Colonel Mustard. With the lead pipe. In the Conservatory. Miss Scarlett. With the candlestick. In the library. Murder mysteries are always filled with secrets and misdirections that leave the audience guessing on the real identity of the killer. “Ask Jeeves” used the Clue theme as the perfect set up for the monster of the week. Not only were we left to guess who the killer was, we had to guess what kind of creature—ghost or something else? Throw in a spot the Clue weapon game, and Supernatural managed to make it even more fun.
But it’s more than just a fun concept. In the episode, we see the brothers doing what they do best as Sam and Dean leap back into the saddle after stumbling upon an old fashioned monster hunt—but when that monster is a shape-shifter, appearances can be deceiving. With the Winchester’s luck, there’s always more to the story. Supernatural takes advantage of these tropes to explore the brewing season story surrounding the Mark of Cain. Underneath the whodunit nature of “Ask Jeeves” is a sinister warning: that what is locked away doesn’t always stay that way.
Let’s first look at the case itself.
Sam and Dean are preparing to hit the road—but they have a problem. They don’t have a destination. There’s nothing on the police scanners or the “intrawebs” or anywhere that points to a hunt—“not even a cat up a tree.” So, they’re going to have to find something else to do in order to occupy their time. Dean has one of Bobby’s old cellphones and a message left on it gives them a direction: straight to New Canaan. There, Bobby’s presence is requested for the reading of one Bunny LaCroix’s will. She’s bequeathed something to him, and since he’s also passed away, Sam and Dean will have to fill in as the next of kin.
When they arrive, however, Sam and Dean find that they’ve missed the funeral. The family is “relaxing” within and they’re escorted to join them. It seems all rather mundane on the surface. A wealthy family lounges, discussing the upcoming reading of the will surrounded by the luxurious things left behind by the deceased. Sam and Dean clearly don’t fit in, but they’re here to collect whatever was left to Bobby.
The butler, Philip, leads them aside, telling them that he doesn’t want the other LaCroix to see what Bunny left them. He tells them that the family is nothing more than “money grubbing leeches” and that they’ll covet what is inside the package. It’d be best if they took their inheritance now and left rather than face their scrutiny. It seems rather cut and dried. The Winchesters have what they came for and now they can start looking for their next stop.
Inside is an ornate pendant. It’s a cross studded with precious stones and seems to be antique. This puzzles the Winchesters, but Dean’s excited to find out its real value. It may earn them some “beer money” or more. Unfortunately, they discover that it’s rather worthless. The pawn dealer tells them that the “old bag had a thing for cubic zirconia”—meaning the stones are fakes. But they do discover the pendant’s hidden secret: it’s a key. As they glance at one another, they both come to the conclusion that the plot has thickened—and that there’s more to what Bunny left for Bobby.
This key is the first example that appearances are deceiving at the LaCroix mansion. If they’re to figure out what this key unlocks, Sam and Dean will have to “Ask Jeeves.” After all, if it was meant for Bobby, it has to go to something.
Unfortunately, when they arrive, the Winchesters discover that in the time they left to get their item appraised and their return to gather more answers that another LaCroix family member has died—murdered this time. Stanton, the youngest brother of Bunny, was beheaded brutally in the hallway with an ax. The killer, however, is one that trips Sam and Dean’s radar. Amber, his “child bride” claims that she saw Lance LaCroix, Bunny’s husband, commit the crime.
This should be impossible, as Lance has been dead for years.
It means that Sam and Dean may indeed have a hunt here after all. Considering that the local police won’t let them leave the manor, they’ll take up the hunt that’s fallen into their lap. The further they investigate, however, the more they learn that appearances aren’t at all what they seem.
Despite all the deceptive appearances in the case, this monster hunt is exactly what Sam and Dean needed to get their feet wet. Throughout, they were a single unit, working together on the same page. No tension built between them, nor were there any doubts—despite Sam’s insistence in testing Dean with the “silver” in order to make sure he was indeed Dean. If any hunt were to fall into their lap and give them the chance to work side by side, strengthening their partnership—and brotherhood—there was no better one than this. Even though Bobby hadn’t assigned it directly to them, it could be considered a gift from him in their true relaunching of the family business of “saving people, hunting things.” After all, they both wanted the work. It’s this kind of hunt that will give the brothers a foundation to build upon—especially as they’ll surely face darker things that will threaten the bond they’re renewing here.
Now on the case, Sam and Dean split up, searching the manor for any evidence of spirit activity. They decide to comb the area using cold spots, and try to piece together what led Lance’s ghost to reemerge in order to kill Stanton.
While Sam’s ensnared by Beverley and Heddy, Dean comes across a book shelf. On that shelf is a book with a very curious symbol on its spine. It matches the pendant key that they received, and so Dean picks it up to look at it. To fit in with the whodunit theme—and various other murder mystery tropes—the book doesn’t come off the shelf. Instead, it acts as a trigger to move the bookshelf itself aside, revealing a keyhole meant for the key in Dean’s hand. It’s become quite clear that the LaCroix family has a lot to hide.
Upon opening the door, Dean finds a small living space—and a dead body. It’s Collete, the maid. The butler, Philip, said she had gone off to find herself at clown college. This hunt only becomes more complicated when Dean also discovers Olivia, the other maid locked inside, too. She tells him that she saw what happened with Collete, but that it’ll “sound crazy.” Dean, knowing that she’s going to finger a ghost as the killer, tries to cut her off and say, “Let me guess, Lance’s ghost.” The maid shakes her head and says, “No. Bunny’s.”
After Dean leads Olivia back to the rest of the family, he conveys this information to Sam. They aren’t hunting one ghost. They’re hunting two. And yet, it just doesn’t seem to add up the more they search the house and try to put together clues. It doesn’t help that that Philip was the one that had locked both maids away in the attic, either. Dean’s convinced that Philip has to be working as Bunny and Lance’s “Renfield,” but he doesn’t know why. Why would he cover up for these ghost’s kills? And just for how long has he been doing so? After all, the other LaCroix’s didn’t seem the least bit flustered when Philip nonchalantly announced that Colette had left to find herself.
It isn’t until he ends up finding Philip in his room that Dean learns the truth. They’ve been working a ghost angle when that’s not the case at all. While confronting Philip, Dean receives a text from Sam informing him that the butler’s dead. Whoever he’s standing in front of isn’t Philip. Before he can call him out on it, however, the impostor throws him against the wall and flees.
But he leaves one massive clue behind: a pile of clothes and shed flesh. Now they know what they’re really dealing with: a shape-shifter.
It takes the whodunit nature of their hunt to a new level, too. Now that the shifter has shed its skin, Sam and Dean have to wonder who it could be. At this point, it could be any one of them—even one of the Winchesters. And so, they search for silver. Their help in finding it is the maid, Olivia. She opens the fine silver chest for them, then quickly has a butter knife placed in her hands to prove she’s not the creature they’re hunting.
Now, they’ll have to test the rest of the LaCroix family and make sure that none of them are the monster they seek. Dean starts off on one level of the house, finding Dash and Amber—together—and has them touch the knives before following him back to the rest of the family. Not only do they want to test them, they need them all together to make sure they aren’t played by the monster yet again. Meanwhile, Sam has to finally cave in and flirt with Beverley and Heddy. He joins them on the couch with a few suave lines. It also means actually getting handsy, and he touches the butter knives strapped to his wrists to each lady—only to find them clean. That’s everyone in the LaCroix mansion—save for the police officer holding them all hostage for questioning during his investigation.
Before they can go verify his identity, they hear a blood curdling scream—another shout out to the murder mystery. There, they find Olivia standing outside the bathroom door, pointing inside. The officer has ended up head first in the toilet, drowned. If he’s dead, it most certainly can’t be him. So, they’re back to trying to figure out who the killer is all over again. And since they ended up rushing up the stairs, any one of them could have shifted in the chaos.
To complicate matters, Dash draws the police man’s weapon, herding the Winchesters into a surveillance room. He locks them inside and tells them to wait for the police. The LaCroix family is convinced that Sam and Dean are the killers. After all, they’ve wanted to kill each other at other family functions, “but we never did.” Sam and Dean are the new variable that’s lead to this whodunit mayhem. If it wasn’t one of the LaCroixs, it must be one or both of the Winchesters. Maybe they’re there to collect on all of the inheritance.
However, as Sam and Dean try to find a way out of the room, they discover the silver they’ve been using to test everyone has been made in “Taiwan.” It’s not silver at all. It’s stainless steel. It’s another clue that appearances aren’t at all what they seem. Before they can get out of the room, however, they see that Olivia has pulled a gun on the LaCroix family. Even with her head turned away from the cameras, they know they’re looking at their shape-shifter. She’s been under their noses all along—and is “clown college Collete’s” killer. And Stanton’s. And the police detective’s. And Phillip’s.
And it is here that we learn the tragic story behind Olivia.
Olivia’s story is the real reason Bobby’s presence was requested at Bunny’s funeral. He wasn’t going to inherit a key to the attic. He was to inherit Olivia’s guardianship. As a hunter, he had tracked down Olivia’s father—a shifter—and killed him. He learned, then, that Bunny had a child with that shifter. Because she loved her daughter, she begged Bobby to spare her. He did—but only if she locked Olivia away from everyone. It’d keep her safe from the family and keep the world safe from Olivia. Under the circumstances, it was the only viable solution.
Olivia reveals the truth to the stunned LaCroix family—minus the shape-shifter history. They’ve never even heard of Bunny having a daughter, let alone one that’s spent all these years hiding in the attic. To them, this is crazy. The maid surely must have lost her marbles. But they can’t really refute her claim, either. She’s holding a gun on them, after all. If any of them make a wrong move now, she’ll kill yet another one of them.
It isn’t until the Winchesters can shoot their way out of the locked room and start their own cat and mouse game with Olivia that they can save the stunned LaCroix family.
Sam chases Olivia into the kitchen, dodging all of her shots. He has to lead her away from the rest of the LaCroix family in order to keep them out of the cross-hairs. Problem is, appearances may be deceiving, but only for so long. Sam may have her hooked, chasing him around the kitchen while he hides near cupboards, blocking any shots Olivia may take, but at some point she’s going to question why the younger Winchester isn’t firing his weapon at her. She realizes, just as Sam becomes exposed in the open, that his gun is useless against her. She crows over him, “You don’t have any silver bullets, do you?” Triumphant that she’s managed to capture one of the hunters and can now make her own kill, she prepares to fire.
Only she’s too late. Dean’s arrived, firing a silver bullet straight through her heart, killing her instantly.
But that’s not where he stops by any means. In a chilling moment, Dean hesitates and then fires several more shots in cold blood, seeming to empty his chamber into the tragic creature.
It is here that Olivia’s story starts to peel another layer away—showing us another instance that appearances are deceiving. Clue may have been the theme that tied the monster of the week together, but Olivia is the biggest clue of them all. As a shape shifter, she’s able to change herself into others, and use the deception of appearance against others. But it goes way beyond that. She’s the personification of something much bigger. She’s a metaphor for the Mark of Cain itself.
Olivia was locked away her entire life—feared that she may revert to her monstrous nature and harm others. It’s done to protect her and to protect herself. After Olivia’s father was killed—and Lance was dead—we learn from Dash that Bunny had become a recluse. For her entire life, Olivia had been living inside the mansion with her mother, the servants, and little else. It left her to lead a sheltered life, away from humans and away from the world.
And yet, the first time we see her take a human life we see that she’s unable to stop. She shifts her shape to look like her mother, Bunny, in order to intimidate Collete. The rather innocent, albeit unprofessional act, of trying on Bunny’s pearls leads Olivia to believe the other maid is stealing. So, she sets out to prove a point, to scare her “co-worker” into putting them back and to never do something like that again. In her haste to punish Collete, she goes too far and the young woman is sent tumbling over a railing to her death in the foyer.
She’s now tasted a kill.
From there, Olivia starts to rack up bodies. She kills Stanton merely for insulting her mother. He rages at his wife, Amber, that his sister was nothing but a “two bit whore in Chanel.” Amber is appalled by this and quickly leaves the room—leaving Stanton vulnerable to Olivia’s next ruse. She lures him into the hall by calling his name, and then reveals herself changed into Lance’s form. Rather than accidentally killing him the way she did Collete, however, Olivia viciously beheads him with an ax. There’s pleasure in this moment for her, even if we see her in Lance’s form.
Because Philip had locked her back up in the attic after this incident, Olivia feels anger towards the butler. She decides to pay him back both figuratively and literally. She sees what he did as a betrayal of her and her mother—and so she stabs him in the back—to death. After all, while in Philip’s form, she tells Dean that the reason Collete was hidden was to give Bunny her due without distraction. Dean labels this move as crazy, and “Philip” retorts that it’s “loyalty.” Learning later on that this is really Olivia, we can sense that her actions are, in part, driven by grief.
And the police officer investigating Stanton’s murder simply got in her way. He was digging too close and was sticking his nose where it simply didn’t belong. So she drowned him.
By the time we see her waving the gun around in the living room, threatening the remaining LaCroix family members, we can see that something has completely shifted inside Olivia. After her first kill, she just couldn’t stop. It had become rather addicting, and rather pleasurable to seek pay back from everyone and everything that had wronged her—or her mother.
And yet she was thwarted by the fact that Bobby was no longer alive. She had to settle for Sam and Dean instead.
How does this illustrate her personification of the Mark of Cain?
In the same way Olivia was locked in that attic, we see Demon Dean locked away. Rather than being completely cured of his demonic nature, we can see that it has been isolated to one area of raised skin on Dean’s arm: the Mark of Cain. As long as it still remains, it will wait in hope to revive the killer it awoke inside the elder Winchester.
Olivia’s story captures the Mark’s effect on Dean beautifully. Upon killing even once, she found it to be pleasurable. Killing gives Olivia a rush that her sheltered and isolated life probably never has. Even more so, she found it irresistible. With each murder, she became more brazen, more brutal, and seemed to relish it just a little bit more. This is another metaphor for Demon Dean himself. Crowley informed him that he wouldn’t want to kill. He’d “need to.” We saw it every time Demon Dean killed someone—the enjoyment evident in his expression and body language. And now, as long as Dean has that Mark, anytime he makes a kill, this “addiction” will rear its ugly head.
Even her monster nature is a metaphor for Dean and Demon Dean. Olivia is a shape-shifter, meaning she can change her physical appearance to anything she likes. While Dean’s face may not change—beyond the eyes of course—there’s significant difference between him and Demon Dean. The Mark of Cain wants to shift Dean’s shape and turn him into a demonic killing monster for its purposes. It would like nothing more than to replace the real Dean with its own construct.
In her physical person, too, we see Olivia stand in for Demon Dean. This becomes evident when Olivia engages in a cat and mouse game with Sam. This is a beautiful reflection of the cat and mouse game Demon Dean and Sam played in the Bunker, ending with a hammer nearly smashing Sam’s head in and Castiel intervening. Even their conversation mirrors the one Sam and Demon Dean had—especially about choosing to be a monster. Olivia disagrees with Sam outright, claiming that the choice has been made for her a long time ago—meanwhile, the debate is still raging for the Winchesters—and in particular for Dean.
We see this debate resume the moment he opens fire on Olivia. He had no choice in the matter. The way the case had gone down, Dean had to be the trigger man. Sam was a sitting duck by the time he comes back from the trunk, silver bullets loaded into his weapon. There was no time to distract her, either. So, he took the shot, killing her. If he hadn’t, the shape-shifter surely would have killed his brother.
It’s clear, in that moment before he takes the multiple shots afterwards, that something woke up inside him. It’s as if a key slipped into a lock, opening a door just a crack—just like the dummy book on the LaCroix book shelf did for Olivia’s hidden room. Dean may not have made a kill using the First Blade, but it’s clear that the monster locked inside the Mark is waiting and biding its time to come back out.
Now that it’s drawn blood, will it push that crack open even wider?
That shift inside Dean becomes even more evident when the brothers drive away. Sam tries to coax Dean into talking about it. On one hand, it’s obvious that Dean didn’t try to hide anything—nor is he doing so now. The way he says, “Oh my god Sam, it was my first kill since I’ve been back. You know, I got a little anxious, I just wanted to make sure it was done right. Plain and simple,” rings true. And yet, we can’t help but wonder alongside Sam if there’s more going on—something not even Dean understands yet. Has something been let out?
Now that Dean’s made his first kill since his cure, how much longer before the Mark pushes him to kill again? And will Sam and Dean be able to stand against it’s growing darkness as the single unit we saw in “Ask Jeeves?”
Gillian Vigman played socialite Heddy, Debra McCabe portrayed heiress Beverley, and Clare Filipow gave us the young trophy wife, Amber. As a group, they all fill the cliché of high society lady. Vigman and McCabe capture the desperation of their characters wonderfully—especially when it comes to Sam. Each one shows us that they’re willing to do what it takes to get a new man—preferably one with money. It’s why—at least one reason—they’re very interested in the brothers, especially Sam. Vigman almost purrs the line, “The Westchester Winchesters?” They see dollar signs upon Sam and Dean’s arrival, even though we know how ridiculous that is considering the non-lucrative nature of hunting. As they end up trying to convince Sam to take their advances, however, we see it become even sillier and funny. McCabe is hysterical as she tries to press Sam into her room, telling him that women age like “fine wine or cheese.” As she ends up entering the room and we see Sam scoot by quickly, we can’t help but giggle at McCabe’s disappointed expression. When the younger Winchester has to test them with the fake silver, we see Vigman and McCabe escalate their performance, exaggerating their attentions to Sam. McCabe and Vigman have great chemistry with Padalecki here—but in the comedic sense. Their playing with Sam’s hair and hands makes us giggle as they have him finally trapped between them. We can’t help but snicker at their disappointment when he manages to escape when Dean arrives. Filipow, meanwhile, makes Amber move somewhat beyond the airy nature of her character. When we first meet her, she seems completely superficial getting excited over her husband’s pool game. Once alone with him, however, we can see that she’s putting on an act. Filipow makes Amber harsh and cruel—and totally aware of what she’s doing. She’s also embarrassed somewhat once Dean catches her with Dash. We can tell, in her performance, that Amber does care for Dash as she gets upset about Dash’s reckless handling of the gun. Vigman, McCabe, and Filipow gave each woman hilarious presence, making “Ask Jeeves” a delight.
Marcus Rosner presented the preppy and sarcastic Dash. On the surface, he seems rather superficial and empty. He’s rather cynical and sarcastic towards everyone around him, finding ways to deliver cruel quips towards Beverely and Heddy especially. When Heddy claims to be “39,” Rosner delivers Dash’s comeback beautifully. He remarks, “Yeah, you’ve been that since 2003.” It draws the reaction he was going for and we can see his amusement in Rosner’s body language and satisfied smirk. Rosner makes Dash seem like the typical entitled rich boy, looking down on everyone that doesn’t fit his idea of social class—evidenced by his comment directed at Sam and Dean, “You’re wearing flannel.” Underneath, however, Rosner shows us that there’s much more to Dash. He may profess to hate his family, but we can sense in the way he says, “We don’t like each other very much,” that he does indeed care for his family. This hidden love is revealed when he takes the detective’s revolver and ushers Sam and Dean into a room, certain that they have to be the killers. That doesn’t mean Rosner doesn’t show that Dash isn’t exactly as bright as his wit makes him out to be, however. He waves that gun around without concern, even pointing it at his chest while making a point. We’re equally horrified with Amber and yet we can’t help but laugh at how ridiculous his behavior’s become. Once the case is over and Olivia is dead, we see him wish to express genuine gratitude to the Winchesters. He wants everyone to know the heroes that saved his family. There’s a sincerity in how Rosner delivers his lines here, conveying all of Dash’s relief that these two flannel wearing strangers managed to do what he couldn’t.
Kevin McNulty portrayed the quintessential butler, Philip with prim and proper style. He had great presence on screen from the moment he gives orders to Olivia and Collette to the last moment we see him—under Olivia’s shape shifting—talk with Dean about the “leaky” faucet. McNulty, on the surface, played Philip like the stereotypical butler, talking in crisp and even tones to convey information and commands. Underneath the facade, however, Philip reveals his disdain and cynicism when he admits to both the Winchesters that the LaCroix family are nothing but “leaches.” There’s humor in McNulty’s delivery here, adding to the absurd nature of this mansion and all of the strange happenings going on in it. When the brothers return back with the key he gave them in Bunny’s will, McNultly conveys all of Philip’s disappointment and agitation well. From the moment he seems unsurprised by Bunny’s “ghost” taunting and then killing Collette, we are suspicious of him—as are Sam and Dean. As we see him shift his performance from Philip to Olivia as Philip, we are only more wary of him—and it’s all in McNulty’s body language and the way he delivers his lines. Once we see Olivia shift again, leaving a Philip mess on the floor, we’re sad to see his character exit—confirmed when we see Sam stumble across his actual body impaled with a knife.
Izabella Miko played the tragic shape-shifter, Olivia. When we first meet her, she seems timid and quiet—save her protest of having to clean all the lavatories. Miko plays her like the typical maid, unobtrusive in the scenes as she introduces Sam and Dean to the family. As more LaCroix family members fall—and Detective Hudson ends up in the toilet, dead, we don’t suspect Olivia. The way Miko screams and then bashfully admits, “I was just trying to pee” makes us see her as the shy servant trying to navigate around the loaded “but not rich” family. We don’t really start to question until we hear her ask suspiciously why Sam and Dean need silver—there’s just a slight edge to Miko’s voice as Olivia asks the question. Once she’s revealed, we see her tragic story unfold—and the darker side of Olivia emerge. Miko makes the character have great presence in the room, overpowering the LaCroix family. The more she tells her story, the crueler Olivia gets. She waves the gun around, telling each and everyone that they weren’t good enough for Bunny—and that she’s been the hidden secret in the attic all these years. Miko makes us feel sympathy for Olivia—to a point. After all, she never asked to be born or to be a shifter, but the more ruthless she’s become, the more we can see that she’s crossed the line. Her first kill may have been an accident, but we can tell, in Miko’s portrayal, that Olivia is enjoying the power killing has granted her. Having to live in the shadows all these years, she’s been unable to fight back against the family that she feels slighted and harmed her mother. When it comes time to play cat and mouse with Sam, we see her fully flower into the villain. Miko makes that clear in her body language and vocal tones as Olivia taunts the younger Winchester. Once she thinks she’s won, quipping, “You don’t have any silver bullets do you,” we see the triumph bloom over her face and her resolve to finish Sam off strengthen. The shock as she’s struck by Dean’s shot is a tragic end to a tragic life. Miko made this character one we had wanted to believe innocent and told the story of her growing darkness in small steps.
Jensen Ackles gives a layered performance in “Ask Jeeves.” From the moment we see him tinkering with Baby, we can see all the love and care that Dean has for the car as he restores her to her former glory after the neglect. The gestures Ackles uses conveys this well. As we see Sam enter the scene with the tiny coffees, we see the first hints of comedy in his portrayal. The way Ackles holds the cup and scoffs at it makes us laugh. As the brothers make their way to the mansion to learn what might be left to Bobby, we see Dean relaxed and content alongside his brother. He’s not bothered enough by the ostentatiousness of the house to change clothes for the funeral or reading of the will—and Ackles dead pans the line, “You’re lucky my waistband is not elastic” to perfection. Once they ring the doorbell, we can see Dean’s befuddlement well as he and Sam look around—and later when they return his annoyance at how over the top it is. When it comes time to investigate the case, Ackles puts in a new layer into his portrayal of Dean. The little boy we know so well hiding inside the hunter comes out in little moments. As he walks the halls, we see him glance around the house like a kid in a candy store. He wants to touch and see everything especially the armor. Ackles shows Dean’s wonder at all this accumulated stuff well—on one hand we can tell that he wouldn’t mind having all this wealth and on the other he shows us that Dean’s not sure how they can stand to live with so much useless stuff. Once we see him enter the attic and come across Colette—and Olivia, we see him switch fully back into hunter mode, trying to figure out what happened and who’s responsible all the while having to rely on mostly what he can find. To tie in with the table top theme of Clue, we see Ackles pick up various items from the game and glance at them almost amused. It’s as if he’s telling us that Dean’s picking up on this element of the episode through these gestures. He also shows us all of Dean’s amusement at his brother’s predicament, taking pleasure in seeing Sam have to extricate himself over and over from the clutches of Heddy and Beverley. In some ways, we can tell that this is perhaps his pay back for Sam’s teasing in “Fan Fiction.” When the ladies try to do the same thing to him, however, Ackles shows that Dean won’t stand for it in body language and tone. When Beverley throws herself onto him, he quickly pushes her away and cuts her off. As the case comes to a close, and we see Sam and Olivia’s cat and mouse game end with Sam surely the loser, Ackles shows us how skilled he is at turning on a dime. Up until this moment, Dean had seemed rather amused at some of the antics of the LaCroix family, at other times indignant at their attitudes towards him and his brother. Now, in the moment that we see Dean kill Olivia, Ackles shows us the cold and frightening side in the blink of an eye. He pulls the trigger, killing the shifter and hesitates but a moment before firing several more times. It’s a chilling moment captured in all of his screen presence and action as he sells us on Dean’s first kill. Once in the car, we see Dean become agitated and worked up about Sam’s line of questioning. Ackles puts doubt and fear into Dean’s voice. He may deny that this has anything to do with the Mark or anything to do with his demonic self, but we can see in his face and hear in his voice that there’s more going on—he just doesn’t know what or how to talk about it. It’s all in how Ackles portrays this moment. Now that Dean has made his first kill, how long before he truly ends up living Crowley’s words that he’ll “need to kill”?
Jared Padalecki played an awkward and uncomfortable Sam to great comedic effect. There was a endearing quality about his performance as Sam was frequently left to “entertain” the LaCroix ladies while Dean investigated. From the moment they say that the Winchester brothers are “adorable” to the last time Sam has to extricate himself from them, there’s a cute and hilarious nature to his portrayal that makes us giggle. Padalecki plays this subtly, evidenced best by his evasion of Beverly as she tries to coax him into her room for a “ten minute” romp. The way Padalecki delivers the line, “I’m lactose intolerant,” is priceless. Seeing Sam, in an effort to test the ladies with the silver, only adds to the awkward nature of the younger Winchester’s predicament. Padalecki amps up the comedy of his performance when he drops the “suave” line, “I was just playing hard to get.” It’s a tongue in cheek delivery that captures Sam’s discomfort well without totally tipping his hand on his true feelings to the desperate women. As Sam fits himself between them, the silver taped to his wrists, we see Padalecki add even more humor to the situation as Sam tries to sweet talk his way around them while managing to pull off his shape shifter tests. This is captured best when he says to the affronted Heddy, “Come on in, darlin’, the water’s warm.” It’s a cheesy pick up, but the way Padalecki drawls it we can’t help but be drawn in—or giggle hysterically. It isn’t until Sam’s good and stuck that we get to see the true hilarity ensue. Padalecki makes this brilliant as we see Sam go from the suave seducer to the deer in the headlights all in his body language and facial expressions. He’s trying to pull away as one pets his hair only to lean into the other that’s rubbing his hands—and as soon as Dean appears he quickly stutters that his brother needs him—completely shattering the debonair persona Sam was earlier trying to sell. With Ackles, Padalecki builds on their long standing chemistry, showing that the brothers are indeed a single unit and on the same page as they work this case. Even when they exchange details via phone or text, we can see it in everything Padalecki does. He conveys this best when Sam has the conversation with Dash about family and how they don’t get along. Padalecki puts all his emotion into the line, “Mine does. For the most part, it’s just my brother and me.” He doesn’t have to elaborate nor do we need to hear some deep emotional monologue to convey simply what Padalecki does in the delivery of this line. Sam loves his brother and he can’t understand the nature of the LaCroix family. As we see him go through the cat and mouse game with Olivia, we can sense dread in Sam. It’s not simply because he knows this monster needs to be put down, he knows he doesn’t have the right weapon on hand and if he’s not careful his brother will step in and make his first kill since his cure. Once that happens, Padalecki captures all of Sam’s shock and horror at watching Dean fire repeatedly into the now dead shifter. Once they leave the mansion and make their way down the road, Padalecki shows us all of Sam’s concern as he tries to talk with his brother about what happened. The more Sam pushes, the more agitated Dean gets until he turns the radio up, leaving them unable to talk. As they drive down the road, Padalecki puts all of Sam’s fears into one haunted look out the Impala’s window. How will Sam handle this new change in Dean—and is he ready to face the returning disease known as the Mark of Cain?
Best Lines of the Week:
Dean: Are you kidding me, for once we don’t have to wear suits. You’re lucky my waistband is not elastic.
Sam: Mine does. For the most part, it’s just my brother and me.
Dean: Well, Murphy’s a douche.
Sam: I-I, um, I’m lactose intolerant, so…
Sam: I think they’re called WASPs.
Next week, it’s double bubble, toil and trouble for the Winchesters—just what does the King of Hell have to do with it?