Sure, it only took six months of unfulfilled promises, but in honor of elle2's season one articles of late, I bring you a long deserved episode recap of "Home."
I'll just say it right now, this is one of my all time favorite episodes. It was the episode that sucked me in for good after doubts emerged from watching "Hookman" and "Bugs". The episode isn't thick on plot, but very hefty in emotion and so well played by all. We meet Missouri Mosely, psychic extraordinaire, and get to see both Winchester parents. Plus, it really jump starts Sam's mytharc and kicks off a bit of speculation that hampers us all the way to season four.
Here We Go!
A woman is in a living room unpacking a box. Judging by the state of things, my guess is she's moving in. She finds her wedding photo, and gives a bittersweet smile. That makes me think she's a widow, but that's never revealed. It's never really important either. The message is a new life.
Her little girl comes down and claims there's something in her closet. Mom checks out the closet, nothing. Ah yes, the old check for monsters under the bed or closet parenting trick. Everyone knows they hide from parents. She kisses girl goodnight, but not before putting a chair in front of the closet door in assurance.
Mom goes back to unpacking and the lights flicker and she hears scratches in the floor. "Please God, don't let it be rats." Considering what it really is lady, rats are your best case scenario. She goes down in the creepy basement, and the lights don't work. At the same time in little girl's room, the chair in front of the closet door moves mysteriously on its own. Girl clutches blanket in fear. Uh, wouldn't that be a good sign to run?
Mom searches the basement more finds an old box. She opens it and it includes momentos and photos. It's John Winchester! When he was happy! Back to little girl who watches in utter terror the closet door open. Uh, this is the part where I would really scream and run. Back to mom, who looks on the back of one family photo, "The Winchesters. John, Mary, Dean and little Sammy."
Okay, two nitpicks here. First, in labeling family photos, last name is rarely written unless you're sending them to strangers in Christmas cards that you want to remember who you are. Second, the house burned and was rebuilt. I know from experience basements trap a lot of smoke smell, so they're usually completely cleared out and the foundation treated. The only way that box would be there is if the ghost of Mary put it there recently. My only explanation.
Back to little girl, who watches the closet door open and something burst into flames before it comes out. She clutches her blanket and watches, then screams. Uh, okay, how about running for your dear life now? What more do you need?
Time for the blue Supernatural logo, and I give that opening on a scary level a one. A long sequence that didn't do much. Okay, criticism over, because it gets so good from here.
Mom can be seen from outside the bedroom window screaming for dear life. Why couldn't they have ended the teaser with this? It would have been so much better. I accept though that at this point TPTB were still trying to find their footing, so I'll give it a pass. Suddenly Sam Winchester jolts awake! He was dreaming that. He's rather disturbed while Dean peacefully sleeps in the other bed.
Later, Sam is drawing a tree on the Sleep Easy Motel pad that's been seen in another season one episode, "Dead Man's Blood." (in that one, John's drawing has an "un" written in front of easy.") Dean is talking about the next job, but Sam ignores him. "Hey, am I boring you with this hunting evil stuff?" Apparently you are, but Sam claims he's listening. It's also right about here that the nagging question hits me, the one that I bring up to this day. They find wireless access in these flea bag motels? There's no cables plugged into that laptop. I've been to Vegas tons of times and often can't get it in their luxury hotels. I know, this show forces us to suspend believability with some things.
Dean mentions a guy that shot himself in the head three times, but Sam lied and really isn't listening. He knows where he saw that tree. He goes to John's journal and pulls out the same family photo the woman in the teaser saw. "I know where we have to go next. Back home, back to Kansas." Okay, a pretty big leap there Sam considering that was never really your home.
This spooks Dean, who calls Sam "random" and wants to know where that came from. Sam stammers, shows the picture to Dean and confirms that their old house was rebuilt. Sam then tells Dean this might sound crazy (which it does), but the family living in that house is in trouble. Dean, naturally, wants to know why in the world Sam would believe that. Yeah Sam, we're listening.
Sam tries the whole "trust me" act, but Dean isn't that stupid. "Come on man, that's weak, you've got to give me a little more than that." Sam can't explain, so Dean refuses to go anywhere until he does. Sam is finally forced to fess up the secret he refused to tell Dean in "Bloody Mary." "I have these nightmares," Sam confesses. "I've noticed," Dean replies. Ha! You can't get nothing past Dean.
Ah, but Sam delivers the bombshell. "And, sometimes they come true." "Come again?" Dean says. Sam goes on to explain he dreamt about Jessica's death days before it happened. He didn't just dream it would happen, he dreamt every specific detail. Now he's dreaming about that tree, their house, and a woman inside screaming for help. It's where it all started, so it must mean something. He even makes the leap that it might be the thing that killed Mommy Winchester and Jessica.
Dean doesn't take this too well. "First you tell me you've got the shining, and you tell me I've got to go back home, especially when"¦when I swore to myself I'd never go back there?" Sam is sympathetic, but makes the solid point they need to check it out. Dean reluctantly agrees. I'm sure that'll be a tense trip.
The Impala is seen on the road to Lawrence (judging by the fake road sign) and pulls up to their old house in a quiet suburban neighborhood. Dean looks at the house like he's seeing a ghost, and Sam asks if he's gonna be alright. "Let me get back to you on that." Remember the days when these two would care about each other so much? I know, people change.
They ring the doorbell and the woman in Sam's dream opens the door. Instantly his eyeballs pop out of his head. Dean goes for the standard fake cover but Sam interrupts with honesty. They used to live there and want to see the old place. He even gives their real names. She recognizes the name, pointing out she found some old photos. Now Dean is surprised.
They go inside and meet the fam. There's a toddler in a pen named Ritchie, and of course the traumatized little girl who's name is Sari. Mom tells of the problems with the house. Shorts in the wiring because the lights flicker, the sink's backed up and there are rats. Dean asks if she's actually seen the rats, or only heard scratching in the floor. Only the scratches. Dean does his best acting job by not freaking. Then Sari tells the story of burning ghost in her room. They all try to tell her there's nothing in her closet, but Sam and Dean know there is so something in her closet.
Sam and Dean leave and now they can act freaked. Sam is freaked because everything she said is the classic sign of a malevolent spirit. Dean is freaked because Sam's visions are coming true. That kind of makes "Metamorphosis" come full circle, doesn't it? When he tells Sam, "If I didn't know you, I would want to hunt you," all that began in this episode. Fascinating, huh?
Okay, maybe not. Anyway, they fight about what's happening. They need to get the family out of that house now. Dean of sound mind points out they don't have a story that they're going to believe. So Sam asks what are they supposed to do. Why regroup at a local gas station of course! They need to chill out, pretend like it's just another job. This scene BTW ranks as one of the best Impala scenes ever.
They both lean against the back of the car and go through the history of the house. Sam asks what Dean remembers about the night of the fire. Not much. He remembers the fire, the heat, and that he carried Sam out the front door. Sam is shocked, for he didn't know that. Dean is surprised. Why does this surprise you Dean? You know how much of a secretive bastard John is. Man, these Winchesters really need to learn about sharing things.
He recaps John's story, that he found Mary on the ceiling, and whatever put her there was long gone. "And he never had a theory about what did it?" Sam asks. Of course he did, and we learn so in "In My Time Of Dying." He's just a bastard that didn't want to tell you. Sam says they need to check around, see if it's the same thing. Dean points out they need to talk to John's friends, neighbors, etc. Sam asks if this feels like just another job.
Dean doesn't respond since the answer is so freaking obvious, and instead excuses himself to go to the bathroom, but just outside of it, with the Impala in full backdrop, Dean pulls out his cell and calls his dad's number. He chokes out the following words on the brink of tears, and for the first time we see a very vulnerable side of Dean. "Dad, I know I've left you messages before, I don't even know if you get them. But, I'm with Sam and we're in Lawrence and there's something in our old house. I don't know if it's the thing that killed mom or not, but, I don't know what to do. So, whatever you're doing, if you could get here, please. I need your help dad."
No amount of recapping on my part could capture how raw the emotion is in this scene. I think this is the first episode that really nailed the setup for such heart tugging scenes to come. And the crying. Because come on, how often do you cry like that?
I'm not recapping the next scene. I've never been able to watch it with eyes open. Plumber, garbage disposal, hand, blood spurting, screaming. Nuff said.
They talk to John's old business partner at a garage, but don't tell him they're his sons. Oh come on, he'd be so pleased to know that. He talks about how much John loved Mary, but got weird after the fire. John insisted something killed her, even though the official cause was bad wiring. John started talking with a psychic in town, but didn't know which one.
Sam and Dean go through the yellow pages at a phone booth, and there's something you don't see anymore. Sam rattles off names of psychics, and the name Missouri Mosely catches Dean's ear. He pulls out John's journal and reads the passage "I went to Missouri for answers." Dean assumed it was the state. That's a fair assumption. Just wait until you see this Missouri.
Next thing they're in a waiting area in a house, and a black woman escorts a man out telling him his wife loves him. After he's gone, she tells Sam and Dean his wife is "cold banging the gardener." Sam asks why she didn't tell him the truth, and she admits people don't come there for the truth. Kind of defeats the purpose of seeing a psychic, huh? "Well come on in Sam and Dean. I don't have all day." They're floored she knows who they are. I would have called them Fred and Ethel just for grins.
She looks at them both with a smile and comments how much they've grown. Especially Dean, who was one goofy looking kid. If anyone saw what Jensen looked like in Days of Our Lives, she's right. I know hardcore Dean fans took huge offense to Missouri constantly picking on Dean in this episode, but I think it serves a purpose. It means to show she can see through his tough exterior and isn't buying the act. She is seeing the real sides of both boys and acting accordingly. I don't think she means it as disrespect at all. If anything, she's showing Dean she isn't going to fall for his crap.
Sam grabs Sam's hand and her face falls. "Oh Sam, I'm so sorry about your girlfriend. And your father, he's missing?" Sam asks how she knew that, and she says he was thinking it. Dean asks where John is. She doesn't know. "You don't know? You're supposed to be a psychic, right?" "Boy, do you see me sawing some bony tramp in half, you think I'm a magician? I may be able to read thoughts and sense some energies in a room but I just can't pull facts out of thin air."
Missouri tells them sit, but warns Dean not to put his foot on her coffee table or she's going to whack him with a spoon. "I didn't do anything." "You were thinking it." Sam actually smiles over her picking on Dean and then asks about John, and she mentions he visited her a few days after the fire. She told him what was out there in the dark. "I guess you could say, I pulled back the curtains for him." Dean asks if she knows what killed their mom. No. She went to the house and whatever killed Mary was long gone, but it was evil.
Back to Jenny, who's feeling bad about the plumber, but not enough to be held liable since she hardly has money to pay for that. Shouldn't the guy have workers insurance? Anyway, Jenny leaves the Ritchie alone for a minute. Uh oh. Back to Missouri, who doesn't understand why they think something bad in back in the house. She's been keeping an eye on the place since the fire, and nothing has happened. Why is it happening now? Sam postulates Jessica's death, Dad missing and what's happening at the house is a sign that something is starting. You are so right about that Sammy!
Back to Ritchie in the playpen, and something unknown unlatches it. Then it unlatches and opens the refrigerator. Come on guys, picking on young children is not cool. I think you see what's coming. Boy goes to refrigerator, sees juice in the back of it, climbs in and the door slams shut, latching him in. Bastards. Mom comes back, sees boy missing and frantically searches. Luckily, it's only a minute before she sees milk pouring out from the fridge. She opens it and pulls out the now freaked out kid. Great, he'll never be able to open a refrigerator again.
There's a knock on the door and she answers with boy still clinging to her in her arms. It's Sam, Dean and Missouri. Dean says they want to show Missouri the old place, but Jenny tells them it's not a good time. No, I can't imagine it is. Dean tries to talk but Missouri cuffs him in the back of the head. "Give the poor girl a break, can't you tell she's upset?" Missouri tells Jenny Dean means well but isn't the sharpest tool in the shed. Well I don't know about that. No, I'm not making any suggestive sharp tool comments. She addresses Jenny's fears, pointing out she knows something's in that house that wants to hurt her family. She says they are people that can help, but she's going to have to trust them. That gets them in the door.
They search little girl's room and Missouri mentions that if there's any activity it would be there. Sam asks why. Oh come on Sam, you haven't figured it out? It's your old nursery dummy. Missouri feels around while Dean pulls out his homemade EMF reader. Oh, do you remember the days of the EMF reader? I'm getting nostalgic. Missouri calls Dean an amateur (ha!) and then says whatever is there didn't kill their mother. Then she goes in the closet and stumbles on something else. There are two spirits there.
Missouri mentions the problem. Real evil visited that house, and it left wounds. Sometimes wounds get infected. The place is a magnet for paranormal energy. It's attracted a poltergeist, and it's a nasty one. It won't rest until Jenny and her family is dead. Duh, duh, dun! Sam asks about the second spirit. Missouri can't make out the second one. Wait until they find out what it is! Dean proclaims no one is dying in that house ever again. How do they stop it?
Next at Missouri's place they're putting together what looks like hex bags. She rattles off ingredients, plus "few other odds and ends." In other words, they don't want you trying this at home. The plan sounds simple enough. They're going to put them in the north, south, east, and west corners on each floor of the house. Dean mentions Jenny won't like the fact that they're making holes in the wall. "She'll live," Missouri wisely points out. These bags will purify the house completely. They'll each take a floor but have to work fast, for the spirits will figure out what they're doing. It'll get bad. Don't worry Missouri, danger is their middle names.
Next is the really intense part! Missouri sends Jenny and the kids off to the movies. Understandably so, Jenny doesn't like the idea of leaving strangers alone in her house. What do you think they're going to steal? You aren't exactly a Rockefeller. They go anyway after Missouri assures her.
Sam takes upstairs and man does he look like a pup in this episode. He's really manned up since then. He has his hammer and starts tapping a hole in the wall. Uh Sam, Missouri said fast. Start pounding! Too late, for the electrical chord for the lamp starts slithering its way behind him. Dean gets the kitchen, and does the same casual tapping. Missouri looks around in the basement, finds a corner, throws the bag in and suddenly gets pinned by a fast sliding desk. Dean hears something in the kitchen and ducks just in time to escape a flying knife. Then in quick thinking he shields himself with the kitchen table right when a whole drawer full of knives come flying at him. Cool!
Sam isn't so swift though, as the chord wraps tightly around his neck, and he can't loosen it. Sam chokes and struggles to get the bag in the wall but can't, losing the battle. Uh, anyone notice while Sam gasps his shirt has rode up enough where we can see some bare belly and he's wearing button fly jeans? No, I didn't catch that either, for I don't pay attention to such trivial stuff. No, I'm not drooling, why do you ask?
Anyway, Dean arrives and tries to get the chord off Sam's neck but can't, so in quick thinking he kicks a hole in the wall and throws the bag in. The house erupts in a bright light and it seems like the poltergeist flies away. Dean goes to help Sam, who doesn't look too good and falls in his arms. Aww, I can never get enough of that brotherly love.
Next they are in the kitchen and the place is a mess. Sam asks Missouri if she's sure they're gone. She says yes but Sam isn't convinced, yet dismisses it. This is important for later. Jenny and the kids get home and see the mess. Dean tries to apologize, but Missouri jumps in and tells her Dean will clean all this up. She even orders him to get a mop. Oh, I know this is killing the Dean fans, but I'm laughing. Next scene Sam, Dean, and Missouri leave and all is okay.
Except it's not. Remember Sam's nagging feeling? Jenny settles into bed, hoping to get a good night's sleep. Suddenly the bed starts shaking ferociously. Sam and Dean remain outside in the Impala watching over the house. Dean doesn't understand, for Missouri did her whole "Zelda Rubenstein" thing. Sam just can't shake his uneasy feeling and wants to be sure. Suddenly Jenny is at the window screaming, just like in Sam's dream. They rush inside.
Dean goes to help Jenny, who can't get out of her room. Meanwhile in little girl's room, flaming ghost in the closet is back. Back to Dean, who kicks the door in for Jenny, and back to Sam, who has little boy in his arms, and goes to rescue little girl from flaming ghost. Oh, this is getting intense!
While Dean and Jenny wait anxiously outside, Sam comes down the stairs with both kids in his arms. Suddenly he stops at the bottom of the stairs and puts the kids down, instructing little girl to take her brother outside. No sooner than Sam says that he's dragged very fast into the kitchen. Sari screams and gets the heck out of there with brother in tow. Dean sees only the two of them and asks where Sam is. Still in the house, something got him. Dean looks in the house and the door slams shut. Awesome!
Dean goes into the trunk-o-weaponery and grabs a hatchet. He starts chopping at the door while Sam is being tossed around like a rag doll in the kitchen. No Sammy! Sam gets pinned on the wall, and then the flaming ghost walks in. Just then Dean busts in and holds out the shotgun, but Sam stops him. Dean wants to know why. "Because I know who it is. I can see her now."
The flames fly away and the ghostly figure emerges from underneath. It's Mary Winchester! I must say I'm not surprised, but still in awe. We see Dean's reaction first, and he's floored. He lowers the gun and looks at her very stunned. "Mom?" She comes up to him with a slight but loving smile. "Dean." Dean looks at her like he's gonna cry. Oh, I'm teary!
Then she goes after to Sam, who's still pinned against the wall. He doesn't have quite the same reaction as Dean, since he's technically seeing his mother for the first time. He doesn't know what to think. "Sam." Now Sam gets teary. Then Mary drops the smile and says with regretful tone, "I'm sorry." Sam is puzzled. "For what?" Mary doesn't answer, and we end up stuck with that dangling thread until episode three of season four. Damn You Kripke!
Mary dramatically turns away from her boys and looks upward. "You get out of my house, and let go of my son." She bursts back into flames, and then rises and there's a big explosion on the ceiling that goes away in no time. Sam is suddenly freed from the wall. Dean looks around trying to grasp what just happened, very rattled by the events, while Sam takes a long look himself. "Now it's over."
Man, just when we think we've had enough (remember, this is season one, when we're not used to such things) there's even stuff in the closer that gets me. Dean is looking through some pictures from the box of mementos from the basement, including one of him holding baby Sam. Jenny is with him, and he thanks her. It should also be noted that the dramatic score in this one is especially going in full force in this scene. I rarely notice the score, but it made a huge difference in this episode, especially in the last two scenes. It added significantly to the emotional drama. I give HUGE kudos to score master Christopher Lennertz in this one.
Sam is sitting on the front steps, looking like he lost his best friend. Missouri comes out and confirms there's no spirits in there now for sure. "Not even my mom?" Sam asks. Missouri says no, Sam looks a little crushed. "What happened?" He asks. "Your mom's spirit and the poltergeist's energy cancelled each other out. Your Mom destroyed herself going after the thing." Sam isn't sure why she would do that. "Well to protect her boys, of course."
Sam doesn't take this too well, and we get what is essentially his trademark look every time he has to take in bad news. He still does it today, even doing it when Dean called him a monster in "When The Levee Breaks." His eyes get all puppy dog sad, he presses his lips together, takes in a few quick breaths and says nothing, internalizing whatever he hears, tucking it in deep, letting it consume him slowly. If there's a season six, I want an episode where that internal reservoir of Sam's finally busts, and he's has that long awaited mental breakdown. Maybe even sometime in the happy hunters home? Heck, that sounds like a good season five plot.
Missouri goes to touch Sam and then stops, as if she senses that with him it won't do any good. She's got him pegged. She instead tells Sam she's sorry. Again, Sam must ask for what. This time though, he gets an answer. He sensed it was there, even when she couldn't. Sam doesn't know what to say, but figures it out. "What's happening to me?" Oh, Sammy. If you only knew what you end up doing. "I know I should have all the answers, but I don't know." This makes Sam feel even worse.
Dean calls to Sam to see if he's ready. Ready as he'll ever be. He looks at Missouri one more time with a haunting look of worry. A still dejected Sam works his way over to the Impala and says a quick goodbye to Jenny. Missouri tells them not to be strangers and Dean says "We won't." Considering we have yet to see Missouri and Lawrence, Kansas again, I'd say they didn't make good on that promise.
Missouri says see you around. Sam gives her a quick, very un-assuring smile and climbs into the car with his mope. The two brothers drive off, both pretty rattled by the latest developments. Missouri with worry watches them drive off, the violin in the score plays the somber parting music, and I'm so thrilled Kripke didn't send them off after that poignant moment to "Rock You Like A Hurricane." I would have given up on the show if that had happened.
Meanwhile, it's not done! Missouri comes back home and starts talking to what looks like herself. "That boy, he has such powerful abilities. Why he couldn't sense his own father, I have no idea." She goes into the living room, and there's John Winchester! He did come after all! John is looking pretty ashamed of himself. He asks if she really thinks that Mary's spirit saved the boys. She does. Poor John sadly looks at his wedding ring, and now he's making me cry. We see with that one look how Mary was his entire world. Dammit you Winchesters!
Missouri berates him for not talking to his children. He really wants to, but he can't. "Not yet." Then he looks at Missouri. "Not until I know the truth." Fade to black. What truth? Oh yeah, no answers coming anytime soon. I still wonder by the end of season four if we all know what John really knew. Somehow, I doubt it. I think more reveals are coming.
Yep, this episode really set the standard for dramatic fare to come. Much of what's in this episode can be traced as the beginning of what's happening now. It's a groundbreaker, even if Dean had to endure some bullying. My overall grade, an A-. It was perfect except for the beginning teaser.