So yes, after all that, they actually arrive in Oregon! We have a case! It’s already like 20 min into the episode, so I don’t expect this case to be too complex, especially since it’ll all play out from inside the Impala. That doesn’t mean it won’t be entertaining. That’s proven as soon as Dean throws out that they’re dealing with a “were-pyre.” He even taunts Sam to say it with him. “No,” Sam firmly responds. Ah brotherly banter. Dean’s already thinking food and thanks to a recommendation from the local sheriff, a well renowned local steak house will do the trick. Except it has valet parking. Dean would actually trust a valet? He does because Sam thinks it’s okay. Really Sam? You know what happens when you trust a classic car with a teenager? Baby’s about to go on a joy ride.
Again, I love this. It shows that even when Sam and Dean aren’t there, Baby gets her own adventures at times. With MIA’s “Bad Girls” in the background (yes I had to look that up for I don’t know the song, thank you Shazam), the valet and her friend start testing out just what a classic ’67 Impala can do. Plenty by the amount of fun they’re having. Its over as soon as it began though because Jesse the valet gets the call that its time to bring the car back. Her friend though is missing her Hello Kitty purse and there’s no time to search for it. Guess what’s on the floor near the back seat? Again, Baby knows that this purse will be needed later. I swear there’s something far more mystical with her than meets the eye. Not that the idea is a shock to any of us.
Our Baby is returned to the rightful owners and Sam and Dean are supposedly none the wiser. Except that an Impala gets like 8 miles to the gallon, wouldn’t Dean have noticed the missing gas? All well, they’re fed, happy, and ready to go back to the case. Man, I want to see Dean and Sam go joyriding now!
The brothers are already on the case though. Sam decides he should talk to the dead sheriff’s widow while Dean wants to go to the place where they found the body. Something didn’t look right. So Dean drops Sam off and next shot we see him from inside the Impala outside looking at the scene. It’s a back seat POV, so we get to see the whole empty front seat, and it’s a beautiful shot of the steering wheel, instrument panel and glove box. Perfect lighting! Also, if you look at this shot carefully, you'll see the shell of an old car next to Dean. That's the Impala they wrecked at the end of Devil's Trap! This is being shot in the storage area where that was stored, which if memory serves correctly is not far from the Burnaby studios where they shoot SPN.
Now, this next scene is epic, and the first of three complex choreographed fight scenes. The camera angles and use of visual storytelling is some of the best this show has ever done in this first one. The premise is simple, Castiel shares the results of his research while Dean in the front seat listens on his cell phone. Simple exposition, right? Not exactly. Dean’s phone rings and it’s sitting on the dash inside the car. Dean gets into the passenger seat and the phone reveals it’s Castiel. He’s confused, and its time to work in another Netflix joke, a string of many for the episodes to come. Castiel is failing to grasp how orange correlates from black. Listen to Dean Castiel, step away from the Netflix. We know he won’t though and we can say with certainty that it’s all Sam’s fault.
Cas did find something though about a creature that feeds on hearts and blood. Dean insists it’s called a “were-pyre” and he knows Castiel wants to say it, but there’s nothing but silence on the other end. He’s not biting. Even on the phone Castiel’s deadpan silence is funny. Cas has another name for the creature, a Whisper. Yep, that’s much lamer than were-pyre and Dean says so. Dean informs Cas that the body was dragged there and that’s not where the murder took place. It’s a sloppy job. Castiel is all ready to share the interesting history of the Whispers but another vehicle pulls up behind them and Dean tries to tell him hang on. Dean leaves the phone on the dash and Castiel keeps talking anyway, not aware Dean has left. While Castiel explains they were in the bloodline of werewolves, but are more similar to demons, we can see what is happening with Dean in the distance through the rear window while the phone is front and center on the dash. This is quite a remarkable setup!
The POV then switches to the back seat looking through the front window. It should be noted, we can hear the very loud train whistles in the background. That is a running theme all season, one that ends up going absolutely nowhere. But for anyone tracking, it happens here. While the whistles go off, Castiel in his rambles realizes they’re not dealing with a Whisper. They only feed during a solar eclipse. Dean has already figured this out though because the Deputy has now attacked him from behind! So while that struggle is going on Castiel is still carrying on this very one-sided conversation, conceding maybe it is a were-pyre. Sam tries to call, but Dean is too busy throwing the Deputy off of him and into the passenger door, which shuts. Now Castiel is curious what’s going on.
Dean walks over to the passenger side of the car and is instantly brought down. The POV changes to the passenger window where a struggle is ensuing underneath that we can only hear. A gunshot goes off and there’s a healthy dose of blood spatter on the passenger window (good thing that front door was closed otherwise the mess would be inside too). Castiel calls out for Dean, who is standing up with his gun pointed downward.
Dean gets back in the car and jokes, “Turns out I did shoot the Deputy.” Ha! Continuity! He believes the silver bullets did the trick since it’s a “were-pyre,” but suddenly the Deputy’s splayed hand can be seen on the blood soaked window. Castiel tries to explain it can’t be since the next solar eclipse is years away, so Dean gets out of the car again, goes to the trunk, pulls out a machete and cuts off they deputy’s head. It lands on the windshield outside. Dean gets back in the car to talk to Castiel and tell him they need to cut off the head, but sure enough, the head is still alive. It’s one ugly looking head with fangs staring into the inside of the Impala, and Dean’s perplexed look is priceless! Dean takes care of that problem by turning on the windshield wipers. The head goes rolling off to the left side. Dean concedes, this isn’t a Whisper.
From the passenger seat, Dean puts a few more silver bullets into the deputy’s body but still hears the head growling. Dean needs a place to put it and now it’s the green cooler’s chance to shine! He walks around Baby, opens the back door on the left side, pulls out the remaining beer, takes out the green cooler, dumps the ice, puts the head in there and returns it to the back seat with the lid still open. He gets in the front seat, takes a picture with his phone. “Smile asshat,” while the head still growls at him. Then he resumes his conversation with Castiel and sends the picture of the fangs. Time to research what those are.
Dean only gets in a breath before he realizes he missed a call from Sam. The urgent text says it all. “NEED HELP ASAP! CALL ME!” Dean calls. Sam reports wherever he was he got jumped and they are dealing with a pack. Sam figured out the same thing, silver only slows them down. Dean reports his progress, “Deputy Dumbass” is in two pieces and still alive. Sam texts his address, Dean is on his way.
Oh boy, I’m tired now. That were a ton of logistics involved in that scene! It’s amazing in this scene and what’s to come the sheer creativity that went into building each of those scenes confined to such a limited space and managing to get a spectacular story out of it.
Now Sam and Dean are in Baby again, trying to make sense of it all, and there’s an unconscious woman in the back. It’s the sheriff’s widow, Mrs. Markham. Castiel calls, and its time for Netflix reference number three!
Dean: Hey, Cas, tell me you got something that doesn't involve chicks in prison.
Sam (lets out a laugh): Bet you never thought you'd say that out loud.
Castiel knows what they’re dealing with. A Nachzehrer. It’s a ghoul and vampire like creature. So yes, Dean had it wrong, it’s a ghoul-pyre. It’s also hard to kill them since they’re already dead. So, you have to remind them they’re dead. They need a Charon's obol. Okay, that’s a new one on me. Bravo Robbie for finding some new lore for us to dig into.
Sam, being the most lovable dork that he is, gets it. He remembers his ancient Greece lore, that people put an obol, aka a coin, in dead people’s mouths so it can be used as currency to be taken across the river to the underworld. Castiel carries on the dorkiness with his own tidbit, saying that the best way to kill a Nachzehrer is to behead it and put the coin in their mouth, and if they kill the Alpha of a Nachzehrer pack, all the rest revert back to normal. All it takes is a copper coin. Where do they get a copper coin? Sam knows that too. Any penny prior to 1982 when they were 95% copper. Now they’re copper plated zinc. Dean, who is listening to this whole conversation a little disturbed, has his response ready for that.
Dean: Wow. Your nerdiness knows no bounds.
Sam: You're welcome.
Needless to say, Sam and Dean don’t have any pennies in their pockets. Who carries those these days? Well, since this is filmed in Canada, no one. Pennies aren’t used there anymore. Nerdy Sam is off to find a copper coin while Dean remains in the car with the unconscious woman, who wakes up. She’s a little alarmed to see where she is, so Dean breaks into reassurances, letting her know she was attacked. He promises to take her someplace save and kill those sons of bitches. Oh Dean, you have such a way with words. Of course this chick is way too disoriented to take all this in and hears noises come from the cooler next to her. So she opens it! Dean says he can explain it, but given her freaked out reaction, he concedes maybe not. He tells her it’s a “ghoul-pyre” and can’t hurt her anymore, but he sees he isn’t making this situation any better. He decides they should get rid of the head instead and he gets out and puts the green cooler in the trunk. This case certainly pushed into absurd territory, hasn’t it?
Dean returns to the front seat and Mrs. Markham asks Dean if he’ll do anything for family. “Absolutely. Yeah, but not if it costs too much.” He smiles, but she isn’t in a joking mood. Sam is seen in the restaurant smiling and having fun with the waitress inside now. The conversation has progressed! Sam really has a thing for waitresses now, doesn’t he? I don’t blame him. Back to Mrs. Markham though, she says that she did it wrong and ruined everything. She put her family at risk, they were right to attack her, but now she knows how to make it right. Dean really doesn’t know what she’s talking about, but he gets to find out when she jumps him and puts him in a chokehold from behind and demands to know where the Deputy’s body is, calling him “The Maker.” While Dean is getting choked there’s the shot of Sam in the restaurant and it looks like he’s really close to scoring with the waitress (not the coin search though), none the wiser about what’s going on in the car. Hey, I just love seeing Sam smile again.
Okay, complex fight choreography scene #2. Mrs. Markham yanks Dean into the back seat from the front seat and starts beating the crap out of him. Dean fights back, punches are exchanged and this has to be some of the most insane fight choreography ever! They’re both exchanging spots on top of one another, punches being thrown everywhere, kicking, pulling, all while never leaving the back seat.
Eventually Mrs. Markham prevails and she climbs into the front seat. Now Sam sees what’s going when Mrs. Markham starts the car and pulls away. He pulls out his gun and fires, missing Mrs. Markham but unfortunately taking out Baby’s back window. Boo hiss Sammy! Sam chases, but the Impala is faster and we can see Sam get smaller in the distance of the rear view mirror as she drives away. Wow, just incredible how that whole sequence was shot.
Next scene Mrs. Markham is handcuffing Dean in the back seat putting us full circle now with the opening scene. She then can be seen from Dean’s POV in the back seat reuniting the deputy’s head with his headless body, feeling rather proud of herself for fixing things. Dean loses consciousness again and he looks might pretty with his cheek resting against that leather seat, even if he’s all battered. As he wakes a short time later, the first thing he sees is a Hello Kitty purse on the floor in front of him and his machete. Its like Baby is practically handing Dean what he needs to defeat the monster. Good girl!
Dean is pulled up monster deputy when he sees he’s awake. Deputy Dumbass is driving in the front seat and Mrs. Markham in the passenger seat. The shots of the deputy and Dean in the rear view mirror are pretty nifty. The deputy knows Dean is a hunter, Dean knows the deputy is the Alpha Nachzehrer. Awesome, everyone is on the same page! Dean wonders why the killing of the sheriff since the Nachzehrers keep a low profile. That was Mrs. Markham’s fault, she’s a new convert and didn’t know the rules when it came to feeding. They have to dispose of the body correctly. He’s chalking it up to a rookie mistake though. I love leaders that are patient with subordinate screw ups. Why do they have to be monsters? Humans can’t be that way? Anyway, Dean wants to know how many he’s turned. In the last 100 years only three. In the last month, 16. Why now? Because The Darkness is coming and he’s got to form an army. Uh oh, Dean, better not tell him your role in all that. He'll eat you out of spite. Actually, he’s going to do that anyway because you kind of pissed him off by cutting off his head.
As part of the evil plan, they’re going to try and turn Sam. They’ve set a trap for him. They like the idea of turning Dean into his first meal. Right, you don’t know our Sammy dude! He eats salad. It’s right about here where Dean finds one of his other gifts from Baby, Piper’s hairpin in the back. He uses it to break out of the cuffs all while the bad guy is monologuing, grabs the deputy from behind, and Baby slams head on into a construction slab! NOOOOOOOO!!!!! Oh man, that hurts.
As the dust settles, Dean rises up from the back seat, a gash in his forehead but still doing much better than the other two. Deputy Dumbass went flying through the windshield and his whereabouts are unknown. Mrs. Markham is unconscious on the floor of the passenger side. Once Dean gets his bearings he pulls up two objects he really needs, the Hello Kitty purse and his bloody machete. He opens the purse and that’s when we see the battered deputy working his way slowly toward the car, stopping first to pick the large chunk of glass that’s in his face right now. Dean opens the change purse and what happens to be in there, pennies!
Yes, yet ANOTHER complex fight scene inside the car, and I can’t imagine what it was like for Jensen to film those scenes. No wonder we didn’t see any with Jared, how could they make these scenes work with such a giant? I remember Maggie Q talking about how tough it was to film a fight scene inside a car and she is much tinier! The deputy opens the back door and goes after Dean. They exchange punches in the back seat and then the deputy drags Dean outside where they smash in Baby’s driver side windows during the scuffle. Mrs. Markham wakes up and chokeholds Dean right when he climbs back into the Impala through the broken window to escape the deputy. She bites him on the neck so he knocks her out of the car with one furious elbow strike. Boom! Dean and the deputy then fight in the back and Dean finally gets in the right position where he can stuff the coins from the purse into his attacker’s mouth.
This next part is so unbelievably awesome. The deputy is disabled by the coins, one of them obviously being a penny prior to 1982. That’s a stroke of luck! Dean drags his foe out of the car because after all, only half of the job is done. Since we know the machete in out of reach in the front seat, Dean cuts off his head by slamming the car door on the deputy’s neck multiple times! Take that you villain, feel the wrath of Baby! The head eventually rips off, falling into the Impala. Dean opens the door, flings the head outside, and then takes a gander at his battered Baby from the back seat. “Oh Baby, I’m so sorry.” I’m sure she’s just glad you’re alright Dean. Honestly, you look as damaged as she is right now.
Mrs. Markham suddenly comes to, horrified by what she has done. Mrs. Markham is worried about her kids. Dean goes into a quick panic himself, realizing he needs to check in on Sam. So Dean hops into Baby and needless to say she won’t roll over at first. You did crack the engine pretty good there Dean. Dean keeps pushing and pleading with her though and eventually she starts on the third try, although she sounds really rough. She goes though, probably because even Baby knows that she needs to rescue Sam. It should be noted that the road Dean is driving on I’m actually been to before on one of the Vancouver location tours. It’s the same road they used for Weekend at Bobby’s and few others. It’s a road from Fort Langley that goes to a ferry dock that is no longer in service. Ideal for filming!
Dean pulls up to the Markhams and Sam is there with the kids. They all look like they’re back to normal, but Sam is every bit as beaten up and bloodied as Dean and Baby. Dean gets out and helps Sam into the car while the Markhams enjoy their reunion. The two compare notes in just a few basic sentences, basically it was Deputy Dumbass, he wanted to build an army because even the monsters are scared. They’ve got to fight The Darkness, but Sam would rather start tomorrow. Its time to go home where Castiel can fix them up, both of them up, unlike in previous episode “The Bad Seed” where Dean refused a Cas healing.
DEAN: Okay, mom. Let's go home.
SAM: You know what? (pats the dash twice) We are home.
Aww Sammy, you sentimental softie. Dean tries to get Baby started again. She’s slow to roll over again but she does, and then the camera pulls away for the first shot of the episode outside of the Impala and the closing section of “Night Moves” plays. Her front end is smashed pretty good, her left side, windshield and back windows are gone, she has dust all over her and half of the car is spattered in blood. She’s still going though because its time to take her boys home.
Thank you thank you thank you Robbie Thompson again for this classic that I’ll cherish again and again for years to come. Thank you Thomas. J. Wright for your ingenious vision to shoot this risky concept, making all those difficult shots look so easy. It’s not often, especially in these later years, that we get an instant classic, but we easily have one with “Baby.” My grade, an A++.