Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid
Production information
Season : 5
Episode : 15
Original airdate : 25 March, 2010
Directed by : John Showalter
Written by : Jeremy Carver
Preceded by : My Bloody Valentine
Followed by : Dark Side of the Moon

Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid is the fifteenth episode of Season 5 of Supernatural.


Sam and Dean investigate when the dead begin rising in Bobby's home town, but instead of attacking, the risen dead are reuniting with their living families. The brothers are convinced that something bad will come out of this, but Bobby refuses to let them investigate further when his late wife is among the undead loved ones. Sam and Dean's fears are soon confirmed when the resurrected dead devolve into vicious, mindless cannibals, and Bobby is faced with the devastating task of killing his wife all over again.

Full synopsisEdit

Sam and Dean come to Sioux Falls, South Dakota near Bobby's place, to investigate a possible case which has coincided with lightning storms believed to be Apocalypse omens - a local family man, Clay Thompson, who's been dead for five years, emerged alive from his grave, and went after and killed the local menace Benny Sutton (who was responsible for Clay's death in an alleged hunting accident). While Sam and Dean are questioning Digger Wells who saw Clay kill Sutton, the local sheriff Jody Mills discovers they are frauds and aren't really FBI when she calls their FBI supervisor and recognises him over the phone as Bobby Singer. Sam and Dean go to Bobby, who's strangely cleaned up his place, about a possible case, but Bobby says he's already checked into this and found there's no case here after all.

Still suspecting something is up, Sam and Dean head to St. Anthony's Cemetery, the local cemetery where Clay Thompson was buried, and they find that Clay's grave has recently been dug open from the inside and his coffin is empty, confirming that there is indeed a case here. Sam and Dean break into the Thompson family's house to search for clues, where, to their surprise, they find the resurrected Clay there, having reunited with his living wife and children after coming back. Clay seems like a harmless regular guy rather than a dangerous undead killer and confesses to killing Sutton for revenge. Sam and Dean are taking Clay away under the pretence of arresting him, and Dean is about to shoot him while his back is turned when Sheriff Mills arrives. To Dean and Sam's shock and chagrin, Mills is in on Clay's return from the dead, and arrests Sam and Dean for attempting to kill him and lets Clay go free.

At the local station, Bobby comes to talk with Sheriff Mills, and gets her to let Sam and Dean out, and Bobby takes them back to his place. Bobby admits that he lied to Sam and Dean about the case, and that 14 - 19 of the town's other dead (including Sheriff Mills' little boy, explaining her inaction in the phenomenon), all of whom were buried at the same cemetery as Clay, have also come back like him. Sam and Dean are furious with Bobby for lying to them, and Bobby bizarrely insists that there's no case for them with this, as the risen dead are acting and feeling exactly like their living selves, with no sign of being any undead creature they've ever heard of or of any supernatural malevolence. When the trio return to Bobby's place, it's revealed exactly what's gotten into Bobby and why he isn't doing anything about the risen dead; one of the dead that have come back is Bobby's late wife Karen, whom he killed when she was under demonic possession, and she has no apparent memory of her death and coming back.

Once Bobby and the Winchesters are alone while Karen is baking pie, Bobby admits that the lightning storms were indeed an omen and that he knows what's going on with the risen dead - this phenomenon is mentioned in the Book of Revelation, which indicates that after the horseman Death has been released, he can bring the dead back from the grave. Sam and Dean insist that if a horseman is behind this then it can't be good. Bobby still insists that there's no solid evidence that Death raising the dead is something bad, before he shows just how badly losing Karen affected him and how he doesn't want to have to lose her again.

Afterwards, Dean goes back to Bobby's to skulk around and keep an eye on Karen for if and when something bad happens, while Sam decides to checks in on the other risen dead around town for any signs of something bad happening. At Bobby's, Dean runs into Karen while Bobby is asleep, and while she is baking pie in the kitchen, Dean confronts her with the truth about being dead. Karen admits that she is faking her oblivious and normal living behaviour for the sake of Bobby's happiness, and that she actually remembers everything about being possessed and Bobby killing her. Meanwhile, when Sam checks in on old lady Ezra Jones, the first one to rise, he finds that she has devolved into a crazed cannibalistic predator and devoured her own husband. She attacks Sam, prompting him to kill her with a headshot. This confirms Sam and Dean's fears that something bad will come out of the rising, and that each of the risen dead turn to a state of crazed cannibalism and attack anyone around them a precise length of time after when they each came back.

Sam and Dean go back to Bobby with what happened to Old Lady Jones, telling Bobby that he has to admit he's not thinking straight about this, and that they have to kill everyone who came back, Karen included, before they turn as well and start killing people. However, Bobby declares he'll keep an eye on Karen and deal with it by himself in his own way, and orders Sam and Dean off his property under threat with his gun. Dean is convinced that with how Bobby currently isn't thinking straight they can't leave him alone with Karen when she turns, and he decides to go back and kill Karen while Sam goes into town to get out a warning about the dead turning. Sam heads to Sheriff Mills' house in Sioux Falls, where her son has just turned and has killed her husband. After rescuing Sheriff Mills, Sam gets a horrified and grief-stricken Mills to get her mind clear-headed and their priorities about stopping the other zombies straight. Sam puts Sheriff Mills' zombified son down, then they set about gathering the other townsfolk at the police station to fight off the zombies.

Meanwhile, back at Bobby's, Karen has collapsed and is beginning to turn. Bobby tries to tell both her and himself that she'll be alright and everything will be okay, but Karen faces the fact - she's turning, and Bobby will have to kill her again. Karen admits to a distraught Bobby that she remembers the first time he killed her, but she also reveals something else he needs to know - when she came back at the cemetery, a skeletally-thin man (whom Bobby recognises must have been Death) was there, and he gave her a message for Bobby. After Bobby hears the secret message, just before Dean arrives, he regretfully shoots Karen before she can fully turn, killing her all over again.

Back in Sioux Falls, after all the other zombies have turned, Sam and Sheriff Mills have gathered and holed up the townsfolk at the police station as a protective defence against the zombies, but the zombies don't come - instead, the zombies all launch an attack on Bobby's place. Dean and Bobby struggle to fend the horde off out in the scrapyard, before the zombies begin to overrun them and force them back into a closet. Dean and Bobby are almost overrun, before Sam and Sheriff Mills arrive and wipe the remaining zombies out.

The next day after the zombies have been killed off, Sheriff Mills and the Winchesters discuss tying up the loose ends - as far as they can tell, if any more zombies are left they've long gone, and none of the press have believed the townsfolk about the zombies yet. Mills and the Winchesters burn the majority of the killed zombies on a funeral pyre, while a heartbroken Bobby gives Karen a private funeral pyre at his scrapyard. When Sam and Dean go to Bobby to see how he's holding up, Bobby tells them about the message Karen gave him from Death, and it explains why Death targeted Sioux Falls for raising the dead out of all the places in the world - this whole rising and zombie invasion was all a hit against Bobby, meant to either assassinate him or break his spirit, since he's one of the main reasons why Sam is still successfully saying no to Lucifer. Bobby is also deeply devastated over having to kill the love of his life all over again, and admits that he genuinely doesn't know if he'll be okay and pull through this time.








  • Karen Singer was re-cast for this episode, because Elizabeth Marleau, who'd originally portrayed Karen in Dream a Little Dream of Me, was pregnant at the time of production.
  • When Clay goes after, stalks and kills Benny Sutton, the narrator's description of a predator stalking and attacking its prey on a wildlife documentary on Sutton's TV mirrors Clay's attack on Sutton as it plays out.
Supernatural Season 5
Sympathy for the DevilGood God, Y'All!Free to Be You and MeThe EndFallen IdolsI Believe the Children Are Our FutureThe Curious Case of Dean WinchesterChanging ChannelsThe Real GhostbustersAbandon All Hope...Sam, InterruptedSwap MeatThe Song Remains the SameMy Bloody ValentineDead Men Don't Wear PlaidDark Side of the Moon99 ProblemsPoint of No ReturnHammer of the GodsThe Devil You KnowTwo Minutes to MidnightSwan Song

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