THEN:  the three Lebanon, KS teenagers comment about monsters.  Sam and Dean fight various monsters.  Sam mentions, “Mom doesn’t want to leave those people.”  We see AU hunters dead in the bunker and Sam filled with guilt and sadness.  He says he needs time.  The teens mention the kid with the dumb Bambi look.  The Winchesters worry about Jack’s soul.

NOW:  A dark night in Polk City, Iowa.  A car is parked in the woods outside a rustic cabin near a sign for a state park.  Two teenagers are in the back seat kissing when the back door is yanked open and a flashlight shines in on them.  It’s the boy’s dad, the local sheriff.  They bicker about where the boy is supposed to be and whose weekend it is (it’s supposed to be the ex-wife’s but she’s off with her boyfriend).  Barbara, the girl, slips out of the car and goes into the building to use the restroom.  It’s unappealing with grimy walls and leaves on the floor.  The light is a sickly green and flickers anemically.  Horrified by what she sees in stall number one, she moves on to the second one.  Outside, the dad tells his son they shouldn’t be out there.  A strange, melancholy whistling fills the air; the girl is nervous, then terrified as heavy steps crunch towards her stall.  She tenses in horror as a shadow seems to pause outside the stall door; then huge, scary fingers grasp the top of the door. 

Near the car, the sheriff and his son hear the girl’s scream.  Pulling his gun, the sheriff runs into the building.  The girl’s purse is left on the floor, but she’s gone.  The sheriff runs into the woods with his gun drawn, his flashlight held up underneath it, calling for Barbara.  In the dim woods, he sees a huge and hulking shape, but he trips, and, when he looks up again, the figure is gone.  Then he hears his son’s anguished cry:  “No!”  He finds his boy on his knees near the sprawled body of his girlfriend, her eyes staring, her neck a bloody mess.

WINGS – SUPERNATURAL!!

Title:  “Don’t Go in the Woods”

Sam is in the bunker drinking coffee and researching on the computer.  Dean enters and asks him about the porn he’s been watching so Sam tells him that the internet is more than just naked people.  Sam reports that there has been a recent animal attack in Iowa; he shows the picture of Barbara.  Lots of people have been missing in that area; up to 54 going back to 1943.  Dean asks if Sam wants more time, but Sam says he’s good.  Dean reports that Cas has left for a bit to get away from the bunker.  There’s a mention of some other hunters out there.  Dean doesn’t want to bring Jack on this hunt.  His powers have gotten them in trouble before; remember the security guard?  He wants to wait until they make sure Jack’s all right. 

Jack is reading; he remarks to the brothers that the Haitian Criminal Code has a law against turning a human into a zombie.  Dean says they’re going on a hunt but want him to stay because they don’t want to leave the bunker empty, plus they have a mission for him.  He needs to do some stocking up.  Dean hands Jack a grocery list while Sam looks annoyed.  Beer is on the list twice.  “My mission is . . . shopping?” Jack asks, underwhelmed.

Sam and Dean, in suits, are talking to the sheriff who claims that the attack was a coyote.  They ask to see the body, but, as they pull they rolling surface out, the body shifts and Dean jumps, causing Sam to mock him a little.  Dean retorts that he has fast reflexes.  The girl has three deep parallel gashes in her arm, and the bite mark on her neck looks burnt.  This was no coyote.

Jack stands outside the Lebanon Mini Mart, but there’s a sign on the door saying, “Out to Lunch.”  Three teens pull up, the one’s who had gone jayriding in Baby a few weeks earlier and seen the ghost of the serial killer clown go up in flames and consequently received the “talk.” Elliot is watching Ghostfacers on his cell phone; he thinks they’re cool.  They greet Jack, who raises his hand and says, “Hello,” with a smile that makes him look like an awkwardly earnest alien species.  “You live with Sam and Dean,” comments the boy.  “Are they fighting ghosts?”  First, Jack awkwardly tries to say that ghosts are real, but when the girls assure him that it’s cool; they know, he is relieved to be able to tell them the truth.  “lying makes your stomach hurt.  Like when you need to burp.”  They look at him with slightly bemused  expressions, then offer to open the store so he can get his shopping done. 

Thomas, the sheriff’s son, tells his dad that he’s not doing OK.  He wants to talk to Barbara’s parents and tell them it was his fault.  His dad says they’re grieving; they need time. 

In the minimart, the girls watch as Jack shops.  They feel bad for him living with dudes; the bunker probably stinks.  Elliot excitedly asks about monsters.  While Jack tells him that, while zombies aren’t what movies show us, lots of other monsters exist and then begins to recite a list of them.  “Jack, would you be my best friend?” Elliot asks.  He’s obsessed with monsters.  When asked how old he is, Jack says two; they stare and he quickly and awkwardly amends it to twenty; “I’m twenty-two.”   The teens ask Jack to come hang out with them at a deserted house on the edge of town.  Jack’s ready to pay for his groceries.  The clerk asks for ID, and he just looks at her.

In the sheriff’s office, Sam and Dean are researching.  Sam has found a local Native American legend about a kahunta, a monstrous creature that eats humans and spits up stomach acid. 

Two young hikers are walking through the woods, shining their flashlights in the dark, when an eerie whistling sounds around them.  The girl says it’s just the wind, but the boy wants to turn back.  They stare in opposite directions, and the guy freezes in fear when his flashlight picks up a shadowy figure in the underbrush.  When his companion turns and sees it, she’s a lot more feisty:  “Who the hell are you?”  It lunges toward them, and they scramble away, the guy falling to the ground.  The figure looms over him; its head seems a mass of roots or worms.  Goo drips from its mouth onto the hapless hiker’s face, and he screams.  The monster plunges down toward him with a growl.

Thomas is looking at pictures of Barbara’s ravaged body.  “I have to do something!” The sheriff repeats the story that it was a coyote.  A deputy enters saying that there was a situation at Bear Creek.  Thomas knows that someone else has met Barbara’s fate.

Behind an ambulance near the sunlit woods, the female hiker, wrapped in a blanket, tells the supposed FBI agents about her experience.  The creature looked covered in something, and it was whistling.  They were hiking a few miles past the old Parker cabin.  The sheriff pulls in and swiftly demands that everyone wrap it up.  “Bring everyone in.”  Sam tells him that it wasn’t an animal attack but has no answer for the sheriff as to what else it might be.  The sheriff says no one goes in those woods, eyeing the agents firmly.  Sam and Dean nod and smile. 

In the  deserted house, which is clean, comfortable, and relatively well-furnished, the girls sit on a couch, Max on her phone, Stacy studying for her SATs.  When they start to snuggle, Elliot asks them not to.  He’s at a table reading about monsters.  Jack enters with a tall stack of heavy books, all on monsters.  He doesn’t recognize the music that’s playing; he likes The Who.  When the girls say that that’s old music, Jack says that Dean says that anything after 1979 sucks ass.  “Dean is old too,” replies the girl.  Jack sits awkwardly in a chairs.  He asks about the “sats.”  The girls stare at him.  “You were homeschooled,” one comments.  But they soon grow fascinated when he starts to tell them about demons and what they look like.  He’s not only seen one; he’s killed one.  “How?” asks Max.  They go out to the yard where Jack shows them an angel blade.  Elliot wants to hold it but is reminded how he almost killed himself with a slink;  he’d tried to swallow it.  “I was three!” he defends himself.  Jack shows his moves; he’s a little like a Jedi.  Then he throws the knife, but it fails to penetrate the wood fence and falls lamely to the grass.

A huge moon lights the dark forest above a dark cabin and a state forest sign with a large “Closed” sign nailed diagonally across it.  Sam and Dean in jeans and flannels are walking through the woods.  Sam discusses how Kahunta means whistler, but there is no lore on how to kill them.  Dean has a suggestion:  “Shotgun.  Head.  Done.”  There’s a rustle in the darkness.  The Winchesters peer into the night.  Then Dean freezes; there’s a gun barrel held to the back of his neck.  It’s the sheriff.  “Put down your guns,” he demands.  Dean drops his weapon, and Sam, a few yards away, places his hand gun on the ground and lifts his empty hands.  The sheriff tells them they’re not supposed to be there, but Dean has one word for him, “Kahunta.”  The sheriff, though he is Native American, acts like he doesn’t know what they’re talking about.  Suddenly, Dean ducks and spins, knocking the sheriff’s gun aside and snatching it.  In just a second, the sheriff is disarmed and facing down the barrels of the Winchester’s weapons.  “Sorry, sheriff,” Dean says shortly. 

It’s night in Kansas too.  The other teens are relaxing in lawn chairs, but Jack hasn’t given up on trying to throw the angel blade accurately.  They say he doesn’t have to, but he wants to.  When he remains unsuccessful, he lets his eyes glow.  He holds out his hand, and the blade flies into it; then he hurls it with deadly accuracy into a tree trunk.  The teenagers are impressed;  “You’re kind of like a Jedi.”  The dark-haired girl looks a little concerned.  Jack, eyes still aglow, pulls the blade from the bark and makes it twirl through the air.  It loops and spins and curly-cues, first near the tree, but now near the teens.  “I can control it!” Jack reassures them.  But first Stacy and now Max grow worried.  “Just STOP!” they insist.  Jack isn’t noticing, nor does he notice when the dark-haired girl steps forward, then stops, shoulders hunching a bit, hands flying to her stomach.  The angel blade is sticking out of her abdomen.  She collapses on the ground, crying.  “Call 911!” Max shrieks at Elliot, falling to her knees beside her friend and frantically calling her name.  “I was in control!” Jack defends himself.  “She moved!”  Elliot’s on line with the emergency operator when Jack decides, “I can fix this.”  He reaches down and pulls out the angel blade, then holds his hand over her wound.  A golden glow comes from his palm.  She gasps, then sits up.  She’s healed.  “How?” “I fixed you,” Jack says.  The girls hug and Jack steps closer only to have Elliot block his way.  “Don’t!”  “I fixed her; everything’s fine!” Jack repeats.  “Get away!” Elliot says.  “I don’t know what you are, but stay away.”  Jack’s brow furrows with sadness.

Dean tells the sheriff that they hunt things, things like what is in these woods.  His gives the sheriff back his gun.  The sheriff admits that he has heard of the kahunta, but he thought it wasn’t real, that it was just an old legend, that is, until he saw it the night it killed Barbara.  That’s why he’d been trying to keep people out of the woods.  And it’s not WHAT; it’s WHO.  The Parker family had established a homestead  there generations ago, but things went bad.  It was a long, cold winter.  Only the oldest son Henry survived, and he’d done awful things.  “Like the Donner party?” asks Dean.  The sheriff confirms that not only had Henry eaten his family, he’d gone after the local people.  They caught him but thought that killing him would be too easy; they wanted him to suffer.  So they cursed him.  As the sheriff tells the story, there are flashbacks of a wild-eyed young man tied on his back to stakes driven into the ground and a native shaman reciting a spell over him.  He was doomed to roam the woods, always starving.  Kahunta’s are born; they’re made.  Dean isn’t impressed that the tribe let a flesh-eating freak loose, but the sheriff says they limited him within this area and put out warnings and wards.  However, over time, the stories were forgotten.  People went back into the woods, not knowing about the kahunta.  Dean tells the sheriff that he and his brother hunt monsters like the kahunta, like werewolves and vampires.  “They’re real?” asks the sheriff.  “We hunt them,” Dean tells him.  “Why don’t you tell people?” wonders the sheriff.  They won’t believe, Dean tells him.  But they’re making that decision for everyone, responds the sheriff.  If they would let people know about monsters, it would save lives.  No, Sam interrupts, people still die.  Even when they know how to fight, they still die.  The sheriff’s phone shrills; his son is calling to say that he’s going after the creature that killed his girlfriend.  Thomas heads alone into the dark woods.  An eerie whistling sounds around him.  The sheriff asks the Winchesters to help him save his son from the kahunta and gives them the info on how to kill it – a silver blade through the heart.  “Can do,” says Sam, pulling out a dangerous-looking knife. 

Under the dark trees, Thomas opens his backpack and places some raw meat on the ground, hoping to trap the rabid coyote he’s hunting.  Rain falls.  The woods are quiet.  He approaches the old cabin and goes up the steps and through the door.  A shadowy figure shifts in the darkness as he walks by.  The sheriff and the brothers run through the woods, but the kahunta has already found the boy.  It lunges at him through the cabin door, sending his body crashing to the floor and knocking him unconscious.  It hovers over him hungrily.  The sheriff plunges into the room, grappling with the monster, while Dean grabs the unconscious youth and carries him from the cabin.  The kahunta bites the sheriff, but Sam shoots it.  It turns on Sam as Dean hustles the sheriff out of the cabin.  Under the creature’s attack, Sam had dropped the knife, but the sheriff grasps it as he exits.  Dean reenters, luring the monster away from his brother.  He backs through the door, the kahunta close behind, when the sheriff, hiding around the corner of the door, fiercely impales the kahunta with the silver blade.  It disintegrates into melty green goo.  “Whoa!  Full on Raiders!” says Dean.  The sheriff checks on his son, relieved that’s he’s still alive.  Sam and Dean catch each other’s eye and give a nod, acknowledging another successful hunt.

Tom wakes up strapped to a stretcher.  “Dad, we get it?” he asks.  The sheriff pats him and lets him go, but doesn’t tell him about the kahunta.  As they load up his son, the sheriff confides to the Winchesters that he doesn’t know what to tell him.  “The truth,” says Sam.  “He deserves to know the truth.”  The ambulance drives off, and soon the Impala is heading off into the night too.

Inside the car, Dean questions Sam about whether it really is good to tell the truth.  After all, they’d been taught, “When in doubt, lie.”  “Like you did with Jack?” asks Sam.  Sam hadn’t liked the way they’d not revealed to Jack their real concerns about his powers.  When Dean says that Jack told them he was fine, Sam reminds him that as kids, they’d often told their dad they were fine just to make him happy.

Back in the bunker, Jack is reading when Sam and Dean return.  Dean reports that the hunt was disgusting.  Jack lets them know that he bought their supplies, except for the beer.  He needed an ID.  Incredulous, Dean exclaims that Jack has tons of IDs.  “They’re fake,” replies Jack mildly.  This comment stuns dean into a momentary silence. 

The brothers tell Jack that they hadn’t wanted him on the hunt because they didn’t want him using his powers yet.  Dean admits that he shouldn’t have misled him.  They care about him, and he deserves the truth.  Jack is thinking.  Then he calmly says that he understands; he won’t use his powers without permission.  Dean exits with a grumpy comment that he’s off to get beer while Sam asks how Jack is doing.  Jack says nothing happened.  Sam leaves the room, and Jack sits, looking placidly ahead of him. 

THE END

Questions:

  1. Why does that deserted house look so well taken care of and comfortable?  Does Lebanon, Kansas, have a flavor of Charming Acres where drunk teenagers don’t damage and deface abandoned houses? 
  2. How will Mary respond when she realizes that several of the hunters she cared for are dead?
  3. Do you find Jack’s naivety toward humans endearing or annoying? How do his awkward interactions with humans compare to Castiel's?
  4. Was the Native American curse on Henry more of a punishment to him or to others?
  5. Do you agree with the sheriff: should the Winchesters let the world know monsters exist?  If the Winchesters went public, would it make the world a safer place? 
  6. Jack said he doesn't like lying, but at the end of the episodes he lies to the Winchesters about using his powers while they were gone.  Are you afraid for the direction in which he might be heading?
  7. Sam and Dean lied to their dad about being fine to keep him happy. Do you lie to people for this reason? Do you recommend this? How has this worked out for the Winchesters? Is it better to lie or tell the truth?

Read more of Emberlast's amazing episode recaps and speculation questions! Visit her Author Page to get Episode links! Recaps for seasons 9 to 13 can be found on Bookdal's Author Page!