Recap: Supernatural S 01 E 14 Nightmare

Recap of Supernatural
Season 1, Episode 14:

Nightmare

This has gotta be a whole new low for us.

Dean: I know what we need to do about your premonitions. I know where we have to go.
Sam: Where?
Dean: Vegas. [Sam 'harrumphs' and walks out] What? Come on, man! Craps table? We'd clean up!

Written by Sera Gamble and Raelle Tucker.

Directed by Philip Sgriccia.

Airdate: February 7, 2006.

Sam's visions lead him to another young man, Max Miller, with psychic abilities in Saginaw, Michigan.

Sam has another premonition, this time of a man being murdered, but when they investigate the brothers learn that the death has been listed as a suicide. Then, after Sam has another vision, the man's brother dies. They eventually learn that the first victim's son, Max Miller, was responsible: after being abused by his family for years, Max discovered telekinetic abilities and used them to kill his father and uncle. Sam has a third vision of Max killing his stepmother, and in the process of stopping him, it's revealed that Max's real mother died in exactly the same way as Sam and Dean's. Max uses his telekinesis to lock Sam in a closet while he tries to kill Dean, but Sam escapes using previously-unknown telekinetic abilities of his own and stops Max, who takes his own life.

Body count:

For this episode = 3 humans.

For the series so far = At least 129 humans; 9 ghosts; 1 god; 1 rawhead; 1 shapeshifter; 1 wendigo.


Tropes appearing in this episode:

  • Abusive Parents: Max's father and uncle, while his stepmother did nothing to stop them.
  • Accomplice by Inaction: Max hates his stepmother as much as his abusive father and uncle because she did nothing to stop them.
  • The Alcoholic: Max's father.
  • All Just a Dream: The sequence where Dean goes up against Max.
  • Asshole Victim: The father and the uncle.
  • Bad Habits: As seen in the picture above.
  • Basement-Dweller: Max is still living at home to save up for school.
  • Big Eater: Dean, who chews on cocktail wieners while pretending to be a priest comforting Mrs. Miller.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: A rare case involving a step mother.
    Max: That's right. You didn't do anything. You didn't stop them, not once. For every time you stood there and watched. Pretending it wasn't happening.
  • Crocodile Tears: After Max's suicide, Alice is teary-eyed in her police interview, totally dry-eyed when they leave.
    • Max also suspects as much when she starts tearfully saying she's sorry to Max when he brandishes the knife at her telekinetically: "No, you're not [sorry]. You just don't wanna die."
  • Deadly Gas: Carbon monoxide is actually colorless and odorless, unlike the black car exhaust filling up the garage.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come
  • Driven to Suicide
  • Environmental Symbolism: The Escanabe Motel in Saginaw, Michigan has a "hunting cabin" theme, complete with mounted deer's head, emphasizing the Winchesters' role as hunters.
  • Electromagnetic Ghosts: Averted Trope as there is no ghost, but we do see Dean's upgraded EMF detector, now sporting two green laser pointers and view screen, perhaps meant to represent an infrared thermal scanner.
  • Eye Scream: In a vision, Max is shown killing his mom by telekinetically plunging a knife into her eye.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare
  • Gun Stripping: Dean in the hotel room.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: One of the arguments Sam uses to try to stop Max.
  • Impersonating a Priest
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Max makes the first murders look like suicide.
  • Mind over Matter: Max, of course, but also Sam.
  • Missing Mom: One of the similarities between Sam and Max.
  • Not So Different : Max is what Sam and Dean could have become if, after Mary's death, John had become an abusive wreck instead of a caring—if obsessed—hunter.
    Sam: It could've gone a whole other way after Mom's death. A little more tequila, a little less demon hunting, and we would've had Max's childhood.
  • Off with His Head!: One of the victims gets killed by a window-guillotine.
  • Pants-Positive Safety: Dean tucks his handgun into his waist band when they go to confront Max.
  • Pstandard Psychic Pstance: Sam grabs his head (and complains of a headache) when his visions start.
  • The Reveal: There are more people with powers like Sam.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Max.
  • Starts with a Suicide: Played with. If it wasn't for Sam's premonition, everybody would have dismissed the first murder as a suicide.
  • Stock Episode Titles: At least 55 episodes with this title.
  • Themed Aliases:
    • When tracking down the Michigan license plate, Sam identifies himself as Detective McCready, as in guitarist Mike McCready of Pearl Jam.
    • When the brothers visit the Miller family dressed as priests, Dean introduces them as Father Simmons and Father Frehley, as in Gene Simmons and Ace Frehley of KISS.
  • There Are No Coincidences: After failing twice to stop the deaths he has foreseen, Sam asks himself what the purpose of his premonitions are if he can't change what he sees in them. He then not only ends up stopping the two following foreseen murders, but also finds out that Max's mother was killed by the same thing as his and Dean's mother.
  • Truth in Television: Despite the use of catalytic converters in new-model cars, leaving a car idling in a closed garage for only two minutes can produce lethal levels of carbon monoxide.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Max.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Max.