Supernatural: Sex and Violence
July 26, 2021 3:57 AM - Season 4, Episode 14 - Subscribe

The Winchesters' investigation into a series of deaths takes a deadly turn when a siren turns them against one another.


Sam: You seem pretty cheery.
Dean: Strippers Sammy, strippers. We are on an actual case involving strippers. Finally.

Sam: She was a stripper?
Dean: Dude, her name was Jasmine.

Sam: Dude, you gotta stay with him.
Dean: What?
Sam: Keep him outta the way.
Dean: Why me?
Sam: 'Cause I gotta get the blood samples.
Dean: What the hell am I supposed to do with him?
Sam: Just take him to the strip club... keep an eye out for the siren. Come on, Dean, just... just focus on the naked girls. You'll forget he's even there!
Dean: I'm not doing this for you; I'm doing it for the girls.


Sam's and Dean's FBI aliases are "Stiles" and "Murdock". Stiles and Murdock were the main characters of the 1960's TV show Route 66.

The "dusty Greek poem" Bobby reads, which is by Simonides, is about virtue and has nothing to do with sirens.

The stripper bar is named "The Honey Wagon". A honey trap is a con where the mark is lured in with the promise of sex, so honey and sirens might seem to go together. But a honey wagon was the 1800s equivalent to a septic truck. Before municipal sewage systems became the norm, in town outhouses had holding tanks. Periodically the honey wagon made the rounds, hauling off the astoundingly nasty contents.

The fact that Disney princesses were used as the siren's names including Ariel from The Little Mermaid probably came from the fact that sirens are often represented as mermaids in many ancient legends, even though sirens were actually not sea maidens. Sirens just sang on rocks by the sea to lure sailors.

When Dean is describing the women the siren portrayed to the strip club manager, he describes them accordingly to the Disney princesses they were named after. The identities of the siren were named Ariel, Jasmine, and Aurora. Dean describes them as "One's a redhead about 5'9"", the description of Ariel who, in The Little Mermaid, has red hair, and "The other one's Asian" for Jasmine, who was named after the princess from Aladdin, a film set in the fictional Arabian city of Agrabah, in Asia. The siren takes the name of a Disney princess for its female incarnations: Jasmine, Ariel, Aurora, and Belle. The Winchesters never take note of this, but then they would have been unlikely to be familiar with their Disney princesses.

Earlier in the episode Sam mentions that the way these men are killing their wives is like The Shining. Then in the end of the episode while under the siren's spell, Dean grabs an axe to kill Sam, much like Jack Torrance uses to attack his family in The Shining.
posted by orange swan (5 comments total)
Sam has a meaningless fling with a woman he doesn't bother saying goodbye to, which I take to mean that he and Ruby aren't monogamous, or actually emotionally involved.

The siren admired the Impala, and was up to speed on his Zeppelin trivia. He certainly knew how to woo Dean.

Interesting that when Sam and Dean are battling it out, Dean talks about resentments we know he has, namely that Sam is keeping secrets and has dealings with Ruby, while Sam comes up with things that are heretofore not indicated: that he thinks he's a better hunter, that Dean is weak and holding him back. Is any of that true? Even a little?

Some badass knife-throwing technique from Bobby.
posted by orange swan at 3:59 AM on July 26, 2021

Nothing about this episode could make me happier than finding out the first episode of The Muppet Show was called Sex and Violence and that, for some reason, thirty years later Supernatural decided they needed an episode named after the pilot of The Muppet Show and it had to be this one, but this episode makes me pretty happy. (Okay if the strippers had all been named after Muppets instead of Disney princesses, that MIGHT have made me happier.)

That Sam has casual sex with a normal professional confident human woman (in her unlocked office!) where everyone has fun and no one dies is striking in how rare it is. Doctor Cara is a delight and feels immediately like a person and I'm so glad she escapes the Winchester doom vortex.

The guy playing the siren is really good too; he projected FBI Guy in a way that would believably appeal to Dean, and flipped the switch into really creepy intimacy and this kind of, I don't know, smarmy vulnerability? while he's puppeting them around. It would've been increeeedibly easy to tell this story where the siren just shows up as a woman who seduces Dean and tries to turn him against Sam that way, and the way they went was both more interesting and a much better read of what Dean actually values in his relationships and (thus) how he can be manipulated.

But agreed, that “so we’re good?” left A LOT on the table; I don’t think “good”means Dean is actually fine with Sam carrying on with Ruby or with keeping stuff from him, and while I don’t think Sam deep down thinks Dean is a weak person, I do think his belief that if someone is going to kill Lilith it needs to be him comes from somewhere for him. But for both of them, what’s actually going on behind those words is way WAY more complicated than what’s actually being said.
Random aside but Dr. Emily Wilson, the first woman to publish a translation of The Odyssey in English, has this Twitter thread on the sirens that I like a lot, arguing how their sexual allure was a slant of later translators, and that her version more accurately makes their power more a cerebral thing.
posted by jameaterblues at 6:56 AM on July 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

Looking back at the scene where Dean walks into Dr. Cara Roberts' office to see how Sam cockblocked him (as Dean put it himself as they leave), I see some subtle but definite stage management on Sam's part. After Dean arrives and he and Cara meet and Dean is clearly enthusiastic about Cara, Sam asks one more question and then says that's it, and rises to leave, basically compelling Dean to do the same, so that he won't have a chance to chat Cara up.

That's two times that I can think of that Sam and Dean were both interested in the same woman (Madison and Cara), and both times Sam managed to cut Dean out of the running, heh.
posted by orange swan at 12:29 PM on July 26, 2021

Season six when Sam is stripped to essentials pings back to this - and just like in the Groundhog Day episode, Sam alone is a terrifyingly competent hunter. Dean is a great hunter but Sam is a level above when he’s unleashed (Red Meat, ‘Chief’…)

This was an astoundingly blatant wincest episode. The codependency between them and the siren’s seduction and enjoyment was briefly textual, that line that the show walked very narrowly and deliberately.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 4:40 PM on July 26, 2021

The guy playing the siren (in FBI form) is Jim Parrack, who played Hoyt in 'True Blood' who might be the second most-dimwitted character on the show but was a super nice guy with a huge heart. The timing looks like he did this guest star right after TB ended.

Those containers of blood in the 4'C fridge? Legit vacutainers. The green tops are sodium heparin and the purple tops are EDTA. Heparin directly prevents thrombin activation by activating antithrombin (so good for looking at soluble blood chemistry in fresh blood) whereas EDTA is more effective and more useful for blood from corpses as it prevents/ disrupts coagulation by sequestering calcium (and other metal) cations, but that can screw up some chemical, protein (and enzyme and venom), and cellular (white blood cell) function tests. Most venoms are proteins or peptides (short proteins). Venom activity is typically potentiated (made stronger/ possible) by these divalent cations.

I know this is magic and stuff, but I wonder if EDTA treated siren-venom-afflicted blood would still be effective? Though it looked like the stolen vials were green top heparin tubes.

Bobby stabs Dean with his left hand, but throws with his right hand (albeit backhanded/ crossbody), but there's a cut so he could easily have let go of the axe and switched. But yeah, that's a damned good (realistic looking, difficult) throw and a nice visual effect.

I always enjoy Bobby pretending to be some law enforcement bigwig, even if its just on the phone.
posted by porpoise at 6:57 PM on July 26, 2021 [3 favorites]

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