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4.14 Sex And Violence: You Two Have A Lot You Want To Get Off Your Chests

4.14 Sex And Violence: You Two Have A Lot You Want To Get Off Your Chests

Siren’s lies force truths.
Accusations and anger
Spur violence, kill love.

Episode Summary

Coming home late, ostensibly from work, a young man picked a meaningless fight with his wife and then bludgeoned her to death with a meat tenderizer.

Dean awoke in the brothers’ latest motel room to hear Sam, in the bathroom, talking quietly on his cell phone about no storms or bad crops, then finishing off by saying he’d keep looking and telling the person on the other end to do the same. Dean pretended to still be asleep, and when Sam woke him, telling him about a new case he’d found – three men, all reportedly happily married, who had murdered their wives in Bedford, Iowa in the last two months – Sam mentioned nothing about the overheard phone call.

Posing as lawyers, the brothers interviewed the latest murdering husband, who admitted his guilt but maintained he didn’t know why he had done it, because he loved his wife. When they confronted him with a copy of his credit card bill showing thousands of dollars spent at a strip joint, he admitted that he’d become obsessed with a stripper named Jasmine, his perfect woman, who had come on to him at a friend’s bachelor party and had convinced him that if he would just kill his wife, the two of them would be together. She hadn’t been waiting for him where she’d promised to be after the murder, however, and in his remorse, he maintained that if the judge didn’t give him the death penalty, he’d just do it himself.

While Dean went on to interview the other two killers, Sam, now posing as an FBI agent, interviewed Dr. Cara Roberts, the town’s medical examiner and also an attending physician at the local emergency room. He found her saucy, intelligent, and very interested in him, to the extent that she totally ignored Dean when he arrived. She reported that the autopsies on the wives were unremarkable, but that the tox screens on the husbands had turned up extraordinarily high levels of oxytocin, the “feel-good” hormone produced naturally during sex.

Dean had learned that both of the other men had also spent large sums of money at the same local strip club, but that each of them had affairs with different strippers, whom they described as being perfect and everything that they wanted, up until the point where they told the men to murder their wives. Sam speculated that it sounded as if the men were under some kind of love spell that made them psychotic. At the strip club, Dean got nothing from the owner, who had no records on any of the girls. Sam reported that in his conversation with Bobby, they’d come up with a theory that they were dealing with a siren, a creature from Greek legend preying on men by enticing them to disregard all rational thought. He said that sirens could read minds and cloak themselves in illusion to be whatever the victim most desired, making her hard for the boys to find, since she could look like anyone. Meanwhile, at the club, a dark-haired stripper called Belle went home with a young man named Lenny, who lived with and took care of his elderly mother. Making love on the sofa – where a mirror on the wall revealed her true, monstrous form – Belle persuaded him to bash his mother’s brains in, and Lenny agreed. As he finished, Belle left.

Alone in the hotel room, Dean was tempted by the sight of Sam’s cell phone, forgotten on the table in front of him, and succumbed to curiosity, pulling up the record of recent calls. Finding an unlabeled number along with calls to and from himself and Bobby, he pressed the redial – and hung up when he heard Ruby answer. He said nothing when Sam returned and reported that Lenny was definitely another siren victim, having killed the woman he was closest to. Bobby called to report lore from a Greek poem saying that the way to kill a siren was to use a bronze dagger covered in the blood of a sailor under the spell of her song, a clue they interpreted to mean that the siren produced some kind of toxin that infected the men, and that her weakness was the infected blood of one of her victims. Bobby guessed that since the men in prison weren’t under her spell any more, their blood wouldn’t work, but Sam thought of getting the blood samples from Dr. Roberts, since those might have been drawn while the toxin was still present.

At the county medical center, they encountered Nick Monroe, another FBI agent. Conning him, Sam gave him a business card to have Monroe call their supposed supervisor – and Bobby answered the phone, reinforcing the boys’ cover. Monroe said that he had come to check out the blood work on the murderers, and when Sam said they’d already confirmed that was a dead end, Monroe offered his clue that there was something going on: the knowledge that all of the men had frequented the same strip club. He suggested that they check it out together, and Sam pressured Dean into going with Monroe and keeping tabs on him so that Sam would have a clear shot at getting the blood samples. Dean reluctantly agreed and took Monroe out to the Impala, where Monroe displayed a knowledge of and appreciation for classic cars that won Dean over. At the strip club, they continued to bond over Led Zeppelin trivia. Getting back to talking about the case, Monroe pulled out an evidence bag with a hyacinth blossom in it, reporting that the cops had been bagging it at the latest scene when he arrived and that when he checked back, there had been a similar blossom left at every other one of the crime scenes, like the signature of a serial killer. Dean realized that he had seen a hyacinth plant in Dr. Robert’s office.

Meanwhile, Sam and Dr. Roberts discovered the blood samples gone, and when they reviewed the video surveillance tapes, they saw nothing to indicate who had taken them. From discussing the case of men who loved their wives but murdered them, Dr. Roberts asked rhetorically whether Sam had ever been in a relationship with someone he loved, but still wanted sometimes to bash their head in, and went on to pour him a drink and talk about her former husband, saying that one day she had looked up and was living with a stranger, that people change. Sam ignored a call from Dean, responding to Dr. Roberts’ aggressive flirting, and they had sex in her office.

When Sam returned to their hotel room to find it empty, he called Dean, reaching him in the Impala. When he reported that he’d been with Cara and that the blood samples had been stolen, Dean, angry about Sam not having answered his phone, told him about the hyacinth flowers and his discovery that Dr. Roberts had been in town only two months, coinciding with the murders, and that her ex-husband had died of a supposed heart attack. He asked Sam if he’d slept with her, and when Sam lied and said no, Dean saw through the lie. Asking insultingly why Sam was always sleeping with monsters, Dean concluded that Sam was under the siren’s spell, and refused to accept his hunch that Cara wasn’t the siren. Sam asked to meet him and work things out, but Dean refused, saying that he had to take care of it himself, and hung up. Dean called Bobby and left a message that he thought Sam was in trouble and infected by the siren, and then he called Monroe to ask for help in locating Cara. Monroe found her at a pub, and when Dean joined him in the stake-out car, sharing a drink from his hip flask while speculating on how Cara could possibly have drugged the men, Monroe offered that it might have been saliva – and Dean realized, too late, that Monroe was the siren. Monroe told him that he should be Dean’s little brother, and that Dean couldn’t trust Sam and should kill him to get him out of the way.

Sam returned to the hotel and found Monroe in the room, and then Dean grabbed him and held a knife to his throat, cutting him slightly when Monroe ordered him. Monroe said that he’d given Dean what he needed, and it hadn’t been a stripper: it was Sam, a little brother who looked up to him, that he could trust. Monroe said that the feeling of devotion when someone will do anything for you, when they kill for you, was the best feeling, and that he kept wanting to fall in love over and over to experience it again, because he got bored. He spat in Sam’s mouth to infect him, and told the brothers that they had a lot to get off their chests, and that whichever one survived would get to stay with him, forever. Dean said that the Sam he knew was gone, and that it wasn’t the demon blood or the psychic crap, but the little things – the lying and the secrets, like the phone calls with Ruby, and whatever else he was hiding. Sam countered that he wasn’t telling Dean about hunting Lilith with Ruby because Dean was too weak to go after her, that Dean was holding him back, and that he was at better hunter than Dean, stronger and smarter, able to take out demons that Dean was scared to go near. Sam accused him of being sorry for himself, whining about the souls he had tortured in Hell – and Dean attacked. They beat each other until Dean tackled Sam right through the hotel room door and picked up a fire axe to kill him, egged on by Monroe. Bobby arrived just in time to stop the downswing of the axe, and he stabbed Dean with a bronze knife and threw the bloody blade into the siren’s back, killing him.

In the aftermath, Bobby gave them soda rather than beer to drink and observed caustically that it had only taken one call to find out that “agent Nick Monroe” wasn’t real, but then he asked if they would be okay and told the boys that they shouldn’t feel bad about the siren having got to them. After he drove off, Dean asked Sam if he wanted to say goodbye to Cara, but Sam said he wasn’t interested. He asked Dean if he knew that Sam hadn’t meant the things he’d said, that it had just been the siren’s spell, and Dean agreed that the same was true of what he’d said. The brothers, both lying, agreed that they were good.

Commentary and Meta Analysis

An underlying theme of this entire season so far has been the distance between the boys created by Dean’s death and Sam’s survival without him, and this episode brought it to the fore. It also provided another commentary on the increasingly important role Bobby plays with the boys, and set up a pointed comparison between Bobby and Dean.

We Used To Be In This Together; We Used To Have Each Others’ Backs

Even before the advent of the siren, we saw clear evidence in this episode of the growing rift between the brothers. From the beginning of the season, Sam had lied to Dean about using his powers. When Dean found out in Metamorphosis – not by hearing from Sam, but by seeing him together with Ruby and using his mind to exorcise a demon – he lashed out both verbally and physically, ending with his ultimatum from Castiel that if he didn’t stop Sam, the angels would. Sam announced his intention then to stop using his powers, but his resolve lasted only until his confrontation with Samhain in It’s The Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester, when he turned to his mind to survive the fight and destroy the demon. He didn’t hesitate after that in I Know What You Did Last Summer when Ruby insisted that he had to pull Alastair as soon as he appeared; that he failed in mentally exorcising that particular demon didn’t detract from his virtually immediate acceptance of Ruby’s direction to try in the first place. And while Sam had put his collaboration with Ruby on hold after Dean’s revelations about what he had done in Hell and how badly the memory of it was affecting him, he resumed it during Criss Angel Is A Douchebag, after seeing and rejecting a graphic image of the bleakness of the Winchesters’ future. And when he resumed it, he did it without Dean’s knowledge, deliberately hiding it from his brother.

Sam’s lies and secrecy formed only part of the rift, however. Another part, just as big if not as obvious, was simply that Sam had learned to live without his brother, precisely because he had to. With Dean dead, Sam had become his own man, making his own independent decisions. Some of them reflected the changes he had deliberately begun to make in himself during the previous year leading up to Dean’s death, as when he admitted in Malleus Maleficarum to trying to become more like his perception of Dean – someone harder – in order to be able to survive and fight alone. More of them embodied what had happened to him when he failed to save Dean, watched him die, buried him, and then failed to get him free, all the loss and despair and finally grim resolve we saw in flashbacks in I Know What You Did Last Summer that drove him to accept Ruby and use his powers. We saw a little of that new independence and hardening in Lazarus Rising, with Sam taking the Impala without a second thought while Dean slept, and in Sam’s pragmatic brutality in Yellow Fever, when he road-hauled a ghost without displaying the slightest vestige of compassion we’d always seen in him before. Sam got ruthless and hard in order to survive, and most of that happened after Dean died; when Dean came back, Sam was very literally a changed man, and one very different from the brother Dean had left behind.

As much as Sam has changed, so has Dean. Dean had always been Sam’s cocky, strong, and confident older brother. Even as he approached death and learned to admit to his fear, he still faced his fate with courage and the grim resolve that Sam would be all right. The Dean who returned from Hell came back different in many ways, scarred by fear and guilt he couldn’t admit until they were wrung from him bit by bit in Yellow Fever, Wishful Thinking, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Heaven and Hell, and Family Remains. Post-Hell Dean became an alcoholic, needing booze to get through the day and to overcome the terrors of the night. Rescued by angels, he’s begun reluctantly to find his faith despite the resistance of his lifetime of angry and resentful disbelief. Sam found himself in the unaccustomed position of having to reassure and shore up his brother, while at the same time being unable to do anything decisive to help him.

Neither brother was prepared to deal with the changes in the brother he remembered. It’s clear that, while he spent forty years in torment, Dean clung to his memory image of Sam as his beloved kid brother, and didn’t expect to face an independent and often harsh reality different from his cherished memory. Similarly, Sam didn’t know how to deal with Dean’s fears, uncertainty, and drinking. Confronted by unexpected differences, Dean tried to force things back into the pattern he remembered while Sam – who’d always been the one Dean had taken care of – tried without success to reverse their customary roles in order to find ways to help his brother. That attempted role reversal was on subtle display early in this episode when Sam called Dean “kiddo,” a diminutive we’ve never heard him use before.

All of the emotions the brothers have been dealing with have further clouded the issue. Sam had never asked Dean for the sacrifice he made, and never would have; he was as appalled to learn of Dean’s deal as Dean had been to learn of John’s. Sam wound up feeling guilty not just that Dean died for him, but for having failed to find a way to save him from dying or to get him out of Hell after his inevitable death. Learning just what unendurable torment Dean had been subjected to in Hell only made that guilt worse. That much guilt can’t help but lead to resentment. It’s only human; when guilt overloads us, we begin to resent what makes us feel guilty. In Sam’s case, all his guilt for Dean stemmed from Dean’s own decision to sell his soul to get his brother back from death, when Sam would never have wanted him to do that; Sam couldn’t help but come to resent that Dean made that choice and put all the guilt and consequence on Sam’s shoulders. When Dean came back emotionally crippled and finally confessed to all the guilt he carried from what he did in Hell, his unfathomable guilt just exacerbated Sam’s, and further deepened the pool of resentment. I’m not saying here that Sam doesn’t care about Dean and his feelings; quite the opposite. I’m saying that Sam cares too much, and that he shut down because he can’t deal with the overload from that excess of pain. If we’re in the least empathetic, nothing hurts us more than seeing someone we love suffering while we are utterly and completely unable to help them, and Sam has been helpless to assuage any of Dean’s pain and guilt from Hell. Ironically, Sam’s response to his helplessness has been to hurt Dean more.

Dean for his part hasn’t been able fully to accept Sam as his own man. He’s been learning; witness his listening to Sam in Metamorphosis and realizing how much time and pain had passed for Sam in the months that he was dead, and his easy acceptance and assumption of Sam’s competence as a hunter in Monster Movie. But in Dean’s mind, at least to some extent, Sam will always be his little brother, the one he raised and protected, the one he’s responsible for, the one he has to take care of. That got in the way of Dean telling Sam what had happened to him in Hell both because he didn’t want to hurt Sam by burdening him with guilt about his pain, and because he was ashamed and afraid that Sam wouldn’t look up to him and love him any more if he knew how Dean had broken in Hell and turned into a sadistic torturer of others. In another irrational move, I think that some of Dean’s anger at Sam’s choices doesn’t credit that Sam made them, but goes back to it being Dean’s self-perceived fault that the burden of choice came to Sam in the first place precisely because Dean had left him alone and vulnerable by dying and going to Hell. And that, I think, has complicated things for both of them, because Sam in his pride resents not being judged as a mature decisionmaker at the same time as Dean struggles between blaming himself and seeing Sam as a man capable of making his own decisions. If he accepts Sam’s right to choose, even to choose wrongly, he both judges his brother and hurts himself. It’s a facet of Dean’s damaged character that he desperately needs to be needed, and the perception that Sam doesn’t need him and can be just fine without him is corrosive to his self-image even though he logically and lovingly wants Sam to do well on his own.

You Know I Didn’t Mean The Things I Said Back There, Right?

When the siren called on them to get things off their chests, it’s no wonder that both Dean and Sam had a lot of negative things to say to each other. I would even hazard to say that all of them were true statements of part of the way they felt, but only part. Dean attacked what Sam had done – lying and keeping secrets – while Sam attacked what Dean appeared to be<i/> – weak, scared, and too caught up in feeling sorry for himself to be effective. Both of them absolutely meant what they said, even though they would never have said it the way they did without the spur of the siren’s spell. They spoke only the most negative and hurtful things, but there were hard truths at the core of the words.

Sam making decisions that he knows Dean wouldn’t endorse and then hiding those decisions from him undermined Dean’s ability to trust his brother. To Dean’s mind, it would be better for Sam to make his decisions out in the open and for the brothers to fight about them the way they always clashed in the past over what to do and how to do it. For Sam, however, I think that this decision is more personal and frightening precisely because Dean’s loathing for his use of his powers and for whatever else he may be up to with Ruby comes perilously close to Dean loathing him, and that would hurt Sam more than almost anything else. Knowing both that Dean would disapprove and that using his powers is the only chance he sees for success, Sam chose to try avoiding the otherwise inevitable fight and possible loss of love by hiding what he was doing.

It’s all the worse because no one has ever provided a complete and cogent reason for why Sam shouldn’t use his powers. The implication has been that because the powers are demonic in origin, using them is bad and Sam is on a slippery slope, but no one has told Sam flat-out that using the power definitely will corrupt him and turn him evil. He’s had ample demonstration that evil can result, from Max Miller in Nightmare to Anson Weems in Simon Said and Ava and Jake in All Hell Breaks Loose, but he also saw sweet Andy Gallagher from Simon Said and All Hell Breaks Loose, who used his power without ever losing his sunny, unspoiled innocence. Ruby demonstrated that he could use his powers to exorcise demons while saving the lives of their hosts, which had to be a powerful inducement to continue when Sam was so desperate to do good and to succeed while hunting alone, without his brother at his back. Human psychology dictates that we’re going to be more persuaded to change our action if we’re given a reason to do so, and that we’ll give more weight to the reason based on how valid it appears to be. Being told that God and angels don’t want him to use his power is pretty empty when they don’t also give him a reason why, especially since he has what appear to be very good reasons to continue. Vague fear isn’t enough of a reason to outweigh the satisfaction of winning. And while Sam has definitely changed from who he used to be, the cause of the change isn’t clear; we don’t know whether using the power has made him more arrogant and hard, or whether hardening his heart in order to survive is what let him use the power effectively.

Earlier in the season, Sam had criticized Dean for lying about not remembering Hell. It took time and pain, but Dean eventually came clean, confessing even the things that most shamed him and that he feared would make his brother look at him differently. In this argument, Sam no longer had that weapon – the flip side of Dean’s own attack on openness and trust – and had to turn to something different. Anger made him cruel. He used exactly what Dean had handed him, but not the way that Dean would have expected. Instead of reviling Dean for having tortured others and enjoyed it, Sam scorned him for being weak, for not manning up and putting the experience behind him. He pulled out the feeling of intellectual superiority that’s always been a part of Sam’s character and made his powers part of that overall package to validate them, touting that they made him a better hunter able to take out demons others can’t touch. He asserted his independence and perceived superiority, the things that would take him outside his big brother’s long shadow, and threw them in Dean’s face. That much was a classic younger brother’s response to always being dominated by his senior. A lot of it, Dean had heard before, and some he would even admit was true; he’s clearly always been proud of Sam’s intelligence and his research skills, even though he’d never concede his own dominance as a hunter. But the allegation that he was weak and holding Sam back from being able to hunt when all he really wants to do is protect Sam even from himself was enough to finally make him snap.

Both of the brothers said things that were real and that mattered to them, and both spoke from their own sense of righteousness: Dean from having been wronged by being lied to, and Sam from having been criticized and belittled for trying to use his full potential to the best of his ability. What the siren’s spell didn’t let them do, however, was to caveat and resolve those things, and they both shied away even from acknowledging them in the end: for both of them, the fear of loss and pain was too great to take on just then. I think they both feared that the things they said and the things they did might just be unforgivable, this time, and that they needed a little time and distance to find their way back home to each other. My fear is that, as happened after Asylum, when Sam said potentially unforgivable things to Dean and similarly tried to disavow them afterward, the next events might drive a wedge between them before they get the chance to sort themselves out. All it would take would be one more thing to tip the balance, like John’s phone call in Scarecrow, and we might see the brothers going their separate ways in anger before having the time to reflect on and restate what really matters. The brothers have always been able to hurt each other far more than anyone else can hurt them.

The positive thing is that they can also heal each other from the wounds that they inflict, even though they can’t always heal the wounds inflicted by the world outside. I think it’s also undeniable that the love between them is far deeper than all the resentments they voiced, especially since even those resentments have their roots in love. Given time, even though they’re far from good now, they can be good again, even as happened by the end of Scarecrow. Their home will always be in each other.

That It Got To You – That’s No Reason To Feel Bad

Bobby’s parting advice is something the brothers need to hear and pay attention to, not that they will for a while. Both of the Winchesters constantly beat themselves up for their perceived faults and failures. What Bobby pointed out is that no one is perfect, no one can win all the time, and when you run up against something that’s too big to handle or that has the advantage of size, terrain, or surprise, it’s no shame to stumble or fall or be hurt or need help. What matters is that you pick yourself up and go on afterward.

I got the feeling that his words went to a lot more than just the siren. The siren got to the boys and turned them on each other, but long before that, their lives had done the job. Both of them gave in to despair in the past when confronted with each other’s deaths, and both did things with hurtful consequences as a result. But they won’t start to heal from those things until they acknowledge them and take steps to move on.

There was a very interesting little wrinkle to that final scene that said something about Bobby having taken positive steps of his own to move on after a fall. I’d noticed a little earlier in the season that something about Bobby had very quietly changed, but in this episode, it became pointed. Back in Lazarus Rising, Dean had noted the collection of empty liquor bottles scattered on the desk in his study, and Bobby had just quietly acknowledged that the months after Dean’s death had been hard. Ever since then, however, unless I’ve missed something, Bobby has never taken a drink of alcohol. Even at the end of Yellow Fever, he declined a beer when Sam offered him one to share. We know that Bobby wasn’t a teetotaler; he quaffed whiskey from a flask in Devil’s Trap, the first episode when we met him, and we’ve seen him drinking beer more than once, notably in Born Under A Bad Sign. In this episode, however, the drinks he shared at the end were soda, much to Dean’s surprise.

I think that Bobby used booze to get through the pain of Dean’s death and Sam’s estrangement in much the same way that Dean has been using it this season as a crutch to help deal with his memories of Hell. I think despair got to Bobby, but now he’s got the boys back – and he’s left the alcohol behind.

Bobby’s not one to preach, but he’s got his own quiet way of making himself heard.

Production Notes

Writer Cathryn Humphris seems to be competing with Sera Gamble for the title of writer most likely to inflict angst on the Winchesters, and she served it up well here in what had to have been one of the most difficult scenes to write this season – the boys attacking each other verbally before escalating to the physical. This script and the way it was shot also did a very effective job of playing the shell game to hide the identity of the siren. Director Charles Beeson used some interesting techniques throughout, including blocking the shots in Dr. Roberts’ office always to include the hyacinth plant in the frame, and using very tight, fragmented shots on the first murderer’s face during his interrogation by the boys to emphasize his discomfort and disconnection from reality. And having Dean’s eyes, while canvassing the club in the company of Monroe, linger speculatively and with suspicion on a beautiful woman bearing a passing resemblance to Cassie from Route 666 – a type the siren might have chosen if it was targeting him – was a clever way to divert attention from how uncannily well Monroe was reading and responding to Dean.

I particularly liked the relationship between Beeson’s direction and the acting by both Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki because of the way it captured and emphasized the subtleties of the boys’ performances. Small moments that particularly stay with me include Dean waking up in the first motel room and automatically turning to check on Sam the instant he was fully conscious; the way Dean eyed Sam’s cell phone, clearly battling his temptation to check up on his brother, and then the look on his face when he heard Ruby’s voice and realized that his suspicions were true and Sam had been lying to him; Sam’s subtle reaction to Dean pointing out that he’d forgotten his phone, with the expression crossing Sam’s face clearly wondering how much Dean trusted him and whether he’d checked out the phone before handing it back over; and the whole interplay between the brothers in both of the scenes they shared with Cara, especially their second meeting with Dean reacting to the obvious flirting between Sam and Cara much the way that Sam has always reacted to Dean coming on to a woman. Topping the list of silent reaction moments were the brothers’ expressions in the hotel hallway when the siren was killed and they realized just exactly what they had said and done to each other; there are simply no words to describe what we saw on both Sam’s and Dean’s faces, and all of that was sterling work by Jared, Jensen, and Beeson. Dialogue would have been superfluous.

I also loved the continuing use of mirrors to reveal truth and to yield unsettling images, and particularly how Beeson used them to maintain the uncertainty of the siren’s identity. Showing the reality of the siren’s appearance in mirrors was a continuation of a device the show has used often before – The Kids Are Alright comes immediately to mind – but the really satisfying image moment came when we saw Sam, angered by Dean’s unilateral assumption that he’d been infected by the siren, hurl his cell phone at the wall. While he’d been talking, we’d been seeing Sam’s face directly, but as the call ended and we saw his reaction, it played out in the mirror, and that subtle reversal of the image of Sam’s face contributed to the red herrings being sown about whether he might have been altered by the siren. That was a really nice touch. The reflected image of Sam’s face also made me wonder about where he went and what he did right after that call, given that he had changed clothes and left the hotel before coming back to encounter Monroe and Dean. Did he do something more to further his collaboration with Ruby?

One small thing that gently irritated me was the conversation between Bobby and the boys on how to kill a siren. The early lines questioning what the poem language meant just didn’t ring true, especially not as the conversation teased apart the metaphor and made the meaning absolutely plain. But griping about only two lines means I didn’t have much in the way of criticism to offer. I did enjoy the concept of how to kill the siren, although I would bet that the metal of the knife really wouldn’t matter; it just spoke to historical accuracy that the lore would refer to a bronze knife, since bronze would have been the chief metal in use in weaponry back when the legends were created. And I loved the clear implication of the scene that Bobby reads Greek! Major chuckles came from all the culture references scattered throughout the script; I think this one may take the record for name dropping, including naming all the strippers after Disney cartoon heroines!

The set design people win kudos on this one for the wallpaper in the hotel room and for the name, the Lion’s Pride Hotel. The wallpaper design of heraldic lions in opposition to each other and the use of “pride” in the hotel name were both brilliant echoes of the main themes of the episode. The design crew and the writers also win for the hilarious bank of phones on the wall at Bobby’s house, each carefully labeled Fed. Marshal, FBI, CDC, Police, and Health Dept., covering the boys’ most frequent cover stories. One wonders how many hunters use Bobby as their cover reinforcement! I loved that we saw that phone bank more than once, with the first time – the call between Bobby and Sam – just having the phones casually in the background to establish that they were there. We never saw them before that I remember – they definitely didn’t appear on that wall in Lazarus Rising – so maybe they were meant to suggest that a stronger link between Bobby and the boys has developed since Dean’s resurrection. And whoever put Bobby in a “kiss the cook” apron deserves a kiss of their own! The bridge location at the end of the episode (was that Queensborough Bridge?) was also sterling; that shot of the boys and the Impala against the Vancouver skyline was positively iconic.  (Speaking of which, thanks to agt_bush  for the icon!)

On the not-so-full-of-win technical side, however, were the two inset shots of Sam’s cell phone display, both of which indicated that the date was Friday, August 8. August 8 was a Friday in 2008 (it’s a Saturday in 2009), but I don’t think we’ve gone back in time! The earlier shot, when Dean looked at the phone and called the unlabeled number, showed the time as being 05:58; the later shot, when Sam called Dean from the hotel room in the night, showed 05:56. Um, oops? Or are the production crew just having fun with us to see how closely we pay attention to irrelevant details? *grin*

Having a hiatus between this episode and its resolution is going to be brutal, because we all know – no matter what they said – that the boys are most definitely not OK after the things they got off their chests.

Tags: dean winchester, episode commentaries, jared padalecki, jensen ackles, sam winchester, supernatural, supernatural university

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