Swap Meat is the 12th episode of Season 5. It aired on January 28th, 2010.
|There was something about being there... It felt pure.|
This episode summary is an official CW press release. It may contain errors.
DO NOT CHANGE!
Gary (guest star Colton James), a teenage nerd, conjures up a body-switching spell and changes bodies with Sam. Thrilled by his new handsome and built body, Gary (now Sam) investigates a case with Dean and takes advantage of his good looks and age by hitting on women and getting drunk. Meanwhile, Sam is stuck in Gary's teenage body, dealing with intrusive parents and high school.
Sam sits down at a bar and presents the bartender with unsolicited proof that he is 26 years old. The man is unimpressed, and fills his order for a banana daiquiri. Sam seems very happy to be there. A comely blond woman sitting near notices him and introduces herself as Crystal; Sam tells her his name is Gary. She tells him what a stunning-looking man he is, and as he checks himself out in the bar back mirror, he wholeheartedly agrees with her. Sam seems to have taken on a younger, nerdier demeanor along with his alias and responds to the female attention accordingly. Even so, Crystal continues to chat him up until he realizes, out loud, her thinly veiled intentions. He seems genuinely surprised and proudly declares that he "would love to have the sex" with her. As they rise to leave, the point of view shifts from their reflections in the bar back mirror to bar-side, and we see that Crystal has been communicating with a nerdy looking kid dressed in Sam's clothes.
Thirty-six hours earlier, Sam and Dean are in Housatonic, MA visiting their former babysitter Donna and her family. Donna shares with her daughter Katie that the boys' dad used to have to leave them with her for stretches of time, once for 2 weeks. She eventually came to know what their family business was, thanks to young Sammy, although she didn't believe him at first. The family has been experiencing strange occurrences in the house that started off as relatively minor, but Katie was recently attacked. Donna convinces Katie to raise her shirt and show the guys her abdomen where the words "Murderd Chylde" have been etched into her skin. Dean says it sounds like they're dealing with a poltergeist. Donna's husband enters with suitcases and Dean assures them that he and Sam will take care of the problem while they go on a little vacation.
Later, the boys go for lunch at Patriot Burger and discuss the case. Dean mentions that Donna looked good and seems to being holding up well despite the "Amityville thing" she's going through with her family. Sam accuses him of still having the hots for her. Dean denies it, but starts to ponder the notion of having a wife and "rugrats;" Sam coolly replies that the idea is no longer his thing. He is busy researching on his laptop and finds info of a local legend surrounding Donna's house. In the 1720s, it was owned by a man named Isaiah Pickett who supposedly hung a woman named Maggie Briggs in his backyard for being a witch. They surmise that it is probably Maggie's angry spirit inhabiting the house, but still don't see the significance of the message "Murderd Chylde" or know where she's buried. Sam decides that he will go check the town records. As Sam and Dean talk, the restaurant cashier stares at Sam from behind the counter.
That evening, Sam walks down the street as he tells Dean over the phone that he couldn't find proof that Maggie Briggs ever existed, much less where she's buried. He turns into a park as they decide to resume the investigation in the morning and he hangs up. He stops walking when he hears strange noises around him, and is suddenly pegged in the neck by a tranquilizer dart. He sways and then keels over, face first. He wakes up in a wooded area, dazed and confused and wearing a Patriot Burger uniform.
He starts to walk down the road and is stopped by a police officer who calls him Gary Frankle and tells him that his family is worried sick about him. Sam is confused as to whether he means Dean called him, but follows his suggestion to get in the car. The officer takes him to the Frankle residence, where a couple rush out of the house and the woman runs to hug him, thanking God that he's alright. When Sam tries to block her and asks who she is, the man angrily demands to know if he's drunk. Sam snaps back,"And who are you"? The woman sternly tells him to answer his father. Thoroughly confused, Sam catches his reflection in the cruiser window and sees that he's not himself. He is reasonably freaked out, and demands that someone tell him whose reflection it is.
Next, Sam appears to be standing in front of the mirror, flexing his muscles and audibly admiring himself. When the view pulls away from the mirror, it is actually Gary in Sam's body. Dean storms into the motel room, very annoyed that Sam hasn't been answering his phone for hours. Gary quickly tries to offset his annoyance by offering him a bacon cheeseburger and cheese fries that he picked up from Patriot Burger. Dean is still a little peeved but accepts and gets ready to eat, but Gary announces that have to leave because the maid came in and saw the guns on the bed and freaked out. He wants to know why he let the maid in. Gary offers a lame excuse and newly annoyed Dean says they'll leave right after he uses the bathroom. While he's occupied, Gary collects and disposes of all his cellphones, including in the ones in the Impala.
When Dean joins him in the car, Gary asks if he can drive, and they switch seats. As Gary gleefully revs the car and then finally puts it into gear, Dean warns him twice about it being in reverse before he slams the car into the dumpster behind them. Dean manages to keep his temper mostly in check, and tells him to shut up when he tries to apologize as they switch seats again. Dean squeals off into the night.
Back at the Frankle's, Sam struggles to work out what has happened. He leaves Dean a voicemail saying he thinks he's in the wrong body and could use some help. He searches Gary's room for any clues and finds evidence that he is a very intelligent, asthmatic, frustrated virgin who's involved in dark magic. He answers Mrs. Frankle's call to the breakfast table and finds that Mr. Frankle is still annoyed about Gary's behavior. He wants to know how getting drunk fits in the plan for him getting a full ride into M.I.T. and becoming an engineer. Sam reactively declares that he "could give a rat's ass" about the plan. The family's reaction reminds him too late that he's in Gary's body and that he just sassed his dad. He tries to recover, but rather clumsily starts trying to gather info about Gary, like has he been moody lately or shown any interest in the occult. Mrs. Frankle verifies Sam's hunch that he's fluent in Latin.
After he asks if they've noticed him with an old leather-bound book and if any neighbourhood pets have turned up missing, his exasperated father finally asks him if he's "smoking drugs." After breakfast, Sam is exiting the bathroom after finding out the hard way how Gary's body deals with his wheat gluten allergy and finds Gary's sister Sydney waiting to confront him. She wants to know why he would bring up "that creepy old book" at breakfast knowing he'd be grounded for a decade if their parents ever found it. Sam finds out from her that Gary keeps the book at school.
Dean and Gary are walking down the street discussing what needs to be done for the case. Dean says they'll have to spend all day on a "tombstone roll" since Sam couldn't find out where Maggie Briggs was buried. Gary knows about the local legend owing to his interest in witchcraft and tells Dean that the popular version is wrong. Isaiah Pickett didn't hang her in his backyard for being a witch, he murdered her after she became pregnant with their illegitimate child and buried her in the basement of the house. Dean realizes that it explains the scratches on Katie's abdomen. He wonders when Sam had time to discover all this, Gary claims it was last night. Dean is confused but impressed by his work, and they get in the car to go to Donna's house. The fact that Sam tells him to turn up the Bob Seger tune on the radio also seems strange to Dean, but he's happy to roll with it.
At school, Sam is leaving yet another voicemail for Dean as he is approached by Trevor and Nora. They heard about Gary's antics last night and want to know what his story is. Sam tries to shake them, letting them think he just decided to get drunk. He manages to find out from them where Gary's locker is and cracks the combination lock to retrieve the "very, very bad book."
Dean and Gary arrive in Donna's basement to salt and burn Maggie Briggs' bones. Gary can't contain his excitement and makes a few comments that a nerdy kid on his first ghost hunt would make, at one point causing Dean to ask him if he's feeling okay. As Dean starts digging, Gary positions himself behind him and apologizes as he aims a rifle at him. Dean continues to dig as he asks what he's apologizing for, and just as Gary is about to pull the trigger he is flung backwards by an unseen force. Dean turns and rushes over to help him and Gary gets up ready to flee. Dean reminds him that they still need to burn the bones, but just as he's about to he's thrown across the basement as well. Maggie Briggs' spirit materializes and charges him, but Gary manages to light up her bones before it makes contact. Gary is all smiles and exclaims "Dude! That was sweet!" Dean is still a little perplexed by his enthusiasm, but glad the job is done.
Back at school, Sam has collected the spell book and is leaving when Trevor and Nora start to follow him, wanting to know where he's going. He tells them he's not feeling himself and needs to go. Trevor pulls out a dart gun and shoots him in the neck with another dart, as shocked Nora looks on.
That evening, Dean and Gary are seated at a table at the bar. When Dean orders a decadent bacon cheeseburger and Gary orders the same, Dean asks him deadpan who he is and what has he done with his brother. Gary briefly panics but manages to deflect by answering with a question: he eats bacon cheeseburgers, doesn't he? Anyway, he says, they are celebrating their "really awesome day." Dean regards it as a run-of-the-mill ghost hunt and wonders what about it was awesome to him. He answers with a question again: can't he be in a good mood? Dean shrugs but then hesitates before taking a sip of his drink, recognizing that Sam being in a good mood is not really his style.
Gary uses the opportunity to declare "Well, then, it's a new me." He adds that it's "nice to do a little ass-kicking for a change" instead of feeling like his whole future is being decided for him, and not being able to stop "the stupid, stupid plan" no matter how much he fights it. When he catches himself speaking truthfully, he blames it on being drunk. Dean of course thinks he's Sam referring to their supposed destinies as vessels for Lucifer and Michael, and raises his glass to toast in agreement. Dean expresses disbelief that they are actually drinking together, Gary says it's a shame they don't do that very often, because Dean is really a good guy. Dean decides Sam must really be drunk, but Gary repeats the sentiment with sincerity. Dean just stares at him. Later, Dean sits alone at the table checking his watch just as Gary is sealing the deal with Crystal at the bar. Gary catches Dean's eye on their way out and whispers to Dean with a goofy smile "We're gonna do it!" Dean's expression suggests he is finally starting to piece together all of Sam's weird behaviour over the past day.
In Trevor's parents' basement, Sam is tied to a post, demanding to know what's going on and struggling to get free. Trevor mockingly tells him no one can hear him scream as Nora nervously looks on. Trevor calls Gary on his cellphone and reaches him at Crystal's place, as he's waiting for her to appear in the bedroom.
When Sam hears Trevor ask "Where's Dean?" and then ask whether he has killed him yet, he looks up from his struggle, shocked. He hears Trevor tell Gary that "this other dude" inhabiting his body has been in his house hanging out with his parents, a scenario which Gary apparently hadn't considered might happen. Even so, Gary tells Trevor to calm down since no one will believe anything the guy says anyway.
Trevor brashly tells Gary he had better "hurry up and kill the son of a bitch." Gary tells him he will do it and not to rush him, but he is clearly distracted as leather-clad Crystal enters the bedroom, cracking a riding whip. Trevor hangs up unconvinced that Gary has the "bean bags" to carry out their mission, but Nora expresses faith in him. Sam demands to know how they even know who Dean is. Trevor informs him that Dean is "Hell's Most Wanted," and Sam realizes that these kids have been communicating with demons. He tries to convince them they have no idea of what they're dealing with, but Trevor smugly replies that they know there's a bounty on Dean's head, and they intend to collect it. Trevor is not forthcoming with the details, but Nora finally interjects and tells Sam that one night when they were "goofing around with that book," the lights started to flicker and Gary went into a trance and started to draw something.
She shows Sam the sketch that resulted, and it is a very accurate portrait of Dean. Nora adds that Gary told them he heard a voice in his head saying the demons were putting out a bounty on Dean, and were communicating it to every witch and satanist in the country. Nora speaks admiringly about how it was "really smart" Gary who spotted Sam and had the idea to use a spell from the book to get close to Dean "trojan horse style." Sam tries again to convince them that making deals with demons and killing someone means crossing a line they will not come back from. His plea instills enough fear in Nora for her to suggest to Trevor that Sam may be right, but he only becomes irritated that she's also losing her nerve. He resolves to take care of it himself.
Trevor finds a demon summoning spell in the book and tells Nora that he's "turnin' these punks over and gettin' paid." Both Sam and Nora plead with him to stop even as he starts to recite the spell. When he's done with the recitation, he turns and sees that Nora has collapsed. He ignores Sam's warning not to touch her, and is surprised to find that her eyes are black and a demon has possessed her.
Meanwhile back at the motel, Gary enters the darkened room quietly and thinks he sees Dean asleep on the bed covered by blankets. He takes Dean's gun from a gearbag and aims at the bed. Dean stealths in behind him, punches him in the face and demands to know who he really is.
In the basement, the demon wants to know why it's been summoned. Trevor gleefully announces that they have Dean Winchester. Sam shouts at him to keep his mouth shut as he gives up Dean's exact location. Sam is shocked when the demon abruptly turns and acknowledges him by name, amazed that he is there in some kid's body. It is very impressed to find out that in addition to Dean, Trevor also has "Sam Winchester's meatsuit," ready to be possessed. Trevor feels assured that his plan has finally come together and inquires about a reward. When the demon offers only its "undying gratitude" in response, he can't believe it. Sam tries in vain to tell him to be quiet instead of forcing the issue, and the demon even tells him to consider himself lucky. Instead, he becomes irate and yells that they've "worked their asses off" and demands an appropriate reward.
The demon feigns an apologetic demeanour and gingerly asks Trevor what he would like, then seems to be agreeable to granting his wishes for money and love. But then the demon says it has a counter offer, which turns out to be reaching into Trevor's chest and crushing the life out of him.
Dean now has whimpering Gary tied to a chair as he uses the hotel landline to review all the missed voicemail messages left by Sam. He tells Gary to either start talking or the waterboarding will commence, and Gary sputters apologies and begs for his life. Dean gets him to calm down and tell him that Sam is in his friend's parents' basement and to reveal that he's actually a 17-year-old kid. Suddenly, Dean is flung backward across the room and knocked unconscious. Gary turns and is confused to see Nora, until he sees her eyes turn black.
As the demon unties him, it tells Gary he's earned anything he wants; he says he wants to be a really powerful witch. The demon knows he's feeling powerless over his life and "the plan" his father has laid out for him, and says his wish will be granted after they take care of one small formality—he has to meet the boss, aka "your Satanic majesty." Gary is shocked and immediately starts to backpedal, saying he wouldn't want to bother him. The demon assures him that it'll be a quick and easy meeting. All he'll have to do is say 'yes' to "one little question," and he'll get his reward.
As Gary considers this, Dean comes from behind and takes a swipe at the demon with the knife, but fails to connect. Gary watches Dean being kicked repeatedly until he catches Dean's eye and decides to start reciting an exorcism rite. The enraged demon turns to Gary and lifts him off the floor by the throat, giving Dean the opportunity to recover enough to take over the recitation. The demon drops Gary and is then caught between the two of them as they take turns completing the rite. It finally smokes out of Nora and escapes through an air duct. Later, Sam in Gary's body is now present in the motel room and seated on the floor across from Gary in Sam's body. Gary is carrying out the spell reversal, as Dean and Nora look on.
When it's over, Sam hurries over to the mirror and declares that "it's good to be back." Gary does not agree. As Dean slowly approaches him for a word, he lamely offers "My bad" as an apology. Dean lets him know that's not acceptable and informs him that if he were of voting age he would be dead now, because they would kill him. Gary glances over at Sam, who nods in annoyed agreement. Dean makes it clear that if he doesn't straighten up, they will kill him.
As the boys drop Nora and Gary at his parents house, Sam tells him that his life isn't so bad and that he wishes he had it. He tells him he should just rebel against his parents a little and assert himself in ways that don't involve Satan. He also informs him that Nora is not really into witchcraft, but only participates because she likes him. As they're leaving, Dean says it was nice that Sam told Gary that he wishes he had his life. Sam admits he lied; he thinks Gary's life sucks. His taste of the "apple-pie family crap" has convinced him that the two of them didn't miss anything. Dean suggests that maybe they just don't know what they're missing. He starts the car and Bob Seger again blares in stereo; Sam cringes and tells him to turn it down. Dean mutters "Welcome back, Kotter," and drives off into the night.
- Colton James as Gary Frankle and Sam Winchester
- Alex Arsenault as Trevor
- Sarah Drew as Nora and Nora's demon
- Patricia Harras as Donna
- Greg Kean as Leonard Frankle
- Lydia Doesburg as Katie
- Daniela Bobadilla as Sydney Frankle
- Eileen Pedde as Mrs. Frankle
- Jennifer Shirley as Maggie Briggs
Featured Supernatural Beings
- Archangels (Michael and Lucifer, mentioned only)
- Demon (Nora's demon)
- Poltergeist (Maggie Briggs)
- Witches (Gary Frankle, Trevor, Nora)
- Busty Asian Beauties makes another appearance in magazine form.
- We see that Dean has finally memorised an exorcism, which he previously failed to do in the Season 3 episode Sin City.
- Gary, in Sam's body, orders a banana daiquiri at the bar. He drinks some of it, when he puts it down the drink is full, then whilst he's talking it goes back to partially drunk .
- The basis of the plot for this episode is very much inspired by the film Freaky Friday, which also revolves around a body swap.
- When Sam (Gary) and Dean go into the basement, Gary makes an obvious remark regarding Master Chief, the main playable character from the game series of 'Halo'.
- The demon possessing Nora grabs Gary by the neck and lifts him up when he starts to exorcise her. However, if he were actually in Sam's body, she couldn't have done this—not because she wasn't strong enough, but because he towered over her.
- When Dean finally listens to Sam's voicemails, we hear them read out in Sam's voice; as Sam is in Gary's body, we should hear Gary reciting them.
- Also, when Dean looks at "Sam" (Gary), he looks down. The actual Sam is taller than Dean.
- Gary's friends, sister and parents look up to talk to "Gary" when in reality, Gary is at least a head shorter than Sam.
- At one of the Supernatural Conventions Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki shared with the crowd that originally the body swap was suppose to be between Sam and Dean.
- "Rock And Roll Never Forgets" by Bob Seger
- "Got My Wings" by Hazy Malaze
- "I Got More Bills Than I Got Pay" by Black Toast Music
- German: Körpertausch (Body Swap)
- Hungarian: Testcsere (Exchange of bodies)
- Supernatural: "Swap Meat" Review IGN.com