In the twenty-first episode of the first season of Supernatural, the Winchesters begin to zero in on the demon that ruined their lives, but the re-appearance of Meg complicates things. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to begin his slow descent into becoming a mere shell of a human being because of Supernatural.
Y’all, when this show is revving on all cylinders, it is REALLY RUDE. UNFAIR. NO. This is one of those episodes where I really feel like I’m beginning to understand why there is a fandom surrounding it, and it’s so fascinating to me! This is probably the longest it’s taken for me to start liking a show for Mark Watches. Admittedly, Supernatural isn’t that strong out of the gate, and it’s much more of a slow burn. But now the writers are figuring out what sort of stories they want to tell while mixing in a whole lot of emotional continuity that the show needed. I needed to care about these characters. I needed some sort of emotional basis for worrying about the outcome of the monster-of-the-week episodes. And I needed something to drag me into the overarching narrative given to us in the pilot episode.
Well, here it is. Take it back I TAKE IT BACK DON’T DO THIS TO ME.
I just can’t help it??? I am entranced by her very existence! She is MESMERIZING to watch on screen, and it’s amazing to me how Nicki Aycox is able to convey so many different emotional states in the span of one episode. We’ve got her playing someone pretending to be a sinner looking for redemption, then she’s possessed, then she’s coy, then she’s hitting on John Winchester, then she’s angry, THEN SHE IS FURIOUS BECAUSE SHE JUST GOT SHOT, and then she’s back to teasing the Winchester brothers, which honestly feels like a pastime for her. And I’ve got to remember that underneath this is all is possibly the REAL Meg Masters, and I just can’t wrap my mind around this? Someone get Nicki Aycox, Anna Torv, and Tatiana Maslany on the same goddamn show so they can act us all into another dimension.
One thing that’s very striking about “Salvation” is how surreal it feels, both for the main characters and the audience. One of my favorite scenes in this episode is the one in Dean’s Impala as Dean and Sam await the appearance of the demon that set them on this journey in the first place. I agree with Sam here: IT’S SO WEIRD. I really don’t think that this season arc is going to be extended beyond season one; there are too many The X-Files veterans writing for this show for me to believe that. Plus, it’s just wishful thinking because I love shows with singular arcs over the whole season. Even if I’m wrong, this still feels like we’re approaching a huge ending. Whether that ending gives these characters closure is yet to be seen, though the complications we see here suggest that closure is kind of off the table. Friends of the family are being murdered over this; John couldn’t save any of the families from that yellow-eyed demon thing, despite figuring out the pattern around its appearances; and we learn just how fragile Dean’s grip on emotional stability is. Even if they do kill the demon in the next episode, it has irrevocably changed these characters’ lives, and they aren’t ever going to escape from that.
Y’all weren’t kidding about the truckload of feelings this family has wrought upon me. This is perhaps the most complicated set of developments we’ve gotten about this family, the least of which is that John Winchester is kind of super fucked up. Like, I can’t ignore the unsettling dynamic that is him leaving his sons to face down a demon that has killed nearly every single person that has crossed it! NO PRESSURE WHATSOEVER. And these poor boys look upon John with reverence and fear, and it just makes me sad??? They adore their father, and once again, he puts his “duty” ahead of taking care of them. Obviously, there’s a reason for that, and I know that the boys know that. They know that John needs to go to Lincoln to buy them enough time to face down the demon. At the same time, it’s heartbreaking to watch them see their father off, unsure if he’ll ever return. I know I barely understand it, since I’ve just started to watch the show, but fuck, the Winchesters are messed up.
That’s certainly the case for Sam and Dean, too, and the writers examine the affects this life has had on them. Initially, though, it’s actually kind of positive, as Sam thanks Dean for looking out for him over the course of the past year. It’s a remarkably sweet moment from Sam, who’s spent the past season fretting over his decision to come hunting with his brother. He can admit that his brother has done a whole lot for him, the least of which is always having his back. (Though, casual reminder: Sam saved Dean a ton of times in the middle of this season!) I think that’s part of the reason why Sam is so recklessly desperate to kill the demon that’s been haunting them all. It would mean that Sam could do something for Dean, instead of the other way around. But I also don’t want to ignore what that demon represents for Sam. When he learns that he was just six months old (to the day) when it appeared and murdered his mother, the whole thing becomes a whole lot more personal for him. Again, because this is Sam Winchester we’re talking about, he blames himself for what happened, which is irrational but perfectly in character for him. He still believes that he’s cursed, and even though he doesn’t say it, I think that informs his behavior later in the episode when he wants to run back into the burning house. If he can kill that demon, that would mean he wouldn’t have to worry about it killing any more people he loves.
But y’all, what this episode reveals about Dean Winchester, big brother and devoted son, is approximately 12,260% NOT OKAY, and this is a purely SCIENTIFIC RESULT. The writers have done a fine job of showing us how his character is torn between two worlds: that of protecting his brother and that of honoring his father. More than ever before, we learn that this is tearing Dean apart. And look, I’ve already shared with y’all how the severe issues of parental validation and resentment play heavily into MY ENTIRE EXISTENCE, so yeah, I’M GOING TO PROJECT ALL OVER DEAN WINCHESTER, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. Dean relies on his younger brother and his father for emotional stability, so much so that the thought of losing either one of them terrifies him. His identity and behavior is entirely built around how he relates to these two, isn’t it? He loves being the big brother; he loves being the proud son. What does he do if he loses one of those people? Can we not find out CAN THIS NOT BE A THING.
Except then, this episode is just rude to me by giving me a horrible, horrible cliffhanger. The Winchesters’ worst fear is coming true, because Meg has John and promises that they’ll never see him again. WHY? WHAT HAS SHE DONE TO JOHN? My body is not ready for this shit, y’all. Goddamn it, Supernatural, how can a show that gives me a racist ghost truck do this to me??? UNFAIR.
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