(As I mentioned in my post announcing this rewatch project, there will be spoilers!)
Season 2, Episode 11: Playthings
Image episode summary from Wikipedia:
The brothers investigate mysterious deaths at the Pierpont Inn in Cornwall, Connecticut. It is owned and run by Susan Thompson (Annie Wersching), a single mother who plans to sell it. Living there with her are her mother, Rose (Brenda McDonald), and her daughter, Tyler (Matreya Fedor), who has an imaginary friend named Maggie (Conchita Campbell). When another murder occurs while Sam and Dean are there, Sam feels guilty and, after getting drunk, makes Dean promise to kill him if he ends up turning evil. Later, the brothers discover that Rose has been practicing hoodoo, and suspect that she is behind the deaths. However, she recently suffered from a stroke, and would be unable to do so. Susan is soon attacked by a vengeful spirit, but is saved by Sam and Dean. They then discover that Maggie is the ghost of Rose's sister, Margaret, who drowned as a child in the inn's pool. Maggie had been kept at bay by Rose's practice of hoodoo, but has returned since Rose's stroke. Maggie does not want the family to move away, so she tries to drown Tyler so that she can have a friend forever. To save Tyler, Rose gives her own life, taking Tyler's place as Maggie's eternal playmate.
This is more of a MOTW episode, after last week’s episode with Dean’s big reveal to Sam about what John Winchester told him, Gordon trying to kill Sam, and finding Ava (and then wondering what happened to her at the end).
This is a ghost episode! My fave of the MOTW-type episodes!
Obviously Maggie is a ghost!
Ew creepy dolls. When I was little, I remember that I had one of those porcelain clown style dolls and I absolutely loved it! I tried to sleep with it in my bed like a stuffed animal.
Oh that’s a bit of a gruesome death. Foreshadowed with the dollhouse – love that!
So Ava’s still missing – Sam even asked Ellen if she knew/heard anything, but apparently Ava has just vanished. But Ellen gives Sam a tip about a case – freak accidents at a hotel (the one from the beginning of the episode). Dean doesn’t think they should take this job/ Dean thought after Ava, there would be more angst and droopy music, lol. But Sam’s the one who told Ava to go back home. Now her fiance’s dead and she’s been taken by a demon. They’ve looked for a month but haven’t found anything. Sam isn’t giving up but he won’t let other people die either – he’s going to save as many people as he can.
Dean loves this job – haunted house, fog, secret passage ways…haha. And apparently he has a thing for Daphne from Scooby Doo!
Sam doesn’t know about this place being haunted. He points out a weird pattern on a planter. It’s a quincox – five spotter. Apparently it’s hoodoo spell work, particularly if filled with bloodweed, which it is not.
The mother who runs the place tells Sam and Dean that they might be the final guests. Dean says it sounds vaguely ominous. She says they’re closing the hotel at the end of the month. She (Susan) says to Sam and Dean, “Let me guess, you guys are here antiquing?”
Dean: “How’d you guess?”
Susan: “You just look like the type.” Haha “So King sized bed?”
Sam says no, two singles – they’re brothers. Haha
Dean: “What’d you mean that we looked the type?” AWKWARD.
Sam asks about the urn/planter out front that they were looking at earlier, but she says it’s been there forever.
The bellman tells them the hotel used to be a big deal. Two different vice presidents have stayed there. But now the owner is shutting down. They tried to make a go of it but it didn’t work out.
Dean laughs at the décor – “That’s normal”. Sam is going over the details of the two deaths. Both victims seem to have been connected with shutting the place down.
Dean: “Of course, the most troubling question is why do these people assume we’re gay?”
Sam: “Well you are kind of butch but I think you’re overcompensating.”
You can always count on Supernatural to handle sexuality and gender in a respectful, mature way.
The boys go exploring. There are lots of old antiques around the hotel. Sam finds more signs of hoodoo. Dean knocks on the door of a room marked Private and Susan is in there. There are tons of antique dolls and tells Susan that Sam has a major doll collection back home, can they come in to take a look? Sam’s always dressing them up, haha, it would make Sam’s day to get to check out the collection. She lets them in.
Susan knows the dolls are kind of creepy but they have lots of sentimental value. They’ve been in the family for a long time. The dollhouse we saw earlier is the hotel – a custom built exact replica. Sam sees the doll with the twisted neck, from the beginning of the episode. Her daughter Tyler comes in to see Maggie is being mean; Susan tells Tyler to tell Maggie that she said to be nice.
Sam asks her about the doll – Tyler says she found it that way; Maggie didn’t do it either. Grandma would get mad if they broke it. It turns out Grandma Rose lives upstairs in her room. Sam wants to talk to her about her doll collection but Susan says no. Rose has been very sick, and is not taking any visitors.
That’s certainly suspicious!
Susan is signing some paperwork later and learns that the hotel’s buyers are planning on demolishing it. What do you bet he’ll be the next victim?
Tyler is up playing with the dolls. Meanwhile in the dollhouse, the doll staying in the same room as the man buying and demolishing the hotel is sitting on the bed and his door is opened all creepy-like. We see the events in the dollhouse also taking place in the man’s room. Very cool! The doll is hanging from the ceiling fan, as is the man. The maid found his body. Susan tells Dean he worked for the company that bought the place.
Susan understands if they want to check out, in light of recent event. She’ll give them a full refund. Dean says no. He doesn’t scare that easily.
Dean goes back to their room and tells Sam what’s happened. Sam is drunk! He’s drunk and mean. And sad. That guy who hung himself – Sam’s upset that he couldn’t save him. He feels that he should have found a way. He says he should have saved Ava too. The more people he saves, the more he can change his destiny. Dean tells him time for bed, Sasquatch. Sam tells Dean to watch out for him – and if he ever turns into something that he’s not, Dean has to kill him. Dad told him too, so he has to. Dean says Dad’s an ass, telling Sam that you don’t lay that kind of crap on your kids. But Sam says who knows what he might become? Dean tries to put him to bed but Sam asks Dean to promise that he’ll take him out if it comes to it. Dean promises, but I’m sure he doesn’t mean it. Poor drunk sad Sam.
Dean goes downstairs to check out the hotel a bit more. Finds the bar with the bellboy (old guy, Sully?) behind the bar. This all feels very The Shining.
Sully pours Dean a drink, and they talk about the deaths. Sully knows a lot about the place. Dean says he’d love to hear some stories, so Sully takes him around and shows him old pictures/photos, including one of Susan as a child. This was the only home she’s ever known. It used to be Grandma Rose’s family estate; now she’ll be in a senior’s home when they tear this down. Dean asks what’s wrong with Rose but Sully won’t say. There are also some old baby pictures of Rose, with a woman wearing a symbol that looks like the hoodoo one Dean and Sam found around the building. Sully says that was Rose’s nanny, who looked after Rose more than her own mother did.
The next morning Sam has a bad hangover. Dean laughs at him, saying he probably doesn’t remember a thing from last night. Dean tells Sam about Grandma Rose and her Creole nanny with the hoodoo necklace. They think she taught some to Rose and Sam says it’s time they talked to Rose.
The boys go back to Susan’s room from earlier, the one marked Private, but there’s no answer. Sam picks the lock and they go in and head upstairs to Grandma Rose’s room. She’s in a wheelchair with her back to Sam and Dean. When they go to her and try to talk to her, she is non-responsive but her eyes are open. Sam says she’s had a stroke. Dean says hoodoo is hands on: mixing, chanting. So they say it can’t be Rose, although Dean suggests she could be faking.
Sam: “What do you want to do, poke her with a stick? Dude, you’re not going to poke her with a stick!”
Susan comes in and is understandably upset to see the boys up there. She tells them to get out or she’s calling the cops.
The boys drive away in the car, and we see Tyler and Maggie playing Jacks. Susan calls up to Tyler and tells her she has to start packing, but apparently Maggie says they’re not allowed. Susan tells her Maggie is imaginary and Tyler is too old for an imaginary friend. Maggie says to Tyler, “I don’t like her”. GHOST!
Next we see Susan loading up the car, and the old guy (I actually don’t remember his name, it isn’t Sully) drives off in his truck. Tyler is playing with the dollhouse and we see the swing set start to move. Outside, the wind picks up and the real swing set starts swinging too. Then the see-saw starts moving too, which is creepy. While Susan is watching this, an unmanned car turns on and seems ready to come at her. Tyler is watching everything happening at the dollhouse as it’s happening to Susan outside. Susan is scared; the car revs and starts to chase her but precious Sam pulls her out of the way in time. Dean shows up and they take her inside.
Dean starts to tell Susan that they thought there was a hoodoo curse at first but now they realize that it is definitely a spirit. Sam asks about Rose: when was her stroke? About a month ago, Susan says, before the killings again. Sam thinks Rose was using the hoodoo to ward off the spirit but then she had a stroke and couldn’t. Susan is kind of in disbelief but Sam tells her that they’re all in danger – Susan and her daughters. Susan says she only has one daughter – but what about her sister Maggie? Susan tells them Maggie is an imaginary friend.
The boys go to find Tyler. We see Maggie telling Rose that Tyler will stay here with her and there’s nothing Rose can do about it. Tyler shows up and tells Maggie to leave Grandma alone. They go to play.
The boys and Susan can’t find Maggie; Sam asks her what she can tell them about Maggie. Apparently Tyler has been talking about Maggie since around the time Rose got sick. Susan never knew anyone by that name but her mother, Rose, had a sister named Margaret who drowned in the pool as a child.
We see Maggie and Tyler hanging out by the pool. Tyler says she’s scared and doesn’t like it up there, but Maggie tells her to jump in (the pool cover is on). Tyler says she can’t swim but Maggie says if she does it, they can be together forever and no one will bother them. Maggie says she can’t leave the hotel, and Tyler can’t leave her. She doesn’t want to be alone.
The boys and Susan run to the pool, and see Tyler standing on the edge above it. They can’t break the door down. Then they see Tyler pushed in! They go to find another entrance (Sam stays at the first door, trying to get in). He uses a planter to break the glass on the door.
Maggie is holding Tyler’s head underwater, saying it will all be over soon. Dean can’t kick in the other door. Maggie hears someone calling to her just as Sam breaks the glass and enters, jumping into the pool to rescue Tyler.
There is a lot of slow motion in these last few episodes.
Dean and Susan finally enter and see Sam carrying an unconscious Tyler from the pool. Good job Sammy! Tyler is fine. Sam asks if she sees Maggie but Tyler says no, she’s gone.
Then we see Maggie standing in front of Grandma Rose, asking her, “You’ll do that for me?” Maggie says yes, if she did, Maggie would let them go. They don’t understand. Rose kept her away for so long Maggie thought she didn’t love her. Maggie touches Rose’s face.
Susan heads upstairs with Tyler to Rose’s room.
Sam and Dean wonder if Maggie just stopped. Where did she go? Then they hear Susan scream, and run upstairs. Rose is dead in her chair.
Susan tells the boys later as Rose’s body is being taken away that apparently she died from a stroke. Susan concedes it’s possible Maggie had something to do with it, and the brothers say they’re sorry. Susan says don’t apologize – they’ve given her everything (Tyler). Tyler says she’s sure Maggie isn’t around anymore. She’d see her.
The boys watch as Susan and Tyler leave. Dean says whatever must be going on is over. Dean teases Sam, saying Susan liked him. He saved the mom and the girl, so good day. They get back to the car and Dean says “It feels good getting back in the saddle, doesn’t it?”
Sam says yeah, but it doesn’t change what they talked about last night. SO. He DOES remember begging Dean to kill him if he turns into something not himself. Dean tells Sam he was wasted but Sam says Dean wasn’t and he promised. They get in the car and drive off.
As they leave, we enter the hotel again and see that picture of Rose with her nanny. The camera moves down a hallway and we see two little girls playing jump rope – Maggie and young Rose. And there’s one last shot of the creepy dolls, including one that looks just like Maggie. So perhaps if they had burned/destroyed that doll somehow it would have destroyed Maggie’s spirit?
This was a good MOTW episode – I love ghost episodes – featuring a very important and sad conversation between Sam and Dean, where drunk Sam begs Dean to kill him if it comes down to it and he turns into a monster or something.
I don’t love that they didn’t really resolve this – Maggie’s spirit is still there, and even worse, now so is Rose’s – but they can’t solve every case/save everyone, I know. But this does raise questions for me: how come Rose is an old woman but when she died her spirit was a child again? And I thought spirits are usually borne out of violent deaths; I suppose since we didn’t actually see Rose die this could hold up. But is Maggie a powerful enough spirit to somehow be able to make Rose’s ghost look like she did as a child, rather than when she died? Or is that more to do with the location, i.e. the hotel where the girls lived and were Maggie died and Rose grew up?
Still a fun episode, despite my confusion!