In 'Mannequin 3: The Reckoning,' Sam takes lead on a bizarre case while Dean rushes to Lisa and Ben
I really appreciated the fact that Supernatural delivered a solid, classic episode straight from the season one playbook of tricks last night. There were fantastic one-liners, a little drama, a little sadness, a deceivingly simple case that took a turn for the twisted, a brotherly heart-to-heart (two, actually!), and Dean called the Impala his “baby.” If I had to guess (and I do because I have yet to succeed in my quest to locate and bug the Supernatural writers’ lair) I would say that we were served up this classic formula as preparation for next week’s highly meta episode. And I appreciate their consideration. This was just the episode we needed right now, a taste of something familiar and comforting. Let’s take a closer look:
We picked up where I had shat myself last week, er, I mean, where we left off last week with Sam seizing on the floor after scratching his mental wall a little too intensely. LEAVE THE WALL ALONE, SAM! But chicken pox this wall is not. Dean can’t just stick kitchen mittens on Sam to prevent him from scratching away. (Although, that would be pretty hilarious to see.) Sam has to put the past behind him or possibly suffer what will most certainly be the end of his life — literally or figuratively. And, of course, the brothers fall on opposite sides of this argument — but we could have expected this struggle. It’s in the brothers’ DNA to love the other more than he loves himself. It will (and has been) their downfall. I’m just not looking forward to seeing it. (LIES. I AM! That’s the whole point, no?)
Anyway, Sam woke up feeling like he’d been knocked out for a week and “hit by a planet,” which is oddly one of the only outlandish statements one of them could make that has not actually happened to them. Dr. Dean (yum…) arrived with a cure: a cup of joe, some grub, some mysterious pills, and a case/distraction. Sam took three of the four, rejecting Dr. Dean’s mystery meds, but I predict this isn’t the last we’ve seen of them. I’m really curious what the heck they were.
One thing’s clear though, Dr. Dean is definitely not a psychologist. When talking with Sam about the “big, fat face-full of hell” he’d just gotten, he suggested to Sam that he ignore the wrongdoings of his soul-less year and never scratch that wall again. Instead, he said, Sam should “shove [the guilt] down and let it come out in spurts of violence and alcoholism.” (As Sam said, yeah, that sounds really healthy.) Sam wasn’t happy with Dean’s insistence that they do things his way but said the matter was closed…for now.
Over in Jersey, the boys jumped on the case of a murdered janitor who had been found in a locked room but found themselves stumped. And when a very similar murder occurred two towns over later on, they were at a total loss about the apparently traveling ghost they had on their hands.
Just as they were about to delve into the case, Sam finally insisted that Dean answer his incessantly ringing phone, which Dean had been ignoring because he didn’t want to talk to Lisa. But once he answered, he found out that it was actually pre-teen Ben on the other side, who had called because Lisa was afflicted with a mysterious ailment that prevented her from coming to the phone. Dean almost didn’t go, but Sam insisted he go check it out and practically shoved him into the car.
Admittedly, part of me thought Sam was just trying to get rid of Dean so he could do some wall scratchin’. False. Shame on me; that’s something soul-less Sam would have done. Not sweet, souled Sam. The Sam who furrows his brow in confusion and talks in his throaty, soft voice when he wants to tug at our heartstrings. No, that Sam stayed behind to worked the case. I’m sorry I doubted you, Sammy.
NEXT: Dr. Dean learns about Dr. Matt
At Lisa’s, Dean arrived to find her all gussied up and ready for a night on the town. Only she wasn’t waiting for his arrival. He’d been duped by Ben into showing up because Ben had been worried that his mom was going on a third date. You know, a third date. Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge.
Dean told Ben, though, that Lisa had the right to try to find happiness, because he couldn’t give it to her — or to Ben, for that matter. Dean said that even though he loved them (Yes, he used “love.” Sad panda.), it didn’t mean he should stick around and ruin their lives. He didn’t want Ben to turn out like him. “Why do you say it like you’re so bad?” Ben asked. (Because he’s a sexy tortured hero, Ben. Pay attention.) Dean left it at that, but not before Ben called him a “dick” (the kid is practically a Winchester now…except he’s kinda small) and told him that Dean was walking out on his family. You could tell that burn really hurt Dean — and considering he’s been to hell, it takes a lot to do that.
On a somewhat related matter: I know that a lot of time passed between when we first met Lisa and Ben and when they were brought back to be Dean’s “family,” but for a reason I can’t exactly pinpoint, I liked them better previously. I don’t know if it’s because Ben was a cuter age (Oh, cruel, awkward teen years…) or if Lisa seemed less uptight then. I wish they had stayed more like how they were earlier, because then I would have formed a better attachment to them. At this point, I wasn’t sad to see them go. Have a nice life with Dr. Matt — pfft. (Unless I’m wrong to assume that the montage we saw was a synonym for “farewell, see-you-in-the-afterlife.”) If anything, I was sad to bid adieu to Dean’s dream of a normal life and sad that we probably won’t get a chance to see Dean act like a dad again. (Seriously, I shouldn’t have liked the way he said “go to your room” to Ben as much as I did. Please tell me I’m not alone in that.)
Back in Jersey, Sam had pieced together the story of what was causing the murders. And it was one of the most well-written and tragic cases we’ve seen in a while.
It turned out that the two victims (and a third near-victim who gave Sam such a fidgety interview that Sam knew he’d been involved) had all been part of a cruel prank where they sent love notes and gifts to a loner girl who worked with them at a local factory. One day, they set up a meeting with the girl on behalf of the fictional admirer, but when she went to meet him, they revealed it had been a mean joke. Upset, she attempted to flee, but one of the guys tried to pull her back and she ended up breaking free with so much force that she fell, cracking her head on a coffee table. (Before we saw this, I’d been completely stumped by the random bleeding foreheads all the victims were getting.) Yes, the victims were big jerks.
Deciding that while the men were definitely “dicks” but didn’t deserve to die, Sam did a salt-and-burn and called it a day. But with 20 minutes left in the show at that point, we knew there was more to it.
When the saved man returned to his apartment above a bar, we learned that not only was he a jerk, but he was wavy gravy crazy. He lived with a mannequin, who had the biggest man-made boobs I’ve seen since Heidi Montag and was dressed like a Real Housewife. Bizarre.
NEXT: The week’s best lines.
Once that man turned up dead, Sam set out to find the truth — again — by making a follow up visit to the dead woman’s sister’s house, where he discovered that they were facing something they’d surprisingly never faced before: A girl with a haunted kidney. (The woman had received a transplant as a kid from her now-dead sister, and as a result, the kidney was still technically a part of her sister.) So that’s why the ghost could be on the move. It went where her sister went (and her sister just so happened to go to a lot of places where her killers now worked).
When Sam met up with Dean, they went over options: bathtub of ice? Veto. Hoo-doo? Maybe. But before they could get any further in their obviously failing brainstorm session, Dean’s car turned on…and he wasn’t inside. No one was. “No, no, no, no, no. She possesses sex dolls. This isn’t a sex doll.” Yes it is, Dean. And I would have given anything to have been on set the day Jensen Ackles was being chased by the Impala around a dark parking lot. Anything. Even a kidney.
So Dean had to trick the car into crashing, but Haunted Kidney Girl made the mistake of not staying in the other (stolen?) car that Sam had put her in and paid the price. A shard of glass from the crash ended up in her side, killing her. What a twist — and very convenient for the brothers. Okay, they didn’t see it that way, but there was a definite silver lining. At least the case was closed.
Still, the guys took the case hard. It’s been a while since they’ve lost one of the little ones. (Sam jumping into hell = big one.) But Sam — oh lovely souled Sam — told Dean that while there’s a lot of bad all around them, there’s also a decent amount of good. He used himself as an example.
Sam: At least Satan’s left the building…And I have a soul because of you. I never thanked you for that, did I?
Dean: It’s all good.
Sam: Well, thanks.
Dean: You would have done the same for me.
Sam: I mean it.
Dean’s smirk of understanding showed that he knew how much Sam meant it. “For what it’s worth, I got your back,” Sam said. Dean knew that to be true, too. So do we.
Sigh. That episode went by ridiculously fast, readers. Luckily we get a two hour finale. WOOT! (Okay, that’s pretty far away, but I’m still excited.)
Anyway, let’s debrief.
What did you think of this episode? Did it feel like season 1 to you, too? (Is that a good thing?) How great was the scene between Sam and Dean in the lab (“Have a heart.” “Be my Valentine.”)? What did you think of that scene between Lisa and Dean? Was he right to leave? Do you think we’ve seen the last of them? Did the music in this episode feel strangely off to you? And are you as excited about next week’s much-anticipated meta episode as I am?
Dean: Maybe we’ll have a Snooki sighting.
Sam: What’s a Snooki?
Dean: That’s a good question.
Sam: Nothing. Just how great he was. Went to church. Donated to charity. Rubbed her feet during Glee.
Dean: I just threw up in my mouth.
“They don’t even dissect anything good in there. Anything bigger than Kermit, they use an iPad.” — Dean
Sam: That anatomy dummy you were molesting at the lab.
Dean: Excuse me?
Sam: What if that’s what this is about.
Dean: What exactly are you accusing me of?
“I don’t like the way Kim Cattrall is looking at me.” — Dean
“We’ve been parent trapped.” — Dean
“Well, that’s ridiculous. Plants could never kill a zombie.” — Dean
Dean: Maybe we should call Dr. Robert. He might have some leads on non-haunted black market kidneys.
Sam: He works out of a butcher shop.
Dean: It’s pretty clean — you’d be surprised.
More Supernatural ponderings on Twitter: @EWSandraG