Season 1, Episode 18
Sam: He'll always know there are things out there in the dark, never be the same, you know? Sometimes I wish that...
Dean: If it means anything, sometimes I wish you could, too.
Written by Daniel Knauf.
Directed by Whitney Ransick.
Airdate: April 6, 2006.
Dean faces a creature from his childhood who got away and is now stealing the lives of children in Fitchburg, Wisconsin.
sends Sam and Dean to Fitchburg, Wisconsin, where pneumonia has started to spread among the children, affecting one family at a time. For some reason, none of the kids respond to medical treatment.
During their investigations they find a handprint, which Dean remembers seeing in one of their father's photographs when they were children. It's a Shtriga
, an Albanian witch,
which is draining the kids of their life force. It's only weak when it feeds and hides by disguising itself as a human. It's also one of the few monsters that got away from their father.
After exhausting the few leads they have to no use, they return to the motel where they're staying and find out that the youngest boy of the family who runs the place has fallen ill. While Dean gives the upset mother a ride to the hospital, Sam finds a picture in a newspaper from the 1890s of a group of doctors. One of them is the very same doctor who is currently responsible for the pediatrics ward where the sick children are treated.
While arguing with Sam whether or not to use the older brother as bait for the witch, Dean reveals that the reason their father never caught the witch in the first place was because he disobeyed their father and almost ended up having Sam killed by the witch.
Realizing they don't have any alternative, they ask the older brother to act as bait, and he accepts because of the possibility of it saving his brother. They set up a trap and manage to kill the witch, after which all the children are cured from their illness.
For this episode = 1 shtriga
For the series so far = At least 133 humans; 9 ghosts; 1 god; 1 rawhead; 1 shapeshifter; 1 shtriga; and 1 wendigo.
Tropes appearing in this episode:
- Abandoned Playground: The first clue about what is wrong in Fitchburg, Wisconsin.
- Adult Fear: An illness taking children.
- The Bait: Michael.
- The Bechdel Test: Failed.
- Big Brother Instinct, naturally.
- Catch Your Death of Cold: The illness is attributed to a window being left open.
- Child Eater: The shtriga.
- Commonality Connection: Dean immediately sympathizes with Michael's feelings of protection towards his younger brother
- Convenient Coma: The children languish in a coma instead of just dying.
- Cover Identity Anomaly: Sam's fake ID as Dr. Jerry Kaplan is for a Bikini Inspector.
- Creepy Long Fingers: The shtriga.
- Cute Responsible Kid: Michael and Dean.
- Deadly Doctor: The shtriga.
- Deggans Rule: Failed.
- Evil Old Folks: Subverted Trope in the case of the woman sitting in the wheelchair.
Sam: An old person, huh?
Sam: In a hospital? Whew, better call the Coast Guard.
- Foreshadowing: Michael, the older brother, as in Archangel Michael.
- Life Drinker: An immortal creature called a shtriga drains the life force from people, mostly children.
- Light Is Not Good: The light from the shtriga's throat.
- Literary Allusion Title: From Macbeth:
Second Witch: By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes!
- Mistaken for Gay: A Running Gag, which was previously seen in "Bugs" (S01, Ep08).
Michael (Checking Dean in at the motel): King or two queens?
Dean: Two queens.
Michael (Looks at Sam waiting outside): Yeah, I bet.
Dean: What'd you say?
Michael: Nice car.
- My Greatest Failure
- No Ontological Inertia: The children are healed when the shtriga is killed.
- Not Quite Dead
- Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep: A variation emphasizing angels instead of death is used, but either version fits well with Supernatural themes.
Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul
watch me through the night,
And keep me safe til morning light.
- Promotion to Parent:
- Prophet Eyes: Subverted Trope, with the old woman just having cataracts.
- Regularly Scheduled Evil: The shtriga appears in a town every 15-20 years.
- Shout Out:
- During Dean's flashback, Sam is watching ThunderCats.
- Dean tries to explain away their father not killing the shtriga by saying he did not eat his Wheaties that morning.
- The towns Sam explains were recently struck by the Shtriga include Brockway, Ogdenville and North Haverbrook. These are the same towns plagued by the monorail in The Simpsons episode "Marge vs. the Monorail".
- Really 700 Years Old: The shtriga.
- Red Herring: The inverted cross in the hospital room.
- Shapeshifter Default Form: The shtriga usually appears as an innocuous human, often an old woman, but in this case a pediatrician.
- Similarly Named Works: Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury.
- Sleep with One Eye Open: Or in this case both eyes open, as the woman in the hospital seems Properly Paranoid.
Old woman: I was sleeping with my peepers open.
- Steel Ear Drums: acknowledged—the boys make a note of telling Mike to cover his ears.
- Themed Aliases: Sam's alias as Dr. Kaplan may refer to guitarist Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo.
- Things That Go Bump in the Night: Branches scratching on the windowpane that turn into long weathered fingers as the little girl hides under her covers in the opening scene.
- Throat Light: The shtriga.
- Too Dumb to Live: An immortal monster that's completely invulnerable unless feeding. What does it do after the ambush is sprung? Feeds so it can take a bullet.
- Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour: Young Dean with the gun.
- Wicked Witch: The shtriga.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: Dean and Michael, who are not allowed to be children.
- Would Hurt a Child: Dean is willing to use Michael as bait for the shtriga.
- It's not quite Would Hurt a Child. Dean is only using Michael as bait because the shtriga prefers children, works through siblings, just attacked Michael's little brother the previous night, and would be impossible to locate otherwise. Granted, he isn't exactly hung up on the morality of it, but he's eager enough to finish the shtriga that he's willing to risk Michael.