Welcome to our newest guest post series! Head Over Feels are finally filling our SuperWhoLock quota with “Salt vs. Sass: Dawn & Sarah take on Sam and Dean,” a Supernatural recap-a-thon! We’ll learn all about the family business through the eyes of veteran fan Dawn and n00b Sarah. They’ll be posting weekly, so now is the perfect moment to queue up your rewatch or pop your SPN cherry. Want to speak fluent SPN fangirl? Check out this handy Glossary of Terms.
Take it away, ladies! –S
Dawn Ferchak is a long-term Dean girl who occasionally has trouble resisting the King of Hell.
Sarah Bisman is an SPN newbie and professional crafter of one-line bios.
Season 1, Episode 3: Dead in the Water
Written by Sera Gamble and Raelle Tucker
Blah di blah blah blah recaplet OH MY GOD FLAMES FLAMES (Madeleine Kahn!) and also the family business, blah di blah 50 seconds of where are we now.
We open on a ramshakle-ish house in the woods in Lake Manitoc, Wisconsin (Props to you, chyron person!).
Our first Deadshirt is Blonde Swimmer Girl, because she loves her dad and teases her brother and her dad tells her to be careful. In horror movie tropes, this marks her for all manners of badness.
Dawn: Blondes don’t do well in horror movies, period. Especially not near water. Clearly she has never seen Jaws. Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to go brush my brunette hair.
And indeed, someone is watching our heroine take a little swim from a secluded spot in the woods. She can tell someone’s around her and is all creeped out but keeps going anyway because she’s never seen Friday the 13th. Scary music and ominous camera angles call to mind Jaws and every creepy up-skirt photographer ever. And indeed Deadshirt!Goldilocks hears a child’s laughter because there is nothing creepier than a child ghost, and YANK – there she goes into the lake (and presumably the great beyond) as we watch slow-mo bubbles roil on the surface of good ol’ Lake M.
Sarah: I’m betting it’s NOT a shark, and not only because our POV has been returned to the secluded spot in the woods.
Cut to: This week’s Winchester Home Away from Hunting is the scenic Lynnewood Motel, where breakfast has just been et and Dean is doing Hunter Homework which includes circling pretty girls’ obits many times and leering at Wendy, this week’s pretty diner waitress. Captain Cockblock (Sam) swoops in to interrupt Dean and requests the check.
Dawn: I think that might be the first actual incidence of Sam’s Bitchface.
Sarah: He looks like a disgruntled hall monitor.
Supernatural Life Lesson #10: Bitchface don’t care. Bitchface is a honey badger
Wendy shoots Dean one sunny smile and we all watch her walk away while Dean picks on his brother for being such a Serious Sammy. Bitchface don’t give a shit, and soon Dean is telling him, “We got one.” It’s Deadshirt!Goldilocks! Who’s name is actually Sophie, so now we will call her Dead!Sophie. She was 18, no one found her body, and she’s the third victim to disappear this way in ol’ Lake Manitoc.
Bitchface still don’t care. He wants to find his dad.
Dean pulls a face that kinda negates Life Lesson #10, but we will give him a pass because, well, it’s kinda his show. Anyway, Dean is all WMS and piiissssssssssssed because Sam got to go to college while Dean had to stay home and deal with crazy Dad and hunting things and the family business, so therefore Sam should STFU and get in the goddamn car, where they drive to the dulcet tones of Ratt. Love will find a way, Sammy – just give it time!
Hooray, it’s time for the Aliases of the Week: Wildlife Agents Ford and Hamill. We are really betting the farm on no one in this corner of Wisconsin being a Star Wars fan.
Dead!Sophie’s baby brother lets the brothers know that big sis was a varsity swimmer and therefore there is NO WAY she would have drowned because she was “as safe out there as in her own bathtub,” which is a shitty comparison since people drown in bathtubs all the fucking time. Also there were no weird shadows or splashing or signs of distress. Nothing at all suspicious, which makes the brothers, you know, suspicious.
SPN Life Lesson #11: No evidence? No problem!
And now we’re off to see the sheriff (see Life Lesson # 7) where we learn that there are no large indigenous carnivores in a freshwater lake in Wis-fucking-consin, not even a Manitoc Monster or Manny or anything awesome or deadly. Because of this important fact of local fauna, the sheriff wonders why their little missing and presumed dead would be of such interest to two wildlife agents. Even though it’s super weird to everyone how three people could drown and no bodies are ever found, even when they dragged the lake (AND EVEN USED SONAR – emphasis the Sheriff’s).
Sarah: Oh MY GOD IT’S AMY ACKER AS WINIFRED BURKLE AS ANDREA BARR, THE SHERIFF’S HOT DAUGHTER. Please also be sassy. Please please sass Dean for the next hour. I love you in everything you do.
Sarah’s BFF Andrea has a tiny kid who doesn’t want to talk. His name is Lucas, and he doesn’t talk because Trauma. Could it be that Lucas will be key to the whole mystery?
And we get a new motel – Lakefront! Dean begs Andrea to walk them two blocks, during which time he awkwardly tries flirting: “Kids are the best.”
“It must be hard with your sense of direction,” sasses Andrea, winning Sarah’s heart forever, “to never be able to find your way to a decent pickup line.”
Sarah: WINS MY HEART FOREVER.
Dawn: Ok, I kinda have to love her for that, because damn.
Dean looks stricken and Sammy is in awe and picks on Dean for not knowing, much less actually liking, kids, and even Dawn is with Sam on this one.
Research shows that six more people have drowned over the course of 35 years, including Lucas’ father. Lucas is the only eye witness to what Sam is convinced could not really truly be a lake monster. And Dean gets Lucas a little more now, because they’ve lost parents in the same war, sort of.
Sarah: I am betting the next scene with Lucas involves creepy crayon drawings. I’m just putting it out there.
Sarah wins a kewpie doll because she fucking called it. Also there are toy soldiers. Old ones. And creepy drawings of a vortex and a bike. Dean monologues and draws badly while he attempts to bond with Lucas over some light piano underscoring. He will LISTEN, he promises the kid. And BELIEVE. Just draw him a picture (piano plink) of what happened that day on the lake (piano plink).
A few minutes later, Lucas presents Dean with a drawing of the house from the teaser, because Dean is awesome and genuinely sincere when he needs to be, and Dawn thinks Sarah can have sassy Amanda whatsherface because Team Dean FOREVAH.
Inside that house, Bereaved Deadshirt!Dad can’t move, so Deadshirt!Brother offers to make dinner. While he’s cutting up some sort of root vegetable, the water he’s running turns to icky lake water. Turning off the faucet doesn’t help! This killer water is On. The. Mooooove. Deadshirt!Brother just stands there like an idiot. He’s toast. Soggy toast, probably.
Deadshirt!Brother REACHES IN THE WATER because no guest star on this show has ever seen a horror movie in their entire soon-to-be-cut-short lives. Drain plug isn’t in the drain so it must be a magical clog, which he will reach back in to remove, except he can’t because he’s sucked into the sink just long enough to corpsify himself (bye!). The water recedes, because its work here is done.
Sam brings news to Dean that Deadshirt!Brother has drowned in the sink. They rule out Nessie. The brothers realize that since the lake is in danger, Angry Water Spirit is running out of time and must step up its as-yet-undefined plans…and it can get to anyone via the town’s water pipes. Plus, it appears to have a particular gripe with the Deadshirt family or anyone close to them. So it’s time to return to the Deadshirt House of (Damp) Deadshirts.
Dear SPN PTB: Please don’t kill Andrea. Poor Amy Acker has had enough crap befall the characters she plays.
Bereaved Deadshirt!Dad doesn’t want to talk, which is pretty understandable, really: “My children are gone, it’s worse than dying. Go away. Please.” Amazingly, they do go away – as far as the Impala, where Dean realizes that Lucas’ picture is of the Deadshirt Family Home. Time for Doctor Dean to play ad hoc therapist again.
Andrea is not pleased, but she cannot hold against the Winchester charm. And that’s probably good, because Lucas has drawn eighty-freaking-seven pictures of the same red bicycle, and no one around him thinks this might be a THING. Dean does his empathy thing, which he is surprisingly good at, and there is some monologuing over soft piano music, wherein Dean mentions again how his childhood was basically wrenched from him and that he’s been a brave little soldier since he was fucking four years old. But in a much nicer, kid-friendly way, of course. Thank Crowley, this works, because something has to move this episode along. Lucas gives Dean a picture of a boy with the ubiquitous red bike in front of a yellow house near a church.
It’s Impala Exposition time! The boys realize that it’s possible trauma has awakened some kind of latent psychic ability in Lucas, which he can only communicate through his drawings. Before we get a chance to determine how important this might be, however, Sam decides this is the ideal time for An Important Talk. Sam has clearly chosen to ignore SPN Life Lesson #3 because he has bitchface over Dean opening up more to a seven-year-old than he ever has to his own brother.
Dean downplays it, because duh, and reminds Sam of Life Lesson #3 by saying, “Oh, god, we’re not going to have to hug, are we?”
The boys find the house (#4919!) across the street from the church and visit the sad older lady who lives there. She recognizes that the kid in the crayon drawing is Peter, who has been gone for 35 years — exactly as long as the mysterious drownings have been happening. Peter “just disappeared” while riding his (red) bike home from school one day. Dean spots a picture on the mirror. Of Deadshirt!Dad as a kid. With Peter.
Cut to Deadshirt!Dad having a very mournful one-sided conversation with the air out on the dock of Lake M. He thinks he knows what it wants. We can guess, too.
Sarah: This episode is like a recap of Ghost Story (the first horror film I ever saw, and the first thing ever to scare me awake for days) except with a little kid in place of Eva the angry murdered lady.
Dawn: Also except that Ghost Story was fucking awesome and this is kinda exposition for the sake of exposition. Shout out to Peter Straub – you did it better, sir!
Meanwhile, in the car, Sam and Dean have sussed out that Deadshirt!Dad probably killed Peter, whose spirit would be looking for revenge (again, Ghost Story). They get to the lake just in time to see Deadshirt!Dad drive a motorboat out onto the lake, which promptly flips over, taking him with it.
Sarah: I think Peter must have contracted out his hits to the shark from Jaws.
Dawn: That might be the best idea ever.
The boys go to the sheriff’s office to report on what they’ve seen. Lucas and his mom are there. Long story short, little Lucas freaks out and starts yanking on Dean’s jacket. He’s still mute and now he’s inconsolable. This displeases Jake the Sheriff, who has had Enough of Their Shenanigans and, in total defiance of SPN Life Lesson #7, know that the boys are not Wildlife Services and perhaps they should GTFO out of his damn town. He says all of this while pointing his finger a lot, which is very The Breakfast Club. The boys clearly do not wish to mess with the bull and get the horns, so they agree to leave town.
Something tells us that Lucas is not ok with this decision. Perhaps it is because he is alone in his Bedroom of Terror, wide awake and ferociously drawing the terrible black water of dooooooooom. Mom tucks him back in like this is no big deal, which makes Dawn question Sarah’s taste in BFFs. Doesn’t she hear the doomtastic music? Get on the stick, Mom.
Sam and Dean are on their way out of town when Dean changes his mind because “Lucas was really scared” and he doesn’t feel right about leaving town until the kid’s ok, which instantly makes him a better parent than anyone Lucas is related to. He hits the gas on Baby and the cavalry races back to town, even though Sam secretly suspects that Dean is now a pod person.
Back at the House of Terror, Andrea is running a bath. In the dark. Like you do. For a town with killer water, people seem really unconcerned about leaving large tubs of it lying around. Unsurprisingly, bath water turns to super nasty sludge (mad props to the FX team). Andrea proves herself not to be the stupidest person on this show by noticing the sludge and the imminent danger it presents, even though she was ALREADY IN THE TUB OMGWTFBBQ. She tries to get out but sludge water is uncooperative and pulls her under, as Lucas pounds on the bathroom door because more trauma is exactly what he needs.
Ghost!Peter seems to be saying something, but no one can tell what, including closed captioning and the episode transcript. It’s probably something like “Water is my bitch and now so are you,” because he’s flooding the entire house. The cavalry arrives and a still-silent Lucas opens the door, then leads them upstairs, where Dean kicks in the bathroom door. But he doesn’t get to rescue the naked girl because there is a child clinging to him, so Sam gets to play hero and save Andrea. Way to go, Sam!
The next morning, a surprisingly coherent Andrea explains that she thought she heard a voice saying “Come play with me,” which is a nice invitation when it’s not spoken by a vindictive dead kid. Another picture is pulled out, and she recognizes her father in it, from when he was about twelve, and somehow this is enough to help the boys realize that her father and Deadshirt!Dad did something pretty terrible because SPN Life Lesson #11.
It’s a pretty good bet now that Ghost!Peter is about to do something terrible to Lucas the Trauma!Child. Sarah does not like this One Bit, because gingers are too few in the world to get murdered by ghosts willy nilly like this. Good thing trauma = psychic powers, which allow Lucas to lead one worried mom and two freaked out Winchesters to a patch of moss. Dean orders mom and kid back to the House of Terror, and he and Sam break out the shovels. Surprise! It’s not a body. It’s the red bike. And then click! Jake the crazy sheriff has a gun on our boys. He wants to know how they knew about the bike. They want to know if he drowned Peter in the lake and buried the bike.
Sheriff Jake is both freaky and freaked out when Sam informs him that Ghost!Peter will never ever stop coming for him until he and his entire family are drowned. While they’re all talking, Lucas has made another run for it, which no one notices because they don’t watch The Walking Dead, and Dawn thinks that means it’s time for a rousing round of “Carl Stay In The House.”
Andrea wants dad to say he didn’t kill anyone, but he can’t, because Sheriff Jake and Deadshirt!Dad were old fashioned bullies who “got rough” and accidentally drowned little Peter one day and let his body sink into the lake. Somehow, this makes him unable to believe there is a connection between himself and all the drowning victims, and FINALLY everyone notices that Carl Lucas is not in the house but instead is at the edge of the lake. This time, we see Peter physically pull Lucas under, and stay at the surface just long enough give Sheriff Jake the creepiest glare ever (the kind dead kids give bullies who drown them for kicks).
Both Winchesters dive in to the lake and start searching. While they’re searching and Andrea is screaming, Sheriff Jake is apologizing and wading into the lake, begging Ghost!Peter for a trade, pleading that Lucas is just a little boy. And it’s Achievement Unlocked when Ghost!Peter comes for the sheriff and gives back Lucas. Also Sam and Dean are wet. But that’s probably not germane to the episode.
As the Winchesters deal with a failure to save the Sheriff, Andrea and Lucas show up to say goodbye. Lucas is actually totally adorable one he learns Dean’s favorite phrase (Zeppelin Rules!), and Dean scores a tiny little kiss from Andrea. She thinks it’s going to take a long time to “sort through” everything. Oh, Andrea. You have no idea.
Sorry, SPN. Ghost Story totally did it better.
Next week, we get our first serious clues and hints on the overarching mythos of the first season, and also an interesting little tidbit about What Scares Dean Winchester. It’s not what you think.