Dean and Sam go to Elwood, Indiana to investigate the disappearances of four people. Due to reports of crop circles and bright lights in the sky, rumors have spread that the disappearances are the work of aliens. Dean and Sam go to visit a watchmaker, Mr. Brennan, who is the father of the first abductee, Patrick Brennan. He acts strange, so Sam stays in the city to watch him while Dean goes out to the cornfield that Patrick disappeared from.
While in the field, Dean gets a call from Sam. Sam tells him that he hasn't seen Mr. Brennan do anything suspicious just as Dean sees a bright light in the sky. Dean, still on the phone, starts running through the corn and screaming about UFOs and close encounters, but he is unable to escape and disappears in a flash of light. Sam goes to investigate the scene of Patrick, and now Dean's, disappearance and finds only Dean's cell phone on the ground. His next stop is the UFO follower camp--a collective of RVs and trailers covered in alien paraphernalia that has Wayne Whittaker, a famous UFO chaser, at its center. Sam goes up to Wayne and asks him how to hunt the aliens, but is disgusted when all Wayne can give him are pages and pages of useless interviews with people who have had close encounters. He tells Wayne that he sucks at hunting UFOs and leaves with a young woman, Sparrow Jennings, who seems interested in him and the story of his brother's disappearance.
Hours later, Dean reappears in the field in a flash of light, knife and gun brandished. He heads back to their motel and finds Sam and Sparrow in bed together. Dean thinks he's only been gone an hour and is upset that Sam was having sex instead of out looking for him, but Sam tells him that it's 4am and that Dean has been gone all night. After his abduction, they seem convinced that aliens are at the center of Elwood's disappearances. Sam researches them at the library while Dean stays at the motel and checks sources online. Dean's alone when the door to the motel bursts open and a "little, glowing, hot, naked lady" flies in and starts hitting him. He traps her in the microwave and cooks her, but when he tries to show Sam her remains, Sam can't see them. Sam puts together the clues and determines that all of the recent UFO encounters were actually the cause of fairies.
Dean and Sam go to visit Marion, a woman they interviewed earlier who had said that fairies were behind the disappearances. She tells them all about fairies, including that they like cream and that they must count every grain of salt or sugar that is spilled in front of them. After they leave, they see Mr. Brennan loading boxes of cream into his car. Dean breaks into his shop and sees elves working on watches for him. He tells Sam, who confronts Mr. Brennan and learns that the man summoned a leprechaun and tried to make a deal with him to save his watchmaking business. Unfortunately, the consequences were the kidnapping of his and then other firstborn sons in the city. Sam resolves to help Mr. Brennan reverse the ritual he used to summon the leprechaun.
Meanwhile, Dean is being stalked by a fairy, a Red Cap in particular, and he mistakenly tackles a little person and is arrested for a hate crime. He is in jail when Sam and Mr. Brennan go to the shop to get what they need to banish the fairies. Mr. Brennan starts to read the ritual, but is killed by Wayne Whittaker, who is actually the leprechaun that Mr. Brennan made his deal with. The leprechaun then tries to make a deal with Sam to give him his soul back, but Sam refuses. They fight until Sam spills salt in front of him, and he is forced to start counting the grains. Sam then reads the ritual and all of the fairies are banished back to their realm. Dean, who was being beaten by the Red Cap in his jail cell, is saved in time and is released from jail the next morning. The little person, who was also the district attorney for Tipton county, dropped the charges against him.
Sam: Okay, if you want to add glitter to that glue you’re sniffing, that’s fine, but don’t dump your whackadoo all over us. We’d rather not step in it.
Dean: Empathy, man. Empathy. I mean, the old Sam would have given her some, some wussified, dew-eyed crap.
Empathy, Sam! Empathy!
Sam: They still after you?
Yeah, right. My brother was abducted so I’m pretty good on the whole proof part.
Sparrow: Your brother was abducted?
Sparrow: Oh my God.
Sam: It’s fine. I mean, I’ve had time to adjust.
Sparrow: Did it happen when you were kids?
No, like, half an hour ago. So, you’ve been hunting UFO’s for over three decades and you basically have no concrete data and zero workable leads.
What the hell?
Sparrow: Oh that’s Dean! Sam, they brought your brother back. Okay. It’s all right, Sam. I so totally understand that you need time as a family. But it’s just—what were they like?
They were grabby, incandescent douche bags. Good night.
Well, uh, there was this... God help me, Sam, there was this bright white light!
Sam: It’s okay. Safe room.
Dean: And then suddenly, I was, uh, I was in a different place. And there were these beings, and they were too bright to look at, but I could feel them pulling me towards this sort of table—
Sam: Probing table!
God! Don’t say that out loud!
I went crazy. I started hacking and slashing and firing. They actually seemed surprised. I don’t think anybody’s ever done that before. Yeah. I had a close encounter, Sam, and I won.
Sam: You should take a shower.
I should take a shower. I’m gonna, I’m gonna take a shower now.
Dean: Oh no. Not again. Nipples?
It was a, a little... naked lady, okay?
Sam: It was a what?
It was a-- it was a little, glowing, hot naked lady. With nipples. And she hit me.
Dean: God, is it on me? I feel like I’ve got the crazy on me.
Sam: No. You did sit in some glitter, though.
Sam: What am I supposed to do?
Dean: Fight the fairies. You fight those fairies. Fight the fairies!!
I’m just trying to understand exactly what kind of hate crime this even was.
Dean: It wasn’t a hate crime.
Sheriff: I mean, if this gentleman were a full-sized homosexual, would that be okay with you?
I don’t hate any size person, or any size... gay... guy.
Sam: There’s no freaking way a leprechaun can do what angels cannot.
Wayne: Angels. Please. I’m talking about real magic, sonny. From my side of the fence. Got a way of getting in back doors.
Sam: It was a deal. When’s a deal ever been a good thing?
Dean: Just making sure that’s where your head’s at. That you’re not having second thoughts about getting your soul back.
The opening credits to this episode are an homage to the TV series The X-Files
, using similar music and images. The final text “The Truth is in There” is a twist on The X-Files
catchphrase “The Truth Is Out There.”
Sera Gamble on why they decided to pay tribute to The X-Files:
When the episode, "Clap Your Hands If You Believe...," was in the planning stages, "we decided to do an alien abduction as the teaser, and we immediately thought to do the title sequence," Gamble said.
"It would be hard to find someone working on the show who isn't an 'X-Files' fan," Gamble continued. "It was especially fun to put together the homage because 'Supernatural' does owe a real creative debt of gratitude to the show; I think the whole current generation of genre shows does."(source)
- See Title Card for other episodes of Supernatural which have had different opening credits.
- See Weren't You On X-Files? for a comprehensive list of actors who played parts in both X-Files and Supernatural.
Other possible X-Files references in this episode include:
- Dean's exclamation "Fight the fairies!" is reminiscent of the first X-Files feature film, The X-Files: Fight the Future.
- Sam spilling salt, and the Leprechaun starting to count each grain. In The X-Files season 5 episode 12, "Bad Blood", Mulder spilled sunflower seeds to stop the vampire - in that episode, vampires must stoop to count each grain.
- The cornfield chase is similar to that in The X-Files: Fight the Future, which is an homage to North by Northwest.
For more the show's influence on Supernatural
, see The X-Files
We are right in the middle of what we in the field like to call a “UFO flap,” and I am as happy as a pig in shoes.
- According to Ufology, a "UFO flap" is when Unidentified Flying Objects reappear in the same area for several days at a time.
- Wayne recites a tamer version of the simile: "Happy as a pig in shit."
No, man. E.T. is made of rubber. Everybody knows that. But there are four legitimate vanishings in this town. Something’s going on. And Sam? By the way, it’s not the lady’s fault that she took the brown acid.
- Reference to the 1982 film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.
- Brown acid refers to having a bad LSD trip, which originated at the 1969 Woodstock Festival.
Hey, you wanna be a real boy, Pinocchio, you gotta act the part.
Sam: I was faking it, Dean! Ever since we got back on the road together, I was picking every freaking word. It’s exhausting.
Dean: Okay. All Right. But until we get you back on the soul train, I’ll be your conscience, okay?
Sam: So you’re saying you’ll be my... Jiminy Cricket.
Dean: Shut up. But yeah, you freaking puppet. That’s exactly what I’m saying.
- Soul Train was a musical variety television show that featured R&B, soul, and hip hop artists. It aired from 1971 - 2006.
- Pinocchio is a character from a 19th-century Italian novel, although the references in this episode come from the 1940 Disney cartoon version. Pinocchio is a wooden puppet, and his maker Geppetto wishes that he could be a real boy. A blue fairy grants the wish, on the grounds that Pinocchio prove that he can act like a human boy. Since Pinocchio has no conscience, a cricket called Jiminy agrees to act as his conscience.
Close encounter! Close encounter!
Sam: Close encounter? What kind? First? Second?
Dean: They're after me!
Sam: Third kind already? You better run, man. I think the fourth kind is a butt thing.
- A close encounter is a reference to an alien encounter. The term was coined by UFO researcher J. Allen Hynek, who came up with an incremental classification system for different types of human/alien encounters:
- First Kind: Sighting of a UFO (flying saucer or strange lights)
- Second Kind: Sighting of a UFO and associated physical effects of a UFO (crop circles, radiation, paralysis, lost time, etc...)
- Third Kind: An observation of "animate beings" in conjunction with a UFO sighting.
- Fourth Kind: Abduction. (not part of Hynek's original scale)
- For a possible example of Sam's fourth kind encounter, see the very first episode of South Park, titled "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe."
- The term "close encounter" was popularized by the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Like I said before, son, the truth is out there.
- "The Truth Is Out There" was the catchphrase/motto of The X-Files.
I was abducted, and you were banging patchouli!
Sam: I didn't think she smelled that bad.
- Patchouli is a strong-smelling plant, often used in perfume and insect repellent... But in this case, it's in reference to its use in incense, which is commonly associated with hippies.
So, on top of all the demons and the angels and the ghosts and the skinwalkers, it turns out that there’s—so if aliens are actually real, what’s next? Hobbits? Seriously.
- Hobbits are a race of short humanoids that reside in Middle Earth, the setting of many of J.R.R. Tolkien's books.
Okay! So how do we deal with the little green men?
- Little green men is a common term for aliens.
Dean microwaving the Fairy
could be a reference to the scene in the 1984 movie Gremlins
where Mrs. Peltzer kills one of the evil gremlins by microwaving it.
Okay, say these encounters have been going on for centuries, not with extra-terrestrials but with ultra-terrestrials. People nowadays say 'space aliens' or whatever, but they used to call them—
- Smurfs are a race of tiny blue creatures that live in mushroom-shaped homes.
Hey, you’re the one who pizza-rolled Tinkerbell. I’m just doing the math. But this is good. This is a lead.
- Pizza Rolls are a frozen food product popular in the United States.
- Tinkerbell is a fairy from Peter Pan.
Mmm. There is much theory and little fact. We know they only take firstborn sons, just like Rumplestiltskin did. Personally, I think they’re taken to Avalon to service Oberon, the King of the Faery.
- Rumpelstiltskin is the creature/character in a German fairy tale. He makes a deal with a miller's daughter to spin straw into gold, in exchange for her first-born child.
- Avalon is a mythical island in England that features prominently in Arthurian legend. In medieval and Renaissance literature, Oberon is king of the fairies and is most well-known nowadays as a character in Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream.
It’s like Sedona, Arizona, crapped in here.
- Sedona has a reputation as a center for new age spirituality.
Alright, you stick with half and half, I'm gonna go check out his store.
- Half and half is the North American term for a light cream typically used in coffee. Dean calls Mr. Brennan this, because they see him loading up his car with it.
Freaking full of Keeblers over here, man. Just full of ‘em.
- The Keebler Elves have appeared in countless television advertisements throughout the years, shown baking Keebler cookies and cracker products.
It’s like the story with the shoe guy and all the elves. Hey, you think Brennan made a deal with a bunch of fairies?
- The story Dean is referring to The Elves and the Shoemaker by the Brothers Grimm, in which a poor shoemaker receives much-needed help from elves.
The being that stalks and assaults Dean is a Red Cap
- a murderous assassin variety of fairy.
Fight the fairies. You fight those fairies. FIGHT THE FAIRIES!!
- Possibly a coincidence, this scene bares remarkable resemblance to the scene in the 1995 movie Hackers, when Dade Murphy is arrested and yells to Cereal to tip him off about the location of the disc, ""They're trashing our rights, man! They're trashing the flow of data! They're trashing! Trashing! Trashing! Hack the planet! HACK THE PLANET!" as he is put into a police car.
So you’re my blue fairy? You can make me a real boy again?
Wayne: When you wish upon a star.
- The Blue Fairy grants Geppeto's wish making the puppet Pinnochio a human boy. "When You Wish Upon a Star" is the main song played during the opening and closing credits of Pinocchio. It has since become the theme song of the Walt Disney Company, often used during commercials, opening film credits, etc.
So. Here’s to the tiniest D.A.. Thanks for dropping the charges.
Sam: Little big man.
- Little Big Man was a Native American chief, a fearless and respected warrior who fought under, and was rivals with, Crazy Horse. It was also a 1970 American Western film directed by Arthur Penn and based on the 1964 novel by Thomas Berger.
You think Lucky Charms really could have, you know, returned soul to sender?
- A reference to the cereal Lucky Charms, whose mascot character is a Leprechaun named Lucky.
- The cereal was first mentioned in 1.18 Something Wicked, when a young Dean gives the last of the Lucky Charms he was saving for himself to Sam (in the first documented use of Sam's famous Puppy Dog Eyes.
- In 6.04 Weekend at Bobby's a demon reveals that Crowley's nickname is "Lucky the Leprechaun."
- Possible reference to the 1962 Elvis Presley song Return to Sender.
The brothers first investigated a possible alien abduction in 2.15 Tall Tales
states in the episode that he had never found any real evidence of an alien abduction. The culprit in that case was discovered to be a Trickster
The motel the brothers are staying in is the Elwood Inn, room 9. It has a corn theme, which may be a reference to the corn field where the boy in the teaser and Dean are abducted.
The exact time Dean returns to the motel room, according to Sam's cell phone, is 4:07am.
When Sam and Dean are visiting the psychic Marion
ad-libbed the line "Do you have bigger cups?"(source)
When Dean realizes the little person he has tackled is not a fairy Jensen
ad-libbed, "I’m just kidding!"(source)
Jensen ad-libbed the line " You fight those fairies."(source)
When, after a prolonged fight with the Leprechaun
, Sam belatedly pulls a salt shaker from his pocket, Jared ad-libbed "Why didn’t I do that earlier?"(source)
The banishing spell Sam uses is in Scottish Gaelic:
- Leig seachad an ceangal sin, agus smàl an solus sin, agus fuadaich an sídhe air ais gu'n àite-breith.
- Let go of that binding, and blow out that light, and banish the fairies back to their birthplace.
- Сum sabhailt ar naoidhein gun am breith, agus cum dùinte an geata uamhasach seo.
- Keep the unborn children safe, and keep this terrible gate shut.
On the night this episode aired, #FightTheFairies trended on Twitter. Similar to when #LuciferIsComing trended and caused much confusion, some on Twitter thought the hashtag was a homophobic slur. See Twitter
for more info.