For those that are trying like mad to remember what happened just before "What Is And What Should Never Be," Sam and Dean had to go deep after their encounter in "Folsom Prison Blues." Deep like Yemen. But apparently relocation to a Middle Eastern country isn't necessary. How about a license plate change instead? That'll work better. The Impala doesn't stand out at all. Plus criminals never come from Ohio.
Cue the awesome "Saturday Night Special," by Lynyrd Skynrd and cue new license plate. Hey I'm from Ohio, so I like it. My plate has that same design. Dean is behind the wheel of the Impala and answers the most lame ring tone. Didn't he have a cool one as established in "Born Under a Bad Sign?" So Sam's calls just get a basic ring? Anyway, Sam is freaking. Cops outside the motel room. Dean talks him through it just in time for the cop to leave and for Sam to realize it's a false alarm. Also, the sign outside, the Joilet motel, is one that's going to be used in at least two different episodes in seasons three ("Mystery Spot") and four ("In The Beginning"). Yes, it's really sick that I know that off the top of my head.
Sam goes on whining. He calls being fugitives "a dance party." Wimp. "Chicks dig the danger vibe," Dean replies. Easy for you to say Dean, the chicks you've slept with haven't ended up dead. Time to talk about the case. Dean has been out searching 50 square miles and has nothing. Sam has a theory judging by all the books open in front of him. Djinn. Ooh, cool! Those things as far as mythology goes are all over the place. Dean knows what that means. A Genie? He asks if they can grant wishes. Sam thinks they're powerful enough. Sam says they aren't Barbara Eden in Harem pants for the Djinn have been feeding off people for centuries. They're all over the Qur'an. Dean isn't listening to any of that, for he's remembering how hot Barbara Eden was. "Way hotter than that Bewitched chick." I don't know, jump forward to the late 70's and I'm sure Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman trumps them both. But then again, I'm a woman, what would I know? You guys set me straight.
Sam asks if he's even listening to him. Dean says yes, but that means no. Where do the Djinn hide out? Ruins. In Joilet, that could be just about anywhere. Dean thinks he saw a place a couple of miles back. Sam insists that Dean come pick him up but Dean's sure it's nothing. So how different would this episode have been if both Dean and Sam had their deepest wishes granted? Yeah, that would have made this a two-parter and Supernatural was skirting cancellation during this time. With no budget and network support, only one Winchester gets to be in peril.
Dean hangs up much to Sam's chagrin and pulls up to a warehouse at night. I do love that hum of the Impala engine. That won't alert the Djinn at all. There's an old typewriter, filing cabinets, old desks and tell me, do all abandoned warehouses leave their furniture and office supplies behind? I thought that stuff got sold for scrap. Most offices I see are picked clean, mostly by pilfering employees. Anyway, Dean looks around with the flashlight and hears something. Judging by the funky looking dude on the other side of the glass behind him, I'd say something is there. Dean pulls out his knife and now cautiously looks around. He jumps around the corner, nothing there. He walks down the hall and doesn't see the bald head lurking in the shadows. Suddenly something jumps out of said shadows and overpowers him. I suppose if Dean had won the fight this wouldn't have made for a compelling episode. The Djinn's hand goes all blue electric, puts it on Dean's forehead and his eyes roll to the back of his head. Pleasant dreams Deano!
Title card on fire, which quickly switches to some ancient black and white horror movie. I'm somewhat of an old film buff (more old TV) and I didn't recognize the film. According to supernaturalwiki, it's From Hell It Came. I don't ever remember that coming up on my classic horror films list. I then try to remember who wrote and directed this. I know it was written solo by Raelle Tucker, who previously was Sera Gamble's writing partner. This was the last episode she wrote for Supernatural before moving onto True Blood. As for the director, it dawned on me pretty quick. This was the directorial debut of none other than Eric Kripke himself. He's only directed two episodes for Supernatural and judging by the time and budget overruns for Lucifer Rising, he probably won't be doing that again anytime soon. Too bad, for I like his style.
Dean wakes up in a bed. The TV is on to his right and a beautiful woman is sleeping on his left. He's shirtless, but the full view is obstructed. Damn you Kripke! Shirtless Dean is so rare. He's a little freaked. He throws some clothes on and walks into the next room. He's in an apartment. The horror! He only belongs in sleazy motel rooms. This is way too respectable for him (joking, sarcasm, don't take that to be Dean hate).
There's a cell phone and it looks like Sam's. It rings and it is Sam. He answers with confusion. "Dean?" Dean tells him he doesn't know where he is. He mentions the Djinn attacked him. "The gin? You're drinking gin?" Dean clarifies it's the scary creature and he woke up next to some hot chick. "Who, Carmen?" Sam asks. "Who?" Dean asks. Sam concludes Dean is drunk. Dean insists he isn't but Sam just brushes him off with the gets some sleep and a see you tomorrow line. Sam hangs up, laughs, and then goes back to his Criminal Law book. How boring! Why do smart TV characters usually end up being doctors or lawyers? What's wrong with Eco-Scientist or Director of Marketing?
Dean looks around still very confused. He picks up some letters nearby. Carmen's last name is Porter and she lives in Lawrence, Kansas. At the same address, one Dean Winchester. Lawrence, Kansas? The horror! Then Carmen comes out in a bathrobe calling Dean honey. How cute! She asks him what he's doing up. Dean plays along using the old "couldn't sleep" line. Carmen gets all sweet and invites him back to bed so she could fix that. Dean likes the idea and tells her he'll be right there. She sweetly kisses him and goes back to bed.
Dean must be disoriented for instead of hopping into bed with a beautiful woman that adores him, you know, the thing he always wanted, he looks at photos. It's mostly him and Carmen in googly-eyed love and it's really sweet to see him so smitten. That's not what gets his attention though. It's another photo across the room. I'll mention here the score in this episode is fantastic. It's used at just the right moments such to pack a greater emotional punch. It's just one of the many things that make this episode so superior. Here, the score accents Dean's stunned reaction as he drops the photo and leaves, breaking the frame before we can see it. So much for going back to bed with Carmen.
Dean drives the Impala and I'm so pleased she still exists in this alternate reality. Whew! I would have been worried if he'd lost that. He pulls up to the old house in the middle of the night and we can see through Jensen's brilliant emoting the rush of feelings that's going through Dean right now. You know, can this be real? He bangs on the door, doesn't get an answer so he rings the doorbell a few times. The porch light comes on. Now this is one of the best reaction shots of the series. "Mom?" It's Mary! She's so worried about her boy. She asks what he's doing here. He can't stop staring at her like he's seen a ghost. Or at least someone who's never seen a ghost in their lifetime. Mary asks if he's alright. "I don't know," Dean says in a whispering voice. Aww, he's all emotional. So are the rest of us pooling to the floor.
Mary pulls him inside and mentions Carmen called about his abrupt exit. Dean is too busy staring with wonder to care. Dean does have that skeptical side though and asks when he was a kid, what did she say to him before she put him to bed every night. Mary doesn't understand but Dean demands an answer. "I told you angels were watching over you." It's really strange how at the time this aired no one thought anything of this. No, it wasn't until Castiel appeared some 20 episodes later that all of a sudden we see the significance in this. Sure, I wonder if Mary just said that because that's what mothers do to comfort their little boys, but you also have to wonder if she knew something.
Dean is so relieved he lets out a tiny cry. "I don't believe it." He gives Mary a huge hug. Oh man, he's been wanting to do this every since he was four years old. I'll tell ya, a relationship between a boy and his mom is really something special. Mary is getting scared though and wants to know what's going on. Dean asks her if she thinks wishes can really, and stops himself. Mary is very confused now and Dean dismisses it with another hug and an "I'm happy to see you, that's all." Then he gets weepy. Come on Dean, you're not supposed to kill us like this only seven minutes in! Crud, I forgot the Kleenexes.
Dean tells her she's beautiful, smiles with wonder and starts looking around. He asks if when he was young was there ever a fire there. No. I'd say the wish has come true Dean. I only have one nitpick on this episode and it's the poorly photoshopped pictures. Did you see the early ones of Dean and Sam? How much do you want to bet they went to Jensen and Jared's mothers for those humiliating shots? Dean sees a picture of John playing softball. He remembers the team and Mary gets sad. "Dad's dead," Dean concludes after seeing her expression. Yeah, it's called Jeffrey Dean Morgan wasn't available for this episode. "And the thing that killed him was a"¦" "A stroke," Mary says. He died in his sleep. Dean actually says "that's great." Mary is shocked to hear that. "That's great that he went peacefully. It sure beats the alternative." Okay Dean, I'll give you that one. John's real death was pretty tragic.
"You've been drinking," Mary says. Okay, that's two so far. I'm counting just for posterity and a possible future trivia question. Dean denies it but Mary doesn't believe him. He's going to call Carmen and have her pick him up. Dean stops her and says he wants to stay there. Why? "Because I miss the place." He tells her to go to bed and he takes a seat with delight on the couch. Mary comes over and gently strokes the side of his head, which is exactly what caring mothers do. Dean is overjoyed. Aww man, I'm weepy again. "You sure you're alright?" Mary asks. "I think so," Dean says. She kisses him on the forehead and Dean so eats it up. Man, now I've gotta go hug my boy. Excuse me.
Mary walks away and says, "get some rest, I love you." How does Dean not bust into tears right then and there? Actually, judging by his frozen look he's fighting it. He's needed this his whole entire life. "Me too," he manages to choke out. She sweetly smiles and then leaves. Aww, even when her boy shows up supposedly drunk, she still loves him. Dean looks at more bad photoshops including a really horrible one of Sam's graduation. Dean is strangely missing. Oh come on, John isn't even the same color. That's so made up.
Dean is asleep on the couch and he looks like he hasn't slept this well in, oh, 23 years. He sees a hysterical photo of all of them at Christmas when he and Sam were young wearing the same matching sweaters. Now I'm in a fit of laughter. What sort of sick family does that? It's the anti-Winchesters! Aww, young Dean and Sam are as cute as buttons! Dean snaps up, realizing he's still in fantasyland. No Dean, it's not a dream. He picks up his cell phone and calls Sam again. He gets the voice mail this time. Dean hangs up not sure what to do.
Next thing he's talking to some college professor claiming to be a member of his class and even sucks up real good. I bet he could have gotten A's in college without even trying. I'm sure that would have driven Sam nuts. Anyway, Dean wants to know all about Djinns. Next thing the professor has lots of books out a la Bobby and mentions that a lot of Muslims believe Djinns are very real. Dean wants to get to the wish part. Does he think they can really do it? The professor doesn't think so since they're mythological creatures. So Dean does the hypothetical about what would happen if someone didn't say their wish out loud like a loved one never died or something horrible never happened. You mean your life Dean?
The professor goes for the hypothetical and explains they have God like power. "They can alter reality however they want, past, present, future." Dean wants to know why the Djinn would do it. He's speculating self defense or it's not really evil. Now the professor has that same bothered expression Mary had. "Son, you been drinking?" Number three. "Everybody keeps asking me that, but uh, no." He's actually thrilled he hasn't been. It's a new lease on life. To reinforce that new lease, he opens the trunk of the Impala. In that large area is just a bunch of fast food restaurant trash and porno magazines. Now that's not treating your baby right! He smiles. "Well who'd have thought baby, we're civilians."
Of course, this is Dean Winchester we're talking about. Any good news is not bound to last more than a few seconds. In the distance he sees a ghost like woman in a white dress staring at him. Dean sees her and instantly knows something isn't right. Now this I never noticed before and I've seen this episode how many times? As he runs toward the woman there's sound of something dripping. Like water or blood or something splashing in a warehouse. Dean walks toward her and a car stops short of hitting him. He looks back and she's gone. He cautiously looks and goes on. Might I mention that at this point in season two seeing the Impala without Sam seems really weird. I suppose now, not so much, but back then, Sam not being around was pretty noticeable.
Back to some more golden moments of paradise. Dean is in Mary's kitchen eating a homemade BLT. He savors it like it's the best meal he's ever had in his life. Probably because it is. He even tells her this is the best sandwich ever, then asks where Sam is. Mary thinks he should be there soon. Dean is dying to see him. Mary, still a little confused by Dean's behavior, says she's thrilled he wants to hang out there but shouldn't he be at work? At the garage. Dean covers, he has the day off. A mechanic. Just like John. How nice. Dean goes back to taking extreme pleasure in the sandwich. Then he looks outside. "That lawn looks like it could use some mowing." Mary in shock asks if he wants to mow the lawn. Dean would love to. She tells him to knock himself out. "You think you'd never mowed a lawn in your life." Dean shrugs, not letting on that is indeed the case.
Out of all the amazing scenes in this episode, this one is my favorite. Nothing out there, I don't care what show or what story, shows better the pure joy one can get from a simple pleasure usually taken for granted. Plus it's to The Ramone's version of "What a Wonderful World." What's cooler than that? The heavy guitar riffs come on, Dean pulls the cord, the engine revs and we see the red lawn mower moving over the bring green grass. The Technicolor lenses were brought out for this one for everything is colorful, bright cheery and there are even garden gnomes! Yeah, I know that's actually a metaphor that evil is really lurking but I'm too enchanted by the pure joy on Dean's face to care. Dean even stops to smile and wave at a neighbor who's taking out his garbage. He skeptically waves back like Dean has been drinking. I wouldn't count that in the tally though.
After a successful mow as the song winds down, Dean is sitting on the front steps and enjoying his favorite beer, El Sol, smiling over a job well done. Then, things actually get better! Up pulls a car, a rental that has just come from the airport. Another "I don't believe it." Sam gets out of the car. He's got one really pitiful track suit jacket on and a yellow shirt, and Jared looks really bad in yellow. I remember that from "It's A Terrible Life." Sam barely smiles at Dean, hinting to us that there's some tension there. Dean rushes over and bear hugs a perplexed Jessica, who gets out of the passenger side alive and well. Her reaction is great. "Good to see you too Dean," she says while her face hints she thinks he's been drinking. A fair assumption since he has a beer in his hand. "Can't breathe," she says and he lets go.
Sam comes over and Dean's all smiles. "Sammy, look at you. You're with Jessica, I don't believe it." Sam naturally doesn't get it either. Dean asks where they came from. They just flew in from California. Like Stanford, remember Dean? "Law school I bet." Sam isn't impressed and sees the beer in Dean's hand. "I see you've started off mom's birthday with a bang as usual." Dean is surprised today is her birthday. Sam definitely isn't pleased he forgot for that's why they flew in. Dean doesn't know what to say. Uh oh, I see a "be careful what you wish for" moment coming.
They're at a restaurant and someone puts this weird dish with an asparagus tower in front of Dean. He deadpans its awesome. They all toast over Mary's birthday and man does this scene feel weird. I'm sure that was the point. Dean watches Jessica and Sam kiss though and he's grinning from ear to ear. Poor guy, he doesn't see that Sam doesn't like him. That's really sad. Then Carmen interrupts. She was worried about him last night. He uses his "I'm good" line and this time he means it. She says proposes they get him a cheeseburger later. "Oh God yes. How did I end up with such a cool chick?" "I just got low standards," she jokes. Lady, you haven't seen Dean's lows. You see, there's this waitress in Tampa"¦
He kisses her and then it's time for Sam's big announcement for Mary's birthday. Sam and Jessica get really cute about who's going to drop the news and Sam shows them the ring on Jessica's finger. Mary is elated. She gives Jess a big hug and then Sam, wishing his dad was there to see this. Sam agrees and then I realize that yellow polka dot tie that Sam has on is really hideous. They really are going out of their way to make him look like a wimp in this reality. Also, I'm watching everyone's subtle reactions. Sam is all smiles when Mary hugs him and is even sweet when Mary mentions John. It isn't until Dean comes over and offers his congratulations that Sam's face gets a little sour. Dean says he's glad Sam is happy and Sam doesn't buy it one bit. Oh, so that's why this scene seems strange.
Dean sees that same woman over Sam's shoulder, except her dress is grey now and her face is looking more gaunt. The same dripping noises come on in the background. Dean briskly walks over, someone walks in front of him and she's gone. He turns around to see Sam, Jessica, Carmen and Mary staring at him like he's lost his mind. Yeah, how does he explain all this to them?
Back at the house and there's a terrible picture of John holding a large fish. Sam asks Dean what that was back at the restaurant. Dean brushes it off as he thought he saw someone. That's one way of putting it. Mary announces she had a lovely birthday and Sam lovingly smiles. Aww, we forget that he never knew this woman at all, so this is how he would have been with her had she lived. He adores and worships her. That is the true unconditional love of a son for his mother. Sam then says he's beat and asks Jess if she's ready to turn in. Dean doesn't get it. It's not even 9:00 yet. He proposes they go have a drink. Carmen likes the idea, Sam says another time. Dean insists. "Look at us. We both have beautiful women on our arm. You're engaged, let's go celebrate." Sam has had enough of this brotherly act and takes Dean aside.
Sam wants to know what's gotten into him. Dean doesn't understand. "This whole warm fuzzy, ecstasy trip thing." "I'm just happy for you Sammy," Dean says and pats him on the arm. This gets Sam even more riled up. "Yeah right, that's another thing. Since when do you call me Sammy? Dean come on, we don't talk outside of holidays." Dean is surprised to hear that. "Well we should. You're my brother." Sam doesn't like that line at all. "You know that's what you said when you snaked my ATM card. Or when you bailed on my graduation, or when you hooked up with Rachel Nave." Who? "My prom date, on prom night." She's also the writer for "Bugs." She deserves this!
"Yeah, that does kind of sound like me," Dean says. Dean tries to apologize an apparently Sam has gotten over it. He's not asking Dean to change but they don't have anything in common. "Yes we do" Dean says as Sam tries to leave. "Hunting." "I've never been hunting in my life Dean," Sam replies. Dean looks like he's dying inside. "Yeah well, we should go sometime. I think you'd be great at it." Sam only responds like Dean is talking nonsense. Poor Dean doesn't want Sam to go so Sam turns around and tells him to get some rest before leaving. Dean is crushed. This is so sad! Also, notice how everyone is telling Dean to get some rest? That must be the method the Djinn uses to get them to stay in this reality.
Dean has the same dejected look as he sits on his couch at his apartment. Carmen gives him his favorite beer. "I guess you know me pretty well." She sits next to him and asks if he's alright. "Sammy and I. We don't get along." Carmen guesses they don't spend too much time with each other and don't know each other all that well. Interesting how that's still kind of true. The they don't know each other that well part I mean. Probably because Sam is always keeping secrets. Dean thinks he can fix things with Sam and make it up to him. Carmens wants to know what's gotten into him lately. "This isn't going to make a lick of sense to you, but I kind of feel like I've been given a second chance and I don't want to waste it." She agrees it doesn't make any sense so he kisses her.
"You know I get it. Why you're the one." He kisses her more and things get all hot and heavy. These two have chemistry! It's been impossible to get such sparks between other women Dean have been with. She stops him because she has to go to get ready for work. Crud, I would have loved to have seen a passionate love scene between these two. She has the night shifts on Thursday. Wow, so she never gets to watch the show. Bummer. He goes into the other room and sees her getting scrubs out. "I'm dating a nurse. That is so respectable." Aww, does he honestly think he could never have a respectable woman?
Dean is channel surfing next. A news story comes on about the anniversary of the United Britannia flight crash in Indianapolis. Dean can't believe it because he knows he stopped that crash. Dean finds the newspaper archive on the computer about the crash (Phantom Traveler), then about the nine comatose children from a mysterious illness in Wisconsin (Something Wicked), parents mutilated in their bed (Everybody Loves a Clown), and a girl drowns in a hotel pool (Playthings). Mystery woman shows up again and walks into the bedroom. Dean follows and doesn't see her, but does see two hanging skeletons in the closet. He turns around, see's the mystery woman who's looking bloody and awful, and then she disappears right in front of his eyes. He turns about and the skeletons are gone. Mind fuck!
Pausing, because I definitely need the Kleenexes now. Dean is in a cemetery. I'm just going to transcribe the entire speech he gives to John's grave, because it's just plain brilliant. This is Jensen's finest moment in the series and that's tough to say considering what he brings us each and every week. Plus, Jensen is usually very strong with others in the scene, but this is one of those rare times where he shows how absolutely incredible he is just by himself. "All Hell Breaks Loose Part II" being the other.
"All of "˜em. Everyone you saved, everyone Sammy and I saved. They're all dead. And there's this woman that's haunting me, I don't know why, I don't know what the connection is, not yet anyway, it's like my old life is coming after me or something. Like it doesn't want me to be happy. Of course I know what you'd say. Well not the you that played softball but, it's like go hunt the Djinn. It put you here it can put you back. You're happiness for all those people's lives, no contest, right? But why? Why is it my job to save these people? (voice starts cracking) Why do I have to be some kind of hero? What about us. Mom's not supposed to live her life, Sammy's not supposed to get married, why do we have to sacrifice everything dad? (Single man tear down cheek, pause, more tears down other cheek). Yeah." (cries more, wipes tears from face, walks away to sad violin score).
You know, it's really hard to see this scene now knowing what happens to the brothers after this. The crap just keeps on coming and it gets worse and worse. They somehow manage to go on and Dean gave all this up for that. I'm still in total awe over this character.
Sam and Jessica are in bed. Sam hears crashing downstairs and goes with a baseball bat to investigate. He goes down to the living room and sees someone going through the cabinet. He swings the bat, misses, and Dean takes him down pretty easy. "That was so easy I'm embarrassed for you," Dean says. Sam wants to know what the hell Dean is doing there. Dean gives the same beer line he did in the pilot but Sam wonders why he's in the china cabinet. He turns on the light and sees Dean has their mother's good silver out. Sam, naturally thinking the worst of Dean, is full of accusations. He wonders what' so important that Dean has to steal from his own mother. Dean gives him the so called truth. He owes a bookie money and has to bring him the cash tonight. Sam is appalled. I love how Dean let's Sam think he's a degenerate to protect him. That's so him.
"Sam, I'm sorry. I'm sorry that we don't get along. And I wish to hell I could stay and fix it. But I got to do this. People's lives depend on it." He reaches down and grabs one silver knife. Sam wants to know what he's talking about. Dean says nothing and then really worries Sam with the "tell Mom I love her," line. Sam tries to stop him but Dean gives a bittersweet "I'll see ya Sammy." He takes one more quick look and leaves. Sam is actually worried.
Dean waits outside in the Impala and suddenly Sam gets in the passenger seat. Dean orders him out of the car but Sam insists he's going with him. Dean claims he'll slow him down but Sam won't budge. "It's dangerous and you could get hurt." "And so could you Dean. Whatever stupid thing you're about to do you're not doing it alone and that's that." Dean doesn't get why he's doing this. "Because you're still my brother." Dean nods in appreciation and then says "bitch." Sam doesn't get it. "You're supposed to say jerk." He says never mind and drives off. I suppose when I first saw this I thought this was an emotional and triumphant moment for the brothers, but then we find out the real reason. That's sad too.
They're driving at night and Sam wants to know what's in the bag. Dean insists nothing. Sam, being defiant checks anyway. It's a jar full of blood. Sam freaks out and wants to know why it's there. "You don't want to know." Sam really, really does want to know. Dean figures out he'll know sooner or later. He needed a silver knife dipped in lamb's blood. Sam has that "you're insane look" going and asks why. Dean says that there's a Djinn and he has to hunt it. Sam tells him to stop the car. "It's true Sam. There are things out there in the dark, there are bad things, there are nightmare things and people have to be saved and if we don't save them nobody will." Sam wants to help but concludes Dean is having a psychotic breakdown. "I wish," Dean says. Sam starts to make a call and Dean throws the phone out the window. Sam, being the girl that he is, has a hissy fit. "I'm not going to a rubber room Sammy and we've got work to do." Sam yells insisting that he's trying to help him out. "What, you protect me? That's hilarious." Why don't you just sit tight and try not to get us both killed." Yep, still season two.
Dean puts on the opening song "Saturday Night Special" and Sam is unnerved as Dean drives on. You know, this prissy version of Sam worked great in "Tall Tales." Here, he's pretty pathetic. So if Mary hadn't died, he'd become a boring useless preppy lawyer. Somehow, I don't see that better than the mess he's in now. At least his life isn't boring and he's meeting some fascinating people. Anyway, Dean pulls up to the warehouse in Joliet. Sam is sleeping so Dean shines a flashlight on him. Apparently that wakes him up in the alternate reality too. I do love how Dean is getting delight in teasing his brother, even in this universe. Sam asks where they are. "Well, we're not in Kansas anymore." You do of course realize that there's like 500 miles difference between the two places. Dean would have to have been going 90 mph to get there in like six hours. I guess if they had left around midnight, okay I'll drop it.
Dean knows something is in there. They look and at first there isn't something. Sam is telling him so because he's a whiny little brother. Dean should really whip around and clock him with that flashlight. He and his track jacket are annoying me. Then they hear a woman whimpering. "Stay behind me and keep your mouth shut," Dean instructs Sam. Sam's too busy freaking out to say much anyway. Dean finds the skeletons, the ones he saw in his closet. This is turning out to be a well played hunch. Then he finds the girl that's been haunting him. She's alive but she doesn't look good at all. Near dead. Dean spots the Djinn and they run and hide. I should note that my disc on this episode has been damaged since the day I got it, so I had to buy a new season two set to do this recap. Luckily, they've been uber cheap lately. This scene I've never seen before in its entirety until now. The bad part of the disc was at this exact spot.
Djinn walks in, see's the girl coming around and does his whole magic sleep thing on her again. Dean and Sam lurk in the shadows and watch. This dude is really creepy. He stares at her with those blue eyes longingly as she goes under and then he starts caressing her a bit while she's out. Then he drinks her blood. Okay, definitely not your Barbara Eden genie. Could you imagine her going dark like this? He, it would be nice to see her torture Major Nelson. Sam is grossed out and makes a noise. Djinn looks, doesn't see anyone there and goes upstairs. Of course Sam and Dean are under the stairs watching him go up. Sam is pretty shaken. "This is real, you're not crazy." Dean's too puzzled putting together the mystery to care. He figures out the girl thinks she's with her father. He goes back out to take another look. "What if that's what the Djinn does? He doesn't grant you a wish, he just makes you think he has."
Sam wants to leave in case the Djinn comes back. Dean ignores him, for now he sees it. He goes over to a nearby spot and sees the light bulb. Suddenly he flashes on himself being strung up and half dead. He's there too! Pretty clever Dean. He's too busy being horrified to be self-congratulatory. Sam wants to leave, but Dean asks what if he's like her. "What if this is all in my head?" Fade to commercial with metal teeth chomp. Wow, that's a cool reveal! Honest, I'd never seen that before.
Dean's back to speculating more. The Djinn's giving them some sort of supernatural acid and feeding on them slow. She's not a spirit. He's getting flashes of reality and can't snap out of it. Sam is trying to convince him otherwise. Hmm, Sam, why are you trying to do that? Sam pulls him away saying they need to get out of there but Dean pushes him back. "I don't think you're real." This is about where the disc went back to normal before so now all this looks familiar. Sam grabs onto him and goes frantic. "Do you feel this? I'm real, this is not an acid trip. I'm real and that thing is going to come down and kill us for real." Dean has one way to be sure and he pulls out the silver knife. Wow, it's a nice sharp pointy one with a cool handle. He's going on the old wives tale that if you're about to die in your dream you wake up. Ooh, smart thinking. I would have never come up with that.
Sam is in full fledged fit mode, telling him he's going to kill himself. "Or I'm going to wake up," Dean says. Sam does one more anxious plea but Dean won't have it. "No, I'm pretty sure." They have a stare down. "Like 90 percent sure. But I'm sure enough." Dean turns the knife on himself. "Wait!" Sam shouts and from the shadows emerges Mary, white nightgown and all. The serene music plays and Dean realizes he's right. Sam suddenly isn't Mr. Wimp anymore either. "Why'd you have to keep digging? Why couldn't you have left well enough alone?" Carmen and Jessica come out too. Dean is stunned. "You were happy," Sam says. Mary comes up to him with her loving smile and tells him to put the knife down. "You're not real. None of it is." Dean says.
"It doesn't matter. It's still better than anything you had," Mary tells him. Dean can't believe she's saying that. "It's everything you want. We're a family again. Let's go home." Dean uses the "he'll die" rationale. The Djinn will drain the life out of him in a couple of days. "But in here with us, it'll feel like years. Like a lifetime. I promise." Dean seriously considers this. He wants is so bad, we can tell. Sam even gives him an approving smile. Mary goes on while stroking his face. "No more pain, or fear. Just love and comfort. And safety. Dean, stay with us. Get some rest." Dean melts and looks like he's being won over.
To seal the deal, Jessica speaks up. "You don't have to worry about Sam anymore. You get to watch him live a full life." By Dean's expression, that one is what means more to him than anything. Then Carmen comes over for her turn. She kisses him sweetly. "We can have a future together. Have our own family. I love you Dean." Ding, ding, ding, that's the real winner. That's what he wants more than anything. Judging by "The Kids Are Alright" and "Dream A Little Dream of Me," that wish never leaves him. That's so sweet! And so sad too. Sam's turn, and he starts with what I think are the best Sam puppy dog eyes ever. He's going for the gusto. "Why is it our job to save everyone? Haven't we done enough?" You see, right then and there I would have given up. The Djinn can have the reality, I'm taking the fantasy. Dean so wants this and everything they're saying to him makes sense. "I'm begging you," Sam says, "give me the knife." Sure bro, here you go!
No, that's not what Dean is all about. I honestly don't know how he did this. He looks at Carmen, then Sam, then Mary, steps away and says with heartfelt pain, "I'm sorry." Then he drives the knife right into his gut. "Dean!" shouts Sam, except this time it's the real Sam! He sees Dean all strung up and tries to wake him. "Wake up dammit." Dean comes around and says "Aunty Em. There's no place like home." Definitely not in Kansas. "Thank God, I thought I lost you for a second," Sam says while removing the needle that was draining Dean's blood. "You almost did." That's for sure Dean.
He starts cutting Dean down and suddenly blue eyes emerge from the shadows. Dean yells out in warning and Sam starts swinging the knife at the Djinn. Remember, this is season two, when Sam's hand to hand combat skills were pretty sucky. Except "Nightshifter." That was really awesome. But as usual Sam is bested and the Djinn pulls out the blue hand of magic on Sam. That's when we get part two of this drama and see what Sam's deepest desire is. Oh wait, no, Dean frees himself and kills the Djinn. I guess that works too.
Dean goes over to the rotting girl and sees she's still alive. Sam cuts her down while Dean takes out her needle. She collapses into Dean's arms and Dean is so gentle with her. Sam even notices. Dean assures her they'll get her out of there but she's still zoning. It closes with him assuring, "I got you." I imagine that's because he knows exactly what she's going through. He looks pretty rattled.
Back to cheap motel room of reality. Dean leafs though a magazine and there it is. A picture of Carmen in a beer ad for El Sol beer. She was a model in an ad. Wow, that's some intense wish granting. Sam is finishing up on the phone. He's wearing his infamous shirt, The Paisley Peril. He was on the phone with the hospital. The girl they saved has been stabilized and there's a good chance she'll pull through. Dean nods and gives monotone "that's good" because it's of little comfort. Sam sees Dean isn't good and asks him if he's alright. Um, no Sam. Of course Dean says that he is. Liar!
Dean at least starts to talk about it though. I'm thrilled Dean never stopped talking to Sam like this. It was Sam that did all the clamming up eventually. "You should have seen it Sam. Our lives. You were such a wussy." Sam finds that amusing. Remember the days when Sam used to smile? "So we didn't get along then, huh?" "No," confirms Dean. "I thought it was supposed to be this perfect fantasy?" Dean says it wasn't. "It was just a wish. I wished for Mom to live. Mom never died, we never went hunting, you and me just never, uh"¦you know." Sadly, Sam gets it. "Well I'm glad we do." Yeah, right. Wait until season four.
Sam's also glad he dug himself out, for most people wouldn't have had the strength. "Yeah, lucky me," Dean says sarcastically. Oh man, he's having big regrets. I don't blame him. He goes on the explain the idyllic life. Sam had Jess, Mom was going to have grandkids. Sam reminds him that none of that was real. "I know, but I wanted to stay. I wanted to stay so bad. I mean ever since dad"¦All I can think about is how much this job's cost us." Again, it's really sad knowing how much worse things get for these guys. "We've lost so much. We've sacrificed so much." Sam takes the John Winchester stance and mentions that people are alive because of him. It's worth it. "It's not fair, and it hurts like hell, but it's worth it." Back to Dean where we get the mother of all Troubled Profiles of Doom. He's not so sure. Fade to credits.
To think how much that still sticks with Dean. I've always speculated that given that chance again, he wouldn't do the same thing. He'll take that happy life. Of course I think his experiences from "In The Beginning" back me up on that. This is why season two is so good. It introduces the dilemmas that haunt the brothers to this day. There are consequences of actions and free will and even though it's not fair, innocent people get hurt in the crossfire even if the decision seems right. I'm still often referring to this episode in the season four and five recaps and reviews. It's really hard to ignore what impact this experience had on Dean.
My grade on this? Duh, an A+. What else would it have been? Also, I'm not the greatest resource when it comes to Supernatural fanfics, but this is one of my all time favorites. If you've got some time, it's a ten chapter story that picks up in the alternate reality where this episode left off. Everyone is really worried about Dean after his attempted suicide and even Sam takes a semester off from Stanford for Mary's sake to help out. This alternate Dean starts having dreams about the other Dean's life and he and Sam end up reconnecting after stumbling on a mystery of a murdering ghost in the area. Plus Dean and Carmen's relationship continues to grow. It's a really great story.