Welcome back to this year’s installment of Nerds Gets Spooky, where we take a look at some of the best episodes of different television series set on or around Halloween! Today, we’ll be taking a look at Supernatural‘s pilot — the episode that started it all.
Many people forget that Supernatural’s storyline started on Halloween — something that perfectly represents the Winchester brothers’ wayward lifestyle of ganking monsters (as Sam once said, every day is Halloween for them). Let’s take a look back on this spookynatural episode that began our favorite 15-year tumble of pain and joy (but mostly pain).
Starting off with a flashback to the fateful night that everything went so, so wrong, we open with a tiny Dean, baby Sammy, and the Winchester parents bidding one another good night. In the middle of the night, Sam’s baby monitor goes off, waking Mary. Mary travels into the nursery to find who she thinks is John comforting Sam, but soon discovers is not after she finds John asleep downstairs on the couch. She runs back into the room; John is awoken by a scream. He races to the nursery to find Mary’s body on the ceiling dripping blood; she ignites, causing the house to catch fire. John hands off Sam to Dean and they run outside while John tries and fails to save his wife. The house burns down. This is the beginning of the Winchester tragedy.
We cut to Stanford University present day where we find Sam and his girlfriend Jessica (Jess) on you guessed it, Halloween night (which Sam loathes). They party and celebrate Sam’s victory on the LSAT. Later that night, Sam hears someone breaking into his and Jess’ apartment and engages in a scuffle with the mysterious intruder who turns out to be … his brother Dean. He’s come to collect him to look for John (“Dad’s on a hunting trip, and he hasn’t been home in a few days” — “Pilot” has so many iconic lines). Sam takes off with Dean, vowing to return in time for his law school interview.
John disappeared investigating a string of disappearances of single men on the same 5-mile stretch of road so that’s where Sam and Dean set out for. They run into a crime scene from the previous night and start working the case. While trying to uncover the truth, they hear about a spooky local legend: a girl died violently a decade ago on the stretch of road and now hitchhikes, trolling for victims who are never seen again if they pick her up. After some research, they discover that the woman is Constance Welch, a woman who committed suicide by jumping off the bridge after her kids drowned on her watch. Checking out the bridge, the brothers encounter the ghost and have to settle down for the night.
Checking into a seedy motel with Dean’s fake credit card, the boys find out that John rented a room out for a month with the same last name. They break in, but it looks like it’s been abandoned for a while. While digging through John’s research, they discover that Constance is a woman in white. The police get notified about the Winchesters’ fraud and Dean gets arrested as a suspect for the disappearances of Constance’s victims. Sam escapes in time to go talk to Constance’s husband. He confirms that her husband cheated on her — the trigger for her mental break that resulted in the murder of her kids — verifying that they’re dealing with a woman in white.
After dialing in a fake 911 call to give Dean the opportunity to break out of jail, Sam gets a call from the elder Winchester explaining that John had left town — a fact he discovered from his journal that was at the sheriff’s office. The call is interrupted by Constance appearing to Sam in the car and kidnapping him, bringing him to her abandoned house. She tries to get him to be unfaithful to Jess, but he refuses and Constance attacks him. Dean rescues him by shooting through her (and Baby’s window). Sam, realizing that Constance is afraid of going into her house, drives the car through the wall. Water begins to fill the house and Constance is accosted by the (creepy) ghosts of the children she drowned, being destroyed by their spirits and consequently sending them all away.
With the case closed and the monsters ganked, Dean reluctantly drives Sam back to Stanford even though they now know where John last went (he is still missing). The brothers reluctantly part, having fallen back into their old patterns of fraternal familiarity. Sam enters his apartment to find Jess on the ceiling bleeding and set aflame in the exact same manner that Mary was all those years ago. Dean runs in and saves Sam. Outside with the fire department in the background, hauntingly reminiscent of the opening scene, a tearful Sam drops a shotgun in the trunk of Dean’s car and says, “We got work to do.”
In my humble opinion, Supernatural‘s pilot is one of the best opening episodes in television history. It establishes the tone of the show so well — both in terms of the Winchesters’ sibling dynamic and introducing the viewers into the realm of things that go bump in the night. The episode also boasts a multitude of iconic lines and moments that would go down in Supernatural history: “No chick flick moments,” “Jerk. Bitch,” that patented Winchester synchronicity — I could go on and on.
Supernatural starting on Halloween just makes sense. There’s no better day of the year to represent the Winchester’s lives and the show’s early seasons vibes (old Supernatural just hit different). If you’re looking for some spooky content to carry you through October, Supernatural is definitely the right place to be. Tune in tomorrow for the continuation of Nerds Gets Spooky!