Supernatural: Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid
August 18, 2021 4:45 AM - Season 5, Episode 15 - Subscribe

Sam and Dean travel to Bobby's hometown to investigate after the town's dead begin rising from their graves.


Bobby: [in a closet with Dean while zombies pound on the locked door] Kind of a tight fit, don't you think?
Dean: It's all right... they're idiots... they can't pick a lock.
Zombies: [immediately cease pounding; start picking the lock]
Bobby: Don't you ever get tired of being wrong?
Dean: I'm making this stuff up as I go. Sue me.

Dean: You got any more ammo? I'm low.
Bobby: Yeah, we got plenty. Just run back past the zombies. It's in the van where we left it.
Dean: A simple no would've been fine.

Bobby: She was the love of my life... how many times do I gotta kill her?

Dean: Mr. Wells, why don't you tell us what you saw? In your own words.
Digger: Call me Digger.
Dean: Digger.
Digger: Mm.
Dean: Who -- who gave you that name?
Digger: I did.
Dean: You gave yourself your own nickname? You can't do that.
Digger: Who died and made you queen?

Dean: What's that smell? Is that soap? Did you clean?
Bobby: What are you, my mother? Bite me!


Carrie Anne Fleming was cast as Karen Singer since Elizabeth Marleau, who had played her in the season 3 episode "Dream a Little Dream of Me", was pregnant at the time this episode was made. The producers thought it would be too weird, even for Supernatural, to feature a pregnant zombie.

First appearance of Sheriff Jody Mills, portrayed by Kim Rhodes, who becomes a semi-recurring character in the series.

The agent names the brothers use in this episode are Dorfman and Neidermeyer. Kent Dorfman and Doug Neidermeyer were both main characters in National Lampoon's Animal House.

"Sheriff Mills" was Jim Beaver's character's name on Harper's Island.

On the phone, a doctor evidently doesn't believe Sheriff Mills' son has a fever of 111°F. That's because people always die before they get that hot. At 105°F, a hospital will start packing you in ice, at 107°F you start having multiple organ failures and brain damage, and at 108°F you have a 50/50 chance of dying.

Sam refers to Bobby's hometown as "...a podunk town like Sioux Falls". Sioux Falls is actually the largest city in South Dakota, and at the time of the 2010 census, it had a population of 153,888 people.

Dean tells Bobby, "I don't know squat from Shinola about love." This is a reference to a line from Dolly Parton's song "Shinola". Dolly Parton's song of that name was playing on an old slang phrase for total ignorance, "don't know sh*t from Shinola". In 1877 the shoe polish Shinola came on the market and, until the product line was dropped in 1960, was the most popular shoe polish in the USA.

On the phone with the sheriff, Bobby gives her the false name FBI Agent Tom Willis. Tom Willis was a character on The Jeffersons.

Bobby quotes Revelations 6:7 as death coming with a scythe and raising the dead. This is a misleading description. Most translations mention a pale horse, whose rider is named Death, and say that Hell/Hades accompanies him, and they describe Death as killing people, not as raising them from the dead. The King James version of Revelations 6:7 is: "And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth."

When Sam, Dean, and Bobby first realize that they are dealing with one of the four horsemen, Dean raises a hand to rub his face in annoyance and says, "It must be a Thursday." They had already come up against two of the horsemen in previous Thursday night shows. The first five seasons of Supernatural originally aired on Thursday night before moving to Friday night in the sixth season.

The episode title gets its name from the 1982 movie, Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, starring Steve Martin, in which Steve Martin's character interacts with characters from old black and white movies. These movies included Suspicion (1941), Notorious (1946), The Bribe (1949), The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946), Double Indemnity (1944), and Deception (1946). By splicing the old scenes with the new scenes, the creators of Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid made it look as though the actors from the 1982 movie were interacting with many actors that had died many years before, much like the deceased people in this episode interacted with their still living loved ones.
posted by orange swan (2 comments total)
Bobby has been charged with being drunk and disorderly multiple times and is considered the "town drunk" of Sioux Falls (or shares the title with Digger, heh), which would indicate that he's a darker, more troubled person than we normally see. Perhaps he's at his best when he's with Sam and Dean because he helped raise them and feels responsible for them.

Poor Bobby, having to shoot his wife again, while holding her hand. If only he'd known how to do exorcisms when his wife became possessed. A detail that I found poignant was the way he was shown not wearing his cap in his house as he normally does -- he would take it off and lay it on the side table in the entryway when he came in the front door, presumably out of respect for his wife. He and that hat are normally pretty much inseparable. He wore it even in the hospital.

It doesn't make much sense that Death would only raise a set number of people from their graves in one town. If he really wanted to get Bobby, wouldn't he have kept sending zombies after him until the mission was accomplished?

As for Kim Rhodes, who will become a series regular, I did some googling. She graduated summa cum laude from Southern Oregon State College with a B.F.A. in Acting, and also has a M.F.A. from Temple University. She is certified in four kinds of stage combat: hand-to-hand, quarterstaff, rapier and dagger. She and her daughter are both on the autism spectrum. She seems like she's a lot of fun. I couldn't get a sense of what her personality/politics might be like from Twitter as I normally do, because just three days ago on August 15th, she deactivated her Twitter account. The catalyst for that seems to have been that she had retweeted a Gofundme posted by a woman without realizing the woman was a transphobe. After Rhodes's followers told her they couldn't donate to such a person, Rhodes apologized and deleted the retweet. Then the woman, her husband, and all their followers dogpiled her until Rhodes deactivated her account. Her followers are all hoping this will prove a temporary measure.

It speaks very well of Rhodes that she was willing to apologize and correct a misstep rather than doubling down on it, and I didn't find anything negative about her, so out of the three categories I've been putting the Supernatural actors in (to wit, "Seems Like a Decent Person So Far as Google Tells Me,", "Side Eyeing", and "Holy Shit!!!"), I'm going to chalk Rhodes up in the "Seems Like a Decent Person" category.
posted by orange swan at 5:28 AM on August 18, 2021 [3 favorites]

The episode title gets its name from the 1982 movie, Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, starring Steve Martin, in which Steve Martin's character interacts with characters from old black and white movies.

Fifteen seasons of painstaking pop culture references, just WASTED on me.

Bobby is another character whose drinking we hear about, and who talks about thoughts of suicide pretty openly for years, but if you took those specific lines out it would be kind of hard to tell from the rest of his character (drunk, okay, but the most disorderly I think we seem him get is yelling at Sam and Dean for being idiots). But Sam and Dean really seem happier when they have an older hunter who's smarter than they are to keep them in line a little bit.
posted by jameaterblues at 4:54 PM on August 18, 2021

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