Season 1, Episode 18|
WB Description Sam and Dean investigate a small town in Wisconsin where children are falling into comas for no apparent reason. The brothers discover that a witch is creeping into the bedrooms of the children and stealing their "life force." While battling the witch, Dean recalls a past mistake that almost cost Sam his life at the hands of the very same witch, an event which has fueled Dean's protectiveness over Sam and his blind obedience to his father.
|1979 or 1980 (day 1, flashback)||John leaves young Dean with careful rules and to watch young Sam in a motel while John hunts a shtriga|
|1979 or 1980 (day 2, flashback)||Young Dean taking care of feeding young Sam|
|1979 or 1980 (day 3, flashback)||Young Dean goes stir crazy and leaves the motel room; Young Dean returns to find the shtriga feeding on young Sam; John arrives and shoots at the shtriga; the shtriga escapes|
|June 2006 (day 1)||Dean and Sam get coordinates from John; they head for Fitchburg, Wisconsin; Bethany Tarnower goes to bed; the shtriga feeds on her|
|June 2006 (day 2)||Dean and Sam arrive in Fitchburg and begin investigating; after finding nothing, Sam notices there are not many children on the playground; Dean and Sam go to the hospital and speak to Dr. Hydecker and Miles Tarnower; Dean and Sam investigate the Tarnower home; Dean recognizes the shtriga handprint from Dad's hunt in Fort Douglas 16 or 17 years previous; the boys get a motel room in town, meeting Michael and Asher; Dean remembers feeding Sam in Fort Douglas|
|June 2006 (day 3)||Dean and Sam research the shtriga; Dean remembers that the shtriga can be killed with consecrated wrought iron; they determine that the elderly woman in the hospital is the shtriga; Dean and Sam go to the hospital to kill the elderly woman; it is not the elderly woman; Dean and Sam return to the motel to find that Asher has gotten sick; Dean drives Joanna to the hospital; Sam continues researching the shtriga and finds out that it is Dr. Hydecker; Dean returns to the motel; the boys start planning to kill the shtriga; Dean tells Sam about what happened in Fort Douglas; Dean asks Michael to help and Michael refuses; Michael reconsiders and says yes|
|June 2006 (day 3, night)||Dean, Sam, and Michael set up the trap for the shtriga; the shtriga attacks and Dean kills it|
|June 2006 (day 4)||Asher is going to come home; Joanna and Michael say goodbye to Dean and Sam; Joanna and Michael head for the hospital; Dean and Sam leave town|
In Fitchburg, Wisconsin, Bethany, a young girl, says her prayers before bed. Her father Miles watches at the door and kisses her goodnight. Bethany asks for Mommy coming home, but Dad reminds Bethany that her mother is at the hospital with her sister. He tells her to sleep tight before leaving. Bethany is obviously scared. She jumps out of bed, races across the room, closes the sheers, and before burrowing back in bed. A thin, spindly, long-fingered hand opens her bedroom window. The figure creeps into the room, the shadow falling across her bed. A hooded figure stands over the girl, and rolls her over. Its mouth gaping, in leans close and a light is emitted. Bethany lets out a scream.
On coordinates from John, Sam and Dean head to Fitchburg, Wisconsin. Sam cannot find anything wrong in the town in his research, and doubts there is something to hunt. They arrive in town and Dean stops to get coffee and asks if anything unusual is going on, but still there is nothing. Sam, however, notices there is one kid playing in the park after four and school is out, and points it out to Dean. Dean goes to talk to the mother of the child. The mother mentions that there has been a recent outbreak where five or six kids have gotten hospital sick ill, and the parents think it is catching.
Dean and Sam visit the local hospital posing as doctors from the CDC. As they walk in, Sam confronts Dean about his ID saying Bikini Inspector. Dean comments that she will not even check the ID, for him to have confidence! Dean spins Sam around when they reach the desk, so Sam introduces himself as CDC to the receptionist. To his dismay, the receptionist asks for ID. With Dean silently sniggering down the hall, Sam flashes the ID, hiding part of it, and the receptionist directs them to the pediatrics ward. Sam gives Dean a major bitchface as he passes, telling Dean to follow him. On their way upstairs towards the ward, Dean notices an old lady in one of the rooms with an inverted cross on the wall. She unsettles him.
They soon meet Dr. Hydecker, the doctor on the case, who is surprised to see the CDC here. He tells them it is like pneumonia, but the kids are not responding to treatment- it is like they seem to have compromised immune systems, and their bodies are wearing out. A nurse appears with papers for the doctor, and explains to the brothers the disease works itself through siblings in a family, but just the kids. Dean asks to speak with the kids, but the nurse tells Dean the children are not conscious. So Dean asks to speak to the parents of the latest victim. Sam and Dean ask questions to Miles, and find out that it was Mary who got the illness first, then Bethany. He blames himself for his daughters getting sick because the window was open in their room, even though he does not recall it being open - it is a second story window. Sam is not sure this is supernatural, so he suggests they go look around the latest victim's home, as it is obvious the parents will not be going home anytime soon.
Dean and Sam check out the girls' room with EMF and UV light, but nothing. Sam eventually looks around the window and finds something on the windowsill. He calls Dean over to show him the semi-human handprint "rotted" into the window sill. Dean recognizes it from the past from when he saw it as a kid, which triggers a flashback. A young Dean looks over pictures for John's current hunt, which is the semi-human handprint. John is packing his bag, as he is about to leave for a hunting trip, and he begins to run down the rules again with Dean. Dean recites them perfectly and reminds John he knows all this. John also tells Dean to watch out for Sammy, and leaves. Soon as John leaves the motel room, Dean locks the door. Dean looks at Sammy, who is still watching TV. The flashback ends. Dean tells Sam that Dad had faced this creature before, and wants them to finish the job.
Dean pulls the Impala into a motel parking lot. Getting out, Dean heads to the trunk, and explains to Sam that they are hunting a Shtriga. Dad faced one about sixteen or seventeen years ago in Douglas, Wisconsin. But it got away, which surprises Sam since much does not escape John Winchester. Sam pushes Dean to tell him more, but Dean claims he does not remember. Dean goes inside to book a room, and is greeted by a smart mouthed young boy named Michael. Michael's mom Joanna comes in and shoos him away to feed his brother Asher dinner. She finishes checking Dean in. As Dean watches, Michael pours milk for Asher and it triggers Dean to have another flashback. Young Dean is getting a meal ready for Sammy. He pours Sammy a glass of milk and gives him SpaghettiOs. Sammy is asking when Dad's coming back, which Dean answers tomorrow, usually late. Sammy moans about the food and asks Dean to have Lucky Charms. Dean lies saying there is not any, but Sammy saw the box. Dean tells Sammy that there is only one bowl and he has not had any yet. Sammy gives Dean the puppy dog eyes, so Dean give in. He dumps the contents of Sammy's bowl in the trash, and gives a fresh bowl and the Lucky Charms to Sammy instead of himself. Sammy dives into the box and pulls out the toy, offering it to Dean. Ending the flashback, Joanna brings Dean back to himself, and he signs the credit card receipt.
In the motel room, Sam is researching the Shtriga and confirms that Dean was right. Sam finds that they feed on "spiritus vitae", or breath of life, and they are invulnerable to all weapons devised by God and man. Dean corrects Sam, telling him she is vulnerable when she feeds because she can be killed then with consecrated wrought iron buckshot, or rounds, because Dad told him. Sam wonders what else Dad mentioned, but Dean claims that is it. Sam wonders how do they find it, because a Shtriga, when not feeding, can take on human form, usually an old crone. Dean figures out that all the victims are around the hospital, which is in the dead center. Then Dean remembers the old crone from the hospital with the inverted cross, and believes her to be the Shtriga.
Dean and Sam head in the hospital towards the old crone's room, ducking back around the corner to stay hidden from the doctor. When they reach her room, they silently pull out their guns. As Sam is covering her, Dean moves closer to her to check her out. She moves, making Dean jump, and quickly accuses them of stealing her stuff. Realizing she is not the Shtriga they put away their guns and claim to be hospital maintenance, who thought she was asleep. Believing them, she tells them she tends to sleep "with her peepers open", and to fix the cross, since she had been asking someone to fix it for a while now.
Meanwhile at the motel, Michael and Asher are sleeping, when the same scrawny hand from before appears and opens the window.
The next morning, Sam and Dean head back to the motel. Sam is still laughing at Dean for almost shooting the innocent old lady. Dean notices Michael sitting outside, upset. Dean approaches him, with Sam following, and asks what is wrong. Michael tells them that his younger brother got sick. Michael's mom appears. She is in a hurry to get to the hospital. Noticing her fluttered state, Dean offers to drive her to the hospital, which she accepts. Before leaving Dean tells Sam that they are going to kill this thing.
While Dean is at the hospital, Sam heads to the library to research the witch. Sam calls Dean, who is still at the hospital, and tells him that he found other reports across the country, hitting a new town every fifteen to twenty years. Dozens of kids, languishing in comas, before they die, all the way back to Black River Falls in the 1890s. In one of the articles, Sam finds a picture of Dr. Hydecker from the 1890s. The doctor is their witch! Dean, after hanging up, looks at doctor who is with Asher, comforting Joanna. Hydecker moves to talk to Dean, who is barely able to contain his anger, but does not attempt to attack the doctor.
Back at the motel, Dean is still angry, and Sam is surprised that Dean did not shoot the doctor right there. Dean gave out reasons - not going to open fire in freaking pediatrics ward, the dude is bulletproof unless he is chowing down, and he was not packing, which was a good thing because he would have probably had burned a clip on principle alone. Dean tells Sam he knows how to kill it and proposes a plan to use Michael as bait to draw out Hydecker. Sam does not like the plan, and Dean tells Sam there is not any other way, because it could be years before they could get another chance. Dean continues on by saying Dad sent him here, that he screwed up once before. Dean blames himself for its escape, and for the deaths that have occurred since. Sam is confused by this, and sensing Dean knows more about the shtriga than he has revealed, Sam pressures Dean to tell him.
Dean begins to tell Sam what happened the first time, which triggers a flashback. It has been three days since John left. Dean was getting bored of being cooped up for so long, so he decides to go out for a bit. Before leaving, Dean checks on sleeping Sammy, and then he locks the door before heading to the arcade. After playing for a bit, it is closing time. The owner tell him to leave, so Dean heads back to the motel room. When he enters, he notices a light turned on from Sammy's room, and slowly walks towards it. He looks in to see Sammy sleeping with the Shtriga above him, and reaches for the shotgun Dad left. Dean aims, but he freezes. John bursts in. Yelling at Dean to get out of the way, he fires at the Shtriga. Obviously hurt, it flees through the window, with John continuously firing after it until he empties his clip. John rushes to check on Sammy, who is sleepy and confused, but otherwise okay. Seeing that Sammy is okay, John demands to know what happened. Dean admits to going out. John yells at Dean for not following his orders, in not leaving the room and not letting Sammy out of his sight. Back to the present, Dean finishes up by saying Dad took them to stay with Pastor Jim about three hours away, but when he returned he could not track the shtriga. That after that day, John looked at him differently, but he never spoke of it. Not that Dean blamed him; Dad had given an order and Dean had almost gotten Sammy killed. Dad sent Dean so he can finish the job now.
They go to talk to Michael about the thing that attacked Asher. Michael calls them crazy, and threatens to call the cops. Dean, however, tells Michael it came through the window, that he knows what it looks like because it came after his brother. Michael does admit he did see the Shtriga coming for his brother, but he thought it was a nightmare. Dean tells him sometimes nightmares are real, and they need his help to kill it. However, Michael refuses to help.
The boys head back to their room to figure out what to do next since Michael did not want to help. Sam asks what did Dean expect? It is scary for an adult, much less a kid. A knock at the door shows it is Michael. Michael asks if they kill this thing, will Asher get better? Dean honestly tells Michael he does not know. Michael asks Dean if he would do anything for his little brother. Dean answers yes. Michael tells Dean he would too, and he will help.
That night, Dean places a video camera on bookshelves in Michael's bedroom, lining it up to face the bed and window with directions from Sam, who is watching the feed from the laptop as they need to wait until the shtriga starts feeding before they can attack. Dean then goes over with Michael to talk with him - stay under the covers until they come in with guns, then roll off the bed and crawl under it. To hide under the bed when they start shooting. Michael voices his worries about getting shot, but Dean assures him that they will not miss, but the gunshots will be a lot louder than the movies.
It is now 3 am, and the brothers are still waiting in the living room for the Shtriga to show up. Sam attempts to apologize to Dean for always giving him hell for following Dad's orders, which causes Dean to groan in annoyance. Then the creature comes, and approaches Michael. Sam wants to go immediately, but Dean tells him to wait. Just as it starts to feed on Michael, Sam and Dean burst in. After Dean yells down for Michael, they fire repeatedly on it. It falls down. The boys let their guards down, and the creature attacks. It throws Dean across the room. Turning to Sam, it throws him against the wall, falling on the bed. Jumping on Sam, it chokes him, forces his mouth open, and begins to feed. Sam, helpless, is fed upon, until Dean yells, bringing up the Shriga's attention, and shoots it between the eyes. Dean asks "You okay little brother?" Thumbs up from Sam is his response. Dean shoots the creature a couple more times for good measure and it disintegrates away. Unharmed, Michael climbs out from under the bed.
The next morning, Sam and Dean are packing up, when Joanna appears looking for Michael. When he comes running over to hug her, she tells him and Dean and Sam that Asher will be fine, as well as the other children, and soon the ward will be like a ghost town. Dr. Hydecker has disappeared. Michael wants to see Asher, so Joanna drives them to the hospital. Sam tells Dean it is sad that Michael will always know there are things out there in the dark. He sometimes wishes he was innocent too. Dean admits sometimes he wishes Sam were innocent too. They drive off.
|Shirts the Boys Have Worn|
|Items That Have Shown Up|
|Quotes People Have Said|
|Total Count of Species|
|Who Died and How|
|Sam: Dude, I ran LexisNexis, local police reports, newspapers. I couldn't find a single red flag. Are you sure you got the coordinates right?|
LexisNexis is a search engine used for finding legal and journalistic documents/articles.
|The old crone in the hospital is in room 237. In the movie The Shining, room 237 is the mystery-shrouded room, where Jack encounters the ghost of a young woman that turns into an old woman. This is one of Supernatural's many references to The Shining throughout the series. WARNING: SPOILERS Highlight to read The room number is also used for the rooms the boys stay in during 2.11 Playthings.|
|In the first flashback, Sammy is watching Thundercats.|
Thundercats is an '80's cartoon about a group of cat-like warriors from Thundera who battle evil mutants on a foreign planet. WARNING: SPOILERS Highlight to read Also seen briefly when Dean is watching TV in the wish-verse in 2.20 What Is and What Should Never Be.
|Dean: Well I don't know what to tell ya, I mean maybe Dad didn't have his Wheaties that morning.|
Wheaties is a breakfast cereal known for having famous athletes on their boxes. It's taglines were "The Breakfast of Champions" and "You Better Eat Your Wheaties."
|Sam: Same deal. Before that, there was, uh, there was Ogdenville, before that... North Haverbrook, and Brockway. Every 15 to 20 years it hits a new town. Dean, this thing is just getting started in Fitchburg. In all these other places, it goes on for months. Dozens of kids, before the shtriga finally moves on. The kids just... languish in comas, and then they die.|
This is a reference to The Simpsons, when Sam refers to places recently struck by the Shtriga. He referenes Brockway, Ogdenville, and North Haverbrook, which in episode 12 of season 4, Marge vs. the Monorail, are struck by a similarly catastrophic monorail.
Writing the Episode
|Dean: Well, because I'm the oldest, which means I'm always right.|
Sam: No it doesn't.
Dean: Yeah, it totally does.
|Sam: Dude! Dude! I am not using this ID.|
(Sam shows Dean the ID.)
Dean: Why not?
Sam: Because it says 'Bikini Inspector' on it?
Dean: Don't worry. She won't look that close, all right? Hell, she won't even ask to see it. It's all about confidence Sammy.
(He spins Sam to face the desk and keeps walking.)
Receptionist: Can I see some ID?
(Further down the corridor Dean sniggers. Sam throws Dean a dirty look, before smiling at the receptionist.)
Sam: Yeah of course.
(Sam reaches back into his pocket, quickly flashing the ID, holding his thumb over part of it.)
(Sam approaches a grinning Dean, giving major bitchface. Dean gives him a wide grin, arms open wide.)
Dean: See. Told you it'll work.
|John: All right. You know the drill, Dean. Anybody calls, you don't pick up. If it's me, I'll ring once, and then call back. You got that?|
Young Dean: Mm-hmm. Don't answer the phone unless it rings once first.
John: Come on, dude, look alive. This stuff's important.
Young Dean: I know, it's just... we've gone over it like... a million times and you know I'm not stupid.
John: I know you're not, but it only takes one mistake, you got that?
John: Lock the doors, the windows, close the shades. And most important...
Young Dean: Watch out for Sammy.
(Both turn to look at Young Sammy, sprawled on the chair watching cartoons on TV.)
Young Dean: I know.
John: Alright. If something tries to bust in?
Young Dean: Shoot first, ask questions later.
(John is proud, and he grabs Dean's shoulder.)
John: That's my man.
|Sam: But if Dad went after it, why is it still breathing air?|
|(Young Sammy reaches into the box and grabs the toy. He holds it toward Young Dean.)|
Young Sam: D'you want the prize?
|Sam: An old person huh?|
Sam: In a hospital? Phew.
(Sam turns away, shaking his head and sniggering.)
Sam: Better call the Coast Guard.
|Sam: "I was sleeping with my peepers open?" Hahahaha.|
Dean: I almost smoked that old girl, I swear. It's not funny.
Sam: Oh man, you shoulda seen your face, Dean.
Dean: Yeah, laugh it off. Now we're back to square one.
|Sam: I'm surprised you didn't draw on him right there.|
Dean: Yeah, well, first of all, I'm not going to open fire in a friggin' pediatrics ward.
Sam: Good call.
Dean: Second, wouldn't have done any good, 'cause the bastard's bullet proof unless he's chowing down on somethin'. And third... I wasn't packing, which is probably a really good thing 'cause I probably would have just burned a clip in him off of principle alone.
Sam: You're getting wise in your old age, Dean.
Dean: Damn right.
|Michael: I thought I was having a nightmare.|
Dean: I'd give anything not to tell you this... but sometimes nightmares are real.
|Michael: You said you're a big brother.|
Michael: You'd take care of your little brother? You'd do... anything for him?
Dean: Yeah I would.
(Sam hears this, and knows it to be true.)
Michael: Me too. I'll help.
|Dean: You okay, little brother?|
|Sam: Sometimes I wish that...|
Sam: I wish I could have that kinda innocence.
(Sam smiles slightly. Dean looks down before facing Sam.)
Dean: If it means anything, sometimes I wish you could too.