It was another week sans angels & demons on Supernatural. Unless you count the angels & demons of our better natures. If we had better natures while in high school. And even then, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, so are our better natures really even relevant at that point?
Where am I? Right! Supernatural! This week, the boys went back to one of their old schools to investigate a case of the geeks fighting back. Sam catches up with April, who was called a fat, ugly pig by one of the school beauty queens after she's humiliated by the slut-cough. Nice to know that high school insults haven't changed! April is in ye olde local mental health facility for sticking to her story about being possessed. Sam quizzes her about the experience and it sounds pretty authentic to him. Except for the lack of sulfur stink and black smoke, of course.
Back in the hallowed halls of Truman high, we are treated to a series of flashbacks to their youth. Which is actually a nice break, because we haven't seen anything about where they came from since the episode where Dean went back in time and met his mom. And that barely counts, since technically it was before their time. We see Dean acting far too smooth and Sam befriending Barry, who is picked on by Dirk. There is the usual 15 year anachronism between the date being given as 1997 and the Foreigner song used in the shot (if I'm not mistaken, Long, Long Way From Home, released 1982), but I'm really too blissful to care.
Dean is posing as a substitute gym coach and he's pretty blissful too. And also wearing ridiculously amusing and tight shorts with a matching headband. Sam has been roaming the school and found no sign of demon activity, so they are about to call it a day. A commotion from a home economics class stops that short, however. A geek has struck out again, against a jock this time. Cuisinarts and appendages don't mix, kids. Sam rushes in just in time to see the geek collapse with black ooze coming out of his ear. That sort of ectoplasm points to a ghostly possession.
Going through school records, they find out that Barry, Sam's old friend, eventually committed suicide in the girls bathroom. That night, they go to the cemetery and light him up, while Sam wonders if he could have helped the kid if only they had stayed in one place long enough. The next morning, they return tot he school so Sam can say good bye to his favorite teacher. But instead, he gets his but kicked by a little girl. Seems Barry wasn't the ghost after all.
Some more digging around and they find out all the geeks are on the same bus. Searching the vehicle, they find a shiny new bus permit dating back to just before the violence began. The new bus driver is Dirk MacGregor Sr., the bully's dad. We see a flashback and Sam finally giving Dirk Jr. the payback he's been asking for, as well and saddling him with the nickname "Dirk the Jerk". They pay Dirk Sr. a visit and find out his son died as a teen too, just not on school grounds. Instead he over dosed on drugs after a rough couple of years of being picked on. It seems when Sam knew him, Dirk's dad was working 3 jobs and Dirk was caring for her terminally ill mother and the kids were cruel about his humble circumstances as well as poor academic performance. It looks like someone reserved a guilt trip for Sam!
They ask where Dirk was buried and find out he was cremated, but dad kept a lock of his hair – which is in the pages of his bible, on the bus he drives. They intercept the bus returning with some athletic team or other. They pull the driver out and bind him with salt rope, but the ghost of Dirk is holding a serious grudge against Sam for the "Dirk the Jerk" moniker. He refuses to reveal the location of the lock of hair and soon breaks the rope. Sam shoots him and the ghost just inhabits someone else, who also jumps Sam. Dean rolls the body of the bus driver and finds the lock of hair in his boot. A flick of his lighter and Dirk is gone.
Before they leave, Sam does get to say thank you to the teacher who told him he didn't have to go into the family business if he didn't want to. Sam tells him that he went to college because of him, but when the teacher asks if he's happy with his life, he has no answer.
As much as I loved the Heathers reference, it was cool to see the boys in high school. It seems Dean was just as protective of his younger brother and Sam was just as capable of using his abilities for wrong doing, even with the best of intentions. Yet, I can't help but wonder how Sam's growing depression over this season will manifest in the ultimate battle of good versus evil as the seals continue to be broken. Anyone have any ideas?