Season 3 was a memorable season of Supernatural for many reasons. I was well and truly down the rabbit hole of being head over heels in love with the show, and the fandom was busy trying to get enough people to watch it that we could keep it on the air. It was constantly touch and go, and yet I was continually struck by how amazing the show was – why didn’t everyone else see it??
It was extra scary by the middle of the season because there was a writers’ strike, and while the fandom overwhelmingly supported the strike and our beloved writers, that made it even less certain the Show would survive. Looking back, the strike changed the trajectory of the season, but of course we didn’t know that at the time.
‘Bedtime Stories’ was in the Show’s early seasons tradition, creepy and scary but at the same time able to rip your heart out with unexpected emotionality. The episode was written by Cathryn Humphris, who I was so sad to lose early on, and directed by Mike Rohl, who directed quite a few episodes and includes some gorgeous shots in this one.
The ‘THEN’ reminds us of the history of the Colt, Dean’s deal to save Sam and his insistence that he’s not scared, and just how worried Dean is about whether what he brought back is “100% pure Sam” – the story line that was so intriguing and didn’t really go anywhere…
Three guys bicker like brothers (which it turns out they are) next to a billboard advertising new home construction with the tempting “ONCE UPON A TIME… All homes were built this well.”
One announces that he’s the “brick guy” and the other is the “wood guy” while the third warns that if a good gust of wind comes up the whole place is gonna blow over. (Sound familiar?)
As they argue, we see that something is watching them, the feeling of the scene ominous.
There’s a growl and one brother asks the others, did you hear that?
For some unknown reason he goes off to investigate on his own, dramatic music playing, but finds nothing. (Of course, because this is a horror show, the first time someone checks it’s gonna be nothing, so that we’re falsely reassured…). One of the brothers goes to warm up their truck and suddenly something attacks brother no. 1 and drags him away as he screams. Brother no. 2 runs and hides while something attacks brother no. 3, blood spraying all over the truck and splattering on the dirt. Brother no. 2 hunkers down, terrified, breathing hard.
He finally dares to look around the cinder blocks and sees his dead brother lying on the ground. He hears another growl and then footsteps, and then he’s screaming too.
A giant toad sitting in the middle of the road almost gets run over by the Impala as it roars by, spraying water from a puddle in the road.
Sam and Dean are not exactly getting along at this point in the series. In fact, they are having a quintessential brothers spat. Dean is determined that his going to hell to save Sam will stick, because otherwise Sam won’t survive. Sam is determined to save his brother. Both are hard headed and just as invested in their codependent relationship at this point. I am not complaining about this – it’s one of the things I love so much about this show.
Sam: I don’t understand, Dean – why not??
Dean: Because I said so!!
Sam: But we’ve got the Colt now.
Dean is resolute, warning his brother with a terse “Sam…”
Sam wants to summon the crossroads demon to try to get Dean out of his deal by holding her at gunpoint and forcing her. Dean insists that they’re not summoning anything, that they don’t even know if it will work. Sam retorts that they can just shoot her anyway and the deal will go away, but Dean insists they don’t know if that’s even true.
Dean: You’re pitching me a bunch of ifs and maybes and that’s not good enough because if we screw with this deal, you die!
Sam: And if we don’t screw with it, you die!!
Talk about quintessential Supernatural. Dean will save Sam no matter what, and Sam will save Dean no matter what. And good luck trying to talk either of them out of it!
Sam finally demands, why, because you said so?
Dean: YES, because I said so!
Sam: Yeah well you’re not Dad.
Dean: (yelling) No but I am the oldest, and I’m doing what’s best. And you’re gonna let this go, you understand me?
If that isn’t the face of determination, I don’t know what is.
Sam finally subsides. He sits silent and sullen, staring out the window.
Dean tries to draw him back in, bring the conversation back to something normal (for them).