After eleven seasons, something possessed me (see what I did there) to start watching Supernatural from the beginning. If you are a fan of the series, feel free to go back and re-watch it with me. Please do not be a troll and post spoilers for future episodes in the comments section. If you have been wanting to start Supernatural, then I encourage you to watch with me. Spoilers for the series as I go.
This episode had a thought-provoking concept that I wish they would have dived into further. “Of all the things we hunted, how many existed just ‘cause people believed in them?” Sam asks Dean at the end of it all.
In Richardson, TX (the birthplace of Jensen Ackles and also a city I used to live in before I moved to Dallas proper) a group of kids, led by Craig (Shane Meier), take a tour of a house supposedly haunted by a man named Mordechai. Like all rundown places, the house is super creepy looking with a few demonic looking symbols painted on the walls and floors. Wandering around the house, the group of kids find the dead body of a young woman hanging from the rafters. When they get the police and return to the house, the body is gone.
A few months later and the legend of Mordechai has spread on the internet with the help two wannabe hunters, Spangler (Travis Wester) and Zeddmore (A.J. Buckley), and their site hellhoundslair.com. Mordechai was a farmer in the 1930’s who “went off the deep end” after his crops failed and couldn’t afford to feed his family. To keep his wife and daughters from starving to death, he hung them from the rafters of the house before hanging himself. Now, any women who enters the house is hung by the trapped spirit of Mordechai.
Dean and Sam investigate the house and Mordechai, but the original owner’s real story doesn’t match with the legend spreading around the internet leaving them to believe Spangler and Zeddmore (who ya gonna call?) fabricated the bogus legend going to make themselves internet celebrities. Meeting the two imitation hunters only convinced the Winchesters it is all a hoax. The brothers decide to find some good food and brews for the night and head out the next day. Since Richardson is a neighbor of Dallas (and a fairly major city all on its own, not some back woods Texas town as portrayed in the show), they would have plenty of food and bars to choose from. Hit me up in the comments section if you would like to know of a few places to visit in Richardson.
That evening, a young woman goes into the house on a dare. While looking around for evidence to bring back to her friends, Mordechai grabs her and hangs her just as the legend says. Dean and Sam decide maybe something bad is in the house and they need to investigate further. When they come face to face with the apparition of Mordechai in the house that evening, rock salt does nothing to him, he has slit wrists, and tries to kill the brothers with an axe. Running out of the house to escape the malevolent spirit, the brothers once again run into Spangler and Zeddmore who get Mordechai on film before he disappears. They post the video on their site, making the legend (and the two wannabes) even more famous.
But why did Mordechai attack the brothers? According to the legend, he only attacks and hangs women. He didn’t slit his wrists either. Going back to website, someone else posted a different version of the Mordechai legend with him being an axe murderer who killed himself by cutting his wrists. Looking back at the photos of the house, Sam spots a symbol on the wall that is a Tibetan symbol for a Tulpa, an area of mysticism held by monks who believed in a golem so much, it came to life right there in their temple.
Sam thinks someone painted that symbol on the wall and the popularity of the site is making Mordechai real. People making changes to the legend renders the spirit impossible to kill. Dean identifies one of the symbols that bothered him because he couldn’t place it. It is the symbol Blue Oyster Cult uses on their albums. The brothers go back and question Craig (who works in a record store) and he confesses he and his cousin found the rundown, abandoned house and decided to make up a ghost story as an elaborate prank to pull on his friends. His cousin even pretended to be the corpse found in the house initially.
The brothers attempt to manipulate Zeddmore and Spangler to create a weakness for Mordechai on their site so people will believe in it allowing Dean and Sam to kill the spirit before anyone else gets hurt. But the server to the site crashes before anyone else can propagate the new part of the legend. Dean is forced to burn the house down since the spirit can’t leave the house. “Mordechai can’t haunt a house if there’s not house to haunt” he reasons. “What if the legend changes again?” wonders Sam just before he asks the thought-provoking question about the power of belief.
What could have been a boring typical haunted house episode is made so much more interesting with that one question. What if these spirits and demons feed off of our belief in their existence and so they are able to exist? A concept I wish the show would have explored further instead of concentrating for so long on the legend of Mordechai.
With it being an election year, ideology is something that has been on my mind quite a bit lately. Right now we live in a culture of “You don’t follow my beliefs, so you are wrong.” We are connected to this huge database of information, but many of us use it to just search out “facts” that support our opinion, never to challenge what we believe. Showing someone cold hard facts is no longer a form of debate because the internet is full of conflicting ideas people accept as truths. We give politicians so much power they do not need or deserve because of ideologies.
Okay enough with the heavy.
What was really entertaining about the episode was the prank war. Like the concepts of Tulpa, it took a bit of a back seat to destroying Mordechai, but it was fun to see the brothers one up each other. After such a heavy family reunion in the last episode, seeing the two men act like brothers added a deeper level to the relationship. Even if it was something as simple as the two occasionally have prank wars. It connects us to them as they continue to develop their bond.
Even though Sam stated in “Shadow” he is going back to his old life once the demon is gone, it is pretty obvious now that he doesn’t do that. Eventually the storyline of the demon who killed Mary and Jessica has to come to an end (there is no way it could be stretched over 11 seasons with a 12th coming soon), and Sam stays. Seeing their relationship build helps pave the way for Sam to remain with Dean and keep hunting long after he has to opportunity to go back to normal.
What did you think of “Hell House”? Were you interested in Sam’s thoughts on the powers of belief? Did you like the prank war? Do you ask yourself “WWBD?” (because I do). Let me know in the comments section below and please do not post spoilers for future episode.