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February 3, 2021 at 12:41 pm #4637
Okay, I watched ahead! I watched this before setting up the discussion and I remember I liked it, but boy, do I love this one…
February 3, 2021 at 1:03 pm #4639
LOVE LOVE LOVE this one. I think this was the first one that REALLY hooked me. I was all-in after this.
I am also kind of fond of episodes where Sam and Dean split up for awhile. I enjoy the angst and Sam just being a defiant almost-teen. They make their differences clear here. It’s incredible from the start where the phone call from John is just SUPERB – Sam all glad to hear from him at first. Asking a bunch of questions. But when John starts giving orders, you can see Sam start to boil and Dean just grabs the phone away and starts to talk to John with concern, but instantly switches into “soldier” mode and obediently writes down the names John wants them to follow up on. This scene is SUCH ACTING GENIUS and sets up the entire rest of the episode as well as making the differences between Sam’s feelings and Dean’s feelings about John so stark and apparent.
I also liked the kind of surprise reveal later…Sam blows up…Sam leaves…takes off walking…but then just has to try to call Dean from the bus station. And then…it’s like it slowly grows. Then he’s TALKING to Dean while Meg sleeps and it’s like nothing is wrong. Like he didn’t blow up. He’s back in “solve the case and help Dean” mode and Dean gives him his blessing to follow his own heart and life elsewhere and Sam’s surprised. Makes me wonder how much of Sam wanting to leave was him perceiving that Dean wanted him to stay? Just to “not do what you tell me to do”. Because once Dean tells him it’s okay with him if he goes after a different life, he comes back.
I loved the MOW. The “old world Norse” connection (and the Smoking Man from X-Files as the professor!). Speaking of X-Files, there is one scene here taken DIRECTLY from X-Files; the umbrellas-from-above scene is shot EXACTLY the same in an X-Files episode about high school teachers who worship Satan. You can tell that a bunch of the crew came from X-Files and I love that.
The scarecrow is creepy as hell. Made from the skin of all his victims and the fresh addition of the arm tattoo that Dean notices is just gross and effective as hell!
I loved ANOTHER strong female could-have-been-a-victim-but-refuses-to-be role in the girl who is chosen for the sacrifice with Dean. When she torches the “mother tree” at the end without any regret that it will cause the town to die, I cheered. No regret! I WAS a little surprised that Dean felt the need to point out to her that this would cause the town to die, but I guess that was just to make it all the more effective when she did it.
The “too nice” townspeople are creepy…luring tourists in. I love how they are nice to the tourists but not to Dean. Dean telling the one unfriendly cafe owner with all the sarcasm, “Scotty, anyone ever tell you you’ve got a smile that lights up a room?” still makes me laugh.
The rifle butt to the face after Dean met with the professor shocked me; I’d forgotten that.
Love that Dean is never really afraid of the scarecrow. The whole time it’s like he’s trying to find a way to outwit it instead. Love that he gets CLOSER to look at him and is more curious than anything.
Of course I love that Sam comes back to get him. Great break-up and make-up! Sam’s decision to stay at the end, spelled out so well, it carries the entire next 14 seasons that it’s them, together, no matter what. Dean’s “Hold me Sam, that was beautiful” – so sarcastic. So deadpan. SO PERFECT!!!!! Then Sam swats at him like a brother would. PERFECT!
And Meg. The first demon we see besides the flashbacks of yellow eyes. Sorry to Rachel Miner, but THIS Meg was the best Meg. Cute. Trying to tell Sam what he wants to hear about how it’s not wrong to live his own life, empathizing with him. It all makes the reveal at the end more shocking. They seemed to not use the “bowl of blood to call up Lucifer” much in future episodes and I REALLY liked that. The creepy way the blood forms into little spikes in the bowl…sound waves maybe as she “hears” Lucifer? Whatever it is, I like it. It’s kind of our first inkling that there are bigger forces interested in Sam and Dean.
And I have to talk for a minute about how drop dead gorgeous Jensen is in this episode. The camera just loves him and there are so many great closeups with his gorgeous long eyelashes. A more perfect-looking man has never been created.
Sam’s still a bit young for me to think of him that way here, but he’s ADORABLE and so sincere with Meg. I didn’t mind the closeups of him either!
One thing…that’s the weirdest-looking orchard and I wonder if it was really an orchard? In the U.S., orchards are pruned to within an inch of their lives so there is ONE TRUNK on each tree with horizontal branches above that. This looked more like an orchard full of bushes, but okay, I’ll let it go. Maybe it’s different in Canada but I’ve always wondered if that was a real orchard and, if not, what was it?
I HOPE YOUR APPLE PIE IS FREAKIN’ WORTH IT! That line lasted for the next 14 years too.
Best episode of season 1 so far for me. Hands-down. I have NOTHING bad to say about it. It’s one of those near-perfect ones for me.
February 4, 2021 at 11:38 am #4670
“Makes me wonder how much of Sam wanting to leave was him perceiving that Dean wanted him to stay? Just to “not do what you tell me to do”. Because once Dean tells him it’s okay with him if he goes after a different life, he comes back.”
Interesting observation, JBB. How much of Sam’s behavior was just defiance for the sake of defiance? I remember in “In My Time of Dying” right before John is going to die, Sam starts picking a fight. John refuses to take the bait and says something like “Half the time when we’re fighting, I don’t even know what we’re fighting about — we’re just butting heads…”. Your observation makes me wonder if some of Sam’s hostility toward John wasn’t necessarily about not wanting to follow orders, but may have been partly about just wanting to feel like he was making his own choices, so he intentionally wanted to go the “other” way from what was being asked of him.
Another side note, there have been a few times when Sam used Dean’s fear of abandonment against him, to try to get Dean to comply with something Sam wanted him to do. I wonder if this was one of them.
February 4, 2021 at 11:41 am #4671
“The scarecrow is creepy as hell. Made from the skin of all his victims and the fresh addition of the arm tattoo that Dean notices is just gross and effective as hell!”
YES!! Very creepy! Especially the part about using human skin from previous victims. Eeeeew…
February 4, 2021 at 11:48 am #4672
“And I have to talk for a minute about how drop dead gorgeous Jensen is in this episode. The camera just loves him and there are so many great closeups with his gorgeous long eyelashes. A more perfect-looking man has never been created.
Sam’s still a bit young for me to think of him that way here, but he’s ADORABLE and so sincere with Meg. I didn’t mind the closeups of him either!”
Amen, Sister! For me, there’s a scene in “Faith” that I always have to watch more than once because Jensen is simply too beautiful to only behold once. It’s after he’s healed, and he’s talking to the doctor, who tells him that his heart is perfectly fine, but another young man his age dropped dead from a heart attack the same day. Jensen’s entire “everything” is just so perfect there — the color of his shirt, his eyes, his facial expression when Sam says people’s hearts give out all the time, and Dean says “No, they don’t.” Perfection.
I’m just gonna say this since I know I’m among friends. Dean is exceptionally beautiful, but I spent most of the first two seasons just wanting to feed him and keep him safe and warm. He didn’t start to look “sexy” until he’s a little older. But he’s still a pleasure to behold. Dude is a work of art…
February 4, 2021 at 11:49 am #4673
“One thing…that’s the weirdest-looking orchard and I wonder if it was really an orchard? In the U.S., orchards are pruned to within an inch of their lives so there is ONE TRUNK on each tree with horizontal branches above that. This looked more like an orchard full of bushes, but okay, I’ll let it go. Maybe it’s different in Canada but I’ve always wondered if that was a real orchard and, if not, what was it?”
It’s settled. When we go to Vancouver, we’re gonna find that creepy orchard 🙂
February 4, 2021 at 11:28 am #4669
This was their first big fight. I hate it when they fight ☹
One of my favorite Dean quotes from the whole series is in this episode: “Scotty, you got a smile that lights up a room. Anybody ever tell you that?” LOL!!
Question: WHY don’t boyfriends ever listen in horror movies? They NEVER hear the weird noise, they never see the scarecrow moving by itself…freaking tragic.
I always felt bad for Dean in that opening phone call with John. Dean had been looking for John before Sam joined him, and Dean was arguably closer to his father. But John was undoubtedly all pissed off after his conversation with Sam, so instead of Dean having a moment to reunite briefly with John, he probably got a gruff, barely-existent greeting and instantly had to start taking down the list of names John tried to give Sam. Every time I watch that scene, it makes me wonder how many times Dean suffered some injustice because Sam and John were angry with each other and Dean got stuck between them, trying to be peacemaker or (more likely) simply trying to live his life. Poor guy…
In retrospect, John probably knew about Sam’s psychic connection to Azazel by this point, which made his elusiveness make more sense – Sam being close to John meant endangering all of them. IF he’d told Dean and Sam everything he knew at the time, I wonder if Sam would’ve been willing to stay away as asked. I doubt it.
Along those same lines, what was the point of Meg trying to lure Sam to California, so Azazel could get his hands on him? Why the charade? She was a powerful demon, and she clearly wanted to do more harm, but Azazel was stopping her. She could’ve just nabbed Sam and dragged him to California. Why didn’t Azazel just let her? Theories?
This is one of those pivotal episodes, because at the end of this episode, just like in the Pilot, Dean cuts Sam loose, leaving Sam free to return to school or go to California, or do whatever he wants to do. In BOTH episodes, it’s Sam’s choice to return to hunting. It always bothers me when fans blame Dean for “dragging” Sam back into hunting. Nobody “drags” Sam into anything he didn’t already want to do, and in both of these episodes, Sam is the one who decided to keep hunting.
Hey, did you guys recognize the wraith from “Sam, Interrupted”?
And did you notice the editorial glitch? When Dean is getting ready to leave his interview with William B. Davis (side note: I loved Cancer Man from X-Files), if you look toward the left side of the screen, you can see a boom or possibly a mobile light being moved out of camera frame. But it still ends up in the shot. LOVE these early seasons ?. So many little “hiccups” ?
Speaking of production items, I LOVE that crane shot when the townspeople are standing in the rain under their umbrellas and the camera pans upward. That’s so effective.
February 14, 2021 at 11:52 am #5076
COMPLETELY agree, kate, it is ALWAYS Sam’s choice to stick with Dean!! And he always does. I never thought Dean dragged Sam anywhere. But I do think that Sam comes back to DEAN and not because of hunting. At least not until later seasons. At this point in the series, I do think Sam still hopes for an end to the hunting life. Dean already accepted that there will always be another monster to hunt, but Sam has settled into that idea yet or at least isn’t seeing his responsibility in sticking with the life yet.
I think that is part of their lovely messed up dynamic: Dean cuts Sam loose for his own good, partially because he knows or hopes that Sam will be back, and Sam leaves, partially because he wants to be asked to stay, but knows that he’ll come back no matter what. And round and round they go.
Base line – they know they can count on the other when it matters.
I always felt horrible for Dean being stuck between Sam and John trying to be the mediator!!! If BOTH John and Sam would be better at communicating and LISTENING much of the ugly fights could be prevented.
February 4, 2021 at 11:51 am #4674
Side note — whenever I hear “Bad Company” I think of that scene when Meg is in the van with the creepy guy and she kills him. For better or worse, that song has been changed forever.
February 14, 2021 at 11:25 am #5075
I have that with MANY songs that SPN used over the years! I hear them and instantly see the scene in my inner eye. “Ready for Love”??!! HHHMMM
February 11, 2021 at 11:13 am #4944
I thought that too about Dean’s call with John…by the time he got the phone, it was only orders and I too felt bad for him there.
Hmmmm…Meg also wondered why she had not been allowed to “just get both of them” and it must have been a larger plan (Sam eventually leading the chosen children Army?) and she was called off. At first I thought she was trying to lure him to CA to separate him from Dean and Dean’s protective influence. Or to make him MAD at his family (Meg trying to downplay his ties to Dean and asking Sam why he would even talk to him) so he would do something even more rebellious that Azazel wanted.
You are right, Kate, Sam chose to stay with Dean every time. It was always his choice.
Bah! I didn’t notice the boom being moved!!!!
February 14, 2021 at 11:23 am #5074
I too LOVE this episode. The norse lore, the super creepy monster and awesome shooting locations. It is truly terrifying and makes me never want to wander through an orchard!! So many good lines in this scirpt one as you both already said.
This episode is also a prime example of the perfect mix of humor, horror and real drama! THAT is what drew me to SPN most (aside from the music and the vibe) and has never seized to engage me.
I always loved the scenes through the years when Sam and/or Dean go to a university or retired professor to find out about lore that the questioned individual KNOWS is just folk tales but for the Winchesters is life-or-death information. Somehow these scenes are really funny to me because they rub the real world and the Winchester universe up against each other in a special way. One would think that some of these professors worth their weight might have actually done enough research to come to believe that these things are real….but NO, they don’t. They just happily “waste” their life’s work by researching fantasy.
I found and still find the brother dynamic regarding fight, flight, reunion in this one really well done and realistic. I know I just argued that I hated the fight in ASYLUM and it’s true, but THIS one here felt like a real brotherly disagreement and blow out to me. I remember when I watched it the first time never thinking that they would never get back together. I thought that it must be hard to sit on top of each other ALL THE TIME and never having much space or time to kinda work out some of your own stuff, so Sam walking off and Dean letting him seemed logical to me at the time. And I also remember being as surprised as Sam was when Dean seemingly turns him loose and says good bye. That was a shock to me.
It all still holds up for me know, although, I see the dynamic a little more nuanced after 15 years! At first sight it’s just two young alpha males butting heads. After years of a deeper look in each of their psyches it’s layers and layers of guilt and fear of abandonment and need to be heard and jealousy and longing for a normal life and loyalty and resentment etc etc. IT IS FASCINATING.
In either case, though, it’s very well written and BEAUTIFULLY acted.
AGREED with both of you that THIS Meg was the best Meg! Just as blonde Ruby was the best Ruby. Both of these actresses have the edgy snark and quiet strength and an believable air of danger and deviousness that Rachel and Gen were lacking for me. I did love Rachel as an actress, I just wish they would have made her a DIFFERENT demon so there wasn’t the direct comparison.
Yup, this was a real gem!