The fourth episode of Supernatural Season 3 is one that I sometimes forget about, but it’s actually very interesting not only in how it moves the main plot forward, but also in how it moves the evolution of Sam and Dean’s (and the show’s) understanding of “monsters” forward too. Plus it’s a beautiful episode, with director Charles Beeson and DP Serge Ladouceur creating some gorgeous scenes. The show was still quite dark in this season, though it was transitioning, so I relish all the episodes that still retained that early season darkness, both literally and metaphorically.
This is one of the episodes co-written by Bob Singer, along with Jeremy Carver, two eventual showrunners themselves. The script is punctuated with all kinds of pop culture references, from the title referring to a comic, film and AC/DC song and nods to everything from Donnie Brasco to Psycho, Dick Cheney to Margaritaville.
The “THEN” reminds us of the Yellow Eyed Demon’s provocative question to Dean: How certain are you that what you brought back is 100% pure Sam?
It’s a theme that was so intriguing and I was hoping they’d make more of, but Season 3 is the season that was cut short by the writer’s strike and changed course in multiple ways, so nothing ever really came of that question unless you want to look at it as foreshadowing of Sam eventually losing his soul. We’re also reminded of the Colt that can kill anything, and Ruby’s manipulation of Sam with the promise that she can help him save his brother, the only thing Sam cares about right now.
The opening scene is beautiful and disturbing, a church lit by candles that suddenly flicker as a wind blows through. A parishioner in the choir loft insists that God isn’t with them anymore as a nun and priest look up – to see the man pull a gun and shoot himself, collapsing.
The nun screams bloody murder, and we get the title card in a perfect juxtaposition.
Cut to Bobby working on the Colt, Dean making bullets. It’s incongruously beautiful, as Supernatural often is even when it’s violent and dark.
Sam tells them he might have found some omens in Ohio.
Dean: Well that’s thrilling…
Sam goes on about the guy blowing his head off in a church and another guy going postal in a hobby shop. Dean’s still not entirely convinced and not very excited about going to Ohio.
Dean (hopefully): There’s gotta be a demon or two in South Beach…
Sam: Sorry, Hef, maybe next time.
Sam calling Dean Hugh Hefner, the infamous Playboy mansion owner, is kinda adorable. I bet Dean loved it.
He asks Bobby how it’s going with the Colt, and Bobby admits it’s going slowly.
Dean: I tell you, it’s a little sad seeing the Colt like that.
Bobby: The only thing it’s good for now is figuring out what makes it tick.
Sam: So what makes it tick?
Dean (taking his cue from Sam): So if we wanna go check out these omens in Ohio, you think you can have that thing ready by this afternoon?
Sam laughs, while Bobby….does not.