Hey, I remember you from The X-Files, Mr. Character Actor. You're right, it's all gonna be okay; for us viewers with such a stunning introduction, not your mandible. I spy with my mind's eye blood and shattered bone and the start of one of my all-time favorite episodes, the hilarious and mythologically important Simon Said. And we begin, as usual, on the road.
DEAN: That's my point. There's gonna be hunters there. I don't know if going in and announcing that you're some supernatural freak with a demonic connection is the best thing, okay?
SAM: So, I'm a freak now? DEAN: You've always been a freak.
A bit of brotherly back-and-forth, to be sure, but check out the interplay of expressions between their respective last lines. There's something deeper at work, even if neither of them quite realize it this early in Azazel's Plan 2.0.
The Roadhouse awaits, sudsy with beer and Bed Edlund comedic flourishes: Dr. Badass; REO, complete with Kevin Cronin's well-coiffed vocal cords and last, but certainly not least, Dean's grinning expression of fear. Hey, can't blame the guy, Ellen doesn't brook any bullshit.
Off to Guthrie, Oklahoma - do cities with a sub-10k population have their own bus line? â€“ and gentle businesswoman Tracy admonishing an exuberant Webber, fan of ass-kicking backstage pass-getters.
TRACY: Look, if you wanna find him, try Orchard Street. Just look for a van with a barbarian queen painted on the side. DEAN: A barbarian queen? TRACY: She's riding a polar bear. It's kind of hard to miss.
Such rich, lunatic imagery coupled with Spinal Tap's Stonehenge? If that isn't genius, then I'm turning in my geek membership card in right now. In the flick, there's a classic miscommunication around the stage decor and Messrs. St. Hubbins, Tufnel and Smalls have to prance and rock god their way around, not eighteen feet, but eighteen inches of faux trilithons and lintels. In Supernatural, we've got another as the one brother saddled with visions of vermilion terror jumps to the apparently logical conclusion that the one person in town with psychic ability is likely responsible for Dr. Jennings' death. And what of Dean, a red-blooded geek if ever there was one?
DEAN: I'm sorry, I'm starting to like this dude. That van issweet. What's wrong? SAM: Nothing. DEAN: Sam, you look like you're sucking on a lemon. What's going on? SAM: This Andrew Gallagher - he's the second guy like this we've found, Dean. The demon came to them when they were kids, now they're killing people. DEAN: We don't know what Andrew Gallagher is, okay? Could be innocent.
Speak of the potential devil, there's Andy now, exiting an apartment building and trading loving gestures with a very attractive woman leaning out a second story window and who most of us would immediately place as way out of his league. What happens next is small fry, Andy using his eerie powers to deceive a passing gentleman of his five buck cupajoe. But let's backtrack and pretend that there's an interesting, nearly somber if not outright disturbing, moment hiding amidst all the brilliantly woven chuckles.
Andy used his power to get some.
Believe me, I'm hesitant to open this potential can of easily misinterpreted worms by bringing up the idea of non-consensual sex when I doubt that such a vile topic was even floating in the mind of the writing crew and certainly didn't cross my cranial cavity until after the first thousand viewings. There are those here far more educated than I on such things (and I'm generally not one to see a patriarchal sexual monster lurking in quotidian shadows, the curse of being a male pig, I suppose) but the general clinical consensus would seem to be that rape is less about sexual gratification than misogynistic power over (usually) women. So, is Andy a rapist?
SAM: But you still live in a van. I don't get it. I mean, you could have anything you ever wanted.
ANDY: I've got everything I need.
In time, we find out with certitude that Andy isn't a murderer, and he doesn't display any overt megalomaniacal tendencies, i.e. he's not Dick Cheney or, as we discover later, "Webber" yet, however, was this not a situation of traditional horizontal bopping. There's evidence that the young dude pores through dense, often obscurantist philosophical works (you ever try and read some of that stuff? Yikes) and enjoys bong load after bong load. There's no mad-lust-for-power vibe here that I can detect. And if I may be permitted to play devil's advocate, knowing full well that such a gender reversal is far less common in the real world, would the majority of Supernatural's female-heavy fandom be all that upset if Sam and/or Dean got some action on the side via such means? I have no grand statement on this entire matter, just something to ruminate about when the tenebrous fancy strikes.
Now that I've completely ruined any future viewings of this brilliant outing by my tremendously uncomfortable aside, back to the story via an underappreciated bit of stupendous acting chops.
ANDY: Man, you know, '67 - Impala's best year, if you ask me. This is a serious classic.
DEAN: Yeah, I just rebuilt her, too. Can't let a car like this one go.
ANDY: Damn straight. Hey, can I have it?
DEAN: Sure, man!
This buoyant phrase, uttered with such a perfectly naÃ¯ve bounce in its step, wonderfully frames Andy's burgeoning power and hangs it on the wall to lord over your psyche with potentially disastrous consequences; Dean let a complete stranger take The Impala. Let that sink in for a moment. What in the name of topsy-turvy is this world coming to?
We experience another slice of misdirection pie (bring me some pie!) when Sam sees someone who's not his brother passing by behind the wheel of his brother's pride and joy. On the phone. Andy is a murderer, he has to be! And the would-be murderer confronts them, his Jedi mind trickery in full flower â€“ except towards a fellow magician of the mystical, whose next vision isn't as timely as everyone would like, leaving a woman dead from self-immolation.
OFFICER: I probably shouldn't have let you kids in here.
ANDY: No, it'll all be fine, all right? Just go get a cup of coffee, all right? These aren't the droids you're looking for.
A nice bout of exposition follows, interjected by the appearance of Tracy and Webber back at the coffee shop and, yeah, you knew it was coming.
ANDY: I haveâ€¦an evil twin.
Sam's third vision is the charm, for now, they are able to save Andy's apparent true love from a willing minion of Yellow Eyes. With a timely and unexpected assist from the barbarian king. Dean, say â€˜thank you.'
Unfortunately for Andy, Tracy wants nothing to do with him. Given that both she and Dean remember being under his psychic spell, it makes one wonder how caffeine guy and, above all, Andy's afternoon delight, feel. Perhaps Dean isn't out of line when he starts crooning a tune from Sam's Serious Songs for Serious People:
ANDY: What am I supposed to do now?
DEAN: You be good, Andy. Or we'll be back.
Immediately, we witness a grimmer reflection of this episode's premiere highway jaunt:
SAM: Looks like I was right.
DEAN: About what?
SAM: Andy. He's a killer, after all.
DEAN: No, he's a hero. He saved his girlfriend's life, he saved my life.
SAM: Bottom line, last night, he wasted somebody.
DEAN: Yeah, but he's not a foaming-at-the-mouth psycho. He was pushed into that.
SAM: Webber was pushed, too, in his own way. Max Miller was pushed. Hell, I was pushed by Jessica's death.
DEAN: What's your point, Sam? SAM: Right circumstances, everyone's capable of murder. Everyone. Maybe that's what the demon's doing - pushing us, finding ways to break us.
DEAN: Sam, we don't know what the demon wants, okay? Quit worrying about it.
SAM: You know, I heard you before, Dean. When Andy made you tell the truth. You're just as scared of this as I am.
DEAN: That was mind control! It's like being roofie'd, man, that doesn't count.
DEAN: No, I'm calling a do-over.
SAM: What are you, seven?
DEAN: Doesn't matter. We've just gotta keep doing what we're doing, find that evil son of a bitch, and kill it.
SAM: Yeah. I guess.
Doubt has more than crept in; it's all but laid a ticking time bomb in the emotional stability of both hunters and, most frightening, begun to chip ever so slowly at their nigh unbreakable bond. Humor is quite a handy defense mechanism, though back at the roadhouse, such a shield will be of no use when talking to Ellen.
ELLEN: So, you wanna tell me about this last hunt of yours?
DEAN: No. Not really. No offense, just, it's kind of a family thing.
ELLEN: Not anymore. I got this stuff from Ash. Andrew Gallagher's house burnt down on his six-month birthday, just like your house. You think it was the demon both times, don't you? You think it went after Gallagher's family?
SAM: Yeah, we think so.
DEAN: None of your business.
ELLEN: You mind your tone with me, boy. This isn't just your war, this is war. Now, something big and bad is coming, and it's coming fast, and their side holds all the cards. Now, at best, all we've got is us, together. No secrets or half-truths here.
I told you she doesn't brook any bullshit. As the episode ends, we see the brothers continuing on their respective paths: Sam insisting that there is a definite potential danger in these psychics, Dean still holding out ever-diminishing hope that most will have turned out like his brother. Oh, I'm up for a shot or two of whiskey as well. Now, I love a good trip down memory lane as much as the next sentimentalist, but verily I must proclaim, go away Hellatus, and stay gone until May, though thanks for reading, anyway.