Ah, the polarizing episode. I love recapping these. The episode that sharply divides the fan base between loved it and hated it. I understand the hated it part. After all, Dean was relegated to supporting character and there was probably way more Ruby than people would have liked. I also understand the loved it, because that's me. Ruby had to be there, for its not like Sam could pull himself out of that rut. He was too far gone. There were so many great little details on this one, so prepare for the long recap.
For those keeping score, Sera Gamble is the writer, so we know Sam is getting squeezed through the ringer. The director is Charles Beeson, who seems to have found a groove with this one. Guest actor is Julie McNiven (Anna), who apparently is on Mad Men (yes that show is on my list of programs to check out when I have time). Other guest actor is Mark Ralston (Alastair) who looks great for being so powerfully evil.
Its religious overtones galore and I love it. Once the Now fades from the screen, we see Anna, gaze lost upward, and the bright lighting of the room giving the aura around her an angelic feel. Remember though, this is also supposed to be about Revelations (the little known translation anyway), so chances are she's not about to give us warm fuzzies.
Anna has good reason to be disturbed. For one, she's in the exact sanitarium used in Houses of the Holy down to the white furniture, lamp, pure white walls, and of course white top. I've been to a couple of sanitariums (for business!). They're grey and dingy. The only white you see is the pale faces of people that haven't been outside in years.
Back to Anna, she's nuts, but she's not. The end is coming. The apocalypse, she warns. Like in the bible? The sane yet crazy therapist asks. Kind of, I mean, same bottom line. See, they're doing they're own thing! Lucifer will bring the apocalypse¦Smoke em if you got em. I know that last line's been used several times before, but I wonder if Sera pulled if from where I remember it, Spaceballs.
She hears more whispers, and she wisely doesn't say what she's listening too. More doom and gloom talk, and it's interesting from the audience point of view because we know she isn't nuts and we think the therapist is off her rocker. Yeah, welcome to our world. She's a regular apocalyptic encyclopedia though, for there are 600 possible seals and no one knows what 66 Lilith is going to break. That's why she can't be stopped, the angels are losing and why we're gonna die. Oh come on, ye have little faith in the great Sam and Dean Winchester? You know, the guys that are going to save the world?
Interesting how Anna can see the demon faces (like Dean) and has telekinesis (like Sam). Whatever she is, she uses her power to get the hell out of there, which is what either of the boys would have done. I'm still waiting for the day when Sam caves into all his dark powers and pushes locked doors open with his mind. A girl can dream, can't she?
Sam and Dean hustling pool? Sam plays the drunk ringer? He's that good at pool? Wow, and here we were always led to believe Dean was the shark. The money is lost though as Ruby is spotted. I can't listen to what Ruby is saying, because I'm too distracted by the white horses hanging above the bar. Shouldn't they be like unicorns or the winged horse Pegasus or something like that? Curious looking shot from the floor to show off that strange bar lit by the bright blue lights.
Dean still hates Ruby and doesn't believe her, while Sam is hanging on every word. They're off in the Impala to check it out and Dean doesn't like it. Sam isn't pleased with the attitude. You got something to say, just say it. Oh, I'm going to say it, this sucks. Don't hold back Dean. He's pissed Ruby gave the tip. This exchange here is priceless and nothing is better than these brothers at each other's throats. I come back and you're BFF with demon. Sam, since he's always so direct with answers, says she helped him go after Lilith. Well thanks for the thumbnail, real vivid. You want to fill in a little detail? Sure Dean, let's trade stories. You first, how was Hell, don't spare the details. Ah, bickering brothers. It's going to be a long 3 day drive!
It's the first of several flashback scenes and each one of them is a gorgeous character examination of our poor tortured Sammy. Six months earlier and Sam's at the crossroads. It is our assumption that this is taking place shortly after Sam and Bobby buried Dean and Sam took off. I still want to know why Sam buried Dean in Pontiac, Illinois, but I'll tuck that away for now.
A desperate Sam digs in the ground with his bare hands, but something about his uncoordinated movements and struggle to do this tells us he ain't right. The camera moves from Sam's hand in the ground to his face, and we see the whiskey bottle in the middle of it. He staggers up and takes a drink. We got it, drunken Sammy.
The camera goes for the overhead shot, and just like with Lazarus Rising with Dean and the cross, we see Sam's shadow along with the crossroads post. He's a man at the crossroads in his life, literately and figuratively. Nice effective visual that I'm sure no one noticed. The directing on this was top notch, as was the camera work.
Sam waits, as is normal with these things, and it's incredible what flashes on his face in this next sequence. First the focus in on those lost puppy dog eyes. He's desperate and so close to falling apart. Still no demon, so that quickly turns to impatience and an outburst of anger. Sam after all is an angry drunk. The demon appears, Sam squints his eyes barely able to focus and staggers over, just in case we haven't picked up on the fact he's drunk. Said demon is a man in a suit this time. That alone tells me Sam ain't getting his deal, because we know they aren't kissing.
This is where the makeup crew deserves huge props, for Sam looks awful. I guess burying your brother didn't agree with you, the demon taunts. I'd say not. Sam holds out those long arms as if he's offering himself as the big prize. Demon doesn't bite, asking for the knife. Sam sneers, pulls it out, and slams it on the table. Sam says there aren't any devils traps either, he's not playing games. The Demon makes the expected observation of round and round the Winchesters go, but says no deal. Sam doesn't like the answer, and lets the demon know by picking up the knife and slamming it through the demon's hand if one fell swoop of anger. Sammy, there are more effective ways to getting what you want. The demon won't back down, probably because Sam didn't say please.
Sam yells louder, letting him know he wants to trade places now. The demon still says no, and now Sam's eyes turn to desperation. He tries the Lilith wants me dead pitch, but the demon reveals something more interesting. Dean's in Hell right were we want him, we've got everything exactly the way we want it. Remember that, it's important for next episode and others to come.
What's fascinating here in Jared's performance is how well he's selling Sam's instability and fragile mind. Sam has this intense rage boiling inside, but didn't go into a full blown fit. He threw out enough small outbursts of fury where it scares us and shows how dangerous he is, but not completely out of control. Not yet anyway. Of course he's angry enough, for after the demon challenges Sam to kill him (Go ahead, I've made peace with my Lord), Sam snarls and the sound of the knife swipe happens right when the camera cuts back to the Impala. Great editing there, for the implication of the act is better than actually seeing it. I think he's also burned all his bridges with the Crossroads Demon.
What's even more jarring is the next shot, as Sam struggles to tell Dean about what happened and then backs off. It's silent in the Impala except for the roar of the engine and the sound of the wipers, while we see the brothers through the glass blurred by the rain. They are caught in their painful world of silence, and it's heartbreaking that they can't open up to each other.
They're doing the cop thing at the sanitarium, and the ties are so much better this week. I love Sam's blue pattern tie and Dean's blue striped one. Those are the colors that should be on those boys. They see Anna's book of doom and don't think she's crazy at all. Maybe because she's pointing out their lives. Since when does the Book of Revelations have jack-o-lanterns? It's a little known translation, Dean explains. If that doesn't tell you right there this show is taking liberties with the apocalypse, nothing will. I don't mind.
They go to Anna's parent's house, and the Impala is glistening! Dean found time on the way over to have it freshly washed and waxed? Remember the good ole days where the Impala was loaded with dirt and road dust? It made it look mean. I love pretty car but come on, I don't look that beautiful after driving for 3 days, the car shouldn't either.
If there were any slow spots in the episode, this was it. The parents are dead, throats slashed. Sam finds sulfur and a clue. Dean uses the Girl Interrupted reference, and I'm wondering why this show loves Angelina Jolie so much. Or why Dean does. She's not his type. Besides yourself, who should Dean hook up with? I'll have to ponder that.
The pace picks up here, causing fits for the recapper. I've seen that church before. It was either a recent episode of Smallville or Reaper. I think it was the latter. I love the shot of Anna looking through the distorted glass at the Winchesters coming in. Sam calls out, My name is Sam, this is my brother Dean. I somehow laugh, waiting for him to pull a Larry, Darryl and Darryl via Newhart and continue this is my other brother Dean. I know, I'm warped.
Sam Winchester? The Dean? See, she's a fan girl! I don't blame her. She knows them because the angels talk about them. Not surprisingly, some don't like Sam. She gushes over Dean some more (come on, who wouldn't?) and answer's Sam's question. She started hearing the voices September 18th. Yeah, they catch onto the coincidence. Dean Winchester is saved. They figure out why demons want her now, because she can hear the other side. She's 1-900 angel and we slap our heads over Dean and his porn references.
Ruby arrives and Anna can see her real face, so she's freaked. Continuity from No Rest For The Wicked. Dean thinks Ruby set them up, Ruby says they were followed. No time for arguments though, for the eyes on the statue of Mary start bleeding. I'm not sure what that means, but it can't be good. Sam puts Anna in a closet, while Dean ominously stares at the statue. Sam goes for the holy water, but Ruby points out the predicament we know will happen every time now, Sam must use his powers on this one. Even Dean doesn't disagree this time.
Big bad busts in as an older gentleman. Sam puts out the hand, the guy's eyes turn white, then they come back unaffected. That tickles, he tells Sam, just before using his own hand of destruction to fling Sam across the room and down the stairs. Dean pulls the demon killing ginsu and fights with the dude, while Ruby grabs the girl and runs. It seems Dean knows this dude, but doesn't recognize him because he's wearing a pediatrician. Great line! Dean then gets it. Alastair. That must mean he's pretty high on the demon pay scale.
Sam arrives and gets one perfect and quick shot of the knife to Alastair's heart. It slows him down, but doesn't kill him. Okay, so the knife can't kill all demons after all. Sam and Dean realize they have to leave fast, so why not jump out of a large stained glass window and land three stories below? That won't hurt. Okay, so Sam gets a bad cut on his arm and Dean gets a dislocated shoulder. In reality, they should be in the ICU. Ah well, for entertainment purposes, banged up Winchesters in a motel room will do.
Poor babies. Sam stitches up that nice gash in his arm, complete with gushing blood, while Dean spits blood into a sink. I am pleased that both look like they're in pain. At least they're trying to sell that. Somehow, while Sam is wrenching in pain over sterilizing his nasty wound with whiskey, Dean finds its time to get on his case about losing the magic knife. Yeah, saving your ass. Sorry Dean, he has a point. Dean won't say much about Alastair, other than he's no one good. Really? Back to vivid descriptions I see. Dean wants to find Anna, Sam isn't worried. Ruby's got her, they're okay.
There's a pause in the action here for Sam to fix Dean's shoulder. This is where Jensen and Jared are so great together for they've got their timing down pat. Sam says on the count of three. One, CRACK, and Dean reacts a split second later in horrible pain. That was actually quite fun to watch, even if I cringe over the idea of popping a shoulder back into place.
Anyway, back to the plot, Dean still thinks Ruby has taken Anna and brought in Alastair to kill them. Sam insists she took Anna somewhere safe. Dean wonders why she hasn't tried to contact them. Sam's thought that through too, because Alastair is still watching them and let them go so they could led him to Anna again, otherwise he would have killed them no problem. They have to lay low and wait for Ruby to contact them.
Dean's had enough. He wants to know why Sam has so much faith in Ruby. This time though, he isn't being a jerk about it. About time Dean! I suppose these boys grew up without a mother and weren't taught about how effective it is to ask nicely. I need to know more. I deserve to know more. Sam frowns, gets all serious, and goes on. Because she saved my life.
Oh goody! The rest of the flashback scenes. These are really what pushes this episode into the exceptional category. Back tosix months earlier, and the screen is tilted and all out of focus as Sam staggers in. The assumption is this is after the crossroads thing. As the camera is trying to cleverly tells us, Sam is not all there. He moves into the light, and his haggard face confirms that pretty well.
Man and woman step out of the dark and beat up on him. Man holds Sam, woman grabs knife, thanking him for keeping it warm. He immediately figures out its Ruby, ala new meatsuit. She goes into the evil speech mode, Lilith wasn't so easy on her and gave her a chance to come back if she killed Sam. Sam does not take this as bad news at all. As a matter of fact, he's ready. He pushes away from man holding him back, sticks out his neck, and challenges Ruby to do it. He even takes a few steps forward, egging her on. Her tough look all of a sudden changes to one of concern. I do wonder if her next decision was split second or not.
She gets tough again, swings the knife back, and plunges it into the other guy. Sam is shocked and they flee. The Impala zooms by in the dark, Sam's driving and Ruby's in the passenger seat. Sam looks worse here. His eyes are vacant, his stare forward completely lost, and I hope the Impala isn't coasting on fumes like he is. Ruby's all happy, wanting to celebrate with some French fries, trying to get Sam to show her some gratitude for saving his life and going fugitive for him. Sam isn't grateful at all. She's not useful to him is she can't help him save Dean, which she can't.
Sam pulls the Impala over (although if you see the wide shot, it's a shadowy figure of just a driver), and gets on Ruby's case over her possessing an innocent girl. He tells her to leave, and free the secretary or he'll send her back to Hell. So, we see a Jane Doe getting the plug pulled, and a few seconds after the flat line she's revived. It's the Genevieve Cortese Ruby, and she still wants those French fries.
Sam is squatting in an abandoned house, sitting alone at a table cleaning his pistol. Hmm, a little reminiscent of Mystery Spot, huh? Also notice the right amount of light filtering through the broken shutters of the window. That's cool too. I'm not sure if it's meant to symbolize anything, but I like it. Anyway, there's a knock on the door, so Sam puts down the pistol and goes for the shotgun instead. Nothing like greeting your guests with more firepower.
Sam still looks awful here, which tells us he's still drunk. Ruby presents proof that she's in an empty shell, but Sam still isn't happy to see her. The body language says it all, as do the glassy eyes and the rough edge in his voice. He has nothing to live for. So, when Ruby tells him she can help him go after Lilith, he brings up the psychic stuff and wants to start using it right away. Nothing like keeping that self respect and honoring your brother's wishes Sammy!
Ruby warns him that something big is coming, apocalyptic big, and they need to take time to carefully prepare. As soon as they start talking about Lilith, Sam's who cares attitude instantly turns to anger, and if he had his way, they would be storming out the door after her now. Okay, so he does have something to live for. Revenge, just like a Winchester. Ruby demands patience and sobriety as he's swinging more whiskey, and she'll teach him everything she knows. Sam considers the offer.
I pause here, for Sam has changed shirts off camera while talking to Dean. He changes into a lovely pale blue undershirt. Oh, that does him so much more justice than those grey ones. I'm drooling as he tells Dean something, something, he's a bad student, something.
Sam tries his first exorcism, and it doesn't go well. Smoke comes out, then goes back in. Ruby comes around with the knife showing back up and Sam tries again. It results in a mind bursting headache and a nosebleed which debilitates Sam. The demon laughs, and Ruby responds with a quick stab right through the throat. The shot of the behind the head by the way was really cool, for the tip of the knife comes through the back and we see all of Ruby's furious face. Not funny. Ooh, could it be she has a thing for Sammy?
Okay, time for the crucial scene. THE scene. I loved the way this scene was filmed and choreographed. Sam walks in first, and the camera shows him step over the scratched off devil's trap and throw the shovel on the table. A great way visually to show repeating elements in this show. Sam searches his bag while a very concerned Ruby stands behind him. Just give it time Sam, It'll get better. Sam turns around, not at all impressed by her assurances, and man do we see how low he is right now. He looks like he's going to bust into tears, but he's masking all that pain with anger and defiance wrapped with a malevolent smile. What, I need more practice? He pops the aspirin and chases it with whiskey. So, now he's hurting physically as well as mentally and emotionally, and he's drinking again. Not good.
I'm not talking about pulling demons. I know losing Dean- Oops! Wrong thing to say. Now Sam is angry, putting out the finger of don't go there. I don't want to talk about it. He's still mad though and berates her for trying to help, asking her how she would know. She pulls the I used to be human thing, and touches him affectionately. He pushes her away. Don't, I can't. He's coming apart right now. Ruby sees she's pushed a button, and pushes harder. Sam, you're not alone. She flings forward and kisses him. He's so vulnerable right now, so we wonder if what she's doing is helping.
Sam pushes at first accepts the kiss, and his hands move upward as if he was going to touch her. Then his common sense kicks in and he pushes her away. He walks across the room and takes a seat on the couch, and now he's really bothered. Sam, it's okay. That is anything but okay, he yells. He knows how wrong it is and is still pulling on what little self control he has left. At this point, I think Ruby persists not only for Sam's sake, but her own. They're two very broken people right now, and she thinks both need that physical contact, right or wrong.
Ruby comes over, slides her body in between his legs, moves his hand all over her bare midsection, and Sam has no self control left. We watch him crumble as he grabs her and kisses her hard. He picks her up, clothes go flying, they're going at it rough and animal like and I need a shower. Especially after those back shots of Jared. Man is he built like a tank.
It's all interrupted by Dean, Sam, too much information! Dean takes this all in, brain stabbing imagery aside, and still isn't convinced about Ruby. Sam says there's more to the story. Just skip the nudity please. Speak for yourself Dean!
Sam said they found signs of Lilith, and we're back to flashback mode. It should be noted the weaving between past and present is done very well in this episode and was easy to follow. The constant six or five months earlier really wasn't needed.
Sam has those angry crazy eyes, the ones that always mean revenge is his only goal. Ruby is very worried, and her concern for Sam really comes through here. Maybe their little one on one surfaced some stronger feelings. That makes for an interesting situation since she's a demon and all. Ruby also points out that Sam is the only one that can kill Lilith. That's interesting too, and I'm sure will be very important later in this season or next.
Sam doesn't take her warnings seriously at all, and that's when Ruby sees the writing on the wall. He wants to die. If you kill her and you survive this, then you have to go on without your brother. Sam won't listen so she throws herself in front of the door. This isn't what Dean would have wanted. This isn't what he died for. Sam isn't buying any of this, and responds by flinging Ruby against the wall and putting the knife to her throat. So much for their night of love. Sam gets all crazy and looks like he wants to kill her, then he leaves.
Sam spots the girl in the window, cautiously walks in with knife ready to kill, and slowly works his way to the dining room. The girl turns around, begging to go home, and that means it's not Lilith. Of course by the time Sam figures this out he's ambushed by two big demon guys. It's a trap. His knife falls to the floor and he's slammed against the wall in a choke hold. Focus on the knife on the floor, which Ruby picks up, and she takes out the other guy with a swipe. She gets other dude off Sam and tells Sam to take the girl outside.
Exciting fight ensues in which Ruby is clearly overpowered by this other guy. He gets her in said chokehold, and is delighted over what's going to happen to her when they get her back down in the basement, aka Hell. Dude all of a sudden starts choking himself. Sam's there with his arm out, then other guy puffs out black smoke. Sam's nose starts bleeding and its clear he's in pain but he doesn't let up, and other guy falls to the ground as the black smoke seeps into the floor.
Ruby is freaked out and very concerned about Sam, who lets her know he's okay while he pulls himself together. Something's suddenly different about Sam, like he has a new lease on life. He goes onto explain to Dean, he has a new lease on life. He defends Ruby for saving him, but more important, she got through to him. She said the same things Dean would have said. Yeah, but I'm not sure Dean would have attacked you and spurned some hot demon monkey sex. That tactic alone belongs to Ruby, and thank heavens for that (quiet slashers!).
Large black maid interrupts brotherly chat, rudely barging in, closes the curtains (if they're laying low, why are they open?), and then hands a sheet of paper to Sam. He still hasn't caught on. Go now, go out the bathroom window, don't stop, don't take your car, don't pass go. There are demons in the hallway and the parking lot. Sam finally figures out its Ruby. So I'm possessing this maid for one hot minute sue me. Coma girl is rotting on the cabin floor, so she has to get back. She breezes out, and Dean gives us the best perplexed look of the episode. That's exactly the look I'd expect to see if he saw Sam and Ruby having sex.
They meet up with Ruby and Anna at the cabin, and Anna has praises for Ruby. I hear she does that, says Dean, now reluctantly accepting that Ruby is a good guy. He can't find the right words to say so though. I guess I uh¦ya know¦I guess I owe ya, Sam¦I just, ya know. Don't strain yourself, Ruby tells Dean, and he takes that to mean he's off the hook. Good, cause that was awkward.
Anna asks Sam about her parents again, and Sam breaks the news. She doesn't have time to cry much though, for she senses something's coming. Sam takes Anna to the back room and closes the door, while Sam, Dean and Ruby dig in. Ruby sees the knife is gone and Dean blames Sam. Thanks a lot Sam sarcastically remarks. The door flies open, and we wait until commercial is over. Except me, since I have TiVo.
In storms Castiel and Uriel. Uriel calls Ruby that stain in the room, whose eyes turn black in their presence. They reveal they've come for Anna. Are you gonna help her? Sam asks, for they all don't like the looks on the angels' faces. No, she has to die, Castiel says and we fade out to those gorgeous yet firm eyes of his. That's a great way to go out, except for that damned To Be Continued¦ that flashes on the screen. That's something a fan never likes to see.
So, what have we learned other than demon sex is hot? Sam hit rock bottom, and Ruby saved him. If she hadn't, he would have died on any type of kamikaze mission. Granted her methods were unconventional, but hey, they worked. We also learned that whenever you're on a street corner and some wacko tells you that the end is near, he just might be right. Part two next time!
In a season where Eric Kripke stated that he decided to play Sam's story "in the background" I Know What You Did Last Summer" is a look at how Sam coped while Dean was in Hell. It also was how Ruby started her con on Sam. Ruby said and did everything to get Sam to believe in her and himself. In the next episode she goes farther and actually endures torture to save Anna. In retrospect it was all pretense intended to draw Sam in, and it worked. I believed that Ruby was on Sam's side in this episode. Did you? Looking back can you see Ruby's facade crack? Or was she really that good an actress? How about Anna? What did you think of her in this episode? Thoughts?
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