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Cindy McLennan: A | Grade It Now!
The Hardy Boys' Sympathy For The Devil, Part I

Sam flashes back to six months earlier. I tend to be more wowed by Ackles' acting, but I have to give Padalecki props, here. Very few actors, even great actors, are any good at playing drunk. Jared is. A drunken, desperate and bitter Sam summons a Cross Roads demon, because that always ends well. After Sam hollers in frustration, the demon appears at a distance -- wearing a male form, this time. "I was wondering whether to come or not. I mean, you shot one of my co-workers." Yeah, and then he broke their engagement. As Sam approaches, the demon taunts Sam about burying his brother. Before he'll talk to Sam, he demands to, "See that special little knife of [his]." Sam draws it out and lays it on a table, assuring the demon there are no devil's traps, either. He says he's not there to play games. After the demon taunts him about the Winchesters' repetitive habit of making deals, and claims he won't be making one with Sam, Sam snatches up the knife and stabs the demon through the hand. It doesn't kill him. It just pins his hand to the table. I guess you have to get demons in a more critical spot on their borrowed bodies, or something. I mean, this is the Knife That Can Kill Anything (And Actually Does). Sam says, "I don't want 10 years. I don't want one year. I don't want candy. I want to trade places with Dean." The demon says, "No!" Sam screams, "Just take me. It's a fair trade." The Sam girls faint. The demon refuses again. Sam doesn't understand why; Lilith wants him dead; she can have him. The demon explains that it's not about Sam's soul. "Dean's in Hell. Right where we want him. We've got everything exactly the way we want it. You want to kill me? Go ahead? I have made peace with my lord."

Flash forward to the Impala. It's clear Sam hasn't shared this story with Dean. He's just churning it over in his mind. Baby's windshield wipers slap out a steady beat; her engine purrs. The boys travel down the road in silence -- in the dark.

Daytime: In ward 42 of the Connor Beverly Behavioral Medicine Center, Sam and Dean wear their suits (pretty!) as they interview Anna's shrink about her confinement and disappearance. Two months ago, Anna was a happy well-adjusted journalism major with a bright future. Then she just flipped. They press the doctor for more information. She explains Anna has schizophrenia, complete with "delusions" that include thinking demons are everywhere. She hands Sam Anna's sketch book, and says it's not uncommon for their patients to believe monsters are real. Dean says, "Well that's just batty." Heh. Flipping through Anna's sketchbook, they first see pictures of a stained glass window and crosses, but then find writing too, things like, "Raising of the Witnesses" and "Samhain the next seal is broken." Do you think they ever wonder if they're delusional? For a second? The shrink goes on to tell them Anna's father was a church deacon, and that when Anna took ill, her symptoms included a plethora of religious references, adding that Anna told her the Devil is about to rise up and end the world. She hopes they find Anna, because it's dangerous for her to be out there alone. Oh, honey. You don't know the half of it.

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