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Open Supernatural Couch - Croatoan
Infernal Virus Cocktail, Shaken, Not Stirred
Every sound echoes through the hallway as Dean checks his gun in slow motion, the click of the magazine like a metallic drum... takes aim at an unarmed, bound young man, listening to the others' fearful arguments, the guy's desperate pleading... but in fact - he's already decided to have no choice. He hates to do this. In all likelihood hates himself this very moment for having to do this... and he shoots him...
Dean! What are you doing?! No, this can't be ... this just can't be... and it isn't. Not yet. It's just another nightmare vision poisoning Sam's sleep, so powerful that it must have catapulted him out of bed. A dream that leads them to Rivergrove, Oregon.
Sam: You thought there was something inside him
Dean: What, a demon? Was he possessed?
Sam: I don't know.
Dean: All your weirdo visions are always tied to the yellow-eyed demon somehow, so was there any black smoke? Did we try to exorcise him?
Sam: No, nothing. You just plugged him. That's it.
Dean: Well, I'm sure I had a good reason.
Sam: I sure hope so.
Dean: What does that mean? I'm not gonna waste in an innocent man. I wouldn't!
Sam: I never said you would!
Sam: Fine. We don't know what it is, but whatever he is, that guy in the chair is part of it. So let's find him, and see what's what.
Both are on edge and how could they not be? Not long ago their father died and left Dean with some information concerning Sam. They heard that allegedly John was a part of how Jo's father died which put a shadow on their newly formed relationship to Ellen and Jo. And - there had been a moment where Dean considered, if only for a split second, to trade his soul to the crossroads demon... drops of oil on the already slippery slope towards disaster...
As they arrive in Rivergrove, Sam immediately spots the coloured man from his vision, and Dean scores some points for recognizing the guy's rank of master sergeant Varko - well, Dad was in the corps... so the former marine points them to the place where the young man Dean shot in Sam's vision is supposed to live.
You've got to love Sam's Sherlock Holmes - mind... His eyes are open to everything, he remembers tiny details like the thin scar the guy in his dream had, and now he stumbles onto the word Croatoan, engraved in one of the poles there, connecting it to America's probably first ghost story of the lost colony Roanoke.
They don't know, yet, of course, what's happening, but the brothers do know that it might be of a dimension that will exceed their capabilities. Sam's visions that are usually connected to YellowEyes... something big is afoot, no doubt. Trying to call for help discloses another crucial element to anyone who would want to wipe out a city: â€˜Line's dead. I'll tell you one thing: if I was gonna massacre a town, that'd be my first step.'
Where Sam is the widely gifted mind when it comes to knowledge and research, Dean excels at war design and strategic instinct - he smells it, putting himself immediately in the head of a potential terrorist, probably demonic. The Stepford attitudes of the people living there disturbs them and rightly so, as they witness the strange blood transfusion the Tanners are performing on the family's mom... and Sam, not yet anything like a cold blooded assassin, is just not capable of shooting the running kid in the back.
Dean: You know, if you had taken out the other one, there'd be one less to worry about.
Sam: I'm sorry, alright? I hesitated, Dean. It was a kid.
Dean: No, it was an it. Not the best time for a bleeding heart, Sam.
Oh, Dean, you must be falling apart on the inside, observing your brother, as dad instructed you to, and over-interpreting his every reaction. Like a watchdog on drugs, being erratic, maybe even smelling some peculiar scents where there aren't any, well, not yet...
So, they get Mrs Tanner to the local medical clinic and perform their roles as Marshals again quite convincingly, though slightly disturbing the doctor, Amanda Lee, by showing up with the dead body of Mr Tanner who â€˜did the attacking and then got himself shot'. No one can actually believe why the Tanner family would change so significantly. Except the Winchesters... still going for some kind of possession.... They should go to the movies more often, had they seen 28 Days Later, perhaps, they would have picked up the trail sooner...
Okay, Dean tries to find a way out while Sam stays behind, trying to keep the others safe - and not even knowing, yet, from what. There is no way out. Dean runs into more blood... it's messy, whatever is going on, and then meets a road block... ha, saved by that beautiful car - he turns her around like a race car driver, what a car! (Don't shoot the Impala, damn you!) What a guy... Sorry, kind readers, I just love that moment. So very Han Solo. So very Dean.
Sam, in the clinic, learns of the weird residue to be found in a victim's blood - sulphur. Sam's face speaks volumes in this tiny sequence. It's an aha-moment for him, suddenly the strange reactions and the missing of demonic possession signs are beginning to make sense - and there is confusion and panic in his eyes, lasting as long as a heartbeat before he puts the U.S.Marshal mask back on. Oh, Sammy... a demonic virus? Because - what else could it be? He has suspected that something different than possession was going on and now this.
While Dr Lee still tries to find out what kind of disease might have caused the reported reactions, Sam attempts to remain calm, not letting on what he is suspecting.
And his fears are growing, experiencing first hand the effect of the strange viral infection the victim had been fighting off, due to his high lymphocyte percentage (lymphocytes are the body's anti-virus police, usually increasing when a viral infection needs to be conquered): Mrs Tanner just turns into a violent creature of enormous strength, and Sam needs a metallic bottle of Oxygen to calm her down.
We'll get back to you on that
On his way back, Dean almost runs sergeant Vargo down - a scene that become a hysterical exchange of â€˜Put your gun down' - â€˜No, you put it down' . Both soldiers are in panic, confused, but Dean, with his knowledge of the paranormal gets a grip easier than the big guy, realizing they could remain there all day threatening and ultimately kill each other and not being useful instead.
So, they drive back together, guns aimed at each other, just what you need to relax your mind... And that is one hell of a job, as it's fairly hard to bring someone in panic down, believe me, I know. Dean does his best to keep the guy in the shotgun seat down, Sam assures the nurse that help would come. Oh, boy, if you knew how desperate the situation really is...
This is the Omega Man - I Am Legend scenario. Sam is pretty keen on putting Dean in the picture of the demonic germ warfare idea, finally having understood why he had been having visions about this place. While Dean had been away, Sam has been â€˜poring through dad's journal. Found something about the Roanoke colony. ... Dad always had a theory about Croatoan. He thought it was a demon's name, sometimes known as Dever, sometimes Reshef, a demon of plague and pestilence.'
Indeed this demon can be found in the Bible as a companion of Yahweh upon His appearance as the destroyer. In Acadian faith he was also a god of war, a god of the underworld, visiting the earth for a duration of 160 days each year, from July to December. I wouldn't be surprised if Horseman Pestilence and this guy were friends. Perhaps even in league spreading diseases all over the planet...
As soon as Dean hears of Mrs Tanner being infected, he does not hesitate to kill the woman pleading for her life, yet not before having Sam confirm it - which he does, heartbrokenly and, for the moment, defeated.
This specimen of the Croatoan virus must have been an early version, as in this episode the infected persons are still capable of trying to manipulate others, to lie to save their skin, and not yet the mindless, bloodthirsty killers we've seen in later seasons... Looking back, I can't stop thinking about demonic scientists, in underground labs, experimenting with hundreds of captured people - perhaps those that disappeared hundreds of years ago in Roanoke and now those vanishing from Rivergrove, maybe many of the disappearing persons each year ended up in demonic laboratories... what a creepy thought. As Lucifer had ages to plan his escape, why not start in a pretty much uninhabited colony and expand his knowledge about this means of warfare over centuries... The big plan...
Now, the Winchesters still don't know about the master plan of destruction they will painfully learn of later on, but they are aware that they have to warn others about what's coming. Unfortunately they landed in a town not unfamiliar with rifles. Then, explosives are the deal of the day. And Sam, walking encyclopaedia of knowledge (how I love a smart man, in particular this smart man... oh, sorry, folks... you can't expect me to write an article entirely bereft of shallow moments, can you? I know, I know, he's a fictional character... but let's pretend for the length of an episode that he's not....) knows how to make some....
You sure, Mr. Kripke, that Sam and MacGyver don't share any DNA?
No time, as Duane Tanner shows up, confused, afraid, exhausted. For a moment Sam can't believe his eyes. Again, his vision is coming true. I can't help but assume that he might have hoped to be wrong this time. Because if not, his brother was going to shoot Duane.