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I love going back and recapping landmark episodes. You know, the ones that constantly stick with either Sam and Dean forever and traces of it can still be seen today. This one especially is a ground breaking character defining moment. Dean Winchester was never the same after this.

For those that are trying like mad to remember what happened just before "What Is And What Should Never Be," Sam and Dean had to go deep after their encounter in "Folsom Prison Blues." Deep like Yemen. But apparently relocation to a Middle Eastern country isn't necessary. How about a license plate change instead? That'll work better. The Impala doesn't stand out at all. Plus criminals never come from Ohio.

Cue the awesome "Saturday Night Special," by Lynyrd Skynrd and cue new license plate. Hey I'm from Ohio, so I like it. My plate has that same design. Dean is behind the wheel of the Impala and answers the most lame ring tone. Didn't he have a cool one as established in "Born Under a Bad Sign?" So Sam's calls just get a basic ring? Anyway, Sam is freaking. Cops outside the motel room. Dean talks him through it just in time for the cop to leave and for Sam to realize it's a false alarm. Also, the sign outside, the Joilet motel, is one that's going to be used in at least two different episodes in seasons three ("Mystery Spot") and four ("In The Beginning"). Yes, it's really sick that I know that off the top of my head.

Sam goes on whining. He calls being fugitives "a dance party." Wimp. "Chicks dig the danger vibe," Dean replies. Easy for you to say Dean, the chicks you've slept with haven't ended up dead. Time to talk about the case. Dean has been out searching 50 square miles and has nothing. Sam has a theory judging by all the books open in front of him. Djinn. Ooh, cool! Those things as far as mythology goes are all over the place. Dean knows what that means. A Genie? He asks if they can grant wishes. Sam thinks they're powerful enough. Sam says they aren't Barbara Eden in Harem pants for the Djinn have been feeding off people for centuries. They're all over the Qur'an. Dean isn't listening to any of that, for he's remembering how hot Barbara Eden was. "Way hotter than that Bewitched chick." I don't know, jump forward to the late 70's and I'm sure Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman trumps them both. But then again, I'm a woman, what would I know? You guys set me straight.

Sam asks if he's even listening to him. Dean says yes, but that means no. Where do the Djinn hide out? Ruins. In Joilet, that could be just about anywhere. Dean thinks he saw a place a couple of miles back. Sam insists that Dean come pick him up but Dean's sure it's nothing. So how different would this episode have been if both Dean and Sam had their deepest wishes granted? Yeah, that would have made this a two-parter and Supernatural was skirting cancellation during this time. With no budget and network support, only one Winchester gets to be in peril.

Dean hangs up much to Sam's chagrin and pulls up to a warehouse at night. I do love that hum of the Impala engine. That won't alert the Djinn at all. There's an old typewriter, filing cabinets, old desks and tell me, do all abandoned warehouses leave their furniture and office supplies behind? I thought that stuff got sold for scrap. Most offices I see are picked clean, mostly by pilfering employees. Anyway, Dean looks around with the flashlight and hears something. Judging by the funky looking dude on the other side of the glass behind him, I'd say something is there. Dean pulls out his knife and now cautiously looks around. He jumps around the corner, nothing there. He walks down the hall and doesn't see the bald head lurking in the shadows. Suddenly something jumps out of said shadows and overpowers him. I suppose if Dean had won the fight this wouldn't have made for a compelling episode. The Djinn's hand goes all blue electric, puts it on Dean's forehead and his eyes roll to the back of his head. Pleasant dreams Deano!

Title card on fire, which quickly switches to some ancient black and white horror movie. I'm somewhat of an old film buff (more old TV) and I didn't recognize the film. According to supernaturalwiki, it's From Hell It Came. I don't ever remember that coming up on my classic horror films list. I then try to remember who wrote and directed this. I know it was written solo by Raelle Tucker, who previously was Sera Gamble's writing partner. This was the last episode she wrote for Supernatural before moving onto True Blood. As for the director, it dawned on me pretty quick. This was the directorial debut of none other than Eric Kripke himself. He's only directed two episodes for Supernatural and judging by the time and budget overruns for Lucifer Rising, he probably won't be doing that again anytime soon. Too bad, for I like his style.

Dean wakes up in a bed. The TV is on to his right and a beautiful woman is sleeping on his left. He's shirtless, but the full view is obstructed. Damn you Kripke! Shirtless Dean is so rare. He's a little freaked. He throws some clothes on and walks into the next room. He's in an apartment. The horror! He only belongs in sleazy motel rooms. This is way too respectable for him (joking, sarcasm, don't take that to be Dean hate).

There's a cell phone and it looks like Sam's. It rings and it is Sam. He answers with confusion. "Dean?" Dean tells him he doesn't know where he is. He mentions the Djinn attacked him. "The gin? You're drinking gin?" Dean clarifies it's the scary creature and he woke up next to some hot chick. "Who, Carmen?" Sam asks. "Who?" Dean asks. Sam concludes Dean is drunk. Dean insists he isn't but Sam just brushes him off with the gets some sleep and a see you tomorrow line. Sam hangs up, laughs, and then goes back to his Criminal Law book. How boring! Why do smart TV characters usually end up being doctors or lawyers? What's wrong with Eco-Scientist or Director of Marketing?

Dean looks around still very confused. He picks up some letters nearby. Carmen's last name is Porter and she lives in Lawrence, Kansas. At the same address, one Dean Winchester. Lawrence, Kansas? The horror! Then Carmen comes out in a bathrobe calling Dean honey. How cute! She asks him what he's doing up. Dean plays along using the old "couldn't sleep" line. Carmen gets all sweet and invites him back to bed so she could fix that. Dean likes the idea and tells her he'll be right there. She sweetly kisses him and goes back to bed.

Dean must be disoriented for instead of hopping into bed with a beautiful woman that adores him, you know, the thing he always wanted, he looks at photos. It's mostly him and Carmen in googly-eyed love and it's really sweet to see him so smitten. That's not what gets his attention though. It's another photo across the room. I'll mention here the score in this episode is fantastic. It's used at just the right moments such to pack a greater emotional punch. It's just one of the many things that make this episode so superior. Here, the score accents Dean's stunned reaction as he drops the photo and leaves, breaking the frame before we can see it. So much for going back to bed with Carmen.


# Jasminka 2009-12-11 04:25
Alice, could you please get out of my head…? This is one of those episodes I love to watch over and over.
I just watched it yesterday night when my mind was spinning with yet another heavy crisis I had to solve at work and I somehow couldn’t get down. So, a dose of Winchester helped me relax, and now I find this recap – woman, how do you do that? Doing this amazing episode justice with your recap and review – and in a manner that makes me believe I’m watching it right now, with some nice, wicked comments on the side…

Yeah, why do smart characters end up as lawyers..? I could picture Sam working for NASA or the UN, putting his diplomatic skills to good use…. (and I wouldn’t mind having him share my office with me: JasPh.D. & SamPh.D., therapists for the impossible… oh, I’m crazy…)

Well, this is an episode in which Dean shines…. Containing some of the sweetest Dean-moments ever… and he breaks my heart every time in those scenes with Mom… how he leans into her, as she bids him good night, eating the ‘best sandwich ever’, having a –relaxed (how long has it been, the man has felt at peace?)- beer, his loving glance at Sam with Jessica, his realization what’s going on between him and alternative-rea lity-Sam, his love for Carmen (and that kiss, … sorry everyone, heavy fan-moment coming on awwwwwwwwwwh, I’m dying…. ), and that graveyard scene… I’m dying again (how many lives does a woman have, exactly?) and getting buried in a Kleenex coffin.

Jensen, you’re way too young to be such an amazing, amazing actor! Everything is here – the tense body language communicating all that pain and the dignity he keeps throughout everything that happened to him (and that will happen), the changes in voice, the struggle for breath, gosh, the tragedy of it all…

You’re absolutely right, Alice. There’s not much to do but to be in awe over this character. Apart from all he does to be the man he is, allowing Sam to think ‘he’s a degenerate to protect him’ is one of the most difficult things ever – letting a loved one believe you’re, well, a disappointment, … I salute you, Dean, dear.

And, yes, the first time I saw those scenes, I too believed that they found a brotherly bond even in that reality, but the heartrending truth soon delivered a blow…

And, well, about that old wives’ tale… where my mother came from, people believed that if you died in a dream, you’d really die. .. Is there anyone out there who can convince me that you have died in a dream and are still around? No kidding, growing up with that superstition I somehow still believe that… like I’m still ten years old…

That decision Dean had to make to come back… My God, my heart breaks for him yet again… I was brought up with the moral standards that integrity and kindness are two of the most important things in life. Spontaneously I’d say, ‘Of course I would have done the exact same thing, returning to the real life, doing what needs to be done’, but truth is, I don’t know if I had the strength to do that.
With every tough decision I had to make in my life I’ve striven to honour my parents by doing what needed to be done… But it gets harder… I’ve been asking myself ever since that episode whether I would be able to muster up the strength necessary if I came into a situation as impossible as that… I only hope I would. But I don’t know for sure…

Alice, thanks a lot for this great recap! You summed it all up so beautifully and inadvertently gave me an idea for an article. Now I’ll have to get to work again.
Any other ‘landmark episodes’ recaps coming up? Terrific! Jas
# DianeUK 2009-12-11 04:52
Just trying to type around the tears!!!
This and ALWAYS will be my favourite episode EVER. It is the one that the DVD goes to automatically when the disk goes in!!!!
Jasminka you said it for me.
I was supposed to be working at home this am .... But HAD to read this when I saw the title (OH! Work is always there!)
The only other point I would make is that it is SOOO wonderful to see Dean smiling and happy. It happens so rarely. I miss his smiles ... but then maybe if there were too many (can there be too many?) we would not cherish them so much.
My son always knows when I have watched this episode because I hug and give him a kiss!(don't always remember other times!). Have to go and phone him now!
Thank you again for this article
Diane x
# Randal 2009-12-11 11:37
Lynda Carter wins, trust me. My first boyhood crush. Yowza.

This episode has had a strange shelf life in my noodle. Usually when deliberating on whether this one is better than that because who doesn't love making lists, it's pretty fluid, but this is one of the few that seems to age like a fine wine, climbing up the charts.

There's so much emotional depth in it and if your heart doesn't break at the end, then you're one cold mofo. I'm a sucker for the heavy mytharc/demonol ogy and comedy ones, but goddamn, I don't pay attention to any of that Emmy bullshit, but how Jensen didn't win one of those stupid trophies for this (do they have single episode ones?) is beyond me. The curse of being on a "horror" show, I guess.
# Bevie 2009-12-11 16:05
If ever anyone in the world deserved to win an acting trophy, it would be Jensen in this episode. I am in complete awe of his talent portrayed here. I'm sure the doofuses who vote for the Emmy winners never even attempt to watch an episode of Supernatural. Boy, they don't know what they are missing out on! I have such respect for this man's extraordinary talent.

As for this episode, it may well be my number 1 episode. It shows off Dean's character so well. His love for his mother and Sam. His deepest wishes for a loving relationship with a good woman and a desire to have a family of his own. Yes, the tears do flow when watching this one! So much empathy for the character of Dean Winchester, who puts himself last in every situation that comes down to his comfort or the well being of others, even strangers. That is the quality that makes me love Dean Winchester unconditionally . We know what makes him tick and what drives him to be the hero he is.

What a wonderfully constructed character! Bless the exceptional writers, producers and creator Kripke for this awesome guy! And the amazing Jensen who brings him to life every episode!
# Hillary 2009-12-12 03:12
This is by far the best episode of supernatural ever, there is a reason it is the only A+ episode on twop. It's just a fantastic character study and highlights how well constructed and acted the character of Dean Winchester really is. This episode highlights why I like Dean. He may have superficial flaws but deep down he has a respect for humanity and desire to protect the innocent from the darkness. This is also the episode I use to explain why I love this show.
# Karen 2009-12-14 09:20
Hi Alice
Once again another great review.
This has always been one of my favourite episodes.
Can’t say anymore than what has already been said.
Thanks again.
# Suze 2009-12-15 06:12
I love Dean in this, and we need more Ramones ( C'mon, they're mostly dead or well addled, they'd be cheap ... ) Best of all I love the Genie, awesome tattoos, glows in the dark, all round top monster ... All sing together now ... You ain't never had a friend like me ... :lol:
# Dany 2009-12-23 12:52
I've been waiting for this recap for a long time Alice, so thanks for this wonderful piece!
This is one of my favorites episodes, lots of klenex every time!
Yes, I too think that Emmy is way overdue, but like Bevie I think that those people that vote for that never saw a Supernatural episode, they don't know what they missing (like amazing acting!).