I would urge anyone who may not have a very good image of the episode to try it again. It may surprise you with its importance and maybe some really cool moments. I was telling a friend today how the episode had surprised me, and she said "SPN episodes do tend to do that." Yes, they do. And that is why I am here chugging slowly through them all again. What a rare thing, to be able to enjoy episodes of a TV show over and over and over and get new insights from them each time.
In this episode, the boys finally are working together with their dad again - I guess that is what Dean wanted all this time. To find dad and work together again, as a family. BUT, as we have noted before at the very end of "Bugs", Sam and Dad can never seem to be even a few minutes together without them fighting. We also know that Sam ran away after a big fight with dad over college. So we find out in this episode why Sam was always rebellious. We find out why Dad acted the way he did. And well we are going to see some really difficult and also very good relationship moments. And don't forget, we are dealing with a new monster too... THE VAMPIRE! Which is also interesting from a rewatch point of view. So let's get started.
"The House Is Rockin'" by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble
(When Elkins is in the bar studying his journal)
"Searching for the Truth" by Brian Keith Nutter
(When Sam and Dean are at the diner looking for a job)
"Trailer Trash" by 88 Crash
(When John tells Sam and Dean about vampires)
"Strange Face of Love" by Tito & Tarantula
(While the vampires are partying at their place)
So the first scenes are of Daniel Elkins at the bar as his old enemies drop in, and at his home where they find him again and he is mauled to death (and I am assuming drunk dry though the newspaper does not include that fact). We then go to Sam and Dean at a diner again looking through newspapers and the internet for cases. When they can't find any off the bat, Dean suggests they go visit Sarah: such a nice girl and you seemed to like her, Sammy. And this time, Sam doesn't snap at Dean or look exasperated. This time, he looks happy remembering that nice girl and he grins as he says,
"Maybe someday, but in the meantime, we've got a lot of work to do."
Hey, I guess that Dean remedy actually worked!
Then Sam finds a "Bear Mauling" incident of one Daniel Elkins which they think is a little fishy, especially when Dean remembers seeing his name in dad's journal... so they decide to check it out.
Now this next scene, I cannot help but remember the Day in The Life of Jared and Jensen video taken at the time of this exact episode. They actually show a bit of them filming the scene at the cabin, a little bit of fun they have in the snow etc. If you've never seen it (you probably have) - check it out at A Day in the Life of Jared and Jensen
Anyway, there are some funny lines about the salt around the door and the maid not coming that day, and then we have the cool scene where Dean notices the scratches on the floor and proceeds to "copy" it onto a piece of paper.
Sam recognizes this as a mail drop - just the way dad does it - and they break into the post office boxes to find a letter to what seems like their dad - JW. As they are in the car talking about what they found, dad scares them by pounding on the window (That scene is in the gag reels aye?!) and they find that there are actually VAMPIRES in this world. They also find that after avoiding them for so long, dad needs their help to get some gun back from the vampires. They don't know why the gun is important and dad won't tell them. He just takes control and tells them to follow him. When he gets the police radio on the attacked couple, he wakes them up, tells them to follow, then proceeds to leave them at the car as he goes to talk with the police and get some clues on where the vampires are.
Sam is getting pissed.
"Don't tell me it's already starting." Dean is like, OH MAN...
But then dad comes back, has a dangerous moment with Sam when Sam questions him and asks for details, and then proceeds to tell Dean what a poor job he's doing of taking care of the car. We have a Sam/Dean eye contact moment here like
Sam: (See what I mean?) Dean: (Embarrassed/hurt shrug)
In the car, Sam again expresses his unhappiness with the way dad acts toward them. Barking orders, not explaining anything, expecting them to follow him around...
"So it is Starting."
When Dean says that Dad does what he does for a reason, because there is no margin for error, Sam counters with, "Maybe that worked when we were kids, but not anymore - after all that you and I have been through, Dean." Sam asks Dean, "So you are happy with just "falling into line and letting him just run the whole show?" And Dean looks ahead and answers, "If that's what it takes." But I think Sam has made Dean think... about all they have been through. They have been hunting on their own for a whole year and both Sam and Dean have almost died several times already.
Then they get the call from dad - instructions he expects them to follow without question or explanation. Sam cuts dad off on the road and starts the showdown. What a painful moment. I dislike conflict very much (maybe coming from living in Japan my whole life?) and this scene is very hard to watch. I can feel everyone's pain, but since I am also on the sideline, I feel especially for Dean in the middle. How many times has he done this in the past, I wonder.
We find out some important things though. First, that Sam left because of this kind of treatment by dad. We also learn how much dad was hurt by Sam leaving them.
It is after this that maybe Dad begins to change. He realizes that first he needs to explain more of what is going on if he wants their cooperation, so he goes on to explain why the colt is so important (as shown in my gif for the poll.) After their aborted attempt to get the colt back and kill the vamps in their sleep, Dean goes to find some dead man's blood while Dad and Sam have their important heart to heart at the motel. Dad explains to Sam about how he had never wanted Sam and Dean to have to have this kind of life. And when the boys had been born, he had put money in their accounts as a college fund - in expectation that they would go one day. That he had stopped being a father and started being a drill sergent at one point because of his fear that they would be in danger and his hope that they would be ready to defend themselves against the evil that killed their mother.
"Sammy it just...it never occured to me what you wanted. I just couldn't accept the fact that you and me were just different."
"Well, we probably have a lot more in common than just about anyone."
"I guess you're right, son."
So now Sam understands dad a lot more, and dad understands that Sam is not the Sam that he was.
It is after this that Dean uses himself as bait to bring the vampires out and Sam and Dad shoot them with dead man's blood so they can use the mate as a hostage in exchange for the gun.
"Sorry. I don't usually stay with a chick that long. Definitely not eternity."
They burn some herbs to hide their scents and are about to break up again but not before an important talk. Dad again talks about them going as soon as they finish their part of the plan. Sam cannot understand why dad is still intent on going for the demon by himself. Dad tells them that he does not want to get them hurt, that he cannot do his best and Dean, who has never questioned dad, says:
"With all due respect, that's a bunch of crap."
Sam and Dad both look at him with surprise, Dad says, "Excuse me?" all disapproving, but Dean goes on talking of how they have been in dangerous situations before and Dad had even sent them on dangerous missions himself. This wasn't about keeping them safe.
Dad tells them that he doesn't expect to make it out alive, that their mother's death had almost killed him, and losing them too would be too much for him. But Dean counters:
"What happens if you die? Dad what happens if you die and we coulda done something about it. You know I been thinking. I ...maybe Sammy's right about this one. We should do this together."
"We're stronger as a family Dad. We just are. You know it."
And here it is - The biggest theme of the show, that they keep proving over and over even after dad dies.
Although dad tells them to go anyway and does not change his order to leave, Sam and Dean disobey that order and come to his rescue. Saving his life but also making him use a bullet of the colt to save Sam.
Here is an awesome shot of Dean with the rifle as they attack the vampires from the woods:
And here is a gif of this significant first bullet:
Not only does this remind us of a moment 2 seasons later when Dean uses the colt to kill the demon with dad's help, (and maybe further on... when they use it on several other choice monsters) but it is significant for Sam, Dean and Dad because maybe until this moment they are not sure if the legend is true - that the colt can really kill the vampire and (almost) everything else.
As they get ready to leave the motel for the last time, Dad comes in and is about to chastise them for disobeying his direct order. This time again it is Dean that does not back down.
Dean: Yeah, but we saved your ass.
Sam looks at Dean in incredulously.
Dad: You're right.
Dean looks at Dad in surprise,
Dean: I am?
Dad: You two are all I've got. But I guess we are stronger as a family. So...let's go after this damn thing. Together.
Just, the way the boys look back at Dad as they say, "Yes, sir." It reminds us a little of the time we first heard them say it together, when they first found dad in their motel room in Shadow. That time it was with happy relief that dad was alive. This time it is with the knowledge that Dad has finally seen them as grown men capable of making their own decisions, and capable of going after the demon with him, and finally that they are truly stronger together
This is it guys. It makes me feel like I've finished a rewatch of each season right here. This is THE theme. So now that we have hit the biggest theme home here, what do we need the next two episodes for? Maybe to prove that they are not only truly stronger together, but that they are also each other's greatest weakness?
Location - Manning, Colorado
To find out more about the clothes Sam and Dean wear, go to Season 1 by hells_half_acre