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Not!Sam is a little disappointed to see Dean. "Dean, back from the dead. Getting to be a regular thing for you, isn't it? Like a cockroach." Dean is threatening not!Sam's smart mouth, and not!Sam comes up with one of my favorite lines of the series. "Careful now, wouldn't want to bruise this fine packaging." That's so funny coming from Sam, even though its not him. Dean assures this won't hurt Sam much and throws a whole bucket of holy water on him. He smokes and yells. Dean wants to know if he's ready to talk. "Sam's still my meat puppet. I'll make him bite off his tongue."

Dean in badass form assures that won't happen and has Bobby start the latinating. At first not!Sam struggles, while Dean promises the master plan won't work. Then not!Sam busts out in laughter. "I don't give a rats ass about the master plan." Bobby latinates again, but it's not working. Uh oh. Not!Sam starts latinating himself, the fire flashes and the room rattles. Dean wants to know what's going wrong then Bobby finds the problem, the welt on Sam's arm. It's a binding link and the demon has trapped itself in Sam's body. Bobby doesn't know how to break it. Not good.

The devil's trap then cracks. Not!Sam cracks his neck and proclaims "There, that's better." He slams Bobby and Dean against the wall with his mind and busts out of the ropes. Not!Sam goes over to Dean, grabs him, and starts the evil villain monologuing. "When people describe the worst possible thing, they say it's like Hell." He punches Dean. "Hell, it's like (punches Dean), well it's like Hell. Even for demons. A prison made of bone and flesh and blood and fear (punches Dean). And you sent me back there."

Dean, blood streaming out of his nose, figures out who he's dealing with. Meg. Meg so cleverly points out now she's Sam. She's really hot in that body too. Meg punches him again and digs into Dean's wound with Sam's thumb. "I saw your dad there. He says howdi." Meg goes on, mentioning how all she dreamed about was coming back and torturing Dean nice and slow, like "pulling the wings off an insect." That's a nice graphic metaphor.

Dean groans some more in pain, so Meg goes for the psychological torture next, because demons do that, "But whatever I do to you, it's nothing compared to what you do to yourself is it? I can see it in your eyes Dean. You're worthless. You couldn't save your dad, and deep down, you know that you can't save your brother. They'd have been better off without you."

Meg goes to deliver one more blow but Bobby swoops in from behind and grabs Sam's arm, putting a red hot fire poker on the binding link. A ton of black smoke pours out of a yelling Sam, escaping through the chimney. Sam collaspes, Dean tries to pull himself together and Bobby watches stunned. Sam comes to, winces over the pain in his burning arm, and is really disoriented. He looks and Dean and Bobby in total confusion. "Did I miss anything?" An over the edge Dean reaches out with what little strength he's got left and punches Sam in the jaw. Then Dean falls over in pain while Sam clutches his jaw with no clue as to why that just happened. End scene with Sam's befuddlement, and our laughter.

Sam and Dean sit at Bobby's desk. Dean has an ice pack on his eye, Sam has one on his arm. They both look awful and Sam decides to point out the obvious. "By the way, you really look like crap, Dean." "Yeah, right back at ya." Aww, they just need a little mothering. Here boys, I'll make it all better.

Bobby comes in, looking bothered about something. He asks if they've heard of a guy named Steve Wandell. He was murdered in his house. Dean plays dumb, but Sam looks guilty as Hell. Still, they admit nothing, despite Sam's small protest. Bobby tells them to keep it that way, because Wandell's buddies are "looking for something or someone to string up." They apparently aren't the kind of guys who will listen to the "I was possessed by a vengeful demon" excuse. Dean says they're ready to leave, but where do they think they're going at this hour? They both have obviously been through a lot. They should hang at Uncle Bobby's for a few days and get some rest.

Bobby gives them both some anti-possession charms. The demon is still out there, so its their best defense. It's been widely speculated that it was around this time they took these charms to a tattoo artist and got the anti-possession symbols from in "Jus In Bello" inked onto their chests. I would imagine that was as good a time as any.

Bobby tells them to be careful, and oh how his concern over the boys get me. I love how he's way better than their own Dad. I love how Dean told him he was like a father to him later. Sam looks back at Bobby with humble gratitude, but the guilt is still pouring from him. Dean also gives Bobby a look of thanks, but more of a "we'll see what happens next" glance.

REO Speedwagon comes on. REO is another classic rock band I never cared for but if there is one song of theirs I did like, it's "Back On The Road Again." Still, it didn't fit here in my opinion. It's too upbeat for the really somber tone this episode has had so far. This is where some depressing grunge would be better.

Anyway, the boys are in the Impala, and Sam is somber and quiet. Dean is naturally concerned and asks Sam if he's okay. Uh duh, I think not! Needless to say, Sam doesn't answer right away. Sam then admits he was awake for some of it. He watched himself kill Wandell with his own two hands and saw the light go out in his eyes. What's bothering him the most though is that Dean wouldn't kill him, even when he almost carved up Jo. Wow, what an ungrateful brother.

Dean defends himself, saying it wasn't Sam. "Yeah, this time. What about next time?" "Sam when Dad told me that I might have to kill you, it was only if I couldn't save you. Now if its the last thing I do, I'm going to save you." Awww. Sam isn't comforted by this though, so Dean makes a joke instead. "Dude, you like full-on girl had a girl inside you for a whole week. It's pretty naughty." Dean laughs, Sam smiles. Fade to credits.

That ending right there triggers some criticism on my part, but not for this episode. Sam just went through one of the most horrific experiences of his life. He's riddled with guilt, with uncertainty, with lack of confidence in Dean being able to do the right thing should he go evil. With the exception of two comments in "Jus In Bello" a whole season later, we never see the ramifications of this ordeal on Sam. It's almost like it was all made better by one joke and everything reset back to normal. It's a missed opportunity, and that continued story arc would have played out great. However, in Kripke's defense, the show looked like it was going to be cancelled after season two, so I could see where those extra arcs couldn't be explored. They avoided that chance though for BornUnderABadSign like "Roadkill," "Hollywood Babylon," and "Folsom Prison Blues?" For a viewer looking back like this, it feels off.

My grade on this episode is an A+. Definitely a classic. The squandered Sam story line mars the season for me, but not the episode.


# ATsRock 2009-07-13 04:40
Alice, I see what you mean about the last scene, and the joke Dean made, but I love that scene, and I guess I'll always make allowances for the boys by assuming Dean wanted to lighten the mood between them. And it kinda worked. That joke is one of several scenes in which I always laugh, regardless of how many times I watch it. Another is in Lazarus Rising, when Bobby throws holy water at Dean. And, in Everybody Loves A Clown, when Sam makes the comment about the kid 'fingering the clown'. Dean's reaction is classic. But I digress...

I absolutely loved Jared in this episode. My favourite scene is when demonSam is taunting Jo. Brilliant, Jared. The facial acting and inflections in his voice, not to mention the body language. I wonder how much of that was written, and how much was Jared's addition. And his laugh when he's tied to the chair at Bobby's...that is one of (if not THE) best evil laughs I've ever heard.
# Supernarttu 2009-07-13 06:25
Wow, this was a super review!! I loved it to bits.
And the ep itself is in my top5 too 'cause its' soo... fricking awesome!! I love every bit of it and while I too would have loved a some kind of ramifications on this (allthough I remember Kripke some time saying, this was going to be another reason for Gordons manhunt on Sam but it fell apart 'cause Sterling K. Brown was too much attached on the other show and the whole writers strike in S3 or something like that) but it still doesn't spoil this ep for me.
I loved both Jensen and Jared in this one but EvilJared was just creepy as hell! In the Jo-scenes I would have ran screaming esp. after the whole wrist-gripping scene... Jared hands are huge and I can imagine him grabbing my wrist that way and totally (i have teeny hands *grin*) just smother them... *shudders BIG time* Jared was just SO good, I'm kinda sad he didn't get to show this side sooner 'cause I know the boy can act his ass off. Jensen has been great from the start but I've always felt they both are great and their chemistry is just the best thing ever on TV.
I could watch this ep non-stop for days and never get tired... I usually watch certain scenes with constant rewinding :D like your fave scene and the Jo-scene just because it's so freaking creepy and I just for one sec actually feared that MeginSam might rape Jo... And I'm convinced nothing of that sort happened (I don't care if I'm proved wrong, I'm in Denial Land *laalalaalaalaa * ;-) ) but it still was one of my fave scenes 'cause I don't remember a scene where I've felt so uncomfortable and it was SAM (even though it wasn't). Oh, Jared is a god :P and I bet he was really sweet in shooting this, making sure Alona was ok every step of the way... He's just that kinda guy... But he 'sold' that scene, he should play psychos more :-)
Ok, Jensen was just heartwrenching with his freaking out 'n' suffering Dean. Nobody does those haunting looks better *love* And I too loved those Dean will have to kill Sam -themse that S2 gave us... And I too wll, never tire of those... as long as they don't go through with it :D
I didn't really care for Jo too, I liked her more in this one where they weren't trying to jam the Jo-Dean thing down our throats... She seemed too young to me and No exit was just *yawn* Dean usually seemed more uncomfortable than flirty with her... But that's just me, I don't like the guys hooking up *grin*
Ok, this is becoming longer than your review, so I better stop before I my keyboards explode.

ps. For little bits, I esp. loved the Timberlake-eye roll, the confused-Dean-w ith-the-hotel-m anager-by-the-d oor, and the Bobby-and-Sam-h oly-water-in-th e-beer -thingy and the Jo's "he was possessed?!", (I can't not eyeroll at that and say "No Jo, that's just Sam on Thursday nights" every single time :D ) and the scene in the gas station (I love how Dean says "This guy?!" like a million times, he's facial expressions *heart*) with the "Am I speaking Urdu?" with Sams over the top shocked puppy -look just cracks me up every single time.
Ok, I'll stop now, sorry for the length again :D
# Bethany 2009-07-13 09:08
this episode was just awesome jared hit it out of the park. it was tense and thrilling and takes hold of the viewer, draws them in and doesn't let go. jensen was also brilliant (as always) he manages to keep dean stoic and relentless in his determination not to give up on sam and yet you can see dean crumbling and the fear he can't save his brother wells up inside him.

i also love bobby in this episode and i think you're spot on to say that bobby is a much better dad to them then their dad ever was. just that bit where he doesn't miss a beat as not!sam splutters over his holy water laced beer is just awesome.."don't con a conman" bobby has mad skills!
# Bevie 2009-07-13 15:32
Wow Alice! What a perfectly awesome recap!

The acting was more than excellent, and kept me in twisted up tummy land all the way through.

My heart was aching for Dean, terrified of Sam and so grateful for incredible Bobby the conman.

I was truly worried that not/Sam would rape Jo I could hardly breathe through that scene. I don't think that happened off screen though.

I really liked Jo in this episode, even though she was a little slow in figuring out it was not/Sam, for a potential hunter. She'll have to improve in that area if she wants to survive in her chosen career. I liked her finding and patching up Dean and her resigned "No you won't". (I'd like to see Ellen and Jo again, also hoping Ash somehow didn't die in the fire. They do kill off so many interesting characters).

As I mentioned in another post, I would have liked to see a scene where Sam was really concerned about his brother's well-being and perhaps doing some first aid on the botched up job Jo did on his poor mistreated shoulder.

Love the way Bobby is with the boys, and how he shows his very real concern for their well being. I certainly hope that Bobby survives in this series. I don't think I could take it if they do him in. Let Bobby live I say!

I am babbling on here, so I better go. Agree with the posts above about this outstanding episode. Will always be at or near the top of my most gut-wrenching episodes. :sad:
# elle2 2009-07-13 17:54

Awesome recap. THis is one of my favorite episodes all around. Both Jensen and Jared as well as Jim Beaver nailed it. I love the directing and the cutting back and forth to show how stressed and rattled Dean was -- it was also done quite well in DalDoM.

Jared was superb here, the whole... "My daddy shot your daddy in the head." As well as the look after he shot Dean and after he pistol whipped him -- fabulous.

All around it's a classic, one to come back to again and again and I never get tired of it.

REO's song is a bit upbeat although the lyrics fit what they're doing but it is a bit 'on the nose' as we know that they're back on the road again.

I do like Dean's little joke at the end because it sorta echoed Bobby's comment and Dean's joke back at his house. You are right though, Sam did not have any after effects that we'rea ware of other than his comment in JIB and that is a shame. Still, I like that they closed the loop of the whole hunters after Sam because like the FBI manhunt after Dean it would have just muddied the waters. They've got bigger fish to fry, such as angels and demons after them in Season 5...way cool.

Great recap. Thanks for delivering.
# Suze 2009-07-28 04:14
Great recap, I love this episode ...

I'm rather sorry they lost the Hunters hunting Hunters storyline though, I really fancied that! Not sorry we've seen no more of Jo, she was a bit too much of a standard permenatly imperilled yet spunky girl sidekick stereotype.

I'm glad Sam didn't spend ages having a crisis about being possessed ... We don't need any more angsty moments on the Impala! :lol:
# CitizenKane2 2010-10-08 10:38
Just a short note on "Born Under a Bad Sign", if this hasn't already been said.

According to the Supernatural Season 2 Companion, at the end, when Dean punches the no-longer possessed Sam, that wasn't scripted.

The Companion also points out the irony of that punch - all along Dean resisted attacking demon-Sam for fear of injuring his brother.