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Recap: Supernatural S 02 E 11 Playthings

Recap of Supernatural
Season 2, Episode 11:

Playthings

I mean, he loves them. He's not gonna tell you this, but he's—he's always dressing 'em up in these little outfits and, um, you'd make his day. —Dean about Sam

Sam: [to Dean, who wants to check whether Rose really had a stroke] What do you want to do, poke her with a stick? [Dean nods] Dude, you're not gonna poke her with a stick!

Written by Matt Witten.

Directed by Charles Beeson.

Airdate: January 18, 2007.

People keep dying in odd accidents at an inn in Cornwall, Connecticut, run by a single mother who has a daughter with an imaginary friend.


Sam and Dean have been unsuccessfully investigating Ava Wilson's disappearance in Peoria, Illinois for the last month. Ellen calls Sam with a possible case: mysterious deaths at Pierpont Inn in Cornwall, Connecticut, and the Winchester brothers decide to check into the inn. They find out that the inn is about to be closed and is owned by Susan Thompson. Susan has a daughter, Tyler, and a mother, Rose. Rose recently suffered a stroke. They also have an extensive doll collection, including a dollhouse replica of the inn. Tyler has an imaginary friend, another young girl named Maggie.

A lawyer from the company who bought Pierpont Inn and is planning to demolish the inn is staying overnight in one of the rooms. He is found by one of the maids dead, hanging from a ceiling fan, which is eerily mirrored by one of the dolls in the dollhouse. Dean returns to the hotel room to tell Sam about the recent death and finds Sam drunk. Sam reveals his guilt about Ava's disappearance and his desire to save people in order to keep himself from becoming evil and joining the Yellow-Eyed Demon. He makes Dean promise to kill him if it becomes necessary.

The brothers see five-points in the inn and think the deaths may be the result of a Hoodoo curse, but when the brothers find out Rose had a sister named Margaret who died in drowning accident, they realize that Maggie is a vengeful spirit that Rose had been controlling with Hoodoo. Now that Rose is debilitated by a stroke, Maggie has been killing people to keep the inn from closing. The brothers save Susan when the ghost tries to run her over with a car, but then Maggie tries to drown Tyler in the pool so that Tyler will stay and play with her "forever and ever and ever". While Maggie is holding Tyler under the water, Maggie seems to hear someone calling her and disappears, allowing Sam to rescue Tyler. Rose communicates to Maggie that she will stay with her if she lets Susan and Tyler go, and Maggie agrees. Susan finds her mother Rose dead, but Tyler is no longer seeing Maggie.

Body count

For this episode = 3 humans

For the series so far = At least 170 humans; 11 ghosts; 5 vampires; 1 demon; 1 god; 1 rakshasa; 1 rawhead; 1 shapeshifter; 1 shtriga; 1 wendigo; 1 zombie.


Tropes appearing in this episode:

  • Affectionate Nickname/In-Series Nickname/Production Nickname: Dean calls Sam Sasquatch because of Sam's height. This nickname was also used by Supernatural cast and crew, especially Kim Manners, for Jared Padalecki.
  • Artistic License - Medicine: Rose does not respond to the brothers and appears tremulous and in a wheelchair, but it is unclear how Sam concluded she had a stroke.
  • Catchphrase: Maggie and Tyler borrow Dean's "son of a bitch" at the beginning of the episode.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Creepy Child: Both Maggie and Tyler.
  • Creepy Doll: Literally hundreds of them.
  • Death Glare: Sam gives Dean a few as Dean tries to get them into the owner's private rooms by insisting that Sam just loves playing with dolls, although vocally he (unenthusiastically) plays along.
  • Dies Wide Open: The man who came to pick up items for Goodwill and fell down the stairs.
  • Eye of Newt: Bloodweed with a quincunx = a powerful charm to ward off enemies.
  • Gender-Blender Name: One of the girls is named Tyler.
  • Geometric Magic: Sam notices a quincunx, a five-point, engraved in a urn outside the inn, as well as on a vase inside it.
  • Harmful to Minors: Susan tries to keep Tyler from looking at the ghastly sight of the dead man who fell down the stairs.
  • Haunted House: Lampshaded by Dean.
    Dean: Dude, this is sweet. I never get to work jobs like this.
    Sam: Like what?
    Dean: Old school haunted houses, you know? Fog, and secret passageways, sissy British accents...
  • Haunted House Historian: Sherwin.
    Sherwin: Every hotel has its spilled blood. If people only knew what's gone on in some of those rooms they've checked into.
    Dean: You know a lot about the place, don't you?
    Sherwin: Down to the last nail.
    Dean: I'd love to hear some stories.
    Sherwin: Boy, you should never say that to an old man.
  • Hell Hotel: Pierpont Inn.
    Susan: Well, congratulations, you could be some of our final guests.
    Dean: Sounds vaguely ominous.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Sam and Dean.
    Dean: Of course, the most troubling question is why do these people assume we're gay?
    Sam: Well, you are kinda butch. Probably think you're overcompensating.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Susan is played by Annie Wersching, probably best known for the role of Renee Walker in the final two seasons of 24.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: The five-points.
  • Hideous Hangover Cure:
    Dean: You know, there's a really good hangover remedy: it's a greasy pork sandwich served up in a dirty ashtray.
    Sam: [groaning] I hate you.
  • Imaginary Enemy: Maggie.
  • The Internet Is for Porn: Dean feels it is necessary to warn Sam before he uses his computer for research.
    Dean: Don't go surfing porn, that's not the kind of whacking I mean.
  • In Vino Veritas: Sam gets drunk and insults Dean before making Dean promise to kill him if he turns to the dark side.
    Sam: You're bossy. And short.
    Dean: Are you drunk?
    Sam: Yeah. So? Stupid.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: Tyler humming "Ring Around the Rosie" while pouring imaginary tea for the dolls.
  • Lonely Doll Girl
  • Madwoman in the Attic: Rose is isolated in the attic after her stroke.
  • Magical Negro:
    • Dean thinks white people in Connecticut wouldn't practice Hoodoo.
    Dean: Don't you think this place is a little too, uh, whitemeat for hoodoo?
    • When Dean sees a photo of Rose's black nanny, Marie, wearing a necklace with a five-point on it, he thinks she might have taught Rose hoodoo.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: The first deaths—a lady drowning in a bath tub and a man falling down the stairs.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Or "antiquers".
    Susan: Well, let me guess. You guys are here antiquing?
    Dean: [thinks, shrugs, rolls with it] How'd you know?
    Susan: Oh, you just look the type. So, a king-sized bed?
  • Never Suicide: The death of the lawyer appears to be a suicide.
  • No, Except Yes:
    Dean: That car didn't try to run you over by itself. Well, technically it did...
  • Not-So-Imaginary Friend: Maggie.
  • The Promise: A drunk Sam insists Dean promise to kill Sam if he becomes evil. Dean reluctantly promises.
  • The Reveal: "Maggie is imaginary. You are too old for imaginary friends."
  • Saving the Orphanage: Or, in this case, the Pierpont Inn.
    Sherwin: Miss Susan tried to make a go of it, but the guests just don't come like they used to. Still, it's a damn shame.
    Sam: Oh, yeah.
    Sherwin: It may not look it anymore, but this place was a palace. Two different vice presidents laid their heads on our pillows. My parents worked here, I practically grew up here. Gonna miss it. Here's your room.
  • School Uniforms are the New Black: Maggie and Tyler wear identical black jumpers with white Peter Pan collars and red cardigans.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Several to The Shining. A creepy hotel, the two little girls, low tracking shots in the hallways...
      • Also notable is the bar scene—down to the choice of liquor.
      • Plus, Sam and Dean stay in room 237, a significant room The Shining.
    • The Pierpont Inn reminds Dean of a setting for an episode of Scooby-Doo.
    Dean: Might even run into Fred and Daphne while we're inside. [closes eyes briefly] Mmm. Daphne. Love her.
    • When Dean sees a hungover Sam, he references Chet's line from Weird Science.
    • The scene of Rose looking out the window recalls the shots of Mrs. Bates in Psycho.
  • Take Me Instead: Rose does this with Maggie for Susan and Tyler.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Maggie and then Tyler say "son of a bitch", and they hadn't even met Dean yet. Maggie is also the one killing everyone, although there it's played with as she appears to use the dolls to kill them somehow.
  • Voodoo Doll:
    • A doll in the dollhouse version of the Pierpont Inn is found with his neck twisted by the stairs, just before the body of a man who came to take things to Goodwill is found in a similar position.
    • Another doll is seen sitting on a bed and then is hanging by its neck from the ceiling fan, just like the lawyer from the company who bought the inn.
  • Warrior Therapist: Sam dealing with the responsibility he feels for Ava and her fiancÚ.
    Dean: I just figured after Ava there'd be, uh, you know, more angst and droopy music and staring out the rainy windows, and...yeah, I'll shut up now.
    Sam: Look. I'm the one who told her to go back home. Now her fiancÚ's dead and some demon has taken her off to God-knows-where. You know? But we've been looking for a month now, and we've got nothing. So, I'm not giving up on her, but I'm not going to let other people die either. We've got to save as many people as we can.
    Dean: Wow. That attitude is just way too healthy for me, and I'm officially uncomfortable now. Thank you.
  • Wham Line: This actually goes for the audience because of The Reveal:
    Susan: Tyler, enough. Maggie is imaginary. You are too old for imaginary friends, and I am done pretending.
    • Followed by a second reveal:
  • Worst Aid: When Sam rescues Tyler from the pool, everyone stands around gawking until she starts breathing again.
Supernatural S 02 E 10 HuntedRecap/SupernaturalSupernatural S 02 E 12 Nightshifter

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