We open in Rhode Island, one year ago, where Sam has obviously executed someone, while Samuel stood a few feet away. The two drive off, but are stopped by a cop, who thinks they’re feds. The deputy is complaining about not being able to contact Sheriff Dobbs. When he attempts to arrest them, Sam goes federal on his ass (ie. punchy). Samuel isn’t impressed.
In the present, the boys are in a hotel room, keeping in touch with Bobby about the Mother of All. Sam gets a mysterious text of coordinates and tracks them to Rhode Island, where three women have disappeared in the last week. Dean’s hesitant to go investigate, but Sam insists, and starts having flashbacks as he drives into town, but fails to tell Dean (argh! The boys are lying to each other again!).
They look into the missing women and find no link between them. While at a bar, Sam finds a woman who obviously recognizes him and remembers when he and Samuel were in town. As the woman leaves, Sam remembers having sex with her in the bathroom. I’m deeply disappointed it wasn’t in color (and longer).
Dean wants to leave, now knowing that Sam had definitely hunted in the town before. Sam isn’t so eager, thinking that he and Samuel obviously didn’t solve the case the last time they were there (when 5 men had disappeared). Sam wants to stay, because Soulless Sam obviously didn’t fix the problem before, but Dean is so concerned about cracking the wall.
While questioning the friend of one of the missing girls, Dean found one of Sam’s fake FBI business cards and starts to realize that Sam knew one of the missing girls.
The “Days of Our Lives” Amnesia Excuse
Sam, meanwhile, goes off to speaks to the cops, and promptly gets thrown into a cell by the deputy he had beaten up a year ago. He tries to explain that he doesn’t remember anything while the deputy accuses him of killing Sheriff Dobbs and the other missing people.
He’s then visited by the Sheriff’s wife (Brenna), who wants to know where her husband is. Sam flashes back to him and Samuel telling Brenna and the now missing Sheriff Roy Dobbs exactly what it is they do as hunters, and how they think something supernatural was abducting those men. In the present, Sam explains that he has some kind of amnesia, but the wife is very disbelieving. He asks for the opportunity to find out what happened to Dobbs. She agrees to stage a breakout for him.
Cut to the woman who Sam had previously met in the bar (and slept with a year ago), named Debbie, getting attacked while searching for more box wine in her basement. Classy.
The boys reunite at the abandoned shack they’re squatting in this week, and Dean goes off to respond to a police call about another missing person. Sam leaves too, despite Dean telling him to stay put. Dean leaves a message for Sam shortly thereafter, saying the one connection between all the women is him – they all slept with him. Dean thinks all of this is a trap for Sam.
After Dean left, Sam went to Brenna’s house. She think he’s responsible for Debbie’s disappearance. He asks for her a copy of the police files from a year ago.
Another flashback. Sam remembers discussing family with Brenna and Roy and how they slow you down.
After returning with the files, Brenna and Sam go through them, and Sam seems to flash back to seeing the victims. In the past, Samuel suggests that it’s a giant Greek spider (an arachne) who’s kidnapping the men.
After leaving Brenna’s house, Sam listens to Dean’s message and also sees a web on Brenna’s porch. Dean finds him and we see the boys from the spider’s point of view.
Back at the shack, Sam tells Dean it’s an arachne and he that he remembers a lot about the case, but tells Dean he still doesn’t remember Hell. Dean definitely wants to leave and doesn’t want Sam to keep scratching the wall, but Sam insists on it.
ARGH! Sam, SHUT UP!
Sam doesn’t listen to me. He’s staying and that’s that. But he wants his brother’s help.
The boys get to work, setting up a Michael Scofield wall from Prison Break, while Sam keeps having flashes. In the past, Sam set up a plan to use Roy to bait the arachne, but didn’t clue him in on the plan. Sam and Samuel watch as Roy waits for them in a park. That’s when Roy gets attacked by what looks like a woman and disappears. Samuel is eager to find him, but Sam says he can track Roy’s phone. Samuel is extremely disturbed by Sam’s lack of concern for Roy, calling him ‘extremely cold’.
Decapitation Will Kill Almost Anything, But Definitely Arachne
Still in the past, Sam and Samuel track Roy’s body and find him in a cocoon, along with the other missing men. Most of them still appear to be alive. Sam gets attacked by the creature. Samuel shoots her, but it has little effect. But Sam’s decapitation does. Samuel wants to save the men, but Sam says they’re being slowly killed by the spider poison and wants to end their suffering. So Sam tells Roy he’s a hero and then shoots him and the others (ie. the shots we saw off-screen at the very beginning) and then tells Samuel to ‘get the gasoline’.
In the present, Sam tells Dean he knows what happened. Cut to Brenna’s home, where a very deformed Roy arrives. Sam calls her and Brenna tells him to stop by. He believes something is wrong. He’s right, so he and Dean head off to her house.
The house is creepy, with a lot of snow outside (poor boys, if that’s real snow in Vancouver). They find Brenna, who tells Sam she knows what he did to Roy. Then Roy attacks the boys and confronts Sam about his behavior in the past. While Dean tries to reach a weapon while covered with a web, Roy reveals that the arachne actually kidnapped those men to breed with them, which explains how Roy escaped (because he was no longer human).
Roy makes the classic villain mistake of explaining why he’s going to be killing Sam in a moment, instead of actually killing Sam. Dean manages to escape and lunges after Roy, while Brenna cuts Sam free. Sam decapitates Roy.
While Sam tries to apologize to Brenna outside, she leaves without saying a word. Back at the shack, Sam tells Dean he was right, they never should have come to town. Dean tries to look on the bright side, at least Sam killed the arachne. He’s also insistent that Soulless Sam wasn’t really Sam, but Sam is adamant that Soulless Sam was him.
A moment later, Sam collapses to the ground, shaking. Dean rushes to his side, while Sam’s clearly having a flashback to Hell. Inside the box with Michael and Lucifer, we see Sam being burned alive….
Oh, That Ending!
Let’s be honest, the case was kind of unimportant this week, at least in terms of the details itself, which was pretty standalone. While seeing Sam murder a lot of people was jarring (even if he didn’t actually kill them), it actually wasn’t all that surprising. Considering he attempted to murder Bobby in cold blood, nothing Soulless Sam did could surprise me anymore. I was shocked I wasn’t as grossed out by the arachne as I though it would be, what with my friend was texting me about it as I was watching the show. After the dragons who could also appear in human form last week, it’s strange to once again see a creature that just so happened to look like a human. I get that they’re trying to save money on special effects, but will we see a creature that doesn’t look like a human with boils at some point in an upcoming episode? I also kind of miss simple spirits on this show now…
Dean is still incredibly adamant about separating the souled version of Sam from the soulless version. At this point I wonder whether he himself believes it. I really want to do a more in-depth character study into Soulless Sam (which I think is an article onto itself) and discuss how much of the ‘real Sam’was in the soulless version. I honestly don’t know if Dean just wants to make Sam feel better, or is so happy to have his brother back that he’s willing to gloss over everything Soulless Sam did. In any event, it looks like the writers aren’t going to allow Dean that opportunity.
The ending of this episode was very cruel, if only to scare us into worrying about Sam once again. What will happen when he comes to this time? Only an episode ago we were wondering what state he would be in when he woke up after Death returned his soul. Now we’re left to ponder whether Sam will be able to function while the cracks in the wall have obviously expanded enough to let the memories of Hell trickle in.
I’m shocked at the pacing of the last two episodes. I really felt like parts of the first half of this season dragged on. Most notably, the parts concerning Soulless Sam. I’ve admitted that I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly the Crowley situation moved from him reappearing to making the boys work for him to ending up dead. But the Sam business seemed to drag on (though fortunately not for the entire season). The point, however, is that there’s not a lot of time left. At the end of ‘Like a Virgin’, I also admitted I was worried the writers wouldn’t have a lot of time to do this Mother of All storyline justice (at least not in terms of laying enough groundwork to make us fear a creature like her and having her move towards her endgame). Between her and dealing with Sam, I feel like we’re pressed for time.
But it seems like the Sam storyline is progressing rapidly. The fact is, though, that the boys are going to find a way to save Sam. It would be impossible to kill him permanently or leave him in a coma forever. The fans would simply rebel and I don’t think the show could ever recover from something like that. So the boys will find a way, despite Death, Castiel and everyone else claiming it simply can’t be done. Whether there’s some sort of sacrifice involved in fixing Sam, I don’t yet know. But I do know that Dean, in particular, will find a solution. Hey, maybe God can help fix him! That would be a perfect reason to get Chuck back. Is a Supernatural writer taking notes?
We do know, however, that Sam is up and running by the next episode on February 18 (view the promo for that episode). So obviously these Hell flashbacks aren’t incapacitating him entirely. At least not yet.
On a personal note, I may be a devoted Dean!Girl, but I also need Sammy to be okay. So I want to see his storyline progress (and ultimately get resolved). But we need to get on this Mother thing, because right now I’m not scared of her. And I don’t want this season’s big bad to be unimpressive. Not when Supernatural has a terrific track record with villains