Supernatural Breaks All Of Ours with Season 2’s Powerful “Heart”

The 17th episode of the second season of Supernatural is one of the best, most emotionally impactful episodes of the series. That’s no surprise when you realize it was written by Sera Gamble and directed by Kim Manners. Together, Manners and Kripke and Gamble shaped Supernatural in essential ways, and the team of Gamble writing and Manners directing was bound to be incredible. Add to that Ackles and Padalecki knocking it out of the park and guest star Emmanuelle Vaugier keeping pace with them every second and you have one of the episodes that fans often use to lure unsuspecting new fans into the Supernatural fold. I’ve seen this episode many times, and it still brings tears to my eyes and breaks my heart a little every time. That’s good television!

The episode begins in San Francisco, an attractive woman named Madison (guest star Emmanuelle Vaugier) laughing in a bar with friends. She blows off some guy Nate who wants her to come back to the office with him, and then sees an even more creepy looking guy staring at her through the window. It understandably freaks her out and she leaves – though walking out into the dark alley to get to her car seems like a bad idea to me, but what do I know? I would have at least had someone walk me to my car!

Nothing happens, though, other than the creepy guy watching her drive away. And some gorgeous Kim Manners mirror shots.

The next morning Madison makes coffee in her office when she notices a smear of blood on the wall – and then more on the floor. She walks with trepidation toward Nate’s office, and we see his hand covered in blood before we see him. When she rounds the corner, Nate is lying dead on his desk, torn apart. She drops the coffee pot, screaming. The pot shatters.

All of us: Now that’s a Supernatural opening if I ever saw one!

It’s pure Kim Manners brilliance, from the way Madison at first sees just a small smear of blood and isn’t sure what it is, to the tentative way she comes closer. The shot of just Nate’s arm and hand, bloody, all she can see as the realization of what this is slowly sinks in, and then the full on shot of Nate very very dead, torn apart and bloody. The close up slow mo shot of the coffee pot dropping and shattering is just perfect. Chilling.

Teaser ended, we cut to the boys, as we always did especially in the early seasons. They view poor Nate’s corpse in the morgue, Sam using his puppy dog eyes to charm the attendant into saying that off the record it looks like Nate was attacked by a wolf.

Attendant: But unless I know that the zoo is missing one of their lobos, I’m going with pit bull. I like my job.

Sam: (smiling) Yeah, I hear you.  One more thing – was this guy’s heart missing?

Attendant: Yeah, how did you know that? I haven’t even finished my report.

Sam: Lucky guess.

These boys though, who could resist giving them the information they’re after? I mean, look at them!

Then we get a little glimpse of Winchesters on the road, iconic in its simple familiarity. Early seasons Supernatural life in motel after motel, sleeping in the Impala in between, is the stuff that fanfic is made of. It warms my heart today, fifteen years later.

Dean cleans his guns as he and Sam discuss a new case – “hookers” murdered in the week leading up to the full moon, their hearts missing.

Dean: Awesome.

Sam: Could you be a bigger geek about this?

Dean’s excited about the prospect of “badass” werewolves, which they haven’t seen since they were kids.

Sam: Okay, Sparky. And you know what? After we kill it, we can go to Disneyland.

Gamble was so good at exploring the dynamic between the brothers – the affection beneath their bickering and teasing especially. Sam and Dean are very different, but at this point in the series, they’re accepting their differences and starting to appreciate each other’s strengths more. Most of the time anyway.

Rewatching this episode now in 2022, we all started giggling as soon as this scene began – because it is also one of the iconic gag reel moments, as Jared and Jensen start bickering just like their characters while Jensen has trouble with the prop gun.

Jensen: I’ve got a line, you moron!

The truly wonderful thing is that there’s just as much affection beneath Jared and Jensen’s teasing as there is Sam and Dean’s. At this point, they had already become brothers on and off set. And that chemistry powered the show for 13 more seasons!

Read more

A Supernatural Homage to The Sixth Sense in ‘Roadkill’

Written by Raelle Tucker and directed by Charles Beeson, Roadkill wasn’t initially one of my favorite episodes, but on rewatch I was struck by how good it is. It’s not a feel good episode – it’s sad, tragic – but that is so well done. I feel for Molly, so it’s not an episode I tend to want to rewatch, but damn, the acting and writing are top notch. It’s a little bit of a Sixth Sense homage too, which always makes me happy since I was in that movie. (And it’s a great film, of course). Sure, I have zero lines and I’m just sitting in the auditorium audience but hey, I’m still in it.

Anyway…

THEN

The THEN reminds us that our boys are “smack in the middle of” the storm that’s coming, and that Dean especially is focused on “saving people, hunting things”. But we’re also reminded that the brothers are not entirely on the same page, as they both struggle with how to interpret their father’s mission and how much of it they want to take on.

Dean: If it’s supernatural, we kill it – that’s our job.

Sam: No, Dean – our job is hunting evil.

Well done THEN sequence, because that’s the crux of what Sam and Dean are trying to figure out right now, and they’re having a pretty epic brotherly tussle as they do it.

NOW

In a memorable opening, a car drives along a dark road at night as House of The Rising Sun plays on the car radio and the couple argue about being lost and turning around, the guy looking at the map (remember maps? I remember maps….and the days before your phone could just helpfully direct you where to go).  Their arguing is good natured, and the guy offers to make it up to the woman, kissing her neck although they’re driving and uh oh, this is not a good idea when you’re in the opening sequence of a Supernatural episode.

The woman, Molly, pushes him off, which takes her eyes off the road just as a man appears on the road. She tries to avoid him and ends up crashing into a tree, the windshield shattering. Uh oh.

Molly wakes up, the car smoking, David nowhere to be found. She crawls out of the car, calling for him, walking through dark and creepy woods as we all hold our breath, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

She finally sees a house with a light on in the woods and though it seems like a bad idea once again, she knocks on the door and then goes inside. There are knives on the wall and blood on the counter, and a man with his back turned.

Molly recognizes the man she almost hit, reaching out to see if he’s okay, though we as viewers can see that he’s not – his stomach is impaled and bleeding way too much to actually be alive, in fact.

Molly: Sir, are you hurt?

He turns around and opens his mouth – and his teeth start to fall out, mouth bloody, stomach wound gaping. It’s a Sixth Sense like reveal, and it’s so well done that it’s super creepy and scary. Season 2, Supernatural really was a little horror movie every week – so good!

The SUPERNATURAL title card pops up and lets us know our boys will be appearing soon. Perfect time for the logo of that season.

Molly screams and runs through the woods, terrified. It’s filmed in slow motion, adding to the terror of will the dead guy catch her or won’t he, and then she runs right onto the road. A car is coming as she yells Stop! Stop! The car skids to a halt – and we see that it’s the Impala.

Dean: Holy–  (The ‘shit’ is silent because CW)

Molly is totally freaked out, banging on the window and asking the boys to help her. Sam and Dean exchange a glance as she explains about the scary guy.

Dean: Did he look like he lost a fight with a lawn mower?

Molly: How did you know that?

Dean: Lucky guess…

Read more

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.

Read more

Powerful Performances in Born Under A Bad Sign – Supernatural Rewatch

Born Under A Bad Sign is another one of the pivotal episodes that solidified my passion for Supernatural in such an intense way that the show would get under my skin and just stay there for – well, its over 16 years and counting now, so who knows how long? Forever?

In the “Then” we get a reminder that demons can possess humans, and of Sam and Dean’s recent agonizing conversation by the fence, Sam terrified he’s about to “go darkside” and warning his brother that if he’s not careful, “you will have to waste me someday” and Dean equally terrified he won’t be able to save Sam.

That’s where Sam and Dean are when we get to the “Now”. Dean is frantic, on the phone with Ellen after Sam has apparently gone missing.

Dean: I’m losing my mind here….I’ve called him a thousand times, there’s nothing but voicemail. I don’t know where he went or why, Sam’s just gone…

His phone shows another call and Dean cuts off to answer it.

Dean: Sammy? Where the hell are you? Are you okay? Hey hey hey, calm down, I’m on my way.

The impala roars away from under a bridge. I bet Dean broke every speed limit along the way to get to his brother.

Sam hangs up the phone and we see his bloody hand on the floor as he waits.

A while later, Dean rushes into a motel, hurrying down the hallway, still frantic. He bangs on the door and it opens, so he pushes it slowly open, calling his brother’s name. He finds Sam sitting still, blood on his shirt, head down.

Dean’s panic increases as he sees the blood and he drops to the floor, trying to push Sam’s shirt out of the way to see how badly he’s hurt. Dean is wide eyed, terrified for Sam.

Dean: You’re bleeding, ohmygod.

Sam sounds completely out of it, traumatized beyond being able to express any emotion at all. He tells Dean that he doesn’t think the blood is his, says he tried to wash it off. That he doesn’t remember anything.

I have to say that both Padalecki and Ackles played that scene incredibly well – I could feel Dean’s panic acutely, and Sam’s utter confusion and despair (making Meg a pretty great actress also!). They are both primed for these emotions already, Dean so worried about Sam’s fate and Sam convinced he could go dark side any moment.

Read more

Supernatural’s First Mention of Angels in Season 2’s Houses of the Holy

The unlucky number 13 episode of Supernatural’s Season 2 is actually another iconic one. It’s one that was striking at the time because it was so beautifully directed and filmed (by Kim Manners) but it’s even more striking now as we’re doing a rewatch in 2022 because it’s the first episode to mention something that will become integral to the show – angels. Kripke famously didn’t want to include actual angels in the show originally, thinking that would be too much of a stretch and a venture into religious territory the show wanted to mostly avoid, but the writer’s strike changed the ending of Season 3 and Dean went to hell and they needed something to quickly pull  him out – voila, an angel! That decision changed the course of the show, but at this point in Season 2, angels were still something outside the realm of Supernatural.

Of course we don’t know that for most of this episode, which makes it a nice tease – and then a crushing disappointment for Sam. Knowing now, post series, that the God who Sam desperately wants to have faith in turns out to be a real dick, makes young Sam’s desperation to find something good to believe in even more heartbreaking. Sam is just plain good himself throughout the show, but he can’t see it, and religion/God/angels bring him some hope. Unfortunately that hope is misplaced – it will take Sam and Dean a while to realize that they need to put their faith in each other instead.

The opening segment is scary, a young woman watching television alone, smoking a cigarette (which was probably a little more common on network television in early 2007 than it is now). I’m not very observant because I didn’t realize she was supposed to be a sex worker, but I guess the heavy makeup and smoking a lot were supposed to convey that?

In typical Supernatural uh oh something’s wrong fashion, the lights start flickering. The woman changes the channel to a televangelist proclaiming that “the Lord is with you, look up and see the light” and even when she turns the TV off, it comes right back on. That is never good!

We see her alarm through the angel figurines in her apartment, in one of many striking Manners shots.

“The lord is talking to you right now, you have a purpose, it’s time to receive the message he’s sending,” the TV says. The camera pulls in closer and closer as everything starts to shake, furniture falling over, lamps crashing down. An angel figurine on the end table spins around madly as the woman becomes more and more terrified. Suddenly there’s a bright light, and then a figure appears in the light. The woman’s mouth falls open in awe.

And then it’s some time later, the same woman sans makeup and cigarettes sitting on her bed and reading a bible. The psych tech in very attractive white scrubs (aka Sam Winchester) comes in to ask her some questions, and she asks if he wants to know if she’s stark raving cuckoo for cocoa puffs (which is a reference some people watching the show now might not even get!)

Sam’s empathic.

Sam: I didn’t say that.

His empathy (and that adorable shy smile most likely) allows her to open up, and she says that she thinks that what she saw was real. Sam closes the chart and makes eye contact instead of writing notes – he’s so good at making people feel at ease so they’re comfortable confiding in him – and says he’d like to know what she saw. Did God talk to her?

She says no, but he sent someone – an angel.

Sam is skeptical, but he listens.

The woman insists that what she did was important, that she helped the angel smite an evil man (who she stabbed to death). That even though the angel didn’t give her the man’s name, he told her to wait for a sign – and then she saw it.

Sounds like a very dangerous way to go after evildoers!

Sam goes back to the motel and finds Dean enjoying the bed’s Magic Fingers. He’s lying on his back looking super happy, trembling all over with the vibrations and listening to his iPod, mouth gaping a little because, as always, Ackles is very good at conveying what Dean’s feeling. In this case, pleasure. Mmm.

Read more