Supernatural: Provenance
May 31, 2021 8:10 AM - Season 1, Episode 19 - Subscribe

A young couple is murdered in their home shortly after buying an antique family portrait that had been painted circa 1910. Upon reviewing the painting's provenance, Sam and Dean learn that everyone who has ever bought the painting has been murdered, and try to discover how the portrait is causing the deaths before it can claim its next victim. 
posted by orange swan (5 comments total)
Sam: What kind of house doesn't have salt? Low sodium freaks!

Sam: [after Sam and Dean see that a painting they burned has reappeared in its frame] I don't understand, Dean. We burned the damn thing!
Dean: Yeah, thank you, Captain Obvious.

Sarah Blake: [watching Sam and Dean dig up a grave] You guys seem to be uncomfortably comfortable with this.
Sam: Well, this isn't exactly the first grave we've dug. Still think I'm a catch?

Dean: Grant Wood? Grandma Moses? What?
Sam: Art History course. It's good for meetin' girls.
Dean: It's like I don't even know you.

Dean: [realizes that Sarah wants a private moment to say goodbye to Sam] I'll go wait in the car. See ya, Sarah. [walks away, muttering] I only burned the doll, destroyed the spirit. But don't thank me or anything.

Dean: And what was the... providence?
Sam: Provenance. It's a certificate of origin, like a biography, you know? We can use 'em to track the history of the pieces, see if anything's got a freaky past.
Dean: Huh. Well, we're not getting anything outta Chuckles, but uh, Sarah...
Sam: Yeah. Maybe you can get her to write it all down on a cocktail napkin.
Dean: Not me.
Sam: Oh, no no no no. Pickups are your thing, Dean.
Dean: It wasn't my butt she was checking out.
Sam: In other words, you want me to use her to get information.
Dean: Sometimes you gotta take one for the team.

I liked Sarah's character. She only appears in one more episode, though, and that won't be until 2013.

That painting was awful and I can't believe anyone would buy it.

Dean's pushing Sam towards Sarah, and his transparent ruse of saying he lost his wallet to get them in the same room again, was amusing, but also really obnoxious. He seems to think if Sam would just hook up with women, it would help him move on after Jessica's death. But the thing is, Sam doesn't usually have much interest in casual sex. He never pursues women the way Dean does. For Sam, being with a woman involves making a genuine, mutual connection, and getting at least somewhat emotionally involved with her, but he's afraid to form any attachments because of what happened to Jessica, and the hard fact of the matter is that his fear is realistic. Banging random women the way Dean does isn't going to address that at all.
posted by orange swan at 8:27 AM on May 31, 2021 [1 favorite]

I'm glad to hear that Sarah comes back at least once. I liked the idea of her being a reoccurring character. She seemed like the type that would be good for Sam: respectful of his boundaries and able to take his weird world in (relative) stride. It seems like both of the boys need those kinds of people in their lives, especially ones that aren't really part of the hunter world.
posted by sardonyx at 9:30 AM on May 31, 2021 [1 favorite]

I always quite liked this one. It's not the first good episode or even the first confident episode, but if I have to pick an early MOTW to show somebody Supernatural just doing what it does, it's probably this.

I like Sarah a ton, and there lots of fun little touches, like the (admittedly kind of weird) wallet trick, the grungy Impala parked with all the fancy people cars, some really lovely graveyard shots, Dean banging on the glass with his gun before he remembers he can shoot it, Sam getting all the way to a nice dinner date before realizing he has no idea what to do with a wine list (even with Cool Girl vibes of Sarah asking for beer instead, but been there, Sam, been there.)

Dean being extremely, one might say weirdly invested in Sam's sex life is an odd one. Because in a lot of ways, he really is good at taking care of Sam (and John) and understanding what they need, and at this moment Sam really Does Not need meaningless sex with strangers (even if that is a thing he will eventually sometimes enjoy!) From a certain angle it feels like a performance Dean is doing because he has no idea what will help (with Sam's grief, with this extremely scary psychic business, with John who is still AWOL) and Cheerful Louche is a role they're both comfortable with him filling, and it gives Sam a dynamic he knows how to fall into. (Or I mean, maybe it's because this is nominally a straight guy show for straight guys and it's for them somehow and I'm just not going to understand it.)
posted by jameaterblues at 10:56 AM on May 31, 2021 [2 favorites]

I think Dean just fundamentally doesn't understand Sam well enough to grasp that a fling isn't something he wants, and he's just trying to help in a way that he knows he himself would appreciate. Over time they'll come to a better understanding, but they're still feeling each other out after years apart.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:04 AM on May 31, 2021

I'm comfortable around knives, but straight razors leave me cold.

lol, the "unreliable Zippo (lighter)" trope. They really aren't that great, takes almost daily maintenance to ensure reliability. Iconic, though.

Huh, I had no idea that the Bic lighter was only introduced in 1973. Amazing bit of reasonably low cost but incredibly reliable technology (same for the ballpoint pen, too).
posted by porpoise at 3:56 PM on May 31, 2021

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