Project SPN Rewatch: In My Time of Dying
(As I mentioned in my post announcing this rewatch project, there will be spoilers!)
Season Two, Episode One: In My Time of Dying
Image and episode summary from IMDB:
In the aftermath of the car crash, the surviving Winchesters go to the hospital, where one is stalked by a Reaper while another must consider sacrificing himself to save the others.
Time for season two, you guys! Season one left off on a pretty major cliffhanger.
We get started with “Then” – a nice recap of the big moments from season one. But “Now” – we pick up right where we left off.
I love the music in this scene (Bad Moon Rising, CCR). Aaw, this poor trucker who sees what ‘he’ did.
Dean! His injuries must be bad if he has to be airlifted to a hospital.
Phew – he’s awake and moving around. Time to find Sam and his father – where are they? Why can’t anyone hear or see him? Oh snap, that’s his own body laying in that hospital bed! I do not like seeing Dean Winchester laying there hooked up to tubes and machines. Very distressing.
Ooh, new season two opening sequence. That’s one of the (many) things I love about Supernatural: every season uses a different title card.
Alright Sam comes looking for Dean. Sads. Invisi-Dean is relieved to hear from a doctor (speaking with Sam) that their father is awake; when Sam asks about Dean, it doesn’t sound good. Major head trauma, Dean might not wake up…uh oh.
LOL at John Winchester’s insurance card – Elroy McGillicuddy. Sam tells their father what the doctor said about Dean. I love that Sam basically tells their father the same thing Invisi-Dean said, word for word, about getting a priest to lay some mojo on him – but that he couldn’t have heard Dean say it.
But even John is telling Sam that he isn’t sure that they’ll find someone who can help. Of course, then John asks where the Colt is, and Sam fights with him about caring more about that gun than his dying son. We learn that Bobby is on the way to retrieve it from the trunk of the Impala. John wants Sam to go to Bobby’s and bring him back the Colt, which seems pretty cold. He also gives Sam a list of things he needs from Bobby “for protection”.
Invisi-Dean witnessed this entire scene.
Sam goes to Bobby and it’s so touching when he says that Dean will be pissed about the damage to the Impala, like he can’t give up on the idea that Dean will recover. Bobby tells him it’s scrap but Sam says Dean will want to fix it when he gets better. Aaaww! I love that he totally refuses to give up hope.
But when Bobby sees John’s list, he knows something is up. That John Winchester, still keeping Sam and Dean in the dark about what he’s up to.
I love this scene of John visiting Dean’s hospital room, and Invisi-Dean yells at him, saying John hasn’t even called anyone for help; he yells that he’s given everything he ever had, done everything he asked – but John will just sit there and watch him die. “What the hell kind of father are you”? MAN the family dynamic stuff on this show is excellent! It’s sad though that John can’t hear what Invisi-Dean is saying, because this may be the first time Dean has spoken to his father that way, with such anger and honesty.
Ooh but something is happening out in the hall and Invisi-Dean seems to be the only one to sense it. He follows the noise and sees someone die right before his eyes. He tries to get Sam to help, to tell him that something is going on in this hospital, but Sam and John are busy fighting. Sam is back from Bobby’s and knows that the items on John’s list are not to ward off a demon – they’re used to summon one. He’s furious but John tells him that he has a plan:
John: “I have a plan, Sam.”
Sam: “That’s exactly my point! Dean is dying and you have a plan.” Sam says that John cares more about killing the demon than saving Dean.
John: “I am doing this for Dean.”
Sam calls John selfish, obsessed. John responds by saying that Sam begged to be part of this hunt. This is all true.
John: “If you’d killed that damn thing when you had the chance, none of this would have happened.” Even if it meant killing John? Yes, he says. Come on, that’s kind of a low blow. What person would kill their own flesh and blood with no hesitation? I know Sam and Dean are pretty bad-ass hunters, and John trained them to be that way and expects total obedience, but does he honestly believe that Sam failed for not killing John with the Colt when he was possessed by Azazel? That’s a huge burden to place on your child.
Invisi-Dean is still trying to play the role of peacekeeper, but they can’t hear him. He gets angry and a glass of water falls to the ground and breaks. This gets John and Sam’s attention. And Invisi-Dean is a little pleased with himself: “Dude, I full on Swayze’d that mother!”. But suddenly he doesn’t feel so good and gets flickery. Sam goes to Dean’s room and sees that he’s flatlining. Invisi-Dean sees something ghost-y hovering over his body, and it seems as though Sam senses something too.
Phew Dean got a pulse back! And Invisi-Dean tells Sam (who can’t hear him) not to worry, he’s not going anywhere. Aww, Dean still trying to take care of Sam.
Invisi-Dean meets Tessa, who is also a patient in the hospital (“I just came in for an appendectomy”) and seems to be in the same situation as Dean: no one can see or hear her. Invisi-Dean tells her that this is not a dream, but possibly an out of body experience/bilocation/crisis apparition: it means that they are spirits of people who are close to death. But they won’t die if their bodies can hold on.
Now John and Sam are talking about Dean, saying it’s possible that his spirit is still around. John promises Sam that he won’t hunt the demon until they know that Dean is okay. Good parenting.
Tessa tells Invisi-Dean that she is not okay with dying, but it’s fate. It’s out of her control. She seems to be taking this pretty well. Dean tells her that’s crap (haha!) and that you always have a choice.
(The page that comes over the hospital intercome is for Dr. Kripke, haha) Invisi-Dean goes to a room where a patient is flatlining and sees that ghost-y thing over the patient’s bed, touching her forehead. He yells at it but the patient dies.
Sam shows up in Dean’s hospital room with a Ouija board! Invisi-Dean doesn’t think it will work, but it does! Sam is so happy and relieved to hear from his brother. Super touching. Invisi-Dean is trying to tell Sam that there’s something going on in the hospital, and he thinks it’s a reaper. Sam asks Invisi-Dean if it’s after him – and he says yes. Sam tells him there’s no way to stop a reaper if it’s here naturally, but their father will know what to do and there’s got to be a way.
Of course, when he gets to John’s hospital room, John isn’t there. We see him in what looks like the basement of the hospital, with the bag from Bobby that we now know contains what he needs to summon the demon.
Sam goes to Dean’s hospital room and tells him that their dad is gone, but Sam has John’s journal and starts reading about reapers. Invisi-Dean thanks Sam for not giving up on him. Invisi-Dean, reading the journal over Sam’s shoulder, sees something that upsets him.
He goes and confronts Tessa, telling her that he’s learned that reapers can alter human perception and can make themselves appear however they want. He tells her she’s much prettier than the last reaper he met (that would be the one in season one, episode 12, Faith. What a great episode! And I love the callback to it here).
Tessa tells him that it’s her sandbox and she can make him see whatever she wants, and he flipped out when he saw her true form. (So…does that mean that the ghost-y thing is a reaper’s true appearance?) It was the only way she could get Dean to talk to her. She tells him that death is nothing to fear, and it’s his time to go. And he’s living on borrowed time.
Cut to John summoning the yellow eyed demon! (This guy is so great at playing Azazel, BTW) John tells Azazel that he wants to make a deal. Ooh!
Sam is back in Dean’s hospital room, telling him that he didn’t find anything in the journal. He doesn’t know how to help Dean but he’ll keep trying (Later season spoilers – highlight the rest of this paragraph to read my thoughts or move on to the next paragraph if you don’t want to be spoiled: this is just like Sam trying to save Dean from what the Mark of Cain is doing to him! Except here, Dean doesn’t want to die and wants Sam or his dad or someone to figure it out; in season 10, he’s basically told Sam to give up looking for an answer, which Sam refuses to do. This is also like the episode Faith from season one, where Dean is dying and Sam takes him to a faith healer because he won’t sit by and watch his brother die. Of course, in season 8 when Dean is in purgatory, Sam does not try to find a way to save Dean. And even though that’s what Dean told him, it still upset him to know that not only did Sam not look for his brother, but that he seemed to give up hunting altogether. And don’t get me started on the way he left Kevin Tran hanging! Phew. End of season 8/10 spoiler-y thoughts.)
Sam tells Dean that he can’t leave him alone with their dad, because they’ll kill each other (haha). But also, “We were just starting to be brothers again”. Not gonna lie, that line totally gets me every time I see this episode! It reminds me that prior to the events of the pilot episode, where Dean comes to see Sam at school to begin the search for their father, these two were apart for who knows how long, with Dean hunting with their father, and Sam trying to live a normal life at college. Sad Sam makes me sad.
Invisi-Dean is bargaining with Tessa, telling her to make an exception because his family needs him. But she tells him that the fight’s over, at least for him. He’s not the first soldier she’s plucked from the field and the battle will go on without him. It’s an honourable death – a warrior’s death. But he tells her that there’s no such thing as an honourable death and he won’t go with her.
Tessa tells him that there’s always a choice, like he said, and she can’t make him go with her. But he won’t get back in his body, and he’ll stay in the hospital this way for years, disembodied, scared, and it will eventually drive him mad – perhaps violent:
“How do you think angry spirits are born?” They can’t move on, they can’t let go, and he’s about to become one if he stays: “The same thing you hunt.” SNAP!
Back to John and Azazel – John offers to trade the Colt and the remaining bullet if the demon brings Dean back. Although the demon is still upset about his ‘family’ that Dean killed, he agrees. John tells him that he’s known the truth about Sam and the other children for a while, but the demon knows that Sam doesn’t know and that John has been playing dumb with Sam. That’s a bit of a burn, when a demon calls you out for lying to your child.
Turns out that the demon itself can’t bring Dean back, but that he knows someone who can – “It’s not a problem”. There are limits to the demon’s powers, I suppose. However, they don’t have a deal yet. There’s something else that the demon wants, maybe more than the Colt. What could it be…
Tessa is still trying to get Invisi-Dean to move on, but she can’t/won’t tell him where he’ll go if he moves on. So now it’s the moment of truth – will he stay or go? Before he can tell Tessa what he decides, the lights start to flicker. She tells him that it isn’t her doing that. Suddenly a demon smokes in through the vents and Tessa yells at it to leave, but it possesses her! Possessed Tessa turns around, with yellow eyes (Azazel!) and tells Invisi-Dean that it’s his lucky day. She touches his forehead and suddenly he wakes up in his hospital bed.
Aw, Sam and Dean reunion! The doctor, of course, can’t explain how, but Dean is totally healed, with no sign of any injuries. And Dean can’t remember what happened while he was out. Sam tells him that he said there was a reaper after him, but Dean can’t remember how he ditched it. But he knows something’s wrong.
Right then, John Winchester shows up, so happy to see that Dean is alive and well: “That’s what matters.” Sam is upset and asks where John was last night, but John just tells Sam he had things to take care of. LOL big time at Sam’s response: “Well that’s specific.”
Dean is trying to get them to stop fighting, but Sam is angry. John, rather than fighting back as usual, asks if they can stop fighting. He makes a nice little speech to Sam, then asks Sam if he’ll go get him some coffee. Sam goes, leaving Dean and John alone.
John makes a nice little speech now to Dean about his childhood, and apologizes for not being a better father, for making Dean grow up too fast and putting too much on his shoulders. “I just want you to know that I am so proud of you.” I love that Dean’s reaction is to ask if that’s really John talking.
John then tells him to watch out for Sammy, and whispers something in Dean’s ear that we the viewers don’t hear. But they both have tears in their eyes and Dean looks really upset. BUT WHY JOHN – WHY TELL DEAN SOMETHING ABOUT SAM BUT NOT TELL SAM HIMSELF?? These Winchesters and their secrets!
They’re both crying when John walks away. He goes into another room and puts the gun on the counter, saying “Okay”.
Sam comes back with the coffee and sees John Winchester laying on the floor. He drops the coffee and runs to him, but Sam and Dean watch as their father dies. Time of death: 10:41 a.m.
WOW. They fit so much into this episode! I love the scenes with Dean and Tessa. And then all the drama between the brothers and their father! This was a great season premiere!
As sad as it is about John Winchester dying, it’s also super touching that he sacrificed himself to save Dean, and in typical Winchester fashion, he didn’t want to tell Sam and Dean about it. At the same time, I can’t help but think that it’s kind of selfish to make a deal like the one he did and not tell his sons. They won’t have any closure. I have very mixed feelings about John Winchester.
I really loved all the reaper lore (highlight to read spoiler: and I love that we get to see Tessa again in future episodes. I really think she’s great. End of spoiler). I also love that she tells Dean that if he chooses to stay, he’ll become exactly the kind of angry spirit that he hunts (highlight to read yet another spoiler: this is exactly what we see happen in season seven when Bobby dies and refuses to move on. End of spoiler).
I also love the way this episode shows how close Sam and Dean have become. Now they’ll have to face whatever comes next on their own, without their father (but phew they still have his journal!). They’ve become excellent hunters in their own right, which I’ve said before, and we’ll really get to see that from here on out.
Also, Ouija boards totally work!
Without the search for their father driving the storyline, they’ll obviously have to have some other larger plotline for season two and beyond. I know what comes next, and I’m really loving rewatching all of these episodes.
-Reaper: we learn that they can make themselves look however they want to look; they can’t force a spirit to come with them; they are not immune to demonic possession apparently