I admit, I forgot a lot about this one. it was NOT lame in the least. Jo was not just following Dean around like a puppy dog!
It DID have a very “horror movie” vibe with the blonde girls in the casket/cages and the creepy, discolored, “dead” fingers of H.H. Holmes’ ghost reaching in to touch them. Ick! The ghostly apartment touches; the black ecotplasm and the “fingernail on the plaster” and creatures in the air ducts.
But there was much deeper stuff going on here! I had forgotten how great the scenes between Jo and Dean are. Where she challenges his protective tendencies and kudos to Dean for saying that women can do the job just fine; it’s her INEXPERIENCE he didn’t like. Some funny comments like “I should’ve cleaned the pipes” when she slides past him inside the walls. Loved his assumption that her “pigsticker” wasn’t a “real” knife, only to find out it had huge sentimental value because it was her dad’s and he had to apologize. Their conversation about their hunter fathers…something not many others could probably understand, was very touching.
Jo was also a believable “rebellious” teen who wanted to go prove herself and be like her father.
Ellen was perfect as the worried-sick mom. That scene of her in the Impala driving back was priceless.
Heartbreaking that Jo rejected Dean at the end after learning the truth about John Winchester’s involvement in her father’s death.
And more Ash. Naked Ash. Love him.
I liked the tension around how much to tell Ellen or whether or not they should show up at the Roadhouse when Sam is experiencing abilities that a regular human shouldn’t have. Jensen’s acting in that scene where Sam comes clean with Ellen is perfection. He’s so wary and worried.
As for Sam, I loved the first time we get to see his excitement over historical serial killers. He’s so into it! Figuring out the case was more interesting than I remembered with the prison angle…the ghost residing in the sewer even though there was no building on the actual site anymore.
The cement entombment solution in the end was fun too. Theoretically, the ghost is still trapped down there. Good solution if you can’t get to the body itself.
Jo’s early ruse to the landlord, playing Dean off as her boyfriend was super-fun.
Before I rewatched, I would have given this episode a 5 out of 10 based on my memories of it. It’s more like a 7 or 8!
God, these early seasons are such perfection! They are a joy to watch.
I ALWAYS LOVED this one!!!
So many great parts – from SUUUPER creepy vibe in the catacombs, great set/staging of the scenes in the walls. Really well filmed and directed. You can FEEL the claustrophobia when Jo crawls around in the walls and then is locked in that iron wall coffin.
To me this was an awesome use of specific body parts of the “monster”, like nasty fingers and terrifying eyes, to scare the audience instead of seeing the full figure of the ghost.
Love the use of a historic serial killer and how they built the case around that. It lent itself perfectly, but it’s still not easy to write a compelling mystery around it and make the discovery of the villain believable. And like JBB said, this is were we find out about one of Sam’s passions, which is precious because there aren’t that many compared to Dean.
I agree with JBB on all the points about Jo! I always really enjoyed her character. I find her believable as a young woman having grown up in a TOUGH environment and having been taught from childhood how to protect herself. I don’t think she was ever “coddled”. Ellen is tough, dad was a hunter, they run a road house for a pretty rough and dangerous crowd…..she’s no princess on a pea. I can completely relate to her wanting to prove herself as a hunter. NOT TO anyone, really, but I think she’s trying to prove to HERSELF that she can do the job, even as a woman. And the argument between her and Dean about that is GREAT and very on point. I LOVE that Dean shows he’s totally into gender equality here.
I also love the idea that although Sam and Dean have their doubts Jo is up to the job, due to lack of experience, they are impressed with her research and at least give her a chance! No chauvinistic tendencies here.
I also never minded that there is definite sexual tension between Jo and Dean, but I very much respect and admire that the writers never took it all the way with them. There is a lot of potential, but I love that Dean never pushes too hard and that Jo is in control to keep him at arm’s length. All that makes the ONE kiss they share when she dies SOOOO much more heartbreaking. That “what if” moment always totally gets me. It wouldn’t have been this powerful without the long simmer of “maybe” before.
I appreciate even more that the writers didn’t make it all about superficial sexual tension, but that Dean and Jo are bonding over their shared desire to live up to their dads skill and reputation. That was a good basis for a deeper understanding between them. Funny enough Jo could have also easily bonded with SAM over the urge to rebel against a parent and prove your worth to them, she definitely paralleled aspects of both Winchester brothers in complicated relationships with the parental units. HA.
Ellen being “Cold as Ice” about the whole thing is also great! Their mother daughter dynamic – although complicated and somewhat painful – is very real to me and I love that BOTH are portrayed as competent and self-assured and smart, if pretty incapable to show their love easily.
Ellen is such great character to me as well and a solid counter balance to the “Let’s go and kick it in the ass” attitude of the young hunters. I would have loved to see more Sam and Ellen scenes over the years. They seemed to share a good deal of cautious, researcher approach and I would have loved to see them work a case together at some point.
It’s a great shame that Ellen, Jo and Ash weren’t used a little more prominently between Season 2 and 5!!! There was a lot more potential for all of them.
Ellen could have easily become even more of a mother/older sister figure to them and that could have been interesting. I guess, though, that having Bobby as the “replacement” father figure filled that plot point, so having Ellen on top of that would have been conflicting? And later Jody started to fill in for the older sister/mother vibe a little.
Anyhow, I’m rambling.
I LOVED this episode – always – and for me it’s a solid 8
This was fun, but Jo was annoying. She coerced Dean and Ashe into lying for her because although she was childish and defiant, she didn’t have the courage to tell her mother the truth. And Dean was right. Women can do the job, but amateurs get themselves and other people killed. It’s ironic that Jo knew she was the monster’s type, so she knew she might be bait, but when it came time to be bait, she hesitated. Being nasty to Dean after she learned how her father died was also stupid and immature. And the way she panted after Dean in the early seasons was super annoying. I get that lots of people like Jo, but I just don’t see the appeal.
Poor Ellen! So prophetic that she didn’t want to lose her daughter after losing her husband due to hunting.
I liked the creepy vibe in this one. And I grew up in Philly, so I appreciated the video clips of the downtown Philly skyline. I also really like when they incorporate real-life horror into these episodes, like basing this ghost on H.H. Holmes.
I love the anecdote about how John took Dean shooting when he was 6 or 7, and he bullseyed every target the first time. That’s our boy!
Possible plot hole? Didn’t those chambers look and sound like iron? If so, the ghost shouldn’t have been able to touch them, let alone imprison someone inside, right?