Supernatural: Mystery Spot
July 7, 2021 6:25 AM - Season 3, Episode 11 - Subscribe

Sam gets trapped in an endlessly repeating time loop in which he relives the same day continuously and on each day, no matter what he does, Dean dies.


Dean: [after Sam caught the falling hot sauce bottle] Nice reflexes.
Sam: I knew it was going happen, Dean. I know everything that's going to happen.
Dean: You don't know everything...
Sam: Yeah. I do.
Dean & Sam: [in unison] Yeah right... Nice guess.
Sam: It wasn't a guess.
Dean & Sam: [in unison] Right, you're a mind reader. Cut it out, Sam.... Sam! You think you're being funny but you're being really, really childish.... Sam Winchester wears make-up... Sam Winchester cries his way through sex... Sam Winchester keeps a ruler by the bed and every morning when he wakes up he.... OKAY ENOUGH!

Dean: [after Sam tells Dean he saw him get hit by a car] And?
Sam: And what?
Dean: Did it look cool, like in the movies?
Sam: You peed yourself.
Dean: Of course, I peed myself. Man gets hit by a car, you think he had full control of his bladder? Come on!

Sam: Man, I had a weird dream.
Dean: Yeah? Clowns or midgets?

Dean: Do these tacos taste funny to you?
[Cut to Sam waking up again]

Trickster: [to Sam] Let me tell you, whoever said Dean was the dysfunctional one, has never seen you with a sharp object in your hands.

Trickster: [to Sam] This obsession to save Dean? The way you two keep sacrificing yourselves for each other? Nothing good comes out of it. Just blood and pain. Dean's your weakness. The bad guys know it, too. It's gonna be the death of you, Sam. Sometimes, you just gotta let people go.

Sam: [to Ed Coleman] Don't lie to me. I know what you are. We've killed one of your kind before.
Trickster: [Ed Coleman morphs into the Trickster] Actually, bucko, you didn't.

Trickster: Sam, there's a lesson here that I've been trying to drill into that freakish Cro-Magnon skull of yours.


On medieval market days the gullible might buy a pig in a poke, a baby pig in a cloth sack, without checking that the content really was a valuable piglet, and then find out too late that what they really got was a worthless cat. A "pig in a poke" is a con job or a worthless object presented as a thing of value. The expression "letting the cat out of the bag", used in the sense of revealing a secret, is derived from the same scam.

Jared Padalecki regards this episode as one of his least favorites, since he had to cry all week and it was emotionally taxing.

This episode draws inspiration from The X-Files episode "Monday", in which Agent Mulder dies repeatedly and wakes up to relive the day anew. "Monday" was co-written by John Shiban, who served as co-producer for "Mystery Spot". While the events of "Monday" happen on a Monday, the events of "Mystery Spot" take place on a Tuesday. Additionally, both "Monday" and "Mystery Spot" were directed by Kim Manners.

Mystery spots, also called gravity hills, are common throughout the world. Though this episode is based in Broward City, Florida, no actual mystery spot is located there. However, there is one, called Spook Hill, located just a few hours northeast in Lake Wales.

According to Jared Padalecki, this episode was written to serve as a season finale if the writer's strike forced the production to a halt. If that happened, Dean was really supposed to be dead in the end and the Trickster would not bring him back. As the strike was settled, the episode continued to be just a regular episode. Because of the strike, though, season 3 has only 16 episodes, instead of the usual 22.

The song that is playing on the clock radio when Sam wakes up and realizes that it is finally Wednesday is the same song that is playing on the clock radio when Marty McFly wakes up and realizes that he is back from 1955 in Back to the Future. The song is "Back in Time" by Huey Lewis and The News.

Towards end of the episode Sam takes a sawed-off pump action shotgun from trunk of the Impala. This is the same shotgun that the brothers found in their father's storage unit in the episode "Bad Day at Black Rock", and was the first sawed off Dean made himself, at 12.

Technically Dean is the only character that dies in this episode, but he dies 111 times. Some of Dean's 111 deaths are but not limited to: Dean is shot by the Mystery Spot owner, hit by a car, squished by falling furniture, chokes on sausage, falls in the shower, eats bad tacos, electrocuted when plugging in his electric razor, hit by an axe when trying to wrestle it away from Sam, hit by arrow shot by Doris the diner waitress (mentioned but not seen), attacked by a dog, and shot by a mugger.
posted by orange swan (5 comments total)
I think I've loved every Groundhog Day premise movie/tv show I've ever seen: the original movie, The X-Files episode "Monday", Happy Death Day, and Happy Death Day 2U. This was a worthy addition to the genre.

I remember this episode being funnier on first watch than I found it this time. The in unison conversation and Dean's blithe unconsciousness towards his own doom were funny, but poor Sam -- between Dean dying 111 times and him living six months without him, his time loop experience lasted somewhere between nine and ten months. I'm glad they don't show him just shrugging off the trauma and grief at the end, because he would not have.

I'm not sure all of Dean's deaths should count towards his series mortality score, but if it does, that's 111 times he's died, and two times he should have died, while Sam has died once.
posted by orange swan at 6:46 AM on July 7, 2021 [2 favorites]

I think it's this episode (I'd have to go back to watch it to be sure), but the way Sam wakes up is just weird--like a vampire rising out of his coffin. He goes from being completely horizontal to sitting up in one fell swoop and fully alert, kind of like a sit-up.

I know I've said it in various FanFare discussions but time-loop shows can really annoy me--I've never been able to get through Groundhog Day--but every once in a while they really, really work for me. This is one of those that I can not only tolerate but also enjoy. I think it's the mix of the background humour (the movers come right out of a Looney Tunes cartoon), the fact that the characters realize they're in a time loop fairly quickly, and more importantly, that this isn't just a throwaway episode where everything goes back to normal after the loop (think ST:TNG). This has real emotional consequences for Sam and for the future the boys are facing. Plus, the eventually revealed antagonist is always a bright spot.
posted by sardonyx at 7:06 AM on July 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

Back in the day when I was watching this show, I sometimes really hated Dean so thinking about this episode really amuses me.
posted by See you tomorrow, saguaro at 2:17 PM on July 7, 2021

A recent decent time-loop (action) movie was Boss Level (2021).

A shooting location I can positively identify is after the boys leave breakfast and walk down the street right before the movers - the wood-paneled storefront was 'Transylvania Bread' on W. Broadway close to Alma which was super creepy. Dour faced Eastern European owners in semi-ethnic dress, lots of inventory sitting out on the shelves but only one variety, and absolutely no customers. It was there for years and rent in that area already wasn't cheap and they didn't own the property.

The bread was decent enough. Fresh.

Many of the rest of the outdoor scenes looks like Steveston.

Dean wears decent boots. Vibram soles.

Looks like the boys also upgraded their car-trunk hunter's kit (with Bella's $20k? or was that only in alternate post Dean's death timeline where Sam goes full obsessive?).

A gallon of fresh blood - that's going to coagulate pretty quickly and turn into a chunky mess. I wonder if the rituals call for adding heparin sulfate or trisodium citrate?
posted by porpoise at 3:55 PM on July 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

I wish this episode had gotten a couple more rewrites, but I'm a sucker for the Groundhog Day trope and I have a big soft spot for this one.

For me one of the biggest things going for it is the tonal shift of going from watching Groundhog Day to watching Taxi Driver (the military bed-making and recreating John's trunk are bad enough, Sam at a table with two meals is just, aw, bud. I never noticed he was using Dean's first sawed-off.) Part of why that works is that even though this is mostly a comedy episode for the audience, at no point is it ever at all funny for Sam, it really is the worst thing that ever happened to him every time until it gets MUCH WORSE. Getting hit by a car is a bad way to go but at least it was fast and afterwards you can be indignantly proud of your soiled pants; dying of food poisoning in a motel room sounds horrible and watching helplessly as someone else dies of food poisoning almost sounds worse.

There's a long long list of competition, but IMO this is lowkey up there with the most messed-up and pointlessly cruel things anyone ever does to Dean or, especially, Sam, even though their experiences of it were totally different (was the time loop real enough that Dean woke up in Hell 111 times?) Also whatever the Trickster thought he was accomplishing or why he was doing it, letting Sam think he was wrong and really had killed Bobby is just a hat on the hat of dick moves. I don't want to get into spoilers, but gosh I wonder if the Trickster's actual original plan was to leave Dean dead and where he thought that would get them, and if he really changed his mind just because Sam gave him sad puppy dog eyes.

A "pig in a poke" is a con job or a worthless object presented as a thing of value.
Everything about this is fascinating to me, hand to god I always just assumed it was a folksy name for a hot dog or something.
posted by jameaterblues at 7:34 PM on July 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

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