--Robin's Ramblings by Robin Vogel
Not only is this one of my favorite episodes of SUPERNATURAL, it's one of its pivotal, too, and anyone why has watched the series knows why. I hear it in my head, sometimes, "Crossroads are where pacts are made," and I think about this wondrous episode and where it all began.
The moody 1940's music, Robert Johnson playing his guitar, the cigarette falling from his lips when he realizes his time is up and he begins running from the hellhounds on his trail-one of the best openings of a SUPERNATURAL episode! "Robert, don't you die on me!" cries a woman, trying to rouse him, but of course, his debt has come due, and he is dead. We see him making this deal, to be the best blues man that ever lived, with a lovely red-eyed crossroads demon. She seals the deal with a kiss, and for 10 years, Robert Johnson gets what he wants-and once that time is over, hell collects.
Dean teases Sam because he's now on FBI's most-wanted list, while Sam isn't even there as an accessory. The case they're working on involves big-time architect Sean Boyd, who leaped off a high-rise he designed himself after seeing a black dog chasing him. His jealous, bitter partner says Sean became talented and famous, somewhat abruptly, ten years ago-after a night at Lloyd's Bar.
The brothers check with Animal Control, where Carly gives Dean her MySpace page info. He thinks (hopes) it's porno, but Sam sets him straight on that, laughing.
In a similar situation is Dr. Young, who became top of the heap at her hospital at a young age. She tries holing up at a crappy hotel to avoid the hellhounds. When the manager comes to collect for another day, his faces turns ghoulish (which scared the crap out of me, folks, that aspect of this episode was really scary), and she throws the money at him and closes the door. There is loud banging at the door, and she cowers in a corner, covering her ears. When it stops, she stands. The windows blow in, showering her with glass. She falls. Dr. Young is hauled off, bloody, by the hellhounds.
Sam and Dean pay a visit to Lloyd's bar, which sits on a crossroads, and where they find flowers planted used for summoning rituals. Directly in the center, they dig up a box containing a cat bone, a picture of a man (his license), graveyard dirt, and other items.
The brothers discuss Robert Johnson and his songs, which admit to his having made a deal to become what he was. It's said he was hallucinating about big evil dogs when he died. While Dean feels all these deal-making people deserve what they're getting, Sam feels obligated to save them if they can.
George Darrow clearly didn't wish for money, decides Dean, noting his shabby living quarters, wondering if he opted for girls in Princess Leia bikinis. George reluctantly lets them in when Sam assures him they're here to help. Instead of salt lining his door, George uses goofer dust, hoodoo to keep demons at bay. He throws a bag of it to Dean. George wished to be a talented painter, but neglected to ask for fame, too. He's OK with it, he made his own bed. All he wants now is to finish one last painting before he's taken to hell. Ten years ago, he made his deal, but the damn demon stayed, too, making other deals. He tried to warn those the demon approached, but they wouldn't listen to him. Who else made deals? the brothers ask. The doctor, the architect, and a man named Evan Hudson, recalls George, who admits that, while he doesn't want to die, he's tired. He'll finish the final painting, sweep away the goofer dust and let the dogs take him.
Evan Hudson's wife is heading off to see her sister and her baby. Evan is nervous-he's hearing hellhounds and his wife's face twisted into the hideous demon face-right after telling him she loved him. When Evan tells his wife he'll love her forever, she's the one who's scared by his off-key behavior. She leaves.
Sam and Dean scare poor Evan when they come to his house and tell him they know what his story is, but Sam calms him down. They learn that Evan asked for his wife, who was near death, to be saved from cancer. Dean immediately laces into him-you did it for yourself so you wouldn't have to live without her, but now she's going to have to live without you! (How does irony taste, Dean?)
Dean gives Sam the goofer dust-he's going to the crossroads demon to make a deal to get Evan out of his contract. Sam objects. They both know what John did-traded his soul for Dean's life, Dean shouldn't even be here! Dean obviously feels guilty about it, what John did was wrong.
The next scenes move back and forth between Sam and Evan keeping the hellhounds at bay, remaining in a circle of goofer dust, and Dean and the CRD talking. They are VERY exciting!
Dean returns to the crossroad and buries his own goodie box. His CRD is dark-haired, red-eyed, dressed in black and stunning, my favorite of all the CRD's. She calls him handsome, edible, and he invites her to sit in his car, where they can make the deal nice and private. She calls him a gentleman. Dean asks her to release Evan from his deal. Like father, like son, she says, wishing she had been the one to broker THAT deal.
As she's about to climb into the Impala, she notices the Devil's Trap drawn on the ground underneath the car. "Deeeeeeean!" she says warningly, and threatens to kill him. Then she taunts him about how his daddy sold his soul for him, how much that's gotta hurt, it's all Dean's fault. She could bring John back! She starts to walk away, then joins Dean under a water tower he's standing under, adding that if she brought John back, he could live a long, natural life, as he was meant to, and she'd give Dean 10 years-a bonus! Could you. . .throw in a set of steak knives? asks Dean, gazing up. She does, too-she's standing under a Devil's Trap drawn on the bottom of the water tower!
Dean pulls out a rosary and begins the exorcism. Call off your hellhounds. Evan and his wife get to live to a ripe old age. Think of your dad, urges the CRD as Dean continues the exorcism.
At this point, Sam and Evan have the hellhounds on their very heels, moments from being killed.
Dean and the CRD seal their deal with a lengthy kiss. He tells her he likes a warning before being violated with demon tongue. He considers double-crossing her for a moment, but she assures him if she crawls out of hell, skinning Evan will be the first thing she does. Then she taunts him about how John is being tortured in hell. Dean starts the exorcism again, furious, but the demon exits the host body, leaving the poor woman totally dazed and confused.
Later, driving in the Impala, Dean tells Sam John should have gone out fighting, not bargaining. John saved many people, Sam reminds him-THAT is his legacy, and WE are his legacy. Then Sam asks the BIG question-did you consider making the deal to bring Dad back? Dean doesn't answer, he turns up the music really loud and continues driving.
SUPERB episode, of course, one of the very best. I've always been entranced by the Robert Johnson legend, and we saw it brought to vivid life here.
Dean assumed everyone made pacts for selfish reasons. He even twisted Evan's into being selfish. We know what happens in the future. If you could heal your child of a terrible illness this way, would you do it? My son has insulin dependent diabetes, and if it were possible, I wonder.
Was this exciting enough for you? The juxtaposition between Evan and Sam and Dean and the CRD had me perched on the edge of my seat!
How did you like the atmosphere and moodiness of the Robert Johnson segments?
What did you think of George Darrow? Sounds like you need to be really specific-I'll take talent, fame and fortune, please! LOL! George was ready to go.
Goofer dust! Makes me laugh just saying it!
I loved this CRD, what about you? Her voice was very sexy. She also reminds me of Carmen.
Who of us watching thought of that, actually - selling our soul for, let's say, someone? The basic theme of our favourite show....
I'm also fascinated by the idea of selling your soul for someone (not really for someTHING but for a person, a loved one). I get both points that Dean and Evan make. Why he did the deal and why Dean objects. But if I had that chance, to save a loved ones life, would I make it? Could I? Knowing (well not really 'knowing') the price? Is it better to not know... Nobody really wins in the end.
This CRD is also my fave, although the one in AHBL2 is a very close second. They're both brilliant, very chilling and soulless and snarky.
George Darrow is a cool character. I found his I made my bed -attitude very sombre yet believable. He felt responsible for those other (deaths) people who made the deal with the demon (even though nobody forced their arm to make it), like Sam and Dean feel responsible for the lives they try to save (read: every people on earth. Boy, talk about fighting windmills *sigh*).
I agree with you Robin, that the face distorting was very well done. It freaked me out too on my first watch and still I get goosebumps when ever I see them. I also love that we can never see the actual hell hounds. That makes it just more creepy and final. Like with the reaper, nobody can see it but the dying. *shivers*