Supernatural S1E1(Part2): BM – Boy Melodrama

(See part 1 here.)

We cut to the next morning, and a run-down gas station with antique pumps. Here we get our first glimpse of Baby, Dean’s iconic black 1967 Chevy Impala.

A stylish black 1967 Chevy Impala known by the Winchester boys as 'Baby'
Baby is a character in her own right.

Dean comes out of the station with some junk for breakfast. We find out Dean and his father have been surviving on fraudulent credit cards. We also find out Dean’s music collection is pretty much nothing but classic rock cassettes.


What a jerk

16:44 – Dana Hunter

Ah, the arguments over music and names begin.

I love how he’s always trying to get Dean to treat him like an adult, but it never really works.

Dean and Sam argue about music, with Sam calling Dean’s slim music collection, “The Greatest Hits of Mullet Rock”.

Two mid-twenties white, brown haired men, sitting in a 1967 Chevy Impala. The one in the driver's seat says to the other, "Driver picks the music, shotgun shuts his cakehole."
Dean’s a bit rough around the edges

Dean calls his brother Sammy, which annoys Sam. There’s a bit of brotherly bickering as they hit the road to Jericho. There’s a brief road trip montage, during which Sam announces there’s no one who matches their dad’s description at the hospital or morgue.

17:18 – Zeroth

Well, Dean does call him Sam

Hey its pretty bright now

18:00 – Dana Hunter

Ja, sometimes.

HEE the fake IDs.

It’s daylight, and the boys are here to shed light upon the mystery.

The boys drive up to the bridge in the daylight, with several cop cars at both ends of the bridge. Dean pulls over and grabs a box of fake IDs from the glove compartment, choosing out a couple with a grin, and he and Sam get out to investigate. We overhear bits of the discussion between the two small-town cops, before they ask what Sam and Dean are doing here. Dean flashes a Federal Marshal badge, and their story is immediately questioned by the cops.

18:43 – Zeroth


18:43 – Dana Hunter

Dean is so smooth.

A classically handsome twenty-ish white man with brown hair flashes a Federal Marshal badge
Smooooth criminal.

18:55 – Zeroth

Little young to be marshals


Dean says that’s mighty kind of him, and then segues into asking questions about the incident.

19:08 – Dana Hunter

Did Sam just kick him? LOL

Dean gets a bit snarky with the cops and Sam stomps on his foot. As they walk away, Dean slaps Sam on the back of the head, and they argue a little.

19:39 – Zeroth

Dean, play nice

Dana Hunter

Very Marshal

They quiet down as they pass two FBI agents, with Dean greeting them, “Agent Mulder, Agent Scully.”



good thing they didn’t do the FBI bit



The Winchester boys acknowledge the two FBI agents in FBI jackets, and Dean greets them with, "Agent Mulder, Agent Scully"
Get used to the X-Files jokes

Dana Hunter

Sooo lucky


most of the production staff came from X-Files

Dana Hunter

It shows.

We cut to in town, where Sam and Dean meet up with the girlfriend of the last missing victim, who’s hanging Missing Person flyers. They ask the girlfriend and her goth-styled friend some questions, taking them to lunch inside a dimly-lit diner while they continue their inquiries.

20:50 – Zeroth

and now its dark… bet you they’re going to get a red herring

The goth girl is reluctant to say, but the boys coax her into revealing what she knows. She begins by saying that with all that’s going on, people talk.

Dana Hunter

Nice chorus there.

The Winchester boys respond in unison during some questioning of the locals for information about their ghost
Just two brothers



they’re definitely family

Dana Hunter

Shows the brothers are more in-sync than they might want to admit.


and the side-glance at each other

She tells them about a local legend. After getting a story about a woman that was murdered on that stretch of road, and her ghost being seen around there, Sam and Dean go to the town library to do research.

21:30 – Dana Hunter

I REALLY doubt you’d get zero results with that search.

Close up of a failed search result for "female murdered centennial highway"
No search results for women being killed? Unpossible!


Sam’s the techy one

me too

especially in a small town

Dean fails at finding any search results for “murdered woman” plus the road name, which to Dana and I sounds unlikely. The reality is that when a woman is murdered, it is more than twice as likely she was murdered by someone she is or was intimate with.

As Dean continues striking out, Sam tries to take over the search, leading to a brief slap-fight between them. Sam pushes Dean out of the way, and searches for suicides rather than murders. He strikes gold.

Brotherly Love: 2


oh that’s her!

Dana Hunter

We found the mystery murder woman!

Sam finds an article about a woman named Constance Welch, who jumped from Sylvania Bridge – the same bridge where the most recent victim vanished – in 1981. Her children had recently drowned in the bathtub, and her husband reported she was distraught.

22:30 –

I have a question – why didn’t John take care of the ghost while he was here?

the most recent death is on him

23:00 – Dana Hunter

Dunno. Wonder if he was leaving it for his boys to practice on.

After they identify the ghost, they head back out to bridge to check out the scene. As they’re talking, Dean questions Sam about his life goals, about becoming a lawyer instead of a hunter. Sam is hurt, and fires back about how driven their dad is and how he doesn’t remember or even know their mother. Dean slams Sam up against a bridge girder, venting his anger.

Daddy Issues: 5
Brotherly Love: 3

Dana Hunter

Right, Dean. Manhandling your brother will solve all your problems.

Dean has slammed Sam up against a bridge girder and is angry at Sam.
Speaking of healthy relationships…

23:30 – Zeroth

Trying to keep it all stuffed down

Then they spot the woman in white on the bridge. She poses dramatically, then jumps – but when they rush over to look, there’s no body.

Suddenly, Baby’s headlights flick on, with the boys looking confused. Dean pulls out his keys and holds them up as they realize the ghost has possessed their car. The car starts driving towards them, forcing the boys to run for their lives.

24:00 – Dana Hunter


24:00 – Zeroth

the look on their faces

Dean and Sam look confused as Dean holds up the keys to Baby
Oh shit…

24:30 – Dana Hunter

Interesting. Sam refers to it as Dean’s car rather than dad’s

They’re good at the oshit look

Dean jumps off the bridge and Sam climbs over the side as Baby narrowly misses them. Sam manages to grab the girders, but Dean goes all the way over.

25:00 – Zeroth

hahahaa Dean

he’s covered in mud

oh yay slurs

26:13 – Dana Hunter

Indeed. Have to get used to those in this show

Swimming in Sexism: 6

A man completely covered in mud rests exhaustedly on the shore of a river and says, "I'm super."
Dirty Jensen Ackles

Sam sees Dean crawling out of the water completely caked in mud. Then Dean checks to make sure Baby’s okay before he hurls a few gendered slurs at Constance. The boys go to a nearby motel for a room, when the manager notices the last name on Dean’s fraudulent credit card, and that an older man had booked a room with the same last name. So Sam and Dean break into the room to find a serial-killer’s room – or a hunter’s. Sam notes that there’s salt and Cat’s eye shells to keep something out.

Dana Hunter

cat’s-eye shells. Gotta look that up.

(Turns out cat’s eye shells are used for protection against the Evil Eye.)

They find that their dad had identified what type of ghost they’re dealing with – a woman in white. Sam and Dean share a tender moment and then Dean ruins the moment with “No chick-flick moments.” and they call each other names with a smile. While Dean cleans up from his impromptu river excursion, Sam finds the address of the bereaved husband to find the location of the corpse.

Dana Hunter

You know, instead of bothering grieving hubbies, you could just check public records…

Ewww can’t be like girls ewww

Dean is still caked in mud, and holds up a hand saying, "No chick-flick moments."
Ruining Moments since 2005

Ewww Goils: 1

Sam and Dean trade insults, with Dean calling his brother a gendered slur.

Swimming in Sexism: 7

Dean goes for a shower, and Sam finds that their dad has stuck a photograph of the three of them in the frame of the mirror. Sam looks about three to four years old, held by his father, and Dean sitting on their dad’s other side on Baby’s hood.


aww, the picture

After Dean has cleaned himself up, he goes to get food while Sam tries to call Jess. He gets picked up by the local police for a fake credit card and impersonating Federal Marshals. He manages to warn Sam in time, and plays ignorant when they ask him about his partner. When the sheriff asks if there’s anything real about him, Dean responds with a smirk and “My boobs.” That gets him slammed into the hood of the cruiser.

28:33 – Zeroth

snarky dean

28:33 – Dana Hunter

Oh, men. boobies are so funny hur hur

Dean says "My Boobs"
Ewww goils

Dean is now being interrogated by the sheriff. After a little back and forth, with Dean claiming to be “Ted Nugent” [Z – Please, Dean’s got more talent in his little finger.], the Sheriff brings out a thick, heavily modified and added to journal. Dean clearly recognizes it. As the sheriff flips through the journal, he comments on the satanic content, and the perceived mental illness of the writer. Then he lands on a page with Dean’s name circled and two numbers separated by a dash.

29:00 – Zeroth

hmm, the journal is spotlighted

29:00 – Dana Hunter

My gosh, could it be important?!

Dean sits in a shadowed interrogation room. On the table is a journal full of newspaper clippings and drawings. It is spotlighted.
Obvious symbolism is obvious



Dana Hunter

That journal has always bothered me. It seems like it should be bigger after 20 years of hunting.


John was a marine – probably highly disciplined about what he put in there

Dana Hunter

Yeah, but they find like everything in there. Maybe it’s a TARDIS journal



Whatever they need

Its the plot journal

Meanwhile, Sam interviews the husband to find out where Constance’s body is buried. Sam finds out the location and confronts the husband on possibly cheating on Constance, which leads to a confrontation where the husband attempts to be stoic and refrain from violence, but he’s very clearly upset – and guilty.

30:00 – Dana Hunter

The actor they chose for the hubby is so good.

Dana Hunter

I’m so calling it the Plot Journal from now on.


the bit actors are excellent on this show

30:30 – Dana Hunter

They do a phenomenal job with casting.

Sam, you are so lucky that dude didn’t break your nose


the pain and anguish on his face…

A middle-aged man wearing plain work clothes and a battered and dusty baseball hat says, "Constance -- she was the love of my life."
Phenomenal acting

31:00 – Dana Hunter

And trying so hard to be stoic.


And sam’s sad eyes

Dana Hunter

Grate. my lights are flickering. GHOST!!!

[My bedroom lights, apparently feeling like they needed to be part of the fun, started flickering during this scene. It was a very SPN moment. Sadly, no ghosts appeared then or subsequently.]


or old electricity

I’m waiting for that to happen one day

[Z – they still haven’t had a case of flickering lights caused by old ratty electrical wiring, as far as I know.]

Dana Hunter

Nah, couldn’t possibly

Back at the station, one of the cops leans into the interview room where the sheriff is questioning Dean, saying there’s a report of shots fired. When the sheriff leaves, Dean grabs a paper-clip from the journal and picks his handcuffs[Z – this is why cops use zip ties now. Too many people could pick handcuffs with readily available tools.]. Dean grabs the journal and skedaddles.

33:30 – Zeroth

really bad interview technique

The scene changes to Sam racing back to town in Baby.

33:51 – Dana Hunter

I love the sound of that motor so much.

Dean calls Sam and kids him about making a fake 911 call. Sam smiles a bit and laughs it off, then confirms that they’re dealing with a Woman in White. Sam is on his way to her body to take care of her. He’s confused as to why their dad hadn’t taken care of burning the corpse. Dean tells him he left town, leaving them coordinates so they could find him. They discuss the significance of the journal a bit. Then the Woman in White suddenly appears in the middle of the road. Sam drives Baby through the ghost, and she shows up in the back seat.

Dana Hunter


Oh, no, Sam.

34:30 – Zeroth

I love how in this first episode

they almost get killed

in later seasons, they’re standing up to fucking Lucifer

34:30 – Dana Hunter

Nice of their enemies to only escalate when they’ve got more experience.

34:45 – Zeroth

sorting algorithm of evil

can you imagine these boys dealing with Castiel right now?

34:50 – Dana Hunter

It wouldn’t be pretty.

And Cas and Dean might not be so…. shippy.

Dana’s note: Castiel is a very powerful archangel the boys will meet in a few seasons. Cas would’ve wiped the floor with them as they are right now. Later on, they’re experienced enough to hold their own. And wait til you see the Significant Moments between Cas and Dean. The two of them have launched a million ships. They have chemistry. I cannot wait til we get to Cas! *swoons*

The Woman in White tells Sam, “Take me home.” He grits his teeth and says “No”. She locks him in the car and drives it to her place for him with her Ghost Powers™. She starts trying to kill him, where Sam tells her he’s never been unfaithful. She whispers in his ear, “You will be”. After a deep kiss, she starts absorbing his life force from his chest. Dean shows up in time and shoots her with a handgun, disrupting her for a moment.

Sam gets an idea, grits his teeth and says, “I’m taking you home” with furrowed brow, and drives Baby into the house.

35:00 – Zeroth


Sam brought her home

Sam is determined, gripping the steering wheel tight, and staring into the camera intensely. He says, "I'm taking you home."
Taking her home… DRAMATICALLY

37:00 – Dana Hunter

Sam’s a very quick thinker.

Also good at screaming.

Dean helps Sam out of the crashed car. The ghost sees a framed photo of herself with her children, and bends to pick it up. She stares at it mournfully for a moment, until she notices the brothers trying to escape. With a flick of her fingers, she uses her ghostly powers to slide an old dresser into them, trapping them against the car. As she looms menacingly, she notices the lights flickering, and turns to see water running down the stairs. Looking up the stairs, we see two child-size figures silhouetted against the light.

The two kid ghosts hold hands, and say in eerie voices, “You’ve come home to us, Mommy.” The ghosts flicker down the stairs and attack Constance. She screams and in a dissolving pile of ectoplasm, disappears down into the floor with special effects.

Revenge from Beyond the Grave: 1

38:45 – Zeroth


So, her children died, then killed her after death

Two children stand back-lit at the top of the stairs looking down.
Ominous silouhettes
A woman in a white dress appears to be screaming in pain and dissolving into the ground. There are lots of floaty special effects as well.
And this is where they spent most of their budget…

39:00 – Dana Hunter


After Constance is gone, Sam and Dean inspect the damage and tease each other with love. Dean threatens to kick Sam’s ass if he broke anything on the car. Driving away, we see that the car has only one working headlight. Sam identifies the coordinates John left them, and tells Dean to drive him home for his law school interview. Dean’s eyes visibly well, but he passes it off with a carefree attitude.

Dean’s Man Tears: 1

40:00 – Dana Hunter

Poor Sam. Trying so hard to have a normal life.

Once they arrive, the brothers say their farewells, before Dean calls Sam back and says, “You know, we made a hell of a team back there.” Sam acknowledges that and walks into his place.

40:30 – Zeroth

aw Dean

did you see his eyes water

Dean leans towards the camera, while sitting in the driver's seat of the Impala, and says, "You know, we made a hell of a team back there."
A Single Man Tear is what we fear

As Sam walks into his place, he calls and looks around for Jess, but not getting an answer, he flops onto a bed and closes his eyes. Drops of dark liquid drip onto his face, and disturbed, he opens his eyes and looks up at the ceiling to see Jess, clearly dead, held up against the ceiling by some invisible force. Fire wells behind her, in an exact mirror of what happened to Mary Winchester 22 years ago. Deans break in and pulls Sam out of the inferno.

41:30 – Dana Hunter

And a nice mirror element where Dean saves his brother from the flames again.


and the firemen

Dana Hunter

And sam lying on the bed like he was in his crib

Also an upstairs room again

(Caution: flashing gif)

A woman is held up against a ceiling by an invisible force. She has a clear wound in her stomach and looks to be dead. Flames well up behind her.
Jess being burned before Sam’s eyes

41:45 – Zeroth


and sam was going to a law-school interview

his potential is embryonic

Dana Hunter

Excellent point.

42:00 – Zeroth

on the cusp of a new stage of life

and the most important woman in his life is murdered in front of him to motivate him

Woman in the Fridge: 2

Dana Hunter

Two fridges!


“narrative mirroring” my ass

As the firefighters put out the fire and smoke boils from the upstairs windows, we see Dean gazing at the scene. He finally turns away and goes to Baby. Sam is by the open trunk, loading a shotgun. Dean gives him a quizzical look. Our view changes, and we are now looking up at the brothers from within the trunk. Sam tosses the shotgun in, says “We’ve got work to do,” and closes the lid, ending the episode.


So death toll: 5 men, 3 women, 2 children

Dana Hunter

Pretty good for a first outing.

Death by Tropes Final Counts:

Woman in fridge: 2 women(Mom and Girlfriend)

Death by Femme Fatale: 5 men (4 offscreen)

Death by Mommy Dearest: 2 children (offscreen)

Revenge from Beyond the Grave: 1 women

Total: 10


so, the misogyny wasn’t too bad other than the fridging women. Actual people of color with characters beyond just being black

Dana Hunter

The PoC wasn’t bad for a show of this nature at this time period.


Could be better, but even the white bit actors barely got any screentime

total tally of lines would be like sam and dean, jess by third and everyone else at like 4 lines

Dana Hunter

So comparatively speaking, not too bad.

I think the hubby got a few more, but he was kinda critical


no bechdel test

Dana Hunter

The sexism counts were highest, but it was comparatively minor stuff: a few gendered slurs, some exaggerated treating-women-as-sex-objects from Dean, and that was about it.

As far as toxicity goes, nothing quite counted as toxic masculinity – trust me, we’ll get to that – but we definitely got a face full of daddy issues. And we can see the brothers have a rather fraught relationship.

Sexism and Toxicity Final Counts:

Daddy Issues: 5

Brotherly Love: 3

Swimming in Sexism: 7

Ewww Goils: 1


also, did you see the inhuman forms of the ghost?

Dana Hunter


I was going to say something but got distracted.

That was awesome.


the kids didn’t get grotesque forms(except in the Revenge)

Dana Hunter

I mean, yeah, the women’s deaths were kinda gorey, but not like blood spatter everywhere gory.

Final Count Blood and Gore: 1

And of course, Dean got in his Man Tear towards the end.

Final Count Dean’s Man Tears: 1

Dean and Sam look down into the trunk of the Impala, and Sam says, "We have work to do."
Yes, yes, you do

Z’s Verdict:

Episode worked well to introduce the brothers, demonstrate who they are, and the kind of life they live. There’s some clunkiness I call the Exposition Tax. When you have a lot of story to tell in a short amount of time, sometimes the only way to do it is to have someone tell it to the audience. But there is a reason writers are cautioned to “show, don’t tell”. It’s not as immersing, and isn’t the best way to construct a story. As a writerly friend told me, “Use the fact your audience has brains in your favor.”

As mentioned in part one, they seemed to use light and shadow for multiple plot purposes, and it gets a bit hard to figure out what you’re supposed to be interpreting and what is just your brain noticing a coincidence and ascribing intent to that coincidence.

But given the level of detail shown in this episode(after running Baby into a house, one headlight doesn’t work, and its really easy to miss), I think we can ascribe intent to the multiple uses of light and shadow.

This episode also contains a lot of what keeps fans like me coming back – Sam and Dean’s relationship is complicated. Dean doesn’t talk about his feelings, and Sam loves Dean far more than as a brother, but as a father-figure. But Sam is also conflicted in that he wants a life outside of hunting. This is marvelous character tension, told well, and sets up fantastic arcs of growth in later episodes. Many people come back for the characters, not anything else. If you can’t engage people with the characters, they watch something else.

Dana’s Verdict:

I agree with everything Zeroth says above.


I shouldn’t like this show. I shouldn’t like it at all. And yet, from the beginning, I was hooked. Yeah, it’s full of toxic tropes, but the characters are compelling. The music is perfect. The shooting is a bit rocky here, with maybe too much emphasis on dark and gritty, but you can see they do frame things well. The bit actors are fabulous.

There are shows out there that have much more diverse casts, fewer toxic tropes, excellent music, exquisite artistry, fantabulous actors, and characters who grab you and refuse to let go. I’ll be talking about those shows, too – probably extolling their virtues to the heavens, fair warning. But this show is also something special. And part of the appeal is in viewing it through a social justice frame. It’s just as interesting for what it gets wrong as what it gets right. And, having watched almost ten seasons of it, I can say that it has some utterly sublime moments, which you may indeed love.

It’s going to be one hell of a ride, my darlings.

Supernatural S1E1(Part2): BM – Boy Melodrama