Recap of Supernatural Season 4, Episode 17
It's A Terrible Life
Written by Sera Gamble.
Directed by James L. Conway.
Air Date: March 26, 2009.
Dean and Sam are living very normal and separate lives. Dean awakens to find himself in an alternate reality in which he is a Wall Street tycoon who enjoys health drinks and listens to news radio instead of rock stations. He works at a company called Sandover Bridge & Iron Company, alongside Sam, who's in Tech Support. It seems as if the two do not know each other. Neither has memories of their previous lives.
However, after co-workers start committing suicide at an alarming rate, the two find themselves working side by side to solve the murders.
For this episode = 3 humans and 1 ghost.
For the series so far = At least 293 humans (of which 5 were witches), at least 63 demons, 28 ghosts, 10 vampires, 6 changelings, 3 gods, 3 shapeshifters, 3 zombies, 2 angels, 2 werewolves, 1 cat, 1 crocotta, 1 djinn, 1 dog, 1 rakshasa, 1 rawhead, 1 reaper, 1 rugaru, 1 shtriga, 1 siren, and 1 wendigo.
- Black Comedy: The microwave's "ding!* Also an example of Crosses the Line Twice.
- Cerebus Callback: Sam mentions he called his ex-fiancée Madison and got an animal hospital. What was the name of that werewolf in "Heart"? If we needed any more evidence that Zachariah is a Jerkass, here it is.
- Continuity Nod:
- Thanks to Zachariah's antics, Dean thinks that Bobby is his father, Ellen is his mother, and Jo is his sister. Meg previously said that Dean sees Jo as a little sister in "Born Under a Bad Sign" (S02, E14).
- As stated above, Sam's ex-fiancée being named Madison and her phone number rerouting to an animal hospital references the events of "Heart" (S02, E17).
- The Ghostfacers are still doing their thing, but are doing it slightly better than before, thanks to what they learned from the Winchesters (as they grudgingly acknowledge).
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Despite not knowing anything about their real pasts or each other, Sam and Dean dispatch the ghost handily.
- Have You Tried Rebooting?: Sam's job as tech support seems to consist of him saying this over and over again.
- Identity Amnesia: Induced by the angel Zachariah.
- Killed Mid-Sentence: The guard: "Look, I don't have the rest of my life—".
- Meaningful Name: Dean Smith and Sam Wesson. Like the guns, which of course mirrors the gun-related surname of their real identities.
- Not Himself: The show has a lot of fun making Dean Smith as different as possible from Dean Winchester.
- Quit Your Whining: Zachariah's message to Dean.
- Secret Test
- Sharp-Dressed Man: Dean wears tailored suits and suspenders for the entirety of the episode, including while he's ghostbusting.
- Shout-Out: The way Sam destroys the phone is reminiscent of the printer scene in Office Space.
- Stealing from the Till: Ian stealing office supplies from the company.
- Rule of Symbolism: Sam's being plagued by dreams, the name of the company is Sandover Bridge and Iron, the name of the ghost is Sandover whose appearance causes people to breathe out faintly yellow breath, and the company's motto is "Building the Dream". Gee, wonder what's going on in this episode?
- Uncomfortable Elevator Moment
- Understatement: Ed says that tampering with buried corpses is "illegal in some states." Harry corrects him: "In all states."
- Ungrateful Bastards: The Ghostfacers learned most of what they know from the Winchesters, but still refer to them as "useless douch-nozzles, who we hate".
- Visions of Another Self: Inverted. Sam has dreams of his real life as a hunter while he is brainwashed into being a IT tech.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are
- You Can't Fight Fate