Supernatural Rewatch – The Shocking Season One Finale, Devil’s Trap

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!”

Sam: Why?

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!

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The Winchesters Look For ‘Salvation’ – Supernatural Rewatch

We’re almost at the end of Season 1 in our Supernatural rewatch from the start, which we began almost seven months ago when the series ended – and it has been a much more emotional experience than I expected it to be! So no surprise that we began watching ‘Salvation’ and I burst into tears when ‘Carry On Wayward Son’ started playing. Even after all these years, I’m never ready to hear that familiar song herald the end of a season of my favorite show, and now that the show is over, my tears were if anything even more free flowing. God, I love this show. I always will.

The episode opens in Blue Earth, Minnesota. Meg in a church lighting candles, telling the kindly priest she needs to talk, that she’s done some things. He tells her there’s forgiveness for everyone and she asks, ‘are you sure?’

Father: Salvation was created for sinners.

Meg: I’ve lied, stolen, lusted…. I slit a man’s throat and ripped his heart out through his chest.

She lets him see her black eyes, and he backs away in alarm.

Father: I know what you are. You can’t be here – this is hallowed ground!

Meg (laughing) Maybe that works in the minor leagues, but not with me.

He runs, into a secret room with an arsenal of guns, and we see that he’s a hunter. Meg breaks in, and easily catches the knife he throws at her, taunting him that he throws like a girl.

Father: What do you want?

Meg: The Winchesters.

Father: I’ll never tell you.

Meg (smirking): I know.

She slits his throat, and he gasps and gurgles and dies. I remember being so caught off guard by the graphic violence of that scene when I first saw it. Truly horrifying.

The show and the actors did such a good job making me care about Pastor Jim even in those few minutes we had with him, which helped us understand how John was going to feel when he found out.

In Manning, Colorado, John has weather reports taped to the wall, marked up, books strewn around, post it notes everywhere. He tells his sons, this is everything he knows, that he spent their whole lives searching for this demon, but there wasn’t a trace until a year ago, when he picked up its trail.

John: It came out of hibernation. It’s going after families just like us, on the night of the kid’s six month birthday.

Sam: I was six months old that night? It’s going after these kids like it came for me.

At that realization, Sam starts to feel even more responsible for all the tragedy that’s dogging him.

Sam: Mom’s death, Jessica, it was because of me…

Sam is distraught, and Dean rushes to reassure him.

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Supernatural Rewatch – Something Wicked (And Heartbreaking)

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.

Sam: Why?

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.

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Winchester Prank Wars – Supernatural Rewatch with Hell House

Hell House is notable for its introduction of the duo who would eventually become the Ghostfacers, and the comedy chops that guest stars Travis Wester and A.J. Buckley brought to the episode. It’s also notable – for me at least – for how many times Sam and Dean get to laugh and smile and have fun, which warms my heart.

The episode starts, as so many horror movies do, at an abandoned allegedly haunted old house – in Richardson, Texas, which I think is where Jensen Ackles grew up, so nice little shout out in the seventeenth episode of Season 1.  Teenagers with flashlights dare each other to go in, the one young woman saying she’s not going, but caving when one of the guys offers to hold her hand – or any other part of her. She slaps him, but for some reason she also goes in. There’s a ghost that is said to go after girls and string them up in the root cellar, which is of course exactly where they go.

Cocky guy: I don’t see anything scary, do you?

Right behind him, in perfect horror movie style, is a young woman strung up. Scream!

Cut to the Winchesters on the road, rock music playing, Sam asleep in the passenger seat. This is the episode where Sam and Dean are having an escalating prank war, so Dean slips a plastic spoon in Sam’s mouth, pulls out his flip phone and takes a picture, grinning happily after.

He turns the music up loud and starts singing to wake poor Sam up, and as he spits out the spoon, Dean slaps the steering wheel happily.

Sam: Haha very funny. Man, we’re not kids anymore Dean, we’re not gonna start that prank stuff up again.

Dean: Afraid you’re gonna get a little Nair in your shampoo again, huh?

Sam shakes his head, warning Dean to remember that he started it.

Dean: Aww, bring it on, Baldy!

As ridiculous as their little prank war is (and as quickly as it’s abandoned), I love it for the part it plays in getting Sam and Dean back to being brothers again. It evokes their childhood, when they only had each other to get through long car rides and lonely motel rooms and nobody to play a game of catch with. There’s an edge of cruelty that’s often there between siblings, a jockeying for position of who’s going to get the upper hand, but it’s also a way of finding things to laugh about in the midst of a frightening and stressful time – even if it’s sometimes at your brother’s expense!

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Supernatural Rewatch – The Return of John Winchester in ‘Shadow’

I love this episode so much – it’s scary, creepy, touching, and it brings the narrative back to what Season 1 was so much about, Sam and Dean’s search for their mysterious and elusive father, John Winchester and their rediscovery of being brothers. Like most episodes in this season, it’s also beautifully filmed and full of atmosphere, including the opening scene – which takes place in the windy city.

A young woman walks down the street, blues music playing. Her Walkman glitches, which looks very 2005, and the wind starts howling in the alley. She looks around, asking what people always ask in horror movies, as though being polite might get a bad guy to answer you.

“Hello?” she calls, and there’s no answer, but she’s scared as she hurries to her apartment door. Shadows loom behind her n the walls of the alley as she runs, a giant shadow seemingly following her. Breathless, she fumbles for keys and can’t find them, like in the worst of nightmares. Finally she gets in the door and inside, locking the door behind her and setting the alarm.

‘System armed’ it says, and she sighs with relief, checking her vintage (not at at the time) answering machine. Just as she thinks she’s safe, a shadow moves behind her on the walls, it’s giant shadow hand reaching out for her shadow and stabbing her, blood splattering on the wall as she screams and falls.

Quite an opening!

A week later, Sam and Dean drive, rock music playing. When they get out of the car they’re in uniform, which Dean isn’t exactly thrilled about (but frankly these two look good whatever they’re wearing).

Dean: Dad made it just fine without these stupid uniforms.

That brings back a memory, which gives us a rare and cherished glimpse of young Sam and Dean, when Sam was in ‘Our Town’.

Dean (smiling at the memory) Yeah, you were good.

I’m all warm at the thought of Dean going to see Sammy’s school play, though I wonder if that means John didn’t. I’m glad Sam got to do that though. (My daughter did the same school play, so I had an even stronger nostalgic reaction). I’m always so grateful when we get a glimpse of Sam and Dean’s childhood. Dean brings up the memory more like a proud parent here, not a brother who was forced to go sit through a school play.

They’re posing as working for the alarm company, so the landlady lets them in, but she’s not very impressed with their fake company.

Landlady: No offense, but your alarm’s about as useful as boobs on a man.

I like the landlady.

She tells them there’s no sign of a break in, the chain was on the door and the alarm was still on.

Landlady: Everything was in perfect condition. Except Meredith.

What condition was she in, the boys ask?

Landlady: Meredith was all over – in pieces! Like a wild animal did it.

After she’s gone, Sam says he knew this was their kind of gig, and Dean pulls out the EMF and says he agrees.

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