My next season one selection for recapping is a bit of a surprise for me. This is not one of my favorites. However, this episode, much like "Home" ends up being important for season four. By going through the exercise of a recap, maybe I would appreciate it better. We'll see.
It should be noted this is the first solo delivery of the writing team of Raelle Tucker and Sera Gamble. Sera especially uses this episode as her blueprint for further developing Dean's faith issues, so it's a vital piece of work. It also showcases just how far Dean has come in terms of faith. So, for your recapping enjoyment, I present "Faith."
After the regular season one teaser (you know, saving people, hunting things, the family business) there's a dark, abandoned spooky house at night. In the background is the roar of that familiar engine, then the headlights appear in the background. It's the Impala! This opening is good already.
Sam and Dean search the trunk, and Dean finds two taser guns that each deliver 10000 volts. Dean wants "this rawhead extra freaking crispy." Ah, at least we know who they're up against early. They only get one shot though, so it must count Per gun I'm assuming.
Now they're inside, and naturally, for extra creepiness factor, they're searching in the basement. I guess hideous creatures don't hang in the master bedroom. With flashlights in hand they search left, search right, search all around, then hear something in a nearby cabinet. Oh, not the "something's hiding in the cabinet" trick again. That so overdone by the horror genre. Anyway, the go to it cautiously and have weapons handy as they count to three.
Dean opens the door and two innocent children in school uniforms are in there. You guys are picking on kids again! Sam asks if its still here, and the two terrified children nod. They grab the kids and Sam is tasked with getting them out of there, because we have learned in the last few episodes he's designated child rescuer. Probably because in these early episodes, he looks like a baby himself.
Something from under the stairs grabs Sam's ankle as he and the kids run and Sam falls down the stairs. Dean goes under the stairs and shoots, but its not there so he wasted his shot. Sam throws Dean his gun and gets the kids out of there. Dean searches alone and I smell an ambush.
Sure enough, the thing pops out of hiding and knocks Dean backward, into a puddle of water. Oh yeah, I see where this is going. The thing comes after him so Dean scrambles for the taser gun, fires, and turns that thing all crispy. Oh, but the electrical current frying the rawhead is charging up the water at his feet as well, the water that Dean is also lying in. Guess what? Dean fries too.
Dean as well as the rawhead are jolted rather intensely as their insides cook, and when its all over, they both collapse. One is dead and one isn't. I'll let you guess who. Sam arrives in time to see a fallen Dean, but is late enough where the water isn't electrified anymore. He yells "Dean!" and rushes over, clutching onto him in the water. Since I'm not an expert when it comes to water and electricity (aka, shouldn't there be a residual current in the water, thus shocking Sam even a little), I'll let the debunking slide here for we've got some good drama now.
Logo time, and it's so bland compared to the other seasons.
Sam is at a hospital waiting area, and the nurse asks for an insurance card. He hands it to her and oh yes, Sam looks so much like a Mr. Berkowitz. He's definitely has that Jewish serial killer vibe. Two cops are waiting, and Sam goes back to them. Ah, remember the days when they could talk to the police?
Sam finishes the story. They were taking a shortcut through the neighborhood with the windows down (nice detail!), heard screaming, ran in the house, found the kids in the basement. The cop thanks God they did.
Okay, I wonder something here. In the time between Sam getting Dean to a hospital and rescuing the kids, what did he do with the rawhead's body? If he took the kids to the hospital with him, they still know about the house, so wouldn't their search have come up with the thing? Shouldn't they be a little floored over the Supernatural killer? Or did Sam actually ditch the body first even though his brother was near death? I know, I'm nitpicking. I've always wondered that though.
The doctor arrives to deliver Sam the news. The electrocution trigged a heart attack in Dean, a massive one. His heart is damaged. He gives Dean a couple of weeks, a month at most. I know this is some po-dunky hospital, but other hospitals have this thing when one organ fails on an otherwise healthy young man. It's called a transplant list. I'm pretty sure Dean would qualify.
Sam doesn't take the news well. "There's got to be something you can do, some sort of treatment." "Sure," the doctor says, "we'll get him on the emergency transplant list right away." Except he doesn't say that. "We can't work miracles." Uh, transplants stopped being miracles 30 years ago. Now I know why I had troubles with this episode.
Sam rushes to go see Dean, who's in a hospital bed flipping through channels. There are red bags under his eyes and he looks like...death. At least they got that right. Anyone ever watch the old Magnum PI episodes where Magnum would be in the hospital in a coma and aside from one tiny patched up bullet wound on his chest somewhere, justifying the chance to show him bare chested, he looked like he was taking one very pretty nap? Not a tube, wire, or blemish anywhere. TV has indeed changed, and I think its because of nitpickers like me.
Anyway, back to the show called Supernatural, Dean's accepting his fate. First he complains how much daytime TV sucks, which is a great inside joke since Jensen got his start on Days Of Our Lives. Next, he vows to hunt the fabric softener teddy bear down. Can he snag Barney while he's at it? The world would then indeed be a better place. Oh, I'm having too much fun with this.
Sam, being a bit too distraught over his brother dying thing, refuses to humor Dean. Puppy actually looks like he's gonna cry. Dean assumes Sam's going to leave town without him, but Sam says he won't. "You better take care of that car, or I'm going to haunt your ass." Oh what's he going to do? Install an iPod jack or something? "I don't think that's funny," a wet blanket Sam says. "Oh come on, it's a little funny." A Sera Gamble trademark line is born, one that she uses again in "Fresh Blood."
Dean sees Sam isn't amused and gets philosophical. "Look Sammy, what can I say man? It's a dangerous gig. I drew the short straw, that's it, end of story." Oh yeah Dean, you were that accepting of death when Sam was smurf blue on a mattress. Put yourself in your brother's shoes!
"We still have options," Sam says. "What options?" Dean asks. "We have burial or cremation." Oh, what a dinger! Dean is always the best when staring at the face of death. Dean declares he's going to die, and Sam can't stop it. "Watch me," a defiant Sam declares. Woo hoo! He's off to find that donor and transplant doctor!
It's Sam's turn for the emotional game of "talk to John Winchester's voice mail," and right here is where I really notice the improvement in Jared's acting over the last couple of episodes. He's finally starting to feel comfortable being Sam. He does his own tear-jerking one sided speech, complete with dramatic voice breaks, and now we know more than ever what a bastard John Winchester is. How can he not crumble over this and rush to his son's side?
"Hey dad, it's Sam, uh, you probably won't get this but it's Dean (pause and a whew), he's sick and uh, the doctor says there's nothing they can do but uh, they don't know the things we know right, so don't worry because I'll do whatever it takes to get him better." Oh cool, he's talked to the transplant service then! I know, that's the last you'll hear of it. Sam closes with a defeated "Alright, I just wanted you to know," and he throws the phone down. Then he does everything in his power to stop from busting out in tears. Too bad I don't.
There's a knock at the door. Sam's curious, but he's not jaded enough with the world yet that he'll pull out a gun before answering. Oh, remember when Sam was like that? It's Dean! He looks awful! Sam wants to know why he's there. Uh, so he can spend his dying moments with his brother? "I'm not going to die in a hospital when the nurses aren't even hot." All the hot nurses are at the hospitals that do transplants. D'oh! I said I wouldn't do that.
Sam is still being a whiner. "You know this whole 'I laugh in the face of death' thing? It's crap, and I can see through it." Dean says whatever, for he's too sick to care. "Have you even slept? You look worse than me." Sam's been scouring the Internet for the last three days. I wonder if his Google searches came up with this wonderful new medical advancement known as a heart transplant. They're pretty effective from what I hear. He helps Dean to his seat and tons of fans go "awwww." We're such suckers.
One of John's contacts clued in Sam to a specialist in Nebraska. Oh, so he does... fine, I'll let it go. "You're not gonna let me die in peace, are ya?" Sam with hope declares, "I'm not going to let you die period." They're going.
The Impala thunders through a muddy field with a giant tent, and Nebraska is looking a lot like British Columbia. Dean, while failing to get out of the car on his own, sees the sign "Reverend Roy LeGrange, Faith Healer." That would have killed me right there! Dean is not happy, not only because Sam tries to help him out of the car. He calls Sam a lying bastard. He thought Sam said they were going to see a doctor. Uh Dean, I believe the word he used was "specialist." Once Sam says exactly that, he claims from what he's heard the guy is the real deal. One passerby calls the reverend amazing, another is protesting that he's a fraud. Dean's just protesting that they're seeing a guy who heals people in a tent.
I'm just going to write down the next piece of dialogue. It clearly shows Sam and Dean's initial positions on faith and it blows the mind how much their perspectives have changed by the end of season four.
Sam: Well, when people see something they can't explain, there's controversy.
Dean: Oh come on Sam, a faith healer?
Sam: Maybe it's time to have a little faith Dean.
Dean: You know what I got faith in, reality. Knowing what's really going on.
Sam: How can you be a skeptic with the things we see everyday?
Dean: Exactly, we see them. We know they're real.
Sam: You know evil's out there, how can you not believe that there's good too?
Dean: Because I've seen what evil does to good people.
Whoa, like Sam maybe? Now this episode has come full circle with "Lucifer Rising."
A good looking blonde chick says that maybe God works in mysterious ways, and Dean turns on the charm and says maybe he does. Even while dying he's trying to score. They introduce, and the chick's name is Leila. She wants to know why Dean is there. "Apparently my brother has enough faith for the both of us." She leaves and Dean makes a bad joke about Leila and mysterious ways and Sam makes it worse by laughing.
It's time to go into the tent, where there's security cameras and prime seats upfront, both making Dean very uncomfortable. Rev. LeGrange, who's blind, speaks about corrupt and evil blah, blah, blah and Sam notices a strange cross on the altar. Keep that in mind for later. Dean makes an offhanded comment that the reverend hears. Uh Dean, the dude's blind, so his hearing is better than most. Just a note for next time.
The reverend calls Dean up to the stage, and while Sam is excited Dean refuses, saying he should pick someone else. "I didn't pick you Dean, the Lord did." That REALLY bothers Dean. He goes up after Sam insists. As Dean gets up there, he gives Sam a look telling him he feels like an idiot, and Sam looks back with an "it's worth a shot" expression. Even this early in the series, these two say so much to each other with so little.
Dean tells the reverend he isn't a believer and is told "You will be, you will be." Sorry reverend, but Dean here even questioned the existence of God and angels when one pulled him out of Hell and brought him back to life. He's got trust issues. The reverend raises his hands and opens them up. Sam watches with anticipation and Dean watches like this is total bullshit. That is until the reverend touches Dean and he gets woozy. Then he sinks to his knees.
Now Sam is worried. Then Dean collapses to the ground. Sam rushes up to help while everyone claps. Yay, he's dead! Sam shakes Dean and he suddenly wakes up with a huge gasp. He's disoriented, then sees a ghoulish figure in a nice suit next to the reverend before disappearing into thin air. Well that's a story for the grandchildren.
Dean's at a doctor. He's fine, no sign his heart was ever damaged. Sam is overjoyed, Dean is pretty disturbed. Then the doctor, using the 'you never know' analogy, mentions a supposedly healthy 27 year old man suddenly dying of a heart attack yesterday. After the doctor leaves, Dean doesn't think that's a coincidence. Sam wants to believe it is, but Dean can't shake his bad feeling. His healing felt wrong, he felt cold, and he mentions the spirit.
Sam claims that if it was there, he'd be seeing it too. He's been seeing a lot of things lately. "Excuse me psychic wonder, but you just need a little faith on this one." Okay, so being brought back from the brink of death makes Dean testy. Who knew? Sam sees his point, so he'll check out the heart attack guy while Dean sees the reverend.
This scene turns out in time to be quite a pivotal one, at least for season four. Dean is talking with reverend and Mrs. LeGrange (a rather pious and annoying Sue Ann) and tells them he feels great, but is trying to make sense of what happened. Sue Ann calls it a miracle, and they seem to happen a lot around Roy. Okay, if that's what you want to call it.
Dean wants to know when they started happening. The reverend woke up one morning stone blind. He had cancer and only had a month. So, as all religious types do, they prayed for a miracle. Sure, "pray" and "black magic" mean the same thing. He went into a coma, woke up against doctors expectations, and the cancer was gone. He discovered afterward he could heal people.
Dean has one last question. "Why, why me? Out of all the sick people why save me?" Reverend LeGrange's answer still
packs a punch to this day. His heart stood out from all the rest. What did he see? "A young man with an important purpose, a job to do. And it isn't finished." Interesting how that compares with Castiel's "we have work for you."
Sam talks to a guy at the pool. Heart attack guy was healthy, swam everyday, didn't smoke. The guy was running and freaking out before he collapsed, saying something was after him. They didn't see anything. While leaving Sam notices the busted clock. It stopped at 4:17. The same time the guy died. Now that's no coincidence.
Dean leaves and Leila comes in, asking how he's feeling. Sorry, but this chick is just way too sweet for him. Dean feels good, except for the whole being bothered over getting saved thing. Leila's there to see the reverend, but Sue Ann appears and says he's resting right now and they can't see him. Leila's mother, who really rubs me the wrong way, gets all snippy, and wants to see him now. Sue Ann gives them a smile and a "have faith" line. Bitch.
Leila's mother, who is not only annoying but a really bad actress, looks at Dean with pure scorn, wondering why he's still there. Leila objects but mom goes into a fit about how they've been to every single service and he keeps picking strangers over her. Strangers that don't even believe. Hey, give Dean a break! He's feeling guilty enough. Dean wants to know what's wrong. Mom steps in with even more terrible over-the-top dramatic acting, going on about inoperable brain tumor, six months to live, blah, blah, blah.
She looks at Dean with hatred and asks "Why do you deserve to live more than my daughter?" Duh, Leila is obviously lacking that important purpose. Plus her mom is a bitch. Needless to say, this doesn't leave Dean with warm fuzzies. You know, this scene might have worked if it wasn't so overwrought and poorly acted. The mom is such a bad actress, she sucks the life out of Jensen! That's pretty bad. In the end, a potentially touching scene comes off as contrived and forced.
However, the next scene rocks, and it's my favorite of the episode. That's because it sticks to the formula that works; Jensen, Jared, and some awesomely placed classic rock. Dean exhaustively enters the motel room looking unhappy, and Sam's at the computer looking unhappy. Aww, sad Winchesters. Dean dares to ask Sam what he found out. "I'm sorry," Sam solemnly says. Uh oh, it's not good news.
Marshall Hall (dead swimming guy) died at 4:17, the exact time Dean was healed. So Sam cross checked everyone that was healed with the local obits. Everytime someone was healed, somebody else died. Each time the victim died of the same symptom LeGrange was healing. Yeah, that sounds fishy. Now a healthy woman is running in the woods. The middle guitar riff to "Don't Fear The Reaper" comes on and while the woman in the woods knows something is wrong, the voices of Sam and Dean discuss how a life is being traded for a life over top of that. Back to Sam and Dean, in which Dean figures out Marshall Hall died to save him. Sam points out the guy would have died anyway for someone else, but that doesn't make Dean feel better.
The music builds, LeGrange is seen healing someone, the woman's distress builds, and Sam and Dean's discussion gets more intense as Dean blasts Sam for bringing him there. A guilt ridden Sam pleads that he didn't know. Finally, Dean drops the bombshell. Only one thing can give or take life like that. They're dealing with a reaper.
The music goes into full blazing chorus, the reaper from Dean's healing appears and chases the woman, an older man is miraculously healed, and the woman dies at the reaper's hand. Awesome! That's how you bring drama to a scene!
Oh, poor Sam. All he wanted to do was save his brother. Now this episode goes full circle with "In The Beginning." Destiny cannot be changed. All roads lead to the same destination. So, if Sam hadn't done this, if John hadn't traded his life in "In My Time of Dying," would something else have intervened both times, or are we seeing the consequences of their actions? What if Dean hadn't traded his life for Sam's? I'm sure the demons would have found two others to break the seals. Man, this free will vs. destiny crap is mind blowing.
Sam and Dean talk reaper. There's more than one, they stop time, and you can only see them when they're coming at you, which is why Dean saw it. Sam isn't sold. Dean asks how is Roy controlling the thing. Sam's pretty sharp, he mentions the cross on the altar. He finds it on a tarot card. Tarot goes back pretty far, when priests were using black magic, necromancy and all that jazz. If Roy is using black magic to harness a reaper, Sam equates it to "putting a dog leash on a great white." Sound dangerous.
So, how are they going to stop Roy? Dean knows how, but Sam says they can't kill a human. If they do that, they're no better than he is. Oh, remember the days when Sam thought like that? I'm getting sentimental again. Sam comes up with a better idea. Break the spell.
Impala pulls up in the mud, and was there a freaking monsoon in Vancouver that week or something? It obviously never stopped raining. The protester tells them Roy's a fraud, and now he has full Winchester support. Sam searches the house after Roy and wife leave. He finds the book of spells. He also finds out the people getting swapped with the healed were openly gay, pro-abortion, democrats (just kidding!), and the protestor is in there. Sam calls Dean, warning the protestor is the next victim and he can't let Roy heal anyone.
OF COURSE, because of the heavy handed plot, the next person chosen to be healed is Leila. Dean warns her not to go, but she does because he doesn't give her a good reason. Meanwhile, protestor is chased by reaper outside and Sam helps. Dean yells fire in a crowded tent, which is totally illegal by the way, and the service breaks up. The reaper still comes after protestor anyway. Sam calls Dean on the phone and frantically tells him it must be someone else, and sure enough, Dean catches Sue Ann in the wings chanting with that cross around her neck. Dean stops her, she yells for help
troopers take him away. Bitch.
The reaper disappears and Sam helps the protestor, all while Dean is escorted from the tent. Sue Ann gives Dean the "she's disappointed in him speech" after all they've done for him, and won't press charges. The troopers warn him not to come back, or they'll "put the fear of God in him." Yeah, Dean isn't too impressed with that threat. Leila comes to him next, and doesn't understand why he did that. Dean won't explain. Oh come on Dean, try the truth. She's dying, there's
no harm. Dean instead says Roy isn't a healer and isn't the answer. She wishes him luck, he sends it back, along with a little beating up on himself. "You deserve it a lot more than me." You see how much better these Dean/Leila scenes are without mommy dearest? No suckage in sight anywhere.
Next the reverend offers Leila's mother a private session later, promising to heal her daughter. Oops, crisis not averted. Back at the motel, Sam points out that Roy actually believes he's helping people. Poor delusional bastard. Ah well, its not like he's thinking he's saving the world by killing demons with his mind. Oops, did I write that?
Sam has the book he found in the LeGrange home. It's by a priest that went darkside. It has a binding spell for trapping a reaper. It involves building on altar with all sorts of dark stuff. "Evil," Sam says. "Desperate," Dean corrects. Yeah Sam, remember a few days ago when your desperation got you both into this mess? Of course they realize Sue Ann's taken it a bit too far, trying to play God instead. "May God save us from half the people that think they're doing God's work." I have a better saying Dean. "I love God, but I can't stand his fans." Anyway, they have to break the binding spell. They'll either have to destroy the cross or the altar, or both. They must act fast of course, since Leila's being healed tonight.
They arrive and Dean feels guilty that by stopping Roy, Leila will die. Sam points out that if she lives someone else will die. "You can't play God." Dean still hates it. Dean creates a diversion with the cops (using the same â€˜fear of God' line) so Sam can find Sue Ann and the altar. After finding an empty house, Sam sees the light coming from the storm cellar. He goes in. Back to Dean and his diversion, then to Sam who finds the altar. There's a picture of Dean there with a big ole red X on it, likely in blood. An X? Oh come on, they couldn't come up with an ancient sigil or something?
"I gave your brother life, and I can take it away," Sue Ann says stepping out of the shadows. Sam knocks over the altar, but by this time Sue Ann has escaped and locks Sam in the cellar. Sam pounds on the doors while Sue Ann monologues. "Don't you see Sam, the Lord chose me to reward the just and punish the wicked, and your brother is wicked." Oh, he most certainly is. We love it too. She says Dean deserves to die and Leila deserves to live. By this time, though Sam's already found his way out.
Roy does the pray with me thing and Dean suddenly sees something isn't right. Roy does the magic hands and then Dean sees the reaper. Sue Ann is outside the tent holding the cross and reciting her spell, and the reaper touches Dean. More Sue Ann chanting, Leila healing, and Dean getting the life sucked from him.
Suddenly Sam appears and grabs Sue Ann's cross, smashing it to the ground. The reaper quickly realizes something is different and lets go of Dean. Back to Roy, who lets go of Leila, realizing something is wrong. Sue Ann realizes something is very wrong, and Sam gives her a slight taunting, but she's got bigger problems. The reaper is there and he's pissed. He even gives her a wicked smile before sucking the life out of her while Sam watches. I guess Sam was done with trying to save people thing by that point.
Sam leaves her dead in the mud and goes to the Impala where Dean is. He asks Dean if he's okay. He's alive, right? Looks okay to us. They leave. Back at the motel Dean is quiet. Sam asks "What is it?" and when Dean won't answer, he does it again with more attitude. It's interesting how that still works to this day, although Sam's tag line now is "No, say it!" Doesn't he know when he does that, usually a hurtful truth comes out of it?
"Did we do the right thing here?" Dean asks. Sam says they did, Dean says it doesn't feel like it. There's a knock at the door and Sam answers. It's Leila and Sam's not surprised. Sam called her, telling her Dean wanted to say goodbye. Sam diplomatically leaves. Those pesky brothers!
She asks where they are going. Dean gives her the vague answer about work taking the all over the place. She tells him how she went back to Roy and he couldn't heal her, and Sue Ann is dead. Dean calls Roy a good man and doesn't deserve what's happened. Yeah, but Sue Ann so got what was coming to her.
Leila tells him she's okay. "I guess if you're going to have faith, you can't have it when the miracles happen. You have to have it when they don't." And there's our Sunday school lesson for the hour. Dean wants to know what now. "God works in mysterious ways." I distinctly remember Dean smacking down Castiel for trying to give him that line.
She leaves, and Dean has parting words. "You know, I'm not much of the praying type, but I'm gonna pray for you." She's all touched and says, "Well there's a miracle right there." She leaves and a saddened Dean watches her go. I get the sentiment in this ending, but I'm breaking into convulsions from the overload of sugar in that scene. It felt wrong.
This episode was a first in showing the deep moral dilemmas Sam and Dean face in saving people and hunting things; a theme that just keeps getting better and better as the seasons unfold. However, execution was still a big issue in this part of season one, thus it was very uneven. Overall, I give "Faith" a B. Good, but it could have been so much better given the material.