Supernatural: Shadow
May 28, 2021 11:46 AM - Season 1, Episode 16 - Subscribe

While looking into a mysterious murder in Illinois, Sam and Dean come across Meg, a woman whom Sam met roadside in Indiana in the "Scarecrow" episode, and who turns out to be something other than the random hitchhiker Sam initially thought she was.
posted by orange swan (8 comments total)
Dean: [On the phone] Now why don't you give that girl a private stripper-gram.
Sam: Bite me.
Dean: Bite her! Don't leave teeth marks though, just enough to...
Sam: [disconnects call]
Dean: Sam?

Dean: I talked to the bartender.
Sam: You get anything? Besides her number?
Dean: Dude. I'm a professional. I'm offended that you would think that.
Sam: [gives Dean a look]
Dean: All right, yeah [holds up a napkin with the number].
Sam: You mind doin' a little bit of thinkin' with your upstairs brain, Dean?

[Dean and Sam are dressed as alarm company technicians]
Dean: You know I gotta say, Dad and me did just fine without these stupid costumes. I feel like a high school drama dork. What was that play that you did, that, what was it, uh, "Our Town". Yeah, you were good. It was cute.
Sam: Look, you wanna pull this off or not?
Dean: I'm just sayin' these outfits cost hard-earned money, okay?
Sam: Whose?
Dean: Ours! You think credit card fraud's easy?

The mental image of John and Dean Winchester dutifully sitting through a high school performance of Our Town because Sam is in it gives me the giggles.

Why on earth didn't Sam and Dean check to see if Meg was really dead? They don't seem to do any corpse clean up after they kill evil beings, and it must be interesting to see what the local authorities make of all those non-human remains. It really isn't credible that in the Supernatural universe, mainstream society and law enforcement is so completely unaware of the existence of the supernatural -- there's so much hard evidence that it is true, so many people who know about it. Realistically, in an alternate universe where there are monsters, there would be a special arm of law enforcement created to do the work that Sam and Dean do, instead of all these vigilante hunters.

Dean has some kind of fling with a cop, chats up the waitress at the bar and gets her number, checks out another woman on his way back to Sam, and then is disgruntled when Meg isn't into him. I suppose I have a certain respect for that level of energy.  Sam meanwhile seems to be starting to have a little interest in such matters again. He really did seem to like Meg. 

Dean wants his father and Sam and himself to be all together again, apparently for as long as they live, even after they avenge Mary and Jessica. He must surely realize that in normal families, the kids grow up and go off and live their own independent lives, with their own work, and establish their own families, but he has a compulsive need for family bonds, for the constant and perpetual companionship of his father and brother. 

I'm impressed with the casting of Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the father of sons played by Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki. Young Jeffrey Dean Morgan looked remarkably like Jensen Ackles, just with darker hair and heavier eyebrows, and it would make total sense that the Winchester boys, who took after their father and got his skin tone and olive eyes (Ackles and Padalecki have very similar colouring), would get somewhat lighter hair than him because their mother was blond. 
posted by orange swan at 12:25 PM on May 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

oh I love the bodycount they leave behind them, the absolute serial killer insanity of their supernatural war is, when you stop for a moment, enormous and they should absolutely be top ten FBI and publically notorious from early on. Supernatural goes back and forth on playing with this whenever it serves the story and ignores it when convenient. (The golem episode is classic outsider POV of them for this!)

As a standalone I love this episode because oh creepy little girls are my jam, but it feels dissonant to the rest of the show because there are no supernatural elements to tie it into the whole show.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 11:02 PM on May 28, 2021

There aren't any creepy little girls in this episode.
posted by orange swan at 5:59 AM on May 29, 2021

ack, I had The Benders episode fanfare open in another tab, and mixed up the two episodes! This is where they introduce the gorgeous shadows fight and never bloody use it again, another frustrating cool idea tossed aside.

Oh! There's a film blogger who went deep into Supernatural and her review of this episode is well worth reading. She didn't (yet) complete the entire 15 seasons.

The way John appears and then takes off at the end of this episode is so shocking. Like the show sets it up for you that the aim of the last episodes, their big goal, has been achieved - they found their dad! And together they defeat their biggest enemy yet in a gorgeous coordinated attack, and the boys are so glad to be back with him, even Sam. And then John snatches it away, and it's deliberately left unclear if he's telling the truth or at least the whole truth, whether he's leaving them for his own plans and vengeance, or if he's really protecting them (Missouri's misgivings!)

Rewatching this was coloured for me by how much I really, really hate John Winchester the character. Seeing him break his kids hearts for the first time on-screen - rage, rage, rage.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 8:56 AM on May 29, 2021

Every time I watch this episode I forget that they dragged (TV) Zoroastrianism into this show for like ten seconds and ten seconds only.

John roar-screaming while the demons are roughing him up in the hotel always cheers me up because it goes like three orders of magnitude harder than Sam or Dean who are also right there getting their faces slashed to ribbons, and at this moment in the series it's just a delight to learn that John Winchester is VERY dramatic.

For Dean, I think part of it is that he has very little model and even less desire for a way of being a family that doesn't involve living in a car together. So even as adults abandonment feels like abandonment (John), but independence also feels like abandonment (Sam), and that feels really really dangerous both to his family and threatening to Dean's sense of himself. Even with the worry for their father and Lawrence and almost dying of a heart attack and Sam's incipient psychic weirdness, Dean's been having a pretty good year as it goes. That Sam loves him but doesn't want to be totally engulfed in Dean's world is just...devastating. And Sam gets that, now certainly if he didn't before, but he's who he is too.

I struggle with John sometimes because in a lot of ways it feels like there's not THAT much to his character, but the emotional violence he did to the three of them by making Sam choose between them and college/escape/safety was damaging to all of them in a way that changed them permanently. I'm totally sure he regretted it, probably almost right away but...people are who they are.

...agh I have a bunch more to say here but all of it's spoilery.

I had never seen a picture of JDM at that age before, and wow, okay, I can see it.

The mental image of John and Dean Winchester dutifully sitting through a high school performance of Our Town because Sam is in it gives me the giggles

posted by jameaterblues at 11:39 AM on May 29, 2021

Young Jeffrey Dean Morgan looked remarkably like Jensen Ackles

That's so uncanny I'd almost wonder if they knew this when they cast them.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:51 PM on May 29, 2021

It's not just that one picture either.

I also note that Jeffrey Dean Morgan even has dimples, like Jared Padalecki.

Casting directors don't always succeed in assembling a roster of actors who look like a family, but Supernatural nailed this one.

Samantha Smith, who played Mary Winchester, doesn't resemble her onscreen sons (at most I can maybe see a bit of similarity between her facial features/shape and Jared Padalecki's), but then children often do look very much like one of their parents and not at all like the other.

I think the main idea when it came to casting Mary Winchester, who was probably originally only supposed to be in that one flashback incident in the pilot, was to get two actresses who had a similar look to play Mary and Jessica, in order to emphasize the idea of a horrible nightmarish scenario happening to Sam all over again. Samantha Smith and Adrienne Palicki certainly are quite similar looking.
posted by orange swan at 7:16 PM on May 29, 2021

"yeah no no let's make his girlfriend as reminiscent of his mom as possible" ah Supernatural, you were a real one
posted by jameaterblues at 8:48 PM on May 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

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