Supernatural: In My Time of Dying
June 4, 2021 4:18 AM - Season 2, Episode 1 - Subscribe

In the aftermath of the car crash, the three Winchesters go to the hospital, where Dean is stalked by a Reaper while John and Sam try to come up with a way to save him.
posted by orange swan (17 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Dean: [after knocking a full glass of water to the floor as a disembodied spirit] Dude, I full-on Swayze'd that mother.

Sam: [Upon seeing the demolished Impala] Oh man, Dean is gonna be pissed.

"Dr. Kripke", the doctor who attends one of the Winchesters on an emergency at the hospital, is a reference to executive producer and sometimes writer Eric Kripke. He is also called to room 237 for a code blue. Room 237 is significant in The Shining.

In some scenes where "ghost" Dean is interacting with "coma" Dean, the latter is played by a "photo double" (an actor with physical features -- neck, shoulders, head, etc. -- as close to Jensen Ackles' as possible) wearing a specially crafted latex prosthetic face.

This is the second time Dean should have died. 

I don't envy the extras who had to haul Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jared Padalecki, and Jensen Ackles around on stretchers. They were going to need some serious Rub A535 the next day. 

It doesn't make much sense that Dean would be the one so badly injured given that the car was bashed in on the front passenger side, where John was sitting, but I suppose his injuries are mostly demon-incurred -- John and Sam were already taking him to the hospital.

I've begun to think about what Dean's life must have been for those four years while Sam was away. He and his dad were criminal drifters, seeing things and doing things that most people had no conception of, and it had created a very unhealthy dynamic where, to Dean, everyone else was always wrong and his controlling father was always right. He was 26 and still getting ordered around by his dictatorial father, who made their decisions unilaterally, told him the bare minimum, resented questions or criticism, and was quick to find fault with his son. Dean had his own vehicle, and he'd go on hunts by himself, so he'd have had some independence, but what did he have in terms of genuine autonomy, to say nothing of real companionship? It wasn't a good situation for him at all. It's no wonder he wanted Sam back. While Dean still sees himself as the older brother who needs to protect Sam, he's not controlling, and the two of them work together and have fun together as a team. 
posted by orange swan at 4:22 AM on June 4, 2021 [2 favorites]

Thanks for the note about the double and the mask. That explains why Dean looks off enough that I didn't recognize who he was supposed to be at first.

Do we even know that Dean had his own car? I know his father gave it to him, but at what point did that happen? I assumed it occurred just before he disappeared.
posted by sardonyx at 7:09 AM on June 4, 2021

Hmm, no we don't know when exactly Dean got the Impala. But when I look at the internal evidence, I don't see support for him only having gotten the Impala very recently.

When Dean shows up at Stanford in the pilot, Sam says to him, in surprised tone, "Dad lets you go off on hunting trips by yourself?" and Dean says, "I'm 26, Sam." So the independent hunting trips only began at some point in the previous four years while Sam was away at school, but I doubt they were too recent, given that Dean was acting nonchalant about them. Dean would have had to have his own car for solo hunting trips, so my guess is he's had the Impala, or perhaps some other vehicle of his own, for at least a year, and perhaps for as long as four years. He also had his own trunkful of weaponry, which would have taken some time to acquire.

I can totally see John Winchester giving Dean the Impala right after Sam left for Stanford, both to make him feel better, and because he realized he needed to loosen the reins with his grown sons.
posted by orange swan at 8:56 AM on June 4, 2021

Dean would be the one so badly injured

Does Dean seem like the kind of person who would wear a seatbelt in the back of the car, while trying to catch a nap?
posted by porpoise at 4:32 PM on June 4, 2021

Does the Impala even have seat belts?
posted by orange swan at 8:03 PM on June 4, 2021

Yes, the Impala should have belts.
posted by sardonyx at 9:25 PM on June 4, 2021

My family had an old Buick Wildcat the year I was six (in 1979-80). There were no seat belts in the back, just two lap belts in the front.

I don't think I've ever seen Sam and Dean or anyone else wear seat belts in the Impala, though I suppose they could have lap belts that just don't show.
posted by orange swan at 10:39 PM on June 4, 2021

But, to be serious, brain injuries are really hit or miss. I'm ok with Dean's "unlucky" injury while in the statistically safest seat in the car - edema = swelling, and a burst blood vessel(s) in an unfortunate area of the brain is just unlucky, happens, and can easily be fatal/ permanently debilitating. General edema can be alleviated with a trepanation, but an aneurysm leading to localized non-surface edema is orders of magnitude harder to deal with, depending on the location. Not that their bogus insurance policy would cover the imaging part of diagnosing how to treat the edema in the first place.

The bold move would have a chronically (partially) disabled Dean for the rest of the series, but the writers needed to get rid of John. As a storytelling element of a protector (Dean) needing (prolonged) protection from the protectee (younger brother Sam) - I can see that being struck down hard by the showrunners.

That the boys didn't realize that the Colt and the last bullet was gone felt like an omission. But grief. I don't think it gets addressed next episode?

'Reapers' have been introduced at least a couple of times now; the Reaper scene at the end of (googling, easily since it is so iconic) season 5 is still burned into my brain - attributable to the background/ worldbuilding of them starting from S1 and being a major character development in this early ep (and in S5 the iconic Chicago location, an incredible score, and impeccable casting).

The hospital Dean-as-quasi-ghost reminds me a lot of the Reyes-as-quasi-ghost episode in 'Audrey Pauley' in S09E11 of 'The X Files.'

Loved Dean's 2-tiered response to Sam breaking out the ouija board - it's not stupid if it works.

That Dean doesn't remember much from his on-screen time as a quasi-ghost works for me, too.

As the first episode after a cliffhanger ending for a season 1, couldn't ask for much more.


I was a fan of the first half, third of 'Supernatural' but not a superfan and certainly not an online-one.

Please shut me down if I'm being super naive and this has (almost certainly) been all discussed ad infinitum and dead-horsed already in fandom.


re: seat belts

relevant supernatural reddit thread

The nuance appears to be the difference between 1967 and 1968 and whether Baby had ever needed to be inspected and brought to code.
posted by porpoise at 10:47 PM on June 4, 2021

Dean's injuries didn't make a ton of sense to me, partly because it really seemed like Yellow Eyes clawed him up from the inside and nearly killed him before they even got out of the cabin and that doesn't seem to come up at all, but it's a thing I have decided to be at peace with.

Considering I think it's mostly camera work and people jumping in and out of frame, they do some really nice shots shifting back and forth between Sam and Dean's perspectives.

The effect of the demon possessing Tessa, and the idea that a demon even could force itself onto a reaper, was impressively creepy, and you're kind of glad Dean doesn't remember it later because HOLY SHIT that would be terrifying to be alone and trapped with.

Fredric Lehne, best Yellow Eyes? Maybe best Yellow Eyes. Some fans who knew a lot more demonology than I did guessed what would be his proper name based on the summoning John draws.

It's tough watching John say what he says to Dean, and also tough watching him send Sam off on a casual errand knowing he won't see him again, and knowing how much those five minutes are going to live (very differently) in their heads forever.

I guess I'll make up my mind as I rewatch, but I could make a case for Salvation/Devil's Trap/IMTOD being their strongest multi-part episode (and maybe that Dead Man's Blood and Everybody Loves a Clown belong in there too.) Not technically a three-parter or the three best on their own, but it's a really nice mini-arc put together.
posted by jameaterblues at 9:44 AM on June 5, 2021

I say "should" because I'm much more familiar with Blue Ovals of that vintage than Bowties. (I know exactly how I can put my fingers on the part number for back seat belts for a '66 Pony in the time it takes me to walk downstairs). I also know I've used the rear lap belts in said Pony.

I just know that I can easily find remanufactured OEM parts that, to my eye, look period correct with a quick online search. Looking for NOS seatbelts and parts (new old stock) also gives me lots of indications that they were certainly a possibility (given variations in models and trim).

Given my own experiences with classic car restoration, and given what we've seen of Dean, I suspect he'd be the type of car guy who would make sure he has gone out of his way (and given how he travels, nothing is really out of his way) to source every part available for his Baby and and have standing accounts with every classic Chevy parts store in the U.S.

Part of me also wants to say that I thought we saw the use of the back seat belts in the Baby episode, but I could just be imagining that.

I'll have to wander over to that reddit thread posted above when I've got a bit more time on my hands.
posted by sardonyx at 11:45 AM on June 5, 2021 [1 favorite]

I can also absolutely and truthfully say what I while I don't know about motels, hotels will definitely receive and hold orders of car parts for guests with reservations. And that yes, you can include car parts purchased while abroad as part of your declared "personal exemptions" and not pay tax when you import them or ship them home (not that Dean would have to worry about that).
posted by sardonyx at 12:02 PM on June 5, 2021 [1 favorite]

Bobby Singer seemed to run some sort of scrap yard. Wouldn't he have been a potential source for parts if Dean needed any?
posted by orange swan at 12:09 PM on June 5, 2021

Potentially, although looking at the inventory he had, it didn't seem like he specialized in 1960s donors. (That said, I'm sure Dean got more than a few pieces from Bobby's yard, especially if he had to get creative when performing some of his repairs.)

The trick with keeping old cars running is having a long list of parts suppliers, as not everybody carries everything you need (especially when you need it right now), and not everybody has the same quality of parts at the same price. Some will have repro parts, some NOS, some have new stock (it's amazing what parts OEMs continually keep in production for decades). When it comes to repro parts, manufacturers vary wildly in quality and options. One may produce the piece you need, but only in generic black and not the specific colour of red that was only used for one model year, etc. Prices are also unpredictable. One place could list a price that's three or four times higher than a competitor.

In addition to buying parts from Canadian suppliers for my little European roadster, I purchased from places in Florida and California and states in between. Some of these places were well-run modern businesses, others were little mom-and-pop shops that wanted orders faxed and were happy to take cheques or money orders but not credit cards.

Before I did my quick search for Impala seat belts, I pulled up the website to one of classic Ford parts suppliers that I'm familiar with from purchasing Pony parts. I knew it did some GM stuff, but apparently not Impalas. There are, however plenty of equivalent places that specialize in GM B-Bodies, and if you own one of those cars, they'll be names you're familiar with, especially if you're looking for pristine trim or interior pieces to keep your car looking as perfect as possible. Actually, in addition to adult magazines and spell books, if Dean were a real person, I'd expect to see parts catalogues in Baby's trunk. Lots and lots and lots of parts catalogues.
posted by sardonyx at 2:27 PM on June 5, 2021

The thing with Dean getting the Impala goes towards another issue, that of his griping to Sam about Sam leaving for college. If Dean was given the Impala and was hunting on his own then the complaints about Sam breaking up the trio are either a bit overblown for Pops allowing Dean the freedom that Sam wanted soon after, making the "trio" bit excessive, or, more likely, Dean just didn't really like being on his own and blames Sam for making that happen, both by leaving him and, maybe in a convoluted way, thinking if Sam had stayed, then Dad wouldn't have left him on his own as much either.

There's also a bit of a side metaphor here, in Dad giving himself up for Dean, the first of the many exchanges the Winchesters make to fit their ends and give them additional headaches, where the need to save Dean, and the promise John gets from him, not yet fully known I think, point a bit to a fear of Sam being of a different lineage, with Dean the "true son" and Sam having some other blood in him, not unlike a fear of cuckoldry on John's part. This informs the rest of the bargains and conflicts Sam and Dean have and is, in part, another reason why the show for me felt more like it belonged to Dean more than Sam, because it's Dean that has to work out the issue that lingers through season five.
posted by gusottertrout at 1:18 AM on June 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

I think John and Dean were still living and working closely together even though they were doing some solo trips and had their own vehicles. In the pilot, Dean says to Sam, "Dad's on a hunting trip and he hasn't been home in a few days," and when Sam questions that this is actually a sign that something is wrong, Dean adds that John never goes off like that without staying in touch by phone. By "home" Dean likely meant the motel room they were sharing at the time. And I think John and Dean would probably have still worked together to find cases, and hunted together at least sometimes. So yes, Dean would definitely feel that Sam had left the family and their work behind in a way that he himself had not.
posted by orange swan at 5:30 AM on June 6, 2021

Sure, there was something to that, but I think there's also something a bit more primal in Dean's reunion with Sam, hinted at in Sam's amazement that Dean is "allowed" to go hunting by himself. It's a big deal that Sam is a "college boy" and that felt like it was as much a point of contention as Sam leaving itself. The sense of Sam becoming adult, in a way, before Dean, the older brother, which would feel like an unhappy reversal of their childhood when Dean played the adult to Sam. Dean bringing Sam back places him, albeit sometimes intermittently, under Dean's wing once again and, at the least, makes him Sam's equal in useful knowledge in the situations they'll enter into as hunters.
posted by gusottertrout at 7:38 AM on June 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

I've been slowly rewatching this series thanks to these threads... apologies for the delayed comment. I've been interested in the music licensing changes because it's been many years since I originally watched the series and there seem to be some big changes since I originally binged. It's interesting that 1.22 now features some bland-tastic version of "Bad Moon Rising," but the powers-that-be decided to pay for the rights to the original CCR version in the first moments of 2.1. I'm interested in the conversation that produced such results.

Separately, and this only jumps out at me because of my Netflix binge, so I'm sure it's a detail that never would've seemed significant in 2006: Dean made such a fuss in 1.12 "Faith" about wrecking the natural order of things (and to such terrible ends), that his panic over dying strikes a wrong note here. Begging Sam to find a supernatural solution and fighting Tess about always having a choice do not seem like the choices Dean would make after seeing the tradeoffs Reapers made for the healed in 1.12 "Faith" and the guilt he carried after Layla wasn't healed in that episode. Sam even mentions the events of 1.12 "Faith" when talking with his dad, which makes me think Dean would not be so cavalier about attempting to make a deal with "some hoodoo priest [to] lay some mojo on him." Dean also demonstrates a quick acceptance of his own anticipated death in later episodes; his fight here seems unwarranted without deeper explanation.

A few throwaway lines in this episode make me wonder if Kripke planned out the major arcs through season 5 before storyboarding season 2. A few lines hit very differently in light of later events.

Edit: Although, upon reflection, I wonder how much the conversation between Dean and Tessa about "a warrior's death" reverberated across seasons for Dean.
posted by lilac girl at 9:25 PM on July 11, 2021

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