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Supernatural Fodder

Supernatural: Crossroad Blues

Can someone shut that dog up?

Sam is sitting at a diner (naturally. Would hate to see these guys' cholesterol levels) with Dean. He's noticed some reports of people mentioning dogs, but no one else can see or hear them. They investigate one death, a local architect, who had called animal control to report vicious dogs near his home. But he lived in a condo in a high-rise. How could a dog get past the doorman and take the elevator? Not long after the report, he jumped from the top of the building.

Sam and Dean believe the dogs are the infamous "black dogs," which are supposedly omens of impending death. But when they interview the architect's partner, he mentions a few things which arouse the brothers' curiosity. How did the architect go from a bartender at Lloyd's, a local dive, to a world-famous architect in only 10 years? Why did he seem to live such a charmed life?

They investigate many other reports of vicious dogs (Dean scams the report from an animal control administrative assistant. And gets her Myspace page location. Amusingly, Dean has no clue what Myspace is). One of the leads is a doctor, who suddenly left town (and later we're treated to her very tense, very scary, death chase). This doctor also had a meteoric rise and fantastic, but improbably, success. Dean notices a picture on her fridge. It was taken at Lloyd's bar.

Crossroad Blues

The brothers head off to the bar, and find it located at a crossroads. In occult lore, crossroads are powerful places involving decisions, where souls can decide between good and evil. These are the places where you can make a deal with the devil, or at least one of his demons. As Dean points out later, this is part of the legend of Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Robert Johnson, one of the first famous blues guitar players. He even has a (much covered) song "Crossroad Blues".

The brothers aren't dealing with a black dog, they're dealing with hellhounds, sent by the demon to drag souls off to hell when their souls come due at the end of their bargained time.

When the brothers dig in the center of the roads, they find a small metal box containing some occult items, and a picture. Asking around inside Lloyd's, they find the name of the man the picture belongs to. When they arrive at his apartment, it's clear they're at the right place - he has placed some type of odd, black substance at the doorstep. He allows them in for 5 minutes only.

He never bothers to deny their story. They tell him they want to help, but though he doesn't want to go to hell, he feels ready to die. He has a lot of guilt, because after he made his deal with the demon, the demon didn't go back to hell like he thought. He stayed around at the bar for several weeks, trying to score more souls. And he did - at least 3 more. Two of them are dead - the architect and the doctor - but one is apparently still living, and running out of time. He brushes off the offers of help, sending the brothers away, but not before giving them some of the black dust, which will repel demons.

Soul Man

The brothers arrive to find the man preparing for his death. Dean is unsympathetic, but grudgingly willing to help. Then the man tells his story. His wife was in the final stages of cancer. He sold his soul so his wife could live out a natural life. This makes Dean angry. Did the man do it for his wife, or for himself? Did he consider how his wife would have to live without him when his time was up? Sam immediately recognizes this for what it is, which is Dean's feelings about John's sacrifice. Strangely, though, it makes Dean more willing to help. He heads off to the crossroads to try to trap the demon, while telling Sam to protect the man.

Sam makes a circle with the black powder, and tells the man to stay inside. Not long after, there is growling and the door begins to rattle. The hellhound has arrived.

Dean's plan is simple. Summon the demon, then trap it and exorcise it. It won't remove the terms of the bargain, but it will buy the people some time since it takes a while for the demons to claw their way back out of hell after being exorcised.

Is it getting hot in here?

Immediately, the demon appears, as a hot brunette. Dean must have a thing for brunettes. THis is the second time a paranormal being has appeared to him as a brunette (the Reaper in "In My Time of Dying" was also a hot brunette). Yet Jo is blonde. Go figure.

They chat for a moment. Dean tells her he wants to make a deal to save the man's life. His soul for the man and his wife's. The demon is willing to make that deal. Dean tells her he wants to seal it - with a kiss - inside the Metallicar. The demon, eager to get Dean's soul, doesn't find this strange, but just before it enters the car, it notices salt on the ground. A Devil's Trap.

The demon is so disappointed. Dean retreats under a nearby water tower. The demon says that it could have made a different deal - Dean's soul for the return of John's life. Dean would have 10 years, John would live out the rest of his natural life. Dean is tempted. The demon follows him under the tower, pressing the advantage. Dean backs away, and the demon follows.

Or tries to. Dean has painted a Devil's Trap on the bottom of the tower, above the demon's head. It's trapped, and Dean begins the exorcism ritual to send it back to hell. The demon tries to bargain, possibly stalling for time, because the hellhounds are getting close to Sam and the man. As Dean gets closer to the end of the ritual, the winds of hell begin to swirl around the demon and the hellhounds. The wind breaks the circle, and Sam and the man are no longer protected. They run to another room and barricade themselves in, the hellhounds hot on their heels. Suddenly, silence.

Dean has stopped the exorcism. They've made a bargain, and sealed it with a kiss. Dean will let the demon go, and the man and his wife get to live out their natural lives to a ripe, old age. Dean fingers his rosary. The demon is dismayed.

"Funny that I'm the trustworthy one," it says.

Dean continues the ritual. The demon says that it will eventually escape hell, and when it does, it will skin the man and his wife. Dean pauses... and frees the demon.

The demon taunts Dean. It could have brought John back, and it begins to tell Dean about the tortures John is facing. This makes Dean angry, and he threatens to send the demon to hell anyway, but it leaves. Did Dean frighten the demon, or did a higher demon pull it back?

In Metallicar, Dean tells Sam about John's sacrifice. Dean knows for certain now, there can be no self-delusion. Sam wonders if Dean would really have sold his soul to bring John back. Dean doesn't answer. Sam tells Dean that John saved countless lives, and that he wanted them to continue. Dean still doesn't answer.


Posted by Miller on November 17, 2006 9:30 AM
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