I'd forgotten how awesome season 2 is, deals and deaths, grief and guilt, Sam possessed, Dean shot, Sam immune, Dean dreaming, werewolves and clowns, zombies and alligators - although not zombie alligators, the Trickster, a shapeshifter, Gordon and Henricksen, Ellen, Jo and Ash, and the inimitable Bobby Singer.
Season 2 builds on the foundation of season 1 and along the way deepens the mystery, develops the characters and is just plain awesome. The music is superb, there are so many episodes that could, should and do rank as significant and very few clunkers to be found. Here we go!
Once again the rules (or guidelines) for these seasonal journeys!
- These are episodes that set something in motion that we see in other episodes.
- These are episodes that changed the course of a character's thinking or even their journey as we know them.
- These are episodes that catapult the understanding of the story forward, likely because they delve into the past and explain, really explain, a lot.
- These are episodes that make me marvel at the depth and the quality of the writing staff.
(I cut and pasted it from Season One's journey, so no need to check if they've been altered so far, they have not.)
In My Time Of Dying: From May 4th, 2006, to September 28th, 2006, what a wait that must have been [glad I missed it, yup, I'm shallow like that].
For a 'road' show this episode is all about sitting or lying down and lots and lots of talking - and that's no complaint for the action comes in the emotions and who is talking with whom (or what). Do I think In My Time of Dying fits into the arbitrary rules I made up for significant episodes in a season? You betcha.
IMTOD gives us Dean returning from death's door for the second time and like Faith, he knows something is wrong. I note that Tessa gives him a choice, stay and become like the angry spirits you hunt, or come with me to. Malleus Maleficarum builds on this as Ruby reveals that all demons were once human. Notable tidbit, Dean is confronted with choosing to become what he hunts (be it angry spirit or later on demon) and Sam faces the possible destiny of turning evil!interesting and not good for either brother.
I'll go on the record and say I believe Dean had decided to go with Tessa, YED interrupted and altered that plan but I believe Dean had determined to go. Yes, it was frustrating that Dean did not remember what he experienced, those wonderful brother moments with Sam, railing at dad, determining (in my opinion) to go with Tessa but thanks to Jeremy Carver (and season four) I got my closure as well as confirmation, thank you, Jeremy.
IMTOD shows another side of Dean's relationship to his father, the ability to perceive a bald-faced lie. I love the shot as Sam leaves John's room after asking John if he knew YED's plans for him, John lies, Sam leaves and the camera pulls back, angles to the side and boom, there's Dean in a quick focus: "Well, you sure know something." Dean may idolize his father but he does know how to read him and he's not fooled.
The heartbreaking scene as John stares at a comatose Dean while spirit Dean rails at him! "You haven't called a soul for help!what the hell kind of a father are you? I've done everything you've ever asked me to do, sacrificed everything and now you're just going to watch me die?" For Dean this episode started the stripping away of idolization of dad - which DTAH and JTS followed up on. Azazel summed it up quite well in his comment to John: I wonder if your boys know how sentimental their daddy really is, they didn't.
Because Sam and John have had a bit of a breakthrough in their communication (See Daddy Issues, Sam Winchester Style) and, mostly, because Dean is in a coma or a spirit, depending on your point of view, Sam has no choice but to hash things out with dad. True to both their stubborn natures it does not go that well. Sam jumps to conclusions that John is only seeking revenge, never imagining for one second that John had already purposed never to watch his children die [Dead Man's Blood] and thus John's fate was sealed as soon as Dean was at death's door.
A significant theme throughout this series, a thread that underlies many things that are done, is that knowledge is a double-edged sword. The knowledge that John gained as a hunter and passed on to Sam and Dean kept them alive, aided them in saving many, many people and without it - as Adam Milligan shows - they are in great danger!or as Sam less adroitly put it, meat.
John's knowledge of conjuring and the nature of his adversary enabled him to make a deal that put himself in hell and sentenced Dean to a year of grief and guilt that ultimately led to him doing the same thing. That it was a Winchester pattern we never learned until much later (In The Beginning) but the fact remains; John's deal for Dean's life basically gave Dean license to make one for Sam.
Azazel summed it up well in his and John's confrontation in the Boiler Room!"I wonder if your boys know how sentimental their daddy really is." They didn't.
IMTOD is one heck of a way to start the season by killing off a beloved character and deepening the mystery surrounding Sam, a mystery that we are still uncovering and I wonder if we now know everything that John knew!Vegas money is betting no.
Oh, yeah, and Kim Manners directed this, and gave the commentary with Jensen and Jared!awesome.
Everybody Loves a Clown: This is another one of my comfort episodes in the series. Similar to Season one's Wendigo I love this episode for all the brother moments and there's some comedy as well!"I can't believe we keep talking about clowns."
We meet Ellen and Jo and Ash. We learn more about the community of hunters - who knew they had their own hangout? We learn that Sam is afraid of clowns, MIT is a school in Boston - yeah, I already knew that one, still - and we see Sam finally open up about something, even as Dean won't. Oh, yeah, and the Impala is still a mess and even gets another beating!
Bloodlust: Hello, Gordon. Back in Black! Dean's happy, he's got a hunt!we'll see this glee later on this season in Heart!it doesn't end well here for Dean, nor does it later in Heart [and not just because Dean stands helpless while Sam kills Madison] Vampires return [we've had them each season thus far - yes, Monster Movie counts!] Dean opens up about John's death, all hunters are not necessarily on the level [shocking] and everything that appears evil may not be.
Bloodlust joins IMTOD in Season Two's list of significant episodes. Appearances, perceptions, point of view!this is a show that loves to give us multiple views on a subject. Vampires are evil!or are they? I like that Bloodlust introduced us to the concept (well, it introduced me to the concept in the context of the series) that everything that appears evil may not be!Jump the Shark followed this up wonderfully. This is also a flip side to the idea that everything that is good may not be, this is part of Sam's journey and Simon Said gives another glimpse into this complex issue.
This is significant because not only do we, the viewers, get challenged in our perceptions, but Sam and Dean begin to show their differences of opinion; as well as how important they are to the balancing of the other. Sam is more open to the idea that Lenore isn't evil, Dean having spent all his life under the tutelage of dad remains true to his convictions! "If it's supernatural we kill it, end of story." Sam's willingness to go along with Dean to find Lenore is also significant because later on in the series, notably after the brothers have spent four months or forty years apart, they are less inclined to follow the other, determined rather to follow their own choices.
Dean keeps to the characterization we learned in season one, especially in Faith, he believes what he sees; the only way he's going to change his mind about Lenore is if there is proof. Gordon's little act of show and tell is ultimately what allowed Dean to alter his perception and placed him solidly in Sam's corner; Lenore needed to be helped, not killed. That Gordon was not willing or able to make that same paradigm shift spoke volumes about his nature; Gordon only sees black and white, evil is evil and nothing changes his mind. Gordon missed the whole point that he had now become that which he hated, filthy, mindless killing machine.
Based on Gordon's black and white perception of the world there's little wonder that once he discovered Sam's abilities he decided that Sam was an evil that must be stopped.
Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things: Reapers, killer clowns, vampires and zombies!oh my. We're off to a great start in season 2 with some repeat contenders and some new. CSPWDT is one of my season two comfort episodes, yes, I'm sick in that I find comfort in a story with zombies!yup.
Sam says goodbye to dad and buries his past anger, mostly. Dean cannot face the overly sentimental idea of going to pay respect to a piece of stone someone stuck into the ground, and lucky enough for all of us there just happens to be a case. Good times.
Here we see enough to know that Dean is disturbed and listening to the very instincts that gave him an alert back in IMTOD, something about dad's death is wrong. His anger at Angela's father shows just how far he's come in figuring out what dad had done; he can't yell at John so Angela's dad will do. Sam for his part is also figuring things out but is in a purely no win situation; if he mentions anything to Dean it likely would be taken in an accusatory fashion and would heap guilt onto of a mountain of guilt that's already been heaped.
The ending is fabulous and becomes a trademark for heart to heart exchanges between the boys. I love the simplicity of the setting, both boys settle against the Impala and talk. Beautiful. Thank you, Kim.
Simon Said: Ben Edlund's first episode for Supernatural. For all who like to pan Edlund as only being able to deliver the funny and think that Nightshifter was simply an anomaly, you haven't watched Simon Said in a while. This episode is powerful.
Simon Said builds on the strength of Nightmare as Sam and Dean discover another 'gifted' child; however, it breaks wide the door of the mystery as it shows us that not all the special children can be discovered by fires in their nurseries at six years of age. As stated at the end!
Ellen: "No way to track them all down.
Dean: "And so who knows how many of them are really out there.
Ellen: "Jo honey, better break out the whiskey instead."
*Yeah, and no cutting it with any holy water either.*
Simon Said also builds upon a characteristic of Dean we've seen before, he'll spill the truth when forced, either by a shapeshifter or Andy's mind control.
Earlier in the episode was this exchange between Sam and Dean:
Sam: "The point is I'm one of them."
Dean: "No, you're not."
Sam: "Dean, the demon said he had plans for me and children like me!maybe this is his plant, maybe we're all a bunch of psychic freaks, maybe we're all !"
Dean: What, killers?"
Dean: "So the demon wants you all out there killing with your mind, is that it; give me a break. Your'e not a murderer, Sam, you don't have it in your bones."
Sam: "No? Last I checked I kill a lot of things."
Dean: "Those things are asking for it, there's a difference."
Sam: "No? Last I checked I kill a lot of things."
Dean: "Those things are asking for it, there's a difference."
Later on, when Sam and Dean meet Andy face to face, this is what Andy's mind control abilities get Dean to really say!
Dean: "Sam here, he's my brother. He's psychic like you, not really lie you but see he thinks you're a murderer and he's afraid that he's going to become one 'cause you're all part of something that's terrible and I hope to hell that he's wrong but I'm starting to get scared that he might be right."
Once the words are spoken there's no taking them back. Sam now knows that Dean is afraid, and in Sam's mind that is a blow that wounds deeply. We don't see how deeply for many an episode (and two seasons) later but it's a deep wound that festers.
There is so much in this episode that for a couple reasons I'm not going to cover here, one of which is that like Nightmare it has a prominent place in another article I'm working on and I don't like to repeat myself (too much) so I'll leave the bulk there. Another reason is that if I covered everything I'd basically have to recite the entire episode!and that's just boring [and time consuming] so better yet, go and watch it. And while you do, remember that this was Ben Edlund's first episode for Supernatural!and it's stellar.
No Exit: Kim Manners!.
This gets panned a lot, and for some reasons rightfully so, however, there are some gems here. I suggest going back and watching it again (my DVD player lets me play double time and I still hear the dialogue, not quite like inhaling helium but - ) Still, the exchanges between Dean and Jo over hunting, their fathers, how they view it are interesting. Dean, as written in the Dean is a Feminist article, gives grudging respect to Jo for her reasons as well as reveals a discontent with hunting that we hadn't seen in season one but which season two builds upon.
The Usual Suspects: What can you say about an episode that lands Linda Blair as a guest star? She's awesome (and I still don't like pea soup!but then I only like fresh from the garden sugar snap peas - yeah, I'm a pea snob)
No impala in this episode, that's a mark against it but it gets stars for everything else. Dean's B story is front and center here, not only is he now wanted in St. Louis for his part in season one's Skin but it appears he's murdered someone else. Fortunately he gets cleared here but that doesn't help much since by the end he's officially a fugitive.
Sam and Dean spend all but the flashbacks and the ending apart, but even apart both their minds are working in concert. I love the editing in the precinct that shows Dean and Sam separately and yet almost in concert working out that Danashulps is an anagram. The similarity between the two is further highlighted when both call the PD Matlock and he gets the funny line of commenting!"You really are brothers." Yep.
Oh, yes and the X-Files digs keep coming!
Dean: "So, what do you think, Scully, should we check it out?"
Sam: "I'm not Scully, you're Scully."
Dean: "No, I'm Mulder; you're a red-headed woman."
Did you notice this: Not only did Monster At the End of This Book use the same actress, Keegan Connor Tracy, as here but also the motel wallpaper was copied again from here!just a little tidbit that shows occasionally I pay attention.
Crossroad Blues: One of my favorites, absolute favorites of season 2 - not just because the hotel that the doc is hiding in is called the Baskerville Hotel, although that is funny.
"Crossroads are where pacts are made." Crossroads are also where heavy decisions get made and sometimes a new direction is embarked upon. Crossroad Blues is where Dean openly admits his thoughts on what John had done. Sam is right there with him!"I know you're thinking it, hell, I've been thinking it."
Crossroad Blues introduces us to the crossroad demon, and we'll see that particular demon many more times to come, although this one is my favorite. Perhaps it is because it's the first time we see her but Jeannette Souza really got the snark and the sass right here. Much of what George Darrow says in his conversation with Sam and Dean we hear echoed in sum and substance not only in Croatoan but in AHBL II, especially the part that tears me up even today!"Like maybe my life could mean something." *sob*
Dean has little sympathy for the architect or the doctor and little for George Darrow (who reminds me a bit of Rufus Turner!"Suck dirt and die, Rufus." *hee!*) and he's quite hard on Evan Hudson until the final piece of the puzzle falls into place!Evan made a deal for someone he loved. Oh, that hurt. If it's been awhile since you've checked out this episode, I suggest pulling out the season two DVDs and giving it another viewing. In fact, I suggest settling in for a lengthy night of watching, may I suggest Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things, Crossroad Blues, Croatoan and then jumping into the last two minutes of All Hell Breaks Loose I followed by all of All Hell Breaks Loose II.
Sam was right to worry about Dean's state of mind here, Dean was already easy prey for the CRD as he worshipped dad. When dad made his deal and Dean, intelligent hunter that he is, put together the pieces and got 'pushed' by the CRD in this episode, it was only a matter of time, and opportunity, before the demons would have him right where they wanted him - a point we learned in I Know What You Did Last Summer.
Crossroad Blues joins In My Time of Dying, Bloodlust and Simon Said as significant episodes for season two, and we're only getting started.
Croatoan: How significant is Croatoan? Very. How can an episode that still leaves questions unanswered two and a half seasons later be anything but significant. [That's rhetorical even though my computer tells me it wants a question mark after the word "significant", I choose not to thus making it a statement.]
First off, this is one of those mid-season hiatus that must have driven all of you mad, mad and simply nuts. [the promo to it is cool though, go AC/DC!] More of Sam's visions and issues over Dean's state of mind and just for fun add to that an appearance, of sorts, of Meg - at least that's who I think the demon possessing Duane Tanner was, same knife thingy and cup - erh, phone. I could be wrong as this demon dipped its whole hand in the chalice-o-blood, whereas Meg of before was much more dainty, still it is possible, especially in light of what happens in Born Under a Bad Sign.
It's interesting to note that here Dean is the one willing to kill a human in order to save others but give him a year and we see a very different approach in Jus in Bello. The situation is not exactly the same, in fact it is quite different; still Dean's matter of fact approach here is chilling, and very indicative of his state of mind after the events of Crossroad Blues.
Sam's story is very compelling and even after the revelation in Lucifer Rising I don't have a complete handle on it. My supposition is that Azazel needed someone who could drink the blood of a demon without becoming infected because from what we saw the infection rendered the individual out of control. Then again Nurse Pamela was obviously possessed and 'infected' and had no trouble keeping control and acting out her part of the plan.
So was it that the people really were infected with anything and out of control or was it simply that there were demons possessing them that made them act as if they were possessed. Was the test just of Sam to see if his blood was immune so that Ruby would later be able to trick him into drinking blood and thus making him believe he had powers? Was the test to see how far Dean would be able to be pushed before he did as John had urged him!save Sam or kill him? To this day I have no idea.
If we didn't have all that to ponder, Croatoan tips the scales for Dean and he finally spills the secret he's maintained since John's death!well, actually he reveals it in Hunted, so technically it's the next episode, but it's here that his hand is forced. I love Sam and Dean in the clinic as Dean echoes words spoken by George Darrow in Crossroad Blues!"I'm tired." We'll hear those again, Dean is becoming worn down. Sam is given clear evidence of Dean's staunch support, something that no doubt warms him but assuredly disturbs him as well, perhaps some of Sam's lies to himself in season four start here!"Dean's better off as far away from me as possible." So not true Sam but I understand the sentiment.
I note also the difference in Sam's approach to Dean here as compared to Heaven and Hell, here he makes it clear he'll push Dean until he gives up whatever is bothering him whereas in Heaven and Hell Sam is clear that he's not going to push. Each time he knew his brother was carrying a heavy burden but he reacted differently. I like that this show develops the interactions of the characters.