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From time to time, an episode comes along that's so loaded with goodness and fun little nuggets that a mere review from me won't do it justice. I mean, how many ways do you want to read here, "I laughed my ass off"? Episodes like "Plucky Pennywhistle's Magical Menagerie" deserve the full length recap. Yes, these are long, but they can give some worthwhile information. Either that or there are some of you that enjoy the mad ramblings of a woman who's had one too many run-ins at Chuck E Cheese. I suggest curling up on a cozy couch with some coffee, or read on your iPad or Kindle at basketball practice.
First, the scorecard. The episode is written by the wildly uneven Andrew Dabb and Daniel Loflin. They've delivered some gems in the past like "Dark Side of The Moon" and "Yellow Fever," but they're also responsible for the atrocious "Seven 7: Time For A Wedding" and what I consider the worst "Supernatural" episode ever written, "Hammer of The Gods." So which set of writers are showing up this week? Directing is the always dependable Mike Rohl, who has not only directed numerous "Supernatural" favorites of mine since season two, but did several for nearby "Smallville" as well.
The "Then" segment, after a slight recap of Dean's latest escapades with getting an Amazon woman pregnant then watching "Uncle Sam" kill his unnatural child, goes all the way back to season two's slightly demented "Everybody Loves A Clown." There's slightly younger Sammy, still with bangs, cowering in horror over all the clowns and clown images at a carnival. That seems like nothing compared to what he goes through here. It should be noted that the preview ended with my ALL TIME favorite "Supernatural" quote. Dean: "Hey, planes crash." Sam: "And apparently clowns kill." I need that made into a t-shirt. That and "Pig in a Poke."
If the opening of the "Now" segment seems eerily familiar, that's because we are getting a callback to the opening of the afore mentioned "Yellow Fever." In that one, a petrified Dean is chased at night by a supposedly vicious pink bow wielding yorkie. Here, it's Sam running for his life in terror. He ducks behind a truck, fright painted on his face as he talks himself through how he's going to handle this latest mess he's in. "It's alright, they can't hurt you. Then can hurt you. If it bleeds, you can kill it." You know, that's pretty good advice, but considering we find out later he was willing to take on a giant robot with laser eyes but wasn't prepared for this much simpler predicament, me thinks his self talk isn't gonna do him any favors.
Sam looks up from the truck and sure enough on the other side is the evil menace. Oh yes, it's a clown. He's laughing with an evil clown laugh and oh so pleased that his target has been spotted. Sam totally freaks and man do I love this! Big bad hunter that stoically took out Lucifer but he can't handle a clown. I do wonder if Lucifer's torture in Hell involved torment by clowns. It's my guess not, for it looks like Sam hasn't seen one in a while. Luci certainly missed out on an opportunity there!
Sam turns tail and runs, the clown pursues with this weird gait that is accommodating the fact he has some big floppy shoes on. Sam kicks his way into a building, beats the clown inside, shuts the door, locks it, and blocks the door with some heavy materials. He's looks on the other side of this garage to see the coast is clear. Then there's a loud crash and the clown has easily managed to work his way through Sam's barrier. Oh yeah, Sam looks like he's about to cry now. He goes the other way and uh oh, now there's another clown there. Sam is screwed. The other clown moves in fast and that's one very gnarly closeup of the evil clown. Oh, this show loves poking at all sort of horrors, doesn't it?
Just to fit the light/offbeat theme of this week's episode, the normal monochrome splatter of the credits gets a colorization! It's pretty cool, especially when the "Supernatural" lettering goes out in sparkles. That's foreshadowing, for there's gonna be a lot of sparkles in this episode.
The mark of experienced writers as opposed to the newbies is that they manage to move the standard case exposition stuff along quicker than normal. The norms are still here, Sam and Dean finding their latest case in the paper, them playing FBI dudes in suits at the coroners, and they question the witnesses. Even though these parts move along better in this episode as opposed to others this season, the early investigation scenes are what drag down the pacing a bit. That's the only criticism you'll find from me here though.
A 60 hour clock comes on the screen, and it's using the same font and chimes as the TV show "24." This time frame is earlier, so here's the story leading up to the Sam clown trouncing. As some or many of you may know, we've had some articles on this site recently examining the many time references and other clues this season that it might be a dream. This episode is no exception. Just when I'm lulled into a sense of security that all of that is fun crap designed to keep bored fans like us discussing, they freaking give us more fuel for the fire. I'll be pointing out the clues as they happen, just in case anyone is still buying the "this is all a dream" theory.
Dean takes a call at a phone booth and I'm like everyone else out there. "There are phone booths left somewhere?" It's crazy Frank, who forces Dean to answer with the code word "I am the Eggman." While that reference is obvious to someone like me, it was lost completely on my children. Heck, they didn't even know who Whitney Houston was. So, pardon me if I point out the obvious in this recap for the benefit of the younger folk. That is a line from the infamous yet completely whacked out Beatles song, "I am The Walrus." Want to know what that song is about? John Lennon wrote it while stoned on acid, that's what.
Anyway, Frank has nothing about Dick Roman but there's something weird mentioned about Fred Savage. Too bad, I like him. Now it's time for Sam's weekly dick joke. "So, we've got dick on Dick?" I've said this before and I'll say it again, I think the writers are closet Bill Hicks fans. He's probably up there in Heaven laughing at every single one of these dick jokes with pride. Dean isn't laughing though, and is more concerned if Sam's found anything on "Wonder Woman." Nope, that ain't happening. Wait a couple of years. If you live that long.
Sam did find something in Kansas, and it's interesting that the brothers both have their own cars. Sam's is pretty generic, a early 90's Jeep Cherokee, which it the ideal car for a gigantor like him. I often have wondered how he climbs in and out of all of Dean's muscle cars with those long legs. Dean's car, this is a blast from the past for me! That is a 1973 Mercury Cougar. I grew up in a Ford family, so the 70's Fords always have a soft spot with me. Anyway, they take off to Kansas from wherever they are, Dean moaning about no more cases involving babies, baby mamas, bars, booze, nothing. Got it. Still a sore subject I guess.
They're at the coroners, and there's fat guy on a slab covered in these strange welts. Man, how long was that guy in makeup just for this quick shot? "Whoa, those are not the fun kind of hickeys," Dean says and yay, Dean is back to making jokes. I speculated in my review of last week's episode that he was on his way back to normal and this week he was true to old form. Of course they both were, which again is a big CLUE that we're in another dream scenario. They both shouldn't be acting like this. Character inconsistency. Could it be that some episodes are real and some are not? Or parts are real and other parts aren't? A hallucinating Sam can't tell the difference? Maybe. In the meantime, I'm treating this as a great standalone that really didn't follow a straight character pattern for either brother. Except the clown thing.
The coroner says its the marks from an octopus, "Enteroctopus dofleini." Dean is waiting for more, but must ask. "For those of us who skipped octopus class?" If I was given the freaking option of taking an octopus class in school, I would have been there! Octopuses (apparently there are some objections to the often used octopi) are kind of legendary in Detroit.
Okay, I'll move this along. It's a giant pacific octopus, which is about 30 feet. Sam laughs a little (which we haven't been seeing too much of lately). "Aren't giant octopi rare around here?" You see, Sam thinks it's octopi too! Take that you freaking scholars. "Yet here we are," says the coroner. Hee, these coroners have been fun lately. Judging by the way the guy bled out from his neck, the coroner thinks it's a freak fetish killing. Reasonable conclusion.
Dean and Sam discuss in the hall for the bite seemed "vampy" to them. What are they looking for? "Octovamp? Vamptopus?" I say Vamptopi! Sam acknowledges this is crazy for even them. Oh, you ain't seen nothing yet.
They talk to the widow, who's a bitch with nanny jealousy. There is one strange bit with this scene. Sam stops on the way out to give his once trademark sympathetic glare for the victim, giving her appreciation over the hospitality. Strange, isn't it? Sam hasn't acted like this in a while. Remember how cold he was as recently as "Adventures in Babysitting?" I don't have the energy to go back and find out when. I'll just put that in the "suspicious" category. Or "the writing is inconsistent" category.