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Supernatural Fodder

Supernatural: It's a Terrible Life

Ackles-Padalecki.jpgI'm going to do this one a bit differently. Instead of giving a play-by-play, I'm just going to hit the highlights (and this one didn't have that many, IMO) and some commentary.


Dean's dressed like a banker, and living a banker's life - up early, reading the paper, drinking latte,and driving a Prius (?) with Ohio plates (a little homage to Eric Kripke's home state?), eating salad, working late.

Dean's apartment is nice - no skeezy motel room, and he's 100% at home in it, so what's going on?

Sam in a yellow polo sees Dean on the elevator, but doesn't recognize him. Or rather, he does, but more in a "do I know you?" way. He's in tech support. The brothers have the names Dean Smith and Sam Wesson. Funny riff on Winchesters (both gun manufacturers, as I'm sure you know).

A second meeting on the elevator reveals Sam and Dean really don't remember each other. And Sam's fishing expedition about Dean's dreams reveals they don't remember being hunters, either.

"I'm going to do a PSA and let you know that you overshare," Dean says.

Funny line.

Death by office supplies

So one of the tech support people microwaves his head (had a hard time believing that was possible). Another stabs himself in the neck with a pencil, right in front of Dean, during a ghost manifestation that Dean clearly doesn't understand. Both apparently die because they make work related mistakes.

And yet, the whole time I'm thinking - is it me, or is their makeup really bad? Is that lipstick? No desaturated color in this episode, and it seems the makeup people didn't adjust well.


So Sam and Dean catch each other's eye while Dean is being questioned by the police about the death. Dean calls Sam up to his office. He wants to know who Sam is. Sam says he isn't sure. He started at the company 3 weeks ago. So did Dean. Sam wants to know if Dean saw a ghost. Dean won't admit it. He wants to know if Sam means that ghosts are real and attack people. Sam says that's exactly what he means. It's an instinct.

Sam retains his computer hacking skills in this nightmare life, and finds that both victims were summoned to HR the day before they died - but to an HR office on the wrong floor of the building.

They go check it out, and arrive just in time to find a ghost attacking another tech support drone. With a little team work, they stop the ghost. Even without knowing what they're doing, they work instinctively, and effectively.


Back at Dean's apartment, they reflect on what happened. They don't know how they did what they did. Sam feels like he was meant for something more than working in a cube. Dean points out that most people that work in a cube probably feel that way. Sam says it's different, he hates everything about this life - his clothes, his job, the town, even his last name. He asks if Dean ever feels that way. Dean says he doesn't believe in destiny.

So Sam asks what's next.

"It's time for me to do what I do best, Sammy," Dean says, in a role reversal from their hunter lives. "Research."

"Did you just call me "Sammy"?" Sam asks.

"Did I?"

"I think you did. Yeah.... Don't."


Dean searches the internet, and finds the Ghostfacers website. The Ghostfacers tell them everything they need to know about finding and hunting ghosts. Oh, and they also mention, several times, how much they hate those douche-bag Winchesters.

Dean finds that the ghost is the founder of the company, and that the ghost has caused suicides at times of great economic distress. Later he wonders where you even go to buy a gun, and isn't there a waiting period? The Ghostfacers mention that you have to burn the remains, and that sometimes you may have to burn the body.

"It may be illegal in some states," Ed says.

Harry corrects him. "All states.".

"Possibly all states," Ed amends.

In the end, they bundle up a few supplies - like iron fireplace pokers and table salt - from Dean's apartment, and go to hunt the ghost.


While searching old ghost Sandover's former office (the haunted room 1444), a security guard interrupts Sam, and escorts him to the elevator, to take him to the cops. For what, I'm not sure. Theft? Vandalism? It isn't clear what exactly he's done.

But anyway, they get in the elevator, which gets lit up by the ghost and stopped. Predictably, the security guard gets mashed when the elevator starts up again after he crawls out, then tries to get Sam to crawl out after him. Sam is sprayed generously with blood.

Meanwhile, Dean has found a clue - a picture with a caption. Dean calls Sam and tells him to meet him on the 22nd floor. Sam tells him to take the stairs.

When Dean sees Sam he says, "Whoa, that's a lot of blood."

"Yeah, it is," Sam agrees.

Dean has found an exhibit about the company founder, complete with a pair of Sandover's gloves. But as they try to burn the gloves, they're attacked by the ghost. They fight it off using the pokers and the salt, until finally it gets Dean cornered and unable to defend himself. But Sam is able to burn the gloves, and send Sandover to his ultimate reward.

Like the Ghostfacers

Back at Dean's office, he says he's never had so much fun in his life. Sam agrees, and thinks they should keep it up. Dean is skeptical - how would they live? As he recounts his nightmare scenario (an exact description of how the brothers actually live), he sounds incredulous that Sam wants to actually live like that.

"That's just details!" Sam exclaims.

"Details are everything. You don't want to go fighting ghosts without any health insurance!"

Sam confesses that his dreams of fighting ghosts included Dean. Sam says that maybe the ghost scrambled their brains, too. Dean doesn't believe him. The ghost is dead, they're still here. Dean knows who he is - he went to Stanford, his father's name is Bob, his mother's name is Ellen, his sister's name is Jo. Where have we heard those names before?

Sam asks when is the last time he talked to any of them. Dean doesn't answer. Sam says he moved here because he broke up with his girlfriend, Madison (remember her? And why not Jessica? Too close to his real life?). He tried to call Madison, but at her number he got an animal hospital (heh!).

Sam thinks both of them are supposed to be something else. Dean disagrees, and kicks Sam out of his office.

Tech support is unavailable.

They saved a huge amount of money on stock office shots, since they showed the same one 3 or 4 times. Here they show it again, before they show Sam's phone with every number lit up. He doesn't answer, just staring at it for a few moments before beating it to death with a poker.

As everyone stares, he says, "I quit."

8 or 10 short years

Dean's boss comes to see him. He offers him a generous bonus, and the promise of a big promotion, eventually. Working 7 days a week, lunch at his desk, and he can be senior vice-president, Eastern Great Lakes Region in just 8 to 10 short years.

Dean turns him down. In fact, he give his notice.

His boss, says, "Dean, Dean, Dean. Finally." He touches his forehead.

His "boss" is Castiel's superior, Zachariah.

"So this was all some kind of lesson? Very creative," Dean says.

"You should see my decoupage," Zachariah replies.

"Oh, gross. No, thank you."

It was a real company, real ghost, but Sam and Dean were put into the middle without their memories. Their reactions were pure instinct, supposed to let them know that hunting is in their blood.

"You're good at this, you'll be successful. You will stop it," Zachariah says.

"Stop what? The Apocalypse? Lucifer? Be specific!" Dean spits.

"Everything you're destined to do. All of it."

So Zachariah doesn't really answer. The angels are clearly keeping something from the brothers. What will be the cost to them?

Zachariah goes through Dean's issues, one by one. Daddy issues, not good enough, not strong enough. That makes Dean angry.

"All I'm saying is, it's how you look at it. Most folks live and die without moving anything other than the dirt it takes to bury them. You get to change things. Save people. Maybe even the world. All the while you drive a classic car and fornicate with women. This isn't a curse. It's a gift. So for God's sake, Dean, quit whining about it. Look around, there are plenty of fates worse than yours.

"So you with me? Wanna go steam yourself another latte? Or are you ready to stand up, and be who you really are?"

So that's it, apparently. That's how they're going to get Dean back on his game, put his past behind him, let him move on.

Or maybe not. Maybe they'll have him sweat it out a couple more episodes. I think it's likely that Dean will face a situation that lets him know that it really does have to be him, and him alone, to save the world.

At least, I hope so, because otherwise, it would be less satisfying.

Posted by Miller on March 27, 2009 10:35 AM
Permalink |

No you know what would be less satisfying if they ignored Sam anymore, I'm so over this season being all about Dean it's by far the worst of the series as a whole, I couldn't care less what Dean's path is unless it involved Sam equally, I signed up for a show about two brothers not Dean and his dork side destiny.

-- Posted by: Millicent at March 27, 2009 10:12 PM

Don't worry, I think the pendulum will swing back.

It has been a bit Dean-centric sandwiched around that trip to Hell. I think last night is a preview - Sam feels like it's all on his shoulders. I think he's going to try to step up to that role, with our without Dean. And I believe that may be what shows Dean that he has to take his rightful role as the one who stops the Apocalypse.

But I also don't think Dean will do it alone. The show is about brothers, after all, so Sam has a role. He may not *technically* be the one who stops disaster, but his part will be indispensable.

They're destined to hunt together. I don't think it will change in the end, though there maybe be a few 2 or 3 episode patches where it seems they're focusing on one or the other more.

-- Posted by: Miller at April 3, 2009 1:28 PM

I love season 4 mostly for including Dean in the mytharc! Dean is a fascinating character¨, intruiging beyond compare! This episode had a lot of great Dean moments, Jensen ackts him perfectly!

-- Posted by: Carrie at July 22, 2009 5:37 PM

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