A young couple is murdered in their home shortly after buying an antique painting of a family portrait circa 1910. Upon reviewing the painting’s provenance, Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) learn that everyone who has ever bought the painting has been murdered and race to discover how the portrait is causing the deaths before it can claim its next victim.
The episode was written by David Ehrman and directed by Phil Sgriccia.
A tipsy, dressed-up couple hang a creepy family portrait that they just bought at a charity auction over their mantel. The wife scampers off to bed while the husband locks up. Neither notice that the father in the portrait has started to move. When the husband gets upstairs, he finds his wife dead, covered in blood with her throat slit. The husband meets the same fate.
Papa Winchester’s journal mentioned four similar deaths over the several decades – no one had ever put it together because the murders were decades, even generations, apart. The guys check out the house, but nothing’s there – all the contents have been taken for an estate sale. The guys crash the sale. They’re the only ones not dressed to the nines and driving a mega-expensive car, but they bluff that they’re art dealers. Mr. Blake, who runs the auction house, isn’t buying it, and he stalks off to see if they’re on the guest list. His daughter Sarah finds the guys staring at the painting. She and Sam trade art-history street-cred trivia, and it looks like they’re hitting it off. Too bad Blake comes back to eject them from his auction house.
Sam wants to get the provenance of the dead couple’s items (for the uninitiated, like Dean, that’s the certificate of origins and histories of ownership) to see if anything freaky is associated with any of them. Dean suggests he use his masculine wiles to get Sarah to help. Sam reluctantly does, and they have a flirty but slightly uncomfortable dinner date. Sarah turns over the provenance documents (without requiring seduction, much to Dean’s dismay), and the guys find out that everyone who has owned the painting has died with their throat slit. They break into the warehouse and torch the painting. But the painting grows back.
Dean panics that he lost his wallet in the warehouse, so he and Sam go back to look for it. Psyche! It was just a ploy to get Sam to talk to Sarah again. Sam gets distracted from being uncomfortable when he sees the painting they burned the night before, good as new. He freaks – and Sam does not cover his freak-out well. Sarah thinks he’s nuts, but tells him they won’t be selling the painting so soon after a gruesome death. But her dad gets a great offer for it. Sold!
The guys discover the people in the portrait are the Merchant family – the father apparently murdered his wife, two sons and adopted daughter with a straight razor, then slit his own throat. The family was cremated. The guys find a reproduction of the portrait, but details are different – the father is looking straight ahead in the original, down in the portrait that exists today. The guys figure the father’s vengeful spirit is trapped in the painting. They decide to check out the painting again, and are appalled when Sarah tells them it’s been sold. She meets them at the buyer’s house, and is shocked to see the guys picking locks and breaking into the house. That pales in comparison when the new buyers head almost falls off, and Sarah sees the father in the portrait look straight at her.
Sarah wants the truth, so the guys tell her they think the painting is haunted. She’s freaked, but she insists on coming with them while they examine the painting. They discover an image of a crypt in the painting. When they find the real-life mausoleum, they see urns for the children in front of glass cases containing the children’s favorite toys. Creepy. They also discover they’re short an urn – daddy’s ashes aren’t in the crypt. Dean does some research while Sam talks to Sarah, who wants to know if there are relationship possibilities. Sam confesses that he likes her, but tells her his last girlfriend died, and he can’t go through that again. Besides, he doesn’t want Sarah to get hurt! She tells him to suck it up – she could get hit by a bus, and it’s her decision whether she wants to take the risk. Dean interrupts with news that Daddy Merchant was thrown in a pauper’s grave. There are bones to burn. Sarah gets to see the guys dig up a grave with their usual aplomb and set the bones on fire. Despite this, she’s still interested in Sam.
The trio goes back to the house with the portrait to tie up loose ends. Dean offers to wait outside while Sam makes his move on Sarah. But once Sam and Sarah get inside, they discover the little girl is missing from the portrait. The dad wasn’t the killer – he was looking down at her to warn people! The door slams shut, and the guys can’t get it open. Sam and Sarah search for salt or iron to fend the evil spirit off while Dean tries to get them out. The little girl appears, clutching a straight razor and dragging her doll, but Sam hold her off with a fireplace poker. Seeing the doll, Sarah remembers that antique dolls sometimes used the child’s real hair. The girl attacks again as Dean rushes to the mausoleum to destroy the girl’s doll. He finally manages to burn the hair just before the girl slits Sarah’s throat. She disappears and is put back in the painting.
Dean discovers that the Merchant’s adopted daughter got adopted because her real parents were murdered in their beds. Apparently she continued her killing spree with the Merchants, and then from beyond the grave. Sarah has the painting burned, just to be safe. Dean retreats to let Sam say his goodbyes. Sarah and Sam exchange awkward words. Maybe you’re not cursed, Sarah says, and maybe you’ll come back to see me. Sam agrees, but leaves. Then he comes back and says goodbye properly, with a knee-buckling kiss, while Dean looks on with approval.
as Sarah Blake
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as Ann Telesca
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as Mark Telesca
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Official Episode Stills:
Episode Screen Caps:
“Bad Time” by Grand Funk Railroad
“Night Time” by Steve Carlson Band
Dean: All right, well, if Isaiah’s position changed then many some other things in the painting changed as well, you know, could give us some clues.
Sam: What, like a Da Vinci Code deal?
Dean: I don’t…know, I’m still waiting for the movie on that one.
Sam: In other words, you want me to use her to get information.
Dean: Sometimes ya gotta take one for the team. Call her.
Sam: What kind of house doesn’t have salt? Low sodium freaks!
Sarah: Uh, isn’t this a crime scene?
Dean: Well, you’ve already lied to the cops. What’s another infraction?
Sarah: There are million things that I want to say to you, but for the life of me, I can’t think of one.
Sam: Yeah, I’ll miss you too.
Dean: Consignment auctions, estate sales – it’s like a garage sale for WASPs if you ask me.
Sarah: You’re shameless, you know that?
Daniel Blake: For that kind of money, I can afford to be.
Sam: Thanks, Dean, but I can get my own dates.
Dean: You can, but you don’t.
Sam: You know, I don’t get it. What do you care if I hook up?
Dean: Because then maybe you wouldn’t be so cranky all the time.
Sarah: You guys are uncomfortably comfortable with this.
Sam: Well, this isn’t exactly the first grave we’ve dug. Still think I’m a catch?
Sarah: So this is what you guys do for a living?
Sam: Not exactly. We don’t get paid.
Sarah: Look, you guys are probably crazy, but if you’re right about this, well, me and my dad sold that painting. We might have got those people killed. Look, I’m not saying I’m not scared, because I am scared as hell. But I’m not going to run and hide, either. So, we going or what?
Dean: Sam, marry that girl.
Sam: I don’t understand, Dean. We burned the damn thing!
Dean: Yeah, thank you, Captain Obvious.
Sam: And nothing. That’s it, I left.
Dean: You didn’t have to con her or do any special favors or anything like that?
Sam: Dean, would you get your mind out of the gutter?
Sam: Alright, so I think I got something.
Dean: Oh yeah, me too. I think we need to take a little shore leave, just a little, what do you think, huh? I’m so in the door with this one.
Sam: So what are we today, Dean? Are we rock stars, Army Rangers?
Dean: We’re L.A. TV scouts looking for people with special skills. I mean, hey, it’s not that far off, huh?
Dean: Grant Wood, Grandma Moses…what?
Sam: Art History course. It’s good for meeting girls.
Dean: It’s like I don’t even know you.
Sam: Maybe you can get her to write it all down on a cocktail napkin.
Dean: Not me.
Sam: No, no, no, no. Pickups are your thing, Dean.
Dean: It wasn’t my butt she was checking out.
Dean: (mumbling to himself) I’m the one who burned the doll and destroyed the spirit, but don’t thank me or anything!
The father’s bones that Dean dug up seemed really white considering that he has been buried for a long time.
The scene where Dean, Sam and Sarah walk into Evelyn’s house and find her dead, you can hear Sam yelling for Sarah not to touch Evelyn. However, his mouth is closed.
There are many issues involved with Dean breaking the glass of the mausoleum. When he punched the glass and hit it with the handle of his handgun the glass flexed, but did not break. This would indicate that it was not glass but some type of material similar to plexiglass, which didn’t exist until years after the family died. Also, when he shoots the glass, there was no indication of a bullet hitting the back of the case after passing through the glass, meaning the bullet disappeared between the glass and the back wall.
The song playing in the bar at the start is “Night Time” by Steve Carlson. Jensen Ackles sings backing vocals on some of Steve’s other songs.
In a shot of parked cars near the beginning, the first one’s license plates is “THE KRIP” – an in-joke reference to Eric Kripke, the executive producer and creator of the show.
Dean: Alright, so you think daddy dearest is trapped in the painting and he’s handing out Colombian neckties like he did with his family?
A “Colombian necktie” is a method of killing someone where the victim’s throat is slashed and their tongue is pulled out through the open wound. It is popular in illegal drug-related homicides or in cases where the victim is being punished for revealing sensitive information.
Dean: Daddy dearest isn’t here.
Mommie Dearest was a 1981 film about actress Joan Crawford and her adopted daughter’s efforts to please her. It was based on the 1978 book written by her daughter, Christina Crawford.
Sam: What, like a DaVinci Code deal?
The DaVinci Code, a novel by Dan Brown, is about the search to uncover a code that will lead to the secret of the Holy Grail. It was made as a movie on 5/19/06 and stars Tom Hanks.
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