Although Sam has had his soul restored by Death, he remains unconscious with an IV in his arm. Castiel tells Dean he is unsure if Sam will recover because his soul is terribly damaged; however, Sam wakes up after Castiel leaves. Sam has no memories of the past year and a half, and Dean is reluctant to reveal anything because he is worried that any memories may destroy the wall Death created in Sam's mind to block out the experience of being in Lucifer's Cage. Bobby finds it hard to act as if nothing has happened, especially as only ten days ago Sam tried to kill him.
Keen to get back to hunting, Sam and Dean pursue a case in Portland, Oregon. A plane crashed and one of its occupants, Penny Dessertine, has disappeared. Her boyfriend Stan, the pilot of the small plane, was found 17 miles away and burned to a crisp. On the drive to Portland, Sam asks Dean why he didn't leave hunting, since he promised Sam that he would try to live a normal life after he was gone. Dean reluctantly shares that he lived with Lisa and Ben for a year, but just says that "it didn't work out." In Portland, Dean is obviously pleased to be working alongside Sam, who is back to being sensitive and empathetic with people, unlike "RoboSam." As they investigate the young women who have gone missing, Dean works out that they were all virgins. They then interview a woman who escaped from an attempted kidnapping, and she describes her attacker as a large bat. She shows Sam and Dean the deep claw marks on her back and tells them that she passed out. When she woke up, she was alone and her ring was gone. The creature apparently rejected her because she wasn't a virgin, but stole her gold promise ring.
Incredibly, all of their research points to dragons being involved. Bobby directs Dean to Dr. Visyak, an expert on medieval lore. She tells Dean that the only thing that can kill a dragon is a blade forged with dragons blood, and that she has one, the Sword of Bruncvik. The sword is bound to a stone, and Dr. Visyak tells Dean that, according to the lore, only a knight ready to slay a dragon can pull the sword from the stone. Dean, cocky and sure, climbs up and tries to extract the sword, but is unsuccessful. He eventually resorts to plastic explosives, which, though they free the sword from the stone, break the sword in half!
Meanwhile, Sam speaks to Bobby, and they deduce that the dragons may be living in sewers rather than caves. Sam can tell Bobby is behaving somewhat strangely with him, but doesn't know why. He calls on Castiel and tricks him into revealing that Sam has been out of Hell and without his soul for the last year and a half.
When Dean returns with the broken sword, he and Sam track down the dragon's lair in a sewer, finding first a pile of gold and then an ancient manuscript. Before they have a chance to examine the manuscript, they hear cries for help. They follow the voices until they find the missing women, who are being kept together in a cage. Before they can free them, two dragons appear. In the ensuing fight, Sam is able to kill one with the sword, but the other escapes.
Back at Bobby's, Sam reveals that he knows about the last year and a half, and he apologizes to Dean for the things he did without his soul. He also thanks Dean for trying to protect him, but he wants to learn about all the things he did without his soul so that he can try to make up for whatever wrongs he may have committed. Dean wants Sam to leave well enough alone because he doesn't want him to risk remembering his time in hell, but Sam refuses. Meanwhile, Bobby examines the manuscript that they stole from the dragon's lair. He later tells Dean and Sam that the manuscript is written in an ancient form of Latin and that its pages are made from human skin. As far as he can tell, it is a manual on how to access Purgatory and free "the mother of all things."
The escaped dragon meets up with another who has also captured a half dozen women. They take one of the women and use an incantation to open a door to Purgatory. They throw the woman in, and she rises from the fire, giving form to Mother.
- "Back in the Saddle" by Aerosmith
- (plays over "The Road So Far" montage)
- "A New Day Yesterday" by Jethro Tull
- (plays in the car as Sam and Dean drive to Portland)
Castiel: Let me tell you what his soul felt like when I touched it. Like it had been skinned alive, Dean. If you wanted to kill your brother, you should have done it outright.
Bobby: Like my daddy always said, just 'cause it kills your liver don't mean it ain't medicine.
'I've decided I'm going to give Stan my most precious gift.'
Sam: Wow. That sounded really creepy coming out of your mouth.
I think I delivered it.
You know, it's comforting.
Dean: What's that?
Sam: I died for a year, came back, and you're still not funny.
Shut up. I'm hilarious.
What do you know about dragons?
Bobby: What? Nothing.
Well, they're not like the Loch Ness monster, Dean. Dragons aren't real.
Bobby Singer. Tell him something for me next time you see him.
Actually, just kick him in the jewels. That's more poetic.
Dean:You rocks think you're so smart. All right. Welcome to the 21st century. All right, stand back.
Dean: Ugh! God. Just when I get used to a smell, I hit a new flavor. Dude, we have been here for hours. There is nothing. I think the lore is off. Hey, what if, uh... What if dragons like nice hotels?
Sam: You know, I kind of feel like I got slipped the worst mickey of all time...and I woke up to find out that I had burnt the whole city down. And you can say it wasn't me, but... I'm the one with the Zippo in my pocket, you know? So I'm not sure it's that cut and dry. And, look, I a-appreciate you trying to protect me. I really do. But I got to fix... What I got to fix. So I need to know what I did.
Bobby: It's monsterland. According to this, it goes by many names, most of which I can't pronounce, but I'm thinking you know Purgatory.
Dean: Purgatory? Awesome. Well, that is good to know. So, you're saying that these, uh, dragon freaks were squatting in the sewers and reading tone poems about Purgatory?
Trivia & References
in this episode are based on the European dragon myths.
Some interpretations of these myths read them as symbolizing the battle of patriarchal religions (the knight or hero) to defeat the old Mother Goddess religions (represented by the dragon), with female power reduced to helpless maidens needing to be rescued.
The human forms of the dragons, in addition to being more cost- effective for Supernatural's
budget, may also be a reference to the dragons of the Slavic tradition.
These dragons, or zmaj
, are seen as protectors and can appear as humans or beasts. The zmaj
are chosen people, capable of traveling to other dimensions in their dreams, and will turn into a dragon during a time of great catastrophe.
Couple of Buddy Hollys doesn't really seem like news of the weird.
- Singer Buddy Holly died in a plane crash in 1959.
I'm glad he's better. I really am. But... that kid went straight-up Menendez on me not ten days ago. And now it's all just... erased? Sorry. I'm having a bit of a hard time even looking at him.
- Lyle and Eric Menendez killed their parents in 1989, in a case that became famous.
So, what, you think Batman tried to rape her?
Dean: Well, he does carry a lot of rage. But he rejected her because she was already dehymenated, huh?
- Dean is referring of course to Batman. Starting with Frank Millers' comic Batman: Year One and continuing with The Dark Knight Returns, the character became much darker and angrier. It is this version that Christian Bale has portrayed in the current Batman movies directed by Christopher Nolan.
So, what kind of thing likes virgins and gold?
Dean: P. Diddy?
- Reference to rapper/producer/entrepreneur Sean Combs who went by the name P. Diddy at the time of the episode.
Um, I googled 'fire,' 'claws,' 'flying,' 'stealing virgins,' and 'gold,' and it all takes me to the same place.
Sam: World of Warcraft fansites.
- World of Warcraft is an online fantasy game known as a "massively multiplayer online game" or MMORPG.
Yeah, yeah. Hey, how's Memento doing over there? He caught you in any lies yet?
- Memento is a movie written and directed by Christopher Nolan about a man who suffers from anterograde amnesia and can't remember anything after the event that caused the amnesia. Sam on the other hand, has retrograde amnesia where he can't remember anything before the event that caused the amnesia [in his case, getting his soul back.]
Dad never wrote anything about dragons. I promise. I'd remember if I read The Neverending Story
- The Neverending Story is a fantasy novel and film in which the protagonist is aided by a dragon.
That is not real. Is that real? Is it Excalibur?
Dr. Visyak: No. This... is the Sword of Brunswick. Love of my life.
- Excalibur is legendary sword of King Arthur.
No. All you need to know is where Godzilla's holed up.
- Godzilla is the giant reptilian King of the Monsters.
As far as I can gather this dates back to around the fourteenth century.
Sam: What language is it?
Bobby: Da Vinci code. Real obscure Latinate. Gonna take me my golden years to translate it all. Oh, and, uh, FYI—that ain't paper.
Dean: What is it?
Bobby: It's human skin. Okay. I'm fairly clear on this first bit. It basically describes this place. It's like the backside of your worst nightmares. It's all blood and bone and darkness.
- The Da Vinci Code is a novel by Dan Brown, which is based around the idea that Leonardo Da Vinci left a series of ciphers describing the secret that Mary Magdalene was married to Jesus and gave birth to a child.
- This may be a reference or homage to the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, the fictional Sumerian grimoire featured in the Evil Dead movies. According to the film lore, the book's pages were inked with human blood, gathered from Hell's "Sea of Blood" and bound together in the flesh of sacrificed virgins.
Ask Cloverfield. I'm pretty sure he's got that page.
- Cloverfield is a sci-fi/disaster movie about a giant monster that attacks New York City.
The conjuration used by the dragons is taken from a very obscure manuscript preserved in the Bavarian State Library in Munich, Germany. It's a manual of necromancy from the early 15th century, a grimoire, known as Codex Latinus Monacensis 849
. It's not bound in human skin (although these do exist, too - there are several anthropomorphically bound books in the Harvard library system), but the first couple of pages really are missing.
- Latin: Ego coniuro vos, insolubiliter ad mei potenciam alligati, ad me sine prestolacione venire debeatis, aperiat huc sine mora debeas mater.
- English: I invoke you, that, indissolubly bound to my power, you should come to me without delay, you should appear here immediately, mother.
This episode was originally scheduled to air on January 28, 2011. However on January 27, The CW announced
that the episode, and Smallville
, were being pushed back a week to allow for repeats of the new episodes of The Vampire Diaries
This is not the first time dragons
have been associated with Supernatural
. When Supernatural
earned its own recaps and forums on Television Without Pity
, the page featured a graphic of a dragon. He became known as the “Big Gay Dragon” or the “Big Gay Supernatural Dragon,” and was christened Raoul
by fans. Later Raoul became Demian’s imaginary recapping partner for Supernatural
Originally a line of dialogue was to explain why dragons looked the way they did, instead of how they are depicted in mythology. According to writer Adam Glass
, a dragon would have told Dean:
- "Your army was defeated and your kingdom burned to the ground - who are you going to tell your king did it? Me a man, or a sixty foot, fire-breathing serpent snake from Hell?"
One of the missing women is named Mary Louise Mac[something]. Another, the one from the airplane, is Penny Dessertine
; she shares a surname with a Supernatural
writer, Rebecca Dessertine
. Mary Louise and the other missing woman are both some flavor of Christian; Penny is not, though her actual religious beliefs are otherwise unspecified.
is asleep in the panic room at the beginning of the episode, he is hooked up to an IV.
All the kidnappees have light skin and dark hair.
While at the motel, Sam and Dean
have take out from "Big Az" restaurant.
The pink box on the table in the motel room is from Voodoo Doughnuts
, a Portland, Ore. culinary institution.
Sides, Scripts & Transcripts
- Ardeospina. 2011. A Visual Review -- Like a Virgin. The Winchester Family Business, February 11; archive link
- 6.12 Like A Virgin: It Was A New Day Yesterday, But It’s An Old Day Now by bardicvoice (February 2011); archive link
- Bond, Silvia. 2011. Turn Up the Music, It's the B Site: "Like a Virgin" Season 6, Episode 12. Pink Raygun, February 8; archive link, spn-heavymeta
- Chan, Suzette. 2011. Supernatural Talk: Tarts talk about 6.12: Live a Virgin. Sequential Tart, March 21; archive link, spn-heavymeta