(As I mentioned in my post announcing this rewatch project, there will be spoilers!)
Season 4, Episode 4: Metamorphosis
This is another episode that I don’t remember too well.
It opens with a demon in a devil’s trap, with Sam and Ruby interrogating him for Lilith’s location. The demon won’t tell Sam what he wants to know, and sasses Sam about his relationship with Ruby. Sam gets mad and uses his abilities to exorcise the demon, while Ruby looks on and smiles.
We see Dean peering in through the window – he saw the whole thing!
Back inside, Sam checks the vessel’s pulse and tells Ruby he doesn’t have anymore headaches.
While Sam is helping the vessel out, Dean walks in to confront Sam. Dean is understandably mad. And then when Ruby tells Dean who she is – Dean is even more pissed. He attacks her and tries to stab her with the demon-killing knife. Sam tells them to stop it.
Sam has Ruby take the vessel to the ER, and Sam stays behind with Dean. But before Sam can explain, Dean walks away.
Later, in the motel, Sam is reading when Dean comes inside. Dean starts to pack his stuff, and when Sam asks what he’s doing, Dean says Sam doesn’t need him – he and Ruby can go fight demons.
Sam tries to stop him and DEAN PUNCHES HIM! Then he does it again! Dean is super pissed, asking Sam how far from normal, from human, Sam is. Sam says they’re exorcising demons, but Dean says he’s doing it with hIS MIND.
He asks Sam what else he can do. Sam can send them back to hell. He can’t do anything else – but Dean doesn’t seem like he believes Sam.
Sam tells Dean to see the other side – he’s pulling demons out of innocent people. When Dean yells at him to use the knife, Sam makes the valid point that the knife kills the victim. What he does doesn’t (most of the time).
“I’ve saved more people in the last five months than we saved in a year.” Hmm ok I see what you’re saying but I’m not sure this will land with Dean the way you want it to.
Dean asks if that’s what Ruby wants him to think. He says that the way she tricked Sam into using his powers is a slippery slope. That is also a good point, because Ruby is a demon and has lied to the boys before. Is Sam trusting her more than he should?
Sam swears he won’t let it go too far. Dean is mad again and breaks things, saying it’s already gone too far. Then the kicker from Dean:
“If I didn’t know you, I would want to hunt you. ” WELLLLLLLLLLLLL I don’t think that’s helpful to say. And I don’t think that’s totally accurate: when the boys tracked down Azazel’s other ‘special’ children, they weren’t planning to hunt and kill them. I totally get that Dean is pissed at Sam, and I am also mad at Sam for keeping this secret (and working with Ruby), but at this point, I feel like Dean’s anger is just going to push Sam away and make him more committed to what he’s doing. Clearly Sam believes he’s helping people and that, while his partner is a demon, what he is doing is good and important.
Sam says Dean was gone and he was still here; he had to keep on fighting without Dean. What he’s doing works.
Dean wants to know why Sam lied about it, if it’s so good. Why would an angel tell Dean to stop Sam?
Ah yes, that’s news to Sam. Dean tells Sam that Cas (IS THIS THE FIRST TIME HE CALLS HIM CAS????) told him that he if doesn’t stop Dean, Cas and the angels will.
Dean says that means that God doesn’t want Sam doing this.
Wow that’s a good scene! I don’t totally agree with either brother but the anger and the resentment and the hurt that they are both feeling shows on their faces.
Sam’s phone rings. It’s someone named Travis, and it sounds like he has a lead on a job.
We see a house in Carthage, Missouri, where a man is kind of ravenously eating. His wife looks on while he practically inhales all of the food. He says he’s hungry.
Later that night while he’s brushing his teeth, something starts happening. He is in a lot of pain and making a lot of crunchy sounds in his bones. Ick. It seems to pass though.
The boys are driving, with Sam saying he can’t believe Mom was a hunter. So Dean is filling Sam in on his little excursion to the past. Dean says he wouldn’t believe it if he hadn’t seen it himself.
Sam asks if she was happy. Dean says she was funny and smart, and hopeful – their Dad too. Until, you know…the whole demon thing.
At this, Sam says it turns out their whole family – parents and grandparents – were murdered, and all for what? So the yellow-eyed demon could get into Sam’s nursery and bleed in his mouth? That definitely sounds weird.
Dean says that he never said anything about demon blood – Sam knows about that? Sam says yes, for about a year. Now Dean is mad that this is another thing Sam has kept from him.
Oh boy. Too much anger and tension!
Later, the same man from before is hungry but dinner isn’t ready yet. He opens the fridge, and we see Sam and Dean are staking out the place. They watch him drink a beer, with Dean saying the guy is boring.
Back inside, he opens the fridge again, and takes out some leftover food, which he eats with his bare hands. Gross. Then he moves on to raw ground beef. This is definitely gross! But he devours it.
He hears his wife calling and it jolts him out of his food trance.
Sam and Dean are still watching him. Sam says that qualifies as weird!
Sam and Dean get back to the motel, where the friend who called Sam with the job (Travis) is waiting inside their room.
They greet him and it turns out they haven’t seen each other in about ten years. Travis says it’s been too long – they’re grown men now, and John would be proud of them for sticking together like this.
Dean says there’s nothing more important than family. Point made.
Travis thanks them for helping out with this job and the boys tell them what he saw. Travis says this is a rugaru (rotted teeth, nasty skin, they start out human; they go through a metamorphosis. They are hungry – at first for everything, then human flesh. Eventually they can’t fight the hunger anymore and they transform – completely and fast. One bite is all it takes, and they’re a monster forever).
While Travis explains what a rugaru is to Sam and Dean, we see the man back in his house looking in the fridge while his wife makes dinner. She cuts her finger and he watches while she rinses the blood of her hand in the kitchen sink. She tells him that she thinks she needs stitches, but he says he’s gotta get out of there and runs off.
Dean asks Travis how he found this guy, if he’s a human. Travis says it runs in the man’s family. He killed his father back in 1978 and the man’s mother put him up for adoption. Travis didn’t like the idea of hunting down a kid, so he waited to make sure he had the right man.
The man – Jack – is at a beer, drinking beer and inhaling all the peanuts. He doesn’t look so good.
Jack sees a man bothering a woman down the bar and tells him to back off. He tells him to leave the girl alone, calling him a douche bag and a fat, sweaty dick. The man goes to punch him and Jack grabs his first, crushing it! The man screams in pain and Jack runs away.
Back at the motel, Travis tells Dean that fire is, as far as he knows, the only way to kill a rugaru. Sam comes in and sees Sam and Dean making some blowtorches. Sam says he was looking into the lore on rugarus, to be prepared (Travis is a little insulted that everything he knows about the creatures isn’t enough for Sam).
Sam says that everything Travis told them check out, but he found a couple of stories about people who have the rugaru gene and start to turn, but never take the final step. If they don’t take the final step, they don’t transform.
Or as Dean puts it: go vegan, stay human.
Travis says those are fairy tales, and every rugaru he ever saw or heard of took that bite. Sam says it doesn’t mean that Jack will. Sam says they should talk to him and explain what’s happening so that he can fight it.
Travis is, to put it mildly, skeptical. He tells Sam he’s sorry and he’s sure Jack is a decent guy, but this is instinct.
Sam says they won’t kill Jack unless he does something to get killed for. Then he walks out. Travis looks at Dean and asks him what’s up with his brother.
Back at Jack’s, his wife is making a tea and when she turns around, he’s right there. He’s coming off a little creepy.
His wife is pissed: she had to drive herself to the hospital. He says he’s sorry; he saw her blood and got dizzy and had to get out. And his phone died so she couldn’t reach him…but he says he’s sorry.
She mentions that blood has never bothered him before. Hmm.
They kiss and then he starts to get aggressive, with his wife yelling at him to stop and then pushing him off. Again, he’s sorry, and when she asks what’s wrong with him he says he doesn’t know.
Sam and Dean are in the car, with Dean saying they’ll go chat with Jack, but Dean wants to know that when push comes to shove, Sam can take this guy out.
Dean starts talking about how this guy will turn, but Sam says maybe he won’t, maybe he’ll fight it off. HMMMM could this relate to anything in the boys’ lives??
Dean wants to know if Sam’s emotions are getting in the way: this is a nice dude but he’s got something evil inside, something in his blood, and maybe Sam can relate. Sam tells Dean to stop the car. Dean pulls over and Sam gets out. Dean gets out too.
Sam says this is why he lies to Dean: the way Dean talks to him and looks at him, like he’s a freak. Or worse, like he’s an idiot, like he doesn’t know the difference between right and wrong.
Dean asks if he does know the difference between right and wrong.
Sam says Dean has no idea what he’s going through. He’s got demon blood in him. He can’t ever rip it out or scrub it clean. He’s trying to take this curse and make something good out of it, because he has to.
I totally get Sam’s point. He can’t change having demon blood but maybe he can do some good. BUT I also think that he just can’t trust a demon. That Ruby is trouble. And I understand Dean being upset at being kept in the dark over all of this, especially since Dean just came back from hell where he was tortured by demons. AND Dean has a new angel friend telling him to stop Sam. So there is a lot of anger and confusion to go around.
Dean says let’s go talk to the guy, to Jack.
The boys find Jack in the yard watering the lawn or the garden or whatever. He looks pretty listless.
Sam introduces himself and Dean and says they need to talk. Jack asks what about, and Sam says about him and how he’s changing.
Dean says he’s probably feeling his bones move under his skin, and his appetite is reaching Hungry Hungry Hippo level. Sam says they’re people who can help and asks Jack to hear them out.
They explain to him about rugarus. Jack concedes that he’s noticed some strange things, but he’s sick. Sam tells Jack his real father was a rugaru and passed it on to him.
Jack tries to tell them they sound crazy but Dean says let’s skip it.
“You’re hungry, Jack. You’re only going to get hungrier.” Sam tells Jack that he can fight it off – others have.
Dean says Jack has to say no to the hunger – the craving for human flesh – or else.
Sam tells him that if he feeds once, it’s all over. And then they’ll have to stop him.
Jack asks about his dad – did someone stop him? Sam says yes.
Jack tells them to get of his property or he’ll call the cops. Sam says his wife and everyone he knows are in danger, but he tells them to go.
“Good talk,” Dean tells Sam as they walk away.
That night we see that Jack is out and his wife has left a voice mail asking him to come home so they can talk, saying she doesn’t know where he is.
He sees a woman in a window and he seems to be getting hungry. As he approaches her building, Sam and Dean, who’ve been watching him, grab their blowtorches and get out of the car. They enter the apartment building. Jack is outside the woman’s fire escape watching her through the window. He seems ready to break in but catches a glimpse of himself refelected in the window. He says no and leaves.
Meanwhile, Sam and Dean bust into the woman’s apartment and she screams. They say they’re here to save her but she says she’s calling police.
“We should go,” Sam says. Yikes.
Jack enters his house. He calls for his wife Michelle. She doesn’t answer. He moves through the house and sees her tied to a chair. Someone grabs Jack from behind.
When he comes to, he is tied up. Travis walks in. Jack tells his wife to stay calm and they’ll give Travis whatever he wants.
Travis removes Michelle’s gag. He tells Jack that he already met his friends and Jack says that he hasn’t hurt anybody.
“Not yet,” Travis says, “but you would have. They always do.”
Michelle wants to know what Travis is talking about. Travis tells Jack that Michelle deserves to know the truth. Jack says to let her go, she’s not a part of this, but Travis says she is.
It turns out that Michelle is pregnant.
Travis tells Jack that he can’t make the same mistake all over again. He won’t be around later and this has to end now.
Jack says to kill him but not Michelle. Travis pours gasoline on the floor and says he’s got no choice.
Jack fights to get free and he breaks free from the cuffs. He attacks Travis while Michelle watches in horror.
Oh dear. Jack takes a bite out of Travis. Gross.
Travis dies and Jack keeps on eating. He turns back to look at Michelle, who is understandably afraid.
He unties her and she runs out of the house, telling him to stay away from her. She gets in her car and drives off.
Back inside, Jack again approaches Travis’s body. Looks like he’s still hungry.
Sam and Dean pull up outside. They enter the house and see the pool of blood where Travis’s body used to be. They follow the mess and find what’s left of Travis.
Sam tells Dean he was right about Jack. Then Jack attacks!
Sam wakes up in a closet. The door is locked. He calls for Dean. Travis answers, saying Dean is alive, but not if Sam doesn’t calm down. Sam tells Jack to open the door and they can figure this out.
Jack says no – he tells him how Travis tried to burn his wife alive. Sam asks why, but Jack says Travis didn’t say. Sam grabs a hanger from the closet and keeps talking to Jack, saying he and Dean never would have hurt Jack’s wife.
Dean is still unconscious. Jack says he’s hungry and Sam begs him not to do this, while he tries to pick the lock on the door.
Jack says he can’t ever see his family again. He says Sam and Dean and Travis made him into this.
Sam says he doesn’t have to be a monster. It doesn’t matter what you are, it only matters what you do, and it’s Jack’s choice.
Jack seems like he’s going to choose to be a monster.
Then Dean starts to wake up and Sam gets out of the closet. Sam calls to Jack, who runs at Sam. Sam uses the blowtorch on Jack, who dies while Dean watches.
Later in the car, Dean tells Sam he did the right thing. The guy was a monster and there was no going back. He tells Sam he’s sorry he’s been hard on him lately.
“It’s just that your psychic thing scares the crap out of me.”
Sam says he would rather not talk about it. Dean tries to make a joke, but Sam says he can’t keep explaining himself. He can’t make Dean understand. This blood isn’t in Dean the way it’s in Sam. It’s just something Sam has to deal with.
“Not alone,” Dean says.
Sam says it doesn’t matter. Using his powers is playing with fire. He says he’s done with them.
Dean says that’s a relief and thanks him.
Sam says he’s not doing it for Dean or the angels or anybody. This is his choice.
I didn’t love this episode. The MOTW is okay, but I totally see how it ties into the bigger story of Sam’s powers.
There were lots of good scenes between Sam and Dean, but I think I’ve been so used to the brothers being more honest with each other in the more recent seasons that I forgot how much of this season they spend lying to each other and disagreeing and arguing.
I don’t have much else to say about this one, but the argument between Sam and Dean over Sam’s powers will continue throughout the season.
(Also – since Jack’s pregnant wife escaped – does this mean there’s another rugaru out there in the world?)