Supernatural S05E11 - Sam Interrupted (2010)

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Director James L. Conway
Writers Andrew Dabb, Daniel Loflin
Starring Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Jon Gries, Lara Gilchrist, Malcolm Stewart
Genre Monster
Tagline Lucifer Unbound
Supernatural S05E11 - Sam Interrupted (2010)


"Probably because I started the apocalypse" - Sam Winchesters

The Boys have themselves institutionalised in a mental hospital in Ketchum Oklahoma to help out a friend of their fathers, Martin, who is currently living there. Seems Martin has discovered a monster preying on the patients, with a number of fatalities being reported on a fairly regular basis. The Staff put the deaths down to suicide, and no one seems concerned that their in house patient numbers are declining at a steady rate. Guess the suicide statistic isn't an anomaly then. Naturally not everything is going to go according to plan, and first they need to identify exactly what they facing, Martin has I guess post traumatic syndrome and may be of limited help.

The Boys do the snooping, including examining one of the recent "suicides" with Sam discovering the victim had his brain sucked dry. Hampering the Winchester Bros is the staff, who really are troubled by the increasingly disturbed behaviour the Winchesters are displaying, and the Bros themselves who seem on very shaky ground in terms of sanity. Dean is seeing Monsters everywhere and Sam has major anger management issues. Can they hold it together long enough to defeat the Monster who Martin identifies as a Wraith, no not like the ones in Stargate Atlantis, or will the Bros become the next meal ticket?

For any regular viewer of Supernatural it becomes apparent after a while that each show follows a certain pattern, yes a bit of sameness enters the equation after a while, and Sam Interrupted is a monster of the week episode. Not that I'm complaining, we get a decent creature here and enough deaths to keep the gore hounds happy with life, not that they are dialling into television horror at the best of times. So you get danger in an enclosed environment, a mystery to unravel - didn't pick who the monster was, it can masquerade as a human, and the Boys slipping off the sanity boat into the seas of their own shattered ids. Guess I was rocking to the episode, hey horror in an Asylum; sign me on board that tour.

Some lighter notes after the last episode, but a very solid episode regardless

Guess the sidenote here is the boys becoming unhinged, for reasons I'm not going to go into for plot spoiler, though I kind of thought the running time wasn't enough to explore the issues being raised. Sam is one angry little penguin, and with restrains off starts to act out that anger, but the Writers singularly fail to use that aspect of Sam's deterioration to any good effect. It gets put on the table, some pretty surface reasons are explored, and then it gets swept off the table and under the carpet. I knew what the Writers were trying to do, but unfortunately they failed to really nail the requirements. Similarly Dean has daddy issues, isn't the dude's mantra "no chick moments", and has a belief he needs to save everyone. There's a twist coming at you in regards to Dean and his Doctor, but once again not going to spoil that moment, it works like a Swiss watch team.

One aspect of the movie I was on board with was the humour, which went beyond Dean's normal one liners and the usual situational shenanigans. Things got off to a decent start with Sam being inducted into the Mental Hospital's hall of fame. Basically all he did was explain what the Bros have been going through with Dean chiming in about demonic blood etc.; this is enough to have both Winchesters admitted under observation. Kind of thought this was a novel approach, telling the truth about something that is so unbelievable that a Psychiatrist considers you insane. Naturally this does poise a question for the audience, we all know what we are watching is fiction right, but what if things that go bump in the night are real but underneath our perceptions? And hey that's for you to think about, I'm just here to rabbit on about a television show.

Dean spends a lot of time referencing One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, which worked for me, and this actually settled into the plot seamlessly which had me smiling. Guess I should also mention Dean doing his best Hannibal impersonation, okay Jensen Ackles is never going to channel the great Sir Anthony Hopkins but I'm almost always delighted by a Fava bean reference. You get the feeling during this episode that Ackles in particular is having a lot of fun with his role, certainly makes a change from the action and drama situations he normally finds himself enacting.

Every now and again Supernatural dials into a Mental Institution to take advantage of the obvious horror tropes such places provide, but this is the first time that I can remember where they show a facility in actual use. I was half expecting the usual horror thing of the inmates having taken over the facility, and I guess to a certain extent the monster is playing that role, but was surprised that the Writers decided to do something a little different in this outing. I don't mind the odd side step from the main path of the season if it throws something a little different at us, and for sure the monster this time round wasn't something I've seen before, so I was a happy camper.

Come on seriously no mullet rock this episode! There's a whole bunch of Sabbath, AC, etc. etc. that could be used, Supernatural really needs to start picking up its game in this area!

After the last episode, Abandon All Hope, which was dark and broody, I guess they wanted something slightly more light this outing. We do get an episode in Sam Interrupted that has a higher humour element but there's a jagged little edge to this one that points a rotting finger to the pressures and tensions the Winchesters are being engulfed by. So for sure the episode isn't light entertainment, it does actually tighten the screws just that bit extra. Recommended kids, if you haven't been riding shotgun then this episode might just get you up to speed somewhat via Dean and Sam being interviewed by the Psychiatrist, otherwise, well you know what time it is right? We're half way through the season, and while there are some mixed results here and there, episodes like Sam Interrupted will see us through the dark times.

ScaryMinds Rates this episode as ...

Excellent Monster of the Week episode.