A leather hockey-masked scarecrow kills a couple whose car mysteriously breaks down while passing through a small Indiana farm town. Sam and Dean talk to their father in California, who orders them to keep fighting the little evils while he tracks down whatever big evil killed their mom and Jessica. He commands them to Indiana. Dean takes these orders like a soldier, Sam like Henry Thoreau. Driving to Indiana from Rockford, Illinois, the brothers get into a fight over whether or not to do what Dad says. Sam gets out of the car and storms off. Dean lets him go.
The brothers spend the bulk of the episode in separate places. Sam meets a "hot girl" named Meg (who has a supernaturally short upper lip) while hitchhiking on the side of the road; they meet up again in a bus station and she tries, with a suspicious amount of zeal, to convince him to come to California with her. Meanwhile, Dean tries to investigate the disappearance, but just comes off like a major creep. By the time he finally discovers that the town orchestrates these disappearances as sacrifices to appease their Pagan God of "Apple" Orchards (who, like Alan Greenspan, guarantees the town's fiscal health through the sale of doilies and ceramic chicken figurines), the townspeople have discovered Dean. They tie him and a young girl from town up to await sacrifice. Sam, concerned that Dean wasn't answering his phone, arrives just in time to save them, but not in time to save Uncle Farmer Man, who learns a bit too late to never trust a Pagan God, especially not a Nordic one. The brothers make up. And down. But not out.
In the last scene, Meg does some more hitchhiking, only she has a peculiar way of accepting the kindness of strangers, and that is: she slits the man's throat, catches the blood in a silver chalice, and stirs it around with her finger, an action which, obviously, patches her through to someone she calls "Father," who explains to her -- on mute for us, of course -- why it is he let her let Sam and Dean get away. Um, okay. Things just got a little more complicated around here.
A black screen with "Burkitsville, Indiana One Year Ago" written in American Typewriter fades into a quaint Main Street scene at night. A young couple exits a store, followed by a mom and girl urging them to take an apple pie with them. The young woman accepts the pie and giggles that they "should get lost more often. Everyone in town is so nice!" Her partner foreshadows, "Yeah, what's the catch?" Out on the street, the Pop to the apple-pie Mom finishes gassing up the car and accepts the Lost Boy's handshake of thanks. The townie girl remarks on the tattoo covering his forearm, and Mom and Pop give him directions back to the "interstate."
On a dark, foggy country road, a fancy Mustang sputters to a halt, its headlights blinking. Inside the car, Lost Girl is exasperated and unhelpful, and Lost Boy finds that his cell phone has died, too. They get out and notice a light shining beyond rows of neatly planted Mock Apple Trees. Lost Boy is all Canadian ("Looooks like a hoooouse over there") and ready to take his fool block head straight into the foggy forest, but Lost Girl is apprehensive. They walk through the "orchard," dead leaves underfoot, right past a few bushels of apples propped against a tree. Please note that everything here points to "Fall." Also I'd like to take a moment to just say, kudos, location scouts. Since the Vancouver area certainly does not have any apple orchards, you did the best you could with this strange collection of manicured bushes. As they walk, they come upon what looks to be a man in an overcoat and hat, impaled through the butt on a two-by-four, suspended about five feet off the ground. Let's check it ooot! They move closer to investigate, and it only gets uglier. It has weird scraggly black hair issuing from underneath its hat, and then underneath that hair a leather-like (probably pleather, really) hockey mask on. It's a little paunchy, and altogether rather Buckethead covered in slimy mold and mildew. You're probably all "ew!" but that just shows you don't understand couture. Lost Boy thinks it's cool: "Check it ooot. 'If I only had a brain.'"
(You guys, Buckethead! That's the kind of thing that makes me so psyched to be alive. That some dude makes his living dressing up like that and wailing on a guitar. Oh, and also, as Wikipedia tells us, "On stage, Buckethead enjoys not only entertaining by means of his guitar work, but also with displays of his nunchaku kata and pop-and-lock break-dancing skills.")They remark on its crazy-lookingness, and Lost Girl flutters her hands around to indicate her feminine distress. As they walk away, she keeps her eyes on Buckethead and notices it move slightly. She nearly jumps out of her skin, which if she had actually jumped out of her skin would have taken all the fun out of it for our Malevolent Scarecrow. A truly creepy shot of Buckethead hung up there on its post. Cut to Lost Boy and Girl scooting through the "orchard," suddenly pursued by something that growls and makes branches crackle. They take off running. The camera is right behind them until suddenly Lost Girl is running alone. She stops and turns around in circles while breathing heavily and calling Lost Boy's name. More crackling branches, more gasping, and she takes off running again until she trips over something that just happens to be Lost Boy's skinless face and corpse. The camera swings around to a long shot, and we see her look up from Lost Boy's body and start screaming and trying to crabwalk backwards. A pair of big hulking shoulders comes between us and her, and then cut to a shot of the scarecrow's perch at the end of a row of trees, currently vacated by its usual resident. Metal Teeth Chomp.