Taking a break from the mega-huge apocalypse storyline (as most apocalypses tend to be mega-huge), this week, Supernatural slides back to the Monster of the Week format with the Winchester boys taking on wax museum mannequins, cursed objects, and Paris Hilton.
Posing as detectives, Sam and Dean stumble upon an accident involving the most recent owner of the fabled “Little Bastard,” the classic Porsche in which actor James Dean met his untimely demise. The most recent owner had his head sliced open on the front windshield in a matter of seconds after his friend stepped out of the garage. Hmm… Curiouser and curiouser.
After finagling a way to check out the car, motorhead Dean has a pant-piddling go at authenticating the number on the engine block to see if it really is the Little Bastard. As it turns out, the car is a knock-off with the Winchester lads tracing back the original owner of the car, who wasn’t James Dean. Nevertheless, surveillance footage from the victim’s friend’s video camera showed an oddly James Dean-looking figure creeping up on the guy, giving the faux Little Bastard a new paint job with its owner’s brains.
Elsewhere across town, an Abraham Lincoln enthusiast gets capped in the head by Honest Abe himself. The Winchester boys hightail it to the scene of the crime and sweet, bilingual Sammy pries the details from the historian’s hysterical Latina maid who had found the body that Abraham Lincoln was responsible for taking out her now-former employer.
After putting their well-coiffed heads together, Sammy and Dean stake out a local wax museum whose goofy curator is determined to make wax museums “hip for the kids again.” Umm… yeah. In his excitement, the curator reveals to the brothers what sets his wax museum apart from most others: He’s acquired actual artifacts that once belonged to the persons whom the wax dummies represent. Among these items include James Dean’s key chain, Abraham Lincoln’s top hat, and Mohandas Gandhi’s spectacles. As the curator merrily scurries away wearing his latest acquisition, Henry Winkler’s “Fonzie” jacket, Sam and Dean deduce that these artifacts are responsible for bringing back malevolent versions of these icons who off their biggest fans. As par for the course on any episode of Supernatural, the only way to get rid of these spirits is to destroy the artifacts.
Dean exits the room, leaving Sammy by his lonesome with the wax dummies. This is around the time that the Gandhi mannequin comes to reanimated life. It’s buh-bye to passive resistance as Gandhi decides to halt his hunger strike and attempts to take a bite out of Sammy. (So much for that fabled fruitarian diet, eh?) Dean arrives in the nick of time to yank Evil Gandhi’s glasses off and throw them in a bucket with salt and fire, destroying them and returning the mannequin to its previously still state. Unaware that his brother was such a fan of Gandhi, Dean destroys the other artifacts that they’re aware of to stop the as yet unnamed Monster of the Week.
Some more digging reveals that there is a singular entity behind these murders: a Leshi. According to Supernatural‘s take on the creature, the Leshi was a shapeshifting spirit once worshipped as a god. The Leshi could take any form it chose and would feed it’s ego — and itself — by killing its most devoted worshippers. Doing the math, the Winchester boys convert this formula to its modern equivalent with the Leshi taking the form of celebrities to gain its adulation-based food source.
On a related note, I love how this series consistently does their homework in terms of folklore. The iron axe needed to kill the creature is a nice herald back to the belief that iron could ground the energy of spirits and prevent it from escaping — hence the prevalent use of iron gates in cemeteries, ties in nicely with the legend of the Leshi. A shape-shifting woodland spirit, the Leshi also protected trees and was known for hiding the axes of woodsmen who intended to chop them down.
The Leshi turns up yet again when Sam and Dean hear the screams of some teenage girls who claim their best friend was nabbed by none other than Paris Hilton. (“She was really skinny…and really fast.”)
As it turns out, the real Paris Hilton put in a guest appearance on Supernaturala nice nod to her role in House of Wax. Who better to give universally loved and simultaneously reviled celebutante form to a shapeshifting, fame-whoring demon? Giving credit where credit is due, Paris does a good job at poking fun at herself, gobbling up the ironic role with aplomb.
The Paris Leshi gives a soliloquy on the ever-changing fame game from the perspective of an ancient creature once worshipped as a god who now sports some snazzy stilettos and designer couture. Sharpening a sacrificial knife as Sam and Dean are bound in her lair, the Paris Leshi happily chirps about how even demonic beings need to evolve with the times. Mid-monologue, Sam and Dean manage to get free and decapitate the Paris Leshi with an axe made of iron before riding off into the sunset in the Impala.
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