LadyGhosts of TV Past

Retro Recap: Supernatural, Pilot

“Of course you should be afraid of the dark.”

Hello, Persephone readers and Supernatural fans. I’ll be leading in you spoilerific weekly Supernatural recaps. This first recap is a bit wordy, but it is the pilot episode.

We meet the Winchester family in Lawrence, Kansas. John and Mary Winchester are with their young son Dean in the nursery of their baby boy Sam. It’s bed time, everybody is ridiculously good looking and their house looks like a Pottery Barn catalog.

Mary is awakened in the middle of the night by Baby Sam, already practicing his trademark brooding on the baby monitor. She shambles into the nursery, only to see a dark figure standing over the crib. Half asleep and apparently unaware that she is in the pilot episode of a show called Supernatural, Mary assumes the man standing over the crib is her husband, and it is his totally his turn so she is going take her perfect hair and go back to bed. On her way back to the bedroom she is distracted by some twitchy light fixtures and ominous music. Her ruggedly handsome husband has left the damn teevee on again, so she heads down to the living room where she discovers John passed out asleep in a chair.

Realizing that the shadowy figure was definitely not her husband and probably not some diaper-changing good Samaritan, Mary runs up the stairs towards the nursery. All the commotion wakes up John and he goes into the nursery to find baby Sam safe and mostly sound. After some blood drips into the crib, John looks up to find Mary pinned to the ceiling and bleeding from the stomach. Then she bursts into flames. [spoiler](Must be all the hair products. Seriously. The most supernatural thing about this episode is how damn perfect Mary Winchester’s hair looks at all times. Wake up in the middle of the night to take care of a crying baby, perfect hair. Pinned to the ceiling and lit on fire by a yellow-eyed demon, perfect hair.)[/spoiler] John grabs baby Sam, hands him to young Dean and they flee the house as the fire spreads.

We jump forward to the present day. Sam is attending Stanford University and he’s about to apply to law school. He and his girlfriend, Jessica (played by Adrianne “Almost Wonder Woman” Palicki,) are at a Halloween party with a friend. Or they’re just at a bar and it happens to be Halloween. It’s kind of unclear. She’s dressed as some kind of sexy nurse/waitress/harajuku type thing, Sam is apparently dressed as a serial killer, (they look just like everybody else) and their friend has some glitter on his face. They all toast to Sam’s bright future as the broodiest law student in California.

After the party and back at Sam and Jessica’s, Dean shows up for late night fisticuffs and inappropriate leering at the Jessica’s strategically ripped Smurfs nightie. Oh, and to tell Sam that their father left on a hunting trip and hasn’t been home in a few days.

Sam and Dean haven’t seen each other in two years. When Sam turned his back on the family business and decided to go college, his father disowned him. See, the Winchesters don’t hunt deer and water fowl. They hunt monsters. Ghosts. Demons. Most importantly, they hunt the thing that killed Mary. Sam went to school so that he could live a life that was normal and safe. After a lot of lip biting and smoldering looks, Sam agrees to help Dean find their father. The only caveat is that he has to be back in time for his law school interview in a few days. Dean tells Sam that their father was investigating a series of disappearances in Jericho, California.

In Jericho, a young man is driving down a dark road on the phone with his girlfriend. He sees a strangely hot hitchhiker played by strangely hot Sarah Shahi and quickly gets ol’ whats-her-name off the line. You know where this is going right? When he gets to her house she disappears. The usual. Except she later reappears and makes a big mess of that philandering motorist on an abandoned bridge.

The boys are on the road to Jericho, and this is the first time we get to see the Impala in the light of day. Sam is throwing some shade at Dean for his lack of honest work. Ugh. I forgot how judgey Sam could be. We can’t all go to fancy colleges and have loving and supportive girlfriends. Those of us in Real America have to hunt poltergeists and scam credit card companies to get by.

The boys cruise by a small cadre of police cars parked around the abandoned bridge. The motorist’s car is there, but his body is gone. Dean produces a phony badge and claims to be a federal marshal. The local police have no idea what’s going on and Dean is more than happy to bust their balls about it. Oh, and then this happens:

Don't step on my toes.

Sam and Dean interview the girlfriend of the poor schlub who fell victim to Sarah Shahi’s Push-Up Bra of Doom. The girl tells Sam and Dean a local legend about a girl who was murdered while hitchhiking and now she haunts the road where she was killed and oh my God it pains me to even type this it is just so trite.

At the local library, the boys bicker adorably and discover that there was no murdered hitchhiker, but a woman named Constance Welch committed suicide after her two children died mysteriously in the bathtub. (Spoiler alert: she killed them.) She jumped from the same bridge where the missing man’s car was found. Coincidence? Oh, grasshopper. There are no coincidences in the world of Supernatural.

At the bridge where Constance “took the swan dive,” as Dean so charmingly puts it, the next 15 seconds could basically describe the entire series. Sam and Dean argue, there’s weird sexual tension and then a ghost shows up. Sam wants to go to law school and marry his sexy waitress/nurse/harajuku girlfriend and Dean reminds him that he’ll never be normal. While John and Dean are determined to find the thing that killed Mary, Sam would rather move on. “If it weren’t for pictures I wouldn’t even know what Mom looked like,” he says. It’s not that he doesn’t care, he just knows that getting revenge on the thing that killed his mother won’t bring her back. Dean knows this too, but since Sam just essentially told him that his life’s mission is pointless he slams his up against the railing and uses his serious business voice. Constance appears on the bridge and as the boys stand around all confused and handsome, the Impala mysteriously starts up and tries to run them down. Not cool, vengeful spirit, not cool. You don’t try kill a man with his own ride. Luckily, some raw sewage breaks their fall.

While checking into a motel, Dean pays with a credit card under the name “Hector Afranian” and the clerk tells him that a Burt Afranian is also staying in the motel. After a little daylight B & E we’re in John Winchester’s motel room. There’s a ring of salt around the bed, discarded cheeseburgers and a Wall Of Plot. After consulting the Wall of Plot, we learn that Constance Welch is a Woman in White. A Woman in White is a spirit of a woman who, in life, murdered her children and then took her own life after discovering her husband had been unfaithful. They’re cursed to wander the area where they died, and they will kill unfaithful men. Apparently this happens a lot. Luckily, they’re quite simple to dispatch. Just have to find the remains, salt “˜em and burn “˜em.

Brothery Love

Deans heads out on a celebratory burger run and oh shit, five-o. Seems seedy motel clerks are immediately distrustful of people with weird last names who check into seedy motels covered in sewage. The police show up and arrest Dean. The Wall of Plot, John’s journal and other “satanic mumbo jumbo” in the motel room make the Winchesters all suspect in the disappearances they’ve been investigating. It’s not helping matters that Dean keeps insisting that his name is, “Nugent. Ted Nugent.”

Having evaded the police, Sam goes to interview Constance Welch’s husband, Joseph. Sam needs to find out where Constance is buried, so he can salt and burn her remains. Joseph tells Sam where to find her remains, but refuses to admit to any infidelity and denies that Constance killed her children. (Yes he did, and yes she did.)

With the help of a paperclip and some lazy writing, Dean escapes from the Jericho police station. He puts in a call to Sam to tell him that their father has skipped town, but he left coordinates in his journal. While they’re having their little chat, Sam drives through the apparition of Constance Welch. I’m starting to think maybe she isn’t killing these men because they’re unfaithful, but because they’re talking on the phone while driving. You drive. You dial. You die.

After doing her best Knight Rider impersonation, Constance brings Sam back to her house. She tries to get up on that, but Sam resists. Since hell hath no fury or whatever, she turns all skull-faced and attacks him. That’s when Dean shows up with the salt-filled shotgun shells. Salt and iron. Ghosts hate the stuff. Sam drives the Impala through the front wall of the house and what follows is just way too sad to be creepy. The spirit of Constance Welch is confronted by the spirits of her dead children. They do Sam and Dean and solid by dragging her down to hell. Thanks, creepy ghost kids!

With the case solved, Dean drives Sam back home with 10 hours to spare before his law school interview. Dean’s going to drive to Colorado to meet up with their father. Sam walks through the front door to find homemade cookies and a love note. Oh he is so going to marry this girl. Except. . . she’s pinned to the ceiling and bleeding from the stomach. Then she bursts into flames.

Standing outside Sam’s apartment with firetrucks and police running around, Sam and Dean stand behind the Impala. Sam is taking inventory of the weapons in their trunk and tells Dean, “We’ve got work to do.”

Join us next time, when Sam and Dean travel to a small California town called Sunnydale to investigate strange happenings at the local all ages night club.

Just kidding! It’s about a cannibal.

By Brick Frog

I do neat things regularly!

9 replies on “Retro Recap: Supernatural, Pilot”

Now, there are a lot of great Recaps here but this one may have to go in the Top Tier. God damn, that was the funniest.

It was also kinda intense. But I have a few questions. (I’ve never seen the show but I do love Dean/Sam, Dean’s brother – seriously, are writers OUT of names?)

1. Did Constance die recently? It kinda sounded like she was about 200 yrs old – mainly just because you don’t often hear the name Constance unless it involves wagons or witches.
2. Sexual tension? Between the brothers? Ew?
3. What is B&E? (I’m kinda afraid to ask given Question #2)
4. Salt? Why salt?

1. Recently enough that her husband was still alive. You’re right, though, not a common name anymore.

2. Yes. And ick. There are subgenres of fanfic.

3. Break and enter – criminal, but not icky

4. The series did a pretty good job in the first season of linking the stories with real urban legends (how’s that for an oxymoron?) and known ghost stories and legends. There are phantom hitchhikers, Bloody Mary ghosts, wendigos, haunted portraits, etc. They make a good and consistent case for the use of salt for purity and preservation. Maybe they just managed to pull me along with it; I didn’t realize I didn’t have a concrete example of where the two were linked previously until you brought it up.

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