Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for, it seems. Last week, I said that I hoped this rift between Sam and Dean wouldn’t last long. This week, their issues seem to get resolved quite tidily with a “monster of the week” story. While I’m glad that they were able to quickly get Sam and Dean to let it all out and move on, this was one of those episodes that seemed a bit too custom made for doing precisely that.
[Be warned, this recap contains spoilers]
So we begin with a seance gone horribly wrong. What starts out as a ritual full of over the top theatrics suddenly turns disturbingly real when the medium performing it is suddenly killed by her own ouija board. It’s certainly not the craziest death we’ve ever seen on this show, but it’s still pretty memorable.
We cut to Dean. It’s been a week and a half since Sam stormed off. Still unable to drive his Impala, he is reduced to stealing cars for transport. After breaking into a particularly ratty car, he turns on the radio to hear what may be the most insensitive morning DJ in the history of radio. He begins making jokes about how people in the town of Lily Dale, New York, well known as the most psychic town in America, have been dying one after another. Without any hesitation or sense of remorse for the tragedy, he makes the obvious “They should’ve seen it coming” joke. I haven’t listened to morning radio in years, but are the DJs really that cold and desperate for a cheap laugh? Anyway, Dean focuses on the fact that it’s a psychic town where people are mysteriously dying. This sounds like a job for Hunter Man!
Dean begins his normal routine of posing as an FBI agent and heading to what may be one of the strangest towns in the country. The streets are lined with psychic readers of every kind. Checking out the scene of the crime, he finds all the regular tricks that are used in a seance. So the lady who was killed was clearly not summoning a spirit herself. Taking a break at the most unflinchingly hippie restaurant ever, Dean finds Sam already there. Seems like he caught the Hunter Signal too. After a very awkward conversation, the two of them agree that, since they’re both in town, they might as well work this case together. They also agree to focus solely on the case and not talk about their deeper issues.
So far, there have been two deaths in Lily Dale, and Dean notices that the two victims have the same necklace. They track down the granddaughter of the woman who was most recently killed, since she is the one who would have received the necklace next. Her granddaughter, Melanie, no longer has the necklace. She sold everything she got from her grandmother to a local pawnbroker. She is not a big fan of the theatrical psychic racket, even though she was brought up in it and has all the skills of a mentalist. It’s not really psychic powers, just a talent for reading the subtle clues in behavior that indicate emotional states. With just a glance, she is able to read the issues between Sam and Dean pretty well.
After their meeting with Melanie, they head over to the pawnbroker who tells them that the necklace is a rare and expensive talisman of some kind. Using their badges to yoink the necklace for themselves, Sam quickly notices the “Made in Taiwan” label on it. It’s just another cheap piece of gimmickry. While this is happening, another psychic in town gets killed. Dean notices that the three victims are also the three headliners for the town’s upcoming ESP Festival. Coincidence? Not likely.
Dean gets a call from Melanie shortly thereafter. She just found a voice message from her grandmother from the day before she was killed, talking about how she just had a vision of her death. The first victim also claimed to have a vision of her death right before it happened. The best thing that Sam and Dean can think to do now is to start canvasing the town and seeing if anybody has had visions of their own death. As luck – or lack thereof – would have it, Melanie’s best friend Camille has a death vision. With even further luck, she happened to catch the incident on her own personal security camera. Framing through the footage, they see an image of a woman in Victorian garb approach Camille and put her hands on her head. Melanie seems to recognize her from a picture in the local museum.
After some searching at the museum, they find a picture of the woman from the security footage. It is a picture of her with her sister. The museum curator tells them that the picture is of Kate and Margaret Fox. Kate was known for foretelling people’s deaths, so they quickly deduce that this is the death-dealing ghost in town. He tells them that both sisters are buried in the local cemetery. This calls for some salting and burning of bones. As they leave, the curator takes Dean aside to tell him that he has a message from Ellen. She says that he has to start talking about his feelings and not bottling them up, or she will “kick his ass from beyond.” That’s our Ellen. Even in death, she can’t be stopped from lecturing the Winchesters.
Outside the museum, Dean finally has it out with Sam. He apologizes for killing Amy and lying about it, but also that what he did was the right thing. He put down a monster who killed four people. He simply did what Sam couldn’t, because he had feelings for her. The reason that he lied about it was because he was worried about Sam’s own mental stability regarding his Lucifer visions. He actually gives some very solid reasons for how he acted and puts Sam in his place pretty good. There is one problem, however: we haven’t seen Lucifer in weeks. As far as we’ve seen, he hasn’t reared his head since the Leviathan hospital. It doesn’t necessarily mean that Sam has it under control – he’s also very tight-lipped about what he was doing for the week and a half they were separated – but Sam is giving no indication that he’s on the edge of snapping.
So, it’s grave digging time. As they salt and burn Kate’s bones, Kate suddenly appears. She is desperate to stop them, not in a self-preservation sort of way, but in more of a “you don’t understand” sort of way. Still, they burn the bones and Kate goes up in smoke. They call up Melanie to let her know that Camille is safe. It seems like a closed case. But we all know it isn’t. As Sam and Dean leave, Camille’s death vision begins to come true. Melanie, witnessing this, calls up Sam and Dean in a panic. Sam tells her to get salt and iron to fend the ghost off. This is the ghost of Kate’s sister, Margaret. She seems to take a bit of pleasure in killing. Melanie does her best to fight her off, but Camille still ends up getting killed.
It turns out that Margaret is the real killer, and Kate has been giving visions as a warning. Back to the cemetery they go. Digging up Margaret, they discover that her bones are missing. This says to them that somebody has already taken them and is using some kind of binding spell to get Margaret to do their bidding. While the first three victims have the connection of being the headliners of the festival, Camille’s role is a bit undetermined. Melanie points out that she was just asked to be a replacement headliner for the festival. So somebody is clearly trying to get rid of the “top dogs” in town.
Sam goes back to the pawnbroker to see if he has sold any of the key items it would take to bind a ghost. The pawnbroker sends Sam to a house where he sold an alter that could do the job. Sam busts in to find a prenatal class going on. He realizes he is being led on a wild goose chase, and that it’s the pawnbroker himself who is doing this.
Dean, still with Melanie, learns that she is next in line to be a headliner for the festival. That means that Margaret will be coming for her. Dean sets up the standard precautionary measures: rock salt rifles, iron pokers and salt circles. The two of them hunker down and wait for Margaret to show up.
Heading back to the pawnbroker, Sam has his showdown. The pawnbroker gives a speech about how he is a true psychic, and how the real thing scares people. This is why he is reduced to this kind of job in Lily Dale. He claims to have a bond with Margaret because she is the same way. She was the true psychic, but because her gift was terrifying, her sister was the one who got the fame. After some scuffling and some psychic battery, Sam finally kills the pawnbroker and salts and burns Margaret’s bones. Luckily, he is able to do this before she kills Melanie.
So, with the case closed, it’s time for Sam and Dean to go their separate ways again. Sam, however, has decided to rejoin Dean. He understands why Dean did what he did, and had he not had feelings for Amy, he probably would have done the same thing himself. Sam wants Dean to be more open with what is bothering him, since he has been acting like somebody barely holding himself together for a while now. In a rare bit of straight honesty, Dean confesses that he’s had a hard time trusting anybody since Cas died, and that a lot of his behavior came from having to lie to Sam about what he did. With that, it seems like all is resolved, and the Winchesters can go back to fighting evil.
While I was impressed by how quickly they created and fixed the rift between Sam and Dean, there are still many things that are left hanging out there. For one, is Castiel really dead? I personally don’t believe he is. We never saw his body, and I think it’s pretty obvious that the producers would have to drag Misha Collins away from the show kicking and screaming if they were really going to permanently kill Cas. I know it’s only a matter of time before he shows up again, and his loss has been something of the elephant in the room this entire season. It’s never really been addressed, and this week is one of only a few times he’s even been mentioned since he died.
We have some interesting story threads this season, and I’m glad that they took an episode to resolve the one potentially annoying distraction. While this episode is certainly not going to stand out as anything particularly memorable, I appreciate the fact that the writers are not going to linger on some unspoken tension between Sam and Dean, and instead opted to get it all out and move on. Hopefully we’ll get some more meatier episodes in the coming weeks.
If you missed the previous episode, be sure to read our ‘Supernatural: Slash Fiction’ recap to catch up.