Supernatural: Paper Moon
October 29, 2014 7:51 AM - Season 10, Episode 4 - Subscribe

Dean's and Sam's down time is cut short by reports of violent and fatal animal attacks happening in the area. A short investigation later, and it appears that a werewolf is on the prowl for human hearts and the evidence provided indicates that the werewolf may well be someone from the Winchester brothers' past. In the midst of the hunt, the brothers attempt to come to terms with the recent events of Dean's demonhood and Sam's relentless efforts to find him.

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posted by Atreides (9 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
No weak messaging in this episode! The setup, two siblings, one who is "good" and the other who is "bad." The good sister believes her bad sister can be redeemed from the behavior that her condition causes her to enact. The bad sister scoffs at good sister and revels in the condition. Sound familiar?

I think we just need to petition for the Winchesters to have a Hawaii vacation, which, obviously will result in a monster hunt, but at least in that "down time" event we will get a story not set in British Columbia and the tropical location will allow for more humor. Otherwise, downtime and the Winchesters, just doesn't jive unless one brother thinks another is dead.

I really don't have a lot of time to dig into the episode as much as I would like, but I seriously thought there were inklings of Demon Dean rising to the surface in the car ride when he began to critically question Sam's behavior regarding the crossroads demon and Lester and "the others." It was kind of uncharacteristic of Dean to do so because the Winchesters have proven time after time they will do anything to recover the other (so long as they know the other is recoverable). Why question and make Sam squirm now? It could have been Dean's own defense mechanism kicking in, out of shame for his behavior as a demon.

Sam came across as very Sam in this episode, "It's your chance to talk about how you feel..." which is the exact opposite of Dean, who would rather repress it and move on. Embarrassed was a strikingly weak word for Dean to use when describing how he felt as a demon. Not ashamed, not guilt ridden, but embarrassing! Did he view his demonic time as nothing more than drinking, sleeping around, and singing bad karaoke? He let himself go to excess?

In the car ride with Katie, Dean also muttered something to the affect with regard to Katie's sister, "When you go that deep into the darkness, there's no coming back..." It obviously made Sam uncomfortable and it's curious how much we the viewers are supposed to take from it, given the parallel between the Winchesters and the Werewolf sisters. Katie's sister didn't have a cure to save her, was Dean really saved from being a demon? The lie to Katie by Dean of a cure, as well, also came across as pretty cold, but not entirely out of character for when he feels like being a complete but pragmatic ass.

The future of the Winchesters was teased with the sisters. When Katie flashed the silver dagger at the diner, it immediately became the Chehkov Gun of the episode, and it was going to end up in one sister's heart if not the other before the end. Katie ultimately had to accept that her sister was not redeemable and that killing her was the only answer. This was exactly what Castiel was telling Sam when he was in the process of trying to undemonize Dean, if he can't save Dean, then killing him is the only thing left for you to do. I wonder if this dilemma will reoccur any more this season? Right now, there's no obvious "silver dagger' in Sam's possession, but maybe need to keep on the alert for it to appear as the season progresses. If that Blade of Cain makes a reappearance, watch out!

Otherwise, this was a straight up monster hunt story, which we've been hoping for. No other storylines, be it the discontent in Hell with Crowley or the remaining chaos in Heaven with Castiel.

Also, tired cliche alarm: Sam has asked Dean to tell him if he's having any trouble not being a demon. Expect Dean not to tell Sam he is having trouble not being a demon. ARGH.
posted by Atreides at 1:49 PM on October 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

Not ashamed, not guilt ridden, but embarrassing! Did he view his demonic time as nothing more than drinking, sleeping around, and singing bad karaoke? He let himself go to excess?

Well, that whole Crowley extended pajama party thing was pretty embarrassing. And although we saw DeanMon beat the snot out of a few people and kill a few fellow demons (plus one human crossroads customer), he once spent the equivalent of decades torturing souls in Hell, so the fact that he actually spent most of his demon-time getting drunk and singing karaoke seems relatively mild. On the other hand, we know that Sam isn't being completely honest about what occurred over the several weeks between Dean's (most recent) death and Sam finally tracking down Dean & Crowley. Convincing Lester to trade his soul, and then doing a less than half-assed to of trying to stop the deal at the last minute, wasn't the only thing Sam did that was pretty beyond the pale, is what is being hinted at, and Dean seems to know it.

It's quite possible that whatever Sam got up to while Dean was out being demony was worse than whatever evil Demon Dean was doing, between being mean to roadhouse waitresses & flipping through Busty Asian Beauties at the Gas-'n'-Sip.

Although the bit of dialogue about Dean's "Sammy let me go" note—there was something weird about that.

We have the 200th episode coming up, which is looking to be another meta-show, and therefore the larger arc will probably be largely kept on the back burner a little longer. Fine by me, although Sam's arm is still driving me up the wall.
posted by obloquy at 3:11 PM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Wow, this was a terrible episode. They took a cool, well loved little gem of an episode and brought it back with none of the ennui of the original. Then tried to kill as much film time with inconsequential dialog and the extended Leonard flashback. We didn't know or care enough about the sister to have that long of a scene.

I probably sound like Debbie Downer, but I have loved me some Supernatural, even bad supernatural. Even season 7, which was universally reviled at least had some okay production values and each episode was fun. Season 8 was like this, cardboard sets and rushed scenes. 9 was a return to form, and considering the generally positive ratings, I had high hopes for season 10.

I'm not sure there was much foreshadowing... I really think they were just killing time with dialog written by the summer interns.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 9:58 PM on October 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

I will agree there was a bit too much Leonard screen time. We don't need a flashback to something that happened two episodes ago.

I had mixed feelings about the original episode which introduced Katie, as it may be the episode with the least amount of screen time for any of the principal characters, which isn't a bad thing necessarily. There has been a strong effort since last season or two, at least, to call back to previous events in the lives of the Winchesters, perhaps best when Crowley started killing off people the brothers had previously saved (that was just WRONG). I was honestly surprised that Katie survived this episode as the writers have a horrible habit of when they do reintroduce a character, of killing them off in that episode, or generally, killing off all but the very core characters (well, they kill them off too, but resurrect them). The show definitely deserves a death count tracker of ancillary characters.

I think the limited time that was provided about the sister kind of reinforces the message of the episode, which was to provoke a comparison to the Winchesters. She existed, perhaps unfairly, as a plot device, hence the less than long amount of time to help deepen her character or make her more sympathetic. The scene when Katie discovers her sister has gone bad in the hotel room was one of the best shot scenes, horror wise, in the show in years, with her sister, pale and blood covered, standing/hunched over the body of a nameless man in the darkness - and then only a momentary shot. Loved it.

Ultimately, yeah, as the season progresses we will learn whether it's just filler or was intended to start a theme or continue the theme from the earlier episodes.

We have the 200th episode coming up, which is looking to be another meta-show, and therefore the larger arc will probably be largely kept on the back burner a little longer. Fine by me, although Sam's arm is still driving me up the wall.

Ugh, so long as they don't pull a Stargate SG-1 on us. "Hurray, 200th episode!" "And by the way, the show is now canceled!" Boo.

I appreciated that Dean poked fun at Sam's arm at the start of the episode. It's definitely sticking out like a sore....arm?
posted by Atreides at 7:21 AM on October 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

I find it amazing that Sam, with one side of his body completely immobilized, is still getting into fights, being thrown around, and managing to stab people left-handed without any issues.

You're damn right I like it when the show riffs on that.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:39 PM on November 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Dean: "And you sprain your friggen' elbow?"
Sam: "Dude, it was more than a sprain, all right? And it was a fricken' demon..."

I like that small nod to Osric Chau.
posted by porpoise at 8:57 PM on November 24, 2021


Barker: Damn. Girl after my own heart.
Tasha: That's the idea, sweetie. [slashes his throat]

Tasha: [to the other werewolves regarding Sam and Dean] Take them. Have some fun. Oh, and I want a heart to go. Put it in a doggie bag.
Brandon: On your knees!
Dean: Well, I'm awfully flatter -- [gets punched]

Kate: I tried to be strong, but the hunger was too much. Too hard. It's not like anyone gave me a handbook on how to be a werewolf.
Dean: Looks like you're doing a pretty good job so far. Break some hearts, then you eat 'em.

Tommy: If someone were to tell you they saw a ghost, you'd... believe that?
Dean: Just assume we believe everything.

Officer: [Sam and Dean are posing as Animal Control] Hell, seen raccoons in rec rooms and bears in swimming pools. But this? You tell me.
Dean: Yeah.
Officer: ...
Dean: Oh. Well, uh... Where do we start? What with, uh... logging.
Sam: Ice caps.
Dean: Bitcoin.
Officer: ...
Dean: ... Obama.

Sam: We got a problem.
Dean: What, besides werewolf Barbie over here?

Dean: You've been kicked, bit, scratched, stabbed, possessed, killed... and you sprain your friggin' elbow?
Sam: Dude, it was more than a sprain. All right? And it was a friggin' demon, but --
Dean: But what? That sling come with a slice of crybaby pie on the side? Please.

Sam: I watched you die, and I carried you... I carried your corpse into your room, and I put your dead body onto your bed and then you just...
Dean: Yeah. Yeah. I know. I guess I was hoping that note would, you know, fill in the blanks.
Sam: "Don't look for me"? That note? Yeah, that was really informative. Thanks.

Sam: I'm sure there were a few hunters I rubbed -- or I... punched the wrong way...

Dean: This flea bag, looks like she ain't done chowing down on Sons of Anarchy just yet.
Sam: Guess she likes bad boys.
Dean: Well, wait'll she gets a load of us.


In the beginning, Sam and Dean are sitting near water relaxing and drinking beer. When the camera zooms out, there's a sign that says "No Hunting".

The scene where Sam and Dean are sitting and drinking beer, this is the setting where Jared Padalecki's ALS bucket challenge was filmed. Other members of the cast got into the ice bucket challenge action in this video.

This episode takes its title from the 1973 Ryan O'Neal/Tatum O'Neal movie Paper Moon. The phrase "paper moon" implying something not real comes from the 1933 song popularized by Nat "King" Cole, "It's Only a Paper Moon". In the song a paper moon, a cardboard sea, a canvas sky, a Barnum and Bailey world "wouldn't be make believe if you believed in me". A subtext of "paper moon" is that it might become true with enough faith.

Tasha refers to Sam as "Paul Bunyan". Paul Bunyan is a giant lumberjack in American folklore.

This is Kate's second appearance on Supernatural. Kate also appeared in "Bitten" (ep. 8.4). It was then she was changed into a werewolf.

Opening scene is at the "Panhead" biker bar. From 1948 to 1965 Harley-Davidson motorcycles used two cylinder engines that were topped with rocker covers that looked like upside down sauce pans; these were called "panhead engines" and were respected (almost revered) by hard core Harley riders.

Only werewolves up to the 4th generation (whether by being bitten or born into it) are supposed to be able to control when they turn. Since at the time Kate was turned all the monster alphas were dead (barring the alpha vampire), that would mean Kate has to be a 4th generation werewolf since she can control when she changes and the previous two werewolves in the pedigree line were shown (her friend who turned her and the professor who turned him), meaning when she turned her sister, her sister would be at least a 5th generation werewolf and unable to change at will like she was shown to when Sam and Dean confronted her.
posted by orange swan at 7:23 AM on November 28, 2021

Poor Kate. Sam and Dean really need to find a cure for werewolves. There's one for vampires (if they haven't drunk human blood), and there's one for demons,

It amused me that Tasha's name for Dean is "Dreamboat", while Sam is "Paul Bunyan". Once again, Dean is the handsome one while Sam is just... tall.
posted by orange swan at 7:26 AM on November 28, 2021

Sam and Dean sitting by a lake on an overcast day in the dorkiest sunglasses imaginable has impeccable vibes of them knowing what vacations look like in movies and kind of just going with that, I guess in the name of getting in some “we time” with the person they already live and work with and routinely spend twenty hours in a car with. I have a ton of affection for how relentlessly weird they choose to be.
posted by jameaterblues at 7:08 PM on November 30, 2021 [1 favorite]

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