Sam and Dean investigate a series of crimes and suicides in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, wherein people are behaving out of character - stealing from their places of business and then dying by suicide shortly thereafter. During their investigation, they come across Ronald Reznick, a victim who has conspiracy theories about "Mandroids." His amateur research reveals to Sam and Dean that the perpetrator of these crimes is in fact a shapeshifter, as previously seen in 1.06 Skin.
Plotting out the path of the shapeshifter in congruence with the city's sewers, Sam and Dean pinpoint the next place of attack - City Bank Milwaukee - and pose as security techs in order to view the bank's security camera footage and locate the undercover shapshifter. They are interrupted when Ronald comes into the bank, chaining the door closed behind him and brandishing a gun. Convincing Ronald that he believes him, Dean helps him lock everyone in the bank into the vault and they seek out the shapeshifter. Unfortunately, the shapeshifter has already changed appearance by this stage, and the tension is increased as it changes appearance multiple times, with Sam, Dean, and Ronald attempting to track it down in order to kill it. Ronald is shot and killed by a police sniper while in pursuit of the shapeshifter.
Meanwhile, the police are stationed outside, and they manage to see Dean's face as he leads an ailing hostage out to an ambulance. Once Dean has been identified, the FBI come in, and it's revealed that an agent has been tracking the Winchesters for some time and knows some details about their history and childhood. SWAT teams infiltrate the building while Dean fights and finally kills the shapeshifter. Sam and Dean escape the building by stealing and wearing SWAT team uniforms.
- (plays when the boys get into the car at the end of the episode in their SWAT outfits)
Ronald: Cops said it was some kind of reflected light. Some kind of "camera flare." Okay? Ain't no damn camera flare. They say I'm a post-trauma case. So what? Bank goes and fires me, it don't matter! The Mandroid is, is still out there. The law won't hunt this thing down -- I'll do it myself. You see, this thing, it, it, it kills the real person, makes it look like a suicide, then it sorta, like, morphs into that person. Cases the job for a while until it knows the take is fat, and then it finds its opening. Now, these robberies, they're, they're grouped together. So I figure the Mandroid is holed up somewhere in the middle, underground, maybe. I dunno, maybe that's where it recharges its, uh, Mandroid batteries.
Sam: Okay. I want you to listen very carefully. Because I'm about to tell you the God's honest truth about all of this. There's no such thing as Mandroids. There's nothing evil or inhuman going on out there. Just people. Nothing else, you understand?
Ronald: ...The laser eyes.
Nah, I just think it's a little creepy how good of a Fed you are. I mean, come on, we could have at least thrown the guy a bone. He did some pretty good legwork here.
Dean: Except for the Mandroid part. I liked him. He's not that different from you or me. People think we're crazy.
Yeah, except he's not a hunter, Dean. He's just a guy who stumbled onto something real. If he were to go up against this thing he'd get torn apart. Better to stay in the dark, and stay alive.
Sam: Shapeshifter. Just like back in St. Louis. Same retinal reaction to video.
Dean: Eyes flare at the camera. I hate those friggin' things.
I like him. He says 'Okie-dokie.'
Sam: What if he's the shifter?
We follow him home, put a silver bullet in his chest.
Okay, let's get something straight. It's, it's not a Mandroid. It's a shapeshifter.
Yeah. I mean, it's human, more or less. Has human drives -- and in this case it's money. But it generates its own skin, it can shape it to match someone else's features, you know, taller, shorter, male-
Dean: Yeah, Ron's game plan was a bad plan, I mean, it was a bit of a crazy plan, but right now crazy's the only game in town, okay?
Henriksen: I don't give a rat's ass what you do, you can go get a donut and bang your wife for all I care. What I do need is your SWAT team locked and loaded.
Dean: We are so screwed.
Trivia & References
Chinese've been working on 'em for years. And the Russians before that. Part men, part machine. Like the Terminator. But the kind that can change itself, make itself look like other people.
Dean: Like the one from T2.
- Ronald likens his theoretical Mandroids to the T-1000 from Terminator 2.
Just let me do the talking. I don't think he likes you very much, Agent Johnson.
- A possible reference to the FBI agents in Die Hard.
I knew it, as soon as you two left. You aren't FBI. Who are you? Who are you working for, huh? The Men in Black? You working for the Mandroid?
Sam: We're not working for the Mandroid!
- In popular culture the Men in Black are thought to be government agents to threaten and harass people who have seen UFOs.
God, it's like playing the shell game. It could be anybody.
- A shell game is a game of skill which requires the bettor to guess which of three small cups (or shells) a pea-sized object is concealed under after the person operating the game rapidly rearranges them.
And yes, I know about Sam, too. Bonnie to your Clyde.
Dean: Yeah, well, that part's true, but how'd you even know we were here?
Henriksen: Go screw yourself, that's how I knew. It's become my job to know about you, Dean. I've been looking for you for weeks now. I know about the murder in St. Louis, I know about the Houdini act you pulled in Baltimore. I know about the desecrations and the thefts. I know about your dad.
Dean: Hey, you don't know crap about my Dad.
Henriksen: Ex-marine, raised his kids on the road, cheap motels, backwood cabins. Real paramilitary survivalist type. I just can't get a handle on what type of whacko he was. White supremacist, Timmy McVeigh, to-may-to, to-mah-to.
Dean: You got no right talking about my Dad like that. He was a hero.
Henriksen: Yeah. Right. Sure sounds like it. You have one hour to make a decision or we come through those doors full automatic.
- Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were notorious robbers and criminals who traveled the central United States during the Great Depression. The line 'He's the Bonnie to your Clyde' was originally in the script for The Usual Suspects, but never made it to the final cut.
- Harry Houdini was a famous magician and escape artist.
- Timothy McVeigh was an American terrorist convicted and executed for his part in the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.
On the official site
, the title of this episode is spelled "Night Shifter."
Although the shapeshifter
had been dressed as a man, when the shifter turned into a woman, somehow it acquired a woman's slip without having taken the actual clothes from its likeness.
Sides, Scripts & Transcripts