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--Robin's Rambles by Robin Vogel
With Ruby at his side, Sam works his mind-mojo to exorcise a demon, but the man taunts him about being a hero and "all the things you and this slut do in the dark." Sam successfully kills the demon, making Ruby smile, but he has no idea Dean is watching outside the window.

Sam tests the working pulse of the host body and reports to Ruby, “I feel good--no more headaches.” He's helping the man walk out when Dean enters, furious, demanding to know who SHE is. "Good to see you again, Dean," says Ruby. Dean immediately attacks her, all set to murder her with the demon-killing knife. Ruby and Dean battle it out until Ruby has Dean in a choke-hold. Sam intervenes, orders her to stop. She does. "Aren't you an obedient little bitch," gasps Dean. Sam sends Ruby to the emergency room with the victim. "Dean!" calls Sam, but his brother walks away from him.

Motel room - Sam sits alone, reading a book. Dean enters and begins packing; he and Ruby can fight demons, they don't need him. Dean punches Sam, hard. "Satisfied?" asks Sam. Dean punches him again. "I guess not," says Sam, his lip bleeding. "Do you even know how far off the reservation you've gone?" demands Dean. "How far from normal, from human?" "I'm just exorcising demons," insists Sam. "WITH YOUR MIND!" shouts Dean. "What else can you do?" "I can send them back to hell," says Sam. "It only works with demons, that's it." Dean doesn't believe that's all. "I'm pulling demons out of innocent people," Sam reminds him, "the knife kills the host!--I've saved more people in the last five months than we've saved in a year!" "Is that what Ruby wants you to think?" asks Dean--”the way she tricked you into using your powers? Slippery slope, brother, because it's going to get darker and darker and God knows where it ends. It's already gone too far. . .if I didn't know you, I would wanna hunt you--and so would other hunters." (oh, God, that hurt me!) Sam, tearing up, says, "You were gone. I was here. I had to keep on fighting without you. And what I'm doing--it works." "Tell me," says Dean, "if it's so terrific, why did you lie about it to me? Why did an angel tell me to stop you? Cas said that if I don't stop you, he will. That means that GOD doesn't want you doing this. So are you just going to stand there telling me that everything is all good?" Sam looks miserable. The phone rings. It's Travis, a fellow hunter, with a case. Although Sam says it's a bad time, he takes the details: Carthage, Missouri, looking for Jack Montgomery.

Carthage, MO - Montgomery house - Jack Montgomery is eating, making a pig out of himself. His wife, watching him devour dinner, asks if he's stoned. Just starving, he says. He asks for dessert, polishes off the mashed potatoes, takes what's left of her steak, even though he's already eaten two. She suggests he has tapeworm. "I've never felt better," he chortles. Later, brushing his teeth, Jack feels sudden agony when his spine appears to pulse painfully inside his body, going into frightening contortions.

Montgomery house - Dean and Sam sit outside in the Impala, observing Jack through the kitchen window. At first, Dean complains there's no evidence of the "weird" Travis asked them to look for. Learning he won't be eating dinner for 45 minutes, Jack helps himself to a beer. He also eats some leftover chicken, peeling off meat like an animal and stuffing it into his mouth. Next, he dives into some raw chopped meat, shoving it into his mouth with ravenous delight, letting the blood pour down his chin and onto his white shirt. (gross!) He acts as if in a trance until his wife calls his name, then he comes out of it, looking guilty. Sam remarks, "I'd say THAT qualifies as weird."

The brothers enter their hotel room to find Travis drinking their beer. He hugs Dean, then Sam, remarking on how tall the latter has gotten. "Are you still a Mathlete?" Travis asks. Sam says no, Dean, teasingly, Sure is!" "John would have been damn proud of you, sticking together like this," says Travis, who has a broken arm. "Nothin' more important than family," agrees Dean. (Why is there always someone to rub it in?) Travis thanks them for their help--did they track down Montgomery? Yes, but all Jack has is a serious case of the munchies and a tendency to eat raw hamburger meat. Travis explains that Jack Montgomery is turning from human to rugaru--nasty suckers. As Travis narrates, we get a glimpse at what's happening at the Montgomery house--Jack's wife cuts herself making dinner, he turns his attention from the fridge to her bleeding finger. Travis explains that first, the rugaru is hungry for everything, then. . .the longpig. Dean needs a translation of what that is; Sam supplies it: "Human flesh." Hunger grows for human flesh until the rugaru can't take it anymore and must enjoy that first juicy chunk. Jack watches his wife wash the blood from her finger, his eyes wide with hunger. "Then it happens," says Travis, "they transform completely and fast." Jack's wife tells him she needs stitches, but he mutters, "I gotta go, I gotta get outta here." She calls after him, but he leaves the house. "One bite is all it takes," says Travis, "eyes, teeth, skin, it all turns; there's no going back, either--they feed once, they're a monster forever, and our man Jack's headed there on a bullet train." Travis explains he killed Jack's father in 1978, creature killed eight people before he took him down--the guy was a dentist who had a pregnant wife. The child was put up for adoption, and by the time Travis found out, he was long gone, lost in the system--he didn't have the heart to track down the child, but he has tracked down the man now.


# Jasminka 2010-06-04 14:42
Robin, you've taken on one of the episodes that put my soul through a meatgrinder whenever I watch it. THanks for this masochistic pleasure.
Okay, off to your questions:

1-well, choice and family - that's pretty much what this show is all about. The themes of free will, sacrifice and doing everything for a part of your family. Travis probably underestimated the power of emotions one can hold for a loved one, even while transforming into a monster.

2-gosh, that scene was so heartbreaking.. . I think Dean reacted in that harsh manner BECAUSE he had seen Sam with Ruby and felt betrayed to the core. I'd say it was his pain speaking, the pain of realizing what Sam had been doing behind his back and the fear of what that might make of his beloved brother.

3-The worst things happen to the best people, a sad fact of life. For me, within this show, losing Ellen and Jo was the toughest part. Even sadder as we haven't seen them in heaven. I'm afraid they might have ended up downstairs for whatever reason, perhaps the hellhounds devoured them before being blown away...

4-she seemed genuinely afraid, much like a woman would who fears for her unborn baby. The story continues, to my mind.

5-I believe SAm really believed it at that moment and he wanted to keep to those words. He had no other choice, however, in his opinion, trying desperately to do the right thing.

Thank you Robin, your 'rambles' are always a real treat and some delicious brain food.
Love Jas
# Karen 2010-06-05 10:59
Hi Robin

1)I always blamed Travis for turning Jack, if he hadn’t threatened his wife, Jack wouldn’t of turned. Well at least not at that time. The possibility of Jack eventually giving in to the hunger would always have been there.

2)Dean always had a problem with anything that was supernatural, especially when it came to Sam. I think that warning given by John, to watch out for Sam, and that he may have to kill him one day, forever haunted Dean. And to see Sam using these powers and how strong he was, made that possibility much more real. Seeing Ruby made it worst, because he knew it was her influence, but even if she hadn’t been there, Dean would have still been upset and angry.

3)I felt for Jack and his wife, especially being oblivious to your families past, who and what they were. The death that affected me the most was Ellen and Jo.

4)I never even thought that she could have been lying, hoping it would save her. But I think she was pregnant.

5)I believed Sam was being sincere, but yes I figured that something was going to happen to cause him to use them again. I figured it would have been some major threat to Dean.
# ElenaM 2010-06-05 14:31
You've raised some really interesting questions here, Robin...

1. I think the question of how much choice Jack ultimately has makes this episode especially interesting--in the face of such overwhelming hunger, how long can someone hold out? Is it possible?

I also love the way the MOTW story tied into what was going on with Sam, although I wish they'd gone a bit more subtle in terms of pointing out
the parallel, and not been so on the nose about it. The "maybe you can relate" line I could've done without--you've got a smart audience, Show, we get it! Still, the way the story was constructed, nicely done.

Love the way Supernatural looks at the way love, relationships, family can drive the choices we make. Even though they ultimately come down firmly in favor of the redeeming value of choices that turn to family, they've also explored its darker side, the ways the pull of love and family can interfere with individual agency, cause people to act against their will, fuel violence and vengeance... Again, nicely done.

2. Found myself thinking a lot about how much Dean's objections came from his deep fear regarding what the demons had done to Sam (there's no way he was fed demon blood for any GOOD reason), how much from prejudice (against
"psychic freaks", plus his belief that there's no such thing as a nice demon), and how much from pure gut "this is wrong, it just feels wrong" instinct. He was definitely harsh, but after NRFTW, practically begging Sam not to go down that road, that this is just a variation of the demonic bargains they'd made before, I understood his sense of betrayal. On top of that, an Angel of the Lord was backing his point of view.

I also think we lash out more when we're really scared. His instinct that Ruby is manipulating Sam was pretty strong, and deepened his fears for his brother, so yes, I think finding her there certainly made him react more
harshly. But his sense of dishonesty and betrayal from his brother would've caused it to be pretty strong regardless, IMO. I do think Sam has valid reasons for the choices he's made as well--saving the host IS pretty
powerful--guess what I'm saying is I feel like I get where they were both coming from, and the fact that it strained their relationship--w ell, I absolutely loved the tension and conflict that generated.

3. Absolutely broke my heart--thought it was tragic. Whose death affected me the most? The Harvelles, hands down.

4. I think she really was pregnant... which raised another sticky question for me. Travis says he's got to take care of things now because he won't be around in thirty years (and presumably can't risk his quarry getting lost, or entrusting the job to another). So it seems he's not willing to kill a child, but is willing to torch an innocent pregnant woman? Interesting where a hunter draws the line...

Btw, before a person with the rougarou trait starts to change, can they die a natural death like any other human? A geek's question to be sure, but brought about by the above situation...

5. Yeah--I thought, "We'll see how long that lasts..."

Blech, I wrote another dissertation. No idea why. Thanks for your thought-provoki ng questions, Robin. --ElenaM :geek:
# ElenaM 2010-06-05 14:34
Hmmm, looks like the paragraphs came out kinda screwy there, sorry 'bout that...
Robin Vogel
# Robin Vogel 2010-06-14 16:43
Elena, I love your dissertations, please, don't ever change in that regard!

# Yume 2010-11-27 18:34
Hi Robin and thanks for your "rambles" and questions!
So I´m months late for this, but I just rewatched this episode, and it´s still one of those that affects me the most, so...
1. I´m with Karen on this first question, I´ve always thought it tragic that even though Sam thought he had been wrong about Jack for thinking he should be given a chance to make a choice he may actually have been right, had Travis not gone for the kill in "sorry but you´re evil"-hunter mode.
It´s tragic for Jack and his wife of course, and it´s tragic for Sam as well because it undermined his self-esteem, fed his fear that, no matter what he did, he was in fact already damned. Sam´s road to hell may have been paved with good intentions, but what pushed him to follow that road in the first place, what pushed him to save as many people as possible no matter how was fear, his fear of not being good enough to be considered a human, too tainted.
I still basically agree with Sam, with his approach, to take the cards he was dealt and try and make the most of it - which answers the choice question: it´s all about choice, life as well as this show. You get born into a life, into a family, you get shaped by the world you live in, and by your family, and yet you still choose how you react to it, always and all the time, little things and big things. Without choice I would see life as completely pointless.
So how do family and choice pair in SPN? If we just take Dean and Sam: being born into that family comes with heavy issues to deal with. Dean´s choice in dealing with them is to embrace them the way he is told to, for the sake of his family. Sam´s choice is to find his own way, regardless of what his family wants. He is still having to deal with them, but he makes his choices more independently, but still relating to his family´s needs and expectations.
Or, in Swang Song: Sam sacrifices himself for the world, backed by his family, by Dean, but on the other hand not "chained" by it, or by his "destiny". Dean sacrifices himself for Sam, his family (I see what Dean does in Swan Song as a sacrifice for Sam: he is letting him go, literally go to hell in fact, relinquishing his claim as a big brother, and he is doing it for Sam, no one else, and only because this is what Sam wanted). Both of them are making the ultimate choice, freeing themselves and each other from any kind of obligations and expectations, and they are doing it and are capable of it because of the bond they share, because of family, because of love.
I guess we all do things of that sort, in different forms, SPN just brings it out more clearly, how intertwined those two aspects actually are: destiny, or the life, the family you are born into and free will, or the choices you make living this life.
SPN´s approach to this issue is quite clear, too (and I couldn´t agree more): yes, we are born into a life and dealt a deck, but we are still responsible for what we do with it. No one else is.
2. Dean is basically a one-track straightforward person, and his reaction I think is for the most part one of helpless angry fear. His instincts are very sound, and he can feel that Sam is in danger from what he is doing. Ruby is a part of that, part of the threat to Sam, so yes, I think he is being harsher because of her.
He would still be harsh without her though I think. He wants to be sure that Sam is ok, he always does, and this entire situation is completely beyond his reach and control, and that makes him lash out at the one person who could help change at least part of that and has instead betrayed him. I don´t think he is really that angry at Sam in this situation, I think it´s mostly fear and frustration, and anger about his helplessness.
I don´t think he means to hurt Sam, but he is trying to make him understand, trying to get through to him, and his frustrated efforts make him violent, both physically and verbally.
3) For me that´s a tie between Ellen/Jo and Pamela. Ellen/Jo was horrible for me as a mother, that was truly awful.
Pamela´s was so bad because she had not chosen to be a part of this, she died because she was doing the brothers a favour, and she did not want to die (seeing her hurt by Castiel had already affected me quite a bit, that scene with her burnt out eyes haunted me for a while). She was a great character, brought down by the brothers, and it was no one´s fault. That´s truly painful and tragic.
Besides I liked them very much, all three of them.
Come to think of it, this show has awesome women, few, granted, but they are awesome.
4) Actually it never occurred to me that she could be lying, but of course that´s possible, and it would make sense for her to do it. It would also explain why he didn´t know - if there was nothing to know.
They seemed to have a good relationship before things started, so unless this was a very recent discovery, he´d know about it.
I think I´ll have to rewatch to see her reaction to really have an opinion on this. "Sorry I couldn´t tell you" should look different from "I just made this up"

....Well it wouldn´t leave me alone, so I did rewatch that scene. I think her way of talking to Jack indicates that she is indeed newly pregnant but hasn´t been able to tell him.
So yes, it seems like a new generation is growing.
Begs the question, what would Sam and Dean do if they knew?
5. I think in this moment he meant what he said, probably under the influence of his "fellow monster`s" gruesome death.
However, he did sound like he was trying to convince himself: it is my choice, etc. This was a "I really shouldn´t ....anymore, it´s not good for me" decision, not true conviction, not heartfelt.