The story opens with Dean, wearing a suit, and running for his life. We hear, but don't see, a dog chasing him. When the camera finally pans to Dean's hunter, we see she's pretty much Benji's sister, complete with a pink bow atop her cute little head. Screaming, Dean flees in terror. I don't know what's going on, but I don't care. I watch the scene five times.
43 Hours Earlier In Rock Ridge, Colorado: The boys investigate the death of a 44 year old marathoner, Frank O'Brien, who dropped dead of an apparent heart attack. O'Brien was married, but twenty years ago his wife Jessie, a manic-depressive, went off her meds and took off. They found her a couple of weeks later in a motel room, dead of an apparent suicide.
There have been two recent, unlikely coronary-related deaths in Maumee, too, that the boys suspect are related. Disguised as Federal Agents Tyler and Perry, they demand an autopsy, which they attend, and which disproves the heart attack theory. They interview the local sheriff -- O'Brien's best friend, who seems to suffer from Mysophobia. They also interview O'Brien's neighbor who tells them that although O'Brien was a bully and a bit of a dick in back in high school, he got better as he got older, but recently, he'd been exhibiting extreme anxiety.
Dean is doing the same. When the boys' EMF reader goes crazy in his presence, he fears he's haunted. He also fears fourth floor rooms, turning left across traffic, and driving over 20 MPH. When Sam brings him food, he eyes it suspiciously, and then… casts it aside. This is serious, y'all!
Via telephone, Bobby informs Sam that it sounds like the victims had (and Dean has) ghost sickness -- symptoms are increasing anxiety to the point where the victim's heart gives out. Frank recently played the two Maumee victims in a softball tournament, so he's likely Patient Zero. The boys have to gank the ghost before this disease spreads like wildfire. Dean wants to know why he's sick and Sam is not. Sam explains that all three victims were bullies and dicks. Ahem.
Dean has hallucinations. After he coughs up a woodchip, Sam drags him out to investigate the local lumber mill. It seems abandoned. They find Frank's wedding ring on the floor (it's engraved) and when they release a cat which was trapped it a locker, it nearly scares Dean to death. I watch the scene ten times. In the mill office, Sam finds the ID card of one Luther Garland, and Dean finds a beautiful sketch of Jessie on the desk. When the mill starts up, seemingly on its own, they also find Luther Garland's ghost standing in the corner. Do ghosts get sent to time out? Dean runs out and hits the bottle hard, leaving Sam to shoot the spook with rock salt all by himself.
It all boils down to this: Luther Garland was the local Boo Radley, who loved kitties, and had a big old (but entirely harmless) crush on Jessie O'Brien. When Jessie went missing, but before her suicide was discovered, Frank set an Olympic record -- pole vaulting to the conclusion that Luther was behind her disappearance. He tied a chain around Luther's neck, hooked the chain to the bumper of his truck and road-hauled Luther to his death. Being Frank's BFF, the sheriff looked the other way, because Scout and Jem weren't around to demand justice for Boo.
Dean's fears eventually incapacitate him. In addition to walking off the job and having his aforementioned encounter with Benjette, he also hallucinates that Sam is the Yellow-Eyed Demon. Eventually Sam just leaves him in the motel to watch cartoons and gets Bobby on the case. The men determine they can't just burn Luther's bones, because bits and pieces of him were scattered when O'Brien murdered him, and they have to rely on Bobby's knowledge of Japanese (!?!) to find out another way to deal with this ghost.
Dean receives a visit from the infected sheriff who dies right there in his hotel room. He then hallucinates that Lilith has come to reclaim him. Meanwhile, Sam and Bobby figure out the only way to get rid of Luther's ghost is to scare it to death. Again. Even though it's dead. Yes. Really. They capture him with a spell-engraved iron chain and drag Luther's ghost to its second death, because that's what it was most afraid of. Yes. Really. Once the ugly deed is done, Dean is immediately better. Because they have their priorities, Bobby and Sam mock Dean mercilessly, and then update him on the resolution of the case. After Bobby leaves, Sam asks Dean what his worst fear-based visions were during his infection. And then? Sam's eyes turn freaking YELLOW. Dean dissembles – saying something about howler monkeys, and that it was nothing he couldn't handle. It looks like we're all out of show. Except…
…We're not, because we're treated to approximately 90 seconds of Jensen Ackles lip-synching and vamping to Survivor's "Eye Of The Tiger," which ought to be a DVD extra. It's so funny; it just totally screwed with my grading for this episode. Darn you, Ackles.
THEN! We see the forest from Dean's point of view as he hallucinates about running from the hellhounds. Brunette Lilith the First's eyes turn white before she takes out Special Agent Victor Henriksen; Brave Little Virginal And Doomed Nancy; and the entire Monument Sheriff's Department. Blonde Lilith the Second doesn't like her Grampy anymore. Dean runs from the Hellhounds again. Sam tells us he has demon blood in him. We all say, "No duh." Sam uses his new exorcism mojo on the waitress demon. Sam kills Hunter Gordon in The Most Stupendously Fantabulous Televisual Moment Of The Scintillating Season The Last! Lilith the Third (Princess Sparkle Special Edition) sends her puppies to play with Dean. Castiel (oh Cas -- Hi! Hi!) tells Dean, "You should show me some respect. I dragged you out of Hell. I can throw you back in."
NOW! Dean, wearing a suit, is running for his life. Although we don't see it, we hear a dog chasing him. Run, Dean! Run! And run he does. He rounds an alley dumpster, startles the homeless man sorting through it, and trips and falls over a pile of trash, and not the kind he usually tries to pick up in bars. Still on the ground, Dean yells to the homeless man. "Run! It will kill you." The man looks at Dean, and then to the evil beastie who's been hot on his tail. Is it another shape shifter wearing the skin of a movie-style werewolf? Hellhounds? Cerberus himself? The camera pans to Dean's hunter, we see she's pretty much Benji's sister, complete with a pink bow atop her cute little head. I think Dean screams as he flees in terror, but it's hard to make it out over the sound of my own laughter. I watch the scene five times before I allow the title card to sweep in on angel wings.
43 Hours earlier in Rock Ridge, Colorado: Posing as Agents Tyler and Perry, the boys view their latest corpse -- Frank O'Brien (he should have been named Frank Johnson), who is three days dead. Sam lets the coroner (we'll call him Dr. Johnson) know they find it curious that a 44-year-old marathoner dropped dead of an apparent heart attack, but Dr. Johnson's rather laconic response is that people die all the time, which is why he has job security. TV episodes are, like this one, often a mixed bag, which is why I have job security. Dean notes that yesterday, two perfectly healthy males dropped dead in Maumee, which seems strange. Dr. Johnson says that seems like Maumee's problem, and wants to know why the FBI cares, anyhow. I guess his gig really is solid. Dean says they just want to see Frank's autopsy results. Dr. Johnson says, "What autopsy?" Okay, he's just flaunting the job security now. Dean replies, "The one you're going to do," because nobody fires a fake G-Man. As Dr. Johnson slices into Frank's chest, we're treated to evocative sound effects, and my phone rings. What the Hell, I'll answer it.