‘The Winchesters’ Recap: Season 1, Episode 1 “Pilot”

14 Min Read
Matt Miller/The CW

The long-awaited premiere of The Winchesters, The CW’s Supernatural prequel, has finally arrived! Check out our recap below to see what went down in this show’s intriguing pilot.

Mystery Man

In New Orleans 1972, a mystery man with a satchel (initialed SC) opens an underground concrete contraption with the aquarian star on it. Immediately, he begins running as something chases him and pounces.

Welcome Home, John

Matt Miller/The CW

A uniformed John Winchester wakes up on the bus, plagued with nightmares of his time at war and a mysterious man uttering his name. After jolting awake, he pulls out a letter with his name on it and the aquarian star logo. Dean Winchester, John and Mary’s future son (from the flagship show Supernatural), begins to narrate how this is the story we know of John and Mary’s meeting, but that he’s going to put the pieces together in a way that we might be surprised at.

March 23, 1972. The day Dad came home from the war. And the day he met mom.

– Dean Winchester

Outside a movie theater, John bumps into Mary Campbell and knocks all of her stuff down. He helps her gather up her things and is instantly enamored. He asks if her movie was good, but she says she came for the snacks and the book was probably better.

Matt Miller/The CW

Sidling up to the Winchester Garage, John reunites with his mother, Millie. In the garage, Millie tells him that she knows he joined the military chasing after his dad, but he needs to let it go.

Dad’s On a Hunting Trip And He Hasn’t Been Home In A Few Days

Matt Miller/The CW

John very much does not let it go as we see him at night outside a mysterious building with a key and the letter from the bus. A man accosts him, trying to take the key. John begins to fight but is taken aback when his eyes flash black. In comes Mary, throwing punches left and right… until John tries to help and ends up accidentally smacking her multiple times (“STOP HELPING”) before she intentionally throws a fist of her own at John… intentionally. With John out of the way, Mary throws the demon into a vat of holy water while questioning where her father is. The demon taunts that he’s going to end up in Hell like the rest of Mary’s kin, stating Maggie is down there right now.

Mary exorcizes the demon and John promptly freaks out, questioning everything including what the demon said about Maggie. She questions why John was there and he explains that when he got back from ‘Nam, a man he’d never seen before handed him a letter and then disappeared — literally vanished. It was a letter from his dad, Henry, stating that if he was getting the letter he was gone and to go to the address where they were. Mary decides to let him tag along and explains that her father, Samuel, was supposed to meet her at home but was being trailed by demons and never made it. He was looking for the schematics to open a box.

John opens the door to the building and Mary explains that she was raised as a hunter. They descend into a bunker, not unlike our beloved bunker from Supernatural, and discover the place belongs to the Men of Letters — though it’s been abandoned for some while. John finds a locker labeled H.E.W. — Henry Eric Winchester and laments that he went halfway around the world for answers when they were in Lawrence all along.

Everything Is Not What It Seems

Matt Miller/The CW

Mary picks a lock and finds the schematics for the box she was looking for, saying that she needs to find an Ada Monroe who was working with her dad before he disappeared. As she takes off, John tries to weasel more information out of her, including her name, but she tells him to forget about this life because he wants no part of it.

Go home, soldier boy.

Mary Campbell

At Ada’s shop, lights begin to flicker (bad sign as OG fans know) and a cloud of demon smoke possesses Ada as she drops her anti-possession charm.

Mary parks her car only to have John bring her a coffee. She’s confused how he tracked her down, but that was his job in the Marines. He also found news about Ada going missing from her bookstore in Lubbock, Texas — witnesses saw black smoke. John convinces Mary to let him tag along to Texas and finally introduces herself. All of their interactions are simply tinged with chemistry.

The two make a pit stop at the library where they meet Mary’s friend, Latika (Lata), to stock up on knowledge and supplies. Mary puts Lata on the case of opening the box, despite her wanting to tag along (squeamishness aside), while she and John set off for Texas. Lata wants to call Carlos, a nearby hunter, though Mary is opposed due to an incident that happened in Tupelo — a misunderstanding according to Lata.

During the car ride, John is plagued by flashbacks of his time in Vietnam, specifically with his comrade, Murph. In the heat of battle, Murph stepped on an IED while with John and seemingly passed away, as John is seeing his bruised and bloody ghost in the backseat through the rearview mirror. Mary asks him what’s wrong and when he shares, she reassures him with an EMF meter that he’s not being haunted. John misses Murph. Parts of his dog tag was embedded in his arm — the only piece of him left. Mary commiserates that she sees the face of every person she couldn’t save.

Upon arrival, the pair break into Ada’s shop and find the stuff Samuel was working on. They’re accosted by the same demon as earlier before Carlos and Latika barge in, hitting the demon with Carlos’ very groovy van. Pulling John in (“C’mon rookie. Learn something.”), Carlos pulls out a gun and begins to shoot the demon… with holy water. Pouring a salt circle around the demon, Carlos hands John a piece of paper and tells him to read it. Said paper turns out to be none other than… a grilled cheese menu. After a quick switcheroo, John has successfully exorcised his first demon.

Matt Miller/The CW

Carlos tells Latika she’s ready and complains about Mary, saying he couldn’t ever imagine why he had a crush on her. Lata points out that Carlos flaked on her to be with his then-boyfriend (or ex-girlfriend? unclear) in Tupelo and almost got her killed. Lata discovers the purpose of the box (built by the Men of Letters — or paranormal Free Masons as John and Carlos are stuck on calling them): it traps monsters and kills them. In a book, they find coordinates to a place in New Orleans to the box in Samuel’s handwriting.

In the van, Mary is still mad at Lata for coming along. Lata feels indebted to Samuel for saving her life, but Mary wants her to get out. Paralleling their conversation, Carlos tells John in the back of the van “The only thing worse than how it starts for a hunter is how it ends” after telling him of his tragic beginnings as a hunter. Carlos killed a ghoul after it killed his family and hadn’t left the life since.

The van arrives at what seems to be the same cemetery our mystery man was (presumably Samuel – Samuel Campbell). In a sweet moment that Mary seems a bit jealous of, John helps Lata through her nervousness offering to undertake the hunt and be nervous together as first-timers. Mary reveals to John that Maggie was her 18yo cousin who got killed by a vampire on a hunt and that she wants out of the life.

The Scooby gang descends into a crypt and finds a trinket of Samuel’s. They find the open concrete hatch leading even deeper underground. John and Mary descend into the cavern where there’s instantly some distinctly monster-like noise. Above ground, Carlos disappears. Mary opens another concrete barrel in the floor and finds the box, but no Samuel. John reassures her they’ll find her dad. A roar sounds and Mary and John find themselves face to face with a loup-garou. The Men of Letters left it as a hard dog. A silver blade hurts it but it can only be wounded by decapitation. John pulls out a knife and cuts out Murph’s silver dog tag from his arm. He charges the monster to buy Mary time to get out.

Aboveground, the possessed Ada tries to get Lata to hand over the information about the box in the file. Carlos reappears with a silver blade, having recognized a symbol and that there was a loup-gauru below. Mary gets back aboveground and helps fight Ada while Latika opens the box and John grapples for the blade dropped into the cavern. Lata opens it as Ada’s demon is exorcizing itself and gets stuck in the box and John decapitated the loup-gauru. John climbs back up to a bewildered rest of the gang, asking what he missed.

Answers… and More Questions

Matt Miller/The CW

Back at the Winchester Garage, John brings Millie the belongings out of Henry’s locker, asking how she could have kept everything from him. She just wanted to protect him and her dream of having a family. He shows her Henry’s letter (voiced by Gil McKinney, who played Henry on the original show) telling them Henry loved them. Millie begs John not to go down this road, but John feels like he has to. Back with Mary (doing the coffee buying this time), the gang goes to visit Ada.

Matt Miller/The CW

Back at the bunker, Ada tells John he looks like Henry. She also tells him all of the Men of Letters she knew disappeared 15 years ago. Mary asks why Samuel wanted the box, and Ada tells her of the Akrida, “a malevolent force. A monster not of this world,” who seek to wipe out everyone in the world, including monsters, and take over the world. Samuel found the information in a Men of Letters space in Savannah. Mary asserts she has to get to Savannah and John corrects her — they have to head off.

We cut back to Dean writing in a journal/narrating about how the gang didn’t yet know the Akrida were a threat to all existence. Dean doesn’t have all the answers yet but will explain everything eventually. He drives off in Baby (KAZ plate intact).

The Winchesters airs on Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on The CW. You can find our other coverage of the show here. Be sure to check out On The Road Again, Nerds & Beyond’s podcast covering all things The Winchesters! Additionally, give our recent interview with Jensen and Danneel Ackles, Robbie Thompson, Drake Rodger, and Meg Donnelly from New York Comic Con a read!

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By Kenedi
Kenedi is a college student with her sights set on attending medical school. When she isn't hard at work, Kenedi enjoys reading, watching her favorite shows, and listening to music. Some of her favorite fandoms include Supernatural, One Tree Hill, Bones, Abbott Elementary, Percy Jackson, and Scrubs.
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