Hook Man was never one of my favorite episodes, but I think I’m appreciating all the episodes more on rewatch just because I know I’m not getting any more – they’re all incredibly valuable to me now. And this one, like so many of the early episodes, was beautifully filmed and had the creepy horror movie vibe down.
It’s a stereotypical sorority house opening and then the even more stereotypical college kids on a date go parking under a creepy bridge in the dark. As they start kissing in the car, we see the silhouette of a man in a flowing coat with a hook for a hand. And honestly, it’s truly scary! The guy keeps trying to pull her shirt down and she keeps saying no, hey, I mean it – and then there’s the ominous sound of scraping metal against metal, although we can’t see anything out there. The guy gets out because that’s what the guy always does in a horror movie and then the girl frantically rolls up the windows and starts screaming.
There’s a wonderful shot of the car as something invisible scratches a deep gash in the side, with a terrible screech – but there’s no one there.
The terrified young woman finally gets out and starts to run away, only to look back and see the guy dead and strung up from a tree.
Cue horror movie worthy scream.
Opening segment at an end, it’s time to find the Winchesters. Sam and Dean are searching for clues on their dad, Sam on a pay phone (it’s 2005!) and Dean on a laptop at a café.
Dean: Your half caf latte is getting cold here, Francis.
Sam: Bite me.
(That little conversation makes more sense if you watch the deleted scene that explains the Francis somehow, but I can’t for the life of me remember what happened in it).
Dean confides to Sam that he doesn’t think Dad wants to be found. Dad would, on the other hand, want them to check out a case he’s found of a mutilated body and an invisible attacker. Sam goes along, which follows the gradual evolution of Sam’s investment in hunting and saving innocent people versus finding the thing that killed Jessica and their missing father. He still wants the latter more than the former, but he’s beginning to see the sense of control and satisfaction that saving other people can bring when your life feels so out of control. It’s what Dean was trying to explain to his brother in Wendigo, as a coping strategy that keeps him going even in the face of repeated trauma and tragedy in their own family.
They end up at a fraternity house, where they claim to be fraternity brothers looking for a place to stay. The funny thing is, Jared and Jensen are so young at this point that it’s entirely plausible.
A frat boy is painting himself purple. As you do. (Fandom is fandom btw, and if it’s perfectly okay to paint yourself purple for every game, don’t quibble with media fans cosplay or any other expression of fannish passion and creativity!)
Frat boy to Dean: Do me a favor, get my back?
Dean: Oh, he’s the artist. The things he can do with a brush.
Sam gives him a bitchface and Dean sits down to watch while Sam paints, thoroughly enjoying the spectacle.
Dean: You missed a spot, lower back…
It’s a recurring thing between the brothers in early seasons that Dean delights in teasing Sam by either (jokingly) emasculating him or implying he’s gay. Fifteen years later, it’s cringey to watch. Even a few years later in Season 4, the first time I had a chance to chat with Eric Kripke, he recognized how much the show sometimes reflected those harmful societal prejudices. It’s not unrealistic that Dean would enact those ways of being, especially back in 2005, but it’s still a bit uncomfortable to see it now.
They find out it was Laurie, the reverend’s daughter, who witnessed the invisible attack, so they visit the church. The reverend is giving a sermon, saying that the loss of a young person is particularly tragic. Sam listens, able to relate, no doubt thinking about Jessica.
There are always small moments of humor interspersed, Sam nudging Dean to bow his head and close his eyes while they pray. (Dean is not one for religion, which will become interesting later in the series when God/Chuck himself turns out to be a real asshole).
Later, Sam introduces himself and Dean to Laurie.
“I’m Sam, this is my brother, Dean.” Something we’ll hear again and again, but I never get tired of.
Dean chats with the reverend in order to leave Sam to chat with Laurie, either to more efficiently get information or because Dean has an obsession with trying to fix Sam up with every young woman they meet.
Dean after: So, you believe her?
Sam says he does.
Dean: Yeah, I think she’s hot too.
This is a constant dynamic in the first season, Dean trying to get Sam to hook up with women, perhaps because he thinks it will somehow help him feel less devastated about losing Jessica. Perhaps also in part because Dean is convinced that Sam is going to leave once he finds a new relationship, and he’s so worried about it, he keeps tempting fate to see if it will happen. Will it be this one who does it? The next one? Understanding the level of Dean’s insecurity better now with finale hindsight, it hurts a little more to watch every time it happens.
Together, the brothers figure out what they’re dealing with, as they do research in a library again.
Dean (scoffing): This is how you spent four good years of your life, huh?
Another recurring theme that’s a result of Dean’s anxiety about Sam leaving is his near constant ragging on Sam going to college. He clearly hasn’t gotten over that abandonment or what he imagines it means about Sam judging him and their family for not going. As much as he wants to ridicule it, though, Dean can’t help but be proud of every time his little brother shows off his smarts.
They found the body suspended…sounds like the Hookman legend!
Sam: Also happened on 9 Mile Road.
Dean: Nice job, Dr. Venkman.
Sam and Dean investigate, and we get to see a rare shot of the Impala with her spotlight on in the dark. They unload weapons from the trunk and Sam comments that buckshot won’t do much good. Dean replies that it’s rocksalt — won’t kill ‘em but will slow ‘em down.
Sam: That’s pretty good, you and Dad think of this?
Dean: I told you, don’t have to be a college graduate to be a genius.
That insecurity again, but also Sam more and more able to give Dean (and their dad) credit for what they do and how they do it. And the narrative that both Winchesters are plenty smart that I appreciate even more now fifteen seasons later.
Suddenly they’re joined by a cop with a gun, and ordered to put their hands behind their heads, then get on their knees, then on their bellies.
Sam and Dean manage to look hot doing all those things.
Luckily Dean is able to talk the sheriff into letting them go with a fine by saying that Sam was a pledge and they were doing a hell week prank. Sam scoffs.
Dean: What? You do look like a dumbass pledge.
They leave the police station and make their way up a steeply slanted Vancouver alley that was another place we found on our very first filming locations foray. So many distinctive alleys in that city, which of course were perfect for filming a show like Supernatural.
Meanwhile, Laurie’s dad drops her off at the sorority house, after they argue. She storms off, saying she can live her own life. Her roommate is asleep and it’s dark, so she goes to sleep without trying to wake her. (And because it’s a rewatch, we all start to squirm, because we know what she’s sleeping next to…) When she wakes up in the morning and slowly opens her eyes, she sees her roommate Taylor in a pool of blood, eyes staring, and scratched on the wall in blood: Aren’t you glad you didn’t turn on the light?
Like I’ve said several times, early Supernatural really was a little horror movie every week.
Sam and Dean return to the sorority house, Dean expressing hope for the most stereotypical of all sorority house stereotypes, a naked pillow fight (Does anyone actually have those??)
They climb up to the second floor and in a window, where they recognize a symbol at the crime scene painted on the wall and figure out who this hookman is. And that he’s buried in an old cemetery in an unmarked grave.
Dean (trademark sarcasm): Super.
But first, there’s a party going on at the sorority house, and Dean takes back all his criticism of Sam going to college (but not really).
Dean: You been holding out on me, Sam, this college thing was awesome.
Sam scoffs again.
Dean: Let me guess, you were getting straight A’s, studying… what a geek.
He can’t keep the fondness out of his voice though.
They figure out that there’s been a pattern of men of religion who openly preached against immorality and people dying around them, hypothesizing that it’s a poltergeist that feeds off repressed emotions, because smart Winchesters. Sam stays to keep an eye on Laurie while Dean reluctantly leaves the party (and all the sorority sisters) to try to find the unmarked grave.
His face though, priceless.
He finds the grave by the symbol because, once again, the Winchesters are consistently smart in Season 1. There’s a gorgeous scene of single-layered sweaty Dean digging up a grave by flashlight and moonlight and doing a salt and burn, holding the flaming matchbook over the yawning grave and watching it burn for a second before dropping it in and bidding the hookman goodbye.
Moment of appreciation for Serge Ladouceur’s cinematography (and Jensen Ackles just being Jensen Ackles).
Sam watches Laurie and her dad argue from his vantage point below (ie, he’s spying on them) and then she comes outside, saying she saw him from upstairs. They do some bonding when Laurie tells him she thinks he’s sweet – but he should run away from her as fast as he can.
Laurie: It’s like I’m cursed or something, people around me keep dying.
Sam: I know how you feel.
She confides that she’s angry with her father because he’s a hypocrite, raising her that if you do something wrong you’ll get punished, but now sneaking around and seeing a married woman. She kisses Sam and he kisses back, then pulls away, saying “I can’t.”
We get a little insight into where Sam’s at emotionally here, despite Dean’s constant pushing him at women, still feeling guilty about Jessica and relating to Laurie’s worry that everyone around her dies.
Just then, Laurie’s father comes to the door to order her inside and she gets angry – and then he’s grabbed by the Hookman and yanked inside. Sam rushes in, gun drawn, and shoots the Hookman, saving the dad just as he was about to be killed. Laurie is distraught, rushing to her father.
As Sam talks to the cops about the incident, Dean shows up, yelling when the cops won’t let him through that “It’s okay, I’m with him. That’s my brother. Hey, brother!”
They let him through, and all of us doing the rewatch are laughing. There’s something about Dean claiming their brotherhood so adamantly that’s amusing – and touching.
Smart Winchesters figure out that since Dean torched the bones but the Hookman is still there, that maybe it has to do with Laurie instead – she was angry with all three who died or almost died.
Dean: Remind me not to piss this girl off.
They also figure out that the hook was part of the Hookman, but wasn’t buried with him.
Sam: It was part of him. If we find the hook…
Sam and Dean (in perfect unison) We find the Hookman!
All of us doing the rewatch: Winsync!
A little more research shows the hook was sent to the reverend’s church and reforged, melted down and made into something else. Sam and Dean gather up anything silver they can find, Sam heading off to search Laurie’s room.
Dean: Stay out of her underwear drawer!
Not sure if that’s an early reference to Dean’s later canon panty kink or just him being a big brother tease, but it made me laugh. Sam gets to eyeroll.
While Dean burns things in the hearth, Sam talks to Laurie upstairs in the church. She feels guilty, saying the people who died didn’t deserve to be punished, but she does. Suddenly the candles go out and the Hookman goes after her this time, slashing Sam and throwing him against the wall, then going after Laurie. Dean appears just in time, yells “Sam, drop!” and Sam instantly does while Dean fires and temporarily dispatches the Hookman. I love seeing how seamlessly the brothers work together, even at this point in the series when they’ve only been hunting together again for a short time.
Smart Sam realizes that Laurie has on a silver chain – that was a church heirloom – and pulls it off. We see the telltale scrape along the wall, the invisible Hookman coming towards Dean. Dean quickly tosses the shotgun to Sam, the two of them again working in perfect sync, and runs off to burn the necklace. The Hookman gets Sam’s gun and advances on them, as they cower…. Dean in the basement frantically trying to get the necklace to burn, listening for what’s happening upstairs and knowing Sam and Laurie are in danger…
And then in the nick of time, the necklace finally melts in the fire and the Hookman goes up in flames and ashes.
Which are pretty great special effects for 2005!
Dean runs up the stairs, relieved to see that Sam is okay.
The suspense in that final scene was really well done, in classic horror movie style.
They say their goodbyes to Laurie and give their statements to the cops.
Cop to Dean: Listen, you and your brother…
Dean: Oh don’t worry, we’re leavin’ town.
Dean gets in the car, watching Sam with Laurie in the rearview mirror. Knowing what we know now, it seems clear that part of Dean is hoping Sam has made a connection that will somehow un-break his heart, and part of him is hoping Sam gets back in the car and wants to keep hunting.
Laurie thanks Sam for saving her life as Dean watches.
Then he comes back and gets in the car. Dean hesitates.
Dean: We could stay?
Sam shakes his head.
It’s another test, because Dean both wants Sam to be happy and safe but also doesn’t want Sam to leave. Once again, Sam passes the unconscious test, and Dean is both relieved and sad simultaneously.
Dean looks at Laurie again the rearview, then pulls away, while Boston’s ‘Peace of Mind’ plays.
“I understand about indecision…all I want is to have my peace of mind…”
The episode ends as they usually did in the early seasons, the iconic scene of the Impala carrying her boys toward the horizon and the next opportunity to save people and hunt things.
I am enjoying doing this rewatch so much and finally writing up these early episodes. I’m watching Walker on Thursday nights at 8 pm, in Supernatural’s old time slot on the CW, and enjoying it a lot. But it’s not Supernatural, and I don’t think anything ever will be like that show for me, so I continue to miss it. A lot. Having a ‘new’ old episode to dig into every week somehow makes it better. So thank you to everyone reading along and commenting – I’m enjoying your insights too.
Next week – Episode 1.08, ‘Bugs’, an episode that is much maligned but that I actually like a lot. And it guest stars one of my favorite people in real life, the amazing Carrie Genzel, who wrote a beautiful and powerful chapter in There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done. Let me know your thoughts on ‘Hookman’ below!
Caps by kayb625
You can read all the actors’ thoughts on Supernatural
And the SPNFamily in Family Don’t End with Blood and
There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done, available at the
Links here or at peacewhenyouaredone.com