(As I mentioned in my post announcing this rewatch project, there will be spoilers!)
Season 3, Episode 14: Long Distance Call
Image and episode summary from Wikipedia:
After repeatedly getting phone calls from a mysterious woman, even after ripping the phone line from the wall, a man shoots himself in the head. The Winchesters head to Milan, Ohio to speak to his wife during their investigation, and deduce that the caller was a woman named Linda who died in a car accident with the man. At the phone company, Sam and Dean meet with the manager, Clark Adams (Tom O'Brien). He introduces them to a technician named Stewie Meyers, who tracks the number and reveals it has called ten houses over a two-week period. Visits to some of the homes reveal that people have been receiving calls from dead loved ones. Dean then receives a call from his father (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), who claims that the demon holding his contract is in town and later gives him the location. Sam does not believe it to be their father, and his doubts are confirmed when a girl named Lanie (Cherilyn Wilson) is encouraged to commit suicide by calls from her dead mother. Lanie's brother has also been receiving the calls, and Sam saves him when he purposefully steps into oncoming traffic. Sam then calls Dean and explains they are facing a Crocotta. The monster has been convincing people to kill themselves so that he can devour their souls. Believing Stewie to be the Crocotta, Sam confronts him at the phone company. However, Clark reveals himself as the monster and consumes Stewie's soul. Sam realizes that Clark imitated Dean on the phone, and that the real Dean is still waiting for the demon to arrive. Clark calls another man, pretending to be his dead daughter and claiming that her killer is at the house Dean is waiting in. As Sam manages to kill the Crocotta, the man attacks Dean but is overpowered. Figuring out that the man is not a demon due to him being immune to a devil's trap, Dean stops attacking and convinces him that he is not his daughter's killer. Dean then finally accepts that he can't expect for some miraculous way to come to save him, he has to do it himself.
We are getting very close to the end of season three.
The episode starts outside a big house during a thunderstorm, with a nervous-looking man pouring a drink. The phone rings, which seems to make him more nervous. He answers, and he tells the woman on the other end of the line – Linda – that she can’t keep calling. She begs him to come to her but he says no and hangs up.
The phone rings again and he asks her to leave him alone, but Linda says she won’t stop. She misses him. She loves him – forever. They can be together. He hangs up again and the phone immediately starts ringing. He slams the receiver down and throws the phone across the room, ripping it from the wall.
But it rings again. Creepy! Ben seems defeated and opens a desk drawer, revealing a gun. He says out loud that Linda wins, he’s coming, and then he shoots himself.
After the opening title screen, we see that Dean has been speaking to Bobby, who tips him off about a case – the man from the beginning of the episode who killed himself.
But Sam is reluctant to go, saying they’re working on Dean’s case, trying to break his deal. Dean says they’ve basically talked to everyone they could and no one knows anything. They can’t find Bela or the Colt. Sam thinks they should summon Ruby, but Dean reveals to Sam their conversation from a few episodes back where Ruby told Dean that he couldn’t be saved.
So now the brothers are mad at each other but they set off to investigate this guy’s death. They speak to the dead man’s wife, who tells them about the scene when she found his body, including the phone being ripped from the wall. Sam looks through the caller ID and finds a suspicious-looking ID, from around the time of her husband’s death. She confesses that she overheard her hssband talking to someone a couple weeks ago, calling her Linda, but when his wife picked up the other line to listen in, there was nothing but static.
Dean finds out who Linda was – she was the dead man’s high school sweetheart but died years ago. And since she was cremated, she shouldn’t be ghosting around making phone calls.
Sam did some research on the strange number from the caller ID, and it turns out to be a phone number from about a century ago. Sam thinks they should trace it. They wind up at a telephone company – which seems to have a strange number of flies there – where they are introduced to an employee named Stewie who helps them trace the strange number. The employee tells them the number is so old it can’t be in use anymore but they ask him to trace it anyway. Dean gets a bit tough and Stewie checks the number. It turns out that he can’t say where the number comes from, but he prints out a list of all the homes that have received calls from that number in the past couple of weeks.
Sam goes to interview someone at one of the homes that received a call from the strange number. While the husband gives Sam the brush off, the man’s daughter comes out after Sam to say there’s no way he works for the phone company. She asked why Sam was asking about strange phone calls but when Sam presses her for information, she says she didn’t hear anything. Sam tells her if she did hear anything strange, he would tell her that he’s been there and he might be able to help.
She tells Sam she has been talking on the phone with her mom – who is dead. Sam asks how often she calls, and finds out that the calls started a week ago. Back on the road, Sam gets a call from Dean and it sounds like there are a lot of these phantom calls going around all over town.
As soon as they hang up, Dean gets a call – from his dad!
Back at the motel, Dean is telling Sam about it. He says he sounded like Dad, and he didn’t say much. He said Dean’s name but the call dropped. Sam asks why John would even call. Dean says other people are hearing from their loved ones, why can’t they?
Dean wants to know, what if it’s really their dad? What if he calls back? What does Dean say?
Later, Sam has done some research but found no reason why these calls should be happening. Dean says Sam is looking in the wrong places – and pulls out a motel pamphlet that mentions the town they’re in is the birthplace of Thomas Edison.
The boys visit a local museum housing Edison’s spirit phone. He was a devout occultist, and he was convinced he could build something to communicate with the dead. Sam and Dean hang back while the tour moves on and wonder if this spirit phone could have something to do with what’s going on.
Sam doesn’t seem convinced, but Dean says that as long as the mouldies are calling the freshies around here, it’s the best idea they have.
Later on, Dean is up sitting by his phone waiting to see if his dad calls back, while Sam sleeps. The phone rings and it’s John! Dean asks how he can be sure it’s really John, but John says he can’t. Then he gives Dean a hard time for selling his soul, and Dean says he was looking after Sammy, like John told him. John says he knows a way out of the deal – the demon holding the contract is here. Hmmm.
Then we see the girl Sam was speaking to earlier. She’s on IM and gets a message from her ‘mom’, who is pushing for an answer to some question she asked last night. ‘Mom’ tells her daughter she wants to see her. After a couple more messages, the computer turns off, and the girl can see her mom’s ghostly reflection in the computer screen. When she turns around though, there’s nothing there. As she moves away from the computer, even though it’s turned off, her mom is still sending messages, telling her daughter to come to her.
The next day, Dean tells Sam he thinks their dad was right and shows Sam indications of demonic omens, saying he thinks the demon holding his contract is in town, just like their dad said.
Sam is not convinced, asking why the demon holding Dean’s contract would be following them like Dean seems to think it is. It turns out part of John’s plan is to rattle off an exorcism that could kill the demon holding Dean’s contract, but Sam says he and Bobby who have looked into it and there’s no evidence that exorcism could kill a demon.
Sam is so not convinced by this plan, but Dean is mad that Sam is fighting him on it. Sam is off to visit the girl he spoke to earlier, with the dead mom, while Dean waits for another call from John about where they can find this demon.
Dean yells at Sam for still butting heads with Dad even after he’s dead, but Sam is mad that Dean is going on blind faith. He begs Dean not to go anywhere until he gets back.
Sam learns about the girl’s encounter with her mom on the computer, and finds out that her dead mother keeps insisting that the girl come to her.
In another room, a little boy is playing, when his toy phone rings. Creepy! He answers, and it’s static. It’s his mom, and the boy asks where she is.
Dean gets a call from his dad.
Sam learns that the girl’s mom was pushing her to kill herself – and that she wanted her to come to her. “Come to me” were the exact words. Sam tells her that it isn’t her mother. Uh oh!
Dean, meanwhile, has of course gone off wherever ‘John’ told him to, to prepare to meet this demon and exorcise it (allegedly).
Sam tells the girl not to answer the phone or use the computer until he tells her to.
Dean enters a house and prepares a devil’s trap.
And the little boy – the girl’s brother – is walking into traffic! At the last moment, Sam saves him from getting hit by a truck.
Sam calls Dean and tells him it isn’t their dad calling, it’s a crocata (“Is that some kind of sandwich?” Dean asks). It’s a scavenger, and lures people into the dark and swallows their soul. Dean reminds Sam of the flies at the phone company – these crocata live in filth.
Sam goes off to the phone company – alone! – and sees Stewie through the window at his desk. As Sam follows Stewie through the parking lot, he calls Dean, telling him to hurry over. Sam confronts Stewie, saying he knows what he is and he knows how to kill him.
But judging by Stewie’s reaction, he’s clearly innocent. Then Sam gets knocked out by Stewie’s boss! Who then whacks Stewie! So Stewie’s boss, Clark, is the crocata.
When Sam comes to, he and Stewie are tied up back inside. Sam tells Clark not to kill Stewie, who is begging for his life.
Clark taunts them, and he tells Sam that he’s starving, then kills Stewie. RIP Stewie.
Then Clark gets some weird vampire teeth and his mouth opens really wide, and he seems to inhale Stewie’s soul (spoiler-y side-note: we saw Amara basically eat people’s souls in season 11, and it looked a little different).
Sam realizes that his last calls with Dean were actually with Clark, who led Sam here. Clark says some calls he makes, some calls he takes, but he had Sam fooled for a while. Clark goes over to the switchboard and does some magic-y stuff, saying he’s killing Dean and maybe killing someone else – we’ll just see how it goes.
We see a man get a call from his child, which clearly has him shaken. The kid tells his dad that the man who killed him is at their house right now.
Back at the phone company, Sam says it was a hell of a trick to imitate John. Clark says once he made them as hunters, it was easy. He found their numbers, emails, voice mails, and said that even though people think that stuff gets erased, it doesn’t. People would be surprised at how much of themselves is just floating out there.
Clark says if Dean doesn’t kill the guy, the guy will kill him.
The man gets home, clearly thinking Dean is the guy his child was talking about. Dean waits inside and the man comes in shooting. Dean is ready to fight a demon – but this is just a guy.
The battle is on.
The crocata is talking to Sam about technology, and how it’s made his life easier. He used to have to hide in the woods for weeks, whispering to people to try and draw them out, but he would maybe get one or two souls a year. Now he just has to make a phone call. He prepares to kill Sam, but Sam manages to fight him off.
Back at the house, Sam gets the man in the devil’s trap. He starts to read the exorcism, which of course has no effect, and neither does the devil’s trap.
Dean realizes that this isn’t right, as the man attacks him.
After a struggle, Sam kills the crocata. Back at the house, Sam is telling the guy that Dean didn’t kill his kid. The man asks what he’s doing there, and Dean says he doesn’t know.
Back at the motel, Sam finds Dean cleaning up his wounds. Sam says he’s sorry that it wasn’t really their dad. Dean says Sam was right.
But Dean wanted to believe so badly that there was a way out of this deal. He’s scared, really scared, and Sam says he knows. Dean said he was willing to believe anything, but hope doesn’t get them anything. He can’t expect Dad, or anyone, to show up at the last minute with a miracle. Dean says the only one who can get him out of this is himself – Sam says him too.
Dean teases Sam, but then passes him a beer. Peace, for now.
This was a kind-of creepy episode, but it tied in nicely with the main storyline. Although it doesn’t move the story forward – once again, we see that there is not a way out of Dean’s deal – I like that it ended with them on the same side.