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Supernatural: Jump the Shark

"He's a Winchester. He's already cursed."

Creepy. Nightmare-inducing. Also tragic.

Supernatural is the only show I watch that sometimes scares me. Something under the bed grabs you, drags you under, and eats you alive? Plus we had Dean buried in a crypt full of body parts, as well as crawling through tight spaces – twice. Yes, let's hit some of the big fears, why don't we? Personally, I'm never parking over a grate again.

Dean told Sam, "I think it's too late for us." As if they were ruined, somehow. That really got to me. There will be no happy ending for the Winchesters. No real friends, no marriages, no kids, no future. Dean and Sam will keep doing what they do until something gets them. (Or the world ends, or they kill each other, whichever comes first.) They don't feel sorry for themselves; they just do the job. It's high tragedy.

Unfortunately, it was too late for Adam, too. His ignorance of who he was actually killed him. Dean and Sam had a brother, and they'll never get to know him. I did fall for it; I thought Adam was the real deal, so good writing, there. And Adam was believable as their brother. He was smart, brave, straightforward; he was even a good shot. What a horrible way to die. I liked that they gave him a Viking funeral, a hunter's funeral, like their father.

Dean couldn't accept Adam's existence because he couldn't let John topple off his pedestal. I completely understand Dean's need to see his father as a hero. But Dean spent his deprived, lonely childhood on the road taking care of Sam; he wouldn't be human if he didn't envy Adam, just a little. If Dean ever really thought about what John did to him, he'd never stop being angry about it. Yes, John taught his two elder sons how to protect themselves, how to fight evil. But he also took away their childhoods and any possibility of a normal life.

And yet, I can't blame John, either. He never chose the life; it happened to him because Mary was a hunter. And Mary had no choice because her parents were hunters. It's like human dominoes.

Sam's reaction to Adam's doppelganger was a lot more positive than Dean's, and why not? This time, Sam got to be the wise older brother, the one to teach Adam what he needed to know. And Adam was in college like Sam, too. Sam has become so powerful (clearly, his psychic crap doesn't work on ghouls) that it was a shock to see him totally helpless and bleeding out. A reminder that Sam isn't evil, and isn't a demon. Yet, anyway.

Maybe that was the point of this episode. Sam and Dean are family, and they trust only each other. Again, and still.

Bits and pieces:

— Jump the shark. What a great title. Especially since Supernatural keeps getting better and most certainly hasn't jumped the shark. So what did it mean in relation to the story? Is introducing a formerly unknown sibling a shark-jumping plot?

— Dean doesn't wake up well when he's slept in the car. Sam apparently does fine, because he was brushing his teeth in the great outdoors. I wonder if they did a sleeping in the car scene so they wouldn't have to set dress two motel rooms? (Loved the oars.)

— Dean got out of the crypt by using a coffin rail to break a stained glass window of an angel. A little interesting symbolism there.

— Keep pressure on that? How is Sam supposed to keep pressure on both arms at once? With the arms he's supposed to keep pressure on?

— Ghouls apparently take the form of the last person they ate. That was a particularly ghoulish twist. Pun intended. Why did the ghouls collect Sam's blood in bowls? To drink? It reminded me of Meg and the bowl of blood.

— Adam Milligan and his mother lived in Windom, Minnesota. Mom was a nurse. A number of female characters in Supernatural have been nurses.

— Dean did FBI agent Nugent again.


Sam: "A hunter rolls into town, kills a monster, saves the girl, sometimes a girl's grateful."
Dean: "Now I'm thinking about Dad sex. Stop talking."

Adam: "Okay. So basically you're saying that every movie monster, every nightmare that I've ever had, that's all real."
Dean: "Godzilla's just a movie."

Cemetery guy: "Tell me, Agent Nugent, have you thought about where you might like to spend eternity?"
Dean: "All the damned time."

Dean: "Sloppy Joe."
Ick. Dean, how could you? Yeah, I know, snark in the face of extreme danger. But really, Dean.

Shuddery and scary. And ick,

Billie Doux adores Supernatural which is a good thing since apparently, it's eternal.


  1. Hey, Billie, great review as always.

    Can’t think of any other show that would deliberately let their audience think they were leaping that notorious marine predator then us a great episode. Only three more episodes to go on what has been an amazing season. I just hope that can maintain this quality next season.

    Introducing a long lost relative that no one has ever heard of is a typical shark jumper (anyone else catch the Cousin Oliver Dinner? :) but they subverted it brilliantly here and turned a horrid cliché into another sorry chapter of the tragic Winchester family history. Adam was doomed the minute his mother saw the glint in John’s eyes. Hunters are destined to die horribly and, as history has shown, so are their family and loved ones.

    I twigged early on that they were dealing with ghouls the minute grave robbing was mention. Ghouls are shape shifting creatures for Arabian mythology that rob graves, eat the dead and do take on the form of the last thing the consumed or that of a hyena. They often lure travellers into the deserts to kill and devour them, much like they did with Sam and Dean. They usual drink the blood separately before eating flesh, that’s why they were draining Sam’s blood. Hope that helped.

    The one thing that did bother me was that Sam didn’t use his powers on the ghouls, his pretty powerful now, powerful enough to kill a demon (something that shocked even an angel) but ghouls are immune? Was it just narrative cheat to keep him in danger or can Sam only go Dark Willow after a fresh fix from Ruby?

  2. I thought this was a fantastic episode. I know the fandom was pretty tweaked when they heard a long-lost Winchester brother was going to be introduced. But the writers did a great job of using the situation to explore Dean and Sam's psychology (as per normal). I loved all the scenes in which Dean and Sam debated Adam's fate and what to do about him.

    My favorite part was the end when Dean told Sam that he was just like John. Sam took it as a compliment, but I don't think that's the way Dean meant it. The scales have finally fallen off Dean's eyes in regards to John. The whole time Sam was training Adam, all I could think was that here he was dooming this kid to a horrible life because of all his unresolved feelings about getting his own revenge. The same thing John did to Sam and Dean. He says he was protecting them, and maybe he was to a certain extent, but I think it was more about his needs than theirs. Very, very sad.

    Billie, I thought maybe Sam couldn't use his powers on the ghouls because they were sucking and draining his blood, which is the source of his power. They didn't give him too much "evil dialogue" time before drinking him. So maybe he just didn't have time to react and try to work his mojo. Or maybe they just weren't susceptible.

    I also have to agree that all the crawling in duct work and tunnels and then getting trapped in an underground crypt had me sweating it a little bit, too. Great review.

  3. Mark and Jess,

    Great comments. Very helpful. I really wasn't familiar with the Cousin Oliver stuff. And I think Jess is right about Sam's powers and the blood, because that makes a lot of sense.

    Dean may have finally realized that Sam is a lot like John, but I'm not sure Dean will ever push John off that pedestal. My older sister, who babysat me all the time when I was growing up, was the same way about our mother; the two of them were very much alike and nothing Mother did was ever wrong. Every time I challenged her belief, we'd get into a fight. I see this family dynamic all the time on Supernatural. Another reason why this show speaks to me.

    I honestly don't know how they can top this season. But I can't wait to see them try.

  4. Hi Billie,
    Excelent review as allways. A brilliant episode in a brilliant season so far. Every time I’m loving more Dean, if that’s even possible. I just love how despite his first doubts, was so determinate to protect his new young brother. He was determinate to save him from whatever was chasing him, and also to save him from the live as a hunter. Of course he was jealous, who wouldn’t? the kid had the live that was denied to him. On the other hand, I didn’t like Sam this episode, I don’t think as you said Billie, that his reaction to Adam was more positive and that he played the wiser brother here, I agree with Jess Lynde, I do think that when Sam was training Adam, he was more driven by his personal unresolved problems than by a genuine interest in protecting the boy.
    And also to see him so helpless at the end and Dean being the one to save him was a little shocking, considering the last events. Don’t know, I really have problems to figure him out… Having said that, in fact, I really have troubles to imagine the season final, oh well, I’m sure will be great and unpredictable, but as you said, no happy ending for the boys.

  5. Hi Billie,
    I have just found your website and I'm really enjoying it. I'm a huge "Older (young at heart) Supernatural fan.
    Wanted to say your review was great and had some great humour in it. So agree with all your comments

  6. Thanks, Nitewoman! As much as I love Lost, I'll readily admit that Supernatural is where my heart is. And I see from your avatar that you love Jensen Ackles as much as I do. :)

  7. Love the title and love the episode. I also believed that Adam was the real deal. So sad he had to go! And funny how Sam was using John´s words to convince Dean to train him? I guess four years of hunting really get to a person.

  8. Great review and great comments.

    I must admit that every time we see a flashback, my irritation with John has grown. This is the episode in which I am now firmly in the dislike camp.

    I disagree that John had no choice but to be a hunter. Of course he did, but he was so consumed by the need for revenge that nothing else mattered. If he had his two elder sons' best interest at heart, he could have stayed in Lawrence, taken them to baseball games and hugged them goodbye as they went off to college.

    Instead, he dragged them from town to town leaving Dean to raise Sam while he "rode into town, killed the monster and got the girl." He couldn't even make it 'home' for Christmas.

    If he really felt that he had no choice but to make his sons hunters, then he would have made Adam a hunter. Instead, with this one, he got to play a normal dad -- something he never did for the other two. John did take Adam to baseball games and he did make it home for birthdays. No wonder Dean is so angry -- and rightly so.

    Dean is right about Sam being just like their father. Sam is so driven by his need for revenge right now, that he's willing to take everything away from Adam for that to happen. What a shift from season one. And, Dean's comment was by no means a compliment.

    When I saw the title of the episode, I thought we might be getting a comedy break before the final three. When I'm wrong, I'm wrong!

  9. I completely expected Adam to die this episode. It would be so cliché to suddenly have a third Winchester. But he'd been dead the whole time? That really surprised me. I didn't guess he was on the side of the icky. Awesome episode in a string of awesome episodes. :)

  10. I half expected Sam's "different blood" to poison the ghouls and was mildly disappointed it didn't as then Dean would start to wonder how that would have happend.

  11. I stopped watching when sam didn't use his powers to escape. It had nothing to do with draining his blood that didn't happen till he was tied down. A very sad time in the early series for the writers they dropped the ball on this episode bad. I've loved most shows this one was horrible. And it's sad to see all the fans on here ling to themselves making excuses as to why it was good.


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