Supernatural: Hell House
Writer: Trey Callaway
DIR: Chris Long
Blurb: Get the hell out of Hell House! Sam and Dean defy a homicidal spirit, but their efforts are encumbered by a pair of goofball paranormal investigators who hope ghostbusting gets them girls.
My Blurb: So before we even begin, I’ve finally stopped fighting with my DVD player's refusal to cooperate -- so I’m really frickin’ annoyed at the number of DVDs I have with no player. But I’ve joined the 2000’s, by joining frickin’ Netflicks, so I should start more regularly reviewing - maybe kinda sorta.
I’m just gonna presume that since I just signed onto Netflix, you’re all at the cooler, newer site and I’m ten years out of date, as per usual. I care not… about that part… I’m glaring daggers that I have to sign onto a service at all, though.
But more relevantly, this isn’t one of my favorite episodes. It’s not horrible - ahem, ‘Bugs’ - but I may be slightly more pricky than usual.
Scene 01: We open on a black, title crawl screen, in Richardson, Texas… two months prior.
We join four “teens”, who are traipsing through the woods in the middle of the night, in order to investigate a local haunted cabin. We’ve got three boys and a girl, none of which can be local, unless Texas lost its drawl at some point.
Our girl refuses to go in the cabin of doom… at first, but she then gets coaxed. Inside they first find a symbol drawn on a wall, which I’m sure will in no way be important later for our hunters. Sure of it.
For some reason, despite being in the woods on a cold and dark night, there is enough light filtering through the windows to see perfectly, even if they didn’t have a flashlight.
[But not nearly as badly as in Asylum.]
Scene 02: Our teen blunders proceed toward the root cellar to check out the rumors of somethin’ or other, which turns out to be the supposed site where a sicko strung up and murdered girls, according to the local “they”, anyway.
[Passing through the kitchen reveals that fortunately the cabin comes equipped with a spotlight outside of the window, and the electric bill is being paid. Okay, that shot was just as blatant as ‘Asylum’.]
Our ‘kids’ go down into the cellar, with our leader looking a bit shifty.
Commentary: And this is one of the longer openings, spending a bit too much time with fake-teens in a too dark, except when it’s too bright & drab set. Get onto Our Sammy and Adorable Dean, already!
Scene 03: One of our more skeptical boys, tells everybody that it’s really creepy how Satan stores his root vegetables down there.
He goofs around some more, but his friends are staring behind him, causing him to turn around to see what they’re all gawking at.
It’s a hung girl!
Commentary: Nice makeup on her face, for such a quick shot. So kudos to the makeup folk.
Scene 04: Two months later, our boys and Impala come rolling up I-35 to check out this haunting.
[Dean appears to be sporting Angel hair today. It’s okay, Dean, you can back off the hair care products just a tad bit.]
In the passenger seat, Our Sam is sacked out. Dean takes the opportunity to play a prank by putting an old, plastic spoon into his mouth, before waking him up with a startle.
[And of course, he takes so long with his eyes of the road, he surely should’ve killed them both… but Impala don’t truck with going off the road, so it’s okay.]
Sam is bitchy. Dean is bored - it’s been a long ass drive through East Texas.
Sam warns Dean that he’s not in the mood for that kid-pranking stuff they used to do, because it’s stupid, and it always escalates. Dean jokes about the time he put Nair in Sam’s shampoo… Sam reminds Dean for later that he started it.
Scene 05: With the prank-war declared, Dean turns to the reason they’re there at all, so Our Sam can explicate our opening scene, unnecessarily.
But we also learn that by the time the cops arrived at the Haunted Cabin of Richardson, the alleged body had disappeared. Cops put it down to kids being stupid, and yanking their chains. Sam tells Dean that he read their accounts and they seem sincere to him… from what he could pick up from a local website, anyway… for amateur ghost hunters.
This sends Dean deep into scoff territory. But Sam says that since they let dad run off again, they need something to do, and they were passing through the area anyway.
Scene 06: Later that night, Sam, Dean & Impala roll up to the local burger joint to find the kids who found the supposed dead girl who disappeared.
They find the uh-kids-ahem, and receive conflicting versions of what they actually saw, none of which was actually the case from what we saw. But y’know… the tale grows in the telling….
The only thing that they can agree on, is whose idea it was to check out the Haunted Cabin of Richardson, so the next stop is Craig’s place to find out how he even heard about the cabin.
Commentary: Which, I don’t know guys. This is going to be a lighter episode after the bummer with Meg and John’s nearly being killed, but c’mon… it feels like Dean would be eye-rolling and ready to move on immediately. This all feels like a dead end not-case.
But… since they’ll continue to apparently waste time, obvs the boys will find something….
Scene 07: The next stop is Craig, where he works at the local vintage record shop.
Our boys play Dallas reporters there for an article about local hauntings. Craig doesn’t immediately wonder why Dallas wouldn’t have hauntings of its own to write articles about. Our Boys ask about the local haunting.
Allegedly back in the 30’s, a local farmer got caught in the Dust Bowl disaster, and couldn‘t feed his six daughters. He figured that killing them quickly, rather than have them starve would be more merciful, so he hung them, so they could have an excruciating, kicking, slow death… hmm… okay.
Commentary: Actually, this works in retrospect when we know the full story of what happened to the opening dead girl. It sounds ridiculous now, but that is because the whole story is meant to sound slightly ridiculous, as local legends sometimes are. It all works, fine.
The only thing bugging me about this scene, really, is the amount of time that Craig feels the need to waste by dramatically pausing during his story-telling. Clearly this is another script that wasn’t Quite Long Enough to fill the 55 minutes… WAIT, 55 MINUTES! With commercials?? Oh, c’mon IMDB! You’re not even trying to be accurate. However many 40-something minutes, though, we have to keep stretching scenes with silence to pad. And that is irritating me, because it’s so unnatural sounding when it comes to the dialog.
Scene 08: The next morning, the Haunted Cabin of Richardson - looking far too small for the interior sets - sits forlorn under stormy skies.
[Actually, this is a very nice visual. Kudos again. Stop trying to make me appreciate you, episode.]
Our Boys walk up to inspect the abandoned property. [There is clearly a driveway right there, but I’m choosing to believe that Dean refused to drive up, because he wouldn’t get his car muddy. That seems very early Dean, to me.]
Scene 09: We spend time inspecting the outside of the cabin. Dean’s ghost detector turns out not to be reliable here, because the local power pole is energized, so the electrical junction is throwing off interference.
The only choice is to go in. Without any ghost fighting accoutrements. [Really. It’s the only choice… shut up!]
Scene 10: Inside, the symbols on the wall attract immediately attention. Sam admits confusion though, because the symbols are conflicting and from different eras, making it more of a mishmash, rather than cohesive, dark magic evidence.
There is one symbol that neither of them recognize, so camera phone for later investigation.
[But only after Dean asks Sam if he recognizes it, and Our Sam takes several seconds to bother turning around to look at it, because unnatural pauses are the name of the game for this episode, as I’ve already mentioned.]
Dean now claims that he has in fact seen this symbol… but he doesn’t recall where. Our Sam inspects it closer, and finds that the paint isn’t from the 30’s but is definitely way fresh.
Dean starts to think the cops may’ve been right about this one, despite his general reluctance to agree with authority figures on anything. A noise captures the boys’ attention.
Scene 11: The noise turns out to be caused from an amateur ghost hunting pair of guys, who are documenting the place. Oh, my mistake - Ed & Harry self-identify as “professional paranormal investigators”, so that shows me.
Sam and Dean play along, when Ed pegs them as amateurs ruining their scientific investigation of the Haunted Cabin of Richardson. Including Harry pulling out an EMF detector, which Dean had already pointed out to Sam can’t work properly because of the power junction close by.
[I’m not exactly sure how Dean & Sam, and Jensen & Jared managed to keep a straight face through this scene. I kinda want to immediately punch our intrepid ‘investigators’ in the face. Hard.]
Scene 12: So while Ed and Harry continue to investigate, Our Sam has been to City Hall to look into this legend about the murderous farmer. Sam finds nothing to indicate a farmer ever lived with six daughters, or murders were committed on the property. While he was doing this, Dean had been to the police station, and reports to Sam that no missing persons had been reported, let alone anyone matching the dead girl’s description.
Dean announces this whole thing was a hoax, and they need to move on. Sam has to reluctantly agree. They decide on some beers before they head off.
Scene 13: Sam watches Dean get into Impala. When he turns on the ignition, the radio blasts Salsa at him, and the wipers have been left on… etc, all the personal settings for Dean are changed. Part II of the New Prank War of 2006: Our elder brother is not impressed.
Scene 14: That night, James -- one of our ‘kids’ from earlier -- has returned to the Cabin, with two girls he wants to impress. They were playing Truth or Dare earlier, and Jill took Dare. Her choices were to make out with James, which she treats with disdain, or go into the haunted cellar and retrieve a jar from the homicidal ghost farmer’s cellar.
Obvs, despite Dean and Sam accepting the haunting is crap, things won’t go well for Jill.
[Yeah, yeah, we follow her through every footfall -- I don’t care, she’s dead, move on.]
Except, weirdly, new accoutrements have been added to the Cabin since Our Boys and the Paranormal Website Guys were there earlier.
Commentary: Oh, man. This all takes up an inordinate amount of time to get to the point, so Sam and Dean realize there is something supernatural going on after all. I mean endless minutes of time going on and on, as doomed Jill wanders in the dark and hears noises. *sigh*
Scene 15: The next morning, the cops are there doing what they do in the aftermath of a crime. Jill is being wheeled out, when Our Boys arrive.
They ask random guy what’s the what, and he tells them that the cops are stating that Jill hung herself in the cellar. It’s all such a waste [thank you extra, now move along so Our Boys can freely talk].
Sam is extra-feely-faced as he asks Dean what he thinks, and Dean replies that he believes they’ve missed something….
Scene 16: That night, the cops are STILL there, sweeping the place with a flashlight, as Dean and Sam hide unconvincingly in a thin thicket.
Sam guesses the cops are trying to keep the local kids away. Dean complains they still need to get in there. Then they hear whispering from close by, and realize that their “professional paranormal investigators” have also returned to get in the way.
[And of course, all four of them make too much noise not to be immediately caught, except the Richardson police force are uniformly hard of hearing, so it’s okay. And our ghost hunting duo are also shining a camera light, so they‘re blind-ish also.]
Dean uses the opportunity to shout nice and loudly, drawing attention to the interlopers. Which gives them the opportunity to slip past the police cordon, while the officers deal with our bumbling investigators.
Scene 17: This time, Sam and Dean have brought a rock salt shotgun for defense. Dean again mentions the symbol that he knows he’s seen before. Though it apparently didn’t bother him enough earlier for either of them to even remotely try to find an explanation for it.
[We get way too significant close up on sigil… AGAIN… in case we didn’t realize it would be important by Dean’s mentioning having seen it somewhere before… AGAIN.]
[Yeah, this just isn’t a favorite episode of mine. And it also isn’t bad enough to get amusement from… it’s just… bland. I don’t think it’s the director’s fault, but is a weakness in the script. It just feels like this was a 30 minute story, that had to find an extra 14-17 minutes somewhere. And of course, that wasn’t used to kill two or three more people along the way, so we get padding instead.
I also don’t understand why our paranormal investigators were such a hit, that they were brought back later.]
Scene 18: Our Boys head down into the cellar. Dean inspects the jars of… mystery fluids. They hear a creak.
They head deeper into the cellar with shotguns drawn [but since this doesn’t get rid of ghosts, how they think doing so is going to resolve anything is anyone’s guess; this seems like the sort of case, where all of their time would be spent in the local library trying to come up with a suspect behind the activity, since clearly it isn’t the farmer that Sam investigated already].
They track the creak to an old cabinet. There is a moment of tenseness, as Sam opens the cabinet door, but it’s only rats rattling around.
But unnoticed behind them, a ghost does appear… wielding an axe!
Fortunately, they turn before Dean gets a blade in the skull. Both let loose with their shotgun rock salt, but the spirit turns into black smoke, and doesn’t seem particularly bothered. Sam exclaims over a spirit being immune to rock salt. Dean is obvs also taken aback.
Dean calls for retreat, while the spirit - whatever it is - destroys the shelving unit.
[All of this noise draws the police, and Sam and Dean spend the night in jail for trespass of a crime scene, messing with evidence, and illegal discharge of a firearm… oh, wait. Police force are all hard of hearing… and have run a mile away chasing two teenagers with a video camera… so it’s all okay.]
Spirit continues trying to axe Our Boys, and they retreat.
Scene 19: In the meantime, Ed and Harry have doubled back to the cabin, doing a runaround the police. Harry suggests they should just go. Ed says no.
Neither heard all of the gunshots going on.
Sam and Dean come busting out of the door of the cabin, telling our two bumblers to run. The investigators see something, which causes Harry to grab Ed’s shoulder and make a dash away. Cops return from the woods, too late to catch our hunters, but early enough to catch our panicking investigators.
Scene 20: Back at their motel, Dean draws out the symbol that has been bothering him.
Our Boys discuss the inconsistency with the supposed murderous farmer’s methods and the details of his death (by hanging, while Our Boys saw slit wrists on their haunter).
Sam checks out the Hellhound’s Lair website for the details of their supposed haunter, trying to explain what the hell is going on with their method-shifting haunt. And finds that the details on the site are changed from the last time he checked it out.
The new posting about “they say” includes the details of Mordechai actually using an axe, and slitting his wrists, completely different from the myth that had been posted. This causes Dean to realize where he’d seen their symbol of mystery.
Scene 21: Before we hear all about it, we skip over to the record store where we re-join Craig surfing the web. It’s the following day. Craig is in a funk. Dean and Sam sorta-confront Craig on what he’s been up to, by taking the expositiony way around the subject and trying not to draw the random shopper’s attention to the really weird conversation.
Dean had realized the night before, that the symbol that was bugging him wasn’t from his monster hunting, but was copied from a record album cover. And who better to have cribbed a symbol to paint in a “haunted cabin” but somebody who works in a vintage album store? And been the first to lead a group of friends into the cabin to check it out?
Craig admits that he and his cousin Dana thought it would be a funny prank to turn the local abandoned cabin into a ‘haunted site’, by tricking everybody with a fake legend that was all a bunch of crapola, and see how many of the idiots among their friends would totally buy into it.
The “dead girl” in the opening was actually Dana, who was returning to school out of the area. She made the perfect ‘dead body’ that could conveniently disappear later to add to the scares and the legend. But then, the two dorks put it on their website, and the whole tale just kinda spun out of control.
Nobody, obvs, was supposed to have died for real since the whole business was a giant prank. But now, they have this ‘suicide’ and Jill is really dead, leaving Craig feeling guilty and miserable over the whole thing.
Scene 22: So, while this explains why Sam couldn’t find any actual history to match the supposed 1930’s homicidal farmer, it doesn’t explain the figure that Sam and Dean found waiting for them in the Haunted Cabin of Richardson.
They’ve returned to their motel room to keep digging.
While Sam is in the bathroom, Dean opens a packet of powder with a devilish grin.
He sprinkles itching powder into Sam’s underwear. He carries on a conversation with Our Sam, in which Sam wonders if they’re dealing with a Tulpa, a manifestation of thought.
[Okay. You know I cannot resist this…]
Scene 23: A bit later, they’re at the burger joint in town, where Sam goes into details about Tulpa’s and how they might work in the current context. As he tries to focus, he begins shifting and scratching to Dean’s amusement.
Meanwhile, Sam explains that with the story online, everybody is believing that Mordechai is real, so he has become so. Dean brings up an obvious flaw in the theory… millions of people believe in Santa Claus, too, but he’s not getting gifts every Christmas [well, because a) that’s for children, Dean, and b) thank goodness!].
Sam tells Dean it’s because he’s a bad person. But more importantly, it’s because it isn’t just the belief that is making the farmer manifest - it’s in combination with one of the symbols spray painted on the wall by Craig and Dana -- a Tibetan symbol, giving power to create the Tulpa. [And awesomely? It appears that the camera photo app that Sam is using to retrieve his camera phone images uses a BTVS-font!]
With this new information, Dean suggests they just wipe the symbol off of the wall, but of course it won’t be that simple. Sam has found that once a Tulpa is brought into existence, it takes on a life of its own.
In the meantime, Sam is getting more and more uncomfortable. Sam mentions being allergic to their soap, but Dean’s laughter tells Our Sammy that he’s been pranked again.
Commentary: I kinda do like this idea, that belief could bring a spirit into existence. It’s very much like how The Book of Magic in Buffy is shaping reality with the reset of magic on Earth, having given the New Vampires all of Dracula’s powers because that is what people believe vampires are like after having “accepted” the mythos from the movies through the decades.
This is the same thing, on a smaller scale, confined to one location. But I still don’t find the episode as written to be completely engaging, alas.
The pranks between Sam and Dean feels a bit out of place, as well, in this particular story. I see the clumsy tie-in with the theme of pranks getting more mean spirited as Craig’s prank is getting out of control, and the pranks between Sam & Dean are escalating, but this would’ve worked better several episodes back. It’s odd to see the boys being pranksters right now, rather than obsessing on actual demons being after their father, and the feeling that they’re closing in on their mother’s killer.
In addition, it feels just slightly off that the pranks are continuing after Jill’s death. I mean, it’s isn’t completely out of left field, but it seems like if this thread was going to be in this episode, most of the clowning should’ve taken place prior to the real gruesome death being seeing on-screen. Now, it just feels like a silly time waster, even more than before Jill’s horrible hanging.
Scene 24: Meanwhile, Ed and Harry are hanging out in their trailer, arguing over the Hellhound’s Lair website and the haunted cabin. Harry doesn’t want to go back after what they’ve just seen, but Ed is seeing dollar signs if they can capture video footage of an actual, provable haunting.
[And we get another shout out with Ed’s WWBD… “What Would Buffy Do?”]
Harry complains that Buffy is a superhero. And he’s not.
They’re startled by a loud knocking on their trailer door, which turns out to be Dean and Sam.
Scene 25: Dean and Sam are there to demand that they shut down their website, in order to keep any more people from going to the haunted cabin and putting themselves in danger [plus feeding the Tulpa by continuing to propagate this fake story of Mordechai’s supposed dark history].
Naturally, Ed flatly turns down this request.
Which is expected, because Sam suddenly tells Dean that they’re obviously not going to help them out, even for that information they dug up about Mordechai.
Ed and Harry follow Dean and Sam back to their car, demanding to be told what they found out. Sam offers to tell them “the secret” over Dean’s “objection”, but only if they promise to shut down everything. Ed agrees, but clearly … I mean CLEARLY… is lying.
As Dean and Sam expect.
Sam tells the investigators that it took a lot of digging, but they’ve found a death certificate for the homicidal farmer. And that he didn’t, in fact, die of either a hanging or slit wrists… but of a .45 gunshot wound - self inflicted. Dean says that “they say” that Mordechai’s ghost is terrified of a .45 to this day… and that if somebody could shoot him with iron core bullets, the ghost would actually be killed… y’know according to “they say”.
Ed and Harry are fascinated with this bit of trivia. Harry takes off for the trailer to immediately post this, while Ed tries to badly play it casual.
Scene 26: In the meantime, Our Boys go to the local greasy spoon to wait for this new information to propagate outward, until a critical mass of people are buying into this new addition to the legend, to make the weakness real in the Tulpa.
While they wait, Dean plays with a laughing fisherman bit of kitsch hanging on the wall of their booth, to Sam’s extreme irritation because he won’t stop pulling on the string to make the annoying laugh continue and continue.
Dean complains to Sam that he’s way too tense, and needs more laughter in his life. He asks Sam if the dorks have posted the new information to their site, which they have. Our Sam guesses by nightfall, they’ll have their Tulpa dead to rights. Sam raises a bottle of beer to clink congratulations on their plan working with his brother. But when Dean picks up his beer bottle, he immediately notices something wrong.
To Sam’s glee, he confirms for Dean that he superglued the beer bottle, and now it’s stuck to Dean’s palm.
Scene 27: That night, the police are patrolling for trespassers again, delaying Dean and Sam’s being able to enter the cabin to take care of their not-ghost. One of our officers swears he heard something.
A moment later, we hear the laughing fisherman laugh echoing from off in the woods.
They find the laugh box hung up on a tree. Our officers stare at it dimwittedly, instead of making the immediate assumption that those two dorks with the video camera are back to cause trouble.
Commentary: Ugh, really? We still have 7 minutes left of this? Can we just hurry things along, please.
Like I said, I don’t hate this episode, but it’s just kinda there. And these long, long moments of eating up screen time doing not-much aren’t helping. Our guest characters do nothing for me, and Dean and Sam’s prankster subplot is cute… but empty in the scheme of things. They could’ve been used for tension relief, except there isn’t any tension… which is the real problem, I realize just now. This haunting, while the cause is interesting and different, isn’t generating any real tension or fear for our characters. Compare this episode to the tension in “Faith”, or the mystery of “Nightmare” … this one is just lacking in anything to really grab onto, for me.
Scene 28: So Our Boys make their way into the Haunted Cabin of Richardson [in real time, because we need to eat up some more of that running length]. They’ve armed themselves with the now-dreaded .45’s and iron core bullets.
They start to search the joint. [Oh, Jeez - Jared, did you not sleep? Were you ill, or hungover? You look like real crap in this scene.]
Sam and Dean are staring at the cellar door with their guns drawn, when a voice startles them from behind. It’s our two dorks, with their camera. They get a scare when they’re nearly shot by the startled men with guns.
[Naturally, our police are still out in the woods, staring blankly at laughing fisherman apparently.]
Scene 29: More noises from the cellar get everyone’s attention back on their haunting, with Sam and Dean ready to use their now-effective, presumably, guns and the investigators ready to get everything on video to earn their fame and fortune.
Suddenly, the homicidal, axe-wielding, murderous Tulpa busts through the cellar door explosively. Dean and Sam unload into it. Which, uh, doesn’t seem to do anything actually.
While Sam and Dean are separating to find their quarry, Harry grabs the camera from Ed to review their just shot footage, both convinced that the spirit is gone. But Sam and Dean know better, because Mordechai did his smoky disappearing act that they’ve already seen.
Scene 30: Suddenly the Tulpa reappears, swinging his axe downward and right into Harry. Somehow, though, he misses and only takes out the camera. Even though Harry should now be handless.
Dean confronts the dorks on their posting the “BS story” they gave them. They tell that they did post the story [yeah, as Sam already confirmed in the diner, Dean -- remember that, or did the superglue damage your brain]. Alas, the dorks report that they suffered a server crash, meaning that the story didn’t have time to take with the “believers”, and ergo their guns remain as ineffective as before! DOH!
[And I’d have paid real money for a certain red head to suddenly appear behind Dean, with a “What you guys need right now, is a witch”. -- And no, not Rowena. -- Of course, this is prior to all witches being bitches, so it could only work this far back before Dean and Sam got so kill happy on what are essentially still people, even though SPN tries to turn them into something else enough to keep our heroes from being executioners.]
So. Our Boys are screwed. The gunshots haven’t drawn those incompetent, hard of hearing, mostly blind police and the two dorks are suddenly thinking they’ve seen enough.
Ed and Harry decide to get the hell outta there.
Scene 31: But alas for them, our Tulpa doesn’t intend to allow anyone to walk away. He does make sure to use that convenient spotlight in the yard to dramatically backlight himself, though, which was thoughtful.
Our investigators shout and run for their lives. Murderer-spirit follows, menacing, but not actually axing.
Ed tries The Exorcist “the power of Christ compels you!”. Which does manage to summon Sam, who calls out to the Tulpa to come for him, instead.
Commentary: Four more minutes. *Yawwwn*.
Scene 32: Sam’s big plan is to wrestle for the axe, which leads to him being throttled by the handle off of his feet against the wall. It’s a great plan.
Sam shouts at Ed and Harry to get out of there, while they can. [Jared’s face looks swollen… did he find out that he’s allergic to prop itching powder-stand in?]
While Sam is being choked out, Dean is busy squirting lighter fluid around the living room.
Sam shouts for Dean as his throat is being crushed.
Scene 33: Dean appears at the end of the hallway with a spray paint can and a lighter. He shoots a makeshift flamethrower at the Tulpa to get him off of Our Sam.
Dean grabs Sam by the shoulder, and hauls out into the living room. Dean tells Sam that Mordechai can’t leave the house, and they can’t kill him… so they need to improvise. He hauls out his lighter….
Commentary: Police? Continuing to search the woods for the pranksters, huh? Can’t hear the shouting and gunshots, huh? Don’t suspect that the wooden laughing fisherman hung on a tree trunk is a distraction, huh?
Scene 34: Dean lights up the soon-to-be-former Haunted Cabin of Richardson. Sam is dumbfounded by Dean committing arson, but Dean points out that the spirit can’t haunt a house if there isn’t a house to haunt, and more “kids” can’t enter if there isn’t anything there.
Sam worries over the legend changing again, just to make it possible for the Tulpa to leave the cabin, but that’s a worry for another day (or never -- depending on how often SPN runs out of ideas in its far, far too long run).
Police fail to notice the burning cabin in the dark clearing. The spotlights vanished mysteriously with no comment. And the ground around the cabin is also mysteriously saturated with standing water, even though we’ve seen nothing more than possible drizzle over the few days this episode lasted. Whatever, it’s fine.
Scene 35: Later, somewhere-ish, Dean and Sam are standing around outside a general store, apparently waiting for the dorks, back at their trailer park.
Dorks report that they received a call from an important producer in Hollywood who is totally into their experiences and wants to option movie rights and produce an RPG based on their website. They’re both smug.
As our dorks drive away to be rich, Sam reports to Dean that he was the one who called them pretending to be a producer. Heh. Cruel, but I care not.
They share a laugh. Dean returns that he put a dead fish in their car. Another shared laugh. And they call a truce on the prankism against one another, which didn’t actually escalate all that far, despite Our Sam’s concerns at the beginning of the episode.
The load aboard the Impala and head out of the trailer park.
The Good: Again, this episode highlights the natural chemistry between our lead actors. This is especially true when they're in the more comic scenes.
I do kinda like the mystery at the beginning when nothing seems to be adding up to a ghost, including there being no apparent history to the place that is supposedly haunted. It may be fun for an episode where they investigate thoroughly and find nothing supernatural, with lots of clever allusions to Scooby Doo along the way.
The Bad: The early seasons really bug me when it comes to inexplicable lights shining in places they don't belong. And this episode has those. Not as bad as Asylum, but here it's even more irritating, because they could've explained them away by simply showing they exist and explaining that the cops setting them up would make it more difficult for our boys. One line of dialog, and one scene showing them lighting up the cabin would've explained them away, instead of them shining directly into the camera's view in one scene, only to disappear in the next.
Other Thoughts: I like the central idea of "belief makes it real", but the episode itself is undercutting the interesting idea by having an underwritten script, and forcing pacing issues on itself with long scenes that don't need the amount of time they're getting and odd pausing during dialog to fill runtime.
The character of Craig is also oddly handled. He should've been involved somewhere toward the end in an attempt to resolve what he started, but once his role in the haunting is admitted to, he vanishes. Instead we have to spend time with the comic relief. I don't understand this choice.
There is a weird sort of dissonance with the pranking b-plot. If Jill's death had been kept off-screen mostly, it wouldn't be so uncomfortable to have the boys joking about, but we as the audience saw Jill get hung to death rather brutally, so the mildly joking tone of the episode after that point just doesn't work. There were going to be deaths, obviously (or rather - one real one) but they could still have made this a comedy episode, if they hadn't insisted on showing us Jill's ugly murder.
The Score: This one is very easily a 3.0, middle of the road, average episode. It wasn't bad, it wasn't memorable. It just was. There just isn't much more to say. Because I wasn't distracted by any good, powerful scenes, it was far too easy to notice all of the crap that should've escaped notice.
But like I say, it isn't horrible so you an at least laugh through it.