When a girl at Truman High School kills another for calling her fat and ugly, Sam and Dean catch wind when she claims she was possessed at the time. She neither saw the black smoke nor smelled the sulfur that is typical of demonic possession, so Dean is skeptical that there's a job in Fairfax, Indiana. As it happens, the Winchesters were enrolled at Truman High, "Home of the Bombers," for a month in 1997, and Dean is not in a hurry to go back.
In a series of flashbacks, we see young Sam and Dean coming to yet another new high school. Truman is the third school they've attended that academic year, and it's only November. Dean isn't worried about fitting in or impressing teachers since their father has promised they'll only be there two weeks, tops, but Sam is tired of always being the new kid. On his first day of English class, Sam defends Barry Cook from the bullying of Dirk McGregor, while the teacher, Mr. Wyatt, assigns the class an essay on "their most memorable family experience." Dean, meanwhile, only has eyes for hot blonde Amanda Heckerling.
In the present, Sam poses as a janitor while Dean, in an outfit of gym shorts, tall socks, and red headband, lords over a gym class that has never been allowed to play dodgeball before. Sam can't find any sulfur on the school grounds, leading them to wonder if there really is a case. Not long after, a student in a home economics class jams the hand of a homework-copying jock into a running food processor, and claims not to have been able to control himself. Sam hurries to the scene, and arrives in time to see ectoplasm leaking from the ear of the attacker. Sam realizes they're dealing with ghost possession, which is rare but not unheard of. The only violent death on the school grounds was a 1998 suicide -- that of Barry Cook. Dean postulates that the ghost is possessing nerds and going after bullies. Sam remembers what a hard time the other students gave Barry. In a flashback, Dirk stops them in the middle of a crowded hallway, where he tries to start a fight with Sam, who won't throw punches.
Dutifully, Sam and Dean go to salt and burn Barry's bones. Sam feels guilty that they had to leave Truman before he had a chance to keep Barry from killing himself; Dean tries to point out that there was nothing he could have done. Sam remembers wanting to be normal, as well as a conversation with Mr. Wyatt, the English teacher. Mr. Wyatt questions the "horror story" at the center of Sam's essay about family, but praises his writing abilities and asks him if he really wants to go into "the family business." It's the first time anyone's asked him that question -- and the answer is "more than anything," no.
When Sam returns to the school to speak with Mr. Wyatt in the present, a student attacks him and calls him by his name. When he fills the student's mouth with salt, the ghost is forced from her body. Dean realizes that all the possessed students ride the same school bus, which is driven by Dirk McGregor's father. As it turns out, by his freshman year Dirk had just watched his mother die of cancer; he later turned to drugs and alcohol and was dead himself before he could graduate. Dirk's father laments that he had a rough time from other kids, and that people called him "Dirk the Jerk" -- a nickname Sam came up with after beating him in a fistfight outside the school. Dirk's remains were cremated, save for a lock of hair his father keeps in a Bible he has on his bus. That night, Sam and Dean chase down the bus, which is transporting a sports team to an away game. Dirk possesses two different people and attacks the Winchesters; the lock of hair is burned and the ghost destroyed before he can do any serious harm.
After, the boys return to the high school so Sam can finally have his goodbye with Mr. Wyatt. Their first farewell was a mixed experience: the whole school is congratulating Sam for taking down Dirk and his bullying, while Amanda Heckerling tells Dean how sorry she feels for him, that he thinks he has to posture so much and pretend to be so tough. Dean is humiliated, and delighted when the Impala pulls up in front of the school. In the present, Mr. Wyatt remembers Sam fondly, and asks about what he's done with himself. His last question is whether Sam is happy. Sam is unable to answer.
- "Long, Long Way from Home" by Foreigner
- (plays as the Impala pulls up in front of the school, when the present switches to the flashback)
Young Dean: Got your lunch? Books? Butterfly knife?
Young Sam: Yeah, Dean.
Dean: Today, you will have the honor of playing one of the greatest games ever invented. A game of skill, agility, cunning. A game with one simple rule... dodge.
Dean: The whistle makes me their god.
Sam: Right. Nice shorts.
No sulfur, no demon. No demon, no case.
Sam: I don't know. Maybe I was wrong.
Well, it happens to the best of us. I say we hit the road, huh? But after lunch -- it’s sloppy-joe day.
How's the nonviolence assembly going?
Dean: Apparently, shoving a kid's arm into a Cuisinart is not a 'healthy display of anger.' So, the kid had ectoplasm leaking out his ear?
Which only comes from a seriously pissed-off spirit. It's gotta be ghost possession.
Dean: Way ahead of you. I had to break into the principal's office to get this. Oh, and FYI, three of the cheerleaders are legal. Guess which ones.
Well, your brother is quite a character. And your father -- he seems, uh, driven. Anyway, it's good, Sam. It’s really good. Have you ever thought about pursuing writing?
Young Sam: I can't. I have to go into the family business.
Mr. Wyatt: Family business?
Young Sam: Yeah, my, aah -- my dad's a mechanic. So I have to be a mechanic, too.
Mr. Wyatt: Do you want to go in the family business, Sam?
No one's ever asked me that before.
So a spook just grabs a kid on the bus and walks right into Truman?
Sam: It's possible.
Ghosts getting creative -- well, that's super.
Sam Winchester. Still a bully. You, you jocks... you popular kids... you always thought you were better than everybody else. And to you, I was just Dirk the jerk, right? Now you evil sons of bitches are gonna get what's coming to you.
Sam: I'm not evil, Dirk. I'm not. And neither were you. Trust me. I've seen real evil. We were scared and miserable, and we took it out on each other -- us and everybody else. That's high school. But you suffer through that, and it gets better. I'm just sorry you didn't get a chance to see that... you or Barry.
Nothing is gonna get better for me. Not ever.
Amanda: I'm not mad, Dean. I thought maybe... underneath your whole 'I could give a crap,' bad-boy thing, that there was something more going on. I mean, like the way you are with your brother. But I was wrong. And you spend so much time trying to convince people that you're cool, but it's just an act. We both know that you're just a sad... lonely little kid. And I feel sorry for you, Dean.
Young Dean: You feel sorry for me, huh? Don't feel sorry for me. You don't know anything about me. I save lives. I'm a hero. A hero!
Trivia & References
's English class is reading The Outsiders.
Published in 1967, the book about teenage social status, cliques and coming of age has often attracted controversy. Author S.E. Hinton
is a fan of the show, as reported here
when a Buddy TV reporter visited the set:
- "S.E. Hinton, the author of The Outsiders and Rumble Fish, was hanging out with the boys as well. She is a huge Supernatural fan and asked Eric Kripke one day if she could pay a visit to the set, so he invited her out to Vancouver for a couple of days. She told me that she got into the show because she has an interest in paranormal stories, but then just fell in love with it because of the excellent stories and the mix of humor, drama and thrills and chills."
As Mr. Wyatt is telling the class they will have essay assignments, the word "Lawyers" can be seen clearly on the chalkboard over his shoulder. This is possibly referencing the fact that Sam eventually becomes interested in law, even taking the LSAT while at Stanford. This is especially significant because later on in the episode, Mr. Wyatt encourages Sam, telling him to do what he wants with his life.
uses the alias "Coach Roth" a reference to David Lee Roth, former lead singer of Van Halen.
Mrs. B, the gym teacher Dean is subbing for, is in Massachusetts getting married, which may be intended to imply that she is a lesbian, as Massachusetts was the first state to legalize gay marriage.
So tonight I'm thinking you, me, a bucket of popcorn, extra butter...
Amanda: Mm, kinky.
Young Dean: ...and the midnight screening of "I Spit on Your Grave" at the Cinedome.
- I Spit on Your Grave was a 1978 film in which a woman is raped and takes revenge on her rapers.
Well, whatever. Go have your Robin Williams 'O captain! My captain!' moment. Just make it quick.
- This is a reference to the final scene of the Peter Weir movie Dead Poets Society, when the beloved teacher played by Robin Williams is sacked, and as a show of support the students stand on their desk reciting "Oh Captain! my Captain!" from the Walt Whitman poem of the same name.
Check it out -- Look, Martha Dumptruck, Revenge of the Nerds, and Hello Kitty -- they rode the same bus.
- Martha Dumptruck is a reference to the movie Heathers, Revenge of the Nerds was a 1984 comedy and Hello Kitty is a Japanese cartoon character which features on a huge range of merchandise worldwide.
All right, everybody stay where you are. You'll be okay.
Jock on Bus: Aren't you the P.E. teacher?
Dean: Not really. I'm like 21 Jump Street. The bus driver sells pot. Yeah.
- 21 Jump Street was a early '90s TV series starring Johnny Depp and others as young police officers going undercover as students at high schools. Kim Manners directed many of the episodes, among them the pilot. Jump Street alumni appearing on Supernatural include Peter DeLuise in 3.12 Jus in Bello and Stephen Williams as Rufus Turner in 3.15 Time Is on My Side.
Dean: Ew. He's giving you the full cowgirl.
- "Cowgirl" is a sexual position where the woman is on top of her partner.
The show ended with an "In memory" to Christopher F. Lima (rigging electrician) and Tim Loock (online editor).
In 1997, the Impala
's license plates are BQN 9R3.
The name of the high school is Truman High. Their mascot is the Bombers. When Harry Truman was president, he bombed Hiroshima in World War II.
Sides, Scripts & Transcripts