Supernatural episode 4.11, “Family Remains”, should be considered Eric Kripke’s homage to The X-Files episode 4.2, “Home”. Yep, this episode was that extra special kind of creepy, and, wow, was it awesome to see in this season of Angels versus Demons. Don’t get me wrong, I have loved this season, for the most part, but this episode was like vintage Supernatural. Sorry, Ladies, no Castiel for you tonight. Upside? No Ruby 2.0 either.
I promise my recaps will not usually be this long, but this episode was a winding road, and there was barely anything I could cut as it is mostly integral to understanding this twisty plot, especially for someone who didn’t get to see the episode.
THEN Dean was in hell. Alistair tortured him for thirty years, and it was horrible. After enduring it that long, Dean finally gave in to Alistair’s demands that he torture souls to get himself off the rack, and Dean complied. Dean to Sammy, “And I started ripping them apart. I lost count of how many souls.” Dean recalls this with the one perfect tear of Dean Angst rolling down his cheek. Remember this, it is important later.
NOW Here is where your loyal recapper has to add a personal aside. I couldn’t get the usual Supernatural with the cast of four, one of which is Metallicar for my first ever recap? Oh, no, I got the cast of millions, one of whom was that little boy who went Trick or Treating for ears on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. It was actually adorable and not at all creepy, and I am going to call him Ears to make my life easier. The rest of the family is going to be called The Stupids because they really, really are. Squared.
The episode begins with some guy drinking a beer and watching TV, when suddenly the lamp next to him flickers and goes out. We all know what this means in the Supernatural-verse; you have pissed off a ghost or demon, hopefully not both at the same time.
He tried to leave the room, but the door is stuck, and from behind him another door opens with the slow creak all fans of this genre know and love. It is the door creak of DOOM! Evil is afoot in the form of a girl who can best be described as terrifyingly ugly, in desperate need of a shower, a comb, a toothbrush, and quite possible a flea bath.
The man says, “You? It’s impossible! Stay away from me! JUST STAY AWAY FROM ME!”
We get our first blood of the night when the “Home Sweet Home” cross stitch sampler that is hanging on the wall is suddenly splattered with a lot of blood from the man who still has no name. Oh, Eric Kripke, this is why we love you.
Next we move on to Sam, Dean, and Metallicar. Hi, My Loves, I have missed you so during the winter hiatus! Poor Sammy is asleep in the back seat, while Dean is perusing whatever it is that The Boys use to find their jobs when they are parked in the woods in the middle of nowhere. I cannot imagine there is any Internet connection or a library out there, so don’t ask me where Dean is getting his information. He has a flashlight, that is as high tech as it gets. Sam is tired and cranky, and gives us a great Sammy face while whining to Dean that he is searching for a case a mere two hours after they finished their last job. Dean replies, “The adrenaline is still pumping, I guess.” You say adrenaline, I say a boat load of denial, but whatever. I have been known to use boatloads of denial in my own life, so who am I to judge?
Sam gives us the necessary exposition that Dean has had them chasing cases non-stop for a month. Sammy is exhausted, Dean should be, but he seems downright punchy. Sam opines that Dean is running, and informs him he can’t run forever from the thing Dean won’t talk about. The dialog was just as awkward as that sentence implies. Hint: It was probably really hot there in that place we can’t talk about. In case you forgot in the two minutes that have passed since the THEN.
Dean convinces Sam to check out a case where, “A man gets hacked to death, in a locked room, inside a locked house. No signs of forced entry.” Sam replies that it sounds like a ghost and looks tired, bored, and generally unimpressed, but off they go!
I could really use some good classic rock here, Kripke. Please hear me, and the rest of the Fandom, WE WANT OUR CLASSIC ROCK BACK!
Metallicar pulls up to a very nice looking farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. I just noticed on my fifth watching of this episode that Jared is hilariously being directed to walk one step behind Jensen when they are climbing the stairs. Hee, and Aww! Li’l Stumpy looked as tall as The Ginormitron for a second there!
They enter the house and there is something or someone watching them from inside the walls as they explore. Sam makes note of a plastered over dumbwaiter, to which Dean replies, “Know-it-all!” I’m sorry, I refuse to believe Dean does not know what a dumbwaiter is. I know Sammy is our book smart brother, but Dean has not lived under a rock for his entire life, and he is literate and freakishly well informed about any and all movies, some of which had dumbwaiters in them, I am sure. Sorry, it pisses me off when they try to use Sam to make Dean look like an idiot.
The EMF reader makes an appearance, and it is useless because it immediately goes crazy due to the power lines that are all over the place. Out in the country. Whatever, show.
The Boys open a closet which is empty except for a doll head on the floor which Dean calls “super creepy”, but I call hilarious. Really, it looks like all kids’ doll heads look like once the little tykes discover the joy of giving them a haircut. I know you all made the mistake of giving at least one Barbie a haircut, I know I sure did. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize Barbie’s hair would not grow back after my hatchet job. Sorry, Barbie! Oh, to be young again.
Now we meet the family of millions. Alright, it is really only five people plus an adorable dog, but for a show that usually has one person of peril in a week, it is worth noting. Besides, all but one of them are so annoying it really feels like a family of millions.
Our Boys’ aliases for this episode are Mr. Stanwyk and Mr. Baber, and they are from “County Code Enforcement”. For you pop culture whores out there, this is a reference to Fletch. The names, not the jobs. I will admit that I had to Google that. It is so much easier when they assume the names of the classic rock gods.
Sam and Dan try to convince the family there is asbestos in the walls and a gas leak. “Until the house is up to code, it is uninhabitable.” The family looks highly skeptical, but agrees to stay at a motel for one night.
The Boys go off to interview the housekeeper of the previous owner, you know, the one who was splattered all over the “Home Sweet Home” wall hanging. She tells them there was blood everywhere. Dean asks where Mr. Gibson was, and she hilariously replies, “Everywhere.” Hey, look at that, he got a name!
More exposition from the housekeeper, who tells us Mr. Gibson was a private man with a difficult life. His wife died in childbirth and his daughter hung herself in the attic of the house twenty years later. The housekeeper amazingly has photos of the wife and daughter, even though she just told us two minutes ago that she hardly knew Mr. Gibson.
She has no idea why the daughter hung herself as that was “before [her] time”, and yet she has pictures of her? I hope the guy who mows my lawn doesn’t have photos of me and my family knocking around somewhere. He is a nice guy and all, but there are boundaries, people! Use them.
The Boys ask the requisite Hunter questions about whether she noticed anything strange in the house. She looks confused for a second and then is struck by the memory of sometimes hearing “rustling in the walls”.
Sam and Dean ascertain from the housekeeper that both the mother and the daughter were cremated, so I guess we are not getting a good old fashioned salt and burn in this episode. Again, it must be said, if I had a housekeeper, I seriously doubt I would be sharing the stories of what happened to the remains of my dead family members. I guess the writers are getting tired of always having Sam search the Internet or go to the library to research these details.
Meanwhile, The Family Stupid has returned to the farmhouse. Uncle Stupid has just remembered he is a house builder and therefore can tell if there is asbestos present or a gas leak. I love how he made it all the way to the motel before he remembered this.
Daughter Stupid sees a girl in the top floor window of the house, exactly like that scene in Beetle Juice. She manages to convince herself that she was just seeing things. Mom Stupid tries to reassure Daughter Stupid that everything is going to be wonderful here, their lives are going to change for the better, etc.. I am sure eventually we will learn why The Family Stupid needs the change, but the writers aren’t sharing now, or in the near future.
Another door opens with the creak of doom, but this time a baseball rolls out and Ears plays a game of catch with who or whatever is in the closet, exactly like how Elliot met E.T. the Extraterrestrial for the first time. Or so I am told, I had to be dragged from the theater crying by my Mom because that alien freak scared me to death. I haven’t attempted to watch it since. If it were not for my friend Becky, I would have been completely unaware of the reference, so thanks, Becks!
Mom and Dad Stupid are in the kitchen talking about how their life will be different here, they will be happy, blah, blah, blah. Dad Stupid smells something that he likens to a dead raccoon in a cupboard, but instead of investigating, he has a conversaton with the wife about growing a vegetable garden. Yeah, that’s normal. Apparently Mom and Dad stupid can’t put the kids through another year like the last one. Since we have never met these people and are not likely to again, I am finding it really hard to care about whatever it is the writers will not freaking tell me happened to this family. I’m almost more interested in planting a vegetable garden of my own.
Sam and Dean drive up to the house and realize they are screwed because The Family Stupid have returned, and there is no way they can tell them the truth of what is going on without the family thinking they are insane and calling the cops. They stay in Metallicar for the time being.
The Stupids find a wall with the word “Go” written in red crayon. They all blame poor Ears, and don’t believe him when he tries to tell him it was the girl in the walls who did it. Apparently Ears knows somehow that she wants all of The Stupids to leave, except for him. Maybe she wants to finish that game of baseball? Poor Ears gets yelled at and sent to his room. Before he stomps off, he yells, “If Andy were here, he would believe me!” Sorry, kiddo, not if Andy is or was one of The Stupids.
Now my very favorite urban legend of all time comes to life, Kripke style. Daughter Stupid has her hand hanging over the side of the bed for Buster the dog to lick. Actually, it sounds more like he is totally making out with her hand; the Foley artists really deserve a shout out for their efforts. Another creaky door opening, and it’s Buster! Screaming ensues.
Next scene, and Daughter Stupid is explaining to the rest of The Stupid Clan why she was screaming. “Ew! Ew! I just got molested by Casper the pervy ghost, that’s what happened!”
Sam and Dean burst into the house after hearing the screams, and Dad Stupid promptly accuses Dean of touching his daughter inappropriately. Hee! This would usually be a valid issue with our boy Dean, but clearly not this time.
Dean tries to get the family to leave, yet again to no avail. All of the lights in the house flicker, followed by awful dog noises coming from Buster, who is outside. The Boys and The Stupids follow the horrific sounds, and “too late” is written on the side of their moving van, presumably with Buster’s blood. Seriously, Show, my beloved dog, who looks kind of like Buster, is in surgery as I type this, so I have to not dwell on this aspect of the episode at all.
The Stupids finally get that it is time to leave. Unfortunately, every vehicle, including Metallicar, has slashed tires. Worse yet, Metallicar’s trunk has been robbed! No guns? No salt pellets? No dream catcher? What are our intrepid heroes to do?
Make a circle of salt, of course, and make The Family Stupid stand in the middle of it. The Boys still believe they are dealing with a ghost. Here is where it gets a little confusing. Daughter Stupid identifies the daughter in the photo The Boys got from the housekeeper as the girl in the walls. Yeah, the same girl that was supposedly cremated, which all fans of the show know keeps a ghost down for good. Sam and Dean conference and decide there must be something left in the attic that the ghost attached herself to, like that creepy doll in Supernatural season one’s “Provenance”. Dean is left to babysit while Sam goes to check out the attic. Ears adorably compares Sam and Dean and their job as ghost hunters to Scooby-Doo. Oh, hell, I love the kid now, and as such am going to have to use his actual name now, which is Danny. He has melted my cold, black heart. The rest of the family are still The Stupids.
Poor Dean’s babysitting includes listening to Uncle Stupid inexplicably call him “Fonzi”, and rant about how, “It’s just some backwoods hillbilly and [he] is not about to sit around here and wait for her to go all Deliverance on [his] ass.” Hell, at this point, I would gladly go Deliverance on his ass just to shut him the hell up. Spoiler!
I am going to have to speed this up, or I am going to be accused of writing the War and Peace of Supernatural. Unfortunately, this episode is not cooperating with my efforts in the slightest.
Dean forces all of The Stupids, plus Danny, into the salt circle and vows not to let anyone die tonight, even that guy I know as Uncle Stupid.
Then the yikesiest chick to ever appear on this show appears and proceeds to cross the circle of salt. Oops! A lot of screaming and general chaos ensues. The Stupids flee the house while Dean attempts to fight off the not-ghost with what looks like a fireplace poker. This does not deter her in the slightest as she has a knife, her scary ass face, and really atrocious teeth as weapons. Seriously, just looking at her is reminding me that I need to call and make an appointment with my dentist for my six month visit.
However, Sammy shining a FLASHLIGHT into her face causes her to shriek and flee, presumably back into the walls. Great, now we all have to travel with salt, gasoline, matches, a shovel, pure iron of some kind, silver bullets, salt pellets and a sawed off to fire them with, holy water, a book of Latin spells, chalk for making a Devil’s Trap on the fly, Goofer Dust, a generic Ouija board, personal effects including a photo to bury at a Crossroads should the need arise, and a FLASHLIGHT. I’m sure you will all remind me of the things I have forgotten over the years, and I really look forward to it. Metallicar’s trunk is getting mighty full. How hilarious would it be if they had to start pulling a trailer behind her?
Dean dubs not-ghost “Psycho Nell”, for you pop culture geniuses. I had to have a friend remind me of the movie Nell, starring Jodie Foster as a girl who is raised without any human contact, until Liam Neeson finds her and rescues her from her animal ways. Who says romance is dead? Thanks, Becks, I never would have caught that without you.
The Stupids have scattered, and lost Danny in the process. Sam and Dean determine the safest place for them to hide while they deal with Nell is the shed as there is only one door and the one window is boarded up. I love you, show, you know I do, but the shed is wood, and kind of decrepit. They would probably be better off if they would all just climb trees.
Mom and Daughter Stupid hide in the shed, while Dad and Uncle Stupid decide to help Sam and Dean find Danny. This should end well. Sam and Dad Stupid take the outside, while Dean and Uncle Stupid take the inside of the house. Not surprisingly, Dean and Uncle Stupid smell something foul in the walls and decide to follow their noses to…a hole in the ground.
Dean goes down the hole, muttering “Please nobody grab my leg, please nobody grab my leg”. This is the portion of the show where all of the Deangirls start fantasizing about grabbing Dean’s leg, among other things. Focus, Girls, Danny needs our help!
Dean finds all manner of nasty things down in what he refers to as Nell’s “kitchen”, including a huge dead rat and what I fear is what is left of Buster. He also notices what must be Nell’s version of cave man drawings on the wall, drawn with blood, naturally. It is a stick figure girl and a stick figure boy holding hands. How sweet disturbing.
Meanwhile, Uncle Stupid hears noises, and the next thing you know Nell has killed him by stabbing him clear through the throat with her knife. Finally, he shuts up.
For some reason, Sammy and Dad Stupid are now in the shed with the Ladies Stupid. Dean joins them and it takes The Family Stupid approximately eleventy billion years to catch on that Uncle Stupid is now dead.
Mom Stupid is confused as to why this is happening to them. “We’re good people, we’re a good family!” Insert joke here.
They babble on about Andy, again giving no indication of who or what he was to them. Focus, Stupids, Danny is still missing! Dean finally gets Daddy Stupid to admit that Andy was their oldest son and, “he got himself killed in a car accident last year”. He says it in a tone that suggests Andy did it just to piss off his dad. Nice. I can feel the love. Dad Stupid is about to get himself a whole new name from me and it consists of VERY BAD WORDS! Then Dad Stupid starts babbling to Dean about his marriage, their marriage counselor, and fresh air, of all things. DUDE! FOCUS! This is not the time for more gardening tips. Danny is being held captive by Nell, best case scenario. This family is so worthless.
Meanwhile, on planet rationality and sanity, Sammy has finally solved the mystery of who Nell is. Apparently, Rebecca, the daughter who hung herself, had a daughter of her own, who her father locked away. Dean figures out what the Fandom has already deduced in 3…2…1, ew! Yep, Mr. Gibson was his daughter’s baby daddy/grandfather/sicko. He locked the baby away, after calling his daughter a “dirty whore”, and didn’t teach the child to speak or anything about basic hygiene or proper food groups, and he apparently never let her see the light of day, which is why the flashlight terrified her. And the Fandom asks in unison why it took so long for her to splatter her daddy/grandaddy all over the house!
Sammy takes this moment to remind us that even though her life was hell, it does not give her an excuse to go on a murderous rampage. Dean retorts that Sam does not know what hell is like, so maybe he should just shut it.
Now, for some reason that will never, ever make sense, so don’t even try, we are looking at a bound and gagged Danny in night vision goggle view. Not that anyone is actually wearing night vision goggles, but just go with it or you will give yourself a headache.
Dean recalls the plastered over dumbwaiter and deduces that Danny must be being kept down there. They break it open, and Dean goes down, vowing to Dad Stupid that he will save his son.
Dean finds the bound and gagged Danny, and frees him only to have Danny say, “Hurry! He’s coming back!” Bzuh? There is a he? Apparently Nell has a brother, and he is equally crazy and wants to kick Dean’s ass in the worst way and then probably eat him. Thankfully, we get our weekly dose of gun porn as Dean spots his trusty gun, grabs it, and shoots Nell’s brother, dead. One down!
In the event you were concerned, Danny was hoisted to safety by Sammy, who has fashioned a rope/sling out of some curtains. He is like MacGyver! A really, really tall and hot MacGyver!
Meanwhile, in the supposedly safe shed, The Ladies Stupid are about to be attacked by Nell, who is using her animal skills to break through the walls of the shed. At the very last possible moment, she is grabbed by the feet and pulled out by something or someone. I thought for a second we were about to get yet another addition to this cast, and I won’t lie, I was praying it was Bobby coming to save the day. There are sounds of stabbing or hacking of the Nell coming from outside the shed. Seriously, the sound guys had a field day with this episode and really deserve kudos! I think I love them a little. It turns out that it was Dad Stupid who killed Nell. The close-up of dead Nell with her creepy eyes wide open is going to appear in a nightmare soon, I am afraid. I only watched the episode ten times to write this recap, the image is burned in my brain forever.
Metallicar is repaired and her trunk is filled with all of Sam and Dean’s demon fighting paraphernalia. The Family Stupid thanks them for saving their lives and their marriage and The Boys are off! Sadly, still no classic rock.
The last two minutes…I am going to type the dialog word for word as it really has to be seen in its entirety to be believed.
Sam: You okay?
Dean: You know, I felt for those sons of ‘s back there. Lifelong torture turns you into something like that.
Sam: You were in hell, Dean. But maybe you did what you did there, but you’re not them. They were barely human.
Dean: Yeah, you’re right, I wasn’t like them. I was worse. They were animals, Sam, defending territory. Me? I did it for the sheer pleasure.
Dean: I enjoyed it, Sam. They took me off the rack, and I tortured souls, and I liked it. All those years? All that pain? Finally getting to deal some of that yourself? I didn’t care who they put in front of me, because that pain I felt? It just slipped away. No matter how many people I save, I can’t change that. I can’t fill this hole. Not ever.
Not even the marvelous acting abilities of Mr. Ackles and Mr. Padalecki could save the train wreck of the last two minutes. Jared Padalecki’s expression clearly says, “I can’t believe I have to react like I believe this!” Jensen just looked like he could use a stiff drink, to which I have to steal from Battlestar Galactica and give a “So Say We All!”
So, I got this episode for my first recap ever, but next week’s episode is titled “Criss Angel is a Douchebag!”, and that sums up why Eric Kripke owns me. Hopefully, for all of our sake’s, the cast will consist of Sam, Dean, Metallicar, Bobby, and a douche bag. This large cast thing is a killer. No, that isn’t even it, it’s the fact that this episode was turned into the mob scene of people in peril who were utterly unlikeable, excepting Danny, of course, and poor Buster.
On a personal note, it took me so long to write this recap because I have been going through my own drama with my poor Australian Shepherd rescue, Sophie. She has had surgery and been back to the hospital today, but she is home with me now. I’ll spare you all the gory details. All of that is leading up to this…Bite me, Kripke! Don’t kill a dog! I know you love to go where other shows won’t, but please leave the animal world out of it. I wept for poor Buster, and I am certain I was not the only one.
I do have one bone to pick with the continuity editors. Danny and Daughter Stupid recognized Nell from the picture the housekeeper gave Sam and Dean that was NOT Nell, it was her mother, Rebecca.
Thank you so much for reading my first recap and bearing with me to the bitter end of it! Please give me your thoughts on the episode, the recap, or anything else on your mind. I do love to chat, and I am here for YOU, at least until one of the Winchesters shows up to whisk me away. To help with the demon fighting, of course, get your minds out of the gutter! Or not.