1×09 “Home”

You know an episode is going to be either really good or really heart-wrenching when the first title card says just two words–in this case, “Lawrence, Kansas” and you go “Oh, shit.” Because, if you’ve been watching all along, you know that Lawrence, Kansas is the Winchester family hometown, where their mother died all those years ago.

So, naturally, the thought of Sam and Dean going home for an episode? Really put me on the edge of my seat to see what was going to happen next. And I wasn’t disappointed. Home is one of the best episodes of the season–mostly because of what happens in like, the last ten minutes.

Apparently, the little girl in the family is a lot smarter than her mother; she knows there’s something in the closet. We never see it, but the little girl is terrified of it, and she even makes her mother barricade the closet with a chair. Smart girl. You’ll probably live through this.

Mom and her two kidlets have moved to Lawrence, and as we see her crying over a wedding picture, I’m assuming it’s because her husband is dead and she needed a fresh start. While she’s in the midst of unpacking, she hears a mysterious skritching noises. “Please, God, don’t let it be rats,” she pleads as she goes into the dark basement. Lady, I’d be worried about more than rats if I were you. When she finds out the lights in the basement aren’t working, she goes on down anyway–obviously her kid got all the brains–and finds a charred but still in one piece lockbox. Opening the box, she pulls out the first stack of phots and…

Dun dun dun!

She’s living in the old Winchester home! Because those are pictures of John Winchester in that box, along with Mary and the kids.

Meanwhile back with the smart kid, the chair in front of the closet is rudely shoved out of the way, and the closet doors open ominously. When the thing inside the closet coalesces into a column of fire, the kid screams, and we cut to a commercial.

Didn’t I *tell* you this was gonna be good?

Second Big Revelation: SAM HAS NIGHTMARES THAT COME TRUE. …yeah, see, we knew that back during Bloody Mary because that was his secret that caused Jess to die; he’d had the nightmares that she was killed by the demon, but he didn’t say anything.

Collective “awww!” for Dean. “First you tell me you’ve got the Shining and now… now you’re tellin’ me I have to go back home when I swore…” “Swore what?” “…swore that I’d never go back there.” I think, too, that Sammy deserves an “awww!” because he’s finally getting an inkling with the things in Dean’s head that he lives with all the time.

This is an episode that deserves multiple viewings. One just for Jared Padalecki, and one just for Jensen Ackles, because Jensen especially does an amazing job with his body language and facial expressions telling just how uncomfortable he is there and how much he hates being back in Lawrence, back home.

The best moment in their first visit back home is when they’re talking to the little girl; she asks them if the thing in her closet was in their closets too. And it’s just excruciating to see Dean and Sam flinch, but lie and say that nothing was in the closet.

I don’t think I can praise Jensen enough for this episode. They’re gassing up the Impala, and out in public, in the middle of the bright, sunshine-filled street, Sam asks Dean how much he remembers about that night. When it’s that bright, there’s really no place to hide the fact that you’re not feeling the scene, but that’s not a problem here, because Jensen’s completely into it. Dean tells Sam everything he remembers–including the fact that Dean was the one who carried Sammy outside that night, which is something that Sam never knew. Jared Padalecki nails that mixed look of awe and surprise in a heartbeat as Sam listens to the story he’s got to know as well as his own name.

But it’s Jensen that steals the show; after telling Sam the story and deciding on a course of action, Dean excuses himself to the bathroom. Only he doesn’t go; he makes a call to his father’s voicemail, and proceeds to walk the line of being *so* close to tears. His voice is choked up, even his eyes and nose get slightly red, but he *doesn’t let a tear fall.* He just chokes them all back and shrugs it off, like it’s not ripping out everything he is.

Also, those of you who don’t like graphicness, I’d skip the whole scene with the plumber. Just… all you need to know is the cymbal-playing monkey toy is one creepy primate and something very not-good happens.

Fun trivia that we learn:
* John used to co-own a garage
* he disappeared without a trace twenty years ago
* he was acting “crazy” when he disappeared, reading old demonology books and going to a psychic

They find the psychic that John went to, named Missouri. A lot of people don’t like Missouri because of the way different ways she deals with Dean and Sam. But you know something? I love Missouri just for that very reason. Sam and Dean are way different individuals. Sam’s very open-hearted; Missouri can read his mind and his feelings at the drop of a hat. Dean’s different; he’s closed off and walled up and I think Missouri knows he’s about two seconds away from losing his crap.

So what does she do?

She gives him a reason not to. If he’s busy disliking her? Then he can deal with other things in the background, just like he always does. Missouri treats Dean exactly the way he needs to be treated *in that moment* to help him get through this without crapping out and losing his mind. And I love her for it.

While Dean and Sam are with Missouri, things back at the old Winchester place are getting worse. Mom is getting sued by the plumber who had his hand ground off, and the spirit is ratcheting up it’s evilness by trapping one of the kids in the fridge.

Although I do think Missouri was out of line saying that Dean wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, I don’t think she’s exactly wrong, either. I think he lacks A LOT of social skills–really, he’s not the sharpest tool in that sense–but then, Sam’s not exactly a brainchild either. But together? They’re a totally sharp *unit* and I love that.

Dean’s determination that nobody else is going to die in that house ever again is beautiful. He is at his lock-jawed best when he declares that, and whether it’s ducking knives from the poltergeist or saving Sam from being choked to death, it’s beautiful to watch. When he kicks a hole in the drywall? You feel his frustration and determination and panic. And when he hugs Sam after taking the cord off his neck? Relief floods you, just like it does him.

The last ten minutes of the episode, though, are the best ten minutes of television I’ve seen in awhile. (I’d put it up against Salvation or Devil’s Trap, even.)

Dean, Sam, and Missouri, after clensing the house of the poltergeist, leave. But their work isn’t done yet, because Jenny–that’s the mother–is caught in her bedroom by a spirit. The bed shakes, she’s screaming, and the Winchesters are sitting out in the Impala because Sam “has a bad feeling.” It’s a good thing they’re out there, because Jenny appears at the window–just like she did in Sam’s dream.

They burst into the house, and Dean kicks down the bedroom door while Sam rescues the children. The boy is first, Richie, but when Sam gets to the daughter’s room, the fire-creature is there. He picks her up and carries both the kidlets downstairs, and then gives Richie to the girl.

Sam tells her the exact same thing that John told Dean in the pilot; “Take your brother outside as fast as you can, and don’t look back.” That line gave me shivers, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. The girl takes her brother outside safely, but Dean stops her, asking about Sam. He turns to see his brother’s still inside the house, being dragged backwards by the thing, and the door slams shut.

Dean doesn’t even hesitate; he goes to the Impala, grabs a handful of rock-salt shells, picks up the shotgun and an axe, and batters down the door because nothing is going to keep him away from Sammy. Meanwhile, the thing is throwing Sam around and pretty much beating the crap out of him.

Finally, Dean breaks into the house, just as the fire-creature is coming around the corner. Sam is pinned up against the wall, and Dean is ready to rock-salt that creature back to Hell, but Sam stops him. “No, don’t… I can see who it is now.”

When Sam says that, the fire creature coalesces into a human figure–Mary Winchester.

Mary is the second spirit that was in the house, that Missouri couldn’t quite get a grip on. And when the evil thing was attacking the child in the closet earlier, that was Mary, coming out to protect the kid. And now, when it’s attacking Sam, she’s coming out to fight it.

Dean’s soft “Mom?” sounds so much like the little boy he once was in that house, it made me cry a little. And Sam’s look of love and surprise, getting to see his mother as he never got to before, because he was too little to remember her, and his tears were just… gah. Wrenching.

And when Mary’s spirit sacrifices itself to save Sam and burn the evil out of the house forever, both brothers are shellshocked and lost, Dean especially.

The episode ends with a Winchester, but not Sam or Dean. Missouri goes back to her home, and it at first appears she’s talking to herself, but as she turns around…

John Winchester is sitting on her sofa. It’s the first time we’ve seen him outside of flashbacks, and he looks gruff, tired, and world-weary. “John Winchester, I could just slap you,” Missouri tells him, and for once, I agree with her. I could slap John too, especially having heard Dean’s message to him. He knew how much his son needed him, but he didn’t bother to show his face. He just sort of skulked in the shadows and hid out with Missouri.

Poor John. He has no idea what he’s missed.

Best Lines:
Dean: First you tell me you’ve got the Shining and second… you tell me I have to go home after I swore…
Sam: What?
Dean: That I’d never go back there.

Dean: Well, one thing’s for damn sure. Nobody is dying in this house. Ever again.

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One Response to “1×09 “Home””

  1. Wow… I cried too! Your reviews are nicely written!

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