“That Was Scary!” – Supernatural Rewatch with Bloody Mary

Next up in the Supernatural Rewatch, it’s time for the scariest episode of Supernatural EVER – Bloody Mary! The only episode to leave me and my daughter screaming and clutching each other hysterically on the couch because we were foolish enough to watch this episode in the dark with just the two of us at home. I’m still in awe of you for pulling off so much scary, Supernatural!

As usual, I did this rewatch with four friends over Zoom, because that’s the way we do things in the midst of a pandemic. For this episode, that was a good thing, because I still don’t think I want to watch it all alone! The episode opening is scary right out of the gate. Teenage girls at a slumber party in Toledo playing truth or dare, and of course one of them dares the other to say Bloody Mary in the bathroom mirror three times. The room is dark, lit only by candlelight, and the girl is nervous but peer pressure pushes her to do it anyway. She closes the bathroom door and all of us watching start yelling “Don’t to it! Lie to them! They can’t even see you!” Alas, she does not listen, and honestly, I don’t even like HEARING her say it!

The dad of the house says goodnight to the girls and walks up the stairs, and as he passes by a mirror, we catch a glimpse of a dark figure in it and I literally want to scream, it’s so scary. He looks in the mirror in the bathroom, his eyes begin to bleed, and he collapses. The older daughter comes home later and finds him dead in a pool of blood and screams.

Cut to Sam also screaming, in a well done edit, having another nightmare about Jessica (Adrianne Palicki), who keeps asking him “Why, Sam?”  It’s clear at this point in the show that Sam is tormented by his own guilt and sense of responsibility. It’s a common thing with trauma, unfortunately. One of the things that makes trauma and sudden loss so unnerving is that it makes us feel like the world is out of control. By taking responsibility in some way for what happened, even if that makes no logical sense, that allows us to feel a little more in control – and like next time, we’ll maybe be able to stop a future trauma from happening. Of course, there’s the big down side of leaving you with a whopping helping of guilt and self blame, which Sam is dealing with.

Dean, ever the big brother, is concerned.  Dean wakes him up and tries to get Sam to open up to him – note that Dean is not really the stereotype of ‘no chick flick moments’ that he pretends to be, from the very start. He knows Sam is struggling and wants to help, but can’t if Sam won’t confide in him.

Dean: Sooner or later we’re gonna have to talk about this.

The brothers visit the morgue, which is also oddly dark and creepy, posing as med students from Ohio State and faced with an unimpressed and uncooperative morgue attendant.

Dean: (under his breath to Sam): I wanna hit him.

Sam bribes him instead, which works.

Dean protests: I earned that money!

Sam: You won it in a poker game.

Dean: (insistent) Yeah!

I love their banter. Dean refuses to feel guilty about how they ‘make a living’, while Sam is still clinging to ‘normal’ and thus judging it. He’s going along, but he’s not fully on board.

Next they go to the dad’s funeral, where younger daughter Lily insists that her father’s death was her fault (the broader theme of the episode, since it’s what Sam is struggling with too). Sam assures her that it wasn’t her saying Bloody Mary three times that did it, since it’s her dad who died. The brothers try to figure out exactly what is happening, since kids play the slumber party game all the time and no one dies.

Me: Hah! Not taking chances!

Also: How are they that pretty?

Sam and Dean check out the upstairs, and when confronted by one of the older daughter’s friends about what they’re doing, explain “we had to go to the bathroom” as though brothers do that together every day. She doesn’t buy it, unsurprisingly, so Sam tells the truth and gives her his number in case anything else weird happens.

Girl: So you’re cops?

Dean: Something like that.

Research at the library ensues, and I have to say, I do miss the Winchesters constantly having to go to the library in early seasons. The computers are all out of order, so they have to do it the old fashioned way too.

It’s 2005 after all.

Back at their motel, Sam has another nightmare.

Sam: Why did you let me fall asleep?

Dean: Because I’m an awesome brother. What did you dream about?

Sam: Lollipops and candycanes.

Not ready to open up yet, then.

Sam’s ongoing unexpressed grief and trauma, and the guilt he feels about Jessica’s death, is something Dean desperately wants to help him with, but people have to grieve in their own time and their own way. Sam’s not ready to talk about it, and while Dean keeps inviting, he never pushes too far. Even in season 1, there’s a respect between them that shows how much Dean does consider Sam an equal, even if he’s also the little brother who Dean grew up wanting to protect – from emotional pain as well as physical.

Meanwhile, the older daughter (Lily, played by Genevieve Buechner) and the friend (Charlie, played by Marnette Patterson) have a phone conversation that’s inexplicably confrontational, with Lily calling her friend a freak for being afraid to “say it”. As Charlie listens horrified, Lily says it 3 times and then hangs up. As she closes her closet door, we see the shadowy figure in the mirror and once again it is scary as HELL.

As she looks in the bathroom mirror, her reflection doesn’t move with her, and then her eyes start to bleed. “You did it, you killed that boy,” the reflection accuses, and she collapses screaming.

Charlie calls Sam, telling them what happened and worried that she’s going insane.

Sam: You’re not insane.

Charlie: God, that makes me feel so much worse…

[Side note: Sam has a quite dramatic way of speaking in these early episodes, especially when he’s talking to witnesses. He speaks with so much gravity that it almost sounds melodramatic sometimes. It’s kinda cute and I never noticed it then, but Jared must have changed that fairly early on]

Charlie lets Sam and Dean into her friend’s bedroom and they use a camera for some night vision.

Dean, posing for Sam: Do I look like Paris Hilton?

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He’s clearly disappointed that Sam isn’t as amused as Dean was hoping; they’re still working on feeling close again as brothers at this point, and Dean keeps trying to clown for Sam, probably remembering that worked when his kid brother was – well, a kid.

Sulky Dean is still attractive somehow.

Smart Sam finds something written, and a black light from the Impala’s handy dandy trunk reveals a name, Gary Bryman. An eight year old killed in a hit and run by a person in a black Toyota.

Charlie: OMG that’s Jill’s car!

The plot thickens. We also find out that the dad had a guilty secret of his own – his wife overdosed on sleeping pills. The Winchesters realize the pattern is that everyone who died had a secret, and the reason that mirrors are involved is because in folklore they reveal your soul (that’s why breaking them is bad luck).

They trace this back to the Mary Worthington murder in Fort Wayne and pay a visit to the detective (William Taylor), this time posing as reporters, and figure out who Bloody Mary is. But not how to get rid of her easily, since she was cremated.

But they do find out what happened to the mirror. Turns out it was returned to her family and then was sold – at the same time the murders began.

Dean: That’s why you cover them, so when someone dies in the house, their ghost doesn’t get trapped in it.

Let me take a little detour and explain part of the reason why this episode probably freaks me out so much. When I got married, my husband brought with him some furniture that had been his great aunt’s (also, ominously, named Mary). They were beautiful antiques that we felt lucky to have since we were young and poor and had very little furniture and the rest of it all came from Ikea. (Nothing against Ikea, I love that stuff). We put Aunt Mary’s vanity with the triple mirror in the guest room. Shortly after, we were babysitting a young niece and she slept in that room. In the middle of the night, she woke up screaming, saying over and over ‘there’s someone in the mirror, there’s someone in the mirror’ in a shriek that only a three year old can muster. We let her sleep in our room and I think she couldn’t wait to go home.  A few weeks later, a friend of ours stayed the night – in the guest room.  At 2 am she’s pounding on our bedroom door and when we open it, this perfectly reasonable person (who we had not mentioned what happened with the three year old) is wide eyed and says ‘You have to get that mirror out of the house NOW. There’s something in it.’

By 2:15 am my husband had the mirror in the trunk of the car and drove it across town to and left it in a field, that’s how freaked out we were. (In hindsight, I really hope nobody else found it and decided to bring it home!)  Let’s just say that whole experience left an impression on me. And I just realized I talked with Chad Lindberg last week and forgot to tell him that story. Anyway…

While Sam and Dean are figuring it out, Charlie is being stalked by Bloody Mary. We see Mary in a window as Charlie walks to class. And yes, I’m screaming again!

Sitting in her chemistry class, she takes out a mirror to fix her makeup – and there she is. She freaks out, wrecking the lab as she tries to get away and shattering glass to get away from the reflection. Her professor tries to calm her down – and we see her in his glasses!

SO creepy.

Sam and Dean meet Charlie at her house and cover all the reflective surfaces and then ask her what her secret is – a secret that got someone hurt. She eventually tells them that her ex boyfriend started to really scare her, and after a fight she broke up with him. He said he needed her and that if she left him, he would kill himself.

Charlie (distraught): And I said, “go ahead”. And I left. How did I say that? I didn’t believe him.

The Winchesters give her some empathy, leave her in a somewhat safe state and go after the mirror.

Dean: It wasn’t really Charlie’s fault.

Sam: Spirits don’t see shades of gray.

They make a plan to summon Bloody Mary to her actual mirror and then smash it, and head out to find it.

Dean: Who’s gonna summon her?

Sam: (who knows he’s keeping a guilty secret) I will. She’ll come after me.

Dean: (stops the car) That’s it! This is about Jessica, isn’t it? You think you killed her somehow. This has gotta stop, man. It’s gonna kill you. Listen, this wasn’t your fault. Take a swing at me if you want, I dragged you away from her.

Dean is struggling with some guilt of his own.

Sam: I don’t blame you. There’s something you don’t know, I haven’t told you everything.

Sam still won’t tell Dean, though.

Sam: It won’t be a secret if I tell you.

Dean doesn’t like it one bit, but Sam insists, saying “you have to let me do this.”

And then we get the scary warehouse scene, which is in the dark and lit totally by flashlight, full of mirrors and antiques and totally creepy. Scary music plays as the boys look for the mirror and finally find it. But just as Sam settles in to say it three times, Dean still protective and unsure, the cops arrive! The Winchesters really can’t get a break.

Dean: Be careful, smash anything that moves.

He saunters out trying for casual and says there’s been a mistake, he’s the owner’s kid.

Cop: Uh, you’re Mr. Abashiro’s kid?

Dean: I was… adopted…?

Even in an impossible situation, Dean Winchester is cocky – and adorable.

The cops advance, and Dean sighs, “I really don’t have time for this right now” and knocks them both out.

I had forgotten that little gem.

Inside, Sam smashes the mirror, yelling “Come on!”

His eyes start to bleed, though, and he drops the tire iron he’s holding, collapsing as his reflection accuses him from the mirror.

Not!Sam: It’s your fault, you killed Jessica. You never told her the truth, who you really are. You never told her you had nightmares for days before she died, so desperate to be normal. You left her alone to die!

All of Sam’s guilt coming back to torture him, verbalizing the thoughts that have been giving Sam nightmares and keeping him up at night.

Dean appears just in time and slams the mirror, shattering it, pulling his brother up with the words we’ll hear again and again and again (and never get tired of).

Dean: Sammy! Sammy!

Dean is frantic to be sure Sam is all right, holding his little brother’s face like we’ll see him do more than once in the next fifteen seasons.

Sam: (reviving) It’s Sam.

The perfect way for Sam to let his brother know he really is okay.

They start to leave and the scariest part of the episode happens – just like in The Ring, which was terrifying people about that time, Bloody Mary crawls OUT OF THE MIRROR and goes after them!  (Yes, this was the moment my daughter and I started screaming bloody murder)

They fall down, she advances on them, and it doesn’t look good for the Winchesters. Dean is bleeding too, but he manages to keep his wits about him anyway. In desperation, he grabs a mirror and holds it up to her, forcing her to confront her own reflection.

Her reflection accuses her: You killed them, all those people…

She shatters and disappears, and Dean tosses the mirror aside.

Dean: Hey, Sam?

Sam: Yeah.

Dean: This has gotta be, what? 600 years of bad luck?

I feel like that’s pretty much how the next 15 years panned out actually. Ouch.

Let’s take a moment to savor not only how much guts these guys have, though, but also how damn smart they are. Mmm.

The Winchesters drop off Charlie, and Sam calls her back before she goes in the house.

Sam: Your boyfriend’s death, you really should try to forgive yourself. Sometimes bad things just happen. There was nothing you could do to stop it.

Dean smacks his brother after Charlie walks away, saying that’s good advice, with the unspoken suggestion that he follow it too. They share a small smile as the Impala drives away.

Dean: Hey, Sam? Now that this is all over, tell me your secret.

Sam: Look, you’re my brother and I’d die for you. But there are some things I need to keep to myself.

He looks out the window and sees Jessica standing in front of Steveston’s George’s Taverna on the corner, a familiar spot to Supernatural location hunting fans where I’ve been on a fan pilgrimage myself.

Dean watches him, knowing something is up, but lets it alone for now. Gives his brother space and time.

When Sam looks again, she’s gone. The Rolling Stones plays, “Laugh, I Nearly Died” as they drive away.

Once again, the familiar ending of the boys and Baby heading away, on to another saving people hunting things. Looking for their dad.

And now I need a cup of tea or something to slow my heart rate down. SCARY. All the props for that, Supernatural.

I have no clue when these moments happened in the episode, but I need these caps in here anyway. Serge Ladouceur sure knew how to shoot them to bring out just how beautiful they are. And I, for one, appreciate it.

One of the wonderful things about the first season is every episode, we found out some important things about Sam and Dean. Every episode, as they faced danger together and had each other’s backs, we watched them become just a little bit closer. The show never let it happen too quickly or too easily, so Sam and Dean’s relationship grew slowly, sometimes with them getting closer and other times pulling them farther apart, just like in real life. But no matter how many times they were pulled away, they always came back together. And little by little, I became invested in that dynamic too. Fifteen years later, my investment still holds up.

Next week, an episode that’s less AAAAHHHHH and more EWWWWWW – Skin! Join me then, and check back soon for a review of this week’s Walker episode that airs tonight too. I’m off to watch Jared ride a horse!

Pretty pretty caps by kayb625

— Lynn

For more Supernatural, check out the books

with chapters by the actors and fans of the show,

including Jared, Jensen, Misha and more –

Family Don’t End With Blood and There’ll Be

Peace When You Are Done. Links here or at:

 

 

5 thoughts on ““That Was Scary!” – Supernatural Rewatch with Bloody Mary

  • Can’t thank you enough for these reviews of yours! Awhile ago I started to rewatch SPN from the very beginning, and proud to say, we go nip and tuck! I forgot how scary the show was in its first seasons. Even now on the rewatch I tend to skip the moments when music becomes so-o ominous, so your meticulous recaps help to fill the gaps. And thorough psychological analysis does good too. Only now we start to realize what treasure we had!

  • Such a great episode, especially if you dissect the different elements, the camera work, the lighting, the use of old fears.
    Dean and Sam are show to be such inherently kind and selfless kids, just a little older than the kids they were trying to help but even then there was a world of difference. The Winchesters never lived a privileged life, living out of a car without the opportunity to live the way they deserved.

    So many mirrors, the set dressers just went to town and made it feel real and such a clever idea to use reflections adding to the creep factor. The music queues were perfect, no dramatics spoiling the flow which is a big irritation in current shows when the music overwhelms what’s going on.

    Looking back, it’s so painful knowing just how much of the parental role Dean played and this episode it’s fully on show , he’s gentle, kind and thoughtful, but not just to Sam, he extends the same patience and care to the Schumacher girls and to Charlie. Throughout Dean is solid, dependable and present taking every opportunity to be what Sam needs . If there’s one thing Dean understands, it’s unresolved grief and he doesn’t want that for anyone else.
    It’s a remarkable testement to Deans character and inner goodness that he could be that way , given how he was raised with the abscence of solid role models, it could have gone a whole other way for him.

    Sam seems so very young, watching him now after 15 years growth it’s obvious early on he’s acting out a stylised role when he interacts with people, behaving how he thinks he should when he’s interviewing people using what his perception of normal is , though he only has very limited experience so sometimes comes across as a bit dramatic and occasionally patronising however his actions come from a place of deep empathy, he understands what it’s like to lose someone and does want to help despite his own losses. That’s pretty courageous.

    And so much time with Baby in all her glory, that never gets old!

  • Really enjoying your rewatch reviews, this and Dead in the Water were certainly ones that cemented my obsession with Supernatural! I am in the UK so it is, legally anyway, not possible to watch Walker, which actually is totally out of my sort of programme to watch but I almost definitely would just to get one part of a J2 boost!

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