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Happy Anniversary! Supernatural’s “Faith” Episode Turns Five 

Photo Credit: The WB/Sergei Bachlakov

Thanks to Supernatural reruns on TNT, I recently re-watched Season One’s “Faith.” Afterwards, it struck me that this episode really holds up considering in real time, we’re in the midst of Season Six. So, I looked at its original airdate: January 17, 2006. Can you believe it’s been exactly  five years since it first aired? “Faith” is arguably the first season’s greatest episode. I usually vacillate between “Faith” and “Devil’s Trap” when trying to work up the guts to name the best of the best episodes in Supernatural Season One history. But it’s just so difficult. I give “Faith” the slight edge, however.

Thoughts about “Faith” 

-This show is seriously dark. I’m not talking in tone, I’m talking in look. I remember when this used to be a running joke. The basement scenes when Sam and Dean find the little brother and sister and face off against the Rawhide are so dark, I can barely see Jensen and Jared.

-It was written by Sera Gamble and Raelle Tucker. You could feel Sera’s influence because she’s a great Sam writer and I worship Sam in this episode. I remember thinking this was going to be a Dean-centric hour of TV, and it was, but I ended up adoring Sam for his strength and his ability to go to extreme lengths to save his dying brother. Five years later, and that strength has never gone away, even though the relationship between the brothers is tenuous at best. Sam’s strength is still what I love most about him.

-Meanwhile, Raelle, was a great Dean writer. She wrote “Dead in the Water” and “What is and What Should Never Be,” so you know she got this character. And Dean is just so incredible in “Faith.” We really start cluing into how heroic he truly is. And how little self-worth he has. How self-sacrificing he is. And how tough yet vulnerable he can be. And we can’t forget his classic use of humor to avoid what’s really going on. It’s really difficult to not fall in love with Dean Winchester after watching “Faith.”

-Raelle and Sera made such a great writing pair. I’m happy Raelle has achieved such huge success being a supervising producer on HBO’s vamptastic True Blood, but man, I still miss her solid presence behind the scenes on this show. The folks at Supernatural really know how to find incredible talent in front of the camera and behind the scenes. It’s pretty spectacular, if you think about it.

-Dean is electrocuted; given a death sentence by his doctor; and then healed within the hour’s first fifteen minutes. I went back and looked at my TV Guide Watercooler for “Faith” and while I liked it back in 2006, I did have a slight problem with the fact Dean was cured so quickly. But, you know what? I just didn’t get it at first. I’m not sure how long it did take, but at a certain point I realized that “Faith” wasn’t about Dean dying; it was about him living. And the consequences of being healed. When I got that, my love for the episode grew exponentially, until it became my favorite of that season. So, “Faith,” for me, was a slow burn. It wasn’t love at first sight. I’m actually OK with that.

-Sam lies about their identity to the hospital chick then lies to the cops about how they ended up getting into the awful situation. Sam’s lying skills have been hit-and-miss over the years. In this episode, they were on fire.

-Dean and Sam arrive at Reverend Le Grange’s Healing/Revival Tent where we learn Dean’s pessimistic beliefs about good and evil. He believes in evil because he sees it every day. I guess Dean hasn’t seen much good in his life. How sad is that? Shows tend to shy away from bringing up God, but I’ve always liked how Supernatural never did. Sometimes it’s worked. Sometimes it hasn’t worked. And sure, much of the time, the focus was on the dark forces that go bump in the night. But where there’s dark, there has to be light. And as we learn in future seasons, there is good out there. It’s just that there’s a fine line between good and evil. It’s been interesting to discover the way the show portrays faith and religion and heaven and hell. It all seemed to start in “Faith,” continued in Season Two’s ‘Houses of the Holy,” and then we all know what happened once Season Four hit.

-I love that Julie Benz (Layla) played completely opposite of what we had seen of her before Supernatural. Remember, this is post-Buffy and Angel and pre-Dexter and No Ordinary Family. We had only seen her as Darla, the deliciously wicked vampire that sired Angel. After this performance, we’ve seen her in good girl roles. Right now, she’s playing a superhero. How un-Darla is that?

-I love the tent scene. I love how Sam forces Dean to sit up closer to the front. I love when Reverend Le Grange calls Dean on his snide comment and asks what his name is, he clears his throat before speaking. I love how Jensen used to include that as part of Dean’s quirks. Reverend Roy picks Dean to be healed and at first he says no. I feel that Dean doesn’t think he’s worth it. After he’s healed, he sees that Reaper and the episode instantly becomes something else entirely. So amazing.

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

-That exchange right there is the one I keep coming back to season after season. I keep coming back to the words: “a young man with an important purpose; with a job to do. And it isn’t finished.” I feel like even then it was known that Dean’s purpose was to play a part in saving the world from Lucifer. Roy cured him because Dean would be needed for that someday. He was needed to take down the Yellow-Eyed Demon. It wasn’t his time to die from that Rawhide. He was going to have die later so that the angel Castiel could raise him from perdition; he was needed to become a member of the self-proclaimed Team Free Will, the group that would stop the end of days. I don’t know how much of the angel/Apocalypse story Eric Kripke knew then, but I’ve often thought about those words when all that talk about Dean’s destiny came about.

-Sam figures out someone died in order for Dean to be cured. Dean’s survivor’s guilt goes through the roof. But, the scene also leads to another healer/reaper session with Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper” as the soundtrack. As far as I’m concerned, “Don’t Fear the Reaper” was the song of the season, until Kansas’ “Carry on Wayward Son” kicked it to the curb at the beginning of “Salvation.” “Don’t Fear” was the perfect tune for the perfect scene in a perfect episode. Period.

Photo Credit: The WB/Sergei Bachlakov

-I do not envy Dean’s position. He’s trying to stop Layla from going through with the healing but he can’t tell her what he knows. To the outside, it looks like he’s being hypocritical, but he’s not. What Sue Ann did was beyond evil and took religion and faith to a place where it should never go.

-The cooler-than-cool reaper gets a hold of Dean just as the Reverend’s trying to heal Layla. Sam stops evil wife Sue Ann, thus severing the leash she has on the Great White. I always wondered though, the reaper had his hands on Dean for some time. In my mind, enough of the healing took place to help Layla out. I don’t like to think she died. Although I’d love it if the show would refer to Layla at some point before the end of the series.

-Poor Reverend Roy. He had no idea what his wife was doing; how evil she really was. And he’ll never know. I’m glad he won’t know. That death scene of hers was pretty cool though, I have to admit. And everyone thinks she just had a stroke.

-I love the very last scene between Dean and Layla so much. She doesn’t know what he knows, yet she’s at peace with how all the events unfolded. As Layla said: “You want to hear something weird? I’m OK. Really. I guess if you’re gonna to have faith, you can’t just have it when the miracles happen. You have to have it when they don’t.” Dean looks at her with wonder. I loved the connection between the two.

-Before Layla leaves, Dean clears his voice and tells her he’s not much of the praying type. “But I’m going to pray for you.” “Well, there’s a miracle right there.” I think the ending could have come off sappy or saccharine, but I totally bought it. Julie was great, but Jensen really sold it. For the last five years, I’ve teared up every time I watch that scene.

Every Season One episode has been having its fifth anniversary. But, the one I think made the most impact to me, is “Faith.” That’s why I wanted to watch it again as well as write about it and reflect on it. It’s one that sticks with me, and while I blog season after season, I keep coming back to this one episode. That means Eric, Sera, Raelle, the director Allan Kroeker, Jared, Jensen and everyone involved, did their jobs wonderfully.

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