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Supernatural Fodder

Supernatural: Asylum


Good, but not great, episode with a surprising twist.

Recap and critique

The brothers receive a message directing them to Roosevelt Asylum in Rockford, Illinois. The asylum is abandoned, but was the scene of the deaths of some teenagers, and reports of strange events. They investigate, and find that the asylum was the site of a riot in which many patients, and at least 1 doctor, were killed. Many bodies were never found, including the doctor who ran the asylum, Dr. Sanford Ellicott.

They break in to check the place out. Simultaneously, a group of teenagers also break in, but are attacked by spirits. The brothers discover a teenage girl hiding, who tells them her boyfriend is missing. They search for him.

While searching, the spirit of a disfigured woman appears to them, but doesn't attack. They disperse her with a round of rock salt. Sam wonders why the spirit didn't attack, but but about that time they spot one of the teens, a girl named Kat. She tells them about her boyfriend Gavin, who she heard scream. Sam and Dean split up to look for Gavin, Kat accompanies Dean. Sam finds Gavin, who reports that he saw a disfigured female spirit, who tried to whisper something to him that he couldn't make out.

Meanwhile, Kat is locked in a room with a spirit. Dean tries to get her out, but is unable to. Kat faces the spirit, and comes out of the room. She reports that the spirit said "137." Sam tries to get the teens out, while Dean looks for room number 137.

Sam finds the door, but it's locked. Meanwhile, Dean finds room 137, which is an office with many files. Dean begins searching them. Behind a secret panel, Dean finds a patient's journal. It describes Dr. Ellicott's illegal torture experiments on his patients.

Sam gets a call from Dean asking him to come to the basement, so off he goes. When he gets there, he's attacked by a spirit and some type of energy enters his body from the spirit. Moments later, Dean finds the teens. That wasn't Dean on the radio. Dean heads for the basement and finds Sam, who's okay. Dean tells Sam about the journal, and tells him there is a secret chamber in the basement where Ellicott's bones are located. They have to burn the bones to free the spirit. Sam is skeptical. Dean leads Sam to a hidden door, but as he's about to open it, Sam points his shotgun at him and tells him to step away. He then shoots Dean with rock salt.

Sam begins to rant about family issues. Dean gives Sam his gun and dares Sam to shoot him. Surprisingly, he pulls the trigger, but the gun isn't loaded. Dean knocks Sam unconscious, finds the bones, and tries to burn them, but he's attacked by the spirit. After a brief, intense struggle, Dean burns the bones and the spirit disintegrates.

It's morning, and the brothers lead the teens out. Sam apologizes to Dean, Dean accepts. Later, Dean's phone rings, and Sam answers "Dad?"

This episode is interesting because it shows another personal cost: a break in the bond between the brothers. We know the brothers are probably not going to be harmed physically, so there really are only a few things that can happen to them: they can suffer guilt from not being able to save someone ("Dead in the Water"), danger to someone close to them ("Pilot" and "Skin"), loss of something personal, like pride, identity, freedom ("Skin") or loss of each other, for example something coming between them to cause the brothers to go their separate ways. This episode turns out to be foreshadowing for the next episode. IMO, it also shows a possible direction for future seasons.


This is another episode written by Richard Hatem.

Guy Bee, a former steadicam operator, directed this episode. He's not a newbie, though. He's directed episodes of ER, Veronica Mars, Alias and Tru Calling.

There are lots of legends of haunted asylums. This episode could have been based on one of these 2 I found:

One is near Rockford, Illinois in Bartonsville. The other is on Roosevelt Island in New York.

There have been a lot of movies with haunted asylums as centerpieces. One lesser-known movie is interesting: Session 9, with David Caruso.

Posted by Miller on September 19, 2006 9:36 PM
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