2.08 Crossroad Blues

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2-08 Crossroad Blues.jpg
Title Crossroad Blues
Episode # Season 2, Episode 8
First aired November 16, 2006
Directed by Steve Boyum
Written by Sera Gamble
On IMDB Crossroad Blues
Outline When two professionals die after claiming to be haunted, Sam and Dean investigate a local bar and discover a demon has been making people's dreams come true in exchange for their souls.
Monster Crossroads Demon
Timeline 1928
August 1938
November, 2006 [1]
Location(s) Greenwood, Mississippi (Lloyd's Bar)
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Synopsis

In Rosedale, Mississippi in 1930, Robert Johnson makes a deal with a demon, asking to be the greatest blues guitarist that ever lived. The deal is sealed with a kiss.

In Greenwood Mississippi, in August 1938, Robert Johnson is playing blues guitar at Lloyd's Bar. There is a sound outside, and he leaves, running as he hears dogs chasing him until he takes refuge in a house. Soon after he is found dying, mumbling about the black dogs that are after him.

In the present day, Sam and Dean are researching the case of an architect, Sean Boyden, who jumped to his death from a building he designed. He had previously reported seeing a dog in the building. Thinking this may be a supernatural black dog, the boys decide to investigate and under the guise as writers from Architectural Digest, interview Sean’s partner. They discover he had been working as a bartender at a bar called Lloyd's ten years ago, when suddenly he’d shown great talent and became an overnight success.

Dean and Sam start tracking all the complaints against black dogs in the area recently. At the house of Dr. Silvia Pearlman, who has risen to be Chief of Surgery at a young age, her maid confirms the report, and adds that the doctor left unexpectedly a couple of days before. Dean finds a photo of the doctor at Lloyd's.

In a hotel room, Dr. Pearlman screams as she is attacked by an invisible dog.

Sam and Dean go to Lloyd's Bar, which is situated near a crossroads. The intersection is surrounded by yarrow, a plant used in summoning rituals, and at its center they dig up a tin containing a vial of graveyard dirt, black cat bones, and the photo of George Darrow. They realize that the black dog are actually hellhounds which are collecting the souls due in payment of a deal with a demon.

The boys visit George Darrow, a painter, who admits to having summoned a demon ten years ago, and having made a deal for artistic talent. After the deal however, the demon stayed at Lloyd's Bar for a week and made deals with Sean Boyden, Silvia Growman and a man named Evan Hudson. George is resigned to dying, and the boys leave him to his fate.

At Evan Hudson’s house, he admits to Sam and Dean to having made a deal with the demon to save his wife from dying from cancer.

Dean suggests he go and summon the crossroads demon and try and exorcise it, while Sam protects Evan. Sam is wary of the plan, like Dean he has been wondering if their father made a similar deal with the Yellow-Eyed Demon for Dean’s life, and is wary of Dean’s motives. But as they hear the howling of the hellhounds, he agrees to go along with the plan.

Dean summons the crossroads demon, and tries to lure her into the Impala, which is parked over a devil’s trap. When she realizes the trap and begins to taunt Dean about how much he has suffered since John’s death, she offers to bring him back, in exchange for Dean’s soul to be claimed in ten years time. Just as it appears Dean may make the deal, the crossroads demon realizes she is trapped under a devil’s trap painted on the water tower she is standing under. Meanwhile Sam and Evan stand inside a protective circle as the hellhounds approach.

The demon refuses Dean's offer of her freedom in exchange for Evan Hudson's life so he begins to exorcise her while Sam and Evan desperately try to avoid the hellhound. Finally, the demon relents and with a kiss to Dean, breaks Evan's deal and calls off her hellhound. While Dean initially considers continuing the exorcism, he instead keeps to his deal and breaks the Devil's Trap. However, the demon taunts him about John's fate, but before he can do anything to it, it flees its meatsuit, leaving behind a confused young woman.

Back in the Impala, Sam and Dean talk about the deal their father made. Dean feels undeserving and while Sam tries to convince him otherwise, he asks whether Dean considered accepting the crossroad demon’s deal. Dean doesn’t answer.

Characters

Definitions

Music

  • "Hellhound on My Trail" by Robert Johnson
(played by Robert Johnson in the first flashback scene of the episode)
  • "Crossroad Blues" by Robert Johnson
(plays during the flashback scene with Johnson at the Crossroads)
  • "Downhearted Blues" by Son House
(playing in George's apartment, when Sam and Dean question him)
  • "Key to the Highway" by Big Bill Broonzy
(plays on the radio in the Impala as Sam talks to Dean about John)
  • "Chaos Surrounds You" by Brian Tichy
(Dean turns up the radio to end further discussion on whether or not he considered making the deal)
  • "Hair of the Dog" by Nazareth
(plays during the "Soon" preview for upcoming episodes)

Quotes

Sam: So much for our low profile. You've got a warrant out in St. Louis and now, you're officially on the feds' database.

Dean: Dude, I'm like Dillinger or something.
Sam: Dean, it's not funny. Makes the job harder, we've got to be more careful now.
Dean: What have they got on you?
Sam: [mumbling] I'm sure they just haven't posted it yet...
Dean: What, no accessory, nothing?
Sam: Shut up.
Dean: [laughs] You're jealous.

Sam: No, I'm not!
Dean: Yeah, MySpace, what the hell is that? Seriously, is that like some sort of porn site?
Dean: Crossroads are where pacts are made. These people are actually making deals with the damn thing. You know, 'cause that always ends good.

Sam: They're seeing dogs alright, but not black dogs. They're seeing Hellhounds. Demonic pit bulls.

Dean: Whoever this demon is, it's back and it's collecting. That doctor lady, wherever she's running, she isn't running fast enough.
Dean: Was it worth it?
George: Hell no. 'Course, I asked for talent. Shoulda gone for fame. I'm still broke, and lonely. Just now I got this pile of paintings don't nobody want. But that wasn't the worst.
Evan Hudson: How do I know you're not lying?
Dean: You don't, but you're kind of running low on options there, buddy boy.
Dean: (to Evan Hudson) You sure about that? I think you did it for yourself. So you wouldn't have to live without her. But guess what? She's going to have to live without you now. But what if she knew how much it cost? What if she knew it cost your soul? How do you think she'd feel?
Crossroads Demon: I can't break a binding contract.

Dean: And by can't, you mean don't want to? Last chance. Evan and his wife get to live to a ripe old age. Going... going...
Crossroads Demon: Let's talk about this.

Dean: OK, gone.
Crossroads Demon: What are you doing?
Dean: Oh, you're just going to go on a little trip. Way down south.
Dean: [kissing the Crossroads Demon] What the hell was that for?

Crossroads Demon: Sealing the deal.

Dean: I usually like to be warned before I'm violated with Demon tongue.
Crossroads Demon: (to Dean) Because your misery's the whole point. It's too much fun to watch. Knowing how your daddy died for you, how he sold his soul. I mean, that's gotta hurt. It's all you ever think about. You wake up and your first thought is, "I can't do this anymore." You're all lit up with pain. I mean, you loved him so much. And it's all your fault. You blew it, Dean! I could have given you what you need.

Trivia & References

Robert Johnson makes his deal in 1930. He dies in 1938.
Christie Laing who plays the crossroads demon summoned by Robert Johnson also appeared in 1.07 Hookman, where she played Lori's roommate (See Weren't you in another episode?).
This is the first episode where we meet someone possessed who flashes red eyes, indicating that they are a crossroads demon.
The title, "Crossroad Blues," is taken from a Robert Johnson song of the same name. Robert Johnson is performing the song at the beginning of this episode before he begins to panic at the sound of the hellhounds and sight of the demon. The song also plays during the scene where Robert Johnson is making his deal with the crossroads demon. This song was later covered by the classic rock band Cream, but they shortened the title to "Crossroads" (See The Meaning of Episode Titles).
Dean: Great. So we've gotta clean up these people's mess for 'em? I mean, they're not exactly squeaky clean. Nobody put a gun to their head and forced 'em to play Let's Make A Deal.
Let's Make A Deal is a TV game show that started in the '60s.
The hotel that Dr. Silvia Pearlman stays at is the Baskerville Motel, a reference to the Sherlock Holmes story, The Hound of the Baskervilles, which features a violent, ostensibly supernatural dog. Sam and Dean's initial working theory in this case is they are looking for a black dog.
Dean: Though this house probably ain't up next on MTV Cribs, is it?
MTV Cribs is a reality program that offers a look into the homes of celebrities.
Dean: Wasn't for cash. Oh, who knows. Maybe this place is full of babes in Princess Leia bikinis.
A Star Wars reference. When Princess Leia is captured by Jabba the Hutt in Return of the Jedi she is forced to wear a golden bikini marking her as a slave-girl.
There is now a warrant for Dean's arrest in St. Louis and he is listed in the FBI database. Sam has no record.
Dean: Dude, I'm like Dillinger or something.
John Dillinger was an American bank robber who was considered a dangerous criminal. His activities in the 1930's contributed to the further development of the FBI. John Dillinger's exploits and law enforcement's efforts to catch him were the subject of the 2009 movie Public Enemies.
Dean: Yeah, MySpace, what the hell is that?
MySpace is a website that allows people to meet others with similar interests.
The box Dean unearths contains a small, clear-glass bottle of graveyard dirt, the bones of a black cat, and at least two other items, one of which looks like a bundle of herbs (likely dried-out or burned Yarrow), and a black-and-white picture of the one who buried the box.
The crossroads demon in this episode sticks around Lloyd's bar for about a week after being initially summoned, seducing others into making deals. This resembles Crowley's strategy in 8.14 Trial and Error, where he shows up and proceeds to make deals with several different members of the same family.
The demon confirms that John Winchester sold his soul for Dean's survival.

Minutiae

The picture of the black dog that Dean comments on is actually that of Fenrir, a monstrous wolf in Norse mythology. His destructive powers were so feared that the gods had no choice but to imprison him. Also in the picture is the god Tyr, a deity noted for his courage and strength.
Sam and Dean find patches of Yarrow, a yellow flower, planted at the corners of the crossroads outside of Lloyd's bar. Sam says that Yarrow is used in summoning rituals.

Sides, Scripts & Transcripts

Promotion

References

  1. On a photo made 10 years ago, it is written in the back side: November 1996