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The Hardy Boys Go Off to See the Wizard

Credits. The ringing phone from the last episode rings on the motel night stand as Sam tries to get Dean to wake up. Sam finally reaches over and answers it, and sits up in bed exclaiming, "Dad?" We cut to a close-up of John Winchester on the phone, telling Sam that he isn't hurt and asking how the brothers are. Dean starts rousing from his mmmshirtless sleep just beyond Sam, as Sam asks desperate questions of his father: "Where are you?" "Why not?" You're after it aren't you?" Dad tells Sam that the thing that killed their mom is a demon. Meanwhile, Dean is in soft focus behind Sam looking hot -- excuse me, I mean "concerned." I feel Dean's sucky position because I hate knowing the person right next to me is having a juicy phone conversation but not knowing what about: "Wait! What? What'd he say? Wait! What?" Anyway, when Dad tells Sam that he knows that Jess was killed, strings start swelling and Dean puts on his shirt. Thanks a lot, Sam. Sam wants to help Dad close in on the Big Bad; Dad says no. Dean starts asking for the phone. Shot of Dad Winchester in a phone booth labeled "Sacratel." So he's in Sacramento. Dad instructs Sam that they need to stop looking for him, and tries to give Sam a list of names to take down. Sam is full of questions, but Dad snaps at him, "Look, we don't have time for this. This is bigger than you think. They're everywhere. Even us talking right now. It's not safe." Dean starts demanding the phone while Dad tells Sam that he's "giving [him] an order. Now you stop following me and do your job." Jared tries to do Tough Lips but isn't nearly as successful as Jensen is at it. Dean grabs the phone from WannaBe Tough Lips and yells, "Dad, it's me, where are you?" Without hearing what PaChester says to him, we see Dean's back straighten and his face go blank as he says "yes, sir" and starts taking down the names. Cut to Sam, his face tic-ing with frustration. Good on ya, fellas! Bravo, boys! Bravo!The Metallicar, it zooms. As we already know. Inside, Sam is driving, and the brothers discuss the list of names their father gave them. It is a list of three couples that disappeared while taking a "road trip cross-country." Sam doesn't see what the big deal is until Dean notes that each couple went through the same part of Indiana on the second week of April "one year after another after another." Sam exposits, "This is the second week of April." In CRAZY NON-CONTINUITY TOWN, that is. Then Dean goes a little crazytown himself: "Can you imagine putting together a pattern like this? How many different obits Dad had to go through? Man's a master." First of all, this militaristic father-worshipping is sort of icky, and second of all, what kind of obituaries include a person's travel itinerary? No time to consider any of this, because Sam pulls the car over and, looking straight ahead, declares, "We're not going to Indiana. We're going to California." Sam insists to Dean that they have to be there to help their father. Dean says, "Dad doesn't want our help." Sam says, "I don't care." Dean says, "He's given us an order." Sam says, "I don't care. We don't always have to do what he says." Dean looks like he can't wrap his mind around what Sam is saying. The poor, brainwashed puppy! Sam makes a good case for taking a week to go to California, but when Dean responds with older brother sympathy, saying he knows how Sam feels, Sam seems to snap and starts going off about how Dean couldn't know how he feels: "How old were you when Mom died? Four? Jess died six months ago, how the hell would you know how I feel?" Ouch. Even the soundtrack emits a little woodwinded groan. Dean continues to press their father's agenda until Sam sighs, "I don't understand the blind faith you have in the man." Dean snaps back, "It's called being a good son," and Sam gets out of the car. Dean follows and tells Sam he's a "selfish bastard." Sam gets his bags out of the trunk and walks off into the fog. Dean calls after him, "Hey, I'm serious, I will leave your ass." Sam stops and turns around and tightly declares, "That's what I want you to do." Dean says, "Goodbye, Sam," gets in the car, and drives off. Sam walks in the other direction. Crikey, Kripke, you want me to cry or something?

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