AGREED, JBB! One of my all time favorites too.
Julie Benz as the terminally ill woman was very touching and compelling. I loved her every since Buffy and Angel as an actress and think she was often underrated.
The episode is such bold shift into something more “real” to me. Calling it “Faith” and then exploring the different ways that word can be interpreted or practiced with very different outcomes was really interesting to me. It’s the first time they really dip their toe into Judeo-Christian religion and the boys own views on the subject.
They also open a window into a whole new level of religious lore in this episode with the introduction of reapers! And I love the twist how faith in a different belief system can bind a powerful creature like this and bend them to your will….but how that is not without consequences.
The reaper is very effective in that he’s so implacable and calm which makes him all the more scary to me.
Interesting and appreciated social commentary on how evil cloaked in religious righteousness is even more evil! Like Dean says: “God save us from half the people who think they’re doing God’s work.”
The beginning always is a SHOCKER to me – CREEPY monster, dingy basement (never a good sign!) and Dean practically dying. AAAHHH, nooo!
Dean’s acceptance that this is probably it for him when he talks to Sam in the hospital still makes me tear up every time. Dean’s faith in Sam to carry on alone….argh….heart wrenching. Sam’s refusal to accept that and his passionate plea to hang on is, I believe, what makes Dean crawl out of bed and drag his ass over to the motel.
LOVE THE LINE : “Well, I’m not gonna die in a hospital where the nurses aren’t even hot.”
The whole discussion about “having to have a little faith” between Sam and Dean is brilliant!! Sam hanging on to faith BECAUSE of the evil in the world and Dean having a lack of faith for the same reason is a really interesting contrast in their world view to me. And I love how from this episode forward it shifts and evolves for both of them. Dean’s slight change of mind at the end of this episode where he tells Layla that he’ll pray for her is very touching.
I love Sam’s determination to go to whatever length necessary to save Dean. Even if it’s unorthodox faith healing. I feel bad for both of them when they find out that it indeed was to good to be true and someone else died to Dean could live. And Dean’s inner conflict over saving Layla’s life over some stranger’s is visceral in Jensen’s performance. SO tough to do the right thing!!
I also really appreciate how the brothers work together in this one after they figure out that there’s a case!
Great episode with serious themes.