Lost Limey Watches Supernatural #53 – “Malleus Maleficarum”

A quick note by way of introduction may be required here. For quite some time now, certain members of the Richmond WriMos have been trying to persuade me to watch the CW show Supernatural. I  have relented and am now embarking on watching Supernatural via the wonders of Netflix. This series of posts will simply be my first impressions, almost stream of consciousness style, presented in the form of the time elapsed in the episode and my thoughts expressed as bullet points. It’s effectively live tweeting the episodes except I don’t have to stick to 140 characters or fewer. So without further ado here’s my take on:

Season 3 Episode 09 – “Malleus Maleficarum”

  • 00:22 – In the previouslies, we get to see the recurring character I’ve been most interested in this season, Ruby and her demon-killing knife, so I assume both will be back for this episode.
  • 01:15 – We have a formally-dressed couple complaining about a terrible party. Well, hello Inevitable Teaser Death!
  • 01:48 – And here’s a likely cause of said Inevitable Teaser Death, a woman saying some kind of incantation. Or as the closed captioning has it “[SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE]” I assume Dutch…
  • 02:58 – Formalwear woman’s teeth bleeding and dropping out of her mouth is an absolutely bloody disgusting effect (no pun intended.)
  • 03:21 – Formal woman is dead.
  • 03:53 – Post-teaser, the brothers Winchester are interviewing Formal guy under the pretense of being CDC agents.
  • 04:55 – Sam discovered a “hex bag” under the sink, which leads the brothers to conclude that a witch is involved. This early in the episode, I have top assume that this is going to turn out to be an incorrect guess.
  • 05:38 – Very quick expository conversation about the nature of Supernatural witches. Basically they’re humans with a grudge and an inclination towards evil and spewing bodily fluids. Much like a rugby team after a night on the tiles.
  • 06:44 – That’s some very maggoty food. I’m sure all Uruk-Hai would approve
  • 07:14 – Poison! “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn.” I deny rocking out to cheesy ’80s hair metal.
  • 07:55 – And of course thematically it gets replaced with “I put a spell on you.”
  • 08:57 – The boys find the hex bag and set fire to it to prevent the spell from working. Turns out the witchy woman in question is someone that Formal guy had an affair with.
  • 10:03 – Another woman (the affair with project, I think) gets killed before commercial by remotely slashed wrists, and they remember to go down the highway and not across the street.
  • 11:24 – Dean freaks out with the dead animal in the doorway, and I quote “Freaking witches!”
  • 12:17 – We’re up to three hex bags, and apparently it’s witch-on-witch crime.
  • 13:08 – Dude has a point that this “book club” doesn’t have anybody with y’know, actual books.
  • 13:41 – It’s more of a coven than a club, really.
  • 14:35 – The ringleader of this little coven is of course the blond woman, because this is Supernatural and blonde woman are evil. Though she’s more of a Magrat Garlick than a Granny Weatherwax.
  • 14:38 – If your Fantasy Football draft only takes an hour, you’re doing it wrong, and probably need more nachos and beer.
  • 15:22 – The boys introduce themselves as Detective Bachman and Detective Turner. Clearly their investigation is going into Overdrive.
  • 17:36 – Dean concludes that the brothers Winchester have just met the surviving members of the coven. He describes one of them as a regular Martha Stewart aside from the devil worship, and the phrasing is just ambiguous enough that you can conclude that Martha Stewart worships Satan. Which explains the premium quality of the Lord of All Evil’s throw pillows.
  • 17:58 – Sam seems to be going for the pro “kill ’em all” approach, whereas Dean is showing more reluctance, in a reversal of the typical status quo.
  • 18:16 – And now Ruby makes her entrance by standing in the middle of the road. A small part of me wants Dean to just gun the engine of the Impala to see what happens, but I imagine that wouldn’t go well for Baby.
  • 18:32 – instead, he opts for a more literal gunning, pointing the Colt at Ruby’s face. Though as I’ve now watched two seasons of Arrow, I can’t help but think of the actress as Laurel Lance.
  • 19:00 – Ruby points out that witches get their powers from demons and that “there’s one here right now.” Dean makes the obvious rejoinder: “Oh what, you mean besides you?”
  • 19:11 – Apparently this other demon has Sam in its sights.
  • 19:44 – Dean fires the Colt at Ruby, but Sam knocks his arm up so that the shot misses. Ruby responds by disappearing. Clever girl.
  • 20:30 – Sam has an awesome argument about why Ruby is useful: “Look, if she wants us dead, all she has to do is stop saving our lives.” Dean ain’t buying it.
  • 21:23 – Dean’s worried that Sam is acting less like himself, particularly with being more callous in regards to human life. Surprisingly, Sam agrees with him, claiming not to have a choice.
  • 21:42 – Unsurprisingly, it all boils down to Dean’s demon deal. Sam figures that if he’s left alone in the crappy world after Dean’s set to hell, than Sam has to change. Specifically, Sam has to change into Dean, so he’s trying to become more Dean-like in his approach to hunting.
  • 22:12 – Dean’s suddenly overwhelmed by pain. He assumes that it’s the coven causing it, which seems like a fair conclusion.
  • 22:45 – Sam can’t find a hex bag, so he tries an alternative approach, taking the Colt, presumably to go confront the coven with an eldritch firearm.
  • 23:40 – Ruby bursts in on Dean, and gets told “You want to kill me? Get in line, bitch.” Actually, I feel like Dean’s been using the word “bitch” a little too liberally in regards to Ruby this entire episode. It makes sense for the character but feels more misogynistic than it probably was intended to at the script level.
  • 23:57 – She doses Dean with a potion and complains about the bitch thing.
  • 24:20 – Sam’s waving the Colt wildly at all three coven members. Two of them are freaking out. The other one isn’t saying much which makes me highly suspicious.
  • 24:34 – Whatever the potion ruby gave Dean was, it seems to have been a counter agent to whatever spell the witches put on him. So Ruby just saved Dean’s life. Kind of backs up the point Sam was making at 20:30.
  • 25:35 – Sam managed to work out that Tammi, the more silent and less flashy coven member was in fact the demon. She flashes the black eyes of nastiness and congratulates him on figuring it out. I’d assume his next move would be to shoot her with the Colt, but there seems to be rather too much episode left for that to work.
  • 25:59 – Sam does fire the Colt. Tammi stops the bullet before it can hit her. She’s got to be a demon of quite extraordinary magnitude if she can do that. After all, Ol’ Yellow Eyes couldn’t. Though it might be that the Ruby-repaired Colt isn’t as powerful as it used to be.
  • 27:39 – Tammi the demon does a great line in sarcastic belittling put downs, and “You sold yourself to me, you pig.” Is just withering with scorn. Granted, snapping the blond witch’s neck with just a hand wave got her level of evil across pretty damned efficiently.
  • 28:18 – Sam’s not the messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!
  • 28:28 – Apparently there’s a new demon leader rising ready to lead the army, and he’s not a fan of Sam’s. Which is pretty understandable.
  • 29:17 – Dean’s Big Damn Hero moment of bursting in doesn’t work when Tammi bats him around like a rag doll.
  • 29:30 – And now Ruby’s showed up to talk to Tammi. It’s a regular demon heartless to heartless.
  • 30:06 – Ruby claims to want to serve Tammi again.
  • 30:22 _ It’s a ruse to get close enough to stab her. It doesn’t work as Tammi sees that Ruby is a “lying whore,” which I think is even more of misogynistic insult than Dean’s casual dropping of “bitch” every few minutes.
  • 31:57 – Apparently Ruby used to be human, and a witch under Tammi to boot. I think this is the first time we’ve learned that humans can become demons, not merely be possessed by them, which seems like a pretty massive revelation.
  • 32:30 – And now, I think Tammi is attempting to cast Ruby out and back to hell. I hesitate to call it exorcism as I’m unsure if a demon can exorcise another demon.
  • 32:40 – The last witch is trying to distract Tammi. It seems to be working and preventing her spell on Ruby.
  • 33:06 – Of course Tammi kills the last witch…
  • 33:17 – …Immediately before dean stabs Tammi multiple times with Ruby’s knife o’ demon killing. Which, as you probably guessed, killed the demon and the Tammi meat-suit.
  • 35:53 – Ruby confirms to Dean that all demons were once human. That’s a huge piece of lore for the show.
  • 36:03 – Apparently that’s what hell does, it strips humans of their identity until they become demonic. Since Dean has a trip to hell in his very near future thanks to that whole dumb demon deal thing, I guess that could happen to him. Though based on Ruby’s line about when the plague was big, she’s had around seven centuries to forget that she was once human.
  • 36:52 – Ruby to Dean: “It might take centuries, but sooner or later, Hell will burn away your humanity.”
  • 37:14 – Ruby also reaffirms that there’s no way to save Dean from the pit. So she has been lying to Sam all season.
  • 38:16 – Ruby is also apparently trying to mold Sam into a more Dean like mode of fighting the upcoming demon war.
  • 38:45 – Ruby’s also different from most demons in that she can still remember what being human was like. I’m not sure if that makes her being a demon better or worse as a hellish punishment.

I liked this one a lot. As has probably been apparent in the episodes that have featured her, I’m a fan of Ruby and want to see where they’re taking the character. She’s morally ambiguous enough that I can’t tell her true motives and intentions, and she’s not as downright loathsome as Bela.

The revelations that all demons were once hell-bound humans feels like a very big deal, and should be an interesting wrinkle going forwards based on the show mythology. And I’m always in favor of anything that expands mythology in general.

Lastly, the reasoning behind Sam’s darker behavior and less terrible hair not being a passive “he came back from the dead wrong” but an active choice to be a more ruthless hunter by explicitly trying to embrace Dean’s mindset really deepens the already crazy close bond between the brothers.

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One thought on “Lost Limey Watches Supernatural #53 – “Malleus Maleficarum”

  1. Pingback: Lost Limey Watches Supernatural #56 – “Jus in Bello” | Thoughts of a Lost Limey

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