February 22, 2021 at 11:53 am #5412journalbookbinderKeymaster
We meet Max in this one and start to get a tiny clue about what’s going on with Sam and his visions. I remember this one to be very effective and tragic. One of those (again) where they try but can’t save everyone. I’m looking forward to re-watching it as I haven’t see this one in a very long time.
March 7, 2021 at 11:37 am #5725
I know I’m supposed to feel bad for Max, and I do. I just don’t feel as bad as I’m supposed to. We’re not supposed to become monsters trying to defeat or punish monsters. I understand Max’s rage about his father. If Max had killed his father during a beating, it would make more sense to me. But the murders were calculated and cold. And killing his stepmother was too far. Yes, she should have done something to protect her son, but did she deserve to die because she didn’t? Like Sam said, Max could’ve left. Even after Sam explained everything to him about how their mothers died the same way, and how they were both “chosen” for something due to their psychic abilities, Max still only wanted revenge. He was even willing to kill Dean simply for getting in the way of that revenge.
I love that Dean was ready to charge out in the middle of the night on nothing but Sam’s hunch. I also love Dean trying to put on a brave face for Sam, when he’s truly afraid for Sam, since he doesn’t know if the psychic visions are doing him real harm.
I love Sera Gamble and Raelle Tucker as a writing team!!! I like the parallel they were trying to show us about what life could have been like for Dean and Sam if John wasn’t a stronger person. It sounds like Max’s beatings and his fathers’ drinking didn’t start until after Max’s mother died on the ceiling of Max’s nursery. For all we know, he was a loving father before then. Like Dean said, without hunting (and without John’s inner strength), John could easily have turned into an angry, abusive mess.
I wonder why the show never showed us any more of Sam’s telekinetic powers. It’s like they wanted initially to go there, but abandoned it for some reason.
Speaking of abandoning ideas, I’m glad they got rid of the weirdo infrared laser ghost hunting thingy. It looked too much like a cheap visual effect that got thrown in at the last minute but didn’t make sense.
March 7, 2021 at 5:43 pm #5730PigNaPokeParticipant
HAHAHA, I agree, kate38!!!
WHAT WAS THAT laser ghost detector thing?!?!? I actually laughed out loud watching it this time. It’s BULKY, it’s very “MacGyver” looking and WHAT in the world was it supposed to do?! Show evil energy? Ghosts? Too funny!
But, HEY, season one….they did threw a bunch of stuff against the wall!
On abandoning Sam’s psychic abilities….I always wondered if they put that to the wayside because it would have made Sam somewhat more poerful than Dean and they didn’t want a power imbalance. And my second thought was that they might have decided that they really want the brothers to JUST be human and normal because it made the struggle more real and relatable.
I thought it was an interesting power to have and explore for a little while but ultimately I am glad that they didn’t keep it around.
March 7, 2021 at 5:57 pm #5731PigNaPokeParticipant
On previous watchings of this episode I always felt “uncomfortable” with Max. For the same reasons you mention, kate38. I was supposed to feel bad, BUT to me he came across as a weak minded murderer.
Only THIS time watching I felt incredibly SAD for him. He was, as a child, trapped in a horrible situation and I can understand that it somehow dealt a blow to his psyche and emotional state that he could not overcome even as an adult.
YES, he could have left as an adult, but without some serious help and therapy he would have never been alright.
THAT made me sad this time around.
However, I still can’t condone any of his actions.
The other parts of the episode I liked a lot.
I thought Jared did really well at conveying Sam’s growing anxiety and confusion about his situation and condition. And Jensen did amazing at playing Dean’s put on nonchalance and confidence, when you could also plainly see that Dean was worried. Especially that very last scene where Dean makes a joke about going to Vegas next but then when Sam huffs and walks out Dean’s face changes to a deep concern….SO WELL ACTED!
The back and forth between visions and reality were interesting and are still well done even though no longer surprising, of course. And I will ALWAYS be jarred to see Dean die. Even if it’s just a premonition.
ONE qualm – When Dean says “You have one thing Max never had” it never made sense to me that the writers had Sam conclude he meant JOHN at that point! In my understanding of Sam’s character at that time Sam would have totally gotten Dean’s point and agreed. But….I know….good conflict.
March 11, 2021 at 7:52 pm #5914
“ONE qualm – When Dean says “You have one thing Max never had” it never made sense to me that the writers had Sam conclude he meant JOHN at that point! In my understanding of Sam’s character at that time Sam would have totally gotten Dean’s point and agreed. But….I know….good conflict.”
That’s a good point, PNP.
I got the impression that in season 1, Sam had NO IDEA how truly devoted Dean was to him, and how much Dean had already sacrificed for him. In “Skin”, Sam finds out for the first time that Dean is the one who carried him out of the fire. Later in season 1, Sam and John almost get into a fist fight, and it’s Dean who steps between them. From Dean’s reaction, it seemed like he’d spent a lot of his youth doing exactly that. In “Something Wicked”, and again in the Christmas episode (season 3) we see Dean doing his best to take care of Sam in a motel, try to keep Sam safe, and try to give the kid some sort of Christmas. And much later, in “Dark Side of the Moon”, Sam learns that even at the age of four, Dean was already trying to help keep the peace between John and Mary.
Dean literally sacrificed his life — all of it, without regret or hesitation — for Sam and John. To me, Sam’s response iin this episode says that Sam didn’t realize or appreciate how much he truly owed Dean until much later in the series.
March 9, 2021 at 1:06 pm #5769journalbookbinderKeymaster
I feel SO BAD for Max in this one. To me, he is one of the most sympathetic and sad characters SPN has ever created. I have been close to people who were abused as children. It makes you want to kill the abuser yourself. I was cheering for Max. Kate, I didn’t see Max as out for revenge at all costs. I saw him as desperate to stop his own pain at all costs and to me, that is more like a matter of personal survival than a quest for revenge. The feelings of anger towards those who stood by and did nothing to stop the abuse are almost as strong with me as those towards the abusers. So I understood Max wanting to kill his stepmother. The betrayal some victims feel as children over not being protected by someone who should have protected them is lifelong and deep. I can totally condone Max’s (fictional) actions. They made complete sense to me.
I feel like this episode turns so much of what’s expected on its head. Those who died aren’t innocent victims. The killer is not a spirit. This is ANOTHER real-life hush-hush issue that they tackled and I love that. I STILL felt the hair on the back of my neck rise up when Sam realizes that Max’s mom died the same way Mary did. The first time he ever found someone else with his story.
Also, to me, it’s unexpected that Max dies. They can’t save him. Sam lays on the puppy dog eyes and the sincerity and it still doesn’t work. On first watch years ago, I was shocked when Max died.
It’s a huge jump ahead for Sam’s growing abilities; moving the huge piece of furniture.
The most masterful thing in this episode though, is Dean. His outward carefree and confident attitude towards Sam’s growing psychic issues, but ALL THE LOOKS we see that Sam doesn’t see that let us know he thinks this is serious and he IS really worried about it. But for Sam, he’s all there for him…trying to make sure Sam doesn’t worry. His comment about how Sam has him…where Max didn’t have a “Dean” to look out for him carries through the entire series.
Yes, it WAS interesting to show that Sam and Dean’s life could have been way WORSE. It’s kind of a lovely moment when Sam realizes that.
Yeah, what was with that weird laser thing?! We never saw it other than in this episode, did we? My first thought was about how HUGE it was and Dean was supposed to be hiding it completely in his Priest jacket??? I bet someone on the show just thought the lasers looked cool on film because they spent a long time on that scene with no payoff. (Nothing appearing on the screen, etc.)
I thought the actor who played Max did an INCREDIBLE job. He had to act on the edge of a breakdown…so fragile…ALL THE TIME and he made it believable to me!
I guess the idea that Sam had John instead of Max’s horrible childhood at the end kind of fits with Sam realizing that John didn’t do that bad compared to Mr. Miller. But yes, you’d think he’d have figured out Dean meant DEAN because of the tense relationship between Sam and John and, as Sam said, “Dad’s not here”…but Dean is!
The premonition of Dean dying STILL shocked me. I liked that the premonitions were so close to the actual event. Made it totally frustrating that they didn’t happen sooner so they had more time to save someone. That provided so much tension; you never knew how long they had.
Love that Sam’s love for Dean caused him to move the furniture. The only thing powerful enough to elicit that reaction.
Really? They didn’t continue with Sam’s psychic thing? I thought he still had psychic connections to the other “special” children in later episodes…some of them? I guess I’ll find out I was remembering wrong as we watch.
For the technology they had at the time, and the actor’s ability to act around something that wasn’t there…it made the floating knives and gun very believable. Loved the knife point to the eyeball. LOVED the sort of absentminded spinning of the letter opener as Max talked to Sam and the way Sam kept an eye on it as an indication of Max’s mental state.
March 11, 2021 at 7:42 pm #5912
“Really? They didn’t continue with Sam’s psychic thing? I thought he still had psychic connections to the other “special” children in later episodes…some of them? I guess I’ll find out I was remembering wrong as we watch.”
I was talking specifically about telekinesis — when he moved the armoire out of the way to save Dean. We never see Sam with telekinetic powers again, as far as I know. It sort of felt like the writers wanted to go there initially, but decided against it. Like PNP said above, maybe they didn’t want to make Sam too super-hero-y with his abilities.
- This reply was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by kate38.
March 11, 2021 at 7:55 pm #5915
“Love that Sam’s love for Dean caused him to move the furniture. The only thing powerful enough to elicit that reaction.”
I loved that moment, too! For a few minutes, I liked Sam a lot 🙂
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