Dean's vulnerability when it comes to his dad is brilliantly shown in just one heartbreaking phone message. Today it's still a stunner, heck even the publisher got all weepy over it in "The Monster at the End of This Book." We learn more about Dean Winchester in that one minute than we have the entire series up to this point. Then there's poor Sam, who among all the other strange crap that's happened to him lately, struggles to understand why he's having nightmares that come true. His simple question to Missouri at the end, "What's happening to me?" is the heart crusher that's been so missing from Sam's character so far.
It's not just the brothers that get the strife though. The shocker is the burning ghost transforming into Mary Winchester. Dean's reaction over seeing his long dead mother makes me cry, Sam's reaction with tears over seeing the mother he never knew makes me cry, and Mary's somber haunting gaze at Sam after telling him she's sorry makes me outright sob. Especially considering what we know now. Then throw in a sorrowful John Winchester at the end, who trumps them all with one devastated glance at his wedding ring after learning Mary's spirit is gone.
It's all good. The guest acting is brilliant, especially Loretta Divine as psychic Missouri Mosely. We've been dying to see her back, but it's never happened. I'm ready to start a petition for season six. Sure, she was hard on Dean, but I sense she felt he needed that and meant no harm. If I have any criticism for this episode, it's the attempt of Kripke (the masterful writer) to throw in some cheap horror in this otherwise incredible story shift. I to this date refuse to watch the plumber getting his hand shredded in the garbage disposal scene. It doesn't fit. The story also ran a bit slow in the beginning, but I suppose that also contributed to the suspense so I didn't mind. Overall grade, an A. The plumber scene prevented the A+. A masterpiece.
If anyone wants to see the full length recap (with screencaps) I did for this episode (one of the few for season one), it can be found here: