Sam has nightmare that the new owner of their parents’ house is in danger. The new owner is a single mother named Jenny, whose two young children have experienced supernatural phenomenon since moving into the house. Having found a trove of Winchester family photos, she lets Sam and Dean into the house for coffee, but says any strange happenings must be due to the house being old, or her daughter’s over-active imagination.
The boys consult with an old contact of their father’s, a psychic named Missouri Mosley. Missouri says the evil that had visited the house has attracted multiple malignant spirits. The boys expel a poltergeist, but a second poltergeist comes for Jenny’s family, and nearly kills Sam. He’s saved by another spirit: the ghost of Mary Winchester.
In this episode, Sam and Dean prove that you can go home, but you have to face demons of the past when you get there.
The opening scene where Jenny’s daughter is afraid of the monster in the closet dramatizes a phrase that’s come up a couple of times on the show: there is literally a monster in the closet of the little girl’s room! This is what Sam and Dean were brought up to fight.
Sam finally learns that Dean had carried him out of the house after the fire started all those years ago (later in the episode, Dean would tell Sam to carry Jenny’s children out of the burning house to safety). Apparently, the Winchesters never spoke about that night in detail. The scene tells us a few things. One, Dean and John protected Sam from the details of that night even after Sam was old enough to go to college. Two, Sam’s questions as an adult prompts Dean, a man of action, to reflect on his own life and choices.
After that conversation, Dean sneaks off to leave a voice message for his father. It seems he’s been calling John this whole time, despite not receiving any response. He also shows vulnerability that he hides from Sam, as he’s pretty much in tears when he says to his non-answering father, “I need your help, dad.” It’s Dean’s version of prayer.
Sam and Dean create a plan and a ruse for approaching the new homeowner, but when she opens the door, Sam pretty much blurts out that they grew up in the house and just want to see it. He jumps the gun for a couple of reasons. First, he’s seen her in his nightmares, and he urgently wants to help, so he can’t help but drop the pretenses. Second, he had embedded himself with the normies who should never have to worry about the supernatural. The scene reflects his ease at speaking to them at their level.
Interestingly, Jenny has a bit of a mysterious past that she’s breaking away from. She glosses over her reasons for moving to Kansas, saying, “I just, uh….needed a fresh start, that’s all.” She’s obviously haunted by some kind of regret or past action, so she might be thinking about how she can’t escape her past. I like the way the episode leaves that story open for viewers to fill in.
The episode was legitimately mysterious: I never counted on the multiple spirits thing! It also had a real horror movie scene which ended in bloodily for the plumber who was trying to work while a cymbal-clashing toy monkey was clanging away. Working people can’t get a break on this show!
I remember being surprised by Mary’s appearance. I just did not expect to see her again. What she said to Sam was more surprising: “I’m sorry.” I’m sure at the time, I thought she was just expressing sympathy in the wake of Jessica’s death, but Season 4 revealed how Mary’s dealings with the very demon who killed her affected Sam’s life.
The end of the episode reveals that John Winchester was there the whole time. Missouri wonders why Sam, who is manifesting psychic abilities, couldn’t sense John’s presence. At that point, Sam seemed to be able to sense the activity of spirits, but not living people. He also has a big, rationalizing mind, so believing that John is missing, Sam did not suspect that this father was hiding behind the proverbial curtains.
Dean’s face when Jenny says, “I’m sure you had lots of happy memories here”! Genius expression from Jensen Ackles, genius edit by David Ekstrom.
- Episode 1.01 “Pilot”
- Episode 1.06: “Skin”
- Episode 1.03 “Dead in the Water”
- Episode 1.09 “Home”
- Episode 1.08 “Bugs”
- Episode 1.04 “Phantom Traveler”
- Episode 1.07 “Hook Man”
- Episode 1.05 “Bloody Mary”
- Episode 1.02 “Wendigo”