There’s something about this episode that really appeals to me. It’s one of my favorites, but exactly why is hard to pinpoint. The guest actors are wonderful in their roles (especially that adorable dog) and Sam’s beginning his descent into madness, once again. Add a Dean kidnapping and Hallucifer into the mix – it just becomes a memorable story. Oh yeah, Ben Edlund wrote this…that must be why it’s such an appealing episode.
The Road So Far
Sam and Dean defeated the mastermind behind the clown horror at Plucky Pennywhistle’s and are now returning to Idaho to revisit a four-year-old case of demon possession.
Wiccan Nora Havelock helped Sam and Dean track down a demon who could help them find Lilith, four years ago. Now, there are women being murdered in the same manner as before, so the boys come back to town to investigate. They talk to Nora and find Jeffrey, the meatsuit of the demon, at a halfway house. Jeffrey seems mostly normal and helpful, but something’s obviously wrong. When Dean stops answering any of his cellphones, Sam turns to Nora for answers. Hallucifer also wants to help Sam find Dean…what could go wrong?
The beginning of this episode shows us a younger Sam and Dean dealing with a Wiccan and a demon that they need information from. The problem with this flashback is that Sam and Dean don’t look anything like their season three selves. They look exactly the same as they do in the present, so obviously no effort was put into making them look younger. I guess that’s just as well - sometimes the soft lighting, wigs, or CGI doesn’t really work, anyway. If you pay attention to detail, then Dean is wearing the amulet, but I don’t always notice such things. Still, it makes it hard to know that the opening sequence took place in the past. I know that I was confused the first time that I watched it, I must have looked away from the four-years- later card. However, that’s the only real misstep in this episode.
Look at these season three cuties!
I did like the unique perspective of seeing Sam and Dean taking the victim of the demon to the hospital and instructing him to say that he was mugged. I love Jeffrey’s retort in the present that the doctors said that he looked like he’d been through the Spanish Inquisition. Ha! That must have been some mugging.
Anyway, I enjoy Jeffrey right from the beginning. There’s something quirky and endearing about him. I like his partly sarcastic and partly eager-to-please way of speaking. I feel badly for the poor guy. He went through a lot and seems to be trying to get his life back together. Of course, that turns out to be just an act, but it’s sweet while it lasts. I bought it, totally, as did Sam and Dean.
For extra fun, Hallucifer keeps popping up to annoy Sam. It’s been awhile since there was much indication that Hallucifer’s a problem, so his return is much welcome, at least for the audience. It would have been nice to have seen more about Sam’s torment before this, but I guess they couldn’t have had Mark Pellegrino just showing up as Hallucifer, every episode. That would have gotten expensive. Then, we also get an adorable little dog wearing a cone of shame. How cute was that little guy?
The head smashing scene in the library’s pretty gross, but it’s fun to see Hallucifer and Sam actually interacting. It’s only Hallucifer talking, at first, but as Dean doesn’t answer any of his cellphones – Sam starts getting desperate enough to start talking back.
Hallucifer: Oh well, that's every cell phone Dean's got. One of them should have picked up, right. Big brother's probably dead.
Sam: Shut up.
Hallucifer: He said, "shut up" to me.
Hallucifer just got the door opened a little bit in Sam’s mind, but then the door’s going to swing all the way open when Sam starts conversing freely with him. I love the scenes with Sam and Nora. After a hard whack on the head from a large object that Nora’s holding, Sam gets very intense with her – no more Mr. Nice Guy.
Hallucifer: Ay, caramba! mi cabeza!
Now, let’s pause to admire the acting choices of Nicole Oliver, who plays Nora. Nicole is primarily a voice-actor. She has a long list of credits and it’s easy to see why. She has a lovely voice with precise diction and a range of emotions that’s quite amazing. Nora’s totally believable, the very real anguish that she emotes is evident. Tears are streaming down her face and her voice reflects everything that she’s feeling very well. This episode wouldn’t be as powerful and suspenseful if a lesser actress had been cast. Well done, Ms. Oliver.
Russell Sams is also very good as Jeffrey. His line readings are unique (I love his half-petulant delivery) and he portrays good and evil, very well. He’s just as chilling explaining to Dean why he wants “his” demon back, as he is when he kills that poor puppy for it's heart. Dean might have gotten captured and tied-up, but he’s just as amusingly snarky as ever as he talks to Jeffrey from his chair - which, of course, he easily cuts himself out of, in the end.
I really enjoy their meeting in that alley as Dean threatens Jeffrey with a knife:
Dean: Sorry. Just had to make sure.
Jeffrey: Make sure of what – that I peed my pants today?
Meanwhile, Nora shows Sam the ear that Jeffrey cut off her son. Once again, I get chills as Nora talks about the way that Jeffrey contacted her, took her son from his dorm room, and then sent her his ear. I mean, I can’t even imagine what she’s been going through as she’s waited for Sam and Dean to show up. She’s desperate to get her son back and I’m just mesmerized by her every utterance. The perfect scripted words compliment the perfect actress for the part. Once again, amazing.
Sam, goaded on by Hallucifer, tells Nora that she can have the ear…or she can have the kid. Chills, again. The blood of the exorcist is needed to return the demon to Jeffrey, so Sam’s in a big hurry to find his big brother. After a tracking spell using Nora’s son’s ear, everyone arrives to the demon and Jeffrey’s old lair. Let’s pause again to say farewell to that poor little pooch, who carries his cone of shame, tail wagging high, to his death. I wonder who thought up that little detail to have the doggy carry that cone? It’s sad, yet funny, at the same time - or maybe I’m just demented to enjoy it.
Anyhoo, it’s also great to see the faces that Dean’s making while the now returned demon dances with Jeffrey. It seems that the demon doesn’t want to possess Jeffrey anymore, who’s always been a serial killer – he just needed a little push to get started. That’s such a twist, one that I totally don’t see coming. Since Dean’s getting himself free from his bindings, (of course he is, he’s Dean, after all) and Sam gets thrown across the room – Nora exorcises the demon and saves her son. You go, girl. There’s such goodness and badness to be had from Jeffrey, Hallucifer, and Sam’s intense search for Dean, but I really enjoy Nora and her part in this whole tragedy. At least she got her son back and hopefully she got him a new ear – plus lots of therapy, poor kid.
For Dean, the case (and the day) is over, so he dives face first on that gross green hotel bed cover. He even rubs his face on it! Eww! Doesn’t he watch Hotel Impossible? Those bed covers hardly ever get washed, yuck. Poor Sam, on the other hand, finds himself at the beginning of a fate worse than the facial fungus that Dean’s contracting. Luci’s right there – no nap for poor Sammy. It’s terrible the way that Dean’s obliviously sleeping while Sam’s torture is starting, once again.
Very Random Musings
Changeling (2008) – I love a great true-life crime drama and this one’s superb. This film came to mind when I was musing about the themes in “Repo Man.” Dean disappeared in the episode and Walter Collins disappeared in the movie. The character of Nora in Supernatural is a mother in great distress because her beloved son is missing and Christine Collins is a mother in great distress because her son is also missing. It’s made worse for Christine when she is forced by the police to take in a boy that she knows isn’t her son. Nora didn’t have to do that, but what if the demon had gotten away and taken her son with it? Her son would have become essentially a changeling as the demon possesses him.
One of the reasons that “Repo Man” makes me think of this film is because of that great moment when Nora breaks down and cries, “He has my son!” Christine has a similar moment in Changeling where she cries, “I want my son back!” Both times, those mothers just break my heart.
The case on which this film’s based is fascinating. The screenwriter spent a year reading every document that he could get his hands on – he wanted to make this film as accurate as possible.
Nine-year-old Walter Collins disappeared in 1928 from his Los Angeles neighborhood. His mother and the media put pressure on the police department to solve his disappearance. The image of the LAPD at the time was not good, corruption was rampant, so Captain Jones decided that a boy found in Illinois was Walter. It didn’t seem to matter that his mother said that he wasn’t Walter and also that the imposter was twelve years old and a few inches taller than Walter was when he disappeared only five months before. The boy himself, Arthur Hutchins, just wanted to go to Los Angeles to meet his favorite actor. When he was told that he looked like Walter, he was glad to agree.
Christine was placed into a mental hospital when she refused to keep pretending that a stranger was her son. Even though Christine kept looking for her son for the rest of her life, Walter was never found. It’s believed that he was abducted by a serial killer who murdered at least three young boys. It’s truly haunting when Walter’s plight is reenacted in the film. A boy who escaped from the killer said that Walter was there and they tried to run away together, but Walter didn’t keep up with him. I think that it’s in Stephen King’s It – where one of the characters is speaking about how many kids get lost in the dark, like forever.
At the bottom of the Wiki page where Walter’s case is described, is links to lists of missing children and adults. I’ve spent hours reading through those lists – reading the sad stories of children lost in the dark…it’s such a horrible thing, I don’t know how parents keep living their daily lives after something like that.
The Stolen Child (2007) by Keith Donohue – This novel’s also about changelings, but they are ones from the faery realm. This story is a magical tale of a lost boy and the changeling that replaces him. I adore this one with all my heart. I don’t even remember how many times I’ve read this book. It’s so well done. I love the way that we follow, not only the lost boy and what happens to him, but also the complete life of the changeling…or the boy and man he becomes, I suppose. This is a wonderful journey into not only the faery world, but into the daily life of the being that becomes almost human.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand.
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand ---William Butler Yeats
Some of you might be wondering why I’m not reviewing the Supernatural episode that actually has changelings in it. Well, even though the changeling plot’s fairly well done and pretty creepy, it also features one of my least favorite characters – Lisa. She’s not a bad lady, she has her good points and some essential to the plot points, but I like my Dean on the road with Sam, not playing family guy.
Okay, was that random enough for you? I never promised that my musings would always be logical. Sometimes my muse just wanders and gets lost, a little bit.