A mysterious death draws Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) to a town full of old-school magicians. Their investigation leads them to Charlie (guest star John Rubenstein), Jay (guest star Barry Bostwick) and Vernon (guest star Richard Libertini), three friends who were famous magicians in their day but have now been replaced by flashier, younger magicians.
One of them has made a deal to acquire real magical powers, but the price was extremely high. Sam and Dean must figure out a way to reverse the spell before others are harmed.
Phil Sgriccia directed the episode written by Julie Siege.
Recap by Smallvile-29
4.12 – Criss Angel Is A Douche Bag
Intro, Then featuring clips from “I know what you did last summer” and “Heaven and Hell.” Now, We are at “magic week” and Jay is inside showing his waitress some card tricks, some guy from across the bar comes over and ruins the trick. Inside the theater threes and illusionist getting ready for his show and Jay, Vernon and Charlie (all older magicians) watch him, as they complain about his act Jay says how there the ones who are getting old and lame, he wants to try the “Table of death.” he gets in and his buddie doesn’t think he can slip it… time passes and the rope cuts and the knifes drop down on him, the screen opens and he’s standing up unharmed. The guy from the bar is walking down the street and falls over with blood coming out everywear, knife marks.
“Criss Angel Is A Douche Bag”
Guy who was working on his illusions is outside doing card tricks as Sam and Dean walk by, Dean calls him a “douche bag.” He does his trick and the boys walk away, there investigating a guy who dropped dead with holes in his shirt, there asking his friend some questions and apparently he stole all the tricks he did and everyone had something against him, she found a terra card on him and he didn’t own any. Jay is at his apartment when Charlie shows up asking how he slipped out last night, Jay shows him a trick and says that he wants to do the “Executioner” tonight, Charlie doesn’t think he can or should but Jay convinces him. Sam and Dean come into the theater and start talking to Charlie and Vernon about the guy who died, they tell Dean that down a few streets threes a guy who uses those kind of cards and he should ask for the “chief.” Dean goes down and asks for “chief” he walks in and finds out that the “chief.” Is a gay hooker. Sam is back at the hotel room when Ruby shows up, she wants him to start going after bigger things, 34 seals have been broken and Lilith needs to be killed because he’s the only one who can stop her. He says no, she wants him to step up and tell her when he’s ready, she leaves. Back at the theater Sam and Dean go up to Charlie and Vernon and apparently they knew the badges were fake and that’s why they did that, the boys pose at magicians and they tell them to watch the show. Jay puts the rope around his neck and the timer starts, the illusionist is in his apartment alone, the board breaks and Jay goes down, the illusionist starts to hang, curtain opens and Jay is fine.
Sam and Dean are doing research, Jay was popular before he got old, they think he could have done it. Sam asks if he thinks they will still be chasing demons when there 60, Dean says “no, we’ll be dead.” Sam wants to figure out a way to stop everything before they get old, he doesn’t want to do this his whole life. They see that the illusionist died by hanging and they go to find Jay because they found a terra card on the body, they follow him to his room and they bust it down, they accuse him and nothing… so they tie him up. He didn’t do anything to them so there not sure it’s him and they look over and he’s gone. They run down stars to find him and he was hiding in the room, they get to the bottom of the stairs and they get arrested cause Jay pops up and points them out.
Back stage Jay is talking to Charlie about Sam and Dean accusing him and that he wanted to kill himself with the first trick and he’s not sure how he got out, he doesn’t want to go out and perform. Charlie tells him that it’s SOLD OUT and he has too. He goes out and does the “table of death.” As soon as he comes out from behind the curtain we hear a scream, backstage Charlie is laying there with blood all over. Jay drops the charges on Sam and Dean because he wants to figure out what’s happening… he tells them that Charlie has always been his friend. They tell him that whoever did it had to be close to him, they think it’s Vernon. Jay calls Vernon and tells him that he needs to talk with him, he shows up at the main theater and Jay is on stage, Sam and Dean sneak into his apartment and it’s like a magic museum. Back at the theater Charlie tells Jay that he had the “headline gig.” Jay says he can’t do it because Charlie is gone, and accuses him of killing Charlie… a younger guy walks out and he had the same scare as Charlie, it’s Charlie. Sam and Dean see Charlie in a poster and they know it’s him.
Apparently Charlie used the cards to become immortal, he put a spell on Jay so that he could do the tricks and he wants to make them immortal too, Jay wont do it. Sam and Dean bust in and take a shot at him, he catches the bullet in his mouth. A rope drops down and Dean is now being strangled, Sam throws a punch and he telephorts himself a few feet over and now Sam is in the table of death…. the rope is getting smaller and smaller and Dean is choking, all the sudden Charlie is bleeding… Jay put a card in his pocket and stabbed himself so that Charlie would die… Sam and Dean are fine.
Jay is at the bar messing around with cards, Sam and Dean thank him and he tells them that “I killed my best friend yesterday… Vernon doesn’t want to speak to me again.” they tell him he did the right thing but he says that he’s now alone. He walks away without his cards and he tells the waitress to throw them away. Dean wants a beer and Sam goes for a walk… he walks up to Rubys car and says “I’m in… I don’t wanna be doing this when I’m old.”
Some will seek forgiveness, others escape. -underOATH
Review by Gaelic
4.12 – Criss Angel Is A Douche Bag – Gaelicspirit review
This was an interesting episode for me to watch at the moment. I turn 35 in one week, and for reasons I can’t pin to the wall at the moment, I’m having the hardest time coming to terms with that. My face is still unlined, and I’ve yet to get noticeable gray hairs (‘course, that could be because I color every 6 weeks), but everything inside is starting to slow down, and everything outside is starting to speed up.
I missed who wrote this episode, but whoever it was pushed some heavy layering our way. I felt like this entire episode was a foreshadowing of the rest of the season, and I have to admit that I’m extremely tense. Excited, but tense. I know logically that this is just a TV show, but so much of what I find enjoyment in these days stems from these characters, this show, that it’s become a part of me. Laugh it you want. I get that makes me a total fangirl. I’ve come to terms with it.
So, back to the show. I never thought the word ‘douchebag’ would among the accepted phrases. Hee. I think the story with the three aged magicians was well-played. I was engaged enough in there “over-the-hill” woes that I cared about what happened to them, and there were moments throughout the entire episode that I didn’t trust each one of them. When we first met Charlie, I noticed what turned out to be a birthmark—I mean, it was pretty distinctive—but thought it was a head-wound. I wondered how it got it… should have realized it was going to play an actual role in the story.
Tarot cards, death transference, not a bad plot at all. And certainly something that would attract our boys. Because, as we saw last week, they are currently on an all-go-no-quit run of jobs. What else are they going to do, right? They don’t know where the seals are, they don’t know where Lilith is, they don’t know what the angels want from them, and they have so many skeletons rattling around in their individual closets that they’re each afraid that if they stop too long, the bones will break loose and beat them into the ground.
I found the exchange between the brothers while they observed the Chris Angel-wanna be Jeb Dexter perform his angel/demon spazz-out card trick to be very telling of where each stood in this moment on the chess board. Sam saying that real magic/magicians takes skill while Dean argued that it offended him: “Playing at it when the real thing will kill you bloody…” Just think about where each of them have been over the last several months and why.
We find out a teensy bit more in this epi about the “thing” that Sam won’t do—not enough to satiate an ounce of my curiosity, but enough to tease us into thinking that Sam could be the skilled magician that he spoke so admirably about. However, I think Dean will still be offended. I’ll wait on that. I hate to speculate too much because, as I’ve said, it’s not my story. I’m just hanging with it and being entertained.
The exchange between Charlie and Jay was very telling, looking back. Charlie exclaiming that he “will not watch you die; I’ll miss that show…” I mean, we should have known something then. But I was still trying to figure it out. It was a touching scene, though. To see two people who have meant so much to each other, to be partners, friends, so close that they are brothers in spirit. I hope to hold onto some of my friendships that long, that tightly. Also, am I nuts? Or did Sam say something similar to Dean last season? Did I just make that up?
I loved that Dean was “had,” although I half-expected him to be more suspicious when Vernon and Charlie were able to give up “Chief” so quickly: address and all. When he went alone down that dark alley, was led downstairs by a baby-faced guy who looked at Dean with doubt, I felt the smirk tickle the back of my throat. The smirk turned into a full-blown guffaw when “Chief” rumbled up the steps in a biker outfit carrying a whip claiming Dean was “gonna get it tonight.” Dean’s sick-in-the-mouth flinch at being asked his safe word had me cracking up. Poor guy.
The fact that Ruby tracks down Sam didn’t surprise me. What did surprise me is that it surprises Sam. I can totally understand them wanting to just go on like all they have to do is this job and then this job and then this job, but while Dean was living with ultimate pain and shame, Sam was fighting demons with Ruby. He never stopped, and he knows better than anyone what Hell on earth is like. It’s not like Ruby gave him some time off for good behavior; he had to figure she’d find him eventually, and she was right (though it pains me to say it): there’s a war coming and Sam has “bigger fish to fry.”
Sam teases us with a “it’s not the psychic thing I have a problem with…” So, what? WHAT? What little piece of magic can Sam do that could put an end to everything? And what does he/will he have to trade for it? Will he come out of it like he goes in? I’m telling you. Tense.
Back at the show, the boys are outed as the Fed agents they are not and are witness to The Executioner. The best thing about this scene—besides the fact that they kill off the douchebag—is the fact that Dean can still be amazed. His look of little boy delight as he exclaimed “That was freakin’ amazing!” had me rubbing my heart for him. He may have been through literal Hell, he may have so much to atone for that he is never going to climb out of his own Pit of Despair, he may believe he’s going to die young, bloody, and sad, but dammit, he can still find that little boy inside of him and grin with full-on glee at seeing something that wows him.
‘Course, as Sam astutely points out, it’s also not humanly possible. Leading the boys deeper into their investigation and triggering one of the heaviest and most poignant conversations they’ve had since the Christmas special. AND I loved that it came in the middle-ish of the epi and not in the last five minutes. It wasn’t a “here’s what happened to me while you were away” or even a “I climbed off that rack” or a “take care of my car, remember what I taught you…” It was an exchange of questions and thoughts that left me feeling sad and shaken and… tense.
Dean wants to die (for real this time) before he gets old. He doesn’t want to end up like Travis or Gordon. Sam tosses up Bobby and Dean bats that example away with a “there’s a poster child for growing old gracefully.” Personally, I think it’s more the alone part than the old part that haunts Dean, but that’s just me. Sam asks, with such a little-brother “tell me a good story so I won’t have nightmares” tone in his voice, if Dean thinks they’ll be doing this when they’re 60, and Dean’s words bring me back to the chess board. It’s going to end bloody or sad.
*jumps ahead a year* Goodness, I don’t think I could handle either for these two. *jumps back to now*
Sam wonders aloud, all casual like, what if they could win? Cut the head off the snake? Dean is concerned that there’s something going on that he doesn’t know and of course Sam deflects, having become a world-class liar, especially to his brother. *heart cracks* But it’s that moment that tells us all we need to know about Sam. And why he does what he does at the end. He never wanted this life, truly. He wanted out; he got out. And then he was pulled back in, and because he doesn’t know how to fail, he went in full-on embracing it and becoming scary-good at what he did.
Yet, he knows there’s a possibility for something else, and apparently what he sees in the story of Jay and Charlie and Vernon is something he wants to change for himself and his brother.
Dean feeling that it’s going to end bloody or sad? Though I couldn’t imagine him thinking anything else, it just makes me sad for him. I’m often sad for him.
So, they split up and come back together again in a matter of minutes, each finding out something else. Best part about that? Dean. Kicks. In. Door. I flippin’ LOVE it when he does that. And I loved the fact that they shared a conversation in a glance. “Should I?” “Better than nothing.” “Okay, stand back.” “Have at it, brother.”
When they tied up Jay, I instantly suspected Charlie. I shifted to Vernon when they shifted to Vernon because, well, I just did, but I should have stuck with my gut. Gibbs always does and it serves him well. When they leave to chase down Jay I actually yelled at my computer “Duh! He’s still in the room!!” While the boys are cooling their heels in the slammer, we get more of the Table of Death and our geriatric trio. Only this time… Charlie dies. Or… does he?
I have to say, Jay’s conversation with the boys about Charlie being more than his friend, being his brother, that he wouldn’t be alive now if it weren’t for Charlie… I really felt for the guy. And I felt for Sam. I don’t think it hit Dean quite like it hit Sam, the parallels there. Dean’s admonition that real magic was like crack hit Sam, too. Teasing us again with the almost-but-not-quite reveal of his bigger mojo.
We get to the big showdown, and I have to admit, I was a little tangled up in my reaction. First, the reveal that Charlie was immortal (but could be killed, apparently) was a nice twist and made me kinda laugh because of the story I’m currently working on. I have a similar baddie. I kinda like it when that happens. Charlie got a Grimoire and used it a lot over the years. He offers immortality to his friends, but Jay asks him the question I am posing in my current chapter: What’s the price tag for immortality?
“I ain’t Gutenberg and this ain’t Cocoon.” Heh.
Annnnd… FIGHT! The hang-man’s noose that wraps around Dean and pulls him off the floor had me gasping, but when Sam shot at Charlie I was like ‘Dude! Shoot the ROPE!’ Yet… he, uh, didn’t. He goes after Charlie at the choked behest of his slowly suffocating brother and ends up getting himself thrown on the Table of Death. Nice change of pace, that. Sam not getting choked, Dean not getting thrown into something. We were supposed to be tense, however, the moment that we were fear for their lives I actually found myself going… yeah, so when is the other magician guy going to, oh, okay, there it is.
Jay had pulled the slight of hand we’d been watching him work on all episode, switched the tarot cards of death, stabbed himself, thereby killing Charlie, freeing Sam, and dropping Dean to the ground, gasping, and raspy-voiced. I wanted more; I wanted touching. *laugh* I’m becoming a victim of my own fangirlishness… I was glad for the lack of commercials because we switched very quickly to the next day and the brothers finding Jay to thank him for saving their lives.
Guh. Seriously. Just. Guh. Jay had to kill his best friend slash brother to save them. Dean assures him that he did the right thing. This is big for Dean, doing the right thing. Especially now. He has a lot of right things to do (in his mind) to make up for a whole lotta wrong. Even if he didn’t know he’d ever be freed. Jay gives him a destroyed look and says, “He’s dead because I did the right thing. He offered me a gift and I threw it back in his face…”
And there we have it folks. The big conundrum. The light at the end of a dark and twisty tunnel. The sliding of the chess piece. Dean believes he’s not going to grow old. Sam doesn’t want to be fighting demons when he’s an old man. Dean sold his soul to save his brother, was tortured for 30 years, and ended up spending 10 years becoming the thing he most feared, most hated. Sam spent months justifying the use of demonic powers because he thought he could save lives.
It’s tangled and knotted and I am tense with uncertainty and curiosity because Sam is “in” and Ruby is happy and Dean doesn’t know and it could be something that “ends it all” so that they might be able to grow old…
The good thing about turning 35? Is that I’m turning 35. It means that I can go to bed every night with the question of “what if” and wake up every morning seeking the answer to that question. Growing old shouldn’t be sad. I wish could only pace our lives like a well-told story.
I didn’t see previews, but I can’t wait to see how TPTB play this out because they have our boys balanced on a pretty thin line and the only thing keeping them from falling is the grip they have on each other. Hang on tight!
See you next Friday.
- Guest Star:
- Barry Bostwick (Jay)
- Luke Camilleri (Jeb Dexter)
- Richard Libertini (Vernon Haskell)
- John Rubinstein (Charlie)
- Michael Weston (Young Charlie)
- Alex Zahara (Patrick Vance)
- Amber Lewis (Waitress)
- Ecstasia Sanders (Vance’s Assistant)
- Jordan Becker (Doorman)
- Chris Burns (Chief)
Official Episode Stills:
No music in this episode.
Sam: What if there was a way we could go after the source, that’s all. Cut the head off the snake.
Dean: Well the problem with the snake is that it has a thousand heads. Evil bitches just keep piling out of the Volkswagen.
Sam: What are you doing here, Ruby?
Ruby: I should be asking you the same thing.
Sam: I’m working a job.
Ruby: The whole world’s about to be engulfed in hellfire, and you’re here in Magictown, U.S.A.
Sam: You got something against magic?
Dean: I can’t believe people actually fall for that crap.
Sam: It’s not all crap.
Dean: What part of that was not a steaming pile of B.S.?
Sam: Do you think we will?
Sam: Die before we get old.
Dean: Haven’t we both already?
Sam: You know what I mean, Dean. I mean, do you think we’ll still be chasing demons when we’re 60.
Dean: No. I think we’ll be dead. For good. Why, do you want to end up like… like Travis? Or Gordon, maybe?
Sam: There’s Bobby.
Dean: Oh yeah, there’s a poster child for growing old gracefully.
Chief: You are really gonna get it tonight, big boy.
Dean: There’s been a misunderstanding. I, uh, think I’ve been had.
Chief: Oh, you ain’t been had, till you been had by the Chief. Oh, and before we get started, what’s your safe word?
Dean: What a douchebag.
Sam: That’s Jeb Dexter.
Dean: I don’t even want to know how you know that.
Sam: He’s famous, kind of.
Dean: For what, douchebaggery?
This is the first episode in all four seasons, that the Impala wasn’t shown.
Michael Rubinstein (aka Michael Weston), who played Young Charlie, is John Rubinstein’s (Charlie) real-life son.
Dean: Hope I die before I get old Dean is quoting the song My Generation by The Who. The Who were a highly influential rock band from the United Kingdom during the 1960s and 1970s. My Generation is one of their most known songs, released 1965.
Dean: Federal Agent Ulrich.
This is a reference to Lars Ulrich, the drummer for the heavy metal group Metallica.
INSIDE THE LEGEND