Directly following 7.01 Meet the New Boss, Dean and Bobby are confronted with one of many Leviathans that is occupying Castiel's vessel; however, Jimmy Novak's body cannot contain them all. It is rapidly deteriorating, and so the Leviathans retreat. Dean and Bobby follow and find Sam, who is caught up in a hallucination involving Lucifer. Lucifer's image is trying to make Sam believe that he is still in Hell and that everything else is an illusion—a creative form of torture. Dean snaps Sam out of the hallucination, and the three of them follow the Leviathans, still occupying Castiel's vessel, to a nearby reservoir.
Castiel's vessel wades into the reservoir and, as they watch, disappears beneath the surface. A vortex then erupts outwards and spreads a black ooze throughout the water, which vanishes moments later. Bobby remarks that, now that they're in the pipes, the Leviathans will be able to travel anywhere. Dean finds Castiel's trench coat floating in the water, but there is no other sign of what may have happened to the angel's vessel, and the hunters assume that he has been destroyed by the Leviathans. Dean takes the trench coat with him as they leave the reservoir.
Back at Bobby's house, Dean wakes Sam and examines the palm of his hand, which was injured confronting Castiel. Sam "sees" Lucifer in the room with them and "hears" his commentary as first Dean pours liquor over the crude stitches, and then Bobby re-bandages the injury. When Dean questions Sam about his condition, Sam admits that he's not just having flashbacks anymore—he's seeing Lucifer. When Dean learns that Sam isn't sure what's real and what's not, he's at a loss as to how to convince Sam that he's no longer in Hell. He watches worriedly as Sam strips and re-strips his gun, and then turns on the GPS on Sam's phone in case he "flies the cuckoo's nest." Bobby asks him how he's doing, but Dean insists that he's fine.
Meanwhile, the Leviathans have traveled through the water and possessed the body of a young girl named Annie, a man named Edgar, and two adolescent boys who are on a high school swim team. The two boys massacre their entire swim team, drawing the attention of Sam and Bobby, who send Dean to investigate the scene of the crime. Annie and Edgar are more discreet, and when they meet to discuss their fellow Leviathans, Edgar tells Annie that "the boss" wants the others to be kept in line. She tells him that she and the others are hungry, but the Edgar is unsympathetic. Annie tells him that she has a plan.
At Sioux Falls General Hospital, Sheriff Jody Mills is recovering from an appendectomy. Her surgeon, Dr Gaines, sees a young girl alone in one of the hospital rooms and approaches her. The girl is Annie the Leviathan, and she takes his form and then kills him. The Leviathan, now in the doctor's body, enters Jody's hospital room, and Jody wakes up in time to see him sedating her roommate, Madeline Hackett. Jody pretends to be asleep as he wheels Mrs. Hackett away, and then she follows them into a ward closed for construction. As she watches through a window, he cuts into Mrs. Hackett's body and feeds on her liver. Horrified, Jody stumbles away and then collapses.
In Stockville, Kansas, Dean investigates the scene of the swim team's murder. He sees a smear of black ooze on the wall and knows immediately that the Leviathans are involved in the deaths. He calls Sam as he heads back to Sioux Falls—the two boys who survived the massacre seem to be headed that way. As Sam waits for him to return, his hallucinations involving Lucifer intensify. Lucifer goes so far as to suggest that the only way out of this form of torture is for Sam to kill himself. Bobby tries to comfort him, but Lucifer is always there, at one point stabbing an iron poker through Bobby's back.
Shortly after Sam "sees" the poker stab through Bobby, Bobby's phone rings. It's Sheriff Mills, and she tells Bobby that she needs his help because her surgeon is a monster. He's reluctant to leave Sam alone, but Bobby goes to help her. After he's gone, Dean returns in the Impala, and he tells Sam that he needs him to back him up while he pursues the two boys from the swim team. Sam takes his gun and goes along with him.
Meanwhile, the Leviathan posing as Dr. Gaines leads Edgar and the two boys from the swim team into the hospital's closed ward. There he has two hospital staff held captive, and the two boys take their forms and then kill them. Dr Gaines tells them that at the hospital they can easily feed without drawing suspicion. Edgar is impressed, but decides not to stay at the hospital himself because he has other business to attend to for "the boss." While they convene, Bobby arrives at the hospital and helps Jody to leave in a cab before going to the morgue to investigate what happened to her roommate, Mrs. Hackett.
Sam and Dean are on the road, but Dean (the real Dean) has just arrived at Bobby's house. When he realizes that Sam is gone, he turns on his GPS tracker and starts after him. While Dean pursues them, Sam and the false Dean pull up to an office building. Dean is acting strangely aggressive and bullies Sam into going inside with him, and Sam goes along with him. Once inside, however, the office building becomes an empty warehouse and Dean morphs into Lucifer. Sam is confused and upset, and draws his gun. He starts shooting wildly and almost hits the real Dean, who's followed his GPS signal to the warehouse. Dean tries to convince Sam that he's real and that whatever else he's seeing isn't, and he has some success when he grabs Sam's injured hand and presses hard against the injury. Feeling the real pain of his injury seems to temporarily snap him out of his hallucination.
Back at Sioux Falls General Hospital, Bobby is examining Mrs. Hackett's body when he's confronted by the Leviathan posing as Dr. Gaines. Bobby shoots him with silver buckshot, but it has no effect, and so he retreats. He calls Sam and Dean to let them know that he's headed back to his house and will meet them there.
Sam and Dean rush back to Bobby's house, but are confronted by the sight of a burned out husk where it used to be. Horrified, they start searching the debris and then the salvage yard for Bobby, but are quickly attacked by the Leviathan Edgar. He throws Dean against a car, breaking his leg, and knocks Sam unconscious with a hard blow to the head just before Dean manages to drop a car on him. Once Edgar is defeated, Dean tries to wake Sam with no success and then calls 911. In the ambulance, Sam wakes up just long enough to see Lucifer again before he starts seizing, and Dean finds out from the EMT that they're headed towards Sioux Falls General Hospital. Back at the salvage yard, it seems that Edgar is recovering.
- "Black Water" by The Doobie Brothers
- (plays during the water montage)
That’s 12 hours straight. I’m calling that rested. Here - hydrate and, um, protein-ate.
Sam: Breakfast in bed.
Don’t get used to it.
Bobby: Course. You just lost one of the best friends you ever had, your brother's in the bell jar, and purgatory's most wanted are surfing the sewer lines, but you know, yeah, I get it. You're fine.
Mrs. Hackett: Did you know a study showed that 3/4 of doctors cheat on their exams? He might not know your appendix from your vagina.
Dean: If you think I'm leaving you here alone...
Bobby: Hey, what am I, chopped brains on toast?
Jody: Bobby Singer - my hero!
Bobby: That's the roofies talking.
Edgar: Why can't they scream?
Dr. Gaines: Oh, I severed their vocal chords, of course. It was a delicate procedure, but very doable.
Lucifer: [as Dean] Don't let Satan change my pre-sets.
Dean: Whoa! Sam! This discussion does not require a weapons discharge!
Dean: I am your flesh-and-blood brother, okay? I'm the only one who can legitimately kick your ass in real time. You got away. We got you out, Sammy. Believe in that. Believe me, okay? You gotta believe me. You've gotta make it stone number one and build on it.
Trivia & References
The title of the episode "Hello, Cruel World" is a play on the phrase "goodbye, cruel world" which is often referenced as a person's last words before they commit suicide. The reference here is to Sam's state of mind.
The origin of the phrase is unclear, although it appears in Kurt Vonnegut's 1961 novel Mother Night. Vonnegut was a writer who often employed metafictive literary devices, which Supernatural is also fond of (see Meta Episodes). Vonnegut was mentioned in 4.18 The Monster at the End of This Book
Both phrases have featured many times as the titles of songs and albums since from groups including Pink Floyd, Elvis Costello, and Siouxsie and the Banshees.
In 2006, non-binary writer Kate Bornstein
published a book called Hello, Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks and Other Outlaws
(which, in a nice piece of circularity, was reviewed by Kurt Vonnegut
You come back, I'm sorry, with no soul like some preppy American Psycho until Saint Dean glues you back together again by buying you some magic amnesia?
- American Psycho refers to the book by Bret Easton Ellis (later made into a movie with Christian Bale) about an investment banker who is a sadistic serial killer.
Hey - wake up sunshine. Up and at 'em, Atom Ant!
- Atom Ant is a 1960's-era cartoon superhero, whose catch phrase was "Up and at 'em, Atom Ant!"
Whatever they're up to, it ain't about going Mothra down main street.
- Mothra is a giant mutant mothlike monster from Japanese cinema.
Why would the devil holodeck you a whole new life, when he could just kick your ass all over the cage?
- The Holodeck is a facility where an artificial reality can be created. It was a feature of starships in the Star Trek universe.
Ok, but this Malibu Dream Mansion that he makes for you to take away is this post-apocalyptic mess?
- A reference to the range of Barbie dollhouses known as 'Dreamhouses', the latest one released at the time of this episode's filming was known as the 'Malibu Dreamhouse'.
What are you doing?
Dean: Turning on his GPS in case he tries to fly the Cuckoo's Nest
- A reference to the novel by Ken Kesey One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest which was made into a movie of the same name starring Jack Nicholson. It is about a larrikin criminal who stirs up trouble in a psychiatric institution.
...your brother's in the bell jar...
- Bobby is alluding to the semi-autobiographical novel by Sylvia Plath called The Bell Jar, about a woman's struggle with depression. Plath herself committed suicide shortly after the book was published in 1961.
Hey there, Gunga Din. Buck up.
- Gunga Din was the eponymous Indian water-carrier character in the 1890 Rudyard Kipling poem.
Bobby's running the hub, I'm 5150'd, which leaves you to follow this thing up.
- 5150 (Fifty-one fifty) is the number of a California legal code that allows officials to involuntarily confine someone they deem a danger to themselves or others because of a mental problem. Van Halen released an album named 5150 in 1986.
When visiting the crime scene in the locker room, Dean uses the alias Ian Anderson
, a reference to the singer and flutist of Jethro Tull
It ends when you can't take it anymore.
- Lucifer's encouraging Sam to kill himself to end the dream may be an indirect reference to the movie Inception, in which the characters could wake up from a dream by killing themselves in the dream state. Leonardo DiCaprio's character's wife in the movie killed herself because she thought she was still dreaming and couldn't tell the difference between dream and reality.
Hey, Sam. You, uh... having a little bag-lady moment?
- Bag-lady is a slang term for a homeless woman who carries her belongings around with her in shopping bags.
Either Sheriff Mills is having an Obamacare-insured opium dream, or something's eating folks down at Sioux Falls General Hospital.
- Obamacare is a nickname for the health care reforms introduced by President Obama.
Now we're getting there. Pinocchio's seeing his strings.
- A reference to the fictional character Pinocchio from the children's novel The Adventures of Pinocchio and later the Disney film Pinocchio (1940). Pinocchio was a sentient puppet who wished to become a real boy.
Let me see your hand. The gimp hand, let me see it.
Hallucifer: Smell you, Florence Nightingale.
- Florence Nightingale was the founder of modern nursing and well-known for her work during the Crimean War.
No Dean, I'm good. No white rabbits. I am not seeing anything.
- The 1950 James Stewart movie Harvey in which the main character Elwood P. Dowd claims to see a 6'3.5" tall rabbit named Harvey. This may also be a reference to the character of the same name in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland.
You cannot be in that crater back there. I can't… If you're gone, I swear I am gonna strap my Beautiful Mind brother into the car and I'm gonna drive us off the pier.
- Beautiful Mind is a 2001 movie about the schizophrenic maths prodigy John Nash, in which he has trouble distinguishing his hallucinations from reality.
This episode was the third episode shot for the season, but aired second.
During shooting of the scene where the Leviathans take over Castiel's body, Misha
was violently ill. The director encouraged him to try and get through the scene, but he was so unwell that Jensen
stepped in to persuade the crew to postpone shooting the scene.(source)
Dean lifting Cas' trenchcoat
out of the water, folding it up, and keeping it wasn't scripted. It was Jensen
- "I've been playing this guy for so long, I feel like I've got a pretty good handle on how he would react in a situation. [...] I think his relationship with Cas was very deep [...] and, the pulling the coat out, I discussed it with Guy like 'if he ever comes back, he's gonna need the trench coat'. So, we were like, y'know what let's just pull it out. So, I pulled it out, and it was soaking wet [...] There was just something kind of... almost like a closure, folding it up and putting it away [...] I wanted to take care of it because it belonged to somebody who meant a lot to Dean."(source)
- Jensen at Salute to Supernatural Nashville 2012
When the girls are washing cars for the football team, the car in the middle is a Dodge Caliber.
is watching TV, she sees ads for Biggerson's
, a fictional restaurant chain and Dr. Sexy, M.D.
, a fictional TV show that have featured in previous Supernatural
episodes. See their entries for details.
The three brass owls in one of Jim Beaver
's twitter pictures (below) are visible on Bobby Singer's kitchen windowsill in several scenes, including around the 12:03 mark where Bobby is asking Dean if he's ok. Jared
took these and gave them to Jim Beaver as a souvenir. (see below).
The high school swim team is called the Stockville Sharks.
The hospital is called Sioux Falls General Hospital.
Hallucination!Dean: [Handing Sam the keys to the Impala]
Just don't, uh, don't let Satan change my presets.
- Tuners in car radios of the Impala's era were analog. The preset buttons mechanically moved the tuner to the new location. To set the location for a preset button you usually pulled it out, turned the tuning knob to get the best reception for that station, and then pushed it back in. It was often difficult to know what frequency the radio was on since the display was a single line that moved in front of a background with only a few main frequencies marked.
When Sam's hallucination of Dean leads him into what appears to be an office building, the name on the door is the Morning Star Endeavors LTD., and its symbol is an inverted star. Both the name Morning Star and the inverted five-point star are associated with Lucifer
In 5.20 The Devil You Know, Crowley says to Brady:
"If Lucifer wins, he'll turn this place into his kingdom. When the Morning Star cleans house, we all get the mop."
During the episode both director Guy Bee and Jim Beaver tweeted photos from the set.
Pics posted by director Guy Bee which follow his part in the episode from preparation, casting and filming through to editing.
July 12: Hey look what I just got in my E-mail! #SPN #season7
Look who I just ran in to! #SPN #prepping703
Guess what I just got finished doing! #SPN #prepping703
This place gives me the willies...I think this office is haunted... #SPN #prepping703 #touchedbyanangel @mishacollins
Do NOT park here... #SPN #prepping703
Wardrobe show & tell with the amazing Diane Widas!
July 28 Here we go...Day 1 #SPN ep 703! #kickasscastandcrew
The fearless Clif! #SPN #badassscooter @bodyguard4JandJ
Impalaporn! #SPN #musclecarsrule
Day 2! #SPN 703 #gonnabealateone
Jackles & Paddles! #SPN 703 #viewfrommyoffice
Guy and the Giant slate! #SPN #703
My Supernatural sandwich! #SPN #703
Clif and his baby! @bodyguard4JandJ #SPN
Where am I? #SPN 703 #creepy!
Looks like a perfect week ahead for shooting! #SPN
Happy Birthday Lunch! #SPN #703 #awesomecastandcrew
8-8 Baby Slate! #SPN #703
Veteran Ass't Director Gabe's coat! #SPN
Kick it in the ass! #SPN #kimmannerstribute
Me and @jumblejim - my Supernatural posse-mate! #SPN #703
Editing room at WB #SPN #703
Dodge Demon in Singer Salvage
Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) on TV just now... Looks familiar to a scene in #hellocruelworld huh?! #castiel
You see some crazy things outside of the #supernatural dressing rooms! #hellocruelworld
Pic posted by Jim Michaels
Scouting for Cas' resting place - Jim Michaels, Kevin Parks and Jerry Wanek
Pics posted by Jim Beaver
Props or catering. Your guess is as good as mine.
Jared "souvenired" me these from the joint we were shooting in tonight. Ain't he sweet?
Okay now, who stole Bobby's ceiling? Bring it back now and you won't get in trouble..... I'm WAITING.
They're gross but not so much in pictures. Still, you were warned. (that's my stand-in, um, standing in. 1 of 3.
2 of 3. Closer view. Still got your cookies?
3 of 3. I'm gonna say this chick's defunct.
Sides, Scripts & Transcripts