Supernatural: Criss Angel is a Douche Bag
July 24, 2021 5:12 AM - Season 4, Episode 12 - Subscribe

Sam and Dean investigate the activities of a trio of senior magicians whom they believe are executing real feats of magic.


Chief: You are really gonna get it tonight, big boy. [cracks whip]
Dean: There's been a misunderstanding. I think, uh, I've been had.
Chief: Oh, you ain't been had till you been had by The Chief. Oh, and before we get started, what's your safe word?

Sam: [referring to Jay, the magician he and Dean tied up behind them] We could always ask him. [turns to see the ropes and chair empty]
Dean: Guess we should have seen that one coming.


When Dean gives his name as a federal agent, he is Agent Ulrich. Lars Ulrich is the drummer for Metallica.

This episode pays homage to the great sleight-of-hand performers of the 20th century, Charlie Miller, Dai Vernon, and Ricky Jay.

Dean quotes The Who song "My Generation" when he says, "I hope I die before I get old".

Barry Bostwick's character, Jay, performs his trick, "The Table of Death", behind an illuminated curtain showing only his silhouette lying down. This is an allusion to his most famous role as Brad Majors in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, in which his character is seduced by Dr. Frankenfurther on a bed behind a curtain.

When Dean is questioning Vernon Haskell as "Agent Ulrich", Haskell sends him to a place on "Bleeker Street". This is a nod to Doctor Strange, Marvel Comics' Sorcerer Supreme; his "Sanctum Sanctorum" home and HQ are located on Bleeker Street.

John Rubinstein, who plays Charlie in this episode, is the father of Michael Weston who plays the younger version of Charlie in this episode.

Young Charlie tells his friends he's been around "long enough to shill for Barnum". He is referring to P.T. Barnum, an entertainer active in the mid-1800s. That makes Charlie at least 190 years old at the time of this episode.
posted by orange swan (17 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I was sure I'd seen Michael Weston in something before and it turned out that I remembered him as Jake, the guy who abducted David in Six Feet Under.

Sam's hope that he will escape a sad future as a hunter by killing Lillith seems a little naïve. He has to know that, as powerful as she is, she's not the only player on the board.
posted by orange swan at 5:16 AM on July 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Barry Bostwick is always a delightful performer to watch, and he did a good job here. He's also probably one of the few guest stars who can look Sam in the eye.

I didn't realize they did a father and son casting for Charlie, although it makes perfect sense.
posted by sardonyx at 8:37 AM on July 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Sam and Dean getting repeatedly chumped by elderly stage magicians amidst the intense psychodrama of Sioux Falls Magic Week is pretty good, pretty good, pretty good.

I'm not sure how this episode compares to the one before in terms of guest actor screentime, they both seem to have a lot, but this one basically made a story about side characters work and feel relevant to Sam and Dean, where 4x11 just feels like forty minutes of random people I can't see cross-screaming at each other. 

Sam almost wistfully wondering what their old age might be like, while Dean refuses to consider they could even have one, was sad at the time and is sadder now. 
posted by jameaterblues at 8:58 AM on July 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Sam: He slipped me.
Dean: He's 60.
Sam: He's a magician.

The 'Hotel Patricia' is one of the nicer seedy hotels right at the edge of the DTES. I remember having done a drug deal there once in the early 00s. The province recently bought the whole thing for 4.5x ($75.5MM) the assessed value for homeless housing.

The mascara magician's street scene was filmed in the (unofficial) Wedding District, in New West. NW was historically the major/ primary city before Vancouver and there are lots of legacy buildings that are fancy-/ romantic-/ looking. Rent used to be cheep, and wedding-related storefronts congregated in that neighbourhood.

Interesting scene about growing old.

Q: has there been any male guest cast that are noticeably more physically conventionally attractive than Ackles/ Padlecki? Or is that not allowed?
posted by porpoise at 10:29 AM on July 24, 2021 [3 favorites]

That's an interesting question. Normally, most of the male guest stars are cast in older roles (aged sales clerk, senior boss-type of guy, creep old ghost guy) or easy cannon fodder (husbands dying of curses or evil machinery) or young, sad-sack boyfriend types. They rarely come up against their equivalent types (young, physically capable, supposed to be good looking or charming). Even the evil demon types don't actually fit that role, so they aren't usually cast that way.
posted by sardonyx at 11:34 AM on July 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Q: has there been any male guest cast that are noticeably more physically conventionally attractive than Ackles/ Padlecki? Or is that not allowed?

Barry Bostwick is right there.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:13 PM on July 24, 2021 [3 favorites]

Barry Bostwick

Which is partially what prompted my question. He's a great looking mature gent with enviable hair, but not so much when he was younger.

I "enjoyed" the exchange when the bartender slipped "old guy" when referring to him while trying to (socially) defend him and looked chagrined afterwards.
posted by porpoise at 12:17 PM on July 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Q: has there been any male guest cast that are noticeably more physically conventionally attractive than Ackles/ Padlecki? Or is that not allowed?

Hmm, that is a thought. I would say Misha Collins is in the same league as Ackles and Padaecki when it comes to handsomeness, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan is quite attractive as well, but I can't think of any young male guest actors who have been especially attractive except the actor who played Adam. And I'm side eyeing this state of affairs given that so very many of the actresses cast for this show have been exceptionally attractive. Why not have some other hunters who are as attractive as Sam and Dean? Why not have hot male demons or angels, given that the female demons and angels were usually beautiful? Why do I suddenly suspect male actors were cast based on their ability while female actors had to be good-looking as well as capable?
posted by orange swan at 12:28 PM on July 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

given that so very many of the actresses cast for this show

The other half of the impetus for the question.

I guess Mark Sheppard (hasn't shown up yet as Crowley) counts, but by the time he shows up, he's well past his (exceptionally) pretty days. He really fell off a cliff.
posted by porpoise at 12:36 PM on July 24, 2021

Bostwick certainly had some good-looking days back in his youth. Not consistently, but enough to take notice of on occasion. But as I qualified in my statement, he's too mature to be compared directly to the boys.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan doesn't strike my eye in an way that really registers as attractive. The actor who plays young John is better looking (I think).

Misha Collins definitely has a pretty vibe going for me (nice eyes), but he's outside of the guest star category.

I think that the actor hired to play Adam is a good blend of Ackles (colouring) and Padlecki (wiry build) and as such is a good choice to play a third brother, but he didn't really catch my eye. (Mind you, part of that could be that he's just so young, and I've never really been attracted to people younger than myself, let alone so much younger).

This show definitely casts "hot" actresses for wives/girlfriends/victims roles in a way it doesn't cast their male counterparts.
posted by sardonyx at 12:48 PM on July 24, 2021

Ah, ok Jake Abel (Adam Milligan) certainly counts. Hasn't shown up yet. And yeah, makes sense as a half brother (although he's John's son, not Mary's).

Matt Cohen (young John Winchester) also. Forgot about him.
posted by porpoise at 2:01 PM on July 24, 2021

Ah, my bad. I shouldn't have let that detail about Adam slip.

I think I've been working on the assumption that I'm the only person here who is entirely new to the show, but I'm happy to be corrected if I'm wrong.
posted by sardonyx at 2:23 PM on July 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

This isn't a 'First Watch' thread (and is implicitly a re-watch) so zero problems.

(Not exactly a first-watch for me, but I stopped watching routinely around this point)
posted by porpoise at 2:31 PM on July 24, 2021

If memory serves, some of the Stynes in season ten were on par with our stars, looks-wise.
posted by Tabitha Someday at 2:50 PM on July 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

I'd say Gordon Walker (Sterling K. Brown) and Victor Henriksen (Charles Malik Whitfield) count too, surely!
posted by Pryde at 3:11 PM on July 24, 2021 [3 favorites]

There may be people joining us, or going through the series later on, who haven't seen the show before, and since this isn't officially a rewatch, I think our policy should be that it's okay to discuss the series as a whole in a general way, but that we should avoid spoilers, i.e., I mentioned Adam's name, but didn't specify who he was.
posted by orange swan at 5:27 PM on July 24, 2021

Okay, changing topics for a bit: we've seen Dean's pretty pearl(?) handled, chrome- (or nickel-) plated guns lots of times before. Now, however, we see Sam using an identical weapon. Is this the first time he has used that kind of gun?

Again, I can easily see Dean going for a weapon like that: fancy as well as functional. It fits right in with his tendency to wear jewellery. I have a harder time seeing Sam with that kind of piece. Is there any sense they were a gift? Or that there is some other reason for them having a matched set?
posted by sardonyx at 6:41 PM on July 24, 2021

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