I need to warn you. I did not like this one. So if reading my recap is going to harsh your buzz, well. You've been warned.
But are there still pretty pictures?
Why, yes. Yes, there are. Because I still love you.
THEN: So many things! Casifer. Tiny Demon. Crowley. Nazi archaeologists and the Hand of God.
NOW: A low-rent, poorly attended wrestling match in Brimson, Missouri. Some guy named The Hangman almost kills another wrestler named Harley. Harley gets mad. Later, someone hangs The Hangman with his own rope. Irony or poetic justice? Discuss!
Swirly title card of Darkness!
Dean's in the library, surrounded by books. Sam walks in and starts to ask for something, but before he can even finish his sentence, Dean tosses him a bottle of painkillers. Whatever they did last night must have been painful. This is one of their awesome moves - he tosses it with his left hand and Sam catches it with his left, both of them barely looking.
Static screen caps really don't do this justice, but they're all I've got.
Sam's wearing a new brown v-neck t-shirt (or maybe it's faded black?) and his shirt is unbuttoned and they both look fantastic in the library light, as they always do, and this is good, right? This is going to be a good episode, right? (Spoiler alert: No.)
Look at his hair. Look at his unbuttoned shirt. How can something that starts out this good end so badly?
Dean has discovered that The Hangman died, and it turns out John used to take them to wrestling matches and The Hangman was his favorite, so Dean wants go to his funeral. Sam protests, because they've got a lot to do right now, but Dean says they've been working for a week and found nothing, and he's burned out and they need to get out and stretch their legs. Dean wins, as always.
Can't we just stay here and read and throw things to each other? Wouldn't that be a lot more entertaining? And pretty? (Spoiler alert: Yes, it would.)
Then we cut to Casifer, so let's get the B plot out of the way right now, shall we? It doesn't intersect with the Winchesters at all. Don't you love it when that happens, she said sarcastically. In Hell's topside field office, Casifer is whipping things into shape, and quoting a lot of movies (I remember Glengarry Glen Ross and I know there was another but I can't think of it and I don't care enough to revisit it). (Okay, it was The Fugitive.) I wonder if Lucifer has actually caught up on all the media he missed while he was locked in the cage, or if he's pulling that from Castiel's brain, where Metatron implanted all of those pop culture references. And Tiny Demon is with him! She's back! This has to be a good sign. This is going to be a good epsiode, right? (Spoiler alert: No.) Crowley's scrubbing the floor with a toothbrush but Casifer makes him use his tongue instead. Eeew. Tiny Demon seems disturbed by this. Later, when he's back in his cage under the stairs (Harry Potter reference, perhaps?) she breaks him out and tells him she's on his side. He's not sure, but he decides to believe her, apparently. On their way out they encounter a couple of demons and Crowley produces some kind of weapon and stabs them. Where'd he get that? He's Crowley, bitch.
He takes Tiny Demon to a storage facility where all of his goodies are stored, and there are probably some interesting props from previous episodes in here, but once again, I don't care enough to revisit it. What he came to collect is the staff of Aaron, brother of Moses (brothers!), which is another Hand of God. Then Casifer shows up, because Tiny Demon was actually working for him, and he's all, haha, double-crossed you, but when he goes to open the box to retrieve the staff, Crowley already has it, and he's all, that's what you think, but I double-crossed you, and then he absorbs the power from the staff and goes to smite Lucifer but Tiny Demon jumps in the way! Farewell, Tiny Demon! Then Crowley tries to smite Lucifer again but it turns out, just like the other Hand of God, that it can only be used once. So yeah, I guess my theory that the one in Dean's posession was still usable has been busted. Oh well. Next!
Back to the boys.
They attend the funeral, which is full of wrestlers, and Dean adorably fangirls all over Gunnar Freakin' Lawless, his favorite wrester when he was a kid. And this is interesting. Dean admits his first arrest for breaking & entering was when he was 10 years old (at which point Sam didn't even know Dean was out there B&Eing!) when he broke into a house to watch Lawless on PPV, and since Dean's a lot older than 20, that means this happened more than 10 years ago. He tells Lawless "you were robbed," and Lawless very dramatically agrees that he was. Far more dramatically than seems to be called for at this point. Ahem.
Sam's adorable freak-out happens when he spots Rio, the woman who runs the show, who had an on-stage role back in the day, not to mention a starring role in Sam's dreams. He gets flustered and is absolutely precious, and apologizes for looking like he's trying to pick her up at a funeral, and she's all, you weren't one of those guys who had my poster on the wall above his bed because that would be icky and seriously? This is what you say to a fan? No, it is not. Someone in Rio's position would have been THRILLED that anyone had her poster above his bed. She wouldn't mock him for it. So of course Sam denies it, and it's obvious he's lying, and I wonder how long poor little Sammy could have had anybody's poster above his bed, considering how often they moved. Anyway. Rio lets it slip that the Hangman actually committed suicide, and Sam's shocked that information wasn't in the obituary, and you know why it wasn't? Because it never is. The cause of death is rarely given in an obituary, and unless it's a major public figure or otherwise becomes a news story, it's not going to be mentioned in the news at all. Maybe they do things different in Canada.
Also, they're dressed as Hot Professor Sam and his Esteemed Colleague! That's a sign of a good episode, right? (Spoiler alert: Nope.)
OH HAI HOT PROFESSOR SAM I MISSED YOU.
I'm a little confused about the location. The Hangman died in Missouri, and wherever this funeral is, it's less than a day's drive from Lebanon, but I don't think they're in the same place where the previous match was. The brothers decide to go to the memorial match being held that evening. And I know a lot of you are going to love this, because they get so excited and there's some brotherly touching and all, but honestly, it did absolutely nothing for me. For some reason the wrestling just pulled me right out of the story. Their level of enthusiasm was just weird to me, and I can't even explain why.
Nope. They don't even look like Sam and Dean here. They look like Jared and Jensen.
A man and his son sit behind them, and the man is bragging on his awful parenting skills. And there's a wrestler named Hellraiser. Get it? It's funny, because Hell!! Ha! (sigh.) Dean's impressed when Rio waves at Sam, and hey, that was a little flirty! A girl is flirting with Sam! This means a good episode, right? (Spoiler alert: No.) But it allows Sam to tell Dean that she told him the wrestlers are only making $25 tonight (each, I assume) which leads to this exchange:
Can you imagine, town after town, putting your ass on the line for next to nothing? No money, no glory.
You realize you just literally described our jobs?
Interesting that Sam calls it their "jobs" instead of their "life." Also, I disagree with Dean - these wrestlers are not in a "no glory" situation. They do have a very enthusiastic audience.
Backstage, someone who looks like Tim Roth hands Gunnar Freakin' Lawless a very sinister slip of paper. And then there's more wrestling and I don't want to talk about it. And then the dad behind them goes outside to take a piss and gets whacked. Sam takes a picture of his body because, apparently, he goes up to the cops and says "Hey, you mind if I get a pic? And then talk to the victim's kid?" And apparently they say "Why not. You look like a decent guy. Go ahead."
Well, he DOES look like a decent guy, so...
(Yeah, I know he could have pulled an FBI ID out. But even then, it's not like the police are going to let him interfere just because he happens to be in the FBI. He's not on the case.)
(And Sam's pep talk to the kid ends with "try to keep your head up??")
(Also, I have obviously gone into bitch-eating-crackers mode as far as this episode is concerned, because that wouldn't have bothered me in any other episode. Sorry.)
Sam thinks the cuts on the dead dad look deliberate, maybe a witch's work, and he wants to go back to the hotel and look up the symbol cut into the guy's body. Dean stays behind and indulges in some wrestling roleplay and all right, I'll give you this: Dean rolling into the ring is pretty cool. When Rio comes around, he flashes his FBI badge and she tells him their tour seems to be "cursed," because there's been one other audience death.
Then he hits the bar with the wrestlers. He sits with Lawless and they compare scars and you know, Dean Winchester has to have some pretty good upper body scars. There's no reason he couldn't flash a little shoulder skin at the very least. But no. He shows us his leg. Whatever, Dean. The point of this scene is to show that Lawless is Dean - beat up, chewed up and spit out, but always going to get up and keep fighting. Thank God Sam calls and interrupts it. He tells Dean that someone has died at every show on this tour, and also he says something about the cuts on the guy's body that lead the brothers to determine there's a demon involved. I was too distracted by how animated his adorable face is when he's on the phone.
IT'S VERY DISTRACTING.
Dean decides he needs to check everyone on the tour to see who's a demon, and the only way to do that is by spiking their drinks with holy water. Too bad there's not an easier way to check. Like, maybe, a single word you could say, which demons would react to. That would be convenient, wouldn't it? By the time Sam shows up, the bar is empty except for a completely-wasted Dean, who says he managed to check everyone except Harley. You know, Harley from earlier? So he must be the demon, right? (Spoiler alert: I don't give a crap.)
The guys head for Harley's hotel room, with Dean suddenly completely sober, and find it's been trashed. So they sit in the trashed hotel room (as one does) while Sam hacks into the security camera footage, which shows Gunnar Freakin' Lawless shoving Harley into a van. Well, that's suspicious! They go back to the site of the wrestling match, and why they decide to do that, I don't remember and don't care. Well. Turns out Harley was tied to a chair and forced to listen to Lawless and Not!TimRoth, who is actually a demon, explain that Lawless sold his soul to win a belt (remember when he was unnecessarily dramatic about that thing that happened when Dean was 10?), but when his time was up, Not!TimRoth extended his deadline as long as he came up with new souls. Oh, okay. Now it makes sense. I thought the timeline was impossible because Lawless won that belt more like 20 years ago, but I guess he's been extending his pre-damnation for several years, not just the time he's been on this particular tour. (But that doesn't affect my feelings for this episode.) Not!TimRoth offers Harley the same deal, but Harley says that now that he knows demons and Hell are real, it also means Heaven must be real, so he's gonna pass on that offer. And I'm pretty sure Harley's supposed to represent one of the brothers - Sam, I guess, since Lawless is Dean (also, gunnar/gunner and lawless, get it, ha ha) - but I really can't work up enough give-a-crap to analyze it. So Not!TimRoth slices Harley's achilles tendon, allegedly ending his wrestling career. A pointless move, because then he tells Lawless to kill him, which also ends his wrestling career.
Sorry. I just needed a Hot Professor Sam break. (Not sorry.)
So when Sam and Dean show up, Harley's dead and Not!TimRoth flings them against the wall and then Lawless lunges at Dean and they end up in the next room. He ties Dean to a chair, because that what you do when you need to kill someone. Sure, he could just outright kill him, just shoot him in the head or cut his throat right now, but nobody does that. This way, he gets to tell Dean why he's going to kill him, and Dean gets to talk him out of it and figure out a plan (off-camera), and we get to see some more Lawless=Dean exposition, but again. Don't care.
Although I have to admit it's very pretty.
So here's the deal about professional wrestling, for those of you who aren't familiar with it. It's not really a sport, it's a show. The fights are scripted and choreographed, and the winner is pre-determined. It's a soap opera. So for Gunnar to sell his soul in order to win a title... it's like if young Jensen Ackles on Days of Our Lives sold his soul in order to have his character sleep with... whoever he ended up sleeping with. There are better ways to accomplish that, without damning yourself to Hell, is what I'm saying.
Meanwhile, Sam's on the receiving end of Not!TimRoth's villian monologue, and he's doing his "I'm about to get my throat cut" smirk. I swear, someday Sam Winchester's body is going to be found, lashed to a chair, throat cut open, with a permanent smirk. Boy's gonna die with his smirk on.
Or maybe he can't keep a straight face because this is all so ridiculous. I don't know.
Then Dean and Lawless kill the demon and save the day and the hellhounds are coming and Dean offers Lawless his gun, like it's going to do anything against hellhounds (Um, Dean? It doesn't. You of all people know this.) He refuses and says it's time to pay his debts and he's a bad man and blah blah blah he's just like Dean, we get it already, and the guys leave and the last we see of Lawless is the view from the HellhoundCam.
Then bunker and Cas and Dean's sure Cas wants to be rescued and Sam's not so sure and so that's going to be a Thing later.
I don't even want to talk about why I didn't like this one. I'm not sure I can explain it. I just sat there thinking about Faith for some reason, and thinking, "These people did Faith, for god's sake. And now they're giving us this crap."
And I was also thinking, about how the guys enjoy the scripted show that is wrestling... well, lord knows I enjoy a scripted show or two myself. Wouldn't it be fun to watch that with a bunch of drunk fans?
"Oh no! They forgot about 'christo' again! Dean's gonna have to get drunk! Don't do it, Dean!"
And I'm hearing we don't have another episode until March 23????? They're leaving me with this one until then??????
It concerns me too, Sam!
Anyway. That's what I think. What do you think? And as always, no spoilers in the comments, please.