This episode, number 18 in the show’s first season, takes place in Fitchburg Wisconsin, which is now familiar to me not because I’ve ever been there or am likely to ever go there, but because this is a pivotal – and painful – episode.
We start out with a child saying their prayers, the dad tucking the little girl in with an affectionate “goodnight, monkey puss.” The little girl asks if her mommy is coming home and the dad says no, she’s at the hospital – with her sister. The dad leaves and turns out the light, and from the little girl’s perspective as she looks around her room, it’s like every time you’ve ever woken up at night in the dark and heard odd noises and your imagination has run away with you.
Sometimes this show does the scary and the horror so damn well, showing you just enough and not too much.
The wind howls, blowing at the window, lashing shadows of tree limbs against the glass as the little girl watches, frightened. She leaps out of bed and throws the curtains closed, but they’re transparent unfortunately. The tree branches almost look like hands as they creep along the glass…and then we see one branch actually IS a hand! It’s incredibly creepy and scary as it opens the latch on the window and the wind chimes in the bedroom rattle in the breeze. A shadow looms over the bed as the little girl hides under the covers. She screams, and the shadowy thing opens its gaping mouth…
Rock music plays as the Impala races down the road, and I remember in these early episodes, I’d just sit and grin every week when “the boys were back.”
Sam and Dean disagreeing about their dad like they often do – John threw a wedge between them again and again just by being John and raising them differently.
Dean: Are you sure you got the coordinates right? Dad wouldn’t have sent us coordinates if it wasn’t important, Sammy. Maybe he’s gonna meet us there.
Sam: Yeah, because he’s been so easy to find.
Dean: You’re a real smartass – I’m sure there’s something there worth killing.
When Sam continues to protest, Dean insists that he’s making the decision.
Dean: Because I’m the oldest, that’s why!
He smirks, unseen by Sam, but we all can see that he’s well aware of what he’s doing and that it’s not really valid. As much as Dean knows he’s the older brother and puts stock in that, he always respected Sam’s intellect and skills. And Sam’s little smile shows he kinda knows that too.