Sam and Dean are waking up by a lake, "Two hours from anywhere" when they receive a call on one of John's cell phones that Dean has kept. It is a young man named Adam Milligan looking for John, and claiming to be his son.
Sam and Dean travel to Windom, Minnesota. Sam does research and confirms that Adam actually exists. John's Journal confirms John visited there in 1990, but the following pages have been ripped out.
Dean is unimpressed and assumes Adam is possessed or some sort of supernatural creature, but Adam doesn't react to silver or holy water Dean discretely tests him with. He and Sam come to believe that Adam is human and their brother. In January 1990, Adam's mother, Kate Milligan, met John Winchester in Windom, Minnesota when he came into the hospital where she worked as a nurse, when he was injured during a hunt. Adam was born on September 29th, 1990, although he didn't have any contact with John until he was twelve.
Adam's mother has gone missing, which is why Adam was trying to contact John. At Kate Milligan's house, Dean finds scratch marks leading to a vent under her bed, and in the vent finds human remains. Sam checks local papers and finds out that in 1990 John Winchester was in town investigating the 17 grave robberies in the town. In the old news photo, John can be seen in the background. Recently the grave robbing has recommenced along with the disappearance of Kate and a local man - Joe Barton. Dean learns from his widow that Joe was a police officer on the grave robbery case 17 years ago and had helped John killed the thing responsible for the robberies.
Dean is envious of the time John spent with Adam, but when he recognizes that John tried to shield Adam from hunting, he clashes with Sam, who is keen to train Adam as a hunter. Dean goes to investigate the graves while Sam starts to train Adam.
While crawling deep into the crypts, something traps Dean. While trying to escape, he finds the bodies of Joe Barton and Kate and Adam Milligan.
Adam and his mother were killed by ghouls in revenge for the killing of their parent ghoul by John Winchester. They take on the form and memories of the last person they ate, so the Adam ghoul had called John's phone in order to lure him to the town, only to find out that he died. They decided to kill Sam and Dean in John's place.
The ghouls attack Sam and start to drain his blood. Dean returns in the nick of time, blasts the head of ghoul-Kate and beats in the skull of the ghoul that looks like Adam.
Dean insists that the real Adam is given a hunter's send-off off in the form of a funeral pyre similar to that given to John by his sons.
- "Reaching Higher" by Nathan Williams
- (plays when Sam and Dean meet Adam at the diner)
- "A Little Bitty Tear" by Burl Ives
- (plays while Dean is at the bar)
Uh, is this John?
Dean: He can't come to the phone. Can I help you?
Adam: No no no—I really—I need to talk to John. This is Adam Milligan. He knows me.
Dean: Well, sorry to be the one to break this to you, pal, but John died more than two years ago.
Dean: Who is this?
I'm his son.
I mean, Dad would be gone for weeks at a time, and he wasn't exactly a monk. I mean, a hunter rolls into town, kills a monster, saves the girl... sometimes the girl's grateful.
Dean: Well, now I’m thinking about Dad sex. Stop talking.
Sam: Maybe he slipped one past the goalie.
Sam: We could all die, Dean. Even if we do kill this thing, there are tons of other freaks that want revenge, on Dad, on us. What if they find the kid instead and he's not ready?
Sam: Being a hunter isn't a job, Adam. It's life. You're pre-med. You got a girlfriend, friends? Not anymore you don't. If you're really gonna do this, you can't have those kinds of connections, ever. They're weaknesses. You'll just put those people in danger, get them killed.
'Hunting is life. You can't have connections.' Dad gave you that exact same speech, remember? It was just before you ditched us for Stanford. You hated Dad for saying that stuff, and now you're quoting him?
Sam: Yeah, well, turns out Dad was right.
Dean: Since when?
Sam: Since always. Dean, when I look at Adam, you know what I see?
A normal kid.
I think it's too late for us. This is our life. This is who we are, okay? And it's fine. I accept that. But with Adam, he's still got a chance, man. He can go to school. He could be a doctor.
Sam: What makes Adam so special?
What, are you jealous of the kid?
Dean: Dad didn't have a choice with us, okay? But with Adam, he did. Adam doesn't have to be cursed.
Sam: He's a Winchester. He's already cursed.
Sam: Silver. No wonder none of the tests worked. You're not shapeshifters. You're ghouls.
Kate: You know, I find that term racist. Mmm. Fresh meat. So much better than what we're used to.
Adam was our brother. He died like a hunter. He deserves to go out like one.
Sam: Maybe we can bring him back. Get a hold of Cas, call in a favor.
No, Adam's in a better place.
You know, I finally get why you and Dad butted heads so much. You two were practically the same person. I mean, I worshiped the guy, you know? I dressed like him, I acted like him, I listen to the same music. But you were more like him than I will ever be. And I see that now.
Sam: I'll take that as a compliment.
You take it any way you want.
Trivia & References
The title of this episode is a reference to the colloquialism, "jumping the shark,"
which refers to the point at which a show resorts to dramatic plot changes, novelty casting or similar devices in a desperate attempt to reinvigorate the show, while ironically signaling that the show has probably passed its use-by-date. The term comes from an episode of Happy Days
in which the Fonz actually jumped over a tank of sharks on water skis.
In a TV Guide interview Eric Kripke said of the episode title:
- "When we were breaking the story about the third Winchester brother, we knew the fans would scream that we had jumped the shark. Of course, adding a new sibling or relative to an established series is a classic and cherished shark jump, Cousin Oliver being the patron saint of the practice. Anyway, it became clear that we should beat the fans to the punch and title the episode, "Jump the Shark." Though rejected titles included: "When Leo Joined Growing Pains," or "The Raven Symone Episode."
- "For fans who are worried that we are truly jumping the shark... watch the episode, decide for yourself. Personally, I don't think we're gassing up the motorcycle quite yet, but you tell me. And stay tuned for next season, when the boys take trips to London and Hawaii (haunted Tiki dolls!) and Sam and Ruby get married. And Ted McGinley joins the cast as the thoughtful (but hot!) college professor."
The boys meet Adam Milligan
at a café called Cousin Oliver's. Cousin Oliver was a young kid added to the cast of The Brady Bunch
in its last season.
Adding a young kid to a cast is called doing a Cousin Oliver and is often seen as a sign of the show jumping the shark.
On the wall of Cousin Oliver's café are a number of photos of water skiers, as well as a poster advertising a water skiing stunt show starring a Fonzerelli. This is another more specific jumping the shark reference, name checking Arthur "The Fonz" Fonzerelli, who jumping the shark was named after.
Okay, so... basically, you're saying that every movie monster, every nightmare that I’ve ever had, that's all real?
Dean: Godzilla's just a movie.
- Godzilla is of course the King of the Monsters.
The fact that Adam is a pre-med student may be a reference to the historical pattern of medical students being the primary human body thieves, originating in the days when human dissection was illegal or cadavers were very hard to get by legal means.
An Entertainment Weekly article
said of Jake Abel: "The actor playing the new sibling is a Wincest buff's dream — he looks so much like Padalecki and Ackles he could be their magical gay offspring."
In a tribute to Kim Manners
were staying at a hotel called Kelsey Manor. A display card in the room advertises happy hour at the Sonny Buono lounge and features a pic of a mustached Kim Manners
. At the Salute to Supernatural L.A. 2009
, Jensen and Jared mentioned that in honor of Kim the crew had undertaken a mustache growing competition. There were also upside down "KM" carved into the wooden paddle parts of the room divider in the motel room.
Sides, Scripts & Transcripts