1.03 Dead in the Water

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Dean and Sam in "Dead in the Water"
Title Dead in the Water
Episode # Season 1, Episode 3
First aired September 27, 2005
Directed by Kim Manners
Written by Sera Gamble
Raelle Tucker
On IMDB Dead in the Water
Outline Sam and Dean investigate a series of unnatural drownings caused by a vengeful spirit.
Monster Vengeful Spirit
Peter Sweeney
Timeline Late November, 2005 (speculation)
Location(s) Lake Manitoc, Wisconsin (fictional)
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Contents

Synopsis

Dean and Sam decide to investigate the drowning of eighteen-year-old Sophie Carlton, as she is the third drowning victim in the last year whose body hasn't been recovered from Lake Manitoc. They pose as federal wildlife officers and speak to the local sheriff, Jake Devins, who tells them that they found nothing in the lake despite running a sonar sweep, but that the lake will soon drain away because the local dam is leaking. While they're at the sheriff's office, they also meet Jake's daughter, Andrea, and her son, Lucas. When Sam and Dean research the lake further, they learn that not only have six other people disappeared in Lake Manitoc over the last 35 years, but also that Lucas witnessed his father's drowning earlier that year.

Sam and Dean decide to talk to Lucas and they find Andrea and Lucas at the park. Dean tells Lucas he knows what it's like to see something that most people wouldn't believe and draws the boy a picture of his family. Lucas remains silent but draws Dean a picture of a house. Andrea is stunned when Lucas gives Dean the drawing, as Lucas has been withdrawn and not spoken at all since his father’s death.

That same night, Will Carlton drowns in the kitchen sink when something drags his head below the surface of the water. Sam informs Dean of Will’s death, and they conclude that whatever is in the lake knows the lake is draining and that it’s running out of time to get its revenge. They also assume that Sophie and Will's father, Bill Carlton, is somehow involved, as the thing in the lake has targeted his children and his godson (Lucas' father). They don't learn anything from Bill when they go to speak with him, but Dean notices that the drawing Lucas gave him earlier was of the Carltons' house.

The brothers visit Lucas again, and Dean tells him about his own experience of losing his mother; Lucas provides Dean with a second drawing depicting a house next to a white church and a boy wearing a cap with a red bicycle. Sam and Dean find the church and the neighboring house, and they visit the woman who lives there. They discover that her son, Peter Sweeney, vanished 35 years ago with his red bicycle. Dean spots a photo of Peter with Bill Carlton, and the brothers think that Bill may have killed Peter and the thing in the lake is Peter's vengeful spirit. They go back to talk to Bill, but they are too late as they witness Bill make his way to the middle of the lake in his boat. The boat explodes, and Bill vanishes under the water.

After the incident with Bill, the sheriff tries to run Sam and Dean out of town because he's discovered that they aren't really federal wildlife officers, but they sneak back because Dean suspects that the hunt is not over. They arrive at Andrea Barr's house just as she is dragged under the water in her bathtub. After Sam pulls her out of the water, she tells him that she heard a voice in the water say 'Come play with me.' Meanwhile, Dean goes through Andrea’s photo albums and discovers an old photo of Andrea’s dad, Jake, with Peter. Dean assumes that Jake was probably also involved in Peter’s death, and that Peter's spirit is targeting Bill and Jake's loved ones.

Lucas leads them to a spot near the lake where Sam and Dean dig until they discover Peter's bicycle. Jake appears and holds the brothers at gunpoint. He reveals that he and Bill buried the bike after they accidentally drowned Peter and let his body sink in the lake. Suddenly, Lucas is pulled into the lake by a ghostly hand. Dean and Sam dive in after him with no result until Jake walks into the lake calling for Peter to take him instead of his grandson. Peter drags him under the water, and Dean is able to save Lucas.

Sam and Dean prepare to leave and Andrea and Lucas see them off. Lucas has begun to talk again, and Andrea thanks them both for saving Lucas. As a parting gift, Dean teaches Lucas the phrase ‘Zeppelin Rules!’

Characters

Definitions

Music

  • "What a Way to Go" by Jesse Turnbow (Black Toast Music)
(plays at the Lynnwood Inn, when the guys look through newspaper articles)
  • "Round and Round" by Ratt
(plays when they arrive at Lake Manitoc)
  • "Too Daze Gone" by Billy Squire
(plays in the car with the "We don't have to hug, are we?" remark)
  • "Movin' On" by Bad Company
(plays at the end when they leave Andrea and her son)

Mentioned, but not played: Led Zeppelin

Quotes

Dean: You don't think I want to find Dad as much as you do?

Sam: Yeah, I know you do. It's just that -

Dean: I'm the one who's the been with him every single day for the past two years while you've been off to college going to pep rallies. We will find Dad, but until then, we're going to kill everything bad between here and there. Okay?
Andrea: [to Dean] Must be hard, with your sense of direction. Never being able to find your way to a decent pick-up line.
Sam: 'Kids are the best'? You don't even like kids.

Dean: I love kids!
Sam: Name three children that you even know.
(Long pause, Dean scratches his head, Sam starts to walks off)

Dean: I'm thinking!
Dean: You're scared. It's okay, I understand. See, when I was your age, I saw something real bad happen to my mom, and I was scared, too. I didn't feel like talking, just like you. But see, my mom, I know she wanted me to be brave. I think about that every day. And I do my best to be brave. And maybe your dad wants you to be brave, too.
Dean: Alright, if you're goin' to be talking now, this is a very important phrase, so I want you to repeat it back to me one more time.

Lucas: Zeppelin Rules!

Dean: That's right, up high.

Trivia & References

The same lakehouse and location in this episode was used in Jensen Ackles's movie Devour.
Lakehouse used in both Supernatural and Devour

While there is no "Lake Manitoc" in Wisconsin there is a Lake Manitowoc, the city of Manitowoc, and Manitowoc county. This may have been the inspiration for the lake's name in this episode. "Manitowoc" comes from the Native American word "Mundeowk" meaning "home of the good spirit".
Jensen Ackles has cited this episode many times as one of his favorites. He especially points out the scene in which he had to erupt from the waters of Lake Manitoc while holding a child actor in his arms as one of the most "surreal" experiences he's had on the show. This was due to the stunt scuba divers that held both actors beneath the water's surface until the director yelled "action!"
Jensen Ackles again cited this episode in the premiere issue of the Official Supernatural Magazine:
"...but Dead in the Water holds a special place in my heart, too. I liked what my character had to go through in that episode. It was kind of the first time where I really got a sense of who Dean was, and I was able to peel back some layers. I thought it was a good story that was directed well, so that was definitely one of my favorites."
"When I had to hold my breath with that kid, holding him in my arms...I hope you've never had to experience something like that. When you're treading water, just getting your mind around having two people below you in the water, pulling you down...that was a really weird sensation that I wasn't prepared for, not to mention I was responsible for the life of this 10-year-old kid that was in my arms. He's supposed to be dead, so he's limp. I'm actually treading water, keeping us boat afloat with my left arm. And when they say action and I have to hold my breath, he holds his breath, and I have two divers pulling me down. So after the first time, I kicked the divers loose and I sprung right back out of the water and I'm like, 'Okay, wait a second - I'm going to need a minute for this one.' But we ended up getting the shot, and it was nice."
Although Dean tells Sam that Sophie Carlton drowned "last week," her obituary, which Dean circles and shows to Sam, reads that she drowned on August 16. The printed obituary must be inaccurate because the episode's timeline is by necessity sometime after November 2, 2005.
Dean: I’m Agent Ford, this is Agent Hamill. We’re with the U.S. Wildlife Service.
Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill are the actors who played Han Solo and Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars trilogy. This is the first of several Star Wars references throughout the series. Also, Kripke has said that Dean and Sam are somewhat based upon Han and Luke.
Andrea: [to Sam] Tell your friend this whole Jerry Maguire thing’s not gonna work on me.
Refers to the movie Jerry Maguire, in which Tom Cruise plays the title character, who spends a fair amount of time trying to charm a single mother's child in order to get close to the mother.
Sam: So, I think it's safe to say we can rule out Nessie.
The Loch Ness Monster, aka Nessie, is a cryptid that is reputed to inhabit Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands.
Sam: Door number 2 sounds good.
In the television game show Let's Make a Deal, deals are offered to members of the audience by the host. The contestants usually have to weigh the possibility of an offer "behind door number 2" being a more valuable prize than the one that they've already earned.
The early scene of Sophie swimming in the lake, most notably the camera shots, is reminiscent of the opening scene of the 1975 film Jaws.
Jaws-esque shot from "Dead in the Water."

Minutiae

Filming locations: Lynwood Inn, North Vancouver; Buntzen Lake
Jared Padalecki's hand was broken while filming this episode, because he and Jensen Ackles got into a barfight. The way they tell it, they came into the bar after there already had been a fight and were then mistaken for the troublemakers. Another version of the story says that some guy wasn't very happy when his girlfriend approached either Jensen or Jared. See here and here for the story.
Guest star Amy Acker is, like Jared and Jensen, also from Texas. She attended Lake Highlands High School, bitter rival of Jensen's high school which made for many on-set jokes between the two.

Sides, Scripts & Transcripts

Promotion

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