Hunt Initiation Log (Season 3)

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The purpose of the Hunt Initiation Log is to track the source of the hunts Sam and Dean Winchester undertake. Sometimes they find hunts themselves, sometimes other characters give them information. Some episodes are more personal, with no clear hunt. This provides one more means of analyzing the characters. For example, it reveals that while Dean is the quintessential hunter of the family, Sam actually more often instigates the hunts, and that Sam gradually takes a more active role in that regard.

The Hunt Initiation Log has been divided up into seasons due to length:

Hunt notes, by episode

3.01 The Magnificent Seven

Comments: After the deal he made to save Sam's life at the end of season two, with one year left to live, Dean seems more intent on cheeseburgers and sex than on hunting. Sam, meanwhile, has his nose buried in book, looking for a way to get Dean out of the deal. Which means the boys are pretty distracted from hunting, although Dean does mention that in the five days since the demons escaped fr om hell, there hasn't been much going on. Bobby is keeping sharper eye out, and calls the boys with information about crop failures and a cicada swarm. There are two new hunters in the episode, a husband-wife team, Isaac and Tamara, who are already on the hunt when the Winchesters arrive.

Given all that, it makes sense that all the hunters in the episode get a point except for Sam and Dean, who do have other problems on their minds.

Initiator/Method: Bobby/observation-deduction; Isaac &Tamara (as a team)/presumably the same

Tally for 3x01: Bobby=1, Isaac & Tamara=1

Tally, season to date: Bobby=1, Isaac & Tamera=1

3.02 The Kids Are Alright

Comments: Dean finds a news item about a man who died by power saw. It turns out what Dean really wants to hunt down is an old flame. However, once Sam and Dean get to Cicero, Indiana, they discover there is something supernatural afoot. Once he realizes there's an actual hunt, Dean's focus snaps to the job, temporarily putting aside his pursuit of hedonism. There's just a touch of hunt-turned-personal here, as one of the endangered children is Ben, who Dean thinks might be his. Mostly, this follows some classic season one patterns -- Dean finds a newspaper article, Sam plays devil's advocate. It's also a throwback to Dean in 2.04 Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things, where Dean sees a hunt because he needs to see one, and turns out to be right. In this case, Dean didn't actually believe there was a hunt, and then there was. But as in early season 2, Dean's emotional state is in turmoil and he's in denial, and hunting is a means to hide.

Initiator/Method: Dean/newspaper article

Tally for 3x02: Dean=1

Tally, season to date: Dean=1, Bobby=1, Isaac & Tamera=1

3.03 Bad Day at Black Rock

Comments: Sam and Dean find out about this hunt -- a cursed rabbit's foot -- because Dean left John's cell phone charged in cased one of his contacts called. While this shouts back to John sending them on hunts via cell phone in season 1 -- leaving them text messages with coordinates, or calling them with a list of names -- John kept his storage locker from his boys. Also, yes, he's dead, but it would be feasible for Sam and Dean to get a hunt because John deliberately left a message to be found after his death. But that's not what happened here and he probably never intended for them to go to the storage locker or ever deal with the rabbit's foot. While Dean's something of a passive receiver of a hunt in this case, he gets the point for luck and having the foresight to leave the cell phone on. This is probably most parallel to how they got the hunt in season 1's Phantom Traveler, when a call for help alerted them to a job. Dean was assigned the initiation for that episode, so he's getting it here.

Initiator/Method: Dean/luck and foresight

Tally for 3x03: Dean=1

Tally, season to date: Dean=2, Bobby=1, Isaac & Tamera=1

3.04 Sin City

Comments: This one is straightforward. As Dean and Bobby tinker with the magic Colt revolver, Sam walks in with printouts, announcing he's found signs of demonic activity and several suspicious deaths. This is Sam's first initiated hunt in season three. Both Sam and Dean seem eager to rush off for a hunt. The episode also shows us another glimpse of a Sam more willing to shoot first, ask questions later. Ironically, it's Dean who felt enough of a connection with Casey the demon that he tries to warn Sam not to shoot her. Sam kills her and the possessed priest to save Dean's life. The look on his face mirrors his expression as he killed Jake back at the end of "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part II." It's also a more distant echo of the expression on Dean's face when he killed Azazel's demonic son in "Devil's Trap" to save Sam. In this episode, Sam is acting out the fears Dean expressed about himself in "Devil's Trap": "I didn't hesitate, I didn't even flinch. For you and Dad, the things I'm willing to do or scares me."

Initiator/Method: Sam/research

Tally for 3x04: Sam=1

Tally, season to date: Sam=1, Dean=2, Bobby=1, Isaac & Tamera=1

3.05 Bedtime Stories

Comments: The episode opens with Sam and Dean having a shouting argument about Dean's deal. Sam wants to summon the CRD and shoot her but Dean thinks that's dangerous, since by the terms of the deal, Sam could drop dead if he tries to wriggle out. Dean diffuses the argument and changes the subject by saying "Tell me about the psychotic killer." Sam grabs a folded up newspaper with the news article in question. There's no concrete evidence who found the news item. Dean brings it up in part to drag the conversation from things personal back to safer ground, hunting, but Sam doesn't seem surprised that Dean's asking to be briefed. Which implies that Sam might have mentioned finding the article but they hadn't discussed in full yet. Speculatively, the point goes to Sam. (This could be a shared initiation; we haven't had one of those yet this season)

Initiator/Method: Sam/news article

Tally for 3x05: Sam=1

Tally, season to date: Sam=2, Dean=2, Bobby=1, Isaac & Tamera=1

3.06 Red Sky at Morning

Comments: Sam and Dean are already investigating the mysterious deaths in a seaport town when the ep opens. Sam reels off exposition about ghost ships, but he might have done the research after they arrived. Given lack of evidence as to who found the hunt, we'll call this one a shared. The last shared initiation was ep 2x20, What Is and What Should Never Be, again by default because there was no way to tell for sure who found the job. You have to go back to 2x16, Roadkill, for a true shared initiation, where the boys found the hunt and did the research together. Looking at the seasonal tally, Sam and Dean are tied for hunt initiations, and now they have a shared hunt. This fits with Sam and Dean inching back to being in sync and honest with each other again, after starting the season alienated.

Initiator/Method: shared/unknown; presumably news story

Tally for 3x06: Dean & Sam=1

Tally, season to date: Dean & Sam=1, Sam=2, Dean=2, Bobby=1, Isaac & Tamera=1

3.07 Fresh Blood

Comments: We have no evidence how Sam and Dean wound up at the warehouse hunting the vampire Lucy. It seems fitting this episode would be a shared initiation, as this is an episode with a lot of close brotherly moments amid the gore. Sam directly confronts Dean about Dean's recklessness and bravado facade. "I know you. Better than anyone else in the entire world. And this is exactly how you act when you're terrified." There's also the scene at the end when Dean teaches Sam how to fix the Impala. It's a letting go -- Dean preparing Sam for him being gone when his year is up -- but it's also a moment of strong connection between them. The boys are tied for hunt initiations this season to date, and now have two shared initiations this season as well. Ironically, Sam is also the hunted in this ep, hunted by Gordon who is now a vampire. Sam takes another step here towards being more of a ruthless hunter, as well: in the beginning he steps aside so Dean can kill Lucy, but by the end Sam beheads Gordon.

Initiator/Method: shared/unknown

Tally for 3x07: Dean & Sam=1

Tally, season to date: Dean & Sam=2, Sam=2, Dean=2, Bobby=1, Isaac & Tamera=1

3.08 A Very Supernatural Christmas

Comments: This hunt begins in media res, with Sam and Dean posing as FBI agents interviewing a victim's distraught spouse. Although Sam puts together the folklore puzzle pieces to figure out what they're hunting -- an evil Santa Claus -- there's no indication of how they found out about the hunt. They also work closely together in this episode; their teamwork is particularly evident when they get captured by, escape, and then kill, the two pagan gods behind the killings. Having this number of shared initiations so early in the season is unusual for Supernatural, but it's too early to call yet whether season three will have more shared initiations than season two (which had a whopping 5).

Initiator/Method: shared/unknown

Tally for 3x08: Dean & Sam=1

Tally, season to date: Dean & Sam=3, Sam=2, Dean=2, Bobby=1, Isaac & Tamera=1

3.09 Malleus Maleficarum

Comments: We don't know how Sam and Dean found this hunt. They show up on the scene of the first murder, posing as cops. So we'll call this another shared initiation -- and in this ep, we see a possible reason there have been so many. The distinctions between Sam and Dean have been blurring, and Sam has been making more kills this season. In this episode, we find out why: Sam tells Dean that with Dean dying and going to hell, Sam's trying to become more like him in order to survive and win the war against the demons. Eric Kripke said this about Sam in 3x09: "Whenever anyone has an opinion, or a changing opinion, they always come up with justifications for why they do what they do...Sam is doing worse and worse things, but he feels righteous and justified in how and why he's doing them, which is of course the most dangerous attitude to take...He seems to be couching it in this defense of how he needs to be acting, which again we think makes him more dangerous." So is Sam really becoming more like Dean; or is Sam becoming more like what Sam thinks Dean is like; or does Sam realize this isn't really what Dean is like, but he's saying that to justify what he's been doing? The boys are more in step, but now Sam seems to be losing his sense of self as much as Dean has. The shared initiations are both a positive sign of how well Sam and Dean work together, but the trend has a darker side.

Initiator/Method: shared/unknown

Tally for 3x09: Dean & Sam=1

Tally, season to date: Dean & Sam=4, Sam=2, Dean=2, Bobby=1, Isaac & Tamera=1

3.10 Dream a Little Dream of Me

Comments: Bobby was in mid-hunt when he fell into the coma; Sam and Dean find his wall of research in the closet and start retracing his investigation. The Winchesters find the hunt because Dean is on Bobby's emergency contact list. (An argument can be made this became Sam and Dean's hunt; but Bobby was so entrenched the point is going to him). This ends the streak of Sam & Dean shared initiations. It seems fitting that this is also the episode where Dean, confronted with a demonic version of himself, asserts his identity and sense of self and acknowledges he doesn't deserve to go to hell, and doesn't want to. Sam and Dean are separated in the dreamwalking segments but by the end of the episode they're in sync again -- there's that exchange in the Impala where they're finally on the same page about the hell deal and Dean tacitly gives Sam permission to attempt to save him.

Initiator/Method: Bobby/research and investigation

Tally for 3x10: Bobby: 1

Tally, season to date: Dean & Sam=4, Sam=2, Dean=2, Bobby=2, Isaac & Tamera=1

3.11 Mystery Spot

Comments: Sam produces the news clippings about the missing professor and the brochure about the mystery spot. Dean complains this job is a waste of time and they should be looking for Bela and the Colt. This is the first hunt in a while that wasn't a shared initiation and it takes a grim turn, as Sam has to watch Dean die over, and over, and over. In 3x09 Sam told Dean he had to become more like Dean to survive the war. In 3x11, Sam loses his sense of self in his grief for Dean's final (apparently permanent) death, in fact turns into a version of his father, obsessed and focused, only without children to remind him to be human. Season three started with a rift between the boys, but it's shifted to merging them more and more, to the point where a hunt that isn't a shared initiation goes very badly. This episode also puts Sam's initiations ahead of Dean's, in keeping with Sam's determination to become a tougher hunter, in his view, more like his brother.

Initiator/Method: Sam/news article

Tally for 3x11: Sam: 1

Tally, season to date: Dean & Sam=4, Sam=3, Dean=2, Bobby=2, Isaac & Tamera=1

3.12 Jus in Bello

Comments: This will be a first for the Hunt Initiation Log: no points assigned. The actions of a number of different characters led to the events of the episode, but no one initiated a hunt. There's Bela, who called in the tip to Henriksen about Sam and Dean. There's Henriksen, who after hunting Sam and Dean for a long time, successfully catches them at last. There's Sam and Dean, who begin this episode in a passive role, as Henriksen's prisoners -- but don't remain in that situation for long. There's Ruby, who brings them information about Lilith. There's Lilith, whose demons besiege the police station. Even though Sam and Dean's actions save the day, they're fighting for their lives. This isn't a hunt they looked for or found.

Initiator/Method: N/A

Tally for 3x12: N/A

Tally, season to date: Dean & Sam=4, Sam=3, Dean=2, Bobby=2, Isaac & Tamera=1

3.13 Ghostfacers

Comments: One point, collectively, goes to the Ghostfacers team. The amateur ghost hunters (who think they're the height of professionalism) found out about the house and did a modicum of research and were already in the place when Sam and Dean show up. One point to Dean, because we know from what Sam says during their confrontation that this was Dean's idea: "'Let's go hunt the Morton house,' you said. 'It's our Grand Canyon.'" Dean gets an extra day in his year due to Leap Year and of all the ways he could have spent the time, he chooses to hunt a haunted house. That points back to Dean being a natural at hunting, and genuinely enjoying it, despite glimpses in prior episodes of him sometimes wondering about a different kind of life. Sam and Dean are now tied for individual hunt initiations, and they have 4 shared initiations. The rift between the boys at the start of the season is closing, and it also continues to echo Sam's determination to become more like Dean.

Initiator/Method: Ghostfacers/research; Dean/research

Tally for 3x13: Dean=1, Ghostfacers=1

Tally, season to date: Dean & Sam=4, Sam=3, Dean=3, Bobby=2, Isaac & Tamera=1, Ghostfacers=1

3.14 Long-Distance Call

Comments: Sam and Dean were tied for hunt initiations by the end of Ghostfacers and the boys were getting more in sync again. 3x14 pulls them farther apart again, as the urgency of time running out on Dean's deal kicks into higher gear. Dean says Bobby called and pointed them to the case, which Dean is eager to take. Sam says they're already on a job: Dean's deal.
But Dean's frustrated with dead ends. In keeping with the last episode, Dean seems intent on hunting. "Until we actually find something, I'd like to do my job." So the boys are off to Ohio. But then Dean gets the phone call supposedly from John's spirit and Sam wants to stay focused on the casefile, while Dean shifts back to wanting to focus on demons and deals. Note that this episode brings Bobby's initiation total even with Sam's. His phone call is a throwback to season one, when John would text coordinates.

Initiator/Method: Bobby/word of mouth; Dean (for insisting they take the job)

Tally for 3x14: Dean=1, Bobby=1

Tally, season to date: Dean & Sam=4, Sam=3, Dean=4, Bobby=3, Isaac & Tamera=1, Ghostfacers=1

3.15 Time Is on My Side

Comments: After the boys dispatch a demon, Sam's on the phone talking about fingerprints. When Dean asks what that was about Sam says "remember that thing in the paper?" Sam follows up and tells Dean he's found a zombie job. Sam says he does it because he thought it'd make Dean happy -- but we later find out he knew about the crazy mad scientist all along and hoped this was the key to saving Dean.
As usual for season 3, it starts as just a job but then winds up being about saving Dean from his deal. Note that Sam finds out about the zombie doctor from John's journal. (And now Sam and Dean are tied for hunt initiations in Season 3.)

Initiator/Method: Sam/research

Tally for 3x15: Sam=1

Tally, season to date: Dean & Sam=4, Sam=4, Dean=4, Bobby=3, Isaac & Tamera=1, Ghostfacers=1

3.16 No Rest for the Wicked

Comments: The show broke the Hunt Initiation Log! Sam does agitate to go after Lilith, which marginally might give him the initiation point, but that's not a job, that's part of the overwhelming personal mission to save Dean. Also, hunting Lilith is a hunt already in progress.

The boys end the season tied for hunt initiations, with a lot of shared initiations. Bobby and a number of guest stars provide the rest, in keeping with the broadening of Sam and Dean's world.

Initiator/Method: n/a

Tally for 3x16: n/a

Tally, season to date: Dean & Sam=4, Sam=4, Dean=4, Bobby=3, Isaac & Tamera=1, Ghostfacers=1