Contrary to my own expectations, the powers that be at Supernatural decided against giving us another light and fun Halloween episode in favor of testing the Winchester boys.
The episode starts with a woman bringing home Halloween candy. Her husband steals a piece and gets a mouthful of razors. I have to say, the shot of him disengaging the one embedded in the roof of his mouth was ten shades of horrible, but I imagine the ones he swallowed felt worse. Dean and Sam investigate and come across a hex bag, which means we’ve got a witch hunt. And not for just any witch. This one is about 600 years old and packing some serious artifacts into the bags, including century old burnt baby bones and ancient Celtic coins.
Halloween is right around the corner, which means parties. We see some teenagers pouting about the "lame" party they are at and gossiping about the "rad" party they will be going to on the 31st. Do kids still say "lame" and "rad", or is it retro?Either way, when a cheerleader makes bobbing for apples seem sexy, her naughty nurse friend decides to give it a shot. But when she does, she finds herself unable to lift her head from the water, which starts to boil. The boys show up to investigate and find another hex bag.
The cheerleader claims to have no idea who the previous victim was, so Sam hits the books. Which is where he finds out that the witch is making three blood sacrifices in three days in line with the final harvest of the Celtic calendar in order to raise Samhain. As a brief aside that I am certain no one but me cared about, if they were going to authentic Gaelic details, the pronunciation should have been ‘sawin’, as ‘samhein’ is actually old English. I am full of red haired ire! OK, not really. Anyway, if the witch succeeds in raising the demon Samhain, he will likely do some raising of his own and Halloween will no longer be about candy corn.
In an effort to find out who could gain access to the house of the first victim, Dean stakes it out. Which is where he finds out the cheerleader lied to him, as she goes up the steps to babysit. They dig a little deeper into Tracy’s past and find out she was suspended form school for a violent altercation with a teacher. When they meet the teacher, I can see why. He’s the sort of high school art teacher who wants to hang out with the kids and asks that they call him by her first name, "Don". He describes the girl as bright but disturbed, with a penchant for drawings depicting herself committing violent and gruesome acts and covering her notebooks in cryptic symbols. They show him an ancient Celtic coin from one of the bags and he confirms that the symbols match.
Back at the motel, Sam and Dean have company. Sam pulls a gun on Castiel until Dean introduces the angel, which leads his younger brother to take the lord’s name in vain and then apologize profusely. He states that it’s an honor to meet Castiel, but it’s a sentiment that doesn’t seem to be shared. Sam stands with his hand outstretched for so long I wonder if the angel is afraid to touch him. I may not have been too far off, because when he finally does, he describes Sam as "the boy with the demon blood". He reveals a hex bag in their room and then he introduces Uriel.
He calls Uriel a "specialist", but anyone in the know would likely call him an Archangel or "The Fire of God". Which is apropos, as Uriel states that the Winchesters have to leave town because he’s going to lay the place to waste. It seems the raising of Samhain is another one of the 66 seals and they don’t want it broken. The Winchesters are just as adamant about not allowing the angels to wipe out the whole town, but in a tense debate where Dean uses his life as a bartering chip, they win the chance to destroy the witch. But not before some dark comments are made toward Sam, warning him about using his abilities.
They get right to work, but Sam struggles with his disappointment in the angels demeanor, which has shaken his faith. Surprisingly, Dean tries to bolster his brother’s belief by suggesting that maybe God hates Castiel and Uriel too and asking Sam not to give up based on a couple of rotten apples. Or, as he puts it, "Babe Ruth was a dick, but baseball is still a beautiful game". It’s a short scene, but I think it illustrated perfectly the core of both the characters and how they support each other in a simple and elegant way.
Also elegant is the burst of insight Sam gets as he examines the charred bone, which could not have been burnt by fire alone. Don the art teacher has access to kilns and the hex bag didn’t show up in their room after talking to Tracy, it was after talking to him. They break into his desk drawer and find all kinds of children’s bones and they’re sure they have their witch.
Meanwhile, Castiel and Uriel have a brief argument. It seems Uriel doesn’t think too much of mankind, which he dubs "mud monkeys" despite Castiel’s warning that the slur is bordering on blasphemy. Uriel still wants to drag Dean out of town and blow the town off the planet, but Castiel tells him they know their "true orders" before asking him if he really wants to disobey. If the Morning Star taught them anything, it should be what happens when the proud take on the Throne! (5 points if you caught that reference).
The boys arrive at the first victim’s house just in time to shoot Don in the back before he is able to plunge a knife into Tracy’s chest. She babbles thankfully while Dean unties her, but the moment she’s free she tosses out a hand and the boys hit the floor. It seems Don was her older brother and they had been preparing for tonight for centuries. She’s grateful to not be the third sacrifice and summons Samhain herself. Sam smears Don’s blood over his and Dean’s face as the demon takes the body and makes his first order of business snapping Tracy’s neck. He glances at the boys on the floor and walks right by and Sam explains that part of the Halloween lore is that the demon can’t recognize those in masks. Smart thinking!
They follow the demon to the cemetery, where he plans on raising the dead. On the way, Dean asks Sam not to use his psychic abilities and to rely on the knife instead. Given the attitude of the angels, I would agree but Sam seems less convinced. Samhain gets there first and encounters the students partying, so he locks them in the mausoleum and wakes the dead within. The zombie’s begin to break free of their crypts and one yanks a student inside, spurting out jets of blood moments later as the rest of the kids scream in terror.
The Winchester’s arrive and Sam tells Dean to help the kids while he goes after the demon. Dean doesn’t like the idea, but he obliges, freeing the teens and staying to fight zombies and ghosts. Sam follows Don deeper into the mausoleum and smirks when Don tries to toss Sam back with burst of light. They resort to brawling and Sam gets the knife into Samhain’s arm. When the demon sees what the blade can do, he keeps away and Sam resorts to his demonic powers. Dean arrives just in time to see Sam defeat the demon, his eyes turning black and a spontaneous nose bleed taking effect as he does. The look at each other with fear in their eyes and I have to wonder how the angels will react.
Uriel confronts Sam, and it’s not pretty. In fact the angel picks at the fact that their mother and his girlfriend were killed on November 22 and yet Sam still "brazenly" uses the power that contributed to their deaths. Sam tells Uriel that Dean was right about the angels, they are dicks. In a flash, Uriel is in his face, telling him that the moment he stops being useful he will turn him to dust. He also says Sam should tell Dean to get off his high horse and to ask him what hell was like. There is the sound of wings and he’s gone.
Meanwhile, Dean is in the park with Castiel, who tells him their "true orders" were to do whatever Dean told them to, as a test. Dean figures he failed but boldly states he would go back in time and do it all over again if it meant saving the town and everyone it in. Castiel reveals that Dean is wrong about him, because he was praying they would save the town, he has doubts, he isn’t sure what’s right or wrong and he doesn’t envy the decisions Dean will have to make in the next month or the weight God has put on Dean’s shoulder’s one bit.
There wasn’t much in the way of funny lines and the only real comic aside was a husky kid dressed as an astronaut demanding candy and then egging their car when he got nothing. But the ending left enough intrigue to make up for it. What will happen in the next month? Why did Uriel tell Sam to remind Dean about his time in hell? Will Castiel join the Winchesters, forsaking his higher calling?