Project SPN Rewatch: Croatoan
(As I mentioned in my post announcing this rewatch project, there will be spoilers!)
Season Two, Episode Nine: Croatoan
Image episode summary from Wikipedia:
After Sam has a premonition of Dean killing a defenseless man, the brothers head to Rivergrove, Oregon to investigate. There, Sam notices “CROATOAN” carved into a pole, reminding him of the lost colony of Roanoke. They soon find that all forms of communication have been shut down, and extremely violent townspeople are blocking the roads out. They go to a local doctor’s office, where a doctor finds that the blood of the violent people has been infected by a virus containing sulfur, leading Sam to believe his father’s theory of Croatoan being a demonic plague. A woman in the office suddenly turns violent and attacks Sam. She infects him with her blood before Dean is able to kill her. Sam tries to kill himself, but Dean stops him. Moments later, it is learned that all of the infected people have suddenly vanished, leaving the town deserted. Sam has his blood tested, and finds out that he was not infected. After the brothers leave town, one of the survivors is revealed to be a demon; it contacts someone to inform him that Sam is immune to the virus, “as expected.” After leaving, Dean pulls to the side of the road and finally starts to reveal to Sam what their father told him before dying.
This episode starts in what looks like the middle of a case. Lots of slow motion of Dean loading a gun and entering a room where some guy is tied up to a chair. Chair guy swears something isn’t in him.
There are other people in the room, watching.
Chair guy talking about something is not in him – possession? Dean definitely looks like he’s going to shoot this guy.
Woah, it turns out it’s another of Sam’s visions. He wakes up in a motel as Dean is coming back in to the room with beer and snacks.
Then they’re on the road, following some navigator on the phone. Going to River Grove, Oregon based on Sam’s vision. Dean wants to know what Sam saw in his vision. Sam tells him. Dean says Sam’s “weirdo visions” are all connected to the yellow eyed demon.
Dean says he’s sure he had a good reason to shoot the guy in the vision and tells Sam he wouldn’t waste an innocent man. Sam wants to find the guy from his vision and see what’s what.
They make it to the town from Sam’s vision, and it seems like a normal small town, with lots of people everywhere. Sam sees a guy who was in the room during his vision. They approach him and introduce themselves as Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard, US Marshalls.
Sam describes chair guy from his vision, saying they’re looking for him. His name is Dwayne. Apparently he’s a good kid, keeps his nose clean, etc. Sam and Dean go to find him, and Sam sees the word Croatoan carved into a wooden post. He tells Dean that it’s related to Roanoke, a lost colony. Dean clearly did not pay attention in history class. Haha School House Rock reference.
Sam explains that Roanoke was one of the first English colonies in America from the late 1500s. Everyone disappeared and the only thing left behind was the word Croatoan carved into a tree. No one knows what really happened but everyone disappeared overnight.
Is that what’s going on here?
Sam wonders what could do something like that, make a town disappear. Dean repeats that Sam’s weirdo visions are connected to the demon. Sam suggests calling Bobby or Ellen for help, but there’s no cell signal. Ominous!
They go to a pay phone but the line is dead. Something is definitely going on.
The brothers go to Dwayne’s house; his brother answers the door; Dwayne isn’t home. Says he went on a fishing trip. They speak with his father; his mother is not there but Dwayne’s brother said his parents were home. Dean points out the discrepancy; Dwayne’s father says his mother is out getting groceries and he is not sure when Dwayne is due back from his trip.
Something is up with Dwayne’s brother. Sam and Dean notice: “a little too Stepford-y”.
The brothers creep around back of the house and through the window, see that Dwayne’s mother is tied up to a chair inside. Dad cuts Dwayne’s brother’s arm. Sam and Dean are watching and bust in. Dean shoots the dad when he charges at him; Dwayne’s brother escapes by jumping through a window and runs away.
There is definitely something going on in this town!
Sam and Dean drive Dwayne’s mom to a medical clinic in town. A nurse comes out and calls for the doctor. They were all in Sam’s vision. Dean comes in with Dwayne’s father’s (Mr. Tanner) body.
Dwayne’s mother explains that her husband and other son (Jake) did this to her. The doctor asks if she has any idea why they would act this way; the mom says one minute they were her husband and son, and the next, they had the devil in them.
Dean is clearly thinking possession. He and Sam go to talk – multiple demons? Mass possession? That’s one way to wipe out a town. But Sam points out that they didn’t see any demon smoke or other signs of possession.
Dean says if Sam had taken out the other one (Jake), there would be one less to worry about. Sam says sorry, he hesitated. It was a kid
Dean: “No, it was an it. Not the best time for a bleeding heart, Sam”. Again, we see how black and white Dean sees the world.
The doctor comes in and says she needs coroner and county sheriff. But the phones are all down, even the police radio in Sam and Dean’s car. Not a good sign. The doctor has no idea what’s happening, and it’s 40 miles to next town. Dean says he’ll go and see if he can find help; Sam will stick around and keep them safe.
The doctor asks “Safe from what?” Dean: “We’ll get back to you on that”.
Dean drives out of town and finds a car on the road with bullet holes and blood in windshield. Creepy! The windows are broken, and the seats covered in blood (including baby carrier in back).
He picks up a large hunting knife laying on the road beside the car. Good idea.
Back in town, Sam’s at the doctor’s office. The doctor looking at some stuff under microscope. She ells Sam that Dwayne’s dead father’s lymphocyte (?) percentage is pretty high; his body was fighting off a viral infection. But she isn’t sure what kind of virus. There are viruses that can cause dementia, but not the kind of violence that has happened. Something weird going on with his blood too – there’s a weird residue. If she didn’t know better, she’d say it was sulphur.
SULPHER = DEMON! Sam looks very concerned.
Meanwhile, Dean’s still on the road. He sees more cars blocking the road up ahead. There are a lot of men with guns out there. Dean stays in car and sees that Dwayne’s brother is out there. Dean stops the car and the creepy men with guns all stare at him.
A man appears at Dean’s window and tells him the road is closed: quarantine. He says he doesn’t know what it is but something’s going around out there. Dean asks who told him that and the guy replies it was the county sheriff.
Dean asks if sheriff is there and the man says no, he called. Then he asks Dean to get out of car to talk a little. Don’t do it! Dean says no. Phew.
But the man tries to get him out of car again. Dean says no again, and backs up the car quickly. This guy grabs on to Dean/the car! The other men start shooting at Dean! Yikes! Dean turns the car around and this guy trying to hold on falls off. Dean gets away. RELIEF.
Back at the doctor’s office, Doc is explaining to Dwayne’s mother about her dead husband’s blood. Doc wants to know if during the attack, did she have any direct contact with their blood? The doctor wants to take blood sample. Dwayne’s mom, Beverly, attacks doctor and Sam! She comes at Sam and he hits her in the head and knocks her out, locking her in a closet.
While Dean is drving through town, he is stopped in the road by same guy they met at the beginning of the episode, with his gun pointed at Dean’s car. He orders him out of car. Now they both have guns pointed at each other. They ask each other if he’s “one of them”; both say no; both know the other could be lying. That’s quite a predicament.
They put their guns down slowly. The man asks Dean what’s going on. He tells Dean how his neighbour, Mr. Rogers, came at him with hatchet and he had to put him down. It’s happening to everyone.
Dean tells him there’s no way out of town. The bridge is covered and he’s going to the doctor’s office. The guy decides to come along, but keeps his gun on Dean while Dean drives them there.
People at the doctor’s office are getting nervous about whether they all have this virus . The nurse, Pam, wants to find her boyfriend and make sure he’s ok. Sam follows her and says that it’s safer to stay there. Help is coming. Then they hear Dean at the door asking him to open up.
Dean and his new friend, Sarge, come in. Dean tells Sam the road is blocked. Sam says the doctor thinks it’s virus and he thinks she’s right – the infected are trying to infect others with blood to blood contact. He tells Dean that the virus leaves traces of sulphur in blood: “Demonic germ warfare”.
Sam did find something about the Roanoke colony in their father’s journal: his theory was that Croatoan was a demon’s name – a demon of plague and pestilence. Dean says why here and now? Sam isn’t sure. Who knows how far this could spread? Sam says they need to get out and warn people.
Then Sarge calls them over and says they can’t just leave her (Dwayne’s mother, Beverley) in there. The longer they wait, the stronger she’ll get. Dean gets his gun ready.
Nurse Pam and Doc are not happy with the plan to kill Beverley; the boys ask if they can cure it and the doctor says she doesn’t even know what “it” is. So that’s not looking too promising.
Now everyone is disagreeing on what to do with Beverley.
Dean goes in with his gun drawn. She’s curled up in a corner. It turns out Sarge’s name is Mark. Beverley is telling Mark that the others are infected, not her; they’ve locked her up and left her. Sam says he’s sure she’s one of them. Woah Dean shot her?? Yikes.
It’s dark out now; Mark can see out the windows that there are others gathering out there. Creepy.
Sam is cleaning a blade; Dean is prepping a gun. They’re getting ready for a showdown. Sam is also making concerned face at Dean.
The brothers hear glass break – nurse Pam dropped the blood vials and says she wants to leave. Dean says they can’t because those ‘things’ are everywhere.
Sam tells Dean that Pam’s right – they have to get out of there. More infected could be coming.
Mark says if they stay where they are, they’re easy targets – most people around here have guns. Unless Sam and Dean have explosives…Sam says they could make some. He’s so smart!
Oh no they hear someone at the door wanting in – but it’s Dwayne! He comes in and Mark locks the door behind him. This is they guy they’ve been looking for!
Dean asks Sam if that’s the guy he kills (in Sam’s vision) and Sam says yes.
Dwayne wants to know who else is in there. Dean goes over to him and asks the doctor to examine Dwayne. Mark asks Dwayne where he’s been, and he says he was on a fishing trip and got back this afternoon. And then he saw someone getting cut up by townsfolk and he ran away and has been hiding in the woods. Hmm.
Of course Dwayne wants to know if anyone has seen his parents.
Dean: “Awkward” – hahahaha!
Ooh Dwayne is bleeding. Everyone seems concerned. He says it must have happened when he tripped and ran. Dean tells Mark to tie Dwayne up with rope. The doctor mentions Beverley’s name, saying it took 3 hours for the virus to incubate, so there’s no way of knowing yet from a blood test if Dwayne is one of ‘them’.
Sam tells Dean his vision is happening and that Dean can’t kill Dwayne because they don’t know if he’s infected or not. Dean is convinced that he is infected and doesn’t want to take a chance of him infecting someone else.
Sam says they’re supposed to struggle with whether to kill someone or not; he’s upset that Dean doesn’t care. Apparently Dean isn’t acting like himself, he’s acting like one of those things out there.
Dean pushes Sam around and locks him in the room! Sam yells at Dean not to do it but Dean loads his gun and goes into the room with Dwayne, just like in Sam’s vision!
Dwayne swears it’s not in him. Dean says Dwayne’s not him but Dwayne tells Dean to ask the doctor. But the doctor says she isn’t sure. She can’t tell.
Dean gets ready to shoot Dwayne, saying he’s got no choice. He’s about to pull the trigger but then stops. He can’t do it. Phew! That was intense
Then we see Sam making explosives and Dean is in there with him. The doctor comes and says it’s been over 4 hours and Dwayne’s blood is clean; she doesn’t think he’s infected. She’d like to untie him. Sam says sure.
Sam: “You know I’m gonna ask you why.”
Sean: “Yeah I know.”
Sam: “So why? Why didn’t you do it?”
Dean: “We need more alcohol.” (for the explosives) – Classic Dean, avoiding the question.
Sam goes into next room to get alcohol and asks nurse Pam how she’s holding up. “Good. It’ll all be over soon”. She closes the door. SUSPICIOUS!
Nurse Pam locks the door and tells Sam she’s been waiting for this, to get Sam alone. She attacks him! The others rush to the room but Pam cuts Sam and then herself. Dean busts in and shoots her. Is it too late?? Is Sam infected??
Mark tells Dean she bled on Sam, he’s got the virus, and won’t let Dean go to him.
NOW WHAT DEAN?? You were so eager to kill the other infected but we can’t do that to Sam, of course.
The doctor checks Sam over again at Dean’s insistence and Mark is upset. The doc asks Sam if Pam’s blood entered his wound. Mark says of course it did and Dean says we don’t know that for sure.
Now everyone’s fighting over what to do, throwing Dean’s words and actions in his face. Sam says to give him the gun and he’ll off himself. He’s not going to become one of those things. Dean threatens everyone who says to kill Sam.
Dean gives Mark his car keys and tells them to get out, to take the car, take the explosives and weapons. Dwayne and Mark should go. Dean will stay behind with Sam. Sam says no, this is Dean’s only chance. He should go with them.
Mark agrees and tells Dean to come with them, but he sees the resolve in Dean’s eyes. “It’s your funeral”. Mark and Dwayne leave and the doctor says she’s sorry, then thanks the bros: “Thanks for everything, Marshalls”. Dean tells her they’re not really marshalls, haha.
Then the doctor leaves too. Dean locks himself in the room with Sam. Sam has sad face.
Sam tells Dean not to do this, to get out. Dean says no way. Sam asks Dean to give him his gun and leave; Dean says no. Sam says this is the dumbest thing he’s ever done.
Dean: “I don’t know about that. Remember that waitress in Tampa?” Haha oh Dean.
Sam says he’s sick, it’s over for him, but it doesn’t have to be for Dean. He can keep going.
Dean: “Who says I want to?” He’s tired. Tired of this job, this life, this weight on his shoulders. Dean tells Sam that it isn’t about their dad. Part of it is, but…then they’re interrupted by a noice. The doctor has come back. She tells Sam and Dean to come see this. Dean leaves Sam there and goes outside to see that the whole town is empty. There’s no one around. Mark, Sam, Dean, the doctor, and Dwayne are all that’s left. The doctor tells them, “There’s no one. Not anywhere. They’ve all just vanished.”
The boys look again at the word Croatoan carved into the post.
Later with everyone back at the clinic, the doctor tells Sam it’s been 5 hours and his blood is still clean. He dodged a bullet!
Sam doesn’t understand. He was exposed. How can he be clean? The doctor doesn’t have answers and looks at something in her microscope, saying when compared with the Tanner samples…then she stops. Now the Tanner blood has no trace of virus, sulphur, anything out of the ordinary.
The next morning, Mark and Dwayne are loading up truck and getting out of there. The Doctor says she’s going to next town to get authorities.
Sam and Dean talk to doctor, who says Sam will be fine. There are no signs of infection. She goes back inside while Mark and Dwayne drive off.
Sam has no clue how he turned out ok. Dean: “I swear, I’m gonna lose sleep over this one. Why here, why now? Where the hell did everybody go? It’s not like they just friggin’ melted.”
Sam asks why he was immune. Dean says that’s a good question. He’s starting to feel like this is the one that got away.
Sam and Dean get in the car and drive off. We then see Mark and Dwayne driving in the truck. Dwayne asks Mark to pull over up ahead, which he does.
Dwayne says he’s gotta make a call. Mark tells him there’s no phone out there but Dwayne says he’s got it covered. Then he slits Mark’s throat! Oh no! Dwayne collects the blood in a bowl and uses it to communicate with someone: “It’s over, you’ll be pleased. I don’t think any more tests are necessary. The Winchester boy – definitely immune as expected. Yes, of course. Nothing left behind.”
Then he has demon eyes!!
We cut to lovely daytime scene with Sam and Dean sitting on a fence by a river, with the leaves falling…beautiful! They’re drinking some beer, having a chat.
Sam: “So last night. Want to tell me what the hell you were talking about?”
Dean: “What do you mean?”
Sam: “What do I mean? I mean you said you were tired of the job and that it wasn’t just because of Dad.”
Dean: “Forget it.”
Sam: “No I can’t. No way”
Dean: “Come on man, I thought we were both gonna die. You can’t hold that over me.”
Sam: “No, no no no. You can’t pull that crap with me, man. You’re talking.”
Dean: “What if I don’t?”
Sam: “Then I guess I’ll just have to keep asking until you do.”
Dean: “I don’t know, man. Just think maybe we oughta…visit the Grand Canyon.”
Dean: “You know, all this driving back and forth across the country, you know I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon? Or we could go to TJ. Or Hollywood, see if we can bang Lindsay Lohan.”
Sam: “You’re not making any sense.”
Dean: “I just think we should take a break from all this. Why do we gotta get stuck with all this responsibility; why can’t we live life a little bit?”
Sam: “Why are you saying all this?” Dean walks away. “No no no no Dean, you’re my brother, alright? So whatever weight you’re carrying, let me help a little bit.”
Dean: “I can’t. I promised.”
Sam: “What are you talking about?”
Dean: “Right before Dad died, he told me something. Told me something about you.”
Sean: “What? Dean, what did he tell you?”
AND THEN THE EPISODE IS OVER!!!!!!!!!! HOLY SUSPENSE!
I love that they tied what seemed to be a MOTW episode into the bigger storyline with the demon. And also, I really liked this episode even as a MOTW one. The idea of everyone turning on each other and then the whole town just vanishing is very creepy and cool.
Also I love the Sam and Dean scene at the end, with Dean seemingly about to tell Sam what their father said to him before he died. Talk about leaving us in suspense!
-Demon; demonic plague??