Written by Raelle Tucker and Sera Gamble.Directed by Allan Kroeker.Airdate: January 17, 2006.After Dean develops heart failure, Sam finds a faith healer in Nebraska to cure Dean.While rescuing two children from a rawhead, Dean gets electrocuted and develops a heart condition that will kill him within a few weeks. Sam finds a faith healer who is actually able to cure the skeptical Dean, but the brothers soon discover that, thanks to a captive Reaper, every life saved by the healer comes at the expense of someone else in the town—someone whom the person controlling the Reaper doesn't "approve" of.
For this episode = 3 humans and 1 rawhead.For the series so far = At least 123 humans; 8 ghosts; 1 god; 1 rawhead; 1 shapeshifter; 1 wendigo.
Heart damage from a heart attack (ischemic cardiomyopathy) is a very serious condition and can result in death, but it also is treatable. This might include medications or devices to help with abnormal heart rhythms or symptoms of heart failure. If symptoms continue to progress a heart transplant can be performed and would certainly be a therapeutic consideration in a young man without significant comorbidities, like Dean.
Layla is said to have an inoperable brain tumor, and it is implied that she is only expected to live another six months. Individuals with the most malignant brain tumor, a glioblastoma multiforme, often live 1-2 years with treatment. Layla's young age and lack of disability would suggest she has a better prognosis. With improved imaging and surgical techniques fewer tumors are truly inoperable, but if surgical resection was impossible, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and now laser ablation may be treatment options.
In Layla's case, it wasn't specified how long she had the brain tumor; she could have had it for a while and is only now running out of time. Given that Layla and her mother seem to have been going to the sermons for a while and her general acceptance in discussing it, she's probably known for some time.
"For I will restore you to health, and I will heal you of your wounds." Jeremiah 30:17. This passage is actually about the restoration of Israel and not of a literal body.
"Jesus Christ maketh thee whole... Acts 9:34". This is a portion of Acts 9:34 KJV, which reads, "And Peter said unto him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately." This verse helps to tell the story of how Peter healed a man who had suffered from palsy for 8 years.
"He forgiveth all thine iniquities, healeth all thy diseases. Psalm 103:3."
Dean asking the boy hidden in the cupboard to take his sister's hand and get her out of there, and then his following order to Sam to get the children out, recalls John Winchester's instructions to Dean in the pilot and Sam's command to the children in "Home" (S01, E09).
Sam: Hey, Dad. It's Sam. Uh...you probably won't even get this, but, uh...it's Dean. He's sick, and, uh...the doctors say there’s nothing they can do. Um...but, uh, they don't know the things we know, right? So, don't worry, cause, uh...I'm gonna do whatever it takes to get him better. Alright...just wanted you to know.
Creepy Cool Crosses: The cross Sam identifies in the tent is a Gnostic cross or a type of Coptic cross. Various types of crosses may be used as symbols on tarot cards, but they are not unique to tarot cards and this cross is not a traditional tarot symbol. These crosses are often thought to represent God's love, the earth, or the sun. It is unclear why Sam would have associated the cross with tarot or a binding spell to control death.
Dean: What, you think he shoulda been working the whole black-robe thing?
Harmless Voltage: Subverted Trope, with Dean suffering heart damage from the Taser after the targeted rawhead fell into water. In this case, this does not make a lot of sense, as Tasers are meant to disrupt body function without producing long-term damage by delivering a high voltage low current stimulus. Current, not voltage kills. The current is going to take the path between the two probes with the least resistance. While a person Tasered in water may drown, it is still unlikely to cause damage, as you can see in this video of a gentleman receiving two Taser shocks while submerged in water.
Literal Change of Heart: Subverted Trope. Dean does not embrace God or faith, as had been expected by Roy. After Dean's heart is healed, he is even more convinced that the healing is not a miracle and is more likely a a result of evil forces based on his instincts as a hunter and the fact that he felt cold and wrong while being healed. Though he does say he'll pray for Layla at the end of the episode.
Local Angle: Sam finds news clippings from the Ford City Tribune which include the headlines "Openly Gay Teacher Wins Lawsuit", "Local Abortion Rights Advocate Calls For End Of Violence Against Women", and "Wright: Local Church A Cult".
Snake Oil Salesman: Instead of seeing a cardiologist to get an informed opinion on treatment for cardiomyopathy, Sam Winchester is seen researching alternative treatments such as Chinese herbs, acupuncture, and a surgery called Pulmonary Abductal Bypass Marsupilization developed by a surgeon in Sri Lanka who promises a 98% full recovery rate.
Static Stun Gun: The superpowered Tasers used in the opening scene deliver 100,000 volts, while most Tasers deliver at most 50,000 volts.
Tarot Motifs: Good thing Sam has a deck of tarot cards on hand. The tarot card Sam pulls out of his deck is The Hierophant(V), sometimes called The Pope, which is the fifth trump or Major Arcana card in most traditional Tarot decks. While there are many versions, the skull head and cross are not traditional elements. This card is often associated with education and knowledge, and may be associated with rigid/orthodox views or deception. It seems an odd choice for binding death.