"Born Under a Bad Sign"
--Robin's Rambles by Robin Vogel
 
This was the episode of SUPERNATURAL that sent me searching for online fandom. I was so impressed, I needed to find other fans with whom to share the adoration.
 
Sam has been missing for a week, and Dean is frantic. When he finally receives a phone call from his confused sibling, he races to Sam's side, only to find his little brother with blood on his shirt Sam doesn't know the origin of, but doesn't think is his own. 
 
The last thing Sam remembers is being with Dean is West Texas. Sam signed into this hotel room as Richie Samborra - a Bon Jovi fan, to Dean's disappointment. Sam has enough odd flashes of what transpired that lead them to a storage unit containing, to Dean's dismay, a stolen Volkswagen Bug containing a knife sticky with blood and an open pack of cigarettes. Sam starts filling Dean's head with the idea that he's finally started going dark-side. Finding a receipt from a gas station, they go there to check it out. When the cashier spies Sam, he's all set to call the cops; this guy stole beer, chain smoked inside, against the law! Dean sends Sam outside and gives the guy enough money to prevent his calling the cops and let him know which direction Sam went when he left.
 
They follow the route and Sam's intuition sends them to the house of a hunter named Steve Wandell. His alarm has been destroyed and a window broken. To their horror, they enter the house and find Wandell brutally murdered - and upon watching a tape of the incident, see that the killer was Sam. As Sam sadly reads a letter from Wandell's daughter, all Dean can worry about is making sure no one knows they were here; he destroys the videotape and urges Sam to wipe away all trace of his fingerprints in the house. 
 
Returning to the fish-decorated hotel, Sam does everything he can to urge Dean to kill him, finally pressing a gun into his hand. He's obviously turned into what John warned him he would! The YED has turned others into killers, now it's my turn! insists Sam, I don't want to hurt anyone else. For the past few weeks, he's been feeling this hate, rage, I can't stop it! I didn't tell you because I didn't want to worry you. Bang-up job with that, says Dean sarcastically. "Do it," begs Sam, pressing the gun into his hand. "I've done everything I can to keep you safe," says Dean, "I can't - I'd rather die." He puts the gun down on the bed. "No, you'll live," promises Sam darkly, "you'll live to regret this"--and slams the gun butt on Dean's head, sending him gracefully to the floor, unconscious. Sam leaves.
 
Dean awakens to the manager banging at the door - he's past checkout time and has what looks like a 60+ year old politician and a hooker waiting for the room. With a lot of cash, Dean smoothes the way to getting computer time from the manager, too, setting up the GPS on "diabetic little Sammy's" cell phone - the kid went off to a Justin Timberlake concert without his insulin! There's little Sammy - Duluth, MN!
 
Which is where Jo Harvelle is tending bar, all alone. Just closing up. When Sam appears, asking for a beer, she's surprised; they didn't leave on the best of terms, after all. Sam wants to assure her he isn't John; he's not fixated on hunting and wants to square things away with her. Realizing she's still "holding a torch" for Dean, Sam gets pissy. Dean sees her more like a little sister, a schoolgirl, not the stuff of romance! He isn't telling this to hurt her, he says, taking her hand in his. "I could be more to you, Jo." She shakes off his hand, ordering him to leave. OK, he says, but next thing Jo knows, he's back, hands all over her, seemingly intent on raping her. He turns her around in his arms, assuring her it didn't have to be this way. He knocks her head into the bar, rendering her unconscious. "Or maybe it did," he said, nearly slavering over her. 
 
When Jo comes to, a song is playing on the jukebox,
 
"Before you slip into unconsciousness
I'd like to have another kiss
Another flashing chance at bliss
Another kiss, another kiss
The days are bright and filled with pain
Enclose me in your gentle rain
The time you ran was too insane
We'll meet again, we'll meet again." --Crystal Ship, the Doors
 
Sam has tied Jo to a post in the bar, pushes her hair back with a large knife and begins taunting her with the truth about how her father, Bill, died. John Winchester used him as bait, and when the hellspawn left him all torn up and Bill was praying to see Ellen and Jo again, John killed him like a sick dog. "My daddy shot your daddy in the head," croons Sam to Jo, a horrific ditty. Tying a gag in her mouth, Sam informs her like Daddy, like daughter--she, too, will be bait. 
 
Dean bursts into the bar. Sam tells him he can't fight this anymore, "Kill me or I'll kill her! SHOOT ME!" Dean refuses and tosses holy water on Sam, sending him leaping through the window. Dean quickly unties Jo. "He was possessed?" she demands? Giving her a look of complete incredulity, he goes after his brother. There's a cat and mouse chase on the docks between Dean and his possessed brother, who taunts, "You should have seen your face when you thought Sam had wasted that guy. I should have known you wouldn't have the sac to kill Sam. I plan to kill you and every other hunter I can find." Hearing that, Dean puts away his gun and draws out his flask of holy water. 
 
Sam eventually gets a good shot at Dean, who falls into the water. Sam stands on the dock, staring down, smirking. Jo, calling Dean's cell phone over and over, finds him lying on the dock, freezing, nearly unconscious. She drags him inside, plies him with booze and removes the bullet from his shoulder and patches him up while he calls her a butcher. "You're welcome," she says. She wants to come with him after Sam, but he swears to tie her to the post if she tries, so she just tosses him pain pills. Before he leaves, she asks if demons sometimes tell the truth, too. If they think it will mess with your head, he answers. He promises to call her. "But you won't," she says, after he's gone. Ah, Jo, you have grown up, but we won't see you again for a long time.
 
Dean, knowing Bobby is the nearest hunter, races to South Dakota, but Sam cuts the phone line before the call can go through. Bobby, one step ahead, offers Sam a beer laced with holy water, so he has him sitting tied in a chair under a Devil's Trap by the time Dean arrives. Turns out the normal exorcism doesn't work on this demon; it has locked itself inside Sam, proven by a symbol burned into Sam's forearm. The demon breaks free and sends both men sailing against the walls. Sam, freed from the chair, goes over and begins to torture Dean, punching him over and over on the right side of his face, squeezing his shoulder where he was shot. Hell is a prison of flesh, blood and bone, Sam says, and you sent me back there! Meg, realizes Dean, for the first time knowing which demon inhabits his brother. Your daddy says howdy, Sam/Meg says, you know you're worthless - you couldn't save your daddy, and deep down, you know you can't save Sam. He's about to administer what would probably be a killing blow when Bobby grabs his arm and, with a fireplace poker, burns the link. Screaming, Sam opens his mouth and the Meg demon flies out and up the fireplace. Sam looks at Dean. Did I miss anything? he asks, confused. Dean punches him in the face. 
 
Later, Dean applies an ice bag to his sore face. Sam and Dean tell each other they look like hell. Bobby reports Steve Wandell's death, which Dean, running right over Sam's soft protest, says they know nothing about. "Keep it that way," advises Bobby, since his friends are looking to string someone up. (This is never resolved, either.) Bobby gives them anti-possession charms, so no other demons will be able to get up inside them. Sound vaguely dirty, says Dean, accepting them and thanking Bobby. 
 
Later, in the Impala, Sam confesses to Dean that he was awake for some of what Meg made him do - he saw the light go out of Steve Wandell's eyes. He almost killed Jo, too. What about next time? I'll kill you only if I can't save you, Dean swears, and I'm going to save you. Then he laughs - Sam had a girl full up inside him for a week - that's pretty naughty. Even Sam laughs at that.

1.  Jared Padalecki gave an AMAZING performance here. He played it as if he had a girl inside him, he really did. BRAVO. I think that's what thrilled me enough about this ep to seek fandom. I just had to gush about an episode that excited me so much.

2.  I have read a lot of fan fic centered around this ep, and what other stuff Sam/Meg did was probably just as terrible. Raping virgins, killing hundreds of other hunters - somehow, it seemed as if Meg must have really taken advantage of having a big, handsome, strong man like Sam at her disposal. What do you think? Makes Dean's joke about having a girl inside him kind of not so funny. Especially a girl as pissed as Meg.

3.  BIG brotherly moments here. Dean wouldn't entertain killing his brother no matter what. He will save him, period. How warm and fuzzy does that make you feel? VERY!

4.  Jo. Wasn't she much more grown-up here? More mature? Nearly raped by Sam, she accepted that Dean wouldn't call her and was OK with that. She still loved him, though, that was obvious.

5.  Poor Sam. He saw the light go out of Steve's eyes, and how many others? To be trapped in your own body while possessed must be another form of hell.

6.  How inventive was Dean in learning where "little Sammy" was? Justin Timberlake concert? Triple threat? Richie Samborra? 

This is definitely in my top 10 SUPERNATURAL episodes. It brought me to fandom, how could it not be?

 

 

Comments  

Supernarttu
# Supernarttu 2010-02-25 04:13
Hi Robin. Love the review. Just the right amount of squeeeeness ;-) If I'd have to choose, with a gun to my head, I'd say this is the best ep of S2. I truly think it's brilliant, awesome, kick ass and amazing. Both J's kicked the shit out of their respective roles and then some.

1. Jared hit this one so out of the park, they're still looking for it :-) He was amazing, I don't have big enough words to describe his performance. He was so Sam the first half and then so supersuper creepy the second half. I mean that scene with Jo in the bar before he knocks her out, I was freaking out the first time "SAM! What are you doing?!?!?". I still feel so uncomfortable watching it, it was really brilliantly done. Jared sure knows how to bring on the disturbing. *shivers*

2+5. I haven't read really that much fanfic of that lost week. But I would've liked to know what did happen... But then again, I'm sure we'll never 'see' that so we'll just have to make do with fanfic :-) I guess it was something really awful though, so maybe it's better not to know. To not be able to control your own body for a week, to have some evil SOB riding it for kicks. That doesn't sound fun at all. I would have loved to see some kind of ripples from his possesion experience but those were sadly denied... And then we get one line in S3 about "that's how it feels". Boy, talk about understatement. But yet again, that's what fanfic is for.

3. Oh the bro moments were so on fire in this one. It lessens the blow to know that it wasn't really Sam in that hotel scene (begging Dean to kill him) but it does ramp up the emotion when you know that Dean was there, body and soul. And he ain't killing Sam. Ever. He'd rather die. Yea, the "I would die for you" -vibe I was talking about earlier? It exploded in this one (and then later in AHBL part 2 was ground into dust *wibble*). Their bond was still so bulletproof at this time.

4. Jo. She seemed to have grown alot, doing her own thing, making her own way. That somber "No you won't." in the end of her scene was a really sad yet sort of settled line from her. Wrong place, wrong time in deed. I was really suprised that we didn't see her again...until 3 years later! That's a loooong wait. But I gotta admit, her departure was a more fitting one than, lets say, Ellen who just vanished after AHBL part 2. And they both weren't even mentioned (at least I think they weren't) in a long time. Weird.

6. I also love Dean to bits in this one. He's so inventive and clever and determined. And desperate to save his brother. Jensen facial expressions killed me yet again. Now if we only could get some possessedDean (and not the Michael kind thank you very much)... That would make my Possessed Winchester Men Collection complete :-)

But thanks for the recap, and memories.
Randal
# Randal 2010-02-25 11:03
Give me a sec to wade through the cataract of squee so I can make my Manly Man of Manliness comment: a *fantastic* episode, though funny that they finally move Jo beyond potential-GF (not that I hated the character beforehand as some seem to) and then don't bring her back for three years.

The hotel room before possessed Sam clocks Dean on the noggin is their relationship in a nutshell: he'd rather die. Doesn't matter what happened, is happening, or will happen this season, their separation, they'll always be thick as thieves when it matters most.

Plus seeing Sam possessed, we get our first glimpse at how much of a bad mofo Jared can play.
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2010-02-25 17:41
Robin, another one of my fave episodes… I love evil Sam, and you can practically smell the fun Jared must have had stretching his acting muscles here… Thanks for this great gushing…

The ‘brotherly moments’ moved me, too. Actually, when Sam picked up that gun after Dean refused to shoot him ,I thought for a heartbeat, he’s going to try to kill himself… ‘No you’ll live’ … but I’m going to die. For a moment I as in panic. What ensued astonished me… I never saw that coming, since Meg was so in character as Sam… until that moment…

And, well, allow me to be a bit shallow here - wasn’t evil Sam just a dish? What is it about the bad guys being so damn attractive (not that Sam wasn’t that all the time).

I don’t think, though, that Sam actually tried to rape Jo. If he had really done that, nothing would have stopped him (except perhaps a bullet), she is to tiny and he’s massive. I believe,though , that Jo was afraid that that was his intention, while he only planned to get her scared and unconscious.

And, well, you just gotta love the Doors… Wish there were more songs on the show…

Best wishes, Jas
Sablegreen
# Sablegreen 2010-03-01 10:46
Good Review, Robin. This is a good one for brotherly moments. Jared was excellent here, and the concept of loss of control was really freaky for me. Love the end when Dean smacked Sam. So good. Ahhh......it's nice to see how well the boys worked together in the earlier episodes. Love the nostalgia.