"In My Time of Dying"
John Winchester is declared dead at 10:41 AM. His stricken sons, Sam and Dean, watch in sorrow as the hospital staff tries but is unable to revive him. He had seemed fine just moments before.
In the aftermath of the devastating accident between the Impala and the semi, the possessed truck driver pulls the door off the car to find Sam pointing the Colt at him. The driver knows that bullet is meant for someone else, but Sam vows to shoot him with it anyway. When the demon exits the poor driver, he driver is horrified: "Did I do this?"
Dean, in limbo between the worlds of life and death, sees himself on life support. Separately, using the same expression, he and Sam both come up with the idea of getting some hood priest to lay some mojo on him and bring him back. There is a reaper roaming the hospital, bringing dying people to the other side, and Dean realizes it's here for him. When he conveys that to Sam during a hilarious and brilliantly-done scene of the two of them over an Ouija board (called a "talking board" for stupid reasons, I'm sure), it becomes obvious to both of them that a reaper can't be stopped; Dean is doomed.
There are so many tissue-worthy scenes in this episode, enough to raise the stock in Kleenex: Dean thanks Sam for not giving up on him; Sam begs Dean not to leave him, not when they were just becoming brothers again, if left alone with Dad, they'll kill each other; Dean goes flat-line and Sam stands in the doorway, crying, while the staff works on his brother and brings him back after Dean forces the reaper away; Sam pleads with Bobby to salvage the Impala even though he thinks it should be junked and sold for scrap (he says Dean would want to keep it even if there was only ONE salvageable part, a metaphor for the way Sam feels about Dean himself); John's final scene with Dean, when he tells him how proud of him he is, how sorry he is for making him grow up too soon, how he put too many burdens on him at too young an age.
In a class by themselves are Sam's arguments with John, especially the one in which he says, "Go to hell." How does Sam feel when it hits him that, in his deal with Yellow Eyes, that's exactly what John did, for real? Sam keeps accusing John of having the wrong priorities, killing the demon instead of saving Dean, but the truth is, of course, that John's only concern was keeping Dean alive. He sacrificed the only weapon that would kill Yellow Eyes, along with his own lifeâ€”and notice that there wasn't 10 years, or five, or even one for John Winchester, he had to go to hell right NOW.
Even Dean accuses John of doing nothing to help save him, reminding him that he's done everything he ever asked him. "What kind of father are you?" demands Dean. I love the scene in which Dean, so angry with his battling father and brother, full-on "Swayzes" the water jug and sends it crashing to the floor.
I find Tessa a fascinating character, and it's obvious that before she was possessed by Yellow Eyes, or one of his lower level similar-colored-eyed demons, Dean is about to give in and go with her. He says he has an empty feeling, and we figure it has something to do with John, but he will define that much later, season four, as a matter of fact, and it has nothing to do with John. Dean cheats death so many times, he becomes the poster boy for the one who got away from the reaper.
After sending Sam to get him coffee, John whispers the big secret to Dean, leaving an expression of fear and disbelief on his face. We don't learn that secret for several more episodes, but we do know it now, and why it would be so upsetting for the man who spent his whole life loving and watching over his little brother.
The Winchester boys are left orphans, and yes, I was sobbing my heart out, because after falling in love with all three of them during the first season, it didn't seem fair for this to happen. I knew that John had given up his life to save his older son, and being a mother myself, completely understand such a mindset. I also know what big GUILT feels like, and that his sons are going to be suffering from it, big time, over not just the next episodes, but the rest of their lives.
This excellent episode was as much a pivotal one as "Devil's Trap." What are your thoughts? Please share!