Two police officers get a call that some of those damn kids broke into the old asylum again. Once inside the place, they split up, as victims are often wont to do. One of the officers, Daniel, finds three teenagers hiding and lets them off with a warning. His partner, Walter, comes out some time later looking like the runner up in a thousand-yard stare contest. Later that night, shots ring out from his tastefully decorated bungalow.
Cold calling their father’s connections yielding nothing, Sam wants to file a missing persons report. Since John Winchester “died” 20 years ago, that might be difficult. A fight brewing between the boys is interrupted with a text message. It’s coordinates to the Roosevelt Asylum in Illinois that is mentioned in the journal. Must be from their father. Dean scans the local news headlines and learns about Walter’s murder-suicide. As usual, Dean is prepared to blindly follow his father’s lead to Illinois and Sam is busy pursing his lips and generally acting like a teenager with a Cassandra complex.
In Illinois, Dean attempts to interview Walter’s partner Daniel at a local bar. Posing as “Nigel Tufnel” with the Chicago Tribune, he starts badgering a grieving man to give him details about his partner’s recent demise. Luckily, a handsome stranger is there to chase the dick reporter out the door. Daniel is so grateful that he buys the man a beer and begins to talk his ear off about recent unpleasantness. Of course this stranger is Sam and his rage at Dean was a little too convincing.
Once at the asylum, the boys head into the south wing, which seems to be where all of the weird crap goes down. Dean has instituted a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in regards to Sam’s psychic abilities, choosing to rely on his homemade EMF reader. Finding all manner of torture devices that at one time were meant to heal the mentally ill, it seems a good bet that the former patients who died in the South Wing are driving people insane. Sam, unable to go 35 seconds without sharing his feelings, picks a fight with Dean.
Sam: When are we going to talk about the fact that Dad’s not here.
Dean: Oh, uh, let’s see, never. He sent us here, he obviously wants us here. We’ll just have to pick up the search later.
Sam: It doesn’t matter what he wants.
Dean: See? That attitude right there, that is why I always got the extra cookie.
They go on like that for a while. Good time to grab a snack. Having momentarily satiated their bicker boner, the boys set out to investigate the history of the south wing. Sam drops in on James Ellicott, the son of Sanford Ellicott, who was the chief of staff at Roosevelt Asylum. Sam’s session with Ellicott is comedy gold. Apparently he’s into “things” and “stuff.” You can see it’s killing Sam to have to pass up a chance to talk about his feelings for the sake of the job. Sam learns that in 1964 there was a riot in the south wing. There were quite a few deaths that night, and some of the bodies were never even found. Among the lost corpses was that of Sanford Ellicott.
Since this town is chock-full of idiot kids, it is only a matter of time before more victims wander into the south wing. This girl, Katherine, is having the worst date of her young life. Seriously, Kat. Next time, just stay home, sneak some of your mom’s wine and watch Heathers. Especially since your Romeo just wandered off and made off with a ghost. Sam and Dean are busy trying to find the unrecovered bodies to salt and burn. This job’s got Dean a little jumpy. Ghosts are bad enough, but the ghost of a person who was criminally insane adds another degree of difficulty. Maybe another 5 degrees. Sam and Dean soon find Kat, and Dean very nearly blasts rock salt into her pretty face. She refuses to leave without her boyfriend, Gavin, so she heads off with Dean to search the asylum. The heart wants what the heart wants. And her heart wants the boy with the terrible haircut in a fur-lined corduroy jacket.
Sam finds Gavin in a state of shock after his make-out session with a mutilated spirit. Elsewhere in the wing, Dean watches Kat get dragged and locked into a patient room. Sam has figured out the spirits don’t want to hurt anybody. They’re trying to communicate something. He tells Kat to just relax and listen to what the host is trying to tell her. She calms down a bit, and the spirit whispers, “137,” into her ear. As Sam tries to escort the children back to safety, Dean looks for room 137. (Hint: it’s probably between rooms 136 and 138.) Dean finds an attache case containing a journal. Inside is a very graphic account of Dr. Ellicott, Sr.’s experimental “healing” procedures.
Discovering that they are locked in the asylum, Sam gives Kat and Gavin a salt gun and goes to find Dean. In the basement, Sam is attacked by Ellicott’s spirit. Sam had gone into the basement after receiving a panicked phone call from Dean. Or something that was impersonating Dean. Sam tells Dean that he thinks something lured him down to the basement, but that he hasn’t seen anything yet. Dean read about a hidden procedure room in the journal and figures that’s where the patients hid Ellicott’s body.
Right when Dean finds a hidden door, Sam points a gun at Dean and begins an airing of grievances. Forgetting the first rule of gun safety, don’t sass anyone with a shotgun full of rock salt, Dean gets a shot to chest and is blown through the hidden door. Sam tells Dean that he is pathetic for being John Winchester’s lapdog. Dean decides that if Sam is going to take him out, he’d rather go quickly with a pistol than be pitted to death with rock salt. He hands Sam a gun out of his belt. With the gun pointed at his head, Dean encourages Sam to pull the trigger. So he does. Only the gun isn’t loaded. While Sam is distracted, Dean manages to push Sam to the ground and gives him a knockout punch to the head. In the secret pleasure dungeon, Dean finds Dr. Ellicott’s corpse. Before he can burn the body, Dr. Ellicott’s spirit attacks him. During the struggle, he manages to grab a lighter and toss it onto onto the pile of bones.
With the body disposed of, Sam is seemingly back to normal. He apologizes for that whole homicidal rage thing earlier. No biggie, right? Back at the motel, Dean’s phone won’t stop ringing and he won’t wake up from his beauty sleep, so Sam answers the phone.