“…They set out, but in midstream,
the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of
paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown,
but has just enough time to gasp “Why?”
Replies the scorpion: “It’s my nature…”
I think we can all agree that this season of Supernatural has been a bit intense. Between the death, resurrection, and subsequent kidnapping of Castiel, Mary being stranded in the Alternate Universe with not one, but two dickish Archangels, and Dean and Sam being the caretakers to a nephilim while dealing with their grief, it’s been a pretty heavy season thus far. That may be why I found myself enjoying The Scorpion and the Frog as much as I rolled my eyes. It’s light compared to the rest of the season and I do enjoy watching Jensen Ackles flex his comedic muscles. So without further ado, let’s dig into The Scorpion and the Frog .
The episode opens with a demon robbery in Cambridge, England of some fancy parchments in a museum. Once the demon delivers the goodies and talks about Asmodeus rewarding them, his cohort stabs him, then calls Dean and Sam, who are in the bunker talking about where Jack could possibly be. The boys have a big ol’ goose egg, and Sam tells Dean that Cas (to whom Sam has been talking to on the phone) is coming up empty, too. It’s a little odd that “Cas” is seeming to mainly talk to Sam, and my first thought was that it’s likely that Dean would know in fairly short order that Cas is not Cas, what with their profound bond and all.
Killer Demon tells Dean that he has a nephilim tracking spell and asks to meet. The next morning the boys meet Bart, the new Crossroads demon since Crowley (RIP) crowned himself King of Hell. Bart gives them a parchment, telling them it’s half the spell. Dean is his sassy self and he and Sam tell Bart they don’t work with demons anymore; they kill them. Bart tells them to verify it’s legit and that he’ll be in touch. I gotta admit, I kinda dig Bart as a villain. Not a long term one, mind you, but compared to the caricature of Asmodeus, Bart’s style and car salesman vibe is weirdly appealing.
Back at the bunker Sam tells Dean that the spell looks legit and can be traced back to King Solomon, who created it to keep and eye on his half-angel girlfriend, the Queen of Sheba. I have to admit, that’s a storyline I’d like to see explored, which almost certainly guarantees it won’t be. The boys head to some warehouse to meet Bart and his pals, a young woman named Smash and a demon named Grab. Smash helpfully points out that these aren’t their real names, and Dean and Sam learn that the “favor” they’re to do for Bart is a heist. Seems a guy named Shrike stole a chest from Bart and now Bart wants it back.
He can’t go himself because wardings and shit, but Grab is a supernatural security expert and Smash is an A+ safe cracker. Bart tells the boys that he specifically sought them out for this job because they have experience with shit going sideways (as it always does), and the vault that the safe is in can only be opened with the blood of a man who’s been to Hell and back and does Dean know anyone like that? It seems a little odd that Dean would be singled out when both Winchesters have been to Hell and back, but it’s important to remember that their means of getting there were quite different. Dean was condemned to Hell for selling his soul, he was dragged there by hellhounds and tortured the good ol fashioned way (we got a little flashback to the Season 3 finale). Sam
was in the cage, but his soul wasn’t damned. He jumped into the pit, and thought his time in the cage was undoubtedly terrible, as has been hinted at through the years, he was never in fact condemned, which in my opinion is the big difference between the brothers and why Dean is the one to bleed. Dean’s not keen on working with a demon, but Sam tells him that they’ll just kill him anyway, so no problem! It helps them make the decision when Bart threatens to give Asmodeus the spell if they don’t do this for him, so looks like we’re huntin’ treasure!
Once they pull into Shrike’s driveway (Sam is posing as a seller of Supernatural shit since Shrike is a buyer of said shit), Dean and Smash AKA Alice hop out of the Impala and with a brotherly “Don’t get dead” pep talk, our boys head their separate ways.
Sam goes to chat with Shrike, who has been warned of their arrival by one of Asmodeus’s minions, whom Shrike immediately exorcised, saying he “don’t take orders from no one!” While Sam is chatting artifacts and trying to distract Shrike, Dean and Alice head to a warehouse to work a summoning spell so that Grab can join their heist-y party. The two bond over illegal caffeinated beverages and not liking having to work for demons but having no choice. Grab pops in and casts a spell that turns Dean into a divining rod in order to find the hidden vault, since the vault is thirsty for Dean’s sweet, sweet damned blood.
Meanwhile, Sam is correcting Shrike on his collection and offering to sell him the demon blade when the old man tells Sam that he knows they’re robbing him and the two start to fight. Sam eventually stabs Shrike, to absolutely no effect. Shrike then helpfully tells Sam that he can’t be killed as long as he stays on his property and then knocks the younger Winchester out. Outside, Dean is still being dragged around by his own blood (which he hates, but is a fun bit of slapstick for us) until they stop at an unlocked tornado shelter, which is always a good sign. Grab insists on lookout duty and Dean and Alice head down.
Inside the shelter is the door to the vault and on it, a demon mouth lock that Dean is supposed to stick his hand into. Dean hypes himself up and it’s hilarious that this man who has fought the Devil and the Darkness is scared that there might be spiders in the hole, and that he has to talk himself up to get his finger pricked.
Once done, the vault door opens and Alice takes a step in. Dean yanks her back just in time to keep her from getting stabbed by a tiny, but inevitably poisonous dart. Alice has clearly never seen Indiana Jones or literally any other treasure hunt movie. While pondering their predicament, Shrike shows up, having gotten the best of Sam and stabbing Grab with Sam’s demon knife, and calls Dean and Alice demon whores, so Alice straight up gets the fuck outta dodge, not that I blame her. Dean shoots Shrike a bunch until Sam shows up to tell him Shrikes immortal (you’d think he’d’ve guessed by the stab wound and eight million bullets, but hey). Lucky for them though that in 200 years Shrike never learned to take a punch, and Dean knocks him out.
The boys tie a very unhelpful Shrike (or Shrek, as Sam calls him, it seems) and try to figure out how to get to the safe. We learn that Sam likes the movie Entrapment, and that there is no way to “hack” or outwit the Magic Keypad Floor of Death. That is, until Sam has the best idea ever and the two tie Shrike up to a cart and literally just push him through the room, setting off all the poison dart traps.
It’s hilarious and probably my favorite little bit, along with Dean’s self-pep talk. Having disarmed the floor, Dean and Sam try to Blue Steel the safe open when Smash shows up. She tried to run, but Bart stopped her. She tells them she sold her soul and regrets it, like ya do, but as long as she keeps working for Bart, he doesn’t collect. It takes her exactly 34 seconds to crack the safe, and the three grab the chest, noticing too late the Shrike got away. I’m sure he won’t show up again.
Oh wait, just kidding, he’s blocking the road when they try to leave and we have a nice backwards car chase ending when Sam shoots out the tires on Ol’ Shreky’s truck. They all get out and then Shrike berates them some more, saying Bart is evil, which, no shit. He tells them that Way Back When his son was sick and dying, so he made a deal to save his life. All was well and good until a couple years later, the kid drowned. Somehow Shrike decided this was Bart’s fault (I dont see it, but hey maybe he thought “save my son” was a lifetime thing, rather than ya know, once). He tells them he went to Hell and made another deal that he can live forever on his land, because in the chest is Bart’s bones. Im not sure how or what he did to get this whole immortal deal, either. Did he always have Bart’s bones, or was that part of the bargain? Why didn’t he just kill Bart years ago? We will never know, but the boys open the chest and, sure enough there’s a skeleton there. Shrike starts to tell them -again- that Bart is bad when he’s interrupted by a big fucking knife lopping off his head. Looks like he went off his land so now he’s dead.
Bart tells them that of course he didn’t save the kid again because come on, he’s a fucking demon. He pays Alice and asks the boys for the bones in exchange for the other half of the spell. The boys, being the Winchesters, refuse. Bart then grabs Alice and threatens to snap her neck if they don’t and the boys, being the Winchesters, comply-ish. Once Alice is out of immediate danger, Dean super subtle-like looks at the open chest and back at Alice. Alice sees the lighter inside and burns Bart’s bones, killing the demon. After what seems like ten years of Bart roasting, Dean yells to Sam to get the spell, what with it being flammable and all, and Sam goes to grab it only to blow on and wave his hands at the fucking thing, which we all know is the #1 way you get a fucking campfire to start, not end. So, they lose the spell but hey, at least Asmodeus doesn’t get it, so I call it a push. They take Alice to a bus station and head home to have a bro moment over some beer like old days.
So, this was absolutely a filler episode meant to break up some tension before the mid-season finale tonight, but I thought it did its job well enough. It was light and fun, while not having any significant connections to the major mytharc. I thought the title was interesting, seeing as how self-sabotage is basically the Winchester’s middle name. Somehow they couldn’t think of a way to get the parchment first and then kill Bart.
What did you think of Scorpion and the Frog? Are you excited for the Wayward Sisters episode airing tonight?