Supernatural: After School Special

Filed under: Recaps & Reviews

There were many flashbacks in this episode and I have to say that I loved the actor choices made to play the young Sam and the young Dean. Dean's younger self had the same cocky swagger that Jensen Ackles puts into his character and Sam's double created the same feeling of capability yet vulnerability that Jared Padalecki throws at us every week.

The premise: Sam and Dean have a case that seems like a demonic possession. The flashbacks come in because it happens to be at a school that they attended for a few weeks back when they were kids. Daddy (John) Winchester would go off on a hunt and drop the boys off to attend school in different towns and pick them up when he was done. Sam hated this life but Dean's tough guy exterior doesn't show any cracks of caring for anything besides his number one priority...Sam.

Present day. Some jocks and cheerleaders are talking trash about another cheerleader who isn't at the lunch table at the moment. Apparently she did the "full cowgirl" with a guy and they are discussing her slut status. She comes in, is humiliated so she sits at another table that is occupied by one girl. The lone girl tries to comfort the slut but her efforts are met with a lashing out of "you are a fat, ugly pig". These two meet in the washroom later and pig-girl beats the living snot out of slut-girl and eventually drowns her in the toilet. Dead girl on the floor, other girl starts bleeding black tar from her ears.

When Sam comes later to talk to her, it is in a mental institute and he is dressed as an orderly. No one believes her story that she blacked out and doesn't remember anything. Sam enquires about sulfur smells and black smoke and the girl responds with an ironic "What? Are you crazy!?" The next event of a supernatural nature (redundant?) has a jock telling a nerd in a home-ec lab that he needs the nerd to do his homework again. After the nerd asks "Why? Because you are a stupid, brain-dead punk?" he shoves the jock's hand into a food processor. Nummy! The nerd stumbles away and starts bleeding black tar from his eyes.

Sam and Dean undercover at the school...this is my favorite part. Sam is a janitor and have to picture in tight, red short shorts with a white golf/tennis tee. His socks are white with red stripes at the top and they are pulled up to his knees. Oh, and he has a red sweatband on his head and a whistle in his mouth; classic gym teacher. His undercover name I am easily able to reference this time as he is Mr. Roth (as in David Lee). Despite the protests of one student and nervous looks from many more, the gym class today will be dodgeball. "The whistle makes me their God". Hahaha. Sam finds no sulfer smell and no EMF to indicate there is a demon. Maybe it is a ghost possession...oh yes, there is ectoplasm. Oh, and Dean imparts that three of the cheerleaders are legal. Nice.

Lets hit up the flashbacks for a bit. Sam (about 12) and Dean (about 17) are dropped off at the new school by Dad who doesn't even get out of the car to say goodbye. The boys are staying in a motel just outside of town. Sam is hating going to a new school, Dean is nonchalant. Checklist: lunch, books, butterfly knife. Check. Sam sits near a dorky looking boy named Barry who is impressed immensely when Sam's knife falls out of his pack. A bully named Dirk is picking on Barry, Sam defends him immediately. The defense is done with words and a cool, confident stare-down; Sam doesn't want to be the freak in this school too, he just wants to seem normal...but that doesn't mean he won't stick up for the underdog. The students have to write about a memorable family experience and Sam gets an A and encouragement from a caring teacher who says Sam doesn't have to go into the family business as a "mechanic" but can follow his own path. Hilariously, the paper was about the family killing a werewolf last summer. Dean strolls into his class and is the cool guy personified; he gives the teacher attitude and earns a look of interest from a pretty blonde girl. Dean and the blonde girl end up together and we see them making out in a broom closet. She is concerned that he is alone with his brother in a motel. She also wants Dean to meet her parents. Dean responds by avoiding the request and then by making sure he gets caught making out in the same closet with a brunette. In the hall Sam gets pushed and punched and egged on by Dirk for trying to defend Barry. Sam walks away and the teachers stop anything else from happening. Dean wants to know what the hell? He knows that Sam can more than defend himself, but Sam wants to be normal.

I have to go back to the present for a moment to fit a few other things that we have found out into the story. Records show that the only death in the school was Barry. Aww, things weren't so great for him after Sam left. Barry slit his wrists. The boys go to Barry's grave and salt and burn his bones to loose the ghost from this mortal plane. Sam is sad that he wasn't there to help Barry during his trials of being bullied, his parents splitting up, antidepressants etc. Tragic, but not his fault. Sam goes to talk to his old teacher and is stopped by a girl who needs directions to a class. He easily directs her and she thanks him. By name. Then she tries to stab him and says "you got tall Winchester". History here obviously. Sam shoves salt into her mouth and a ghost is thrown from her body. So it isn't Barry after all. The one thing the possessed have in common is that they ride the bus to school. Sam and Dean go to talk to the bus driver.

Back to the past. Sam is confronted by Dirk in the school yard. Dirk calls Sam "Losechester" and a freak. Original. The "freak" part pushed Sam over the edge and he ends up easily beating down Dirk, who is much larger than him. He starts a chant amongst the watching mob by calling him "Dirk the Jerk". Cringe. Sam walks away. Poor Sammy didn't want to be that kid here.

Bus Driver. He is Dirk McGregor. Senior. Dirk Junior ended up drinking and doing drugs and dying at 18. We find that his mother died from cancer when Dirk was 13 and he had spent much of his home time taking care of her before that. Dirk Senior saw the life of young Dirk to have been bullied upon and not Dirk as the bully. Senior even sheds a few tears as he recollects the name his son was called...Dirk the Jerk. Well ok, we have our vengeful spirit, but Dirk was cremated. In his usual tactful way, Dean finds out that Senior keeps a lock of Junior's hair in a bible on the bus, so that is how Junior has been hitchhiking to the school in different kids.

Our boys leave to find the bus. A substitute bus driver (Eddie)/ Dirk is driving the school basketball team to or from a night game. The bus hits some road spikes (on purpose it would seem) and the bus screeches to a stop. Sam and Dean haul Eddie/Dirk out of the bus and search for the bible. It is no where to be found. Eddie/Dirk attacks our boys and they loosely wrap a salt soaked rope around him. Uh, well...salt...yes this is a proven way to stop the supernatural, but a little corny even for this show. Sam says stuff about neither of them being evil, but anger prevails. Eddie/Dirk breaks the rope and Sam shoots him. A large kid from the bus gets off and now kid/Dirk attack Sam until Dean is able to find the lock of hair on Eddie's body and burn it. Bye-bye Dirk the Jerk. The kid who is newly ghost-free falls on Sam in an unseemly manner that Dean calls a "full cowboy". Hmm. Sounds familiar.

A bitter-sweet wrap up. Back in the flashbacks, when the blonde catches Dean and the brunette, she doesn't call him an ass and leave it like that. She takes the time to tell him that she was hoping that he would show her some of the kindness and caring he shows to his brother; how she had been looking for proof that beneath the hard shell he was a good person. She leaves with pity for him and he yells after her, "Don't feel sorry for me! I save lives! I am a hero! A hero". Meanwhile, Sam is the toast of the town and all the kids are cheering for him and he is popular since he beat up Dirk. Daddy Winchester's car pulls up to get them and lonesome Barry waves from a window in the school. A present day Sam goes back to talk to his old teacher. He tells Teach how inspirational he was and how he appreciated the advice he gave. Sam tells him he wouldn't have gone to college if it weren't for him. Did Sam follow his bliss? For a little while? Is he happy? No answer. I don't know who to feel sorrier for.

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