Hands down, this is my ABSOLUTE favorite episode from season 1. It’s even better than the Pilot. This episode has everything I love, love, love about Supernatural – creepy monster; fabulous atmosphere; spooky tree branches scratching on the window during a windy night; a monster that preys on children; an old-style motel (that looks FABULOUS at night); creepy, wheelchair lady with an inverted cross on her wall; and even some Weechester flashbacks to give me more of the back story I crave. I love this one so much! This is Supernatural in all its glory!
I loved the parallel between Dean and Sam as kids and the motel owner’s children. It was heavy handed, but it was so sweet that I didn’t mind.
I love that Dean felt responsible for going after the shtriga after what had happened when he was a kid. I also love that John knew Dean would want to finish it and “redeem” himself (For clarification, Dean didn’t need to “redeem” himself. He was only a child, so there was no failure on his part; but John understood Dean well enough to know how Dean would feel about that night). I felt bad about how John reacted when Dean was a kid, though. I mean, he left the kid with a shotgun and Dean reached for the only weapon he had. Of course, he’d have killed Sam if he’d fired, but how was a child supposed to know that?
I also loved the insight into Dean’s emotional issues. The flashback in this episode may very well have been the moment when Dean realized that he’d never be allowed to be a child. Ever. No matter what. His responsibility until his death would forever be to watch out for Sammy, and put his own needs and wants on the back burner forever. And when Dean said that John never looked at him the same way after that night — oh my heart. How must young Dean have felt, considering the way he already worshipped his father? How heartbreaking.
One of the (few) things I liked about season 1 is how the writers gradually peeled back Sam’s veil in terms of his relationship with John and Dean. In this episode, Sam learned why Dean is so obedient when John gives him orders. He also commented that he wished he could have remained innocent for longer (interesting, since he got to watch Thundercats on television while Dean already had the weight of the world on his shoulders, but I digress…), and Dean wishes he could have given Sam that, too. Earlier (in Home, I think), Sam learned that Dean is the one who carried him out of the fire. It’s so like Dean to do something heroic and never mention it again. And in Bugs, Sam learned that even though he was not speaking to John (or Dean, for that matter), John still came by Stanford whenever he could, to check on Sam and make sure he was safe. I still didn’t like Sam for several more seasons, but it was nice to see him finally (albeit slowly) gaining an understanding of how much Dean did for him without ever saying a word or asking for anything in return.
I found a lot to love about this episode, even after all the times I’ve seen it. This ep has been the high point of my rewatch so far 🙂