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Croatoan is the 9th episode and the mid-season finale of Season 2. It premiered on December 7th, 2006.


Dean Purgatory Blade.png.png There was something about being there... It felt pure.

This episode summary is an official CW press release. It may contain errors.

After Sam has a vision of Dean killing a young man who seems to be possessed by a demon, the two brothers head off to Oregon to search for answers. They come across a town infected by a deadly virus that drives a person to kill. Sam becomes infected by one of the locals and prepares for his deadly fate, but after nothing happens to him, Dean decides to come clean and reveal what John (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) whispered to him before he died.


Sam has a vision of Dean killing a man tied to a chair, leading them to River Grove, Oregon, where Sam recalls the story of the Roanoke Colony when he stumbles across the word "CROATOAN" carved into a street side telephone-power pole. He explains it to Dean- who only remembers SchoolHouse Rock, not school itself. They discover that all lines of communication - radio, phone, cell signal - has been cut off from the town.

Sam and Dean seek out the man in Sam's vision, whose family tells the boys that he's out on a fishing trip. When the brother's story and the father's story doesn't line up, Sam and Dean know something is wrong. They peer in through a window and see the man's mother tied to a chair. The brother willingly lets the father cut his arm, and lets the blood drip down to a scrape on the woman's arm. Sam and Dean kick the door down and shoot the father. The brother escapes through a window. Sam and Dean take the woman to the medical center. The townspeople appear to be controlled by some kind of "demonic virus". When Dean attempts to leave via road, he discovers a roadblock made up of 'infected' locals, who fire upon him.

Dean and Sam hole up in the local medical center, with the local doctor, a nurse and 'Sarge' (an ex-marine). The doctor studies the blood of an infected person, noting that there appears to be traces of sulfur in the blood, leading Sam to further suspect demonic intervention. The demon virus is transmitted via exchanging blood, but the sulfur does not manifest in the blood until four hours after infection. Sam speculates that it could be related to a theory in John's Journal, that Croatoan is the name of a demon associated with plague and pestilence, and calls what's going on "demonic germ warfare".

Duane Tanner, the man Sam saw in his vision and whose family Sam and Dean first encountered exhibiting signs of infection, turns up at the medical center, claiming to have been out of the town fishing and just returned. The medical center occupants suspect he might be infected, and they restrain him by tying him to a chair.

Recognizing the scene from his vision, Sam tries to convince Dean not to kill Duane, as they don't know yet whether he's infected with the demon virus or not. Dean locks Sam in a room to stop him from preventing the killing, but Dean is unable to follow through anyway.

Sam and Dean use medical supplies to build explosives, building an arsenal to help them escape the town, as the infected townspeople are milling about outside. The nurse of the medical center attacks Sam, deliberately cutting her hand and his chest to exchange blood and ostensibly infecting him with the demon virus. Dean kills the nurse. Believing Sam to be infected, The others want to kill Sam, Dean refuses to allow it. Sam even offers to do it himself and again Dean refuses. Sarge pulls his gun to kill Sam but is only stopped by Dean's threat of "You make a move on him, you'll be dead before you hit the ground." The remaining people in the medical center are scared Sam's infected, so Dean offers to  let them leave in the Impala. While he elects to stay with Sam, and seems to be on the cusp of sharing some innermost thought when the doctor returns with the news that the rest of the townsfolk have disappeared.

Five hours later, the doctor announces that there is no trace of the demon virus in Sam's blood either, therefore he wasn't infected. This leaves both Sam and Dean uneasy. The team in the medical center go their separate ways, Duane riding in Sarge's truck.

Duane asks Sarge to pull over because he "has to make a call", and draws out a goblet and knife. Slitting Sarge's throat, Duane catches the blood in the goblet. When he swirls, it starts whirlpooling, and Duane speaks into it as if he's communicating with someone (though we only hear one side of it), saying, "I don't think any more tests will be necessary... The Winchester boy, definitely immune as expected." Duane's eyes then turn black, indicating that he has been possessed the entire time.

Sam and Dean end up on the shore of a river, drinking beer and talking. Dean is on the cusp of revealing the big secret John told him In My Time of Dying when the episode ends.


Main Cast[]

Recurring Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

Featured Supernatural Beings[]


  • The Croatoan Virus would not be mentioned again until the Season 5 episode The End.
  • This episode is the second to involve Sam's immunity, the first Simon Said. This episode introduces the fact that Sam is immune to a demonic virus.
  • Azazel seemed to have released this virus as a test possibly to test Sam's body as a reference to what's to come in Season 5.


  • Antagonist: Azazel and Duane Tanner.
  • Once again, the CW's official summary for this episode does not cite actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan as a guest star.
  • Dr. Lee tells the brothers that the next town over is Sidewinder. A reference to the town of the same name used in The Shining where the Overlook hotel is located.
  • Dean introduces the brothers as US Marshals, using the names Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard. They are members of the band ZZ Top.
  • Nolan Gerard Funk (Jake) and Diego Klattenhoff (Duane) also played brothers in the Smallville Season 4 Episode, Krypto.
  • The props department of the show often use the number plates of cars to add to the story. When Dean tries to leave town he comes across a car with a license plate starting "WTF" as in "what the f..."
  • Jared Padalecki has said many times in interviews and at conventions that filming the scene where Sam tells Dean to leave him was especially hard. For some reason Padalecki got very emotional and had to make an effort to dial it back because the emotion didn't serve the scene.
  • Sarge tells Dean, "My neighbor, Mr. Rogers..." To which Dean replied, " You got a neighbor named Mr. Rogers?" He is referring to the beloved creator and host of the long-running children's TV show "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" (1968-2001).
  • It was never revealed what happened to the disappeared townspeople afterwards.


  • When Dean goes into the room to shoot Duane in the vision scene, he pulls the magazine from his gun. It has no ammunition in it. He fires the gun after cycling the action to load it which would not be possible without ammunition.
  • Mark Vargo is mostly referred to as "Sarge" in the episode despite Mark being a Marine, and "Sarge" is a term that Marines do not use. He is also called Master Sergeant by Dean even though his tattoo does not the discern the rank of Master Sergeant whatsoever.


Cultural References[]

Schoolhouse Rock! (1973) (TV Series)

  • The conversation between Sam and Dean:
    • Sam: Dean, did you pay any attention in history class? 
    • Dean: Yeah! Shots heard 'round the world, how bills become laws... 
    • Sam: That's not school, that's Schoolhouse Rock!

The Omega Man (1971)

  • Dean says he feels like Chuck Heston in The Omega Man.

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (1968) (TV Series)

  • There's a reference to Mister Rogers' Neighborhood:
    • Mark: My neighbor... Mr. Rogers, he—
    • Dean: You've got a neighbor named "Mr. Rogers"?
    • Mark: Not anymore.

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

  • When thinking about their situation, Dean remarks that "Night of the Living Dead didn't exactly end pretty".

The Stepford Wives (1975)

  • Dean says "That was creepy. A little too Stepford, right'?

The Shining (1980)

  • This town is 40 miles away from Sidewinder. The Overlook Hotel in The Shining is 40 miles away from a town of the same name.

The Thing (1982)

  • Parts of this episode's soundtrack are nearly identical to Ennio Morricone's in The Thing, a film about a virus that infects people and causes paranoia.


  • Sam: This is the dumbest thing you've ever done.
  • Dean: I don't know about that. Remember that waitress in Tampa?

  • Dean: Sam, we've still got some time.
  • Sarge: Time for what? Look, I understand he's your brother and I'm sorry. I am. But I got to take care of this. [prepares to shoot Sam]
  • Dean: I'm gonna say this one time, you make a move on him and you'll be dead before you hit the ground. You understand me? I mean, do I make myself clear?

  • Dean: Nobody's shooting my brother.
  • Duane: He's not gonna be your brother much longer. You said it yourself.
  • Dean: Nobody's shooting anyone.
  • Duane: You were gonna shoot me!
  • Dean: You don't shut your pie hole, I still might!

  • Sam: Roanoke? Lost colony? Ring a bell? Dean, did you pay any attention to history class?
  • Dean: Yeah. The shot heard 'round the world, how bills become laws....
  • Sam: That's not school; that's Schoolhouse Rock!
  • Dean: Whatever.

International Titles[]

  • Finnish: Vaarallinen virus (The Dangerous Virus)
  • Brasil: Croatoan
  • French: Croatoan
  • German: Croatoan
  • Polish: Croatoan
  • Hungarian: A vírus (The Virus)

External links[]