"Hollywood Babylon"
--Robin's Rambles by Robin Vogel
 
I couldn't keep up with all the inside jokes in this episode, and am sure I missed a bunch. We have a movie being made within our TV show, HELLRAZERS II: THE RECKONING, starring Tara Benchley, who makes a fanboy (and one night stand) out of Dean. Aside from not delivering a good enough scream for director McG (a name really tied to our show), Tara is the victim of a prank played by a real actor and some CGI so the world thinks the movie set is haunted.
 
Enter Sam and Dean via a set tour. They jump the tram when mention is made of Stars Hollow, from GILMORE GIRLS, a show Jared Padalecki once co-starred in with Alexis Bledel, and I heard it once said that he wished she'd remove the stick up her ass. Dean thinks he sees Matt Damon sweeping the floor, but Sam says that's not him. They have a little dicker about working vs. R&R; Dean thinks Sam could use the latter after the Madison tragedy, Sam prefers to work. (They don't usually mention incidents from other episodes.) The man who died was named Frank Jaffe. Realizing Tara Benchly is working on this film, Dean is really excited; he's a big fan of her work. 
 
A studio "suit" a Bluetooth device seemingly glued to his ear, comes to the set to complain about the dailies"”they're too dark, need more color! But it's horror! protests MsG and Co., it's supposed to be dark! The suit mistakes Dean for a PA and asks him to get him a smoothie from Kraftie's. A who from what? asks Dean. Realizing this will give them an in on the set, Sam drags Dean away, yessing the suit, explaining to Dean that PA's are like slaves (a sentiment I'm sure PA's will agree with).
 
As they're filming the movie, Dean brings back the smoothies, puts them down, and surreptitiously climbs up to where the dead man was found with EMF meter in hand"”nothing. Tara reads from a book, invoking a spirit for the fun of it. 
 
Later, Dean tells Sam being a PA sucks, but the food is great"”he offers him a mini-Philly cheese steak sandwich, which Sam refuses, especially after Dean takes a bite, leaving a piece of meat hanging disgustingly from his mouth. Sam has learned that this studio has had four deaths"”two suicides, two fatal accidents. 
 
Dean grabs a script from someone else to hand to Tara. He tells her it's his first day and she smiles at him. He praises her work in BOOGEYMAN (real life Kripke's movie). Terrible script, she says. She describes how bloody the dead man was, then shows Dean the Polaroids she takes of the cast and crew so she doesn't get bored (Jensen Ackles takes photos on-set, too). Dean recognizes the "dead" actor, Gerard St. James, from other third-rate movies, so the brothers pay him a visit. He admits to faking his death to give the movie free publicity...and it's all over the internet, says the actor proudly. He offers them coupons for his dinner theater appearance the following night, tells Dean that Richard Moll is a gentleman's gentleman, and they leave.
 
The suit is complaining about "rules" again"”how do the ghosts in hell hear the Latin chanting? Do they have super hearing? They work that into the script so it makes sense. While they're filming, a black and white ghost appears to the suit, who admires the makeup, but insists the rope marks around her throat must be red"”has McG seen this? She slips off her robe, exposing her naked self, and he eagerly follows her up the steps. Suddenly, the suit falls into the middle of the scene discussing super-hearing ghosts, a rope around his neck. He's dead. His ever-present Bluetooth falls from his ear, nothing but a dial tone coming from it.
 
Movie: Tara calls for more salt to keep the ghosts at bay. McG and the others discuss how they had a moment of silence at breakfast for the studio suit. Tara stops the scene, asks for a cut"”why salt against ghosts? McG reminds her only HE gets to do that. They discuss what other condiments a ghost would be afraid of. The original writer of the script, Walter, fumes at their stupidity. Dean eats and smiles, knowing the truth. Dean tells Sam how much better Tara's been doing, now that he's been working with her on "sense memory." Sam is annoyed that Dean, complete with headset and PA belt, Dean keeps saying. "Copy," clearly enjoying the job, being part of a team. 
 
Sam listens to EMF interference that forced the movie crew to re-tape a scene, agreeing that they now have a real haunting on their hands. They go into one of the trailers (Jensen's or Jared's) to watch the dailies that Dean got from a PA friend. Shades of THREE MEN AND A BABY, says Dean, they caught a ghost on film! Sure enough, there's a woman there, who turns out, according to Sam's research, to be Elise Drummond, an actress who hanged herself after having an affair and being dumped by a studio big wig. Suit's death matched hers. 
 
Back onset, Jay tells McG he's kicking ass and taking names. 
 
Cemetery "“ Sam and Dean pass by Johnny Ramone's grave on their way to Elise Drummond's. Sam suggests digging up Johnny. Bite your tongue, Heathen! says Dean. They salt and burn Drummond's bones, reducing the number of ghosts haunting the set from four to three.
 
On the phone, Jay reports to someone that he hates McG's dailies and will direct the next film himself. After he hangs up, he says, "What a dick" about the person at the other end. (I bet hypocrisy is REAL in Hollywood, huh?) The lights go out. Jay tries to feel his way across set, but is suddenly accosted by a hideous, deformed ghost who drags him into a whirring fan, killing him quite messily. 
 
We are treated to what looks like a real commercial for HELLHAZERS II: THE RECKONING, very amusing.
 
Sam and Dean discuss how what happened to Jay happened to an electrician on-set, too. McG has the entire set and crew gathered before him and announces the set is to be closed down, not because he wants it, but because it's been ordered by those higher than his pay grade. Sam has been watching dailies for six hours, trying to find other ghosts, more information. Maybe the ghosts are angry because the movie sucks, he suggests. He does notice that what Tara is reading is a real Enochian summoning ritual. The brothers go to speak to Mark, the writer"”or re-writer, who says the original script sucked, and all that detailed Latin stuff Sam and Dean liked was the worst. Walter Dixon, who wrote LORD OF THE DEAD, was responsible for that crap. After reading Walter's script, the Winchesters realize what a good script it really is"”and is textbook on how to summon ghosts and get them to do what you want.
 
Angry, Walter calls Mark to the set. He's infuriated that they turned his script into cleavage and fart jokes. Holding up a talisman, Walter summons the three remaining ghosts and has the electrician grab Mark by the leg and drag him toward the fan and the same gruesome death as Jay. Dean shoots the electrician with a salt round, making the ghost disappear. "You're one hell of a PA!" gasps Mark. Sam tells Walter it's all over, but the writer insists it's not"”all his years of hard work, and they crap all over it. It's just a movie, Sam assures him. Walter begs him and Dean to just leave, they aren't a part of this. The brothers insist they can't do that. Walter summons the three ghosts again, but they quickly disappear. One attacks Sam, who gets away. Mark, Dean and Sam run into a room and close the door, but it's only a set, and wide open! 
 
Dean re-loads the gun with more salt rounds. Sam figures out he can see the ghosts through his phone-cam, and is able to point out to Dean where they are so he can keep shooting at them to keep them at bay. He shows Mark how to do it and hands over his phone; he's going after Walter. Mark finds the afterlife fascinating. It's a pain in the ass, Dean tells him. 
 
When Sam demands Walter hand over the talisman, the writer tosses it to the floor, breaking it. Sam tells him he did a stupid thing; they're all free now. Walter forced them to murder and those spirits will be very upset with him. As if proving his point, the three ghosts leap upon Walter and begin tearing them to shreds. Dean doesn't lift his gun to stop them. Mark raises Sam's phone, where they can watch the ghosts tearing Walter to shreds. 
 
Sam watches the movie being filmed as they use what he and Dean taught them about using salt rounds and viewing the ghosts through a camera phone. "You find out there's an afterlife and this is what you do with it?" chastises Sam. He comes around to Tara's trailer, which is a-rocking. Dean jumps out, smiling, his hair after-sex messy. "You're one hell of a PA," praises Tara, tying the belt on her bathrobe, biting her lip. "Thank you," says Dean. He grabs one last sandwich as he and Sam head off, seemingly into a mind-blowing sunset similar to the one Molly walked into a couple of eps ago. It's only a fake backdrop that moves away, leaving them in blah reality. "God, I love this town," chortles Dean, as the brothers continue walking together. 
 
1.  What did you think of this episode? I liked it, but it wouldn't be in my top 20. "Hell House" was a lot funnier to me. The in jokes amused me, but I don't like knowing that Alexis Bledel and Jared didn't really like each other. That bothers me, you know? That fans killed one guy was amusing. FANS, that's us! Hee!

2.  The stuff with the suit did amuse me. They made season 3 a lot more bright and colorful, which was bizarre in a horror show. It didn't fit. The requests for rules having reason, like the salt and ghosts hearing down in hell? Hilarious! No wonder Walter went berserk. This was his baby, it was completely accurate, and a hack writer hacked it to pieces, making it garbage in his eyes. As a free lance writer myself, I can understand, because whenever someone sends me the edits on my work, I usually blow a gasket. Most editors, IMHO, don't have a clue! Killing people was a bit overboard, but I thought it was cool. I wonder where he got that talisman. . .?
 
3.  I'm assuming everyone was accurately represented. McG got angry when Tara called cut; only HE is allowed to do that! Jay kow-towed to McG to his face, dissed him behind his back, then put down the guy he'd dissed Jay to! I guess with competition being the law of the land in Hollywood, no one really likes anyone unless they can use them as a stepping-stone to the next level, and then they hate them once they're done with them. Very cut-throat.
 
4.  I loved how stupid they made The Suit look. From the way he assumed Dean was a PA by the way he was dressed, to his insistence to make the movie less dark, to his following the ghost-gal who flashed him to his death, he deserved getting hung by his own petard. The dropping of the Bluetooth was a wonderful final touch.
 
5.  Since money is everything in Hollywood, note how reluctant McG was to shut down production, despite the fact that people were dying on his set! He insisted the dead would have wanted the movie to continue shooting"”but those higher up than McG ordered them to shut down. Too funny.
 
6.  Like Sam, I felt that McG's learning of the afterlife and using it the way he did in his movie was tacky"”but that's Hollywood for you! At least they learned the REAL rules, so the suits have nothing to bitch about. Of course, Sam finding that Dean had nailed Tara was very amusing, for us if not Sam. I noticed that Sam seemed very somber in this entire episode, focusing only on the case, not smiling or laughing. He was still getting over Madison, poor guy. I'm glad one brother had a good time. Speaking of which, what did you think of how smoothly Dean worked himself in as a PA? Apparently, they accepted him easily and he did a good job. Which proves hunting isn't all he can do. 
 
7.  Isn't Dean a fun fanboy? All the movies he recognized actors in, he remembered Gerard St. James from an obscure film, so they realized he wasn't really dead. His question about Richard Moll was so cute, and his crush on Tara adorable. Even though Sam was sour on all of it, I think he was glad Dean's stint as a PA was so enjoyable for him"”plus they solved the case!
 
 

Comments  

Randal
# Randal 2010-03-02 11:01
1. Love love love love this episode. So many industry jokes and burns and all-around goofery.

2. Of course killing people was going overboard, not everyone is as stable as Sam and Dean. :D

3. "I thought you hated being a PA."

4. Take that, Lumbergh! Gary Cole is wonderful at playing a wide-range of smarmy bastards (here, Office Space, American Gothic).

5. Hey, they had a moment of silence for the suit.

6. Dean's one of those jack of all trade types, though I'd say he's a pretty masterful hunter. People skills, easy to blend in.

7. Dean is a huge pop culture geek, and acts like a a lot of us would, well, maybe not finagling our way onto set. I wonder how many SPN fans have actually seen Metalstorm? Awful, awful flick.
Supernarttu
# Supernarttu 2010-03-02 13:54
Hi Robin, a great review as always :-)

Not my fave eppie but not a bad one either. I liked Mark character and the suit. Dean was adorably talented for the PA thing. And boy, he ate a lot. Poor Jensen.
I liked that Sam showed some after effects from his Madison -tragedy. His demeanor was quite fitting. Poor Sam. *pets*
All in all, a nice breather for the heavy (understatement ) stuff to come.

I love the song they use in the end...Green Peppers?? Just awesome :-)
Sablegreen
# Sablegreen 2010-03-02 14:06
Hi Robin, There was so much fun in this episode. Loved Dean having fun with being a PA. Al least you felt he did have some kind of a vacation. Only epi I ever heard them even mention a vacation in. Didn't like McG use of the info either. Kind a wished he had went the way the 'suit' did.
Bevie
# Bevie 2010-03-02 16:53
Another one I also love, love, love! This one leaves me feeling so good. I think it is because of the fun time Dean has all through it. Love it when Dean has fun.

The way he fit in so well with the production crew proves that he'd have no trouble working with others in another life.

Loved to see him stuffing his face and enjoying all of the free goodies on the set. And because I love the guy the hunk of meat hanging out his mouth was adorably hilarious to me.

Love that he got the girl he admired as a fanboy. So funny that final scene coming out of the trailer and Sam so disapproving. (the gag reel is so funny when he leaves the trailer and falls off the steps.LOL! "I'm like a cat" he says, "I land on all fours.")

This is an episode that leaves me with a good feeling.
A+ all the way!
Suze
# Suze 2010-03-03 04:31
Colour me shallow and malicious but I really like this one ... Dean going all fluttery fanboy, all the back biting and two-faced movie business snidery, desperately defending a shed with only three walls and finally walking off into a fake sunset that peels back to reveal the usual black skies and drizzle ... Fab. A+ from me too. :D