(As I mentioned in my post announcing this rewatch project, there will be spoilers!)
Season Two, Episode Six: No Exit
Image episode summary from Wikipedia:
When Ellen will not allow Jo to investigate mysterious disappearances of blonde women in an apartment building, Sam and Dean take the case and head to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. However, Jo secretly follows them and offers to help. They find ectoplasm in the latest victim's apartment and realize that a ghost is behind the kidnappings. Jo's extensive research shows that America's first serial killer, H. H. Holmes (Stephen Aberle), had been executed and buried on the location where the apartment building was later built. Another woman soon vanishes, so the three rush to find a way to save her. Jo is captured by the spirit. The brothers find the ghost's lair in the sewer system under the building and free Jo and the other woman. They then trap the spirit within a ring of salt—a deterrent of ghosts—and seal the chamber's entrance with concrete as they can't destroy the spirit. After Jo is reunited with her mother, an angry Ellen reveals that Jo's father died while on a hunt with John Winchester.
Yay a Jo episode!!
And a ghost episode! I still love the ghost episodes the most, more than monster episodes.
Ectoplasm! Bumps! Flickering lights! Creepy for sure. Personally, I would GTFO.
Dean wants to go to LA – haha. Katie Holmes/cult/Scientology reference.
Oh no Jo and Ellen are fighting! Jo wants to be a hunter. She wants to look into the disappearance of the girl from the beginning of the episode. It seems that blonde girls are going missing from that same building, every decade or so.
Ellen says she’s lost enough. She doesn’t want to lose Jo too. Sam and Dean end up taking the case.
They go to the girl’s apartment to investigate. Dean says he can’t see Jo out working the case, when Sam says that he feels bad for taking the case from Jo. Personally, I’d love to see more female hunters. I think Jo (and some other characters who show up later) is quite capable, but so far hunting is dude work.
Sam and Dean see the ectoplasm – rare! Seems it takes a very bad spirit to make ectoplasm.
Uh oh Jo’s out there on the case too! She’s pretending to be Dean’s girlfriend – adorable.
Back at the motel, we learn that Jo lied to Ellen about where she is. Dean tells Jo that she shouldn’t be there. And of course Ellen chooses that moment to call Dean, who lies and says he hasn’t seen Jo. This will probably come back to bite him!
Sam, Dean, and Jo investigate the building’s history and learn that it was built in 1924. Before then, it was an empty field. Sam thinks that someone died in a bad way in the building, and is back as a bad spirit. But Jo – smartie! – checked already and there were zero violent deaths in the last 82 years (other than a janitor who slipped on a wet floor).
Dean still doesn’t think Jo knows what she’s doing as a hunter. Sigh.
Sam thinks it’s possible a cursed object is involved, but they have to check the whole building. Jo wants to split up to make the search go faster but Dean says no way. So he and Jo go search together.
Jo wants to use herself as bait to draw the spirit out, because she’s its type – young, blonde. Dean won’t ‘allow’ it.
I LOVE JO CALLING DEAN OUT ON HIS CHAUVINISTIC CRAP.
But Dean says it isn’t gender studies – women can do the job. AMATEURS can’t. BURN!!! He tells Jo she has no experience doing this. And then he tells her that she has options. No on in their right mind chooses this life, and Dean’s dad started him in it when he was so young. Dean never really had a choice – he was pushed into this life by John Winchester.
EEK a hand is reaching out from the grate! Dean smells something but can’t put his finger on what it is.
They figure out that the spirit is inside the vent, and Dean takes the grate off to look inside. He reaches in and pulls out a clump of hair – Gross! “Somebody’s keeping souvenirs”.
We cut to another blonde tenant in her apartment. We see again the ectoplasm, flickering lights, ceiling cracks. The phone doesn’t work. The door won’t open. And a hand comes through the grate and grabs her!
Then we see Dean waking up to the sound of sirens. He and Jo are in the apartment building, not at the motel.
Dean gives Jo a big knife and tells her it will work better than the one she has. But Jo tells her that her knife was her father’s – William Anthony Harvelle. She keeps it and gives Dean back his knife.
They start talking about their fathers. Dean says he remembers being six or seven years old when John took him shooting for the first time. Jo remembers her dad coming home from a hunt, hugging her. She wants to do the job for her father. It’s her way of being close to him. She challenges Dean to tell her what’s wrong with that, but he can’t: “Nothing”. I would say that is a possible reason, perhaps subconscious, behind Dean being a hunter too. I think he and Jo understand each other a little better after this chat.
Sam comes in and tells them that another girl has disappeared. They get the details and learn about the similarities with the disappearance they’re already investigating. But the building’s history is clean, so what the what?
Jo thinks they’re looking in the wrong place. And you know what? She’s right! It turns out that the apartment was built next door to a prison. They speak with Ash on the phone and he tells them that there was a prison built in 1835 and torn down in 1963. They used to execute people by hanging them in the empty field next door – field that became the site of this very apartment building!
Sam needs a list of everyone who was executed, and Ash is on it. He gives them 157 names but they need to narrow it down.
Then Sam recognizes a name – Herman Webster Mudgett, which was the real name of H.H. Holmes, a serial killer executed in May 1896. Apparently they coined the term multi-murderer for Homes, America’s first serial killer before anyone knew what a serial killer was. He confessed to 27 murders but the death toll was likely higher. He liked pretty, petite blondes and used chloroform to kill them – and Dean realizes that that’s what he smelled in the hallway the night before. The cops found human remains at Holmes’ place.
Jo asks can’t they just salt and burn his bones? But Sam says it’s not that easy. The body was buried in town, encased in concrete. Apparently Holmes didn’t want anyone to mutilate his corpse.
But Sam says they’ve got a bigger problem. Holmes built an apartment building in Chicago – the “murder castle” – and the place was a death factory: trap doors, acid vats, quicklime pits, secret chambers inside the walls. He’d lock victims in, keep them alive for days, and they’ve suffocate or starve. Sam thinks the missing girl could still be alive, inside the walls.
Sam goes on one floor to check the walls, and Dean and Jo go to another.
They get in the walls but it gets too narrow for Dean. Jo goes in alone and goes down an air duct. Dean goes around to meet her. Aah there’s so much ectoplasm, Jo! She’s on her cell talking to Dean and he hears her scream. Dean breaks into the wall but Jo’s gone. He sees her phone, dropped on the ground.
Dean tells Sam that Holmes has Jo. Sam says they’ll find her, but Dean says they’ve been looking and haven’t found anything.
And then of course Dean gets a call from Ellen. Ash told her everything and she knows Jo’s there with them. Dean has to tell her the spirit they’re hunting took Jo. Ellen is flying there now.
Sam says they haven’t considered the basement, but Dean tells him this building doesn’t have one. BUT. Sam says there’s part of an old, unused sewer system below. Off they go!
Meanwhile, Jo wakes up, trapped in what seems like a coffin. She sees scratches on the lid above her – others who were trapped and tried to get out. Jo peeks out the side and calls out. There’s another girl there – Teresa – the one they were looking for! Jo: “This won’t make you feel better, but I’m here to rescue you”. Haha.
Jo reassures Teresa that they’re getting out. Her friends (Sam and Dean!) will get them out.
Uh oh, Holmes is coming. He sticks his arm in where Teresa’s trapped and grabs her hair!
Sam and Dean make their way to the abandoned sewer entrance. In they go!
Jo’s trying to get out still, but no luck. She peeks out the side and Holmes is right there, talking to her like a real creep. He reaches in and grabs her head, neck, arm. Ick. She stabs his hand with an iron knife and he ghosts away.
Sam and Dean are crawling along. Help is on the way, Jo!
Teresa asks Jo if Holmes is gone, but nope! He attacks Jo and chloroforms her. Sam Dean shoot him with rock salt rounds. It’s rescue time!
The bros find remains of other victims, and rescue Jo and Teresa. Dean wants to use Jo as bait now and get rid of Holmes for good.
Jo sits, waiting. Holmes’ ghost starts to creep up on her – but before he touches her, they trap him in a salt ring. He’s pissed! They trap him down there – in his own trap!
Jo: “That Teresa girl’s gonna live a life because of us. It’s worth it, isn’t it?”
Sam: “Yeah it is”.
Jo then asks what happens if someone finds that place, or a storm washes the salt away (definitely a question in my own mind as I watched this for the first time). Then Dean shows up with a cement truck and they fill it in.
Dean: “That’ll keep him down there until Hell freezes over”.
Cut to the bros driving in the Impala with Jo (and Ellen riding shotgun). TENSION! And then “Cold as Ice” plays. So awkward! I love it! It’s a long, silent drive.
Back at the roadhouse, Dean says Jo did good and her dad would be proud. Then Dean and Sam wait outside.
Ellen’s very angry with Jo. She tells her that the boys used Jo as bait – “Like father, like sons”. It turns out that John Winchester is at the root of all of this, no surprise. He got Jo’s father killed.
Jo comes back out, angry as well. She tells Dean tat her dad’s partner on his last hunt was John Winchester. John screwed up and got her dad killed. After, he couldn’t look Ellen in the eye. THAT’S why John never told the boys about Ellen and Jo and never returned to the roadhouse. Jo tells them to live. INTENSE.
I really like Jo and Ellen, so I love that this episode featured both of them and gave Jo a chance to do some hunting. I also love that it revealed the connection between Ellen and Jo, and the Winchesters.
That would be really fun. There are so many great characters!