"The Werther Project"
Writer: Robert Berens
Director: Stefan Pleszczynski
Air Date: April 22, 2015
Many struggle with thoughts of suicide born out of a well of depression/ guilt/ despair.
We give in when we convince ourselves that the world would be better off without us.
When one of us commits suicide, the survivors are devastated and endangered.
Another's suicide can infect loved ones, families, and communities,
like a plague creating the Werther Effect.*
There is a solution to this darkness: "We're stronger together than apart."
Reach out and "Always Keep Fighting!"**
PLOT & CHARACTERS
A 1973 newspaper is delivered to a white house in St. Louis.
Inside, teenage Susie (Erika-Shaye Gair) settles down to watch TV, when her brother, Brad, snaps it
off to play a record. Suzie's annoyed. Brad (Matteo Stefan) prefers this record player's speakers to his own.
Mom (Jenn Bird) enters with laundry to do.
"I need the laundry started. The workmen have finally left for the day and I have my hands full with dinner.
And please, none of your Betty Friedan stuff."
Suzie complains, "It's not fair. Look, I always get stuck with the hard chores just 'cause I'm a girl."
Her mom says, "Tough luck."
Suzie picks up the laundry, passing her father (Michael Soltis) on the phone in his study, telling his buddy that,
"The house is great, Ted. It's a bit of a fixer, but it's a real beaut. It was caught in some ownership muddle for
years but finally hit the market, and I leapt." He closes the door cutting off the conversation.
Suzie proceeds to the basement. Suddenly inspired, she picks up a sledgehammer and smashes in a wall.
Behind the wall is a large, cobwebbed safe. She tugs on the door and it opens with a bang, knocking her down and out.
A noxious green vapor flies over her and up the stairs.
When Suzie wakes, she goes upstairs where a pan is smoking on the stove.
Suzie calls out to her family and enters the study to see her father dead. There is a gun and a pool of blood around his head.
She screams running to the living room. Her brother drops, hanging himself in the hall.
She runs to the kitchen and clutches her mother. Her mother says, "Everything's gonna be okay,"
and then picks up a large knife and slashes her own throat.
Rendezvous 4 2
Seated at a café table, Rowena tells Sam she'll help if he kills Crowley, her son. Without questioning that, Sam agrees.
He needs to know if she can read the Book of the Damned.
Rowena figures she's the only witch alive who can, but not in its present form.
Rowena needs a codex made by a witch named Nadya. The Men of Letters stole her codex and hid it.
Dean shouts a text: HITTING A NEST IN TULSA. JOIN IF YOU WANT."
Dean whacks the head of the sixth and last vampire.
He washes his machete and hands in a barrel of water and opens a blood splattered refrigerator to grab a can of beer.
"Jackpot!" Sam runs up carrying a machete, looking wildly around. "What happened? What is this?"
Dean killed six vamps solo, "a personal best." Sam's annoyed, "You couldn't have waited?"
Dean maintains "It's done. Come on, man. It's the only way I can take the edge off. I'm sorry.
I don't always like to wait around for you, especially with you looking at me like that all the time."
Sam wants to know, "like what?"
"Like I'm some sort of a diseased killer puppy. You know what, man? I'm sweaty and
I'm covered in vamp juice. Can we just talk about this later? I'd like to get back to the bunker, get my buzz on,
and, you know, pass out watching 'Speed 2: Cruise Control.' We cool?"
Sam passes Dean's bedroom door. Dean's asleep with headphones on.
(The Mark has been temporarily sated.)
In the library, Sam sets up a tape and puts on headphones to listen to an archived Men of Letters tribunal.
(May 16th, 1956)
Markham (Ben Corns) and members are deciding the outcome of Cuthbert Sinclair's transgressions.
Cuthbert hid Nadya's codex inside an enchanted "Werther Box."
His warding was so lethal that it killed two Men of Letters members:
"Fletcher chanced upon the box and died in two hours. Martinez heroically tried to shut it down.
We found him dead on the floor beside the box, his wrists cut."
Cuthbert (Kavan Smith) already apologized and being Men of Letters is about risks.
He insults the assembly by telling them, "You are NOT men. You're librarians, nothing more."
Markham will grant some leniency to Cuthbert if he helps shut the box down.
Cuthbert refuses but he gives them a clue, "Let's just say Martinez was on the right track."
Two members escort Cuthbert out.
Markham tells the Men of Letters to inter the box and guard it into "perpetuity. Bury it."
Sam writes down the address for the old Men of Letters Chapter in St. Louis.
He calls Rowena waking her from her beauty nap. He needs a spell to break a violent spell.
Rowena tells him to use the "Cabirian invocation," and offers to come with.
Old newspapers lay moldering on the porch of the white house in St. Louis.
Assuming the house is abandoned, Sam tries to pick the lock.
A gun appears through the mail slot, aimed at his package. Suzie growls, "Bad idea."
Sam says he can explain but Suzie gives him three options: get arrested, get your bits blown off, or get back.
Sam chooses to get back and returns to his (?) car.
The passenger door opens and it's Dean. "Hey ya, Sammy. How's the case?" Dean's shown up to save Sam's sack.
He thinks Sam is going off solo because he did. Dean apologizes to Sam.
It was stupid and "selfish. It was a douche move. If you're doing this case by yourself to teach me a
lesson, you don't have to, okay?" Dean found the address by pencil scratching Sam's notepad.
(Be more careful, Sam.)
Dean researched the house to discover the suicides of Suzie's family.
He doesn't understand why Sam's interested in this frozen cold case.
Sam tells him the house was a Men of Letters chapter house and Magnus built "Werther, a magical box with a deadly
alarm system. Werther is buried somewhere in that house. It was supposed to have been guarded,
but I'm guessing that plan went out the window when Abaddon massacred the entire membership in '58."
The box was responsible for the deaths of Suzie's family and it needs to be defused.
As Men of Letters, Sam feels it's their responsibility and legacy. Dean says he's in, if Sam will have him.
Dean posing as Dwight Twilley, a member of the Neighborhood Watch, covers his goods nervously in front of Suzie's door.
When Suzie (Brenda Bakke) opens the door with gun in hand, Dean pretends to be looking for information about a break in guy
and is excited to hear Suzie saw him. Dean's allowed in. Suzie sums up Sam's appearance, "tall, white fella. Pretty hair."
Sam picks the lock on the back door.
The house is a hoarder's nightmare, but Dean lies, "nice house you have here....You live alone?"
Suzie says it's just her and "Gus" her gun. Sam makes it inside the house.
The kettle screams.
(On that terrible avocado stove. Lasted for 40+ years. That is a curse.)
Tea is ready although Dean declines.
(Don't be drinking none of that. EWWW!)
He sees Sam hiding in the back entry, trying to pick the basement lock.
Dean keeps the psychotic Suzie distracted. "So, all alone in this big house? Must get lonely, even with, Gus."
Suzie grumbles she's used to it, since 1980.
Suzie had an Aunt Pauline who moved in after her family died but she went into the basement,
a forbidden zone. Sam enters the basement and turns on the flashlight.
He goes through hole and sees the cobwebby Werther Box.
Suzie pulls Gus on Dean. "Oh! Whoa! Suzie!"
Suzie's suspicious, "My social skills may be rusty, but I'm no idiot. Doorbell hasn't rung in months,
and two visitors in one hour? One breaking in, and the other asking all sorts of questions about...."
Dean reminds her that he's from the Neighbourhood- when she interrupts, "Yeah, Neighbourhood
Watch. Right. Boy, you seen this house? There's only one thing in here worth getting at, and it sure as hell ain't me.
You came for the box."
Sam lights the ingredients and begins disenchanting the spell.
"I knew someday, someone would come for it. I swore never to let that happen. He's downstairs isn't he?"
Dean drops the pretense and admits, "He's my brother. And we're here to help you."
Suzie demands Sam be called upstairs.
Dean calls, "Sam! Sammy!"
Sam turns the handle of the box and "boom," the green Werther smoke gets out.
Suzie, yells, "No! No! Get out! Get out! Out! Out! You bastards!"
Dean heads out with Suzie but the smoke catches them and puffs into their eyes.
Sam arrives. Suzie waves Gus in his face, "You have any idea what you've done?"
Suzie's brother, pale with a rope burn, confronts Suzie. "Hey Suzie, you miss me?"
Suzie fires at the ghost of her brother while Sam and Dean run to another room. Suzie backs into the kitchen to
see her dead mother. She runs to the study. Her dead father accuses her, "You did this to us."
The ghosts of her mother and brother chime in "You let it out," and "We died while you slept."
Suzie screams "No!"
Sam rushes to help her. The study door is closed. Sam knocks, pleading with Suzie to let him help.
While Sam pleads futilely, Suzie's family tries to persuade her to commit suicide,
and Dean steps into purgatory.
Suzie shoots herself. The study door opens, allowing Sam to see the damage.
Suzie's ghost appears and blames Sam,
"Survived 40 years in this house, keeping that thing on lockdown, and one visit from a putz like you..."
Suzie's WerGhost seems to know all about Sam and his quest, "Lot of good "sorry" does me.
Look at me. ...The first casualty of your misguided mission. But what's another human life to you?
Anything's worth it, as long as you two make it out alive." Sam's convinced she isn't real.
That does not stop her from lighting into him, "You think Dean's the wild card, the loose cannon. But don't you see?
Making deals with witches, opening Pandora's Box down there? You're the reckless one.
You'll do anything to keep clinging to that doomed brother of yours. How many more will die, Sammy? You know it.
You have to be stopped. And the only one who can stop you is you! Do it, Sammy! End this farce once and for all!"
Sam's not buying it so the Werther entity creates another illusion.
WRowena steps in and orders the WerGhost away, "Vanesce!'
She smiles, "Told you you'd need me." WRowena claims to have found Sam by magic and he accepts this explanation.
They return to Dean entranced in the living room.
1 + 0 =
From Purgatory, Dean calls out to Sam but he seems motionless to Sam.
A disgusting Leviathan attacks and Dean's old comrade, WerBenny (Ty Olsson) appears to kill it.
Dean can't believe it. "You're not real!"
2 - 1 = 1
WRowena "doesn't have enough magic to wake Dean" but offers to help Sam by fixing the Werther box.
Sam readily agrees with this logic, "The box! If we can figure out the fail-safe, we can break the spell and get the codex.
Suzie's hallucinations drove her to suicide. Same thing happened to her family. Werther's illusions
tried to do the same thing to me." In the meantime, they keep Dean safe by tying him up in a chair.
In Purgatory, WerBenny pleads for Dean to talk to him.
Dean argues, "like I said, you ain't Benny...you are just a figment, okay? You're subconscious junk
my brain's throwing up to distract me from getting back to reality."
WerBenny counters, if he's "subconscious junk, well, then how can I lead you wrong?"
X Wrong Answer
Sam and WRowena are in the basement with the Werther Box. WRowena illuminates the
inscription on it and reads the Latin while Sam translates, "To silence the box, Slake its thirst, With
the blood of our own." The box needs the blood offering of a Man of Letters.
Dean and WerBenny have walked in a circle. Dean says he needs to get out but WerBenny disagrees.
"It's all a figment, right? You, me, left right. But no matter which way you turn, you keep ending up here.
You gotta wonder: why this figment? Why this place?"
WerBenny explains to Dean that purgatory is where he really wants to be. "Your happy place. And you don't really wanna
leave." WerBenny reminds Dean of the "purity" of Purgatory, a place where you can kill without consequences.
But, Dean's "tired of fighting." WerBenny agrees but the Mark isn't. "So, can't leave, don't wanna stay, bit of a bind ain't it?
Good thing there's always a third way out. You can't say you haven't been thinking about it."
Dean knows what the third way out is: suicide and he refuses to do it. WerBenny says suicide has "purity and honour."
Will Dean wait "for the Mark to reclaim you? Go out swinging, die topside, then what? Maybe kill a few humans?
Kill Cas? Kill your brother? Yeah, that's mighty honorable!"
Dean tells WerBenny to "shut up!"
WerBenny reminds him of his own rationale, "Oh, I'm sorry. I forgot about your plan. You gonna get Sam and Cas to put you down?
You really think that they're gonna keep that agreement? ...Dean, let's say they do. Do you think they will ever recover from that?
It will ruin them. This little backup plan of yours, I know you've been thinking about it for a time,
I know it's been gnawing at you. You can't leave that job to them."
WerBenny continues, "You make the right choice in here, you'll sleep forever, and you won't ever hurt anyone ever again.
No one needs to know, Dean. What happens in Purgatory stays in Purgatory."
WerBenny hands Dean his old Purgatory weapon.
The Dean in Suzie's chair breaks free of the ropes.
Dean rises, picks up a bottle and smashes it.
Sam slashes his wrist and blood spurts into the basin.
The tumblers inside begin to turn. WRowena notices it's working.
The tumblers stop. WRowena tells Sam, "It wants more, Sam. It wants it all."
Sam considers, "The codex, path to the cure. It's in there. If it wants more, it'll get more."
He cuts his other wrist for another fresh stream of blood.
Purgatory is as "good a place as any to call it a day, huh?"
Dean stands staring at the broken bottle in the living room.
Dean explains to WerBenny, "I'd do it. If I really had to, I would. But the real Benny, would never let me."
WerBenny agrees, "We already covered that, chief. It's not me." It's Dean's own subconscious doing the convincing.
But, something else won't allow Dean to commit suicide. "For better or worse, the Mark, it wants me alive."
Dean pulls WerBenny close and stabs him. WerBenny disappears.
Dean turns and he's back in Suzie's house. He puts down the broken bottle.
Sam is passing out from blood loss. WRowena is milking his arm. "It's opening, Sammy! It's nearly there."
Dean runs to Sam. "Hey! Hey, Sammy, whatever you're seeing, it's a trick. Okay? It's not real!"
Dean slaps Sam to rouse him but Sam tries to cut him with his knife. Dean grabs the knife.
Sam pleads, "No, don't! Don't! It's the only way. It needs legacy blood. Enough to take a life."
Dean wraps Sam's wrist and opens his own vein. "Yeah. Well, it doesn't have to come from
just one legacy, does it?" His blood activates the tumblers. The box opens.
WRowena sighs, "Ah, well," and vanishes.
Dean removes the codex.
Recovering, Sam sits in the Impala reading the codex.
Dean returns to the car with a sledgehammer he used on the Box. Sam thinks smashing the box was
"Overkill, don't you think? I mean, we broke the spell. The box is just a box."
Dean says it's also now just "scrap metal" and asks if Sam's "road ready."
Sam says he'll be fine.
Dean reflects on the day's events. "That says something, doesn't it? Werther splits us up in there. Within an hour,
we're both on the brink of death. Sorry about yesterday, going rogue on you like that."
Sam tells him not to apologize, "I think that makes us even."
Dean realizes the LESSON LEARNED: "The universe is trying to tell us something we both should already know.
We're stronger together than apart."
Dean also wonders what the codex is and why it needed such a powerful spell.
Sam lies, "No idea. But whatever it is, we'll keep it safe."
In an abandoned distillery, Rowena squeals with delight on seeing the codex.
She explains the codex will be able to crack the code of the Book of the Damned.
Sam slaps iron cuffs on her. It's, "Insurance. Comfortable?" She snarls, "We had an agreement, giant."
Sam concedes the "agreement stands. You will decrypt the Book of the Damned and find me a cure for my brother.
And that is all you will get from the book. I'll burn the book, and then I'll kill Crowley. But until then..."
Rowena is wild. "I'm your slave? You can't just leave me here!"
Sam tells her, "You want out? Hurry up. Get to work."
He leaves while Rowena hurls another insult, "You big bampot."
The theme of suicide was addressed with the right amount of seriousness and a Supernatural twist.
A difficult task with this topic.
Having lost her entire family at a young age, Suzie desperately tries to hang on to
everything to circumvent experiencing that horrible loss again.
Suzie suffers from survivor guilt. Somehow, she survived while her loved ones did not.
They succumbed to taking their own lives while she "slept."
Those who have a loved one commit suicide suffer from the same angst of how they should have noticed,
done more to help, survived while others failed to.
We must take special care with those who have been touched by a close suicide.
It's pretty impressive to write a character who stands up to psychoanalysis, especially a minor one.
Theme & ARCS
The script included the seasonal arc of the Marc of Cain, Dean and Sam's character arc.
The Werther entity manifests itself as Benny, a trusted friend of Dean's.
He is, as Dean knows, only a projection of his subconscious.
Benny is also a Vampire which hints that perhaps his recent 6 kills are not so guilt free after all.
WerBenny magnifies the guilt and fear Dean already feels.
Purgatory would be a good place for the Mark, but not for Dean.
Dean has been holding out the hope that Cas, or Sam, can do "the job" or kill him before the Mark takes over.
He also knows that it's unfair to expect this of them.
Sadly, he has contemplated suicide and may have already attempted it. The Mark will not allow it.
Dean also knows that a real, true friend would never suggest, or encourage this
poisonous thinking and he does not fall victim to it.
The Werther entity first manifests as Suzie's ghost and accuses Sam of being selfish and plays on his guilt
in order to convince him to "end it." But, Sam does not fall for this guise.
Then, the Werther Effect manifests as WRowena who saves him for the WerGhost.
She pretends to assist him with his quest to get the codex, just as it assisted the poor Man Of Letters, Fletcher, who slashed
his own wrists to disarm the box. Sam almost succumbs.
He's willing to kill himself for his brother, a fact we are well aware of.
If there was any doubt, both Sam and Dean are proven authentic Men of Letters with legacy blood.
The continuity between episodes was kept with a beginning scene of Rowena and Sam's plotting.
The Men Of Letters scene dragged.
Apparently, after the first watch, some viewers thought 'Werther Benny' was really Benny and/or that 'Werther Rowena'
was actually the real Rowena. There was no way to identify them as such until you reached the end. Surprise!
Once you learned the truth it made a re-watch much more interesting.
For some, this episode was unbearable to watch. It's a sensitive issue and now and then, even a sad song can be a
tipping point. Sometimes we have to stick to our feel good playlist and protect those bits.
And, always keep fighting.
Stefan Pleszczynski/ Serge Ladouceur
Todd Rundgren's "The Light in your Eyes" very punny.
AMAZING SETS/COSTUME TIME PERIODS
1973 St Louis House. 2015 Hoarder house, Restaurant, 2015 Bunker, 1950's Men of Letters Bunker,
Tulsa Trailer Vampire Nest, Purgatory, Abandoned Distillery.
Harvest Gold Washer and Dryer team: Many scary details
What's scarier than a haunted house? A Haunted HOARDER house.
Magic smoke and Ghost Flashes
Sledgehammers Bookend the Episode
Rowena searching for her phone. When she finds it, it's upside down.
FROM THE REAR VIEW
Ty Olsson has appeared in 9 episodes
Kavan Smith has appeared in 3 episodes
Storify: Supernatural The Werther Project
Tumblr gifs spn #10x19
laoih: The Werther box/yayoureright/itsdeanwinchester
*For information on the original Werther suicide phenomenon, see here:
** #Always Keep Fighting Campaign
To Write Love On Her Arm: https://twloha.com/home/