LadyGhosts of TV Past

Retro Recap: Supernatural, “Phantom Traveler”

“If this is an emergency, call my son Dean. He can help.”

God, I hate flying. It combines my three biggest fears: Proximity to strangers, reliance on competent engineering and Sky Mall catalogs. Though I must say, I have never been so emotionally disturbed in an airport that my compromised mind was open to possession by a demon. (Wait, does being wasted at a Stanfords count as emotionally disturbed?)

The episode opens with a very generic looking business man in an airport bathroom splashing his face with tap water. Which is something that people never do in real life. He’s a nervous flyer, and his urinal-mate’s reassurance that his chances of dying in a plane crash are “20,000 to one” are less than reassuring. (Note: It’s actually more like 10 million to one.) I wonder what the odds for demonic possession in a men’s room are? The now-possessed traveler boards the plane and flashes his shiny black eyes at a comely flight attended named Amanda. After about 40 minutes in the air our nervous flyer leaves his seat, heads to the back of the plane and opens the emergency exit in mid flight. The cabin depressurizes and the scene ends with the plane plummeting towards the earth.

In a sleazy motel room, Sam and Dean are having a heart to heart about the pressures of hunting. Sam can’t sleep at night and Dean slumbers with a 7-inch bowie knife under his pillow.  Before the boys have a chance to hug it out, a former “client” named Jerry calls Dean with a job. Seems John and Dean helped this fellow out with a poltergeist problem a while back. When the black box from United Britannia Flight 2485 recorded something that sounded less-than human, he figured the Winchesters were the ones to call. The seven survivors of the crash include the captain, Chuck Lambert and the flight attended. Sam asks for passenger manifests and access to the wreckage. Because the NTSB is going to have no problem allowing a couple of denim clad lookie-loos to poke around a classified evidence warehouse.

Cut to Dean exiting the local Copy Jack with some very legit looking Homeland Security badges. While Dean has been getting his Photoshop on, Sam has been analyzing the cockpit voice recorder. He picked up E.V.P. and managed to parse out a voice saying, “No survivors.” The brothers seem perplexed since their were actually seven survivors. One of the survivors has voluntarily checked himself into a mental health facility, because there is no way that what he saw on the flight actually happened. He must have been hallucinating the man with black eyes open an emergency exit during flight. No man has that kind of strength. After an interview with the black eyed man’s widow, the boys are convinced he wasn’t some kind of creature. Just a regular guy with acid reflux and a bitchin’ sweater collection.

Time to check out that NTSB warehouse. We’re treated to a scene of the brothers stumbling out of a tailor shop in their homeland security duds. At the warehouse, Dean’s homemade E.M.F. reader goes all squiggly near the emergency exit door and Sam scrapes off what appears to be sulfur. Unfortunately, some legit homeland security agents show up and ruin everything. Apparently this super secure evidence warehouse has a back door. Makes sense. Wait.

Our pilot, Chuck, is trying to heal or something by going up in a personal aircraft with a buddy. Clearly distraught and not ready for the sky again, he’s an easy mark for demonic possession. Forty minutes into the flight, Chuck points the nose of the plane and the ground knocks his copilot unconscious.

The sulfur on the emergency exit door points to demonic possession. But it’s still unclear why this demon took down the plane. Apparently in Japanese culture demons are the cause for natural and manmade disasters. This demon gets its rocks by causing plane crashes. Dean feels that they’re a little out of their depth. “Demons don’t want anything except death and destruction for its own sake. I wish dad were here.” The phone call from Jerry with news of Chuck’s death leads the boys to conclude that the demon is picking off survivors of flight 2585.

Luckily, most of the survivors have zero interest in flying anytime soon. Our comely flight attended, Amanda, is scheduled to fly out that night. Dean tries to get her off the plane with a story about her roommate being in a car accident. Which morphs into a story about an ex-boyfriend being lovesick over her and really this whole scene is just a mess. I really don’t understand why a flight attendant would be back in the air this soon after a surviving a horrific plane crash. I guess the insurance is really good? Unable to coax her off the plane, Sam puts plan “B” into effect. Get on the plane and exorcise the demon before it kills everyone on board. Should be simple enough. So long as they don’t bring on more than 3oz of holy water. Only”¦ it seems Dean has a bit a flying phobia. He is just so cute when he’s scurred.

On the plane, Dean looks like he is about to crap his dungarees. Even humming Some Kind of Monster doesn’t manage to soothe his nerves. They’ve got 40 minutes to figure out who this demon is possessing and perform an exorcism. The obvious choice would be Amanda, as she is no doubt emotionally compromised. Possessed individuals flinch at the name of God, so it’s simple enough to do a subtle check. Dean chats up Amanda and realizes that not only is she not possessed, but that she is remarkably stable. The demon could be in anyone on the plane. Dean saunters up the aisle with his jacked up E.M.F. detector, but gets nothing until the co-pilot exits the lavatory. He flashes a black-eyed glare at the Winchesters and heads into the cockpit.

With a little over ten minutes left, the boys try to convince Amanda to lure the co-pilot out of the cockpit. She knows that something was wrong on flight 2485, and decides to help. The boys promptly tie him up at throw make with the holy water. Sam begins the exorcism ritual and eventually expels the demon. Only now it’s more powerful and doesn’t need to possess a body to take down the pilot. Sam finishes the second part of the ritual and sends the demon back to hell saving the flight and everyone on board.

During the exorcism the demon taunted Sam by saying that Jessica was burning in hell. Dean reassures him that the demon was reading his mind and lying, but he’s not so sure. Back on the ground, Jerry thanks the boys for their help. Dean’s curious how Jerry got his number in the first place. Running credit card scams to get by means you change your number frequently. Jerry tells Dean that he tried calling John, and his voicemail greeting instructed him to call Dean. Not really sure what to make of all this, the boys head out on the road again. While kind of a throw-away episode, it does mark the first time our boys deal with demonic possession. Certainly not the last.

Winchester Victory Jam: “Working” Man by Rush

By Brick Frog

I do neat things regularly!

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