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Recap / Supernatural S02 E21 “All Hell Breaks Loose, Part One”

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Recap of Supernatural
Season 2, Episode 21:

All Hell Breaks Loose, Part One
You said we were chosen for a reason. That is not chosen! That’s killed!

Sam: We're looking for iron, silver, salt—any kind of weapon.
Jake: Salt is a weapon?
Sam: It's a brave new world.

Written by Sera Gamble.

Directed by Robert Singer.

Airdate: May 10, 2007.

Sam is transported to Cold Oak, South Dakota, by the Yellow-Eyed Demon. Dean is desperate to find his brother.

Dean and Sam pull up to Sunnyside Diner in Iowa inside the Impala at night in the rain. Dean gives Sam some cash and asks for extra onions and pie. An annoyed Sam goes into the diner while Dean waits in the car. Static interrupts Boston's "Long Time" playing on the car radio, and then the song cuts out. Dean notices the diner looks empty and follows Sam into the diner. Dean sees a balding gray haired man collapsed forward on the table with his trucker cap next to his half drunk cup of coffee, roast beef club sandwich with potato wedges on a plate, and condiments including a salt shaker. His face lies in a pool of blood which drips down the side of the table. As the country song "Wrapped Around Your Finger" by Martyn Laight plays in the diner, Dean calls out for Sam and takes out his Colt. He walks around the counter and finds the cook and the waitress lying dead on the floor with their throats cut while the grill still sizzles. Dean opens the back door of the diner and finds sulfur on the window sill. Dean then leaves the diner calling for his brother.

Sam wakes up outside during the daytime. He finds himself surrounded by abandoned buildings including an old windmill. He pulls out his cell phone, but there is no reception.

The Teaser ends with a metal chomping sound, and the Title Sequence plays in a burst of flames.

Sam starts to explore the western town, which appears to have been abandoned in the later half of the 19th century. He hears a creaking noise and picks up a wooden plank as Andy Gallagher walks around the corner. Andy says he was doing a bong hit when he smelled sulfur and woke up in this ghost town. They hear a woman screaming and find a locked shed. Sam smashes the lock with a rock to release an upset Ava Wilson, who embraces Sam and asks him what is going on. They hear voices and find Jake Talley, a soldier who was fighting in Afghanistan, and Lily Baker, a woman from San Diego, who also have no idea how they got here. Sam explains that they all have special powers that developed in the last year and that he has visions. Ava admits she also has visions. Andy describes his ability to compel people to do what he wants and goes on to explain that he is now able to beam images into other people's minds. Lily says she would kill for powers like that and reveals that she kills people when she touches them. When Andy asks who brought them here, Sam replies it is less of a who and more of a what. When he explains it was a demon, the others look at him disbelievingly.

Dean meets Bobby Singer on the side of US Route 65 in front of a motel and next to a river, and they stare at an interstate map spread out over the hood of the Impala. Bobby explains that there has been no demonic activity, even low level exorcisms, in the last month, and Dean realizes this means that they have no trail for tracking Sam. Dean's cell phone rings, and it is Ash calling from the Harvelle Roadhouse in Nebraska. Ash says it is a "big negatory" on locating Sam, but he found something really big. He is unwilling to discuss what he has found over the phone, but says it will not only help find Sam but is "huge". Bobby and Dean get into the Impala and head off to the Roadhouse.

Sam is trying to explain the existence of demons to the others in the ghost town, but they do not believe him. Jake says he is better off alone and walks away. Jake sees a young blonde girl in the window of the schoolroom, but when Jake enters the room is empty. He hears a childish giggle and then the squeak of chalk on the chalkboard. The chalkboard is now filled with “I will not kill” written over and over again. When he turns around the little girl is there giggling, but her fingers extend into claws and her face becomes monstrous with clouded gray eyes and fangs. Before she can attack Jake, Sam enters, grabs a poker from beside the stove, and swings the poker at the monstrous little girl. She dissolves into black smoke as Lily, Ava, and Andy, arrive at the door of the schoolroom. Sam explains that this was an Acheri demon, a type of demon that disguises itself as a little girl. As they walk out of the schoolhouse, they notice a bell, and Sam recognizes the symbol of an oak tree on the side of the bell. He realizes they are in Cold Oak, South Dakota, a town so haunted, every single resident fled. Lily says they need to leave, but Sam and Jake point out that they are surrounded by miles of woods with no idea of how many demons are out there. Lily still does not want to work with the others and explains that she accidentally killed her girlfriend when she touched her. Sam explains that he has lost people as well, but they have to work together. Sam, Ava, Andy, and Jake, head off looking for things they can use to defend themselves, but Lily hangs back and then walks into the woods.

Bobby and Dean pull up to the Roadhouse and find the bar has burnt to the ground. They search the debris and find Ash's badly burnt remains, which they identify by his unusual wristwatch. They do not find Ellen Harvelle among the dead bodies.

Lily is walking through the woods alone, when something quickly brushes by the tree branches unseen. Then she hears a young girl's giggle. Meanwhile, Sam searches through a trunk in one of the abandoned houses and finds a Bowie knife. Sam notices that Ava is holding her head, and he asks her if she is okay. She says she is dizzy from not eating, and is fine except for their situation. Andy calls out that he has found something. He enters the house laughing with two bags of rock salt above his head. Sam notes Lily is not with Andy, and then they hear the childish giggle. They run outside, and when they look up, they see Lily hanging from the windmill, limp and pale with a noose around her neck. Ava tearfully insists that they have to leave, but Jake and Sam both agree that they need to stay and prepare for the next attack from the demon. Jake goes to cut Lily down, while the others walk back to the abandoned house. Sam and Andy pause on the porch as Sam says he wishes Dean was with them. Andy says he may be able to mentally contact Dean if Sam has something Dean has touched. Sam gives Andy a gas receipt.

Among the ruins of the Roadhouse, Bobby and Dean remain overwhelmed by the destruction. With no idea of what Ash was going to tell them, they have no way to track Sam. Dean suddenly grabs his head and supports himself against the Impala. There is a white flash followed by the image of the bell engraved with the oak tree. Bobby asks Dean what happened and Dean says it was a headache. When Bobby asks Dean if it could be a vision, Dean replies that he is not a psychic. At this point Dean is overwhelmed by a second vision which brings him to his knees. He sees the bell again, and this time also sees Sam. Dean describes the vision to Bobby, who recognizes the bell and says,"I know where Sam is."

As night falls, Sam is trying to break the spokes off of a steel tractor wheel with the fireplace poker. Jake grabs the spoke with his bare hand and easily pulls it of the wheel. Jake reveals that he started getting headaches while in Afghanistan, and then he found he could lift vehicles and bench press 800 pounds.

Later, Ava and Sam covers the thresholds of the door and windows of a room with rock salt to create a safe room. Ava mentions that she wishes she was watching television with her fiancé, Brady. Sam looks around nervously, and then tells her that when the demon abducted her, Brady was killed. Sam hugs Ava as she sobs.

Now it is completely dark outside, and Sam, Ava, Jake, and Andy, are all in the salt lined room lit by candles. Jake watches the door holding the steel tractor wheel spoke. Andy sleeps with his head on the table. Ava sits at the table, seeming to still be disturbed by her fiancé's death. Sam sits in the corner, struggling to stay awake. Sam sees the Yellow-Eyed Demon standing behind Jake, but when Jake does not react, Sam realizes he is dreaming. The Yellow-Eyed Demon asks him to go for a walk and as they walk through the ghost town the Yellow-Eyed Demon explains that only one of them is going to leave Cold Oak, and that instead of raising an army of psychics to fight in the Apocalypse, he is just looking for one leader among the psychics to lead his army of demons. The Yellow-Eyed Demon says he is rooting for Sam, and Sam replies that he killed everyone Sam has ever loved. The Yellow-Eyed Demon explains that Jessica had to die so that Sam would quit trying to be normal and go back to training as a hunter. When Sam asks why his mother had to die, the Yellow-Eyed Demon says that was "bad luck", and it really was about Sam. The Yellow-Eyed Demon then snaps his finger, and Sam and the Yellow-Eyed Demon are in Sam's nursery on the night of Sam's 6th month birthday. A figure is standing by baby Sam's crib, and adult Sam lunges at the figure, but the Yellow-Eyed Demon tells Sam to relax and that this is just a replay with which they can not interfere. Mary comes into the room and can not hear the adult Sam yelling to her. Mary assumes that the figure beside the crib is John and leaves. The figure uses his thumbnail to slice his wrist and starts to drip his blood into baby Sam's mouth. Mary returns, and the figure turns revealing glowing yellow eyes. Mary says, "It's you". The Yellow-Eyed Demon of the past uses telekinesis to slam Mary against the wall and raise her to the ceiling. The Yellow-Eyed Demon of the present then says, "I don’t think you wanna see the rest of this," and he snaps his fingers.

Sam wakes up to Jake saying that Ava is missing. Sam and Jake rush outside, and Jake goes to search the barn and hotel while Sam goes to search the houses for Ava. They agree to meet back at the safe room in 10 minutes. Ava is seen sneaking back in the direction of the safe room. Andy stares outside the door of the room lined with salt. Ava appears behind him and draws her finger through the line of salt on one of the window sills. Andy turns around and is surprised to see Ava. Ava places her hands on her temples and concentrates. Black smoke pours through the broken line of salt on the windowsill and takes the monstrous child form of the Acheri demon. The demon attacks Andy, tearing open his stomach. Ava smiles down at Andy's body, and then screams. Sam hears the scream and runs back to the safe room. Ava says she just found Andy's body like this. But, Sam sees the broken line of salt on the windowsill and works out that Ava is using the Acheri demon to kill for her. When Ava realizes that Sam has figured this out, she wipes away the false tears on her cheeks and starts to gloat about how she has killed so many others, always arriving in groups of 3 or 4, and remains the champion. Once she stopped fighting it, her powers expanded and she began to have fun. She then puts her hands to her temples and says, "Yeah, I’m sorry, Sam. But, it’s over." The back smoke starts to pour through the broken line of salt on the windowsill, but before the Acheri demon can take form, Jake returns and snaps Ava's neck.

The Impala pulls to the end of a road ending in forest, and Booby says, "Well, it looks like the rest of the way’s on foot." Both Booby and Dean take a flashlight and a sawed off shotgun from the trunk of the Impala, and start walking into the woods.

Sam tells Jake that he thinks they can make it out of Cold Oak, now that Ava is no longer controlling the Acheri demon. Jake says he is sorry, but the Yellow-Eyed Demon spoke to him and he knows that only one of them will make it out. Sam says they can not listen to the Yellow-Eyed Demon and that Jake can trust him. Sam puts his knife on the ground. Jake puts his steel spoke on the ground, but as he stands up, he punches Sam across the field and through a fence. Jake goes to kick Sam in the side, but Sam manages to kick Jake and get up. They exchange blows, and Jake fractures Sam's right shoulder. Sam ducks one of Jake's blows, and Jake gets his fist stuck in a wooden trough. Sam is able to get the steel spoke and knocks Jake out. Sam lifts the spoke again preparing to strike the still Jake, but then drops the spoke. He hears Dean calling his name, and walks toward Dean and Bobby. Dean yells "Sam, look out!" as Jake stabs Sam through the back with the Bowie knife. Dean catches Sam as he collpses, and Bobby takes off after Jake. Dean tries to tell Sam it is not that bad, as Sam's eyes close and he slumps forward. A crying Dean continues to hold his little brother.

Body count

For this episode = At least ten humans, including the death of Sam Winchester, which is the first death of either of the Winchester brothers in the series, but the third death of a Winchester family member. Four of the humans who died were Special Children. At least two of the humans who died were hunters. The number of deaths may be higher because the total number of casualties at the Harvelle Roadhouse is unknown.

For the series so far = At least 199 humans, 15 ghosts, five vampires, two shapeshifters, two werewolves, one demon, one djinn, one god, one rakshasa, one rawhead, one shtriga, one wendigo, and one zombie.

Non-trope items:

Tropes appearing in this episode:

  • Absurdly Sharp Claws: The Yellow-Eyed Demon cuts open his wrist with his own thumbnail.
  • Accidental Murder: Lily touched her girlfriend, inadvertently killing her.
  • Affably Evil: The Yellow-Eyed Demon.
  • Affectionate Nickname/In-Series Nickname:
    • Dean calls Sam "Sammy" four times in this episode, and the Yellow-Eyed Demon also calls Sam "Sammy."
    • The Yellow-Eyed Demon also calls Sam "tiger" after Sam says he will tear the demon to shreds.
  • Agent Scully: Dean initially thinks he had a stress headache and scoffs at the idea that he would have a vision.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Dean and Bobby are just in time to find that the Roadhouse has been burned to the ground by demons.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • The "Push" sign on the door to the cobbler's shop seems out of place in a town which seems to have been abandoned in the latter half of the 19th century.
    • The tractor Sam and Jake pull apart is a Hart-Parr 18-36, which were manufactured between 1926 and 1930, making it unlikely to be found in a town that was probably abandoned in the 1890's or earlier.
  • Anyone Can Die: Ash, Andy, Ava, and even Sam do.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Jake apologizes to Sam once it becomes just the two of them and even tells him that he likes him but decides to fight him to the death rather then run the risk of the Yellow-Eyed Demon killing them both.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: The other people with psychic powers don't believe Sam when he says demons exist.
    Ava: Sam, I'm sorry. Psychics and spoon-bending is one thing, but demons?
    Sam: Look, I know it sounds crazy, but—
    Jake: It doesn't just sound it.
  • Badass Fingersnap: When the Yellow-Eyed Demon snaps his fingers he and Sam are transported to Sam's nursery on the night of Sam's 6-month birthday. He snaps his fingers again and the dream ends.
  • Barehanded Bar Bending: Sam tries to loosen one of the spokes from the steel tractor wheels by repeatedly banging on it with the fireplace poker from the schoolroom. Jake simply grabs the spoke with his bare hand and pulls it off the wheel.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Ava has been in a ghost town, presumably without a change of clothes or running water, for five months, but her hair is clean and curled and her clothes appear clean and undamaged.
  • Beneath the Mask: Jake recognizes how scared Sam really is.
    Jake: By the way, I appreciate what you're doing here.
    Sam: What am I doing?
    Jake: Keeping calm. Keeping them calm. Especially considering how freaked to hell you really are. I've been in some deep crap before myself. I know the look.
  • Big Bad: Azazel abducts all the Special Children and places them in a deserted town to have them fight to the death. Jake Talley could also consider to be one for this episode as he turns on Sam near the end and actually kills him.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Dean is desperate to find Sam, while Sam finds himself having to step into the big brother role for the other Special Children.
    Sam: You wanna know the truth? I've got this brother, right? And he's always telling me how he's gonna watch out for me, how everything's gonna be okay. You know, kind of like I've been telling them.
  • Big "NO!":
    Dean: [holding Sam] No. No, no, no, no, no, no. Oh, God. Oh, God.
  • Big Sleep: They find Lily's body hanging limply with her eyes closed.
  • Bitch In Sheep's Clothing: Ava.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Inverted. Jake outlives all the other psychics, including Sam.
  • Blessed with Suck: Lily is pissed that the other Special Children gets powers like Precognition and Super-Strength when hers is that she kills anyone she touches. Including her girlfriend.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Andy, when the Acheri demon attacks him.
  • Blood Magic: The Yellow-Eyed Demon's blood transformed the Special Children when he fed it to them as infants. It also appears that when a demon takes a vessel, the vessel's blood takes on the demon's magical properties, as the Yellow-Eyed Demon is shown cutting his vessel's wrist to feed baby Sam.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Sam usurps Dean's line when Sam says "You son of a bitch" to the Yellow-Eyed Demon.
  • Broken Masquerade: The Special Children learn about demons and the source of their powers.
    Andy: Give me a minute. I'm still working through "demons are real."
  • Bury Your Gays: Lily has a girlfriend, and is the first of the Special Children to die. Her Touch of Death killed her girlfriend too, so it's a twofer.
  • Calling Card: Dean finds sulfur at the diner.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Sam avoids telling Ava her fiancé is dead.
    Ava: But...that makes no sense. That's not—oh my God! My fiancé, Brady! If I've been missing for that long, he must be freaking out!
    Sam: Well...
  • Cassandra Truth: Minutes after the other Special Children tell Sam he is crazy for believing in demons, Jake is attacked by a demon.
  • Catapult Nightmare:
    • When Sam wakes up in Cold Oak, he gasps, sits up, and then looks around confused.
    • When Sam wakes up from the dream with the Yellow-Eyed Demon, his head snaps up and his eyes are wide.
  • Cat Scare: As Sam explores the abandoned town, he hears a creaking noise. Sam picks up a wooden plank and starts to swing as someone walks around the corner. Sam halts his swing as he realizes the person is Andy, who ducks, terrified.
  • Cellphones Are Useless: There is no reception in Cold Oak, South Dakota.
    Sam: I'd give my arm for a working phone.
  • Chekhov's Gun: After Ash hangs up the phone, a nervous Ash wipes his face and then looks at his watch. The camera zooms in on Ash's Nixon Super Hero watch, which we will see again... to ID his corpse.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Andy's ability to beam images into another person's mind.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: The Yellow-Eyed Demon intends that the strongest of the Special Children shall lead his army in the Apocalypse.
  • The Chosen Many: The Special Children.
    Jake: So, we're soldiers in a demon war to bring on the Apocalypse?
    Sam: When you put it like that—
    Jake: And-and we've been picked?
  • Close Up On Head: We see Sam lying with his eyes closed as the wind plays with his hair. The camera pulls back to show that Sam is lying on a broken wooden structure surrounded by abandoned buildings.
  • Combo Platter Powers: While most of the Special Children have Psychic Powers, some also have Super-Strength or the Touch of Death.
  • Commonality Connection:
    • Andy introduces himself to Ava as "Andy. Also freaking out."
    • Sam points out that they were all brought together by the Yellow-Eyed Demon and have special abilities, and, whether they like it or not, they are going to have to work together.
      Sam: But I know one thing. I know what the three of us have in common.
    • Later, Sam points out that Lily is not the only one who has lost someone and that they are "all in bad shape."
  • Consummate Liar: Ava brushes off a concerned Sam by pretending to be dizzy from not having eaten, and gets a smile from him when she jokes about their situation. However, she really had been holding her head up because she is the only one who knows the rules of the game, and the only one of them cold-blooded enough (at that point, anyway) to play.
    Sam: Are you sure it’s not some kind of—
    Ava: What? Some kind of freaky vision thing? No, more like I'd kill for a sandwich. I haven't eaten since... well, who knows? No, don't worry. I'm fine. Except for every single thing that's happening.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind: The Acheri demon has Jake cornered in the schoolroom when Sam comes from behind with the iron poker.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: Ava Wilson was nice in her first appearance.
  • Cowboy: Ash is disturbed when a man wearing a cowboy hat with the brim covering his eyes and a jacket with a shearling collar walks by as Ash is talking to Dean on the phone. Later, we see this charred cowboy hat among the ruins of the Roadhouse.
  • Cower Power: When they find Lily's body, Ava covers her mouth as if she is going to be sick, and Andy hugs his arms around himself. They both have trouble looking at the body, while Jake and Sam are unflinching and seem to stand taller.
  • Creator Provincialism: When trying to search for Sam, Bobby and Dean look at an interstate map of the United States and bemoan the lack of any demonic activity. Evidently, they did not consider looking for demonic activity in other countries or consider that a demon from Hell may take Sam over national borders. Also, unless the Yellow-Eyed Demon is performing separate trials in other nations, it seems that all of the Special Children are Americans. Jake was taken from Afghanistan, but he's still an American who got taken back to America, and none of his stay in Afghanistan is shown.
    Dean: [to Ash] Oh, come on, man! You've gotta give us something. We're looking at a three-thousand-mile haystack here.
  • Creepy Child: The Acheri demon preying on the Special Children. It appears as a little girl, but when it's about to attack, its face changes, its teeth and nails grow long and sharp, and its eyes turn demonic. It never talks, but can be heard giggling in some scenes.
  • Crocodile Tears: Ava pretends to break down into hysterical sobbing to fool the others and keep them from knowing that she's the killer among them. After Sam catches on, she goes eerily calm, wipes away her fake tears, and starts talking about how she'd had him going for a while there.
  • Curse Cut Short/Killed Mid-Sentence: Andy's Last Words were "What are you doing? Holy—!"
  • The Dark Side Will Make You Forget: Ava has given into the dark side as she learned to use her powers.
    Ava: I just stopped fighting it.
    Sam: Fighting what?
    Ava: Who we are, Sam. If you'd just quit your hand-wringing and open yourself up, you have no idea what you can do. The learning curve is so fast, it's crazy, the switches that just flip in your brain. [laughs] I can't believe I started out just having dreams. Do you know what I can do now?
  • Dead Guy on Display: After sneaking away from the rest of the group, Lily is found hanging dead from a windmill. Jake climbs up and gets her down off-screen. According to episode writer Sera Gamble, it was supposed to be a more gruesome sight, with Lily having been hung by her own intestines, but they nixed that idea.
  • Deadly Dodging: Sam ducks out of the way as Jake punches, resulting in Jake's fist going through a wooden trough and getting stuck.
  • Deadly Graduation: The Yellow-Eyed Demon wants only one of his students to complete the training.
    Yellow-Eyed Demon: Welcome to the Miss America pageant. Why do you think you're here? This is a competition. Only one of you crazy kids is gonna make it out of here alive.
    Sam: I thought we were supposed to be—
    Yellow-Eyed Demon: Soldiers in a coming war? That's true, you are. But here's the thing: I don't need soldiers. I need soldier. I just need the one.
  • Deadly Lunge: The Acheri demon leaps at Andy and rips open his stomach.
  • Death Wail: Dean when Sam Dies.
  • Devil, but No God: We see Hell's plan being put into motion for the Apocalypse, but there does not seem to be any powerful force of Good to oppose the demons. This is lampshaded by Ava.
    Sam: Oh, my God.
    Ava: Don't think God has much to do with this, Sam.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Dean catches a dying Sam as the latter starts to fall down. He's still clinging to Sam when Sam dies.
  • Died on Their Birthday: Sam is killed on his 24th birthday, literally (and figuratively) stabbed in the back Jake Talley, who Sam was trying to help. However, in "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part Two", Sam's brother, Dean, makes a deal with the Crossroads Demon to resurrect Sam.
  • Dies Wide Open: The cook at the diner.
  • Diner Brawl: Sam is kidnapped in the diner after the customer and staff are murdered.
  • Dirt Forcefield: Initially averted, when Sam stands up from lying on the ground and has dirt smudges and dried grass stuck to the back of his tan jacket. Later it is Played Straight, when Sam's jacket is perfectly clean (the dirt and grass stains having disappeared) throughout the rest of the episode. These stains are later replaced by a large blood stain when Jake stabs Sam in the back. This jacket has already recovered remarkably from the blood stains that covered it in "Devil's Trap" (S01, E22) and "In My Time Of Dying" (S02, E01).
  • Disposing of a Body: Averted Trope. Besides Sam's body, we never know what happens to all the bodies at the diner, Roadhouse, and Cold Oak. We do not see Dean or Bobby alerting the authorities or burning/burying any of the bodies.
  • Dissolve: As Dean shouts for his brother outside of Sunnyside Diner, the scene dissolves into a shot of his brother lying upside down outside.
  • Double Don't Know: Sam's answers to Andy's questions.
    Andy: Sam! What are you doing here?
    Sam: I don't know.
    Andy: What am I doing here?!
    Sam: I don't know.
    Andy: Where are we?!
  • Don't Go in the Woods: Lily does not heed this advice.
  • Dramatic Thunder: Thunder rumbles overhead when Jake leaves the other Special Children and walks by the schoolroom. There is another rumble when they find the bell with an engraving of a tree on its side.
  • Dull Surprise: After Sam chases off the demon in the schoolhouse, the other Special Children stand quietly with their eyes wide and their mouths open. Jake adds some hyperventilation to his panicked expression.
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: An In-Universe example in which Sam and Bobby recognize the bell with the icon of an oak tree on its side, and realize from that that Sam is in Cold Oak, South Dakota.
  • Electromagnetic Demons: The static on the radio is Dean's first sign that something is wrong at the diner.
  • Empathic Environment: As Dean and Bobby realize there are no demonic omens to follow in order to rescue Sam, rain drops fall on the empty map and on both of them.
  • Enfant Terrible: The Acheri demon first appears as a little girl with freckles, long blonde hair, a lace ribbon in her hair, and a tan dress with a floral print. Before she attacks, her face transforms and she grows long claws.
  • Epic Instrumental Opener: Boston's "Foreplay" is heard over The Road So Far with the guitar chords punctuating the action.
  • Epic Rocking: Boston's "Foreplay" plays through The Road So Far, and "Long Time" seamlessly starts to play as The Teaser begins.
  • Erudite Stoner: Both Ash and Andy have mellow, laid-back attitudes, but Ash uncovered information on the Yellow-Eyed Demon, and Andy developed his abilities enough to send telepathic images.
  • Evil Mentor/Stealth Mentor: The Yellow-Eyed Demon has been manipulating the lives of the Special Children since they were infants to make them strong enough to serve his purpose.
  • Evil Smells Bad: Andy smelled sulfur when he was abducted.
  • Expy: Lily, with her black leather jacket, long hair, and brooding attitude, has many similarities with Rogue, which go beyond their power to kill with a touch. According to Sera Gamble, Lily's character motivation is Allison Reynolds from The Breakfast Club.
  • Eye Colour Change: The Acheri demon's eyes change to a clouded gray when she reveals her demonic form.
  • Face–Heel Turn: What happened to Ava in the five months she was gone.
  • Fade to White: Before Dean's visions.
  • Fainting Seer: When Dean gets the first vision, he grabs his head and leans against the car. When the second, stronger, vision occurs he holds his head and collapses to his knees.
  • False Innocence Trick: Ava pretends to have found herself in a padlocked shed 30 minutes ago with no more idea of what is going on then the others. She even makes a show of screaming and banging on the door of the shed to get the others to rescue her.
  • Faustian Rebellion: Jake's plan.
    Jake: Now, I can get out of here. I get close to the demon, I can kill the bastard.
  • Five Stages of Grief:
    • When it comes to Ash's death, Dean reacts with anger born of loss saying "Oh, Ash, damn it!" when he finds Ash's wristwatch.
    • Dean initially goes into denial when he sees Sam fatally wounded and realizes Sam is dying, and then dissolves in depressed tears when he realizes that Sam has already died.
    Dean: Hey, look at me. It's not even that bad. It's not even that bad, all right? Sammy? Sam! Hey, listen to me. We're gonna patch you up, okay? You'll be good as new. Huh? I'm gonna take care of you. I'm gonna take you care of you. I've got you. That's my job, right? Watch out for my pain-in-the-ass little brother? Sam? Sam! Sam! Sammy!
  • Flyaway Shot: The camera rises above Sam and Dean as Dean holds Sam's body.
  • Forbidden Zone: Sam has heard the stories of Cold Oak.
    Sam: I think I know where we are now: Cold Oak, South Dakota. A town so haunted, every single resident fled.
    Ava: Swell. Good to know we're somewhere so historical.
  • Forced to Watch: Subverted Trope. Before Mary bursts into flames the Yellow-Eyed Demon says, "I don’t think you wanna see the rest of this," snaps his fingers, and makes Sam wake up.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Postcards, business cards, and a guest check are stuck on the post next to the phone in the Roadhouse. These include a business card for Expresso Land, Broken Toys, who provides towing and scrap removal, and Angela James. There is also a postcard from Oakland and another postcard showing a painting by Sharon Quirke.
  • Gay Gal Dies First: Lily is the first of the Special Children to die in this episode. She also killed her girlfriend. And she is offed so quickly that she never gets any real characterisation outside being lesbian and her powers never actually gets demonstrated on-screen. And she is Killed Offscreen to boot. Ouch.
  • Ghost Town: Cold Oak, South Dakota.
  • Giggling Villain: The Acheri demon never speaks but has an innocent child-like giggle.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: The Winchester brothers seek out other allies when they find themselves separated. Dean first seeks out Bobby for help, and when this fails he calls Ash. Sam tries to convince the Special Children to work together.
  • Good Guns, Bad Guns:
  • Good Is Dumb: Sam, who puts down his knife and trusts Jake.
  • Good-Looking Privates: Private Jake Talley of the United States Army.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The blood splatter on the window and Andy's face as the Acheri demon attacks Andy.
  • Goth: Lily is dressed in a black jacket, boots, and dark make-up.
  • Gratuitous French: The cook at the diner lay dead with his arm resting on Kirkland Signature Towel Essuie-tout.
  • Greasy Spoon: The Sunnyside Diner, which offers "all-day breakfast, lunch, & dinner". The menu includes omelet, cereal, scone, muffin, burger, hot dog, regular and large fries, juice, ice cream cone, fresh lemonade, and a wide selection of pies.
  • Grenade Launcher: A Def-Tec 37mm Composite Stock Multi-Launcher is shown in the weapons locker in the trunk of the Impala.
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: There is a close-up of an arm with the skin burnt off, exposing the muscle in the forearm, among the debris of the burnt-down Roadhouse.
  • Gutted Like a Fish: Andy's stomach is torn open, exposing bloodied tissue.
  • Hair-Trigger Explosive: Averted Trope. The gas pump and gas tank surrounded by barrels is untouched despite being only about 100 feet from the completely burnt-down Roadhouse.
  • Hates Being Touched: Lily. Justified, obviously. It's not so much that she would mind a little physical contact with somebody (since she was up for touching her girlfriend), it's just that she doesn't want to anybody else to die because they touched her. Lily tends to hang back from the others and keeps her arms crossed against her body with her sleeves pulled down over her hands.
  • He Knows Too Much: Ash gets killed by demons (quite possibly Yellow Eyes himself) because he found out something major, implied to be related to the Yellow-Eyed Demon's plan. The other hunters in the Roadhouse get killed alongside him just because they're there.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The clicking sound as the windmill blades turn becomes sinister after Lily's death.
  • He's Dead, Jim: Dean seems to assume the customer and staff at the diner are past saving, as he does not check a pulse or perform basic first aid before leaving them for dead.
  • Hindu Mythology: In the folklore of India, Acheri is the spirit of a child who come down from the mountains at night, bringing illness to others.
  • Holding Your Shoulder Means Injury: After the bone-cracking noise when Jake punches Sam in the right shoulder, Sam keeps that arm against his side and holds that shoulder with his left hand.
  • Homage:
    • Jake Talley's last name may be an allusion to the Talley family from the play Fifth of July, which deals with the difficulties Vietnam veterans faced on returning from war.
    • Jake has a unit patch which reads 27 IN crossed by a yellow lightning bolt. This may be a tribute to the 27th Infantry Regiment, the Wolfhounds, of the United States Army, who were featured in the film Three Stripes In The Sun. This regiment was repeatedly deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in the recent wars, but has a distinct insignia featuring a wolfhound instead of a lightning bolt.
  • Hope Spot: Sam knocks out Jake, Dean and Bobby show up to save Sam...
  • House Fire: At the Roadhouse.
  • Hyper-Awareness: Sam sees the break in the salt line and works out who the killer is.
    Sam: Andy wouldn't do that. Ava, that line wasn't broken when I left. Ava.
    Ava: What? You don’t think that I—
    Sam: I'll tell you what I think. Five months. You’re the only one with all that time you can't account for. And that headache you got? Right when the demon got Lily.
  • I Did What I Had to Do
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Ava acts as if she wants to get back to her old life.
    Ava: I just can't wait for this all to be over so I can just pretend it never happened. I just wanna curl up with Brady and watch bad TV.
  • I Need You Stronger: The Yellow-Eyed Demon has been working to make Sam stronger as part of his Evil Plan.
  • I Will Find You: Dean is desperate to find his little brother and frustrated by the lack of a trail.
    Dean: [to Bobby] Well, how are we supposed to look for Sam? What, do we just close our eyes and point?
  • I Work Alone: Jake, until he runs into his first demon.
    Jake: The only thing I've gotta do is stay away from whack-jobs, okay? I've heard enough. I'm better off on my own. FYI, so are you. [indicates everyone but Sam]
  • I'm Having Soul Pains: Dean describes receiving the vision as "about as fun as getting kicked in the jewels."
  • Iconic Outfit: Bobby Singer is wearing a trucker's hat with a white front and green bill, which he previously wore in "Devil's Trap" (S01, E22) and "In My Time Of Dying" (S02, E01). Bobby is also wearing a sweatshirt with a deer on it, a gray hunter's vest, and jeans.
  • Idiot Ball: While they were gathering supplies, it seems stupid that they would not have collected water from the well and stored it in the safe room. It also would have made sense to have some sort of accommodation in the safe room for those who need to relieve themselves.
  • Improvised Weapon: The Special Children fight with whatever they can find in Cold Oak.
    • Carry a Big Stick: Sam picks up a wooden plank when he hears a creaking noise and almost hits Andy with it.
    • Cold Iron:
      • Sam swings an iron poker, which was beside the pot-bellied stove, at the Acheri demon. She dissolves into black smoke, but there is a flash of flame where the poker slices through her.
      • Jake pulls an iron spoke off a wheel on a Hart-Parr 18-36 tractor, which was built of channel and cast iron.
    • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Sam finds an old Bowie knife with a swirled pattern resembling wood on the handle in a trunk.
    • Weaksauce Weakness: Andy finds two bags of rock salt.
  • In the Back: How Sam dies.
  • Intangible Time Travel: The Yellow-Eyed Demon takes Sam back to the night of Sam's 6-month birthday in a dream. No one is able to see or hear them, and they can not impact the events as they play out.
    Yellow-Eyed Demon: Relax, Sam, this is just a hi-def instant replay. Enjoy the show.
  • Involuntary Battle to the Death: The Yellow-Eyed Demon convinces the Special Children to fight to the death.
    Jake: S-Sam, he's not letting us go. Only one. Now, if we don't play along, he'll kill us both. Now, I—I like you, man. I do. But do the math here. What good's it do for both of us to die?
  • It Gets Easier: Ava used to find it hard to murder the other Special Children, but now she thinks it's kind of fun.
    Ava: I had no choice. It's me or them. After a while, it was easy. It was even kind of fun. I just stopped fighting it.
  • Just Between You and Me: Ava can't help bragging a little before she decides to kill Sam.
    Ava: Had you going, though, didn't I? [wiping away tears] Yeah. I've been here a long time. And not alone, either. People just keep showing up. Children, like us. Batches of three or four at a time.
    Sam: You killed them? All of them?
    Ava: I'm the undefeated heavyweight champ.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: Played Straight when Jake quite literally kicks Sam in the side while he is lying on the ground. Subverted when Sam knocks Jake out—Sam raises his arm to strike Jake again, but then lowers his arm and throws the piece of iron away.
  • Kung-Foley: The cracks and whacks accompanying Sam and Jake's fight.
  • Left the Background Music On: Boston's "Long Time" plays as the Winchesters pull up to the diner. As Dean waits for Sam, static interrupts the music. Dean fiddles with the radio dial, but the song cuts out.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: When Ava disappears, Jake goes to search the barn and hotel, Sam goes to search the houses, and Andy remains in the salt-lined room.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: The Yellow-Eyed Demon manipulates the Special Children to fight each other.
  • Limited Wardrobe: All of the characters remain in the same clothes throughout this episode, spanning two days. This is a Justified Trope as those at Cold Oak have no option and Dean, who is wearing his blue jacket, red plaid shirt, and a gray Henley, is too concerned with finding his brother to worry about changing clothes.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: The lovely Lily.
  • The Lost Lenore: Ava's fiancé was killed by demons, which must certainly remind Sam of how Jessica was killed before they could become engaged.
  • Made of Iron: That uppercut should have killed Sam by itself.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • The lines the Yellow-Eyed Demon and Sam exchange about the whereabouts of Dean are almost the same as the ones Sam exchanged with the Shapeshifter in "Skin" (S01, E06).
      Sam: Where's my brother?
      Yellow-Eyed Demon: Quit worrying about Dean. I'd worry more about yourself.
    • The scene of Mary seeing someone beside Sam's crib and thinking it is John, followed by her realizing it is not her husband and returning in fear is replicated from the pilot. But this time, we see that Mary recognized the Yellow-Eyed Demon when he turned around and she saw his eyes. We again see the silhouette of a man with his jacket collar turned up beside the crib. The yellow moon nightlight, crib, and baseball mobile seem to be the same in both episodes, but some of the other details are different. The dialogue is almost the same between the two episodes, except for Sam's unheard interruptions, Mary says "okay" instead of "all right," and the addition of Mary's "It's you!"
      Mary: John? Is he hungry?
      Past Yellow-Eyed Demon: Shh.
      Mary: Okay.
  • Military Superhero: Jake.
  • Mind over Matter: The Yellow-Eyed Demon slams Mary against the wall and then pulls her to the ceiling with telekinesis.
  • Mind Rape: Andy admits to beaming sexually-explicit images into another guy's brain at all hours of the day because he thought the guy was a dick. This is played for comedy as the images consist of gay porn.
  • Misplaced Vegetation: A forest in South Dakota is portrayed with moss-covered Redwood trees and a fern-covered forest bed.
  • Missing Time:
    • Played Straight. When Sam disappears it is around dinner time and is dark outside in Iowa. When he wakes up in the neighboring state of South Dakota, it is daylight.
    • Subverted Trope. Ava acts as if she does not realize that five months have passed. She says that she just saw Sam two days ago, but is lying to deflect suspicion. She spent those five months training her abilities and learning to kill under the sway of the Yellow-Eyed Demon.
      Sam: Ava, have you been here this whole time?
      Ava: What whole time? I just woke up in there, like, a half an hour ago.
      Sam: Well, you've been gone for five months. My brother and I have been looking for you everywhere.
      Ava: Okay, that's impossible, because I saw you two days ago.
  • Mood Dissonance: We go from a smiling Andy holding the bags of salt over his head, which makes you think that things might just work out, to finding Lily's body hanging from the windmill. Then we have a Hasselhoff joke.
  • Motivational Lie:
    • Sam tries to get the others ready to fight the demon by pretending things will be all right if they work together, but he has his own doubts. Jake realizes this.
    Jake: It doesn't matter if we believe it. Only matters that they do.
    • The Yellow-Eyed Demon says he didn't come out and say that he only intended to select one of the Special Children and the others would be killed because he "had to let everyone think they had a fighting chance."
  • Mr. Exposition: Sam explains the basics of demons and where they are to the other Special Children.
  • Neck Snap: Jake comes up behind Ava and breaks her neck with Super-Strength to save Sam.
  • Never Give the Captain a Straight Answer: Ash.
    Ash: I can't talk over this line, Dean.
    Dean: Come on, I don't have time for this!
    Ash: Make time, okay?
  • Never Found the Body: Bobby and Dean do not find Ellen's body among the debris of the Roadhouse.
  • Never Split the Party: Sam tries hard to keep them all together, bless him, or at least make sure everybody has one person with them as back-up, but they're not used to dealing with the supernatural. Lily sneaks away and tries to escape through the woods, only to get killed. Then Ava vanishes...
  • Never Work with Children or Animals: According to Robert Singer, the director, getting blood into the baby's mouth was the most difficult special effect in the whole episode. The baby was evidently having a bad day and started crying even before they started trying to drip fake demon blood into the baby's mouth. Eric Kripke and Robert Singer discuss this on the DVD Commentary:
    Eric Kripke: It's so funny. We have a job and it's like, "Okay, now we're going to drip all this fake blood in a baby's mouth..." Like, "Dammit it, the baby won't do it!" It's hilarious to me that that's an obstacle.
    Robert Singer: And before you even get there you have to go through, "Well, it's a baby..What can we actually put in there? What sort of liquid is okay that looks like blood?" It's endless. Getting [Samantha Smith as Mary] up the wall was a lot easier than getting blood in the baby's mouth.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: This is a Justified Trope, as the Special Children develop their powers with training and use. Andy has developed the ability to project images into another person's mind. Ava has learned to summon and control low-level demons.
  • Nightmare Face: Before the Acheri demon attacks, her skin becomes blotchy and gray with dark circles around her eyes. Her eyes become gray and clouded, and she has a mouthful of sharp fangs.
  • No Communities Were Harmed: South Dakota has its share of ghost towns, but Cold Oak, South Dakota, "a town so haunted, every single resident fled" does not exist. Behind the scenes, it was based on Dudleytown.
  • Non-Answer: The Yellow-Eyed Demon is very good at deflecting Sam's questions or only answering with an answer that he wants Sam to have.
    Sam: My generation?
    Yellow-Eyed Demon: Well, there’s other generations, but let's just worry about yours.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Sam beats Jake up in their fight and has the opportunity to bash his head in with an iron pipe but refuses and walks away. For his mercy Jake stabs him in the back and leaves him for dead.
  • No-Sell: Andy's mind control ability does not work on the other Special Children.
  • No-Tell Motel: Averted Trope. This is the 12th episode of Supernatural where we do not see the boys at a cheap motel.
  • Not a Zombie: When Jake sees the blonde little girl all alone in the ghost town, he initially tries to help her, thinking she is lost and telling her not to be afraid. She lures him into the schoolroom and transforms into a demonic form with claws and fangs.
  • Not So Invincible After All: Sam Winchester, a guy who routinely kills monsters, ghosts, demons, is killed by a guy with an ordinary knife.
  • The Nth Doctor: We first see the Yellow-Eyed Demon in the vessel of the janitor from the hospital in "In My Time Of Dying" (S02, E01), played by Fredric Lehne. However, in the dream where they see what happened in Sam's nursery, the Yellow-Eyed Demon is in a different vessel who has a mole under his right eye and another mole on his left cheek.
  • Nuclear Candle: Most of the later scenes have only one light source. There is the kerosene lamp in the tractor barn, a group of three candles in the salt-lined room, and a very bright moon.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Ava goes missing from the salt-lined room with three other people in it with no one noticing. Considering everyone was at least half asleep, that one could be excusable. However, we then see her sneaking from behind a building, and she just appears in the salt-lined room without Andy, who is standing in the doorway, noticing. Stealthy Teleportation could well be one of the new powers she was bragging about having now.
  • The Oner: When Jake enters the schoolroom, the camera pans across the empty chalkboard and then pans around the schoolroom in a circle until the chalkboard is seen again, but now the chalkboard is covered with the sentence "I will not kill" written over and over again. This is all one shot with no cuts.
  • "Open!" Says Me: Sam picks up a rock and uses this to smash the padlock on the shed to release Ava.
  • Our Demons Are Different: The Acheri demon differs from other demons we have seen in that it seems to take the form of a child, but this form disappears when it dissolves into black smoke, suggesting this is not a vessel but a transformation, which the demon likely undergoes to trick humans. The Acheri demon still has the Super-Strength and Super-Speed associated with other demons, as well as the same weaknesses of being unable to cross a line of salt or touch iron.
  • Party Scattering: Sam is carried away to Cold Oak, South Dakota. Dean is left behind with no idea where his brother is.
  • Perma-Shave: Despite Sam and Dean being too busy to change their clothes, they still look clean-shaven.
  • Perma-Stubble: Ash.
  • Place of Protection: Ava and Sam place a line of salt along the thresholds of the doorway and windows of a room, creating a boundary that demons cannot cross.
  • Polite Villains, Rude Heroes: The Yellow-Eyed Demon and Sam on their little walk together.
    Yellow-Eyed Demon: You're awfully quiet, Sam. You're not mad at me, are you?
    Sam: I'm gonna tear you to shreds, I swear to—
    Yellow-Eyed Demon: [chuckles] When you wake up, tiger, you give it your best shot.
  • Product Placement:
    • The body of the diner's cook lay near a dozen cans of San Benito tomatoes, Hunt's tomato sauce, and rolls of Kirkland Signature paper towels.
    • Once Sam finds himself in Cold Oak, he pulls his Verizon Motorola Q8 phone out of his pocket, but there is no reception. Sam had the same model of phone in "Hollywood Babylon" (S02, E18) and "What Is And What Should Never Be" (S02, E20).
    • Ash is wearing a Nixon Super Hero II SS Tide Watch. Who knew Ash was a surfer? Perhaps even stranger than Ash wearing a watch that has tide information programmed for your local beach in Nebraska, Ash seems to be wearing the watch in dual time mode, and, assuming he is using Central Standard Time for his primary time, his second time of 1:09 a.m. (17 hours ahead of his first time of 8:09 a.m.) puts him in the UTC +11 time zone, which includes Vladivostok, the Solomon Islands, and part of Southeast Australia during Daylight Savings Time.
  • Prophetic Names: Ash, considering the state of his remains.
  • Pstandard Psychic Pstance:
    • Ava puts her hands to her temples after Sam finds the knife. Sam is concerned she is having a vision, but she says she is just hungry. Later, when she is alone with Andy and when Sam confronts her, she does the same thing.
    • Dean grabs the sides of his head, first with his right hand but then with both hands, when he gets the visions. They do come with a wicked headache, though, and Dean originally denies visions as a possibility.
  • Punched Across the Room: One punch from Jake sends Sam across the yard and through a fence.
  • Quieter Than Silence: After the radio cuts out, we hear the rain hitting the windshield of the Impala. A Scare Chord plays as Dean notices that he no longer sees the waitress through the window of the diner.
  • Quip to Black: The way scene one ends before the commercial break.
    Sam: [holding an iron poker] Just so you know. That was a demon.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: While there are a few missing roof shingles and a broken fence, most of Cold Oak seems intact, despite being abandoned for over 100 years. The glass panes are unbroken in the windows which are covered by lace curtains. The painted wood signs are perfectly legible.
  • Reaction Shot: When Jake says he went to sleep in Afghanistan, Ava raises her eyebrows. She does this again when Sam says it was a demon that brought them to the ghost town. Both Ava and Lily look disturbed when Andy describes beaming gay porn into another man's mind non-stop.
  • Red Herring Mole: Initially, you might think that Lily will turn out to be a villain, as she is unknown to Sam, wears a lot of eyeliner, and has a standoffish attitude. In addition, she has the power to kill by touching, which is the same power the cat-killing Scott had. However, Ava is the true villain.
  • The Reveal: Sam has demon blood in him and Mary knew the Yellow-Eyed Demon.
  • Running Gag: Dean once again does not get the pie. There is a menu on the wall of the Sunnyside Diner listing Janice's pies which include banana cream, Boston cream, coconut cream, lemon meringue, and apple. A slice of pie costs $1.65 and you can get it à la Mode for 50 cents. Dean was too distressed to think about pie after Sam's disappearance. Previously in "Scarecrow" (S01, E11), the sheriff made Dean leave town before he had a piece of the apple pie he ordered.
    Dean: Hey, see if they've got any pie. [Sam slams the car door] Bring me some pie! I love me some pie.
  • Sadist: Ava seems to take pleasure in watching Andy suffer and die.
  • Sawed-Off Shotgun: Bobby carries a sawed-off Remington Model 870. Dean carries a sawed-off Zabala 12-gauge side-by-side shotgun.
  • Say My Name: Dean saying "Sam" is heartbreaking.
  • Scenery Gorn: The destroyed Roadhouse. We see the charred monkey figurine, destroyed shotguns, and burnt clothes in the debris. We also see at least three badly burnt bodies, including a close-up on one leg wearing an intact work boot and an arm with the skin peeling off.
  • Screaming Woman:
    • Andy and Sam hear a scream and find Ava locked in a building. Later, Ava screams right after she has the Acheri demon kill Andy.
    • Mary screams as she is pulled up to the ceiling.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Lily thinks "the only sane thing to do here is get the hell out of Dodge." When Sam reminds her that they are surrounded by miles of woods, she says it "beats hanging out with demons," and ends up trying to get out against his advice.
  • Security Cling: Once Sam releases Ava from the locked shed, she flings herself at him in an embrace, sobbing against his chest.
  • Seeking the Missing, Finding the Dead: Dean finds his brother only to watch him murdered by Jake moments later.
  • Sheathe Your Sword: Sam convinces Jake to put down his weapon after Sam puts down his knife. But this was a Subverted Trope, as Jake was not convinced and didn't really need a weapon with his Super-Strength.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: There are two charred Winchester Model 1873 shotguns among the ruins of the Roadhouse, attesting to its popularity among hunters. The two ruined Winchesters could also be foreshadowing.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Show, Don't Tell: Initially when Dean has the vision, he was going to say, "I'm not a freakin' psychic." But they decided to change this line to "Come on, I'm not some psychic", as it seemed like Dean was being harsh on his brother. Instead, Dean's facial expression and voice tells the audience that Dean is not comfortable with the idea that he may be a freak.
  • Sickening "Crunch!": When Jake dislocates Sam's shoulder and snaps Ava's neck.
  • Single Tear:
    • Ava has one tear run down her right cheek after they find Lily's body.
    • The episode ends with Dean holding Sam while a single perfect tear runs down Dean's left cheek.
  • Slashed Throat: The waiter, cook, and customer at the diner all had their throats cut.
  • Sleeves Are for Wimps: Ash wears a sleeveless flannel shirt over a sleeveless T-shirt with a mug of beer on the front, revealing his tattoo on his right shoulder.
  • Special Effects Evolution: In later seasons, most of the solid-color eyes we see on demons are CGI, but actors portraying the Yellow-Eyed Demon wore colored contacts that made them nearly blind. Despite this, Fredric Lehne does a great job hitting his marks in the scene with Sam.
  • Spreading Disaster Map Graphic: Inverted Trope when Bobby shows Dean an interstate map of the United States with no notes or marks and says this represents all demonic signs and omens in the last month. Dean and Bobby realize that the absence of any demonic activity, including low-level activity like exorcisms, cannot be a good sign and leaves them with no way to track Sam.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: The Acheri demon disappears when Jake sees her through the window of the schoolhouse.
  • Stoners Are Funny: Andy, who was doing his fourth bong load when abducted, provides comic relief.
    Sam: It's a brave new world.
    Andy: Well, hopefully there's food in your world, because I'm frickin' starving.
  • A Storm Is Coming: The rain when Sam and Dean arrive at Sunnyside Diner in the teaser. It has rained so much that the diner almost seems to be surrounded by a shallow moat.
  • Summon Magic: Ava has learned how to use her psychic abilities to make the Acheri demon come to her. Once she is killed, the demon, who had been entering the room she was in, leaves without manifesting.
  • Superhuman Transfusion: The Yellow-Eyed Demon cuts open his wrist and drips his blood into infant Sam's mouth.
    Sam: What the hell are you doing to me?
    Yellow-Eyed Demon: Better than mother's milk.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: The Yellow-Eyed Demon, which is how Mary recognizes the figure beside Sam's crib.
  • Super Smoke: The Acheri demon dissolves into black smoke when Sam swings the poker. When Ava breaks the line of salt, the black smoke pours through this break in the line on the windowsill and reforms into the monstrous form of the little girl. After Sam confronts Ava, the black smoke again starts to pour through the broken line of salt, but disappears when Jake snaps Ava's neck.
  • Super-Strength: Jake's power is that he can lift vehicles and bench-press 800 pounds.
  • Sympathetic Magic: Andy says he needs something of Dean's or something Dean has touched in order to be able to send Dean a mental image note .
  • Talking in Your Dreams: In Sam's dream, the Yellow-Eyed Demon has a conversation with him in which he tries to explain to Sam why he killed Jessica and Mary. It is implied that the Yellow-Eyed Demon also visited all or almost all of the Special Children in Cold Oak this way to encourage them to kill each other to survive.
    Sam: Jake! Behind you! [Jake does not react]
    Yellow-Eyed Demon: [stepping around Jake] Howdy, Sam.
    Sam: I'm dreaming.
    Yellow-Eyed Demon: What do you say you and I take a little walk?
  • Tearjerker: Continues into the next episode.
  • Telepathy: Through meditation, Andy has developed the ability to project images into people's minds.
  • Themed Aliases: This is the fourth episode in a row where this is an Averted Trope.
  • There Can Only Be One: The Yellow-Eyed Demon wants his Special Children to kill each other until only one remains. The victor will go on to lead an army from Hell and presumably start the End of the World.
  • They Died Because of You: The Yellow-Eyed Demon admits that he hadn't want to kill Mary and that the only reason that he did kill her was because she interrupted him while he was feeding Sam his demon blood.
    Sam: What about my mom?
    Yellow-Eyed Demon: That was bad luck.
    Sam: Bad luck?
    Yellow-Eyed Demon: She walked in on us. Wrong place, wrong time.
    Sam: What does that mean?
    Yellow-Eyed Demon: It wasn't about her. It was about you. It's always been about you.
  • They Were Holding You Back: The Yellow-Eyed Demon says that Jessica was killed to make Sam stop mooning over normalcy and force him back on the road to sharpen his hunting skills.
    Yellow-Eyed Demon: I mean, sweet little Jessica—she just had to die. You were all set to marry that little blonde thing, become a tax lawyer with two kids, a beer gut, and a little McMansion in the suburbs. I needed you sharp, on the road, honing your skills, your gifts.
  • This Is No Time to Panic: Sam tries to get Andy to calm down, but either despite or because of the fact that Andy is stoned, he has trouble not freaking out.
    Sam: Andy, look, calm down.
    Andy: I can't calm down! I just woke up in freaking Frontierland!
  • Timeshifted Actor: 6-month-old Sam is played by an uncredited baby.
  • Titled After the Song: A song by The Misfits.
  • Toilet Humor: There was a reason Sam didn't want to get Dean his extra onions.
    Dean: [handing Sam some cash] Hey, don't forget the extra onions this time, huh?
    Sam: Dude, I'm the one whose gonna have to ride in the car with your extra onions. [Dean grins; Sam sighs]
  • Token Minority: Jake, the only non-white Special Child.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Ava, who, in the five months she was missing, has been killing other psychics and developing the power to control demons. Andy, to a lesser extent.
  • Touch of Death: Lily's power causes people to have heart attacks if she touches them.
  • Trash the Set: The Roadhouse is completely destroyed. Part of the storefront remains, including part of the burnt-out neon sign showing only the letters "ROA", but behind this is only charred wood and other debris. The nearby phone booth, windmill, gas tank, and RV covered by a blue tarp did survive the fire.
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot: In one day Dean and Bobby travel from Iowa to Nebraska, and then arrive in Cold Oak, South Dakota, just in time to watch Sam get stabbed in the back.
  • Two Decades Behind:
  • Unexplained Accent: When Dean asks Sam to bring him some pie, he slips into a southern accent as he says "pi-ah."
  • Uninhibited Muscle Power: This is a Discussed Trope. When Jake first lifts a vehicle off of a guy it was dismissed as "a fluke adrenaline thing," but he realizes he has Super-Strength when he bench-presses 800 pounds "stone-cold calm."
  • Urban Legend: According to the DVD Commentary, Dudley Town, an abandoned settlement in Connecticut, was an inspiration for Cold Oak. Originally, there were references to Dudley Town in the script, which ended up being cut. According to local legend, Dudley Town was founded by a cursed family, who went insane, reporting seeing demons before killing themselves. Some unmentioned inspirations for Cold Oak could be the ghost stories surrounding Jerome, Arizona, and America's many other western ghost towns.
  • Vagueness Is Coming: Sam says he is not sure if he believes they are going to make it, and says, "I mean, the size of what's coming–-it's bigger than anyone has ever seen. I mean, it's gonna get bad." But Sam doesn't really flesh this out further.
  • Vancouver Doubling:
  • Visible Invisibility: As Lily walks through the forest, she hears a young girl's giggle, and we see movement of the tree branches accompanied by a Motion Blur and Scare Chord.
  • Villain Takes an Interest: The Yellow-Eyed Demon sees himself as Sam's mentor and Sam as his creation. Sam sees the Yellow-Eyed Demon as his Arch-Enemy.
    Yellow-Eyed Demon: That's why I'm here, Sam. I wanna give you the inside track. You're tough. You're smart. You're well-trained, thanks to your daddy. Sam, Sammy, you're my favorite.
    Sam: You ruined my life. You killed everyone I love.
    Yellow-Eyed Demon: The cost of doing business, I'm afraid.
  • Wakeup Makeup: Even though Mary just woke up and went to check on Sam, she is wearing eye shadow and lipstick. Her hair is also perfectly styled and curled.
  • Waking Up Elsewhere: Sam and the other Special Children wake up in Cold Oak with no explanation. Before waking up, Sam was in a diner in Iowa. Andy was in Guthrie, Oklahoma. Ava was in Peoria, Illinois. Lily was in San Diego, California. Jake was in Afghanistan.
    Andy: I just woke up in freaking Frontierland!
    Sam: What's the last thing you remember?
    Andy: Honestly? My fourth bong load.
  • Wall of Weapons: Before Bobby and Dean set off on foot, they open the weapons locker in the Impala's trunk and take out ammo, flashlights, and sawed-off shotguns. Inside the locker we see a grenade launcher, flashlights, an ax, a tank of gasoline, a can of salt, and various types of ammunition shells. We also seen a sawed-off Ithaca 37.
  • Watching Troy Burn: Dean and Bobby are clearly moved when they see the ruins of the Harvelle Roadhouse and search for Ellen and Ash among the debris.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Sam, whose only power is precognition, takes on this role in his fight against the super-strong Jake, as he must rely on his arguably-superior combat skills.
  • Weirder Than Usual: Jake says that learning about his super powers while serving in Afghanistan was "just too crazy." Sam replies, "Crazy is relative." Jake, realizing they are in a ghost town preparing to fight a demon, says, "I'm starting to get that."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We never hear more about the other generations of Special Children which the Yellow-Eyed Demon mentions.
  • White Shirt of Death: The white button- up shirt of the waitress and the white apron and white T-shirt of the cook at the diner make a striking contrast with the pools of blood spreading from their throats.
  • The Wild West: Cold Oak has a saloon, dry goods store, white steepled church, single-room schoolhouse, and a windmill. Sam looks through the window of a cobbler's shop which promises "Expert Repairs" next to a picture of a boot. We also see a wagon wheel leaning against a porch, tipped-over bucket, and hitching posts.
  • Wipe: The scene of Lily alone in the forest transitions to Sam finding the knife in the trunk with a horizontal wipe.
  • Worst Aid: Dean does nothing to try to stabilize Sam. Given Jake's strength, it is possible that the knife went right through the spine and severed the thoracic aorta, where Sam would have likely bled out very quickly. But Jake seemed to angle the blade upward and Sam may have fallen unconscious due to a puncture of the chest wall resulting in an open pneumothorax, where applying a plastic dressing sealed on three sides may help to keep air from continuing to enter the wound. It would have made sense for Dean to at least apply pressure to the wound and try CPR when Sam loses his pulse.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Used to great effect by Ava, who plays up the Women Are Delicate trope despite having developed some seriously potent powers, in order to cover her tracks and avoid suspicion.
    Ava: [pouting and wide-eyed] Gear up? Well, I'm not a soldier. I can't do that!
    Sam: Look, if you want to stay alive, you're gonna have to.
  • Writing Lines: The Acheri demon has filled the chalkboard in the one room schoolhouse with the line "I will not kill" written over and over again. She does not seem to have learned her lesson.
  • You All Meet in an Inn: Or rather at a creepy abandoned Ghost Town called Cold Oak.