Promotional poster for "Asylum."
At the deserted Roosevelt Asylum in Rockford, Illinois, police officers Walter Kelly and Danny Gunderson rouse some kids who have broken into the asylum. Afterwards Walter goes home and inexplicably shoots his wife and himself.
Sam has been checking up on their contacts - Caleb, Jefferson, Pastor Jim - to see if John has been in touch. While Sam and Dean argue about John’s whereabouts, Dean receives a text message from him, containing coordinates. The boys follow the coordinates to Rockford and speak to Danny Gunderson about his partner’s death; he tells them that his partner chased the kids into the south wing of the asylum.
They find reference in John’s journal to kids who disappeared from the south wing in 1972. After a brief visit to the asylum, Sam and Dean track down a psychiatrist, James Ellicott, whose father Sanford Ellicott was the Chief of Staff at the asylum. Sam poses as a patient and finds out from Dr. James Ellicott that the south wing housed the criminally insane, and that in 1964 the patients rioted, killing Dr. Sanford Ellicott, whose body was never found.
The boys return to the asylum, where they discover Kat, who has been separated from her boyfriend Gavin. She insists on helping the boys find Gavin, and she goes with Dean while Sam goes off on his own. Sam finds a terrified Gavin who says that a ghost kissed him and tried to whisper something to him.
Meanwhile Kat is trapped in a room with a ghost, and Dean is unable to open the door. When Sam arrives he works out that it is trying to communicate with her, not hurt her. It whispers "One thirty-seven" to her, before it leaves, which the boys deduce is a room number. While Dean goes to find the room, Sam tries to lead the kids out, but finds they are trapped. He leaves Kat with a shotgun to protect them and responds to a phone call he thinks is from Dean.
Dean finds journals documenting Dr. Sanford Ellicott’s cruel experiments designed to test his theories that provoking extreme anger in patients would be therapeutic. When he finds out Sam has left Kat and Gavin to respond to the phone call, which Dean didn’t make, Dean takes off to find him. Dean finds Sam in the basement, and then locates a secret door which he thinks led to the hidden procedure room where the experiments were carried out. As he prepares to open it, Sam shoots him in the chest with rock salt, blasting him through the fake wall. Standing over his brother, Sam expresses his rage at Dean for thwarting his attempts to find John. Dean hands over his gun to Sam, who fires it repeatedly at Dean, only to find it is not loaded.
Dean overpowers Sam and knocks him out. He searches the room and finds the corpse of Dr. Ellicott, stuffed in a cabinet. As he prepares to salt and burn it, the ghost of Dr. Ellicott appears and attacks Dean, until Dean manages to toss his lighter onto the corpse. As it burns, the ghost disappears. Sam recovers and seems unaffected. The boys escort Kat and Gavin from the asylum. The next morning, while the boys sleep, Dean’s cell phone rings. Sam answers the phone – it’s John.
- "Hey You" by Bachman-Turner Overdrive
- (plays at the bar when they question the cop)
- "Big Boned" by Stiff Kittens
- (plays at the bar when they question the cop)
It's, uh.... It's a text message. It's coordinates.
Sam: You think Dad was texting us?
Dean: He's given us coordinates before.
The man can barely work a toaster, Dean.
So apparently the cops chased the kids here.... into the south wing.
Dean: South wing, huh? Wait a second. 1972. Three kids broke into the south wing, only one survived. Way he tells it, one of his friends went nuts and started lighting up the place.
So whatever's going on, the south wing is the heart of it.
Dean: I'm serious. You gotta be careful, all right? Ghosts are attracted to that whole ESP thing you got going on.
Sam: I told you, it's not ESP! I just have strange vibes sometimes. Weird dreams.
Sam: Spirits can't appear during certain hours of the day.
Dean: Yeah, the freaks come out at night.
Dad could be in trouble, we should be looking for him. We deserve some answers, Dean. I mean, this is our family we're talking about.
Dean: I understand that, Sam, but he's given us an order.
Sam: So what, we gotta always follow Dad's orders?
Of course we do.
Alright. Kat? Come on. Sam's gonna get you out of here and then we're gonna find your boyfriend.
Kat: No! No. I'm not going to leave without Gavin. I'm coming with you.
Dean: It's no joke around here, okay. It's dangerous.
That's why I gotta find him.
She... kissed me.
Sam: Uh... um... but... but she didn't hurt you, physically?
Gavin: Dude! She kissed me. I'm scarred for life!
Well, trust me, it could have been worse. Now do you remember anything else?
So. How do you guys know about all this ghost stuff?
Sam: It's kinda our job.
Kat: Why would anyone want a job like that?
I had a crappy guidance counselor.
If we make it out of here alive... we are so breaking up.
That's the difference between you and me. I have a mind of my own. I'm not pathetic, like you.
Dean: So what are you gonna do, huh? Are you gonna kill me?
Sam: You know what, I am sick of doing what you tell me to do. We're no closer to finding Dad today than we were six months ago.
Dean: Well, then here. Let me make it easier for you. Come on. Take it. Real bullets are gonna work a hell of a lot better than rock salt. Take it!! You hate me that much? You think you could kill your own brother? Then go ahead. Pull the trigger. Do it!
[Sam pulls the trigger]
Dean: Man, I'm not going to give you a loaded pistol!
[Dean knocks out Sam]
Trivia & References
The background story of this episode is similar to the 1999 film House on Haunted Hill
starring Geoffrey Rush and Famke Janssen. Both involve ghosts
of professors at abandoned mental asylums who carried out twisted procedures on their subjects.
I love the guy, but I swear he writes like friggin' Yoda.
- Yoda is a character in the Star Wars universe. Yoda speaks in an unusual manner by placing verbs (and more frequently, auxiliary verbs) after the object and subject. In linguistic typology this is the "Object Subject Verb" format. A typical example of Yoda's speech pattern is from Return of the Jedi: "When 900-years-old you reach, look as good you will not."
I'm Nigel Tufnel, from the Chicago Tribune.
- Nigel Tufnel is the lead guitarist of the heavy metal/glam rock band Spinal Tap, who were the stars of the film This Is Spinal Tap a 1984 mock-documentary, directed by Rob Reiner.
Let me know if you see any dead people, Haley Joel.
- Haley Joel Osment starred in The Sixth Sense, in which he played 9-year-old Cole Sear. Cole has psychic abilities; he "sees dead people," and is rather emotionally scarred by this ability.
Hey, Sam, who do you think is a hotter psychic: Patricia Arquette, Jennifer Love Hewitt, or you?
- Arquette plays psychic Allison DuBois in the TV series Medium; Hewitt plays psychic Melinda Gordon in the TV series Ghost Whisperer.
Man, electroshock, lobotomies, they did some twisted stuff to these people. Kind of like my man Jack in Cuckoo's Nest
- Jack Nicholson played Randle McMurphy in the 1975 film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (based on the novel by Ken Kesey). McMurphy, a serial petty criminal who has been sentenced to a fairly short prison term, decides to have himself declared insane so he'll be transferred to a mental institution, where he expects to serve the rest of his time in (comparative) comfort and luxury. Of course, the institution is a very bad place, and very bad things happen (all completely "natural"), but I don't want to spoil anything.
Spirits driving them insane. Kind of like my man Jack in The Shining
- Reference to The Shining, a film in which Jack Nicholson plays a writer driven insane and homicidal by a haunted hotel.
No, Dean, I mean it was weird that she didn't attack me.
Dean: Looked pretty aggro from where I was standing.
- "Aggro" is a common slang term originating in Britain and widely used in Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. It can be used to describe aggressive behavior, or a situation that is a source of irritation to the speaker (e.g. "These roadworks are causing more aggro than they're worth," he muttered.) Dean probably picked up this term from association with tourists while on the road, as the term is not widely used in the States.
- Could also possibly be a reference to computer gaming: the term "aggro" is used as a measure of how much hate/aggression a computer-generated foe holds for a player. The more aggro something has for you, the more likely it is to attack you. Whether Dean would be familiar with gaming terms is questionable.
All work and no play makes Dr. Ellicott a very dull boy.
- Another reference to The Shining. This is possibly Dean's favorite movie. This line refers to a scene in the movie where Jack Nicholson's character, Jack, has been supposedly writing for months. His wife has heard him, day after day, pounding away on his typewriter. Finally, when he is elsewhere, curiosity get the better of her. She walks to the typewriter, and sees the sheet in place. Written on it are endless repetitions of the single sentence "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." She looks through the stack of papers neatly placed to the side with increasing horror; the book Jack was working on consists of only the repetitions and permutations of layout of that same sentence. Over and over, through hundreds of pages.
Yeah. They were rioting against Dr. Ellicott. Dr. Feelgood was working on some sort of, like, extreme rage therapy. He thought that if he could get his patients to vent their anger then they would be cured of it. Instead it only made them worse and worse and angrier and angrier. So I'm thinking, what if his spirit is doing the same thing? To the cop? To the kids in the seventies, making them so angry they become homicidal.... Come on, we gotta find his bones and torch ’em.
- Reference to the Mötley Crüe album Doctor Feelgood.
later appeared on the Hunter's Blog
, although it has no content, and there is no confirming evidence it is the same character.
When Dean is showing Sam the newspaper article about Roosevelt Asylum in John's journal, it is directly across from the page that has the wendigo information. However, when Sam shows the wendigo page to Dean originally in 1.02 Wendigo
, the page directly across is a page with multiple symbols, not the Roosevelt Asylum article; later when Dean is again flipping through the journal looking for information about the "South Wing", the page with the symbols is now across from the wendigo page, and the asylum article is the page after it.
Misc. Crew: When Sam pushes Dean away from Officer Gunderson in the bar, stunt coordinator Lou Bollo is in the back playing pool and stares at Sam.
Sides, Scripts & Transcripts
- SPN Heavy Meta Season One Meta Index
- Bond, Silvia. 2007. Asylum Not Granted: "Asylum" Season 1, Episode 10. Pink Raygun, September 26; archive link