Welcome to our newest guest post series! Head Over Feels are finally filling our SuperWhoLock quota with “Salt vs. Sass: Dawn & Sarah take on Sam and Dean,” a Supernatural recap-a-thon! We’ll learn all about the family business through the eyes of veteran fan Dawn and n00b Sarah. They’ll be posting weekly, so now is the perfect moment to queue up your rewatch or pop your SPN cherry. Want to speak fluent SPN fangirl? Check out this handy Glossary of Terms.
Take it away, ladies! –S
Dawn Ferchak is a long-term Dean girl who occasionally has trouble resisting the King of Hell.
Sarah Bisman is an SPN newbie and professional crafter of one-line bios.
Sarah: This is the first time I can safely say SPN didn’t scare the bejesus out of me. I mean, look, I get creeped out by urban legends way more than the average bear, and it still scared me a bit, but I could go to sleep with the lights off like a normal person with normal-sized fears. And that made me a little sad, surprisingly. Wherefore, mellowish episode? What gives?
Dawn: When SPN was originally conceived, it was going to be The X-Files with urban legends and no aliens, so it was only a matter of time before we’d get to The Hook Man. After all, it’s the first urban legend most of us learned; we tried to scare our friends with it in early grade-school, which never worked because everyone knew the story. Except in Eastern Iowa. Apparently.
Season 1, Episode 7: Hookman
Written by John Shiban
We begin with the usual recaplet: Dad hunting, Jess burning, everyone traumatized and saving people and hunting things and hunting Jess’s killer. You know how it is.
Our ever-helpful Chyron-Person tells us we’re at Theta Sorority at Eastern Iowa University. Before we get any further, we should own up to a lot of negative Greek-life stereotypes. Sarah imagines beer pong and girls in teeny nighties with big hair being mean to anyone less pretty. Dawn is betting on bitches in clothes daddy bought them doing nothing other than trying to snag a smart husband. We think this because reasons. Hush.
But as it turns out, we are kinda wrong because Lori, our damsel of the week, is honestly rather nice and white bread and possibly a bit of a prude, given her date night outfit. Taylor, her fellow Theta, is way more tramptastic and kindly offers her little too “Martha Stewart” friend a more slutty top. it’s actually quite friendly, so we’re cool. Off Lori goes her date, newly transformed by the magic power of a form-fitting blouse.
Maybe their sorority is a little more like this one:
Her date, who we will call Deadshirt!FratBoy takes her parking under an abandoned railroad trestle. Without even a soda and an ice cream first, that cad. Lori’s phone rings; it’s Dad. We don’t take calls from Dad when we are parked in the dark with a Deadshirt!FratBoy, because we’d rather make out, because that’s super-wise and no one on this show has ever seen a goddamn horror movie (Let’s just make that SPN Life Lesson #25: WHY DON’T YOU PEOPLE WATCH A GODDAMN HORROR MOVIE FOR ONCE?). Also, there is a hook-handed shadow in the trees, which no one notices because hormones. Hook Guy is a far cry from the hotness of Captain Killian Jones (aka COLIN O’DONOGHUE, PEOPLE THIS IS NOT A DRILL LOOK HIM UPPPPP), and we suspect gross murder is iminent. Let’s soften the blow with a gif of Hot Hook:
Daaaaaamn. Us, too.
Back to the recap! So Deadshirt!FratBoy is a handsy douchebag who doesn’t understand that “no” means “get your hands away from my tits” and suddenly Dawn is singing “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee.” Anywho, he’s a pushy douche and she is displeased about it, and then things are interrupted by a horrible fucking noise, which the viewers know is the sound of a vicious metal hook being dragged across metal street signs. Imagine chalk on a blackboard but a thousand times worse. The signs say “Dead End” and “9 Mile Road,” so it’s kinda like the bad guy is one-upping Eminem.
Deadshirt!FratBoy (whose name is actually Rich, a name Dawn always associates with douchebag frat boys because high school reasons) ACTUALLY GETS OUT OF HIS CAR LIKE A FLIPPING MORON because Life Lesson #25. He is promptly murdered, really bloodily, by an invisible assailant. No one feels bad for him. Except maybe Lori, because she is screaming, but the jury is still out on how smart she is. And honestly, who wants to deal with finding your date gutted and strung up above your only ride home? Her shoes are probably uncomfortable and that’s a long walk down an abandoned street where your douchey date has just been done like a dead deer.
Cut to Sammy the next morning. He’s having bad luck: he can’t find any info on their dad AND Dean is making fun of his coffee order. It’s okay, Sammy. You do you.
Dean has found info on the invisible murdering of Deadshirt!FratBoy. Sam thinks it might not be their thing, even though last week he was busting Dean’s balls over SPN Life Lesson #20. The Winchesters have no learning curve in Season One. Dean says it’s totally their thing and also Dad would check it out, and since intoning Dad is basically magic, Sam agrees to the ride. Time for a metal-themed ride to EIU, which seems to have an awful lot of terra cotta for a town in Iowa.
Alias of the Week Time! The Winchesters are fraternity brothers/transfer students from Ohio Fake University, which works perfectly to secure them a room in the frat house. With PurpleMan, who as you might have guessed, is purple. Dean gets himself out of helping PurpleMan complete his gameday purpling by pimping out the non-existent artistic skills of his brother; from the look on Sam’s face, Dean will pay for this at some point. So Sam paints while asks insensitive questions about Deadshirt!FratBoy. PurpleMan doesn’t seem all that fussed, really, since his primary emotional reaction is when he talks about how hot Lori is and how she is — “get this” — a preacher’s daughter. Seriously, this show is doing nothing to change our opinion on the Greek System.
Turns out Lori’s dad is Dan “Bulldog Briscoe” Butler from Frasier. But with a lot more praying. And paranoia about his only daughter. Sam and Dean go visit the church during mass, where this happens —
— because of course Sam knows when to bow your head in church while Dean is undoubtedly casing the joint for how much holy water he can steal before anyone notices. After the service, Dean hard sells Father Dan so Sam can be a sympathetic ear to young Lori. Sam’s adorableness factor and puppy eyes probably help, too.
Just because you think you were seeing things, doesn’t mean they aren’t real, Sam assures Lori, just before they share a long look. Aww. Young love. That will go well, right?
Sam and Dean both believe Lori! Holy crap, they agree on something this early in the episode? Do you think it hurts them to agree so easily? Dean makes up for it by ribbing Sam about having done research in college just as the librarian drops off a big, heavy, dusty box filled with dating back to the 1850s. And boy, do they hit the crazy jackpot — a preacher who lost his hand in an accident and had it replaced by a metal hook. Also he was pretty religious and not very happy. And he liked killing prostitutes.
Total win! Let’s salt those bones and be on our way, right? Oh, except we’re not even fifteen minutes into the ep. Whoopsie.
Meanwhile, Father Dan (who apparently gets his jollies by sucking the joy out of life through a very tiny straw) is having it out with Lori, who is “over 18 and can live [her] own life!”
He worries; she wants to party. You know, typical parent/kid stuff.
Sarah: I suddenly find dad verrry suspicious.
Dawn: A suspicious preacher on a show about the paranormal? Pshaw. That never happens.
Lori, fresh from her fight with dad, goes into her room. It’s very quiet. Too quiet. Also she seems to have COMPLETELY missed the long, jagged line that was etched into the wall. Way to be observant, Sorority Girl. Also her roommate is sleeping. That’s good, since she is also about to be murdered. Best to be asleep when that’s going to happen, don’t you think?
Dean and Sam are at 9 mile road, gearing up and Basil-and-Ceciling about the uses of salt in hunting supernatural bad guys. Dean gets rope, a rifle, and rock salt, which is kinda like the Three R’s of SPN.
Sam: Huh. Salt being a spirit deterrent.
Dean: Yeah. It won’t kill ‘em. But it’ll slow ‘em down.
We’re calling rock salt SPN Life Lesson #26. And probably stocking up on that shit, just in case. Also, FYI, the Northeast suffered a MASSIVE shortage of rock salt this past winter (2013-14), which was brutal, snowy, and really fucking cold.
Also, Baby has the Trunk of Holding. It’s awesome. Noises are heard; rifles are cocked. But it’s not Hookman. It’s the 5-0, who orders them to GET DOWN ON THEIR KNEES NOW. Time to visit the Calumet County holding cells!
Back at Sorority Central, Lori goes to bed and Taylor moves a little in her sleep, which is Sarah’s first clue that she’s about to die horribly. This is further cemented by a shot of their door and the sound of horrible breathing, and then suddenly it’s morning and Lori is waking up to find that her roommate is mostly bloody leftovers. But Hookman is a thoughtful guy, as it turns out, because he’s left a helpful little note: “Aren’t you glad that you didn’t turn on the light?” Sure, it’s deeply etched in blood on the wall, but still — manners count. Also, there is a symbol. SPN Life Lesson #27: Symbols are Important Clues, even if no one remarks on them at first.
Lori screams a lot and we cut to Sam and Dean getting released from the sheriff’s office because Dean cleverly convinced them that Sammy was “a dumb-ass pledge.” Sammy is displeased, but hey, it worked. And what’s this? Sirens are screaming and the cops are off to Lori’s sorority! Better follow them! After a little drive-by, the Winchesters decide to head around the back of the sorority house, which means Dean must smarm.
There is also more Basil- and Cecil-ing so we can learn that perhaps the spirit is haunting someTHING rather than someWHERE. They also agree (twice in one ep? Try not to faint.) that it’s probably Jacob Carns, that creepy ex-preacher guy who liked to kill prostitutes, because they notice the Important Clue. Also they smell ozone very strongly, which Dawn doesn’t recall being an SPN Thing since it never came up in any other episode ever, despite a preponderance of ghosts and a spirits. Nice try, early episode. Back at the Impala, they get the Best News Yet: Carns was buried in an unmarked grave! As Dean says, super.
Dean thinks Lori’s tied to this somehow. Sarah thinks preacher daddy is manifesting some bad stuff, and laments the fate of being a preacher’s kid. Dawn sings “[Daughter] of a Preacher Man” to make her feel better. Because that’s what friends do, ya’ll.
Time for a big party! It’s probably a frat party. Sam is NOT INTERESTED in having fun because it’s Season One and therefore SPN Life Lesson 21 is still in effect. He is WORKING, THANK YOU VERY MUCH, DEAN. And also Basil-ing: Sam has found an historical connection between Evil Murders and preachers who preach against “immorality.” Isn’t that kinda the job of a preacher? Anyway, Sam agrees to stay at the party in order to keep an eye on Lori, while Dean reluctantly agrees to leave the chick buffet, er, um, party, in order to go find the unmarked grave.
Sarah: I’m sorry. WHO GOES LOOKING FOR AN UNMARKED GRAVE? How would you even know you found it?
It’s ok, Sarah — apparently, TV defines “unmarked” as “bearing a big obvious symbol.” Dean commences digging, while lamenting not being the one who gets to watch “the cute girl’s house.” No one feels bad for Dean, because we are pretty sure Dean doesn’t lack in cute girl action. He finds the bones, but it’s not going to help because there are still too many minutes left in the episode.
Cut to Sam! Totally not being creepy in Lori’s dark back yard! Good thing you’re cute, Sam, because instead of calling 911, Lori skips on outside in her jammies to pay him a visit. He is worried. She is “good.” And she sasses him about having called the cops. They chat some more. Lori thinks she’s cursed. Sam thinks HE’S cursed. We think they should totally make out.
Dean is not making out. He is burning bones, which we already said won’t do the trick this time. Seriously, writers, don’t bother us with red herrings anymore. We know your tricks.
Back to Sam and Lori. Who are sitting on a swingset. It’s kind of adorable. Lori, it turns out, is pissed off because her dad is seeing a married lady who comes to his church. She is Very Disapproving, which makes Sam back off a tiny bit, but maybe she’s not actually that pissed because she totally goes in for a hug. And a kiss! AWWW YEAH, Lori. YOU GET ON THAT, GURL.
But, oh, alas — Sam can’t do it. He’s still mourning Jess, and also Lori is maybe responsible for murders. Which has to be a turn-off, right?
Preacher Dad calls Lori inside. Lori is like I DO WHAT I WANT, and Hookman is like YEAH YOU DO, because he suddenly appears in order to put his hook THROUGH Pops. Sam is ready with rifle and rock salt, and Dawn wonders how the FUCK Lori didn’t notice that cutie had a rifle. Maybe this is the difference between a preacher’s kid and a cop’s kid.
Cut to hospital. Preacher Dad needs a ventilator because hook+lung=bad things. The sheriff is there; he is mighty suspicious and hopes Sam can stay out of trouble. Dean arrives, suitably sassy with the cops, who let him through. Why didn’t you torch the bones, Dean? Uh, I totally did, Sam. Well, that’s a fucking problem now, isn’t it? So it’s not 9 Mile Road, and it’s not the ventilated Preacher, so who does that leave? Sam realizes that the spirit has latched on to Lori and her very basic understanding of biblical principles. Way to catch on, Sammy. They also realize that the bones were available for torching, but not the hook. You’d think Dean might have noticed that important item missing from the casket, but whatever — time for round two of Hunter Homework.
Back to the library! Which is kind of like a Winchester Battle Cry. “Cry God for Libraries, Rock Salt, and ‘67 Impalas!” Also, why doesn’t the ALA use Sam and Dean as advertising for the Power of Actual Physical Libraries? Those boys are marketing GOLD. Hell, when was the last time a male TV librarian was sexy? Oh, wait…
Libraries, use the Winchesters! Throw them in a few posters, surrounded by books, saying things like “Research is hot” and “Smart is sexy” or even “Sometimes, you just need to hold it in your hands” and goddamnit, Dawn!
One judicious application of smelling salts later, we return to the recap. Hunter Homework reveals that the hook has been…reforged. Well, shit. Guess that means it’s time to melt down anything silver in the preacher’s house. It’s proof of how deeply Dawn is inured in SPN logic because she finds nothing unusual about this line of thinking, while Sarah is quite reasonably like WTF everything?!?
Dean starts a fire in the basement of the church, where there is a convenient brazier. Maybe they have a lot of fund-raising barbecues. Sam shows up with “everything that even looked silver” and they commence Operation Melt All The Things. They pretty quickly hear the telltale signs of a physicalized ghostie overhead.
Except no, it’s Lori. Dean lowers his gun and probably rolls his eyes as he returns to the mini Mount Doom in the basement. Lori is crying and praying and it’s up to Sam to comfort her in a way that won’t result in his untimely death. She thinks she has an avenging angel, and that everything is her fault. She feels all the guilt because SPN Life Lesson #22 is apparently contagious, and further says that she deserves to be punished. That’s really unwise, because the scary phantom hook killer guy is in the sanctuary with them, and he’s is ready to oblige.
Sam and Lori are on the run from a pretty damn corporeal guy with one heck of a hook. He catches Sam in the shoulder and throw Lori across the room, and things are not looking at all good. But here comes Dean, whose Sammy Sense was clearly on high alert. “Sam, drop!” he commands, and shoots Hookman full of salt. That’s when Sam realizes Lori’s necklace (a “church heirloom”) is silver. He tears it off her neck and tosses it to his brother, who tears ass downstairs to melt it just in time. WOOO! But also, TRAUMA, so maybe more like wooo.
It’s morning. Skeptical Sheriff is skeptical, in utter defiance of SPN Life Lesson #7. Dean tells him not to worry too — they are totally blowing town. Lori checks on Sam, who says he’s gonna be fine. Well, he’s never going to see her again, so why not lie through your teeth?
Dean watches via Baby’s side view mirror, and he almost looks a little sad as he watches his brother walk away from the preacher’s daughter without so much as a backward glance. “We could stay,” he offers. Sam shakes his head. Dean, with one last mirror look at the sad Lori, shakes his head. He’s just looking out for his baby brother, man. But Sam wants to move, so start the engine, cue up the metal, and move on out to the next super freaky bad guy.
Sarah’s Final Thoughts: Not bad. It was reasonably scary, but also I mostly just thought Hook Man was a Jack the Ripper style self righteous jerk of a murderer, and that made him slightly less ominous somehow, and more of an asshat. Still scared though. Usually scared.
Dawn’s Final Thoughts: For an episode that always struck me as reasonably simple while I watched it, this one proved damn complex to recap. There were a few things introduced that will become important as the seasons progress, in both tone and characters. Not one of my favorite monsters or eps overall, but it was good to see Sammy relax for a second or two, and I do love when they get arrested. Because there is something wrong with me. Very wrong.
Until next time!