1.01 Pilot (The Winchesters)

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Title Pilot
Episode # Season 1, Episode 1
First aired October 11, 2022
Directed by Glen Winter
Written by Robbie Thompson
On IMDB Pilot
Outline Upon returning from Vietnam, veteran John Winchester is pulled into the world of the supernatural by Mary Campbell, as they both begin the search for their missing fathers.
Monster Akrida
Demons
Loup-Garou
Timeline March 23, 1972
Location(s) New Orleans, Louisiana
Lawrence, Kansas
Lubbock, Texas
Vietnam (flashbacks)
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Synopsis

New Orleans
At night in a cemetery Samuel Campbell enters a crypt with an Aquarian star above the entrance. Deep in the catacombs, he draws a blood sigil to open a concrete tomb. As he opens the lid, he hears a noise behind him and runs! Above ground in the cemetery he trips and some creature descends on him from the dark.

Dean: March 23, 1972. The day Dad came home from the war. And, the day he met Mom. Now, I know this story might sound familiar, but I'm gonna put the pieces together in a way that just might surprise you. And in order to do that, I have to start all the way at the beginning.

Lawrence, Kansas
John Winchesters is on a bus, returning home after two years in the Marines. Flashes of combat in Vietnam flash through his mind, unsettling him, and he fingers and envelope that has an Aquarian Star printed on it, and his name written on the front. As he walks through town, he literally runs into a woman outside the movie theatre - Mary Campbell. As he helps her pick up the items spilled from her bag, she gives him a box of licorice drops, and they part. At Winchester's Garage, John reunites with his mom Millie, who owns the place. She's pleased to see him but there's some tension - he forged his dad's signature to join up while underage. Millie asks what John plans to do now he's home, but he doesn't know yet.

That night John is in an alley, and pulls a key out of his pocket when a man, whose eyes flash totally black, confronts him demanding the key. As the man attacks, John fights back and is suddenly joined by Mary. Eventually, she kicks him into a water tank. He taunts her about somoen called Maggie, who he says is in Hell. Mary starts an exorcism which sends a plume of smoke out of his mouth. She tells John that the man is dead, and was possessed by a demon. John tells Mary about the letter, handed to him by a mysterious man.
Outside the building that the letter told him to come to, John sees a Devil's Trap that Mary drew. He takes out the key that was with the letter and Mary notes there's an anti-possession charm on it - same as she has on her bracelet.
Inside they find an obviously long abandoned clubhouse of some sort, that seems to have belonged to a group called the Men of Letters. Mary finds a file with a schematic in it - her father said someone called Ada Monroe told him to find it. John finds his father's locker which includes a photo of him, John and Millie, as well as a journal.

Lubbock, Texas
In Ada Monroe's Occult Bookshop, the light's start flickering. She grabs an anti-possession charm and starts to run, but when she trips and drops the charm, a plum of black smoke enters her, and her black eyes show she is possessed by a demon.

Lawrence, Kansas
John finds Mary, and tells her that Ada Monroe has been reported missing. John is keen to be involved as his dad also went missing 15 years ago, and he thinks finding Mary's dad might help uncover his story.
At the Lawrence library, Mary introduces John to Latika, a hunter in training. She shows Latika the schematic, but refuses her offer to accompany them to Lubbock.

Lubbock, Texas
As they drive to Texas, John has visions of his friend Murh who was killed in Vietnam. He tells Mary about how Murph died, and that he still has a piece of his silver cross embedded in his arm. At Ada's bookshop, they find evidence that Samuel was there. At the sound of a smash they run outside and find a young woman possessed by a demon advancing on them. Just in time a van smashes into her sending her flying. It's Latika and another hunter Carlos! Carlos squirts the demon with holy water from a water pistol, and then puts a circle of salt around her, and then gets John to read an exorcism written on a diner menu. The demon smokes out. Back inside the shop, Lata finds a book with details about the box that Samuel was looking for, and works out that the schematics from the clubhouse are a guide on how to open it. She also finds a scrap of paper with coordinates to where it is located.

New Orleans, Louisiana
In a cemetery in New Orleans, John asks Mary about Maggie. She reveals that Maggie was her cousin and she was killed while hunting. Maggie wants to get out of hunting as soon as she finds her dad. They find the same crypt Samuel had been in, and a large hole leading to the catacombs. John and Mary descend, while Carlos and Lata stay topside. John and Mary find the tomb Samuel had opened and inside it find the box Samuel was looking for. Just then they are attack by a loup-garou which the Men of Letters used to guard the tomb. They try to escape it but it keeps advancing. John has an idea and tells Mary to return to the surface. With a knife, John digs the silver cross from his arm and thrusts it into the monster which howls and falls back. Topside, Carlos has disappeared, and Latika is attacked by the possessed Ada Monroe. Carlos returns - he recognised a symbol indicating there was a loup-garou in the crypt. Carlos returns with a large silver blade and helps Lata battle Ada. Mary climbs up from the catacombs and tosses the box to Lata who uses the schematic from the Men of Letters clubhouse to trace the sigils on the lid in the right pattern to open it. As she does, it draws the demon from Ada and traps it in the box. Mary tosses the silver blade down to John who uses it to behead the loup-garou.

Lawrence, Kansas
At the garage, John confronts his mom, and Millie admits she knew that Henry was in the Men of Letters, but they she didn't tell John because she wanted to keep him safe. She shares the letter he was given by the mysterious man. Maggie reads it, realising that Henry is dead. She begs John not to follow his father's path, but John says that he feels a calling to this fight. To "saving people and hunting things". Millie makes him promise to always come home.

At the clubhouse, Ada tells John a bit about Henry, and that all the Men of Letters disappeared 15 years ago. She tells the group that Samuel was looking for the monster trap to kill the Akrida - a monster that keeps trying to invade the Earth. The Men of Letters have always stopped but with them now gone, Samuel was determined to stop them. He had found evidence that a Men of Letters base in Savannah had evidence of how the Akrida had entered the Earth before. If they find that point, then the monster trap can stop them.

Dean Winchester: What they didn't know was that the Akrida weren't just a threat to Earth, but to all of existence. Now, like I told you, there's gonna be some surprises. Hell, I'm still trying to find all the puzzle pieces myself. But I'll explain everything. And, until then, I'll keep picking the music.

Characters

Definitions

Music

  • "I'd Love to Change the World" by Ten Years After
(playing as John returns home to Lawrence, and as Dean drives off at the end)
  • "People Will Make You Say Things" by Frank Lynch
(playing in the Winchester Garage while John and Millie talk)
  • "Walkin' After Midnight" by Patsy Kline
(playing on the radio as a demon possesses Ada Monroe)
  • "All Right Now" by Free
(playing as Carlos arrives and he and John exorcise a demon; also played in 1.06 Skin)
  • "Americana" by Jay Gruska
(playing in the final scene between Millie and John)

Quotes

John: Love what you've done with the place.
Millie: My husband and son walked out on me so, this is the best i could do.
John: When I got back from 'Nam, a man I’d never met handed me this. And then disappeared. Like vanished. It’s a letter from my dad. First I’d heard anything from him in 15 years. It says that if I got this… he was gone.
John: This a normal night for you?
Mary: Since I was a kid, yeah.
John: Figured you liked your coffee liked your worldview. Black as night.
Latika: My friends call me Lata. I don’t have a lot of friends…not sure why I just volunteered that.
Carlos: There’s nothing more hydrating than holy water.
Carlos: Runes, prunes, what is this damn box already.
Latika: It’s a monster trap. Powered by dark magic. It pulls monsters inside. And kills them.
Mary: This a normal night for you?
John: Since yesterday, yes.
John: Mom, my entire life I've been searching for something. And this -- this is good versus evil. Saving people, hunting things. I was born to do this.

Millie: You sound just like your daddy. Just come home.

John: I promise.
Henry Winchester: If you're reading this then I'm gone.I'm sorry I kept the truth from you John. There's a dangerous world out there and our family has fought that world for centuries. The answers to all your questions are at the address below. I love you and your mother always.
Ada: The Akrida are a malevolent force. Not of this world. For centuries, they’ve tried to invade.

Trivia & References

The opening scene in the cemetery is an homage to the opening sequence in the Indiana Jones movie Raiders of the Lost Ark. Samuel’s hat is also a nod to Indy’s hat.
The film playing in the theater Mary was leaving was Slaughterhouse-Five, which was released on March 15, 1972.
Movie posters that can be seen outside the theater include Klute (1971), Deliverance (1972) and THX 1138 (1971). Showrunner Robbie Thompson's Twitter handle is @rthompson1138 in tribute to the George Lucas movie.
John: I’m legal now.
The legal drinking age in Kansas in 1972 was 18 years of age for beer under 4% ABV.
John: I'm guessing this is your artwork?
John is referring to a devil's trap which can physically trap demons in place.
Mary: Latika, you nearly fainted when you saw "Willard."
Willard is a 1971 horror film, about the titular character, who can control rats and goes on a rampage of revenge against those who wronged him.
Demon: Still has that new car smell.
"New car smell" is the odor a person smells when they first set foot in a brand new car.
Carlos: Jimi, Janis, Jim Morrison. Amen.
Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison are musicians and members of the 27 Club, an informal list of musicians and artists that have died at the age of 27.
John: Maybe he was some kind of paranormal freemason then.
Freemasons are members of a secretive men’s society that dates back to the 13th century.
John: H.E.W. Henry Eric Winchester. This was my Dad’s locker.
Henry’s middle name “Eric” is a nod to Supernatural series creator Eric Kripke. John Winchester's middle name was also Eric.
Mary: Ground control to "Major Tom".
Mary is quoting a lyric from David Bowies’ 1969 song "Space Oddity".
Carlos: My bad.
"My bad" was popularized by its use in the 1995 movie “Clueless” which may lead people to think its use here is anachronistic. However, its earliest recorded use was by the musician Louis Armstrong on the Ed Sullivan Show, in June 1956 on the Ed Sullivan Show’s 8th anniversary when he wished Sullivan a happy birthday and then corrected himself, saying: "Happy Anniversary. My bad." By the 1970s it was common slang in the African American community, particularly in pickup basketball games and from there spread into hip hop music.
John: Do all hunters have such rough beginnings?

Carlos: The only thing worse than how it starts for a hunter - is how it ends.

A similar sentiment were also expressed by Dean (4.12 Criss Angel Is a Douchebag, 15.20 Carry On) and Sam (13.11 Breakdown).
Latika: Is no one else weirded out by the fact that there’s a giant hole in the ground in an above-the-ground cemetery?
Because New Orleans is at or below sea-level, and surrounded by water means that in ground burials risk coffins being displaced or even expelled from the ground during flooding. This means most burials are above the ground in tombs or mausoleums.
The group of John, Mary, Carlos and Lata are reminiscent of Mystery Inc. from Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, with John and Mary filling in for Fred Jones and Daphne Blake, Lata being a bookworm much like Velma Dinkley and Carlos being a hippy like Shaggy Rogers. They however, don't have a talking dog (yet), but they do drive around in a van.

Minutiae

The episode was dedicated to Lou Bollo, who served as stunt coordinator from Seasons 1-12 of Supernatural, and received "Story by" credits for 4.02 Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean Winchester and 4.08 Wishful Thinking. Lou passed away on July 11, 2022.
While Tom Welling was cast as Samuel Campbell, he did not play the role in the pilot episode.
At New York Comic Con 2022, Executive Producers Jensen Ackles and Robbie Thompson referred to Mary, John, Latika and Carlos as the "core four" of the ensemble cast.
You can check out the information we know about John's military service from Supernatural here.
The Aquarian Star is the symbol of the Men of Letters it is seen in the crypt Samuel is in, on the knife John carries, on the letter John has, and the monster box.
Both Samuel and Mary use a lighter like the Zippo Dean often used.
In 12.01 Keep Calm and Carry On, Dean describes John and Mary's first meeting as the two bumping into each other at night when Mary came out of a movie theater showing Slaughter-House Five, and going for coffee afterwards, where John proceeded to impress Mary with his knowledge of Led Zeppelin lyrics. The pilot episode of The Winchesters alters this, with John and Mary simply going their separate ways after first meeting. In 4.18 The Monster at the End of This Book Dean mentions the book Slaughter-HouseFive by Kurt Vonnegut.
Mary and John share a love for licorice. In 7.10 Death's Door, Bobby has a memory of a movie night with Sam and Dean where they argue over licorice. Dean loves it, while Sam thinks it tastes like "it was made from dirt."
The character of Millie Winchester was created by Adam Glass. He never got a chance to have her appear in an episode, but had wanted her to be played in the present day by Louise Fletcher.
The exorcisms used in the episode are part of the Rituale Roman.
Both the key to the Men of Letters Clubhouse and Mary's Bracelet have an Anti-possession symbol charm on them. In 4.03 In the Beginning, which takes place in 1973, Mary's bracelet is seen to have many charms on it. Ada Monroe is also seen to have a charm, but she drops it, leading to her possession.
Supernatural established that the Men of Letters had chapter houses across the United States know as "capitulums", such as those seen in 10.19 The Werther Project and 13.17 The Thing. In the latter, Sam tells Dean that the "Men of Letters only has one bunker, but they have smaller outposts all over the place."
The demon that Mary first exorcises in front of John is not sent back to Hell and is free to possess a new person to possess (the college girl that John will exorcise) soon after because only the first part of the exorcism ritual is read. The demon here has also modulated voice that sounds "demonic" to indicate it was the same demon in each of the meatsuits it possesses.
Mary: Your dad kept all of this from you for a reason.

John: Yeah, and I hate him for that. But I love him, you know.

This echoes Dean speech from 12.22 Who We Are where he tells Mary "I hate you. And I love you."
Mary: My Dad went hunting for demons and now he's missing.
This echoes the story Dean tells Sam in 1.01 Pilot:
"Dad's on a hunting trip and he hasn't been home in a few days."
There is a postcard on the board in Ada’s Rare Books from the Manner’s Hotel, a tribute to producer and director Kim Manners, who was a huge influence on the show and all who worked with him.
John: I thought you killed that demon?

Mary: You can't kill demons, our buddy from the alley found a new host.

The Colt can kill demons, though at this point in time, it was believed to only be a myth, a "bedtime story" Samuel would tell Mary per 4.03 In the Beginning.
There is a folder with "D. Nutter" on the front, a reference to David Nutter who directed 1.01 Pilot of Supernatural.
John: When I was a kid, I thought there was a monster under my bed. You know what my Dad told me? “Don’t worry son. I know how to trap it.”
This line echoes a line by Sam Winchester in the Supernatural 1.01 Pilot where he says to Dean:
“When I told Dad I was scared of the thing in my closet, he gave me a .45.”
Mary: EMF Reader. Ghost Detector. Switch is on the side. Turn it on.
Sam and Dean Winchester often used an EMF reader, which Dean had made out of a Walkman.
Mary: Sulfur. Demon B.O.
Sulfur is a sign of a demon’s presence.
The monster box is reminiscent of the puzzle box from Clive Barker's Hellraiser story and the associated movies, which opens a portal to a realm of pain and torment.
In 4.03 In the Beginning, John says he's a "mechanic from a family of mechanics." This episode does reveal that his mother, Millie opened her own auto shop and that her father was also a mechanic.
The letter from Henry Winchester is read by Gil McKinney who played Henry Winchester in Supernatural, making him the second actor behind Jensen to reprise his role from Supernatural in The Winchesters.
John: Mom, my entire life I've been searching for something. And this is good versus evil. Saving people; hunting things. I was born to do this.
"Saving people, hunting things. The Family Business" was Sam and Dean's motto, first heard in 1.02 Wendigo.
In the final scene with Millie, John is wearing a belt buckle with a Moose on it. "Moose" is a nickname for Sam Winchester and Jared.
Ada: All the Men of Letters I knew disappeared 15 years ago.
In Supernatural, the American chapter was destroyed by the Knight of Hell Abaddon on August 12, 1958. However, Ada's "15 years" is slightly off as 1958 is 14 years before, not 15.
At the end of the episode, Dean's Amulet can be seen hanging from the Impala's rearview mirror as he drives away.
The Impala has the original KAZ 2Y5 license plates rather than the CNK 80Q3 that it had ever since 2.20 What Is and What Should Never Be. The only time that the car was subsequently seen with these license plates outside of flashbacks is when Dean was driving through Heaven in 15.20 Carry On.
The green cooler is visible in the Impala's backseat.

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