a tricky one, if you'll pardon the the phrase. Um..that is tricky. Hm. What would you go with?
Well, first of all, the priest is already dead.
And I have no interest in Catholics, or men, or making a dude break his vows of celibacy, even though I'm not 100% sure if that kind of thing continues after death.
It depends. So I'm just going to go ahead and help put him to rest however I can. I think Meg would not be a good wife.
No, I do not think so.
She would be fun for a roll in the hay. But I absolutely would not marry her.
And the Trickster can be kind of a dick sometimes.
But I'm not going around fucking people over.
He would certainly have no reason to try and take me down a peg.
Hope not anyway.
And he can conjure up pretty girls.
Or, you know, that's even assuming that the Trickster is 100% attached to a dude presentation, or has any kind of binary gender at all.
So you know, I think it would be fun being married to an extremely powerful demigod type spirit.
Yeah. Yeah. I think that's about where I came down, too. Like, hm, Meg is generally loyal, I will say that. Once Meg picks a cause, I mean, that's a line she has later, "you find a cause and you serve it." Once Meg finds a cause, she finds something to commit to, she commits to it. So I will say that for her, but I—
—a lot of drama for a marriage. Dunno. Dunno that I want to get roped into that. I feel like Gabriel or the Trickster would be much lower drama, at least in that sense, in terms of relationship drama. Causing lots of trouble in other ways, but yeah.
And I also have to admit to having a sweet tooth myself.
Yeah. Oh, yeah. Hell yeah. Yeah, no, I think I come down on the same. Yeah, and the priest is already dad, and I've never really had a priest kink. So I'm like, you know, that really doesn't do anything for me. I guess the guy's kind of cute, but you know, he's...he's already dead, and he's not at rest, and I'm like—I just don't see it working out for a variety of reasons.
And then we can go ahead and talk about the messages that we have received recently. We have one on Tumblr, from friend of the show, Tzofiyah, saying, "Shrieking about the Trickster episodes. Weirder in hindsight?"
"Gabriel, my beloved. Are you guys going to talk about him as an archangel, or are you saving it for 'Changing Channels'?"
"This is the best Supernatural podcast. You guys bring a smile to my face every time."
Aw, thank you!
Thank you so much. You're incredibly sweet.
We love you.
And as we are talking about this, at the end of the episode, I'm sure you have noticed we have not really talked about him much at all as being an archangel.
So yeah, that's going to come up in "Changing Channels".
Yes, yes. Does crack me up that this is literally two episodes after the angel episode, in light of that, that later retcon.
It's a great retcon, I have to say. I very much enjoy the retcon of making the Trickster into the Archangel Gabriel.
So if any of you in our audience have any questions, comments, or kvetches, you can contact us on Twitter at @menschofletters, at Tumblr at menschofletters.tumblr.com/ask, or by email at email@example.com. If you're on our Discord server, you can also send us messages at any time and say that you want us to talk about them on the show. That is open to everybody, you don't have to be a Patreon member or anything, just go ahead and click on the link. But yeah, literally anything about the show. Past episodes we've talked about, future episodes that we are going to talk about, we are willing to go back and discuss anything—
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Not sure what you get out of this. Although, shout-out to my friend Liz, who despite being neither Jewish nor a Supernatural fan has still been very kind to me about the podcast. So...
God bless Liz.
God bless. Again, I will not judge you if you do not listen to it because it is Supernatural. But on the other hand, this may be a good way to learn more about Supernatural without actually having to watch it.
Our first and so far only guest, Lulavet, this is pretty much the only way she knows anything about Supernatural.
Maybe the best way to experience it.
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