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SPN 8.13 - Sam's kind of library


This is my favorite episode this season and I've seen up through 8.15 now.  It was written by Ben Edlund and directed by Phil Sgriccia.  Both have a long history with SPN and are really good at what they do.  I liked the case and Aaron and his Golem.  It was a nice twist to have the creature that would normally be the monster of the week be the force for good.  It's unusual for the creature be the one to be urging the people to get control of the situation.  This episode also made my inner librarian squeal with glee.  I'm ok with the Men of Letters story arc and love the Batcave set with all its art deco glory.  I'm enjoying watching the boys solve cases without the nastiness between them and the soap opera melodrama.

I didn't keep any caps from the beginning sequence with the destruction of the Nazi camp but I thought it was shot pretty well.  I had no idea where the story was going when we caught up with the boys but this first shot up the side of this fortresslike wall makes it look like whatever is here, it's going to be good.  (Now looking at it, you almost expect a French guard to hurl insults and a dead cow off the roof.)  The Batcave is in Lebanon, Kansas, which is really close to the geographic center of the contiguous portion of the US.  If this building hasn't been used since 1958, that was prior to Alaska and Hawaii gaining statehood so that was the center of the US at that time.



In a hole in the ground there lived a...



I like the box.



And the special key compartment.



Admit it, you thought of this...



Or maybe this?



I hope the first thing they did after they settled in was make a duplicate key so they could each have one.  Then they venture into the darkness.

Lord Carnavon :  Can you see anything?
Howard Carter:  Yes, wonderful things.




I liked the way they had the flashlights slide over things giving hints of what might be there.





There's a list of names on the wall including Coleman and Wilson.



Somebody had fun at a ham radio swap meet. Great metal desks and the metal-shaded lamp.





Alcohol, tobacco, coffee and chess abandoned mid-game.  Chess.



Dean would know to find the circuit panel.



I love these old bulbs warming up.



The guys have great expressions as they get a look around.





This building is beautiful.  I love the rail and the grid ceiling as well as the lead in the windows.



The ceiling makes a very cool grid shadow pattern on the floor.



Then there is this great draw back of the camera so we slowly get the feel of the size of the room.







The light fixtures above are beautiful as well as this lamp.  The Men of Letters had money from somewhere.



Dean must be feeling safe if he let his guard down enough to just wear a bathrobe.



The place is surprisingly dust free after being vacant for all these years.  It's impervious to all sources of evil, including dust bunnies.  Take that.



Go wash, you don't know where that's been since Sinbad had it.



We head back to see this nice man visit a reference desk.  It's Hal Linden, the former Harold Lipshitz, who wanted to be a big band leader and evidently changed his name because he said, "Swing and Sway with Harold Lipshitz just didn't parse."  I liked how he played this role.



Yes, we librarians and archivists can get a little possessive and protective of our charges.



I like the big question marks and orange flowers.



The green is a nice touch too. hells_half_acre helped me figure out that this was filmed at Langara College. They have a fun Facebook page. More about them later.



The white gloves are to keep dirt and skin oils from your hands from getting on the paper.  The item is in bin FD113 - not too lucky.   It's also the 13th episode.



The Rabbi found what he was looking for and then ended up at a pub.  He has all that red and yellow behind him and it's not looking good.  It's a nice touch to have him using a pay phone, sort of a novelty these days.



Hey, it's NASCAR girls and their black and white checks again and a beer logo from Party On, Garth.



As the Rabbi goes up in flames, the fire is reflected in the glasses of the bad guy.  This is a really cool shot.



I thought I remembered an image from somewhere else like that.  Given the subject matter, I though maybe it was the bad guy from Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Turns out the glasses are right but the flames are off.



I was thinking of Sheriff Cooley from O Brother Where Art Thou.  He looks like that several times during the movie.



Back to the secret hideout.  Sam's still at it.  I like how he's in the lit room of enlightenment and Dean comes in by the darkened map of the outside world.



Has Sam been in there these whole two weeks?  Did they make another key?  It's really bugging me.  What if they lose it?  What if someone steals it?



Is that the Red Plaid Shirt of Angst?  That shirt seems to make an appearance when something important is happening with Dean's family or his home or what passes for one.



These awesome shadows lead your eyes toward the middle of the shot.  It's been fun to hear people speculate about why that telescope is here in an underground bunker.



Turns out they have a case related to the Men of Letters so they head off to Pennsylvania.  The girls' shirts coordinate with the straws.





That shirt does not.  Aaron is sitting near flames.



This sweater coordinates with .... well it really doesn't matter, does it?  I'm not sure what the policy on library privacy is in the rest of the world.  In the US, that information is covered under state law for the most part.  In Pennsylvania, the only way to find out what another person was looking at in the library is by court order in a criminal proceeding.



The book Sam found in the bin was made up just for the show.  It's illustrated by Mary-Ann Liu and written by Natalie Van Hest.  Mary-Ann is a graphic artist on SPN and sculpted the bust of Don Stark for Shut Up, Dr. Phil.  Natalie works in the SPN art department.  I like that they used an illustrated bird book here.



Currently, the most valuable book ever printed is Birds of America by John James Audubon.  Printed volumes of this book that are complete and intact can sell for over $10 million.  The one below was auctioned at Sotheby's for $11.5 million.  Intact versions are hard to find because so many copies of the book were dismantled and the individual plates were sold off as art.  If a rare book collection in a library has one of these, often this is what they will show to people who come through for tours.  It's beautiful and easy to see why a library would keep it under lock and key.



When Sam leaves the library, we see him from behind a brick structure like someone is spying on him.  Turns out that someone is.  I liked the way Sam and Dean worked together to find out who was tailing them.



It must be Wednesday...



It could have been Dean's turn end up with stitches across the palm of his hand.



Once they get everything sorted out, they head off to the house that Aaron and the Golem are renting. How did the Golem get back? What kind of car does he fit in?  Someone else is watching them now.





I'm glad the Golem has heard of the Men of Letters.  It's nice to know that someone else knew they existed.  It's also fun to see somebody taller than Sam.



So much red and yellow.





There are a lot of little warning signs all around this house.  No Smoking and Do Not Use Fire Place are ironic in light of the Rabbi's combustion and that Aaron smoked the Golem instruction book.



As the Golem expresses his anger and crushes the furniture, there's a picture of a couple of buffalo crashing head to head above it.



I love that Sam knows the Library of Congress call number system although as a pre-law student, he may have spent more time in the K's for law rather than the Q's for science.



There are a couple of shots of these stairs from above.



Sam looks suitably rattled.



He still comes up with a creative alternative use for a book truck.  Shelve that, dude.



As Sam goes careening around the corner to get away from the Thule, there's a book left in the section that was behind him with a swastika on it.



They did a good job making Sam look pretty ill.







Right out of a h/c fic somewhere, I'm sure.



It can be a really creepy feeling to be in the stacks at night, especially after closing.



I liked this whole sequence where we see the boys from both the Golem's and Aaron's perspectives and then hear what Sam and Dean think of the Golem and Aaron.



I wonder if the hand warming was written into the script?



The geometric pattern in the wallpaper is intense and the floor right along with it.



Cool shot of this guy's hand and ring.



I'm not sure what to make of the plate number but it seems relevant.  The Thule drove over from New York.



Here's the library staircase in daylight.  All that green.



Back to more library geeky stuff.  The book they are looking for is QL 673 which is about birds.  They filmed this on a shelf that looks like the BL 673 area.  BL is the letter combo for religions, mythology and rationalism.  When you start to get to the 660s through 680s, you get the history and principles of religions from regions and cultures like Indo-European, Aryan, Ural-Altaic and the Mediterranean region.  If you move on to the next letter combo, BM, you get works about Judaism. I got really curious about what BL 673 would correspond to so I tried to find books with that same number in a couple of the really big catalogs, the Library of Congress's and WorldCat which pretty much is what it sounds like. I couldn't find much of anything. I wondered if it were something that had local significance so I tracked down the real library at Langara and searched their catalog. Nothing. I'm thinking the SPN crew took the time to make up fake call numbers that are relevant to the plot.  When you go digging around for info on the Thule, their strange mythological beliefs belong right here.



Someone at this library needs to do some shelf reading and pull the QT out of there and send it off to where it belongs.  Turns out that QT hasn't been assigned a subject by the Library of Congress.  Some places are using it for physiology.  Langara doesn't own anything call numbered that either.  I'm impressed that somebody took the time to assign call numbers to prop books and made them all different.  They must know that curious geeky librarians are out there.



Back to the rental house where Dean is eating and the takeout container has that black and white checked paper again.





Golem's eye view.  The guys are sitting and it makes the Golem seem even taller.



More little warning signs.  This one says Lock Dead Bolt and it's visible right before the Thule walk in.



This one says Turn Off Lights just before Eckhart shuts the Golem down.



The Thule come in and cause mayhem.



Aaron gets it together and stops Eckhart in his tracks using rubble from the furniture the Golem broke earlier, I think.



Sam and Dean finish him off.



I liked this shot.



I liked Aaron and this exchange at the end between he and the Golem.





Back to the Batcave where Sam is doing cataloging the pre-automation way, by hand (or later by typewriter) on cards and putting them in a file.  Making cards for books used to be pretty time consuming.  There are very specific rules for spacing and punctuation that go with the info on the cards (or in today's electronic records).  Each book would have one card for the shelf list (the master list of all titles owned by a library kept in shelf order), a title card, usually an author card and whatever subject cards were necessary.  No keyword searching there.  Filing the cards could take a while and alphabetizing was something you could eventually do in your sleep.  In the old wood card catalogs, there is a metal rod that runs the length of the drawer down the middle.  You put the cards into place and at the end you pull the rod out far enough for the cards to drop down and then slide it back.  You say novenas that you will not drop a drawer with the rod out.  You shriek in horror at the library scene in Ghostbusters when the ghost sprays cards all over the place.  Salting and burning is too good for it.



I'm glad Sam has a place where he feels like he belongs.  This is different than finding some place safe.  It's more like a mission or a calling.  Bobby would have loved it here.  Sam needs to add Bobby's books to the collection and then go clean out the Campbell's libary and bring it here.



Dean seems to recognize that this is something that Sam has needed.  If Sam is here, Dean also doesn't need to be worrying about him.  It's worth breaking out the good stuff.



How often have these guys had high quality alcohol and fancy tumblers to drink it out of?  Probably none that they've owned.  This inheritance provides them with a home and a step up the economic ladder.  I wonder how hard they'll have to fight to keep it.  It may be impervious to the supernatural but it's vulnerable to a siege or for something to block the boys' ability to get back to it once they are out.



Had Henry lived, John's children could have become Men of Letters.  Dean doesn't see himself as one.  I wonder if that is because of his own identity being so tied up with hunting.  Dean's opinion of himself and his own intelligence seems to be pretty low at least in regard to those skills required for academic pursuits.  I think he underestimates himself here.  That being said, I think Dean prefers to do his learning by performing a task rather than reading about it in the abstract.  There are so many different kinds of intelligence and approaches to learning.



Along the way, it's nice to get a chance to smell the roses (or the well-aged scotch).



At home with the Winchesters.





Caps from homeofthenutty, grande_caps and me. Photo of employee at Sotheby's from Reuters by Suzanne Plunkett.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
tabby333
Mar. 19th, 2013 12:34 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed your librarian insights and asides. They made me smile.

It is interesting that Dean doesn't see himself as a Men of Letters. He seems to buy into the idea that hunters are the muscle (something Henry referred to, I think) and that's what he sees himself as.
galwithglasses
Mar. 19th, 2013 02:29 pm (UTC)
I'm looking forward to how Dean reacts to the whole Men of Letters idea going forward. I'm caught up on episodes now and they've been fun to watch in regard to that. I don't want to put spoilers in your comments. I think Dean has always downplayed his contribution to the brains part of the equation and treats himself as the hired muscle. Not really accurate but I think that's how he sees it.
etoile444
Mar. 19th, 2013 01:21 pm (UTC)
This was fun. Im waiting for my car to get inspected and this was a good distraction. That pay phone was totally Canada. Its weird, but I noticed them there. Of course it makes sense an older guy would use it instead of a cell phone. Loved reliving this episode, which was the intro to the bunker/repository and just a really well written bit. Thanks!
galwithglasses
Mar. 19th, 2013 02:33 pm (UTC)
Glad to provide something to do while you're waiting. Are there still a lot of payphones in Canada? They used to be everywhere here but they're not so common now. My brother had a knack for checking the right phones for leftover change.
runedgirl
Mar. 19th, 2013 08:30 pm (UTC)
Oh yay, I missed your recap - I always always learn things I would never have known to even wonder about :)
galwithglasses
Mar. 19th, 2013 10:15 pm (UTC)
8-)
layne67
Mar. 21st, 2013 02:53 am (UTC)
It was written by Ben Edlund and directed by Phil Sgriccia.

It was like the good old days of the early seasons seeing those two names together!

I wonder whether the actor who played Golem was in 'Folsom Prison Blues'.
galwithglasses
Mar. 22nd, 2013 06:03 pm (UTC)
The actor that played the Golem was the monster of the week in the Ghostfacers episode. I didn't remember him but that's not an episode I watch too often. I really liked him in this one. His IMDB page says that he's 6' 9". Yikes. I guess he was in Master and Commander too but I can't remember that either so I guess I'll have to check it out. The really big bald guy, Tiny, who gets in a fight with Dean and then gets killed by the ghost locked up in the infirmary in Folsom Prison Blues was played by Clif, the guy who drives J2.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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