The Mystery of the ‘Special Children’ Deepens in ‘Simon Said’ – Supernatural Rewatch

The fifth episode of Supernatural’s second season is a Ben Edlund episode, which means it has memorable characters (introducing the adorable Gabriel Tigerman as Andy), dark and disturbing themes, and some laugh out loud moments. Edlund was a perfect fit for Supernatural, because the show combines those kind of things seamlessly – something that not every show can manage.

The recap reminds us of Sam’s visions, and that the Yellow Eyed Demon said he had plans for “me and the children like me”. Sam worrying that he’s some kind of monster is a theme that runs throughout the entire series, and it’s prominent in this episode. Once again, we end with Sam’s question to Dean as they burn their father’s body.

Sam: Did he say anything to you?

Dean: No. Nothin’.

NOW

Close up of that distinctive clock tower that I think is in Delta, because we visited there on one of our Vancouver find-the-location trips. Creepy music plays while a man answers his cell phone, saying “yeah, all right.” He walks along, smiling, and enters a gun shop and asks to look at a gun. The store manager thinks he’s kidding, but shows him one. The guy – ‘Doc’ – proceeds to load it, all the while chuckling and saying not to worry, guns make him nervous.

Manager: No no, you can’t load a gun on the premises, it’s illegal!

Doc: No, it’s okay, it’s okay…

He shoots the man, then turns the gun on himself, still calmly saying “It’s all gonna be okay” as he blows his brains out. Blood splatters, then water’s running.

Sam splashes his face after the vision. Dean walks in on him impatiently, something that doubtless happens all the time.

Dean: C’mon Sam, zip it up.

He stops when he sees the look on Sam’s face.

The Impala zooms through the night as Dean tries to calm Sam down, telling him to chill out and think about this. Sam insists it’s a premonition and could be tied to the demon.

Dean: That’s my point. There will be hunters at the Roadhouse. Announcing you’re some supernatural freak with demonic connections…

Sam: So I’m a freak now?

Dean plays it off as a joke, not wanting to hurt Sam’s feelings or let him see just how worried Dean is after what John said to him.

Dean: You’ve always been a freak.

At the Roadhouse, Jo is winning at shooting games and hustling customers. The show was trying to set her up as competent and able to hold her own, still at least thinking about making Jo a romantic option for Dean.

Jo to Sam and Dean: Just can’t stay away, huh?

They both brush right past her to see Ash though.

The sign on the door announces that Dr. Badass is “IN’.  To the Winchesters’ surprise, he answers the door naked.

Ash: Sam? Dean? Sam and Dean…

Winchesters: Hey Ash…. We need your help.

Ash: Well then, guess I need my pants.

(If you’re curious, Chad Lindberg shares lots of behind the scenes details about this scene and his others on Supernatural in the chapter he write in ‘There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done’).

Sam and Dean ask him to search for demonic signs or omens by looking for house fires in 1983 in a kid’s nursery on their 6 month birthday.

Ash: Okay that’s just weird, man. Why?

Dean: Because there’s a PBR in it for you.

Ash: Gimme 5 minutes.

I love Chad Lindberg’s Ash, and Ben Edlund adds even more quirkiness to the character in this episode so I love him even more. Meanwhile, Jo puts a romantic song on the jukebox. It’s just her and Dean in the bar, as “I can’t fight this feeling any longer” plays.

Dean: REO Speedwagon?

She offers to help after overhearing their conversation with Ash, but Dean declines.

Dean: Besides, if I ran off with you, I think your mother might kill me.

Jo: You’re afraid of my mom?

Dean: (grinning nervously at Ellen across the bar) I think so.

That was one of those laugh out loud moments thanks to Alona Tal, Samantha Ferris and Jensen Ackles’ priceless delivery and facial expressions – especially of that last line.

As the Winchesters head out, however, Dean has REO Speedwagon on in the car and starts singing along. (We all know Ackles can sing like a rockstar, but Dean isn’t quite as good – though at this point in the series, he’s not nearly as bad at it as they eventually tried to make him)

Dean (singing): And I’m getting closer than I ever thought I might…

Sam: You’re kidding, right?

Dean: Can’t get this song outta my head, I don’t know, man…

They’re looking for Andrew Gallagher, whose mother died in a nursery fire at six months too. Sam insists that every vision he’s had has been another kid like him. He’s worried, and Dean’s trying hard not to be.

They ask around about Andy, and a woman who assumes Sam and Dean are debt collectors gives them the scoop on him.

Lady: They never get anything on Andy – and they never come back.

Hmmm.

She also tells them to look for a Barbarian Queen riding a polar bear – which they find on the side of a van.

Dean: I’m starting to like this dude – that van is sweet!

Sam glares at his brother, convinced that Andy is killing people.

Sam: This is the second guy we’ve found who’s killing people. And I’m one of them!

Dean: No, you’re not.

Sam: The demon said he had plans for me and children like me – maybe this is his plan. Maybe we’re all psychic freaks!

Dean whirls on him, angry and scared.

Dean: You’re not a murderer, Sam. You don’t have it in your bones.

Sam: No? Last I checked, I kill all kinds of things.

Dean: Those things are asking for it, there’s a difference.

He’s not wrong, but it’s also clear that he’s worried – about Sam. About what will happen to Sam because he’s ‘chosen’. And right now, Dean feels helpless to stop it.

Andy appears, sauntering down the street wearing a bathrobe, as a beautiful woman waves goodbye to him. Our first introduction to Andy makes him memorable – partly the way Edlund wrote him and the priceless costuming, and partly because Gabriel Tigerman is a great actor who makes us feel for Andy from that first moment. Even when we’re not so sure he’s not a manipulative asshole! He runs into a man carrying a cup of coffee and the guy hands the coffee over, then he shakes hands with the Doc who we saw in Sam’s vision.

Sam follows the Doc, determined to try to stop his premonition from coming true.

Weanwhile, Dean sticks with Andy and follows the van. Unfortunately, Andy is onto him and gets out, walking up to the Impala.

Dean has his gun at the ready as Andy approaches, which gives us this beautiful shot of Dean reaching for his gun, graceful fingers and that little beaded bracelet a contrast to just how lethal we know Dean Winchester can be.

Andy: Hey this is a cherry ride. A serious classic. Hey can I have it?

Dean: (without hesitation) Sure, man.

To every viewer’s absolute shock, Dean gets out and holds the door for Andy to get in.

Dean: There ya go, all right.

Andy drives away in Baby. WTF?

Gabriel Tigerman, who also has a chapter in ‘There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done’ about his time on Supernatural, has told the story of being so nervous about driving the Impala (Jensen’s car!) that he could only bring himself to go about 2 mph. Poor Gabe!

Meanwhile, the Doc’s cell phone rings and he answers. A bus passes by, just like in the premonition. Sam, still determined to intervene, runs into the gun store and rings the fire alarm so it has to close, and the Doc turns away. Sam has a moment of relief thinking he’s averted disaster – then sees Andy driving the Impala!

As Sam calls Dean, the Doc’s phone rings again, and he once again says “Yeah, all right.”

Dean tells Sam that Andy has the Impala. Why? Because he asked for it…

 

Dean: He full on Obi Wan’d me! It’s mind control, man!

And just at that moment, when we’re all distracted, the Doc walks in front of the bus and it runs him over. Splat.

Poor Sam.

The weight of not being able to prevent his premonition from coming true, and his sense of guilt about being one of these ‘special children’ weighs heavily on him. Sam sits on the ground and Dean touches his back protectively, trying to comfort him. There’s lots of meta out there about how the Winchesters use touch to ground each other, and this is one of those times.

Sam: I should’ve stayed with him…

Dean is increasingly worried about Sam – about what he might become, but even more, about what the guilt these premonitions leave behind is doing to his brother.

Andy, meanwhile, goes to the diner and tells the waitress we’ve met before that Dr. Jennings is dead, distraught about it. Another guy who works there tries to high five him, but Andy ignores him. The waitress holds his hands and says she misses him, and that some guys were there looking for him,  while the other guy stares ominously.

Dean finds the Impala, relieved that she’s okay.

Dean: Thank God! I’m sorry, Baby, I’ll never leave you again. At least he left the keys in it.

Sam and Dean try to figure out if it’s Andy doing the killing and how he’s doing it if so. They figure out that whoever is doing it has to use verbal commands, but Dean doesn’t think it’s Andy.

Sam: Dean, you had OJ convicted before he got out of his white Bronco, and you have doubts about this?

Dean: He doesn’t seem like the stone cold killer type. And OJ was guilty!

The brothers investigate by breaking into Andy’s van, and Dean’s eyes widen when they see what’s inside.

Dean: Oh. Oh come on, this is…this is magnificent, that’s what this is! Not exactly a serial killer’s lair tough, there’s no clown paintings on the walls or scissors stuck in victim’s photos. I like the tiger.

Sam picks up some of the books strewn around.

Sam: Hegel, Kant, Wittgenstein? That’s some pretty heavy reading, Dean.

Once again, Ben Edlund writing the most fascinating side characters. I wanted to know so much more about Andy Gallagher!

Dean (grinning): Yeah, and Moby Dick’s bong!

We get a little glimpse of everyday life for the Winchesters in this episode, which I am always grateful for. While Sam researches, Dean eats a foil wrapped burger, making a face.

Dean: One day I’d love to just sit down and eat something that I didn’t microwave in a mini mart.

The boys are still disagreeing about whether or not Andy is their killer.

Sam: How the hell would you know? I mean, why are you bending over backwards defending him?

Dean: Because you’re not right about him.

Sam: About Andy?

(The question hangs in the air, Sam asking if it’s really Sam’s own destiny that they’re disagreeing about).

At that moment Andy leans into the open car window.

Andy: Hey, you think I haven’t seen you two? Why are you following me?

Sam starts in on one of their typical cover stories, saying that they’re lawyers and a relative of Andy’s has passed away.

Andy: Tell the truth!

Dean: We hunt demons.

Andy: What?

Sam: (incredulous) Dean!

Dean: Demons and spirits, things your worst nightmares wouldn’t even touch. Sam here, he’s my brother…

Sam: Dean, shut up!

Dean: I’m trying!

But he can’t, babbling on while Sam looks stunned.

Dean: He’s psychic, kinda like you. Well not really like you, but see, he thinks you’re a murderer and he’s afraid that he’s gonna become one himself cause you’re all part of something that’s terrible and I hope to hell he’s wrong but I’m starting to get a little scared that he might be right.

Sam: —

Andy tells them to leave him alone and Dean agrees, holding his aching head as Andy walks away. But Sam, unaffected, jumps out of the car and follows. Andy orders him again to start driving and never stop, but Sam shakes his head.

Sam: Doesn’t seem to work on me, Andy.

Dean gets out of the car to help, but Sam motions for him to stay back.

Sam tells Andy what he knows, that his powers started a year ago, that he got better at controlling it. He says that the same thing happened to him, that his mother died in a fire and he has abilities too. Andy, freaked out, keeps telling Sam to get out of there.

Sam: Why did you tell the doctor to walk in front of a bus?

That shocks Andy, who protests that he didn’t kill the doc. Sam suddenly grabs his head in pain as he gets another vision. A woman who’s pumping gas gets a phone call, calmly says ‘sure, I can do that’, and then douses herself with gasoline and lights herself on fire, all the while reassuring a nearby concerned bystander that it’s all gonna be okay just like the doctor did.

For some reason, the violent scenes in this episode really got to me. This lady and the doc were such normal people, doing such normal things, that it made the sudden unexpected violence – that they inflicted on themselves – even more horrific. It was actually hard to watch this scene on rewatch, because I knew that it was going to be upsetting. Edlund is good at writing true horror.

As Sam endures the vision, Dean grabs him and holds him protectively, asking ‘what is it?’

Sam: A woman, burning alive. A gas station. She’s going to kill herself. Gets triggered by a call on her cell.

Andy: What does he mean, she’s going to?

Dean does not appreciate Andy’s interruption.

Sam doesn’t know when, and he still thinks it’s Andy doing it and that as long as they keep him in sight he can’t call her and it won’t happen.

Dean helps a shaken but determined Sam to his feet.

A fire engine drives past with its siren on and Sam motions to Dean to go, but stops Andy from going anywhere.

A few minutes later, Dean calls to say the woman is dead, burned up just like Sam said – but it happened a few minutes before he even got there. Dean points out that it can’t be Andy, it has to be someone else. Sam finally accepts that too.

Andy and Sam sit down to talk, sharing what happened to them both. Sam is relieved to believe Andy is not a killer, saying that means there’s hope for both of them.

The two bond a little, sharing the uncertainty of not knowing what’s happened to them – or why.

Dean joins them with more information about the woman who killed herself gleaned from Ash – she gave birth in 1983 the same day Andy was born.

Sam: Andy, were you adopted?

Andy: Well, yeah.

Dean: (exasperated) And you neglected to mention that?

Dean says he tried to get a copy of the birth records, but they’re in the county office – and sealed. Andy, whose power is mind control, brightens.

Andy: Well, screw that!

The get access to the records, Andy escorting the elderly security guard out with reassurance, and then adds in a Star Wars dramatic rendition, ‘These are not the droids you’re looking for.’

Dean grins, and so do we, because we’re learning he’s a fanboy too.

Dean: Awesome.

They find out that the woman who died was indeed Andy’s birth mother and that the Doc was her doctor, who also oversaw the adoption. They also find out that Andy is a twin.

Andy (shocked): I have an evil twin.

They print out a photo of Anson Weems, who lives in the same town. Andy looks even more shocked – it’s Weber.

They get in the car and head back to town, Andy in the back seat.

Cut to the other guy who works at the coffee shop where the young woman Andy likes works – also Weber. He’s asking her questions about her relationship with Andy, were they ever serious? Tracy says no, but Weber uses his own mind control power to get her to tell the truth.

Andy gives Sam and Dean the background – that Weber showed up eight months ago acting like he wanted to be Andy’s best friend, trying too hard.

Suddenly Sam yells in pain, having another vision. Tracy (wearing lingerie because – damn it, there is no reason!) climbs up on a ledge and looks distressed, then jumps.

Sam scrambles to try to get out of the car, yelling, and Dean stops the car, also yelling: Sam? Sam!

Sam tumbles out and Dean runs around to the passenger side and kneels beside a suffering Sam, holding him, and doing that thing the Winchesters will do for fifteen years whenever one of them is in trouble.

Dean: Hey, hey…

It makes me a lot more emotional now watching, because I can remember all the times they said that to each other, trying to reassure the other that it’s okay, that it’s not that bad – even when it was.

In reality, Sam’s premonition plays out with Weber driving onto a bridge with a distraught Tracy. He runs his hand up her thigh in the negligee she’s inexplicably wearing, saying he takes his ladies here and they like it.

Weber (creepily) Well, I mean, I like it so of course they do too.

He commands Tracy to stop crying and says he sees what she sees in Andy, but that he’s “my family, not yours. You can’t have him.” She unbuttons her blouse as Weber watches, and he tells her to do it slower and wow, this guy really is a creep. He eventually sends her to the edge of the bridge over the dam and tells her that she’s going to think she can fly and she’ll step right off. If she’s scared, she should tell herself, everything is okay.

The Impala makes her way through the fog in the night. Sam’s turn to be protective, telling Dean he should stay back.

Dean: No argument here, my head’s been screwed with enough for one day.

Andy insists on coming, saying it’s Tracy out there.

Sam eventually breaks the window and gets a gun on Weber.

Weber: You really don’t want to do this.

Sam backhands him, to Weber’s shock that his orders didn’t work on Sam.

Andy duct tapes Weber’s mouth so he can’t give Tracy commands, then kicks him in a rage. Sam tries to get him to stop, but Andy is furious and terrified for Tracy. Weber, however, can control Tracy even without vocal commands, and she picks up a big stick and knocks Sam out.

Andy (using the mind control voice) Tracy, stop! I said STOP IT!

She drops the stick and looks at both of them, terrified.

Andy and Weber fight, Weber telling him to back off or else Tracy is “gonna do a little flying”. Sure enough, she’s on the ledge. Andy backs off, saying okay, just don’t hurt her, and Weber says he didn’t mean for this to happen but couldn’t let Tracy come between them.

Andy: You’re insane. You learn you’ve got a twin, you call him, go out for a drink – you don’t start killing people!

Weber: I wanted to tell you, but he didn’t let me. He said I had to wait until the time…

Andy: Who?

Weber: The man with the yellow eyes. He came to me, in my dream, said I was special, that he’s got great plans for me. He’s the one who told me I had a brother.

Weber says he killed their birth mother and the doctor because they split the twins up, didn’t let them be together – that he has been alone this whole time. Clearly one twin had a lot better circumstances growing up than the other, so this is a bit of a  nature versus nurture experiment, cranked up to a million. I felt momentarily bad for Weber, the YED manipulating a person made vulnerable by trauma, and then remembered just how horrible he is.

Weber and Andy are a distorted mirror for Sam and Dean, Weber’s attempt at affectionate reassurance like a parody of how Dean has just been comforting Sam as Andy is appalled by his brother’s violent manipulation.

Sam still unconscious, Dean tries to save the day. He gets out a rifle and creeps to a hiding place to take a shot, but Weber turns in his direction.

Weber: I see you. Bye bye.

Dean turns the gun on himself, as Tracy watches.

BOOM, we hear a gunshot, and see Tracy’s shocked expression, and for a terrible few seconds we’re sure that Dean has done it.

But instead of Dean, it’s Weber who falls. Andy lowers the gun, looking like he’s barely holding it together.

When the police and ambulance come, though, Andy uses his mind control to tell them that Weber shot himself, and they all witnessed it, which they dutifully repeat.

A medic checks out Sam’s shoulder, Dean hovering protectively.  Tracy watches from another ambulance, but avoids looking at Andy.

Andy (sadly) She won’t even look at me. I never used my mind thing on her before last night. She’s scared of me now.

Sam gives Andy his cell number, saying he doesn’t have to be alone in this.

Dean: You be good, Andy. Or we’ll be back.

 

 

Sam: Looks like I was right, he’s a killer after all.

Dean: No, he’s a hero. He saved his girlfriend’s life, he saved my life. He’s not a foaming at the mouth psycho, he was pushed into that.

Sam points out that Weber was pushed too, in a way. So was Max Miller. So was Sam, by Jessica’s death. That in the right circumstances, everyone’s capable of murder.

Sam: Maybe that’s what the demon’s doing. Pushing us, finding ways to break us.

Dean protests that they don’t know what the demon wants, and tells Sam to quit worrying, but Sam doesn’t buy it.

Sam: You know, I heard you before, Dean, when Andy made you tell the truth. You’re just as scared of this as I am.

Dean calls a do over, claiming he was roofied.

Sam: What are you, seven?

As the boys prepare to head out, they get a call from Ellen, and head to the Roadhouse.

Ellen has figured out from Ash that Andy’s house burnt down on his six month birthday just like Mary Winchester, and that it was the demon both times.  She wants to know why.

Dean (trying to protect Sam): None of your business.

Ellen: You mind your tongue with me, boy. This isn’t just your war, this is war. Something big and bad’s coming and it’s coming fast. All we got is us, together. No secrets or half truths here.

Dean is still reluctant, but Sam tells her the truth about the other people out there, like Andy, like Sam. That he has premonitions, and that the demon said he had plans for people like them.

Ellen: These psychics, are they dangerous?

Dean: No, not all of them.

Sam: But some are. Some are very dangerous.

And they realize Anson Weems didn’t fit the pattern with the fire, so they don’t necessarily know how many are out there. Ellen tells Jo to break out the whiskey, and Soundgarden starts to play. “Been a long, black days…”

Dean still looks like he wants to kill someone, possibly Ellen for being a threat to Sam or possibly Sam for insisting on telling the truth.

It struck me doing the rewatch that this is only five episodes into Season 2 and already the tension and sense of foreboding is off the freaking charts! That season, which may be my favorite of all fifteen, amped up that suspense from the season premiere and kept it going all the way through the season finale, which really is no mean feat.

The other interesting thing about this episode is that, as always, Andy and Weber are also fractured parallels of Sam and Dean. Weber wants to be close with his brother desperately, something that Sam and Dean also want and are struggling with. But he lets that desperation take him down a very dark road, becoming the kind of monster that Sam is fighting hard not to be and that Dean is determined not to let him. Andy and Weber were torn apart after they were born and didn’t get to grow up together like Sam and Dean, and that has made all the difference. Andy essentially did what John Winchester told Dean he might have to do – if he couldn’t save his brother, he’d have to kill him. But while Andy was able to do that, the bond between him and his brother nothing like the bond between Sam and Dean, we already know that Dean will not. Not ever.

Congrats Ben Edlund on an amazing episode. Everyone brought their A game – Gabe Tigerman, Chad Lindberg, Samantha Ferris and Alona Tal especially. And a shout out to Elias Toufexis, who I never got to know on the Supernatural con circuit, but who makes Weber truly creepy and scary in this episode.

From this episode on, I was watching the show as a passionate fan, and I remember being on the edge of my seat when this episode ended. What the hell is going to happen???! What more can you ask of a little show?

Beautiful screencaps by spndeangirl.

— Lynn

You can read Chad and Gabe’s chapters in

There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done, along

with chapters by Jared, Jensen and many

more. Links on this page or at:

 

4 thoughts on “The Mystery of the ‘Special Children’ Deepens in ‘Simon Said’ – Supernatural Rewatch

  • A great episode and so well cast( fruit basket again time!) Even the support characters were so strong.
    It was role reversal time from last episode, Sam is now the brother who is fretful, afraid of being a freak, stumbling under the weight of his fear. Dean is the brother in support role, playing advocate for Andy, as Sam did for Lenore.The brothers act as some sort of cosmic balance, even this early on. Sam champions the good monsters, Dean champions the good humans especially those unfortunately afflicted like Sam and Andy. Both believe good is possible, even in the face of the horror of their lives they continue to champion their causes to the end which mostly keeps their universe spinning.
    Poor harmless Andy deserved better, he was a man of modest dreams, in many ways like Dean, just wanted to live his life, have some fun and was happy with just the basics. Unfortunately his life was left in tatters after these events and it really didn’t get any better for him. It’s one of the episodes that demonstrates how important Dean and Sam’s chosen path was, but also makes you wonder about those left behind, how they dealt with the fallout?
    The whole mind control storyline was very disturbing, anyone could be the victim or the villain. First viewing made my blood freeze when Dean puts the gun to his chin and the episode is a chilling foreshadowing of what comes to pass at the end of the season when one brother dies and one brother is left behind, pushed beyond endurance by the loss, unable to carry on.

  • I’ve wondered about the demon’s bloods effects on the “special” children and whether it created or enhanced a darkness in them. Max, Anson, and Sam had an anger inside them that eventually showed one way or another. Andy may have had it but he enjoyed his .. medication and it mellowed him. A demon is basically anger, pain and hate personified so wouldn’t it appear in the children?

    Deans’ fear about his brother is becoming more evident (although this could be hindsight because I know what John told Dean) and as he watches Sam, he’s obviously worrying more and more and stressing about what might happen. Telling Ellen and Jo about Sam means more people know and I doubt he’s comfortable with that.

    Definitely a great episode and as it links more special children you know things are amping up.

    • That’s a very good point Kelly, perhaps becoming demonic is simply embracing your inner darkness, whatever that may be and doing things that strip away the best parts of you, a process we saw both Sam and Dean go through. Maybe that’s what Ruby really meant when she said Sam didn’t need the feather to fly, that his inner torment arising from the dark parts his own life and emotional damage was enough to fuel his downfall, having chosen to embrace his pain.

  • This episode did a great job of delving into more of the special children. I liked that we saw Andy was good and that his powers hadn’t corrupted him. It gives hope that Sam and anyone else like him isn’t destined to go dark side. I also liked that we saw Dean struggling with his concern about Sam’s powers. He’s trying to keep things light for Sam’s sake but he’s worried about his brother.

    Dean being compelled to tell the truth was funny and cute. Jared did a great job with this episode. I remember him saying that he was hopped up on painkillers for his wrist so he doesn’t remember much about filming this episode.

    This was a strong episode. I gave it an 11 out of 22 for the season. I have it ranked behind “Bloodlust” and ahead of “Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things.”

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