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I LOVE the episodes when we get to see John! I love watching JDM, and his chemistry with Jensen and Jared is remarkable. This episode has always made me wonder exactly when John knew the details of Azazel’s plans for Sam. If John knew he’d need the Colt, then he must’ve known about Azazel’s power level and what it would take to kill him, I think. So he must’ve known the full plan – especially since it seems like only a small amount of time passed between this episode and Salvation/Devil’s Trap. And when John sees Azazel in “In My Time of Dying”, he admits that he’s known about the demon’s plan “for a while”. Unless he was lying, I’m pretty sure he knew when this episode took place.
I can’t help thinking back to the BTS comedic video we saw of Jensen and Jared playing in the snow in between scenes (at Elkins’ cabin) while filming this episode. I’m always encouraged that they seemed to have so much fun making this show. Even when I’m not happy with the show, it makes me very happy for them whenever I’m reminded of that.
Plot holes? In this episode, John says he thought vampires were extinct, and Dean and Sam both say John never mentioned vamps to them. But by season 2, vamps are suddenly commonplace when the brothers run into Gordon Walker, who hunts them regularly. When John shows Dean a vampire fang, Dean says “It’s a vamp fang” like he’s seen one before, which is impossible if he never knew they existed before this episode. The boys also seem pretty comfortable hunting vamps (in season 2) after a single encounter with John in this episode. Also, in season 3 vampires can hear a human heartbeat from blocks away, but the Winchesters somehow sneak into the nest TWICE undetected. The first time, they didn’t even bother to mask their scent.
Speaking of vampires, I like how this episode used eye flare to reveal the vampires. It’s less cheesy than showing us their fangs all the time.
This episode had some of the best family “moments” in season 1. John’s anecdote about the college funds that got spent on ammo, the discussion at the end when John acknowledges that they’re stronger as a family, etc. Those moments hit all the right tones.