Supernatural: Episode 4.17 “It’s a Terrible Life” Recap

  • Mar 26, 2009
  • Buddy TV

THEN: Dean cried when he learned he was responsible for breaking the first Seal.  Sam killed Alastair thanks to drinking some of Ruby’s demon blood.  Anna killed Uriel and helped convince Castiel it was time to go rogue.

NOW: Dean wakes up, but this is not the Dean we know and love. He’s in a nice suit, drinks a soy latte, and drives off in his Prius while listening to NPR. He works in an office where his nameplate says Dean Smith. He eats salads and talks about diet plans and his love of Project Runway. The saddest part is that I could actually envision myself being friends with this Dean.

Supernatural: Episode 4.17 "It's a Terrible Life" Recap

At the end of the day, he takes off and bumps into Sam in the elevator. Sam stares at Dean for a long time and asks if they know each other. Dean thinks this strange tall dude is flirting with him and he wants no part of it.

The next day, we see that Sam is actually Sam Wesson, a tech support guy in the office. Smith and Wesson, that’s pretty funny. Sam plays with a vampire bobblehead while fending off the creepiness of Ian, a co-worker who wants to sleep with a GMILF. If you don’t know what that is, you’re better off. Apparently Sam has freaky dreams about saving a grim reaper named Tessa. Ian dismisses him before getting an e-mail telling him to report to HR.

Sam and Dean bump into each other in the elevator once again, and after straightening out the fact that neither of them is into any gay stuff, Sam asks Dean if he believes in ghosts or vampires. Sam talks about his weird dreams and Dean tells him that he overshares.

Paul, another guy in tech support who recently came back from human resources, loses all his data on his computer and freaks out. He spends the whole night trying to recover it, but it doesn’t work. That night he takes a plastic fork, shoves it into the microwave and sticks his head in it, zapping his brains out.

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The next day Ian is called up to Dean’s office because he accidentally filled out a wrong form. Dean thinks it’s no big deal, but Ian starts crying and going crazy. He runs into the bathroom and Dean chases after him. All the faucets turn on and Ian finally snaps, stabbing himself in the neck with a pencil. Dean is confused, even moreso when he notices a ghost in the mirror.

After some reflection, Dean calls Sam into his office, wanting to talk about ghosts. Sam thinks that maybe these death are “not natural,” beautifully skirting around the actual name of the show. Dean isn’t sure, but Sam says he’s been dreaming about ghosts, and now they’re real. Dean wonders if Sam is some kind of psychic with visions, but Sam thinks that would be nuts.

Sam reveals that he broke into the two dead men’s e-mails and found out they were both sent a message to report to HR in room 1444, even though HR is actually on the seventh floor. They go to the room and when they hear some commotion. Sam kicks the door in and two go to work. The old man ghost attacks them, but Dean hits it with a wrench and it vanishes.

That night Dean takes Sam back to his apartment to talk about their exciting night of ghost fighting. Dean doesn’t have any beer and he makes references to Jet Li and Shirley MacLaine. Dean suggests they do what he does best: research. He also calls Sam “Sammy.”

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Dean’s research leads him to the Ghostfacers website, which he calls “genius.” They watch a Ghostfacers training video on how to fight ghosts. The first step is to know their enemy, so they find out the ghost was the original founder of the company they work at. Dean hypothesizes that the ghost returns at times of great economic distress, like during the Great Depression or now.

The second part of the Ghostfacers video tells them to kill the ghost. They teach Sam and Dean about salt and iron. They also reveal that “those useless douchebags” the Winchesters taught them that putting rock salt in a shot gun is a great weapon. However, the Ghostfacers are clear to point out that in spite of this good advice, “the Winchesters still suck ass.”

Finally, the Ghostfacers reveal that they must burn the remains of the ghost, including every possible fiber of DNA. Once again, they call the Winchesters “douchenozzles.” OK, that was really funny, but I’m starting to think the Supernatural writing staff has a very unhealthy relationship with the term “douchebag.”

Armed with this knowledge, Sam and Dean head back to the office and split up. Sam is stuck in an elevator with a security guard. The guard forces the doors open and crawls out. He comes back to reach for Sam, but just then the elevator slams down and cuts him in half. Blood and guts squirt all over a freaked out Sam. In an episode with a head in a microwave and a pencil in the neck, that could be the grossest thing of them all.

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Dean discovers on of the ghost’s old gloves, believing there might be some hair in there. Sam and Dean meet up and find it, but then the ghost returns to kick their butts. Just as the ghost closes in on Dean, Sam burns the glove and kills the ghost.


After their victory, Sam tries to convince Dean that this is what they’re supposed to be doing. Dean questions how they would earn enough money to drive around the country, staying in motels and eating at diners. That might be the life for Sam, but Dean doesn’t think it’s for him.

The next day at work, Sam can’t take all the phone calls so he takes an iron bar and beats his phone to death. He quits. Dean’s his boss walks into his office and offers him a huge bonus. However, hearing about the monotony of the corporate life after an exciting evening of ghost killing, he tells his boss that he’s quitting.

After hearing that Dean wants to go back to work, his boss is relieved and touches Dean’s forehead. The real Dean is back, and he’s starving. The boss is actually an angel named Zachariah, Castiel’s boss, who put Dean in this place to teach him a lesson about how he is always destined to be a hunter. Now Zachariah thinks Dean is ready for the fight ahead.

That’s an interesting twist, and one I certainly didn’t see coming. Like many others, I was predicting it to be the Trickster.

Next week on Supernatural: The brothers discover a book series called Supernatural, about their lives. In less meta news, Ruby offers Sam the opportunity to end Lilith once and for all.

(Image courtesy of the CW)

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