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Season 1, Episode 10

AirdateNovember 22, 2005
Written byRichard Hatem
Directed byGuy Norman Bee

DateApril 4, 2006
April 11, 2006 - April 13, 2006
LocationRockford, Illinois
HuntSpirit (Lingering)
Spirit (Violent)

Home Scarecrow

Episode Transcript


Official WB Description SAM AND DEAN INVESTIGATE A MENTAL ASYLUM? Sam and Dean investigate an abandoned sanitarium and discover that when the hospital was open, the patients held a revolt against the cruel and unusual punishments inflicted by the head doctor. While the brothers search the premises for four lost college students, the tortured spirits cause them to go insane, turning Dean against Sam.


April 4, 2006 (night)Officers Kelly and Gunderson run off teens from Roosevelt Asylum; Officer Kelly kills his wife and then commits suicide
April 11, 2006Dean receives text from John; boys drive to Rockford, Illinois, and meet Officer Gunderson
April 12, 2006Initial investigation of the asylum; Sam meets with Dr. James Elliott; Kat and Gavin try to explore the asylum; Dean and Sam return to the asylum; the boys try to rescue Kat and Gavin; ghosts try to communicate; Sam finds they are locked in; Dean figures out ghost doctor; Sam infected by doctor and confronts Dean; Dean and Sam fight; Dean finds and burns Dr. Sanford Ellicott's body and put all the spirits to rest
April 13, 2006Everyone escapes the asylum; boys go back to motel to sleep; Sam answers Dean's phone


In Rockford, Illinois, police officers Walter Kelly and Daniel Gunderson were called for a breaking and entering at the deserted Roosevelt asylum. Gunderson tells Kelly the legend, since he is not a local, of whoever spends the night at the asylum, goes insane from the spirits who haunts it. They head inside, and split up to search for the kids who have broken into the asylum. Gunderson finds them, and sends them on their way. However, Kelly seems different, and when they climb into the police car, he is wiping away blood. That night, Kelly goes home and inexplicably shoots his wife and himself.

Sam hangs up from Caleb. No word from their Dad to Caleb, nor to his other contacts - Jefferson or Pastor Jim. Dean has checked the journal, but no leads there, either. Sam wants to call the Feds and file a missing person's report, but Dean refuses because it will piss Dad off. Sam points out that Dad should have been there in Kansas, and the fact that he was not does not bode well. While Sam and Dean argue about John's whereabouts, Dean receives a text message from him, containing coordinates. Dean checks into it, and it leads them to Walter Kelly's killing his wife, and suicide. Dean finds the asylum earmarked in the journal, and realizes Dad is sending them on a job. Sam thinks the whole thing is weird - Dad texting coordinates, but Dean stands firm by him. "Dad's tellin' us to go somewhere, we're goin'."

Dean tries to pressure Gunderson to talk, claiming to be Nigel Tufnel with The Chicago Tribune, but Gunderson feels it is too much like an ambush and does not want to talk about his partner. Sam shows up, pushes Dean aside roughly, and runs him off. Gunderson is more open to Sam, who sits and orders two beers for them. Later Sam meets up with Dean outside, and tells him what all he found out. Kelly was a good cop, head of his class and even keeled. At home, it was mostly smooth sailing with a few fights with his wife, although they had been wanting kids. So Kelly had something done to him... and they next need to go to the asylum.

The next day, they climb over the fence at the asylum, and look around. The cops found the kids in the south wing, and Dean finds a reference in John's journal to kids who disappeared from the south wing in 1972. They do not find any spirits, but they normally are not active during the day. Dean razzes on Sam about his psychic powers, and eventually Sam hits him back, playfully. Dean cuts up about what might be happening - ghosts possessing people, or driving them insane. Sam brings up the fact that Dad is not there. Dean does not want to talk about it; Sam does not care about what Dad wants. Dean is just following Dad's orders. Dean finds a name plaque of "Sanford Ellicott". They have to find out what happened.

Sam and Dean track down a psychiatrist, James Ellicott, whose father, Sanford Ellicott, was the Chief of Staff at the asylum. Sam poses as a last minute patient as he tries to find out information. Dr. James makes a deal with him - Sam must talk about himself, and James would tell him what happened. Sam is extremely uncomfortable. Later he walks out of the building and tells Dean what he found out. The south wing housed the hard cases, psychotics and criminally insane. In 1964 the patients rioted, killing some of the patients and the senior Dr Ellicott, whose body was never found. It equaled up to a bunch of angry spirits.

That night, Gavin brings Kat to the Roosevelt Asylum for a date. He thinks it will be fun to look around, but she does not like it. So he is going to look around and tells her to stay there. While looking around, a girl shows up. He wrong assumes it is Kat, and makes out with her. At that point, Kat calls for Gavin. Gavin steps back and realizes a ghost was kissing him, and freaks out.

The boys return to the asylum that night, where both the EMF meter and the video camera are registering. They carefully look around, needing to find and burn the body. They split up, and Sam runs into a woman spirit whose face is disfigured. She is coming towards him, when he calls for Dean's help. Dean shows up, and yells for Sam to get down when he shoots her point-blank. Sam thought it was weird she did not attack, when they discover Kat, who has been separated from her boyfriend Gavin. She insists on helping the boys find Gavin, and she goes with Dean while Sam goes off on his own.

Sam finds a terrified Gavin who says that a ghost kissed him and tried to whisper something to him, but he does not know what because he ran like hell. Meanwhile Dean and Kat are looking for Gavin when Dean's flashlight stops working. He pulls out a lighter, knowing the ghosts cannot interfere with fire, when Kat mentions that he is hurting her arm. But Dean is not touching her, so they look down and see a disembodied hand clutching Kat's arm. She screams as she is pulled into a room. The metal door slams shut behind her. She freaks out inside the room, banging on the door and calling for help as Dean works frantically with a crowbar trying to pry the door open, but he is unable to. A ghost shows up in the room with Kat, who is trying to get as far away from it as possible. When Sam arrives with Gavin, he works out that it is trying to communicate with her, not hurt her. Sam yells through the door at Kat that she has to face it, calm down, and listen. From the hallway, everything is quiet inside for bit, before the door opens and there stands Kat. Sam checks the interior, but the ghost has vanished. She tells them that it whispered "One thirty-seven" to her. The boys deduce is a room number.

While Dean goes to find the room, Sam tries to lead the kids out, but finds they are trapped. Something in the asylum does not want them to leave. Sam looks everywhere, but there is no way out. Gavin starts to panic. Sam receives a phone call on a bad line from who he thinks is Dean, saying he is in the basement and hurry up. He leaves Kat with a shotgun filled with rock salt, since she can handle it, to protect them, and heads to the basement. Sam does not find Dean, but is found by Dr. Ellicott, who uses his powers on Sam.

Dean finds the room and searches it, finally finding a satchel. It has journals documenting Dr. Ellicott's cruel experiments designed to test his theories that provoking extreme anger in patients would be therapeutic. These experiments were done in a secret room in the basement. He heads for the exit of the asylum, assuming he will run across Sam, when he finds Kat and Gavin. She, in panic, tries to shoot Dean, thinking he is a spirit. Thankfully he has quick reflexes and threw himself back around the corner to dodge! He asks them why they were still here, and where was Sam? They told him that he had called Sam to come to the basement, but that phone call Dean did not make. Dean grabs extra weapons, and takes off to find him, leaving the kids with warnings.

Dean finds Sam in the basement, telling him that Dr. Ellicott lured him down. Dean explains what he found in the log book, about the experiments of extreme rage therapy. Dr. Ellicott thought if he could get his patients to vent their anger, they would be cured, but it only made them worse and worse and angrier and angrier. Dean figures the spirit is doing the same thing - making the cop and the kids in the seventies so angry that they become homicidal. He determines they must find Dr. Ellicott's bones and burn them. He figures the patients that rioted would drag him down to the secret room to kill him there. Sam claims he did not find the secret room, but Dean locates a secret door which he thinks led to the hidden procedure room. Sam, under the influence of Ellicott, confronts Dean, aiming the shotgun at him. Sam is tired of taking orders from Dean, telling him to shut his mouth. Dean challenges Sam - "What are you gonna do, Sam? Gun's filled with rock salt. It's not gonna kill me." Sam shoots him in the chest with rock salt, blasting him through the hidden door, saying, "No. But it'll hurt like hell".

Dean calls to Sam, telling him they need to burn Ellicott's bones, and he will be back to normal. But standing over Dean, Sam expresses his rage at Dean for thwarting his attempts to find John. That Dean always follows Dad's orders like a good little soldier, without question, desperate for his approval. Sam claims he is not pathetic, like Dean. Dean says he is going to make it easier for Sam, and hands over his gun to Sam. "Real bullets are gonna work a hell of a lot better than rock salt." Sam finally takes it, aiming it at Dean's face. Dean wonders if Sam hates him that much, that Sam could kill his own brother, and tells him to pull the trigger. Sam fires it at Dean, only there is no bullet. He tries firing it repeatedly, only it is not loaded. Dean gives him a right cross to knock Sam back, and staggers to his feet. Dean says, "Man, I'm not going to give you a loaded pistol" before he gives Sammy a vicious right cross to knock him out. He pats Sam, apologizing, before searching the room. Dean finds the corpse of Dr Ellicott stuffed in a cabinet. He salts the corpse, and pours lighter fluid over it. But when he prepares to burn it, the ghost of Dr. Ellicott appears and attacks Dean. As the power flickers through Dean, he manages to grab his Zippo, light it, and toss it onto the corpse. As it burns, the ghost darkens and falls to the ground. Sam wakes up. Dean asks if he is going to try to kill him now, to which Sam says no.

The next morning the boys escort Kat and Gavin from the asylum. Sam then apologizes, he could not control what he said. Dean cuts him off - he just wants sleep.

While the boys sleep, Dean's cell phone rings. Sam wakes up and answers the phone - it is John.


Main Cast Recurring Cast
    Guest Cast


    • Bachman-Turner Overdrive - Hey You
      (plays at the bar when the boys question Officer Gunderson)


    • Dean - Reporter Nigel Tufnel of the Chicago Tribune - Fictional character; lead guitarist of Spinal Tap in This Is Spinal Tap (1984) mockumentary

    Supernatural Beings

    Interesting Things

    Shirts the Boys Have Worn
    PersonShirt Counts
    Dean1 Black
    2 Gray
    1 Red
    Sam2 Black
    1 Blue
    2 Gray
    Interesting Things That Have Happened
    Dean and Sam fight1
    Dean knocked unconscious1
    Other cries1
    Sam knocked unconscious1
    Sam lies to Dean3
    Items That Have Shown Up
    Items Shown
    John Winchester's Journal
    Quotes People Have Said
    Check this out (Dean)1
    Jerk (Sam)1
    Sammy (Dean)2
    Son of a bitch (Dean)1
    Total Count of Species
    SpeciesNumber of Characters
    Lingering Spirit1
    Violent Spirit1
    Who Died and How
    CharacterCause of DeathKilled By
    Mrs. KellyShotWalter Kelly
    Walter KellyShotWalter Kelly
    Dr. Sanford EllicottDestroyed (ghost)Dean Winchester

    Pop Culture

    Dean: I love the guy, but I swear, he writes like friggin' Yoda.
    Yoda is a character in the Star Wars universe. Yoda speaks in an unusual manner by placing verbs (and more frequently, auxiliary verbs) after the object and subject. In linguistic typology, this is the "Object Subject Verb" format, sometimes called "regression of syntax." Two typical examples of Yoda's speech pattern are from Return of the Jedi and Revenge of the Sith: "Not if anything to say about it, I have." or "When 900-years old you reach, look as good you will not."
    Dean: I'm, uh, Nigel Tufnel, with The Chicago Tribune.
    Nigel Tufnel is the (fictional) lead guitarist of the heavy metal/glam rock band Spinal Tap, who were the stars of the film This Is Spinal Tap, a 1984 mock documentary, directed by Rob Reiner. He was portrayed by actor Christopher Guest.
    Dean: Let me know if you see any dead people, Haley Joel.
    Haley Joel Osment starred in The Sixth Sense, in which he played 9-year-old Cole Sear. Cole has psychic abilities; he "sees dead people," and is rather emotionally scarred by this ability.
    Dean: Hey, Sam, who do you think is a hotter psychic: Patricia Arquette, Jennifer Love Hewitt, or you?
    Arquette plays psychic Allison Dubois in the TV series Medium; Hewitt plays psychic Melinda Gordon in the TV series Ghost Whisperer.
    Dean: Man, electroshock. Lobotomies. They did some twisted stuff to these people. Kinda like my man Jack in Cuckoo's Nest.
    Jack Nicholson played Randle McMurphy in the 1975 film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (based on the novel by Ken Kesey). McMurphy, a serial petty criminal who has been sentenced to a fairly short prison term, decides to have himself declared insane so he'll be transferred to a mental institution, where he expects to serve the rest of his time in (comparative) comfort and luxury. Of course, the institution is a very bad place, and very bad things happen (all completely "natural"), but I don't want to spoil anything.
    Dean: Spirits, uh, driving 'em insane. Kinda like my man Jack in The Shining.
    Reference to The Shining, a film in which Jack Nicholson plays a writer driven insane and homicidal by a haunted hotel.
    Sam: No, Dean, I mean it was weird that she didn't attack me.
    Dean: Looked pretty aggro from where I was standing.
    "Aggro" is a common slang term originating in Britain and widely used in Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. It can be used to describe aggressive behavior, or a situation that is a source of irritation to the speaker (e.g. "These roadworks are causing more aggro than they're worth," he muttered.) Dean probably picked up this term from association with tourists while on the road, as the term is not widely used in the States.
    Could also possibly be a reference to computer gaming: the term "aggro" is used as a measure of how much hate/aggression a computer-generated foe holds for a player. The more aggro something has for you, the more likely it is to attack you. Whether Dean would be familiar with gaming terms is questionable.
    Dean: Well all work and no play makes Dr. Ellicott a very dull boy.
    Another reference to The Shining. This is possibly Dean's favorite movie. This line refers to a scene in the movie where Jack Nicholson's character, Jack, has been supposedly writing for months. His wife has heard him, day after day, pounding away on his typewriter. Finally, when he is elsewhere, curiosity get the better of her. She walks to the typewriter, and sees the sheet in place. Written on it are endless repetitions of the single sentence "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." She looks through the stack of papers neatly placed to the side with increasing horror; the book Jack was working on consists of only the repetitions and permutations of layout of that same sentence. Over and over, through hundreds of pages.
    Dean: Yeah. They were rioting against Dr. Ellicott. Dr. Feelgood was working on some sort of, like, extreme rage therapy. He thought that if he could get his patients to vent their anger then they would be cured of it. Instead it only made them worse and worse and angrier and angrier. So I'm thinking, what if his spirit is doing the same thing? To the cop? To the kids in the seventies, making them so angry they become homicidal. Come on, we gotta find his bones and torch 'em.
    Reference to the Mötley Crüe album "Doctor Feelgood".


    Writing the Episode

    • The background story of this episode is similar to the 1999 film House on Haunted Hill starring Geoffrey Rush and Famke Janssen. Both involve ghosts of professors at abandoned mental asylums who carried out twisted procedures on their subjects.
    • This is the first time iron is used as a repellent for spirits.
    • The character Kat was written against the cliché. She is not some helpless, screaming female who is useless. So they made it Gavin. "And I just love that. It's just nice to turn it on its head. I've always had strong women in my life and I've always liked characters like that. And Brooke Nevin really nailed it. We enjoyed her. She was cool." - John ShibanSupernatural The Official Companion Season 1, p. 63


    • Filming Location: Riverview Hospital; The Old Terminal Pub. Riverview Hospital, has been used in other Supernatural episodes (a prison, a regular hospital, and an apartment building) and many Vancouver-shot TV shows.
    • In the "Previously" intro, there is a line from Dean talking with Sam at the campfire that was filmed, but never made it into the final cut of Wendigo. Dean: "This is Dad's book." There is some controversy as to what the exact line is. Some people hear "This was Dad's book."; others hear "This is Dad's book." In the Closed Captioning on the DVD, it is "was"; the admin hears "is".
    • "Because we film there [Riverview] so much - there are two floors that we film in all the time - I think it's been self-cleansed. There's not a lot of activity there. But you go where there's not as much filming going on, and I think that's where all the spirits have gone to. You just don't want to be caught in the basement by yourself. Sometimes I'll be wandering down the hall by myself - it's a big building - and I'll walk in the wrong direction because it's a bit of a maze. The building is built in a labyrinth, where you have to walk through another room to continue down a hallway, then a hallway sort of does a u-turn and puts you in a different direction... I think they built it that way to confuse the patients. It still gives you a creepy vibe." - Key hairstylist Jeannie ChowSupernatural The Official Companion Season 1, p. 62
    • Set decorator George Neuman does not like hospitals either. Riverview is creepy. Plus it still has the clinical lighting and the smell, "even though the walls have been painted a thousand times by different film crews." - Set decorator George NeumanSupernatural The Official Companion Season 1, p. 62
    • It was a lot of different breakdown techniques - puff paint, wax. With cobwebbing, glue guns were used. They had a lot of fun making it look gross.
    • "'Asylum' was a lot of fun. We did one shot that we all really enjoyed: the gun comes down on the side of a little old lady's head and they pull the trigger and vaporize her into ectoplasmic goo. And we're all just giggling around the computer monitor: 'We're shooting a little old lady in the head!' What other job can you do such twisted stuff? It was pretty funny." - Visual effect supervisor Ivan HaydenSupernatural The Official Companion Season 1, p. 60
    • Casting the Dr. Ellicott torso as one, then to have it collapse was a challenge. "Finding the right mixture that would keep its form and collapse on impact was a tough one, as we also needed a way for the hands to independently collapse on cue." - Special effects supervisor Randy ShymkiwSupernatural The Official Companion Season 1, p. 60-61


    • The Meaning of the Episode Title: "Asylum" names the setting.
    • The subtitles on the DVD sections are:
      1. Cop killer.
      2. Tracking psycho-spirits.
      3. Room 137.
      4. Rage therapy.
      5. "Pull the trigger.".
      6. End Credits.
    • Eric Kripke cites Doctor Ellicott and "Asylum" as one of his favorite ghost-story episodes.
    • No official dates were given for the episode. However, since Scarecrow begins on the 13th, with the phone call from John, and Home ends at the end of March, we the editors decided on April 4st being when Officer Kelly killed himself and his wife. This would put the Winchesters meeting Officer Gunderson on the 11th, and searching the asylum, meeting with Dr. James Ellicott, and the final burning of Dr. Sanford Ellicott all on the 12th.
    • John's email address is Before Asylum aired, if you emailed it he would reply with co-ordinates for Rockford (the town Asylum is set in): John Winchester to [your number] 42, -89 Rockford
    • Dean holds the Smith & Wesson up for Sam to take, when Sam is possessed by Dr. Ellicott in the hidden basement. This could either be a Smith & Wesson Model 4006, chambered for .40 S&W with an 11-round capacity, or maybe a Model 3906, chambered for 9mm with a 9-round capacity. Either could be stainless with a black rubber grip. The Model 3906 had a very limited production run, with as few as 2600 pistols produced, and is much harder to come by.
    • Kat later appeared on the Hunter's Blog, although it has no content, and there is no confirming evidence it is the same character.
    • There is a creepy beheaded doll seen when the boys walk into the Asylum for the first time. Could it be a foreshadowing of "losing their heads" when the doctor attacks?
    • There is a picture of Dr. Sanford Ellicott with a young boy, James Ellicott, on Dr. James Ellicott's desk when Sam goes to see him.
    • This is the only time a spirit turns black before crumbling when the bones are salted and burned.
    • In the official summary, it says that the spirits turn Dean against Sam, but in actuality, the spirit turns Sam against Dean. It also says that they search the premises for four lost college students, but in actuality, it was only two - Kat and Gavin.
    • Inside the Legend: Asylum


    • John sends them coordinates to work another case. This is the second time he has done this, the first being the coordinates that sent them on the hunt for the wendigo.


    Sam: You think Dad was texting us?
    Dean: He's given us coordinates before.
    Sam: The man can barely work a toaster, Dean.
    Dean: Hey Sam, who do you think is the hotter psychic: Patricia Arquette, Jennifer Love Hewitt, or you?
    Dean: We gotta find 'em and burn 'em. Just be careful though. The only thing that makes me more nervous than a pissed off spirit... is the pissed off spirit of a psycho killer.
    Dean: I got a question for ya. You've seen a lot of horror movies, yeah?
    Kat: I guess so.
    Dean: Do me a favor. Next time you see one? Pay attention. When someone says a place is haunted...don't go in!
    Sam: Are you okay?
    Gavin: I was running. I think I fell.
    Sam: You were running from what?
    Gavin: There was... there was this girl. Her-her-her face. It was all messed up.
    Sam: Okay listen, did this girl... did she try and hurt you?
    Gavin: What? No, she... uh...
    Sam: She what?
    Gavin: She... kissed me.
    Sam: Uh... um... but... but she didn't hurt you, physically?
    Gavin: Dude! She kissed me. I'm scarred for life!
    Sam: Well, trust me, it could have been worse. Now, do you remember anything else?
    Kat: Get me out of here!
    Sam: Kat, it's not going to hurt you. Listen to me! Y-You've got to face it. You've got to calm down.
    (Dean turns to Sam, astonished.)
    Dean: She's gotta what?!
    Kat: (shouting) I have to what?!
    Sam: These spirits, they're not trying to hurt us, they're trying to communicate. You gotta listen to it. You gotta face it.
    (Kat has her face turned away from the ghost, her head pressed against the door.)
    Kat: You face it!
    Dean: Man, I hope you're right about this.
    Sam: Yeah, me too.
    Kat: So, how do you guys know about all this ghost stuff?
    Sam: It's kinda our job.
    Kat: Why would anyone want a job like that?
    (Sam chuckles.)
    Sam: I had a crappy guidance counselor.
    Sam: Alright, I've looked everywhere. There's no other way out.
    Gavin: So what the hell are we gonna do?
    Sam: Well for starters, we're not gonna panic.
    Gavin: Why the hell not!
    Dean: Damn it, damn it, don't shoot! It's me!
    Dean: Alright. Watch yourselves... and watch out for me.
    Sam: Dean.
    (Dean looks over. Sam reaches up and wipes the blood.)
    Sam: Step back from the door.
    (Dean rises to his feet, his eyes going from the gun to Sam's face.)
    Dean: Sam, put the gun down.
    Sam: Is that an order?
    Dean: Nah, it's more of a friendly request.
    (Sam raises his gun to point at Dean's chest.)
    Sam: 'Cause I'm getting pretty tired of taking your orders.
    Dean: I knew it. Ellicott did something to you, didn't he?
    Sam: For once in your life, just shut your mouth.
    Dean: What are you gonna do, Sam? Gun's filled with rock salt. It's not gonna kill me.
    (Sam shoots Dean in the chest. The shot blasts him backwards through the hidden door to fall on the floor.)
    Sam: No. But it'll hurt like hell.
    Dean: Sam! We gotta burn Ellicott's bones and all this will be over. You'll be back to normal.
    Sam: I am normal. I'm just telling the truth for the first time. I mean, why are we even here? 'Cause you're following Dad's orders like a good little soldier? Because you always do what he says without question? Are you that desperate for his approval?
    Dean: This isn't you talking, Sam.
    Sam: That's the difference between you and me. I have a mind of my own. I'm not pathetic, like you.
    Dean: So what are you gonna do, huh? You gonna kill me?
    Sam: You know what, I am sick of doing what you tell me to do. We're no closer to finding Dad today than we were six months ago.
    Dean: Well, then here. Let me make it easier for you.
    (Dean reaches in his jacket pocket and pulls out his Smith & Wesson toward Sam.)
    Dean: Come on. Take it. Real bullets are gonna work a hell of a lot better than rock salt.
    (Sam hesitates, eying the gun.)
    Dean: Take it!!
    (Sam grabs the gun and points it down at Dean's face.)
    Dean: (softly) You hate me that much? You think you could kill your own brother? Then go ahead. Pull the trigger. Do it!
    (Sam pulls the trigger with a look of complete anger. The chamber is empty. Confused, Sam stares down at Dean. He tries again, again, and once more. Dean uses a right cross to knock Sam to the ground and struggles to get up. Dean moves to stand over Sam, who is on the ground, trying to stand up himself.)
    Dean: Man, I'm not going to give you a loaded pistol.
    (Sam stares up at him. Dean delivers a vicious right cross to knock Sam out, almost falling as he does so. Dean pats his brother.)
    Dean: Sorry, Sammy.
    (Sam wakes up and Dean looks over at him.)
    Dean: You're not going to try and kill me, are ya?
    (Sam raises his hand to push at his painfully flexed jaw.)
    Sam: No.
    Dean: Good. Because that would be awkward.