Article Index


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.


# 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!).