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Television Tourniquet: 'Supernatural' Episode 5.11


Supernatural Episode 5.11
Sam, Interrupted
Written By: Andrew Dabb
Directed By: Jim Conway
Original Airdate: 21 January 2010

In This Episode…
Sam and Dean check themselves into a mental hospital at the behest of an old friend of their father’s – and former hunter – named Martin.  A monster is stalking the patients and making it appear that they have committed suicide – five deaths in four months.  But of course, who is going to believe a bunch of schizophrenics?  The Winchester boys, of course.  Their entry into the hospital isn’t too tough – they simply tell the truth.

During group, Ted desperately wants to talk about the monster that has been stalking the patients.  Ted is found hung to death in his room later that night.  Sam and Dean sneak into the morgue and discover that Ted had a puncture hole going clean through his brain.  Cracking open the skull, they discover his brain had been sucked dry of precious brain juice.

When they present this evidence to Martin, he decides they are being hunted by a wraith.  Wraiths are demons that feed on brain juice, and can disguise themselves as humans.  Only a mirror image will give away a wraith’s true identity, and a wraith can easily be defeated with silver.  Dean catches sight of the hospital administrator’s reflection – guess what?  He’s the wraith.  The boys split up that night to find the doc.  Sam does, and attacks him violently, but his silver letter opener does nothing. 

The longer the boys are in the hospital, the crazier they get.  The pretty doctor who had been assigned to Dean turns out to be a figment of his imagination, then everyone appears to be a wraith.  Reality and fantasy blur so much Dean can barely see straight.  He walks in on the head nurse – the true wraith – feeding on a young nymphomaniac.  Meanwhile, Sam is filled with rage.  He imagines that his brother – and all the other inmates – blame him for everything and nothing, and he starts fighting them.  He only fights the air until the orderlies haul him away.

Strapped down to a cot in a padded cell, Sam comes face to face with Nurse Ratchet.  She passed on the crazy to them with just a touch, and let it ferment.  Crazy brains taste the most delicious.  All those chemicals and hormones, she explains.  The wraith has a spike that can extend from her wrist to trepan her victim.  Dean bursts in to the room before she can do so to Sam.  The two battle, and Sam stabs her through with a silver letter opener.

Dig It or Bury It?
This was a good way to come back from winter hiatus.  Mental disorder is always scary because it could happen to anyone.  Mental disorder within an institution is scarier because there is always someone crazier than you.  The cherry on top was the very scary wraith makeup.  I would say it looked like a cross between a melting zombie and a haggard sea witch.  Plus, I find it nice to take a break from the seriousness (and occasional heavy-handedness) of the apocalypse episodes.

Sibling Rivalry
Right off the bat, the doc separates the brothers because of their unhealthy codependence on one another.  Sam’s encroaching mania is characterized by Dean yelling at him for blaming everyone and everything else for his woes.  Before the brothers ride off into the sunset together after killing the wraith and escaping the hospital, Sam is worried because he has too much rage within him.  The wraith pointed it out to him – “I don’t make crazy, I just enhance what is already there” – which, of course, got Sam all thinky.  Dean told him to suck it up and shove it down deep inside him; that was the only way they could continue fighting demons.  So you know this will come back to bite the bros in a few weeks.

Blood Brothers
Aside from the aforementioned sea hag/zombie wraith makeup, the best part was when Dean snapped the wraith’s giant wrist-needle in half.  It looks like it is just some bone-like appendage, but that little fucker can shoot an impressive spray of blood!  Besides that, the first “suicide” we walk in on is a middle-aged schizophrenic who is found with slit wrists and a simple pool of blood around each arm.  Interestingly, this victim had her wrists slashed across.  Everyone knows that if you really want to kill yourself, you slice open the veins lengthwise.  A nurse – even a demon-nurse – should know that.

Spooky Humor
Initially, Dean is trying to have Sam committed.  The doc asks Sam how he is feeling.  “I’m fine,” Sam insists.  “Well, I’m a little depressed.  Probably because I started the apocalypse.” 

Next week, a nerdy teen switches bodies with Sam, leaving Sam to deal with an unattractive, underage body who must attend high school, while the kid gets to drink, hunt monsters, and get laid.