The Official Supernatural: “Mint Condition” (14.04) Live Recap Thread


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Right. Let’s get cracking.

Well, this is obviously the Halloween episode of the year (seeing as how it’s on All Saints’ Day). You gotta love how its Halloween episodes are so often some of the show’s lighter episodes. That’s … well, that’s actually pretty messed up.

We get a recap that brings us up to date on the mytharc (which, so far, appears to be Michael possessing Dean, then leaving for no good reason after he got stabbed by the Big Toothpick of Meh wielded by Kaia Sue from last week.

The recap also completely spoils the MOTW by having a recap of ghost eps and ghost rules in voiceover from Sam and Dean. Okeydoke.

Cut to Now and a comic book shop in Salem, OH. What? Everybody instantly knows the inside of a comic book shop just from the memorabilia section.

Anyhoo, as a gold commercial for Diamond Dave’s goes on voiceover, and we get fake ads on now-defunct cable network Chiller (Sorry, Shocker, but it’s about Chiller – it’s a ghost network, geddit?) for fake horror movies like Hell Hazers II (which was filmed during season two’s “Hollywood Babylon”) and one involving a creepy guy in a skin mask (whose tagline is “Time to slice and dice!), we see a guy at the counter unwrapping some action figures in their original packaging (remember “Hell House”?). When he gets to a rare Thundercats one, he sneaks it into his backpack, right before he gets a call from a young woman named Sam who is apparently either his boss or business partner.

Unaware that he is snaking merchandise, she gives him an earful for a bad rating he got the store on Yelp due to getting into a screaming match (involving some racist language) with a customer over a superhero match. She begs him to tone it down because they really need the customers. After a nerd-rage rant, he appears to calm down and sort of apologizes.

As he leaves, still with the stolen merch, we see that the life-sized mannequin across from the counter is of “Slice and Dice” guy.

At home, he is yelling on the phone at the pizza delivery guy, trying to get a free pizza (yep, he’s a dick), when the Thundercats doll he has out and on the table turns its head.

Uh-oh.

The guy hears a noise, turns around, and sees the toy on the floor. Upright. Looking angry. Now, it’s not really dumb that he goes over to investigate initially, because it’s just an oddity. But when the toy grimaces at him, whirls its mini-nunchucks, and smacks him upside the head, he takes way too long even to scream. So, dumb on top of being a jerk.

Title cards

Cut to – what the heck is the red lettering on Dean’s socks? Never mind. Dean is in his room, eating pizza and watching horror movies. He’s “made it all the way through the Halloweens” and is on a film called All Saints’ Day (because the episode aired on All Saints’ Day, yeah?), featuring the creepy mannequin dude from the teaser, a serial killer known as the Hatchet Man.

The plotline is blatantly 80s slasher. A long-haired blonde dude in jeans and a t-shirt, with a dancer’s body, is moping a floor in an institutional hallway (basically, it looks like the same set as for season one’s “Asylum”) when he spots a vending machine and decides to steal some candy. Hatchet Man walks up in the middle of this chicanery and puts an ax through the guy’s knee. When a young woman in a pink outfit (complete with shoulder pads) randomly comes out and screams, Hatchet Man immediately turns his attention to her: “Time to slice and dice!”

They even get some decently high 80s slasher-style gore. I wonder if the FCC has just plain given up with the show except for language at this point.

That’s when Sam walks in to do – I kid you not – a welfare check on his brother.

Sam infodumps that Dean has been in his room for a week. Dean infodumps back that Castiel is out training Jack, Dork!Kaia is still missing, so is Michael, and, well, “the house is full of strangers.” I note that Dean does not mention his mother. Hmm. He does mention that Sam shaves. He does a double-take when Sam comes in. Ackles has a lot of fun calling Sam’s face “smooth as a dolphin’s belly!”

Sam doesn’t appear to see that he’s filled up the Bunker with people Dean doesn’t know or trust (and who don’t know or respect him at all) and that this is Dean’s home. Of course Dean retreated to his bedroom. He’s an introvert.

Sam also thinks that Dean’s enjoyment of horror films is weird, considering their profession, and doesn’t like Halloween. Coming from a guy who is literally a serial killer fanboy, that’s a hoot.

But Sam is successful in luring his brother out to a Hunt with a video of Doomed Teaser Douchebag ranting about getting attacked by a Thundercats action figure. Dean’s all over that.

In Salem (Ohio), they immediately go to the comic book shop, where the girl from the teaser, Sam, is working the counter. Sam (our Sam, yes, this will be confusing) turns away from the Jason Todd costume that Jensen Ackles cosplayed in real life for Halloween. He and Dean are dressed in ties and short-sleeved shirts that make them look like extras from The Office.

Dean teases Sam that he and Girl!Sam are a lot alike. Sam retorts that Dean and a nerdy, slobby guy in the stacks are also very much alike. Dean denies this with a snort, but after he discovers the mannequin of Hatchet Man (“David friggin’ Yeager!”), he and the guy immediately and automatically start to bond over it.

The Brothers introduce themselves to Girl!Sam as insurance agents with rock star aliases checking up on DTD’s (real name Stewart) injuries. She says he’s at his apartment, resting. They say they went there and he got evicted. She admits he and his roommate had a fight (over nerd stuff), and that he’s also a troll, and says he’s back at his mother’s house.

Mom is pleasant, but smothering and enabling. She gives them apple cider (and Dean snags the Flash mug). When Sam snarks about it, Dean points out that she offered. Dean is wearing Birth Control Glasses that are totally not working for their intended purpose. Damn, Jensen Ackles. When are you ever not hot?

They hear Stuart yelling at a video game in the basement. Dean rolls his eyes at that, but Sam actually recognizes the name when Stuart comes up the stairs and finds them there. Sam introduces them (Campbell & Sons – LOL!) and Dean notices that Stuart is burning sage in the basement.

Stuart, who has cuts all over his face and is pretty twitchy, says he got the idea from a “Goth girl” he met online who was into Wicca (naturally, this catches the Brothers’ attention). He says he broke up with her before they could MIRL (Meet In Real Life). I kinda love Dean for not knowing. Neither did I, but Sam fills in the blanks for both of us.

When they ask about the video, Stuart turns full-on squirrely. He insists he faked it and then orders them out of the house. They decide to stakeout the house until Stuart and his mom leave, so they can check it out for hex bags. Sam points out that Wiccans aren’t always witches and Dean replies, “Except when they are.”

While they wait, Sam fields a call from one of his Bunker groupies. Dean snarks at this (but doesn’t mention Sam’s Bobby act). Then he quizzes Sam about his hate-on for Halloween (Sam really doesn’t like major holidays, does he? Remember Christmas?). Sam won’t talk about it.

At that moment, Stuart’s mom comes out in a … yep, I do believe that is a poodle skirt … and drives away. The bit where the Brothers awkwardly duck down as she goes by is funny.

As they debate on how to get Stuart out of the house, Sam reads through the comments on his video, calling them “brutal.”

“Gotta love the internet,” Dean says, “where everyone can be a dick.”

At that moment, Stuart comes stumbling out the front door, screaming for help and covered in blood. As Sam tends to him, Dean pulls out his pistol and goes in alone. He follows a trail of blood downstairs. As he’s distracted by a poster of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, he hears a chainsaw rev up behind him, in midair. It flips through the air and hits the poster, as Dean dodges out of the way.

The Brothers talk to Mom at the hospital and persuade her to stay with her son. As they exit the hospital room, Dean says he checked the house over for hex bags and found nothing, but the EMF meter went off the scale. So, they’re looking for a ghost, though Sam is puzzled by the motive. He goes back to the house to check on what’s going on, while Dean stays at the hospital to wait until Stuart wakes up. Sam is puzzled to find that the Thundercats toy reads nothing in EMF. So, it’s apparently not cursed. He also finds a photo on one of Stuart’s computers that shows Stuart, Girl!Sam, the geek dude who bonded with Dean, and an older guy.

At the hospital, Dean finds the geek dude has arrived. He says Stuart is his best friend. The guy is actually pretty level-headed, but his home life is bad (his father is abusive) and Stuart lets him stay over when things get bad.

On the TV is All Saints’ Day III. That’s geek dude’s favorite. Dean’s is IV. They recite in union the tagline for it. Dean says, “I like to watch movies where I know the bad guy’s gonna lose.” I hear that.

Sam visits the store, where Girl!Sam is closing up. Sam asks her if anyone “close to Stuart” has died recently. She says the previous owner was a guy named Jordan. He was their mentor, but he only left the store to Girl!Sam and geek dude (named Dirk). He left Stuart out of the will because Stuart was always stealing merchandise and Jordan fired him twice.

As she says Jordan was cremated, Sam sees the glass case behind her frost up. He tries quickly to bring her up to speed, but then the Hatchet Man mannequin comes alive and knocks him out. When he wakes up, Girl!Sam is alive, though scared, but they’re locked in.

At the hospital, in the middle of talking about the film series’ best kills, Dean gets a call from Sam about what happened. Dean totally geeks out over the approach of his horror movie idol.

We then cut to a gratuitously blatant homage to the Halloween films in Hatchet Man’s stroll down the sidewalk toward the hospital, through crowds of unsuspecting teenage trick’rtreaters.

Dean and Sam each give The Talk, Dean while doing a line of salt around Stuart’s bed. He then tells Dirk to stay by the bed, inside the line, while he goes looking for the ghost. Unfortunately, the ghost starts poltergeisting the hell out of the room while Dean is gone and Dirk flees in terror.

Stuart’s mom runs into Hatchet Man while bringing her son a tray of food and she’s terrified. Dirk bravely distracts Hatchet Man away from her, but then is chased relentlessly through the empty hallways while security is too busy watching a near-mirror image of the same chase from the scene we saw earlier (that began with the guy getting an ax to the knee). Dean had commented earlier that hospitals can be remarkably deserted at night.

Dean, meanwhile, has found an ax.

The scene cuts back and forth between the girl in the movie trying to escape in an elevator whose doors won’t close and Dirk in the same situation. They finally do, and both the girl and Dirk escape.

Dirk ends up in the morgue, where Dean finds him and asks him why he didn’t stay put. Dirk says Hatchet Man is in the hospital and sure enough, the MOTW sits up on one of the gurneys, pulling off a sheet.

Cut to a cheesy preview of All Saints’ Day III: The Reckoning. Then we get the confrontation between Dean and Hatchet Man. Dean says the ghost can go into the light on its own or he can “send it there.” He’s pleased when the ghost decides to fight. Not so pleased when the ghost turns out to be really strong. A kick-ass fight ensues and Dirk even helps at one point, but Sam and Girl!Sam burst in on Dean getting choked out.

Sam had gotten them out of the comic shop by making a makeshift bomb from a lunchbox. When Girl!Sam asked him how he learned that, he says, “I had a messed up childhood,” which echoes what he tells Sarah in “Provenance.”

On the way, they figured out how Jordan (the ghost) was getting around. He was using a Batman keychain. As they rush in, Sam yells at Dean to get the keychain, which is in Hatchet Man’s pocket. Dean gropes around and yanks it out, tossing it to them. Girl!Sam gets into the spirit by grabbing some alcohol to speed up the burning process. Jordan is forcibly exorcised and flames out, probably to Hell. But when Girl!Sam asks about him, Sam just says, “He’s in a better place.”

Stuart lives, but we don’t see him again.

Driving back, Dean finally gets Sam to tell him why he hates Halloween. It turns out to have been a teenage date-gone-horribly-wrong. Sam was nervous all night and when asked to bobbing for apples, threw up all over his date and a lot of other things.

Dean also thanks Sam for getting him out of his room and giving him a “win.” Sam tells Dean that saying yes was not the wrong thing. He did it for Sam, Jack and his “family,” for all the right reasons. What Michael used his body to do afterward is not his fault.

Dean flatly states, “I’m not gonna get over it.” But he admits that he’s not “doing anybody any good” staying in his room all day, so he tells Sam he’ll do whatever Sam and the team need him to do.

Dean says they should dress up in costume the next Halloween and starts naming possible costumes, from the ridiculous (“Turner and Hooch”) to the injoke-y (“Rocky and Bullwinkle”) to the really disturbing (“Thelma and Louise – we’ll just put it in Drive and go!”).

In the coda, one of the security guards from before enters the morgue. The lights fritz, so he gets out his flashlight and follows the trail of weapons and such used on Hatchet Man until he gets to the mannequin itself. The mannequin then appears to speak one of Hatchet Man’s taglines: “Trick’rtreat!” So, we get one of those 80s horror movie “twist” endings that never made a lick of sense.

Credits

So, that was one was more amusing than I thought it would be. Had some nice rewatch value. Davy Perez still overdoes it a bit on the homages, but moves things along and doesn’t insult our intelligence this time. But I really think the direction by Amyn Kaderali (and, of course, the enthusiasm from the cast and crew over doing a Halloween episode) is what makes it. Which is kind of funny, considering Kaderali’s previous three episodes weren’t terribly memorable, either. But hey, improvement’s always good.

Girl!Sam and Dirk could come back. I wouldn’t mind.

It seems as though the mytharc focus is firmly on Dean this season. We’re four episodes in and it’s All About his possession by Michael and ensuing PTAPD (Post Traumatic Angel Possession Disorder).

Promo for next week is here.

Ratings for this week were meh (usually are for a holiday week), with a 0.4/2 and 1.46 million. Still significantly better than its lead-out, though.


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25 thoughts on “The Official Supernatural: “Mint Condition” (14.04) Live Recap Thread”

  1. Curious to hear your thoughts on this last one. Talk about a bait and switch regarding worst nightmares. So do not care about Marby.

    “You’re-you’re?!” Michael. Is that you?

    Enough with the Sam is the bestest, greatest, smartest most efficient leader evah! But Dean? Pffft. Bossy, demanding, pushy, angry. A big ole meanie. Seriously it’s getting nauseating. Hey Sammy! Even you and Dean hunted as a pair. She’s no Claire. Come to think of it, Claire’s no Claire. Dean never would have made that call. Now who’s the better leader?

    I like how Michael is thinking outside the box but surely that isn’t the only thing he put into motion?

    Is next week going to move this crazy train forward or are we looking at another filler. I feel like we’re stalled. I’d like to say sort of in the eye of the hurricane but I’m not sure if I can give Dabb that much benefit of a doubt to ultimately thrill me.

    1. The funny thing is they didn’t show Sam being the best leader at all. He had some good ideas (hunter check ins), but Maggie was clearly unprepared to be sent in alone. Even with Bobby and Mary guiding her by text. In the intro, I honestly thought she had gone off on her own and was posting on some sort of social media about it. When I learned she had been sent by Sam, I rolled my eyes. He should have seen she wasn’t ready. It was just a repeat of bringing her and Jack along a few weeks ago. Bobby’s first outburst was correct, if insensitive.

      Sam has the potential to become a competent lieutenant, but I think it will be Dean leading the troops in the end.

      1. The writers are a bit lazy, so we may be getting what some have speculated (hell, I’ve specced it in the past), that they will go with the season 7 plot from Buffy, where Faith leads a revolt of the Potentials against Buffy, which boomerangs on Faith and the Potentials. Put Sam in as Faith and Dean in as Buffy and there you go.

        1. Good thing my daughter and I just finished watching Buffy. Six months ago I wouldn’t have known what you were talking about. And I think you mean season 7.

    2. They kinda already went the route of exploring worst nightmares in “Dream a Little Dream of Me.” I pretty much addressed the rest in an after-episode review following the recap this week. Though if Michael is not inside Dean, I think it’s kinda cool that Dean is essentially immune to djinn now because his mindscape is so toxic to them.

      I was kinda rooting for Maggie to bite it this week

  2. I had another thought on this season because it does appear that there is LOT of Sam-propping going on:

    Does anybody else remember the arc on BtVS in which all these ‘potential’ slayers were staying at Buffy’s house and Buffy and Faith were trying to train them up to fight Nathan Fillion? Anyway, the ‘potentials’ all back Faith rather than Buffy (by this time in the show Buffy was just OVER it all) and Buffy took off and ran into Angel and ‘they’ went to take out Nathan Fillion but Angel just sat back and said “I like to watch” (a little Peter Sellers humor here) and Buffy kicked Nathan’s pretty ass and killed him and brought back his head or something to the house? And all the ‘potentials’ realized just HOW bad-ass Buffy was?

    Anyway, I am wondering if the show is setting something up like this, in which Sam has got the AU!Hunters and something big is going on, Dean has one plan, Sam has the other, the AUs back Sam, they go get their asses kicked and Dean goes and ganks whoever the big bad is and comes back to the LoL?

    Probably not but to my mind that is a good idea.

  3. I liked the episode much more than the first three, it was sweet. I liked ‘all’ the characters and was happy nobody got killed on the show. That must be a first, I can’t remember any other time ‘nobody’ bit the dust.

    Did you see Jensen Ackles as the Red Hood in the background at the Comic Shop?

    Girl!Sam had previously been the younger sister in Bloody Mary, Stuart played Billy-the-Soulless in Mother’s Little Helper and Dirk was the frat brother walking the halls in just a towel during Halt and Catch Fire. I love seeing actors in different parts. It still makes me smile that ‘Sister’ Bender also played Dean’s daughter in Slice Girls.

    1. That wasn’t Ackles. It was the costume he wore, though.

      The MOTW died. I think the only other time only the MOTW died was in “Fan Fiction.” Oh, wait, that’s not quite true – nobody but MOTWs died on-screen in the present day in “Roadkill.”

      I thought the actors looked familiar, especially Stuart.

      1. To me, the MotW was already dead, he was ‘released.’

        Just my way of looking at it.

        I especially liked Dirk, he was a nerd kid who was not portrayed as a loser (I thought Stuart was a HUGE loser and not a very attractive character in the episode, he was just the pits). I don’t know if Stuart would’ve done for girl!Sam and/or Dirk what they did for him. He seemed essentially self-involved.

        Nice and old-school for me. I just don’t want to see too many of the WS taking over episodes. They are like Charlie times five for me. Everyone so special I want to puke. On TNT today they showed The Bad Place and Wayward Sisters; I Liked TBP better, the angel/Jack powered special effects were SO cool.

        And I saw AU!Kaia kill Kaia and it makes no sense with what they said this episode about AU and “our” Kaia’s ‘special connection’ or whatever because IF they ‘were’ bonded AU!Kaia would’ve collapsed when Kaia did. And all this hate for Dean, and NOBODY asked WHY AU!Kaia was trying to kill Claire in the first place. That made me mad about The Scar. THAT made no sense. I don’t want to see AU!Kaia move into Jody’s that would piss me off.

        Thank you, Paula for releasing or whatever you did my earlier comments. I thought maybe you had me under my old email address or something.

        1. You’re welcome. I’m not sure why the site didn’t tell you your comments were still in the queue, but they weren’t lost.

          The thing with the MOTW is that he did die, albeit not within the exact time frame of the episode, and then he was released to continue on to the afterlife. So, a “death” still occurred. There are several episodes where no humans die, but death still always occurs.

  4. So shy and yet he can go full out rock star like he does on those oh too seldom Saturday nights. It never ceases to amaze me, the enigma that is Jensen Ackles.

    1. Some of the largest and most outgoing personalities onscreen have been painfully shy, or at least very introverted. Robin Williams, Rita Hayworth, people like that. It’s a paradox but one that’s occurred repeatedly over the years.

  5. Unlike last week, that one was fun. I do love watching Dean get his geek on.

    The refugees are a problem. Dean is being gracious and not insisting they leave. Keeping to his room isn’t a bad solution for the time being, since they are bound to be uncomfortable around him as Michael’s vessel. And while I wouldn’t personally call him an introvert (maybe an ambivert), he does seem shy and awkward with strangers a lot, unless it’s familiar territory like flirting.

    But back to the refugees. What do you do with them now that they’re here? Fake IDs, sure, but then what. Some are bound to have in world doubles. The world’s a big place, but does have some potential for trouble.

    1. People tend to misunderstand introversion. It’s not about social skills. When Carl Jung formulated the theory, he saw the difference as that between people who drew their energy from within (introverts) and those who drew their energy from others (extroverts):

      https://www.healthline.com/health/what-is-an-introvert

      Our understanding of this has become more complex. We know that introverts can enjoy and get energy from social interactions. For example, introverts like Robin Williams can love stand-up comedy, and many introverts are just fine in a small social circle of friends for extended periods of time. Extroverts, meanwhile, might need a little solitude now and then to recharge. And most people are some kind of mix or on a continuum.

      But the general idea is that lots of new social interactions drain an introvert and charge up an extrovert. It’s not a real surprise that Dean is a closet introvert. His background was quite isolated from the start, more so than his brother’s (and Sam is more extroverted than Dean, though still pretty introverted), and he’s played by an actor who is so shy that he may well have a social anxiety disorder.

      Ackles does fine now at conventions because he’s used to the atmosphere and he knows everyone he goes onstage with, but get him into an autograph line facing 600 fans, with just some kid he doesn’t know as a “handler” sitting next to him, and he completely reverts. So, I think Ackles long ago took the ball of Dean’s social isolation (remember Sam’s comment from “Skin” that Dean is “antisocial”? Dean didn’t deny it) and ran with it hard and long.

      For an introvert, having his house full of strangers is a nightmare–a literal one. I mean *I* have periodic nightmares where I’m living in a house with multiple doors that I keep closing even as strange people come in the others as if it’s Grand Central Station. And I’m reasonably social. I just went to the State Fair all by myself (all my introvert friends were totally not into it). I go every year. And while I can’t say I love it when the crowds get high, I do enjoy talking to people at the various exhibits.

      And then I go home to my house where I live with a bunch of cats. I’m not fond of two-footed people in my “space.” Though that may just be from the many experiences with cray roomies over the years (albeit my last one, in Vancouver, is a really nice guy and we’ve stayed in touch).

      1. I see where you’re going with this, and I get the distinction, but I disagree. The only examples of Dean’s baseline personality are the Pilot and Dark Side of the Moon, which show him as a young child before Mary’s death, and Regarding Dean, in which he gets a temporary functional reset. In all of these, he appears affectionate and gregarious and he seeks out other people. Even older, he seems happiest when he’s interacting with others (especially geeking out), at least with those that don’t abuse him, and he self punishes by isolating. Even when he drinks, he tends to go to bars, instead of drinking alone.

        I do agree that the abuse he received from John, along with the extreme isolation of his upbringing, had the effect of learned introversion due to trust issues and lack of opportunity to practice social skills. But if anything, he’s a closet extrovert who learned introversion as a coping mechanism. Not that it would be any easier with thirty strangers in your home, but that could overwhelm anyone, particularly at a vulnerable time.

        I get your need for your privacy though. My work involves lots of social interaction with a strong PR component. At the end of the day, I want nothing more than to hide with a book and a cup of coffee. Mark asked me once if I had an infection because I was spending so much time in the bathroom.

        1. But we also have the conversation in “Skin” where Dean doesn’t understand why Sam is staying in touch with his college buds and straight-up says it’s better to be alone. In “After School Special,” he’s a blatant loner. He’s repeatedly hostile and snarky to law enforcement, from the Pilot onward. Yes, he likes going to bars and having one-night-stands, but there are a lot of loners who go to bars and do just that. That way, he can control the social interaction.

          Perhaps the biggest hint that Dean is an introvert is his dependency on Sam. Dean has friends and people who care about him, but without Sam, he tends to go into a tailspin.

          I work in a community college tutoring center and in a children’s science museum. A lot of times, it’s fine and I like interacting with the patrons. But there are days, especially during the summer, when I just come home wantin’ to go skip through the meadow, boppin’ field mice on the head.

            1. Eve, chill. I’ve been asleep. I have to moderate comments. Yours were the only comments from a real person out of 16 that I got this morning.

              1. Well, “I” got an email from a guy named M Morris which said “your woman would really like a big…” and got spammed.

                I would love to exchange the stupidest email messages you ever got with you.

                Oh OH I am getting something from a website called Busty Asian WOMEN I guess because I mention Supernatural on Facebook. Oh, and HOT ASIAN DATES.

                How I got picked out for these gems is beyond me but they ‘are’ better than political ads.

                1. I’m hesitant to share here what kind of spam I got, as I’m not inclined to encourage whichever specific bot-herders that spam comes from, but I do get some doozies. The ratio of spam to comments from real people is about 6/1, which makes moderating all messages a no-brainer. Truth is, very, very few comments by real people get moderated out and usually, it’s after fair warning. So, it’s mostly for spam.

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