Article Index

I thought I'd explore each season in order to help pass Hellatus. I know this has likely been done before but as I explained in "Hellatus Begins" I'm new to the Supernatural realm, so I got some catching up to do. There will be four of these articles and the premise is simple, I'll give a quick comment on each episode focusing on a select few I deem to be significant to the season or the series.
While there will be four of these articles there will likely be some other articles interspersed simply because I'm watching quite a few of the episodes in each season to cement my thoughts and "˜gather research material' and I just can't [or won't] cram 22 episodes into a four or five day period and then try to write about them"¦so there will be some intervals but hey, it's Hellatus, we got the time.
Regarding the significant episodes, like Alice I'm setting some rules - or are they guidelines? These are subject to addition, subtraction, subversion - but not perversion, are completely random and totally without much in the way of forethought.
  1. These are episodes that set something in motion that we see in other episodes.
  2. These are episodes that changed the course of a character's thinking or even their journey as we know them.
  3. These are episodes that catapult the understanding of the story forward, likely because they delve into the past and explain, really explain, a lot.
  4. These are episodes that make me marvel at the depth and the quality of the writing staff.
Here we go!
Reflections on Season One:
Pilot, this is one of my comfort episodes, it is so impressive to go back and watch this episode now, four seasons later, and see how well this laid the foundation for things to come; the scene where Sam and Dean descend the staircase from Sam's apartment and discuss their childhood, pure exposition but sets the stage. I love that Kripke went back to that for In The Beginning and had Mary proclaim that she never wanted her boys to endure the lifestyle she endured"¦so satisfying.
Also: No chick flick moments, bitch/jerk, the journal, muddy Dean, Sam yanking Dean into the motel room (and on the commentary for Phantom Traveler we learn from Jared that he was instructed to yank Jensen off balance, no acting there"¦hee, hee), and of course we learned about the music"¦love the music.
Wendigo: this is another comfort episode due to the simplicity of the brotherly relationship as well as this comment from Dean: "Honey, I don't do shorts [tee, hee, yes you do"¦71 episodes later] 
Defining moment/phrase: Saving people, hunting things; the family business.
Dead in the Water: First of all, Kim Manners...pause...
Dean and kids, he's quite good with them, probably all that big brother experience with Sam. Major character development and deep insight into Dean: When I was your age, I saw something really bad happen to my mom and I was scared too. I didn't feel like talking, but see my mom I know she wanted me to be brave. I think about that every day and I do my best to be brave."   This is the first time we see Sam learn something about Dean that he never knew before; it's the first of many such reveals.
Phantom Traveler: Not one of my favorite episodes, mostly because the set up lacked any kind of fear factor, we know the boys are not going to go down in a plane crash; series over, so this one pushed the envelope too far for me. It does earn a spot in the significant category though.
Why is this one significant? Glad you asked.
This is the first time we see demons and it's obvious from the get go that Sam and Dean are both leery of tackling demons, even saying it's not their normal gig. We also learn that demons talk and they know about Sam's girlfriend. We figured out from Pilot that there was something big going on but here we learn that demons talk about it that struck me as important. We also get a momentous contact for the brothers and we watch their wonder and amazement at having dad's cell phone reactivated...all of a sudden there is a real chance that dad is alive and well and yes, they will find him.
This is not a great episode but for the introduction of demons and an understanding that there is a population out there of these entities keeping track of Winchester happenings"¦this is critical and ominous.
Bloody Mary: Sam likes to keep secrets, the first of many such instances, also this introduces a dangling thread about Dean that may or may not ever be answered. Kripke states that the writers have the back story for this and, based on their excellent track record for continuity and plot development, I'm going to believe them. 
Most laughable moment in this episode is when the boys are assisted into the recently departed girl's bedroom by Charlie, as they set up their gear Dean jokingly asks if he looks like Paris Hilton. The writing has come a long way from this and while now they can get away with humor in dark situations; this one is an example of what not to do.
Skin: Another one of my comfort episodes. There are two moments that resonate with me from this episode - aside from the awesome hand to hand combat performed by Jensen and Jared - the first is Dean's advice to Sam that hunting is an insular life and that everything and everyone outside of it must be abandoned. Remember how sad Sam was by this? Fast forward four seasons to Jump the Shark only this time Sam is the one speaking these words "“ Sam how far you've changed. 
The second is when shapeshifter Dean taunts Sam, while channeling Dean's thoughts. "He sure has got issues with you. You got to go to school, have friends. You don't think I had dreams of my own?" To this day Dean still represses his dreams, only at the most vulnerable moments do they slip through, such as in Dream a Little Dream of Me which is a more real dream for Dean than anything in What is and What Should Never Be.
Notable tidbit: This episode is the first use of the word freak, shapeshifter Dean mocks Sam by telling him that at least he knows he's a freak, this implies that Sam is a freak but just doesn't know or admit it...oh, how this gets built upon.
Hookman: Wow, not much in this one, there is the shout out to Footloose as they play Quiet Riot while driving into town, not to mention the whole preacher's daughter and issues of the morally bankrupt - or at least heavily into debt.  We are introduced to rock salt rounds though.
Bugs: Again, Kim Manners...a moment...
What do I like about this episode"¦well, I would like a can of bug spray that lasts for apparently all night long! Mostly I like the brother moments and the reveals of Sam's insecurities regarding dad and how Dean gently revealed a bit about their father that Sam never knew. 
Another notable tidbit: Sam identified with Matthew as being a freak, he knew what it was like; no doubt he did not like it.
Home: Missouri, her tough love with Dean and gentler side with Sam shows she knows how to handle these two very different young men. It's not that Dean is stronger or that Sam is fragile, it's that Missouri is insightful enough to know that Dean was deeply disturbed at returning to Lawrence.   She focused him on the job at hand by offering him his best defensive measure, sarcasm. By deliberately provoking him she allowed him to keep his defenses high so he could do the job.
Missouri's kindlier approach to Sam was equally designed.  Sam has no memories of Lawrence, so he's more objective. However, the course of his life was forever changed because of what occurred here and his quest for information and understanding leaves him open to Missouri without the emotional trauma Dean has. 

Home like Phantom Traveler is significant.
Home marks the landscape of this series known as Supernatural and we find our way from this episode. Home tracks back to Pilot and forward in time (or is it back) to In the Beginning. Home is where Mary found safety and then death. Home is where John found love and then revenge. Dean has memories and Sam has none and both boys are driven from everything that started here. 
Home does not mark the first time we learn that Sam has dreams, Bloody Mary did that, but why it's significant here is because we 'see' his dream and see what it does to him. This is the episode that marks the time Sam told Dean about his dreams, something he did not want to do until Dean refused to go unless Sam explained. Sam revealed his 'ability' and then waited for Dean's rejection, it didn't come.
Home is where Mary's spirit has been residing, protecting, perhaps atoning; her apology to Sam has left us hanging for 54 episodes.
Home shows, as Pilot and Dead in the Water did, that Dean is still very broken by what happened 22 years earlier and that Sam is well aware that all he can do is offer comfort while driving forward in a quest to understand what is happening to him, and it all happened here.
Home is a milestone because we see John for the first time since Pilot; we'd heard his generic voice message, now we see him.  Home builds off of Pilot and Phantom Traveler and points to Shadow, Dead Man's Blood and more because we realize that John is on a quest to find the "truth" and that as desperate as he is to see his boys, he will not endanger them until he knows"¦knows the truth.
Home shows that, when Dean called Dad and left that pleading near desperate phone call, John came.
Home makes it clear that there is so much more going on here than we imagine.
Asylum: Sam's got the shining and serious issues with Dean.  Dean gets shot with rock salt, the first of several bro-downs and Dad calls, in person. [oh, yeah, there was also a shirtless Jensen - uh, Dean *fangirl sigh*]
Scarecrow: There's a lot of pie in this one, pie, pie and more pie"¦poor Dean never gets a slice either. There's William B. Davis, the Cigarette Smoking Man! Meg arrives, Dean's tied up, Sam saves him, there's the first of Dean's apology phone calls *sniff*, dude, you fugly, and did I mention this too makes my significant roster:
I'll probably get some grief for this because I'm aware that some consider this a throwaway episode; I don't.
Scarecrow introduces the first of several times that the brothers fight, really fight. When Dean leaves Sam on the side of the road, it is a huge statement of just how much of an affect John has on Dean...71 episodes later and we are still seeing how much Dean remains influenced by John.

Sam's leaving Dean in the middle of the night, on the side of the road is a huge writer/director character development point; Sam is determined"¦very determined. That level of stubbornness is a blessing and a curse. In their lives they need to be very determined otherwise hunting will eat them up and spit them out. We see how much the hunter life affects Dean when he really admits the truth of it in What is and What Should Never Be. Sam's determination or stubbornness is also part of his downfall and the huge fall he's taken in Season 4; double-edged sword.
Scarecrow's crowning achievement is what it tells about the brothers, and what the demons learn from it; together they are unstoppable, apart they are vulnerable. The introduction of Meg is fascinating in that it shows just how devious these demons really are. Her entire approach of aloof and capable appeals to him because of her story.
Meg: "I love my parents and they wanted what's best for me; they just didn't care if I wanted it"¦because my family said so I'm supposed to sit there and do as I'm told, so I went on my own way instead." 
Demons lie, they tell the truth if it will mess with your head and they'll manipulate anything and anybody if it works to their advantage. Meg dipped her toe in the water and found out that while the idea of independence and independent thought is highly desirable to Sam he'll never leave Dean in danger. This is a theme that's replayed notably in In My Time of Dying, Born Under a Bad Sign, All Hell Breaks Loose II, Mystery Spot, On the Head of a Pin"¦Sam will do what it takes to save Dean and Dean will do whatever it takes to save Sam. The pattern was set here.
Scarecrow introduces us to the fact that there is something behind the scene pulling the strings, Meg is acting on orders, orders that do not include killing the Winchesters, yet. This is different, the demon in Phantom Traveler wasn't the least bit concerned that the Winchesters were on the plane that he/she/it determined to bring down; the demon knew about Jessica, implying it knew about why Jessica was killed, but it had no trouble following its own path. The idea of demons having separate agendas is introduced here and is expounded upon in The Magnificent Seven, Sin City and Malleus Maleficarum
Scarecrow's other awesome part - Kim Manners
Faith: For those of you hurt/sick Dean - here's the first of several Dean in the hospital episodes.  Layla, besides being a really awesome song, Julie Benz was an awesome character to contrast to Dean, gentle and unassuming she pierced through all his defenses. Faith joins Scarecrow, Home and Phantom Traveler in the significant category.
The previous three changed the game by either deepening the back story or introducing characters to the mytharc; Faith deepens the writing and shows the risks Supernatural is willing, and apparently able, to take. 
Faith is where Sera Gamble and Raelle Tucker picked up their pens [pencils or keyboards] and dared to explore faith in multiple facets; Faith also gave us this:
Dean: "Why me, out of all the sick people, why save me?"
Roy Le Grange: "I looked into your heart and you just stood out from all the rest."
Dean: "What did you see in my heart?"
Roy Le Grange: "A young man with an important purpose, a job to do, and it isn't finished."
Fast forward 49 episodes to Lazarus Rising...
Dean: "Why did you do it?"
Castiel: "Because God commanded it, we have work for you."
Faith makes Houses of the Holy resonate, it makes the exchange between Sam and Dean in It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester [after Sam meets Castiel and the newly arrived Uriel for the first time and wonders that this, these angels, were who and what he was praying to] more emotionally charged.
Up until now we've only assumed that Dean was along for the ride to help Sam and, if we're honest, that remained true for two and a half more seasons. Now knowing that Dean has a part to play in what is to come, and destiny, free will, fate or whatever you wish to call it has brought him to that place, we can look all the way back to Faith and see a glimpse of what Roy Le Grange - a good man "“ saw.
Faith is a defining episode because even over Home it shows how talented the writers are for this show. Sera and Raelle could have just stood upon Layla's faith and it would have been a good episode. Instead, they contrasted Layla's staunch faith, if you're going to have faith you can't just have it during the good times, against Sue Ann's who was so shaky she made a deal with a reaper and like the whirlwind Sam characterized it, was swept away.
Mrs. O'Roarke has faith tempered with anger and impatience at no results. "I just can't pray any harder." Her comment to Dean, "Why do you deserve to live more than my daughter?" haunts Dean to this day. 
Roy Le Grange admits his faith was weak but truly believes in what he is doing; he's a pawn in Sue Ann's twisted game but does not know it; like Layla he's innocent, simply making the best of what he has been given.
Sam has faith that through research he can find a cure for Dean when medicine cannot; presented with an opportunity he grabs it without thinking it through...such is the love of family. I posit that Sam's instantaneous belief in Roy Le Grange stems from his stubborn refusal to give up without a fight. We know he fought Dad, and left, to go to Stanford in order to follow his dream of a different life than hunting. We recently learned in Scarecrow that while he wants to find dad very much he knows that with Mom dead and Jessica dead and Dad somewhere all he really has is Dean; no way he's letting Dean go without a fight. Sam does not give up. 
Dean has faith in nothing but what he sees and when presented with evidence that he's dying shows his fatalistic side, "I'm going to die, and there's nothing you can do about it." Sam's willingness to stare an apparent miracle in the eye and accept it without question show how unbalanced he is when Dean's moderating, yet fatalistic outlook, is not there. These two need the other to form a more complete picture.
Faith is notable for another critical aspect, upon realizing a reaper was involved and that Roy appeared to be controlling it Dean quickly concluded that Roy was to be stopped, killed. Sam immediately countered that if they kill Roy, a human being, they are no different than the evil, the monsters they hunt. Think how that's changed, think about Jus in Bello.
Route 666: A throwaway episode in many respects, no argument here, however, the Impala versus the racist truck"¦way cool. Sam getting a glimpse of Dean's more vulnerable side, "You loved her, yet you dumped her, oh, she dumped you." And the final scene as the boys drive out of town to the tune Can't Find My Way Home by Blind Faith.  Sometimes I put in the disc just for that mournful song/bro moment ending.  I love that part.
Nightmare: First episode directed by Phil Sgriccia, but not the last. So much to love about this episode and yeah, it's significant. Nightmare is also pivotal to my article coming up later this Hellatus about Sam, so I may not cover everything about this episode here.
Nightmare builds upon Home as Sam shares a dream with Dean and they head to Michigan; notice how, when urged by Sam to drive faster to try to prevent the death of Joe, Dean complies. This is a characterization of Dean that continues, despite some scares in season four as he feared, rightfully, Sam's lack of control; Dean is not put off by Sam's "shining" he never has been. If anything it has made Dean more determined to find out what the endgame is and stay by Sam's side, at least until his fatalistic point of view overcomes him...but that's a discussion for season four and the awesomeness of Bobby.
Max, we're the same you and I; Nightmare reveals that what we saw happen to baby Sam back in Pilot, happened to other children. To underscore that point we hear the same music that we heard at the beginning of Pilot in Sam's nursery. This time the music plays during the scene when Max reveals the death of his mom.
Nightmare reveals one of Sam's pressure points, Dean in danger. Sam is unaware of anything beyond dreams until this episode. When he starts experiencing visions whilst awake, and one of them shows Dean killed, he realizes another ability; telekinesis. This episode perhaps laid the groundwork for Ruby's reveal in Lucifer Rising, "You didn't need the feather to fly; you had it inside you all the time, Dumbo."
Nightmare shows Sam's worry at what his abilities mean while showing Dean's determination.   At the end where Dean reassures Sam that he's not going to turn into a Max because he [Sam] has something Max didn't have"¦Dean is so much more meaningful now that we've seen what happened when Sam didn't have Dean. 
The Benders: Beat up Dean, kidnapped Sam, Alexia Fast as a scare Missy Bender, Dean can pick handcuffs with paper clips and a car antenna.  "Oh, eat me! No, no, no, wait, wait. You actually might." Yeah, Dean, play nice. By the way, John Shiban who penned this episode also penned, in season one, Skin, Hook Man, Scarecrow and Dead Man's Blood w/ Cathryn Humphris.
The Benders also shows a humorous yet dark side to this series - demons we get; humans are scary. 
Shadow: Sam apologizes to dad, Dad and Dean hug, Dad and Sam hug, Dean reveals why he 'drags' Sam everywhere and it's not for research; it's because he wants them to be a family again. Dean is so stuck in what he lost he can't see what he has. Sam tells him he's going leave once it's over and Dean counters, it'll never be over; there's always going to be something to kill - wow, four seasons later and this is still rich territory to be explored. *Shudders.* Hurt Dean/Hurt Sam/Hurt John", yeah, this episode has it all, the awesome Meg, a trap and if that wasn't guessed it: Kim Manners.
Shadow does not make it into my significant roster *ducks* but it is critical to further Sam discussions as well as overall mytharc; to be sure there will be more later, just not in this article.
Hell House: What's not to love about this episode!  Oh, that's right, the ghostfacers.  Heck with it, I love the ghostfacer or in this episode, Harry and Ed of  Cool. Boring ride through east Texas leads to fun with brothers as one-upmanship becomes the humor of the day. Shirtless (and very lean) Jared, itching powder in under shorts *snorts* and both brothers diving out the door and over/through the railing as they try to get away from Moredechai Murdoch. The perfect antidote to the super angsty Shadow and worth a watch any time I'm feeling a bit blue.
Something Wicked: Insight into the crappy growing up endured by both Sam and Dean, Dad sending Dean back to finish "unfinished business," a single mom making her way with two young boys and Sam gets deeper insight and finally the dawning of understanding as to why Dean follows orders, always: "Dean, I'm sorry, I've given you a lot of crap for always doing what dad says, I'm sorry." Awwwww [I'd have liked that they hugged]
Provenance: Standout moments: The disco motel room, not only did Phil Sgriccia show it off fully, we got Sam and Dean actually reacting to it. Sarah Blake was an exceptional character for Sam, in particular, to play off of, but Dean was fully impressed with her as well, "Sam, marry that girl." She handled all that was thrown at her with aplomb [I've always wanted to use that word, hee.] Seeing Sam start to come out of the shadow of Jessica's death was natural as life does go on, and Sarah was a girl that seemed right for Sam, if only life were that simple.
Dead Man's Blood: Dead Man's Blood starts the four-part mini-series within the series - I take no credit for that idea by the way, I think it was Bardicvoice who said that, could be gaelicspirit, and it sparked something inside me. Having gone back and watched Dead Man's Blood, Salvation, Devil's Trap and In My Time of Dying in one setting I have to agree with her statement. 
Why is Dead Man's Blood significant, vampires, the Colt, John reconciling with Sam, the Colt, Dean standing up to John, the Colt, and the three Winchester men heading off together to fight evil to finish this [yeah, I know, smartypants, that line came in Salvation].
Here we get a look into what makes John Winchester tick; we saw the family man in Pilot, heard the impersonal voice message in Phantom Traveler, saw the agony of being so close and yet so far from his boys in Home, learned that the demons had been trying to kill him and that his weak spot is his boys in Shadow [sound familiar?.. weak spot?] but here we see that the one piece he's been needing is the weapon to kill the demon, and we get to hear of its story and see it in action...enter, the Colt.
I wrote about Sam and John and their coming to an understanding in my article titled Daddy Issues, Sam Winchester Style and I also expounded upon Dean and Dad and what this episode brings to bear in my article titled Dean and Dad"¦so far. For those of you who've read those, play back your memories and fill in the blanks; for those of you who haven't read them, it's Hellatus for goodness sake, get cracking there are articles out there to be read. [granted I wrote those during the run up to Jump The Shark but they still apply for this article]
What else makes this episode significant, it points clearly to John's decision in In My Time of Dying...I can't watch my children die, I won't."
Salvation: Meg is back, bad as ever, and she's brought a friend, not a very good one as he shoots her but that's what she gets for hanging around in dark places. Sam's dreams are made known to Dad who clearly is not happy Dean didn't tell him...uh, Dad, you don't pick up your messages. The Winchester men separate which is never good. Sam's willing to die, Dean's not willing to be left burying the bodies, little baby Rosie was almost another victim in Azazel's grand scheme. One hell of a week-long cliffhanger separated this from the third installment of this four-part series in a series. 
By the way, be very, very afraid when Sera Gamble writes an episode, she slew a lot of folks in this one, Jus in Bello had a high body count as well.
Devil's Trap: Meg died, Bobby is introduced [happy dance] devil's traps are introduced and so much more.
Devil's Trap shows just how determined this demon is as he possesses John and lays a trap that ensnares all the Winchester men. This is the first, but not the last, time we see a demon possess a Winchester. Azazel possesses John and tortures Dean while taunting Sam"¦knowing full well Sam is not in control of his powers to do anything about it. Halfway through season two we see Meg exact some revenge of her own as she possesses Sam and taunts, torments Dean trying to break him.
Here we learn just how far Dean will go to save his family...well, not totally, as a certain deal later on highlights, but we see what it means to him. Granted in Faith he was willing to kill Roy Le Grange thinking him a monster since he was playing God and then there's Blood Lust when Sam talks him down from killing Lenore who while a vampire is trying not to be evil, this blurring of lines between when to kill humans and when not to kill monsters continues to play out as seen dramatically, and very recently, in Lucifer Rising. The debate did not start here, Faith did that, but it leaped forward drastically in this episode.
Devil's Trap also began answering questions, and laying out a whole lot more. We learn that Jessica and Mom died because they got in the way - we didn't know of what until much, much later.  In The Beginning later, but it shows that there is a plan in play and Azazel is determined to see it through.
Devil's Trap also shows the difference along with the similarity of John and Sam. When John berates Sam for not killing the demon when he had the chance, citing that the two of them saw eye to eye on this, revenge was everything; Sam finally realized that which he'd denied back in Wendigo and more recently in Salvation, there is something more valuable than revenge. The look back to Dean in the back of the Impala is powerful and sends the message clearly; revenge at the cost of family is not the answer. 
Sadly life is not so simple for it is very possible that had Sam killed John and by proxy Azazel Dean would never have been on death's door and John would never have sold his soul to save Dean. We'll never know but to be sure the game changed after this episode.
Two additional points: 
Kripke demolished the Impala - that's just wrong.
Kim Manners...
So there you go, my look back on season one. Does it make you want to go back and watch any episodes again? Do you long for the simpler days? What were your favorite episodes and which ones do you think were more significant? How are you doing nearly two weeks into Hellatus, got any fingernails left?


# anene 2009-05-26 04:43
I love your compilations and agree with almost everything.
What i didn't agree with is the insinuation that perhaps it has been all about Sam and Dean had been along for the ride till season four. That is a view point i find resonates with people who label themselves as either Dean or Sam girls.
I don't get it. Depend on how you look at it, anyone can conclude that that it has been about one brother during any season.
It's obviously been about both brothers with different story lines all 4 seasons.
Season 1: Sam and Dean trying to find dad. Sam coming to terms with his daddy issues and the family business. Dean trying to keep his family together and safe while coming to terms with being a good soldier.

Season 2: Sam dealing with the fact that the demon has plans for him for the first half of the season and dealing with the fear of going dark-side thanks to Deans revelations and being a freak for the second half of the season.
Dean had to deal with his dad's death and the burden of killing Sam via the orders of daddy for the first half of the season and keeping Sam safe and coming to terms with the thought of Azazel's plan for Sam.

Season 3: Sam had to deal with the deal Dean made for him. He had to deal with Deans lack of concern for death and the idea of becoming tougher for his life without Dean. He had to deal for the second half of the season trying to break Deans deal and the demons out to get him.
Dean had to deal with the aftermath of his deal. He had to deal with his daddy issues and self-worth and Azazels words that what he brought back may not be 100% his brother. He had to deal with the realization that their dad wasn't perfect and coming to terms with himself and the want to live. He had to deal with leaving Sam all alone and trying to save Sam and prevent him from using his powers and the thought of really dying and going to hell.

Season 4: Sam had to deal with the events that went happened during the 4 months Dean was in hell and his need for control. He had to deal with his revenge for Lillith. His fear of Dean seeing him as a freak and ultimate rejection from Dean if he knew about his powers and blood drinking. he had to deal with getting used to Dean being back and his notion of angels and the impending apocalypse. Sam was faced with the rift between him and Dean and his fear of loosing his soul.
Dean had to deal with the angels plan for him after resurrecting him. He had to deal with the growing rift between him and Sam and his fears of Sam using his powers. He had to deal with angels not being good or bad and his time in hell and being responsible for breaking the first seal. He had to deal with Sam's secret and his fear of Sam loosing his soul and becoming a "monster." He had to deal with saving Sam. He had to also deal with some daddy issues and the thought that Sam was more like their dad while he isn't.

Point is, both seasons, both boys have had a journey. Their journey and story-lines have all been emotional ones that affected them in every way. Saying Supernatural season which ever had been about this brother or that brother would be wholly untrue. Most people seem to whine that season four now has been all about Dean and the angels plan for him.
When i look at it, all i see is the brothers dealing with the aftermath of being apart and what that means when it pertains to the Winchester brothers. Most of the choices they've made this season has somehow always related to each other. Sam's fear of rejection by Dean and loosing his soul led him to keep secrets from Dean. Deans fear of Sam turning into a monster and his biggest fear of loosing the brother he knew and loved and protected led him to embrace the angels and become vulnerable and unhappy. Basically his promise of saving Sam was in full front with Dean.

Both acknowledged that the other had changed and didn't like the changes. Their pride was also full center as it led them to think the other was weak and they were the ones capable of saving the world as told to them by their individual cheer leading party also known as demon/Ruby and angel posse/Casteil.

So unless i was seeing things, i don't get how you could imply that one season was about this brother and not the other who just tagged along. Both brothers influence the other one greatly.For example, Sam was spewing the same lines Dean threw at him in the pilot in Salvation with Dean spewing the reverse line to him in Salvation that was uttered in the Pilot. Talk about balance.
# elle2 2009-05-26 08:19
Hi, Anene,

I'll try to clear up what you think I was saying. I never said this show was all about Sam. Here is what I said and in no way was I implying in this one paragraph that the show was all about Sam... :-)

"Up until now we’ve only assumed that Dean was along for the ride to help Sam and, if we’re honest, that remained true for two and a half more seasons. Now knowing that Dean has a part to play in what is to come, and destiny, free will, fate or whatever you wish to call it has brought him to that place, we can look all the way back to Faith and see a glimpse of what Roy Le Grange – a good man – saw."

Now above was in reference to Faith...what I'm saying is that Dean as having a role to play or being tied into the mytharc was not revealed until Lucifer Rising. That's just facts -- Kripke and Jensen both have stated that so that's no implication by me.

In no way does that 'fact' diminish the -- uh, fact that both brothers have always had roles to play. As Kripke has stated in many an interview both are integral. I remember him stating that if Sam were Frodo and Dean were Samwise did that make Samwise any less important to Frodo? I say nope. If Han were the 'helper' to Luke did that make Han any less important? Nope. Both characters had roles to play, just because initially it appeared that Sam was 'chosen' and Dean the brother that helped him did not elevate one over the other.

In fact, if anything that shows just how important it is not to be a solitary character. Think back to Star Wars and the final scene...if Han hadn't shot the fighter jets off of Luke's tail, Luke would have been blown up and the Death Star prevailed...hel pers are great people to have around.

"So unless i was seeing things, i don't get how you could imply that one season was about this brother and not the other who just tagged along."

This is a 5000 word article and nowhere in it does it say that this season was about this brother and the other just tagged along...nowhere . I think you fixated on 100 words (give or take) that implied Dean did not have a tie into the mytharc -- which is just fact -- and summed up the whole article there.

I'm not a Dean girl nor a Sam girl. I've been about both brothers from the beginning. What these four articles are going to show is that only now...four seasons later, can we got back and see how the pieces have been orchestrated. It's similar to so many in the fandom implying that Sam was underwritten all season long and I'm betting that to this day many still don't like all that occurred in When the Levee Breaks thinking, "he only got one episode". That's ludicrous, it was a slow build all season long and it was awesome to watch, and it makes going back and watching it all again that much more awesome because this is a show (and I've said this before in other articles) that builds upon itself and we will not know the full story until the final act is written. I don't know of any other show out there as satisyfing as this one.
# elle2 2009-05-26 08:33
That's Lazarus Rising...silly dyslexia with titles...
# trina 2009-05-26 10:38
I just finished watching the first season again, and was quite excited to read this. Very awesome. The only thing I don't agree with is that Dean was ever OK with Sam's psychic stuff. (And maybe I am misundersatndin g you. If so I am sorry.) I thought he hated the whole thing from the second he found out about it. Not that it made him love Sam any less, but it certainly made him scared for Sam and even to see Sam as a bit of a freak.
# elle2 2009-05-26 10:50
Hi, Trina,

Perhaps it is better to state that it's not that Dean was Okay with Sam's psychic in cool, my brother is psychic, let's go get a burger. But more as you state, it never once occurred to Dean to fear his brother or not love him.

In fact, I see that Dean did much to try to show Sam (in Dean's own way) that it wasn't that big a deal in that he was still Deans' brother and not obsess over he teased him with having 'the shining' and stuff like that.

I love the ending of Nightmare when Dean tells Sam to bend the spoon (or fork or whatever utensil it was) and Sam counters that he doesn't know how it works. Dean then goes on to reassure Sam that he [Sam] has something that Max didn't have...Dean and that was going to ensure that Sam was going to be all right. The scene ends with an abrupt shift from the lighthearted to a look of pensiveness on Dean's face as he gazes back into the darkened motel room. It captures the essence of how Dean dealt with Sam on this long as I'm here, you're going to be fine. You're not a monster, you're not going darkside...

As time went on this changed but in Season one Dean was, for the most part, not that freaked out by Sam and his the other seasons....ah, the other seasons...:-)
# anene 2009-05-26 11:06
Sorry for the mis-communicati on elle2. I didn't mean to take your word out of context. I just got upset that a writer that i thought was intelligent and saw the show from the perspective intended by the writers without any preferential bias held the same belief i find nauseating since it causes the sort of childish fighting that takes over message boards.
I'm so happy you are not one of those Sam or Dean girls. I still can't understand how anyone can put one brother over the other and be so blind to the main core of the show.
Once again, i apologize. Thank you for explaining youself.
# Elle 2009-05-26 13:36
Great article Elle2! On my list of summer to-do is to rewatch all of SPN knowing what we know now. You always have good insights into the episodes and I like that you balanced the weight between the brothers. I agree that while Dean wasn't exactly excited about Sam's psychic abilities, he didn't condemn Sam for them. I think the "freak" thing has to do with Sam's insecurities and Ruby probably played them up. We know that's a hot-button word (right up there with "monster") so in Metamorphesis (yes, I probably spelled it wrong - I hate spelling that word!) when Sam tells Dean that Dean treats him/looks at him like a freak, I really believe that Sam was projecting.

Looking forward to the next installment!
# Rose 2009-05-26 14:55
Great article! Your comments about Missouri and why she treated Dean the way she did makes me look at that episode in a different light. It had always bugged me a bit that she was so hard on Dean but you've made a good point. I'll have to re-watch that episode with that in mind!

Looking forward to your comments on Season 2...
vana naine
# vana naine 2009-05-26 16:01
/must go and rewatch season 1.
Especially Pilot. And Skin. And Phantom Traveler. (What? I like that Dean has real, true, visible weakness that makes him panic and is NOT "Sam's not safe! What should I do?" I mean, I love his devotion. But sometimes there can be too much of good thing.) And Dead Man's Blood. And Devil's Trap and Scarecrow and... yeah, babbling again.

But I don't long for "simpler days". In fact - I don't see them as simpler. The wheels were already turning, Dean and Sam just did not know that yet. It's one big story, isn't it?

I think I am Samgirl, btw. I mean, I love Dean. Really. Truly. How he is so incredibly good man in his heart, how he tried to make sense of his difficult life by seeing it black-and-white and is struggling with this point-of-view later, how strongly he loves and how impulsive he is, and I think if I met those two men in the bar and I had a mood for a one-night-stand , Dean would be the one I'd go after because of his easy-going attitude and equally easy-coming smile. (And isn't he pretty, oh my!!!)
But I UNDERSTAND Sam. I GET him, his reactions, his choices. And, oh, do I feel for him?! All the time! (And isn't he pretty too, oh my!!! :lol:-)

There are moments where I cannot follow Dean's trail of thoughts. Where I get stuck and try do make sense of things that just does not make any sense in my head. I can't say that I ever get angry with him (because I love him and I forgive him everything), but there are moments when I think "Here, now, in this - he is written badly" (usually it makes sense after few episodes, but sometimes something like that stays nagging in my mind and bothers me for a long time.)

But I get Sam. I have Sam in my head, and everything he does, everything he says fits into this conception. There is logic to me. I don't think that we are similar, but I know some people who are like him in some aspect, and I UNDERSTAND him. You know, even when I watched season one, I saw Sam as darker and more closed brother of the two. When something hurts Dean, he kind of tries to hide it, but he does not hide very well. You don't have to be his brother or genius to see, that something is wrong with this guy.
But when Sam hides some pain inside him, he mostly hides it so functionally that it stays hidden. You have to know him very well to discover that something is wrong.
(I don't count the time when Dean was in hell because then he did not even try to hide anything - hide from who? Why? He did not even _try_ to be functional then!)
Those things he wants to talk about, those famous Sam's-a-girl-ch ick-flick moments - those are mostly small things. Minor things. Obvious things. Or things that are only about himself. Did he ever really talked about Jessica on the screen? Did he ever mentioned how Dean's deal made him feel and maybe it would have been better if he stayed dead?
No. Because he is very closed, very private and also very insecure person. And oh, I understand him so well.
And that's why I consider myself a Samgirl. Even as I love Dean equally and I fully agree that this show is about 2 brothers and so it should be.

/respectfully yours
# elle2 2009-05-26 16:39
Hi, Anene,

I will publicly apologize for being so rough on you. I am so sorry. I posted it in anger (never, never, never a good idea) because I hate, hate, hate (it's wrong to hate) I'll go with dislike with great intensity the whole Sam vs. Dean argument. It takes so much joy out of the show and searching the fandom for comments and dialogue and then to be thought to be one of the Sam vs. Dean got my Irish up (and I'm not even, Scottish, English,, Irish in me, still)

I'm soooooo sorry I was so rough on you. I'm so glad you read my explanation and that you understand that I am not, not, not a Sam vs. Dean girl. Never have been, heaven help me (hear that Castiel) if I ever become one.

I calmed down after I posted it and reminded myself that, when writing anything and posting it, that I have no control over what other people 'read' into it nor should I expect everyone to completely understand what I say just 'cause I wrote it. I will really, really, really try in the future to explain myself when it appears that my comments have been misconstrued but also remember that sometimes people will stick to their opinion no matter what I say or do.

Again, I'm so very happy you understand that I'm not a Sam vs. Dean girl and I'm so hopeful you will read future things I write...I enjoy taking the time to write them and I do it for my own pleasure not to please any certain individual or group but I'll admit, it's so awesome when people comment on something I've written and I must remember that that in itself is a gift.

Furthermore, I am very complimented by your comment in saying that you think I'm intelligent ...let me get it right --

"a writer that i thought was intelligent and saw the show from the perspective intended by the writers without any preferential bias"

That means a lot to me, Anene, a lot.

Your apology is absolutely accepted and please accept mine. The written word is so powerful because it is interpreted by the one reading it and that is why I must remember to go gently when I'm commenting back so as not to ever, ever beat anyone up over voicing their opinion. We are all allowed to express our opinions...that 's what blogs and comment sections are for.

Thank you for expressing yours (wonderful summation of the seasons by the way :-)

Please forgive me.

# Elle 2009-05-26 16:47
Vana Naine,
I really like what you said in your post and your explanation of what a "Samgirl" translates to for you. It's much better than the squabbling reasons in which the more embarrassing elements of our fandom engage in the name of one Winchester or another.

I don't consider myself one or the other, but like you, I can relate more to one brother - Dean. I feel a kinship with him (it sounds so dumb because it's a TV show, but you guys know what I mean). Granted, I don't protect my little bro from demons or slay hellbeasts but at the heart of things, I get him. I do think Dean hides a lot of his feelings. The viewers see it more, because we are privvy to some of his private expressions that clearly display his emotions. I can always comprehend Dean's reasoning and it always makes a sort of raw sense to me, even if it's an emotional sense verses logical.

I think part of my relating to Dean is that I get righteous on his behalf, I feel like people around him underappreciate him or underestimate him. I've felt like that and I get it. [Not necessarily all the time and I'm not specifically referencing Sam (so put down the pitch forks!) but generally speaking.] I get Sam too, sometimes, but I also see little-brother syndrome in his reactions to Dean. I realize they are both grown men, but birth order does count for something (believe me, I know!) I always feel sad that Dean seems to get left behind when all he wants is a family - again, been there, done that.

I'm sure each of us has one we, at one time or another, can relate to most. For me, it's Dean.
Hi, Elle, Rose and Vana Naine
# Hi, Elle, Rose and Vana Naine 2009-05-26 17:02

Freak, monster are 'hot' button words for Sam just as anything to do with John (and maybe hero) is something of a hot button for Dean. As I'm tracking through the seasons (currently going out of order as I'm prepping a quickie summation of ups/downs for S4 so I'm rewatching season four right now) these instances of freak and monster and anything John are standing out like really bright sore thumbs [hee] and I'm taking notes. Both items will come up later this summer as I prep for my biggie article on the two bros and what lead them here.... BTW, I hate spelling Metamorphosis too, I'm getting better 'cause I've trained my computer to slap me when I get it wrong -- 'puter hits hard too.


Admittedly, the first time I saw Home I was bugged too in thinking that Missouri was tough...then I paid a bit more attention to how Ellen treated Dean in Everyone Loves a Clown, she reached out with sympathy and Dean just shut her down, hard. After reviewing a lot of fandom comments about how they thought Dean was written as dumb in Season 1 (an opinion I do not share) I gave this episode another looksie and tried to figure out why Kripke would write Missouri in such a way (also I do not believe Kripke thinks either of his characters are stupid...he may allow one to 'look' foolish but that's not the same as having one actually be a fool...and I figured Missouri was taking a truly compassionate tact with Dean knowing he just wasn't going to be able to handle this whole emotional rollercoaster unless she gave him seomthing else to focus on. It's also a bit of a pattern we see with Dean, remember in Season 3's Long Distance Caller, the scene at the beginning, when the boys give us exposition to explain why time was running out on Dean's deal (darn writers' strike-shortene d season) and Dean realizes his chances are pretty slim so he just wants to do hiw job. Sam thing in Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things [sorry about going out of order] but Dean rightly discovers a hunt and tells Sam at one point that he is able to do his job (which he is) and then again in this past season's Wishful Thinking when Sam wants Dean to open up about his nightmares and Dean counters with can't he just do his job...Dean needs that counterbalance to his emotions and Missouri gave it to him....and it's a great episode to rewatch, so enjoy.

Vana Naine -- hello, hello, Like you, so many eppies to rewatch, all have good points, all. I did enjoy the whole Dean is afraid to fly moments...they were just fun, and quite real...planes do crash and clowns do kill -- oh, wait, wrong season. Hah.

Like you, I enjoy the 'so-called' simpler days only because that's where the journey (for us at least) started but I agree...the wheels were already turning. We know that when Meg appeared in Scarecrow there was already something afoot, and if that's not enough, In the Beginning, shows us that it was afoot before Scarecrow, and then of course Lucifer Rising shows that it was before---argh, time travel and loops give me a headache...stil l, awesome progression as the show has traveled on its journey.

I may not be a Sam vs. Dean girl but I see nothing wrong with anyone identifying or perhaps understanding one character over another or at some times 'getting' one while at other times 'getting' the other. There are times I completely understand where Sam is coming from and other times I know what and where Dean is coming from...that's why I just love both boys and love the core of the show is that it's about their journey -- and I'm along for the ride.

Further, you made an excellent point that I think a lot of people (in some threads I read) miss...I remember a year or so ago so many people writing that Dean never opened up [actually, I think it was some fanfiction] but the characterizatio n seems to be of Dean who never talks about what's bothering him and that Sam always does...I don't see that either. Sam in Bloody Mary was hell bent [sorry, Dean] on not talking about JEssica and certainly not talking about his dreams. Dean 'forced' the admission of dreams only b/c of his refusal to go home and Sam gave.

SUre Sam will often push Dean to talk about things and he's perhaps quicker with the apology that Dean rarely will take b/c I think for Dean to accept the apology is to admit he was hurt...he's just too damaged to do that. Oh, both boys need a hug...*looks around, nope, they're not here for me to hug them so hugs self*

Part of the Hellatus plan (for me) is to write an article (I think it's a two-parter) in which I HOPE to be able to delve into both boys' psyche and figure them out and bring what I see to light. I'll be interested (and slightly afraid) of what you'll think of that. It's a month or so away (sorry) but I'm gathering, gathering my thoughts together.


Thank you again for all your comments.
# Bethany 2009-05-26 18:57
Glad someone loves scarecrow as much as I do, and for many reasons. Elle2 forgive me you've probably mentioned all of these...
*indroducing me to the word fugly
*first big fight between the boys
*seeing how determined both boys can be
*introduction of Meg and the idea that the boys were caught up in the plans of demons
*the "you'd rather trust shady van guy than me?" line
*seeing how in the end both brothers put the other before themselves - Dean by letting Sam go his own way, Sam by going back for Dean.
*Scotty calling out Dean on his alias!

I don't really know what it is about this episode but I really love it.

I do love all the seasons as they all bring something different to the plate but I have a special place in my heart for season 1 as it's the introduction into their world and explores myths.

I also like the epi that introduces the soon-to-be ghostfacers, it was funny and light and offered up and interesting contrast to the boys.

I'd just like to say that one of the things I like most about this show is that we can go back to the first season and see connections and references that play out often much later on and how it all links up and that it's interesting to see throughout season 1 then the following seasons how the world of supernatural and it's myth expands. Seriously I watched all three seasons back to back over the hellatus before season 4 started and i'm going to do the same this summer and while it's always a pleasure watching SPN watching the series all the way through (yes even the episodes we hate) and seeing how the show developed is just awesome. Reminds me why i fell in love with the show in the first place.
# elle2 2009-05-26 19:12
Bethany (and Rose and Vana Naine)

That's my excuse to make sure Rose and Vana Naine know I responded to them. I try to group responses so as not to clog up the postings but for some reason my reply to Elle and Rose and Vana Naine didn't show the last twos' names...but I responded to their awesome comments.

Now, Bethany, your turn.

I do love Scarecrow and I'm so with you on the "Dude, you fugly" That cracks me uup every time. Yeah, shady van guy [byah!] works every time, too. I also love the Bad Company playing at the end as Meg makes herself (as a demon) known...great song to show who/what she is.

I love how Scarecrow built on some things from Skin and of course Asylum and yeah, the idea that both brothers put the other's needs ahead of their own (kinda like in Lucifer Rising with Sam saying Dean was better off as far away from him as possible and Dean at first letting Sam go and then getting his head out of his nether region (although I agree also with those who say that Dean needed some time to process...unfor tunately we only get 22 eppies, not 24 and each eppie is somewhere around 40 - 42 mins processing must happen quick -- oh, yeah, and then there's the whole "world is ending"...Shees h. BUT I digress, Dean did put Sam's needs ahead of his first by saying he was letting him go but better by realizing that Sam was his brother and freak/monster/d emon-blood sucking gross out stuff or not, he was his brother and he was hurting and he needed some help. Like I've said before, helpers are good people to know.

*happily signs off to go watch several eppies of a be determined when hands reach into cabinet and pull out DVDs*
# Suze 2009-05-27 05:05
I haven't seen these in so, so long due to DVD-kidnapping silbling situation but this discussion has really whetted my appitite so off to Amazon I go. :D

I don't actually get one brother more than the other as I tend to think of them as almost a single unit, if you push one you move the other one. To my mind they're more like two facets of same thing, which looks a bit odd now I've typed it but there you go. I take the point about hero's helpers ( personally I'd ditch Luke in an instant for Han, fickle trollop that I am, he-he ) But the Winchesters never struck me that way, it was always THEM, not HIM and HIM. They seem incomplete apart. Right, I've properly lost the plot now ... Time for toast ...
vana naine
# vana naine 2009-05-27 05:29
There was something I wanted to say about Sam's closed personality and chick-flick-mom ents, but could not put in words first time:

Sam was very good at helping Dean to open up or smoothing their fights by offering apology, and even when Dean sighed that there was nothing that Sam could say to make things better, at least before season 4 talking about things obviously helped Dean. Maybe it even helped in season 4 too, somewhere between 4.10 - 4.13. I'm not sure.
This was (before season 4) this one thing that Sam really could do for Dean and it used to work too.
(Maybe that's why Dean hated this so loudly - he did not want to admit that he needed Sam's support in so sensitive region as feelings is.)

But Sam never talked to help himself, he never opens up to ease his own personal problems. And this is the one thing that Dean can not do for him - he has tried, but if Sam does not want to talk about something, he is very good at shutting the whole theme. And well, it is clear that all this "keeping things locked inside"-thing is not healthy, it's not good for him, but that's who Sam is. Too functional for his own good.

Mostly it's Dean who very clearly helps Sam in all kind of situations and takes care of him, and it does not matter to him if Sam wants his help or not. Starting those chick-flick-mom ents used to be the way how Sam could pay back the favor and it did not matter that Dean did not want them. He needed them and Sam could give.

This balance between them was subconscious and they probably did not notice many things about it themselves. But when things went off, they both noticed.

Sam did never see this psychological help he has given to Dean as big deal. And it probably seemed extremely useless and stupid when it was SO not working when Dean was in hell or after that, in the season 4.
And if Sam could not help Dean this way well enough, he tried something else. And we have - well, we have Lucifer rising. :mrgreen:
# elle2 2009-05-27 08:27
Hi, Suze,

"I don't actually get one brother more than the other as I tend to think of them as almost a single unit, if you push one you move the other one."

What a great illustration... wonderfully worded as well. I agree with your point that the brothers are a unit, sometimes I understand the point Sam is trying to make when he takes a different POV than Dean and of course, vice versa. Because it happens so frequently and because the writers over the seasons have 'flip flopped' the brothers' positions on things (from hunting, to dad and more) I see now that it is a very intentional choice by the writers to have Sam take one side of a situation and Dean the other and write in such a way as to make either one correct (at a given moment in time) it just goes to show how complex life is.

I hope hurries up with your delivery...I'd lend you mind but....(yeah, no, sorry, I wouldn't. I will toast you some toast though -- gotta be gluten free though, do you like Jam? Butter? Peanut Butter? Honey? Cheese???? I'll take toast pretty much anyway (not burned though if I can help it.)

Geez, all your comments make me want to hurry up and write my next article
# Bethany 2009-05-27 15:23
Suze, I agree, I'm not a Dean girl or a Sam girl and I don't believe that the show or it's storyline favour one brother above the other (contraversial stance I know) but still, it's their differences that compliment each other and as the show has shown time and time again they're so much better together then apart. I think the winchester boys are like that old saying that "the sum is greater than it's parts". Hopefully they'll work that out, I'm nto saying they have to agree on everything rather that together they can accomplish so much more then they could as two separate individuals.
# Bethany 2009-05-27 15:26
Suze you could totally borrow my DVD's but I'm not sure if we're even on the same continent! However try or google free tv project - they have most of the episodes and are available to non-USA viewers!
# Suze 2009-05-27 16:12
Thanks Guys, you're too kind!

Bethany, I've scored myself another set off t'internet so snatcher-sister can keep the originals ... Spread the word, eh? ( Also her feral tribe of cats have probably mangled them utterly by now so I'll have nice shiney new ones )

Cheers elle2, I'll have a spot of marmalade on mine ...

# alysha 2009-05-28 17:06
Season 1 gives us all the first: PT, first encounter with a demon (note who performs the exorcism). "Bugs", the first time Dean and Sam are taken as a couple (let the Wincest begin).

Scarecrow was important to me, not a throwaway at all. To me it is also a turning point. Sam shows he is not some innocent little bro (although Dean believes this mostly until mid-season 4). This is where Sam first rescues Dean. This is their first break up and Dean learning to let go session too. And it introduces the issue that Dean will never get that pie! (They should have had pie instead of burgers in that heavenly green room)!!!
# elle2 2009-05-29 13:51
Hi, Alysha,

I totally is why I think SPN S1 resonates so much four years holds up so well. To me that is the mark of a great series one that builds and builds and builds and you can go back to the clunkers and the classics (I'll let you decide which one Hook Man, Bugs, Route 666 and Home, Faith, Shadow belong to) and mine so much rich material that rings true today.

There were soooooo very many firsts, first no chick flick moment, first Sam/Dean fight, first separation of the brothers, first appearance of Bobby, first massive casualites of characters and on and on and on.

Like you, I wondered where was the pie...sheesh, these angels don't got it all figured out do they. Love me some pie!
# Elle 2009-05-29 16:11
Season one was such a fantastic season - I never tire of watching it (again and again and again and again and then one more time).

It's interesting because I just read an article where the author just caught up on SPN DVDs and watched season 4. He said he was warned that season one was "formulaic" and not at all indicative of SPNs caliber & what it has become. The author agreed, stating he was glad he was warned or he would have stopped watching. Additionally, season one was "lacking cast diversity" which contributed to this alleged blahness. :-? :-? :-?

This guy is obviously not watching the same show as the rest of us. [He has also taken pieces and snippets to put this (paraphrased statement) up about what he "knows" season five will be about: where God is. While it's true that I have zero inside information about what season 5 will bring, I just don't see it going in this direction...eve all.]

I don't know about "formulaic", season one was just pretty awesome as far as I'm concerned! 8-)
# elle2 2009-05-29 16:35
Hi, Elle,

There is something to what is said about it being 'formulaic' in Season 1, even Kripke has stated that it was. If we look at it purely from the angle of how the stories develop each week, this is an accurate statement, in general.

Teaster opens, boys get wind of case, go to town, research, conduct interviews, usually befriend a female and/or child, save day. On the surface this is true in many of the episodes (Wendigo, Dead in the Water, Phantom Traveler, Bloody Mary, Skin, Bugs, Hook Man, Route 666, Asylum, Scarecrow, Provenance, Something Wicked..the list can and does go on.)

However, if that's where one stops (the surface) then they are missing the slow development of Sam's coming realization of him and his father (see Daddy Issues, Sam Winchester Style -- which. Elle, I know you did :-) as well as the fab introduction of Meg who edges the story to its bigger overal arc and then there were the deeper characterizatio ns and more complex themes (destiny and free will; what really is good and what is really evil Roy LeGrange, Sue Ann LeGrange.

Again, season 1 in all of its greatness (and it has lots) had it been duplicated in Season 2 likely would have drawn down the show, it was Home and Faith and Shadow that really began showing the depths this series could go in and they opened the doors so much more in S2 with Blood Lust and BUABS and Simon Says and Hunted and Cross Road Blues and more.

Not having read the article, I'm wondering if perhaps the writer meant (and this is purely and hugely speculative) was that in S1 the characters were a lot a like...either innocent to the 'evil' around them or when confronted with it, they jumped on board and helped (such as Skin Sam's friend, the family in Home, the young couple in Asylum, Sarah in Provenance, even Michael in Something Wicked, as well as there was a certain blandness to it all.

As the writers got more confident (and as Kripke got his select stable of writers, Sera, Ben, Raelle, John Shiban, Cathryn Humpphris, Jeremy Carver) they were able to take more risks and bring us evil that isn't really evil and good guys that aren't and characters like Victor who goes from straight up fed to likely hunter had he lived...

Some may or may not like the angels but I'm a bit intrigued with Anna [ducks] who fell becaue she wanted to be human, not like Lucifer who fell b/c he despised humans and thus turned his 'wings' against God. Now Anna appears (or appeared...S5 may tell us) to have some allies as she seems to have found a newer appreciation as an angel and at least until When THe Levee Breaks was helping the good guys...I'm rambling.

My point is (if anyone is still reading 'cause at this point I have no idea if I still am....looooong week) is that S1 set the foundation (the brothers, saving people, hunting things, the family business) but also showed where to grow and Season 2 built on that...anything more here would give away where I'm going in the second installment of this series...and so far that's just in the note stage. Must. Go. Watch. More. Season 2.

# Elle 2009-05-29 16:54
I agree that on the surface season one follows a pattern, no question. I was just surprised that the author thought it was dull. CSI (as well as a number of other long-running procedural dramas) follows a formula, pretty rigidly, and many people don't call that boring (well, I'm not a fan...).

Season one was the perfect foundation for a fantastic show to grow from. The number of seeds that were planted in season one cannot be overlooked. My absolute favourite is the apology from Mary to Sam in 'Home' - when I watched In The Beginning, I was thrilled and delighted by the pay-off, three seasons after the fact.

I'm with you on Anna. I know many people didn't/don't like her - but I do. I think that character has some good potential (assuming her wings haven't been permanently clipped).

I eagerly await your season 2 analysis, Elle2!
# elle2 2009-05-29 19:33
Elle, Season 2 analysis is underway...some times it's just the starting that's the hard part but I've 'forced myself' to watch some eppies and that, of course, prompted some writing. (I've also written some stuff for Season 3 and Season 4...which just makes those articles easier as time goes on.)

# Bethany 2009-05-29 19:48
I heard something interesting from the creators of criminal minds which i think applies to SPN. They said the first season of a show is about establishing the world, the rules etc, establishing and reinforcing the main ideas/themes of the show and that often involves formula.
In the second season you begin to open up the characters and go more into who they are, how they became how they are.
The third season pushes the characters take them to places that they haven't been, into situations that challenge them.
Basically that each season is a different development of the characters and the show.

I can't help but agree with them - and this isn't because I have a wee bit of a crush on MGG, honestly. I thought that they had a point, the first season is about establishing the show which you have to do before you can go on to develop it.
# mae 2009-05-30 15:22
Funny. I literally just finished re-watching season one (and am half-way through season 2) and was thrilled to go through your list of important episodes, Elle2!

I thought that all your comments were completely accurate (and was especialy intrigued by your analysis of why Missouri was so hard on Dean).

However, I have one more thing to add to list if I may. Just as Bethany commented above me, Season one is all about creating the show's universe and its rules. This said, I think a MAJOR rule introduced to us in Scarecrow is the concept that the good of the many NEVER outways the good of the one. This was actually a line from the (evil but human) Aunt, though she said, "The good of the many outways the good of one," as her explanation for why she was going to let her niece be killed. (Btw, what a contrast of family concepts when compared with the winchester's self-sacrificin g concepts... but that's a whole other issue). Back to the point, it was here that the rule is established that the boys are supposed to at least try to save the one, even if it might be bad for the good of the many.

This "good of the one" theme is echoed in Jus in Belo when the boys are given the option to kill the virgin secetary (the one) in order to save the rest of the people (the many) in the police station. It's here that Sam begins to have thoughts which might deviate from the doing the "right" thing as he considers that the good of the many might outweigh the good of the one. (Of course, Dean helps him see the error of that non-Winchester logic).

And lastly... this theme actually comes into play later in Season 4 as an EXTREMELY important fulcrum in Lucifer Rising... when Sam is led to beleive that he is supposed to kill Lillith, and that the only way to do so is by draining (thereby killing) the demon-possessed nurse. In other words... he had to decide whether the good of the many (basically, the world) outwayed the good of the one (the nurse). And we all know where that led to.

Btw...I feel like Season 2 had at least one episode where this theme was mentioned... Croatoan maybe? Or BUABS? Guess I'll just have to rewatch. :-)

Wow. I have a sentence that talks about a Demon-possessed nurse. :Whistles: This is why I'm completely addicted, (er, dedicated?) to this show.
# elle2 2009-05-30 20:37
Hi, Mae,

Your point is excellent (and excellently made) and I hope you'll enjoy and comment on my Season 2, 3 and 4 parts of this "Road so far" series. I completely agree with you about the aunt in Scarecrow (and your point about the Winchester self-sacrificin g ways compared to the murderous ways of the townsfolk -- beautiful.)

I'm so with you on Jus in Bello, Dean was absolutely correct in his thought process and that comes up earlier in the series as well...processi ng, processing, processing...I WILL FIND IT eventually.

Bethany was absolutey correct in her analysis of Season 1 as the season to establish the ground rules, and what I love is that in Supernatural the writers go back to season one again and again and mine it for details that they place in future episodes. WE saw it in episodes such as When the Levee Breaks, After School Special, Jump the Shark and more...(and that's just in Season 4)

I'm glad you're watching and rewatching...I am too. I need more time (argh!!!)