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It's a Terrible Life - Recap

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Sales and marketing director Dean Smith wakes up in the morning in his apartment. He grabs a cup of coffee, has a quick breakfast, and drives to where he works, the Sandover Bridge & Iron Company. Dean has a normal day, chatting with co-workers, comparing notes, and getting praised as an up-and-comer by his boss, Mr. Adler. As he gets in the elevator to leave for the day, Dean notices someone starring at him: a guy from Tech Support named Sam… Wesson. After a few minutes, Sam admits that Dean looks familiar but can’t place him, and Dean has no idea who he is.

Sam spends his days working at Sandover as a tech support technician. His best friend is Ian, who never shaves and refuses to wear the company uniform. As Sam and Ian go on break, they invite their co-worker Paul along, but he’s busy trying to resolve technical issues and is clearly stressed out. As they head out, Ian comments that HR called up Paul to the 14th floor. In the break room, Sam steals some of the company pencils for home, then asks if Sam had any more dreams. Sam reluctantly tells him that his last dream was of his saving a female Grim Reaper named Tessa. Ian figures Sam must have played D&D and laughs.

Later, Sam is dozing at his desk when he has a nightmare of fighting vampires side-by-side with a familiar face: Dean Smith. That night, he heads out and runs into Dean in the elevator again. Sam finally talks to Dean and asks if he believes in the supernatural. Dean thinks he’s nuts but is edgy when Sam asks if he’s also had dreams about vampires and ghosts. Dean hastily gets off the elevator as soon as he can.

The next day, Sam is busy at his desk and sketching the vampires and ghosts from his dreams. Ian comes over and says HR has called him up to the 14th floor. After he leaves, Sam checks on Paul, who is panicking because he lost all of his files. Paul is all but hysterical and keeps on trying to recover the files after everyone else goes home. He finally realizes the files are gone for good, then goes blank. Paul gets up and walks into the break room. He jams the microwave door sensor so it seems to be closed, then sticks his head in and turns it on.

The next morning, the EMTs take away Paul’s body as Dean watches. He begins to realize that something is wrong. He checks Paul’s HR record and discovers that he was due to retire in two weeks. Sam also knows about Paul’s retirement and figures that Paul wouldn’t have killed himself that close to retirement. He goes over to talk to Ian, who is now neatly shaved and wearing a company uniform. Ian’s attitude has also changed: he’s now dedicated to his work and doesn’t want Sam interrupting him. Dean calls Ian into his office to help him with tech support paperwork. Ian starts to panic the same way that Paul did as soon as he thinks he’s done something wrong. Dean tries to calm him down but Ian runs out of the room to the nearest bathroom. Dean goes after him but as he enters the room, the temperature drops and the faucets all start to pour out blood. He only watch in horror as Ian takes out one of his pencils and stabs himself in the neck. As Dean tries to help him and yells for help, he briefly catches a glimpse of an old man in a business suit in the mirror. When Dean turns around, the man is gone.

When the police question him, Dean doesn’t mention the old man or the temperature drop. Later, he calls Sam into his office. As they discuss how they ended up at Sandover, they realize that they’ve both been at the company for exactly three weeks. Sam wonders if Dean saw anything unusual, and Dean admits that he saw what he thought was a ghost. Sam tries to explain about his dreams but admits it’s pretty flimsy evidence. However, he has something more substantial: he’s hacked into Paul’s and Ian’s e-mail accounts and discovered they were both called up to HR and Room 1444. However, HR is on the 7th floor.

A Sandover employee is called up to Room 1444. There’s an old-fashioned door and no sign of anyone. Going inside, the employee finds a storage room with an old desk at one end. The door closes and locks behind him and he can’t get it open. The temperature drops and all of the unplugged computer monitors on the shelves come on by themselves. Sam and Dean arrive outside and hear the employee screaming. When they can’t get the door unlocked, Sam smoothly kicks the door down and they barge in. The ghost of the old man appears and advances on the employee, sparks flickering on his fingers. When Dean and Sam try to stop him, the ghost shoves them back. Dean gets an idea, grabs an iron wrench, and swings it through the ghost, causing it to disappear. Sam is impressed but Dean admits he had no idea what he was doing or why it worked.

Dean and Sam go back to Dean’s office and Sam admits he has a feeling that he doesn’t belong at the company and should be doing something else with his life. At a loss of what to do, the guys check the Internet and find the GhostFacers website. The two GhostFacers, Harry Spengler and Ed Zeddemore, have an instructional video on how to fight ghosts. Their first piece of advice: do the research. Dean and Sam go over the files and discover that the ghost they saw is P.T. Sandover, the founder of the company. Sandover lived for his work and died over a hundred years ago, and his office was on the 14th floor in 1444. Further research shows that similar suicides have occurred in the past during the beginning of the Great Depression. Dean and Sam figure that Sandover’s ghost appears during times of economic crisis and then entrances his employees, forcing them to work themselves until they die.

Dean and Sam go back to the GhostFacers web site again and bring up the instructional tape. The GhostFacers explain that hunters can use salt and iron against ghosts. They mentions two douche bags, the Winchester brothers, but have to admit the brothers came up with the tactic of using shotgun shells filled with rock salt. Finally, Ed and Harry explain that to destroy a ghost, a hunter has to burn all of the remains.

Sam and Dean discover that Sandover was cremated but figure that some small sample of Sandover must have survived. They go back to Room 1444 and start searching. However, a security guard finds Sam, while Dean hides behind the shelves. The security guard escorts Sam into the elevator but the car stops between floors as the temperature inside drops. The guard crawls out but Sam refuses to go out with him. When the guard leans in to help Sam, the elevator starts up, decapitating him and covering Sam in blood.

Dean has found a news article on Sandover and the bridge that he built, and the fact he has an exhibit on the top floor. Sam and Dean head up there and find a pair of Sandover’s gloves. They figure that some skin is stuck in the gloves and prepare to burn them. The ghost of Sandover arrives and attacks them. They try to hold it off using salt and iron pokers, but the ghost keeps reappearing until it gets the drop on them. It prepares to inflict its touch on Dean but Sam grabs the gloves and sets them on fire, destroying the ghost once and for all.

A triumphant Dean and Sam head back to Dean’s office and they both admit that they got off on the adrenaline rush. Sam suggests they quit their jobs and hunts ghosts full-time. Dean can’t see how anyone could get by living on the road, using stolen credit cards, and eating cheap diner food while living in motels. Sam says that in his dreams, the two of them fought monsters together and were as close as brothers. He begins to wonder if the ghost did something to them, but Dean insists that he remembers his entire life, including his family. Sam reveals that he remembers a girlfriend that he broke up with, but when he tried to call her he got an animal clinic. He asks when the last time was that Dean talked to his family. Dean refuses to answer and tells Sam to leave.

The next day, Sam has had enough. He grabs a poker and smashes his phone, then quits.

Dean’s boss, Adler, comes to see him and offers him a raise. Adler is confident that Dean is going places and wants to make sure he stays with the company. Dean considers what he’s saying… and then says he’s quitting. He insists that he’s something more then a company drone. Adler just chuckles and then touches Dean’s forehead. Dean remembers his real life as a Hunter.

“Adler” explains that he’s Zachariah, an angel of the Lord and Castiel’s boss. Dean snaps at him and Zachariah warns him to hold his tongue. He then explains that he decided to check on Dean and created the entire scenario as a test to show Dean that hunting is in his blood. Zachariah tells Dean that he has the chance to save the world, and the angel is confident that Dean will succeed. He asks Dean if he’s ready to be who he really is.

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Warning: Supernatural season 4 episode 17 guide may contain spoilers
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