Season 5 Episode 11

Sam, Interrupted

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Jan 21, 2010 on The CW
out of 10
User Rating
700 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

The brothers must go undercover as patients at a mental hospital to get at a monster, but soon discover they have some mental issues of their own to deal with.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Coming hot on the heels of a game-changing juggernaut like 'Abandon All Hope...', in which all manner of colossal events took place, including the summary execution of a few well-loved characters, 'Sam, Interrupted' feels a little too lightweight.moreless

    Coming hot on the heels of a game-changing juggernaut like 'Abandon All Hope...', in which all manner of colossal events took place, including the summary execution of a few well-loved characters, 'Sam, Interrupted' feels a little too lightweight. Inevitably, a stand alone was always going to pale in comparison to a mythology-heavy piece so Dabb and Loflin really needed to up their game with this one and sadly, it seems that they decided to rest on their laurels instead.

    The central concept - that Sam and Dean infiltrate a psych ward by telling everyone the truth about their lives - is a nice enough idea but it feels rather reminiscent of season two's 'Fulsom Prison Blues', especially given that, again, we have a guy on the inside providing the brothers with the tip-off. The villain, meanwhile, is moderately intriguing, yes, but there's nothing that sets it apart from the myriad other duplicitous beasties in the show's history. The wraith feels like just another throwaway bad guy, wrapped up in a fairly bog-standard narrative. The teleology certainly doesn't challenge: Sam and Dean arrive, ingratiate themselves, experience the dastardly goings-on, work everything out, target the wrong individual, realise who the right one is, do a bit of killing and then have an emotional realisation before bedtime. Ordinarily, this formula is sugar-coated with intriguing minutiae, sparkling dialogue or a challenging representational format but sadly, there's little of any of these here. Instead, we have a fairly perfunctory reveal (it's quite clear that the psychiatrist is not the perpetrator so the list of candidates is rather short) and similar denouement as the wraith's downfall effectively proves to be that she talks too much... just like every other rubbish villain in history.

    Of course, 'Sam, Interrupted' isn't bad per se, it's just a little underwhelming. For an episode whose moniker contains the name of one of the central cast, it seems rather lacking in exploration of his psychological ennui. If this is supposed to be a treatise on Sam's inherent rage, his penchant to lash out, then it doesn't exactly do a very good job. The issue is addressed, along with Dean's avoidance tendencies, but no resolution is forthcoming. This would be fine, in itself, if the episode did a little more with the concept other than bring it up simply because of the perceived importance of character conflict. It feels like psychoanalysis for psychoanalysis's sake and, as a result, it struggles to resonate with the viewer. This impacts somewhat on the quality of the episode. Sure, there are a smattering of nice scenes - most notably the comedic elements as Sam is forced into a drugged state and the pair have to endure the suppositories - and the plot maintains a fairly steady level of momentum, but the abrupt and seemingly unnecessary nature of the introspective elements detracts somewhat from these positives.

    'Sam, Interrupted' is one of the weakest Supernatural episodes in some time. It's largely a victim of its own chronological positioning, but the episode also feels more like a surface-scratching season one hour than a component of the complex, involved year five. It isn't bad, as such, and it certainly contains enough good to elevate the show above most other programmes on TV, but Dabb and Loflin are capable of so much more.moreless
  • I can't believe this episode is rated so low! I thought it was awesome!

    I guess some people may just be annoyed by the avoidance of the Lucifer/Michael/Armageddon story arc, but I thought this episode was a funny, compelling exploration of Dean and Sam's respective psyches. Also, I was in suspense the whole time, never figuring out who the wraith was until it was revealed at the end. I loved how the boys had to battle with their own hallucinations in order to vanquish the wraith. Lastly, since it was another hunter that requested their help, it seemed more plausible to me that the boys would take a detour from their primary objective than if this had just been another random job. Overall, an excellent episode that I think deserves a higher rating!moreless
  • Quite the jump from the last episode. And not a very good one at that.

    I am torn on this episode. I really wanted to like it, and did, for the most part. As a stand-alone episode it was great, the storyline was nice, it was hilariously entertaining at times and although predictable, the twist made for a nice little ending. But as a follow-up to the awesomeness that is episode 10 of this season, it just fell flat. Now, I've come to terms with the whole "Alright, we've had a very dramatic, angsty episode, now we better turn down the drama and crank up the laughs", that the Supernatural writers seem to be so fond of, but this just did not work for me. The friggin' APOCALYPSE does not wait for the boys to muck about in a mental hospital. And, personally, I would've wanted to see some more of the aftermath of episode 10. So as a whole, this episode didn't do it for me. We've reached a point in the series where the main storyline is too important to just be taken off the poster for a few episodes. Just saying.moreless
  • The Wraith.

    The brothers have lost it apparently. The brothers admit themselves to a mental hospital for a case, they find out they are dealing with a Wraith. The unexpected part is that they end up going crazy, and it makes them think that they are going insane because of the stress. The fact that the brothers accomplished this mission with Martin, while they were going insane was crazy. The suspect kept you guessing till the end. Was it him? Was it her? You didn't know until the very end, which is what I love about this show. A great comeback episode, that took a break from the Apocalypse for a while.moreless
  • Too many funny moments to count! This episode explores Sam and Dean's characters in an entertaining and in depth way that we haven't quite seen yet.

    From Sam bopping Dean on the nose and telling him he loves him, to the doctor observing that Dean and Sam's relationship is dangerously co-dependant, to Sam lashing out and fighting the air, to the brothers getting admitted to an insane asylum just by telling the doctor what they've been up to lately, this episode is entertaining from start to finish. A great, old school Supernatural episode with good laughs and a simple hunt that still explores the brothers and their emotions. I loved it.

    Plus, anytime we get to see one of the characters (e.g Castiel, Sam) drunk or without their inhibitions (Dean in Yellow Fever), it's a treat.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Sam: I feel fine. A little depressed, I guess.
      Dr. Fuller: All right. Any idea why?
      Sam: Probably because I started the Apocalypse.
      Dr. Fuller: The Apocalypse?
      Sam: Yeah. That's right.
      Dr. Fuller: And you think you started it.
      Sam: Well yeah. I mean, I killed this demon-–Lilith-–and I accidentally freed Lucifer from Hell. So now he's topside, and we're trying to stop him.
      Dr. Fuller: Who is?
      Sam: Me-uh, him. And, uh, this one angel.
      Dr. Fuller: Oh, you mean like an angel on your shoulder?
      Sam: No no, his name's Castiel, he wears a trenchcoat.

    • Karla: What are you boys doing in here?
      (Dean pulls down his pants)
      Dean: Pudding!
      Karla: All right, 'cmon you two.
      Dean: Crazy works.

    • Dr. Fuller: You were referred to me by a Dr. Babar in Chicago.
      Dean: That's right.
      Dr. Fuller: Isn't there a children's book about an elephant named Babar?
      Dean: I don't know. I don't have any elephant books.

    • Dr. Cartwright: I'm Dr. Erica Cartwright. I've been assigned to your case.
      Dean: You're my shrink? Well, lucky me.
      Dr. Cartwright: And you're my paranoid schizophrenic with narcissistic personality disorder and religious psychosis. Lucky me.

    • Dr. Cartwright: Why you?
      Dean: Why me what?
      Dr. Cartwright: Why do you have to hunt monsters? Why not let someone else do it?
      Dean: I can't find anybody else that dumb.

    • Sam: You still crazy?
      Dean: Not any more than usual.

  • NOTES (1)

    • International Airdates:
      UK: April 14, 2010 on LIVING
      Portugal: June 14, 2010 on AXN
      Sweden: July 9, 2010 on Kanal 5
      Spain: November 1, 2010 on AXN
      Germany: February 7, 2011 on Sky Cinema Hits
      Czech Republic: September 16, 2011 on Prima COOL
      Finland: May 15, 2012 on Sub


    • Title:
      Referencing the 1993 memoir by Susanna Kaysen, who relates her experiences in a psychiatric hospital in the 1960s after being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. The title is a reference to the Vermeer painting Girl Interrupted at her Music. The story was also made into a 1999 movie starring Winona Ryder.

    • Dean: Okay, look, Nurse Ratched, let's get one thing straight.
      Referencing the 1962 novel One Flew over the Cookoo's Nest by Ken Kesey and subsequent movie adaptation in 1975. Nurse Ratched is the antagonist in the story, a hostile nurse who tries to intimidate and conquer the rebellious Randle McMurphy, a criminal feigning insanity in return for a lighter sentence at a psychiatric hospital. He and Ratched butt heads constantly throughout the novel and movie.

    • Dean: How was your Silkwood shower?
      Referencing the 1983 movie based on the life of Karen Silkwood, who died while investigating report of wrongdoing at a nuclear plant. A scene in the movie features being scrubbed down in an anti-contamination shower for suspected exposure to nuclear materials. The term "Silkwood shower" has since entered usage as any long drawn-out shower designed to remove accumulated filth and contamination.

    • Dean: Well, quid pro quo, Clarice.
      Referencing the novel by Thomas Harris and subsequent 1991 movie adaptation. In it, Dr. Hannibal Lector bargains with a young FBI agent, Clarice Starling, to provide her with information she needs on a serial killer at large. In return he has her confess her childhood secrets and feeds on her psychological pain.

    • Martin: Why do you think I checked myself into the Hotel California?
      Referencing the album released by The Eagles in 1976, as well as the title track. An allegory to hedonism, the song tells the tale of a man trapped in a luxury hotel. It's arguably best known for the lyrics, "you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave," which has been used in numerous TV shows and movies.