Usual rules apply: I've seen the episode once, took crappy notes, and we're keeping things fun and positive (as much as humanly possible!) Also, I've been drinking (mildly).
So, first off my friend reminds me of the parable/fable of the Scorpion and the Frog - shortversion - Scorpion asks Frog to swim him across the water. Frog is like "dude, you'll just sting and kill me." Scorpion is like "why would I do that, I'd die too?" And the Frog is like, fair point, let's give it ago... then halfway across the water, the Scorpion stings the front. "Why?!" Frog exclaims. "It's my nature," Scorpion responds, and they both die in a fit of cynical determinism.
Keep that in mind, because I'm going to talk to about it.
We begin in Cambrige, England...which is actually just that old bank downtown that is essentially a rotating film set for every production in town, and SPN twice on Thursdays. You'll recognize it by it's fancy ceiling and 1920s(?) architecture.
We see a demon stealing things. Then when they go to drop off the goods, the person who picks them up ANGEL BLADES the demon to death and then calls Dean.
Sidenote: Why does everyone have angel blades now. I liked it better when they were a rarity. Not helped by a few fics I've read recently (went on a SMALL Destiel binge the other week for kicks) where a lot more thought was put into the mythology of their origin - and I liked that version.
ANYWAY... we then see Sam and Dean's side of things. Dean is wearing his Bisexual Plaid and Sam is in a spiffy new shirt that's also plaid (or an old shirt that I've forgotten about.)
We get Dean's side of the call, which he takes on speaker - with a demon offering him a deal. And says to meet him in a cafe to discuss. Question: If he actually said the name of the town that the cafe was in PLEASE LET ME KNOW. Otherwise, I'm going to assume that the demons know the Winchesters are somewhere in Lebanon and so they met nearby. They didn't change shirts, to this is feasible and makes the most sense. Also, it tells us that there's a "Smile Diner" in Lebanon, just in case anyone wants to write extremely canon-accurate fic.
Where was I? We hear about the offer. I am momentarily distracted by the fact that the demon appears to be wearing pajama pants. Friend points out that it's probably a plaid suit - so plaid suit pants - this is later proven to be correct. I'd have preferred the pajama pants, because that's hilarious with the formal button down and fine wool coat.
The demon, who we shall call Bart, because his name is Barthimus or something, offers them a Nephilim tracking spell in exchange for their help with something - if they'd like to know more, they have to meet him later someplace else. Also, he orders Dean pie, which Dean does not eat in front of him, but DOES eat once he leaves.
Sam checks out the spell back at the bunker. It's in Caananite and is apparently legit, if they had the second page they could use it. Dean doesn't think they should work with a demon, because it always bites them in the ass (the Scorpion) but Sam argues that Jack is alone and scared and dangerous, and they need to find him. So, Dean is like, okay - let's do it.
And off they go.
They meet the demon and his two buddies in a factory/warehouse type place - and it's a little take-off of Baby Driver. With the two lackeys using the code names Smash and Grab. It becomes apparent that Bart wants to use them to pull of a heist.
The reason he needs Sam and Dean is because the vault room is only opened by the blood of a man who has been to hell and back. The weird thing here is that he KIND of singles out Dean to do this job (so does the show) and they include a flashback of Dean in hell to jog everyone's S3 memories. BUT, uh, Sam has actually been to hell too... technically more times than Dean has. Dean has been twice. Sam has been three times, if you include the Cage as the final "circle" of Hell, which was Sera Gamble's headcanon for it. But, if the cage is outside of hell, then I guess Dean has technically been to hell LONGEST.
We find out that the mark is a man named Luther Strike who has been to Hell too. And that Bart is doing this because he doesn't trust Asmodeus and would prefer Sam and Dean find the Nephilim before he does (or so he says.) I think it's just about leverage.
Sam and Dean retreat to discuss. Dean doesn't trust Bart. Sam doesn't either and offers that they work for him, get the spell, and then kill him. Dean agrees and they're off!
We then find out that Strike knows that they're coming.
Sam shows up in the Impala with Dean and the girl (I forget which one is Smash and which is Grab, so I will call her Allison) in the backseat under a blanket. Then they spill out part way up the drive, and Sam's parting words to Dean are "Dean - don't get dead." Which I love.
Meanwhile, I'm wondering how a guy supposedly as connected and in the know as Luther Strike would not know what the Winchesters look like - but then, the SPN universe has a funny thing with people not knowing what the Winchesters look like even though they've been on several criminal watch lists.
Dean bonds with Allison over their love for a "Jolt" type of drink called Nerve Damage that isn't sold anymore. Allison gives him one, Dean drinks it in a fit of nostalgia...
And now I want to talk about the fact that this episode has Dean eating pie offered by a demon and a drink (albeit it previously sealed) given to him by a girl he hardly knows... and yet, it doesn't mean anything... it's sort of just, things that happen to happen, and have no real meaning attached to them. Which is fine, it just seemed...fillery and slightly odd. But, I guess they needed someway for Dean and Allison to at least MARGINALLY bond over something?
Anyway, the demon half of that duo turns Dean into a human compass in order to find the vault room.
Meanwhile, Sam chats up Strike about his collection. Strike goes to show him a Basilisk fang, and Sam corrects him - it's from a Gorgon, Basilik fangs are hollow. Sam it seems is distracting the dude by selling him the demon killing knife. I actually paused the show and looked up the SuperWiki because I'd forgotten they still had that thing. Then Strike attacks Sam, because he knows he's a distraction. Sam straight up tries to kill him in defense, which I find a little extreme - and then learns that Strike can't die as long as he's on his own property.
Strike then knocks Sam out.
After much psyching-up, Dean sticks his hand in the vault-room door and gets his finger pricked. I DID like Dean's rant about how there might be spiders in there, or snakes...or spiders. Because I too do not like sticking my hand into dark places, for fear of spiders. ANYWAY, once they get in, they discover that the floor is boobytrapped.
Meanwhile, Strike kills the demon waiting for them outside and enters the vault room. Allison runs away, but is intercepted by Bart at the gates of the property - apparently she's not allowed to rescind on their deal or do another job instead of this one.
Sam comes in just in time to tell Dean that Strike is immortal, and Dean knocks him out instead of trying to kill him.
Sam and Dean then have a weird conversation about the movie Entrapment. Which, Sam watched because Catherine Zeta Jones was in it? Unless I miss remembered that...anyway, weird times. Then Sam gets the idea to use Strike to set off all the boobytraps so that they can just waltz in after him. Personally, I would have run in at his heels - they wait far too long - because you don't know how quick those boar heads are going to reload.
Allison comes back in to crack the safe. The Winchesters offer to help her get out of her deal, but she says she can look out for herself.
When they get what they came for and leave the room, Strike is missing. They find him waiting for them on the road in a red truck - THEN we get a LITTLE bit of Baby Driver, as they speed backwards to try to get away from him, Dean pulls a parking-brake turn (that's the way I learned to make turns like that anyway) and Sam shoots out the passenger window in order to get Strike to stop pursuing them, and get out of his truck to talk.
They find out that Strike is mad at Bart because he sold his soul to save his son, but then his son died anyway a few years later - he considered the deal reneged, Bart didn't and dragged him to hell - but in hell, Strike was able to bargain himself a new deal because he had Bart's bones. He tells Sam and Dean they're on the wrong side of things, but before he can say any more, Bart shows up to cut off his head - because he is, in fact, outside his property. WHY he decided to confront them on the road, I don't know, seems dumb to leave the property when you're immortal ON IT and not OFF IT.
But, that's neither here nor there. Bart offers them the spell, but Sam and Dean realize that their morality won't let them follow through on the deal. (Spoiler, they were the Scorpions the whole time!) Bart briefly takes Allison hostage to force the exchange, and it appears to work, but Dean manages to put his zippo lighter on top of the bones so that Allison sees it when she's released and is told to bring Bart the bones. She lights the Bones on fire and Bart dies. The spell lighting on fire with him.
Sam rushes forward (too late) to grab the spell (really, he should have done that sooner) and then he nonsensically tries to blow on it to put it out. In my notes, I have "Do you not know how to put out fire?" and outloud I said the same, followed by "YOU'RE AN ARSONIST FOR CHRIST SAKE!" But no, Sam apparently only knows how to start fires, which explains why the spell burns up completely.
Then we close the episode with a chat between Sam and Dean, where they confirm that they're back to square one, but they still have their morals. And Dean assures Sam that it's okay, they'll figure it out - and in the meantimes they'll do their jobs. And Sam is all pleased that Dean's not horribly depressed and hopeless anymore. THE END.
So, all in all, I'm mostly just thankful that this episode didn't piss me off to no end like last week's did. And, besides the THEN portion at the beginning, it didn't rub the horrible mistakes of last week in my face too much. Over all though, I'd say that the episode needed a little bit of a smarter execution - quicker reactions and not as much padding. My friend found it to be underwhelming filler.
I did like the cleverness of the title though, and the expectation that the demon would be the scorpion when in reality is was the humans. It's also cool that it fits with the theme they're exploring with Jack (and previously explored with Sam) - what makes something evil? Is it inherent nature or is it something created? Can you break free from your determined path or are you doomed to it? Anyway, yeah, I thought it was a fun and more subtle way to weave in the theme, and I liked that it was turned on its head in the end and the Scorpion was actually the good guys the whole time.
Next week we're up to the mid-season finale already! Which means it's our lead-up into the Wayward Sister's episode - the preview definitely doesn't make it LOOK like that, so I'm confused, but hopefully it'll all become clear next week...or my intel is wrong, and 10 isn't the Wayward pilot.
ETA: I really hope they went back and looted Strike's house!
As per usual, let me know what you thought in comments, but obey the positive/negative rule.
This entry was originally posted at https://hells-half-acre.dreamwidth.org/546992.html.