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After a heavy episode like "Home" something lighter but entertaining is required. "Asylum" fits the bill perfectly. I don't know about you, but to me insane asylums are creepy as hell.  Lots of bad karma.  After getting my professional start at a mental health facility, I can attest that the therapists are often wackier than the patients (except you of course Jasminka!).

So, if you're Dean Winchester, what do you do when you find out your brother is psychic? Why make fun of him of course!  If you're Sam Winchester, what do you do when you're uptight over finding dad?  Why take it out on big brother of course!  I love Dean's wisecracks, comparing Sam with J. Love Hewitt and Haley Joel. How does Sam handle these snide remarks? At first normally by cuffing Dean on the shoulder. There's that sibling rivalry we love! 

The brotherly issues get dark though and are intense for this early in the series. I still wonder to this day what Sam told that psychologist about Dean. Was he honest, or did he avoid? Maybe he said exactly what he tells Dean later. Sure the nasty spell that Sam is put under by the evil Dr. Ellicott had him projecting a bit too much. He couldn't even kill Dean when he was hopped upon demon blood so it was definitely the spell talking when he tried here. His resentment though, freaky!!  It's the first showing of evil Sam and we love it.  Did Dean learn a lesson through this whole ordeal and come out with a better appreciation of his little brother?  No, not really. Still the family drama is fun to watch. 

The strength of "Asylum" is easily the ghost story. It's one of the best ones done in this series.  I'm not sure why, probably because the ghosts are creepy but not overly gory. And they're crazy! I like fright that messes with my head (in this episode, literally).  It's also the first time iron is established to be a spirit deterrent. The lines are awesome too. My favorite is when Dean asks the two stupid teenagers that get caught in this mess if they've seen a lot of horror movies. "Do me a favor, next time you see one, pay attention. When someone says a place is haunted, don't go in."  There's also one of my favorite pieces of dialogue in the entire series:
Katherine: So how do you guys know about all this ghost stuff?
Sam: It's kind of our job.
Katherine: Why would anyone want a job like that?
Sam: I had a crappy guidance counselor.

Yep, I could blow the entire 500 words on quotes alone. This has also one of the best filming locations they've done on this show too. The Roosevelt Asylum is an actual Psychiatric facility in British Columbia that allows one of its abandoned buildings to be used for TV and movie shoots. 
Overall grade, I don't know. B+ or A-. It changes from day to day. 


# Randal 2010-01-17 14:54
I love a good ghost story, and having the ones they encounter (save for the obviously lunatic doc) be friendly walking (floating?) DSM-IV case files was certainly a nice twist from the standard. One of the finest and creepiest set jobs in the history of the series doesn't hurt either.

It was certainly a plus that we never learned exactly what Sam and Dr. Ellicot talked about, keep those deep-set emotions obscured. One of those "where exactly is the Simpsons' Springfield?" moments.

Do they even have dedicated guidance counselors any longer? My oldest is 100% sure what she wants to do, so it's been a non-entity. :D
# Jasminka 2010-01-17 16:41
Loved this episode, too, a nice ghost flick… Thanks Alice, I second all of this here. The little drama, ‘evil Sam’ and messed up souls of the brothers surfacing very subtly… Wonderful.

And thanks for not including me in that bunch of wacko-therapist s (believe me, I know some, too). I hope I’ll never turn into one of them. Don’t think I will, actually, but you never know… I guess some were nuts before they started studying. Should I ever begin talking or behaving like that, go ahead and kill me! Any hitman will do. :roll::

Still kicking, Jas
# megan 2010-01-17 20:56

lol whut?
# Bethany! 2010-01-18 09:21
I liked this episode, it had a light side to it but still managed to give a very interesting glimpse into Sam and his relationship with Dean. I always thought it was interesting that Elcot went for Sam instead of Dean. On purpose?

I doubt that they'll ever say what Sam, said but it's interesting that even then Sam wasn't telling Dean things and that there was this pent up darker side to Sam just bubbling away underneath.
# Bethany! 2010-01-18 09:23
also loved Katherine's boyfriends response to Dean's question "can either of you manage a shotgun?" He seemed a little surprised that she was no damsel in distress!
# Tigershire 2010-01-18 20:32
For anyone who might be interested, the facility in question is called Riverview and if anyone's seen the Paley Festival footage when Supernatural was honoured in it's first season, Jensen talks about the place.

It is actually haunted and they were warned not to go to the 4th floor. Jensen said he thought he'd be smart and take a short cut when they took a lunch break. There is no power on in the building expect for the location the crews are working at so the long hallway he opted to go down was dark. He didn't say it outright, but with his wonderful facial expressions he showed that it creeped him out. GRIN.
# Karen 2010-01-19 10:12
Hi Alice
This was the first one that I realized that Sam had some feelings of resentment towards Dean. Up until this point I had believed he only had issues with his Dad not Dean. Except for Dean’s blind faith in their father.
BTW I'm enjoying all the reviews for Season One. I really love Season One, even Bugs and Route 666. There may have been some flaws or characters I didn’t care for but they all had something to offer.