Any episode that starts with a brutal hacking by scarecrow is memorable for me. Forget the intense brotherly drama, likely intensified by Sam's crazy moment the episode before. Leatherface is cool. The horror scenes are top notch, but that's because Kim Manners knows how to scare the crap out of people.
He knows how to bring the angst too. Thanks to a well intentioned but strife inducing call by John Winchester, the culprit of the ceiling bonfire of loved ones is none other than a big bad demon. Thus we see the real core behind the brotherly tension explode in its own fiery mess. Sam won't blindly follow orders but Dean will. Sam doesn't care about saving others or John's brilliant detective work on the yearly hackathon in Burkitsville, Indiana. Jessica has been dead for six months and her death must be avenged. In his upset though, Sam lets it be known what bothers him the most about Dean. "I don't understand the blind faith you have in the man. I mean, it's like you don't even question him." Dean has the perfect answer for that. "Yeah, it's called being a good son." Dean makes known his hidden resentment. Sam is a selfish bastard. Sam doesn't care. Man are these brothers worlds apart.
So, it's rather appropriate that Sam and Dean spend a majority of this episode apart. Seeing them cope with their situations is interesting, but that also means that without that on screen chemistry that's been the strength of the series so far it feels off. However, Sam meeting the demon Meg is a significant development, even though I didn't like Nicki Aycox in this one. She won me over later. Dean does a good job of figuring out the mystery on his own too and comes up with one of my favorite lines when staring down the ole' leatherface. "Dude, you fugly." He connects with this week's damsel in distress, Emily, who again like most other female characters on this show has the personality of wood.
Dean figures it all out but gets himself in trouble anyway. As in sacrificial lamb for the scarecrow trouble. That of course is mostly a setup for one of Dean's all time best lines, "I hope your apple pie is freaking worth it!" Sam, that selfish bastard, who broods most of the episode over Dean and gets a mature apology from him, finally sees the light and comes back to save Dean. He decides sticking with Dean is a good idea after all. So, he may be a lousy son, but he's a good brother. This of course upsets Meg demon, who was all ready to carve Sam a new one. Patience though the chalice of swirling blood tells her. She's still waiting in season five.
Overall grade, probably a B+ or B. The plot is interesting, the brotherly fight and reconciliation awesome, but the Sam/Meg and Dean vs. the townspeople scenes are slow.
Also that scarecrow was really really creepy even in broad daylight! Kim Manners sure knew how to sell the eerieness of that orchard!
and I think the Dean vs. townspeople was a little slow, but I think it worked a bit because it's such a 'sleepy' little burg. That said, you can't have the CSM and not use him more, dammit.
I loved the brotherly moments in this episode. Even though they spent most of it apart, the conflict, conciliation (in their phone call) and then the reconciliation when Sam comes to Deans rescue. Great moments. Although this show is at its strength when the brothers are together, it is interesting to see them alone - how they react, relate with others, etc.
I do have a question though. In the last scene when Meg is talking in the chalice, I always thought she was talking to the YED. Then I read somewhere that she might have been talking to Lucifer. What is the general consensus, who was she talking to?
And given Meg's later rebellion in 2.14, not caring about the master plan, I can't imagine that she was talking to the Big Evil Cheese back in 1.11. Just my gut feeling, but I'd love to hear what others think, too.
The phone call at the beginning of this episode is a fantastic juxtaposition of the Winchester brothers and I really enjoy it. The only thing about this episode that kind of bugs me is how easily Sam buy's into Meg. I'm sorry, but if I was in Sam's line of work and some beautiful girl (who I run into twice at two different places in one day) starts in with a family story that matches mine ("family loves me but wants me to do what they think I should instead of what I want") that much - a red flag is going to go up. I'll chalk it up to Sam being rusty and focused on Jess.
The scarecrow creeped me out and that doesn't happen often. Loved Kim Manners' direction, the umbrellas, "Dude, you fugly!", dad's call, Sam's objections, Dean's obedience, the duplicitous CSM, Scottie's smile, Dean's intelligence figuring things out, the scrap at the side of the road, Sam leaving, "selfish bastard Sam", sneaky insinuating Meg, Dean's message to Sam and Sam stealing a car to get back to Dean when he finally gets his priorities straight. So much in this one to love! Poor Dean never seems to get his pie, does he?
This one to me is a classic. I believe this is disc 3 in the first season dvds. I always love it when I get to disc 3 as I love love love all the episodes on that one.