Not all monsters are born. Some are made. Actually, a decent amount can be made if you think about it — vampires, werewolves, etc. But regardless, this week introduces Sam and Dean to a new creature, and this one is particularly… gross.
We start in Polk City, Iowa, where two teens named Thomas and Barbara are enjoying a little makeout session in the back of a car when Thomas’ father, who also happens to be the sheriff, interrupts. When Barbara heads to the truly disgusting bathroom — honestly, why didn’t she turn around when she saw it? — to give Thomas a moment with his father, she’s followed by… something. All we really know about this monster at this point is that it’s very tall, it has tree-like hands, and it whistles. So it’s a MUCH scarier Groot.
Long story short, the monster pulls Barbara out into the woods, which is where Thomas finds her body. Meanwhile, Thomas’ father gets a very brief glimpse of the monster in question, though he tells his son that a coyote killed his girlfriend.
Back at the bunker, Sam finds the case online, and when he realizes that 54 people have gone missing from this same park, he and Dean prepare to hit the road. But Dean requests that Jack not come along. (Cas is out because he needed some air after being stuck in the bunker for weeks.) Jack just got his powers back, and considering that Jack’s powers have gotten them in trouble in the past, Dean would rather be sure that Jack’s okay before putting him back in the field and having him accidentally kill a security guard again.
But Dean doesn’t tell Jack that. Instead, he tells him they need him at the bunker in case any hunters call and need help. And while he’s there, Dean gives him a shopping list for his “restocking” mission. They need beer, toilet paper, eggs, and more beer. (And I’m assuming bacon.) Jack smiles and says he’ll take care of it, at which point the boys head to Iowa.
After the sheriff is reluctant to give them much other than “it was a coyote,” Sam and Dean check out the victim’s body. It’s there that they realize there are burns around the bite mark. What can do that? That answer is something I’m certainly not going to spell right. I think it’s a cohunta? Regardless, it’s some Native American legend, a monster that roams the woods driven to consume mortal flesh. They’re hungry monsters, and as for those burns, they’re known to spit up stomach bile because why not? Like I said, Groot this is not.
When a second hiker dies, the sheriff bans anyone from entering the woods, including Sam and Dean. But of course the boys ignore that warning — and the title of this episode — and head right in later that night. However, they don’t find the monster. Instead, they find the sheriff, who has some ‘splainin to do.
After Dean steals his gun — doesn’t he know never to pull a gun on a Winchester? — the sheriff confesses that he knows what they’re looking for. Years ago, the Parker family were the first white settlers around here. They built a cabin in these woods. But during one particularly harsh winter, the eldest son of the family, Henry, went crazy and ate his family. Mad with hunger, Henry then went after the Native American people, at which point the sheriff’s tribe caught him and, instead of killing him, decided to curse him. They turned him into the monster, plaguing him to roam the woods forever, starving. They bound the monster to the forest and marked the trees to keep people safe, but as time passed, people forgot… including the sheriff.
(Next: Jack makes some new friends)
Sam and Dean then tell the sheriff their story: They hunt monsters so they’re used to this kind of thing, but the sheriff can’t believe that Sam and Dean keep their knowledge to themselves. Why not get on YouTube and tell the world what they know so that everyone has a fighting chance?! Sam explains that even when people know how to fight, they still die. And speaking of people who might die, the sheriff gets a call from his son, Tom. It seems Tom is going coyote hunting, which means they need to find him before the monster does. And according to the sheriff, a silver knife through the heart will take this thing down.
Ultimately, the monster gets to Tom first, but the guys are right behind it. After a fight, it’s the sheriff who stabs it through the heart, at which point it melts into a puddle of… stomach bile? I’m going to pretend it’s green slime from the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards. Sam then tells the sheriff that he owes his son — who still thinks all of this was about a coyote — the truth, an idea Dean disagrees with. And that brings up Dean’s decision to lie to Jack about this entire trip, one Sam disagrees with.
Speaking of Jack, while the guys are off dealing with tree-like monsters, Jack hits the mini-mart, which is where he runs into Max, Stacy, and Eliot, otherwise known as the local teens we met in the 300th episode. Ever since meeting Sam and Dean, Eliot has become obsessed with the supernatural. His favorite show? Ghostfacers!! (Good choice, kid.)
While Stacy rings Jack up, Max asks if he ever hangs with people his own age, at which point he says, “Well I’m 2.” I love Jack so much. He corrects himself and ultimately decides he’s 22, but when he doesn’t have proper ID, Stacy refuses to sell him beer. (Also I’m not sure what the laws are in Kansas, but can someone under 18 sell beer?)
After Jack and Eliot bond over monsters, Stacy invites Jack to hang out with them the next day. Not only does our precious 2-year-old accept, but he shows up with books about monsters for Eliot. He’s already a thoughtful friend! But when Jack admits he’s killed a demon, they want to know more, which leads to Jack taking them outside and showing them his angel blade. Jack, loving the attention he’s getting, tries to prove how cool he is by throwing the blade into a tree, but he isn’t quite Keanu Reeves, so he misses the tree… more than once.
Fed up with missing, Jack decides to use his powers to move the blade. “Are you like a Jedi or something?” Eliot asks, to which Jack says, “kinda.” But when Jack lets them see his glowing eyes and starts throwing the blade all around, they get scared and ask him to stop. Jack assures them he has it under control, but when Stacy tries to run away, she runs right into the blade. Jack’s able to pull it out of her stomach and heal her, but his new friends are, well, no longer his friends. Even Eliot tells him to stay away.
Back at the bunker, Sam and Dean tell Jack the truth about why they wanted him to stay home, and he promises not to use his powers without permission. But when Sam asks him if anything happened while they were gone, he says no, which makes me think we’re headed in a “Jack goes bad” direction. (Although he’s not bad enough yet to lie about a fake ID, so there’s that.)
All in all, I thought this was a fine episode. It wasn’t anything particularly special, but it had some fun moments, and it moved the Jack story forward, which I feel will play a big part in the final episodes of the season.
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