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S01.E14: Nightmare

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Sam has a premonition in which a man is killed, but the murder is made to look like a suicide. Sam convinces Dean that they must investigate the case, but the two are puzzled when they fail to find anything that indicates that the death was supernatural in nature. That is, until they find out that Max, the reclusive son of the first victim, has been using his recently acquired power of telekinesis to kill the family members that once abused him. Sam also discovers Max's mother was killed by the same fiery demon that took his own mom.

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I really don't have much to say here. I don't know exactly what it is with this episode, but I think it may be the ugliest episode they've ever produced. I don't know if it's just that Max looks so gross and sickly throughout or if it's the child abuse factor or that I just never really cared about the special physic kids or what, but I really don't enjoy it and it makes me cringe a bit to think about.

 

However, I do find that I love Dean in this episode. It's the first we get of his love of food and it's also the first time he says that no matter what nothing bad is happening to Sam as long as he's around. And it doesn't feel like he's in the deepest pit of despair when he says it. He's still vibrant and charming and jocular and it's what makes me love him a bit more.

 

I also like them masquerading as priests and also, is this the first of the themed motel rooms?  So much fun!

 

Anyway, that's all I got folks.

 

 

Edited because it combined my post with the description of the episode and I can't seem to separate them. The descriptions I've been pulling off IMDB, so they aren't my thoughts on the episode.

Edited by DittyDotDot
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Oh. my gods. This episode. The actor that played Max was incredible. He broke my heart and terrified me at the same time. And Dean being shot twice was pretty awful. 

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I really like Sam's acknowledgment that his Dad wasn't as awful and they were lucky to have the life they had.  It could have been so much worse.

 

I really like the last brother moment with Dean and Sam.  Dean freaking out when he finds out Sam has another skill and trying so hard to make sure his brother doesn't see it.  Also Sam's total missing the point on why he would always be okay.  Asking Dean "do you mean Dad, he's not even here."  And Dean shaking his head and saying no but I am.  That's what's different between you and Max, you have me and nothing's hurting you as long as I'm alive. 

 

It also was a nice touch of them packing up and for change having more than just a flimsy backpack to put their stuff in.  Made them look real instead of this is TV world and we magically have everything we need just show up. 

 

I liked Dean in the plaid purple.  I wouldn't mind seeing him in some nice solid purple shirts.  :)

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Part of the problem with the episode is we never get a good handle on stepmom. Is she a fellow abuse victim? Did she abuse Max? I think they meant to imply that she was a victim too, but it's too nebulous. 

 

That said, it's a pretty good episode. Max is played exactly right.

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I actually really like this episode, and am surprised to see how unpopular it is. Max does look like a hot mess and is hard to watch -- I don't actually think the actor is bad looking, so I don't know why they did him so wrong with the hair and makeup. It looked like he was in the end stages of consumption, just appalling. But the actor did a good job imo, which is ultimately what I care about. Though I did spend at least a solid five minutes of the episode wondering how I would change the hair and makeup to make him look a little more presentable.

 

Some stuff I liked:

 

-- The chase up the fire escape to try and get to the uncle's apartment another way. It looked great, imo.

 

-- Sam assuming their family is cursed and Dean scoffing at it. I just found that really funny (b/c their family maybe IS kind of cursed).

 

-- I liked the whole storyline of Sam trying to figure out why he was identifying with the Millers/Max so strongly. I guess literally, it was just that they're both Psychic Kids, but I thought it was interesting trying to compare/contrast the characters generally. When Max was talking about feeling helpless and thinking that maybe he'd be less so with his Psychic Kids power, that did make me think of how Sam felt helpless having these visions, like of Jessica dying, and not being able to actually do anything with them, either. They have powers that are legitimately helpful, but they can't use them to change the things they actually care about (like saving someone who needs it). I think that helplessness is a major theme of the show overall, so I appreciated how that tied the episode into that larger idea.

 

-- Dean being so ready to just straight up murder Max! I always like when they bring up the debate of what a monster is and whether what they're doing is always justifiable, mostly because I honestly *don't* think that what they're doing is always justifiable. I mean, I believe they genuinely have good intentions, but it is scary as hell imo that Dean would have a shoot first, ask questions later attitude toward a human being. And then, after Max commits suicide, Dean is still like, "he was too far gone anyway," no regrets or second thoughts or sadness for Max at all.

 

-- Although I love the urban legends (even Wendigo), I really liked that all the characters in this one are human, it made for a nice break imo. Also, I liked that Max was pretty borderline as to how justified his crimes were and even how "supernatural" he was. I mean, obviously he had a supernatural ability, but even how he was killing his family was pretty mundane and he could probably have physically done it even without telekinesis, and he was killing them for completely human and relatively understandable reasons. If he had just killed his uncle and father, but didn't have a supernatural ability, what would Sam and Dean have done about it? Was Dean only willing to kill him for killing his relatives because Max had that supernatural ability, or would Dean have been willing to kill him even if he was just a human being, like he'd been six months before?

 

Also, would it have been OK for Max's father and uncle to get zero payback for what they'd done to Max (what if they'd killed *him*?) because they weren't supernatural, they were just cruel? They didn't necessarily "deserve" rescuing (by Sam and Dean) more than Max did, either. They were the bad guys/monsters in the scenario, imo. Honestly, I almost wish Max had told Sam yes, that he wouldn't kill his stepmother, just to see how his stepmother and Dean would have reacted to that. I don't even know what Sam was thinking would happen, that they'd just go on their merry way if Max said he wouldn't hurt her?

 

-- My heart melts every time Dean says that as long as he's around, nothing bad is going to happen to Sam. Don't even know what it is about that scene, it just kills me.

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I agree with everything Rue721 says above, so I won't add much more.

There is something about this episode that makes it so uncomfortable, as others have noted.  A big part of it is Max... hard to look at and he's so twisted up and miserable too.  The episode is also very flat and dull... as in zero color.  Visually displeasing.

The argument of when is something a monster vs when is it a human, and who handled the 'justice' in these situations is an interesting one.  It was interesting to me, this early on, how easy the decision was for Dean re: Max (though saying it and doing it are completely different things of course).    and it would be especially sore of a subject to Sam.  Did Dean consider Max a monster because he had powers? Or because he killed people? If its the former, then he's saying an awful lot about Sam, too.

And its obvious, per the end scene, that Dean is terrified.  He's trying very hard not to show it, laughing it off, but he's terrified.  I will always love the line "As long as I'm around, nothing bad will happen to you."  Its early enough in the series, and the boys still have such a naïveté and an innocence of sorts, that this declaration doesn't sound like the

Spoiler

later seasons, co-dependant, can't let go, brotherly bond.  Its sincere and its also heartbreaking knowing now what they go through over the next 11 or so years.  Its bitter sweet, actually, that Dean seems to think he really could keep Sam safe from whatever is coming

I remember the first time I watched this episode I was so shocked when Sam moved that cabinet, lol.  I put my hand over my mouth and was like "what the...".  Ha ha, I was so hooked

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I have to say, I do love the opening of this episode--the music does really set the mood just right--and love the bookend scenes with Sam and Dean. But still don't care for the episode as a whole for some reason. I love the color desaturation and the moody lighting and I also think it's far more interesting when the monster is human. Nor am I put off by the icky subject matter. So I can't quite put my finger on what doesn't work for me here. Perhaps its a sum-of-its-parts-not-making-a-whole thing?

As a side note: the effects they did with the knife to the eye and the gun hanging in the air are particularly cheesy to me. I generally forgive the low-budget effects, especially back in the first season, but those two sequences feel like they like they belong in a different show. In general though, I tend to prefer it when the effects aren't being thrown in my face. It almost feels like they're trying to show off here.

On 11/16/2014 at 10:41 PM, rue721 said:

I actually really like this episode, and am surprised to see how unpopular it is. Max does look like a hot mess and is hard to watch -- I don't actually think the actor is bad looking, so I don't know why they did him so wrong with the hair and makeup. It looked like he was in the end stages of consumption, just appalling. But the actor did a good job imo, which is ultimately what I care about. Though I did spend at least a solid five minutes of the episode wondering how I would change the hair and makeup to make him look a little more presentable.

Thinking on it now, I'm thinking the reason Max looked so sickly was because of him using his psychic crap. The visions were giving Sam headaches, so it makes sense they would be wearing on Max more considering he was purposely using them. I think I might actually appreciate what they were doing with Max a bit more now. Funny how that works out sometimes.

11 hours ago, GirlyGeek said:

I remember the first time I watched this episode I was so shocked when Sam moved that cabinet, lol.  I put my hand over my mouth and was like "what the...".  Ha ha, I was so hooked

Oh, now this is a fun game...when did you guys all know you were "hooked?" For me, it wasn't until S2. I didn't know it until What is and What Should Never Be, but I think it was In My Time of Dying that sealed the deal for me.

Edited by DittyDotDot

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55 minutes ago, DittyDotDot said:

Oh, now this is a fun game...when did you guys all know you were "hooked?" For me, it wasn't until S2. I didn't know it until What is and What Should Never Be, but I think it was In My Time of Dying that sealed the deal for me.

It would be Faith for me.

Edited by Diane · Reason: Because apparently today I can't spell or type.
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12 hours ago, DittyDotDot said:

Oh, now this is a fun game...when did you guys all know you were "hooked?"

Hard for me to say for sure.  I binge watched.  I didn't discover Supernatural until the middle of Season 4 (so it was on its Christmas break and I watched Seasons 1-4x10 in 2 weeks!  The first one I watched live was Family Matters).  It was a wonderful blur.
BUT, I loved the actors and premise and the brothers story right off the bat.  Definitely was hooked by Home and Asylum.  Love me some angst ;)  And I was a mess by 2x1

Edited by GirlyGeek
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I was kind of on the hook with In My Time of Dying and but was reeled in with Nightshifter, Hollywood Babylon and WIAWSNB.

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Hooked at Dead In the Water. Completely obsessed by Faith.

 

First-10th reaction (because I don't watch this one very much): That Max guy is just hard to look at (ditto to EVERYONE upthread who had the same squick). If they were going for "uncomfortable", they succeeded to the point of nearly unwatchable. Which is weird, but I have to be honest, I avoid this one because Max's strung out look (and the knife to the eyeball squick because... EYEBALLS). But there's something subliminal here.  

But this time, I was sort of "braced" for the discomfort and the episode just made me nauseous. In a the way a horror film is supposed to make you nauseous.  I  also have far more FEELS about this episode than I expected as well.  

Thru S5 FEELS: 

Spoiler

Pete Martell used to comment about how he felt Dean was physically abused by John because of his reaction regarding Flagstaff.  When Dean says "all things considered" and doesn't actual confirm he was never beat like Sam clearly wasn't... well... I can't unthink what Pete suggested.  Which just freaks me the hell out.  And seeing Dean rededicate himself to "Sam duty", right here in this episode... well that was hard too.  See, I can look at the first 13 episodes and see that Dean wants his brother with him. But after Sam shows up with The Shining it started to freak Dean out. And now with all the things that happened in THIS epsiode... making Sam's psychic thing NOT about stuff related to him but about the demon and Max being similarly affected with psychic ability... I just couldn't help but see Dean putting back on the "protect Sammy" backpack.  Sam has no chance of getting away from Dean, even if Dean had to turn into a stalker, after the events of this episode.  What did Dean see: Sam in excruciating pain, Sam nearly killed, a psychic kid tagged by the demon who went darkside, and Sam's abilities getting stronger.  Yeah, Dean was always going to protect Sam when they were together but watching this one, I think this is when it became his JOB again - save Sammy.  And oooof.  Gut punch.  

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Aunt Zelda! That kid from the werewolf episode of Goosebumps! I always liked this one.

1. "I'm not looking at you like anything. Although I gotta say, you look like crap!" Oh, Dean. Just wait till season 8.

2. Priest Winchesters!

3. I love when Dean runs to Sam when he gets his psychic headache visions and falls to the floor.

4. I miss the simplicity of the "why is Sammy psychic?" storyline when first introduced.

5. "Our family's not cursed." Bwahahahaha.

6. The knife popping the tear is such a good, simple creepy moment. 

7. I love Sammy for trying to talk Max down. I love that aspect of the "saving people" mantra. I love the acknowledgement of John not being that bad compared to the actual abusive father who hated his kid.

8. Jared is really good at the big "No!" screams. A lot of actors look/sound stupid when they try that. And I love his confusion when he realizes he telekinetically pushed the cabinet.

9. Dean telling Sam to bend the spoon. They brought nice levity to a serious conversation.

On 6/10/2016 at 9:55 AM, DittyDotDot said:

Oh, now this is a fun game...when did you guys all know you were "hooked?"

Pilot, the moment the blood started dripping on Sam's forehead. Although probably the moment I heard Dean from Gilmore Girls was getting his own show.

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"Stop looking at me like that!"

"I'm not looking at you like anything! Thought I gotta say you look like crap."

"Nice. Thanks."

omg this sibling moment is the BEST. it's not the big, "gotta save 'im" moments that matter, it's the small ones that count. the way jensen delivered that line is just mwah. he sounded like SUCH a sibling. it was also a slight comedic moment from ther serious situation of sam being mad at himself that he couldn't save the man, but the reason why it's so good is because siblings can do crap like that. something so serious comes up and then you just have to have a sibling fight. seriously did writers just wing their relationship or get an expert on these two?

i never understood dean's fear of sam's psychic powers. i thought he would have found it cool, how his personality goes. it's unfair of dean to keep opressing the power sam was born with.

this is also the he first episode sam uses his iconic and reoccurring puppy eyes, when he tries to talk to max in the living room and from killing dean and the mother.

of course sam and dean (but especially dean) ironically looking like sin in those holy father outfits. when they leave the miller's house for the second time, i could loop that scene forever.

sam looking like a teenager and cute af in that short hairstyle.

18:36 - 18:40. that wasn't in the script (i checked) so they must have added it at that moment. i'm not complaining at all, protective dean is protective. and i will never stop liking that ;)

of course who doesn't love sam unknowingly throwing the bookcase away! i don't think it will ever be revealed how he did that and i'm on S4. it's still awesome nonetheless.

fun fact: when dean says he'll always be there for sam and whatever and when sam does the same, they are enacting something called Sibling Warmth, which is a type of action that only siblings can give to each other. to spread out on what i mean it's like if you made i dunno, a piece of music and you showed it to your parents, and they said "That's great son/daughter!" but if you showed it to your sibling/(s) and they said the same, it would be different for you. 

it's the same with me and my brother. i'm constantly clumsy and therefore fall a lot, and my parents ask me if i am okay and i brush it off with an "I'm fine". but if i fall and my brother says "Well are you okay?" i get all up in my feelings for some reason :P

so that's why sam is wrapped around dean's finger and vice versa. that's why they will do anything for each other. literally no-one but them can give or receive any type of affection like they can for each other. the sibling bond really is so powerful :)

On 10/06/2016 at 10:51 AM, Diane said:

It would be Faith for me.

 

um let's see, it was probably the shapeshifter episode.

Edited by Iju
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7 minutes ago, Iju said:

18:36 - 18:40. that wasn't in the script (i checked) so they must have added it at that moment. i'm not complaining at all, protective dean is protective. and i will never stop liking that ;)

What's the line? And where did you find the scripts!?

7 minutes ago, Iju said:

i never understood dean's fear of sam's psychic powers. i thought he would have found it cool, how his personality goes. it's unfair of dean to keep opressing the power sam was born with.

Sam was afraid of Sam's psychic powers, too. And as you'll come to see in S4, when Sam wants to do something, Sam will do it, so Dean didn't oppress anything Sam didn't want to oppress.

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5 minutes ago, gonzosgirrl said:

What's the line? And where did you find the scripts!?

Sam was afraid of Sam's psychic powers, too. And as you'll come to see in S4, when Sam wants to do something, Sam will do it, so Dean didn't oppress anything Sam didn't want to oppress.

it's easy, just search up the transcripts on the wikia. someone gave them to me last month. also there was no line, it was an action by dean. if you can grab a streaming site at hand and check out the time you'll see. it's small and he surely acted unconsciously but i love it all the same.

true, almost all of S2 was sam being afraid he would turn bad. but i found how sam was afraid and how dean was afraid was different. dean was afraid like it was some demonic evil sam was born with and told him to repress it, sam was just afraid it would turn him bad one day.

oh, here are the links btw:

http://www.supernaturalwiki.com/index.php?title=Category:Transcripts

episode script: http://www.supernaturalwiki.com/index.php?title=1.14_Nightmare_(transcript)http://www.supernaturalwiki.com/index.php?title=1.14_Nightmare_(transcript)

with the find in page option search up "I'm telling you there was nothing in there. No signs either, just like the Miller's house" and that's the scene. there was nothing written in that part of him protecting sam.

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46 minutes ago, Iju said:

true, almost all of S2 was sam being afraid he would turn bad. but i found how sam was afraid and how dean was afraid was different. dean was afraid like it was some demonic evil sam was born with and told him to repress it, sam was just afraid it would turn him bad one day.

Interesting perspective, for sure. I don't agree that Dean saw anything demonic at this point, but mileages definitely vary on that. But you also have to consider that they were raised practically from birth to distrust the supernatural, so both of their responses are valid. Without spoilers, I'll just say that IMO mean old Dean being blamed for fully grown man Sam's choices is too often a theme, and it begins as early as now.

Sorry, I thought you meant actual scripts, which I've heard are out there, not transcripts. Superwiki is my jam, lol. I'll check out the scene though!

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1 hour ago, gonzosgirrl said:

Without spoilers, I'll just say that IMO mean old Dean being blamed for fully grown man Sam's choices is too often a theme, and it begins as early as now.

And an annoying theme at that :(

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2 hours ago, gonzosgirrl said:

Interesting perspective, for sure. I don't agree that Dean saw anything demonic at this point, but mileages definitely vary on that. But you also have to consider that they were raised practically from birth to distrust the supernatural, so both of their responses are valid. Without spoilers, I'll just say that IMO mean old Dean being blamed for fully grown man Sam's choices is too often a theme, and it begins as early as now.

Sorry, I thought you meant actual scripts, which I've heard are out there, not transcripts. Superwiki is my jam, lol. I'll check out the scene though!

woah really? there's a difference of scripts and transcripts?

yes, i guess with that perspective dean was just being protective. i mean i don't hate him for it, it just confused me. 

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12 minutes ago, Iju said:

woah really? there's a difference of scripts and transcripts?

yes, i guess with that perspective dean was just being protective. i mean i don't hate him for it, it just confused me. 

Scripts as I understand it are the original script the actors were working with while shooting the episode. These would be how the episode was written by the writer. The actual episode will often be different to this. For examples scenes may be cut for time, the delivery of lines may be slightly altered such as sad instead of angry or lines ad libbed by the actors. 

 

A transcript is usually produced by fans after the episode airs and reflects the final product that appears on screen.

Edited by Wayward Son
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On 13/03/2018 at 7:56 PM, Wayward Son said:

Scripts as I understand it are the original script the actors were working with while shooting the episode. These would be how the episode was written by the writer. The actual episode will often be different to this. For examples scenes may be cut for time, the delivery of lines may be slightly altered such as sad instead of angry or lines ad libbed by the actors. 

 

A transcript is usually produced by fans after the episode airs and reflects the final product that appears on screen.

SFLR, i didn't see your reply. thanks for the info!

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On 7/3/2014 at 3:40 AM, mertensia said:

Part of the problem with the episode is we never get a good handle on stepmom. Is she a fellow abuse victim? Did she abuse Max? I think they meant to imply that she was a victim too, but it's too nebulous. 

That said, it's a pretty good episode. Max is played exactly right.

It was weird because we really didn't get a handle on her. After the interview, her face changes and I couldn't figure out whether we were supposed to interpret it as her being stone cold, relieved, or something else. 

About halfway through this episode when that abuse story comes up, it gets both uncomfortable and a little slow. You think they are wrapping it up and then you get this huge curveball about Max's mom and Sam moves the cabinet! I was really excited to see some of the underlying story progress here. I like the MotW format (though I understand I don't get it for the duration of the series), but it was time for some escalation.

Agree with everyone on the thread about the good parts and the uncomfortable ones. 

ETA: As a new mom watching this on maternity leave, could they stop killing of moms by their baby's crib. I am gonna freak myself out in the middle of the night. Lol.

Edited by The Companion

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