I love this episode so much – it’s scary, creepy, touching, and it brings the narrative back to what Season 1 was so much about, Sam and Dean’s search for their mysterious and elusive father, John Winchester and their rediscovery of being brothers. Like most episodes in this season, it’s also beautifully filmed and full of atmosphere, including the opening scene – which takes place in the windy city.
A young woman walks down the street, blues music playing. Her Walkman glitches, which looks very 2005, and the wind starts howling in the alley. She looks around, asking what people always ask in horror movies, as though being polite might get a bad guy to answer you.
“Hello?” she calls, and there’s no answer, but she’s scared as she hurries to her apartment door. Shadows loom behind her n the walls of the alley as she runs, a giant shadow seemingly following her. Breathless, she fumbles for keys and can’t find them, like in the worst of nightmares. Finally she gets in the door and inside, locking the door behind her and setting the alarm.
‘System armed’ it says, and she sighs with relief, checking her vintage (not at at the time) answering machine. Just as she thinks she’s safe, a shadow moves behind her on the walls, it’s giant shadow hand reaching out for her shadow and stabbing her, blood splattering on the wall as she screams and falls.
Quite an opening!
A week later, Sam and Dean drive, rock music playing. When they get out of the car they’re in uniform, which Dean isn’t exactly thrilled about (but frankly these two look good whatever they’re wearing).
Dean: Dad made it just fine without these stupid uniforms.
That brings back a memory, which gives us a rare and cherished glimpse of young Sam and Dean, when Sam was in ‘Our Town’.
Dean (smiling at the memory) Yeah, you were good.
I’m all warm at the thought of Dean going to see Sammy’s school play, though I wonder if that means John didn’t. I’m glad Sam got to do that though. (My daughter did the same school play, so I had an even stronger nostalgic reaction). I’m always so grateful when we get a glimpse of Sam and Dean’s childhood. Dean brings up the memory more like a proud parent here, not a brother who was forced to go sit through a school play.
They’re posing as working for the alarm company, so the landlady lets them in, but she’s not very impressed with their fake company.
Landlady: No offense, but your alarm’s about as useful as boobs on a man.
I like the landlady.
She tells them there’s no sign of a break in, the chain was on the door and the alarm was still on.
Landlady: Everything was in perfect condition. Except Meredith.
What condition was she in, the boys ask?
Landlady: Meredith was all over – in pieces! Like a wild animal did it.
After she’s gone, Sam says he knew this was their kind of gig, and Dean pulls out the EMF and says he agrees.
Dean has also done some reconnaissance, with Amy, a “charming perky officer of the law.”
What did he find out, Sam wants to know.
Dean: She’s a Sagittarius, loves tequila, and she’s got this little tattoo…
Dean: (smirking) Nothing we don’t already know, except… Meredith’s heart was missing.
This episode, and much of Season 1, has the brothers constantly either teasing each other about hook ups or interrogating each other about them, as they become increasingly entangled in each other’s lives.
Sam says it was probably a spirit, and then somehow Dean gets the idea to connect the random blood splatters on the floor with masking tape, and it forms some kind of symbol (it didn’t make a lot of sense to me, honestly, since there were other splatters too that he didn’t connect, but whatever. Smart boys, I’ll take it.)
Dean: Ever see that symbol before?
Dean: Me neither.
Okay, that just made it even less plausible, but moving on.
The boys continue their research at a bar, Dean flirting with the bartender when Sam comes in and asks if he got anything.
Dean: Besides her number?
Sam: Mind doing a little bit of thinking with your upstairs brain, Dean?
Dean grins, unrepentant. Sam didn’t find anything in their Dad’s journal either.
Dean: So to recap, the only successful intel we’ve scored so far is the bartender’s phone number… Sam?
Sam, focused on someone across the room, walks away, leaving Dean befuddled. It’s Meg, to Sam’s surprise – and seemingly to her surprise too. Helluva coincidence though.
She says she left California after meeting “Something Michael Murray” at a bar and “the scene got old” (A shout out to Jared and Jensen’s friend Chad Michael Murray, who figured prominently in all the early seasons’ fanfic for some reason).
Dean stands behind Sam as he talks to Meg, clearing his throat trying to be noticed (and ready for more of that teasing or interrogation…)
Meg: Gosh, Sam, what are the odds we’d run into each other?
Meg: Dude, cover your mouth!
Dean looks so affronted, I just wanna hug him.
Sam: Sorry, this is my brother, Dean.
Meg’s eyebrow go up.
Meg: This is Dean…
Dean (brightening) So you’ve heard of me?
Meg: Nice, the way you treat your brother like luggage! Why don’t you stop dragging him over God’s green earth?
Sam assures her it’s all right, but Dean is clearly hurt. He plays it off, saying “phew okay awkward, I’m gonna get a drink now” but Jensen shows us that Dean heard loud and clear that Sam was resenting him the last time he was with this woman. Knowing what we know now, post finale, about how insecure Dean was about Sam, this must have really cut deep.
Meg to Sam: Sorry, it’s just the way you told me he treats you.
Sam: He means well.
She gives him her number, flirty, and then Sam returns to Dean, saying he only met her once and it’s weird that he’d meet her again. Sam’s suspicious, but as they leave the bar, all Dean can think about is being hurt.
Dean: What was she saying, I treat you like luggage? You bitchin’ about me to some chick? Is there truth to what she’s saying – am I keeping you against your will?
It’s exactly what Dean is worried about, what his deepest fears are, and Meg just brilliantly used that to get to him and to get between them. Sam’s more worried about Meg herself though.
Sam: No, of course not. There’s something strange going on here.
Dean needs to save face, so he defaults to a joke, pretending to care more about what Meg thinks of him than what his brother thinks of him.
Dean: Yeah, tell me about it – she wasn’t even that into me.
Sam points out that running into her was weird; Dean says it could be a random coincidence, that happens.
Sam: Yeah, but not to us. There’s something abut her that I can’t put my finger on…
Dean grins, happy to change the subject and also to find a way to tease his little brother.
Dean: Yeah, but you’d like to. Maybe you’re thinking too much with your upstairs brain, huh? What’re you gonna do?
Sam: Watch Meg.
Dean: (grinning even more) Yeah all right you little pervert.
They are, as always, way too invested in each other’s romantic lives. In retrospect, Dean being afraid Sam’s going to up and leave again might have been part of why he keeps pushing Sam at any woman who shows some interest, as if he’s trying to test Sam’s willingness to stay.
Dean calls Sam in the car.
Dean: Lemme guess, you’re lurking outside that poor girl’s apartment, aren’t you?
Sam: No. Yes.
Dean: Well, she checks out. Invite her to a poetry reading or whatever it is you do.
He also says that the symbol is Zoroastrian, 2000 BC, a sigil for a daeva, a demon of darkness – like a demonic pitbull. Sam’s impressed.
Dean: Gimme some credit, man, you don’t have the corner on the paper chase. Okay, called Dad’s friend Caleb.
He also says that someone’s controlling it, but that daevas tend to bite the hand that feeds them.
Dean: Now go give that girl a private strip-o-gram.
Sam: Bite me.
Dean: No, bite her! But don’t leave teeth marks… Sam?
Sam hangs up on him.
That second cap is just because sometimes I cannot get over certain things. Like those ridiculous lips. Anyway…
Sam does watch, with some interest, while Meg parades around in a black bra, until a lady passing by stops and looks in at him and hisses “pervert!”
Sam really cannot get a break. Meg finally goes out and Sam follows, climbing up an elevator shaft to spy on her. He’s agile like a cat and it’s a pleasure to watch, with gorgeous cinematography, but scary as hell to see Sam climb up an elevator shaft!
Meg chants Latin, stirs blood in a chalice before an altar and says to someone “I don’t think you should come, the brothers are in town.”
Whoever she’s talking to doesn’t agree, and Meg finally says “Yessir. Yes I’ll be here waiting for you.”
Sam finds the Zoroastrian symbol there in blood and heads back to meet up with Dean. The second they see each other, they both say in unison. “Dude, I gotta talk to you.”
Rewatch gang: Winsync!
Sam tells Dean about Meg talking into the bowl of blood and communicating with someone, and Dean can’t resist teasing him again.
Dean: Sammy’s got a thing for the bad girl…
Dean’s got news too.
Dean: I pulled a favor with my friend Amy at the police department. We missed something the first time. The first victim was born in Lawrence, Kansas. Meredith was adopted. Where was she born? Lawrence.
Sam: Holy crap.
One of the things that made the early seasons so compelling was everything seeming to tie together – and all of it with the Winchesters at the center of it. It was a wonderful years-long mystery of the Yellow Eyed Demon and the demon blood and his plans for them, spooling out little by little like the best of mysteries.
The brothers realize that Meg might be tied up with the demon, and Dean calls their dad, saying they think they have a serious lead on the thing that killed mom. He leaves the address of the warehouse on John’s voicemail while Sam brings in supplies from the Impala’s trunk.
Dean: Jeez, what’d you get?
Sam: I ransacked that trunk. Not sure what to expect, so expect everything, huh?
Smart boys. They load their guns, an iconic Supernatural moment, the everyday life of hunters and also Sam and Dean being brothers.
Dean: Big night.
Sam: You nervous?
Dean: No, why are you?
Sam: No, no way.
They’re both lying, but also both excited at the hope of maybe killing the thing that took their mother and Jessica.
Sam: Could you imagine if we actually found the demon? What if this whole thing is over tonight? I could go back to school, be a person again…
Dean looks shocked before he covers it with feigned nonchalance.
Dean: You’d go back to school? Huh.
Sam: Why, something wrong with that?
Dean’s clearly hurt, and thinking about it from the perspective of the finale, that must have been exactly what he was afraid of the whole time, coming true right before his eyes. That Sam will leaves as soon as he can, that they won’t be a family again.
He turns away, avoiding Sam and trying to compose himself, get back that studied nonchalance that he values so much.
Dean: No, great, good for you.
Sam: Man, what are you gonna do when this is over?
Dean loses his composure a little then, turning on Sam.
Dean: It’s never gonna be over! There’ll always be something to hunt.
Sam’s caught off guard, doesn’t know where Dean’s anger is coming from. He asks, isn’t there something that Dean wants?
Dean: Yeah, I don’t want you to leave the second this thing’s over, Sam!
This is such a painful scene to watch, and even more painful now, as Sam demands to know what his brother’s problem is and Dean grabs the bureau like it’s the only thing anchoring him at that moment. He was just achingly honest with his brother, vulnerable in a way that must have cost him a lot.
Dean (anguished) Why do you think I drag you everywhere, huh? Why do you think I came to get you?
Sam: Cuz Dad was in trouble, because you wanted to find the thing that killed mom…
Dean: Yeah, but it’s more than that, man., You and me. And Dad. I want us to be together again. I want us to be a family again.
Sam gets it then, or at least he thinks he does, and there’s sadness but also determination when he answers, his voice gentle.
Sam: Dean, we ARE a family. I’d do anything for you. But things will never be the way they were before.
Dean: (with the saddest, most desperate look of hope) Could be.
Sad music starts to play and I found myself starting to tear up, knowing what’s coming. Tears glisten in both boys’ eyes.
Sam: I don’t want them to be. I’m not gonna live this life forever. Dean, when this is all over, you’re gonna have to let me go my own way.
The look on Dean’s face, right there, is one of the reasons I fell in love with this show. So much heartbreak, but he pushes it down again, after making himself vulnerable and telling Sam how he really feels, what he really hopes for. It kills me that he did that and Sam shut him down, no matter how gently he did it and no matter how much Sam isn’t doing anything wrong at all. It breaks my heart anyway.
God, I love this show.
The brothers put their differences aside and climb up the elevator to spy on Meg, and I’m impressed by the set dec, creepy mannequins in the background.
They draw their guns, looking badass (and not realizing how unprepared they actually are for what they’re up against)
Meg: Guys, hiding’s a little childish, don’t you think?
Dean: That didn’t work out like I’d planned.
Meg summons a daeva, who tosses the brothers around the room. They wake up scratched and bleeding, tied to beams.
Dean: Hey Sam, don’t take this the wrong way, but your girlfriend? Is a bitch.
They realize the whole thing was a trap, the Lawrence thing just a ploy to draw them in.
Meg: Not very quick on the uptake, are we? This trap isn’t for you.
Sam: Dad. It’s a trap for Dad.
Dean’s all bravado even tied to a post.
Dean: Oh sweetheart, you’re dumber than you look. He’s too good – and he’s not in town.
Meg allows that he is pretty good, crawling up to Dean and straddling him, her voice creepily seductive.
Meg: He has one weakness. You. He lets his guard down around his boys, lets his emotions cloud his judgement. I happen to know he is in town and he’ll come and try to save you.
She insists she’s doing this for the same reasons they do what they do – loyalty and love. She knows all about their mother and about Jess, she says, as she crawls over to Sam and straddles him, leaning in and almost kissing him.
Meg: C’mon Sam, no need to be nasty. I think we both know how you really feel about me. I saw you watching me, changing in my apartment. Turned you on, didn’t it?
Dean watches, as so often happens, rolling his eyes and hanging onto his snark even in their vulnerable situation.
Dean: Get a room you two…
Meg: I liked that you were watching me. Come on Sammy, you and I can still have a little fun.
I have to say, Nicki Aycox was incredible in this episode. She makes Meg scary and at the same time with so much personality that you have a bit of a soft spot for her too. She pulls off the creepy in this scene so well – one of the things that makes Supernatural unique is how many times it objectifies its male actors and puts them in vulnerable positions where a more powerful being can assault them, sometimes in a sexual way. Aycox makes that believable here, so that we cringe along with Sam and Dean as she ties them up and taunts them.
Sam pretends to go with it while Dean struggles to get free, but Meg realizes what they’re up to and takes the knife from Dean, preventing him from cutting himself loose.
Meg goes back to Sam.
Meg: Were you just going along because you were trying distract me while your brother gets free, Sam?
She resumes assaulting him, but Sam smirks as he says ‘no.’
Sam: No. It’s because I have a knife of my own.
Boom, he stabs her, and overturns the altar. The freed daevas attack her and drag her across the floor and right out the window – which is an amazing shot.
She lands on the cement several stories below. Sam frees Dean and helps him up, the brothers looking out the window at Meg’s body.
Sam: I guess the daevas didn’t like being bossed around.
Dean: Hey, Sam? Next time you wanna get laid, find a girl who’s not so buckets of crazy.
They return to the motel to find someone lurking in the room in the dark.
He turns around and to Sam and Dean’s shock, it’s their dad, smiling.
The boys are emotional, and so is John. He hugs Dean, says hi to Sam.
Dean: Dad, it was a trap. We didn’t know, I’m sorry.
John: I got there in time to see the girl take a swan dive. She was the bad guy, right?
Boys in unison: Yessir.
John tells them he’s planning to kill the demon and Sam asks him to let them come with him to help. John says no, that the demon is a scary sonofabitch and he doesn’t want them to get caught in the crossfire.
Sam: You don’t have to worry about us.
John: Course I do, I’m your father. Listen Sammy, last time we were together, we had one helluva fight.
John: It’s good to see you again, it’s been a long time
Sam (tearing up) Too long.
John tears up too, and pulls his younger son into a hug. Dean watches, his own eyes brimming with tears, wanting nothing more than to have his family back together again.
God forbid we should have a tender Winchester family reunion.
Just then, the daevas appear and attack John, a reanimated Meg outside on the sidewalk controlling them, her eyes black. John screams as the daevas rip into him, and then Sam screams at Dean and his father to shut their eyes.
Sam: Shadow demons – so let’s light them up!
He sets off a flare, Dean helps their dad up and they run outside and down to the street.
Sam tries to hurry Dean and their Dad into the car, saying that as soon as the flare’s out, they’ll be back, but Dean stops him.
Dean: Sam, wait, wait! Dad can’t come with us.
Sam argues, emotional and unwilling to lose their dad again when they’ve just found him, saying they should stick together.
Dean: Sam, listen to me. We almost got Dad killed in there. They’re not gonna stop, they’re gonna use us to get to him. Meg was right. Dad is vulnerable when he’s with us. He’s stronger without us around.
It’s the very last thing Dean wants to say, but he forces himself, trying to get through to his brother.
Sam: Dad, no, after everything, after all the time we spent looking for you, please. Please, I gotta be a part of this.
John: We are all gonna have a part to play, but for now you have to trust me, son. You gotta let me go.
It’s an echo of what Sam said to Dean earlier in the episode, and Dean listening is nearly in tears too, bleeding and distraught. Sam is crying outright, but lets his father go, patting him on the shoulder.
John walks away as sad music plays again. He looks back at them as he gets in the truck.
John: Be careful, boys.
Dean turns to Sam, hustling him into the car protectively.
They watch their dad’s truck’s tail lights disappear out the alley, exchanging a look. Then the Impala roars away in the other direction, while Meg stands on the street watching them drive away.
Talk about not feeling like you can wait for the next episode! What a great job this show did in pulling you in and keeping you eager for more. Stay tuned for the next episode in the rewatch, the introduction of the Ghostfacers in ‘Hell House’
caps by kayb625 with gratitude!
You can read about how Supernatural and
its fans have impacted Jared and Jensen and
the other actors in Family Don’t End With
Blood and There’ll Be Peace When You Are
Done. Links here or at peacewhenyouaredone.com