11.15 Beyond the Mat

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SPN-1115.jpg
Title Beyond the Mat
Episode # Season 11, Episode 15
First aired February 24, 2016
Directed by Jerry Wanek
Written by John Bring
Andrew Dabb
On IMDB Beyond the Mat
Outline After attending a wrestling show in honor of a recently deceased wrestler, Sam and Dean find themselves with a case when more dead bodies begin dropping.
Monster Crossroads Demon
Timeline One week since 11.14 The Vessel
Location(s) Brimson, Missouri
Lebanon, Kansas
Fall River, Massachusetts
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Synopsis

At a Top Notch Wrestling event in Brimson, Missouri, the wrestlers "The Hangman" Larry Lee and "The Electric" Shawn Harley are going at it. During the match Hangman places a noose around Harley’s neck and pretends to hang him. The hanging is a bit too realistic, and after the bout Shawn confronts Larry in the locker room. Gunner Lawless steps in to diffuse the situation. Later, while alone in the locker room, Larry is packing up when a noose drops around his neck and he is pulled off his feet.

In the Bunker, Dean shows Sam an internet article about Larry Lee dying. They reminisce about John taking them to see wrestling when they were kids and how Larry was John’s favorite. Dean suggests that they go to the funeral. Sam balks, stating that they have more pressing matters like finding a way to stop The Darkness and saving Castiel from Lucifer. Dean retorts that they need to take a break and "stretch their legs." In Crowley's Lair, Lucifer has the demons searching for another Hand of God. Meanwhile, Crowley is still chained up, cleaning the floor with a toothbrush, which Lucifer takes away, telling Crowley to use his tongue instead. The demons look on reproachfully as Crowley begins to lick the floor.

At Larry Lee’s funeral Dean sees the wrestler Gunner Lawless and informs him that he got his first ‘B&E’ for breaking into a house to watch Lawless’s cage match on the homeowners' pay-per-view. Meanwhile Sam talks with Rio, a woman who used to manage some of the wrestlers. He tells her that she was his "first crush." During their conversation, Rio tells Sam that Larry committed suicide, but the family asked to keep it out of the papers. Sam and Dean decide to stick around and attend the memorial match later that evening. At the memorial match, Sam notices that the venue is small and attendance is even smaller and not as he remembered it as kid. In the dressing room a man approaches Gunner Lawless and hands him a small package or envelope. Gunner takes it, shakes his head and shrugs his shoulders and leaves the room. As the other man turns to leave he sees Harley backing out of a doorway leading into the room. The match proceeds and contains all the usual craziness of a professional wrestling match, complete with a folding chair to the head. Sam and Dean root and cheer like die-hard fans, culminating in Gunner Lawless winning the match. As the match ends, a man who has been sitting behind Sam and Dean with his son gets up to go to the bathroom. Seeing a line, he opts to go outside. As he is preparing to urinate against a wall he hears a rustling sound and turns around. He starts to scream but is cut short as he is stabbed and his blood squirts against the wall behind him.

Sam finds out from the police that the body was "marked" with some sort of symbol carved into the chest. Sam goes back to the motel while Dean stays to "shake some trees.' He goes back to the empty ring. Not being able to contain himself he steps in and proceeds to try out his best wrestling moves. Rio comes in and Dean introduces himself as an FBI agent assigned to the case. Rio tells him that the other wrestlers are starting to think that they are cursed as another body was found outside their venue in another city. Dean asks where the wrestlers would be now and Rio directs him to a bar.

At the bar, Dean sits down with Gunner. They talk about the rough crowds that come to the show and then start to share "war stories" about the various scars they have. As they’re talking, Sam calls and tells Dean that every stop on the Top Notch tour has had a body turn up, and every body has had the same mark, even the Hangman. The mark is an ancient Sumerian mark that is said to "pluck the spark of life," which Sam and Dean surmise to mean souls, which in turn may mean demons. Dean tells Sam to keep working on it and he turns back to the bar where Gunner and Harley are getting into a fight. Harley punches Gunner and knocks him down. He then tells Rio and the other wrestlers that Gunner is using drugs, that he saw him and his dealer together before the match. Rio sends Harley home and tells Gunner that she'll talk to him in the morning. Dean helps Gunner up and to the bar and buys him a shot. Another wrestler comes to talk with Gunner and while he is distracted Dean pours holy water into his drink. Nothing happens and Dean looks at the other wrestlers in the bar dismayed that he is going to be doing a lot of drinking.

Later, Sam comes to the bar to find Dean passed out on a bench. He wakes him, asking what happened. Dean answers "mostly tequila, cut with holy water" and then explains that he bought drinks for all the wrestlers, except Harley, and that they made him drink too. Sam and Dean go to Harley’s hotel room. He doesn’t answer the door so they break in to find the room ransacked. Sam hacks into the security camera footage and they see Gunner pull up in a van and go into Harley's room, then bring him out several minutes later, unconscious. They track the footage and determine where Gunner took Harley.

In Crowley's Lair, a demon, Simmons, opens Crowley's cage and tells him that she is getting him out, that he’s not a dog, and that there are people who want him back, want Lucifer gone. As they’re walking through the hallways they are met by two demons, whom Crowley quickly kills. After cleaning up and getting into his signature black suit, Crowley leads Simmons away. Harley awakens in a dark room, face bloodied, tied to a chair. Gunner is there, drinking a beer. Harley apologizes for being a "dick" and for taking a cheap shot at him. He asks him not to hurt him to which Gunner answers that it's not up to him. At that point, the man from the locker room appears, eyes glowing red. The demon, Duke, offers Harley whatever he wants in return for his soul and an occasional favor once in a while. He indicates that he would like another franchisee in his service, like Gunner. Harley refuses and the demon knocks him over and severs his Achilles tendon. He then tells Gunner to kill him and mark him.

Meanwhile Crowley and Simmons are arrive at Crowley's Lock-up, which is filled with things he likes to keep hidden. He finds a rectangular wooden box and tells Simmons that it contains the Rod of Aaron -- an object given by God to Aaron, the brother of Moses, on the sixth day and that it’s a "Hand of God." As they’re talking, Lucifer walks into the room and tells Crowley that Simmons set him up and that all the demons in Hell hate him. He pushes Crowley away from the box and opens it, only to find it empty. He turns around and Crowley is holding the rod, which looks like a wooden walking stick. Crowley hits Lucifer across the face with the rod and sends him across the room. Simmons runs to his side. The rod glows red in Crowley’s hand and power radiates throughout his body. Crowley bemuses if the power is what it feels like to be God. His hand starts to glow and he flicks it towards Lucifer and Simmons. Sparks emanate outward and Simmons and Lucifer are thrown against the wall. Simmons is obliterated and Lucifer falls to the ground. As Lucifer starts to get up Crowley tries to strike him again, with no effect. The rod falls to the ground as Lucifer punches Crowley across a table. He looks for the Rod of Aaron, but it is not in sight.

Sam and Dean enter the lodge to find Harley sliced open on the floor and Gunner standing over him, knife in hand. As they draw their guns they're flung backwards against the wall. The demon tells Gunner to kill them. Gunner throws Dean through a wall and beats him while the demon keeps Sam pinned in place. As Gunner ties Dean to a chair he apologizes and they begin to talk about the demon and Gunner’s deal with him. Dean tells him it's never too late to do the right thing. In the other room Sam is still pinned by the demon. Sam asks if Crowley knows that he is stealing souls. The demon says that with the Darkness out and Crowley gone it’s every man for himself, and that when Gunner’s deal came due he gave him the choice of being killed or collecting souls for him. Dean walks into the room and the demon flings him aside. As he turns with a knife in his hand towards Sam, Gunner stabs him from behind. After the demon dies, Gunner hears hellhounds coming for him. Dean offers him his gun but Gunner declines, saying that he has this coming.

Back in the Bunker Sam and Dean lament that Gunner had to die, stating that he was a good guy who made a bad decision, like Sam, Dean and now Cas. Sam and Dean are now determined to win -- to get Cas back, and kill the Devil and the Darkness.

Characters

Definitions

Music

  • "Brazil" by Edmundo Ros
(playing in Crowley's Lair as Lucifer is directing the demons)
  • "Modern Day Cowboy" by Tesla
(playing during Gunner Lawless' entrance and match)

Quotes

Dean: You remember Top Notch Wrestling?

Sam: Yeah. Those wrestling shows Dad took us to when we were kids.
Dean: Right. Came across an obituary last night. Larry "The Hangman" Lee died.
Sam: Oh no. Wasn't he-

Dean: He was Dad's favorite. Anytime that noose would come out, Dad would be up on his feet. It was one of the few times I ever saw him actually happy.
Dean: You know, when I was-when I was ten I got my first B&E 'borrowing' some family's pay-per-view so that I could watch the cage match with you and the Tower of Power.
Dean: Hey, you know they're having a memorial show tonight. I know you're itching to get back, but, uh-

Sam: We should go to it.
Dean: Really?

Sam: Why not? The world is still gonna be screwed tomorrow, right?
Dean: You think about that. Town after town putting your ass on the line for next to nothing. No money, no glory. Wow.
Sam: You realize you just literally described our jobs.
Gunner: I've been beat up, spit on, stabbed, roughed up. But I will be damned if I didn't always get back up. One thing I learned, you gotta keep on grinding no matter what's thrown your way.
Sam: What happened?
Dean: Mostly tequila. Cut with holy water. I bought drinks for all the wrestlers, and then, y'know, they're all, 'Well... you gotta drink too.' Man, they can drink. Especially Rio. I think I heard my liver screaming at me.
Crowley: The Rod of Aaron. Created by God on the sixth day and given to Aaron, brother of Moses. I knew it was powerful but had no idea it was a-

Simmons: Hand of God. Can I touch it?
Crowley: With all due respect, Simmons, I don't think you can handle my rod.

Lucifer: I bet I can. Is it just me or is it getting a little phallic in here?
Lucifer: You really thought you could double-cross me? Me?! You know I invented the double-cross, like literally.
Crowley: So this is what it feels like to be God. Not bad. Tingly.
Dean: Lawless was a good guy. He didn't deserve to go out like that, you know?

Sam: Dean, you know what? He made a bad decision. We've been there.
Dean: Yeah. Yeah, you, me, now Cas.
Sam: Dean, we'll get him back. We will. We just gotta-
Dean: Keep grinding. No matter how much it hurts, no matter how hard it gets, you gotta keep grinding.
Sam: Right.
Dean: And that's how we're gonna win. And we're gonna win. We're gonna save Cas, we're gonna ice the Devil, and we're gonna shank the Darkness. And anyone that gets in our way. Well, God help 'em.
Sam: Damn right.

Dean: Damn right.

Trivia & References

Beyond the Mat is a 1999 documentary about pro wrestling, it takes a look behind the scenes and at life outside the ring of three wrestlers -- Mick Foley, Terry Funk, and Jake "The Snake" Roberts.
Lucifer: Remember, A-B-C. 'Always be closing.' The sooner you little storm clouds find me another Hand of God, the happier I will be.
A quote from the character Blake (Alec Baldwin) in the David Mamet movie (based on his play of the same name) Glengarry Glen Ross. "Always be closing" is a strategy used in sales.
Lucifer: Alright. You're gonna look high, look low, far and wide. Search every warehouse, every farmhouse, every hen house, outhouse, and doghouse.
A quote from Tommy Lee Jones' character Deputy Marshal Samuel Gerard in the 1993 movie The Fugitive. The original quote in full is:
"What I want from each and every one of you is a hard-target search of every gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse, and doghouse in that area. Checkpoints go up at fifteen miles. Your fugitive's name is Dr. Richard Kimble. Go get him."
Sam: You’re not gonna believe this. The body... was marked.

Dean: Wow. By what? What, he get in a tickle fight with Edward Scissorhands?
Sam: Dude.

Edward Scissorhands is a movie from 1990 about a man with razors from scissors for hands.
Dean: Hello? FBI. I got some questions. Bueller?
Taken from the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off, this is often used when a question goes unanswered, with the meaning "can't (or won't) anyone answer this?"
When Dean gets in the wrestling ring he first does a strut and screams "Woooo!" which is reminiscent of "Nature Boy" Ric Flair, followed by climbing the ropes and yelling, "Oh, yeah!" Which is reminiscent of "Macho Man" Randy Savage.
Dean uses the alias "Agent Roussimoff," a reference to wrestler André the Giant, born André René Roussimoff.
Lucifer: You made me bleed my own blood.
This is a quote from bully Nelson Muntz in the 1990 The Simpsons episode "Bart the General". A variant of the line is also used by Ben Stiller's character White Goodman in the 2004 comedy Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.
Duke: Well it's kinda every demon for him/her/zhimself.
"Zhim" is a gender neutral pronoun. On the episode it does sound like "shim", and does appear as such in the closed captions - which is a slur used against trans and gender diverse people. However this tweet from writer John Bring clairfies that intent was for it to be a gender neutral pronoun.

Minutiae

Shawn Harley was played by WWE Superstar Wrestler The Miz.
Aleks Paunovic, who played Gunner Lawless, previously played Boyden's Friend in 2.08 Crossroad Blues & Skinwalker #2 in 6.08 All Dogs Go to Heaven.
Paul Lazenby, who played Hellrazor, does stunt work and fight choreography for Supernatural.
Clif Kosterman briefly appears as wrestler Wrecking Ball Calhoon at The Hangman's funeral. Clif previously played Tiny in 2.19 Folsom Prison Blues.
When Crowley and Simmons are making their way to his lock-up, they pass The Black Rose club, which was last seen in 6.05 Live Free or Twihard.
While in Crowley's Lock-up, various copies of The Supernatural Books can be seen scattered throughout the storage unit.

Sides, Scripts & Transcripts

Promotion