Ever wonder what would happen if Supernatural did a crossover with the movie Pleasantville? You’re about to find out! Let’s jump right in!
Union of the Snake
After a rather gnarly opening, where a red shirt named Conrad leaves an idyllic town just to get his head literally exploded in a mini-mart, we head to the Bunker, where Jack is holding his snake (not a euphemism).
Cas comes in to talk to him, and they end up talking about the similarities between Jack and the snake—how they have both gone through so many changes in a small time and neither one of them can be truly okay. Also? Though Jack has his powers back, no one is sure how much of his soul it cost, and that may be a real problem.
I’m Gonna Need a Bigger Mouth
Dean is eating, and I must say—rarely have I been loved the way Dean Winchester loves him a huge sandwich. He and Cas talk Rowena, Jack and Sam, and how none of them are as “good” as they claim, while Sam has flashbacks to the alterna-verse hunters’ deaths in the war room. Sam clearly feels guilty about it—like he led them to it—and it’s not good at all for his state of mind. Maggie’s death seems to haunt him specifically, and I get why. Maggie was the kind of sweet girl he usually protects, and to feel he put her in the path of danger? That’s too much.
Sam wants to work a case (after three back to back hunts in a row) and Dean insists they need rest, which is a weird role reversal. Dean knows that Sam is trying to outrun his pain, and Cas seems to think Jack is too. Cas wants to go with Sam while Dean gets Jack to open up about his soul and where he’s at. Cas and Dean argue over their kid like a married couple, it’s gotta be said. Make of that what ye will, fanfic writers. (Side note? Gruff Cas, who finally figures out the saying, “sleep until the cows come home” is played perfectly by Misha Collins, who makes it just funny and kind of adorable enough.)
Sam (who is exhausted but feels the drive to work because “we don’t have as many hunters as we used to”) and Cas start their investigation at the mini-mart, and I love them to death even more because they use the aliases of the top two members of the band Boston (particularly Agent Delp, for Brad Delp, one of the single greatest singers of all time. RIP, Brad.) The mini-mart clerk leads them to the picturesque “Charming Acres”, a town straight out of the 50’s, if the 50’s were as perfect as we’ve all been led to believe. Cas and Sam kind of can’t believe their eyes, but Sam seems much more charmed by it. And I get it. When your world sucks, you want to go to another, where the sun always shines literally and figuratively. (Side note a deux: Cas admitting he reads the Saturday Evening Post in his little growl was again, quite adorable. Misha Collins was particularly on point this week.)
They chat up Justin and Cindy Smith, who seem straight out of Leave it to Beaver and get the tip to visit Harrington’s, the local soda shop where people love the milkshakes. But before Sam can go, Justin seems perplexed by and drawn to Sam’s cell phone. It’s strange, and Cas and Sam know it.
The milkshakes are indeed delicious, served up by a waitress named Sunny, and the first one is free (hmmmmmm…are they why everyone is so weird?) Sunny’s dad, Chip, is the mayor and tries to reassure them that while Charming Acres is old-fashioned, they take care of each other. Cas tells Chip that Conrad’s head exploded “like a ripe melon on the sun” and the whole place screeches to a halt. And I kind of love Cas this week more than I have in ages. Kudos, writers.
The guys go to Dowling’s, a boarding house, where Conrad lived, to sweep for sulfur, hex bags and the like. Sam seems ever more impressed with the town, and when Cas only finds love letters from Sunny to Conrad and nothing else witchy, Sam decides to spend the night, excited for the pot roast. Meanwhile, Justin Smith realizes he bought a cell phone once for his daughter and he’s been brainwashed. He tries to run away from the town but his head explodes like Conrad’s. And all the while, Cindy doesn’t even seem phased.
Food of the Gods
Dean suggests to Jack to try to feed the snake bacon, adorably because “I like bacon”, and Jack considers it. Seeing Dean’s reaction to snakes and mice and knowing that he’s such a badass but is creeped out by, essentially, pets is kind of hilarious.
Later, as they drive, Dean suggests Jack have a snack cake, anxiously awaiting whether he will choose Angel Food and Devil’s Food (Ha!). Dean awkwardly talks about the snake, trying to be cool, and fails, charmingly. When Jack chooses Angel Food Dean huffs out his breath, relieved, and the whole scene is the cutest.
Cas finds Sam has disappeared in the morning. He asks Mrs. Dowling about him, rolling his eyes a bit when she seems to swoon about how big Sam is (again, not a euphemism), and gets led back to Harrington’s, driving back there with a rather giant bird poop stain on his car (and I was wondering about that—how intentionaly it was—like is Cas the only one there who isn’t perfect now? Maybe I am reading too much into it…). Cas questions Sunny about the tall man, and finds out about Mr. Smith, which leads him to the Smith residence, and the perky, but very tense when you sit in her husband’s chair, Cindy Smith. He refers to Sam as the tall man, and then tells her Sam has beautiful hair, and THIS IS WHAT I’M SAYING. Cas tries to break it to Mrs. Smith that Justin died last night. But wait, no he hasn’t. Because the new Justin? Complete with dorky glasses and a dad cardigan? Is Sam.
Who is just as 50’s as the rest of the town, and creeping Castiel totally out. Sam makes a funny quip, causing Cindy to say, “Oh you!” and Sam to reply, a little swoonily, “Oh, you!” and Cas to blurt, “Oh no!” and I admit it, it made me chuckle. The whole scene was kind of hilarious (humor points for Sam’s pathetic “roar” to his “wife”).
Cas, now irritated, wants Sam to “snap the HELL out of it”, prompting Sam…er… Justin to tell him to watch his mouth and telling him that if Cas cannot remain civil he can skedaddle. He then escorts Cas out, commenting on his “H-E-double hockey sticks”, wagging his finger and telling Cas he should wash his mouth out with soap. Cas is befuddled and I am laughing, and they all did a great job with that scene. (Side note part four? HOW DOES SAM REMAIN SO HOT IN THOSE NERD CLOTHES? Swooooooooooon.)
Dean brings Jack to see Donatello, whose joke about his prostate makes Jensen Ackles deliver a perfectly enunciated “Wow”. Dean tells Jack he is worried about his dwindling soul and Donatello can help him, which he does by teaching Jack about what it’s like to not have a soul, while Dean squirms away from the snake.
Donatello tells Jack of his “What would Mr. Rogers do?” method of action, and since Jack says that Dean and Sam are the best men he knows, Jack should WWWD? (What Would the Winchesters Do?) I love Donatello and hope we get to see him more. I’m glad he didn’t die, because I find a soulless prophet truly intriguing.
Donatello tells Dean that he thinks Jack is okay, but since he is the most powerful being in the universe who can say? And Dean doesn’t look relieved at all. Even when sweet Jack waves to them with a lovely little smile.
Season of the Witch?
Cas confronts Sunny the server, who denies being a witch. When Cas threatens to rip the information from her mind with glowing eyes, she confesses it’s him—he’s out of control. And by him she means Chip, who has come with reinforcements (including “Justin”) to tell Cas that he is essentially a psychic with mass mind control powers who controls the town to “protect his home” and make people “happy”. Sunny is upset, says she is nothing like her father. Chip finds he can’t control non-human Cas, and sics the reinforcements on him and we finally get a Cas who can land a punch!!! Sam eventually steals Cas’ blade and overpowers him, while Sunny and Chip argue outside, and I have to say, the editing in this episode was masterful. With the reduced shooting schedule we get less of Jared and Jensen, but this episode was so well woven with the other cast members that it didn’t feel that way at all.
Anyway, Cas demands that Sam fight. “Why,” Sam asks, looking slightly crazy. “I’m happy…” And Cas tells him he knows he wants to be happy and he knows what it’s like to lose your army and fail as a leader (excellent writing there—incorporating Cas’ past to affect Sam’s future) but if he doesn’t fight he will be letting them all down, especially Jack—and Dean. And that stops Sam in his tracks. Sam’s love for Dean always does.
Sam and Cas run outside while Chip declares himself God to Sunny and Sam says, “No. You’re not. We met God.” And Cas adds, quite humorously, “God has a BEARD!” and I am laughing again. Chip tries to explode Sam’s head but Sunny stops him since she has powers of her own. She sets Chip up to be locked away in happiness in his own mind, and the idyllic nightmare that is Charming Acres appears to be over.
Home Sweet Home
Back at the Bunker, Jack and Dean talk about the visit. Jack found it “illuminating” and retreats to his room, making Dean shake his head. Sam and Cas come back, and Cas has ratted Sam out about everything, including the shameful cardigan, to Sam’s dismay. Cas leaves to check on Jack, and Sam and Dean have a broment where they discuss Sam’s faux happiness. Sam admits he hates the Bunker right now because of all of the bad memories, which is why he kept running them ragged. But the Bunker is their home, and he needs to stop running. He asks for time, and Dean says okay, clapping him on the shoulder, while Sam huffs out an exhausted breath.
Meanwhile, Jack talks to the snake, telling him he will help him be less sad by reuniting him with his friend. He will help him, because Sam and Dean help people. And how will he help? By sending the snake to Heaven, which he does by using his powers to turn the snake to dust. And as Castiel watches, worried, his face seems to resemble what we all feel—what exactly has Jack turned into? And do we need to be afraid?
That’s it for this week! See you next time for episode 16 of the season, the ominously titled “Don’t Go Into the Woods”.