I have to admit, I went into doing our rewatch of the Season 1 finale of Supernatural feeling a little ambivalent. For me, doing this rewatch has been a coping strategy, in part, to get me through the loss of my favorite show (which in itself has been a coping strategy!) Knowing I have the rewatch to look forward to for literally years in the future is a real comfort, and watching it with a group of friends makes that sense of community feel secure as well. That said, it feels like our Season 1 rewatch has flown by – almost as quickly as the original airings of the show did! I never wanted it to end and always felt a little sad as we came to the season finale, and in the early seasons, we were often terrified that we wouldn’t get a renewal and that might be the last episode we ever watched. It was a tremendous relief in later seasons that the network gave the show an early renewal so we didn’t have to bite our nails about it!
So, the Season One finale…
We start with something innovative at the time, now familiar and nostalgic for anyone who watched the show throughout its run – The Road So Far. It’s a badass rock montage to Triumph’s ‘Fight The Good Fight’ with some of the most dramatic moments the boys have experienced so far, ending with Meg’s ominous message, “You boys really screwed up this time, you’re never gonna see your father again.”
And we’re off – to an episode that is an unrelenting roller coaster toward a cliffhanger end that left us all open mouthed.
Sam and Dean react to Meg’s phone call, Dean grabbing the Colt and shoving it in his waistband and telling Sam, “we gotta go!”
Dean: The demon knows – it’s coming for us next.
Sam: Let it come.
Sam is so much like John, once again, willing to take this thing on out of pure rage and desire for revenge, and not caring what price has to be paid. But Dean is not – his focus, as always, is on protecting his family.
Dean: Listen, tough guy, we’re no good to anybody dead. We’re leaving now.
They peel out in the Impala, skidding in the dust, still arguing about whether they should have tried to confront the demon, or whether they could try to trade the Colt for their father. Sam is focused on killing the demon at any cost, and Dean is not.
Sam: Dad…he might be…
Dean: Don’t! Screw the job, Sam!
Sam: I’m trying to do what he’d want!
Dean: Everything stops until we get him back, you understand me?
The Impala zooms through the night in a beautiful shot, and Sam and Dean do agree on one thing.
Dean: You’re right – we need help.
And that’s how we’re introduced to an iconic place in the Supernatural universe – Singer Salvage. Rumsfeld the dog chained on the hood of a tow truck, keeping watch. Bobby Singer hands them each a glass.
Dean: Holy water?
Bobby: That one is. This one’s whiskey.
Dean says he wasn’t sure if they could come, but Bobby confirms that it was the right call.
Bobby: Nonsense. Your Daddy needs help.
Dean: Yeah, but last time we saw you, I mean, you did threaten to blast him full of buckshot. Cocked the shotgun and everything.
Bobby: What can I say? John has that effect on people.
It begs the question of what John did, with his sons there too, to make Bobby threaten him. This episode has alot of dark things to say about the way John Winchester raised his boys. Was Bobby being protective of one of them?
Bobby: None of that matters now. All that matters is we get him back.
Sam digs into Bobby’s books of ‘the lore’ and is impressed, saying he’s never seen anything like it. (I love when Sam is a nerd, nothing hotter than a smart person).
Bobby tells them about how to trap a demon in what he calls a ‘Satanic roach motel’. If you don’t remember that old commercial, ‘they check in but they don’t check out’. I laughed hearing it now, since it dated the show in a way that made me all nostalgic. He also warns the boys that what’s happening is BIG, that in a normal year there would be a few demonic possessions, but this year there have been 27 so far.
Bobby: This is serious crap you boys stepped in. More and more demons are walking among us. Storm’s comin’ and you boys, your daddy? You’re smack in the middle of it.
It’s such an iconic and memorable scene that I found myself whispering the words along with Bobby.
Rumsfeld barks outside and then is quiet, and when Bobby looks out the window, it’s just his chain lying there.
Bobby: Something’s wrong.
He’s right – Meg walks in, demanding the Colt – the real Colt. Dean gets tossed across the room, while Sam tries to protect Bobby.
Meg: I’m not impressed. Did you really think I wouldn’t find you?
Dean gets up, smirking.
Dean: Actually we were counting on it.
He looks up the ceiling, to the devil’s trap painted there, and says, “Gotcha.”
Have I mentioned I love it when the Winchesters are SMART? (You too, Bobby).
They tie Meg to a chair and Nicki Aycox remains wonderfully snarky.
Meg: You know if you wanted to tie me up all you had to do was ask.
She taunts Dean and he taunts back, calling her a bitch. She asks if he kisses his mother with that mouth, and then adds ‘oh I forgot, she’s dead’. Dean loses his temper and slaps her.
Meg: That’s kinda a turn on, you hitting a girl.
Dean: You’re no girl!
Bobby pulls him aside, though, and warns him not to hurt her because she really is a girl – a girl who’s possessed.
Bobby: That’s a human possessed by a demon, can’t you tell?
Dean: You telling me there’s an innocent girl trapped somewhere in there? That’s actually good news.
It’s so odd to see the Winchesters knowing so little about demons back in Season 1, but Dean is quick to take advantage. Sam holds the journal, and Dean says “Hit it, Sam.” He begins reading the exorcism in Latin.
Meg stays snarky for as long as she can, taunting Sam and Dean by saying their father begged to see his sons one last time, but Sam keeps reading and Dean gets in her face, enraged.
Dean: For your sake, I hope you’re lying or so help me I’ll march into Hell myself and slaughter you sons of bitches. Now where is he?
She insists he’s dead, and Dean practically loses it, yelling, “No he’s not – he can’t be!”
Sam pauses, and Dean yells at him to keep reading.
The chair slides back and forth inside the trap as Meg screams, finally admitting “he’s not dead – but he will be.”
She says he’s in a building in Jefferson City, Missouri, and that’s all she knows.
Dean to Sam (coldly): Finish it.
Meg: What? I told you the truth! You sonofabitch, you promised!
Dean: I lied. Sam? Read! There’s an innocent girl trapped in there, we gotta help her.
Bobby corrects them again, saying they’ll be killing her – she fell from a building, so the only thing keeping her alive is the demon inside her.
Dean: We are not gonna leave her like that. We’re gonna put her out of her misery. Sam, finish it.
It’s a mantra Dean will come back to again and again, that being alive but some kind of monster is worth than death. Sam hesitates, then keeps reading. The demon smokes out and Meg collapses, head hanging, blood dripping from her mouth. She looks dead (and should be dead) but then raises her head slowly, gasping. It’s kind of a silly scene, but I can understand I guess how badly the Winchesters want to be able to save her.
Dean: She’s still alive – call 911, get water and blankets.
No clue what that will do, but Meg manages to say thank you. They also very ill-advisedly take her out of the chair and lay her down on the floor.
She tells them it’s been a year and she’s been awake for some of it, but couldn’t move her own body – that it was a living nightmare. She also tells them the demon was telling the truth about their dad, but that it wants them to come for him.
Dean: Dad’s still alive, none of that matters.
They (probably also ill advisedly) give her water, which she mostly chokes on, but at least she had a few moments of kindness before she dies for real. She says the demon they’re looking for is by the river…sunrise…and that’s it.
There’s a beautiful close up of Sam and Dean, sad but gorgeous. Thank you Serge Ladouceur and Kim Manners.
Bobby sends the boys on their way, saying they didn’t invent lying to the cops and he’ll clean up the mess.
He gives them the book of lore to take with them.
I love the Bobby’s house set, so amazing as only Jerry Wanek and company could make it. For a long time, it was the only standing set for the show, until the Men of Letters bunker appeared many years later.
Sam tries to reassure Dean that their dad will be fine, noticing how quiet Dean has been.
He also proves his smarts again by drawing a devil’s trap on the Impala’s trunk, while Dean protests with a “Dude, what are you drawing on my car?”
Sam: It’s a devil’s trap. Demons can’t get through it or inside it – it turns the trunk into a lock box.
Sam: So, we have a place to hide the Colt while we go get Dad.
Dean argues that they need to bring it with them, that they need to save their Dad. Sam argues that their Dad would be beyond pissed if they used up all the bullets.
Dean: I don’t care what Dad wants, Sam! Since when do you?
They’re angry at each other, terrified about their dad and taking it out on each other, rehashing the conflict of the whole season.
Sam: Hell, you’re the one who came and got me from school, Dean! I’m the one who’s trying to finish it!
That’s a direct hit to Dean, who’s been worrying the entire season that Sam is just looking for a chance to leave again and that Sam resents him for coming to get him in the first place.
Dean shakes his head.
Dean: Boy, you and Dad are a lot more alike than I thought. You both can’t wait to sacrifice yourself for this thing, but you know what? I’m gonna be the one to bury you! You’re selfish!
Sam insists that they’re expecting them to bring the gun, and it’s their only leverage. Dean finally acquiesces, putting it in the trunk and glaring at his brother.
Dean: Fine. I said fine, Sam.
They get in the car and drive to the place Meg indicated. Walking in Winsync, they find the Sunrise Apartments, recognizing Meg’s reference. Unfortunately demons can possess anyone, and that means they can’t kill them – they essentially have human shields. Ah for the days when Sam and Dean never killed the demons out of concern for their meatsuits…
We see two demons holding John, tied spread eagle to a bed. Hmm.
The Winchesters are smart enough not to have to in the early seasons, so Sam throws the fire alarm. As people start rushing out of the building, Dean distracts one of the firemen while Sam steals some protective gear from the truck.
Dean: Is it a fire? I got a Yorkie upstairs and he pees when he’s nervous…
All of us: Why is Dean so adorable?
The boys suit up, and Dean comments that he always wanted to be a fireman when he grew up.
Sam: You never told me that.
Little tidbits from their childhood are so precious in this show – and they’re always relevant to the brothers too, as they struggle to reconnect and to get to know each other as adults.
They knock on the door and tell the demons to evacuate, busting in and spraying them with holy water from their fire extinguishers when the demons open the door and then locking them in a closet and salting the door. Like I said, pretty damn smart.
Then they strip off their uniforms and find their Dad, Dean taking his pulse while Sam looks on anxiously.
When Dean realizes he’s still breathing, he goes to untie him but Sam stops him.
Sam: Wait, wait, he could be possessed for all we know. Dean, we gotta be sure.
Sam throws some holy water on him, but John doesn’t react except to wake up and ask why Sam is splashing water on him. The boys, relieved, free their father.
John: Where’s the Colt?
Dean: Don’t worry, Dad, it’s safe.
Meanwhile, the demon smokes in and out of several firemen outside, trapping the Winchesters in the hotel room and taking an axe to the door to break in.
Sam , Dean and John escape out the window and down the fire escape, leaving a salt trail behind.
They jump from the fire escape but a demon tackles Sam and starts beating the crap out of him.
Dean intervenes, trying to get him off Sam, but he keeps on beating Sam viciously – until Dean shoots him.
With the Colt.
We get a great shot of the smoking gun and Dean’s determined let-my-baby-brother-go face.
The demon dies and Dean runs to an injured Sam.
Dean: Sam, Sam, come on!
He helps Sam up, making sure he’s okay, classic Supernatural at its best. Both stop to stare at the dead man, no longer a demon, lying in the street.
They go back to help John too, and make their way back to the car. The familiar musical theme Americana – the family theme – by composer Jay Gruska plays as the Impala roars through the night. The Winchester hole up in a little cabin deep in the woods, Sam salting the windows.
Sam: Hey Dean, you…. You saved my life back there.
Dean: So I guess you’re glad I brought the gun, huh?
Sam: Man, I’m trying to thank you here.
Dean softens, and you can see he takes that in and it’s meaningful to him.
Dean: You’re welcome.
Then he turns away a little, contemplative.
Dean: Hey Sam. Know that guy I shot? There was a person in there.
Sam: You didn’t have a choice, Dean.
Dean: Yeah, I know, that’s not what bothers me.
Sam asks, what does?
Dean: Killing that guy…killing Meg… I didn’t hesitate, I didn’t even flinch. For you or Dad, the things I’m willing to do, or kill, it… it scares me sometimes.
Americana plays, and my eyes tear up, because that’s Dean Winchester and it’s one of the reasons why I love him so much. John joins them and says it shouldn’t scare him, that he did good. Dean is shocked, asking why he isn’t mad at him for using that bullet.
John: No, I’m proud of ya. Sam and I, we can get pretty obsessed. But you, you watch out for this family. You always have.
Dean (who looks surprised and a bit confused): Thanks.
The lights glitch. They look out the window, tension rising. John turns to Dean and holds out his hand.
John: They’re here, Dean, you got the gun? Give it to me.
Dean hesitates, and John asks again.
John: This is me, I won’t miss. Now the gun, hurry!
Dean looks at his father, still hesitating.
John: Son, please.
Dean backs away, while John demands that he give him the gun, but Dean shakes his head.
Dean: He’d be furious that I wasted a bullet. He wouldn’t be proud of me, he’d tear me a new one. You’re not my dad.
That’s a heartbreaking line, because Dean is right – that’s how he knows it’s not his dad, because his dad would not be proud of one son for using a bullet to save his other son (or to rescue John himself). And wow, that really says something.
Dean: I know my dad better than anyone, and you ain’t him.
Dean raises the gun, pointed at John.
Sam comes back at that moment and takes in the scene, asking Dean what the hell is going on.
John: Your brother has lost his mind.
Dean insists that’s not their father, that he’s possessed. That he’s different.
John: Sam, you gotta trust me.
Sam looks back and forth. At his brother; at his father. And then he turns to John and says no.
He moves behind Dean and stands at his shoulder.
John scoffs, saying if they’re both so sure, go ahead, kill him. Dean can’t do it, though.
John (smirking): Thought so.
He throws the boys up against the walls and gets the gun, and Sam realizes who it is. We see his yellow eyes, shocking especially after so long of them looking for him. He laughs when they say they threw holy water on him and he didn’t react, saying you think holy water works on something like me?
Sam, pinned to the wall, tries to tap into the psychic powers he occasionally can access, and Yellow Eyes ridicules him, taunting him.
YED: Here, make the gun float to you there, psychic boy. That’d be a neat trick. Well, this is fun – I could’ve killed you a hundred times today but this – this was worth the wait. Your dad, he’s in here with me. Trapped inside this meatsuit. He says hi by the way. He’s gonna tear you apart. He’s gonna taste the iron in your blood.
Dean: Let him go, or I swear to God…
YED: This is justice. That little exorcism of yours? That was my daughter. In the alley? My boy. You understand?
Dean: Oh, you gotta be kidding me.
YED: What, you’re the only one who can have a family? How would you feel if I killed your family? Oh, that’s right, I forgot, I did…
Dean is absolutely seething, struggling to break free, cursing the YED but helpless.
Sam: I wanna know why – why’d you do it?
And the YED fills in the blanks in a shocking way.
YED: Kill Mommy and pretty little Jess? Sam was gonna ask her to marry him. You wanna know why Because they got in the way of my plans for you, Sammy. You and all the children like you.
Dean can see how distraught Sam is and attempts to intercede, all bravado with a complaint about how he can’t stand the monologuing, but the YED is brutal in his comeback.
YED: That’s all part of your MO, isn’t it? Mask all that nasty pain. You fight and you fight for this family, but the truth is they don’t need you, not like you need them. Sam, he’s clearly John’s favorite. Even when they fight it’s more concern than he’s ever shown you.
Dean: (still arrogant) Bet you’re real proud of your kids, too. Oh wait, I forgot, I wasted them.
The YED gets right in Dean’s face, menacing, the two staring at each other, the tension so thick you can cut it with a knife.
Then the YED lowers his head and Dean cries out, screaming in pain. Sam cries out too, screaming “No no Dean!” as his brother gasps. He begins to bleed from the mouth, sagging against the wall, finally using the last of his strength to try to reach his father trapped inside.
Dean: Dad…dad, don’t you let him kill me…Dad, please…
Sam is agonized watching, straining to break free, trying to move the gun to save his brother but failing.
Finally Dean goes limp, bloodied, perhaps dying.
Then suddenly John’s eyes blink open and they’re not yellow.
John: Stop. Stop it!
Sam breaks free and gets the gun, pointing it at John.
YED: You kill me, you kill your daddy.
Sam: I know.
He shoots him in the leg instead, and John collapses to the floor.
Dean falls from the wall to the ground too, and Sam runs to him.
Sam: Dean, hey, oh God, you lost a lot of blood.
Dean: Where’s dad? Go check on him.
Sam does, and John grabs control again.
John: Sammy it’s still alive – it’s in me! You shoot me in the heart, son. Do it now!
Dean: Sammy don’t you do it!
John: Hurry, I can’t hold onto it much longer. Sam I’m begging you – we can end this here and now. Sammy!
Sam listens to Dean once again. The demon smokes out, and John sobs in defeat.
The final scene of Season 1 is iconic. It had an unbelievable impact seeing it the first time, a total shock – one of those times you scream at the TV or gasp and can’t catch your breath, because what just happened?? Even seeing it now, after watching it many times, I still gasped when it happened.
Creedence Clearwater’s ‘Bad Moon Rising’ plays, a perfect music cue, as the Impala rushes through the night, an injured John on the front seat, Sam driving, Dean collapsed and bleeding in the back seat.
Sam: Hold on, the hospital is only ten minutes.
John: I’m surprised at you, Sammy, why didn’t you kill it? Killing this demon comes first. Before me, before everything.
Sam looks at his brother in the rear view mirror, and turns back, resolute. He’s listened to what Dean has been saying, and he understands now. He makes eye contact with Dean before he answers, because he wants Dena to know that he heard him.
Sam: No sir, not before everything.
He goes on to say they still have the Colt, one bullet left, they can start over…
And they are, out of nowhere, T-boned by a big rig truck!
It was incredibly shocking because it’s so well done, Sam in the middle of a sentence when the blinding light happens and then BOOM!
The camera finds Sam, Dean and John all bloodied (or more bloodied) and unconscious, the Impala impaled by the giant truck.
Bad Moon Rising continues as the trucker gets out of the truck. “Looks like we’re in for nasty weather… Don’t go out tonight, or it’s bound to take your life, there’s a bad moon on the rise.”
And believe it or not, that’s what we had to deal with for the very first Supernatural hiatus – hellatus as it’s not entirely affectionately called. It was an amazing place to leave it, though it resulted in fandom cursing Eric Kripke six ways to Sunday. What I wouldn’t give to go back in time and experience that delicious and agonizing anticipation again!
Caps by spndeangirl (they took my breath away…)
And now, on to Season 2!
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