Supernatural: Malleus Maleficarum
July 5, 2021 4:16 AM - Season 3, Episode 9 - Subscribe

Sam and Dean investigate a suburban coven of witches, who had been using their craft to get things like vacations, promotions for their husbands, and sales for their craft businesses, after one of them kills a woman.


Dean: You saved my life.
Ruby: Don't mention it.
Dean: What was that stuff? God, it was ass. Tasted like ass.
Ruby: It's called witchcraft, short bus.
Dean: ...You're the short bus... short bus.

Dean: You wanna kill me? Get in line, bitch.

Dean: I hate witches! They're always spewing their bodily fluids everywhere...
Sam: Pretty much.
Dean: It's creepy, you know; it's downright unsanitary!

Sam: We have to start looking at the big picture, Dean. Start thinking in strategies, in moves ahead. It's not so simple, we're not just hunting anymore. We're at war.
Dean: Are you feeling okay?
Sam: Why are you always asking me that?
Dean: Because you're takin' advice from a demon, for starters. And by the way you seem less and less worried about offing people. You know, it used to eat you up inside.
Sam: Yeah, and what has that gotten me?
Dean: Nothing, but it's just what you're supposed to do, okay? We're supposed to drive in the friggin' car, and friggin' argue about this stuff. You know, you go on about the sanctity of life and all that crap...
Sam: Wait, so you're mad because I'm starting to agree with you?
Dean: No! I'm not mad, I'm -- I'm worried. Sam, I'm worried 'cause you're not actin' like yourself.
Sam: You're right, I'm not. I don't have a choice.
Dean: What is that supposed to mean?
Sam: Look... Dean, you're leaving, right? And I gotta stay here in this crap hole of a world. Alone. So the way I see it, if I'm gonna make it, if I'm gonna fight this war when you're gone... then I gotta change.
Dean: Change into what?
Sam: Into you. I've gotta be more like you.

Ruby: That's what happens when you go to hell, Dean. That's what hell is. Forgetting what you were.

Sam: I'm Detective Bachman; this is Detective Turner.


"Malleus Maleficarum" means Hammer of the Wicked in Latin (commonly, however, incorrectly translated as 'Hammer of the Witches'). It is the title for a fifteenth century treatise on witches. It was used to argue the nature and reality of witchcraft and was used in the persecution and execution of women accused of witchcraft across Europe in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

When reporting Amanda's dead body Dean says the address is 309 Mayfair Circle. This is probably a reference to Anne Rice's "Lives of the Mayfair Witches" trilogy.
posted by orange swan (4 comments total)
Ruby's "I'm not like other demons" has "I'm not like other moms; I'm a cool mom" energy. But then I doubt Dean buys it. It is an interesting revelation that she was a witch back in her human days.

Witches are my favourite horror archetype, but like Dean, I'm not a fan of the whole bodily products/parts usage.
posted by orange swan at 4:17 AM on July 5, 2021

For YEARS this was my most hated episode of this show and the low point I measured the badness of other episodes against, to the point that I'm not sure I ever rewatched it before last week (man, I really have to pick up the pace.) There are definitely things about it I still viscerally hate or just find unpleasant, and I see why I reacted to it the way I did back then, but I don't hate 100% of it and that's weird to realize. (Maybe because I've had twelve more seasons of wildly variable quality to compare it to.)

I wonder if a lot of their scripts, or at least Ben Edlund's scripts, went this heavy on the bitches/skanks/whores business and got toned down but that couldn't happen because of the writer's strike, or if the whole show was just Like This at this point, but yikes, just yikes. Sam takes a swing at oh, yeah, men are witches too, and we see some eventually, but when Dean complains about gross witches spewing their unsanitary bodily fluids he for sure does not mean snot.

For someone who grew up believing Dean was the coolest person in the world and lowkey still kind of thinks that, there's a lot going on to Sam saying he needs to become more like Dean to survive what he's got coming, and what it says about how he sees them both, and their place in this world that is still more Dean's than his, destiny or no destiny. (Dean has after all proved pretty comprehensively how well it goes when he tries to survive without his brother.)

The scene with Ruby and Dean at the end is interesting, and for more than establishing that most demons started out as humans. He all but accepts her jerking Sam around on one of the hardest things either of them have ever been through because he doesn't have a solution for what happens to Sam after he's gone either (and, being Dean, feels like he needs to come up with one), to say nothing of what's going to happen to himself. You can almost see Dean bargaining in his head, well, even if that happens I'm sure I'm going to be like Ruby, and not like all the others. (ah Ruby's great.)
posted by jameaterblues at 2:08 PM on July 5, 2021 [1 favorite]

Ruby's "stop calling me bitch" line as she's pouring the cure down Dean's throat is a powerful line and it's one that was long in coming.
posted by sardonyx at 4:49 PM on July 5, 2021 [2 favorites]

Ruby's "stop calling me bitch" line as she's pouring the cure down Dean's throat is a powerful line and it's one that was long in coming.

posted by jameaterblues at 7:05 PM on July 5, 2021 [1 favorite]

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