“The Usual Suspects”
–Robin’s Rambles by Robin Vogel
Linda Blair appears in a episode which, of course, necessitates Dean making a joke at the end about a hankering for split pea soup. Would we expect any less?
I loved this episode, which had the boys facing a benign MOTW and an evil human monster in the guise of an officer of the law. Sam and Dean pretend to know the Guiles family, a husband and wife murdered, seemingly by a malevolent spirit.
While Sam weaves a tale for Diana in one room, the reasonable cop portrayed by Linda Blair, Pete, Diana’s boyfriend, is trying to force a confession for the two deaths out of Dean, who was caught bending over Karen Guiles’ dead body. Diana is trying to get Sam to roll over on Dean, who is already wanted on torture/murder raps in St. Louis (where they had thought him dead, until they caught him here in Baltimore and matched the fingerprints). That was the shapeshifter incident, which is now reopened.
The spirit, trying desperately to communicate with the living, keeps leaving a written clue: danashulps. Sam works it up as an anagram in his room on paper. Even as Dean’s lawyer tries to tell him how serious his charges are, all Dean wants from him is pen and paper so he can work up the anagram and a note to Sam, which he asks the lawyer to give his brother. Dean announces he’s going to tell everything, exciting the entire police station. They set up a tape to capture his confession, but all he tells them is that he’s an Aquarius who likes long walks along the beach, that they are dealing with a bloodthirsty ghost trying to communicate across the veil (remember “redrum”), they have gotten “danashulps,” which translates into “Ashland, which is where all this probably started. Furious, Pete manhandles Dean and has him locked up.
When they return to the room where they left Sam alone, he’s gone. Diana finds the note Dean sent Sam, to Hilts from McQueen, one character and one actor from THE GREAT ESCAPE”and escape is what Sam did, per Dean’s instructions!
Diana enters the ladies’ room and has an encounter with the bleeding throat ghost lady who tries to speak and writes danashulps on the misty bathroom mirror. She goes to Dean, who explains that a vengeful spirit would have been the victim of a violent death and want revenge. She shows him bruise marks encircling her wrist, concerned because they were also on the Guiles’ wrists, too”and they died. Dean urges her to go to Sam for help. Go to the first hotel listed in the Yellow Pages and ask for Jim Rockford. She has a choice”arrest Sam or let him save her.
Sam shows Diana crime scene photos; since she once worked drug detail, she identifies Claire Becker, arrested twice for dealing heroin. Sam notes an address”129 Ashland”and suggests and he Diana go there and salt and burn the bones. Claire appears to Diana while Sam is searching elsewhere and reaches out to her. Once in the dank, ugly warehouse, the EMF device locates Claire’s body behind a brick wall. Dean opens up the wall and he and Diana lift out Claire’s body. They unwrap it and note that her wrists are tied. She’s also wearing a locket that Diana knows well”it’s rare, she has one too, and a gift from Pete! Sam explains that Claire is a death omen, a warning, a ghost who metes out justice. Pete killed Claire! Diane remembers that heroin went missing from lockup; apparently Pete had been using Claire to sell it on the street. She turned on him and he killed her.
Big problem”Pete took Dean, just the two of them, in one of the station’s vehicles, supposedly to St. Louis. Pete is refusing to answer the radio. Turn on the Lojack in the car, suggests Sam (who uses his brief law training to good use in this ep).
Dean gets nervous when Pete stops the vehicle in the middle of nowhere. Pee break already? asks Dean, wondering if Pete has prostate trouble. Turns out Pete plans to “kill Dean escaping,” and pulls him out of the vehicle, holding a gun on him. Diana, gun in hand, and Sam show up just as Pete is about to pull the trigger. They can pin everything on one dead scumbag, Pete tells Diana, “I still love you.” Dean objects to being called a scumbag, and hopefully, Diana doubts the love. She drops the arm holding the gun, appearing to acquiesce, but then she shoots him before he can shoot Dean. Wounded, holding the gun on all three of them, Pete admits that Tony was going to turn him in, so he killed him. He killed Tony’s wife, too. Claire’s ghost appears to Pete, so Diana takes the opportunity and shoots him in the back, killing him.
Diana chooses to let the Winchester brothers go. They have important work to do, and she prefers having them out there doing it. She’ll say they escaped. Pete confessed, so this case is solved. The one in St. Louis, however, she can’t help them.
As they’re heading over to get the Impala out of impound, Dean remarks how familiar Diana looks and that he has a yearning for pea soup.
Oh, and this is the ep where Dean tells Sam he’s the Scully in their partnership, a red-headed woman. While Sam sits trying to break a computer password, Dean makes fart sounds because he’s bored”very funny.
I wondered what had happened to Linda Blair, and if she was still acting. It was good seeing her again. Honestly, her acting here didn’t impress me. She was OK. I think someone else would have done better. Her scenes with Sam were pretty good, actually. The actor who played Jack was great, very nasty and fun. It really scared me when he “took Dean for a ride.”
They never use the Hilts/McQueen gig again, nor the Jim Rockford/first hotel in the Yellow Pages, nor do we ever hear a repeat of Funky Town. For continuity’s sake, I wish we would see repeats of these things once in a while, don’t you?