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Okay, prepare for a lovefest. One of my absolute favorite episodes is "Nightmare." So before you all say the "so typical for a Sam fan" remarks, allow me to make my points! 

This is a turning point episode. Phil Sgriccia is the director, Sera Gamble and Raelle Tucker are the writers. The eerie tone, the creepy mystery, the intense emotional drama, the raising of the stakes, everything we see from this point forward evolves from this. I feel like I'm watching a season two or three episode. It's ahead of its time. 
This is the "Holy crap, there's something to this psychic thing after all!" episode. The reveal that Max Miller's mother died in a nursery fire when he was a baby still blows me away. Sam's reaction is so haunted, so genuine I still flip out every time I see it. Also really cool, no heart stopping, Dean getting a sudden bullet through the head and Sam reacting to the vision by moving the china cabinet with his mind! 

The humor feels familiar too! Father Simmons and Father Frehley? A Kiss reference? Awesome! It's even better in those priest outfits. If they only knew what Sam and Dean were really like. This also has one of my all-time favorite motel rooms.  Probably because I'm from Michigan and have seen lodges like that up north all the time. One thing you should know though. Escanaba is six hours away in the Upper Peninsula. Must be a homage or something. 

I adore the brotherly drama. Sam's bothered enough by his predicament, especially when the nightmares evolve to visions. But then Dean answers Sam's question about what's happening with "This doesn't freak me out." This SO freaks Dean out. He tries so hard to hide it from Sam throughout the episode but his concern is obvious. It's those subtle looks of saying one thing and meaning another that tell so much! The final scene is one of the best ever. I still get chills over Dean's worried parting glance after joking with Sam. He's so shaken. Too bad it takes Andy's mind control in "Simon Said" for him to finally say so. Plus, Sam hurting from a migraine headache is adorable. 

You know what freaks me out? Knives and eyeballs. Plus, I'll never stick my head out a window frame again, especially if it opens mysteriously on its own.  Then again, Phil Sgriccia more than once has figured out how to push my buttons.      

I have two criticisms though. Sam at the end saying "We're lucky we had dad." Yeah, that didn't last long. He was back to hating the man in no time. Then there's that unexplained telekinesis by Sam that while cool WASN'T see again until he was hopped up on demon blood in season four. And that only worked on demons. Such a waste of a cool superpower. I still get bothered when he tells Dean, "I'm sure it won't happen again." Sadly, it doesn't.  

Overall grade, an A. 


# Jasminka 2010-01-25 03:48
Alice, you can give me this kind of lovefest any time. Meaning – you should….! Ha!

I agree wholeheartedly. The team behind this episode is extraordinary (Sgriccia, yeah, awesome director, and the two amazing writing ladies Gamble and Tucker. Imagine my surprise when I saw Raelle Tucker’s name in the credits of TrueBlood, that alone told me that that show was going to be good)!

Supernatural stepped on a meta level with this episode, and it shook me to kingdom come. We were not allowed to settle for a monster-of-the- week show, no, there are twists just around the corner, and all of a sudden this show turned into an omelette surprise… my favourite kind.

I can’t watch that priest-scene without having the gag reel in mind – Jensen and Jared with torn out sleeves and going all California-Drea m-Men… kill me now… And, God bless him, Dean’s always hungry. He probably ate all those mini sausages, we just didn’t see…

The drama evolving around Sam’s emerging powers always gets to me with a force that I can hardly believe, even after all this time. Why do the visions have to be accompanied by headaches? Anyone ever had migraines? It’s not fun. You just want to rip your head off, anything, to stop the pain. I, for one, always wish to be dead, when I get those… Ah, Sammy… sweetie…. As if the whole thing wasn’t bad enough… Fie on you, writers.

I’m still hoping to see more of Sam’s telekinetic powers. Perhaps he will find out, that he doesn’t need the demon blood, he might remember that incident, how he moved the cabinet with his mind… Well, since the show hasn’t stopped mentioning Sam’s issues with his powers, I’m almost certain that they will come back, in one way or another. Perhaps even be the crucial asset to overcome Lucifer.

So, back to work. So nice I found this during my morning coffee break. Checking in on our site in my short breaks in between re-charges my batteries. Love it.

So, I'll just send a lot of love to everyone checking in here through the web - it's a special day today....
And I've got a candle burning for Mr. Manners here (where my mother came from, that's what you do on a anniversary like this)....

Lots of love, folks, Jas
# Supernarttu 2010-01-25 04:07
This is also one of my fave eppies of s1, of the whole series actually (like Home). I just love this to bits! Everything so comes together and I agree, this is the eppie that really kicks the mytharc forward in s1. I always watch this when rewatching s1, it's a really great eppie and all the perfosmances are awesome.
I love J&J's performances respectively. The way Sam is freaking out and aching from the visions, trying to understand but having no answers. The way Dean is trying to stay cool when you can SEE he's not cool, he's freaking out, and slightly looking Sam differently. I know I would be scared, in both their shoes. And especially now, when we know how far and worse it will get, it's really tragic, the guys had NO idea...and neither did we. *sad puppy*NKY8
I loved the supporting cast too, Max and his mom. Their tale of abuse and ignorance was so sad, so real, I really felt sorry for Max. I could see the potential of what he could have been if it wasn't for the terrible life he'd led, so sad and tragic and believable (well, if you leave out the telekinesis -part). I think the story itself was exelent and the writing & directing topnotch. It indeed was ahead of its time.
# Randal 2010-01-25 06:27
This is one of those perfect storm episodes where great acting (naturally), an excellent supporting cast made the important mytharc revelations resonate all the more.

Though, yeah, the Mysteriously Disappearing Telekinesis is slightly bothersome, but I'm trying to think of a single show with a running story that hasn't flubbed here and there. Just pretend he surreptitiously used them in an unaired case. 8-)
# Karen 2010-01-25 08:47
Hi Alice
Loved the recap.
This is one of my favourites as well and you captured about everything I loved about this one.
I really felt for Max, I could understand his anger and wanting revenge.
The end scene always gets to me, the way Sam quickly goes back to packing after telling Dean about being able to move the cabinet by telekinesis. He was so afraid of Dean reaction and/or rejection.
I also love the rustic theme of the motel room.

This episode also holds a special meaning to me. It was my first introduction to our beloved brothers. Who would of thought by having the living room to myself, control of the remote and a couple of flicks thru some stations, that my television world would change forever.
# Bethany! 2010-01-25 11:03
I also use this site as a mini work break, currently the boss has gone down to repographics so I've taken a few minutes to catch up on this episode. The thing I remember about this episode is the tone, it starts out creepy and then just builds until the confrontation at the end. Also I think they handled Max really well he was sypathetic yet dangerous, he is one of the most complex antagonists on the show.

Also has it really been a year? Saying a little prayer for you Kim!
# Bevie 2010-01-25 15:49
Just want to say that along with the rest of you, I admire and mightily miss Kim Manners. He must be missed terribly on the set. God bless, Kim!

Alice, I love it when you love an episode. Since I love most of them myself it's nice to be agreed with. LOL!

I too have a thing with eyeballs and knives (or pokers) and would never stick my head out of one of those types of windows. You never know!

This one really scared both Sam and Dean and headed them off in a new unnerving direction. Sam freaking out and Dean trying to reassure him while shooting him those apprehensive side looks. The acting was excellent all around and the two priests were a hoot! Watching Dean scarf down free food will never grow old with me. Stuff yourself, baby!

Thought the step mother was very well acted. Made me both like her and dislike her at the same time.

And what a shock when Dean was shot. Whew! Even when you know it can't be true, it scared me for a minute. And hooray for Sam for the telekinetic force as he pushed away the cabinet! Something dire may still bring forth that ability in the future, but I wouldn't want it to be a common thing. It would all be too easy if that was all that was needed to vanquish the baddies.
# Supernarttu 2010-01-25 15:58
I agree with Bevie. Allthough the TK toss was a cool power that one time, it might have made him a bit too invincible if he'd just had that power from then on. And Sams powers were quite late-blooming anyway... I hope they do come back in some way, if only as a demon toss.
# Sablegreen 2010-01-25 16:08
I like this episode a lot. Love Dean holding up the spoon in the end! I agree, Alice...I would have liked to see more telekinesis from Sam too. Maybe we will see it back soon!
# Evelyn 2010-01-26 02:57
I mostly agree with ya'll. This was a good episode. It had a lot of great brotherly moments and really shot the mytharc forward along with raising many questions. And Sam with the headaches. I have experienced migraines and they are not fun. After a couple of days with no relief, you really wish someone would just blow your head off. The pain is so bad and Jared really portrayed that part well. I could totally feel his pain. I loved protective Dean and yes, I agree with everyone, Dean was down right scared, but his overprotective nature of Sam wouldn't allow him to show it. Because of all those moments and so many more, this was a good episode and could be a comfort episode for me. Except for one thing.

I had a real problem with Max. I can't quite pin down what it was about him that just bothers, irritates, annoys or bugs me. Yes, he was a victim of unspeakable things (something no one should have to endure), and I truly felt for him and his predicament. However, I guess part of me just didn't care for him playing out the "woe is me, I'm a victim" role, so I'm gonna kill you all to get revenge. I can understand the anger that he feels towards his father, uncle and step-mother; believe me, I have felt feelings like that myself. But, in my opinion, I can't help but feel that the way he acted just makes him more of a victim - or something like that. It's hard for me to explain, but I hope you understand this a little.

Or maybe my problem with Max was because of the actor portraying him. I'm not sure. But I do know that Max just kind of ruins the episode for me a little. If I could watch this episode without the Max role, this would be a main GO TO episode.

I loved the last scene, watching Dean pack up his clothes and trying to lighten the mood for Sam with his jokes. Trying to cover his worry and fear. (Jensen does a great job with those scenes.) Despite all of Dean's downfalls, you still gotta love him.

Thanks for the review, Alice. I love looking back at older episodes and watching and reanalyzing them from a different perspective because of the knowledge we all have because we are in Season 5. It really goes to show how wonderfully Kripke & Co. have put this whole story together over the space of 5 years. This is really THE BEST show on TV. Those who aren't watching are really missing out on some good TV.
# Jasminka 2010-01-26 04:55
Evelyn, I think you bring up a good point - the I'm-a-victim-so -I'm-entitled-t o-revenge attitude bugs me, too. No matter what someone has had to endure (and believe me, I've heard the worst possible tings), at some point you need to take responsibility for your own life. You cannot blame it all on a messed up childhood. If you need help with the matter, try to get it at some point.
But going around killing the ones responsible (or others who get in the way) is low, too. It is still shying away from responsibility and taking a path that can lead only to misery. For those who get punished, but most of all for the 'victim' who chooses that path. It's like burning all bridges that might lead to a better life. And as much as it annoys me, it saddens me.
That's just me. Jas
# PetraO 2010-01-26 10:54
I watched this one again today, and there was one particular bit of conversation that stuck. "It's never been us. It's never been in the family like this."
Now we know that it has actually always bene in the family. Right now, they are lucky to find a case that is NOT in the family. That is why I love watching these old episodes. There are so many little things that mean so much more when you know what is going to happen.

And the word verification just keeps calling me nasty things...
# Evelyn 2010-01-26 11:54
Thank you Jas, the fact that Max doesn't take responsibility for his life and his actions is what bothers me. I totally agree with that. And yes, it is sad that he is so broken inside that he can't rise above his pain and do something more constructive - something that would lead him to a better life. Sad indeed.
# Faellie 2010-01-26 13:55
One of the problems of being a victim is that it is very difficult to see anything beyond that. Without outside help, or time away from the abuser, I suspect that a high proportion of victims are unlikely to be able either to work out a constructive solution or to recognise the similar problems others may be having. (It's highly likely that the father who was abusing Max was also abusing the stepmother. Abuse often starts with the wife/partner before moving on to include the child - and I don't think we know what happened to the first wife, which could be suspicious. Both the father and uncle were abusers, so abuse may have been well entrenched in that family for generations.)

Max was old enough to break away from his family, and he should have done. But the fact that he stayed may well have been what he was conditioned to do by the abuse he had received. As both Jas and Evelyn say, it's so sad that's how it was.
# elle2 2010-01-27 08:24
It's okay to be a Sam (biased) fan and to love this episode. And as a Dean (biased fan) I love this episode as well. This one and Simon Said make a great one-two punch and definitely build off each other.

The Max Miller to Andy Gallagher bit is an excellent build, Dean not worried here (out loud) but verbalizing his worry (thanks to Andy's Obi-Wan abilities) is an excellent follow through.

Sam's powers here while sadly never shown again in this form are mirrored by Andy's in Simon Said. What I really like is in this one Sam finds another 'boy' like him (and that reveal with Sam and Max Miller talking and the call back to The Pilot with the music is still a favorite scene -- so well done)

Also here Sam is still trying to figure out what is happening and his fear is manifesting itself. In Simon Said Sam is still very concerned but he gets to see (as do we) a very well adjusted Andy who simply enjoys his life and his 'abilities' do not cause him any concerns -- until the Winchesters arrive (yeah, that and the interference of his twisted brother)

The lovefest is perfectly applicable to this episode. It is a pivotal episode in the overall series mytharc and should not be ignored.

I especially love the idea that was built upon even if oh, so subtly that it is Sam's love for Dean that is indeed 'pushing' his abilities. Here it was telekinesis, On The Head Of A Pin it was his desire to save, protect (and yeah, a bit of a grief, demon-blood addicted confusion of thinking he and he alone was strong enough to do it) that caused him to call Ruby for another demon blood hit.

So much goodness here. I recommend a double header approach, Nightmare followed by Simon Said. Pop the corn, grab a sody pop and enjoy.