THEN - Michael comes through the doors at the chapel; Dean says, "Sammy, it's me." He says he was drowning. They wonder why Michael left his vessel. There are flashes of things Michael did, of Dark Kaia and her spear, and then of various ghost possessions through the years and the use of salt.
NOW - There's a closeup of comic books; then the camera pans over a shelf of figurines and movies. We're in Salem, Ohio in a comic book shop. Among the DVDs for sale are Hell Hazers and All Saints Day. A bearded young man unpacks a box on the counter. Behind him glow huge superhero illustrations like stained glass windows. Nearby in the closed shop stands a life-size mannequin of a serial killer in a mechanic's coveralls. He has a lumpy head, burned raw with a creepy mouth held open with toothpicks; he holds an axe. The guy behind the counter gets super excited as he lifts one specific box from the protective packaging. It's a Thundercats figurine. He smiles, then slips it into a drawstring bag. He jumps when his phone buzzes. It's a video call from Samantha, a young woman with straight dark hair cut in a long bob. "What did you DO?" she asks. Stewart, the employee, had gotten in an argument with a customer. Stewart insisted that he was right: he COULD beat Superman if he were wearing kryptonite gloves. "It's SCIENCE!" he insists adamantly. Samantha gets that, but asks him to chill a little because they need every customer they can get. They agree to meet later for game night. Stewart picks up his keys from the counter; he has a Batman keychain. He turns back for an instant. The mannequin with its upraised ax stands silently in the closed shop. The employee leaves, locking the door behind him and taking his bag with his Thundercats action figure. The camera focuses on the creepy disfigured face of the silent figure of the mannequin.
We're now in Stewart's home. The blue Thundercat posed with a weapon on a long chain is out of the box and on a table while Stewart yells into the phone that since his pizza is late, he gets it free! Suddenly, the Thundercat turns. Its painted eyes look at Stewart and then it leaps to the floor. Stewart looks over, then comes closer wondering why the figuring is now on the ground. He leans in. The figure twirls its weapon. Stewart yells.
Sam enters Dean's room. "Oh, wow!" remarks Dean, noticing that Sam has shaved. He's now as smooth as a dolphin's belly. Sam is concerned that Dean hasn't been out of his room; is he OK? Are we ever really OK, wonders Dean. After all, they don't know where Michael is or where Kaia is and the bunker is full of strangers. He downplays that, swiftly changing the subject to his enjoyment of his movies. After all, "All Saints Day" is a classic! Sam isn't interested; their life is a scary movie. Anyway, Sam has a case. It looks like a killer toy. He shows Dean an online video: it's Stewart talking about how his action figure attacked him. His face is wounded, but he is alive. Dean is thrilled, especially once he sees that it's Thundercats. He jumps up and heads out, Sam following with the tiniest of smiles on his face.
Shot of the Impala driving up to the comic store. Sam and Dean are in dress pants, short-sleeved dress shirts, and ties. Kids in costume pass them on the sidewalk; one says, "Booo!" Sam is not a fan .
Inside the store, we see more paraphernalia including what looks like the Red Hood. A dark-haired girl in red flannel is behind the counter. Dean comments that she's like Sam's twin and laughs. Sam notices a slovenly employee and comments that that is Dean's twin. "We have nothing in common!" Dean exclaims, not even noticing that they're both sucking on lollipops.
Dean is thrilled to see the large figure of Hatchet Man from the movie he'd been watching. He looks at it and happily pushes the button, causing the mannequin to recite various catch phrases. Dean wants to buy it. They approach Samantha, the employee. They say they're insurance agents checking up on Stewart. He's not there or at his apartment. He got kicked out for fighting with his roommate. He's back with his mom.
Sam and Dean head to the mom's house. She serves them apple cider in mugs. Dean, wearing glasses, switches a floral mug for the superhero one. Stewart's voice floats up from the basement, yelling about a game. He stomps upstairs, stopping in surprise when he sees them. He's been playing Fortnite. It's THE game, he says, though Dean offers that he's a Zelda fan. They comment on the sage they smell. Stewart had had a Wiccan girlfriend but backed off before MIRL. Dean wonders how Sam knows that that means Meeting in Real Life. When they ask about the attack, though, Stewart nervously declares that he lied. He'd made it all up. It wasn't true. Then he yells and wants them to leave.
Dean is now fully in disguise as an insurance salesman with a checked suit jacket to go along with his striped tie. They wonder if he could be under a spell from the Wiccan girlfriend. Sam takes a call from a Riley, one of the AU hunters. They start discussing Halloween again. Dean says that Sam can't say he dislikes it because they live it every day. They can't be living it every day because they don't eat that much candy! They've been sitting in their car watching the house. Now the mom, in a pink 50s outfit, leaves, and they awkwardly duck down. Sam comments that he knows why Stewart denied his initial claim about the figure attacking him: the comments on his video have been very derogatory. It's the Internet, where everyone can be a dick, says Sam. Suddenly, the door to the house bursts open and Stewart exits, clutching his side. He's bleeding. he collapses, calling for help. The Winchesters run up, Sam kneeling beside him, while Dean enters the house, gun drawn. He sees blood smeared on the wall and follows a blood spatter trail down the hall. In the basement, Dean looks at one of the posters of A Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Behind him, a chainsaw revs its motor. He turns just as a chain saw comes flying across the room, barely missing him and impaling itself into the poster. Dean stares, dumbfounded.
In the hospital, Stewart is in bed with his worried mom beside him. Sam and Dean stand nearby; the mom is grateful that they've saved her baby's life. She thinks about going home, but they talk her out of it. In the hallway, Dean tells Sam that there were no hex bags in the house, but the EMF reader was going crazy.. Sam wants to check out the comic store while Dean guards Stewart. Dean tosses Sam his keys.
Sam goes into the basement. There's a bloody handprint near a door. The lights don't work. Sam jumps at the Thundercat, then laughs at himself, embarrassed. He checks for EMF but there's nothing. He looks at a picture of Stewart, Samantha, the other employee, and an older bearded man.
A TV screen shows Shocker TV. The comic store employee is standing in the hospital hallway watching. Dean hands him a candy bar and starts talking. The man says that Stewart, despite his quirks, is a real friend, his best friend. Stewart lets him crash at his place; they eat pizza and watch movies. On the screen, the actress screams. "Time to slice and dice," the friend and Dean recite gleefully at the same time. They start to eagerly discuss the movie series; Dean prefers #4 over #3. They quote lines gleefully together. Dean says that he watched them as a kid; it was nice to watch them because he knew the bad guy would lose.
Sam bursts into the comic book store. He awkwardly talks with Samantha, finding out that the older, bearded man was Jordan. He'd owned the store before he died. He was their own personal Willie Wonka. However, he'd fired Stewart because Stewart stole from the store. He'd left the store to Stephanie and the friend, but not Stewart. Stephanie had hired him back because he's a friend even if he has poor impulse control. Jordan was cremated. Ice begins to form on a display case behind her. Sam checks the EMF; it's screaming. "Is that bad?" she wonders. The mannequin comes to life, hits Sam, sending him unconscious to the floor. Samantha screams.
Sam, washed in a golden light, wakes up on the floor. He calls for Samantha. He hears whimpering and finds her crouched near the counter, terrified. He tells her ghosts are real, that he's NOT from the insurance company, and that the ghost of Jordan seems to be after Stewart. He tries to leave, but the doors are locked. Hatchet Man took the keys when he left. Sam throws a statuette at the door, but it's shatter-proof glass.
Back in the hospital, Dean and the friend are talking in Stewart's room when Sam calls, warning them that Hatchet Man is on his way. Dean seems pretty excited about this. On the TV, the movie plays with the killer walking ominously down a hallway. The scene switches to the real Hatchet Man walking down the street, moving among Halloween celebrants. One guy, dressed as Hatchet Man, hoots his approval toward the real killer who just eyes him, then moves on.
Dean is intense and focused. Despite his former enjoyment of the horror movie and despite his uncharacteristic wardrobe choice, he is now all business as he pours salt in a circle around Stewart's bed. No matter what happens, he warns the friend, do NOT leave the salt circle! The friend, like Samantha, has now also gotten the "monsters are real" speech. "Unless it's Godzilla, it's real," Dean tells him.
Back at the store, Sam is unsuccessfully trying to pick the lock. Samantha admits that Stewart has been stealing, and she's just been taking it out of his paycheck. But Jordan doesn't know that and is apparently out for revenge.
In the hospital, the friend is hunched nervously on the side of Stewart's bed when he grows cold. His breath appears. Lights flicker and drawers slam. He tries to hold out but eventually freaks and runs out into the eerily deserted halls of the hospital. Dean is in the hospital too, opening a fire safety case and getting an axe. Hatchet Man stalks the halls. Stewart's mom unsuspectingly returns with a tray of food, screaming as she sees the looming creature ahead of her. At the other end of the hall, the friend runs into sight. "Hey!" he yells. "He's my friend. Our friend! You'll have to go through me." Hatchet Man waits a moment, then moves steadily toward him. The friend gulps and runs.
In a security room, two uniformed guards are watching All Saints Day as a frantic woman runs from a killer through the halls of a deserted hospital. They never notice the frantic friend appearing on their security screens as he runs for his life too. "Run! Run!" they encourage the actress on the screen. She attempts to open locked doors. In real life, the friend tries some doors too. The hallway ends in an elevator. The girl turns, trapped. The friend turns, trapped. The killer approaches on screen and in real life. Both manage to get onto the elevator, frantically pushing buttons as the Hatchet Man gets closer.
Still trapped in the comic store, Sam is gathering the ingredients for a bomb. When Stephanie wonders how he knows how to do this, he explains that he had a messed up childhood. He mixes the ingredients in a metal lunchbox (I had one like that; my favorite was a red plaid one, though I did have Holly Hobby and one with a pink princess.) He closes the box and hangs it on a hook on the back of a door. This lunchbox was ScoobyDoo. The bomb explodes and the door is blown away. Sam and Samantha peek over the edge of the desk, then look wide-eyed at each other. "Cool!" they exclaim! Now they can leave, but they wonder what is keeping Jordan tied to this world. It has to be the store keys, the ones with the Batman keychain, Samantha realizes.
The frantic friend runs into the morgue. He bumps into Dean who says, "I told you to stay put!" Where is the killer? One of the sheeted figures sits up, revealing Hatchet Man's deformed features. A green movie preview screen appears: a narrator explains what happened three years ago to David Yeager, working on his car and a victim of a mean joke that collapsed the car onto him and burned him alive. Now he's seeking revenge against his killers, going after them with an ax. The killer says his favorite lines, then we go to a commercial.
Now we're back, and Dean is going axe to axe against Hatchet Man. "Time to slice and dice," says the ghost-animated mannequin. "I was kind of hoping you'd say that," grins Dean. They fight, but the figure is strong. Dean grabs random metallic items in the room, slamming them into Yeager's head, but the killer is unstoppable. He throws Dean into the wall, but, as he approaches, ax raised, he pauses with a shudder. The friend has stabbed him from behind. It doesn't stop Hatchet Man though. He gets Dean in a choke hold. Then the door bursts open and Sam runs in. "The keys!" he shouts. Dean gropes at Hatchet man's waist, extricating the keys and tossing them to Sam. Sam starts to burn them, but it's too slow for Dean, getting strangled in the killer's merciless hold. Samantha squirts some flammable liquid in a bowl; they toss in the keys and they burn rapidly. The mannequin seems to catch on fire, then a burning spirit separates itself from it, flaming out. The figure collapses onto the ground. Dean had ducked away and looks back, rubbing his neck.
The Winchesters, Samantha, and the friend look down at the silent figure. Where is Jordan? He's in a better place, reassures Sam.
Back in the Impala, Dean drives through the night. "Thanks, man," he says. Sam got him out of the bunker and gave him a much-needed win, after Michael, after Kaia. Sam wants to apologize for how things went down, but Dean thinks the whole hunt was awesome. "You've got to stop hiding out in your room," Sam tells him. "You said yes to Michael for me, for Jack, for family. You did the right thing. No one's blaming you. Stop blaming yourself." "I'm never going to get over it," states Dean, but he is willing to come out because hiding isn't doing anyone any good. Then he jokingly refers to Sam as Chief.
He wonders again why Sam hates Halloween. Was it because he ate all Sam's candy once? Was it Dad? What? Sam sighs. Does Dean remember Andrea Howard? Dean doesn't. Sam was in 6th grade. He had a huge crush. He'd gone to a party. There had been a game. "Spin the bottle," says Dean knowingly. "Bobbing for apples," Sam corrects. He'd been so nervous that he'd throw up all over everything, including Andrea. It was so bad he'd run out and hidden in the woods until Dean came to get him. Dean has a plan for next year: they're going to do Halloween big. They'll dress up as Batman and Robin. Bert and Ernie? No, too weird! Rocky and Bullwinkle? Shaggy and Scooby? Ren and Stimpy? Thelma and Louise? Sam shakes his head. The Impala drives on into the rainy night.
The guard walks into the morgue, eyeing the knife, the ax, and the gruesome mannequin and its creepy staring eyes.
A few questions:
- No angels, no nephilim, no Dark Kaia, just a Monster of the Week. Did you enjoy the episode?
- Will Sam find a love interest?
- Did you expect there to be a more traumatic story behind Sam's hatred of Halloween?
- Which pair would you like to see the Winchesters dressed up as? Do you have other suggestions for them?
- Is there significance to Dean referencing Thelma and Louise as we think of how Supernatural might end?
- What references to past episodes did you notice in tonight's show?