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Supernatural Fodder

Supernatural: The Usual Suspects

A slight departure from the normal episode. Dean's luck runs out, a new supernatural entity.


The episode begins with what is apparently a police detective reading charges to a suspect whose face the audience can't see. Things like "St. Louis," "murder," and "grave desecration" are mentioned. Oh, yeah, and credit card fraud. The camera pans, and we find out, it's Dean being questioned.

The cops can't figure out how they have Dean Winchester in custody, yet the same Dean Winchester is reported being buried in St. Louis. The St. Louis authorities are in the process of exhuming their Dean. Meanwhile, the real Dean is arrested for the murders of a local lawyer and his wife.

Sam, too

While Dean is being grilled, Sam is being arrested in his hotel room. When Sam is questioned, the female detective (Ballard, played by Linda Blair) reiterates his life history, and offers him a deal. Testify against Dean, and go free. Sam tells the detective how they came to be involved with the murder victims, claiming they were family friends. Through a series of flashbacks, we see the real story. It's a typical hunt, and the brothers believe it's a vengeful spirit, someone named Dana Shulps, since "DANASHULPSDANASHULPS" was found repeated on several items at the lawyer's murder scene. While Sam attempts to break into the lawyer's computer, Dean goes back to talk to his wife. Just before he arrives, the wife is murdered, and while Dean is checking her corpse for clues, and finding a computer printiout with "DANASHULPS" repeated over and over, the police arrive to answer the 911 call the wife made just before she died. That's how Dean was arrested and charged with the murders.

Innocent men?

Ballard hears the story, and tries to convince her partner, Sheridan, that they don't have a case, since all the evidence is circumstantial. Sheridan isn't listening. The lawyer, Tony Giles, was a personal friend. Ballard goes back to her desk to work on the computer, which suddenly begins typing out "DANASHULPS" repeatedly.

Dean meets with his lawyer. While his lawyer futilely tries to plan Dean's defense, Dean concentrates on figuring out what DANASHULPS might mean. With the lawyer's help, he figures out that part of it could be a street name. So he instructs his lawyer to meet with Sam and slip him a message.

While the public defender is meeting with Sam, Ballard enters and tells the lawyer that Dean has decided to confess. His confession, of course, is actually the truth about the murder, but no one believes it. It makes Sheridan angry enough to assault Dean.

The great escape - conveniently not shown

While everyone is distracted by Dean's show, Sam escapes.

Ballard enters a restroom, and the faucets turn on by themselves. The mirrors fog, and when Ballard turns around, she sees a spirit of a young woman with a gaping slit in her throat advancing on her.

Shaken, Ballard questions Dean. She is close to believing. Dean tells her that she may die, since the spirit first appeared to the people it killed. He tells her that her only hope is Sam, and tells her how to find him (love the Rockford Files reference here).

Ballard finds Sam. He's conveniently collected names and police photos of young women who went missing on Ashland Street. When he shows the photos to Ballard, she recognizes the spirit, one Claire Becker. She was once arrested for heroin possession, when Ballard and Sheridan worked in vice. They go to the last place she was seen to find her bones and burn and salt them.


They arrive at the location, which is an empty warehouse. Ballard is once again accosted by the spirit, which disappears when Sam arrives. However, the spirit's actions cause Ballard to notice a window that says "Ashland Sup" (the "ply" of "Supply" have been worn away). It's an anagram of" DANASHULPS", which explains the spirit communications. At this point, Sam realizes the spirit is a death omen, not a vengeful spirit. His handy EMF detector helps him find the remains of the young woman. When they examine her, Ballard notices a necklace on the body. It's handmade locally, and she happens to have one just like it. It was given to her by her partner, Sheridan.

Ballard makes the connection between some heroin that was confiscated and subsequently went missing and Claire Becker. She realizes Sheridan must be behind it.

While on their way back to the station to confront Sheridan, they find out that Sheridan has checked Dean out for extradition back to St. Louis. Sam realizes that they can track the vehicle with the LoJack system installed (was that a blatant paid product placement or what?).

Free? men

They find Sheridan holding Dean at gunpoint on his knees by the side of the road. Sheridan explains that the lawyer helped him launder the money from the drug sale, and he got nervous about it, had to be killed, along with his wife, who Sheridan was sure knew also. But he believes he can pin it all on Dean, if Ballard will back his story.

Ballard, however, is having nothing to do with this, since Sheridan is lying, and apparently more importantly, cheating scumbag (remember, he gave Claire the same necklace that he gave Ballard. Remember, guys, the lesson is unique gifts that fit the woman; it's not a one-size-fits-all thing). She shoots Sheridan in the leg, but he's still able to knock her down, and just as he's about to shoot Dean, Claire's spirit appears and distracts him, which allows Ballard to shoot Sheridan.

Morning comes, and Ballard is sorting out the aftermath. She believes the WInchesters would be exonerated, but isn't sure Dean would escape the charges in St. Louis. So she tells them that she will say they've escaped.

Sam and Dean walk away, but Dean still is a wanted man. Foreshadowing?

As they walk away, Dean says to Sam, "Did Ballard look familar to you?"

"No," Sam says. "Why?"

Dean says, "I don't know, but suddenly I have a craving for pea soup."

Posted by Miller on November 13, 2006 3:57 PM
Permalink |

I agree. This episode had some major holes, but I like this season's trend of taking things a bit darker. The "things" in each episode seem to be getting more gruesome/creepy/horrific as the season progresses. That's fine by me!

Um... and yeah. Exactly how did Sam escape?

And why did danashulps have to be an anagram? I'm growing annoyed at the frequency of the anagram plot line in movies/TV.

Love your comment on the "unique gifts." Seriously, why don't guys get that? :)

While I wasn't thrilled to see Linda Blair in this episode (she's not a "great" actress), the pea soup line was perfect. A wonderful tip of the hat at the end of the story.

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