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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.


# 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!).