This episode has nothing to do with the overarching story for the season or even the regular run of the mill demons that the boys normally encounter and have to deal with.  That being said, I actually found it to be one of the most disturbing and scary episodes of Supernatural that I’ve seen in a long time as the monsters in this episode are really what any of us could become given the right (or wrong as the case may be) circumstances.

Sam wakes from sleeping in the back seat of the Impala, to find Dean researching cases. Sam complains that they haven’t stopped hunting for the last month & that Dean seems to never want to stop, but Dean insists they investigate a case in Nebraska, where Bill Gibson was found murdered in a room that was locked from the inside.  The police are completely baffled by the case.

They arrive in Stratton, Nebraska to find the Carter family about to move into the house. Following the death of their eldest son a year ago in a car accident, Susan and Brian Carter are looking for a fresh start with their kids Kate and Danny. Brian’s brother Ted is helping them move.  While the family dynamic is obviously strained, you can still see that this is a family that cares and are willing to make an effort for each other.

Sam and Dean pretend to be building inspectors and tell them the house has asbestos in the walls and a gas leak and that they should stay in a motel.  They hope that this will keep the family away allowing them to do their investigation, but after they leave, Ted declares the house okay and the family moves in any way thinking that it was just a local prank gone wrong.  Not realizing this, the brothers think they have time to perform their normal research and visit the housekeeper.  She tells them that Bill had a wife who died in childbirth and his daughter Rebecca hung herself in the attic. While both women were cremated, the boys assume a ghost must be haunting the house.

That night Danny encounters a girl – she rolls a ball to him and says he is welcome to stay, but the adults are not. This really reminded me of poltergeist or something along those lines where only one person could see/interact with a spirit, but as Kate lies in bed, she feels something licking her hand. She assumes it’s the dog until the dog appears at the bedroom door.

Kate’s screams alert Sam and Dean who rush into the house. They try to get the family to leave but find the tires on all the cars slashed and the weapons gone from their car, which completely baffle them as spirits shouldn’t be able to perform these actions.  Realizing they have little choice, they take refuge inside a salt circle in the house, but a girl appears and attacks them, crossing the salt line and proving to be human and not a ghost.

The family rushes outside, but when they regroup, Danny is missing. While Susan and Kate hide in a shed, Ted and Dean check inside the house, while Brian and Sam check the grounds. Dean and Ted find a hidden door into the wall space, and Dean finds a space beneath the floor where the remains of half-eaten rats litter the floor. While he is there, the girl sneaks up from behind and unfortunately in the compressed space, Dean is unable to make it back in time and she ends up killing Ted.

While Dean swears to Brian he will find Danny, Sam reads Rebecca’s diary. The diary reveals that Rebecca Gibson was raped by her own father, Bill Gibson, became pregnant, and hung herself. Entering through a hidden dumb waiter in the kitchen, Dean finds their weapons and Danny bound under the floor space. As he tries to free him, he is attacked by a boy – Rebecca’s son. Dean shoots him and kills him.

Meanwhile the girl attacks Susan and Kate, until Brian arrives and stabs her saving the rest of his family.

After the case, Dean says he feels pity – and empathy – for the children who were turned murderous by a life of torture and neglect. Sam, however, tries to tell Dean that he resisted for 30 years in Hell and he’s nothing like them.  Dean, however, replies that he’s worse because at the end … he enjoyed the pain he inflicted.

If you recall from last episode (In the Beginning), Dean caught Sam literally exorcising a demon with the power of his mind.  After watching Sam harness his powers and realizing that the woman he is with is Ruby, Dean angrily confronts his brother and demands that he stop doing this as it is dangerous.  Sam had previously told Dean that he wasn’t utilizing this power and had kept it hidden from Dean for exactly this reason but with Ruby’s help he’d been tapping into the demon blood – blood that Sam now knows a lot more about thanks to his visit to the past and Castiel – and while Sam’s argument that he’s using this power for good sounds like it makes sense, anyone who’s read history (or comic books for that matter) knows that it’s a slippery slope.

After Dean explains to Sam more of what he’s learned about the nature of his power and the message from Castiel, Sam agrees (again) to not use his power but he obviously disagrees thinking that he can control it.

The Rougarou

There are cannibals and then there are the Rougarou … The rougarou (alternatively spelled as roux-ga-roux, rugaroo, or rugaru) is a legendary creature in Laurentian French communities linked to European notions of the werewolf.  The name in fact comes from two different french words – Loup (French for wolf) and garou (a man who transforms himself into an animal).  Now we’ve seen werewolf’s before in Supernaturalthe Wendigo in the 2nd episode – however in each of these cases, the creature has had some control over its actions.  In this case however the Rougarou has no control and when Dean and Sam are called by another hunter to help solve a case in Carthage, Missouri they discover a man going through a painful process of transformation into one of these beasts.

During the hunt, Sam lashes out on Dean, saying he is tired of how Dean looks at him like a freak and while Dean’s initial plans to deal with the man are the same as normal – shoot first and deal with the consequences later – Sam needs to see if its possible for the man to be more than the blood in his veins.  Sam wants to reason with him and explain what could happen to him and his family if he were to succumb but Dean believes that while regrettable he is doomed.

After a long conversation, they are able to persuade the man and he manages to take some control over his transformation, but unfortunately the hunter who initially contacted Dean and Sam chooses to take matters into his own hands and threatens the mans wife (& unborn child).  This tips him over the edge and he completes his transformation killing the hunter in full view of his horrified wife who he manages to spare.

When the man tries to kill Dean, Sam is forced to kill him by burning him alive. Seeing what the man went through, Sam decides to stop using his powers.