The episode opens in a high school cafeteria with typical mean girl stuff. One girl calls another girl a slut (Taylor), that girl calls another girl, April, a fat ugly pig, and then April drowns Taylor in the bathroom. Pretty typical stuff, you know. Oh, and then April has black stuff that looks like oil come out of her eye.
Sam is interviewing April about the murder in Fairbanks County Hospital, which appears to be a sanitarium, where we learn that April told the police she was possessed. Sam asks her if she smelled anything or saw smoke or anything, and April asks him if he’s crazy. When Sam gets back to the car, he tells Sam he believes April and thinks it’s worth looking into. We then learn that they went to the high school, Truman High, for a month.
Flashback to 1997: Sam is very unhappy to be going to another new school. Dean doesn’t really care.
While they are there, another attack happens, and Sam sees black ectoplasm come out of the ear of the attacker. Dean finds out that a kid named Barry killed himself in 1998. Sam remembers him from their time at the high school. They think Barry is the ghost and salt and burn his bones.
Sam wants to go back to talk to a teacher that made an impression on him. When he’s walking, a student asks him for directions, and then stabs him. She’s possessed, but Sam is freaked out that the ghost knew his name. They are back to square one on who the ghost is, though.
Sam thinks the ghost may be possessing people and traveling that way. They find the father of a bully, Dirk, that Sam interacted with when they went to Truman High School is the new bus driver. His father tells them that he had to take care of his dying mother at age 13. Kids picked on him, and it turns out that the nickname came from Sam, which he obviously feels badly about. They also find out that Dirk was cremated except for a lock of his hair, which his father keeps in a bible on the bus.
When they get to the bus, Dirk has already possessed the new bus driver, and it leads to a fight, but Dean finally find the hair in the bus driver’s boot and burns it.
Sam goes back to Truman to thank his former teacher as the younger Sam and Dean walk out to the car to meet their dad in the flashback.
Story & Character Analysis:
Sam and Dean have identical answers to the teacher asking them if there is anything they want to tell the class about themselves, which is, “Not really.” Dean says it because he doesn’t care, Sam says it because he’s sad and doesn’t see the point. Then, Sam sees a kid bullying another kid and he intervenes. You see he always protected people, but the way the camera sits on his eyes, he almost looks evil.
It’s interesting in the flashback that Dean just acts “normal” in high school, which is what Sam always wants, while Sam stood up for himself, acting more like the “hunter”, which is the life Dean always embraces, and it went really well for Sam and really poorly for Dean. Of course, a large part of it was Dean’s own fault, but it’s still interesting to consider why the writers chose that.
The episode also delves into a lot of other issues. There’s a reason they titled it ‘After School Special’. Sam and Dean find out that Barry killed himself, and had been suffering from severe mental health issues when Sam knew him, leaving Sam to feel that maybe, if they had been there longer, he would have been able to help him. There is also the issue of major transference, which is what had been going on with Dirk when they were kids. The brothers find out that Dirk acted out at school because his mother was dying and he was having a difficult home life. When Sam finds out that he created Dirk’s nickname, it just makes it feel worse.
There is also the issue of high school bullying, which is addressed through all the possessions and violence, which is a bigger issue than can be covered in one episode of Supernatural.
Impersonation of the Week:
In what must be the best impersonation ever, Dean poses as a substitute gym teacher. Sam poses as a janitor, but it isn’t nearly the visual.
Notable Guest Stars:
Candice Accola, from The Vampire Diaries, guest stars as Amanda Heckerling.
“Long, Long Way Home” by Foreigner
State of the Week:
“Alright, what’s our cover? FBI, Homeland Security, Swedish exchange students?” – Dean
“Got your lunch? Books? Butterfly knife?” – Young Dean
“I have to go into the family business.” – Sam
“Do you want to go into the family business?” – teacher
“No one’s ever asked me that before.” – Sam
“There may be three or four big choices that shape someone’s whole life, and you need to be the one that makes them.” – teacher
“I knew his son.” – Sam
“Did you know everybody at this school?” – Dean
“I had him cremated.” – Mr. McGregor
“All of him?” – Dean
“Are you happy, Sam?” – teacher
Behind the Scenes Photos:
Follow @Music_IntheDark on Twitter