Season 01, Episode 13
Writer: Eugenie Ross-Leming & Brad Buckner
DIR: Paul Shapiro
Blurb: The devil’s down in Dixie - and he’s driving one scary truck. Sam and Dean investigate when something wheeled, metallic and evil forces a series of African-American drivers off the road to their deaths.
Scene 01: After our previouslies, we start in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. A lonely car tools down the road in the middle of a quiet night.
Behind the wheel is an African-American, so one would presume he’s about to meet “something wheeled, metallic and evil” on this back road.
Behind his shoulder we see a pair of headlights looming up from the distance. But more disturbing, the radio starts doing the wacky-static already associated with demonic and/or ghostly activities.
Scene 02: From above the cab of said “something” we’re racing headlong toward the rear fender of said lonely car.
It turns out that our something wheeled is a monster truck.
Scene 03: Our driver is taken by surprise as the truck has bright high beams dazzling the inside of his car, and the truck is driving aggressively on his tail. But it’s worse than some jerk with six headlights thinking he owns the road. Whoever the driver is can be called that, but he’s also an obvious psycho as he now rams his truck into the rear fender of our wish-it-was-still-lonely car.
Inside the car, the radio which our driver had turned off due to the poor reception, flips itself back on. Behind the car, the truck is suddenly disappeared as our frightened driver races for safety.
Scene 04: Alas, our driver isn’t safe. Somehow the disappeared truck has reappeared, but this time right in front of him. The bright head lamps appear, blinding him.
Our driver skids out, but is able to recover enough to re-start the chase in the opposite direction, with the something-truck racing its engine at him.
This time our truck driver isn’t playing games. He smashes our car driver hard enough to stave in the trunk and force our automobile into a flip off of the road.
Our monster truck makes a threatening move as if to continue slamming into the disabled vehicle, but as the truck reverses, it fades out completely.
Commentary: Sooooo. I’m getting a distinct “Christine” vibe from this opening but with the truck angle [though only a monster, rather than a hauler] I’m also wondering about a “Duel” set up. We are deliberately kept from seeing into the cab of the truck throughout, so we can’t tell if this is a person, a ghost, or just a possessed truck ala The Car. Either way, I'm already dreading scene after scene of a truck wandering around that we're supposed to find scary. I'm really hoping I'll be surprised by twists and turns in the story to overcome an "evil car" story, that I always find ridiculous as a premise.
CREDITS START CREDITING
Scene 05: We join Sam and Dean at a gas station in the middle of nowhere. Dean is fidgeting with his phone, while Sam is looking at a map trying to find a way around some construction in their way.
They are trying to get to PA, but Dean now says that they’re not headed that way after all. Dean tells Sam that he just received a call from “an old friend” that her father was recently killed and she thinks it might be their type of thing. Dean also says that she would never, ever call them if she wasn’t pretty sure.
Commentary: We don’t hear why they’re on the way to Pennsylvania but by the look on Sam’s face and his hesitation, I’m presuming there was a sighting of John Winchester.
Scene 06: In the car on the way to MO, Sam tries to pry some more information about this never-mentioned-before Cassie, but Dean is tight lipped about it. Our Sam finds it a bit discombobulating to find that his brother actually dated a girl -- not had a one hit and done, but actually had a relationship with a girl at some point.
Sam asks about what the thing is they’re going all the way to Missouri for, as it sounds like a standard tragic car accident. This leads also to the question of how Cassie would know about what they do.
Our Sam is not only shocked, but kinda pissy for some reason, that Dean actually told somebody their big family secret: The Number One Rule Not To Be Broken.
Sam’s source of anger becomes apparent quickly: He’d lied to Jessica about his life for a year and a half because it was The Number One Rule, and meanwhile Mr. Super-Soldier Dean Winchester dates some girl for a few weeks and spills it to her.
Dean refuses to say anything more about it.
Commentary: Again, there is some reading between the lines to be done here because honestly Sammy is coming off a bit badly. One can presume that Dean, being Father’s Number One Child, was more than a little involved in drilling the Lesson Of The Secret into young Sammy’s head over and over.
That would make it understandable that after all of that, while Sam kept his family’s truth to himself as he was taught, even with the woman he was in love with - Dean, the enforcer of the “keep your mouth shut” lessons blabbed away to some chick he was banging for a few weeks.
We’ll find out more about Dean and Cassie, but right now if you squint, you can more readily understand the source of Sam’s irritation over this.
Scene 07: Sam and Dean arrive just as the mayor of Cape Girardeau is trying to get the local paper - which Cassie apparently works for - to suppress the supposition that they have a mad man on the roads targeting African-Americans. But we find out that Cassie’s father wasn’t the first victim, but the second on that stretch of road.
Upon spotting Dean, he and Cassie have an awkward, longing moment bringing a small smirk to Sam over his brother’s reaction to seeing the never-mentioned Cassie again.
Scene 08: That night at Cassie’s parent's, she offers that her mom has been a wreck since it happened. But why she’s called in her former boyfriend is because her father had mentioned on more than one occasion a large truck following him. He never received a look at the driver, but the truck had him unnerved. What’s more, he said it would seemingly appear and disappear from behind him.
She relates that the wreckage of her father’s car showed signs that it had been hit hard and there were a set of muddy tracks found on the road where the accident occurred that belonged to his car and only his car. One set of tracks, but signs of the rear of the car being staved in that isn’t consistent with the crash itself.
The man who was killed before her father was not only a friend of his, but died with the same set of single tracks leading to a wreck, but with damage to the car not consistent with simply driving off of the road.
She’s skeptical about the ghost stuff the brothers are into, and Dean mentions she called him nuts, but right now she can’t explain what happened to her father and his friend before him.
Conversation is interrupted by the return of Cassie’s mother. It should be mentioned that her mother is white, which will probably play into this somehow. She’s also a bit frantic and blows off Dean’s attempt to talk to her.
Scene 09: We leave the Winchesters to join a field in the night. It is littered with debris from a car accident. A pan reveals this is a new accident… one holding Cassie’s editor from the paper. He lies against the steering wheel, eyes open - dead.
Nearby, the truck roars its engine at the accident site. As it begins to reverse, it once again vanishes into thin air.
Scene 10: The following morning, the Mayor and Cassie are at the scene. Mayor tells Cassie that it’s a tragedy to the town that Jimmy was lost as he was “one of the best”. Cassie points out that the town’s best seem to be dropping like flies.
She wants the Mayor to close the section of road but Mayor Todd points out it’s the only road into and out of their tiny burg. He tries to cling to the illusion that all three were simply tragic accidents… a string of bad luck, if you will.
Dean and Sam arrive to meet up with Cassie and survey the site. The Mayor points out again that they have one set of tracks from the victim’s car and no signs of anything but a tragic loss of control on a dark road.
Cassie asks Mayor Todd if he’d have closed the road by now if the dead had been white, a suggestion that he takes umbrage to. He tells her that he’s the last person she should speak to that way and then mysteriously tells her to ask her mother as to why before storming off.
Commentary: And so far, I’ve got to say that the acting for this one is somehow off. For everybody losing people they knew in these tragic accidents, nobody except Cassie’s mother seems all that distraught about it, including Cass toward her own father’s death.
There were some minor issues with her and Dean’s interaction, too. They tried to imply that there may be some unresolved feelings between the two of them, but when they’re in their scenes together, it doesn’t feel like Jensen Ackles and Megalyn Echikunwoke are really connecting in that way. It’s unfortunate, because they really need to form an emotional bond in order to make us understand why Dean would’ve shared the Big Secret with her in the past but they’re not radiating that sort of heat between them.
I also wish that Cassie had pointed out that all three people in this recent spate of fatal accidents have been black, rather than phrasing the racist angle in the way she did. The fact that all three drivers were African-American must be significant if they weren’t just accidents, but her blunt suggestion that the Mayor is being racist for not closing the only road into town was… well, yeah - a little too blunt without more dialog leading up to the accusation.
Scene 11: Later in their motel room, the boys change into suits. Sam jokes that Cassie seems fearless and the type of girl who could’ve kicked Dean’s ass a few times. Sam also needles him a bit about how she and he don’t actually look at one another when they’re talking. He’s “interestingly observed” that they check one another out only when each is looking somewhere else.
Dean points Sam onto their actual concern and the case.
Scene 12: Sam and Dean’s suit changing is about being “insurance investigators” this time out and they start with questioning the latest accident victim’s friends about any mentions of weird occurrences lately, despite that not making a whole lot of sense.
They try to phrase it in such a way as to be medical questions about hallucinations and stuff but Dean’s a bit pointed about specifically asking about mentions of a large, scary truck.
One friend is unimpressed, but the other seems to recognize the description of a large, black truck on the roads. This friend relates an urban legend around those parts about a string of black men disappearing on the road back in the 60’s. Tales say that a large, black truck would hunt down the African-American men who were unlucky enough to have to travel the roadway. He further relates that the perpetrator was never caught, and in fact he can’t be sure that a concerted effort was actually made. He reminds Dean and Sam about the turbulent atmosphere in regards to race relations in that part of the country in that time period. It’s possible that the deaths of some black men wasn’t a priority for local Leos.
Commentary: This scene is just really clumsily written, as many scenes seem to be in which Sam and Dean are asking questions and getting data dumps from random people. Please tell me: An insurance investigator shows up asking questions about possible medical issues with your recently killed friend. Would you: A) Think that they’re just dotting Is and crossing Ts or B) Looking for a way to screw your friend out of his insurance pay off for his family by looking into a medical loophole?
Would you then: A) Tell them that there wasn’t anything wrong with your recently killed friend and they should stop playing games and fucking pay the man’s family to help them financially recover or B) Ramble on about a local legend and disappearances happening four decades ago?
Y’see the problem? The dead man’s friend’s data dumping about mysterious killer truck drivers has no connection to Sam and Dean’s undercover identities. It may be different if they’d presented themselves as authors looking to write a book on local legends and then claiming that the recent spate of accidents on this same stretch of road as unsolved disappearances from back in the 1960’s and to the same profile of victims has them intrigued about the older legend. The friend then may mention he remembers the local story from back then.
In fact, the old standby impersonation of FBI agents would make a helluva lot more sense here. They could’ve presented themselves as a very preliminary investigative team looking into whether there is a link with the older unsolved cases, or whether it is just tragic coincidences. This would definitely give the friend-character a motive to tell them about the 1960’s local myths about that road.
This was just some bad scripting where it wasn’t needed to provide the Winchesters with a clue they need.
Scene 13: As Sam and Dean walk away, Dean suggests a phantom truck in a way similar to the Flying Dutchman: An apparition as part of a ghostly haunting re-enacting a former crime.
Dean also suggests that so far the victims have all been tied to Cassie’s family. Sam suggests he needs to ask her about her father. He also tells Dean that he should take the opportunity to address their unfinished business. Dean’s reaction tells Sam that there is more to the story and he needles Dean into spilling that he had actually fallen in love with her, which is why he broke John’s cardinal rule against telling anyone what they do. But even more surprising, Dean and Cassie didn’t work out because Cassie was the one to break it off with Dean Winchester -- a state of affairs that flies in the face of Dean’s love-em-and-leave-em persona. She’d actually gotten in and then was the one to exit the relationship.
It’s clear that Dean still holds a great amount of hurt over this, as he shuts down and yells at Sam to get in the car.
Scene 14: Later, Cassie is working in her home office when Dean stops by. Their interaction is a bit tense, but she turns talk to what she’s working on with a tribute to her editor, who she was very close to.
But the thing between them unresolved is too strong to be denied and they end up in an argument about his shutting down whenever there is a hint of emotional vulnerability and her being the one to kill the good thing they had doing by taking his deepest held secret and calling him crazy for it [which, c‘mon Dean -- Cassie has a very, very compelling point about how cockamamie his entire claim to have to leave for awhile to kill ghosts with his father sounds].
[Anyway -- would you be shocked to learn that this intense argument about things past ends with passionate kissing and sex in the present? No, I thought not.]
Heated argument leads to Cassie jumping Dean’s bones.
Scene 15: Sex.
Pretty intense passion. Lot’s of “my god, I missed this” looks during the writhing and lip smashing.
Commentary: Actually, despite my bit of snarking there, I’ll give props for this scene. It’s the first scene between Dean and Cassie that really felt like there was something in their past between them. The sex scene was pretty intense for a genre show and I really liked the song playing over the couple. So, despite the cliché of fighting turning to coupling, at least it was well filmed and scored.
Scene 16: The following morning, Mayor is at a construction site consulting some blueprints. It looks like he’s building a new custom home at the nearby lake. He wraps up the plans and nods to himself in satisfaction before returning to his car.
From the morning fog there is the very sudden sounds of a truck engine and Mayor is caught with shock face in a set of bright headlights, despite this not being on the “haunted road” nor at night, nor is he African-American.
None of which stops the truck from roaring after him as he takes off at a run down this quiet, isolated side road. And because he chooses to run [as so many before and after him will do] down the middle of the road, rather than moving out of the way, he gets hit and is sent flying onto the lawn.
When he finishes rolling, he’s dead.
Commentary: My Dearest, Dearest LJ Friends: Please. Please remember when you’re being chased by a killer behind the wheel that you’re not bionic. You cannot outrun a speeding car or truck. Stop running down the middle of the street and turn off instead onto a sidewalk, behind a tree, into somebody’s yard, behind a parked vehicle… hell jump in a lake and swim for it. Now, I know that doesn’t guarantee survival, but neither does running in a straight line in front of the killer vehicle targeting you and the former strategies are more likely to result in success than the anti-survival choice this man [and oh so many others] made.
Now I have to call him a dumbass and then feel badly because, y’know, he’s dead and all.
Scene 17: Back with Cassie and Dean, they’re in afterglow. They talk again about how they left things off before, but this time there is less shouting. They broach the possibility of making things work even after they figure out what is going on, now that she knows that he isn’t crazy or coming up with wild stories to break up with her.
The romance is interrupted by a call from Sam informing Dean of the Mayor’s death.
Scene 18: At the site, Sam fills Dean in while also asking him about working things out with Cass the night before, since he didn’t make it back to their motel room. Missouri is suffering a cold snap and it’s lightly snowing, but since this is January it’s not unheard of even for south of the Mason-Dixon.
Dean and Sam are both left stumped that the Mayor doesn’t fall within their phantom killer’s pattern.
Scene 19: In the news room, Cassie consults with Dean about the stories from the 60s.
Another call comes in from Sam, where he’s been at the town hall looking into records for the Mayor’s property. It used to belong to the Dorian family and Dean finds articles related to the unsolved disappearance of Cyrus Dorian -- another not-black person who vanished from the small town without a trace.
Sam mentions that immediately after the Mayor recently bought the Dorian place, he bulldozed the home and Cassie relates that it was a big deal locally. Dean looks up the article and finds out that the latest string of killings started the very next day after the Mayor destroyed the historic home. They’ve got a motive and an identity for their pissed off ghost.
Scene 20: That night, Cassie has a lot to think about. She wanders around the empty home [y’know, for staying with her mother after her father’s untimely death, the old woman NEVER is home] having a drink.
When she reaches the study, the lights start doing the Buzzing-Flickering-Of-Bad-Tidings. Outside, she hears the roaring engine of a truck.
Scene 21: Out in the yard, we see said roaring truck racing its engine. Head lamps light up the dining room of her home as the electric lights continue going crazy. The truck continually races toward the house, stopping just short of ramming it and seemingly is following her from room to room.
She doesn’t think to go up the stairs to the second floor. But she does grab her cell.
She shouts for Dean, terrorized.
Scene 22: Later, Cassie is sitting with the returned mother, Sam and Dean to talk about her experience. She has to tell them that she couldn’t see a driver [we’ve seen the windows are heavily tinted already].
She reports just as suddenly as it was there, it was gone. Sam asks her mother about her husband having seen the truck himself shortly before his death. Mrs. Robinson [let’s just call her Kathleen] isn’t very forthcoming but whether she’s hiding something or is just in shock isn’t clear. Dean presses her over Cassie’s mild objection for information and Kathleen admits that her husband did see the mysterious truck. She further tells them that her husband thought that he recognized the vehicle as belonging to somebody in their past: A man named Cyrus.
Dean pulls out the news article about Cyrus’ disappearance, but she won’t look at the picture. She tells them that Cyrus died 40 years ago. Dean asks her just how she knows that the disappeared man died then.
Kathleen tells them that she was dating Cyrus, while at the same time dating Martin Robinson. She had to be secretive about seeing Martin, of course, because of the rampant racism and what would’ve happened to them if anyone got wind that a black man and white girl were dating.
Eventually, she chose Martin. Cyrus discovered why she’d broken up with him and he changed into a frightening man full of hatred. Rumors began to circulate about black men disappearing from the road into some kind of truck shortly after. Nothing was being done about it.
Kathleen and Martin decided to get married, despite the problems of being an interracial couple. They were going to get married in the small chapel nearby, but at the last minute they decided to elope in order to avoid the negative attention from town. The night following the day when the ceremony would’ve taken place in that church, someone had set it ablaze. There was a children’s choir practicing within it. There were no survivors.
Sam asks if the attacks stopped after that, but Kathleen cries her way through telling them that there was one more attack. Cyrus and his truck came for her husband and Cyrus beat him mercilessly on the side of the road. But Martin got loose and was able to grab the ball bat from his attacker. He beat Cyrus to death.
Dean asks about calling the cops, which provokes a near laugh of disbelief from Kathleen. She points out the time and place, implying what would’ve happened to a black man in the south accused of beating an entitled white boy on the side of the road, even in self defense.
Martin called his friends, our opening victim and our newspaper editor. They helped get Cyrus’ body into his truck and made it disappear. It was rolled into the edge of the swamp on Cyrus’ own land and the secret was kept from that night forward. Next up is why Mayor Todd was targeted. Kathleen tells them that the Mayor was a young deputy then and he’d managed to figure out what Martin and the others did with Cyrus. But he did nothing with the information, becoming a conspirator to protect her husband.
Obvs, all of this is coming as quite a blow to Cassie but her and her mother take one another’s hands while Dean and Sam consider how to protect them.
Commentary: Ironic that Kathleen Noone’s big scene would be right after I mentioned how her character never seemed to be around in her own home. But I want to say just how wonderful she was. She takes her moment and really owns the scene and her reaction to telling the others about the deaths at the church really brought a lump to my throat. Excellent scene and the right way to deal with a data dump for the good guys.
Scene 23: Later outside Cassie’s, Dean and Sam talk about their situation and what to do about it. Sam jokes about how simple life was as a college student and how strange it is to be having a conversation with the phrase “killer truck” when they’re being literal.
They consider that Cyrus’ swamp became his tomb where he rested easily but that the destruction of his nearby home by the same man who’d protected his killer must’ve awoken his spirit. They’re both not looking forward to having to dredge a body up from the swamp in order to put Cyrus to rest.
Cassie comes out from the house. With her mother asleep, she asks what they do now. Dean tells her not to leave the house until they get back, but she jokes for him not to turn authoritative on her and that she hates that. He rephrases and includes “please” in his instruction for her not to leave the house. They kiss. Sam clears his throat. Dean holds up a “one minute” finger and goes on making out with Cass.
Scene 24: Out at the late Mayor’s property, Sam and Dean have [very conveniently off-screen and apparently without having to get muddy or wet] managed to snag some heavy chain and an earth mover. They [apparently without having to actually dive into the not very swampy swamp] have the sunk truck winched and are able to pull it from its muddy resting place.
As they retrieve burning supplies from the Impala’s trunk, Sam jokes with Dean about his still being in love with Cassie. Dean tells him to focus.
They get Cyrus’ remains from the cab of the truck and salt, gasoline and burn them. As the remains are in the process of burning to dispel Cyrus’ vengeful ghost, though, Sam and Dean are suddenly menaced by the roaring phantom truck.
Scene 25: Sam insists that Cyrus should be dispelled by the fire, but obvs the phantom truck doesn’t care about his body. Dean suggests that Cyrus’ very evil must’ve infected his burial vehicle and part of him still exists in the embodiment of the phantom.
Dean races to the Impala to draw the phantom away, leaving Sam to figure out how to burn a water logged truck enough to dispel whatever is left of Cyrus.
Scene 26: What follows is a prolonged cat and mouse between the Duel-Inspired Ghost Truck and Dean, while Sam consults John’s journal on how to properly dispel a phantom object as [apparently, I guess?] simply throwing salt onto the cab’s interior and lighting it on fire isn’t enough [I guess?].
Dean calls Sam for advice on what to do, but he hasn’t an answer though he is consulting a map. Sam calls Cassie for information.
Scene 27: When he calls Dean back, he asks for Dean’s exact location, fortunately in time for Dean to see a side road pass by.
In the meantime, the truck slams into the Impala, sending her into a fishtail that Dean only just recovers from. Whatever Sam has in mind, he points Dean to a place at a set of very exact coordinates and tells him to stop and not move from it.
Dean is stopped at the exact entrance onto where the church’s burned down remains still linger. The truck waits for several moments before rushing toward the doubtful Dean but Sam tells him to sit it out.
As the truck slams into the Impala, it goes immaterial and leaves Dean unscathed. Sam gambled that the phantom driving over the threshold of hallowed ground would dissipate it, and luckily it turns out that he was correct. Although Dean isn’t very appreciative of Sam’s putting so much on the line over a ‘maybe’.
Commentary: It kind of bugged me just a bit that Dean wasn’t faster on the uptake in this scene. It was obviously for audience benefit, but I knew immediately on seeing the burned out building remains where Dean was and why. I did like Jensen’s acting in this scene though and the ghost effect of the truck turning into a bright fog as it passed over the Impala was nicely done. I at first thought that they’d take a page directly from The Car and that the truck would just race its engine but be unable to follow Dean. I like that it did in fact rush him, anyway -- although, I do wish we’d finally see a rotted, ghost-Cyrus behind the wheel.
Supernaturally-infused vehicles is just a really silly idea on the face of it if we don’t get a ghostly/demonic driver at some point, even if it’s a fleeting glance. Trying to have the car itself be evil is just… a little too much for me… which is probably why I was so dissatisfied with Christine and don’t find it as enjoyable as others do. It’s just a ridiculous concept for me.
Scene 28: The following day, Sam is waiting behind the wheel of the Impala while Cassie and Dean makes their goodbyes. Dean tries to tell her that maybe they can make it less permanent seeming than last time, but Cass tells him that she’s a realist. She just doesn’t see much of a future for them together.
She’s ready to just say goodbye, while Dean continues to insist that sometime he’ll see her again. They kiss several times, but finally it’s time Dean be on his way back to the mission.
Commentary: And of course, we’ll never see or hear of Cassie again. The poor people who cares for the heroes… they’re always stuck with “friendships” in the past, but are never mentioned before they show up, and they get forgotten right afterward. It’s kinda cruel… although, probably not in this case. Considering this is Supernatural, it’s probably better for Cassie that Dean does forget she exists.
Scene 29: The Impala tools down empty roads surrounded by empty fields. Sam shares that he liked her; He wonders if Dean ever wonders if putting the life he could have on hold to do what they do might ever not be worth it.
Dean shares a smile with him, but seems comfortable with the choices he’s made.
The Good: I really liked the way that Jensen and Megalyn handled the sex scene. Maybe it's just because of their lack of immediate chemistry earlier, but it was in the scene leading up to and during the actual love scene that I could actually feel the weight of their history between them. The score was also excellently chosen for this scene.
I was mesmerized by the performance of Kathleen Noone during her confession. She owned her entire scene and, I simply must point out, showed up the young 'uns handily acting wise in the scene.
The Bad: I really didn't like the first data dump scene with the "friends of the deceased" bringing up the four decades old disappearances in the area. The whole thing was badly set up and the scripting of it didn't make it natural for the blabfest on such an old series of events to even be brought up.
I also didn't like the "terrorize Cassie in her home" scene with the truck either. It doesn't make sense as far as the MO for the phantom attacker and unless the truck was actually going to crash into the house [Again, The Car], it was just an empty scene to include [and it doesn't, in fact, crash into the house]. Cassie should've been threatened outside, maybe on her way home from the newspaper office or even from one of the funerals she surely would've had to attend.
The entire scene of dealing with the truck in the swamp was just poorly done. It just isn't possible for Dean and Sam, alone, to have dragged up a truck in 40 years of swamp muck to the surface and the fact that they apparently did so without actually getting in the water is laughable. It was also a bit ridiculous that time wasn't left to have Sam and Dean burn the truck before finding out that the phantom vehicle wasn't impacted by the loss of both the truck and Cyrus' body, defying the usual rules about ghosts.
Other Thoughts: The first thing to mention is the awkward set up to get Sam and Dean into MO and the way that Sam's discovers and reacts to Dean having told somebody outside the family about their being hunters. It's a bit weird because Sam comes across as really angry about it but it's only half explained why his reaction is so visceral. This reaction could've had a bit more to it to make Sam seem more justified, rather than being a pissy jerk for undefined reasons.
Cassie as a character is a mixed bag for me. When she's alone with Dean, her character's responses work well but her general circumstances really don't. For instance, she's almost never seen to actually be upset that her father was killed and possibly murdered out on the road, except in a very general way. It doesn't "feel" like there was a personal relationship involved and that she's suffered a loss. By the same token, her interactions with the "mother that she returned to living with to help her through this" doesn't feel like a personal, lifelong connection exists in their dialog until Kathleen's secrets spill out. But again, when the character is only with Dean, we do get that she and he were very close at some point. And it's not the actress' issue -- it's the scripting that isn't allowing any moments of true personal reflection or emotion to come through that Cass has lost her father and her mother is left bereft by his loss.
There are also problems that I can put down to the actors between Jensen and Megalyn. When their characters first re-meet one another, it just doesn't feel like long lost lovers coming back into each others' lives. But this later changes and you can then feel the backstory in their performances. Maybe the first meet was really when the two actors first interacted and they just couldn't overcome the fact that they didn't know each other? I don't know.
I liked the way that the Mayor's unexpected murder was filmed because he didn't seem to fit the criteria for vengeance at all but at the same time, it always draws me out of a scene when I'm forced to yell at people to get off the fucking road when somebody is trying to run them down. It *almost* always makes the victim look fatally stupid and I just have a hard time believing that a body's natural, instinctive response to a car racing toward them would be to turn around and run in a straight line instead of trying to dodge to one side or the other.
The Score: I always find the "evil vehicle" story a bit too preposterous for my usual suspension of disbelief muscle to take, so the wrap up of the tale lost me a little bit. But I really liked the character work being done for Dean by giving him this past relationship that meant much more to him than others we've seen involving women. I also really liked Jensen and Megalyn's work later in the episode. Kathleen's character really needed more involvement throughout the story but I loved what she did with her big character moment.
On the paper the "racist ghost truck" story sounds like it's going to be horrible but with the focus being on Dean and Cassie, it largely avoided the pitfalls of this sort of set up. I would've liked to actually get Cyrus as the primary haunter over only seeing the truck, but this could've been way more dumb than it turned out being.
I also found, except with Cassie accusing the Mayor of racism immediately, that the racial strife angle wasn't overplayed or preachy for which I was grateful and I loved how it was incorporated into Mr. and Mrs. Robinson's backstory.
So, ultimately I liked the episode even though I was sure that the premise was ensuring that I'd hate it.
3.50 out of 5 stars
Next Up: Angel & Faith, Season 2, Issue 13