“Provenance” (Episode #118)
Image #SN118-0707
Pictured (l-r): Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester, Taylor Cole as Sarah Blake
Photo Credit: © The WB/Sergei Bachlakov

Supernatural opens on a giggling young couple as they hang a creepy old painting they won at a charity auction. The strange artwork features an early 20th century family. They seemingly stare through the canvas as the couple readies themselves for bed. As the man finally comes upstairs, he stumbles in the dark for a moment as he tries to undress. Finally climbing into bed, there’s a squish. Turning on the lights, he looks down in horror at the body of his wife. Her throat is slit.

Meanwhile, the Winchester Brothers are between cases. While Dean (Jensen Ackles) trolls a bar, “Is that Brandy with an “i”, or with a “y”?”, Sam (Jared Padalecki) busies himself with his usual research. As Dean briefly comes up for air, Sam quickly tells him about the suspicious murder of the young couple. While it initially sounds like a garden variety crime, Sam doesn’t think it’s that simple. As a matter of fact, John tracked a number of similar cases in the pages of his journal. This case is definitely in the Winchester’s wheelhouse.

Later, Sam and Dean sneak into the victim’s house. As they walk around, they discover the couple’s furniture has vanished. Looking into things further, there’s no history of violent crime in the house, and nothing strange seems to be tied to the victims. Where could the haunting be coming from?

Complicating things further, the family’s belongings were quickly (and quietly) put on sale by a persnickety art dealer Daniel Blake (Keith Martin Gordey). While the Winchester’s find themselves turned out of the exclusive auction, it isn’t long before they meet Sarah Blake (Taylor Cole). Luckily, Daniel’s attractive daughter takes an immediate liking to the safe and non-threatening Sam.

Sam and Sarah are heavily smitten and quickly find themselves on a date. While both are unbelievably, “CW” caliber pretty, somehow neither have been on a date in a long time. As such, their relationship game is zilch. However, Sam does succeed in getting Sarah to show him the “provenances” of the auction items. The papers are the only way to learn the history of the family’s belongings.

Later, Sam returns to the hotel room and goes over the paperwork with Dean. It turns out, the history of one of the paintings has been duplicated almost verbatim in John’s journal. Every owner of the painting has met with a violent, grisly fate. As Dean looks over Sam’s discovery, he cracks a smile, “This painting’s toast”.

However, as they salt and burn the painting they discover isn’t going to be that easy. As the picture burns, it instantaneously regenerates back in the frame.

It turns out, the painting subjects died in 1912. The family patriarch slit everyone’s throat with a straight razor, before finally killing himself. However, as the brothers look through the available research, they quickly realize that the figures in the painting have moved over time. Something isn’t right.

Still stumped for answers, Sam and Dean are panicked to learn that the painting has once again been sold.

The brothers rush off to save the day with Sarah hot on their heels. However, they are too late. As they tap the the woman on the shoulder, she slumps back in her chair. Her throat is slit.

Grasping for any clues they can find, the Winchester’s find their way to the family crypt. However, as they look around the aged mausoleum, there’s yet another problem. It turns out, the surviving family would not consent to Isaiah being interred with the rest of his family. Where is the missing patriarch?

Luckily, Dean discovers the location of the man’s body. It turns out, Isaiah wasn’t cremated. Rather, the surviving members of the family turned his remains over to the county, and he was given a paupers funeral. Once they find the grave, Sam and Dean easily burn the bones.

However, as they return to burn the painting once and for all, it has changed yet again. Not only is the razor missing, but the little girl is as well. There’s the terrifying disembodied laughter of a child as the door slams shut. With Dean trapped outside, Sam and Sarah scramble to protect themselves against the evil little girl’s spirit.

With little else to do, Dean rushes off to the cemetery. While she was cremated, part of her body did survive. It turns out, the girl’s doll used her real hair. Furthermore, the doll was preserved inside the tomb and is in fact, the source of the haunting.

While Dean lights the doll, there’s a terrifying pause as it waits to take effect. As the girl hovers over Sarah ready to deliver the killing blow, the spirit suddenly bursts into flame. The room is then plunged into a peaceful silence. It turns out, the little girl was adopted after the mysterious murder of her own family. It turns out it was her committing the murders all along. His own daughter framed Isaiah.

As the Winchester’s prepare to leave town, Sam and Sarah kiss. It’s a sweet moment, and there’s a sentimental hopefulness to the scene that they might cross paths again.

Supernatural airs Thursday nights on your local CW affiliate. Previous seasons are available on Netflix and on DVD.

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Kimberly Pierce

A film nerd from my earliest years watching Abbott and Costello, that eventually translated to a Master’s Degree in Film History. I spend my time working on my fiction projects in all their forms, as well as covering film and television.
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