While battling a demon, Dean (Jensen Ackles) is electrocuted, resulting in permanent damage to his heart and leaving him with only a couple of months to live. A despondent Sam (Jared Padalecki) searches desperately for a way to save his brother and believes he may have found an answer through a preacher who claims to heal the incurable. However, Dean and Sam discover that the preacher is getting help from the Grim Reaper who is trading one life for another he feels is less worthy.
The episode was written by Sera Gamble & Raelle Tucker and directed by Allen Kroeker.
The monster – and more
The guys storm an abandoned house with tasers to take out a monster. While Sam is helping some kids escape, Dean finds the beastie and shocks it, but both he and the monster are in the same pool of water. The monster is killed, but Dean is shocked as well. At the hospital, the doctor tells Sam that Dean’s heart was damaged by the shock, and they can’t fix it. Dean has maybe a month to live.
Dean takes the news with his usual flippant snarkery, but Sam vows to save him. When Dean checks himself out of the hospital, he finds that Sam has been trolling their Dad’s contacts to for help. He’s found a “specialist” in Nebraska, and he’s taking Dean whether he likes it or not.
The “specialist” is a faith healer. Dean is disgusted – how can Sam believe in this? How can Dean not have faith, after all they’ve seen? Sam replies. Dean is unconvinced, but he looks willing to change his mind when Layla, a hot girl, tells him the Lord works in mysterious ways. Inside the tent, the Reverend Roy calls Dean to the stage even though Dean is openly skeptical. Roy lays his hands on Dean – and Dean collapses to the ground. When he gets up, he feels fine. A quick trip to the hospital shows that there’s nothing wrong with his heart. He’s healed.
Dean saw a spooky old man behind Roy, and the doctor’s throwaway remark that another guy Dean’s age died of a heart attack raises his suspicions. Dean quizzes Roy and his wife, Sue Ann. Roy almost died too –he was in a coma, and when he recovered, he could heal. “Why did you choose to heal me?” Dean asks. The response: “I looked into your heart and saw a man who had a job to do, a job that isn’t finished.” Outside, Dean runs into Layla and her mother, who demands to know why Roy healed Dean when Layla’s dying of a brain tumor? Why does he deserve to live more than her?
The dark side
Sam checks out the dead man, who had seemed healthy until the moment he died. The clock stopped when it happened – 4:17 p.m., the exact time Dean was healed. Sam compares the healings to the local obits, and discovers that someone always died at the same time as a healing. Somehow, Roy is trading one life for another. At the moment, Roy is healing a man who needs oxygen to survive. As he does, the mysterious dark-suited figure stalks a woman who is jogging in the woods. He grabs her, and her lips turn blue as the life drains out of her. In the tent, the man Roy healed stands up, able to breathe on his own.
Fear the Reaper
Dean figures out Roy must be controlling a Reaper, a spirit who collects souls. Sam thinks he may be using a strange cross on the altar, which suggests black magic. Dean thinks they need to kill Roy, but Sam refuses –he’s a human being! Instead, maybe they can find the spell Roy is using. While Sam breaks into the house to look for the spell, Dean keeps an eye on Roy to make sure he doesn’t heal anyone else. Roy calls Layla to the altar. Dean tries to talk her out of it, but she goes up on stage. Sam finds newspaper clippings identifying victims – including a protester who’s targeting the church. Sam hears the protestor screaming for help as the Reaper comes for him, but Sam can’t see him. Dean stops the healing by yelling that the tent’s on fire, but the protestor is still being menaced. Roy stopped praying, but Dean finds Sue Ann clutching a weird cross in the back of the church. He interrupts her, and the Reaper disappears.
The guys figure out that what started as a desperate ploy by Sue Ann to save her husband has turned into a way for her to punish the people she sees as immoral. The guys decide to break the spell, either by destroying the black-magic altar that summoned the Reaper or by breaking the cross Sue Ann wears. Sam finds the altar — and a picture of Dean on it. Sue Ann locks him in the room, and he desperately looks for a way out. The Reaper finds Dean and starts to suck the life out of him. Sam breaks out, finds Sue Ann and smashes her cross. The Reaper is freed, and he apparently didn’t care for being used like that. He sucks the life out of Sue Ann.
Because Sam interrupted Sue Ann, Layla wasn’t healed. She visits Dean to say goodbye. Dean commiserates with Layla – how can she handle having something she believed in disappoint her? Layla tells him she’s fine – faith means believing not just when the miracles happen, but when the don’t Dean tearfully tells Layla he’ll pray for her. That’s a miracle right there, Layla replies.
as Layla Rourke
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as David Wright
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Official Episode Stills:
Episode Screen Caps:
“Don’t Fear The Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult’s
Dean: Man, you’re a lying bastard. I thought you said we were going to see a doctor.
Sam: I believe I said a specialist.
Dean: You’re not gonna let me die in peace, are you?
Sam: I’m not gonna let you die period.
Dean: It must be rough, to believe in something so much and have it disappoint you like that.
Layla: You wanna hear something weird? I’m okay, really. I guess if you’re going to have faith you can’t just have it when the miracles happen, you have to have it when they don’t.
Dean: So what now?
Layla: God works in mysterious ways. Goodbye Dean.
Dean: Hey, um, you know, I’m not much of the praying type. But I’m gonna pray for you.
Layla: Well, there’s a miracle right there.
Sam: You know this whole “I laugh in the face of death” thing is crap, I can see right through it.
Dean: Yeah, whatever. Have you even slept? You look worse than me.
Dean: Look, Sammy, what can I say, man, its a dangerous gig. I drew the short straw. That’s it, end of story.
Sam: Don’t talk like that, all right? We we still have options.
Dean: What options? You have burial or cremation?
Sam: What do you got those hooked up to?
Dean: A hundred thousand volts.
Dean: Yeah, I want this rawhead extra freakin’ crispy.
Dean: God save us from half the people who think they’re doing God’s work.
Dean: I’m not gonna die in a hospital where the nurses aren’t even hot.
Dean: I’m gonna die, Sam… and, you can’t stop it.
Sam: Watch me!
Dean: That fabric softener teddy bear…ooh….I wanna hunt that little bicth down…
Dean: You gotta take care of that car, or I swear I’ll haunt your ass.
Sam: That’s not funny
Dean: Come on…it’s a little funny
When a victim of the Reapers is going to die, it’s all over in two seconds (Sue-Anne, unnamed athlete). But when someone who isn’t going to die is attacked, it takes forever (Dean, protester).
When Sam was trapped in the basement, there was no way he could have escape through the window because it was too narrow.
In this episode, it is revealed Dean is 27, but in “Pilot,” he says he is 26. That means he has had a birthday, but they haven’t mentioned it.
When Roy is healing the old emphysema patient, and the Reaper is killing the jogger, the background music is Blue Oyster Cult’s Don’t Fear The Reaper.
Dean: You ever actually watch daytime TV? It’s terrible.
This is an in-joke to the fact that (Jensen Ackles) used to play Eric Brady on the soap opera Days of Our Lives.
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