This week, it's the Robert Johnson legend in quadruplicate, and it rocks pretty damn hard. In a flashback to Mississippi in 1930, we witness the original version of the tale, as Johnson himself makes a deal with a devil at a crossroads to become the greatest blues guitar player of all time. Eight years later, the hellhound on his trail finally catches up with him to drag him down into Hell at the ripe old age of 27. Ooops. Flash-forward to 1996, where a similarly struggling artist makes a similarly stupid deal, only this time, the devil decides to "hang out for a week" at the local bar, managing in the process to talk three more people into trading their souls for a decade's worth of material success, with one notable exception: Tonight's primary morsel of Monster Chow, who actually bought a second chance for his cancer-riddled wife.
Jump to the present, where Our Intrepid Heroes find themselves on the case after one of the four flings himself off a building of his own design in a desperate and futile attempt at escape. Another dealmaker finds herself ripped to shreds in the anonymous motel room to which she pointlessly fled, while the moron who started this whole round in the first place has barricaded himself in a filthy hole of an apartment, where the only thing keeping him alive is the circle of "hoodoo dust" he laid down around the walls. The boys track down the remaining gentleman, and while Sam devises various means of protection, Dean heads back to the crossroads to summon the devil himself. He manages to ensnare her in one of those fancy traps from last season's finale and then finagles an eternal reprieve for tonight's primary morsel of Monster Chow, because Dean Winchester is made of awesome that way. Unfortunately, before he does so, the devil spills the dirty secret of Daddy Shut Up's sacrifice at the end of the season premiere, so Dean's all mopey and introspective and shit again. Poor Dean. And poor us, too, for a mopey and introspective Dean is not a very fun Dean at all. Damn you, Kripke!
Crackle, Crackle THEN! Well, this is dull. Except for that semi t-boning Metallicar at the end of last season's finale, of course. Shut Up Daddy summoned The Ceiling Demon to trade The Fucking Colt and himself for Dean's life. Angst ensued. Also, Sam and Dean learned about these nifty little circles you can draw on the roof to trap demons. Got all that? Good.
Crackle, Crackle NOW! "Greenwood, Mississippi" emerges from the black, along with the opening notes of "Crossroad Blues," from which this episode takes its name. Beneath the location, a few more characters materialize to inform us it's actually "August 1938," so even the NOW! on this show is a LYING LIAR WHO LIES. As the gentleman playing the guitar starts getting into the main melody lines of the song, a bare lightbulb appears in the lower left-hand side of the screen, followed shortly by a dimly lit overhead shot of an old plank-floored juke joint. In the center of the room next to the heavy stone fireplace, a woman sits forward in her chair listening intently to the music with her white-gloved hands folded in her lap. In contrast to the joint's other patrons, who bop along gently with the beat, this central woman remains almost as still as a statue, save for her right foot, which is subtly tapping along with the instrumental blues tune's rhythm. And I've spent an inordinate amount of time describing her because there's not a lot else going on in this scene besides some guitar playing. Good thing I like the song, I guess. The camera eventually lands on the player's face, and he's got a cigarette hanging from one side of his mouth just like a certain someone in a photobooth snapshot later turned into an infamously bowdlerized stamp, so I think it's safe to refer to this guitar-strumming gentleman as "Mr. Johnson" for the remainder of his time in this recap. Mr. Johnson flips his eyes up under the brim of his fedora at the woman with the white-gloved hands, and because of the subsequent twinkly smirk he gives her, I was going to refer to her as his Little Queen Of Spades. Then I remembered how much I hate getting email from idiots, so she'll be The Kindhearted Woman until she receives a proper name, which I don't think is ever going to happen this evening.