1) What is your favorite scene from the Pilot?
Elle - This is a tricky one - for me it's a tie between the beginning silhouette moments between Sam and Dean in Sam's apartment and the very end shot from the trunk perspective, "We've got work to do." Both classic moments in the show, highlight the brothers and the artistry of the filming in the show not to mention some of the darker tones, the emotions and interplay between the boys that the series intends to adopt, and will do very successfully throughout it's life.
Metamorphic Rocks - It's difficult to choose, since there are so many good scenes in the pilot. I did manage to narrow it down to two: First, the "22 years ago, Lawrence Kansas" sequence is very well done and crucial to the essence of Supernatural. It sets up the mythology that will be woven throughout the whole series. It's also one of only two times that we'll see the whole family together (The other being "The Song Remains the Same" in Season 5). In short, that scene started it all.
Second, and just as important, is the scene where Dean comes charging into Sam's home and life (literally and figuratively) and the two wrestle and fight. This is the first time we see Sam and Dean together as played by Jared and Jensen, and their great chemistry is noticeable immediately. That scene also perfectly sets up the tension and dynamics between these two brothers that we'll see played out in many seasons to come.
Percysowner - I like when Sam realizes that the Woman in White is afraid to go home, so he takes her into the house. It showed Sam being smart and thinking like a good hunter.
Elle2 - I love the exposition scene with Sam and Dean walking down the stairs at his apartment building. It’s all right there: their history, (We were raised like warriors.); their differences in opinion: Sam: He gave me a .45. I was nine years old. He should have told me not to be afraid. Dean: Of course you should be afraid. You know what’s out there; the fact that Mary wouldn’t have wanted this (life) for them – we don’t learn that until four seasons later…still; as well as how skilled/knowledgeable they both are with Dean’s ability to strip out the recording to reveal the hidden message underneath, Sam’s immediate recognition of EVP. Plus the kicker part is this: Sam did not want to go. He tried to convince Dean to go without him, and then, when Dean revealed he couldn’t do it alone, and Sam staunchly defended saying: Yes, you can; Dean revealed the reality…he didn’t want to (do it alone). At that moment of honesty, Sam relented, and the road trip began.
2) What do you see differently in the pilot now that we know more about where things ended up?
Elle - Certainly it's easier to see the breadcrumb trail of character development and/or plot arrows than it was as a naive first time viewer. Flickering lights might be ominous on a first watch, but now they mean, almost guarantee, demonic activity (or supernatural in the very least). Not to say it wasn't subtle - but now that we know what to look for, it's much clearer.
Elle2 - For the longest time I wondered why Mary didn’t shout for John to come with her when she realized someone else was in Sam’s nursery, but then it hit me, could her hunter instincts have kicked in and she realized that, Marine or not, John wasn’t ready for a supernatural showdown and her skills and past as a hunter would serve her best alone? Granted, when she rounds the corner at the top of the hallway she calls out for Sammy, but it isn’t until she screams that John actually awakens and comes to investigate. By then, it was all over. Family always tries to protect: Mary was trying to hide from hunting, protect herself from her past, and protect herself by never revealing it to John, but it came for her anyway. Sam tried to leave hunting and it’s hunted him down each time: Stanford as well as in Season 8 when he left it all behind, yet he couldn’t really leave it when his attempted normal life with Amelia ended with her presumed-dead husband returning and him returning to Rufus’ cabin, and running into Dean. Also, for all Dean’s bravado that hunting is what he loves and normal isn’t in the cards for them, which is present in the Pilot, he really does long for normal. We saw it in What Is and What Should Never Be, as well as Dark Side of the Moon and Dream a Little Dream of Me, even his time with Lisa. But he knew, he always knew the hunting life would come back for him.
Metamorphic Rocks - Sam's choice to hunt with Dean after Jessica died, which initially seemed so fateful in the pilot, doesn't really have the consequences we initially thought it did, now that we know so much more. Originally it appeared that if Sam never went with Dean on that night, then he wouldn't have been taken by The Yellow Eyed Demon, he wouldn't have died, Dean wouldn't have had to sell his soul to bring Sam back so Dean wouldn't have gone to Hell, Sam wouldn't have started the apocalypse, and so on.
However, as we find out in later seasons, even if Sam didn't get pulled back into hunting, it was Sam's destiny - of sorts - to be immersed in this life. It turned out that Sam was being manipulated by demons since he was six months old, being groomed from very early on to become Lucifer's vessel (just as Dean was meant to be Michael's), so that initial choice he made in the pilot isn't as critical as it once seemed.
Percysowner - I think I answered this, but the big thing is I now see Mary's reaction differently. Suddenly her not screaming for John and confronting, what we now know is Azazel, by herself. She must have seen John as not being able to handle what she was about to confront, while she had hunter's knowledge and at least John wouldn't get himself killed again.
3) Are there show elements in the pilot that you as a viewer had forgotten were laid down that early?
Elle - I'd almost forgotten about the coordinates John used to communicate - of course I knew it's what he did, but I hadn't thought of it in a while.
Elle2 - The marriage of the supernatural and the natural. We’ve had episodes such as The Benders and Family Remains, to name two, which are all human: a family of hunters who hunt humans…otherwise known as serial killers, and a child born from an incestuous relationship kept locked in a house, who most definitely goes mad from the mistreatment. In the Pilot, both elements are present: the tragedy of the Winchesters’ lives at the hands of a demon and the never-ending hunt to find and kill the “thing” is set against the urban legend of the Woman In White, which, in this incarnation, is born out of the very human events of betrayal, tragedy, and suicide. It’s also a microcosm of the Winchesters’ lives: Sam tries to go live a normal, human life but the supernatural hunts him down; while Dean embraces the supernatural through hunting and saving people, but needs the very human elements of his father and brother with him.
Percysowner - The two things I think of is that the demons really were after Sam from the beginning, that it wasn't a random attack and that Mary knew more about what was going on than we guessed.
Metamorphic Rocks - The only thing I didn't remember is that Supernatural has used parallels for Sam and Dean's situation even from the very first episode. The Woman in White was an effective one (Mothers lost - though for different reasons, families torn apart by tragedy - specifically murder, the inability to return home to what used to be - they were all there) and the first in many, many parallels the show would utilize to illuminate the Winchester Brothers' circumstances, relationship dynamics, and emotional states at any given time.
4) After realizing it isn't John standing over Sam's crib, what do you think Mary's first thought is? Do you think she added the flickering lights and stranger in the nursery together to conclude demons finally? Or when the angels scrubbed her mind in 5x13, did they take it all, hunter past included?
Elle2 - I think Mary quickly put it all together. Her reaction of not calling immediately for John’s assistance, to me, reads that she was still trying to keep that part of her life hidden – so ingrained in her was that training. Also, while the angels scrubbed her memories after events of The Song Remains the Same, I don’t think anything else was touched; I base that on the fact that in Dark Side of the Moon, it’s clear Sam and Dean remember that they had died, but hadn’t remembered coming to heaven and reuniting with Ash. At the end, they were granted those memories of what happened in heaven that time, while prior ones were gone, but all their other memories remained.
Metamorphic Rocks - Well, in Season 2 "All Hell Breaks Loose Part One," Mary did seem to put it all together, because when the Yellow Eyed Demon takes Sam into the past to see the night his mother died, Mary sees the YED and says "it's you," so she did remember him, which means she recalls the deal she made with him in the Season 4 episode "In the Beginning."
Percysowner - I think she remembered her hunter past. I think the angels only scrubbed the memory of Sam and Dean's visit and that the angels wanted them for the Apocalypse. I think once she realized it wasn't John in the room with Sam she put together the flickering lights and ran up the stairs trying to cobble together every exorcism ritual that she could.
Elle - Panic, obviously. After that, only that a stranger is in the house - not that it's a supernatural entity. If she does remember her past life at all, she had not apparent safeguards in place in her home or around the baby at least, in any way. At the same time, she didn't call for help i.e. yell John's name as she runs up the stairs or anything so it's possible she has no idea. Yes, she does apologize in Home to Sam, presumably for the deal that led to Azazel coming in, etc. and I like to think (on reflection) that the long look she gives Dean is in part realization that he's that guy from the future who warned her not to get out of bed - so maybe angel scrubbing wears off after death. I don't believe she had any memory of hunter living between Dean's birth and her death.
5) Was the lady in white a good storyline to begin the story with and did it help us understand some of the limits the show was facing - or the boundaries it was going over such as the burned mother and the murderous mother?
Elle - I think it was a good storyline to start. It went beyond a typical ghost, establishing that certain supernatural beings were hunted for specific prey and were vulnerable in their own precise way as well - both of which become fundamental later on. There was a focus on the human element of the spirit's life, again an important mythological element in the show going forward. At the same time, this story allowed less complications (than say jumping head first into demons or souls) which afforded character development and room to move through the Supernatural world a little bit. Since the episode is book-ended with the two unsolved murders, obviously connected, the WiW was also a shorter storyline. So yes, it was a good storyline to start.
Elle2 - The urban legend aspect certainly gave us the monster of the week backdrop, as each week we explored different urban legends – although that pesky chupacabra is still rampaging somewhere “two states over.” J However, that really got blown away when Kripke introduced angels; suddenly heaven entered into the arc. While faith and God had been touched upon in Faith and then Houses of the Holy, it became central in Season 4 and remains influential even into Season 10. Also, the burned mother and the murderous mother shows that not only are mothers central to the storyline, but that the show wasn’t afraid to be graphic and/or dramatic. Also, as I wrote in my answer to Question 3, it shows a marriage of the natural and the supernatural that remains elemental to the show.
Metamorphic Rocks - It was a fitting story to begin the show's "monster of the week" format, and the parallels to the Lady in White and the Winchesters' circumstances were illustrated well. Also, it had just the right amount of scare factor, from the woman mysteriously appearing on the side of the road, to the subtle but creepy changes in her face when she's in the car with Sam, to the famous first blood splatter we see when she kills the Jericho boy. And the scene where the woman's ghost children beckon her home before attacking her and dragging her to the beyond still gives me chills.
Percysowner - I loved the woman in white story. I think it set the tone for the show, or at least for the first few seasons, before we got into the Apocalypse, really well. They gave ghosts a reason why they haunted and a way to be destroyed. It really worked for me.
6) How many themes that run throughout Supernatural - even to this day - do you see introduced in the pilot episode?
Elle - So many themes are established. Family and brotherhood being the most fundamental. The influence of Mary, and John. The warrior elements of what Sam and Dean do. And, finally, why they do it - in this case, for example they were on a mission to find their father and could have kept going, but stayed to finish the hunt even after they knew he was gone. It's the foundation of "saving people, hunting things" from the beginning that still runs through. The mission started with a revenge thing and at times takes that turn again, but always one pulls the other back to look at the bigger picture again.
Elle2 - Family, revenge, redemption, destiny, lies: they’re all there. We see the lives of these two young men on the fringes of society, which is where they still exist today; we see them endlessly hunting something, because as Dean said in Shadow (and as exemplified here) there will always be something to hunt. There are three hunts either occurring or spoken of in the Pilot: The Woman in White, John gets a lead on the demon, and upon leaving, leaves Dean coordinates to the next hunt: Blackwater Ridge, Colorado (Wendigo). The same continues today, there is always something to hunt, and the past does come back to haunt you: werewolves, shapeshifters, and vampires remain in Season 10, when they were supposed to be resting, and the demon came for Jessica at the end of the Pilot.
Percysowner - Sam's desire for a normal life, Dean's commitment to hunting. Dean's devotion to John and his refusal to see John in a negative way still comes up, for example in Bad Boys he defends John for leaving him at the boy's home, in spite of the fact that he could have been angry.
Metamorphic Rocks - There are so many props, trademark behaviors, and show themes that have run through 9.5 seasons introduced in this episode: Classic rock, pop culture references, fake IDs, impersonating law enforcement, the Impala, the victim's blood spatter, and John's journal are all there. The dynamics of the brothers' relationship are already hinted at with "Sammy," "Jerk/Bitch," "the driver picks the music, shotgun shuts his cake hole," lines, as well as more serious tensions, including Sam's rejection of the hunting life, Dean's unyielding devotion to John, and Dean's tendency to see Sam's desire for normal as abandoning Dean.
The pilot did an exceptional job of laying out mythology that would be crucial to the show's canon for all of its seasons (so far), including the ramifications of Mary's death, John's obsessive quest, the brothers strange and dangerous childhood, evil forces targeting Sam for reasons unknown, and of course, Dean's protectiveness over Sam. The pilot was packed full of all these things, and more.
7) There is a theme about mothers and parallels in the appearance of Mary and Constance are strong (white gown most prominently) in this episode. Was that intentional to suggest Mary wasn't as naively pure as she may appear in this complex game of murder and mayhem?
Elle2 - I think it was used to set the women in their respective roles: Mary as the loving mother, killed too soon – making the reveals from In the Beginning even more stunning, as well as bringing into sharp contrast the graphic nature of her death with the blood and the fire; for Candace, the idea of ghostly figures being clad in white is so ingrained, I think the choice was made without them even thinking too deeply about it. Then again, perhaps I don’t always look deep enough. ;-)
Metamorphic Rocks - The parallels of mothers - or even more encompassing, of families - definitely seemed deliberate. They are just too blatant not to notice: A dead mother; two children who weren’t allowed to be children (though with very different outcomes); a family forever torn apart by tragedy; the inability to go “home” to what once was – the story parallels abound.
I think having both women wearing white was a deliberate visual parallel that helped illuminate the story parallels. Of course, the ghost mother was referred to as “The Woman in White,” in the lore, so she had to have the white dress. Having Mary in the white nightgown most likely served several purposes: A white gown is a symbol of purity, which Mary would always be in Supernatural mythology, most especially to the character of Dean (even though we later learn she made a bad choice compromising Sam in making the deal with The YED). Also, a white dress has universally denoted an “other worldly” female in works of fiction. Supernatural has certainly used this trope in the past with Mary, Jessica (she appears to Sam in a white dress), Eve, and probably others I can’t recall. The white nightgown also contributed to the horrific nature of that infamous scene when Mary is pinned to the ceiling (the pure white contrasting with the blood red - literally – right before Mary burns). I didn’t see the parallel as suggesting Mary wasn’t as pure as she initially appears (like The Woman in White), but that’s an interesting concept to explore.
Percysowner - Although I hadn't thought about it before, that really makes sense. White is code for purity in our society, but it is established that Women in White are not pure, but instead did damaging things in life and continue in death. Mary wearing white seems to be an example of the white equals innocent and pure view of women, when we later find out she was not so innocent. Since Mary apologizes to Sam in Home, I think it is a good bet that putting her in white was intentionally showing Mary as more than she seems.
Elle - Obviously the mother theme was threaded through the show as well and the imagery of the seemingly innocent mother in white in the forefront. And looking back, maybe it was a teaser choice - Mary wasn't a murderous mother, but she wasn't innocent either, in that her choices led to some serious suffering for her children much the way Constance's choices did. It's only a few episodes later that Mary apologizes to Sam, let's not forget. Both had two children, both made a choice out of grief in response to their relationships. It's not a direct replica, of course, but perhaps just a hint. Kripke is crafty like that, so you never know.
8) What one thing introduced in the Pilot do you wish we had more of these days, (i.e. rock-n-roll, bitch/jerk, urban legends, seeing them scam for cash, be it poker or pool)? And those are just suggestions to get you thinking; feel free to add more.
Elle - All of the above! Specifically, any of the brothers as con artist moments would be great to see. We get to see them doing the impersonation thing fairly regular, but I'd love to see them more deeply undercover or demonstrating the skills they lived on and learned from John: hustling and conning through the back roads - especially together. It's fun to watch and the few moments we've seen have been interrupted or too short. Can we get a White Collar inspired SPN episode or sequence? Please?!
Elle2 - It’s hard to pick, there’s so much in the Pilot I love. But, I’ll go for it anyway: I wish we saw more of the scamming for cash at poker or pool and such. I’m not sure why, perhaps it’s just because there’s something about the brothers hanging out in a bar, scamming some cash that I enjoy, likely because we don’t see it very often, but it is fun and it shows their teamwork. I’ve said more than once that I wish they’d find a stash of money in the Bunker, and then we could see them slowly transferring those older bills into younger bills at the various gas-n-sips and in poker games and such. Every now and then some of the nittier, grittier details of their lives is fun to play with – like laundry!
Metamorphic Rocks - Oh, it’s very hard to choose just one – I’d love to see more of all those things! If I had to pick, though, it would be more classic rock. It was a unique signature of the series early on, and it enhanced the show on so many levels (character, story, etc.).
Let me be clear, however, that when I say more classic rock, I don’t just mean five seconds of a song, but a full montage with the music at the center, something like “Renegade” in the Season Two episode “Nightshifter,” or “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” in Season One’s “Faith.” Those musical sequences gave us some of the best scenes (even now) that the show has ever created. I miss them.
Percysowner- I miss several of these, but I really wish they would go back to the urban legends. Sometimes I feel like I've overdosed on demons and angels, especially the angels. I would love some new urban legends. The issue may be that they don't have the money for the effects, just like they don't have the money for the rock-n-roll. But I would love some new supernatural creature to fight.
9) When Candace tells Sam he will be unfaithful was she right or was she just projecting her own fears on Sam. Was she sensing what eventually had Sam use the demon blood and release Lucifer, or was she only justifying herself?
Elle - Justifying herself. She tempted everyone and had serious man issues. She had to kill cheaters, it was her thing. I doubt she sensed anything about Sam in that moment - she was too self-focused and absorbed in her own sins.
Elle2 - I think Candace was able to pick up on the emotions of the men she came into contact with. We already know that Sam hadn’t told Jessica about his past, and we later learned that he’d had a dream of her death before Dean even came to Stanford, so he would have had uneasy feelings, perhaps even guilt in regards to Jessica. I think Candace picked up on those emotions and, due to her being so long in the “veil” and getting more and more insane – as we later learn happens to spirits who don’t move on – that she just assumed that to be unfaithfulness and thus targeted him.
Metamorphic Rocks - I think she was referring to her certainty that Sam would fall prey to her powers of seduction. Ultimately, Sam didn’t respond to her in that way, though she still tried to kill him.
I hadn’t thought that the writers might be foreshadowing Sam's later behavior with Candace's comment, but that’s another interesting idea. However, regarding Sam’s loyalty to Jessica, its enduring nature is evident in 1.7 “Hook Man,” when he tells Lori “I can’t,” when they start to kiss. Dean even verbalizes his concern about Sam’s reluctance to get involved with anybody after Jessica in the latter part of Season One, so by all accounts, Sam remained faithful even longer than he had to.
Percysowner - I personally think that Candace was projecting on Sam to justify her attack.
10) Though we all have favorite scenes of the pilot, do you have a least favorite scene, or more specifically, are there any particular scenes you would have liked to see done differently?
Elle - Well, that two years line still bothers me. I know it's meant to have been an error in the script, but still. The one scene I don't like, or rather that feels out of step on reflection is when the boys find John's room and determine salt means he was worried. As hunters, and based on their upbringing salt simply means a spirit is hanging around and this is a preventative measure - not necessarily that it's an uber-concern. They seem to jump here a bit prematurely all things considered about their childhood. It's a minor thing but it always stands out when I watch the Pilot.
Elle2 - I hate to nitpick, but I’ve watched it so many times that there are things I do notice – even as they don’t bother me that much, mostly because I enjoy the Pilot so much, but, since I don’t want to skip the question whilst my companion writers soldier on, I’ll say this: I wish there was some explanation of how Dean got from the payphone he was at after escaping from the sheriff’s office to where Sam and Candace were just in the nick of time. It seems like they skipped something there and all of a sudden Dean was there. It’s not a huge deal, but since this is pre-Cas, he clearly wasn’t transported there and there was no car and no explanation from Sam of where on the road he was, just boom: Candace gets him and then Dean is there at Candace’s place. I know, I know, they only had 43 or 44 minutes, so it’s not a big deal.
Percysowner - I wish they hadn't cut the scene of Dean realizing something was wrong when Sam returns home. It's just a little odd that he drives away and suddenly shows up again.
Metamorphic Rocks - The pilot laid the foundation for the series so effectively, and was so well done, that I don’t really have any least favorite scenes. If I had to nitpick something, the exposition scene when Sam and Dean are walking outside sounded a bit forced and awkward (and this is the scene that Eric Kripke has said in interviews that he wishes he could do over). But the scene was relatively short, and the visually stunning shots make up for the somewhat clumsy dialogue, so it doesn’t take anything away from the excellent episode.
Ultimately, this pilot still stands up to the test of time, and remains a fantastic introduction to the story of Supernatural, and even more importantly, to the relationship of the Winchester brothers.