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? – 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 is

sweet. 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 naïve 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 – 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.
DEAN: Awesome.

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 have…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 ‘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.
SAM: What?
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: Sam.
ELLEN: Why?
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.

Comments  

Jasminka
# Jasminka 2010-01-18 04:06
Hail Barbarian Queen... that car was hilarious. Wittgenstein and Moby Dick’s bong… ? Come on…. Loved it.

Randal, I could go on reading your stuff for ever, I just love your play with words. ‘can of easily misinterpreted worms’? Man, bring it on, it’s such fun!

The character of Andy was adorable, and I’m still quite sad that he was killed…’The se aren’t the droids you’re looking for’ yeah, Dean, right: ‘Awesome’.
Sure, he used his power to get some sweets, but considering what that kind of power can do to a person (and what we’ve seen it do to his brother, what happened to Sam, and who knows who else messed up), he was downright harmless. It was not entirely okay to use his powers, but who am I to judge? I don’t know – can I be so arrogant to claim that I would never do that if I had such powers? Would I never get my bank guy to extent my loan, or the sales man to lower the price for that tv set I’d love to have? I’d like to say with certainty: of course I would not, but then again, I haven’t been tried in that manner so far. And there have been moments when I wished for that kind of Jedi mind tricks… oh, my.

I agree with Sam here – I do believe that everyone is capable of murder, given the right circumstances. I haven’t done any studies on the subject, of course, but I can easily imagine what can happen if people are pushed to the brink of their own sanity.

I would like to open Sam’s head (not literally of course, in case you might feel inspired)and take a look at the fear he must have felt - what is going to happen to him ? He’s seen more-or-less-do ing-okay Andy and his evil twin. He must have felt like a timebomb. And Dean… this was something he couldn’t protect his brother from, not entirely. I must have slowly begun to dawn on him… There’s nothing as good as getting kicked in the jewels by fate, right?

Thanks, Randal, take a trip down memory lane anytime you like. I’m right there, strolling next to you, humming ‘Singing In The Rain’ or whatever….
Do do do dooo do do do do do dooo… Jas
elle2
# elle2 2010-01-18 09:54
Hi, Randal,

Simon Said is a brilliant episode -- and Ben Edlund's first to boot! Like you I see the definite crack in Dean and Sam's relationship in the making as Dean let's his true thoughts come out (roofie'd or not) and Sam is right, the demons are pushing -- and oh, how they pushed and pushed with all the right buttons: Jessica, Freak, Dean's death, Guilt and more...
This is a profoundly important episode to the mytharc.

Great fun reading your article -- fly thee away Hellatus, far, far away.
Bevie
# Bevie 2010-01-18 15:22
I enjoyed this immensely Randal. Thank you.

I loved Andy and thought he was adorable. Never crossed my mind to be upset about the mind control with the girl he spent the night with. Was shocked when he made Dean tell him the truth. The look on Sam's face! Poor Dean!

I believe Andy was a good guy with no nasty tendencies whatsoever. He was satisfied with what he had and needed no more. How many of us are like that?

For me, this episode rates an A+. Was devastated when Andy was killed off. Such a waste! He was just such an endearing character.

More, Randal, more! Please!
Kalixa
# Kalixa 2010-01-18 16:55
Nice review of, quite possibly, my favorite episode of S2.

In defense of Andy getting some: As we see with Webber at the end, using powers on a girl in a sexual situation leads to tearful probably not very enjoyable sex...and she certainly wouldn't wave at him happily out the window the next morning. So, yeah, I don't think Andy is a rapist. That being said, I wouldn't have put it past him to use his powers to get a date in the first place - maybe have every single thing during the date go absolutely perfectly, so that at the end of the night she WANTS to invite him up and have her way with him because he seems so awesome.

I miss Andy...he was awesome.
Sablegreen
# Sablegreen 2010-01-18 18:58
Great article Randal. Yes, Simon Said is one of my favorites. Always liked Andy too. Thanks for sharing.
Randal
# Randal 2010-01-19 06:46
Thanks for the kind words everyone. I'm glad a lot of others dig this outing, too.

Jas, I think that's a major part of the episode's appeal, that subtext of the allure of power. Each of us has that line we will/won't cross, and since Andy is such an everyman who, by every observable account, has the proverbial heart of gold (or nickel, at any rate) it wonderfully demonstrates what can happen if someone gets even a little taste.

Good catch on the Sam/Dean and Andy/Webber parallel. I love how the show didn't shove this stuff down our throat, teasing with danger in Nightmare, John's reaction later on and then this, ratcheting up the tension ringing in their heads each specific way.

Um, I don't have to sing, too, do I? I can't carry a tune. ;-)

elle2, and the cracks are played within their traditional back-and-forth. This show is rarely heavy-handed, and that's why such huge revelations/sen timents feel so real.

bevie, if I had Andy's power, sure, I might lift a cupajoe now and then (but not Starbucks, what bitter swill), but the sex thing is, yowza, but I'm with you in that Andy sits at the 'doubtful' end of the Evil Magic 8-ball. I think we'd all crack just a little.

kalixa, hmm, excellent point, never considered that angle! Of course, since the preliminaries were via psychic powers, does that invalidate the climax? I think this semantic game could go on forever, a perpetual roulette machine. ;-)

Andy, defender of us non-Sam/Dean dudes.

sablegreen, quite a shame they killed him off, but he could never have been one of the final two in 2.21.
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2010-01-19 08:05
Don't worry, dear, I won't force you to sing. I might try to tempt you to do it, though. I'm pretty good at that, :-) Jas
Karen
# Karen 2010-01-19 09:28
Hi Randal
Great Review, I love your wit, you always crack me up.
This is also one of my favourites. Any of the episodes that have the comedic side to it are usually high on my list of favourites, re-watches.
It never once occurred to me that rape could be associated with Andy using mind control over women for sex. As Kalixa pointed out, with the woman waving to Andy the next morning, gave me the impression that all was good (in more ways than one).
Thanks for the review.
ElenaM
# ElenaM 2010-01-19 19:09
Thought I'd weigh in on that easily misinterpreted can of worms-- I know it gives rise to circular arguments that could go on forever, but now I feel like I need to hash it out in my own head ... I'm more or less of similar mind to Kalixa and Karen. Maybe I'm just making excuses and putting my beloved Andy on a pedestal, and acknowledge that the scene implies that Andy may have used his power somehow. Seems to be what Dean's thinking... lucky for me, it's open to other interpretations . As pointed out, she's a pretty happy camper the next morning, and we see from his treatment of Tracy that Andy has some scruples with regard to the use of his powers, that there are lines he won't cross. Both support the idea of a consensual encounter. As for whether using his powers for preliminaries invalidates the end result, I guess it depends on the extent ... I mean, if he scored a date at the hottest restaturant in town, or backstage passes, to get her to spend some time with him, I wouldn't be terribly upset. And maybe a little time is all that's needed-- Andy is a pretty awesome dude! I think we've all known couples where at first we think, "What in the world does X see in Y?" I know, this is all totally hypothetical and resolves nothing, but like Cas said, it gives me comfort to see it that way.

Furthermore, this particular girl would like to say that Sam, Dean and that angel they hang out with will just have to get their own prom dates, because I'm taking Andy!

That being said, it's interesting if rather disturbing to consider the implications of the alternative interpretation, the whole "absolute power corrupts absolutely," "real magic is a lot like crack, people do surprising things" take on the matter, and what that could mean for Sam's future ...

Thanks for the look back at Simon Said, I agree it's a great episode! Always makes me a little sad to hear Kripke comment that he thought it was just okay, that mind control's hard to dramatize and therefore just not as cool as monsters and blood'n'guts ... I don't know, I thought the tricks they used were pretty effective, it was quite tense and scary for this particular audience member :shock:
Randal
# Randal 2010-01-20 10:39
Jas, you'd need merry bushels of cash, and earplugs to deal with my non-croonabilit y. Yes, I just made that word up. ;-)

Karen, now, did Andy just use his powers to say goodbye, and how long do they last and how effective are they long-term based on the individual? We could go on forever with this. I'm with you, I think Andy's a good dude, just something to think about.

ElenaM, that's the thing, unless we could crack open Andy's skull, we'll simply never know and I, like most everyone it seems, believe Andy to not be a power mad misogynist. Would the death of Tracy have pushed him darker territory? Very likely, but as you said, there's an affection there and he used his powers for good in a life and death situation.

The fact that Kripke is 'meh' on this only proves that even geniuses have their 'duh' moments. 8-)