4.13 After School Special
|Title||After School Special|
|Episode #||Season 4, Episode 13|
|First aired||January 29, 2009|
|Directed by||Adam Kane|
|Written by||Daniel Loflin and Andrew Dabb|
|Outline||Sam and Dean return to one of their many high schools, unraveling both a case and their own memories of their youths.|
|Timeline||January 2009 and November 1997|
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High school cruelty is viral: it gets passed from miserable teen to miserable teen. But 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 Sioux City, 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 blond 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 here. Not long after, a student in a home economics class jams the hand of a homework-copying jock into a running food processor, and also 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 graduated. 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, all 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