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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.


# Jasminka 2009-12-11 04:25
Alice, could you please get out of my head…? This is one of those episodes I love to watch over and over.
I just watched it yesterday night when my mind was spinning with yet another heavy crisis I had to solve at work and I somehow couldn’t get down. So, a dose of Winchester helped me relax, and now I find this recap – woman, how do you do that? Doing this amazing episode justice with your recap and review – and in a manner that makes me believe I’m watching it right now, with some nice, wicked comments on the side…

Yeah, why do smart characters end up as lawyers..? I could picture Sam working for NASA or the UN, putting his diplomatic skills to good use…. (and I wouldn’t mind having him share my office with me: JasPh.D. & SamPh.D., therapists for the impossible… oh, I’m crazy…)

Well, this is an episode in which Dean shines…. Containing some of the sweetest Dean-moments ever… and he breaks my heart every time in those scenes with Mom… how he leans into her, as she bids him good night, eating the ‘best sandwich ever’, having a –relaxed (how long has it been, the man has felt at peace?)- beer, his loving glance at Sam with Jessica, his realization what’s going on between him and alternative-rea lity-Sam, his love for Carmen (and that kiss, … sorry everyone, heavy fan-moment coming on awwwwwwwwwwh, I’m dying…. ), and that graveyard scene… I’m dying again (how many lives does a woman have, exactly?) and getting buried in a Kleenex coffin.

Jensen, you’re way too young to be such an amazing, amazing actor! Everything is here – the tense body language communicating all that pain and the dignity he keeps throughout everything that happened to him (and that will happen), the changes in voice, the struggle for breath, gosh, the tragedy of it all…

You’re absolutely right, Alice. There’s not much to do but to be in awe over this character. Apart from all he does to be the man he is, allowing Sam to think ‘he’s a degenerate to protect him’ is one of the most difficult things ever – letting a loved one believe you’re, well, a disappointment, … I salute you, Dean, dear.

And, yes, the first time I saw those scenes, I too believed that they found a brotherly bond even in that reality, but the heartrending truth soon delivered a blow…

And, well, about that old wives’ tale… where my mother came from, people believed that if you died in a dream, you’d really die. .. Is there anyone out there who can convince me that you have died in a dream and are still around? No kidding, growing up with that superstition I somehow still believe that… like I’m still ten years old…

That decision Dean had to make to come back… My God, my heart breaks for him yet again… I was brought up with the moral standards that integrity and kindness are two of the most important things in life. Spontaneously I’d say, ‘Of course I would have done the exact same thing, returning to the real life, doing what needs to be done’, but truth is, I don’t know if I had the strength to do that.
With every tough decision I had to make in my life I’ve striven to honour my parents by doing what needed to be done… But it gets harder… I’ve been asking myself ever since that episode whether I would be able to muster up the strength necessary if I came into a situation as impossible as that… I only hope I would. But I don’t know for sure…

Alice, thanks a lot for this great recap! You summed it all up so beautifully and inadvertently gave me an idea for an article. Now I’ll have to get to work again.
Any other ‘landmark episodes’ recaps coming up? Terrific! Jas
# DianeUK 2009-12-11 04:52
Just trying to type around the tears!!!
This and ALWAYS will be my favourite episode EVER. It is the one that the DVD goes to automatically when the disk goes in!!!!
Jasminka you said it for me.
I was supposed to be working at home this am .... But HAD to read this when I saw the title (OH! Work is always there!)
The only other point I would make is that it is SOOO wonderful to see Dean smiling and happy. It happens so rarely. I miss his smiles ... but then maybe if there were too many (can there be too many?) we would not cherish them so much.
My son always knows when I have watched this episode because I hug and give him a kiss!(don't always remember other times!). Have to go and phone him now!
Thank you again for this article
Diane x
# Randal 2009-12-11 11:37
Lynda Carter wins, trust me. My first boyhood crush. Yowza.

This episode has had a strange shelf life in my noodle. Usually when deliberating on whether this one is better than that because who doesn't love making lists, it's pretty fluid, but this is one of the few that seems to age like a fine wine, climbing up the charts.

There's so much emotional depth in it and if your heart doesn't break at the end, then you're one cold mofo. I'm a sucker for the heavy mytharc/demonol ogy and comedy ones, but goddamn, I don't pay attention to any of that Emmy bullshit, but how Jensen didn't win one of those stupid trophies for this (do they have single episode ones?) is beyond me. The curse of being on a "horror" show, I guess.
# Bevie 2009-12-11 16:05
If ever anyone in the world deserved to win an acting trophy, it would be Jensen in this episode. I am in complete awe of his talent portrayed here. I'm sure the doofuses who vote for the Emmy winners never even attempt to watch an episode of Supernatural. Boy, they don't know what they are missing out on! I have such respect for this man's extraordinary talent.

As for this episode, it may well be my number 1 episode. It shows off Dean's character so well. His love for his mother and Sam. His deepest wishes for a loving relationship with a good woman and a desire to have a family of his own. Yes, the tears do flow when watching this one! So much empathy for the character of Dean Winchester, who puts himself last in every situation that comes down to his comfort or the well being of others, even strangers. That is the quality that makes me love Dean Winchester unconditionally . We know what makes him tick and what drives him to be the hero he is.

What a wonderfully constructed character! Bless the exceptional writers, producers and creator Kripke for this awesome guy! And the amazing Jensen who brings him to life every episode!
# Hillary 2009-12-12 03:12
This is by far the best episode of supernatural ever, there is a reason it is the only A+ episode on twop. It's just a fantastic character study and highlights how well constructed and acted the character of Dean Winchester really is. This episode highlights why I like Dean. He may have superficial flaws but deep down he has a respect for humanity and desire to protect the innocent from the darkness. This is also the episode I use to explain why I love this show.
# Karen 2009-12-14 09:20
Hi Alice
Once again another great review.
This has always been one of my favourite episodes.
Can’t say anymore than what has already been said.
Thanks again.
# Suze 2009-12-15 06:12
I love Dean in this, and we need more Ramones ( C'mon, they're mostly dead or well addled, they'd be cheap ... ) Best of all I love the Genie, awesome tattoos, glows in the dark, all round top monster ... All sing together now ... You ain't never had a friend like me ... :lol:
# Dany 2009-12-23 12:52
I've been waiting for this recap for a long time Alice, so thanks for this wonderful piece!
This is one of my favorites episodes, lots of klenex every time!
Yes, I too think that Emmy is way overdue, but like Bevie I think that those people that vote for that never saw a Supernatural episode, they don't know what they missing (like amazing acting!).