“The Things They Carried”
Director: John Badham
Air Date: March 17, 2015
A Slasher/Sci-fi/ horror is used as a metaphor for soldiers returning home, carrying the horror of war,
and trying to cope while inadvertently harming those they love.
This episode encapsulates the weight of what our soldiers “hump.”
PLOT & CHARACTERS
Fragmented visions appear. Dripping water. Hair. Empty hall. Upside down woman struggling.
Hands bound. Upside down, a masked man approaches from the end of the hall. She’s screaming behind duct tape,
Writhing and twisting. He places an ordinary white plastic bucket under her.
He grabs her head and slices her neck. Blood splatters in the bucket and pools in his hand.
When Dean enters the library, Sam quickly closes his laptop to conceal the Mark of Cain research.
Dean asks if he’s looking at “Porn?” Lying horribly, Sam denies it, “What? No. l. It’s nothing.”
Dean won’t pass judgement but, “Just, you know, not where we eat.”
When Sam denies it again, Dean responds, “Okay, ‘erotica.’ Whatever. Zip it up. Check this out.”
His tablet shows an article of a soldier, Jackie Prescott, trained in martial arts, “who had all her organs
drained, and the marrow was sucked completely out of the bones.”
A Rugaru? A God? Dean’s going to get his “pencil-neck suit.”
Sam’s not crazy about going, considering recent events, but he’s unable to explain.
Dean takes charge, “10 minutes. I’Il meet you in the car.”
While Dean drives, Sam’s continues researching the Mark on his phone.
Dean notices and tells him to stop. “We have to face the truth, right? Even if we don’t like it.
Well, truth is there’s no way around this. We saw what happened to Cain, okay?
I’m not happy about it. But l got to move on.
So l’m gonna keep doing what we do while l still can.
And l’d like you to be there with me.”
They enter the Fayetteville police station where Officers enjoy some birthday cake.
The Sherriff (Peter Anderson) assumes they’re agents by their suits.
He’s surprised they drove all the way from DC to investigate the death of Jackie Prescott (Crystal Mudry).
The case was solved.
Officer Rick Willis killed her in a storage room at the base, leaving his fingerprints and dog tags behind.
He “drank a boat load of gasoline, then lit himself on fire.”
“Well, that’s a hell of a way to go.” Dean comments.
The Sherriff adds Rick Willis “Left a wife and a baby. Third suicide we seen in six months.
Military town. Would you like some cake?”
Dean clearly wants some cake but Sam declines intercepting Dean’s attempt to take some.
Sam asks for more details. The “Vic was killed with a Bowie knife.”
Dean manages to get a finger scoop of icing as they head out the door.
They rule out Rugaru and a god.
Dean’s revolted, “The guy Molotov cocktailed himself. That’s bonkers.
That’s like demon possession bonkers.”
They visit widow, Beth Willis (Helena Marie) in her kitchen. She juggles an adorable baby while explaining
her husband, back from a recent deployment, was good, “I have to kill the spiders, you know?”
She did notice he was unusually thirsty for “Water. He’d spend half the day drinking from the garden hose…
I caught him in the tub drinking the bathwater. When l told him to stop, it was like he couldn’t even hear me.
And his skin, it got so dry it bled.” She tried to get him to see a doctor at the V.A. “but, he just got on a list to get on a list.”
When Rick stopped talking, she “thought maybe it was PTSD.”
(Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
Beth has no idea where Rick was deployed, “that stuff is classified.”
However, she noted that her “friend Jemma… married to Kit Verson, a guy from Rick’s team”
thinks her husband “came back different this time.
Kind of felt like we were dealing with the same thing.”
Sam and Dean interview Jemma (Michelle Morgan) in her living room.
Jemma admits “Kit’s been going through some stuff… it takes him a while to get back to normal, but he always does.”
When they discover that Kit’s been out all night Jemma tries to excuse it,
“Kit, he comes back from these deployments, and he needs his space.”
But, she’s unable to keep up the deception, “God. I can’t even convince myself.”
Sam asks if Kit was thirsty, “Like ‘drink out of the dog bowl’ thirsty?”
Jemma asks, “How did you know?”
Leaving Jemma’s house, they see Cole (Travis Aaron Wade) leaning against Baby.
He pats Baby, “Recognized your wheels.” Jemma called Cole for help.
Cole’s known Kit since they were “military brats raisin’ hell on the same base. He’s a good man.”
Cole doubts the Winchesters are there for Jemma’s “sweet tea.”
Sam admits they’re working a case involving Kit and advises Cole to let them “handle it.”
Cole wants to help. He has contacts, “a friend of mine works military intelligence owes me a favor.”
Dean consents, “Okay, fine.”
Cole’s hostility shows, “No, it ain’t. You know, l figure what’s going on here. I stick to you two like flies on roadkill,
make sure my buddy comes home in one piece. Look, l know what you two are thinking, but we are not
gonna hunt my best friend, who happens to be a friggin’ war hero… We are gonna find him. And that’s the difference.”
Dean agrees, “Kit’s a hero.”
Sam cautions, “But you got to prepare yourself. Kit might not be Kit anymore.”
At the Gas n’ Sip, Kit (Richard de Klerk) staggers in and grabs a small bottle of water and tosses
it in favor of a larger bottle in the cooler.
The two clerks make eye contact. One of them has to step in. Dax (J. AlexBrinson) confronts Kit guzzling water.
“Sir? Sir, you have to pay for that first!” He tries to grab the bottle. Water splashes.
Kit smashes a wine bottle and slashes Dax’s throat.
Blood spatters. Kit falls to the floor sucking up the spillage.
“Well, when in doubt, eat.” Dean advises as he tucks into a Sammy’s Highway hamburger.
Cole reveals “an encrypted e-mail” from the M.I. “Kit and Rick were sent to rescue
an American P.O.W. Being held in Iraq, the Najaf cemetery.”
Cemeteries were used as prisons.
Cole shows them footage where a P.O.W. attacked his rescuers.
Sam’s phone interrupts, alerting them of the incident at the Gas n’ Sip.
Outside the Gas n’ Sip horror, Cole talks to Jemma on the phone. He tries telling her he doesn’t know for sure it was Kit.
Jemma pleads, “If he did, he isn’t in his right mind, and you know that, Cole. You got to save him.”
Cole promises he will.
Jemma remembers, “Sometimes, when Kit wanted to be alone, he would head up north to his dad’s old cabin.
Maybe you could go check it out…”
Dean calls to Cole, “Hey, Kung-Fu grip, you coming?”
Cole ends the call but doesn’t inform the Winchesters of the tip.
Cole reminds them that Kit “doesn’t need a bullet, and he doesn’t need a knife.”
Sam understands, “We know you want to protect your buddy, but . . .”
Dean finishes, “If he’s a monster, we got to put him down.” Cole asks to be dropped at Jemma’s.
Dean agrees, “You keep her calm. We’Il keep you posted.”
Dean doesn’t believe him and parks Baby a few streets up.
Sure enough, they spot Cole leaving in his jeep. They follow.
Dean’s annoyed at being deceived.
Using a flashlight, Cole enters Kit’s cabin. He follows a trail of ravaged mice calling out to Kit,
“Are you here? It’s Cole. There’s some real serious people looking for you… It’s bad, Kit. And it’s either me or them.”
The Winchesters pull up and get their gear ready.
Kit’s sobbing in the corner of a bedroom, “I’m sorry. l can’t stop.”
Suddenly, Kit attacks Cole. A Khan worm wiggles out of his mouth and into Cole’s.
Dean enters and stomps on a Khan worm.
He and Sam rush in and are thrown to the side as Kit breaks away. Cole chokes on the worm.
Dean goes after Kit. Cole’s gagging. Sam tells Cole to stay calm.
Returning, Dean scolds Cole for his “dumbass move.”
Cole apologizes sarcastically, “l’m sorry. l should have let the machete brothers cut my buddy’s head off.”
Dean’s cross, “If you did, maybe you wouldn’t be chokin’ down a damn Khan worm right now.”
Sam explains what a Khan worm is and the only way to fix them is to get capped in the head or electrocuted.
Cole’s eager to try, “Fine. Electrocution it is. l’m game.”
He’s hopeful because if they can fix him, they can fix Kit.
Dean warns him it will “hurt like a son of a bitch.”
Cole says with “a wife, a kid, and an upside-down mortgage to get back to. Whatever it takes, Dean-o.”
Dean hooks up jumper cables to a car battery.
Cole admires the brothers, “Day in, day out, you and Sammy saving people from things they
just can’t wrap their minds around. Hell, and nobody even notices it. Hell, at
least l get a medal for my efforts. But you, I tried to kill your ass.”
Dean remembers it as “good times.”
Cole marvels, he almost took Dean “off the map” and “Who would be saving me now?”
Dean warns him not to get too sentimental about it. “All right, let’s fire this puppy up.”
Cole’s impressed, “you say that like it’s just another Tuesday.”
Dean replies, “Oh, buddy, it’s only Monday.” He sparks the cables.
Cole puts a wooden spoon in his mouth pressing back in a chair. Dean applies the clamps to Cole’s forearms.
Dean tries twice with no results. Cole insists he do it again.
This time Cole’s heart appears to stop. Dean pounds on his chest to get it going.
When Cole comes around he immediately insists, “Hey. All right. Again.”
But, Dean’s done with the torture, “No, we’re done playing ‘Operation.’ I zap you again, you’re toast.
Just take a knee.”
Sam, unable to find Kit, picks up the phone for an update from Dean.
The worm was a no-show and “sparky struck out.” Sam’s heading to Jemma’s.
Dean and Cole regroup and strategize. Dean figures it’s “like a parasite. It wrings you dry, and then it moves on.”
Logically, Cole adds, “So if l dry myself out, the son of a bitch wouldn’t like that very much, now, would he?”
Dean agrees, “He’d want the hell out. You’d be a hostile environment. Well, more than you already are.”
Cole notes Dean’s never “seen my chiller side.”
They decide to try “rapid dehydration” via “sweat lodge in the woods.”
Jemma follows a trail of flowers to find Kit drinking the water from the flower vase.
Jemma talks soothingly to him, “We’re gonna fix this, okay? We’re gonna get you well, Baby.”
Kit attacks her and tries to deliver a worm from his mouth.
Sam appears to smash the flower vase over Kit’s head.
Over the phone, Dean fills Sam in, “take a schvitz, kill a freak. Call that a good day.”
Sam has another idea, “plan ‘B’ for bullet.” Dean says he isn’t there yet and asks about Jemma.
Sam notes she’s barely holding on. Dean tells Cole to keep sweating and cruelly cracks a cold bottle of water to drink.
Seeing Cole’s anguished look, he says, “sorry.”
WHO R U?
Sam explains the situation to Jemma while Kit’s tied up.
“On Kit’s … deployment with Rick, there was an incident, and something got inside Kit. …
It was a real-life, actual, honest-to-god monster.” Jemma ask Sam who he is.
Cole asks again about his father’s monster and tells Dean, “I get it. Why you did it, Dean. My dad wasn’t my dad anymore.
If l go down that same road. I want you to do that to me, too.”
Dean wants to postpone going down “that road. That means giving up. If you think that’s where
you’re headed, then you’ve got it ass-backwards. You’re gonna fight harder than you ever have.
Dean has more water. Cole’s face flashes with agony and hatred. He seats himself in a chair.
“Dean-o. Will you do me the honor of tying me to this chair?”
Dean starts to comply but takes too long. Cole slugs him and dives towards the water bottle.
Dean pulls a gun.
Cole mocks him, “Come on. We both know you’re not gonna do it.”
Dean tells him to sweat it through. Cole admits, he can’t. Dean gives him a pep talk.
“Yes, you can. Think about your family. Your wife, your kid. You hear me?”
Cole’s struggling, “I appreciate the talk, coach. But honestly, all l can think about
is slicing your wrist and drinking you like a fountain.
Guess that makes me a monster, don’t it?”
Jemma tries to wrap her mind around hunters and monsters,
“I don’t care if he’s what you say he is, okay? He’s my husband.”
Sam tries to explain that Kit isn’t Kit. He says he’ll check in with Dean on the phone.
Jemma sees that Kit’s no longer tied to the post in the kitchen. The lights go out.
Sam signals Jemma to be quiet. She tucks in behind him. He motions her to stay where she is.
When Sam moves on, Kit jumps on Jemma. Sam intervenes and begins struggling with Kit.
Kit’s on top of Sam choking him. His phone’s ringing.
Sam tries to reach for his gun laying a few feet away.
Dean can’t get through to Sam. Cole is seething by the fire.
Wildly, he leaps on Dean holding him down against the table.
Dean holds a gun to his head,
The Khan worm is coming up Cole’s throat.
Dean throws Cole off and stomps on the worm when it hits the floor.
Cole is okay, “Oh, thank God. Thank God.”
Dean calls Sam to tell him the good news but Sam sadly reports he had to kill Kit.
Jemma rocks her dead husband.
Outside of Kit’s cabin, Sam tries to apologize as Cole packs, “For whatever it’s worth, I really wish it hadn’t ended this way.”
Cole understands, “Me, too, Sammy boy… Jemma told me everything. Soldier goes crazy, attacks his wife.
She had to kill him. Or at least, that’s the story that she’s got to tell.”
Now, Cole wants to get back to his own family. He shakes their hands and thanks them,
but he hopes he doesn’t “see the two of you anymore. No offense.” Cole drives away.
Dean tells Sam not to blame himself for Kit. Sam feels crappy, “I tried. l just, I couldn’t save this one.”
Dean understands too well, “You know, you can do everything right. And even still,
sometimes, the guy still dies.”
His meaning sinks in and relates to their own predicament:
Sam’s refusal to give up on Dean.
Supernatural has been giving nods to a variety of horror genre films this season.
Ackles included classic Hitchcock and Kubrick shots (10.02 Reichenbach), and we had the “who dunnit” mystery (10.06 Ask Jeeves).
10. 13 “Halt and Catch Fire” was a ‘Ghost in the Machine’ trope with a nod to a “Scary Movie” parody.
This script opens with a classic ‘slasher’ scene followed by a Sci-fi horror, parasitic Alien, with some torture thrown in.
(There’s a potential article here.)
Another “off screen killing” with Sam and Kit occurs, as in 10.06, 10.09, and 10.14.
The Khan worm is a metaphor for soldiers returning home, carrying the horror with them.
The repercussions infect the soldiers with P.T.S.D. and their quest to escape from the torture, often manifests in various addictions.
The fallout affects their loved ones and suicide is all too prevalent. The novel, The Things We Carried, by Tim O’Brien,
encapsulates the weight of what our soldiers “hump” and it’s not chewing gum and canteens.
Upon receiving the news that one of their soldiers drank gasoline and lit himself on fire, the Sherriff’s
department acknowledges it as the “third” and carry on with their lives and birthday celebration, having become used to the suffering.
Beth voices the concerns of many families that there’s not enough help for soldiers, and that they get put “on a list to get on a list.”
The bonds formed by the soldiers extend to their families and this was demonstrated here.
Apparently, the military details are accurate and the dialogue between Dean and Cole realistically and convincingly written.
Freakishly, the story Cole and Jemma will tell is that, “Soldier goes crazy, attacks his wife.
She had to kill him.” And, everyone will accept it. Sad.
Cole’s fight with the monster inside parallels Dean’s fight with the Mark.
Dean uses this experience to teach Sam a lesson about knowing when to give up.
(Bitch count =2)
Slasher films use misogynistic tropes and gratuitous violence against female characters.
(Here a seasoned professional soldier.) Generally, a repulsive and offensive genre.
While some of the dialogue for the women was insightful, and the actresses gave 100%,
it still fell oddly flat and kind of dumb. Jemma especially seemed to be strange with her
“let’s sit and clarify a few points” while her husband’s tied to a post in the kitchen.
The parasitic worm thingy, regardless of the great SFX, was tired, done, and is often touted as a thinly veiled
reference for rape (Intrusion of the body). The logistics of the worm were confusing:
Kit gives the worm to Cole but still has one; Cole coughs up a worm and he’s OK.
If the worm was leeching all the body’s moisture, wouldn’t their stomachs be distended? Etc.
The story should have stayed in the real world with a “Slasher” realistic monster.
However, the shock therapy, was rad.
Do it again!
Castiel and Crowley were absent AGAIN, although it did not deter William Shatner from
tuning in to hack on his comrade Misha Collins.
(BTW, Thanks for ruining the flower “petal trail to the bedroom” scenario for us all.)
Fans at this point were tired of the parallels and MOW episodes and wanted to get to the Season’s arc,
especially after the last episode. Not this script’s fault.
John Badham / Serge Ladouceur
(Director Badham connecting with Travis)
New Book By John Badham
I’ll Be in My Trailer: The Creative Wars Between Directors and Actors
CLASSIC SLASHER SHOTS
RED AND YELLOW
Lots of hits. Here are a few:
For Makeup removal by writer, see:
1. What’s On Your Fridge? Does Your Fridge Reveal Your Character?
2. Badham (challenging director) used “green” and it sprouts around Sam, Dean and Cole.
Any ideas what GREEN represents?
3. Have you noticed a horror genre featured in Season ten?
4.What’s your opinion of “Slasher” horror films?
Electrifying! Congratulations, Travis Aaron Wade!
(You’ll be back!)
FROM THE REARVIEW
Richard de Klerk (Kit Verson) played Scott Carey in 2.10 “Hunted”
Storify: Live Tweets & Behind the Scenes
Supernaturaldaily gifs from Tumblr
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien