Supernatural: Trial and Error
October 23, 2021 4:59 AM - Season 8, Episode 14 - Subscribe

Kevin has found out that in order to close the gates of Hell, the person needs to accomplish three tasks, the first of which is to kill a hellhound.


Dean: I haven't had my own room... ever. I'm making this awesome. I've got my kickass vinyl. I've got this killer mattress. Memory foam -- it remembers me. There's no funky smell. There's no creepy motel stains.
Sam: [tosses a gum wrapper towards the garbage can; it lands on the floor instead]
Dean: ... Really?
Sam: Sorry.

Sam: [pointing to the hamburger Dean has placed in front of him] You made these?
Dean: We have a real kitchen now.
Sam: I know. I -- I just didn't think you knew what a kitchen was.
Dean: I'm nesting, OK? Eat.

Dean: You look like hammered crap.
Kevin: Yeah.
Sam: Are you sleeping?
Kevin: Not really.
Dean: Eating?
Kevin: Hot dogs, mostly.
Dean: Sure, breakfast of champions... I feel dirty saying this, but you might want a salad. And a shower.

Dean: I'm gonna go for a supply run because we need goofer dust, and the kid needs to eat something that's not ground-up hooves and pigs' anuses. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Dean: I got you a present. [holds up pill bottles] The blue ones are for the headaches and the green ones are for pep. Don't OD.
Kevin: Thanks?

Kevin: The tablet says, "Whosoever chooses to undertake these tasks should fear not danger, nor death, nor..." a word I think means getting your spine ripped out through your mouth for eternity.

Sam: So, what, God wants us to take the SATs?
Kevin: Yes. Uh, He works in mysterious ways.
Dean: Yeah, mysterious douchey ways.

Kevin: You've got to kill a hound of hell and bathe in its blood.
Dean: Awesome.
Sam: Awesome?
Dean: Yeah. Hey, if this means icing all demons, I got no problem gutting some devil dog and letting Calgon take me away.

Dean: If you come across anything on hellhounds; drop a dime; because between the claws, the teeth, and the invisibility; those bitches can be real... bitches.

Dean: Hellhounds like to collect on crossroads deals. So all we got to do is track down some loser who signed over his special sauce 10 years ago, get between him and Clifford the Big Dead Dog.

Sam: Meet the Cassitys, small-time farmers who struck oil on their land in February of '03. It's weird because geological surveys --
Dean: Yeah, you had me at "weird".

Dean: Anybody with a hellhound on their ass is gonna be showing signs: hallucinating, freaking out, the usual.
Sam: And if we find someone?
Dean: You get 'em clear. I spike Fido. The crowd goes wild.

Ellie: And, well, her last album was a bunch of holiday songs for dogs. My favorites were "Jingle Bark Rock" and "Don't Pee on This Tree: Happy Arbor Day."
Dean: So she's the Devil?
Ellie: Pretty much.

Ellie: Job is yours if you want it. But I gotta warn you, it's crap work.
Dean: [cut to Sam and Dean shoveling manure in the stables] Crap. She literally meant "crap. [approaches a horse and gets in its face] I hate you.

Ellie: Alice Cassity's a piece of something, all right. But what are we gonna do? She's the boss.
Dean: Drink?

Dean: [working the grill] Impressed?
Ellie: I do like a man who can handle his meat.

Ellie: [to Dean, who is wearing glasses] I like it, the whole Clark Kent look.

Ellie: So... I think you're really hot. You wanna go to my room and have sex?
Dean: What?

Cindy Cassity: You sold your soul. Admit it.
Noah Cassity: Why the hell would you think that?
Cindy Cassity: 'Cause you're a walking corpse, and you're married to a centrefold. I did the math.
Noah Cassity: She likes money, and I'm rich. Do it again. You sing like crap, so explain the music career.
Cindy Cassity: Hello -- auto-tune!

Ellie: They had this big dinner and after, I saw him kissing Margie. I ran. I didn't know what to do. But Crowley found me. We talked. He seemed so nice.
Dean: The best con men always do.

Noah Cassity: I need to take a leak.
Sam: Hold it.
Noah Cassity: Yeah, at my age? Not really an option.

Margot Cassity: Al, I'm so sorry about Carl. I mean, he was the love of your life.
Alice Cassity: Right.
Noah Cassity: Please, she can do better.
Cindy Cassity: Maybe Alice should marry a child. Take after her father.
Noah Cassity: Ivanka's not a child.
Cindy Cassity: Right. She's a prostitute who *looks* like a child.

Noah Cassity: You know anything about hunting, boy?
Sam: A little bit, yeah.

Alice Cassity: What was that thing?
Dean: It was a hellhound. See, when you sell your soul to a demon, they're the ones that come and rip it out of you.
Alice Cassity: Demon?
Dean: Crowley. Poncey guy, about yay big, mountain of dicks.

Dean: Sam, be smart.
Sam: I am. And so are you. You're not a grunt, Dean, you're a genius. When it comes to lore, you're the best damn hunter I've ever seen. Better than me, better than Dad. I believe in you, Dean, so please, please, believe in me too.

Sam: So you're not a Cassity?
Carl Granville: No, my wife is. Her and her family own the place. I'm just one those, uh -- what you call 'em? [pats chubby stomach] trophy husbands.

Dean: [to hellhound] Oh, so you're Crowley's bitch. I guess pets do really look like their owners.

Ellie: [after Dean is bit by a hellhound] You need to go to a hospital.
Dean: I've had worse.
Ellie: [looks at Sam]
Sam: Yeah, he's had worse.


When Kevin tells them about the trials to seal the gates, Sam asks if they are trials "like Law and Order" to which Kevin replies, "More like Hercules." This is in reference to the 12 labours of Hercules, meant to be "feats so difficult they seem impossible". The 3 trials are very similar to those of Hercules.

Dean tells Sam to keep an eye on "J.R. and gang". He is referring to J.R. Ewing, the scion of the Ewing clan in the soap opera Dallas.

When Kevin tells Sam and Dean that they need to kill a hellhound and bathe in its blood to close the gates of hell, Dean replies, "If this means icing all demons, I got no problem gutting some devil dog and letting Calgon take me away." He is quoting the 1970's slogan of the Calgon bubble bath products.

Sam finds a possible cross-roads deal and Dean says, "Let's go visit the Beverly Hillbillies." He is referring to the 1960's TV sitcom, The Beverly Hillbillies, about the Ozark mountain family the Clampetts, who strike it oil rich and head to Beverly Hills with its "swimming pools and movie stars".

When Kevin asks where they'll find a hellhound, Dean says, "Well, hellhounds like to collect on cross-roads deals, so all we gotta do is track down some loser who signed over his special sauce 10 years ago and get between him and Clifford the big dead dog." He is referring to the children's book series, Clifford the Big Red Dog.
posted by orange swan (9 comments total)
Dean would have had his own room before his mother died, but he probably doesn't remember that. His excitement over having his own room reminds me of the time my then nine-year-old niece Peaches spent a weekend with me. I had a guest room, and she was thrilled to have a room to herself for the first time in her life, as normally she shared one small room with her two teenaged sisters. She took full possession of it, unpacking her things and arranging them about the room, and spreading her fleece blanket that had a cat on it over the double bed. I was surprised at the extent to which a rather plain, very adult looking room came to look like a little girl's bedroom. Peaches lost no chance to refer to the guest room as her room, i.e., "I'll be in my room," or "That's in my room. I will go to my room and get it," or "Will you come to my room and read to me before I go to sleep?" etc. This kind of behaviour was cute in a little girl of nine, but it is a bit sad for a guy in his mid-thirties. Dean has so little in life, really.

You'd think Ellie would have wished for more than a comfortable retirement for her mother, but then Crowley just asked her what she would ask for if she had one wish. It does seem like dirty pool that she wasn't told what she was agreeing to. Before now deals have always been made explicit to the person making the deal.

It isn't realistic that such a wealthy family would have their new -- and unreferenced! -- stablehands serving at dinner inside the house. The Cassitys would have had more employees than just Ellie, as looking after the horses would be a job in itself. That's a plot contrivance on the part of the writers to make the Winchesters privy to family information.

Dean did look good in those glasses. I didn't like Sam's glasses quite as well.

I'm a big Divinyls fan and loved the use of "I Touch Myself".
posted by orange swan at 5:09 AM on October 23, 2021

Once again, Dean gets flustered when a woman makes the move. He really just can't cope with that dynamic.

My mind is just spinning. A few episodes back, Dean was so upset that Sam found a way out and stopped hunting. He pretty much demanded Sam leave Amelia. Now, he’s saying that he wants Sam to find a way out. He was out and you dragged him back in! Make up your mind!

Dean’s fatalistic attitude seems to be coming out of the blue. He was happy to escape Purgatory. He’s happy to finally have a clean place to live, with no weird stains or smells, his own room and a kitchen. He’s reconciled with Sam. Thing are good, or as good as they ever get. Why look to the dark side now?

Where did the memory foam mattress come from? If the bunker has been abandoned for decades, there shouldn't be memory foam mattresses (or Internet services). Fine, we can handwave away niggly issues like cleaning and maintenance and upkeep and bill payments, but stuff like memory foam really doesn't make sense.
posted by sardonyx at 10:38 AM on October 23, 2021

The MOL HQ reminds me of "clubhouses" featured prominantly in the various childrens' and young adult fiction I read as a kid.

Dean's wall of weapons is so video gamey.

The memory foam mattress might be something Dean went out and bought, like the modern-looking lamp (and those weapons - that looks like a M32 grenade launcher... it's legalish in the US, but specifically called out as illegal in Canada).

Now, did Dean bake those brioche hamburger buns or just buy them?
posted by porpoise at 1:13 PM on October 23, 2021

I agree with porpoise that Dean would have bought the mattress. Mattress technology has improved a LOT since the 1950s and I doubt the old ones were all that comfortable, even if they were the best thing on the market at the time.

It's hilarious that Dean can't handle a woman aggressively putting the moves on him. I suppose he's so much the hunter that he doesn't know how to be prey. Sam can definitely take it in stride when an attractive woman indicates interest in him -- but then his approach to women is based on mutual interest/genuine connection, and on the two of them meeting each other half way rather than the kind of aggressive pursuit and gaming Dean does, so he's happy to have clear signals that he can respond to.

I really appreciate that the two Winchesters have such a different approach to dating. It's much more realistic and interesting and makes for better character development and better comedy than if they both behaved the same way towards women.

I think Dean's anger at Sam over the fact that he stopped hunting during his year in Purgatory stemmed from the fact that Sam didn't even look for him and also left Kevin high and dry rather than because he wanted him to hunt for the sake of hunting. Quitting when there's nothing too high stakes in the offing would be a different matter. And I think Dean wanting to be the one who does the trials was about survival. He's assuming the person who does the trials won't survive, and he wants Sam to live, whether he continues hunting or not.

It's not surprising that Dean knows how to cook. He would have had a chance to learn during his year with Lisa and Ben (I bet Lisa had to teach him some things), and would have needed to do a share of the cooking in order to pull his weight in life with them. Then too, as a guy who loves food, he probably soon learned to like cooking because he could make things exactly the way he likes them.
posted by orange swan at 5:55 PM on October 23, 2021

Okay, now I'm just sad that we didn't see Dean, who hasn't given us any indication that he really knows how to shop (the waffle iron wedding gift) or likes to shop, going out and buying a mattress, testing mattresses in the store, dealing with sales clerks. I mean, I presume he had to go purchase it in person, because he doesn't want the delivery truck showing up to the bumper. And if he had to pick it up, I'm guess it has to be one of those compressed kinds that fit into big boxes. Even so, manipulating the box into the Impala's truck or backseat would have likely been worth a couple of minutes of laughs.

Yes, I know, TV show rules say we don't see the mundane stuff, but that's usually the kind of stuff that I'd really love to watch.
posted by sardonyx at 6:07 PM on October 23, 2021 [2 favorites]

Like how I used to be a "Dean is a Clotheshorse" I'm sticking to it that Dean is exposed to pop culture and secretly wants to "keep up with the Jones's."

He's got to have been eye-ing the cool stuff that the (usually dead) rich folk he encounters has.

He definitely has a sense of value~displayed-wealth - Baby, the Impala.

This is kind of the implicit that Dean's getting soft and thinking more about comforts than seeking out and destroying "evil" like the Spanish Inquisition.

Marginalization is one approach to conveying "elite" motivations. Being super well-funded because you're super-good at what you do, that's the other end of the spectrum. The producers are trying to find a equilibirum, but that doesn't exist.

The subtext that I'm getting (which probably isn't what's intended) is that the ROI is so crap, only the federal government is going anywhere near there and are glad to "forget" all about it.
posted by porpoise at 7:57 PM on October 23, 2021

With love for all involved if I were Kevin and stuck between Sam giving me work-life balance advice and Dean giving me uppers I might honestly take my chances with the demons.

There’s some weird stuff going on with the whole idea of Ellie wanting to take care of her mom, but her one wish is for their employers to be rich. Also I have to think Crowley will get around to tracking her down eventually so I assume the answer is yeah, she does eventually probably end up in Hell. I wonder what it's like for Dean, of all people, to confidently reassure her she won't have to pay up.

I could ramble a whole bunch about Dean's attitude swings here and for sure it’s hard to find super consistent characterization across so many episodes, writers, show runners, etc. This episode and presumably Dean’s speech about how his happy ending would be for him to die hunting and Sam to get out and have a family are written by Andrew Dabb, who also wrote the series finale. I think Dean can enjoy his life day to day and appreciate a comfy bed and have a great time hunting with Sam and still feel like he's fundamentally more disposable, and that he's all in on a deal that's going to end badly for him sooner or later, because he can like his life but giving it up is kind of what he's for. It's not healthy, it clearly makes Sam crazy, but that part makes sense to me. As for Purgatory--I'm sure some part of it is shoddy characterization but I also think Dean was reacting from more there than strictly whether Sam was hunting or not.

Not that it matters in the bigger picture, Lilith’s dead, Ruby's dead, Dean went to Hell and all of that, but I imagine Sam had to get some satisfaction out of saving Dean from a hellhound.
posted by jameaterblues at 12:57 PM on October 24, 2021

You're aboslutely right about Ellie's wish being nonsensical. Plus, as I've mentioned before, when Crowley makes a deal with an average person (or even Bobby) he's vague on the details. The first time we saw him get into the weeds with a deal was with Dick, and then later with the boys. I know we're talking about devils and demons so it's pointless to say "that isn't fair," but it really isn't.

Kevin absolutely needs a better support system.
posted by sardonyx at 2:10 PM on October 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Ellie's wish didn't have anything to do with the Cassitys. She just wished her mom healthy. It was Margot who wished for her family (the Cassitys) to be wealthy, because she thought it would make them all happy.

Totally agreed that it's crap that Crowley was making deals without folks actually knowing what the deal was. But he's played fast and loose with contracts before; his "best efforts" shenanigans to give Bobby his soul back wouldn't have passed muster with anyone actually adjudicating the contract. But there isn't anyone doing that. Which makes it weird when they emphasize how the demons have to abide by the deal.
posted by solotoro at 8:55 PM on August 3

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