Supernatural Official Site
The Time: Thursdays, 9:00 PM, The CW
and Dean Winchester are two brothers who roam the back roads of America
in a 1967 Chevy Impala hunting evil. At first they fought all
of the usual: vampires, ghosts, werewolves and the like, but in recent
yeas they’ve found themselves more and more dealing with the literal
forces of Hell as a demon war has been brewing for decades, with their
family caught in the middle. Sam has been pre-ordained from
birth by a past foe, the yellow-eyed demon, Azazel, to be a pivotal
figure in the war…on the demon side. Meanwhile, Dean has
recently been resurrected from Hell by angels because they have the Lord’s work
for him to do.
• Jared Padalecki – Sam Winchester
• Jensen Ackles – Dean Winchester
• Misha Collins – Castiel
• Genevieve Cortese – Ruby
The Episode: “It’s A Terrible Life”
Without explanation, we find Sam and Dean in another life, working at an iron company in the roles of a tech support rep and director of sales and marketing, respectively. Or, in Sam’s words, Dean’s a corporate douchebag. And he is, wearing the Gordon Gekko get-up (unfortunately minus the hair), downing cleansing drinks, eliminating carbs and living the corporate flunky high life. Meanwhile, Sam is a miserable tech support rep, dazed in virtual stupors by the idiocy of the people he helps on the phone and unable to shake the feeling that he’s meant for something more. When a ghost shows up and offs a couple of fellow employees, he finds out just how right he is.
Their nemesis this week is a ghost, that of the former owner of the company, who died in 1916 but reemerges whenever there’s an economic downturn in the economy (a bear market spook? That’s definitely a new one.). He reemerges and “infects” employees into becoming fanatical worker bees who become suicidal whenever they do anything to hurt the company, like slacking off or misfiling a report. The first guy loses some data he worked on all day and soaks his head…in the office microwave. The second guy stabs himself in the neck with one of the pencils that he frequently steals from the office in bulk. What alerts Sam is that the second guy was a slacker, then became a drone, concerned only with his productivity. It turns out both victims had received an e-mail to report to HR in Room 1444, although HR was on the 7th floor.
Dean is present for the second guy’s pencil-in-the-neck stunt and sees the ghost. Earlier he had rebuffed Sam’s attempt to become acquainted. Sam had told him about his dreams about their other life, including ghosts. Dean told him to save his line for the health club. However, they do end up working together, and get their info on how to fight te ghost from the most unlikely of sources (a welcome cameo by the Ghostfacers). They eventually do track down the ghost and defeat him in their usual way, by burning a personal item. But their relationship quickly sours when Sam wants to continue working together, leaving their jobs behind. Dean’s response? “You can’t fight ghosts without health care.”
The revelation of how they came to be in their situation is great, and completely not what I expected, which I should have, at least from the title alone. My first thought was Trickster. They also possibly explain it away as an affect the ghost had on them: scrambling their minds with an electrical thing he did with his hands to take over employees’ minds. The actual reason is good and for some reason I completely didn’t see it coming. And, as it turns out in Dean’s case, it’s very necessary. Invisotext: Sam and Dean’s reality was altered by Zakariah (Kurt Fuller), Castiel’s superior masquerading as Dean’s boss. His reason for zapping Dean and Sam into someone else was to restore Dean’s faith in himself and his mission. Because after learning that he was responsible for beginning the Apocalypse last week, Dean was broken, both in mind and body. Invisotext off.
This could have been another outright comedy episode, but the humor was more tongue-in-cheek and not as overt as say, “Yellow Fever.” Still, there were some decent laughs and it was nice to have the spins on the ghost that this episode had, while staying true to all the rules we already know about how to defeat them. In their own way the showrunners managed to work in a reference or homage or two to Office Space, which was also nice. Still another great episode. Surprise.
8.6 out of 10