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!
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.
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?