After a heartbroken Sam literally took a long walk off a short pier, I found myself simultaneously rolling my eyes and clutching my pearls at last week’s emotional and manipulative cliffhanger, because nothing good happens when Sam and Dean separate and it was obvious the brothers would reunite. Regardless, I imagined poor Sammy huddled in a hovel of a hotel room while grotesque visions of Lucifer danced through his head. So I was eager for Sam and Dean's quarrel to be resolved with some emo-happy conversations and maybe a shirtless fight in the rain.
While none of that happened, “The Mentalists,” an awesome episode with scary ghosts, spot-on humor and a ton of psychic intervention, alleviated most of my fears and gripes and kept me thoroughly entertained.
Nothing hooks me into an episode like the show’s warped sense of irony, and it was being dished out to phony fortuneteller, Grandma Goldy. In the middle of a theatrically-staged séance, complete with Ouija board and mystical winds that fluttered the curtains, a genuine spirit appeared. The temperature in the room dropped, the flames leapt out of the fireplace and the planchette plunged itself into Grandma Goldy’s throat. If she was a real psychic, she would've seen it coming.
Dean strolled through the parking lot of Fat Mack’s BBQ Rib Shack and procured a neglected old Dodge Challenger as his new car and a new case after hearing about the murders in Lily Dale, America’s Most Psychic town, on a local radio station. After visiting the crime scene, he headed to The Good Graces Café. Every week, I find a reason to worship the “Supernatural” production crew, and my favorite was the specials board: Special of the Day: YOU! Soup of the Day: A State of Bliss.
As Dean prepared to bolt, he discovered a suited-up Sam engrossed in files from the same case. I must confess that Jared Padalecki wears anger better than any of The Men’s Warehouses’ finest.
It was amazing how efficiently Sam shut down after more than a week of distance as Dean greeted him. Nonetheless, Dean smoothly finagled a collaboration on the case. Patrons at Good Graces get an affirmation with every order. Here was Dean’s: “You are a virile manifestation of the divine.” Weird but true.
In a necessary bit of continuity, a woman with vibrantly red hair recognized Sam and Dean as “those depraved killers from the news” but remarked about their “gentle energies” after they assured her they only resembled them. Nikolai the Spoon Bender whisked her away. Sam's spoon magically curled over as picked it up to stir his coffee. “He broke my spoon,” Sam huffed petulantly. That quote is the "I lost of my shoe!" of 2011, and I know I'll say it every time I stir a hot beverage.
Sam debriefed Dean on his investigation. The first victim, Imelda, was “brained by her own crystal ball.” She was wearing a jeweled necklace that was willed to the second victim, Grandma Goldy. Sam believed that they were dealing with a cursed object.
The brothers headed to Melanie Golden’s house, the granddaughter of Grandma Goldy. Unlike the rest of Lily Dale, which was drowning in windchimes and crystal balls and turbans, Melanie (Dorian Brown) appeared to downright ordinary. She happily volunteered that, unlike her grandmother, who went “full smoke machine” and truly believed, she wasn’t psychic, but made a living pretending to be. “I honestly read people. It’s just less woo-woo and more body language,” and she demonstrated her gift of perception with a reading that would make Shawn and Gus applaud. “Longtime partners, but lot of tension, you’re pissed and you’re stressed.”
Dean and Melanie managed to squeeze in a bit of eye-flirting before learning that the necklace had been willed to The Emporium, a pawn shop for psychic artifacts and all seemingly all of the old junk the owner, Jimmy Tomorrow, could pass off as mystical and/or valuable. Jimmy, a disheveled man with bags under his eyes and stained undershirt, identified the necklace as The Orb of Thessaly when it was really a cheap trinket made in Taiwan.
Jimmy offered his own services to Sam: “A loss weighs on you. You’re angry. It’s complicated.” I love that in an episode about phony fortunetellers, the readings are completely real. I wish Jimmy could tell me when Justin Timberlake will make music again.
Since the necklace was fake, the investigation was stalled. Enter Nikolai, the Russian Spoon Bender who was impaled by his beloved cutlery. Oh, the irony.
The police chief had been buried in tips from clairvoyants, claiming that ghosts or “an ogre that only attacks Russians” killed Nikolai. He also said that Nikolai had a vision of his death.
Dean got a call from a panicked Melanie. Apparently, her grandmother left a voicemail message that she had a death vision. After hearing the details, Dean read her in, “There’s fake woo-woo crap and there’s real woo-woo crap.”
Sam and Dean left Melanie to drink and digest while they lamented over the complexities of this case. I found it interesting that mediums began using crystal balls because spirits are attracted to quartz. Sam believed that some of the people in the town have actual psychic abilities, so they split up to canvass all of the mediums, fake or otherwise.
Cut to Camille—a friend of Melanie’s—reading chicken bones, not palms, in hilarious Miss Cleo’s camp, complete with fake Jamaican accent. Her psychic moniker was Sister Thibideaux (Rukiya Bernard), and what she lacked in actual abilities, she made up in catchphrases and pizzazz. She soothed the client worried about her thug of a brother going to prison again, “I’s always say family is a pain in the ass!”
As she counted her money, Sister Thibideaux was assaulted with vision of her own death, dark eyes ghosting milky white and her breath frosting over. Thanks to a perfectly-placed hidden camera, Dean was able to watch the footage of it. Thought it was staticky from paranormal energy, Dean pointed out that the spirit of a woman in a dusty period garb with ratty hair was doling out the visions. And this was when I turned on the light.
Melanie recognized the spirit from a photograph at the Lily Dale Psychic museum. The tour guide told them about Kate and Margaret Fox, the founders of Lily Dale. Kate, the younger sister, was “troubled but mesmerizing on stage” and could predict one’s death. Margaret was believed to be a phony, but took care of her sister. Both were buried in the local cemetery.
In a moment that I believed was both endearing and chilling, the guide grabbed Dean’s arm, leaned in close and said this: “Do you know an Eleanor or an Ellen? She seems quite concerned about you. She wants to tell you, if you don’t tell someone how bad it really is, she’ll kick your ass from beyond.” If Bobby is Sam and Dean’s surrogate father, then Ellen Harvelle is their adoptive mother, and even worried about them from across the grave. I only wished she had a message for Sam.
Dean took Ellen’s advice immediately, confronting Sam about his stoic behavior outside of the museum. “I’ll work this damn case, but you lied to me, and you killed my friend,” Sam said, eyes brimming with emotion. It was the most he’d spoken the entire episode, and you can see just how much Dean had hurt him.
His brother fired back, “That’s what family does—the dirty work. And I would have told you eventually, once I knew this whole ‘waving a gun at Satan’ thing was a one-time show. I think it’s reasonable to want to know that you’re off the friggin’ high-dive, Sam. You almost got us both killed. So you can be pissed all you want, but quit being a bitch.” And to think I was worried they wouldn't even address Sam's departure.
I wished Sam would've clocked Dean in his pretty, pretty face because Sam sacrificed his soul and his sanity to shove Lucifer back in his cage. If Dean had simply expressed his concerns, Sam’s feelings and Dean’s liver could have been spared.
Despite mounting tensions, Sam and Dean went to the cemetery to burn Kate’s bones. When Kate materialized, she wasn’t hellbent on killing the Winchesters; she seemed maddeningly frustrated, screaming “why isn’t anybody listening?” But she advanced on Dean, fire in her eyes, and Sam finished her off.
Instead of burning Margaret’s bones too, the badass hunters who stopped the apocalypse, killed rogue angels and evaded nationwide manhunts merely high-fived each other for a job well done and called Melanie to let her know that Camille was saved. I don’t need magic powers to know that it’s never that simple. A rattled Camille was skeptical too, and Melanie offered to let her stay at her house for a few days. The girls headed back to Camille’s house so she could pack.
Camille got a few seconds of déjà vu as a warning, and then Margaret appeared with a devilish smile. In a wonderfully suspenseful sequence, Melanie took Sam’s directions over the phone, using salt and iron, to ward off Margaret while Camille sobbed and hollered. In the end, a trapped Melanie could only watch her friend’s demise.
Sam and Dean were forced to return to the graveyard to burn Margaret’s bones in daylight, except the coffin was unsurprisingly empty. Ultimately, some twisted individual had stolen the bones and bound Margaret’s ghost to do their bidding, which was eliminating the headliners at The Annual Lily Dale E.S.P Festival and Hot-Dog-Eating Contest. The murdered mediums had achieved marginal fame, and Melanie was the most logical replacement and the next target.
While Dean and Melanie stood in the Salt Circle of Safety, Sam headed back to The Emporium to track the items needed for necromancy. Jimmy Tomorrow was too helpful, volunteering an address and sending gullible Sammy on his way. It was a comical twist that Sam kicked in the door of the vibrantly red-head’s “pregnant yoga class,” brandishing a gun.
Knowing he’d been duped, Sam headed back to Jimmy’s, using his card to find his address, which was almost as difficult as finding Platform 9 ¾ at King Cross Station. Inside, Sam found Margaret’s skull and a furious Jimmy.
At Melanie’s, Margaret waged war. Dean and Melanie valiantly fought the incredibly powerful ghost while a disturbed Jimmy monologued. “Sometimes the real thing just isn’t pretty or entertaining enough. When I show people what I’m capable of, it scares them. I can’t pay my rent.”
Jimmy was also a bonafide psychic and knocked the gun out of Sam’s hand with the power of his mind. Meanwhile, Margaret broke the salt line by cracking the floorboards.
Sam, also blessed with psychic tendencies and excellent perception, deduced where the bones were and rattled Jimmy's sinister demeanor. The moment he looked away, Sam whipped out his own gun and shot him. I definitely gagged as Sam set ablaze the bones that were lovingly nestled in Jimmy’s bed.
Melanie and Dean were saved without a second to spare.
Back at Good Graces, Dean, who had been cracking jokes trying to break Sam’s icy demeanor all week, finally made progress by threatening the waiter. Sam smothered his laughter, but was clearly defrosting. I love seeing Sam and Dean act like real brothers. It’s a testament to Jared and Jensen’s overwhelming chemistry.
Once again, the end of the show left me a little unfulfilled. After Dean blindsided Sam with everything he’d been feeling—fears about Sam’s sanity, the inability to trust him—Sam said that Dean was right. It’s a valid point that Sam probably would have killed Amy without any debate if he didn’t know her, but Sam letting Dean off the hook felt too neat and easy. Thankfully, Sam pointed out that Dean “wasn’t sleeping” and was drinking heavily. “How are those the actions of someone who knows they did the right thing?” Sam asked.
Dean admitted he “has a hard time trusting” after Castiel’s betrayal, and that lying to Sam felt wrong. Even I can’t argue with that. Sam and Dean have been through far too much to allow Dean’s misstep to ruin their relationship, and while Dean was completely wrong in hiding what he'd done, I know that everything he did was to protect his little brother.
Overall, the episode was well-paced, action-packed and reminded me of season 1's "Provenance" in all the right ways. The only thing that was missing was the Impala.
The credits have barely rolled, but I’m already picking out my party dress and finding my handkerchief, because next week, my enormous Sammy’s getting married?!
What did you think of the episode? Should Sam have forgiven Dean so quickly? Did you miss Missouri Moseley as much as I did? Hit up the comments section!