I’m now convinced at this point in my epic Supernatural from the start rewatch that the entire Season 1 was just freaking amazing, but even before the rewatch, I knew this week’s episode was one of my favorites. The aptly named ‘Home’ told us so much about the Winchesters, and is one of the very few episodes that includes Sam, Dean, John and Mary. Just that alone makes me extremely emotional.
I was at a convention once when Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Samantha Smith were both there, with Jared and Jensen, and I couldn’t help but tear up.
When you care about the Winchesters, it’s a special thing to have them all together – even if they don’t all interact in this episode. Typical heartbreaking Winchester lives, right?
I’m doing the rewatch with a group of friends (via Zoom, as everything is done in the midst of the pandemic we’re a year into…), so we all settled in to watch with anticipation.
The episode begins with a woman unpacking, having just moved into a new house. Her young daughter insists, as kids sometimes do, that there’s something in her bedroom closet. But this is Supernatural, so the mom’s casual “oh honey there’s nothing in here, look I’ll just open it up and then turn my back on it” does not reassure all of us watching. Instead we all start screaming NOOOOOOO because it’s creepy as hell even though I mostly remembered that nothing happens until later.
Little kid agrees to go to bed, mom hears scrabbling and scratching noises in the basement, and unlike me, decides she needs to go down there and investigate right now. When the lights don’t work for some unknown reason she’s undaunted and continues with a freaking flashlight.
Everyone watching: No no no why would you do that?
Upstairs in the little girls’ bedroom, the closet door slowly opens.
Everyone watching: Why are you just sitting there, little girl? RUN LIKE HELL!!!
The woman in the basement finds an old wooden box and stops to open it up.
Me: Does she think the rats are in there? And if they are, what the hell is she going to do armed with a flashlight??
She pulls out some old photos. Written on the back: The Winchesters. John, Mary, Dean and Little Sammy.
Awwww. No time for sentimentality though, because a flaming creature walks out of the closet and the little girl screams and then we see the mom screaming from a second story window.
Sam Winchester wakes up from a nightmare.
Later, he keeps drawing the same tree that he saw in his dream over and over, lost in thought, while Dean is looking for cases.
Dean: Am I boring you with this hunting evil stuff?
Sam says no, but continues to pore over the drawing of the tree, while Dean gets increasingly frustrated with the lack of his little brother’s attention.
Dean: A man shot himself in the head…. Three times…
He theatrically waves his arms around, trying and failing to get Sam’s attention, while all of us watching are laughing. It didn’t take long for Jensen Ackles’ talent for physical comedy to make itself known, and it is a joy to behold. All over the world, in 2005, people were falling in love with Dean Winchester because of it.
And with his shaggy haired, intense younger brother.
Sam: Wait! I’ve seen this.
He pulls out Dad’s journal and finds a photo with the tree. And the Winchesters.
Sam: Dean, I know where we have to go next. Back home. To Kansas.
Dean: Okay, random….
Sam doesn’t want to explain further, but Dean has had it with his brother’s repeated nightmares and reticence to tell him what’s going on.
Sam (reluctantly) I have nightmares.
Dean: I’ve noticed.
Sam: And sometimes… they come true
Dean: Come again.
Sam finally tells Dean what he’s been keeping from him. That he dreamt of Jessica’s death for days before it happened.
Dean is clearly rattled, trying to cling to the belief that it’s a coincidence, and that it’s not something to do with their family. He’s tried so hard to regain a sense of control with hunting, and the last thing he wants is to think their family curse is reasserting itself – and that Sam is somehow in the middle of it.
Dean: First you tell me you’ve got the shining and then that I’ve gotta go back home? Especially when I… I swore to myself I would never go back there.
Dean has on the red plaid shirt of doom, and sad violins play as he looks back over his shoulder at Sam and you can see just how anguished he is. But this is Sam telling him they need to go save people, and there’s no way Dean Winchester is going to say no.
As they pull up to their old house, Sam looks over at his brother.
Sam: You all right, man?
Dean: Let me get back to you on that.
[That house was one of the first places that Kathy and I went when we made it to Vancouver for the first time – it was such an emotional moment to stand on the sidewalk and just stare at that house that had come to symbolize so much for us, as it did for the Winchesters. Many years later, I had planned to be in the real Lawrence Kansas when Supernatural came to an end, watching the finale with a big group of friends who had shared this fifteen year journey with me. Of course, the pandemic cancelled those plans, but someday I’d still like to visit the place where it (fictionally) all started)]
When the woman from Sam’s dream answers the door, Dean starts to go into a fake reason for being there, but Sam interrupts him and just tells her the truth – I’m Sam, this is my brother Dean. We used to live here.
It works because the woman found those old photos, so she invites them in.
Woman: I’m sure you have lots of good memories here…
Sam and Dean exchange a look and we all sigh. Poor boys, Sam with no memories at all and Dean’s marred by his last ones of his mother dying.
She says the place has issues, flickering lights almost hourly, rats in the basement.
Dean: Have you seen the rats or just heard scratching?
Woman: Just scratching actually.
The Winchester exchange another look that speaks volumes.
The little girl, Sari, adds that there’s a thing in her closet that came into her bedroom and was on fire.
They leave, but Dean is as freaked out as Sari, and the brothers disagree about what to do next.
Dean: I’m just freaked out that your weirdo visions are coming true.
That’s the crux of it for Dean. It’s clear that Sam is somehow a part of whatever this is, and that idea terrifies Dean more than anything. He wants nothing more than for that not to be true, and for Sam to be safe. They agree that they have to try to figure out what they’re dealing with, and Sam asks Dean how much he remembers about the night of the fire.
Dean: Not much. I remember the fire…the heat… and then I carried you out the front door.
Sam looks over at Dean, shocked.
Sam: You did?
Dean: Yeah, what you never knew that?
It’s another piece of the puzzle for Sam, as he gets to know his big brother in a way he never did before, and reconceptualize parts of his childhood that he never understood. We the viewers are understanding right along with him.
Sam is determined to figure out what’s happening at the house now and if it’s the same thing that killed their mother, and Dean is terrified of that possibility. When they stop at a gas station, he feigns needing to use the bathroom and goes around the corner to call their dad. I remember watching this scene for the first time and pausing to think, OH. This character isn’t what I thought he was – there’s more to him.
Dean leaves a voicemail, his voice breaking.
Dad, I’ve left you messages before. I don’t know if get ‘em. I’m with Sam in Lawrence. And there’s something in our old house. I don’t know if it’s the thing that killed Mom or not but…
His eyes water and he nearly sobs, looking and sounding like a lost little boy who desperately needs his father.
Dean: I don’t know what to do. So whatever you’re doing, if you could get here. Please. I need your help, Dad.
He’s hiding that vulnerability from Sam, along with how scared he is, but we understand it. And it makes the character of Dean Winchester so much more fascinating.
[The gas stations that were so much a part of this show in the early seasons – where some pivotal scenes like this one took place – were also first on our list of places we wanted to make a pilgrimage to in Vancouver. We even peeled the rental car out of it and up the street, which didn’t have quite the same impact in a compact as with a ’67 Impala]
Back at the house, the sink backs up and the lady calls a plumber. As he reaches under the sink, a creepy looking monkey toy starts clapping his cymbals together and seriously mister if I were you that would be IT, I’d be outta there. I don’t care what the rate is for plumbers in Lawrence Kansas, that is one scary thing!
The plumber, not hearing any of us yelling at him not to do it, nevertheless carries on.
He conscientiously unplugs the garbage disposal, checks the switch, and then sticks his arm right down it.
Everyone watching: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
The requisite horror movie false alarm happens, he pulls up his hand, nothing there. So he goes back in and BOOM it turns on, the guy screaming and blood pouring down the drain and that damn monkey clapping his cymbals again.
Sam and Dean, meanwhile, try to piece together some of what happened with their father after their mother’s death. He was co-owner of a garage, and they chat with the guy he used to work with there, twenty years ago. The man says John was a stubborn bastard who hated to lose, “that old Marine thing,” but that he sure loved Mary and doted on “those kids.”
After the fire, the man says, their father wasn’t thinking straight, insisting that something caused the fire and killed Mary. He refused to get help and got worse and worse, reading strange old books, seeing a palm reader in town. Sam checks out the palm readers in the Yellow Pages because it’s 2005 and there’s a phone book, and when he reads the name of Missouri Mosely, Dean makes the connection.
The first page of Dad’s journal, the first sentence, reads: I went to Missouri and I learned the truth.
Dean: I always thought he meant the state.
I love how good the show was at spooling out this mystery about Papa Winchester. There was so much the boys didn’t know – and didn’t know they didn’t know! We found out right along with them, and it made the mystery as compelling to us as it was to Sam and Dean.
[Also, side note. That little black rubber bracelet that Sam wears in Season 1 – and Jared actually wore too – was very popular in the fandom. I had one that I wore through most of Season 2 before it finally snapped, much to my great dismay]
Missouri Mosely is one of the fandom’s favorite characters in the whole series. They had originally intended to bring Loretta Devine back as a recurring character, but her work schedule got in the way and eventually Bobby Singer (and Jim Beaver) played some of the role that she might have. Our first introduction to Missouri is instantly memorable, as she politely sees a client out, reassuring him that his wife loves him, then snarks “poor bastard, his woman is cold bangin’ the gardener…”
She looks at Sam and Dean, who have never seen her before, and raises her eyebrows. “Well, Sam and Dean, come on, I ain’t got all day.”
Their turn to raise eyebrows, and my turn to giggle.
Missouri : You boys grew up handsome. (looks at Dean) And you were one goofy looking kid too.
Dean’s affronted expression is priceless thanks to Ackles’ acting, and Sam’s delight in someone taking his big brother (who is likely larger than life in a lot of ways to Sam) down a peg is equally perfect thanks to Padalecki.
Missouri is delightfully snarky to both the six foot plus handsome dudes in her living room, asking them “You think I’m a magician? I can’t just pull facts outta thin air!” when they ask her about their dad. She also catches Dean completely off guard by yelling at him for something he hasn’t even done yet.
Missouri: Boy, you put your foot on my coffee table I’m gonna whack you with a spoon!
She gets unexpectedly serious and compassionate when she takes Sam’s hand though, saying she’s sorry about his girlfriend and their father. Missouri tells the brothers that she was the one who told John what was really out there in the dark. And while she doesn’t know what it was that killed their mother, she knew it was evil.
Sam and Dean exchange a worried look as they leave.
Sam: It just feels like something’s starting…
And of course, it is.
Back at their old house, toddler Richie is left alone for a minute in his (very weird) playpen (that he’s way too old for). The fridge opens by itself, unlocking, and the juice cup beckons. For some reason, instead of pulling it out, Richie crawls right INTO the fridge. The scene is kinda weird and not all that plausible, but it’s scary as hell anyway.
All of us watching: Is there room for a kid in your fridge?
All of us watching: Hell NO
The mom eventually notices juice leaking from the fridge and rescues the child. Sam, Dean and Missouri knock on Jenny’s door. Dean attempts an explanation of why they’re there and Missouri, sensing that it’s not going to work, snacks him upside the head. Dean winces, looking shocked and rubbing his head and making me giggle again.
Missouri: Forgive this boy, he means well, he’s just not the sharpest tool in the shed.
Ackles gets another chance to play affronted perfectly, and every time one of these little moments happen, I love Dean Winchester just a little bit more.
Jenny decides to trust Missouri and lets them in, because Missouri is right – Jenny already suspects there’s something in that house that wants to hurt her family. They walk through the house, Missouri using her psychic abilities and Dean his homemade EMF meter.
They walk into one room and Missouri pauses, saying that this room should be the center of it.
Sam and Dean: Why?
Missouri: Because, this used to be your nursery, Sam. Where it all happened.
Dean, clearly remembering the terror that his four year old self felt the last time he was in this house, looks up at the ceiling, perhaps picturing his mother and the fire there.
Eventually Missouri figures out that the thing in the house now is not the thing that took Mary Winchester, and that there’s more than one spirit in the house.
Missouri: They’re here because of what happened to your family. Real evil came to you all those years ago, it walked this house. That kind of evil leaves wounds and sometimes they get infected, become a magnet for paranormal energy. It’s attracted a nasty poltergeist. I can’t make out the second one.
Missouri teaches them to make hex bags to put in the walls to purify the house, which feels pivotal now because this is when Sam and Dean learn about something they will use again throughout the show. Dean can’t resist licking his finger as he puts the ingredients in, making a face and spitting it out in what I’d put money on was an Ackles ad lib.
Jenny reluctantly takes her kids to the movies, Missouri reassuring her everything will be fine.
Narrator: It was not fine.
In fact, everything goes south pretty much immediately as the poltergeist realizes what they’re doing and tries to stop them. Missouri gets knocked over in the basement, but perseveres. Dean places a hex bag in the kitchen as the knife drawer slowly opens behind him (well done, show!) and then turns around just in time to dodge a flying knife, thinking quickly and overturning a table to hold in front of him to catch all the knives coming at him.
Sam places another hex bag while an electrical cord slowly unplugs itself from the wall and snakes across the room toward Sam. Pretty sure some of us were doing a bit of AAAHHHH at this point because this whole sequence is really well done and really scary!
The electrical cord wraps itself around Sam’s neck and chokes him, dragging him to the floor. Sam tries desperately to remove it but can’t, finally collapsing.
Just in time, Dean comes running into the room yelling his brother’s name in alarm (like we will see and hear him do so many countless times on this show so it makes me oddly emotional now). He tries to pull off the cord but can’t, so being the smart competent hunter the boys always are in early seasons, he jams the hex bag into the wall and BOOM, the spell is broken. Dean unwraps the cord from Sam’s neck and makes sure he’s okay and this is quintessential Supernatural.
Poor Jenny comes home to a wrecked house. Sam offers to pay for it and Dean looks at him incredulously. Missouri orders Dean to get a mop and clean it up and stop cussing at her.
Sam’s uneasy after they leave though – what he saw in his nightmare hasn’t actually happened yet. As Jenny and her kids go to bed, Sam and Dean sit outside in the Impala. Dean may not feel the same anxiety, and he sure as hell does not want to give too much credence to his little brother’s ability to see the future, but he also respects and trusts Sam. So as unhappy as Dean is about being there, they stay.
Jenny turns off the light and gets in bed, and immediately there’s scratching and the bed is shaking and she’s up and screaming at the window – just like Sam saw.
Sam and Dean race in, Dean going for Jenny while Sam goes for the kids. Jenny’s locked inside her bedroom screaming; Dean kicks the door in like a badass, and hurries her outside, reassuring her that Sam’s got the kids. They watch the door anxiously, Jenny waiting to see her kids okay and Dean waiting to see Sam okay.
Inside, the fire monster comes out of the daughter’s closet.
Sam reaches the kids, and tells Sari: Take your brother outside as fast as you can – don’t look back!
It’s what John said to Dean on that fateful night, and it has even more meaning now 15 seasons later, an iconic line from the show that hits hard.
The kids run through the door, Jenny relieved, but Sam gets grabbed and dragged back in.
Dean: (panicked) Where’s Sam?
Daughter: He’s inside – something’s got him!
The front door slams shut and Dean Winchester slams into action. He’s frantic as he throws open the Impala’s trunk and loads his shotgun, running with breakneck speed and kicking and smashing his way through the door. Sam is slammed against the wall, screaming, as Dean bursts through the door, calling for his brother.
He raises his gun as the fire monster walks slowly into the room, but Sam yells at Dean not to shoot, saying he knows who it is.
Sam: I can see her now.
It’s Mary Winchester. Or her ghost anyway.
Dean, eyes wide with shock, afraid to believe: Mom?
There’s a brief tender moment, Dean regarding his mother with joy, Sam smiling through tears as Mary approaches him.
Mary: I’m sorry.
Sam: For what?
We don’t know at the time what she means, and neither does Sam – and neither did Samantha Smith when they filmed that scene. Fifteen years later, it’s a lot more heartbreaking because we do.
Mary turns around and her expression hardens as she addresses the poltergeist.
Mary: You get out of my house and let go of my son!
The flames return, and then she disappears, destroying the poltergeist as well. Sam is released and slumps against the wall, tears on his face. Dean looks around for a moment, heartbroken that his mother is gone – again – then turns to Sam.
Sam: Now it’s over.
It was an emotional moment then; it’s even more emotional now.
Jenny gives them the old family photos. Dean pauses outside, looking at a photo of him holding baby Sammy on his lap, and thanks her.
These little moments early on made it so clear to all of us watching just how much Dean Winchester loved his baby brother; how early that bond was forged and how strong it remained, no matter what they would eventually go through. Look at them. My boys.
Missouri tells them that their mother destroyed herself to protect her boys, and apologizes to Sam, knowing that he sensed it was still there even when she couldn’t.
Sam: What’s happening to me?
She doesn’t know, and Dean bundles Sam into the car and gets them out of there, Missouri reminding them not to be strangers.
We end with Missouri returning home and what I remember at the time was a shocking reveal – back in the day before the internet was as ubiquitous as it is today and before Supernatural was popular enough to generate any media coverage.
Missouri: That boy, he has such powerful abilities. Why he couldn’t sense his own father, I have no idea.
I remember gasping, because right there on Missouri’s couch – is John Winchester.
John: Mary’s spirit, do you really think she saved the boys?
Missouri: I do.
John spins his wedding ring
Missouri: John Winchester, I could slap you. Why don’t you go talk to your children?
John: I want to but I can’t. Not yet. Not until I know the truth.
Me at the time and all of us now: WHAT??? NOOOOOO!!!
I struggle with what fandom sometimes refers to as “John Winchester’s A+ parenting.” I believe he absolutely loved his kids, but that’s not always enough to make someone a good parent, and John clearly failed at that sometimes. I didn’t really understand what John meant when he said he couldn’t until they “know the truth” then and I’m not sure I do now. Did he need to know if Sam was going to “go darkside” before he reached out to his sons? Did he need to have a solid lead on the Yellow Eyed Demon? It can’t have been that he was trying to stay away to keep the demon away from Sam and Dean because he’s right there in Lawrence when they are.
You vex me, John Winchester.
We watched the deleted scenes too – one was an interesting extended version of Sam and Dean talking to the guy who owned a garage with their father. The guy says that “it got so bad I called social services on him” and Dean immediately bristles.
Dean: Why would you do something like that?
This is the boy who spent his childhood making sure that nobody knew that sometimes two little boys were left alone, who must have had instructions never to let on so that nobody would come and take them away. He’s incensed that this man would have done that, even though it seems clear that it was appropriate at the time.
The guy says John sold half of the garage to buy guns and kept insisting his family was in danger. Then he “took off with the boys, just vanished. Never saw him again.”
The man seems to have cared, saying that he still thinks of John from time to time and hopes he got himself well. Dean’s not having it though.
Dean: Maybe he was never sick! Maybe you should have stuck by your friend!
Sometimes the little deleted scenes are quite telling, and this was one of them. It gave us a little more insight into Sam and Dean’s childhood and just how bad it got – an early clue to that not always A+ parenting that didn’t make it into canon but is popular in fanfic.
Now that we don’t have any new Supernatural to look forward to, I’m grateful for these little tidbits. And for how much joy it gives me to rewatch these episodes!
Next week, 1.10 – the wonderfully psychological episode, Asylum!
Caps by kayb625
Remember all 15 years of Supernatural with the
books with chapters by the actors and fans –
links on the home page banner here or at