Supernatural: The Scorpion and the Frog
December 6, 2017 2:09 PM - Season 13, Episode 8 - Subscribe

The Winchesters agree to steal a trunk belonging to a demon in exchange for a spell they can use to find Jack.

I liked this one a lot. Dean's one-liners were fantastic, all the way through.

"If it isn't the famous Winchesters..."
"If it isn't some random demon"

I chuckled so many times in this one.

Plotwise, the "heist" was fun. The new demon was fine, but Luther was a great character. Great episode that mostly stands on its own, but still has relevance and implications for the larger arc, which is what Supernatural did best in the early days.
posted by terilou (11 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
They keep introducing characters who seem interesting enough that you figure they're gonna stick around for a while... only for those characters to promptly die. Both Shrike and the crossroads demon had some oomph and I was kind of of amazed they didn't last the episode. On the one hand it's sad to see interesting characters go so soon, but on the other hand it speaks well of the show that even the one-offs are intriguing enough that you'd like to see more of them. Even "Grab" didn't seem like your standard issue demon. If he'd stuck around maybe he would have revealed himself to be as evil as any of them, but from what we saw he just seemed like more of a shifty wiseass. I can see "Smash" coming back, or not. The bros could use some allies, these days.

I was truly baffled by the scene where Sam drank Shrike's booze. OK, so you're trying to run a big scam on this sinister guy you've been warned is super paranoid, he offers you a "friendly" drink... and you guzzle it down?! I was sure Sam was going to immediately keel over and Dean would have to rescue him. The drink was apparently fine, but Shrike just ended up incapacitating Sam later anyhow... and why didn't he kill Sam then? I sure didn't get the impression Shrike was squeamish about that sort of thing. By letting Sam live, he doomed himself. (But these are just quibbles, really. It was a fun episode with a couple of bumps in the road.)

I thought they'd be using the alt universe as an excuse for lots of dead characters to come back, but so far it's been pretty light. We haven't seen Bobby nearly as much as I expected!
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:31 PM on December 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

I can see "Smash" coming back, or not. The bros could use some allies, these days.

Maybe it's just because she fits the demographic and the CW's casting style but I sorta figured she was gonna wind up being another "Wayward sister" for the spin-off. Which would be fine with me, she's definitely got more potential to mine.
posted by mstokes650 at 2:45 PM on December 6, 2017

Didn't even think she might be a potential spinoff character! Would she be the right age, though? I gather the spinoff will be about teens and she seemed more twentysomething to me. That aside I can see her as the quirky brains of the outfit.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:18 PM on December 6, 2017

Yeah, even if she isn't a regular I could definitely see a role for her being kind of the Bobby of the new show.
posted by mstokes650 at 4:51 PM on December 6, 2017

I was all "Oh, I like Alice! She's so awesome with her flowery boots, so she's probably going to die by the end of the episode." I was happy she made it and I liked that she got to be the one to free herself from Shrike (which I knew was his name because we watch with closed captions, but damn if it didn't sound like they were saying Shrek).
posted by Ruki at 4:55 PM on December 6, 2017

I feel so dumb, because I'm pretty sure they WERE calling him Shrek as a joke but somehow I wasn't making the connection to Shrike and I just kept looking at the guy and trying to figure out what was Shrek-like about him.

I doubt Shrike will come back, but I suppose he could. Even if he was off his property, it's not hard to come up with reasons why a magic-using immortal might survive having his head cut off.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:27 PM on December 6, 2017

I was glad Smash survived. But I'm not holding out hope for her to pop back up again.

Gee, I wonder if that half of the spell will somehow be used in a haphazard way that will endanger the world.
posted by numaner at 3:38 PM on December 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

I can't say I liked the episode as well as the poster did. Mostly I thought it was pretty dumb, what with the "oops we set the spell on fire" bit.

What did I like? The aforementioned "random demon" quote, the ribbing about watching "Entrapment," followed by them just merrily sending the immortal guy down the hallway to take all the darts. That part was great.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:22 PM on December 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

Still catching up on the DVR. Loved Smash, Shrike, and random demon - I'll be happy to see Smash again. The burnt spell was just a mcguffin to move the plot and I don't care about it. The show has some of its mojo back. Now if we could just see Crowley...
posted by Ber at 11:06 AM on December 14, 2017


Dean: [to Smash/Alice] Hey, Winona. The 90's called. They'd like their shoes back.

Dean: Well, see, here's the thing. When a demon tells us to jump, we don't ask how high. We just ice their ass.
Barthamus: How very "Dean" of you.

Dean: My brother, where is he?
Luther Shrike: Alive, far as I left him. Thought he was a demon. Guess Bart's got some humans doing his dirty work now.
Dean: Mm. [cocks gun] Well, looks like gun beats knife, so how about you hand over the safe, and then we'll all be back in time to watch Game of Thrones.
Luther Shrike: I'm more of a book guy.

Dean: [operating as a human dowsing rod] I hate this. I hate this! I hate you!
Grab: No one cares.

Smash: Vault's gotta be down there.
Grab: Oh, I'm not going down there. I've already done my bit. [to Dean] This is on you, hand puppet.
Dean: I will kill you.
Grab: I bet you say that to all the girls.

Dean: And I'm supposed to use my blood how?
Smash/Alice: I think you're supposed to put your paw in there. [indicates a relief of a hog’s mouth in the centre of the door]
Dean: What, are you kidding me? I mean, there could be anything in there. Anything, right? There could be spiders. There could be the spiny blade thing… Snakes. Spiders. You don't even know, do you? Correct. I… how about this? What if I cut myself, put it on, like, a little piece of paper? We'll just wad it up and throw it in the mouth, okay?
Smash & Grab: ...
Dean: Okay. Yeah. Going in. Do it.

Dean: So what you're saying is that King Solomon created a spell so that he could stalk his girlfriend?


When Dean is talking to Luther, he makes reference to being home in time to watch an episode of Game of Thrones. Richard Brake, who plays Luther Shrike in this episode, played the Night King in Game of Thrones.

When Smash cracks opens a canned drink called Nerve Damage, Dean comments that he lived on the stuff as a kid. Nerve Damage appears to be a fictional product, and may be a stand-in for Jolt Cola, an actual soft drink that hit shelves around 1985. The tag line for Jolt Cola was, "All the sugar and twice the caffeine for those who are tired of wimpy sodas."

The episode title is a reference to an animal fable where a scorpion asks a frog to carry it across a river. The frog hesitates, afraid of being stung, but the scorpion argues that if it did so, they would both drown. Considering this, the frog agrees, but midway across the river the scorpion does indeed sting the frog, dooming them both. When the frog asks the scorpion why, the scorpion replies that it was in its nature to do so.

One of the paintings the demon can be seen passing by in the museum is "St. Jerome and the Angel of the Judgment", an oil painted by Spanish Valencian Tenebrist painter and printmaker Jusepe de Ribera in 1620-1626.

In the Cambridge Museum, a poster can be seen advertising an exhibition called "Reflections of the Pacific" by Monique Mees. Mees is a visual artist, and one of the painters on the show.

The Union Jack Flag hanging above the door to the Cambridge Museum at the beginning of the episode is back to front.

The building used for the front of the Cambridge Museum is The Permanent, an event space in Vancouver. The interior set was previously used as an abandoned bank inhabited by a vampire nest in "Live Free or Twihard" (ep. 6.5) and a bank in "Hunteri Heroici" (ep. 8.8).

As Sam and Dean walk to their meeting with Barthamus at the Smile Diner, they pass Bangtown Hair Saloon and several other recognizable storefronts. This scene takes place on the 400 block of West Pender Street in Vancouver, and all businesses and signage shown (including the diner) are the actual stores on that street.

The back alley behind the museum scene was shot in the alley running parallel to Homer St. and Richards St. between Pender St. and Dunsmuir St. in Vancouver, Canada. It is a few blocks away from the building that was used for the front and interior shots of the museum. The church steeple in the scene belongs to the Holy Rosary Cathedral.
posted by orange swan at 10:22 AM on February 11, 2022

I liked the zany heist plot of this one. Dean's fear over sticking his hand in an aperture where there could be spiders or snakes was very funny. He's usually fearless, but things you can't see are always scarier than those you can.

Alice/Smash is a cool character. Alas, we don't see her again in the series.

Shrike just ended up incapacitating Sam later anyhow... and why didn't he kill Sam then? I sure didn't get the impression Shrike was squeamish about that sort of thing.

Luther Shrike didn't kill Sam because he wasn't a bad person. Remember, we only have Barthamus's word for it that he was. Luther pulled a demon blade on Sam because he thought he was a demon, and then when he learned he wasn't, he only knocked him out, and he did that because he knew Sam was part of a team that intended to steal from him. As for his backstory, he had only sold his soul to save his son's life, and he was keeping Barthamus's bones to safeguard himself from having his soul collected. When Luther told the Winchesters, "You're on the wrong side here," he was telling the truth. And he gets not only robbed, but used as a dart board, then decapitated.
posted by orange swan at 10:39 AM on February 11, 2022

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