Supernatural on CW

2006, TV Show

Supernatural Episode: "After School Special"

Season 4, Episode 13
Episode Synopsis: Sam and Dean investigate a series of murders at their old high school. The probe leads the two to recall how Sam was the target of a bully at school, while Dean was the big man on campus.
Original Air Date: Jan 29, 2009
Guest Cast Jim Beaver Genevieve Cortese
Full Episode
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Season 4, Episode 13
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Length: 40:24
Aired: 1/29/2009
Also available on iTunes, Amazon Instant Video and VUDU
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Supernatural Episode Recap: "After School Special" Season 4, Episode 13

We finally got a glimpse of Sam and Dean in high school. Dean wore shorts. And we found out what happens when someone calls Sam a freak. Apparently, when he was a teenager, it meant he went medieval on a bully's ass, even if he hadn't exactly gone through that monster growth spurt we know he was about to experience. Don't mess with wee Sammy. That tiny kid was tough.

I don't know about you guys, but I loved the "previously." Sure, it wasn't set to any awesome piece of classic rock music, but it did feature scenes from the pilot, "Something Wicked," "Scarecrow," "A Very Supernatural Christmas" and "Dead Man's Blood" among others. We saw Sam questioning the way he and Dean grew up, which has been one of the major themes of the entire series. After all, he went to college in a bid to get out of the life and be normal and become a lawyer. Dean's complete faith and worship of his dad was reinforced as well. This blind faith in Big Daddy Winchester has always been bothersome to Sam. We saw tons of BDW being Hunter John with his one-track mind. We saw him being Absent John. The recap refreshed our memory of the fact he was gone on hunting trips for much of Sam and Dean's childhood. And we saw Regretful John. He finally admitted he never wanted this life for his sons. I'm spending some quality time on the recap because it was a quick and dirty study of the Winchester family dynamics (very dysfunctional). And it was a perfect way to set up the episode that sent Sam and Dean back to one of the many schools they attended when they were teenagers.

What jumpstarted the high school flashback was the present-day murder of a cheerleader recently spurned by the mean girls and mean boys who once called her friend. She was forced to sit with the school outcast (the horror!). When the popular girl unloaded a slew of insults all over the overweight teen, it was on. The two ended up in the girls' bathroom where the possessed outcast drowned the spiteful cheerleader in the toilet water. Eww.

Sam and Dean snagged jobs at their old high school in order to investigate the potential supernatural slaying. Sam was a janitor. And Dean, he was the shorts-wearing gym teacher (more on that later). But more important than the case, at least to me, were the flashbacks where we saw a little bit of what Sam and Dean went through back in the day. John was gone and left Sam and Dean to fend for themselves. There was a great bit during the first flashback where the shots alternated between lil' Sam going to his homeroom on their first day at the new school and teen Dean going to his homeroom. While Dean immediately caught the eye of a pretty girl and the ire of the teacher, Sam instantly made a connection with the class geek and clashed with the class bully.

You know, Supernatural fans just don't watch this show; they get involved and invested into the show. If you're like me, you've thought long and hard about what the boys were like when they were teenagers. And for the most part, what they showed us is kind of what I pictured. I pictured Sam as sort of a geek, but one that was well adjusted and not an outcast at all. And I pictured Dean as a loner but always had a girl. So I was OK with the way they were portrayed in the episode. At different times the boys broke my heart. Sam was quiet, serious and willing to stick up for someone he just met. He didn't want to be labeled a freak so he took what the bully dished out. Even then he just wanted to be like any other family. As for Dean, he did get the girl, but wanted nothing to do with normal things like meeting her parents. This was all totally in line with what we've seen over and over for the last four seasons.

Where Sam started out a "loser-Chester," by the end of the hour, he was the man because he turned the table on the bully. "Dirk the Jerk" was born, and the school treated Sammy like a hero. On the flip side, Dean began the episode that cool loner who mouthed off to teachers and acted like he didn't have a care in the world. After sabotaging his relationship with Amanda (she caught him kissing another girl), Dean's girlfriend dumped him. I liked the way she didn't scream at him., although her calm, cool, collected nature seemed more devastating than if she yelled it to the entire world. It was more that she felt bad for him and the way he lived his life. She called him a "sad, lonely little kid," which, let's face it, Dean has remained much of the time. Teen Dean was left all alone in the hallway trying to make everyone understand that he saved lives, that he was a hero. Nobody was listening. Heartbreaking.

Sam found out the friend he had tried to help out when he was in school had committed suicide in 1998. He took it hard, and he told Dean if dad had let them stay a little bit longer, he might have been able to help Barry. This was classic Sam: always blaming himself for not being able to save a life. We were treated to some classic Dean as well, telling Sam that what happened wasn't his fault. But Sam's angst got even worse when he realized the spirit possessing the geeks was the bully he completely humiliated. The one he had dubbed "Dirk the Jerk." After that, the kid was ostracized and he ultimately died from too much drinking and drugging. When Dirk Sr. talked about what his son's life had become, it was beyond sad. Sam had never heard Dirk the Jerk's family history before (his mom had died when he was 13). You just know finding that out was hard for Sam to hear.

During the Sam/possessed driver confrontation, Sam and Dean were called "evil sons of bitches." First of all, Dean usually calls every demon that. And secondly, I loved the way Sam followed that up with "I'm not evil, Dirk. I'm not." Now did he truly feel that way or was he trying to convince himself of that? Inquiring minds want to know.

Finally, there was something missing in this episode, and it goes by the name of Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Yes, it's John so you can easily have him out of town on a hunt. But don't show the Impala driving towards Sam and Dean and expect me not to hope and pray we'd get an actual John Winchester sighting. I seriously hope before the end of the series we'll be able to get another glimpse of Jeffrey Dean Morgan as John Winchester. After all, he showed up as a ghost on his other show (Grey's Anatomy). At least being a ghost on Supernatural would make sense. 'Nuff said.

Other Thoughts
Correct me if I'm wrong, but there's a certain episode in Season 1 where Dean told a girl: "Oh sweetheart, I don't do shorts." Yes, I'm talking about "Wendigo." And as great as those gym shorts were in "After School Special," I kind of loved that line a lot. But having said that, the shorts, the headband, the whistle and the tube socks all added up to awesome. As was his resurrection of Dodgeball during gym. You know what? I played Dodgeball when I was a kid, and I turned out fine. (That's the story I'm sticking to.)

The show set up this episode even before the "previously." In "It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester," they went to a high school where Sam remembered the angst from that time in his life. And in "Criss Angel Is a Douchebag," Sam talked about how he didn't want to be hunting when he was an old man. It reminded me of early Supernatural Sam and his wish for something beyond the life he and his brother lead.

Sam was the impetus for the flashbacks, which was awesome. However, I would have liked to have gotten even more of a sense of Dean in high school. Please tell me the kids at that high school came up with "Dirk the Jerk" before Sam did. Here's to hoping we'll at some point get the flashback of Sam leaving for college and the brouhaha it started in the Winchester household.

Colin Ford was once again excellent as mini-Sam Winchester. I love this kid in this role. Meanwhile Brock Kelly as Young Dean Winchester definitely had some Dean-esque moments. I would have liked to see him have more to do.

Just like Adult Dean is protective of his brother Sammy, we got to see Teen Dean want to go and beat the bully up for his little bro. At the same time, we got to see Dean's complete faith in Sam when he wondered why Sam hadn't beaten up the bully by now. I loved Dean wanting to stay at the school until after lunch because it was Sloppy Joe day. Me, I always loved when it was Pizza Day.

Dean's inappropriate humor was on display a few times during the episode.

I loved that shot of Flashback Sam brushing his hand through his hair and then it alternates with a shot of Adult Sam doing the same thing.

The geek getting revenge on the bully kind of reminded me of the Kevin Bacon portion of Flatliners. There were references to Heathers and Dead Poet's Society — two of my all-time favorite movies. Dean mentioned 21 Jump Street. I loved this series, but hearing the name of that show reminded me of Rufus, the surly hunter Dean met up with last year. Steven Williams played him — he was the captain on 21 Jump Street. By the way, where is Rufus?

Sam had someone telling him there were endless possibilities out there for him, that he could do anything he wanted. That it was simply his choice. Adult Sam made sure to thank his teacher for that great piece of advice. Because when someone takes an interest in you and presents you with an endless amount of options, the sky's the limit. What if someone had taken an interest in Dean? It seems to me like no one did, so Dean ultimately ends up thinking the hunting life is the only life for him. After all, we did learn in "Criss Angel" that he's pretty much resigned to dying young. There we go again with the differences between Sam and Dean. The brothers are so fascinating.

Favorite lines
"Today you will have the honor of playing one of the greatest games ever invented. A game of skill, agility, cunning ... A game with one simple rule: Dodge."
"Go nuts!"
"The whistle makes me their god." "Right. Nice shorts."
"I don't do parents."
"That ghost is dead. I'm gonna rip it's lungs out. You know what I mean."
"Here ghosty ghosty come out, come out wherever you are."
"You're not tough. You're just a jerk. Dirk the Jerk."
"A little help."

I already posted on my last blog about Kim Manners, but I just wanted to again remember some of the Supernatural episodes he directed. In fact, many of them make my top 10 of all time list: "Devil's Trap," "In My Time of Dying," "Mystery Spot" and "Lazarus Rising." His presence and influence will be missed.

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We finally got a glimpse of Sam and Dean in high school. Dean wore shorts. And we found out what happens when someone calls Sam a freak. Apparently, when he was a teenager, it meant he went medieval on a bully's ass, even if he hadn't exactly gone through that monster growth spurt we know he was about to experience. Don't mess with wee Sammy. That tiny kid was tough.

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Premiered: September 21, 2006, on CW
Rating: TV-14
User Rating: (10,102 ratings)
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Premise: Two brothers hunt demons, ghosts and other supernatural entities as they investigate crimes caused by paranormal forces.

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