8.03 Heartache

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Title Heartache
Episode # Season 8, Episode 3
First aired October 17, 2012
Directed by Jensen Ackles
Written by Brad Buckner
Eugenie Ross-Leming
On IMDB Heartache
Outline Sam and Dean investigate a string of unusual murders where the suspects all received organs from the same donor.
Monster Humans
Cacao
Timeline One week since 8.02 What's Up, Tiger Mommy?
Location(s) Minneapolis, Minnesota
Ames, Iowa
Boulder, Colorado
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Synopsis

While Sam shops for produce at a farmer's market, Dean reads news stories on his cell phone. Two people in Minneapolis, Minnesota, have had their hearts ripped out six months apart, and Dean thinks it must be a ritual. He wants to investigate, but Sam thinks they need to focus on finding Kevin. Dean says that because they've gotten nowhere in the last week, they should take this case now.

In Minneapolis, the police tell them that their only lead in the most recent murder came from the security cameras in the park, which showed the murder victim jogging and another jogger, Paul Hayes, passing him. They investigated Paul, but didn't believe he was guilty of anything. Sam and Dean go to question Paul themselves, and Paul reiterates that he didn't speak to or know the man he ran past. Dean asks him how he managed to outrun the younger, more athletic victim, and Paul tells them that he had a health scare a year ago and has since starting exercising and taking better care of his body.

Later, as they go over their notes in a cafe, Dean finds a news story online. Two days after the jogger's murder in Minneapolis, while Paul was being questioned by the police, a pizza delivery man's heart was ripped out in Ames, Iowa. The suspect is a police officer named Arthur Swenson. When Dean checks the news from six months ago, he finds another victim in Ames, two days after the first Minneapolis murder. Dean seems surprised that Sam missed the connection.

At the Story County Police Department in Ames, Sam and Dean learn that Arthur was found covered in blood and crying by his victim's heartless body. Also, although a likely suspect, he could not have committed the murder in Minneapolis because he was testifying in court. They try to question Arthur, but he is unresponsive and just repeats a phrase over and over in a strange, sibilant language. Dean notes that Arthur's eyes are mismatched, one blue and one brown, and then tests him for demonic possession by pouring holy water on his arm. He doesn't react.

Back at their motel room, Dean remembers that he has a translation app on his cell phone and asks Sam to play back the recording he made of Arthur's mumbling. It returns the result "language unknown." Then Sam gets a phone call about Arthur, who ripped off a piece of his bed frame and used it to gouge out one of his eyes. Dean goes to question his doctor, who tells him that the eye he removed was one he got from an organ donor a year ago. Dean asks the doctor to trace the donated eye back to its donor.

The next morning, Sam tells Dean that he looked into Paul's medical history. Like Arthur, Paul received a transplant a year ago: his kidney. Sam also emailed an audio file of Arthur's mumbling to Professor Morrison because he thinks he might have been speaking in a dead language. Dean is happy that Sam is getting more involved in the case, and tells him that they need to head to Boulder, Colorado, the next place that someone's heart was ripped out six months ago.

On the road to Boulder, Dean tells Sam that the last year has given him a new perspective and that he knows where he belongs: driving down crazy street with Sam next him. Sam says that maybe Dean would be better off alone, not having to explain himself to anyone, and Dean gets annoyed by the brushoff. Sam tells Dean to consider that they may want different things and that he wants his time to count for something. Dean doesn't understand why hunting doesn't count. Their argument is interrupted by a phone call from the doctor in Ames, who confirms for Dean that Arthur's eye and Paul's kidney both came from the same person. In fact, the donor was all-pro quarterback Brick Holmes, who died in a car crash. His organs went to six other people, none of whom live in Boulder, but Dean still thinks they should head there because Brick lived near the city.

Meanwhile in Boulder, a woman named Randa exits the backdoor of a strip club. A man is in the alley, and he compliments her on her performance. She lures him around a corner and then rips out his heart. Later, she performs a ritual in which she repeats a phrase in a strange language and then bites into the heart. A dark power rises up around her, and her own heart glows red in her chest. When she opens her eyes, they also glow with a red light.

Sam and Dean go to question Brick's mother, Eleanor Holmes, but she is unhelpful and seems reluctant to talk to them. They're leaving when Dean sees on his phone that, like he predicted, someone's heart was just ripped out in Boulder. Once they're gone, Eleanor is surprised by Randa, who came in the back door to avoid them. Randa reminds Eleanor to be careful what she says so that she can protect Brick. Brick's heart gave Randa new life and inspired her to move to Boulder, where she can watch over Eleanor like Brick did.

Sam hears back from Professor Morrison and reports to Dean that the language Arthur was speaking was ancient Mayan. He was repeating the phrase "The divine god Cacao is born." Cacao was the most powerful Mayan god, the god of maize. Dean is on the computer, and he tells Sam that according to the timeline, someone in Phoenix will be the next victim. The organ recipient who lives in Phoenix, Jimmy Tang, has been missing for days. He also notices an email to Sam from a university, answering questions about admissions. He asks Sam if he's serious about quitting hunting, and Sam answers that he's just looking at his options before changing the subject.

That night, Dean and Sam break into the Holmes house and search the master bedroom. They find two closets: one with Brick's clothes and one with Eleanor's. Dean implies that they may have been sharing the bedroom, and Sam is disgusted. In Brick's closet, Dean finds hair dye and, behind some clothes, a door to a hidden room. Inside, they discover a treasure trove of old athletic equipment, ranging from football and baseball gear to kendo and archery equipment. Sam conjectures that Brick collected it because he respected all forms of athleticism. Then Dean finds a box of old letters, all addressed to Betsy and signed the same way, "Me." They seem to span an impossible amount of time and cover a wide range of subjects: the writer boxed Sugar Ray Robinson and played the Red Sox and raced Alain Prost. The newest looking letter starts, "So tired of it all."

Back at their motel room, Sam researches the names of four men whose sports trophies were in Brick's hidden room. He brings up their pictures, the oldest of which is a boxer named Kelly Duran from October 19, 1937, and finds a striking physical similarity between them. It seems that Brick was just the most recent incarnation of a man who has been alive and playing competitive sports for at least 70 years. Dean guesses that it goes back much farther than that: Mayans were big fans of sports, and 900 years ago their athletes would make sacrifices to their gods by killing a person, pulling out his heart, and eating it. Sam points out that those athletes didn't live forever, but Dean thinks that Brick must have made a deal with the Mayan god Cacao so that he could continue living and competing in sports as long as he continued to make sacrifices to him. If that's true, then Sam thinks that the spell may have lived on in Brick's body and affected the people who received his organs. It may even be compelling them to perform the ritual. He takes another look at some news stories about Kelly and notices something else: Kelly's wife Betsy looks like a younger Eleanor Holmes.

Sam and Dean confront Eleanor. She admits that she is Betsy, and that Brick was a Mayan athlete from almost 1000 years ago. She found out because though she started to age, he did not. They were deeply in love, so she overlooked the sacrifices he made twice a year, and went into hiding with him every 10 years so that he could reemerge as someone else. But Brick also changed, and he couldn't continue living knowing that his wife was getting older and at the end of her days, so he ended his life by driving off a bridge. Eleanor had no idea that Brick's organs were compelling people to kill, but she thinks now that if they can stop Brick's beating heart, the spell will end.

On Eleanor's information, they head to 'The Bunny Hole' to find Randa, who has Brick's heart. She's not alone, though, and Paul Hayes and Jimmy Tang use their super strength to knock Sam out and subdue Dean. Randa explains to Dean that she was a shy, weak person before her heart transplant, but now she's a warrior, and she loves sacrificing to Cacao. She leans over him and starts to pull out his heart slowly, but Sam wakes up and breaks a bottle over Paul's head. Dean uses the distraction to grab his knife and stab Randa in the heart, killing her. Her death echoes through Paul and Jimmy, killing them as well.

After the hunt, Dean is on a high, but Sam quickly derails his good mood. He tells Dean that he's never gotten the same satisfaction as he has from hunting, and after they find Kevin and the tablet, he's done. He liked having a normal life. Dean dismisses him, and Sam sits next to him silently in the Impala, remembering a picnic in the park that Amelia surprised him with on his birthday.

Characters

Definitions

Music

  • "Good Love Gone Bad" by Jamie Dunlap & Scott Nickoley
(playing from inside the strip club as Randa kills a man in the alley)

Quotes

Dean: Two hearts ganked, same city, six months apart. I mean, that's got to be a ritual, man. Or at least some sort of a heart-sucking, possessed, satanic, crack-whore bat.
Dean: Uh, we just spent a week chasing our asses trying to lock Kevin down, okay? And look at us. We're – where the hell are we?

Sam: Farmer's market. Organic. What? I had a year off. I took the time to enjoy the good things.

Dean: While avoiding doing what we actually do.
Dean:If they are words. Sounds like babble to me. Wait a second.

Sam: What?
Dean: I bought a translation app.

Sam: You bought an app.
Dean: I know where I am at my best. And that is right here, driving down crazy street, next to you.

Sam: Makes sense.
Dean: Yes it does.
Sam: Or maybe you don't need me. Maybe you're at your best hacking and slicing your way through all the world's crap alone. Not having to explain yourself to anybody.

Dean: Yeah, that makes sense. Seeing as I have so many other brothers I can talk to about this stuff.
Eleanor: In that time, Brick himself had changed - inside. He wasn't just the warrior whose only reason for living was combat. We were deeply, deeply in love.
Sam: Dean, this is really weird.

Dean: What do you got?
Sam: I don't know. Is this Eleanor's closet?
Dean: Why would his mother's closet be in here? Are you sure?
Sam: Check this out. This is what she was wearing today when we talked to her.
Dean: Maybe she moved into Brick's room after he died. Or...
[Dean looks at the bed]

Sam: Oh. Thanks, Dean. Now that image is permanently etched into my retinas.
Dean: The Maya were all about war and torture and conquest... and sports. It says, "Their athletes were treated like kings.” The Mayan jocks made sacrifices to Cacao by – ready for this? – killing a victim, pulling out his heart, and eating it. They believed the rituals gave them super-charged power over their opponents.
Eleanor Holmes: Every ten years or so, he would, uh, re-emerge with a new look, a new name. And me, I was the wife, and I was the woman in hiding, and then, when I got into my forties, I became Brick's mother. Eleanor. I am so tired. You can't imagine the burden of it all. I think even Brick was through. He could see the end of my days were at hand, and... He had lived centuries all alone, but I don't think he could bear the thought of life without me. That's why he drove off that bridge. You must think I'm a monster.
Sam: Dean, listen, when this is over – when we close up shop on Kevin and the tablet – I'm done. I mean that.

Dean: No, you don't.
Sam: Dean, the year that I took off, I had something I've never had. A normal life. I mean, I got to see what that felt like. I want that. I had that.

Dean: I think that's just how you feel right now.
Amelia: Happy birthday!

Sam: What is this?

Amelia: You've never seen a birthday cake before? Sit. Eat.

Trivia & References

Sam uses the alias Detective Sambora, after the lead guitarist Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi.
Randa: You can't imagine who I was before. This shy, awkward little thing from Georgia with a heart condition. Then I had the surgery. I became freaking Xena, Warrior Princess. I couldn't dissect a frog in high school. But sacrificing to Cacao? Better than sex. So, if I go real slow and take my time and enjoy this, I can actually show you your own beating heart before you die.
Xena was the eponymous star of the 1990s TV show Xena: Warrior Princess.
It is appropriate that Randa is a stripper because the Mayan god of maize, jade and cacao was also the patron of dancing.

Minutiae

This is the third episode Jensen has directed. He also directed 6.04 Weekend at Bobby's and 7.03 The Girl Next Door. It was shot before the two previous episodes in order to allow Jensen time for preparation. The episode started shooting on 9th July, 2012. For more information see Jensen Directing.
This is the second episode of Supernatural Alan Ackles has been in. He was the voice of the newscaster in 6.04 Weekend at Bobby's. Jensen's mother Donna Ackles also appeared as an extra in the episode pic here. Jensen's sister Mackenzie has also appeared in 2 episodes - 2.03 Bloodlust and 7.06 Slash Fiction.
When Sam and Dean find Brick Holmes secret trophy room, Sam notes he has a cricket "mallet." The correct term is cricket bat.
The strip club - called "The Bunny Hole" is actually a real strip club called The Paramount located in new Westminster, Vancouver.
The scene where Arthur carves out his eye was filmed, but deemed too gory for network TV.
Sam remembers a birthday picnic with Amelia. His birthday is on May 2. It is not clear what year this would be. In the show, a year in time went by between seasons 5 and 6, yet the show didn't move a year forward in "real time". Likewise it appears that while there was another year that passed between seasons 6 and 7, it still appears to be 2012 (although this is unconfirmed). Whatever, considering skipped years and time in Hell, it's pretty hard to work out how many candles you'd put on a Winchester birthday cake.

Sides, Scripts & Transcripts

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