The Trickster Messes With Sam and Dean for the First Time in Season 2’s ‘Tall Tales’

Tall Tales is one of those episodes that felt like FUN, despite some typical Supernatural monstrous happenings and, of course, people dying. But still, FUN. It was also a great episode to showcase Sam and Dean’s relationship as brothers. For better or worse! And, of course, it introduced us to Richard Speight, Jr. as the Trickster.

The ‘Then’ segment reminds us that Sam and Dean have pranked each other in the past, as brothers do, from Nair in the hair to Dean’s hand stuck to his beer bottle, Sam and Dean taunting each other with “That’s all you got?” and “Bring it on, Baldy!”  And lots of calling each other ‘bitch’ and ‘jerk’ which at this point (rewatching the series after it has ended), just makes me tear up because we know now exactly what those words mean when the Winchesters say them to each other.

Sigh. I miss my Show.

This episode opens with a professor walking to his office building at night, encountering an attractive young woman hanging out waiting for him, inexplicably dressed in a little sundress even though it’s cold and other people have jackets on.

She shows off her legs and he doesn’t notice, and he initially does try to get her to come back during office hours. He’s reluctant to respond to her flirty advances and hero worship until she finally says okay, I should go, and turns to leave. Then he changes his tune, saying he understands what she’s feeling. He shows his true narcissist colors by saying it’s natural, since he’s “somewhat of a celeb around here”. I had to cringe on behalf of professors everywhere when he said that. Nice touch of what his latest book is about though.

He kisses her even as he says it would be wrong for him to take advantage of her, and then… her face starts to disintegrate. Because this is Supernatural. He recoils in horror.

Zombie woman: What, you don’t like me anymore?

Outside the building, a janitor played by Richard Speight, Jr. watches as the professor’s body falls from the window high above, head splattered on the stones in a pool of blood.

Of course at the time that was not newsworthy (the janitor, that is). But now, on rewatch, we all squealed because Richard has joined Supernatural! He will become an integral part of the SPNFamily over the next 15 going on forever years.

ONE WEEK LATER

Sam is researching, as a Joe Walsh song plays on the radio. He’s clearly annoyed at his brother, who’s munching on something on Sam’s bed.

Sam: Dude, you mind not eating those on MY bed?

Dean (as he stuffs more in his mouth and licks his fingers enthusiastically): No, I don’t mind.

Gifs roadtripwithmybrother

Boys. I love how Supernatural always gets it so right. They are such brothers.

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Supernatural Gets Creepy (With Dolls!) in Season 2’s ‘Playthings’

Ah, Playthings. One of the creepiest episodes of Supernatural for me personally, because what is more creepy than an old mansion and a bunch of old incredibly terrifying DOLLS?? Add an equally terrifying little ghost girl and an old woman confined to an attic (plus some gruesome murders) and you’ve got an episode that gives me goosebumps every time. It’s also got some great brother moments between the Winchesters, so at least there’s some respite from the anxiety.

It’s next up on our Supernatural rewatch (it just turned 2022 as I’m typing this), so let’s revisit what made this episode so memorable – and so creepy!

We start out with the reminder that something evil might be brewing in poor Sam, the underlying theme of Season 2 that’s impacting both brothers, Sam terrified that he might hurt someone and Dean terrified that he won’t be able to protect Sam.

THEN

A reminder from Dean that “dad told me something”, Sam’s anguished question “Am I supposed to go darkside or something?” and Dean’s big brother determination to protect Sam no matter what. Then we’re back where we left off, Sam and Dean finding Ava’s discarded engagement ring in a pool of her fiance’s blood.

So very Supernatural.

NOW

The exterior location for this episode is every bit as creepy as the rest of it – an old mansion from the 1930s now the Pierpont Inn. As movers take out boxes of stuff, we learn that it has a rich history in the community, with generations getting engaged or married there, but it’s now up for sale. As the moving guy takes out the boxes, we pan to two little girls sitting at the top of the stairs on the landing watching – and not very happy about the move.

One of them is Tyler, daughter of the owner. The other is Maggie, her imaginary friend – who we already suspect is not exactly a trying-to-be-helpful Sully.

Tyler goes to play with her dollhouse that’s a replica of the Inn, and we pan over shelves full of creepy dolls, including a clown doll that would have given Sam Winchester nightmares (and possibly me also).

The whole episode is brilliantly shot, never fully lit and always looking just a little bit foggy, making the antique decor and dark wood just that much creepier. The creative camera angles add to the feeling that something is amiss here, sometimes looking up and sometimes down but rarely straight on.

Tyler puts a doll in the rocking chair, but when she looks again he’s not there – instead he’s at the bottom of the staircase, head askew.

Uh oh.

Just then, we hear her mother scream. At the foot of the stairs is the hapless moving man, twisted up, head askew just like the doll, in a pool of his own blood and a cracked doll next to him on the floor.

Well done, Supernatural. CREEPY as hell, but well done.

Cut to Sam and Dean looking for Ava, their motel room covered with maps and notes and a missing poster and looking a lot like John Winchester’s motel room might have.  Sam checks with Ellen, but she doesn’t have any leads either. Dean is worried about his brother.

Dean: Sorry, man.

Ellen does share information about the freak accidents that have been happening at the Pierpont Inn, though, and Sam wants to check it out. Dean is surprised. Sam wonders why.

Dean: Well yeah, it’s just, you know, not the patented Sam Winchester way, is it?

Sam: What way is that?

Dean: I just figured after Ava there’d be, you know, more angst and droopy music and staring out the rainy window…

Sam glares.

Dean: Yeah, I’ll shut up now.

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Sam Learns the Truth (and has a VERY Close Call) in Supernatural Season 2’s ‘Hunted’

This episode was written by Raelle Tucker, who I really wish had stuck around longer, and directed by Rachel Talalay, one of the first women to direct Supernatural. And they both did an amazing job! Also special shout out to the music cues that make the episode haunting and creepy, as much as its subject matter does.

The THEN reminds us that the Winchesters are still out there saving people, hunting things. That John Winchester knew the truth about Sammy and didn’t tell his sons. That he whispered something to Dean before he died and Dean lied about it. That Sam knows the demon said he has plans for Sam and other children like him. Like Max, like the ‘others’….

I love the huge mystery that the show was spooling out at the time, leaving me always feeling like I was on the edge of my seat desperately wanting to know what the hell was going on, and knowing that my boys were right at the center of it. It was so compelling, it’s no wonder I fell so hard for this show!

NOW…

The opening is a gut punch right away, a psychiatrist talking to his patient, a young man who’s hesitant to confide in the doctor about what he refers to as his ‘ability’.

Scott: When I touch something…I can electrocute it, if I want.

As if that isn’t chilling enough, he gives an example – the neighbor’s cat.

Scott: Its insides fried up like a hamburger.

The haunting sounds of ‘White Rabbit’ by Jefferson Airplane play in the background as Scott tells his disturbing tale, “One pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small…”

Scott knows the doc doesn’t believe him, and holds his hand out ominously.

Scott: Wanna shake on it?

I think I started screaming NOOOOO don’t do it the first time I saw this, as the doctor calmly asks why he wanted to kill the neighbor’s cat, but Scott says he didn’t – that “he” wants him to.

Doc: Who?

Scott: The yellow eyed man. He comes to me in my dreams… he has plans for me…

Everyone watching: OHMYGOD

I can’t even describe now, almost 15 years later, how chilling that reveal was. How just the words “yellow eyed man” struck fear into our hearts as viewers, because we knew Sam and Dean were in serious danger and we didn’t yet know just what it meant.

Scott leaves the doctor’s office and walks out into the dark, clouds of mist hanging over the deserted street as he rushes down a hill, hunched over, looking scared.

He looks around, calls out “Hello?” thinking someone’s following him, as the music grows louder and a train rushes overhead. We see the shadow of a man behind him in his car window as he finally gets there and then he’s stabbed, brutally. Blood spills out of his mouth as he dies and it’s brutal, graphic, so much more sinister because of the cinematography and the music and damn this show is so well done.

From that disturbing beginning, we’re back at the iconic fence with the Winchesters, Sam and Dean drinking beer next to the river.

Dean: Before Dad died, he told me something. Something about you.

Sam: What? Dean, what did he tell you?

Dean: He said that he wanted me to watch out for you, to take care of you…

Sam points out that their dad said that a million times, but Dean insists this time was different, increasingly agitated as he tries to confide in Sam this burden that he’s been carrying.

Dean: This time was different. He said that I had to save you…that nothing else mattered, and that if I couldn’t, I’d…

He falters, anguished, and Sam presses him, fully aware that this is bad, very bad.

Sam: You’d what, Dean?

Dean is looking at Sam almost begging him to make this all go away, and yet he pushes on, knows he has to come clean to Sam.

Dean: That I’d have to kill you. He said that I might have to kill you, Sammy.

Sam looks as anguished as Dean, the two of them facing off in this beautiful spot over this horrific reveal.

Sam: Kill me?! What the hell is that supposed to mean?

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Supernatural’s Season 2 Episode Croatoan  – The Mystery Deepens

I feel like I say this for every episode in the first couple seasons of Supernatural, but I love this episode SO much. Creepy, a mystery that you can’t easily figure out, more insight into the brothers – and their father. In this episode, you understand just how far Dean will go to save Sam, and just how deep the bond between the brothers runs. Which makes eventually learning about the impossible thing that John asked of Dean all the more heartbreaking. I love the way the first two seasons spooled it out, so slowly, teasingly. I was on the edge of my seat all the time and it was glorious.

Now, doing this rewatch in 2021, this episode also hits a little too close to home, when the words “a demonic virus” don’t sound so far fetched. That just adds to the ominous feel of the episode.

THEN

Saving people, hunting things – John telling the YED “I’ve known for a while” – a reminder of Sam’s visions, the demon having plans for kids like him. We see John whisper to Dean, Sam ask him at the funeral pyre, ‘Did he say anything to you?’ and Dean’s “no”. We know it’s a lie, but we still don’t know what those fateful words were, as we’re reminded that neither Sam nor Dean is handling the loss of their father well.

NOW

In surreal slow motion, the visuals distorted, Dean loads his gun and opens the door to a lab. A young man is tied to a chair, pleading with Dean “no, no, I swear it’s not in me, please don’t” as Dean sets his chin.

Dean: I got no choice.

He twitches, raises the gun, fires.

Sam wakes from a vision, gasping, in a motel room. Dean comes in, holding a six pack, chewing on some beef jerky.

Dean: Sam?

Night, the boys in the Impala, trying to figure out what the vision meant. Sam’s sure it happened in Oregon because he noticed a poster with a picture of Crater Lake before he saw the guy tied to the chair. Dean’s having a hard time making sense of it, but he knows by now to trust that Sam’s visions are to be taken seriously.

Dean: And I ventilated him?

They argue about what might have led to it, Sam saying that Dean thought there was something inside the guy.

Dean: Well, all our weirdo visions are always tied to the YED, so was there black smoke? Did we try to exorcise it?

Sam: No. You just plugged him, that’s it.

Dean’s defensive even about the vision.

Dean: Well I’m sure I had a good reason – I’m not gonna waste an innocent man.

Sam glances toward Dean, saying nothing.

Dean: I wouldn’t!

Sam: I never said you would!

Dean: Fine!

Sam: Fine!

It’s an argument over something that hasn’t even happened, but it gives us some insight into the tension still simmering between Sam and Dean. Dean is worried about Sam’s visions and what might be happening to him (especially in light of what John said to him, though we don’t know that yet) and Sam is worried about Dean, who’s on edge and volatile (partly because of the burden he’s carrying that John put on his shoulders). No wonder they’re sniping at each other.

They eventually give up the brotherly bickering and continue to Oregon, driving past the sign that Sam saw as they pull into a small town.

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Everybody Loves A Clown – Except Sam Winchester (Supernatural Rewatch)

The second episode of Season 2 starts out with a bang – or rather a tick tock tick tock. The haunting lyrics ‘Tick tock tick tock time has come today…’ mark the recap montage and remind us of the great loss that has just happened to the Winchesters. As the ticking of the clock slows down in the song, we hear “Time of death, 10:41 am…” and then the last word of the song, ‘Time.’

Not on the Winchesters’ side.

And then: NOW

In Medford, Wisconsin, kids enjoy an old fashioned fair and carnival that’s come to town, laughing at a sword swallower and fire breather and some clowns.

A very relatable dad: God, I hate clowns, they always creep me out.

All of us watching: SAME.

A young girl (though not young enough to be acting the way she is, actually) sees the creepiest looking clown in the history of ever, and for some unknown reason happily waves back at him. Then it disappears.

I guess I’m glad the show didn’t hire five year old actors to be traumatized for life by being in this episode, but that girl was definitely old enough to realize there is something very off about this clown! (Interestingly, she was played by Nicole Munoz, who returns as an adult guest actor in the final season)

Driving home, she looks out the window and sees the creepy clown standing on the side of the road, and all of us watching start exclaiming ‘child, you’re old enough to know that’s just weird!”

Alas, she does not.  Instead she wakes up in the middle of the night and sees the creepy clown outsider her window, smiles and goes downstairs to let him in. What the hell??

Intro over, we switch to our boys, and instantly I’m emotional.

One of the most memorable and heartbreaking scenes in the series is in this episode, as Sam and Dean give their father a hunter’s funeral. Sam is sobbing, tears rolling down his face. Dean is stoic, eyes shining with unshed tears.

Sam: Before he… before he… did he say anything to you?

There’s a long beat. We know he did, though we don’t yet know what.

Dean: No. nothing.

A single man tear rolls down Dean’s face, and breaks all our hearts.

This is a Phil Sgriccia directed episode, and it shows. The shots are gorgeous, and full of emotional impact, with early seasons Supernatural trademark close ups on strikingly beautiful Sam and Dean (ditto young Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles).  Director of photography Serge Ladouceur once told us that they were so attractive that he could light them like he would light a beautiful woman, and this episode really shows just how true that is. The close ups allow the emotion to come through loud and clear, and director Sgriccia is as talented at showing us what the brothers are feeling as Jared and Jensen are at showing it.

The episode was written by John Shiban, who came from the X Files along with Kim Manners (Mr. Cooper in this episode was also a character from that show, which many Supernatural crew members also worked on).

That scene hits harder now than ever, after having to watch Sam Winchester build a similar pyre for his brother in the series finale. There’s something in my eye now and it isn’t smoke…

One Week Later.

As Three Dog Night sings about the road to Shambala and what the Winchesters would give anything for right now, to ‘wash away my troubles, wash away my pain…’, Dean works on the broken Impala. The brothers can’t fix that their father is gone, or that the demon is out there, so Dean works on what he can.

Throughout this episode, the Impala stands in for so many things, and if we all didn’t realize she was special to us before (we did), we would have known with this episode.

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