1x18 Something Wicked
|Boring Production Crap|
Original Air Date: 06/04/2006|
Writer: Daniel Knauf
Director: Whitney Ransick
|John Winchester: Jeffrey Dean Morgan|
Young Dean: Ridge Canipe
Young Sam: Alex Ferris
Miles Tarnower: Ari Cohen
Dr. Hydecker: Adrian Hough
|Michael: Colby Paul|
Joanna: Venus Terzo
The Shtriga: Jeannie Epper
Elderly Patient: Mary Black
Young Mother: Erica Carroll
|What Time Is It?|
|Present day: My best guess is sometime during September 2006. Judging from the brothers' conversation early in the episode it seems to be not long after schools have re-opened after summer vacation.|
Flashbacks: Dean states that John faced the shtriga 16 or 17 years ago, but the episode gives no clear indication of what time of year this was.
|Now, Which One Was That?|
|Following a new set of co-ordinates from John, the boys visit Fitchburg, Wisconsin, where a shtriga is attacking children, leaving them comatose. The boys pretend to be doctors from the Centre for Disease Control and investigate. Dean reveals that the shtriga is the same one their father hunted sixteen years earlier: |
|All the Niggling Little Details|
- Something Wicked will always be remembered as the episode that gave us the "King or two queens" line. But there's a lot more to the episode than that:
- Another hunt initiated by John, who sent the brothers co-ordinates for Fitchburg Wisconsin. And for once Sam doesn't argue about it.
- 16-17 years earlier, John hunted the shtriga in Fort Douglas, Wisconsin. The shtriga attacked six-year-old Sam, after which John drove his sons to safety, leaving then with "Pastor Jim" while he went back to the hunt. By the time he got back to Fort Douglas, the shtriga was gone.
- Judging from Sam's reaction on hearing John hunted this shtriga and it escaped him, it was very rare for John to be unsuccessful when he hunted.
- So why are there no notes about the shtriga in John's journal?
- The shtriga feeds on spiritus vitae which Sam translates as "breath of life".
- This particular shtriga comes out of hibernation roughly every 15-20 years. It preys on children, working its way through one family at a time, apparently beginning with the youngest child then attacking one child after another. It leaves the children in comas, and they eventually die. When it's not feeding, the shtriga takes the form of a doctor caring for the children it has attacked.
- The brothers initially find nothing supernatural happening in Fitchburg, but after they arrive they discover that a number of children have become sick with what appears to be pneumonia. Impersonating doctors from the CDC, they visit Dane County Memorial Hospital and learn that this "disease" is working its way through families, but only the children.
- Investigating the home of the most recent victim, Sam discovers an elongated handprint on the windowsill: the wood has rotted away where the shtriga touched it. Dean recognises the handprint from a photograph John had when he first hunted it.
- In the first flashback we see John leave the boys alone in a motel room, clearly planning for several days' absence. He leaves the ten year old Dean to look after Sammy.
- Sam has no memory of John's shtriga-hunt.
- Dean checks them into a motel, where the sight of Michael caring for his little brother triggers the second flashback.
- The second flashback presumably takes place at least a day after the first: Dean is making supper (?) for Sammy and clearly not happy with babysitting duty.
- Sam goes online to find some information about shtrigas. The website he finds states that the shtriga is invulnerable to all weapons; Dean says that's not accurate and consecrated iron rounds will kill her, but only if she's shot while feeding. Sam also says the shtriga has a human disguise, usually an old woman. Dean saw an old woman at the hospital with an inverted cross on her wall: he thinks she could be the shtriga.
- Dean and Sam return to the hospital and sneak into the old woman's room. She's not the shtriga, and isn't happy to find the boys sneaking into her room. Meanwhile, the shtriga is attacking Michael's little brother, Asher, at the motel.
- Morning, back at the motel, Sam and Dean learn that Asher is in hospital with pneumonia. Their mother is distraught and Dean offers to drive her to the hospital. Meanwhile Sam goes into research-mode at the local library, and discovers that the shtriga has attacked in other towns in the area, every 15-20 years. He calls Dean to let him know what he's found. Dean is still at the hospital. While they're talking on the phone, Sam finds a photograph from 1893 which shows Dr Hydecker at the bedside of a sick child: Hydecker is the shtriga.
- Now Dean has a plan. They know who the shtriga is, and they know it will be coming for Michael. Sam wants to get the kid to safety; Dean points out that the only time the shtriga is vulnerable is when it's eating: he wants to use Michael as bait.
- The third flashback: while Sammy sleeps, Dean leaves their motel room and spends a few hours playing an arcade game nearby. When he returns, he finds the shtriga leaning over the sleeping Sammy. Dean is preparing to shoot at it when John bursts in, shouts at Dean to get out of the way and shoots the shtriga multiple times. It falls through the window and escapes. As John holds Sammy, Dean confesses that he went out, leaving Sammy alone.
- Dean asks Michael for his help trapping the shtriga. Michael, who saw the shtriga attack his brother, refuses at first. But while the brothers debate what to do next, Michael comes to their room. He agrees to help for his brother's sake.
- The trap is set. The brothers watch Michael's room via an infra-red camera. They see the shtriga unlock the window and lean over Michael and burst in. Both shoot the shtriga and it appears to go down. But as they look down at its body, it moves fast, throwing first Dean, then Sam against the bedroom walls. The shtriga attacks Sam, holding him down and attempting to feed on him, just as it did when he was a child. Dean shoots the shtriga, and this time it's dead: nothing is left but its black robe on the floor.
- In the morning they learn that the sick children at the hospital are all recovering: people are saying it's a miracle. Dr Hydecker is mysteriously missing.
|Where'd That Myth Come From?|
- Shtriga - the Albanian shtriga is a vampiric witch who preys mostly on children. She drains their blood while they sleep and transforms into a flying insect to make her escape. Her victims, drained of their life force, sicken and die. It is said that only the shtriga herself can cure her victims. There are legends of vampiric witches all over Europe. Ancient Roman legends describe the strix or striga, an evil woman transformed into a bird who fed on human flesh and blood. The guaxa of northern Spain enters the homes of sleeping children through cracks in the walls, drinking the children's blood until they die. The Romanian strigoi viu is a living vampiric witch (as opposed to the strigoi mort which resembles the traditional undead vampire). The stirga of Slovenia can only be killed while feeding.
Though the details in the folklore of different regions do vary, all describe a female creature that can shapeshift and preys on children while they sleep.
- Witch - The evil witch who eats children is a common theme of fairy tales and folklore. From Hansel and Gretel to Black Annis, the witch is usually described as an ugly, old crone. Tracing these stories back to their source is tricky but the crone may indicate she began as a wise woman or even a pagan goddess. Many of the witches of folklore, such as Baba Yaga, originated as faeries and have evolved over the centuries into what we now call witches.
- Spiritus Vitae - Latin, translated by Sam as "breath of life". The concept of spiritus vitae comes from Medieval alchemy. The writings of Paracelsus describe "an essence that is equally distributed in all parts of the human body. The Spiritus Vitae (Spirit of Life) takes its origin from the Spiritus Mundi (Spirit of the Universe). Being an emanation of the latter, [it] contains the elements of all cosmic influences and is therefore the cause by which the action of the cosmic forces act upon the body." It is the imperishable force that keeps the body living.
- Inverted Cross - Though commonly associated with Satanism, the inverted cross is also a significant Christian symbol. Known as St. Peter's Cross, it symbolises humility. St. Peter is said to have been crucified head-down because he felt unworthy to die as Christ died.
- Consecrated Wrought Iron - Cold iron has long been believed to be an effective weapon or deterrent against creatures of faery or other supernatural threats.
|What's in a Name?|
- The brothers impersonate doctors from the Centre for Disease Control. Sam gives his name as Doctor Jerry Kaplan. (Jerry Kaplan is a famous name in the IT industry - another nod to Sam's geekiness.)
- We don't learn what alias Dean is using at the hospital, but the name on the credit card he uses to pay for their motel room is Kris Warren..
- Sam/Sammy Battle: In the present, Dean calls Sam "Sammy" twice, and "Sam" four times. In the flashbacks it's all Sammy, once from Dean and three times from John.
|What Did You Just Say?|
| DEAN: You're a real smartass, you know that? Don't worry, I'm sure there's somethin' in Fitchburg worth killing.|
SAM: Yeah? What makes you so sure?
DEAN: Well, because I'm the oldest, which means I'm always right.
SAM: Dude, dude, I am not using this ID.
DEAN: Why not?
SAM: Because it says "bikini inspector" on it.
JOHN: All right. You know the drill, Dean. If anybody calls, you don't pick up. If it's me, I'll ring once and then call back. You got that?
YOUNG DEAN: Mmhmm. Don't answer the phone unless it rings once first.
JOHN: Come on, dude, look alive. This stuff's important.
YOUNG DEAN: I know, it's just-we've gone over it, like, a million times, and you know I'm not stupid.
JOHN: I know you're not. But it only takes one mistake, you got that? All right, if I'm not back Sunday night?
YOUNG DEAN: Call Pastor Jim.
JOHN: Lock the doors and windows, close the shades, and most important-
YOUNG DEAN: Watch out for Sammy. I know.
JOHN: All right, if somethin' tries to bust in?
YOUNG DEAN: Shoot first, ask questions later.
JOHN: That's my man.
SAM: But if Dad went after it, why is it still breathing air?
DEAN: 'Cause it got away.
SAM: Got away?
DEAN: Yeah, Sammy, it happens.
SAM: Not very often.
DEAN: Well, I don't know what to tell you, I mean, maybe Dad didn't have his Wheaties that morning.
MICHAEL: King or two queens?
DEAN: Two queens.
MICHAEL: Yeah, I bet.
DEAN: What'd you say?
MICHAEL: Nice car.
DEAN: The hospital. When we were there, I saw a patient-an old woman.
SAM: An old person, huh?
SAM: In the hospital? Whew. Better call the coast guard.
SAM: We should have thought of this before. A doctor's a perfect disguise. You're trusted, you can control the whole thing.
DEAN: Huh. That son of a bitch.
SAM: I'm surprised you didn't draw on him right there.
DEAN: Yeah, well, first of all, I'm not gonna open fire in a freakin' pediatrics ward.
SAM: Good call.
SAM: Then you wanna use the kid as bait? Are you nuts? No! Forget it, that's out of the question.
DEAN: It's not out of the question, Sam, it's the only way. If this thing disappears, it could be years before we get another chance.
SAM: Michael's a kid. And I'm not gonna dangle him in front of that thing like a worm on a hook.
DEAN: Dad did not send me here to walk away.
DEAN: Dad never spoke about it again. I didn't ask. But he, uh-he looked at me different, you know-which was worse. Not that I blame him. He gave me an order, and I didn't listen. I almost got you killed.
SAM: You were just a kid.
DEAN: Don't-don't. Dad knew this was unfinished business for me. And he sent me here to finish it.
SAM: But using Michael? I don't know, Dean. I mean, how about one of us hides under the cover, you know, we'll be the bait?
DEAN: No, that won't work. It's gotta get close enough to feed. It'll see us. Believe me, I don't like it. But it's gotta be the kid.
DEAN: Well, that went crappy. Now what?
SAM: What'd you expect? You can't ask an adult to do something like that, much less a kid.
MICHAEL: If you kill it, will Asher get better?
DEAN: Honestly, we don't know.
MICHAEL: You said you're a big brother?
MICHAEL: You'd take care of your little brother? You'd do anything for him?
DEAN: Yeah, I would.
MICHAEL: Me, too. I'll help.
SAM: Hey, Dean, I'm sorry.
DEAN: For what?
SAM: Well, you know... I've really given you a lot of crap for always following Dad's orders. But I know why you do it.
DEAN: Oh, god, kill me now.
SAM: It's too bad.
DEAN: Oh, they'll be fine.
SAM: No, that's not what I meant. I meant Michael. He will always know there are things out there in the dark. He'll never be the same, you know? Sometimes I wish that...
SAM: I wish I could have that kind of innocence.
DEAN: If it means anything, sometimes I wish you could, too.
|Counting the Cost|
Collateral Damage: Seven children in Fitchburg were fed on by the shtriga, but all recovered after Dean killed it. However, the shtriga has fed on children in at least five other towns (Sam stated roughly every 15-20 years, the earliest being 1893) and on each occasion it killed "dozens of kids" (again, I'm quoting Sam). So this shtriga has killed at least 140 children, and possibly many more, before being stopped by Dean.
- Dean: Lots of emotional angst over a childhood mistake.
- Dean: choked by the shtriga and thrown against a wall. He got up pretty fast, though, so I don't think he was really hurt.
- Sam: thrown into a wall by the shtriga.
- Sam: became the shtriga's happy meal twice - in the flashback and again in the present day.
The Bad, the Ugly, and the Dead: One dead shtriga, shot by Dean while it tried to feed on Sam.
Metallicar Watch: The Metallicar is unharmed in this episode. In fact, it's barely even seen: only in the opening while the boys drive into town and at the end when they're ready to leave.
Zippo Count: No zippos were harmed during this episode.
Sacrificed on the Altar of Whoops!
- Sam claims he "ran LexisNexis, local police reports, newspapers" and found no evidence of anything strange going on. Wouldn't six comatose children make the newspapers?
- The highway sign as the boys drive into town says Fitchberg (with an e) but the "Welcome to" sign right behind it says Fitchburg (with a u).
- The old woman in the hospital demands Dean fix the crucifix on the wall. It's not a crucifix, it's a cross (a crucifix has the figure of Christ on it). This one I can't figure out. If she's supposed to be blind, how does she know it needs fixing? If she's not, why didn't she react sooner to Dean, or react to the lights going on? There's something weird going on...
|Driver Picks the Music|
| Rock Bottom by UFO|
Road to Nowhere by Ozzy Osborne
|What Did They Just Say?|
Official Heavy Metas
Dean Meta - "Something Wicked" by kronette
This Isn't About You: Sam in Something Wicked by embroiderama
John Meta - The Making of a Warrior or the Breaking of a Son? by phantomas
Other really cool people talked, too!
On John & Dean, Choice & Consequence by sargraf