“Everybody Hates Hitler”
February 6, 2013
THEN: Sagen sie ihrem Meister ist dies noch lange nicht vorbei.
“If knowledge is power, then this is the most powerful place on Earth.”
Lebanon, Kansas. What looks like an abandoned power station. No one has been inside in 70 years. Not since Emergency Programme One was initiated. The Men of Letters were facing an enemy that should never get her hands on the key. So they let the trove die. Just let the old box gather dust. No one could open it, no one even noticed it. It became a strange little big thing standing on a hill on the edge of town.
And over the years, the world moved on.
Sam and Dean enter the darkened nerve center of the Men of Letters. Dean finds a panel box and flips the switches. The lights hums to life.
“Sammy, I think we found a Bat Cave.”
Dean wastes no time making himself at home in the Bunker. He strolls into the library wearing slippers and a bathrobe. “The water pressure in the Letters’ shower room is marvelous.”
Sam is already up and well into an initial survey of the stacks. Bless him. Ella Fitzgerald is on the record player and the tables are piled with books. He still can’t figure out how they have water – or electricity – but Dean is happy to put that in the ‘ain’t broke’ column.
He cautions Sam against going ‘all geek’, but stops mid-sentence when he spies the beautiful, shiny, pointy things resting atop a low bookcase. Dean picks up the scimitar and strikes a few poses.
“Don’t think that they knew some big secrets that we don’t know.”
“Dean, they were a secret society.”
Sam turns around and Dean tries to pretend he was not getting his swashbuckle on just now. As far as Dean is concerned, the Men of Letters are on only slightly better footing than the Shriners or Masons. He brandishes the scimitar. “They probably didn’t even sharpen … [runs a finger across the blade, cuts himself] … It’s very sharp.”
Dean sucks at his bleeding finger while Sam makes the earnest case that they have something here. “Something that could help us. Help humanity. Henry certainly thought so.” They could use a break. What if they finally got one? Also,
“You gonna take off the dead guy robe?”
In Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Barney Miller hurries into the university library. He drops his heavy lather satchel onto the counter and complains that he had to transfer buses three times to lose “him”. No one ever believes he’s being followed, but there’s no time for that now. He flips through his notes and asks to see manuscript FD113 from the Holtzinger Estate.
“Oh my, you’re going to catalog that whole collection for us aren’t you?”
If he has to, yes. And you can just stow the attitude Mr. Counter Man. YOU JUST STOW IT! THAT IS NOT GOOD PATRON SERVICE. A clerk brings Barney Miller his item and WOO! Archives prOn!
Barney Miller pulls on the white cotton gloves and opens the grey plastic container. Sitting at the bottom (NOT in an acid free, archival quality clamshell case) is a large red leather ledger. There’s an old scorch mark on one of the corners.
Barney Miller opens the book to the first page and scans the entries. He flips through more pages before sagging back in his chair. He brings the ledger back to the main desk. He says they have to protect the book! There’s no time! He’s too close! Barney can’t take the ledger with him!
Counter guy smarms that of course Barney can’t, because non-circulating special collection. He assures Barney Miller that the book is perfectly safe. Barney Miller does not crack the guy across the face with the book on general principle.
Barney glances at the clock on the wall. He still has 10 minutes. 8 minutes, Counter Guy corrects. Barney smiles and addresses him in Yiddish. “I hope they pay you good to keep that bug up your ass.”
The library closes and Barney Miller hurries to a campus pub. He places a call and leaves a message. He says he has no time left. He can’t see the Son of Major Toht standing outside, but he knows he’s there.
Barney walks to the front windows and calls out. “Why so shy? Come in! Come in out of the cold. You’ll have a cup of coffee with your old enemy … you Nazi piece of rubbish! You Nazi pig!” Barney Miller’s skin begins to smoke and blister as his FOOL BODY IS ENGULFED IN FLAMES, EEP!
Two weeks later. Sam has MacGyvered up wi-fi and there’s a mini fridge in the library. Dean returns from a run to check on Kevin. “In his corner, hacking out his DaVinci Code. Nothing actionable yet. Garth says hi, by the way.” Neither one of them has heard from Castiel – and he hasn’t answered any of Dean’s calls. That can’t be good, but the topic drops.
Sam has been busy charting out the Men of Letters’ network of hunters, allies, and affiliated groups. Most are dead or defunct, but others, Sam isn’t so sure. He passes a file on the Judah Initiative to Dean. Sam says they weren’t hunters, but rabbis active during World War II. Hardcore saboteurs.
Sam ran a search on the Initiative’s entire roster and got a hit – Rabbi Barney Miller. He was 17 years old when he joined the Initiative and 85 years old when he spontaneously combusted. Dean is less excited by this than he should be. He sips his beer and harrumphs that he just got back.
He’s probably just disappointed by all the showers he’s going to miss.
Sam starts at the library, posing as a research associate. He says he’s hoping to complete the Rabbi’s final paper for publication. Counter Guy tells Sam he’s going to have a lot of material go to through. Barney Miller was at the library open to close for almost a week.
Sam asks to see just the material the Rabbi was reviewing “the day he … caught fire.” The clerk brings him the same grey tub, but when Sam opens it, he finds a copy of The Explorer’s Guide to North American Birds. It is neither rare nor valuable, and certainly not worth killing for.
Dean interviews witnesses at the pub. He talks to the two girls who were sitting just behind the Rabbi when he was murdered. They describe him as a nice old kook. He would talk to anyone who would listen about the secret war that nobody knew was going on. “Conspiracy stuff. He was obsessed with Nazis. But he said they were special Nazis. You know … necromancers.”
Dean dutifully takes notes but is suddenly thrown off his game by the bearded man across the room. He’s young, has an umbrella drink in front of him, and is staring intently at Dean.
Not for nothing, but the last person who looked at Dean like that got the sexy times.
Dean wraps up the interview with the girls and slaps his badge down in front of Umbrella Guy. Agent Bolan say this is the second, maybe third time he’s seen the man today. “Why you following me, gingerbread?”
This is very awkward for Umbrella Guy. So, they didn’t have a thing back there? A moment? A little eye magic in the quad? Dean is all what in the who now? He slowly closes his badge and stammers that he’s conducting a federal investigation.
“Is that supposed to make you less interesting?”
Dean gives him a deer in the headlights look. Umbrella Guy thinks he’s interesting? Dean is flattered and really doesn’t know what to do with it. The man quickly apologizes. He didn’t mean to freak Dean out. Freaked out? No. Flustered, yes. Dean tries to exit as gracefully as he can. Which is not very.
“Okay. Citizen … As you were.”
Sam walks up to Baby and oopsies! Drops the keys. Dean circles around behind the man keeping an eye on Sam. The man stands … and keeps on standing. At 6’9, actor John DeSantis is taller than Padalecki and Kevin Durand combined.
Sam hears a cry and looks up in time to see Dean flying through the air. He crashes into the side of a van, shattering the window. Dean lands hard on the ground and stays there, groaning in pain and wishing this was an alternate universe and he was a genetically enhanced, super strong super solider.
The giant breaks cover and Sam goes for the arsenal. He grabs the first thing that comes to hand – a machete. He buries it in the giant’s arm where it sticks as though it’s caught in clay. Sam wrenches the blade free and the giant grabs him by the throat. A voice calmly tells him to stop. Umbrella Guy steps into view.
Umbrella Guy – Aaron – takes them back to his house. He explains that Barney Miler was his grandfather. Dean confirms that they did not then, in fact, have a moment. Aaron had Dean going. Well played. Very smooth. Aaron tells them smooth is about all he has. That and the chia pet.
“Shaped from clay and brought to life by rabbis to protect the Jewish people in times of, I don’t know, general crappiness.”
Aaron says he inherited the golem from Barney Miller. He’s the last surviving descendant of the members of the Judah Initiative. The golem has been stalking wordlessly through the house, but at the mention of the Initiative he stops. Right behind Sam and Dean. They both jump when he speaks. “Who! Who are they to know about the Men of Judah!”
The golem stands down when Sam tells him their grandfather was a Man of Letters. “Yes. The rabbis knew the Men of Letters.” The golem resumes his patrol.
The boys gratefully accept the beers Aaron hands them and sit down to enjoy some fresh exposition. Aaron says he didn’t grow up in The Life. He thought the stories his grandfather told him as a child were all make believe. So did his parents. A way of coping with all the horrible things Barney had seen. He used to tell Aaron that one day, he would inherit the mantle.
A few days after Barney died, a big box showed up at Aaron’s apartment. “He always said I’d know what to do. Which was crap, because when I opened that box, this big, naked, potato faced lunatic wakes up and goes crazy.” The golem disputes Aaron’s characterization. He did not go crazy.
“YOU TRASHED MY ENTERTAINMENT CENTER!”
The golem say the boy knows nothing. Observes none of the mitzvahs. Labors on Sabbath. Dines on swine. He’s no rabbi. He shouts down at Aaron, “Yifalchunbee! YIFALCHUNBEE!”
“Everybody loves bacon!”
And the golem can just zippy-zip with the yifalchunbee. “Please! Quiet time.” Aaron wearily rubs his eyes. He explains that the word is Hebrew, something like ‘take charge’, but he has no idea what the golem means. Barney Miller never had much of a chance to prepare him. Aaron says his parents tried to shield him from what they saw as the crazy.
Aaron explains that his grandfather spent his life hunting the Nazi necromancers of the Thule Society. The golem stops again to remind Aaron that the Thule Society murdered his grandfather.
“Find them so I can do my work!” Golem smash!
“Hey! HEY! We’re renting here! Renting.” The golem is right though. Aaron tells Sam and Dean about the message Barney Miller left him, and the clue – QL6 73W38. It doesn’t make any sense to Aaron though. Dude, it’s called a Library of Congress call number. Look it up. (Librarian humor). Sam feels me. He begins decoding the classification and now he’s just showing off and flirting with me.
They break into the library and Sam heads upstairs to the science section. Dean, Aaron, and the golem wait in the lobby. This seems like a very poor idea. Sam finds the ledger on the shelf and then takes a dart in the neck. He immediately pulls it out, but the dark magic has already begun its work. A deep purple bruise blooms on Sam’s neck and he comes over all woozy.
Son of Toht says he owes Sam his thanks for leading him to the ledger. Sam kicks a book cart at Toht and staggers away. He gasps out “necromancer” and collapses on the stairs. Dean rushes to his side as Aaron takes a dart in the chest. Dean sends the golem into the stacks. He returns dragging Toht down the stairs like a rag doll. He snaps the man’s neck and the spell is broken. Long live the Thule? “Or, not.”
Aaron wakes up in the back of the Impala. The boys already have the hole dug. He watches as they drop Toht’s shrouded body in. Dean says it’s like a bag of Legos. The golem destroyed the guy. Sam wonders what their contingency plan is on that.
“You mean, how do we ‘oh, no!’ Mr. Bill over there?”
Aaron watches with horrified fascination as they pour gasoline over the body and light it up. “Oh my god … these guys are psychopaths.”
It’s Sam warming his hands over the flames that makes it poetry.
Sam sets to work babelfishing the ledger. It appears to be a record of the experiments conducted at a Thule run Nazi compound in Belarus. The golem knows the place. “More horrible than words. I was made in the ghetto of Vitsyebsk to tear that hell down. I broke its walls. Its men. The Commandant burnt the place to ash around me.”
Since the golem is feeling chatty, Sam asks what it means when he tells Aaron to take charge. “The boy would know … if he could consult the pages.” The golem stares down on Aaron until he finally, reluctantly looks up and meets the golem’s gaze. Aaron explains that when he was bar mitzvah’ed, Barney Miller gave him a book. “It was like an owner’s manual for a golem.” When he got to high school he started drifting. Got off track. “And, uh … I kind of, um … I kind of smoked it.”
“The boy smoked the pages.”
The golem’s voice drips with disappointment and contempt. Aaron stumbles over himself trying to explain. The pages were so thin! So vellumy! They were perfect for rolling! “Look, they were driving instructions for a clay man, okay? It was nonsense!” Amirite? Bueller?
Aaron yells at the golem. He’s sorry! Why can’t the golem just tell him what he needs to know?? The golem leans down, plants his hands on the table, and roars into the boy’s face. “IT IS NOT MY PLACE TO GUIDE THE RABBI! TO TEACH THE TEACHER! IT’S NOT MY PLACE! YIFALCHUNBEE.”
Sam looks around the table with wide eyes as though to say, ‘Well I know I just soiled myself. Anybody else? No?’ He picks up the research baton, explaining that the Thule were murdering people in the camp and trying to magically reanimate them. “They were trying to figure out a way to bring their own dead back to life.”
Sam flips to the last entry in the ledger. It’s a roster of every dead Thule member who was reanimated. A head shot will take them out, but unless the body is burned within 12 hours, it re-reanimates. Dean and his cunning red and gray plaid shirt check in with Garth, but no one in their network has ever heard of the Thule Society.
Sam has also been busy working on the golem conundrum. He says the lore is all over the place on how to shut one down. “We do know that he took on an entire camp full of heavily armed German soldiers and Thule necromancers and won.” He’s one badass Hummel figurine that they have no idea how to put back in the box.
Aaron walks in on the end of their conversation. What makes them think they have any right to decide if, when, and how to take out his golem? “He may be a pain in the aspiration, but he’s my responsibility.”
Dean is taken aback. He has entered the, ‘Don’t question me’, portion of his relationship with Aaron. “Believe me, if we need the right, we will take it.” Sam reasonables that the golem was built for war. Aaron isn’t trained for that. How is he going to take that on? Aaron mumbles he doesn’t know. Dean softens a bit and nods. He understands that burden of finding your footing when you’re weighed down by expectation, responsibility, and choice.
Thule flunkies kick in the door before they can hug it out. Dean shoves Aaron out of the way while Sam shoves the ledger under his bag on the floor. The golem strides into the room and grabs up the Thule covering Aaron.
A voice behind him cries, “Enough! There you are, you grim piece of work. After all these years.” The golem turns to face Commandant Eckhart. At last he can finish his work. Eckhart holds out his hand and speaks in Hebrew, “Clay of Adam, surrender your bond unto me!”
The golem stops dead in his tracks. His face goes slack and his shoulders slump. “I command you by the covenant of your makers, Clay of Adam, surrender your bond unto me.” The golem opens his mouth and a small scroll falls out into Eckhart’s waiting hand.
Aaron woke the golem, “but you didn’t take possession of him. You write your name on the scroll, boy. That’s how you … yifalchunbee. Knowledge is power, isn’t it?” Right now, Aaron has neither.
Eckhart cracks him across the face, knocking him to the floor. The Commandant turns his attention to Sam and Dean as his flunkies begin searching the room. Can’t they put the whole Nazi thing aside for the moment, and just talk about this like … “Nazi necromancer dicks? Pass.”
Sam keeps Eckhart talking while Dean works the eye magic with Aaron. ‘See that gun over there? Grab it’. Aaron is all like, ‘I told you man, there’s no connection. I am not going for the gun’.
One of the henchies finds the ledger and hands it to Eckhart. He takes a moment to gloat. “Let me tell you what I see. A magic Jew at my feet. Not a master in sight. And finally, our secrets secret once again. Which reminds me of a story. A Jew, two Gentiles, and a golem walk into a bar.”
Aaron looks at the pile of broken furniture laying next to him. He’ll worry about not getting his deposit back later. He grabs a piece of wood and clobbers Eckhart in the back of the head before he can get to the punchline.
Aaron struggles with flunkie of the first while Sam and Dean each reach for their guns and drop flunkies of the second and third. Aaron’s guy uses him as a shield and runs away to evil Nazi dick again another day. Eckhart slowly and painfully picks himself up off the floor. “You can kill me, but you will never kill all the Thule!” Sam fires first, followed a millisecond later by Dean. “That’s a start.”
“Well, now we know. Paper beats golem. Fire beats undead Nazi zombie freaks.”
Dean will, however, still and always throw scissors. Every time. Sam asks Aaron is he’s made a decision. He says they have a place where they can keep the golem. Aaron pulls the scroll from his pocket and unrolls it. He is visibly moved by the sight of his grandfather’s name written on the tiny slip of paper.
“My grandfather left me something important. Something only I can do.”
He writes his name, binds up the scroll, and places it back in the golem’s mouth. The golem inhales and stands tall again. Aaron looks up at him. “Looks like I’m the Judah Initiative now.” The golem yifalchunbees at him and Aaron has a confused. He thought he did. The golem bows his head and whispers, “Yes.”
Sam cranks that swinging jazzy beat and makes a card catalog entry for their copies of the Thule’s red ledger. “For our collection.” Dean puts the beers back in the mini fridge and pours them each a glass of the good stuff. “So uh, what? Aaron’s a JI and you’re a Man of Letters now, is that it?” Dean looks around the room and takes a seat with Sam at the table. “Good.” They don’t clink, but they do silently toast to committing to legacies – not because they have to, but because they choose to.
Supernatural airs Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. on The CW.
This post originally appeared on the Hearst site chron.com.