2.20 What Is and What Should Never Be

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Promotional image for 2.20
Title What Is and What Should Never Be
Episode # Season 2, Episode 20
First aired May 3, 2007
Directed by Eric Kripke
Written by Raelle Tucker
On IMDB What Is and What Should Never Be
Outline After Dean is attacked by a djinn, he wakes up in a world where he is no longer a hunter.
Monster Djinn
Timeline
Location(s) Joliet, Illinois
Lawrence, Kansas
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Synopsis

In an abandoned warehouse, Dean is attacked by a djinn he is hunting. He wakes up next to a beautiful girl, and wanders around an unfamiliar apartment. He calls Sam, who is studying his law books, only to find Sam thinks he is drunk.

Dean discovers he is in Lawrence, Kansas and drives to his childhood home to find his mother alive. The past has changed – there was no demon attack and no fire. John died the previous year of a stroke, in his sleep.

The next day Dean revels in suburban life, spending time with his mother and mowing the lawn. Sam and Jessica arrive – they have flown in from California for Mary’s birthday. That night at dinner in a restaurant, Sam and Jessica announce their engagement, During the celebrations Dean is distracted when he sees a young woman, who he had glimpsed on the street earlier.

At home, Dean is keen to go out and spend time with his girlfriend, Carmen, and Sam and Jessica. Sam confronts Dean over his behavior, - he and Dean are not close, and he doesn’t understand Dean’s friendly demeanor.

Back at his apartment, Dean starts enjoying his life with Carmen. However, later that night he sees a news broadcast that leads him to discover that all the people he remembers saving are now dead. The ghostly woman appears to him again, and Dean sees images of dead people in his closet. Distraught, Dean visits John’s grave, and anguishes over why it is his job to sacrifice things in order to save people. He comes to an unspoken resolution/realization and walks off.

Dean is caught by Sam as he breaks into Mary’s house to steal a silver knife, pretending that he needs it to pay a gambling debt. Sam insists on accompanying Dean, and they drive to Illinois, to the abandoned warehouse.

There they find the girl Dean has been seeing being held captive by the djinn. She appears to be hallucinating. Dean has flashes of images and he starts to suspect that he too is being held by the djinn and everything he has experienced is an illusion. Dean decides that if he is in a dream and he kills himself he will wake up. Sam tries to dissuade him, and then Mary, Carmen and Jess appear, imploring him to stay and be happy.

In the real world, Dean wakes up as Sam is rescuing him. The djinn attacks, but Dean kills it. They find the girl Dean kept seeing, weak but still alive.

Back in their motel, Dean is still in pain from the life he glimpsed. Sam tries to convince him that all the people they have saved make their sacrifice worthwhile.

Characters

Definitions

Music

  • "What a Wonderful World" by Joey Ramone
(plays as Dean mows the lawn)
  • "Saturday Night Special" by Lynyrd Skynyrd
(plays as Dean drives back to Illinois)
(plays when Dean is being tempted to stay in the wish-verse)

Quotes

Professor: Son? You been drinking?
Dean: Everybody keeps asking me that. But, uh, no.
Dean: Let me ask you a question. When I was kid, what did you always tell me when you put me to bed?

Mary: Dean, I don't undestand-
Dean: Just answer the question!

Mary: I told you angels were watching over you.
Dean: (at John's grave) Why? Why is it my job to save these people? Why do I have to be some kind of hero? What about us? Mom's not supposed to live? Sammy's not supposed to get married? Why do we have to sacrifice everything, Dad?
Dean: We don't? Well, we should. You're my brother.

Sam: "You're my brother."
Dean: Yeah!
Sam: You know, that's what you said when you snaked my ATM card, or when you bailed on my graduation, or when you hooked up with Rachel Nave.
Dean: Who?
Sam: Uh, my prom date. On prom night.

Dean: Yeah, that does kinda sound like me.
Dean: Bitch.

Sam: What are you calling me a bitch for?
Dean: You're supposed to say jerk.
Sam: What?

Dean: [disappointed] Nevermind.
Sam: I thought it was supposed to be this perfect fantasy.

Dean: It wasn't. It was just a wish. I wished for Mom to live. If Mom never died, we never went hunting and you and me just never... you know.

Sam: Yeah. Well, I'm glad we do.

Trivia & References

Dean's wish-verse or alternate reality, occurs in Lawrence, Kansas.
The date in the alternate reality is December 5th, 2006, as the news reports indicates it is one year since Flight 424 crashed, and the newspaper Dean looks up indicates the crash happened on December 5th, 2005. However, oddly, Sam's cellphone (just before Dean calls him) shows an email received from Christopher Cooper, dated 3/9/2007 at 2:07 PM.
In the alternate reality, Dean wears a gold chain with a pendant rather than his amulet.
At the beginning of the episode, Dean asks Sam if he has "ditched the plates" referring to the Impala's license plates (a necessity as they know the FBI are tracking them after the events of 2.19 Folsom Prison Blues). During the episode we see the usual plates KAZ 2Y5 have been replaced in the real world with CNK 80Q3 (Ohio plates) and in Dean's fantasy with RMD 5H2 (Kansas plates).
The scene where Sam surprises Dean as he breaks into the house, and they wrestle, is a mirror of the same events in 1.01 Pilot. They even have the same conversation.
When Dean wakes up in the alternate reality and calls Sam, there is part of a saved text message visible on his phone which may be to or from Christopher Cooper, and reads: Hey Dude…How are you doing man? I’m pretty darn good myself. I've been meaning to sit down and write but I’ve been so damn busy. I’ve been meaning to call too but hey what’s a fella to do
Dean's girlfriend Carmen really exists in the real world. He has seen her in an ad for El Sol Beer in a magazine.
The movie, Dean and Carmen apparently fell asleep to (or they had better things to do) is From Hell It Came (1957).
The episode title "What Is and What Should Never Be" references the Led Zeppelin song "What Is and What Should Never Be" from the 1969 album Led Zeppelin II (See The Meaning of Episode Titles).
The episode references the David Lynch film Blue Velvet, a dark film that explores the violence and corruption that lies beneath an idyllic façade of suburbia. The film opens with shots of the perfect town, and we zoom in on a picket fence covered in red roses, where a man is watering his garden. A perfect happy scene. Suddenly he has a stroke and collapses in pain. As life continues on around him, the camera takes us beneath the surface literally, to the writhing disgusting bugs and decomposition beneath the manicured lawn.
This is all referenced in the scene of Dean mowing the lawn, in front of a very similar house, with red roses on the picket fence. We are being told, all is not as it seems, evil lurks behind this scene.
The Winchester home in the wish-verse
The opening scene of Blue Velvet.

When Jessica and Carmen leave Sam and Dean alone to talk, Sam says: "That's what you said when you snaked my ATM card or when you bailed on my graduation or when you hooked up with Rachel Nave." Rachel Nave was co-writer of 1.08 Bugs.
Dean: My god, Barbara Eden was hot, wasn’t she? And way hotter than that Bewitched chick.
Barbara Eden played a genie or djinn in the '60s TV series I Dream of Jeannie. Elizabeth Montgomery starred as Samantha, a witch with a twitchy nose in the TV series Bewitched.
There are two quotes from the movie The Wizard of Oz.
Sam: Where are we?
Dean: Well, we're not in Kansas anymore.

and when Dean wakes up:

Dean: Aunty Em? There's no place like home.
which is the same line Dorothy says when she wakes up back in Kansas.

Minutiae

Dean's address in the alternate reality is #53 Barker Avenue, Lawrence, Kansas, 66044. He works at a local garage.
John's softball team uniform has a Route 66 patch.
The Winchester home in Lawrence, Kansas, has the house number 1841.
Mary Winchester's birthday is December 5th.
John's gravestone reads: John E. Winchester, 1954 - 2006, Loving Husband and Father, Remembered Forever.

Sides, Scripts & Transcripts

Promotion