Sam's trip down memory lane is an unpleasant one in "Unforgiven"

By Sandra Gonzalez
March 31, 2015 at 04:15 PM EDT
Michael Muller/ The CW
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I’m pretty sure that the end of last night’s Supernatural made me pass out in fear. All I know is that after it ended, I hit Twitter to express my complete and utter sadness that Sam appears to be gnawing at his memory wall faster than we anticipated, and then I woke up three hours later exactly where I had been sitting when I tweeted with the same ugly pit in my stomach. Ugh. This show!

The good news is that I’ve recovered enough now to rewind and recap how we got to last night’s big, scary moment:

Last night’s episode was not a normal Supernatural episode by any means. Much of the story was actually told via flashbacks to Sam’s robo months when he was hunting with Grandpa Samuel. But in order for Sam to remember those days, he had to scratch at the wall in his mind that was put their to protect him from his memories of hell — you know, the ones that will likely turn him into a “drooling mess” if he ever remembers fully. (Sigh of fear.) We actually kicked off the episode with one of said flashbacks.

In it, Sam and Samuel were shown one year prior working a case. Sam was shooting unidentified objects off camera, and Samuel had a look of concern on his face. (At which point we were all probably thinking the same thing, ‘Yeah, that’s definitely a great sign.’) As they fled the scene of this apparent crime, a local policeman caught up with them, and upon seeing Sam’s shirt covered in blood, threatened to arrest them. Not liking that idea, robo-Sam beat his face in. Again, Gramps, who I’d personally always pegged as a pretty violent guy, chastised Sam for his reaction. “You think there are maybe calmer ways we could have done all that?” he said. Sam didn’t care, and they drove off, leaving the cop on the ground beaten (and me horrified).

When we returned to present day, the now-more-innocent-faced, normal Sam was watching bad TV in a cruddy hotel room when Dean walked in with fast food. (Ah, it’s these familiar sights that make me want to wrap my arms around our recently re-souled Winchester and never let him go. I especially felt this way during this episode because the contrast between the two versions of the character was presented to us so clearly.) Just as they were talking about how quiet it had been lately (jinx), Sam received a mysterious text message with coordinates that led to a town where some girls had gone missing recently. Before you ask, no, it wasn’t John Winchester sending the messages — although how cool would THAT have been? Sam was unable to ID the source, and Dean became suspicious of the origin of the information, even urging Sam to forget about it. But Sam (using his younger brother powers) convinced him that it was worth checking out, and Dean agreeed, with the coda that if things happened to get “squirrely” (new Dean-ism?) they’d bow out.

NEXT: Locked up again, naturally

While dining at a pirate-themed restaurant in town, Sam was approached by a familiar face. Well, she recognized him, at least. She had met him while he had been traveling with Samuel. And by “met,” I mean sexed up, which is apparently all robo-Sam did when he wasn’t hunting. (Here’s hoping for Sam’s sake there’s some clause in the no-soul contract that makes you immune to STDs. Herpexia, anyone?)

Even though Sam didn’t recall her face, he figured out that he had, indeed, visited the town before after she greeted him as “agent.” Dean confirmed this after spotting Sam in the background of one of the tacky patron photos that themed restaurants always have up on the wall. I have to admit, though, I was a little sad that the picture Dean spotted Sam in wasn’t of Sam with a plastic bib eating one of the giant, 72 oz. steaks; that would have been hilarious.

Upon realizing Sam had been in the town before — and he had probably not been in his right mind when he was — Dean wanted to leave town post haste. Sam, not so much. He knew he’d made a mess in the town and wanted a chance to make it all right. I loved the little brotherly argument that took place here — especially when they brought up their dad. (It could just be that these photos have me thinking that we’re severely overdue for a visit from John Winchester, but I felt as thought little parts of him were all over this episode. Agree?) Dean had Sam’s best interest in mind, but as usual, his efforts to make Sam see his point of view were moot once they came face-to-face with Sam’s sincere, heartfelt pleas for a chance to redeem himself. Dean, you sexy softy.

While Dean went off to investigate the missing girls, Sam took the opportunity to do some probing of his own. Not long after, he came face-to-face with the policeman we’d seen him assault in the beginning of the episode, and he as cuffs were slapped on him, he probably realized that it hadn’t been the best move sticking around after all.

Once locked up — which seems to be how we generally find Sam these days — he was greeted by the wife of a sheriff he had befriended last time they were in town. Although she wasn’t feeling friendly any more.

It turned out that she had last seen her husband when she sent him off with Sam and Samuel on a recon mission — a mission that went terribly wrong because he never came home. (Later, we saw why in one of the more upsetting scenes we’d seen of robo-Sam.) But meanwhile, Sam simply used his more-intact-than-ever Sammy charms (for the second or third time in the episode!) and convinced her to help him break out so he could find answers for them both.

Now a fugitive — again — Sam set out to find more info but soon learned that another girl had gone missing. Another girl he’d slept with. So Dean went to go investigate for Sam but before he left, he begged him to say inside. Again, another great brotherly interaction in this episode, especially when Sam used his whiny younger brother voice to say, “Fine; go.” Anyone with younger siblings knows the tone — well played, Padalecki.

Sam being Sam, he left the safe-ish confines of their accommodations anyway and ended up paying the price. While doing his investigation, Dean realized that this was a trap for Sam but failed in his attempts to reach Sam, who had gone to visit the sheriff’s wife. Luckily Dean tracked him there before he could get attacked (the spider-like creature they were hunting had been watching). But once he got him back to homebase (it didn’t look like a hotel they were staying in…) he begged Sam to consider leaving again. “I got a freaking soul now, and it won’t just let me walk away. I’m staying here, and I need you to back me up,” Sam said. Dean scoffed — as if saying that since Sam wouldn’t budge, he had no choice but to stay. So he relented.

While setting up their huge wall of info, Sam flashed back again and suddenly remembered everything that had happened. And it wasn’t pretty.

NEXT: Oh, Sammy

He and Samuel had indeed taken the woman’s husband/the town’s sheriff, Roy, with them to stop the monster (an arachne). But they had used him as bait to draw the monster out of hiding without telling Roy that’d be his purpose. This was beyond bothersome — Samuel perfectly described the moment by telling robo-Sam, “My God son, you’re as cold as they come.” Then it got even worse at the arachne’s lair, where the hunting duo found her stash of victims. They’d all been bitten and were wrapped up in spider web, slowly dying. After a fight with the spider woman, Samuel said they had to get Roy to the hospital…Sam disagreed. “They’re just dead men walking,” Sam said after assessing the victims’ injuries. “I say we put them out of their misery.” And he did.

After a strange phone call to the sheriff’s wife, Sam and Dean headed there, worried she was in danger. Of course she was. Roy and the others had, as it turned out, been turned into arachnes — not simply bitten — when the female arachne captured them. So Sam’s kill shots and fire had only sent them running…not killed them. Roy had been the one to draw Sam back to town in hopes of getting revenge, which he didn’t end up getting because Sam cut his head off.

The boys returned to HQ and started packing, with Dean attempting an “It wasn’t you” pep talk, but Sam wouldn’t hear it. And after a light moment (see quotables), we appeared to be done. Then we heard a sickening thud; Sam was on the ground — convulsing. As Dean ran over, he stopped, but not before the camera panned into the younger man’s eye, and we got a look inside his head (or was it hell?), where he was on fire, burning and screaming.

Terrifing, readers, Simply terrifying.

The good news (and the only comfort I’m grasping to) is that Sam appeared okay in next week’s preview. But this is, sadly, only the beginning.

So upsetting! Let’s cheer up with questions:

Was anyone else amused by how interested Dean was in the photos at the pirate restaurant — even before he spotted Sam in one? What’s with the abundance of Memento and poop references? Was the girl in the photo Jared’s wife, Genevieve Cortese, or is it just that all girls on this show look like her these days? And do you wish that, like the arachne, you could see hot boys in multiple views?

More seriously, did you love the brother moments in tonight’s episode? Did robo-Sam’s cold claim that, “Family just slows you down” sting a little? Were you as in love with the perfectly filmed flashback scenes as I was? And what did you think of the episode?

QUOTEABLES

Sam: “So Mel Gibson really took a turn this year, huh?”

Dean: “Or he’s possessed. Think about it.”

“Sex rehab. You’ve heard of plushies, right? [Shudders]” — Dean

“What was that? She just cougar eyed you.” — Dean

“Man, you are as dumb as a sack of hair” — policeman

Dean: “I hate to say I told ya so.”

Sam: “[Scoff] you love to say ‘I told ya so.'”

Dean: “Actually, you’re right — I love to say ‘I told ya so.'”

“I gotta say, man, you got around. I mean, soul-less or not, I’m actually kind of impressed.” — Dean

“I almost shot you…again.” — Sam

“My spidey senses are tingling.” — Dean

Dean: “Well, can I get you anything?”

Sam: “What are you now, my waitress?”

Dean: “I’m just trying to make you feel better. Don’t be a bitch.”

Be Super and follow me on Twitter: @EWSandraG

Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki star as the Winchester brothers, hellbent on battling the paranormal forces of evil.
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