Follow TV Tropes


Recap / Supernatural S 04 E 13 After School Special

Go To

Recap of Supernatural
Season 4, Episode 13

After School Special

Sam: I'm not evil, Dirk. I'm not. And neither were you. Trust me. I've seen real evil. We were scared and miserable, and we took it out on each other—us and everybody else. That's high school. But you suffer through that, and it gets better. I'm just sorry you didn't get a chance to see or Barry.

Written by Andrew Dabb and Daniel Loflin.

Directed by Adam Kane.

Air Date: January 29, 2009.

Sam and Dean discover that a spirit is haunting one of their old schools: Truman High in Fairfax, Indiana. While investigating the haunting, Dean and Sam relive their high school experiences through flashbacks, recalling how Sam was picked on by the school bully while Dean was Mr. Popular. They discover that the spirit was a former classmate of Sam's who he thought was a bully. In reality, it was the bully who had been tormented by jocks and has come back to seek revenge on those who pick on the nerds.


Body count

For this episode = 1 human and 1 ghost.

For the series so far = At least 293 humans (of which 5 were witches), 26 ghosts, 21 demons, 10 vampires, 6 changelings, 3 gods, 3 shapeshifters, 3 zombies, 2 werewolves, 2 dogs, 1 crocotta, 1 djinn, 1 rakshasa, 1 rawhead, 1 shtriga, 1 wendigo, 1 rugaru.


  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Played with. Dean's girlfriend seems to be attracted to Dean for this reason but instead likes him for his Jerk with a Heart of Gold qualities. She dumps him when he cheats on her.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: The episode ends with the teacher asking: "Are you happy, Sam?"
  • Badass Adorable: Despite his size and woobie status, Young Sam can really handle himself in a fight.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Dean's reaction when he found out that Sam got punched.
    Dean: I'll rip his lungs out.
  • Blatant Lies: So Dean was studying with that girl in the cupboard. Sure...
  • Advertisement:
  • Bloodless Carnage: Mini-Sam takes Dirk apart, giving him several vicious hits, nary a drop of blood.
  • Broken Aesop: The fact that we never get to see Dirk being anything but a bully makes the reveal of his own demons fall a bit flat. Some have described the episode as saying any retaliation against a bully makes you just as bad. It doesn't help that there's a timeline issue, with Dirk's father claiming that he was always bullied himself, let it also only seemed to start when Sam beat him up.
  • Challenging the Bully: We see in a flashback that, in a desire to blend in and be normal, Sam will ignore bullies that pick on him personally, but woe to anyone who picks on people Sam considers to be a friend or under his protection. When bully Dirk decides to beat up Sam's new friend Barry, even kicking him when he's already down. Sam tells Dirk to leave Barry alone, but Dirk cockily challenges the diminutive Sam to a fight. Sam proceeds to lay a curb stomp beatdown on the bully, despite Dirk being easily twice Sam's size. He also crowns the bully Dirk the Jerk, a nickname that would follow the bully the rest of the way through school.
    "You're not tough. You're just a jerk. Dirk the Jerk."
  • Cool Teacher: Sam's teacher encouraged him to do his own thing, and told him that he didn't have to go into the family business. Not that his advice worked, but still.
  • Demonic Possession: But it's a ghost, not a demon.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The ghost makes the bullying victims do some pretty gruesome things to their bullies. One of the girls was beaten bloody and drowned in a toilet for calling a heavyset girl an ugly pig (even after sincerely apologizing for the comment), and one of the boys got his hand shoved into a blender for threatening another student who wouldn't let him copy homework.
  • Dodgeball Is Hell: Dean injures a kid during his explanation before anyone even starts playing. Another student brings up that their regular teacher doesn't let the class play because the game is too dangerous.
  • Hourglass Plot: Sam ends up liking the school and being popular, while Dean is discredited of his popularity.
  • I Never Told You My Name: Sam realizes that a student he's talking to is possessed when she calls him by his real name.
  • Mugging the Monster: What Dirk's bullying of Sam (who, by now, has been trained in hunting, weaponry, and martial arts) amounts to.
  • New Transfer Student: Due to the Winchester's nomadic, hunting lifestyle, Sam and Dean constantly switch schools.
  • Older Than They Look: The actor playing Young Sam looks way too young to be in high school.
    • Fridge Brilliance: Sam could have skipped a grade or two given how intelligent he is. And Dirk does make a point of calling him short...
    • Furthermore, Barry mentions "only three more years" of high school. Since Dean is a senior and four years older than Sam, that implies that Sam skipped a grade.
    • The actor who plays young Sam was twelve or thirteen at the time of filming, which is granted a little young for high school, but only by a couple years, showing that the Coconut Effect is present in regards to what high schoolers look like, as a result of Dawson Casting being the norm. Take a look at any modern high school campus, and you'd be shocked at how young freshman boys look!
      • Plus, there's the fact that Sam might not have hit his growth spurt yet. And his classmate Barry looks just as young as him.
    • Still, Sam's actor remained the same from the Christmas Episode last season...
  • Parental Neglect: Dean's girlfriend is shocked to hear that their father left them for weeks and that they're used to it.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Sam delivers one to the school bully and Dean's girlfriend gives him one about how she's disappointed.
  • School Is Murder: Students start maiming and even killing each other and the adults treat it like bullying. They don't even call in the authorities, forcing Sam and Dean to infiltrate as a custodian and a substitute teacher.
  • Ungrateful Bitch: Taylor, the girl at the beginning,who snaps at another student for trying to cheer her up after her Slut-Shaming in the cafeteria and calls her a "fat pig"; she does try to apologize for the comment the next day, but it's too late for that.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Dean is four years older than Sam, so they never would have been in high school together.
    • See Fridge Brilliance above. Also, Dean could quite possibly have repeated a year or two—he's quite clever, but moving schools several times a year does not generally help one's academic performance.
    • Also, it's not impossible as much as it's just highly, highly unlikely. A majority of students will celebrate their birthday during the school year. A student can enter high school at 14 and graduate at 18. Barring that, it's possible that Dean simply enrolled so he could keep an eye on Sam.
    • Also, seeing how Dean is never seen near a book (or pencil for that matter), he could have been held back and thus been close in grade level to Sam. Or Dean just keeps enrolling to get the cheerleaders...
    • It is also possible that Dean and Sam have simply gone through so many schools that they have been placed in earlier or later grades than they should be at their age due to test results in different school systems.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Young Dean is caught kissing another girl by his current girlfriend.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: