13.08 The Scorpion and the Frog

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Title The Scorpion and the Frog
Episode # Season 13, Episode 8
First aired November 30, 2017
Directed by Robert Singer
Written by Meredith Glynn
On IMDB The Scorpion and the Frog
Outline A crossroads demon offers Sam and Dean a spell to locate Jack, in exchange for their assistance on an unusual heist.
Monster Barthamus
Location(s) Cambridge, England
Lebanon, Kansas
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Cambridge, England – A woman uses the confusion of closing time to access the Staff Only portion of the Cambridge Museum. When a passcode does not work, she muscles her way through the locked door. She finds what she is looking forward in some old parchments. When a guard interrupts, it is revealed that she is a demon as it leaves her and possesses the guard, who takes the documents and leaves. The possessed guard meets the crossroads demon Barthamus in a dark alley and hands over the documents. The guard’s inquiries about what reward Asmodeus will bestow is swiftly answered with death by angel blade.

At the Bunker, Dean is cleaning his gun when Sam enters, relaying that he has talked to Castiel. Jack is still missing and there is no word on Ketch. Dean’s phone rings – it is someone who knows they are looking for a Nephilim and claims to have something that they may find useful. The Winchesters quickly pick up that he is a demon. They set up a meeting at a nearby diner.

On their way to the meeting, Dean discusses with Sam about how demons are not to be trusted and that after Crowley, he swore he would never work with one again. They arrive at the diner and meet Barthamus, who declares that he replaced Crowley as the King of the Crossroads when Crowley became the King of Hell. He tries to ingratiate himself by offering Dean pie and giving Sam an authentic spell to track a Nephilim. However, he has only provided them with half the spell and he won't give them the other half until they've helped him with a problem. Dean refuses the deal outright, but Bart appeals to Sam to research the spell.

Back at the Bunker, Sam tells Dean that the spell does check out. It’s Canaanite; King Solomon commissioned it to keep tabs on the Queen of Sheba, who was half angel. Dean reminds him that things like this usually go wrong. Sam replies that they don’t have a choice. They agree to help Bart.

Bart and two people are waiting, impatiently. Bart expresses confidence the Winchesters will show right before they arrive. Bart introduces his companions: Smash, a young woman and an excellent safecracker, and Grab, a demon who can get past any supernatural security system. Dean realizes that they are planning a heist. Bart relays the particulars of the score. The mark is Luther Shrike, and the item is a mahogany box locked in a safe that can only be opened by a man that has been to Hell and back. Since Dean went to Hell because of a deal, his blood is what is needed. When Sam asks what is in the trunk, Bart refuses to answer. When the Winchesters start to decline, Bart threatens to give the spell to Asmodeus. The Winchesters go off to discuss, deciding that they must go along with it, but plan on killing Bart as soon as possible. They go back to Bart, Smash, and Grab to plan.

Meanwhile, one of Asmodeus's demons warns Luther that Bart is coming. Asmodeus wants Luther to agree to give him a call when Bart shows up. Luther instead exorcises the demon, saying he will be ready and he doesn’t take orders from anyone.

Baby pulls up to the gate with Sam driving, while Dean and Smash hide in the back. Posing as someone interested in selling a family heirloom, he is allowed to enter. Halfway to the house, Dean and Smash get out. Sam and Dean tell each other not to get dead, then go their separate ways; Sam distracts Luther while Dean and Smash go to summon Grab, bypassing the warding. They bond over a long-discontinued super-caffeinated soft drink while Dean wonders why she works for a demon. When the spell is done, Grab instantly appears. He speaks a spell that uses Dean’s blood as a dousing rod to find the vault. For a moment, the spell doesn’t seem to work, then Dean’s arm starts pulling him toward the vault’s location.

Meanwhile, Sam enters Luther’s house. They talk about Luther’s collection, and Sam corrects him about a piece. Then the “heirloom” is revealed: Ruby's knife. Dean is still a human compass but is worried about Sam, confusing Grab. They finally come to a storm cellar. Grab refuses to enter, so Dean leads after Smash opens it.

Inside, during negotiations, Luther reveals he knows that Sam is a distraction and thinks he’s a demon. A fight ensues. Sam stabs Luther with Ruby’s knife, but Luther reveals that, as long as he's on his property, he's immortal. Luther knocks Sam out and leaves.

At the vault, Dean is distressed that he has to put his hand in a statue’s mouth to open it, because there might be spiders. He panics further as it grabs his hand, but then it simply pricks his finger. The door opens, Smash steps in, and Dean yanks her back, saving her from a deadly dart.

Just then, Luther arrives, kills Grab, and makes his way down to the vault. Smash hits him and flees. Dean shoots Luther to no avail. Then Sam runs in informing Dean that Luther is immortal, so Dean knocks him out.

After Luther refuses to tell them how to negotiate the trapped path to the vault, Sam has a crazy idea. They strap Luther to a chair and roll him through the chamber to “collect” the darts, clearing the path.

Meanwhile, Smash has made it to the gate, only to be stopped by Bart. She tells him everyone is dead, the mission a failure. But Bart won’t let her go. So, as the Winchesters ponder how to get into the safe, she appears. They realize she is working with Bart because of a deal, and offer to help. She refuses their help, saying she must take care of herself.

They retrieve the trunk, but notice Luther is no longer tied up. As they try to escape they are met by Luther in a big red pickup. He tries to run them down, but is no match for Dean’s driving and Sam’s shooting. During a standoff, Luther discloses that he sold his soul to Bart to save his sick son’s life, but his son died of drowning a few years later. Then he has the Winchesters open the trunk to reveal Bart’s bones, which he'd taken with him when the Hellhounds had dragged him to Hell as leverage to negotiate his release. Without warning, Bart appears and decapitates Luther. He congratulates everyone and offers the Winchesters the other half of the spell. They refuse. Bart grabs Alice and threatens to kill her. The Winchesters concede and slide the bones over. Bart sends an apologetic Alice to retrieve the bones. Dean surreptitiously indicates to Alice to look in the trunk, where he has secretly placed a lighter. Bart goes up in flames as Alice burns the bones, unfortunately burning the rest of the spell.

After the Winchesters see Alice off on a bus, they return to the Bunker. Dean opens beers for them and asks if Sam is okay. Sam replies that he is not, as they failed to find a way to locate Jack and he’s worried. Dean reassures him that they will keep looking until they find him, because that’s what they do. Sam expresses relief at Dean's renewed hopeful attitude. They clink their beers in a toast.






Dean: You know what 'miracles' are called from demons? I don't know, but I'm pretty sure it's not 'miracles.'

Sam: How about this? Let's hear the guy out.

Dean: All right, and after that, we kill him.
Barthamus: I'm a crossroads demon, Sam. After Crowley's promotion to King of Hell, the crossroads demon. Helping people is what I do, my raison d'etre.
Dean: Well, see, here's the thing. When a demon tells us to jump, we don't ask how high. We just ice their ass.
Barthamus: How very 'Dean' of you.
Sam: Look, whatever game Bart is playing, I-I-I don't wanna play it, but...

Dean: Sam, you know that these things don't usually go our way.

Sam: It doesn't matter. Jack is out there, in the world, and he's alone and he's scared and he's dangerous. And if this is our chance to find him... we have to take it.
Dean: All right, well, I've seen this movie a thousand times. Some asshat too fancy to get his hands dirty plans a job, swears it'll all go smooth, and it does... until bang! And everything goes screaming off the rails, and it's our asses.

Sam: Dean...
Dean: You know he's gonna screw us over first chance he gets.
Sam: Not if we screw him over first. Listen, we want that spell, right? I mean, we need that spell. We definitely don't want Asmodeus getting his hands on it. So let's do this, have him hand over the other half of the spell...
Dean: And then?

Sam: And then, like you said... We kill him.
Sam: Dean?

Dean: Yeah.
Sam: Don't get dead.

Dean: You too.
Dean: I mean, there could be anything in there. Anything, right? There could be spiders. There could be the spiny blade thing... Snakes. Spiders. You don't even know, do you? All right. I... How about this? What if I cut myself, put it on, like, a little piece of paper? We'll just wad it up and throw it in the mouth, okay? Okay.
Sam: Look, it doesn't have to be that way.

Dean: You know, we could help you.

Alice: No, you can't. I gotta take care of me.
Barthamus: Let me see if I understand. You two do-gooding idiots are willing to welch on our deal, throw away the only chance you have at finding your boy, because I killed a 200-year-old blackmailing piece of garbage? Is that it?
Dean: Yeah, that, and we just don't like you.
Dean: You okay?.

Sam: Yeah, not really. Not exactly the best day, you know?
Dean: Well, it's not the worst. We did save somebody. That felt good.
Sam: Yeah. Yeah, it did. But... back to square one with Jack.
Dean: We'll figure something else out. And if that doesn't work, then we'll move on to the next, and then whatever's after that. We just keep working, 'cause it's what we do.
Sam: It feels really good to hear you talk like that again.

Dean: I'll drink to that.

Trivia & References

The Scorpion and the Frog is a fable in which a scorpion asks a frog to ferry it across a river. The scorpion promises not to sting the frog, rationalizing doing so would mean they would both drown. As the frog is taking the scorpion across the river, the scorpion stings the frog. Before the frog dies, it asks the scorpion why it stung. The scorpion simply replies that it was in its nature to do so.
One of the paintings the demon can be seen passing by in the museum is St. Jerome and the Angel of the Judgment.
Dean: All right, so what are we talkin'? Your favorite My Little Pony?
My Little Pony is a line of pony-shaped figurines, famously featured in various TV shows and movies, aimed at young girls who enjoy collecting the ponies and brushing their pretty manes.
Sam: It's, uh, John Dortmunder. We -- we emailed about my... family heirloom.
John Dortmunder is the name of a fictional character in the novels of Donald Westlake. He is a criminal whose careful plans usually go awry.
Dean: Hey, Winona. The '90s called. They'd like their shoes back.
Dean is referring to actor Winona Ryder, who was something of a style icon in the 1990's, and whom "Smash" evokes, particularly with her flower-patterned Doc Marten boots.
Luther: Ever seen a 'fang of the basilisk?'

Sam: Actually, that's not, um... So whoever sold this to you had it wrong. Uh, basilisk fangs are hollow. This is actually a Gorgon tooth. It's still really cool though. You know, I would love to see more of your collection.

The basilisk is a snake-like creature from European mythology. Gorgons are creatures from ancient Greek legend which resemble women with snakes for hair.
Dean: There was supposed to be a safe, not some Dollar Store Indiana Jones crap.
In the Indiana Jones movies, the titular hero often faces elaborate puzzles which must be solved in order for him to reach his goal. Indiana is also famously afraid of snakes.
Dean: Well, looks like gun beats knife, so how about you hand over the safe, and then we'll all be home in time to watch Game of Thrones.

Shrike: I'm more of a book guy.

Richard Brake who plays Leonard Shrike played the Night King in seasons 4 and 5 of fantasy TV series Game of Thrones based on the books by George R.R. Martin.
Sam: Wing it? Dean, these -- these aren't like the lasers in Entrapment. There are infinite possible combinations.. and pressure-released darts.

Dean: Did you just say Entrapment?
Sam: I don't know. I mean, I don't -- I don't watch a whole lot of those kind of movies.
Dean: Yeah, but you saw Entrapment?
Sam: Catherine Zeta Jones.

Entrapment is a 1999 heist movie starring Catherine Zeta Jones and Sean Connery. In its most famous scene, Zeta-Jones must contort her body under and over a series of laser beams in order to avoid setting off alarms during a robbery.
Dean: Oh. Look who decided to show. Why'd you cottontail?
To "cottontail" is a phrase referencing the cottontail rabbit, and means to turn tail and run away.
Sam: You sold your soul.

Alice: And if I could take it back, I would. But sorry, Charlie. I can't. So here I am. And as long as I keep working for him, Bart never collects. So you gonna let me do my thing or what?

"Sorry Charlie" is the catchphrase of Charlie the Tuna, mascot for the Starkist brand of tuna.


The building used for the front of the Cambridge Museum is The Permanent, an event space in Vancouver. The interior set was previously used as an abandoned bank inhabited by Boris' vampire nest in 6.05 Live Free or Twihard and a bank robbed by Dr. Dwight Mahoney in 8.08 Hunteri Heroici.
In the Cambridge Museum, a poster can be seen advertising an exhibition called "Reflections of the Pacific" by Monique Mees. Monique Mees is a visual artist, and one of the painters on the show.
As Sam and Dean walk to their meeting with Barthamus at the Smile Diner, they pass Bangtown Hair Saloon and several other recognizable storefronts. This scene takes place on the 400 block of West Pender Street in Vancouver, and all businesses and signage shown (including the diner) are the actual stores on that street.
The safe is branded "Fitzmartin's" and is named after Andrew Dabb's assistant Meghan Fitzmartin.
On a very rare occasion, Dean gets a slice of pie and actually gets to eat it.

Sides, Scripts & Transcripts