8.08 Hunteri Heroici

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Title Hunteri Heroici
Episode # Season 8, Episode 8
First aired November 28, 2012
Directed by Paul Edwards
Written by Andrew Dabb
On IMDB Hunteri Heroici
Outline Castiel wants to be a hunter like Sam and Dean, and he finds a case for them to work together, where a man's heart literally burst out of his chest.
Monster Human
Location(s) Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Kermit, Texas (flashbacks)
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Dean, Sam, and Castiel are refueling the Impala when Sam gets a call from Linda Tran. She tells him that she and Kevin are on Garth's safe-houseboat and that Kevin is having difficulties translating the half of the demon tablet they retrieved from Crowley. He tells her to call if they find anything. Dean asks Castiel if there's any angel chatter about the tablet, and Castiel tells him that he's cut himself off from Heaven. Instead, he wants to be a hunter—he's even found a case in Oklahoma City where a man's heart burst out of his chest. Dean says they can work the case as long as Castiel stays with them and doesn't teleport around. Castiel agrees and then asks if he can ride in the front seat of the Impala. Sam and Dean both say "no," so Castiel gets into the back seat.

In Oklahoma City, they go see Gary Freleng's body. He has a cookie-cutter heart-shaped hole in his chest, and Detective Glass tells them the consensus is that Gary was on drugs. Castiel tells Dean that there are no drugs in Gary's system, and once the detective leaves, he says that he senses no EMF or sulfur. Gary's only recent health problem was a bladder infection. Sam, who's been reading the case file, asks Castiel if he can tell that Gary was having an affair. His friend Olivia Kopple was with him when he died, and from Olivia's statement it seems like they were meeting in the park every week to have lunch at a nearby diner. Sam suspects that they were spending less time in the diner and more time in the motel attached to it, and that Gary's wife is a witch who wanted revenge on her cheating husband.

As they leave the morgue, Sam remembers the night he met Amelia's father, Stan Thompson. He and Amelia had just moved into a house together, and Stan hadn't approved of him. When he'd learned that Sam was working a maintenance job at a local motel despite going to Stanford, he'd remarked that Sam seemed like a "real fixer-upper."

They go to see Gary's wife, Deb Freleng, at her home, and Castiel tries to interrogate her. He comes on too strong, though, and Sam interrupts, asking Deb if her husband may have been hiding something. Then the doorbell rings and Olivia comes inside, crying. She and Deb embrace, and Deb asks them what they think Gary was hiding. The hunters are confused until they learn that Deb knew about Olivia because she and her husband "had an arrangement."

Soon after, another weird death happens in town. According to witnesses, a man who stepped off a building floated in mid-air, only falling after he looked down. Detective Glass tells them it was a suicide, but points out that both deaths seem to be straight out of cartoons. Back at their motel room, Castiel watches cartoons while Dean and Sam try to figure out what's going on. Dean mentions that it might be a tulpa just as Castiel hears something on the police band frequency: there's been a "loony" bank robbery.

At the bank, a security guard has been killed, crushed by a 1-ton anvil. Detective Glass tells them that the culprit is a thief they've been calling "black hole" because of the black holes he paints on the walls. Sam leaves with her to get the "black hole" files, and Dean and Castiel stay behind. Dean asks Castiel to move the anvil, and under it they see a black "X" drawn on the floor. Dean remarks that the robber seems to be following "cartoon rules" and that the black holes were likely used as portals into the bank. The portals are inactive now, though.

Back in their motel room, Dean searches online while Castiel reads John's Journal. Dean asks Castiel how he's feeling after Purgatory, and Castiel answers that he's fine. Dean suggests that he return to heaven to investigate who or what resurrected him, but Castiel refuses. He tells Dean that if he sees the devastation he wrought in heaven, he's afraid he'll kill himself. Before Dean can respond, Sam returns with the "Black Hole" files and tells them that all three cartoon-like deaths happened while a robbery was taking place. In fact, people reported strange cartoon-like behavior in a 50-yard radius around each robbery while it was occurring. Because every robbery also involved the property of someone living at Sunset Fields retirement home, they decide to go there next.

They meet Dr. Dwight Mahoney, who runs the retirement home, and question the residents. An old woman say that the cat BOB talks, and Castiel goes to interrogate it. An orderly tells Sam that many of the residents retreat inside their minds because the real world is too much. Sam remembers back to the night he met Amelia's father, Stan, and the man asked him if he had served in the military. When Sam had said no, Stan had said that Sam had the look of someone who'd seen a lot of terrible things. He thought that Sam and Amelia were holding on to each other because they were both scared of something, and he wanted to know what Sam was running from.

Dean tells Sam that most of the residents don't even remember being robbed. Then Sam notices a picture on the wall: it's Fred Jones, an old psychokinetic that had been a friend of their dad's. They go to his room, but he's in a wheelchair and completely unresponsive. His TV is playing cartoons, and Dean confirms that Fred's behind the cartoon antics by hitting himself in the head with a book, which causes a loud clang and the sound of birds chirping. Sam says that Fred was so powerful he could reshape reality, but he doesn't seem to be in control of himself anymore. Castiel asks if they should kill him just as Dr. Mahoney walks into the room with an orderly. They are promptly kicked out, but Dean asks Castiel to become invisible and keep an eye on things until he and Sam can return later that night.

Later, Dean and Sam find the retirement home in chaos. The candle on a resident's birthday cake exploded in classic cartoon style and, while Castiel was distracted, Fred disappeared. A female orderly confronts them, but one of the residents tells Castiel that the orderly is wearing her stolen diamond bracelet. When they ask the orderly where she got it, she tells them that it was a gift from her boyfriend, another orderly at the retirement home. They go break into his house and find not only stolen bearer bonds, but also the orderly dying from a gunshot wound in his stomach. Castiel heals him, and the orderly tells them that Dr. Mahoney has been skimming off the Sunset Fields residents for years. Since he discovered what Fred can do, he and Mahoney have been using the psychic to pull off the "black hole" robberies. When the bank's guard was killed and the hunters showed up, though, Mahoney lost it, and he's now heading to the bank with Fred for one last score. He shot the orderly because he disagreed with his plan to kill Fred after everything was over.

As they get in the Impala, Castiel asks Dean if he thinks Fred knows what is going on, and Dean says he seems to be living in a dream world. Sam has another flashback to the night he met Amelia's father. He had overheard Stan telling Amelia that she needed to stop living in a dream world and come home with him. When he'd called Sam a mess, Amelia had said that she was a mess, too, and that he needed to give her and Sam a chance. Stan had given in and been nicer to Sam, asking about the Impala. During their conversation, Sam had rubbed the scar on his hand.

They arrive at the bank and, while Dean uses an active black hole to get inside, Sam and Castiel search for Fred in the vicinity. Castiel senses his power coming from a parked van, and they find Fred inside, watching cartoons on a computer tablet. Sam can't wake him up, so Castiel touches Fred and transports them both into his mind, which looks like a cartoon landscape. Fred is there, and when Sam tells him who he is, Fred is confused: Sam looks much older than he thinks he should because Fred's been trapped in his own mind for 16 years. Sam tells him what's been happening with Mahoney, and Fred is distraught. He tells Sam that he loved cartoons as a kid and his mind likely focused on cartoons because they made him feel safe. Sam sympathizes and tells Fred that living in a dream world is nice, but eventually whatever he's running from will catch up to him. He needs to wake up and take control.

Meanwhile, Dean has found Mahoney in the bank. He's emptying out the safety deposit boxes belonging to his clients' children, and he offers Dean half of everything if he lets him go. Dean refuses, and Mahoney slams him against the wall and then runs for it. Dean tries to fire his gun after him, but a flag with the word BANG! appears instead of a bullet. Dean chases and tackles him, freezing in mid-air as cartoon-style captions appear next to him and Mahoney. After they land, Mahoney pulls a frying pan out of his jacket and hits Dean in the face. Dean draws an "X" on the ground and a 1-ton anvil barely misses landing on Mahoney, who then tries to leave the bank through one of his black holes. The hole is inactive, though, cartoon rules no longer in effect. Mahoney pulls his gun and aims it at Dean, but Fred, awake now and with Castiel and Sam at his side, interrupts. He tells Mahoney that he'll never hurt anyone again and then uses his psychic powers to make Mahoney put the gun to his own head and pull the trigger, killing him.

Sam asks Fred if he's okay, and Fred says he is now, but that he doesn't want to lose control of his powers again. Castiel offers to do a procedure that will strip him of his powers, and Fred agrees to it despite the risk that his mind will be further damaged. Afterwards, Fred is once again in a catatonic state in his room at Sunset Fields. Dean tells Castiel that he's done a good job and that he can ride in the front seat of the Impala, but Castiel says that he can't come with them. Before he can explain why, he hears a bell and is suddenly in heaven with Naomi. She tells him that she can read his mind and that she won't let him to do what he's planning. Castiel isn't allowed in heaven unless she rings her bell, and he needs to do what he's told. He asks her what he should do, and she asks him instead what he wants to do. In the next instant, Castiel is back in front Sam and Dean, who don't notice that he's been gone. Sam asks him why he can't stay with them, and Castiel says that he'll watch over Fred for a few days to make sure he's okay. Then he's not sure what he's going to do, but he knows he can't run anymore.

After Castiel's words, Sam has a final flashback to the night he met Amelia's father. The two of them were finally getting along and, as Amelia left the dinner table to answer a phone call, Sam had told Stan that he ran away from his life after his brother died. Stan had given him his condolences and then Amelia had come back into the room, phone in hand, to tell them that her husband Don was found alive. Sam is jarred out of the memory by Dean, who claps him on the arm. They leave the retirement home together while Castiel stays with Fred.




  • "Ode to Joy from Symphony No. 9" by Ludwig van Beethoven
(plays at the end while Castiel sits with Fred)


Dean: What's the word, Cas?
Castiel: It's a shortened version of my name.
Dean: So, what now? Move to Vermont, open up a charming B&B?
Dean: Wait, Cas, Cas! If you want to play cowboys and bloodsuckers, that's fine. But you're gonna stick with us, okay? None of this zapping around crap. Capiche?

Castiel: Yeah, I capiche.
Dean: All right, then.
Castiel: Can I, uh, at least ride in the front seat?

Dean and Sam: No.
Castiel: I was being bad cop.
Dean: You were being bad everything.
Dean: Frigging suburbs, man.

Castiel: So she's not a witch?
Dean: Just the best wife ever.
Castiel: Then what killed her husband?

Dean: Who gives a...
Castiel: I understand. The bird represents God, and the coyote is man, endlessly chasing the divine but never able to catch him. It's hilarious.
Dean: "X" marks the spot. Well, whoever's doing this is playing by cartoon rules.

Castiel: Animation doesn't have rules.

Dean: Sure it does. In Toontown, a – a pretty girl can make your heart leap out of your chest, anvils fall from the sky, and if you draw a door or a black hole on the wall, you can stroll right through it.
Castiel: I'm not through with you.
BOB the Cat: Dumbass.
Sam: Look, it can be nice living in a dream world. It can be great. I know that. And you can hide, and you can pretend... all the crap out there doesn't exist, but you can't do it forever because... eventually, whatever it is you're running from – it'll find you. It'll come along, and it'll punch you in the gut. And then... then you got to wake up, because if you don't, then trying to keep that dream alive will destroy you! It'll destroy everything!
Stan: It won't last. You are living in a dream world.

Amelia: I like it here. I like this house. I like Sam.
Stan: Sam is a mess.

Amelia: I'm a mess... Please. Let us be messes together.

Trivia & References

The title "Hunteri Heroici" is a play on the Looney Tunes cartoon convention of giving fake Latin species names to characters, for example Speedometrus Rapidus for the Roadrunner. During the the episode, there is a freeze frame where Dean is labelled as Hunterus Heroicus and Dr. Mahoney is labelled as Grotesques Villianus. The tags were presented in the typeface Comic Sans, a much maligned typeface, although in this situation, very appropriate.
The first victim, whose heart explodes from his chest, is Gary Frieleng. His last name is a reference to animator Friz Freleng who created iconic characters such as Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Tweety Bird, and Sylvester the Cat.
Dean: So what now? Move to Vermont, open up a charming B&B?
A reference to the '80s sitcom Newhart.
Dean: You want to play cowboys and bloodsuckers, that's fine. But you're gonna stick with us, okay? None of this zapping around crap. Capiche?

Castiel: Yeah, I capiche.

"Cowboys and bloodsuckers" is a snowclone of the playground game Cowboys and Indians.
Capiche is slang for 'understand'. It comes from the Italian word 'capisci' meaning 'you understand'.
Sam, Dean and Castiel use the names Crosby, Stills and Nash as their FBI aliases, a reference to the folk rock supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.
Detective Glass: Never seen an eight-ball do that.
An 8-ball is one-eighth ounce (3.5 g) of a powdered psychoactive drug (typically cocaine, but can also be heroin, ketamine, or methamphetamine).
Dean: Listen, you see anything weird, anything out of the box, you give us a call.

Detective Glass: Whatever you say, Scully.

A reference to The X-Files character Dana Scully.
Sam: Do you know he was having an affair?

Castiel: What?
Dean: Strike one, Sherlock.

A reference to Sherlock Holmes, the famous fictional detective known for his astute deductive abilities. In this case, Dean is using the name to mock Castiel.
Castiel's turn as the "bad cop" was an homage to TV detective Columbo from the 1970's detective series of the same name. In the show, Columbo also wore a crumpled trench coat.
Misha Collins once called Castiel "Columbo." During the CW event for 5.21 Two Minutes to Midnight, Collins tweeted "The guy dressed as Columbo needs to wash his face." and "The smart looking Columbo guy seems like he's turning into a big gun fanatic. He should join the NRA. Start raising money for." See Misha on Twitter.
Detective Glass: Because I have two witnesses who swear that Madoff here floated in mid-air for a good 10 seconds, then he looked down, and splat. Not sure I buy that, but the way they're talking, it sounds like something straight out of a—
Bernie Madoff was a stockbroker, investment advisor, and financier, who was indited for running a Ponzi scheme. Madoff was previously referenced by Dean in 7.08 Season Seven, Time for a Wedding!.
The basic idea of a human under the rules of cartoon is an homage to the 1988 film Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Detective Eddie Valiant investigates the murder case and the suspect Roger Rabbit insists his innocence. In the final sequence, Valiant rushes into the Toontown to save Roger.
Dean: She's right, you know. I mean, the whole heart jumping out of the guy's chest, the – the – the delayed fall – that's straight-up Bugs Bunny.

Castiel: So we're looking for some sort of insect-rabbit hybrid? How do we kill it?
Sam: No, we don't, Cas. That's a character, like, uh – like Woody Woodpecker or Daffy Duck.
Dean: They're little animated movies. You know, uh, the coyote chases a roadrunner, and then the – [laughs] the anvil gets dropped on his head.
Castiel: Is it supposed to be funny?
Dean: No. It's hilarious.

References to the Warner Bros. characters Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner, Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny. Woody Woodpecker was created by Walter Lantz Productions. A Woody Woodpecker cartoon is seen playing on the TV when the birthday cake explodes in the episode.
Dean: I don't know what we're hunting. Maybe it's a tulpa, maybe it's some crazy god who watched too much Robot Chicken.
Robot chicken is a stop-motion animated series that parodies pop culture.
Dean: Is there a link between "Heartbreak Hotel" and "Free Fallin'"?
"Heartbreak Hotel" is a song recorded by American rock and roll musician Elvis Presley. It was released as a single on January 27, 1956.
"Free Fallin'" is the opening track from Tom Petty's 1989 solo album, Full Moon Fever.
Dean: So this Animaniac can step through walls, can toss an anvil?
The Animaniacs was a 1990s cartoon series.
Dean: Alright, let's gear up. It's wabbit season!

Castiel: I don't think you pronounced that correctly.

Wabbit is a reference to Elmer Fudd, and his pronunciation of the word rabbit.
Fred Jones' name may be a reference to Merry Melodies and Looney Tunes animator and director Chuck Jones, and also to the character of Fred Jones from the Scooby-Doo series.
Dean: Me and Sam will circle back tonight, get Fred nice and clean. You go “Invisible Girl” and keep an eye on him. You hear me?
Invisible Girl is a reference to the Marvel Comics character Sue Storm aka the Invisible Woman, who was known as the Invisible Girl in the earlier years of the Fantastic Four comics.
Dean: What's up, Doc?
This is a reference to the catch phrase of Bugs Bunny.
Castiel: This is happening, Mr. Jones. They're using you.

Fred Jones: As what – some kind of a damn psychic CopperTop?

CopperTop is a brand of battery made by Duracell.
Dr. Mahoney: Give up! I've been dealing with this crazy for months. And you idiot bring a gun to a gag fight.
A play on the phrase "bringing a knife to a gun fight" that originated from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Dean: Well, that's all folks.
"That's All Folks!" is the catchphrase on the banner shown at the end of Looney Tunes cartoons.
Dean: Let's blow this Termite Terrace.
Termite Terrace is the nickname for the Warner Brother's animation department.


After writing 16 episodes with Daniel Loflin this is the first episode on which Andrew Dabb has had a solo credit.
The original title for this episode was 'Dean Amuck'.source
Big Ryan's Gas-N-Sip at the beginning of the episode was named after VFX Coordinator Ryan Curtis.
The motel Gary and Olivia stay at is called the Moonlight Motel. Sam and Dean previously stayed in a motel of the same name in 4.07 It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester. It's unknown whether it was the same one due to the fact it is unknown which town/city/state that episode took place in.
Brian Markinson who played Amelia's father Stan Thompson, previously portrayed Jerry Panowski in 1.04 Phantom Traveler.
We learn in this episode that Richard Roman Enterprises "crashed and burned" since the death of Dick Roman.
The set of the bank robbed by Dr. Dwight Mahoney was previously used as an abandoned bank inhabited by Boris and his vampire nest in 6.05 Live Free or Twihard.
The retirement home setting used in this episode, "Sunset Fields", is the same location that was used for Glenwood Springs Psychiatric Hospital in 5.11 Sam, Interrupted.
Fan analysis on the meanings of the solitaire and chessboard next to Dean and Castiel in the nursing home by acafenfan
Ben Edlund once pitched the idea of an episode with an act break from the POV of a cat, which happens in this episode.
The cat in the nursing home is wearing a tag with "BOB" on it — the voice of the cat was provided by Bob Singer.
In one flashback sequence, when Sam is at the sink with Stan, he can be seen rubbing the palm of his left hand, a technique that Dean taught him in 7.02 Hello, Cruel World to connect with reality and distract him from his hallucinations of Lucifer.
Both Dean and Stan open their beers in this episode using a knife.
Deleted scene: The deleted scene from this episode included on the Season 8 DVD and Blu-ray is a short clip of Sam, Dean, and Castiel arriving at the bank. Dean notices the portal in the wall before following Sam and Cas inside. Read the transcript here.

Sides, Scripts & Transcripts