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|Supernatural Season 3|
DVD cover art
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||16|
|Original channel||The CW|
|Original run||October 4, 2007– May 15, 2008|
|Home video release|
|Region 1||September 2, 2008|
|Region 2||August 25, 2008|
|Region 4||October 1, 2008|
|Blu-ray Disc release|
|Region-Free||November 11, 2008|
|List of Supernatural episodes|
|Supernatural Season 3|
DVD cover art
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||16|
|Original channel||The CW|
|Original run||October 4, 2007– May 15, 2008|
|Home video release|
|Region 1||September 2, 2008|
|Region 2||August 25, 2008|
|Region 4||October 1, 2008|
|Blu-ray Disc release|
|Region-Free||November 11, 2008|
|List of Supernatural episodes|
Season three of Supernatural, an American paranormal drama television series created by Eric Kripke, premiered on October 4, 2007, and concluded on May 15, 2008. Traveling throughout America, protagonists Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) use their father's journal to help them carry on the family business—saving people and hunting supernatural creatures. The season begins with the brothers tracking down the demons released from Hell in the previous season finale. They become allies with a demon named Ruby (Katie Cassidy), who claims to know a way to release Dean from his demonic pact—he had sold his soul to a demon and was given a year to live in exchange for Sam's resurrection—and wants to protect them from the new demonic leader Lilith. As Dean's deadline approaches, their efforts are further hindered by Bela Talbot (Lauren Cohan), a professional thief of occult items who is often at odds with the Winchesters.
In the United States the season aired on Thursdays at 9:00 pm ET on The CW television network. The CW ordered 22 episodes for the season, but interference from the 2007–08 Writers Guild of America strike ultimately limited the season to 16 episodes. Some storylines were thus postponed, which Kripke felt ultimately benefited the season by forcing the writers to focus on saving Dean. Despite its low ratings—it averaged only about 2.74 million American viewers—the series received an early renewal for a fourth season. The third season received mixed reviews from critics and fans, while the introduction of Ruby and Bela garnered generally negative responses.
Warner Home Video released the season on DVD as a five-disc box set in Region 1 on September 2, 2008, in Region 2 on August 25, 2008, and in Region 4 on October 1, 2008. The episodes are also available through digital retailers such as Apple's iTunes Store, Microsoft's Xbox Live Marketplace, and Amazon.com's on-demand TV service.
In this table, the number in the first column refers to the episode's number within the entire series, whereas the number in the second column indicates the episode's number within that particular season. "U.S. viewers in millions" refers to how many Americans watched the episode live or on the day of broadcast.
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Production|
|45||1||"The Magnificent Seven"||Kim Manners||Eric Kripke||October 4, 2007||3T6901||2.97|
|The season begins with brothers Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) bracing themselves for the possibility of an apocalyptic war. They realize that hunting down the hundreds of spirits that escaped from the Devil's Gate—a doorway to Hell briefly opened at the end of the previous season—will be an enormous task. With only a year left to live—he made a demonic pact to resurrect Sam—Dean decides to live life to the fullest and exhibits a carefree attitude that troubles Sam, who is trying to find a loophole. Friend and fellow hunter Bobby Singer (Jim Beaver) informs the brothers about a supernatural sighting in Nebraska, which turns out to be demonic manifestations of the Seven Deadly Sins. While investigating, they meet Isaac (Peter Macon) and Tamara (Caroline Chikezie), a husband and wife team of hunters. Isaac and Tamara trail one of the demons to a bar, but discover that all the patrons are demonically possessed. The two are restrained, and Isaac dies after being forced to drink drain cleaner. Before the demons can target Tamara, Bobby and the Winchesters crash their car into the building. They throw the personification of Envy into the trunk, and drive away with Tamara. The hunters interrogate the demon and then exorcise it. Later that night, the other Sins track them down. During the scuffle, a mysterious blonde named Ruby (Katie Cassidy) saves Sam and kills three demons with a magical knife—demons are typically immune to physical harm—before departing. The rest of the Sins are exorcised. As Sam continues his research the next day, Dean reveals that a clause in his pact will end Sam's life if he tries to escape the deal.|
|46||2||"The Kids Are Alright"||Phil Sgriccia||Sera Gamble||October 11, 2007||3T6902||3.16|
|Dean reads about a death in Cicero, Indiana, where a man was pushed onto a power saw. The town reminds him of Lisa Braeden (Cindy Sampson), a woman he knew eight years prior and whom he wants to see again before he dies. Later arriving in Cicero, Dean drops Sam off at a motel and drives to her house. He arrives during her son Ben's (Nicholas Elia) eighth birthday party, leading Dean to suspect that he is Ben's father. Lisa denies this, and tells Dean about the saw accident. Meanwhile, Ruby visits Sam at a diner. She surprises him with her knowledge of his psychic abilities, and informs him that something happened to all of his mother's friends. She also tells him that there is a supernatural occurrence in town. Moments later, Dean calls Sam and reveals that four other "accidents" occurred in Lisa's neighborhood. As Dean helps Ben deal with bullies, Sam investigates one of the accidents—a man fell off a ladder—and notices the child is behaving oddly. A mark on the mother's neck also catches his attention. Later, Sam researches changelings. He suspects that the creatures have replaced the local children, killed the fathers, and are feeding on the mothers. The brothers discover the mother changeling is using a vacant house as her base. Inside, they find a recently-replaced Ben, the other children, and the local realtor in cages. The mother changeling, in the form of the realtor, attacks them. Sam retaliates with a flamethrower, and all the changelings explode in flames upon her death. The real children are returned, and Dean explains everything to Lisa. Dean reluctantly turns down an offer to stay, telling her that it is not his life. Elsewhere, Sam confirms to Ruby that all of his mother's friends were killed. She reveals herself as a demon, but claims that she wants to help him.|
|47||3||"Bad Day at Black Rock"||Robert Singer||Ben Edlund||October 18, 2007||3T6903||3.03|
|Kubrick (Michael Massee) visits fellow hunter Gordon Walker (Sterling K. Brown) in prison, and is told that Sam must die due to his inhuman nature. Elsewhere, the brothers are alerted to a break-in at one of their father's storage rooms in Buffalo, New York, where thieves have stolen a rabbit's foot. Sam and Dean use security footage to track them down and retrieve the item. However, Bobby informs them that the foot is cursed. Anyone who touches it—Sam already has—is granted good luck, but will die within a week if the foot is lost. As Bobby researches a method to destroy it, Sam begins having good luck. Later, however, a waitress spills coffee on Sam to distract him and steals the foot. When Sam begins to have bad luck, they interrogate one of the thieves—the other who touched the foot has since died—and they learn about the woman who hired them, Bela Talbot (Lauren Cohan). Bobby knows of her and how she steals supernatural items for profit, and gives them a lead on her location. Dean retrieves the foot from Bela's flat in Queens, but Sam's bad luck helps Kubrick and another hunter track him down. They prepare to kill Sam, but Dean arrives in time and uses the good luck of the rabbit's foot to incapacitate them with a pen and TV remote. Bobby finds a ritual to break the curse, but Bela interrupts before its completion. She demands the foot, and shoots Sam in the shoulder to display her ruthlessness. Dean tricks her into becoming cursed, forcing her to allow the foot's destruction. Kubrick later visits Gordon in prison again. Believing the coincidences that helped him to locate Sam were caused by God, he agrees to help Gordon break out of prison.|
|48||4||"Sin City"||Charles Beeson||Robert Singer & Jeremy Carver||October 25, 2007||3T6904||3.02[note 1]|
|Omens and two unusual deaths lead the brothers to Elizabethville, Ohio, a once-sleepy town that has been turned into a haven for gamblers and drinkers. They first speak with Father Gil (Robert Curtis Brown), who witnessed a suicide in his church. A fellow hunter named Richie then takes them to a local bar to investigate its owner Trotter. A fight breaks out between two patrons, and the bartender Casey (Sasha Barrese) uses the distraction to lure away Richie. She takes him to a home owned by her parents, and kills him in the basement. Elsewhere, Ruby helps Bobby repair the Colt—a mystical gun capable of killing anything. As Sam tests Trotter and discovers that he is not possessed, Dean searches for Richie. He locates the demonic Casey, and tricks her into stepping inside a devil's trap—mystical symbols capable of rendering one powerless—in the basement. Dean begins an exorcism, but Casey destroys the book and telekinetically causes the basement entrance to cave in. Now trapped together, Dean and Casey begin a conversation. Though the demons encouraged Trotter to bring gambling and prostitution to the town, the citizens' behavior is merely human nature. She also reveals that her world is in disarray following the demon Azazel's death and Sam's failure to replace him as leader. The two continue their discussion, and Casey begins developing respect for Dean. Meanwhile, Sam is unable to locate Dean or Casey, and enlists the help of Father Gil. He leads Sam to Casey just as Bobby arrives. Father Gil reveals himself to be a demon and incapacitates them. He breaks into the basement and frees his lover Casey. Despite her pleas, Father Gil sets his sights onto Dean. Sam intervenes and kills both demons with the Colt.|
|49||5||"Bedtime Stories"||Mike Rohl||Cathryn Humphris||November 1, 2007||3T6905||3.24|
|Sam and Dean travel to Maple Springs, New York to investigate a deadly attack against three brothers. Though they believe a werewolf to be the culprit, the lone survivor claims the attacker was a normal man. Over time, the Winchesters realize that fairy tales appear to be occurring within the town—the attack was based on Three Little Pigs—and are being controlled by the spirit of a young girl. Research on any local deaths of a young girl turn up nothing, but the brothers do find a comatose girl named Callie (Ava Rebecca Hughes) at the hospital. Her father, Dr. Garrison (Christopher Cousins), has been reading her fairy tales. Sam and Dean believe that she was poisoned with bleach by her step-mother, and has been bringing fairy tales to life in an attempt to get attention. Meanwhile, an old woman is brought into the hospital. In the style of Little Red Riding Hood, her granddaughter has been kidnapped. As Dean tracks down the girl but is attacked by the kidnapper, Sam explains the situation to Dr. Garrison. He cannot believe that his wife would do such a thing, but Callie's spirit appears and confirms Sam's claims. Callie then peacefully dies, and her spirit moves on. Elsewhere, the kidnapper is freed from Callie's control. Later that night, Sam gives the Crossroads Demon (Sandra McCoy) with whom Dean made the pact an ultimatum—either release Dean from his bargain or die. The demon says that only her boss has the power to break the deal. When she refuses to reveal her boss' name, Sam shoots her dead.|
|50||6||"Red Sky at Morning"||Cliff Bole||Laurence Andries||November 8, 2007||3T6906||3.01|
|In Sea Pines, Massachusetts, a woman sees a ghost ship in the harbor, and mysteriously drowns in her shower later that night. Sam and Dean question the woman's aunt Gertrude (Ellen Geer), who knows about the ghost ship and asks them if they are working with a woman named Alex. After the brothers leave, they are confronted by Bela. Using the pseudonym of "Alex", she "solved" the case for Gertrude, who has withheld payment since the Winchesters arrived. More deaths occur that night, and the brothers realize that the ship is a death omen linked to the spirit of a sailor hanged for treason. The sailor's hand was crafted in a Hand of Glory. Bela suggests that they destroy it to stop the ghost ship. Using tickets provided by Gertrude, the trio attends a lavish function at the local Maritime Museum. Bela steals the hand, but sneaks away from the brothers. She sells the hand to a client—her goal all along—but then sees the ghost ship. With her death imminent, Bela turns to the Winchesters for help. They have discovered that the spirit only targets people responsible for the deaths of family members, which Bela will not elaborate on. The three of them conduct a summoning ritual at the sailor's grave. The vengeful spirit is confronted by the captain who ordered his death—his brother—and both disappear.|
|51||7||"Fresh Blood"||Kim Manners||Sera Gamble||November 15, 2007||3T6907||2.88|
|Gordon escapes from prison and tracks down Bela. She rebukes his threats to kill her unless she reveals the location of the brothers, but eventually acquiesces in exchange for a priceless mojo bag. Meanwhile, Sam and Dean capture and interrogate the vampire Lucy (Mercedes McNab), and learn that another vampire named Dixon (Matthew Humphreys) transformed her by spiking her drink with his own blood at a club in Albany, New York. Dean is forced to kill Lucy, as there is no known cure for vampirism. The brothers locate and confront Dixon, but are interrupted by Gordon and Kubrick. Sam and Dean escape, but in the mayhem, Dixon kidnaps Gordon. Though Dixon had planned on using Gordon as food, the hunter's continuous taunting prompts him to feed him his blood. When the brothers—having been informed by Bela of Gordon's location, which she discovered via Ouija board—arrive at Dixon's hideout, they discover that the vampiric Gordon has escaped. Elsewhere, Gordon returns to Kubrick, but kills him in self-defense. As night approaches, the brothers have not been able to find Gordon. Dean decides to go after Gordon while Sam stays hidden, but Sam refuses. He then confronts Dean about his reckless behavior since his deal; Dean relents and agrees to behave more like his old self again. Gordon later calls Sam and Dean, threatening to kill a young woman if they do not meet him. They head to the location and find the woman, but Gordon uses a rollerdoor to separate the brothers. The woman is revealed to be a vampire turned by Gordon. While Dean is forced to shoot her with the Colt, Sam decapitates Gordon with a razor wire. The brothers later stop on the side of the road to check a rattling noise made by the Impala, and Dean begins teaching Sam how to repair the car since his time is running out.|
|52||8||"A Very Supernatural Christmas"||J. Miller Tobin||Jeremy Carver||December 13, 2007||3T6908||3.02|
When a being dressed as Santa Claus begins killing people after dragging them up the chimney, the Winchesters head to Ypsilanti, Michigan to investigate. Sam suspects that an evil version of Santa—many world lores tell of those who punish the wicked during Christmas—is at work. He notices that over both victims' fireplaces are the same wreaths made of meadowsweet, a herb often used in pagan rituals to lure gods to a human sacrifice. The brothers track down the makers of the wreaths, a pair of pagan gods posing as the apparently perfect Edward (Spencer Garrett) and Madge Carrigan (Merrilyn Gann). However, they are captured as intended human sacrifices. When the Carrigans are distracted by a neighbor at the front door, the Winchesters break free. Knowing that the gods can be killed by evergreen wood, they stab the gods to death with branches of the Christmas tree.Throughout the episode, the brothers debate celebrating Christmas after having skipped the tradition for years. Dean wants to celebrate because it will be his last chance, while Sam does not for the same reason. Flashbacks accompany this, depicting a young Sam (Colin Ford) and Dean (Ridge Canipe) on Christmas Eve of 1991. With their father out on a hunt, the brothers are staying alone in a motel room until he returns. Sam, having read his father's hunting journal, is finally told the truth by Dean about what their father does. Later that night, Dean steals gifts from a nearby house to make it look like their father dropped off presents. Knowing the truth but appreciating what Dean tried to do for him, Sam gives him the gift meant for their father—the amulet necklace that Dean has worn ever since. As the episode ends in the present, Dean is surprised to find that Sam has decorated their motel room with Christmas paraphernalia, now wanting to celebrate with him.
|53||9||"Malleus Maleficarum"||Robert Singer||Ben Edlund||January 31, 2008||3T6909||2.95|
|Sam and Dean investigate a series of witchcraft-related deaths in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, and believe that the neighborhood book club is actually a coven. Ruby shows up and warns them that a powerful force is controlling the witches. The force will likely target Sam, so Ruby advises him to leave town. The brothers ignore her pleas and head back to their motel. Dean confronts Sam about his lack of concern over killing people, so Sam explains that he is just trying to be more like him in order to prepare himself to fight alone in the upcoming demon war. Intense pain suddenly overcomes Dean, who is being attacked through magic. Sam is unable to find the hex bag—a small bag of various ingredients that witches use to focus their magic onto a target—and instead decides to go after the witches with the Colt. Ruby arrives shortly after and is able to save Dean from the spell with a potion. Elsewhere, the three women deny targeting Dean, and claim that they have only used witchcraft for personal gain. Sam realizes that Tammi (Marisa Ramirez), who has not benefited from the coven, is what Ruby warned him about. Tammi incapacitates Sam and kills one of the women. She stops a bullet from the Colt in mid-air with telekinesis, and subdues Dean when he attacks. Ruby tries to trick Tammi by claiming she led the Winchesters right to her, but fails in her attempt to kill the powerful demon. The other witch begins reciting a spell. Tammi quickly kills her, but the distraction gives Dean enough time to stab Tammi with Ruby's knife. Later that night, Ruby admits to Dean that she cannot save him from his deal. She also reveals that all demons were once humans, but have had their humanity stripped away in Hell. Like the coven, she was also a witch who sold her soul to Tammi, but for some reason still remembers what it is like to be human. Ruby requests Dean's help in preparing Sam for the future.|
|54||10||"Dream a Little Dream of Me"||Steve Boyum||Story by: Sera Gamble & Cathryn Humphris|
Teleplay by: Cathryn Humphris
|February 7, 2008||3T6910||2.68|
|As Sam confronts Dean about the latter's apparent lack of concern over his own fate, he is interrupted by a call from a hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania explaining that Bobby has mysteriously fallen into a coma. Trapped within a nightmare, Bobby is hiding from a mysterious woman (Elizabeth Marleau) in his home. The brothers search Bobby's motel room and find a newspaper article about a doctor who suffered a sleep-related death. Dean tracks down Jeremy, a young man who was part of a secret sleep study conducted by the doctor. Unable to dream after being brutally hit in the head with a baseball bat by his father, Jeremy (G. Michael Gray) reveals that the experiment allowed him to do so by drinking a yellow tea, but the dreams scared him so much that he dropped out of the study. Sam later explains that a plant known as "African Dream Root" allows a person to enter and manipulate others' dreams; he believes someone killed the doctor in this manner and is now targeting Bobby. Acquiring the dream root from Bela, Sam and Dean rescue Bobby from his demonically-possessed wife whom he was forced to kill years earlier. Sam is attacked by Jeremy in the dream, but they all awaken when Bobby takes control. Sam and Dean later use the dream root to confront Jeremy, but become separated. Dean first sees Lisa declaring her love for him, and is then faced by a demonic version of himself that comments on his feelings of worthlessness. The Dream Dean taunts him that he cannot escape his fate, and reminds him that exposure to Hell will transform him into a demon. As Dean begins to fight his doppelganger, Sam finds Jeremy and summons a dream version of Jeremy's father. A terrified Jeremy is distracted, and Sam kills him with a baseball bat. The brothers awaken from their dreams, only to find that Bela has stolen the Colt from them. As the brothers prepare to leave to hunt her down, Dean admits that he does not want to die.|
|55||11||"Mystery Spot"||Kim Manners||Story by: Jeremy Carver & Emily McLaughlin|
Teleplay by: Jeremy Carver
|February 14, 2008||3T6912||2.97|
|Sam awakens in his motel room to Asia's "Heat of the Moment", and finds Dean already up and getting dressed. During breakfast, they discuss the disappearance of a man at the Mystery Spot in Broward County, Florida. They break into the tourist trap that night, but are confronted by the shotgun-wielding owner. The gun goes off by mistake, killing Dean. To Sam's surprise, he sees Dean when he wakes up the next morning, once again getting dressed and lip-syncing "Heat of the Moment". The day appears to be repeating itself, so Sam suggests they visit the Mystery Spot during the day. Dean agrees, but is then run over by a speeding car. The time loop continues, with Dean dying in various ways despite Sam's attempts to stop it. One hundred repeats later, an agitated Sam notices a man at the diner using a different syrup than before. He confronts the man, who reveals himself as the Trickster (Richard Speight, Jr.). A demi-god who enjoys playing fatal pranks on the pompous, the Trickster previously dealt with the Winchesters on a college campus. The Trickster admits to starting the time loop to convince Sam that he cannot save Dean, and offers to return time to normal. When Sam still tries to kill him, the Trickster snaps his fingers and initiates the next morning. The Winchesters decide to leave town, but Dean is gunned down in an attempted mugging. With the time loop broken, Dean remains dead. Months pass, and a distant Sam has become a lone hunter in his search for the Trickster. He ignores Bobby's numerous calls, but eventually hears a message claiming that he has located the Trickster. The two hunters reunite at the Mystery Spot, where Bobby prepares a summoning ritual. Realizing the truth, Sam stabs Bobby in the heart with a wooden stake in an attempt to kill the Trickster. He only kills a creation of the Trickster, who then appears. Sam begs that Dean be brought back to life, but the Trickster points out that Dean is his weakness; both brothers are always willing to sacrifice themselves for one another, and their enemies know it. Sam continues his pleas, so the Trickster restores time to the morning of Dean's death.|
|56||12||"Jus in Bello"||Phil Sgriccia||Sera Gamble||February 21, 2008||3T6911||3.23|
|Sam and Dean break into Bela's apartment in Monument, Colorado to get the Colt back, but she has tipped off FBI Agent Victor Henriksen (Charles Malik Whitfield) about their whereabouts. Police quickly storm the room and take them into custody. FBI Deputy Director Steven Groves (Peter DeLuise) arrives at the sheriff's station to prepare for the brothers' extradition, but reveals himself as a demon when he is alone with them. He shoots Dean in the shoulder, but then flees his host after Sam initiates an exorcism. The FBI agents who came to extradite the Winchesters are discovered to have been killed, and their helicopter explodes. A demonically-possessed Henriksen kills the sheriff, but the brothers then perform an exorcism. Henriksen now realizes that the brothers have been telling the truth about what they do, and releases them from their cell. Using their expertise, the brothers protect the station against demons with devil's traps and salt barriers. A horde of demons take control of the local population, and surrounds the station. Ruby appears in the station—she found a break in one of the salt lines—and warns them that demons are now following Lilith, a powerful new leader who wants Sam dead. Ruby proposes a spell to safely kill the demons, but Dean declines the offer because it involves sacrificing both herself and the virgin secretary Nancy Fitzgerald (Aimee Garcia). After Ruby departs, they allow the demons inside. A recording of Sam reciting an exorcism ritual plays through the PA system. One demon escapes before his comrades are exorcised. Henriksen promises the Winchesters that he will cover up what occurred and will report them as having been killed in the helicopter explosion. Shortly after the brothers leave, a little girl enters the sheriff's office and asks for the Winchesters. Revealing herself to be Lilith, she destroys the station in a blast of white energy.|
|57||13||"Ghostfacers"||Phil Sgriccia||Ben Edlund||April 24, 2008||3T6913||2.22|
|Sam and Dean investigate the haunted Morton House in Appleton, Wisconsin , and come across supernatural-enthusiasts Harry Spangler (Travis Wester) and Ed Zeddmore (A. J. Buckley). They are shooting the pilot for their reality show Ghostfacers along with Ed's adopted sister Maggie, gay intern Corbett (Dustin Milligan), and cameraman Spruce. According to legend, the spirit of Freeman Daggett returns every leap year to bring more victims to the house. The group comes across a ghost reliving his death, which the Winchesters call a harmless "death echo". Corbett soon disappears, and the rest are unable to escape before midnight; the spirit locks down the house, trapping its inhabitants. In their search for Corbett, they come across the home office of Daggett. The janitor of the local hospital, he used to bring home corpses from the morgue to "play" with. Sam suddenly vanishes and finds himself with Corbett, both tied to chairs at a birthday-party setup. The spirit appears and kills Corbett, then placing a party hat onto Sam's head. As Dean enters the bomb shelter holding Sam, the others place themselves in a circle of salt—a ghost deterrent—and watch a death echo of Corbett. Ed, who Corbett was in love with, talks Corbett out of the death echo. His spirit confronts Daggett, putting him to rest. Before departing the next day, Sam and Dean wipe all of the Ghostfacers footage with an electromagnet.|
|58||14||"Long Distance Call"||Robert Singer||Jeremy Carver||May 1, 2008||3T6914||2.63|
|After repeatedly getting phone calls from a mysterious woman, even after ripping the phone line from the wall, a man shoots himself in the head. The Winchesters head to Milan, Ohio to speak to his wife during their investigation, and deduce that the caller was a woman named Linda who died in a car accident with the man. At the phone company, Sam and Dean meet with the manager, Clark Adams (Tom O'Brien). He introduces them to a technician named Stewie Meyers, who tracks the number and reveals it has called ten houses over a two-week period. Visits to some of the homes reveal that people have been receiving calls from dead loved ones. Dean then receives a call from his father (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), who claims that the demon holding his contract is in town and later gives him the location. Sam does not believe it to be their father, and his doubts are confirmed when a girl named Lanie (Cherilyn Wilson) is encouraged to commit suicide by calls from her dead mother. Lanie's brother has also been receiving the calls, and Sam saves him when he purposefully steps into oncoming traffic. Sam then calls Dean and explains they are facing a Crocotta. The monster has been convincing people to kill themselves so that he can devour their souls. Believing Stewie to be the Crocotta, Sam confronts him at the phone company. However, Clark reveals himself as the monster and consumes Stewie's soul. Sam realizes that Clark imitated Dean on the phone, and that the real Dean is still waiting for the demon to arrive. Clark calls another man, pretending to be his dead daughter and claiming that her killer is at the house Dean is waiting in. As Sam manages to kill the Crocotta, the man attacks Dean but is overpowered. Dean convinces him that he is not his daughter's killer.|
|59||15||"Time Is on My Side"||Charles Beeson||Sera Gamble||May 8, 2008||3T6915||2.55|
|Sam convinces Dean to go to Erie, Pennsylvania, to investigate a possible zombie, but they instead learn that the culprit behind recent organ thefts is Doc Benton (Billy Drago). Having abandoned his work in 1816 to follow his obsession of finding the key to eternal life, he drugs people and harvests their internal organs to replace his. Sam wants to use Doc Benton's research to find a way to extend Dean's life. Dean instead leaves for Canaan, Vermont, to speak with retired hunter Rufus Turner (Steven Williams), whom Bobby claims knows of both Bela's location and background. When he confronts her, she claims that the Colt has already been sold. He angrily reveals his knowledge of her parents—she had their car brakes cut due to abuse from her father—but then realizes that she had made a demonic pact. Like himself, her time is running out. He peacefully departs. Meanwhile, Sam rescues a woman from Doc Benton in an isolated cabin, stealing his research journal in the process. His survival methods are purely scientific, and are thus of no use to saving Dean. Doc Benton later kidnaps Sam and tries to harvest his eyes, but is stopped by Dean. With the doctor apparently immortal, the brothers bury him alive. Running out of time, Bela breaks into their motel room and shoots at their beds, which are revealed to be empty. They had expected her betrayal again and left town already. Dean calls Bela, and she explains that the Colt and Sam's death were the only way out of her deal. She also reveals that Lilith holds all of the deals; if Dean kills her, he may be able to break his. Dean hangs up, and Bela is left staring off into the distance as the growls of a hellhound—vicious, dog-like monsters who hunt down those whose contracts have expired—are heard.|
|60||16||"No Rest for the Wicked"||Kim Manners||Eric Kripke||May 15, 2008||3T6916||3.00|
|With only 30 hours left until Dean's contract ends, Bobby tracks Lilith to New Harmony, Indiana. Dean does not want to attack unprepared, but refuses to seek help from Ruby due to her ambiguous nature. Sam nevertheless secretly summons her and requests her demon-killing knife. Ruby claims that Sam's dormant psychic abilities can easily kill Lilith, who is on "shore leave" and has her guard down. Sam considers the alternative, but Dean shows up and tricks Ruby into a devil's trap. The brothers take her knife and leave. Despite Dean's rebukes, Bobby insists that he go with them and points out Dean's hallucinations. With his demise approaching rapidly, Dean has begun "piercing the veil", allowing him to glimpse the true forms of demons. When the trio arrives in New Harmony, they find that Lilith is possessing a young girl (Sierra McCormick) and terrorizing her family. As Bobby blesses a waterline running to the sprinklers of Lilith's house, Sam and Dean dispatch some of the demons who have taken over the neighborhood. Ruby appears and angrily confronts them, but is stopped short by an oncoming horde of demons. The three of them run into the house as Bobby activates the sprinklers, creating a barrier of holy water. Sam finds the little girl sleeping and prepares to strike, but is stopped by Dean, who reveals that Lilith is no longer inside her. As midnight approaches, Dean realizes that Lilith has taken over Ruby's host. Claiming to have sent Ruby "far, far away", Lilith telekinetically pins the brothers down as her hellhound mauls Dean to death. Lilith then blasts Sam with white energy from her hand. Horrified to see that it has no effect, she flees her host before Sam can retaliate. A devastated Sam cradles Dean, whose soul is then shown in Hell hanging from a vast landscape of chains and meathooks.|
The third season introduced two new series regulars, both of whom were credited as starring in select episodes. Katie Cassidy portrayed the demon Ruby, who was created to change the perception of demons into more of a grey area, rather than the "black and white", "They're evil, we're good" approach previously used in the series. Likewise, Lauren Cohan's character of Bela Talbot was meant to be "someone [the Winchesters have] really never come across before". Self-serving, she steals mystical artifacts for profit and has no interest in the "altruistic or obsessed or revenge-minded motives of hunting". In response to fan concerns about the characters, series creator Eric Kripke stated, "[Ruby and Bela are] there for important plot elements, but it's not the Ruby and Bela show, nor is it about the four of them cruising around in the Impala together. It's about the guys." Budgetary reasons brought about the replacement of Cassidy for the fourth season, while the character of Bela was removed due to the negative fan reaction.
While there were new faces for the third season, much of the cast carried over from the previous year. Actor Jim Beaver returned as hunter Bobby Singer, and felt the character had grown into a surrogate father for Sam and Dean. Richard Speight, Jr. returned as the Trickster in "Mystery Spot", as did Travis Wester and A. J. Buckley in "Ghostfacers" as Harry Spangler and Ed Zeddmore. Portraying "bumbling versions" of the Winchesters, Wester and Buckley improvised many of their lines. The writers also considered bringing back Charles Malik Whitfield for a recurring role, with his character FBI agent Victor Henricksen continuing his hunt for the brothers throughout the season. Whitfield stated his willingness to relocate to Vancouver, but the writers ultimately went a different direction. Because the threat of being captured by Agent Henriksen looms over the Winchesters all season, the writers wanted to bring the plotline to a close in "Jus in Bello". Kripke suggested that Gamble develop and deepen his character, "give him a great send off, and then kill him...or at least...mostly kill him". With the character last seen being confronted by the demon Lilith, Gamble noted that Agent Henriksen's fate was left ambiguous, and that she herself was uncertain.
Appearances of other characters did not work out as originally planned. Sterling K. Brown made his final appearance as the vampire hunter Gordon Walker in "Fresh Blood" after a brief role in "Bad Day at Black Rock". The character's story arc for the season was intended to be longer, but Brown's commitments to the Lifetime Television series Army Wives limited his return to two episodes. Filming for the movie Watchmen prevented Jeffrey Dean Morgan from returning in a dream sequence as John Winchester in "Dream a Little Dream of Me", but the actor was able to provide his voice for the episode "Long Distance Call". The 2007–08 Writers Guild of America strike forced the writers to scrap an episode featuring the return of Samantha Ferris as Ellen Harvelle in the middle of the season, and failed negotiations prevented an appearance in the finale.
Some casting choices were influenced by affiliations with the actors and crew. Sandra McCoy, who played a host to the Crossroads Demon in "Bedtimes Stories", began dating Padalecki after working with him on the 2005 film Cry Wolf. Before her appearance on the series she had auditioned for the roles of Jessica Moore, Sam's girlfriend in the pilot episode; Sarah, a love interest for Sam in the first-season episode "Provenance"; and Carmen, Dean's girlfriend in the second-season alternate-reality episode "What Is and What Should Never Be". She believed that, due to her relationship with Padalecki, the production staff were waiting until the "perfect role" arrived before casting her. The role of the immortal Doc Benton was reserved for actor Billy Drago, whom executive producer Kim Manners had previously worked with on the television series The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.. A fan of Frankenstein-actor Boris Karloff, Drago said of the role, "This was an opportunity to play both Dr. Frankenstein and his creation simultaneously. Instead of creating some immortal monster, he makes himself immortal. This was my chance to pay homage to what I consider one of the great actors of our time". Due to the time required to apply the extensive make-up and prosthetics for the role, Drago ended up with a minimum of 20-hour work days. However, he felt that the sleep deprivation improved his performance because "Benton's immortal and [moving] all the time". Manners also selected his assistant, Kelley Cleaver, to play one of Doc Benton's victims.
For the third season, Kripke and the writing staff tried to mix the style of the "simple, pure, emotional" first season mythology with the "intensity" of the second season's self-enclosed episodes. Kripke noted that Dean's demonic deal of the previous season provided the writers with "a lot of effective emotional context to play with". The writing for Sam focused on the character growing up in order to support Dean, making the character more independent as he begins to realize that Dean will not be around forever; Dean, however, acts immaturely to hide his fear of going to Hell, and eventually learns for himself that he is worth saving. Kripke described the season's storylines, including the self-enclosed episodes, as "very cross-cultural". He commented, "We borrow from every world religion, every culture. The cosmology of the show is that if a legend exists about something somewhere out there in the world, it's true. So you really have this cross-pollination of different demons, different creatures, all from different religions."
With the demon Azazel—the main antagonist of the first two seasons—dying in the second-season finale, demons as a whole became the primary villains of the third season. This excited the writers because the mythology became "just about all of these different demons and all the different things demons do". The revelation that demons are in actuality the corrupted souls of humans was instituted for two reasons: it not only "opened up the mythology in an interesting and complicated way" by implying that demons are "not just black and white" and that "dark evil can exist in the human heart under the right conditions", but it also served as character development for Dean by showing him what he will one day become in Hell.
A reflection of terrorist cells, the demonic war against humanity is mainly depicted in the third season through small groups of demons working independently. On this aspect, Kripke commented, "They were not necessarily organized, and there was a danger in that, that they could be everywhere. Each one has a different motive." The studio voiced its belief that the series was "suffocating" because it had "just these two guys and these creepy little rooms", and suggested that the writers "open up the scope of the story and make things more epic" following the "epic kind of scope" associated with the second season episodes "Hollywood Babylon" and "All Hell Breaks Loose". With this in mind, the writers decided to depict the war as large-scale. Though Kripke warned that doing so would cost much more money, the studio gave its blessing to exceed the allotted budget. However, the season premiere came in "way, way over budget", prompting the studio to change its mind. Kripke noted that this had ramifications for the season, and commented, "All season we've been promising this demon war, but due to the fact that we don't have $20 million an episode, we really have to pick and choose when we're going to show the battles of that war."
As time passed, Kripke felt that the terrorist-cell format was not working out as planned, partly because he prefers writing based on old legends rather than current topics. In his opinion, the season did not hit its stride until the seventh episode because the first six were bogged down by budget problems and an ambiguous mythology. To stabilize the demon storyline, the writers introduced a new lead villain, with Kripke finding it "refreshing to get back on firm ground where you knew there was a bad guy and you knew there was a plan". They were uncertain for a while as to who the new demon leader would be, and gave the character the working title of Zarqawi during the planning stages. Gamble insisted that the demon be female, and suggested that she be the mythological Lilith. The debate then shifted to whether Lilith should be a woman or little girl, with the writers eventually settling on the latter because they found it creepier.
Only 12 episodes were made before production was sidelined by the 2007–08 Writers Guild of America strike. Regarding the final four episodes before the hiatus, Kripke noted, "We were just getting to a point in our storyline when we were really starting to ramp up the mythology and really ramp up both the pace and the size, the story events that happened, both in terms of the mythology and in terms of the lives of the characters. We started rolling with that, and you'll see the increased momentum and increased intensity in these four episodes." Because the possibility existed that production would not resume until the fourth season, the writers reordered the final two episodes; "Jus in Bello", which reintroduced the demon war under Lilith's command and had an "epic sweep to it", became the final episode instead of "Mystery Spot" to establish a "jerry-rigged season climax".
When the strike ceased, only four more episodes were produced. This forced the postponement of many planned expansions of the series mythology, such as Mary Winchester's connection to Azazel and the escalating demon war. A major deviation occurred with the development of Sam's demonic abilities. The writers intended for him to save Dean from Hell, possibly even before the season finale, by giving into his demonic powers and becoming "this fully operational dark force" who would then want to go after Lilith. However, the strike prevented the writers from fleshing out his evolving abilities, and the story arc was pushed back into the fourth season. Despite this, Kripke felt the strike's effects ended up making the series "meaner, leaner, and more concise", as they were able to focus the remaining episodes onto "the storyline [they] needed to pay off"—Dean's demonic pact. He also pointed out that the strike gave the writers and actors a much-needed break, reenergizing them for the final episodes and subsequent season.
Many episodes featured independent stories, which attain closure at the end of each episode and add little to the overarching storylines. Certain aspects of these were inspired by real-life events. According to Gamble, the birth of Kripke's child caused the writing staff to start "thinking about how creepy babies are". This led to the decision to base an episode around changelings—infant creatures who are exchanged with human babies. The writers chose the deviate from folklore, making the changelings older in "The Kids Are Alright" to avoid having Sam and Dean blowtorching babies. The title of the episode "Malleus Maleficarum" references the Middle Ages treatise of the same name detailing how to deal with witches; this decision stemmed from the intended plot of the episode, which involved a small town initiating a witch hunt. In the end, a demon would have been revealed to be framing the women in order to create chaos. However, the writers felt the story was too similar to "Sin City", and instead had the demon Tammi turn a group of women into witches. The episode's sequence in which a character finds maggots in his hamburger was inspired by Kripke's "horrific" discovery of a maggot-covered possum in his garbage can.
Other stories were developed from simple concepts. Writer Ben Edlund desired to write a "screwball comedy" that did not feature any monsters. Kripke was "enamored" with the idea, and it evolved into the rabbit's foot episode "Bad Day at Black Rock". The concept of the curse box—a container for the rabbit's foot that "magically [cuts] off the cursed items from the rest of the continuum"—was based on Pandora's Box. The episode "Sin City" was originally only meant to be written by Jeremy Carver, who pitched a concept similar to the film Enemy Mine—Dean would be trapped with a demon in a wine cellar. However, he realized that the second half would mainly feature a conversation between Dean and the demon and would deeply delve into demon mythology. Carver sought help, and Robert Singer agreed to write the scenes for him. Singer enjoyed humanizing demons and presenting their point of view. For "Mystery Spot", the story development fell into place during the writing process. It started off as a Groundhog Day-concept—the same day repeating for a character—which was then expanded into repeatedly killing Dean. The decision to make it into another Trickster episode brought it all together.
Principal photography took place in Vancouver, British Columbia. Because the series uses few standing sets, set designer Jerry Wanek often constructed entirely new sets for each episode. He often followed specific themes, especially with the Winchesters' lodging. For example, the Spanish-looking motel room of "Malleus Maleficarum" was inspired by the Procol Harum song "Conquistador". Because the town of "Sin City" was intended to be a New Orleans/Las Vegas hybrid, the episode's motel-room theme was "a little more flamboyant" with a color scheme of "old Las Vegas". At times, however, Wanek was able to reuse old sets, such as with the refurbishment of "The Magnificent Seven"'s bar for "Sin City".
Not all scenes could take place in the studio, and some were instead shot on location. Parts of "Sin City" were shot in Langley, British Columbia; production was only given control over part of the main street, so traffic was driving by during filming. Both "Red Sky at Morning" and "Bedtime Stories" used Burnaby's Heritage Park; it functioned as a cemetery for the former, while the latter used it as the site of a giant gingerbread house. It took three days to build the house along a gravel-road trail, and the greens department added in foliage. The house was designed to be more of a cottage to avoid appearing too surreal. Unfortunately for McCoy, the crossroads scenes of "Bedtime Stories" were filmed at night in the freezing cold. The actress' wardrobe consisted only of an "almost nonexistent" dress, which made her "miserable". Though she found the experience to be "a lot of fun", McCoy had a serious case of stage fright working with Padalecki. She was too emotional to run her scenes beforehand with him, and even at one point during filming had to excuse herself to craft service to "eat and cry like the emotional girl [she] was that night".
Some aspects of the storylines were conceived on set during filming. Lisa's kiss with Dean at the end of "The Kids Are Alright" was unscripted; director Phil Sgriccia convinced actress Cindy Sampson to do so because he wanted to see how Ackles would react. Sgriccia also added in similarities between Dean and his possible son Ben, such as having them both look down at same moment after being scolded, and both checking out the "hot mom and the hot little girl" in unison. This was to make them appear to be, as Kripke noted, of "similar mind and body".
To the production staff's chagrin, the network requested a "more colorful look" for the third season. Director of photography Serge Ladouceur commented, "I went along with it and made it work. The dark scenes were still shot dark, so we were cautious in keeping the direction of our show." While the new lighting became normal for the season, other methods atypical to the series were also used. The knife-fight sequence that introduces Ruby in "The Magnificent Seven" was shot at 120 frames per second. This high rate allowed for the scene to be sped up or slowed down during post-production. Filming for the reality-show themed episode "Ghostfacers" featured no crews on the set; the actors instead carried their own cameras and lighting. Padalecki found it "pretty liberating" because he did not have to worry about finding his marks or making sure not to block people from the camera.
Costumes for the season were designed by Diane Widas. For the character of Ruby, Widas used dark tones to better hide her in shadows. Her wardrobe consisted of pleather jackets and narrow jeans to allow the actress to be more active. Child actor Nicholas Elia, who portrayed Dean's potential son in "The Kids Are Alright", was meant to look like a "Little Dean". Widas intended to make a smaller version of the canvas three-quarter jacket that Dean wears, but she ended up finding another jacket that was ultimately used. Other wardrobe designs were influenced by episode themes, with the villains of "A Very Supernatural Christmas" wearing "very campy" Christmas sweaters. For the costumes of "Sin City", Widas noted that "passion colors—purples and oranges and reds—were brought into the mix to create that 'anything goes' feeling". For "Bad Day at Black Rock", production designer John Marcynuk included a rabbit in every scene that involved an act of good luck, such as a Vietnam veteran wearing an embroidered rabbit patch.
To depict the supernatural aspects of the show, the series makes use of visual, special, and make-up effects, as well as stuntwork. Visual effects is an in-house department, and is supervised by Ivan Hayden. The opening scene of "The Magnificent Seven" featured the most demons clouds of the first three seasons; Hayden noted that the army cloud consisted of hundreds of individual demons. The episode "Mystery Spot" heavily relied on visual effects for Dean's various death sequences by making use of a computer-generated 3D model of Ackles. Because of the episode's light tone, they were not afraid to make the effects silly, such as by showing Dean's skeleton when he is electrocuted.
For the changelings in "The Kids Are Alright", Kripke merely instructed Hayden to make the children's faces pale and have dark circles beneath their eyes. Hayden, however, felt they could do more, and modeled the appearance after a lamprey. They also attempted to base the design in reality by applying real-world evolution. With a flat face, they reasoned that its nose would have retracted and its eyes would have receded for protection, eventually shriveling up and disappearing over time.
Though the script for "Red Sky at Morning" described the confrontation between the ghostly sailors as "they collide into a swirling vortex that disappears", Kripke and Singer ultimately left creative control up to Hayden. Production filmed each element of the sequence separately, with the cemetery itself taking place at Heritage Park. A separate plate used exploding water balloons shot at 1,000 frames per second; this high frame rate allowed for the use of slow motion. The layers were then composited into a single sequence, with the elements transitioning into 3D models of the characters and water after the initial collision.
Special effects were also a major aspect of production. For example, hydraulics were used in "The Magnificent Seven" to break the devil's trap on the ceiling, and required two takes to film. When the ceiling did not fully crack the first time, it took 45 minutes to take out the ceiling and replace the hydraulics. The same episode also depicts a car crashing into a bar. The department cabled the car to a large decelerator—a "big shock absorber"—so that they could drive the car fast but not worry about hitting the cameraman. Costs, however, sometimes hindered the use of effects, such as in "Red Sky at Morning". The spirit's first victim would have drowned after her shower fills with water, and a later scene would have depicted a similar death in a car. When production determined that they could not afford these set pieces, the writers reduced the ghost's ability to merely drowning his victims through touch. The spirit attacks Bela in the episode's climax, which made use of a contraption built by special effects makeup artist Tony Lindala; a tube connected to a denture on the off-camera side of Cohan pumped out large amounts of water, creating the illusion that she is vomiting it out.
The mostly synthesized orchestral score of the season was composed by Christopher Lennertz and Jay Gruska. The pair try to base the music on the visuals of each episode, with about a third of each episode's score being newly written for the supernatural legend. For example, Lennertz penned distinct music for each Sin in "The Magnificent Seven", with a "slow, lumbering, creepy low-end thing" theme for Sloth. As part of Ruby's introduction in the same episode, he scraped a quarter against a cymbal to create a scraping metal sound that was "a little otherworldly". Lennertz feels that "people associate the sound of violins with vampires" due to the "connection with Eastern Europe and counts", and used a "very violin-heavy" score for "Fresh Blood".
Unusual for the series, co-executive producer Ben Edlund contributed to the music of "Ghostfacers". The writer of the episode, Edlund penned the reality show's theme song before he even pitched the concept to Kripke. Lennertz and Edlund sang the theme song and played guitars, intending to make it the "silliest theme song [they] could come up with". The score was treated like it was a reality show, so Lennertz used "really cheesy synthesizers" to mimic reality show music, and made it "sound lame on purpose".
In addition to the score, the series makes use of rock songs, with most being selected from Kripke's private collection. Rock songs are also usually featured in "The Road So Far" montages at the beginning of select episodes that recap previous events. The premiere used AC/DC's "Hells Bells", while the finale recapped the entire season to Kansas' "Carry On Wayward Son".
Supernatural had low ratings during its third season, but did well with viewers aged 18–49. In this category, it ranked eighth of all returning series broadcast by a major network. Overall it ranked No. 187 relative to the position of other prime time network shows. Despite its average viewership of 2.74 million Americans, the show received an early pickup for its fourth season.
Critical reception to the season has generally been mixed. Tim Janson of Mania felt the season moved "at a breakneck pace", describing the viewing experience as "being on a trail speeding headlong into the unknown". Giving the season a grade of an "A", he praised the writers for avoiding becoming "one-dimensional" even after introducing so many demonic villains, and also added that they "did a good job" in including self-enclosed episodes despite the writers' strike. Diana Steenbergen of IGN somewhat disagreed, and gave the season a score of 8.4 out of 10. Although she generally enjoys season-long story arcs, Steenbergen felt that Dean's time limit signified to viewers that the plotline would not be resolved until the season finale. With this mindset, the middle episodes "feel like they are treading water". She found the season premiere to be "pretty boring", but called "Jus in Bello" to be "one of the best episodes of the year, maybe even of the show itself", because it begins with an "epic battle" setting but still "focuses on the personal level of the Winchesters and the people around them". Also praised was the character growth for the brothers, such as Sam's exploration of his darker side. Because Dean is usually portrayed as having a "tough, bravado filled exterior", she liked to see Ackles "go deeper" during his character's many "earnest conversations" with Sam. The "likeable secondary characters" of Charles Malik Whitfield's Agent Henrickson and Jim Beaver's Bobby Singer were welcomed back. While there were "a number of good episodes", Maureen Ryan of the Chicago Tribune pointed out the "few outright clunkers" such as "Red Sky at Morning". With a lack of a "compelling unifying concept or theme"—Ryan found demons to always be a threat and felt that Dean's deal didn't carry the "same weight" as later arcs did—she posited that the third season "wasn't the show's finest hour". Combining the effects of the strike with The CW's attempts to interfere, she deemed the season "rockier than Seasons 2 or 4". Airlock Alpha's Julie Pyle criticized the season's brighter lighting, calling it "Supernatural Lite". Fans, too, had mixed feelings for the season. Common complaints, in comparison to the first two seasons, included a reduction in rock music, "intensity", and "snappy dialogue".
Regarding the introduction of Ruby and Bela, critics generally had negative views. Steenbergen had hoped that more female characters "would make things interesting", but ultimately found them to be "wasted characters" that were "unlikable and manipulative" and "usually made our heroes look stupid". While Pyle deemed Cohan a "quite talented" actress, she noted that the character "feels forced into each episode". By the middle of the season, fan reaction to Bela and Ruby also tended to be negative. Many described them as "badly written and badly acted" characters that detract from the Winchesters' brotherly relationship, though some did deem the women "interesting".
Work on the episode "Jus in Bello" garnered the sound editors[note 2] an Emmy Award nomination in the category of "Outstanding Sound Editing For A Series", while "Ghostfacers" received a GLAAD Media Award nomination in the category of "Outstanding Individual Episode (in a series without a regular LGBT character)".
The third season was released as a five-disc Region 1 DVD box set in the US on September 2, 2008, a month before the premiere of the fourth season. Including all 16 episodes of the third season, the set also featured DVD extras such as bloopers, episode discussions by the writers, a featurette on the various effects used on the show, and a digital copy of the season. The set was ranked No. 6 in DVD sales for its week of release, selling 104,979 units for $4,093,131. It slipped to No. 18 the following week with 35,593 units for $1,387,771. Though sales increased in the third week—40,034 units for $1,560,926—the set fell to No. 19, and was bumped off the top-30 list by the fourth week. The season was also released in Region 2 on August 25, 2008, and in Region 4 on October 1, 2008. A three-disc, region-free Blu-ray box set was later released on November 11, 2008.
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