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Supernatural - The Scorpion and The Frog - Review



Supernatural “The Scorpion and the Frog” was written by Meredith Glynn and was directed by Robert Singer. Of the four episodes that Glynn has written, she’s pretty much 3 for 4 for me, and this one goes in the win column. So many great lines in this episode! It was also nicely fast-paced and had some great new characters – not all of whom make it out alive. I also liked the season one feel to the episode as we haven’t seen Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Sam (Jared Padalecki) put someone they’ve saved on a bus for a really long time.

        One other little bit of trivia before I dive into this episode. I finally figured out who Misha Collins was channeling as the malevolent entity in the Empty... it was Terry Thomas! A British actor who often played a cad or a Snidley Whiplash-type character. Lots of footage on youtube...

The teaser has a demon (Nadja Sofi/Charles Jarman) stealing from a British museum and handing a Nephilim-finding spell off to Barthamus (David Cubitt) – the new King of the Crossroads. And he certainly has the sharp tongue and snappy wardrobe required for the job! It seems like the work is supposed to be for Asmodeus (Jeffrey Vincent Parise), but Barthamus calls the Winchesters. And just a nice little bit of trivia that I stumbled across this week? Jack Ketch is also another name for the Devil. So clearly, Lucifer (Mark Pellegrino) did approve of the name of Jack – it’s almost like naming him Junior! And I think this nails down whether Ketch (David Haydn-Jones) is a good guy or not too! Although, we are seeing a new side to Lucifer too…

Cubitt is delightful as Barthamus – and a reminder of what Crowley was like before the writers forgot how to write him. I loved that he wants to meet then at the Smile diner! Dean is reluctant to work with another demon, but Sam, as always, tries to get Dean to keep an open mind. Dean finally relents. He’ll listen, but after that, they kill him!

Barthamus is courteous – even standing when the brothers arrive and waiting for them to sit first. He’s even ordered cherry pie for Dean! Ah, yes. Every good salesperson does their research! Bart also tries to find common ground to connect on – the Halos (angels) are natural disruptors – and a problem for both of them. Dean remains unconvinced, despite his “twinsies” remark! Bart has a Nephilim tracking spell.

Sam is pretty sure it’s authentic, but he wants to know what the catch is. After all, Crossroads Demons are in the business of quid pro quo. Bart wants a favor for the half a spell he’s given them and then he’ll hand over the other half. Dean doesn’t want to deal – he wants to “ice his ass” – but he is ok with eating the pie! Bart tells Sam – the smart one – to check out the spell.

Sam checks out the spell and thinks it looks legitimate. I really liked the detail that went into this little piece of the episode. Sam’s research has turned up that King Solomon was using the spell to keep track of his girlfriend – the Queen of Sheba – who is believed to have been half angel! Dean sums it up – Solomon was using the spell to stalk his girlfriend! Dean reminds Sam that “these things” don’t usually go their way, but Sam is adamant that they have to take this chance to find Jack – it might be their only one.

Dean and Sam meet with Bart to find out what the favor is and are introduced to his associates: Smash (Christie Burke) and Grab (Matthew Kevin Anderson – who was also in “Southern Comfort”). Smash – not her real name – can crack any safe known to man and Grab is a demon, specializing in by-passing supernatural security. Dean is excited despite himself to find out it’s a heist!

Bart wants them to retrieve an artifact from Luther Shrike (Richard Brake) – a recluse who collects rare supernatural objects. Bart can’t go after the mahogany trunk containing his property himself because the property is heavily warded. In addition, the safe can only be opened with the blood of a man who’s been to Hell. And that’s why Bart needs Dean. It was a rare – and very satisfying – reference to Dean’s time in Hell – complete with flashbacks. I did wonder why he wasn’t just as interested in Sam’s blood. Does the cage not count has Hell?

Dean is ready to just give Bart his blood, but it has to come “fresh from the tap.” Besides that Bart doesn’t know everything about Shrike – there will be curveballs. And of course, the Winchesters knock curve balls right out of the park. Shrike can get into the vault because he’s been to hell – but he’s not a demon. Bart tells them that Shrike is a sadist and a murderer. Bart won’t tell them what they’re going after and Sam is ready to walk away. The finally inducement is that Bart will give the spell to Asmodeus if they don’t help.

Dean and Sam step back to discuss the deal. Again, Dean asks when do these things ever go smoothly? Especially for them! Dean points out that Bart will screw them over first chance he gets, but Sam says not if they do it to Bart first. Sam says they need the spell and they need to keep it away from Asmodeus. And after they get the second half of the spell, they’ll kill Bart. And that’s all Dean needs to hear.

Meanwhile, Asmodeus is using Shrike as bait, but Shrike exorcises Asmodeus’ demon (Pasha Ebrahimi), telling him that he gives orders, he doesn’t take them. He knows Bart is coming, and he’s ready.

Sam goes in, posing as the seller of a supernatural object. Was anybody else super worried he was going to lose the demon-killing knife?!?!? I loved Dean and Smash hiding in the backseat, and Dean making fun of her shoes – and calling her Winona – she definitely had the whole Beetlejuice vibe going! Anybody else think that looked a lot like the apple orchard from “Scarecrow”? I loved Sam telling Dean “don’t get dead.” Aw, boys!

Sam meets with Shrike as Dean and Smash look for the safe. Dean tells her she’s weird, but they bond over Nerve Damage. We get a nice little nod to Dean’s childhood – when he apparently needed to stay heavily caffeinated. Dean tries to give Smash some advice – working for demons isn’t smart. But something else they have in common is that neither of them have a choice. Dean summons Grab.

Grab disappoints Dean by telling him that the safe is cloaked and he doesn’t know where it is – but he does have a spell to help. Dean’s blood is like a dousing rod – he’s a vault compass! I loved that Grab let’s drop that Smash thought Dean was “just a pretty face” – aw, she likes him! Ackles gets to trot out his physical comedy skills again as he’s dragged away by his own hand!

Sam is intrigued by Shrike’s collection despite himself. It’s hilarious – and Padalecki is no slouch at selling the comedy here – when Shrike offers to show him the fang of the Basilisk (anybody else hear the play on Hound of the Baskervilles? – really great wordplay in this episode too!) – and Sam has to sheepishly correct him that it’s a Gorgon’s tooth. Was it perhaps a test on Shrike’s part?

Dean’s hand leads them to a root cellar – and was anyone then reminded of the same door in “Faith?” (among many other episodes). They’ve found the vault room, but need to find the safe. Smash concludes it’s behind the very warded door with a lion’s head on it. Dean is puzzled about what to do with his blood, and Smash tells him to put his hand in the mouth! Dean is NOT impressed.

I loved that the Indiana Jones references started coming hard and fast here – and then continued. Dean is freaking out, imagining spiders, sharp things, snakes in there. Remember the spiders and bugs from Temple of Doom? I loved Dean suggesting putting his blood on paper and throwing it in. Of course, it is stupid to stick his hand in there, it could get chopped off… except, clearly Shrike does it! I loved Dean freaking out when his hand is grabbed – and then it’s no worse than what diabetics go through, often several times a day!

The Indiana Jones references come hard and fast – literally as the sigils on the floor release darts! Dean saves Smash and calls the development a curve ball…

Meanwhile, Shrike asks Sam his price for the knife, and Sam says what they agreed to in their email. Shrike thinks that Sam is a demon sent by Bart and tries to use the knife on him. How exactly Shrike manages to throw Sam across the room is a mystery to me, but Sam manages to get the knife and stab Shrike, but he’s immortal on his own property – a little detail that Bart failed to mention.

After leaving Sam unconscious at the house, Shrike takes out Grab with the demon-killing knife. Smash kicks Shrike in the shins and takes off around him. We also get a beautiful “rock-paper-scissors” reference as Dean assumes gun beats knife – oh Dean. You just suck at this game! Sam arrives and tells Dean that Shrike is immortal – the fact that Dean’s bullets had no effect is kind of a dead giveaway! Luckily, Shrike does have a glass jaw, and Dean knocks him out.

They tie up Shrike, who tells them that they’ll never figure out the riddle and get past the darts. Smash almost makes it out, but Bart is waiting for her at the gate. She promises she’ll make it up to him, but he sends her back in. Dean takes time to mock Sam for watching Entrapment – and concedes it’s worth it for Catherine Zeta Jones.

I loved Sam’s crazy idea! And Dean thinks that it’s awesome! They put Shrike on a trolley, tied up, and send him down the hallway, releasing all the darts! And Dean’s right. It is awesome! Smash comes back, and Sam figures out that she sold her soul. They offer to help get her out of the deal, but she refuses, insisting that she’s got to take care of herself. She makes short work of the safe.

The brothers grab the mahogany chest but find that Shrike has gotten loose from where Dean left him tied up. In the meantime, it’s gotten light out. Shrike is waiting for them in a truck on the road. There’s a terrific scene of Dean backing away from him at speed. Sam takes out the tires. Shrike gets out of the truck and asks if the brothers feel good about whoring themselves out to Bart. He then tells them the real story. Shrike sold his soul to save his son who was sick and dying. His son got better but drowned a few years later. Bart refused to take any responsibility. When the hounds dragged him to Hell, Bart had the leverage – in the trunk – to cut a new deal.

Bart’s bones are what’s in the trunk! He tells them that they’re on the wrong side – right before Bart decapitates him. Bart should never have left the house! Bart, of course, has no remorse. He pays Smash/Alice and is ready to give them the spell, but they refuse. Alice is clearly impressed – but Bart uses her as leverage. If they try to burn the bones, he’ll snap her neck.

Bart sends Alice to get the bones. She says she’s sorry, and Dean tells her to take care of you. But he’s left his lighter in the chest – she can take care of herself by burning the bones – which she does! And of course, the spell, which Bart was holding, also goes up in flames.

The brothers drop Alice at the bus station. She apologizes and thanks them for what they did for her. Dean tells her to stay weird as she get on the bus. It’s clear that this is a win the brothers needed.

Back at the Bunker, Sam is unhappy about how the day went. Dean reminds him that they saved someone. Sam is still worried about Jack, but Dean tells him that they’ll just keep working. Sam is happy to hear Dean talking like that again – it’s been awhile. The two share a clink of their beer bottles – and it’s nice to see the brothers back on the same page and ready to work. This is much better storytelling – not dragging out the conflict. Dean, unlike some viewers have tried to posit, is clearly NOT exhibiting bipolar depression.

All in all, this was a solid episode. It was mostly an episode of the week, but with a nice connection to the main season-long arc. Some great humor, brotherly moments and one liners added to the solid writing. If there was one thing about this episode that I didn’t like, it was the music. It’s not often that the soundtrack on the show takes me out of the story in a bad way, but this episode did. It’s perhaps a bit of a nit-pick, but I wasn’t a fan of the music this time out. What did you think of the episode? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!






 
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