7.04 Defending Your Life

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Title Defending Your Life
Episode # Season 7, Episode 4
First aired October 14, 2011
Directed by Robert Singer
Written by Adam Glass
On IMDB Defending Your Life
Outline Sam and Dean encounter the Egyptian god Osiris, who is putting people on trial for their past mistakes and killing them if found guilty. Osiris hones in on Dean's guilt and decides he's next, and Sam steps in as his lawyer.
Monster Osiris
Timeline
Location(s) Dearborn, Michigan
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Synopsis

Sam and Dean travel to Dearborn, Michigan, for a case. Posing as FBI agents, they enter the crime scene of a man who was hit by a car and killed... on the tenth floor of his apartment building. After scanning Matthew Hammond's apartment for EMF, they conclude that a ghost is responsible and search for other clues. They find red dirt on the ground, a ten-year chip from Alcoholics Anonymous, and bank statements with a recurring charge to a place called Jane's.

Sam speaks to a woman who knew Matthew from Alcoholic's Anonymous. She tells him that Matthew—ten years sober—called her from Neal's Tavern, about to fall off the wagon. She met him there and talked him out of drinking again, but she doesn't know what caused his near relapse. Meanwhile, Dean goes to Jane's, a florist, and learns that Matthew had monthly deliveries of flowers sent to Elizabeth Duren. He also paid for three years' worth of deliveries in advance just a few days ago. He asks for her address, and is given the location of her grave: Elizabeth Duren died ten years ago at the age of ten when her then neighbor, Matthew Hammond, backed up over her on her bike. It was ruled an accident, but they suspect that Matthew was drunk and that his guilt is why he stopped drinking. They dig up Elizabeth's grave and salt and burn her bones to put her spirit to rest.

After taking care of Elizabeth, however, another local man dies in an unexplainable way. Christopher Fisher, a man who was convicted of running a dog fighting ring years ago, was found ripped to shreds in a diner bathroom by a dog that nobody saw or heard. Dean says that the man deserved to be killed by a spectral dog looking for revenge, but Sam is adamant that Christopher was a changed man who volunteered and raised money for dog shelters. At Sam's insistence, they go to the morgue, where Sam finds red dirt on Christopher's shoes that is identical to the dirt he found in Matthew's apartment.

The red dirt leads Sam and Dean to a nearby apple farm. Before they can get there, however, they're stopped in the road by a man named Warner who jumps in front of their car. They take Warner back to their motel room and learn that he was recently released from jail, where he served thirty years for killing a liquor store owner and his wife during a robbery. When he was leaving Neal's Tavern the other night he was jumped, and when he woke up, he was in a strange courtroom. It was in a barn at the apple orchard, and there were "weird symbols." While there, a judge put him on trial and sentenced him to death. Sam asks him to draw the symbols and then is pulled outside by Dean, who has reservations about helping Warner—after all, he's a murderer. Sam tells Dean that they have no right to judge others, but Dean isn't convinced. He leaves to check out Neal's Tavern, where both Matthew and Warner were before their deaths.

While Dean goes to the bar, Sam gets the sketch of the "weird symbols" from Warner and tells him that they have to go back to the barn where he was on trial. Warner refuses, so Sam sets him up in a chair surrounded by a ring of salt before leaving, already on the phone to Bobby for a consult on the symbols. When he arrives at the orchard, he goes to the large red barn that Warner described, but it's empty except for hay and a little red dirt. When he's about to leave, he gets a call from Bobby, who tells him that the symbols were Egyptian, from the Book of the Dead, and that they're dealing with Osiris, an Egyptian God who can see directly into a human heart. He weighs a person's guilt, and if he finds more than "a feather's worth," he kills them. Sam wants to hunt him down, but Bobby tells him that he and Dean need to get away before Osiris hones in on them.

Meanwhile, Dean is at Neal's Tavern flirting with an attractive bartender named Mia. She asks him what's weighing on him, and he reveals that he's feeling bad about having to go behind someone's back while on the job. She sympathizes, but tells him not to feel bad if it's something that he had to do. He slams back a few more hard drinks, but then switches to beer when she alludes that she's getting off work soon. Later, when he's outside the bar and psyching himself up for their "date," he gets a call from Sam. He picks up, but is snatched by Osiris before he can say anything, and his cell phone falls to the ground outside the bar. Worried, Sam continues to call Dean's cell phone until it's picked up by the bartender. Sam gets there quickly and questions her, and when he looks where she found Dean's phone, he sees more red dirt.

Back at the orchard, Sam approaches the barn, where he finds Dean chained to a chair in front of Osiris. Osiris can sense Sam's presence outside the barn, and invites him in. When Sam learns that Dean is going on trial, he insists on defending him and then objects to the fairness of the hearing. Osiris has little patience for him, but agrees to limit the number of his witnesses to three. His first witness is Jo Harvelle. Osiris summons her ghost and questions Jo about her motives for hunting and for going on the job that lead to her death. He tries to get her to say that Dean is responsible for her death, but she refuses, and when Sam cross-examines her, he asks her if her motivation was to be like her father, who was also a hunter. She answers that yes, she had daddy issues, and that her decision to be a hunter had nothing to do with Dean. She starts to say something to Dean, but Osiris banishes her before she can.

The next witness Osiris calls is Sam himself, and he questions Sam about why he started hunting. He implies that the reason his girlfriend Jessica died and everything in Sam's life snowballed out of control was because Dean came to get him for that first hunt out of the selfish desire not to be alone. Sam tells him that he doesn't blame Dean and that he would have lost his normal life with Jessica one way or another. Osiris says that he believes him, but it's not about convincing him—it's about convincing Dean himself, who's guilt isn't so easily dismissed.

Sam then insists on calling Dean to the stand, and Osiris allows it. Sam questions Dean about his guilt directly, and Dean says that he doesn't feel guilty about Jo's death or about what happened to Sam. Sam emphasizes that Dean isn't psychic, and that feeling guilty about things he couldn't predict would be ridiculous. Osiris is amused and gives Dean the choice of whether or not he will call his third and final witness. Dean remembers killing Amy and knows that she will be the last witness. Still feeling guilty about going behind Sam's back and lying to him about killing her, Dean tells Osiris to skip it and just make his decision. Sam is confused and then upset when Osiris finds Dean "guilty in his heart" and sentences him to die.

Back at the motel, they find police and see a body being wheeled away on a gurney. Warner didn't stay in the circle of salt in their room and was killed by the ghosts of the people he murdered thirty years ago. Dean is resigned, but Sam won't give up on him. Bobby calls and tells them that Osiris can be banished for a few hundred years if he's stabbed with a ram's horn, something used in Jewish traditions, so Sam goes to a find a Jewish temple where he can steal one. Dean stays behind in a circle of salt, and Jo's ghost appears soon after Sam leaves.

Jo apologizes to Dean for what she's about to do—Osiris is controlling her. Dean tells her it's okay, and that the judge was right. She and Sam were kids, but Dean never was, and he should have thought before dragging them in on hunts. She tells him that it's not his fault and that he carries too much guilt, but he can't let go of it. She goes over to the stove and turns on the gas, then breaks the window so that the salt line is blown away. Once the barrier is gone, she takes his lighter and prepares to light it.

Meanwhile, Sam has retrieved the ram's horn and gone back to Neal's Tavern, where Osiris is about to take his next victim. He stabs Osiris with the ram's horn, destroying him, and is just in time for Jo to drop the lighter. She caresses Dean's face and then vanishes.

On the side of a small gravel road, Sam and Dean discuss the case over beers. Sam asks if Jo seemed like she was in pain, but Dean tells him that she seemed like herself, maybe even happier. He compliments Sam on his skills as a lawyer, and Sam asks him who Osiris was planning to call as a third witness. Dean lies and says that he has no idea. He then asks why Osiris didn't put Sam on trial, and Sam tells him that he doesn't feel guilty anymore. He's done his time in Hell and finally feels like his past is past and he can move on with his life. He feels good.

Characters

Definitions

Music

  • "Down South Jukin'" by Lynyrd Skynyrd
(plays at the bar)
  • "4 am Blues" by Barrett Johnson
(plays when Osiris is drinking at the bar)

Quotes

Dean: Check this out - A.A., ten years. Dead and sober. Double crappy.
Dean: Wait a second, do dogs even have ghosts?
Osiris: Don’t you think that your brother dragged you back into that catastrophic mess because he’d rather damn you with him than be alone?
Jo: You carry all kinds of crap you don't have to, Dean. Kind of gets clearer when you're dead.

Dean: Well in that case, you should able to see I am 90% crap. I get rid of that, what then?

Jo: You really want to die not knowing?
Dean: He was right you know, that dick judge - about me. You were a kid.

Jo: Not true.

Dean: You and Sam. And I just, you know... Hunters are never kids. I never was. I didn't stop to think about it.

Trivia & References

The title of the episode "Defending Your Life" is also the title of a 1991 movie starring Albert Brooks. In the movie, when people die they must defend their life in an afterlife court. If they can prove they have conquered their fears, they pass on to the next phase of existence. If not, their soul is sent back to Earth.
Sam: [with EMF meter] It's going crazy. Some kind of ghost maybe?

Dean: With a license? A license to kill!

In the James Bond books and movies, the "00" in "007" indicates that Bond has a "licence to kill." This is a tag line through the series, and the name of both a book and a movie."
Faran Tahir, who plays Osiris, got his first speaking role on the series Midnight Caller. This was the first series on which Bob Singer (director of this episode), Jim Michaels and Phil Sgriccia worked together (Source).
Sam: It could be Christine-like.
Christine was a 1983 horror film about a sentient automobile named "Christine," adapted from the novel by Stephen King.
Dean: So what, he causes so much misery that some dog goes Cujo on him from beyond the grave?
Bob Singer, who directed this episode, was a producer on the movie Cujo.
This may be a double reference to Stephen King - Misery and Cujo were the names of two of his novels. A third novel by Stephen King, Christine, was also referenced in the episode.
Dean: That sounds right - get vengeance on the guy that Michael Vick'ed you.
Michael Vick is an NFL quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles who was convicted on charges related to dog-fighting.
Osiris: Quit squirming, Mr. Winchester. They're Houdini-proof.
Harry Houdini was a famous magician and escape artist.
Dean: I'd rather talk about your Bukowski-schtick at the bar.
Charles Bukowski was an American writer known for being a barfly.
Dean previously mentioned Bukowski in 5.22 Swan Song.
Gods from other religions previously appeared as adversaries to Sam and Dean in 5.19 Hammer of the Gods. However, Osiris was not one of the gods to appear in that episode. See the Deities category for a complete guide to all the gods that have appeared.
Sam: Objection!

Osiris: Grounds?
Sam: Witnesses being called without prior notice.
Dean: Good one!
Sam: I saw it on The Good Wife.

The Good Wife is a legal drama on CBS that started airing in 2009.
Dean: Enough Ally McBeal.
Ally McBeal was a 1990s legal comedy-drama by David E Kelley.
The ram's horn used for Jewish religious purposes is called a shofar. It is used at Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. This ties into the theme of the episode about the victims who carry their guilt versus Sam feeling he has atoned for his actions and now doesn't feel guilty. In 2011, Yom Kippur was on Oct 7–8, several days before the episode aired; in 2012, Yom Kippur is on September 25–26, several weeks before the events of the episode.
Sam: Where are we going to find a ram's horn in Dearborn?
There is a South–Eastern Michigan chain restaurant called "Ram's Horn." It has 3 locations in Dearborn & Dearborn Heights as well as several other locations in the greater Metro–Detroit area.
Dean's line "I didn't want to do it alone" recalls this exchange in the 1.01 Pilot:
Dean: I can’t do this alone.
Sam: Yes, you can.
Dean: Yeah, well... I don’t want to.
When Osiris dies, his glowing eyes recall those of the Goa'uld from the TV series Stargate SG-1 . The Goa'uld were an alien race who masqueraded on Earth and the universe as gods.
Trivia tweeted by EP Jim Michaels during the episode:
  • Two different highly trained attack dogs were used.
  • the farm where the barn is belongs to one of the Supernatural Dolly grips Steve Gilmour.
  • Some of the Egyptian statues are now on the front lawn of location manager Russ "The Movie God" Hamilton's home for Halloween!
  • The explosion in 5.10 Abandon All Hope... "went way too large and we had to rebuild part of a backlot for almost $20,000..."

Minutiae

Jim Michaels was a producer on Pee-Wee's Playhouse.
The first victim Matthew Hammond had a number of deer related items in his apartment including a postcard, a drawing on his pin board, and a plaque on the wall. Unfortunately no Deer's Head was spotted.
There is a rainbow sticker on the door of Jane's the Florist, suggesting that Sam's suggestion "you go hit on Jane" was likely to have been unsuccessful if Dean did.
Christopher Fisher, when he's trying to escape the spectral German Shepherd, runs past McOwen's Irish Pub, which featured in 6.14 Mannequin 3: The Reckoning. It was the bar that Isabel Brown and her coworkers at the factory frequented.

Sides, Scripts & Transcripts

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