Kearny, Missouri. We open with a wife coming home from somewhere, while the husband is working under a car. The man greets her, but she is pissed about a Sara Alcott. She kicks the jack away and peels off with the husband still under the car.
And we are introduced to the second most canon ship in the fandom (thanks Angel) – Blood and the Wall.
Meanwhile, Sam and Dean are still dancing on the ridge of “The Fallout that Never Came”, i.e. Dean hasn’t said a word since Sam “discovered” Benny and “he ain’t talking about it.”
That is… until Dean finds about the “our kinda thing” murder on the police scanner and Sam wants to know why the heck should he care about Dean when Dean keeps secrets from him. So Dean gives him a short lesson in Benny. “He’s the reason I’m topside. He’s my friend… people change. We let that werewolf Kate go, didn’t we?”
Of course Sam is skeptical. “She was different. You think Benny’s different? What about my friend Amy? You had no problem ganking her!”
Dean throws him one right back. “I got a Vamp buddy and you turned your phone off for a year.”
“Hey! Don’t turn that on me,” Sam protests.
I’m not sure if I should do a word by word of the argument, but c’mon… “The Winchesters and their Seven Year Itch” makes such great paparazzi fodder.
Finally Dean accepts that if “Benny slips up and some other hunter flips his lights out, so be it…”
“But it’s not gonna be you, right?” Sam completes the thought, throwing a bitchface to go along with it (the Wincest train ride has begun folks!) and gets in the car.
Crime Scene. Agents Dean and Lady Longlocks (though I think he must have cut them at some point) argue, with Sam wondering how some lady who might’ve killed her husband in a temporary bout of insanity is “our kind of thing.” Dean tells him to stop “sulking around like a eunuch in a whorehouse”.
Does it make me a bad person if I actually laughed at that?
The FBI Agents show up at the crime scene “because they happened to be in the neighborhood” and it must’ve been one hell of crime scene, because a Texas Ranger (who also probably happened to be in the neighborhood) is also there.
The Ranger, of course, is none other than Garth, complete with a Chuck Norris leather jacket and a cowboy hat and his trademark awkward hugs, who’s now masquerading as ‘The New Bobby’ because “with the Winchesters MIA and Bobby dead, somebody had to step in and take up the slack”.
Dean takes in the news as well as you can hope – he doesn’t kill Garth on the spot – and Sam well… I think cried for the Creepy Vet or something (but that’s not important. Yet.)
Back to the case, the couple’s son, Scott, who was thoroughly interviewed by Garth and further by the Winchesters, says that his parents had no real problems, they were (more or less) happily married for a better part of 30 years, and leaves.
The Hunters survey the crime scene, “no EMF, no sulphur, nothing important…” until Garth stops and points out flaws in Sam’s “method” – EMF readings might’ve gone cold during the night and Sulphur evidence could’ve been destroyed by the CSI team who surveyed the scene earlier.
And Dean has that “haha, you got schoo…ooled” expression on his face that every 2nd grader has when the teacher points out the obvious flaws in the token nerd’s answer.
Finally, Garth is the one who discovers the damning evidence – green goo ectoplasm – when he actually steps in it and licks it from under his boot to determine its identity – yes, that actually happened. So it could be a ghost.
Then Garth, who’s a way better (and faster) hunter than our boys here, gets a call from the coroner that the victim had a name, Alcott, scratched into his chest – possibly made by his wife’s fingernails.
Interview with the wife reveals that she doesn’t remember anything except the feeling of blind hot rage before she killed her husband. As for Sara Alcott, she was just some girl who the husband took to the Senior Prom, after he got into a fight with his more or less steady girlfriend, the wife, more than 30 years ago. The couple got back together after the prom and have been together ever since.
The hunters decide to stop for a bite and swap stories.
Garth impresses them with his knowledge of history – when he explains that this particular part of Missouri was a border town in the Civil War with half the people fighting for the Union Army and the other half for Confederate.
Also, Garth went to college, is a dentist and in his first case he ganked the Tooth Fairy. Sam is mortified.
And I seriously fear for the fates of Santa and the Easter Bunny.
Meanwhile, Scott – who’s an asthmatic (Seriously!? Asthmatic Scott? They’re never gonna let go, are they?) – goes to a grocery store and runs into a Jeff, who he seriously wanted to avoid. He retrieves some money from what looks like a lady’s purse and enters the store with what looks like greenish goo coming out of his ears.
He walks directly to Jeff, throws scalding hot coffee in his face – coz that’s exactly what cheap supermarket vending machine coffee is for – and decapitates him with a garden shovel.
He also pointedly stares into the security cam, and the image shows a corpse-y Confederate soldier.
The Winchesters turn up at the crime scene and find the word “Sussex” written in the victim’s blood.
Garth once again steps into the green goo. Thankfully, he doesn’t lick it off this time.
Sam and Garth start wondering about the identity of the ghost, but Dean has a very different problem – the baseball cap Garth is wearing belonged to Bobby. Dean very rudely pulls it off his head. Garth is hurt, not that Dean cares.
The deputy shows them the “screwy” surveillance tapes which shows Scott’s face as a flash of light – kinda like that LED camera distraction hat Mozzie made for Neal in White Collar – unlike anything they’ve ever seen.
Sam goes to interview Ms. Alcott and learns that while she and the dead husband had nothing to do with each other since that prom night, the wife clearly believed otherwise, because for her Miss Alcott was the sign of her husband’s betrayal.
As Sam is leaving the Alcott house, he has yet another drabby flashback about Ms. Creepy Vet. She tells him, postcoital, that the person she lost was her husband, who died in Afghanistan a few months ago. And as she didn’t like the way people pitied her for it, she ran.
Just to be clear, while I have too much of a respect for soldiers and their families, the way Ms. Creepy was cribbing about her husband for enlisting, I’m not going to take back my serial killer theory.
Meanwhile, overfriendly Garth and less-than-usually-polite Dean research “Sussex”.
Dean keeps throwing curveballs at Garth about how he’s not Bobby… he can never be Bobby… Bobby is irreplaceable… blah blah… until Garth snaps with “Bobby belonged to everybody. I’m just doing what he showed me and making the best of it.” Go, Garth!
That sufficiently shuts Dean up and gets his head back in the game. He even asks Garth to find something useful in Bobby’s notes – it seems, after Dean went down under and Sam hanged up his tools, Garth was the next in line for Bobby’s inheritance.
Dean discovers that “Sussex” is the company that belonged to Scott and the guy he killed, and the dead guy ran it to the ground. A clear sign of betrayal.
The notes say that green goo signifies a spectre, a.k.a. a vengeful ghost who latches onto your feelings of betrayal and the person who betrayed you and forces you to act on it.
And I think we all know where this is leading…
According to the notes, the last spectre Bobby encountered was after someone desecrated a grave. A little bit of Google time shows that the only grave desecrated in the surrounding area, in the past few days, belonged to “The Unknown Soldier of the Confederate Army”.
Now all they have to do is “burn a Confederate soldier in a town full of rednecks”. Easy peasy.
The hunters break into the mausoleum. Sam finds a piece of string on the floor and discards it. They open the grave, which appears to be undisturbed – but the police report said the grave was found open and they pushed the cover back on. The boys salt and burn the bones, along with all ithe mausoleum’s historically significant possessions.
Need I say anything about Dean’s farewell “We won” speech?
In the cell, Scott has an asthma attack and asks the deputy to retrieve his inhaler. The deputy goes to the evidence locker where Scott’s stuff is kept and empties the contents of that packet into his hand.
As soon as he touches the stuff, his ears start bleeding dark greenish goo. He pulls out a shotgun from the storage locker and blows the back of the Sheriff’s head off.
It’s so not over yet.
The hunters arrive at the new crime scene and come to a possible conclusion that, for all its undisturbed-ness, the vandals must have stolen something from the grave. An object which the spectre is now attaching itself to. Like Bobby and the flask, just to refresh your memories.
They question the deputy and find that all he remembers is going through Scott’s stuff for his inhaler one minute and the other deputy tackling him the next.
The other deputy said something about going to the hospital, so while Dean (Is this a good idea?) goes to stop the man from killing someone, Sam and Garth have a quick run to the library to find what they can about The Unknown Soldier.
In the library, Garth comments about the obvious tension (Tension? It’s a schism of lies and betrayal) between the brothers and Sam gives him the “we’re fine… nothing’s wrong” rote. Garth is not convinced and instead starts yabbering about some cousin who didn’t get along his family…
Sam zones out and starts thinking about Ms. Creepy the morning after her confession, about how she doesn’t want anything more than a one night stand because she can’t stand the look of pity in his eyes…
Meanwhile I zone out and start thinking about Sam’s eyes and one night stands and morning afters…
Anyways, back to the recap, the librarian provides a legend that one Corporal Collins, who fought on the Union side, killed his brother Vance, who fought on the Confederate side, and the brother swore vengeance with his dying breath.
“Two brothers fought on the opposite sides of the war.” Gosh! It’s not even subtext anymore.
Years later, the Corporal dug his brother up and brought the body home, where he was buried, and is remembered, as The Unknown Soldier.
Sam notices a strange penny around Vance’s neck. Apparently, the soldiers who went to war were given “a penny on a string”, by their families, for luck or, in case they got lost, for food and drink.
Sam remembers the string he found by the grave and calls Dean to warn him about it, to no avail.
At the hospital, the crazy deputy is out for some paramedic’s blood. But before he can kill the guy, the bullets run out and Dean tackles him.
Dean and the deputy fight for some time. At least until the spectre recognizes the scent of vengeance in Dean… C’mon that guy just needed an excuse to smell Dean… and is not exactly unhappy with the result. Where the heck is jealous Cas when you really need him?
The deputy presses the cursed penny into Dean’s palm and Dean goes apeshit.
Sam and Garth return to their motel room, to find Dean already there, with green goo running out his ears.
Sam starts nagging about “you should’ve picked up the phone, Dean… I was worried, Dean…” but Dean has more pressing concerns. “You should’ve looked for me when I was in Purgatory,” are the only words that come out of his mouth as he cocks the gun and points it at Sam’s face.
Oh… oh… Here come the fireworks! *Squee…eal*
A brief montage of the cursed Penny shows it being handed down from the vandals, to the grocer… to the wife who then kills her husband… to Scott who kills Jeff… to the Deputy who kills the Sheriff… the other deputy who kills no one but gives it to Dean.
Now, Dean has his gun trained on Sam. “You never wanted this life. You always blamed me for pulling you back in. Everything you’ve done since you climbed into my ride has been to deceive me…”
Sam tries to turn tables on him with “we both played fast and loose…” but Dean cuts him off with “I might’ve lied but I never betrayed you. I never left you to die. And for what? A girl? You left me to die for a girl?” He’s got a point, Sam.
But then again, Dean never really gave a crap about Lisa or the Apple-Pie life. He only did it because it was Sam’s dying wish and the second he realized Sam was alive, he was back in the game. Dean is, and will always be, a hunter through and through.
Then we have an intense view of their brotherly love and affection as they beat the crap outta each other over Sam’s girlfriend, once again.
Finally, it’s Garth who comes to stand between them, talking Dean down. Dean is about to lower the gun, when Sam mentions Benny. God, Sam. Take a hint and shut up.
This gets Dean up in arms “Benny has been more of a brother to me this last year, than you’ve ever been. Cas let me down, you let me down. The only person who hasn’t let me down is Benny.”
Those are some serious low blows Dean’s dishing out right now. If this doesn’t open Sam’s eyes, nothing will.
Dean cocks the gun to shoot Sam but Garth steps up and punches him hard enough to knock the penny out of his hand. Wow! My respect for “The New Bobby” has increased tenfold.
With the penny melted and the spectre destroyed Dean bids farewell to Garth and returns Bobby’s hat to him, and gets a very awkward hug in return. Aww! Looks like Dean made a friend!
Meanwhile, Sam has yet another flashback about the Creepy Vet, where he confesses to her that he lost his brother and his whole world imploded. That’s why he is here living like a hermit and fixing things in the motel. He doesn’t pity her for her loss, because he knows what it feels like. They agree to start a new relationship based on mutual depression, drunkness and the dog.
You know what, I’m gonna stop complaining about Sam’s characterization this season. Even I know a lost cause when I see one. Farewell, the Sammy we loved.
Back in the present, Sam slams the hood of the Impala and starts yet another argument, starting with “for the record, her name is Amelia.” Wait! Does this mean we have to call her Amelia too?
Then he argues that he was truthful about not wanting to hunt and why didn’t he bother trying to find Dean (because it makes it less hurtful), but Dean was the one who lied and kept secrets from him.
Right… considering Sam never ever lied to Dean about anything and always respected their “brotherly bond”.
Then, Sam issues a warning? A threat? A declaration? “I might be that hunter that runs into Benny and ices him one day.”
And Dean has the determined “Dean Winchester” look on his face that still probably sends shivers down Michael and Lucifer’s spines. “We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.”
Whew! That was one intense episode. The case was too subtextual, eventually not even that, but the schism between the Winchesters just keeps growing and growing. Sam’s not-so-veiled threat against Benny and Dean’s determined expression at it… The fight in the motel room seemed like a little sneak peak of the inevitable blowout waiting to happen.
Those were my thoughts. What did you think of the episode? Tell us in the comments.