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Recap / Supernatural S 01 E 12 Faith

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Recap of Supernatural
Season 1, Episode 12:

Pray with me, friends.

Dean: Why? Why me? Out of all the sick people, why save me?
Roy: Well, like I said before, the Lord guides me. I looked into your heart, and you just stood out from all the rest.
Dean: What did you see in my heart?
Roy: A young man with an important purpose. A job to do. And it isn't finished.

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.


Body count:

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.

Tropes appearing in this episode:

  • Actor Allusion: Jensen Ackles played Eric Brady on Days of Our Lives, making it amusing when he says the following:
    Dean: Have you ever actually watched daytime TV? It's terrible.
  • Agent Mulder/Agent Scully: Sam has faith, and argues God and miracles should exist if demons and monsters exist, while Dean is a Nay-Theist.
  • Artistic License – Medicine:
    • 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.
    • Advertisement:
    • 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.
  • As the Good Book Says...: Signs in the tent read:
    • "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."
  • Balancing Death's Books: How Roy's "healing" works, courtesy of Sue Ann.
  • Big Bad: Sue Ann Le Grange, the wife of Roy Le Grange, who controls a reaper to kill a person and heal another to make it look like her husband has healing powers.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Sam and Dean stop Sue Ann and free the reaper she's controlling, but Layla is doomed to die. However, she makes peace with this fact and is touched by Dean's words.
    Dean: You know, I'm much of a praying type... but, I'm gonna pray for you.
    Layla: [smiles] Well... There's a miracle right there.
  • Black Magic:
    Sam: You gotta build a black altar with seriously dark stuff. Bones, human blood. To cross a line like that; a preacher's wife. Black magic. Murder. Evil.
  • Blind Seer: Roy.
  • Book Safe
  • Bury Your Gays: The first victim, Marshall Hall, was an openly-gay teacher.
  • Color Failure: The victims have their eyes and skin turn gray as the reaper drains their Life Energy.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • 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 does his research on the Dell Inspiron laptop sporting the logo for Cove Bikes. The laptop was previously seen in "Hook Man" (S01, E07) and "Asylum" (S01, E10).
    • We again hear John Winchester's voicemail, which was first heard in "Phantom Traveler" (S01, E04) and then again in "Home" (S01, E09).
      Sam: Hey, Dad. It's Sam. probably won't even get this, but,'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 Basement: Both the wet basement in the opening scene and Sue Ann's Room Full of Crazy cellar.
  • 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.
  • Don't Fear the Reaper: The Blue Öyster Cult song plays while the Reaper takes the life of the jogger and the man on oxygen in the wheelchair is saved. Given that the jogger is terrified and running for her life, the lyrics are a form of verbal irony, and the slow-paced music during the action scene produces Soundtrack Dissonance.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Dean shoves Sam away when he tries to help him out of the car.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: In later seasons, Reapers are more human-looking.
  • Egocentrically Religious: While Sue Ann first wanted to save her husband, she then used her power to punish those she does not agree with.
    Sue Ann: [after Sam smashes the cross] My God, what have you done!
    Sam: He's not your God.
  • Electrified Bathtub: Taser in a wet basement.
  • Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors: The rawhead, which is usually associated with water, is sensitive to electricity in the form of the tasers.
  • Equivalent Exchange: How Roy's healing works.
  • Exhausted Eye Bags: Dean.
  • Extremely Dusty Home: Sam finds the spell book by noticing where there is no dust on the shelf.
  • Fainting: Dean does this twice this episode, first after being electrocuted (likely cardiogenic syncope), and then when being healed by Roy (perhaps meant to indicate how close he is to death).
  • Face Death with Dignity:
    • Dean accepts his fate after saving the children from the rawhead.
      Dean: Look, Sammy, what can I say, man, it's a dangerous gig. I drew the short straw. That's it, end of story.
    • Layla at the end of the episode.
      Layla: I'm okay. Really. I guess if you're gonna have can't just have it when the miracles happen. You have to have it when they don't.
  • Fictional Document: The books on the shelf in the Le Grange house appear to have made-up titles and authors and include:
    • The Life of Christ—T. Osman & I. Steele
    • Our Mighty Father: The Way of God's Word—G. Grey
    • Encyclopedia of Christian History: Old & New Testament For Students & Clergy—A. Hrytzak
    • The Origin Of Christianity—P. Frake
    • The Will of God: A Life of Faith—Ames White
      • Ames White is actually a character in Dark Angel—also starring Jensen Ackles.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist:
    • The protester: people are being miraculously healed and he still screams about it being a scam.
    • Dean, who does not believe in miracles, despite accepting all the supernatural evil they encounter.
  • Foreshadowing: Dean is told that he is a young man with an important purpose, and that it isn't finished.
  • Gallows Humor:
    • Sam does not find Dean's joke funny:
      Dean: Hey, you better take care of that car. Or, I swear, I'll haunt your ass.
      Sam: I don't think that's funny.
      Dean: Oh, come on, it's a little funny.
    • He is not any more amused by this joke:
      Sam: Don't talk like that, alright? We still have options.
      Dean: What options? Yeah, burial or cremation.
    • Or this one:
      Dean: Well, I'm not gonna die in a hospital where the nurses aren't even hot.
      Sam: You know, this whole I-laugh-in-the-face-of-death thing? It's crap. I can see right through it.
  • Girl of the Week: Layla for Dean.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Sue Ann believes such; her second victim was a feminist who fought for abortion rights.
  • The Grim Reaper: He wears a black suit and tie instead of the Black Cloak and Sinister Scythe, but is pale with sunken eyes and very wrinkled skin.
    Sam: But you said you saw a dude in a suit.
    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 (which has been modified to deliver a stronger current than a normal Taser) after the targeted rawhead fell into water.
  • Healing Hands: Roy le Grange.
  • Heteronormative Crusader: Sue Ann; one of her victims was an openly gay school teacher.
  • Holier Than Thou: The faith healer's devout Christian wife is the one working the black magic to control the Reaper.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Dean electrocutes himself with his Taser and Sue Ann is killed by the Reaper she summoned.
  • Ill Girl: Layla.
  • In Mysterious Ways: Layla introduces herself by quoting the trope to reply to Dean's lack of faith, and repeats it at the end.
    Dean: [looking after Layla] Well, I bet you she can work in some mysterious ways.
  • Infraction Distraction: Dean distracts the cops while Sam searches Sue Ann's house.
  • Invisible to Normals: Reapers can only be seen by the dying.
  • Joggers Find Death: The woman in the woods wearing headphones who is taken by the Reaper.
  • Karmic Death: Sue Ann.
  • Kick the Dog: Sue Ann dangles the hope of healing Layla's brain tumor in front of her and her mother constantly, yet never asks Roy to heal her until months later - and when poor Layla is finally called up, the Winchesters are on the scene...
  • Knight Templar: Sue Ann.
  • Language of Magic/Ominous Latin Chanting: Sue Ann chanting the binding spell.
  • Lightning Gun: Real Life images of individuals being Tasered are frequently enough portrayed for viewers to realize that a Taser does not produce blue lightning bolt effects and, even if two people are standing in water, most of the current is going to travel between the two probes and not to the person who fired the Taser.
  • 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".
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Two police restrain Dean when he stops Sue Ann from killing Wright.
    Cop: We catch you round here again son, we'll put the fear of God in you, understand?
  • Preacher Man: Roy.
  • The Problem with Fighting Death
  • Red Herring: The preacher.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Dean seems to subscribe to the Cute Is Evil manner of thinking.
    Dean: That fabric softener teddy bear. Ooh, I wanna hunt that little bitch down.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Slasher Smile: The Reaper, of all things, when the time comes for his revenge.
  • 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.
  • Stock Episode Titles: At least 38 other episodes with this title in other series.
  • Stopped Clock: The clock froze at 4:17 when Marshall died and Dean was healed.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: When the jogger is killed by the Reaper.
  • 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.
  • Things That Go "Bump" in the Night: Dean and Sam are hunting a rawhead, a boogieman-like creature, when Dean gets injured.
  • Wall of Weapons: The armory in the trunk of the Impala.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Sam is unwilling to kill Roy, and tells Dean If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him, even though Sam has no qualms about killing the supernatural beings they encounter.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Rawheads are said to eat children who tell lies or use bad words.

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