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3.09 Malleus Maleficarum

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  • 3.09 Malleus Maleficarum

    Dear Supernatural,
    Please stick to blood, guts and gore. Teeth and maggots really squick me out.
    Regards,
    Jo
    p.s. It's great to have you back. I really wish you were sticking around for more than four episodes.

    Seriously. This episode has teeth falling out in the teaser. And maggots crawling all over food. And a man biting into them and gagging. I honest to Pete almost threw up at that point. The fact that I'm home from work sick probably contributed to this extreme visceral reaction, but still. Give me the blood and guts over maggots and teeth any day! Ick!

    Okay, so, um, plot? Lots and lots of meaty intrigue in this one. I'm sick, though, so unlikely to be enormously coherent. Please bear with me while I ramble.

    Ooooooh, minor point that I really loved? Was Sam being offended by Mrs Renee van Whatshername talking down to Dean. Dean barely noticed and just brushed it off, because people put him down quite a lot. He's used to it. But Sam really didn't like it and was all snippy about her later. I liked that.

    And Sam drove the Impala. That makes, what, twice on-screen this season? That's twice more than last season!

    I loved that Dean finally came out and verbalised the growing trend I've commented on a few times this season, which is that role reversal the boys have had going on, wherein Sam expresses his blithe willingness to commit what amounts to murder, thus causing Dean to swing around into Sam's more customary position of advocating a slightly less bloody approach, because he's so weird out by Sam's newfound ruthless streak. Dean relies on Sam to act as his conscience, so now that Sam isn't stepping up to that task, Dean has to do it himself And it really hit hard that Sam pointed out that since Dean isn't going to be around much longer, Sam is just trying to make himself into who he believes he has to be if he's going to survive on his own. Which is Dean. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and all that, but man, that's twisted and hurt-y and kind of a sucker punch for Dean. And Sam. Sam fought so hard for his independence, and now he's just completely given it over and he's not even fighting any more, and that hurts. I always like twisted and hurt-y in an episode, though, so it's all good.

    There was also angry brother tussling, which I'm sure many people enjoyed. Because Dean's gut reaction to Ruby, who he'd never actually met before, is DEMON, and she's been messing with Sam's head, which makes him all the less inclined to want to listen to or believe a word she says. But she's got this hold over Sam, that promise of Dean's life, and she's proved useful before, and Sam wants so badly to believe her, and for all that he's changed and grown more ruthless he's still Sam and his instinct is to trust people who have offered proof of their helpfulness. So there's an inherent point of conflict right there in the middle of the road screwing with the Impala.

    Backstory on Ruby? Not so thrilled about that. All the 'I'm not like other demons, I remember what it's like to be human' stuff? I don't like demons to have consciences and to genuinely be on the side of good. There's something worryingly black-and-white about that, straight up choice of good or evil, and I prefer the shades of grey you get when black and white are forced to meet in the middle. I still prefer the theory where she has her eyes on a prize of her own and is willing to make use of a quid pro quo with Sam to achieve it. Seems murkier that way, less wholesome and neat than a 'good demon', somehow. Could still be the case ? demons lie, right? So we'll wait and see. Also, I'm still not entirely clear on who she really is ? a human who was a witch, and died centuries ago, and went to hell where she gradually became a demon, right? So the body she's wearing now is some hapless girl that this demonic spirit is possessing, I'm assuming. We haven't yet met a demon that could manifest a body of its own. So?is the name 'Ruby' attached to the demon or the girl? I'm guessing the girl, but it isn't exactly clear.

    As for what she told Dean at the end? Human souls condemned to hell eventually turn into demons, their humanity gradually burned away by the centuries of torture? Like he wasn't dreading it already. And she admitted that she can't actually help him, just to really pile on the hopelessness that's been building up over the last few episodes. For all the anger, mistrust and hate Dean had directed at Ruby during the episode, he barely even blinked when she admitted that she'd lied to Sam about being able to save him. He's so resigned to his awful fate, it's heartbreaking. Even Sam has lost hope now, which is hardly surprising, but also kind of chilling, that desolate acceptance of the fact that Dean is going to die soon, end of story.

    What also chilled me was Sam running out of the motel and leaving Dean bleeding on the floor. Chilling because, when you think about it, Sam always has had that streak of ruthlessness about him. We saw it way back in Faith, when he chose to spend three days solid researching in a motel room rather than spending time with his dying brother. It paid off, but if it hadn't, losing out on that time together would have been a hell of a price to pay. It's Sam, though. He makes a rapid decision and then charges at it, whether it's the right decision or not, without doubt, deviation or hesitation. And he was dashing off on a last ditch attempt to save his brother's life, but it was pretty much a wild goose chase and he was basically leaving his brother to die alone and in pain. So very single-minded, is Sam, and sometimes that's a good thing because it certainly draws results, but sometimes things are not quite so clear-cut. But I like when things are not clear-cut, so appreciated how much juice this episode provided! And remembering that fact about Sam really drives home the magnitude and awfulness of his acceptance of Dean's eventual fate. When Sam gives up on something he's set his heart on, you know things are really bad.

    The death toll in this episode was pretty impressive. No one was saved, really. Except for the guy who ate the maggots. Which I'm still squicking about. But everyone else wound up dead except for our boys and Ruby, and even then only just. I really appreciated, though, that Nervous Witch Lizzie had enough gumption about her to pull herself together and do battle against the demon she'd hocked her soul to, even though she was petrified and horrified. And I love Dean's lightning reactions, grabbing Ruby's magic knife and gutting the demon with it within seconds of being released. See, I like the knife now that Dean's used it


  • #2
    After 7 weeks of hiatus and the writer's strike seemingly going on without any hope of any resolution, I had reached a mental stage in which I actually nearly convinced myself to be okay with having no more SN episodes ever again. Boy, the way the mind works sometimes, to avoid pain. *g* ?Malleus Maleficarum' though taught me the insanity of my ways by showing me how much I actually missed the boys. It's good to have the show back, even if it is only for a short while. /sigh

    I think I have to make amends to Ben Edlund by now. The lapse of ?Hollywood Babylon' aside, his episodes prove to be very solid material for SN and I think it's time that I overcome my dislike for him, that I carried over from AtS. His cooperation with Bobby Singer in ?Malleus Maleficarum' is another strong implement in this season and it really looks like the writing team hit a stride in the last couple of episodes. All the more reason to be really sorry about the abrupt stop the writer's strike put to the creative flow.

    Sam "I got to stay here in this craphole of a world, alone. So the way I see it, if I'm gonna make it, if I'm gonna fight this war after you're gone, then I gotta change."
    Dean: "Change into what?"
    Sam: "Into you! I gotta be more like you!"


    Did I mention lately, how much I love it that this show constantly refers back to its own history? Back in the Pilot Sam firmly stated that he is not like Dean and he doesn't ever want to be, when Dean tries to convince him that sooner or later he has to face up to who he is, one of them, a hunter. Two and half a season later Sam is at the exact point Dean tried to make him see back then, actively deciding to turn himself into the ruthless hunter he perceives Dean to be and that's heartbreaking and flattering at the same time.

    On the one hand it's the highest form of praise for his brother's abilities as a hunter but on the other hand Dean always fought for Sam being able to stay the Sam he loves and admires and it has to break his heart to see Sam change into something he never wanted him to be (and that Sam never wanted to be either) on account of his own actions, i.e. making the deal for Sam's life. I love how Sam's behaviour forces Dean into a role reversal, playing the Sam to Sam's Dean, by reminding him that the sanctity of life was once his greatest concern. Dean always needed Sam to be his conscience, just like Sam always needed Dean to be the one to make the tough decisions, both balancing each other out, which was one of their greatest strengths as a team. But now Sam is gearing himself up for a life without Dean at his side and he can't find the balance within himself.

    Sam's outlook to the life after Dean is gone (this craphole of a world) is so bleak and devoid of any hope that I really hurt badly for him. It seems that he has given up completely on saving Dean and spirals down into despair. Sam trying to model himself after Dean is fascinating though, seeing how he perceives his brother as ruthless hunter, able to make tough decisions, but with Sam being who he is, very determined, single-minded and focused to the point of blindness to anything else if circumstances push him to it, his own ?version' of Dean turns out to be even more ruthless than Dean himself at times.

    Sam's admission also affirms my impression that each and every of his actions so far in the season root firmly in his own personality, fuelled by guilt and desperation, and that he came back from his resurrection unchanged, the YEDs words to Dean in AHBL II a simple mind game, designed to make Dean question his brother. That makes me really happy, because one of the main themes of last season is the element of choice in his own actions and if it had turned out that Sam was under whatever ?foreign' influence due to his resurrection status, it would have cheapened that aspect of the show for me. I love how readily Dean was able to voice his worries over Sam's behaviour now. Ever since their talk in ?Fresh Blood' Dean shows an openness in sharing his feelings with Sam that warms my heart. Sam on the other hand still holds back the secret about Mary and the blood ritual, another role reversal this season, with Sam only opening up when pushed into it and Dean being more responsive. I quite enjoy that.

    Demon: "You're not our messiah, we don't believe in you. There's a new leader rising in the west."

    This episode was again heavy on the mytharc elements. Seems that in the months after ?Sin City', the scattered demon front finally gets united under a new leader, very likely a demonic one, which doesn't bode well for Sam. Even with Sam refusing to take on his leadership, we learned that there are enough demons willing to follow him and still root for him. In order to clean out the competition and to gather all demonic forces behind him, the new leader is obviously set out to actively hunt Sam down. Like the Tammy!Demon stated ?a PR thing', with Sam gone, his demonic ?followers' should easily fall into line with the new leader.

    The demons this season prove to be enormously powerful compared to the standard demons from earlier seasons. Only the YED managed to dodge a bullet from the Colt before (Salvation) and only the Meg demon was able to break a Devil's Trap from within the trap and not from the outside. The demon in this episode was similar powerful and not even Ruby was able to stop her. Makes you worry about the actual power of the new leader. Still, even with all their power they weren't able to locate Sam, while the YED never had any troubles with that and I wonder if that is a side effect of the blood ritual, creating a kind of bond between the demon and the human recipient.

    As a side note I have to mention here that I was glad that it wasn't Ruby who was able to stop the demon, but that it was Elisabeth who summoned up the courage to turn the game against the demon, hurting her human host so badly that she lost control over her powers, creating a chance for Dean to kill her with Ruby's knife. I was complaining a lot about Ruby being used as a tool to save the brothers whenever necessary, so it was good to see that it wasn't as clear cut in this episode, although of course she did save Dean in this episode, so that trend still needs to be monitored. Dean's violent outbreak when stabbing the demon bordered on rage, no wonder given that she not only tried to kill him but also nearly got Sam killed.

    The storyline around the coven was a bit confusing, since it isn't quite clear, if the witches were only set up as a trap for Sam or that him showing up was an unforeseen side event for the demon. She had to recognise him though when they interrogated Elisabeth and after that hide the hexbag in their motel in order to lure Sam to the coven, counting on the fact that he would search them out in order to save Dean, otherwise her attack on Dean wouldn't make a lot of sense. Still, why not attack Sam directly with the spell and go for Dean instead?

    Ruby: "That's what hell is, forgetting what you are!"

    This episode has the first encounter between Dean and Ruby and I have to say that I really enjoyed the Ruby and Dean interaction a lot. I love that Dean was prepared, waiting for her to show up eventually so he could set an end to her mind games with Sam. He's pulling no punches and cuts straight to the point, very in character for Dean. He might have been surprised by the compassion Casey showed in ?Sin City', but it obviously didn't change his stance towards demons in general, especially not if they try to mess with his little brother. Of course that sets him into conflict with Sam, who really needs the hope that Ruby provides with her promise to help with Dean's deal, it's the only card left for him, uncertain as it may seem.

    Which brings me to an side note: I kind of wished we would have seen more on Sam's efforts to find a way out of Dean's deal, because apart from his scripture searches in the first 2 episodes and him shooting the crossroads demon, we didn't witness a lot of activity. His frustration and in the end resignation ever since last episode seems to come a bit out of nowhere and I would have liked to see an actual trigger for him giving up at this point, since he showed no sign of resignation directly after the RED proved to be a dead end. At least this episode managed to diffuse one of my greatest fears in regard to Dean's deal, namely that Ruby would be the one to actually free Dean from his contract and not Sam. No matter if she really lied to Sam or rather stated so, in order to convince Dean that there's no hope for him, her being the active part in his rescue seems very unlikely now. Which makes me very happy!

    Anyway, the end dialogue between Ruby and Dean was really interesting and leaves a lot open for speculation. Even with part of her back-story being revealed we cannot forget that she is a demon and that everything she says has to be taken with a grain of salt, especially this season where one of the main themes is misdirection and rumours, employed by demons to push humans where they want them to be. All demons that were set free from the gate so far (TM7, SC, MM) secretly played on human weaknesses, instead of attacking openly and even with Ruby stating she is not like the others, I see no reason to trust her. She openly admits that she lied to Sam, baited him with Dean's deal to get him to cooperate with her, manipulating him at his weakest point, just as Dean suspected in ?Bad Day At Black Rock'. So, who's to say that she isn't trying the exact same thing with Dean here, trying to bait him as well, exploiting his fear for Sam's well-being after he is gone. Convincing Dean there is no hope for him to get out of the deal, which, even with faith in Sam's perseverance, he already pretty much resigned himself to anyway, could push him into aiding her goals, without even realizing it.

    Her statement to fight on Sam and Dean's side because she retained part of her humanity, basically offering altruistic reasons as her motivation, can also serve as a main misdirection for Dean, baiting him into trusting her even more, since saving humanity was always one of Dean's main motivation factors for the hunt and that argument would resonate with him. So I do tend to believe that Ruby still has a hidden agenda and only plays with the boys at the moment, adding to their desperation in order to make them more vulnerable for her plans. Actually I really hope that's the case because should it turn out that Ruby said the truth and really is a ?good' demon, her potential is effectively reduced to being a simple and convenient ?tool' to help Sam and Dean out of severe predicaments, as I always feared she would be and that would be really disappointing, wasting a good opportunity for an intriguing plotline and a couple of twists in the end game.

    Apart from the arguments she (might or might not have) used to bait Dean into helping her with Sam, I think that the reveal about the origin of demons can actually be taken as SN mythology and was no lie on Ruby's side. Human souls turning into demons after centuries of torture, humanity stripped away, leaving a twisted and broken soul that turns to evil. A very intriguing scenario and I love that twist in the mythology of the show. There seems to be some confusion in fandom, stating that this would contradict the information that was given in ?Sin City' about the origin of demons as fallen angels, but actually it doesn't contradict ?Sin City' at all. Casey doesn't state that demons are fallen angels, she simply explained that some demons believe Lucifer, who is a fallen angel according to demonic beliefs, created the demons, comparable to how God created humankind in his own image. It's never stated in ?Sin City' how exactly Lucifer created the demons, it's simply a demonic belief system, a demonic religion, if you so want. Ruby stated that demons forget who they are and where they came from so this new information is perfectly within the mythology so far. Ruby's little quip about being the ?fallen angel' on Sam's shoulder in 'Sin City' would be just a metaphorical phrase referring to that belief system.

    Anyway, Ruby telling Dean that he will sooner or later turn into a demon himself, mirrored perfectly the conversation that Dean had with the Reaper in IMTOD. It's kind of sadly ironic that in both episodes Dean's decisions made for his family's sake will eventually lead to him becoming the very thing he hunts: refusing to die, in order to help his family to stay alive, sacrificing his own life to give Sam his life back. It's a lovely reverse parallel that while he needed to decide to die, in order to escape becoming an angry spirit in IMTOD, he needs to decide to actually fight for his life to escape becoming a demon after MM. Still there's the obstacle of Sam dying in case he actively pursues his own rescue, but there's certainly an added layer of conflict to that now. It will be very interesting to see if Dean shares his conversation with Ruby with Sam. It's very suspicious that she always catches one the boys alone, when she does her little manipulation routine, which only adds to the impression that she still follows an agenda of her own.

    Other stuff to love:
    I loved the scene where Sam and Dean find the dead witch and survey the room. I was very delighted that Dean actually did not touch the body but simply turned over her wrists with the gun. It's also the first time we see the boys call 911, a minor detail that I really enjoyed and Dean going all mushy on a dead rabbit was just totally adorable. Dean's quick and effortless identification of all the herbs in Elisabeth's garden and his quick reaction when he grabbed the knife and killed the demon, again showed how good Dean is with his job and I always love when they feature his hunting abilities properly in an episode.

    Heh, Sam and Dean introducing themselves as Bachman and Turner was fun as was the music choice in this episode, loved how the radio turned from ?Every Rose has its thorn' to ?I put a spell on you'. Not subtle in any way, but I still had to grin about that.

    So, overall this was a highly enjoyable episode, with intriguing mytharc reveals and a new level of devastation and despair for the boys! And don't we love the hurt! I can't wait for the rest of the episodes and I really hope there's an end to the writer's strike in the next 2 weeks, so Kripke & Co get the chance to at least get a couple of more episodes for this season done.
    Last edited by galathea; 04-02-08, 03:36 PM.

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    • #3
      Wow, I never know how to respond to these because so many of you do such a fantastic job in wrapping up episodes. I just give my little couple of words and thoughts and am gone. Which is what I'm going to do here, but hey, it's something.

      Spoiler:
      I was surprisingly pleased with last night's episode, as I am eagerly awaiting whatever it is in the 10th episode that makes Dean want to live. I was just like, "Skip onto the next one!". But this episode was wonderful and I'm glad because after not seeing the show for a while, I think we all needed a good one.


      I loved that we found out about Ruby's past in this one. It answered a bunch of questions. The fact that she is indeed not Meg or the YED (as many have speculated) and we know that she was still in Hell when the other seasons were going on. Plus, the whole humans turning into demons thing was a nice twist.

      However, that whole humans into demons thing kind of bugged me. As stated before, demons are fallen angels. And, as believed in many religions and as stated in season two's "Houses of the Holy" episode, angels are not human. Humans cannot become angels. Therefore, if demons were once human, they were never angels. If you're going with that theory. I chose to go with the simpler option when Dean asked Ruby if all the demons were once human and Ruby said, "All the ones I've ever met." That left room to speculate that maybe not ALL demons are human, some are fallen angels.

      Okay, enough of that. Stuff I enjoyed about the episode? I LOVE the episodes that remind me of the X-Files. The just downright creepy feeling ones like this. I thought the initial meeting of Ruby and Dean was a great scene. The scene when she kicked open the door, "If you want to kill me, get in line, bitch", and saving of his life was excellent. Does ANYONE know what she dumped down his throat? I know I have seen something similar in another show or movie and can't remember it. When Sam got all angry and went to the coven, gun blazing was wonderful. He finally got to drive the damn car! Basically all the Ruby/Dean interaction was a real big thing in the episode that I thought was very well executed and written. I hated that she said she couldn't really save Dean. That just killed me.

      On a final note, did anyone else find it hysterical when Dean came storming into the house like he was going to just kick ass and that demon just threw him against the wall like it was nothing? He got no chance! I just could not stop laughing at that. It was so fast!


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      • #4
        Originally posted by Lady Manson View Post
        However, that whole humans into demons thing kind of bugged me. As stated before, demons are fallen angels. And, as believed in many religions and as stated in season two's "Houses of the Holy" episode, angels are not human. Humans cannot become angels. Therefore, if demons were once human, they were never angels. If you're going with that theory. I chose to go with the simpler option when Dean asked Ruby if all the demons were once human and Ruby said, "All the ones I've ever met." That left room to speculate that maybe not ALL demons are human, some are fallen angels.
        I tried to adress that in my post, it's actually nowhere stated in Sin City that demons are fallen angels! It's only stated that Lucifer is a fallen angel and that a lot of demons believe that he created the demons, not unlike God created humankind. Ruby quipping about being the 'fallen angel' on Sam's shoulder is just that, a quip, a loose referral to that demonic belief and it's nowhere stated that it is anything else. So in my opinion Malleus Maleficarum is perfectly within the shows mythology.

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        • #5
          I am a little confused about this whole demons used to be humans thing. Is that all demons or just some were humans? Does that mean YED was once human? And his human children turned into demons themselves?
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          • #6
            Originally posted by galathea View Post
            I tried to adress that in my post, it's actually nowhere stated in Sin City that demons are fallen angels! It's only stated that Lucifer is a fallen angel and that a lot of demons believe that he created the demons, not unlike God created humankind. Ruby quipping about being the 'fallen angel' on Sam's shoulder is just that, a quip, a loose referral to that demonic belief and it's nowhere stated that it is anything else. So in my opinion Malleus Maleficarum is perfectly within the shows mythology.
            Good point. Ruby's quip (now one of my favorite words) kind of mixed me up. For some reason I had the thought that it had been mentioned by Casey that all demons were fallen angels, probably since I've only seen that episode once and it was many weeks ago. Throw Ruby's quote in there and there's that confusion.


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            • #7
              Originally posted by Obsessed View Post
              I am a little confused about this whole demons used to be humans thing. Is that all demons or just some were humans? Does that mean YED was once human? And his human children turned into demons themselves?
              The show hasn't made it entirely clear. What is clear is that there is a very definite hierarchy of power among the demons, as every one that we've met had differing levels of power and ability. Plus, of course, there are the different eye colours. But even if you just take the information from this episode to its logical conclusion, it stands to reason that human souls gradually corrupted over a period of centuries - and starting out at different points in time - would not all be developed to the same strength at the same time.

              The whole issue is clearly very complex, though - we await further information!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Llywela
                We haven't yet met a demon that could manifest a body of its own. So?is the name 'Ruby' attached to the demon or the girl? I'm guessing the girl, but it isn't exactly clear.
                You know, I thought about that yesterday and I have a new and not entirely certain theory. Remember that Bobby said to Dean in 'Devil's Trap': "She (Meg) really is a girl. That's a human, possessed by a demon, can't you tell?" Which seems to indicate that indeed there is a difference that shows if it is a possessed person or a demon itself, hinting at the fact that some demons might be able to conjur a body of their own. Add to that the mysterious impersonation that the YED used, when he followed the blood ritual. The way his body just dissolves in 'Salvation' when Sam tries to shoot him and afterwards when they look at the window and see the demonic body standing amidst the fire, unmoving and clearly not fazed by the flames, it could be taken as a proof for the YED's ability to have a body of his own, even if he prefers to possess people later on. Maybe it gives him different abilities, when he is inside a human body.

                Now, I don't think that Ruby is powerful enough to conjur a body of her own, since she wasn't even able to defeat the Tammy!demon, she's clearly not as powerful as the YED, but on the other hand if the body she has now was a conjured one, it would explain why Bobby doesn't hesitate to shoot her, 'cause he can clearly tell the difference.

                Just a thought. Opinions?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by galathea View Post
                  You know, I thought about that yesterday and I have a new and not entirely certain theory. Remember that Bobby said to Dean in 'Devil's Trap': "She (Meg) really is a girl. That's a human, possessed by a demon, can't you tell?" Which seems to indicate that indeed there is a difference that shows if it is a possessed person or a demon itself, hinting at the fact that some demons might be able to conjur a body of their own. Add to that the mysterious impersonation that the YED used, when he followed the blood ritual. The way his body just dissolves in 'Salvation' when Sam tries to shoot him and afterwards when they look at the window and see the demonic body standing amidst the fire, unmoving and clearly not fazed by the flames, it could be taken as a proof for the YED's ability to have a body of his own, even if he prefers to possess people later on. Maybe it gives him different abilities, when he is inside a human body.

                  Now, I don't think that Ruby is powerful enough to conjur a body of her own, since she wasn't even able to defeat the Tammy!demon, she's clearly not as powerful as the YED, but on the other hand if the body she has now was a conjured one, it would explain why Bobby doesn't hesitate to shoot her, 'cause he can clearly tell the difference.

                  Just a thought. Opinions?
                  Hmm. I've puzzled over the possibilities around these points a few times, and always end up deciding that we simply don't know enough about how demons work and why and when they need to possess human bodies, what they can do without them, etc, and that we need the show to elaborate a little more so we can truly understand!

                  The first demon encountered by the brothers was in Phantom Traveler. It seems pretty low level in comparison to the demons they've run into since, but Sam did say there that expelling it from the human host made it more powerful since it no longer needed the body to wreak havoc. It had no corporeal form, though.

                  So...hmmm.

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                  • #10
                    Did the demon stopping the bullet indicate that they were into a significantly tougher weight class with her than with previous demons? Or is it always basically a matter of luck and timing to actually get a shot through?

                    Ruby is definitely a much cooler character than I initially thought of her as. Also, I didn't really realize until this episode just how pretty Katie Cassidy is.

                    Worth noting, since I've never seen the YED, I keep picturing him as That Yellow Bastard from "Sin City".
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                      Did the demon stopping the bullet indicate that they were into a significantly tougher weight class with her than with previous demons? Or is it always basically a matter of luck and timing to actually get a shot through?

                      Ruby is definitely a much cooler character than I initially thought of her as. Also, I didn't really realize until this episode just how pretty Katie Cassidy is.

                      Worth noting, since I've never seen the YED, I keep picturing him as That Yellow Bastard from "Sin City".
                      Yeah, this demon was a very high ranked demon. There is a kind of hierarchy of demons in the show, with different powers. There's the standard demon, usually indicated through the black eyes. They have usually super strength and like all demons the power to read minds. The power of other demons goes beyond those of standard demons. They can utilise telekinesis, appear in people's dreams, the YED could even teleport the psychic kids from wherever they were to a chosen location. To the higher demons, consecrated grounds are no barrier and on the YED holy water had no effect either.

                      The demon stopping the bullet was the first incident we saw this happen in that manner. The only other instance where the gun didn't hit its target was in 'Salvation', when the Yellow Eyed Demon just dissolved before the bullet could hit him. Also Devil's Traps usually de-power a demon that is trapped within, but we saw that the Meg demon (a 'child' of the YED) was able to destroy the Devil's Trap from within. No other demon so far was able to do that. The demons that escaped from the gate are probably a mixed bag, lots of standard demons, but also some very old and powerful demons, like the Seven Deadly Sins.

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                      • #12
                        After such a long hiatus it just feels so good to have the boys back! I didn't realise how much I had actually missed them and the show until I finally saw them on screen again.

                        The first thing that intrigued me about this week's episode was the title "Malleus Maleficarum". Not being well versed in Latin, I had to look it up on wikipedia and the whole interesting backstory that I found there made me squee. So apparently, "Malleus Maleficarum" means "The Hammer of Witches" in English (or "Hexenhammer" in German) and is one of the most famous mediaval treatises on witches. It was written by two German writers and published in 1487. The main purpose of the Malleus was to systematically refute all arguments against the reality of witchcraft, refute those who expressed even the slightest skepticism about its reality, to prove that witches were more often women than men, and to educate magistrates on the procedures that could find them out and convict them. Anyway, I always love it when SN writers base their stories on such facts, finding out about these kinds of things, about true mythology behind an episode and how it ties into the episode is something I always enjoy.

                        I have always been fascinated by witches and their practices so this week's MOTW was right up my alley. Of course only the first part of the ep was really MOTW, then the episode turned and focused heavily on mytharc stuff, which is something I love. In fact, this week's episode presented so many new mytharc and demonology facts that it made my head spin a little. It's great when the show introduces so many things for us fans to puzzle over.

                        Now my fascination with witches notwithstanding, the whole spitting out teeth and crawling maggots in food thing was pretty disgusting, even for SN's standards. Maybe it was because I was eating while I watched the episode but I could hardly look at the screen during the maggots scene especially. However, I loved it when Poison's "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" came up. It immediately made me think of Julie Cooper and her "Poison rocks!" line (sorry, the O.C. inside joke) and I had to chuckle a bit when the radio then suddenly switched to "I Put A Spell On You". Not very subtle but I liked it nevertheless.

                        So we see the witches in the coven use black magic for their own personal gain, you just know there are gonna be dire consequences. Btw how sweet was it that Dean felt all sorry for the dead rabbit?

                        Then Ruby shows up and things get really interesting. The boys learn from Ruby that the witches serve a demon who is very powerful, who knows Sam is in town and who is much more powerful than Sam. Dean, properly meeting Ruby for the first time, points a gun at Ruby while Sam tries to keep him from shooting her. The boys are fighting for the gun and later on in their motel room argue about Ruby. Sam tries to see the big picture and thinks that Ruby could prove to be useful whereas Dean's natural mistrust of demons keeps him from seeing it this way. But the lines and boundaries get murkier because as Sam says:

                        Sam: "It's not so simple. We're not just hunting anymore. We're at war."

                        Dean is worried about Sam because he seems to care less and less about killing humans. I loved Dean's reaction in the car to Sam's gung-ho attitude towards killing off the witches, even though they are humans. And I was glad that the boys had an in-depth talk about this at the motel.

                        Sam: "Wait, so you're mad because I'm starting to agree with you?"
                        Dean: "No, no, I'm not mad, I'm worried. Sam, I'm worried because you're not acting like yourself."
                        Sam: "Yeah you're right, I'm not. I don't have a choice."
                        Dean: "What's that supposed to mean?"
                        Sam: "Look Dean, you're leaving right? And I gotta stay here in this craphole of a world. Alone. So the way I see it, if I'm gonna make it, if I'm gonna fight this war after you're gone, I gotta change."
                        Dean: "Change into what?"
                        Sam: "Into you. I gotta be more like you."

                        Oh boys, you broke my heart right there!

                        After all these years trying to fight for his independence, for trying to be his own person, Sam has realised that he has to give up on that if he is to survive. There is nothing wrong with being like Dean but it just makes me (and judging from his reaction, Dean as well) incredibly sad that Sammy has to give up his own personality.

                        When the boys think that the coven has put a hex on Dean and Sam frantically tries to save him, I couldn't believe that Sam would just leave Dean lying there on the floor while he goes after the witches. What if Dean had died while Sam was chasing after the witches? That was pretty reckless of Sam and he would never have forgiven himself if he hadn't been with Dean in his last minutes if Dean had actually died. Luckily, Ruby showed up and saved Dean's life. And so we learn that Ruby knows about witchcraft.

                        Meanwhile, Sam figures out that Tammy is the demon who gets the souls of the other witches and is after Sam. I loved the special effects when Tammy stopped the bullet from the Colt, thereby proving that she is a very powerful demon indeed.

                        Then the show provides another new plot twist: there is a new demon leader rising in the west who apparently does not like Sam because he is competition. So I'm guessing that the boys will meet this new leader sooner or later and Sam will have to fight him. I wonder if they will still include this in this (shortened) season or if that is something season 4 will deal with. Either way, it should be something exciting!

                        Then fascinating new info about Ruby follows in rapid sucession. Apparently, Ruby came out of the gate to hell. Ruby and Tammy know each other. Ruby used to serve Tammy. Ruby wants to serve Tammy again.

                        Ruby: "Let me serve again, I've wanted it, I've wanted you for so long."

                        I had to chuckle at the lesbian undertones and Dean's facial expression here.

                        Ruby's ruse is discovered and the two demons fight, with Tammy clearly being the stronger one. Tammy lets it spill that Ruby was a witch when she was human, before she became a demon! :eek: Now that's not something I expected but I like this new layer to Ruby.

                        I also thought it was great that the scared witch Lizzie still had the guts to try and put a hex on someone as powerful as Tammy, that was neat. I also loved that as soon as he was released from Tammy's spell, Dean took the opportunity and stabbed Tammy with Ruby's knife. Go Dean!

                        The last scene of the episode between Dean and Ruby was definitely my favourite because so many intriguing facts about the show's mythology and demonology were revealed. I really love SN's twist on demonology, that every human was human once and that most demons have forgotten that they were human once because that's what happens when you go to hell: you forget your humanity, you forget what you are. It's a pretty grim picture but I think it fits in nicely with the tone and themes of the show. Of course this is terrible news for Dean!

                        Ruby (to Dean): "Yes, the same thing will happen to you. It might take centuries but sooner or later hell will burn away your humanity."

                        Poor Dean, as if he wasn't terrified enough!!!

                        Ruby tells Dean that there is no way of saving him from hell. So she lied to Sam about that. Or is she lying now? This may all be part of her agenda and demons do lie all the time. Ruby then asks for Dean's help.

                        Ruby: "I need your help."
                        Dean: "Help with what?"
                        Ruby: "With Sam. The way you stopped that demon tonight, that was pretty tough. Sam's almost there but not quite. You need to help me get him ready. For life without you. To fight this war on his own."

                        I find it ironic that both Sam and Ruby want the same thing, namely for Sam to become more like Dean in order to survive and fight the war.

                        I'm glad that Dean finally asked the question I have wanted an answer to for a while, namely why Ruby is on their side. I'm not sure if I'm convinced by her answer. So we are supposed to believe that Ruby is the one demon who remembers what it's like to be human, that she has kept her humanity? I find that pretty hard to believe, especially after everything Ruby has told Dean about what hell is like. Why would Ruby be impervious to the tortures of hell, to forgetting what she is? What makes her so special? Then again, she could be lying of course. She may not be as good as she says she is, she may be evil and have her very own agenda with the Winchesters. At this point in the season, we just don't know and of course this keeps things very interesting and adds to the mystery that is Ruby. The more I see Ruby in each new episode, the more intriguing and fascinating I find her. As sceptical as I was re the two new female characters at the beginning of the season, by now I think Ruby at least is a really valuable addition to the show and I can't wait to see what's next in store for her. I'm also looking forward to seeing if and how Dean will help Ruby get Sam ready for the war. And most importantly, whether Ruby lied about there not being a way out for Dean. At the moment, I have no clue how Dean could get out of his deal but I hope that the writers will come up with something that is both mind-blowing and believable at the same time. Time is running out and things are becoming more and more hopeless and desperate, what with not even Sam believing anymore that Dean will get out of his deal.

                        So this week's episode has added many new details to the mytharc and the demonology of the show and has made the SN verse even more complex and intriguing. I can't wait to see what happens next!

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                        • #13
                          I loved this episode! It was so entertaining and to see witches added to our list was wonderful.

                          Ruby is awesome! I love her and her backstory was really great, actually, IMO. I loved how it was a little like "Sin City" (which I loved, also) in the way that new mythology came along.

                          Question, though. When Ruby says, "All the ones I've met," does she mean that some demons were never human, or that she's met so many that there's no possible way one could never be human?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by galathea View Post
                            Yeah, this demon was a very high ranked demon. There is a kind of hierarchy of demons in the show, with different powers. There's the standard demon, usually indicated through the black eyes. They have usually super strength and like all demons the power to read minds. The power of other demons goes beyond those of standard demons. They can utilise telekinesis, appear in people's dreams, the YED could even teleport the psychic kids from wherever they were to a chosen location. To the higher demons, consecrated grounds are no barrier and on the YED holy water had no effect either.

                            The demon stopping the bullet was the first incident we saw this happen in that manner. The only other instance where the gun didn't hit its target was in 'Salvation', when the Yellow Eyed Demon just dissolved before the bullet could hit him. Also Devil's Traps usually de-power a demon that is trapped within, but we saw that the Meg demon (a 'child' of the YED) was able to destroy the Devil's Trap from within. No other demon so far was able to do that. The demons that escaped from the gate are probably a mixed bag, lots of standard demons, but also some very old and powerful demons, like the Seven Deadly Sins.
                            In "Sin City" however, we did see Casey (was that her name, I forget!), well the demon in the devil's trap was ale to use her powers to destroy Dean's book as he tried to exorcise her, and destroy the building. So clearly that devil's trap didn't de-power her. While she wasn't able to destroy the trap itself she still managed to save herself (for the time being anyway). I always put that down to her being more than an average demon, probably a higher-level demon. But not even Envy managed to use his powers from within the devil's trap to get himself a get-out-of-hell-free pass like that, so I think there's still a lot we've got to learn about the different abilities possessed by the different demons. But I am loving how the underworld heirarchy is being shaped in the show, and how the different sides are forming as well - I'm finding this ery interesting and I can't wait to see how they develop this throughout season three.

                            Also about the idea of demons and their host bodies. In Salvation the YED managed to dissolve his host body, but in AHBLII we saw the demon die within the body - does this mean the body was in fact his and that was why it had his powers to dissolve like that into the black smoke..... or... is it just some host body that he managed to somehow disintegrate temporarily? I guess these are more questions we're gonna have to wait and see what comes of them!

                            Sorry not really an episode review, but I was reading some of the interpretations of what had been revelaed in this ep and just wanted to throw in my 2 cents,

                            SJ
                            xox
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                            Art by Sayjay at Radiance

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by slaycandy View Post
                              In "Sin City" however, we did see Casey (was that her name, I forget!), well the demon in the devil's trap was ale to use her powers to destroy Dean's book as he tried to exorcise her, and destroy the building. So clearly that devil's trap didn't de-power her. While she wasn't able to destroy the trap itself she still managed to save herself (for the time being anyway). I always put that down to her being more than an average demon, probably a higher-level demon. But not even Envy managed to use his powers from within the devil's trap to get himself a get-out-of-hell-free pass like that, so I think there's still a lot we've got to learn about the different abilities possessed by the different demons. But I am loving how the underworld heirarchy is being shaped in the show, and how the different sides are forming as well - I'm finding this ery interesting and I can't wait to see how they develop this throughout season three.

                              Also about the idea of demons and their host bodies. In Salvation the YED managed to dissolve his host body, but in AHBLII we saw the demon die within the body - does this mean the body was in fact his and that was why it had his powers to dissolve like that into the black smoke..... or... is it just some host body that he managed to somehow disintegrate temporarily? I guess these are more questions we're gonna have to wait and see what comes of them!
                              Ohh there's certainly different powers to the different demons and it would be interesting to see how they originate. Remember that the Meg demon said in BUABS: "I learned some new tricks!" so they are constantly evolving their powers and which kind of powers they develop may depend on their interests and previous experiences. It was Bobby in Devil's Trap who said that demons trapped in a Devil's Trap are powerless, but since up to that point demonic possessions were a very rare event he might not have had enough data to assess that correctly.

                              That the YED died in AHBL II I guess was more a surprise effect than anything else. The YED was never afraid of the Colt, not when Sam shot him in Salvation or when John aimed it at him in IMTOD or when he put it in Jake's hands, one of the reasons why he never bothered with removing the last bullet. I think he was powerful enough to stop the Colt from hitting him and that Dean got the shot in was because the YED was distracted by John's ghost and Dean caught him off guard.

                              As I said before, the YED's mysterious dissolving body in Salvation could hint at the fact that some few demon's can conjur up a body, but then, it could just be an inconsistency in writing.

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