SUPERNATURAL: Sam and Dean are Hunting Wabbits

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S11E7 “Plush”

[photos: Liane Hentshcer/The CW]

There are very few shows in which you could say that it was a lighter episode but still creepy as all get out. “Plush” definitely had its funny moments, but still reminds those of us who are watching for the family drama and the hero’s journey that this series’ primary motivation is to scare the pants off of you.

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The story starts with an unhappily married couple. Stan, the husband, is watching the game in his recliner and his wife has to take out the trash. We see a bunny figure outside in the dark. I am sure that taking out the trash is going to get her killed, but the bunnyman sneaks past her and into the house and stabs the husband to death with his beer bottle.

Dean catches Sam praying and they argue about it. They are staring forlornly at pre-Biblical lore when they are saved by a phone call from Sheriff Donna. “Fat-sucker Donna?” Sam asks. Not that Donna is a fat sucking vampire, but the first time we met her, she was the unwitting victim of one. Although she did survive. If there’s one thing that should be beneficial and benign to humans it’s a fat-sucking vampire, but of course it’s not. This is actually Sheriff Donna’s third episode. In the second episode they couldn’t hide the truth about the supernatural world from her any longer. This time she calls them because she thinks murder committed by someone stuck in a rabbit head might be up their alley.

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Donna introduces them to a cop that is quite obviously smitten with her, but she won’t have anything to do with him because he is a cop like her ex-husband, who was a jerk, and he even has the same name.

It’s a bit unusual to have a culprit on Supernatural already incarcerated. Of course, it’s not that simple because they have to find out what’s really going on. The person in the head doesn’t talk but does grab Dean when he gets too close. Probably tired of bunny jokes. Sam splashes holy water on the exposed arm and nothing happens, proving that it’s not a demonic rabbit. They get Dean loose from the overly strong grip and use clues from his body — a Minnesota Vikings t-shirt and tattoo that says “Kylie Forever” — to find his girlfriend.

She is a thin pale girl with long floppy ears..I mean, long flowing hair and a slight over bite. Very bunny like. She is happy that they found her boyfriend until she finds out he’s in jail and describes  him changing after they found the bunny mask in a thrift shop.

This gives Donna and Doug a chance to get in trouble themselves. They are trying to get the guy in the bunny mask into a police car to take him to a hospital to get the mask off with a bone saw. He’s been doped up with tranquilizers.  Donna tries to get the guy out of the wheelchair herself and can’t do it. Doug wants to help but she won’t let him.  After she lands on her butt, she yells at him to help. Doug just can’t win. They both try. They are actually going about it all wrong. That’s not how you transfer someone from a wheelchair. The phone rings and Donna tells Doug it’s those FBI boys. While they are distracted, the guy in the bunny mask rises out of the wheelchair. From that angle he appears taller than Donna and Doug, while they are struggling he appears the same size. It must be the ears. He grabs a baton from Doug and goes after Donna. Doug has to shoot him. They peer around the corner of the police car and see that the mask has come off and there is the sweet, young, dead face of a college student.

Donna, Sam and Dean burn the bunny mask while mourning the death of its wearer.

Unfortunately, he’s not the last victim. A coach is working with a student when someone in a jester costume comes in and beats the coach almost to death with a weight. The student tackles the jester. I know at this point that clowns will show up, since we have more than one mask. Sam is deathly afraid of clowns.

Doug questions this happening twice. There is an awkward silence from Dean and Sam. Donna covers with the explanation that it’s a copycat killer. Dean and Sam interview the weightlifting student, who is a jerk. They find out that the jester was extraordinarily strong, that the mask wouldn’t come off, and that the room became cold. The conclude that it’s a ghost attached to an object or objects and come up with a solution. Dean shoots the jester with salt through the bars of the cell. It works very well. The mask comes off, we see a gray shadow leave, and a confused young girl is lying on the ground, unharmed. She got the costume from a donation to the school, and they find the donor. Donna agrees to let her go and claim to be overpowered by an unknown drifter.

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They visit the donor, who is a mom with a young son. Rita lives in a very somber house with a depressed vibe. She donated the costumes after her brother, who worked as an entertainer for kid’s parties, jumped off a bridge. Her son, Max, loved his uncle and didn’t want to let the costumes go, but they were too much of a reminder for her. They see a picture of Chester in costume. Sam sees the clown costume and shudders, throwing the picture down. Dean smirks. The sister claims that Chester did not know the two victims.

Since they have discovered the identity of the ghost, they decide to gather up the costumes and try to find the connection between Chester and the victims. He was cremated so burning his bones is not an option. Donna and Doug head off to find the costumes from the list Chester’s sister gave them. Sam goes to check on the coach. Dean goes to find the first victim’s widow.

A creepy thin clown enters the coach’s hospital room and cuts the coach’s jugular. Blood sprays over the monitors. It’s a short scene but intensely horrifying.

The clown then leaves the room and takes the elevator. I assume that the fact that the person doesn’t just come to is because the ghost possessing them has another victim in mind. So who’s already in the elevator? Sam, who is coming to check on the coach. He stands still as the clown enters the elevator and pushes the button, still holding the bloody scalpel in his hand. Sam continues to stand still as the elevator doors close, Muzak plays and the clown turns around towards him. He is frozen in fear. Tension builds as the audience wonders whether Sam will take action. Finally, he does, grabbing the hand with the scalpel and knocking it down and body checking the clown. The clown has greater strength and quickly overpowers Sam. Sam jabs him with iron or salt, I’m not sure which and the ghost flies away, leaving a confused old man.

Stan’s widow tells Dean that Stan and the coach were best buds. He asks about Chester and she tells him that they thought that Chester had molested their children, went to confront him, and found Rita. His sister lied about Chester not knowing the two.

Sam and Dean confront Rita, who tells them that she betrayed her brother and called Stan and the coach after worrying about their allegations. They decided to scare Chester and kidnapped him after he left work at a job where he was dressed as a deer. They then hung him upside down over a shallow river but accidentally dropped him. She says that fear cripples you, makes you do nothing, or worse, something you regret. Only on Supernatural would the most important part of this tearful, emotional story be-what happened to the deer head?

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Max comes downstairs dressed in the deer head. He headbutts Dean and tosses him aside and goes after mom. They manage to jab him and dispossess him of the ghost. Sam takes the head outside to burn it and gets slammed around by the ghost, in ghost form. Dean surrounds the mom and son with salt, so the ghost tries to kill Dean when it gets back inside. Chester only pauses for a second when Max cries out to him. Sam burns the head and the ghost disappears. Mom and son are saved.

Donna and Doug are there for the aftermath. Dean calls her a hunter and she is thrilled. She also apologizes to Doug, who takes it well. She’s going to give Doug a chance.

Sam and Dean are driving home when Sam tells Dean that he keeps praying for answers because he keeps seeing the cage. Maybe the cage has the answer against the Darkness. Dean says no, anything to do with the cage is suicide. He is deeply afraid. Sam agrees but is very troubled.

This is a good standalone episode. It takes an urban legend without much story to it and enhances it with the mythology of Supernatural. It has some funny moments and poignant moments. The cautionary tale is in believing the worst of people because they are a little different from you. Wrongful death=vengeful spirit. If Chester had been guilty, it wouldn’t have been a wrongful death.  The fact that he became a vengeful spirit in no way reflects on what kind of person he was when alive. That’s just what happens on Supernatural.

It’s a win for the boys. They save four people and lose two.  The first one that brings them there never counts. Only the college student was an innocent. They also escaped unscathed, as does the Impala.

If it weren’t for the bookends of the praying scene and the conversation where Sam tells Dean about his visions, there would be no apparent connection to the longer arc. However, I think there is a more subtle connection. Donna is refusing to give Doug a chance because of her previous experience. Sam freezes in fear at what must have been his worst nightmare, being trapped in an elevator with a possessed clown with a bloody scalpel. Rita betrays her brother out of fear, and doesn’t tell the authorities out of fear of going to prison and leaving Max. Dean refuses to even consider the possibility that the cage may be their answer to the Darkness. Fear keeps you from being effective. It makes you do nothing, or worse, something you regret.

It also deals, once again, with not trusting and not talking to a sibling.

Next week deals with imaginary friends. It might be funny but I am sure the imaginary friends will be a good deal more evil than “Bing Bong” or “Drop Dead Fred”.

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Teresa Wickersham

Teresa Wickersham has dabbled in fanfic, gone to a few conventions, created some award-winning (and not so award winning) masquerade costumes, worked on the Save Farscape campaign, and occasionally presents herself as a fluffy bunny or a Krampus.

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