"Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things"
--Robin's Rambles, Robin Vogel
 
Weirdest title ever! So we have Angela, who loves Matt who is loved by Neil (unrequited). Angela, learning that Matt cheated on her with her roommate, Lindsay, ends up in a car accident, dies, and is resurrected as a nasty zombie by Neil, who hides her, has sex with her and doesn't seem to realize she killed Matt and is trying to kill Lindsay, too.
 
Got that? 
 
Into this mess rides Sam and Dean. Sam wants to visit Mom's headstone, something Dean is dead set against (pun unintended). He sees no reason to visit a headstone with no body there; Mom burned up in the fire, so nothing was left but ashes. In a touching scene, Sam buries John's dog tags in top of Mary's grave, telling her he feels John wants her to have these. "I love you, Mom," he says. Dean, who had originally said he was going to go to the Roadhouse and drink while Sam performed this task, instead finds a hunt"”there is dead grass, a dead tree, dead everything surrounding Angela Mason's grave, and he wants to check it out what appears to be a demonic presence. Sam finds it odd, Dean's stumbling onto a hunt here of all places.

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The brothers pay a visit to Angela's father, who owns a Greek book with weird symbols in it"”but he IS a teacher of such courses. He really misses Angela; family is everything, and he even phones her once in a while, forgetting she's dead. While Dean is behaving very insensitive, Sam insists they go. Outside, he accuses Dean of imagining a hunt to avoid dealing with his parents' deaths. He wouldn't even go near Mom's grave! Sam invites Dean to take another swing at him, but Dean chooses to get a drink instead"”alone! Matt, morose, is sitting and watching a tape of Angela and him together. When he sits down, the plants on the table immediately die. Matt stops the tape on a close-up of Angela's face. He suddenly sees Angela herself appear in front of the screen, but something goes horribly wrong and Matt dies as his throat is cut and blood gushes everywhere.
 
Dean uses a credit card (?) to break into Angela's apartment and scares her roommate, Lindsay. He covers by claiming to be Angela's cousin, holding up his own keys and saying he has a key to her place. Lindsay explains how Matt kept seeing Angie everywhere before he slit his own throat last night"”and no, Angie was not angry. When Dean returns to their hotel room, Sam is watching a porn movie. (There was a scene cut out by TNT of Dean suggesting Sam watch porn as a way to release his tension.) "Awkward," says Dean as Sam hastily turns off the movie. Dean triumphantly informs Sam there IS a real case"”Matt killed himself. They figure his apartment is filled with dead plants and fish. Dean has stolen Angie's diary, which he says is "too nice." The brothers go to Neil's apartment, posing as grief counselors ("We've come to hug.") Matt assures them he's OK, and that Matt committed suicide because he cheated on Angie.
 
Dean decides they need to burn Angie's body, but they find her casket empty. Neil has Angela stashed in his basement. She kisses him passionately. 
 
The brothers pay another visit on Angela's father, where Dean, who has found symbols for communicating with the dead in her casket matching those on a book at Mr. Mason's house, accuses him of resurrecting her. "What's dead should stay dead!" insists Dean"”"Haven't you ever seen PET SEMATARY?" He mentions killer zombies, too, but Sam shows him the living plants in the house and drags him out. 
 
Outside, Sam tells Dean that he's scaring the crap out of him, tail-spinning, and that he can't take care of himself. This is killing you, says Sam, I've lost both parents, lost Jess, I can't lose you, too. All Dean says in response is that they must kill the zombie. "Our lives are weird," says Sam. 
 
Angie tells Neil he's the only one who truly loves her, especially since he brought her back. She denies killing Matt. 
 
The brothers ponder what might kill Angela"”silver? 
 
Angie pays a visit to Lindsay, her cheating roomie, and tries to kill her. Angela falls on a pair of scissors, but it doesn't stop her"”and neither do the silver bullets Dean shoots into her back. Angela escapes.  The next attempt will be to nail Angela into her grave bed. Sam and Dean go to Neil and inform him that he really went to great lengths to get laid - and his zombie girlfriend killed Matt and tried to kill Lindsay! Neil lies to them that Angie is at his house; she's there, where they are now. Dean softly advises him to leave ASAP, don't make her mad, take her to the cemetery. Unfortunately, Angela gets wind of Neil's plan, appears before him outside by his car, sniffs out his change of heart and snaps his neck, killing him. 

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At the cemetery, Dean and Sam are lighting candles around her grave. A bit later, Sam, the bait, shoots Angela in the forehead, making her chase him. He falls, she leaps on top of him and is about to snap his neck when Dean shoots her, over and over, until she finally falls backward into her coffin. He then leaps on top of her, a huge stake in his hand, and thrusts it into her chest, pounding it through her, pinning her into her coffin. "What's dead should stay dead!" he gasps. "Rest in peace," for good this time," agrees Sam. 
 
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(From Alice: It should be noted this episode is the debut of Sam's infamous shirt, "The Paisley Peril")
 
Later, leaving the grave site, carrying shovels, Dean teases Sam about Angie's crappy taste in men (since Sam was the bail). Sam mentions he thinks his hand is broken, and Dean says they'll have that checked (Jared really did have a broken hand and wore a cast from the next episode for several more afterward). Sam asks if Dean wants to see Mary's grave, but he doesn't. They get rid of the shoves in the Impala's trunk and drive off. Soon after, Dean pulls off onto the shoulder and parks. He and Sam lean against the front of the car. "I'm sorry," says Dean. "You--for what?" asks Sam. "The way I've been acting," says Dean, "and for Dad--he was your dad too. And it's my fault he's gone. I know you've been thinking it--so have I. Doesn't take a genius to figure it out. Back at the hospital, I made a full recovery. It was a miracle. And five minutes later Dad's dead and the Colt's gone--you can't tell me there's not a connection there. I don't know how the demon was involved; I don't know how the whole thing went down exactly. But Dad's dead because of me. And that much I do know." (He starts crying) "You and Dad. . . you're the most important people in my life. And now. . .I never should have come back, Sam. It wasn't natural. And now look what's come of it. I was dead. And I should have stayed dead. You wanted to know how I was feeling. Well, that's it. So tell me. What could you possibly say to make that all right?"
 
I realize this has gotten excessively long, but I felt it necessary to include Dean's entire speech here. It broke my heart then, and breaks it now. I wonder what, if anything, Sam said to comfort Dean afterward. What would YOU have said? You certainly can't deny that a deal was made, right? Even Sam had to know that. So what could Sam say to comfort his brother? Especially after making such a big deal about what's dead should stay dead? We know, too, that a much bigger issue is going to come up in the future where Dean doesn't keep to this premise. What's dead should stay dead, but only if it isn't Dean Winchester's kin. 
 
Tough decisions, right?
 
Truth be told, I didn't really like the other characters in this episode"”Angela, Neil, Lindsay, Matt"”were all douchebags. I felt for Mr. Mason, both because he lost his daughter and Dean had him all wrong. This was a Winchester-focused episode, with the MOTW used only as a way to bring out the brothers' ongoing problems with John's death and Dean's inability to deal with it.  

 

Comments  

Randal
# Randal 2010-02-09 08:26
Does anyone remember that awful movie they nabbed the title from? Orville was the head ghoul, I think. Ah, the 70s.

Nice review, and your last paragraph sums up why this episode has begun to grow on me. I can live with a weaker MOTW (and you're right, aside from the poor prof, what a gang of yokels) since it explored the brotherly dynamic without feeling forced.
Karen
# Karen 2010-02-09 10:03
Hi Robin
That final scene always gets to me as well.
I don’t believe there would be any words that Sam could of said to comfort Dean. To have anyone sacrifice their life to save yours, the guilt and pressure to ensure that they did not die in vain would be unbearable.
As for Sam I think he may of been very torn, hating the fact that his father died, but also being grateful to him for saving Dean and keeping his big brother in his life.
This is the only episode in Season 2 that if it wasn’t for the brotherly moments, I would never have re-watched. I don’t know why, but the characters in this one never did anything for me. Other than the father, I never felt or held any compassion for any of them.
Evelyn
# Evelyn 2010-02-09 13:33
I agree with you all - this episode is all about the brothers and wouldn't have been much without that dynamic and those brotherly moments, but I think that was the primary reason for this episode. Clearly the MOTW was a secondary event.

With that being said, I really loved this episode because of those brotherly moments. Dean on edge the entire time and finally opening up to Sam in the end. From the very beginning I've always loved Dean, but this episode really solidified it for me and got me to love him even more. To have him finally letting down his walls and telling Sam how he feels. That last scene gets me every time and Jensen just.....well, what can you say - he really showed his acting depth in this episode.
anene
# anene 2010-02-10 03:02
Without its brotherly moments, an episode no matter how strong the MOTW is, it isn't very re-watchable. But then again, the writers did say that the brothers relationship came first with the MOTW basically thought of second to be used as a vehicle to progress and explore the brothers relationship. For this episode, they succeeded in spades. Not only did the theme of what is dead staying dead reveal itself here, it also came into play as part of the season's big arc. And that whole Whatever Dean believes only applies when the person in question isn't his family came up again in Crossroad Blues where Dean didn't believe anything was worth selling your soul for. And again in Croatoan where he was willing to shoot any infected person until Sam got infected. And it all comes crashing down in the finale.

In fact, i'd say the whole season was the pushing and revealing of Dean's weakness being Sam and how he realized how far he was willing to go to and how his values meant nothing when it came to Sam. He couldn't kill Sam in BUABS even when Sam put the weapon in his hand and begged him to do it.
That is why i really loved this episode. It was the first episode to begin illustrating Dean's ideologies and values and how as a human being toss all that aside when it came to love.