Episode Title: "Repo Man"
Writer: Ben Edlund
Director: Thomas J. Wright
Previously on "Supernatural":
Four years ago, a Wiccan named Nora Havelock (Nicole Oliver) pulls up to a cabin in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, where she is reluctantly greeted by Sam Winchester (Jared Padalecki) as Nora insists that she has to see the demon that she helped him track down. Inside, Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) prepares to exorcise the demon from the body of Jeffrey (Russell Sams). The demon wastes little time before frightening Nora off and mocking the brothers for being unable to torture him without hurting his host. To the demon's surprise, Jeffrey encourages Dean to do what he has to do and the demon eventually reveals the location of Merrick before being banished back to Hell.
Dean drops Jeffrey off at the hospital and he urges him to keep quiet about the demon for his own sake. In the present, Sam and Dean are back in Coeur d'Alene because the demon has apparently escaped from Hell and started killing again. Sam is also haunted by his hallucination of Lucifer (Mark Pellegrino); who seems to be annoyed that Sam no longer acknowledges him before pressing the scar on his hand to make him disappear. The Winchesters examine the latest crime scene before heading over to Nora's shop, which is now adorned with a demon's trap. Nora shows them her latest banishment rituals and says that she's staying out of their way this time.
Nora also suggest that the Winchesters look in on Jeffrey, who is now living in a halfway house run by a man named Alan (Daniel Bacon). As part of Jeffrey's recovery, Alan allows him to adopt a small shelter dog. The Winchesters briefly grab Jeffrey to test if he is possessed again. But once they are satisfied that he's still free from demonic influence, the Winchesters accompany Jeffrey back to the halfway house. As Sam banishes his vision of Lucifer, Dean explains to Jeffrey that the demon has somehow returned. In response, Jeffrey offers up the name of a woman that the demon intended to kill last time: Marjorie Willis.
Sam goes out to protect Marjorie while Dean remains with Jeffrey. As Sam stakes out the library, Lucifer causes him to see even more intense hallucinations which Sam has a harder time ignoring. Back at Jeffrey's apartment, Dean learns more about what Jeffrey went through after he made the mistake of talking about his demonic possession. Jeffrey also tells Dean that the demon had a hidden nest four years ago and he insists upon accompanying Dean to check it out. At the library, Sam thinks that he's spotted a suspicious man tailing Marjorie… but it turns out to be her boyfriend.
At the demon's nest, Dean and Jeffrey find several demonic symbols and a young man (Jeff Ballard) tied up in a chair. When Dean goes to free the captive, Jeffrey injects something into his neck and Dean falls unconscious. Sam tries to reach Dean with no success, and he gets so frustrated with Lucifer's taunting that he tells him to shut up. Sam returns to the halfway house and rummages through Jeffrey's things for any clues as Lucifer offers to help him solve his case. Sam discovers a hidden compartment in a drawer that contains a demonic summoning spell. But it takes Lucifer to point out that the handwriting is Nora's.
Sam returns to Nora's shop and she tries to attack him. After subduing him, Sam demands that Nora tell him why Jeffrey had one of her summoning spells. Eventually Nora explains that Jeffrey was obsessed with reuniting with the demon who possessed him and he kidnapped Nora's son to force her cooperation. When the first summoning spell didn't work, Jeffrey cut off the ear of Nora's son and mailed it to her. At Lucifer's urging, Sam takes a harsher tone against Nora and forces her to use the severed ear to create a locator spell for her son.
When Dean wakes up, he is tied to a chair next to Nora's son. Jeffrey gleefully explains to him that he loved being possessed and that the demon gave him the courage to act upon his murderous impulses and become a serial killer. Now that Jeffrey has the man who exorcised his demon, he casts the spell to free the demon from hell using Dean's blood. But instead of retaking Jeffrey, the demon claims Nora's son for his new host. The demon easily brakes his new body free from its chains and he embraces Jeffrey for taking his lessons to heart.
But when Jeffrey gets clingy and insists upon being one again, the demon basically slaps him down and describes himself as a talent scout for hell, looking for people who aren't living up to their evil potential. Sam arrives and he futility attacks the demon while Dean breaks free. The Winchesters don't make much headway against the demon, but they lure it into a newly created demon's trap where Nora begins to exorcise it again. When Jeffrey tries to interfere, Dean shoots him. Finally, the spell works and Nora's son is freed and reunited with his mother.
Afterwards, Dean goes to pass out in the hotel bed and he remarks that Jeffrey was always a psychopath and that he had only fooled them four years ago by acting normal. At the same time, Sam tries to act as if nothing is wrong when his Lucifer hallucination reappears. But when Sam tries to banish him with his scar, Lucifer taunts Sam by telling him that he let him in during the case… and now Sam can't make Lucifer go away. Lucifer then begins to manically laugh as he makes Sam see the room burst into non-existent flames.
For most of this season, "Supernatural" has had a problem with bland and boring villains. Enter Mark Pellegrino's Lucifer to make things right. I actually wish that the Lucifer in Sam's head was real, because he's easily the best villain on the show this year. In this case, it's all about personality and charisma, which this version of Lucifer has in abundance.
The interplay between Sam and Lucifer was really amusing and fun, especially when Sam started using his hallucination as his defacto partner. The hilarious thing is that Lucifer is just a projection of Sam's mind that knows only what he knows; which means that Sam recognized Nora's handwriting but he still needed Lucifer to point it out to him. "Repo Man" was also an interesting look at how Sam perceives the world after regaining his memories of Hell. There's no getting around the fact that Sam is still mentally unbalanced after his ordeal, he's just been able to hide it and manage it… like a psychopath would, according to his brother.
And judging from the end of this week's episode, Sam's about to have a much harder time of dealing with his hallucinations. Taking away Sam's ability to dismiss the visions was a nice touch and I hope that there is a good payoff for this in the remaining seven episodes.
When the premise for this episode was revealed, I thought that it was going to deal with characters from an actual episode from the third or fourth season. Instead, it basically invented a case to revisit. However, Jeffrey's story was still interesting and Russell Sams played both sides of his character well. There's something intriguing about the WInchesters saving Jeffrey's life but failing to recognize that he would go on to continue the demon's work. It almost makes me question if the demon in Nora's son was telling the truth about his lack of potential for hell, and if the Winchesters should keep an eye on him in the future.
The episode did chicken out a little when Jeffrey slaughtered his dog off-screen. We didn't have to see the dog being eviscerated, but it seemed really unnecessary for Jeffrey to literally step off camera for that moment. If the shot was just going to linger on Dean, then what was the point of that?
Regardless, "Repo Man" was an enjoyable one-off episode with a nice cliffhanger before the last few weeks of the season. "Supernatural" has had a few creative missteps this year, but it still has enough life left to remind us of why we like it.
Crave Online Rating: 8.3 out of 10.