I have my favorite episodes of all time; the episodes that I watch every second of and enjoy each and every time. Then I have what I call my Comfort Food episodes. These are the ones that I pull out just to watch and relax. They may contain bits I skip over just because I like other bits more (and I’m a little impatient at times, truth be told.) I call them Comfort Food episodes because they are to me what pancakes are, or meatloaf: I know what I’m going to get; it’s not fancy, but it hits the spot each and every time.
Let’s take meatloaf. Ground beef, onions, egg, parsley, bread crumbs, some assorted additional spices, ketchup, mash it all together, form a loaf, and bake in the oven until done. Fancy? Nope. But there is something mouthwateringly good about sinking my teeth into each bite, the moistness of the meat; the tang of the ketchup…my mom makes the best. Bet yours does too. ;-) Same thing with pancakes: Before I developed an intolerance to gluten, pancakes were what I would order at a diner for breakfast, each and every time. Didn’t matter which diner either; they always tasted the same – delicious.
Over the years, I’ve discovered that I have certain episodes of Supernatural that I like to just sit back with from time to time and enjoy. They aren’t the best and brightest, they rarely move the mytharc forward, they don’t have massive reveals or even especially complex stories. More often than not they’re simple monster of the week episodes that pack some fun moments or more likely, some great brotherly moments. Take these that I’ve compiled here from Season 1:
"Wendigo", "Scarecrow", "Faith", and "Something Wicked" are all in this basket.
Why "Wendigo"? I don’t know, there’s just something I enjoy about Sam and Dean hiking in the woods. As Kripke has suggested, it isn’t particularly riveting. There are no twists, no hidden reveals; just people walking in the woods and talking. And yet, I love it. I love the scenery. I love seeing Dean trying to encourage Sam after Jessica’s death and telling him that hunting things, saving people is the family business. I like that everyone lives at the end…well, almost everyone. I like Dean saying he doesn’t do shorts ("After School Special" says different) and that he brings Peanut M&M’s as provisions. There’s rock and roll, the brothers are searching for dad, heck, Sam even drives the Impala at the end. What’s not to like?
"Scarecrow" gives us a great heart to heart moment as Dean tells Sam on the phone that he admires him, admires how he always knows what he wants and goes for it. It’s a great moment between the two. I love that Kim Manners directed it, and his signature is stamped everywhere. I like the introduction of Meg and how she plays off Sam’s mindset and struggle for independence, but that he isn’t about to be swayed from his love and devotion to Dean – and later shows he’s no fool for her popping up again in Chicago during "Shadow". “Dude, you fugly.” “I hope your apple pie is freaking worth it!” The Impala being escorted out of town by the sheriff, only to zoom back in after dark…it’s just comfortable. Never changes either.
"Faith", well, sure, heart transplants are common nowadays – although I’m still not sure someone like Dean could get on the transplant list and get moved up high enough for it to matter, but that’s logistics, and I’ll skip those. "Faith" is the episode when the show first dipped its toe into Christianity, and kept the politics out. Roy LaGrange was a good man, who had no idea the evil his wife was enacting. He honestly and earnestly gave God all the credit, and believed God called him to certain people. It is a powerful moment when LaGrange tells Dean that God chose him, not LaGrange, and that he (LaGrange) simply looked into Dean’s heart (it’s implied that God did the revealing here) and saw a young man with a purpose, an important job that wasn’t finished yet. It’s a beautiful moment of confrontation for Dean, to think he has a purpose for one, and later, when Layla shows him what true faith is: "I guess if you’re going to have faith, you can’t just have it when the miracles happen; you have to have it when they don’t". It touches on the idea of saving the one you love through whatever means necessary, a theme the show continues to play with ten years later.
Plus, I adore the Blue Oyster Cult’s "Don’t Fear The Reaper" and how it is used here:
Finally, for Season 1, "Something Wicked". This episode uses Michael and Asher, parallels to Dean and Sam, and gives us flashbacks of Dean taking care of young Sammy, while John hunts a shtriga, explaining to us and Sam why Dean follows Dad’s orders so closely. I love the moment when the flashback ends and we see Sam sitting right next to Dean. At the beginning of the scene, the brothers were across the room from each other, but during Dean’s recitation of the memory, Sam moved across the room to sit next to his brother in a supportive position. I remember the first time I watched it how I hoped that’s where Sam would be as the camera panned back, and there he was. I enjoy a scene or two later, when the brothers are watching the surveillance camera in Michael’s room, and Sam tells Dean he understands, and Dean growls that he hopes they’re not going to hug. Well, they didn’t, but we’ve since been rewarded with some wonderful brother hugs over the years…"AHBLII", "Mystery Spot", "Lazarus Rising", "Sacrifice"…and many others. The brother hugs are comfort food too. I love each and every one that we’ve been given…but "Mystery Spot" is probably my favorite…but that’s for a different article.
That’s it for Part 1 of my Supernatural Comfort Food episodes…Part 2 coming soon.
As always, thanks for reading, Elle2
They both were so lighter then -- not surprising though as so much has transpired, and I do like that that affects them. Still, as you said so well, watching the two of them dealing with their separate pains yet together in the hunt, each seeking something from the work...well, just love that that's where it began.
I love musical montages and I felt this was one of the best ones they did fitting the music to the exposition, in fact, I wrote an article on here about it a few years back (the use of music and my favorite scenes). I used to be able to access those articles under the Writers section above, but I happen to know Alice is reformatting that, so I can't tell you where it is. As for Wendigo, well it was Krpike himself who said there were no twist or turns, just people walking in the woods (which, darn it, in my editing to keep the article tighter, I removed the credit for that idea...shame, Elle2!) but to me it was teaching us about the brothers, something really important in those early scenes, and allowing us to walk along with them. I just like it. Glad you do too!
I do enjoy the Benders, Sam's incredulous: Dean, they're just people. And Hell House, I adore the Ghostfacers...e ven before they were the Ghostfacers, and I too loved the brotherly teasing. Great memories, Sugarhi15, thanks for sharing!
They definitely seemed lighter in the beginning, which, as you stated, makes perfect sense. That is one of the great joys of having access to all seasons, especially via TNT to keep you on a tight schedule of watching the episodes (as it did me last summer) that upon viewing it in that manner, you see the progression so clearly, and it all makes perfect sense. Despite some quibbles, and outright frustrations, I have had, the writing has consistently shown a progression from The Pilot to where we are now. It's gotten darker, more despairing, bleaker, more dangerous over the many seasons, but I wonder if the plan isn't to bring it somewhat full circle...not that we'll be in the rainbows and kittens world, but definitely in giving them the strength of their purpose. After all, we've come full circle with the brotherly bond again...even as I haven't liked how all of it came to be, they are back to having each other's backs again. I guess if they can get past the cr*& of the past, I can too. ;)
Great comment! Thanks for joining in. I don't know everyone on the site, by far, but I don't remember seeing a post from you before, so thank you!
I can't think of an episode I didn't like in S1. The scariest monster in the entire series (to me) was "Scarecrow." EVERY SINGLE TIME I WATCH Dean climb that ladder and get his face close to the scarecrow's face I am afraid the scarecrow is going to get him. Now that is a good monster! And I love "Faith." It was just a perfect episode. (Although I can't imagine living in mud like that. Yuck!) The guest actors were all excellent, and oh... it was soooo good. Season 1 may not have been sustainable, but I loved it. I especially liked that the boys acted like they loved each other and kept fewer secrets.
Yay! I LOVE Season 1! Hope I wasn't supposed to narrow my choice down to a few episodes! :)
No rules on narrowing your choices. I love your enthusiasm for Season 1. While, as you stated, it wasn't likely sustainable -- certainly not for ten seasons as a genre show, I really enjoy the episodes. I especially like what you pointed out, the lack of secrets -- or mostly lack of secrets. They also opened up about those secrets faster. I love that Sam opened up to Dean about those visions by Home -- sure, he was worried what it meant, and no doubt worried his brother would think him a freak, but while Dean was certainly caught off guard (and really, who wouldn't be) he stayed by his brother throughout. He teased him about it to lighten the mood, a teasing that Sam clearly understood, sure it rankled a bit, but when the chips were down, he knew Dean had his back. And Dean came out and stated it as well (Nightmare). It was a great season! There isn't an episode in that season I don't watch -- sure there are cringe-worthy parts, but I love all the brotherly moments and little discoveries they have of each, and how in the end, facing their father (possessed by YED) and Sam and John having a new-found understanding, when Dean says it's not their dad, just because he's different, Sam thinks for a moment and then decides and backs Dean's play.
Scarecrow and Faith are both awesome episodes! As are The Benders, Home, Dead in the Water (for Sam discovering Dean's trauma the night their mom died), the last 3 episodes with their dad, and the one pure fun, Hell House! Loved that one for the pranks and jokes and Harry and Ed. Still love Harry and Ed "the professionals"!
The boys were so innocent and positive in their hunting and they actually saved a whole lot of lives, loved each other and had few doubts about their way of life, especially Dean, the hustler. So season 1 is one I too look forward to in my round robin of viewing. I know things can't be the same today with all the pain they've gone through, but I really miss the fun bits, the teasing, and the surety of the relationship. I hope at least the last one is back to stay!
Season One is definitely 'my comfort food'.
It's funny you mention Wendigo. I love Wendigo, love it for the brotherly bonding, for the simplicity of the hunt, for the information we get about these brothers. I find it so funny, though, to hear Kripke mention that episode in the Retrospective as being the one episode he really dislikes. I didn't mind the monster, I just loved the episode and thought they did a good job with it. It gives us a lot of information about our boys, and we see them in their element, which is always fun.
Great list. Looking forward to reading more.
It is like visiting an old friend. Even now, some near seven years later (because I didn't catch these until 2008) I still love them, which with some other shows I find isn't always the case. For SPN, it just works. Aslyum is really good as they teased, Sam's inner thoughts were touched and he shot Dean with the rock salt, which also began the brothers' penchant for revealing their inner thoughts through possessions or some kind of supernatural influence (Sex and Violence, demon blood, Southern Comfort, Lucifer, the Mark of Cain, there's been more than a few bashed faces on both sides because of the influence of 'other worldly' things.) But what prevailed then, love of family, prevails even now...and that's why I keep coming back.
You're right too about Shadow, I love the Winchester reunion! Dean walking full on into John's open embrace, Sam a bit more tentative, and John as well until both drop their guards and hug, remembering that family is important.
Like you, I never gave a care that Wendigo didn't have big twists and turns and amazing reveals, but then again, I'm a huge fan of the buddy genre, so anything that has buddies bonding, I'm likely to enjoy.