S1 Episode 11: Scarecrow
Do you want another reason to avoid dark cornfields and creepy orchards? Dean and Sam argue, Sam goes hitchhiking, and Dean finds out what kind of lengths people are willing to go to in order to maintain their way of life.
In this episode, it starts off nicely enough. A couple had their car break down while on a road trip. Luckily, their car broke down right outside of a very friendly small town. The owner of a local restaurant and his wife help the couple out. The owner fixes up the car for them and just as night is falling gives the couple a free apple pie. Nice people, right?
Well, the couple continue driving down the road at night. They don’t get far until their car breaks down outside of what appears to be an apple orchard. The guy spots a house with lights on and suggest him, and his girlfriend go to it for help. As they’re walking the girlfriend notices a disturbing looking scarecrow hanging up. She comments about how creepy it is, but the boyfriend insists it’s nothing to worry about. As they’re walking away, the scarecrow turns its head to stare at the couple. The girlfriend stops to gaze at it but chalks up her fear to nerves. A minute later she finds her boyfriend with his face skinned. He’s lying on the ground dead. She screams, and the Scarecrow attacks her too.
Sam answers the phone in the next scene. It’s his father, and John is telling his son he can’t come see them. Sam refuses to listen to his father’s orders and continues a diatribe about how John has to tell them where he is. Dean eventually takes the call and falls in line. He takes down a few names for his father before hanging up.
This episode of Supernatural is well planned out and shows other aspects of Sam and Dean only hinted at in earlier episodes. For example, Sam refuses to go on their next case. Over the years, several couples have gone missing while driving down the same highway. Sam states he doesn’t want to follow their father’s orders. Instead, he wants to go down to Sacramento, California to search for John himself. Dean eventually just drops Sam on the side of the road with his bags before driving off.
Sam goes his way while Dean continues to investigate the case. When he arrives in town, he shows pictures of the couple who had been missing before. No one seems to know anything until Dean arrives at a restaurant. A young woman there states that she has seen the couple and that she recognizes his tattoo. The older couple who run the restaurant exchange glances before mentioning now they remember the young couple stopping in town.
As Dean starts to get suspicious about what is going in town, Sam meets a beautiful young woman on the side of the road. It turns out she’s a hitchhiker too. They part ways for a brief time until Sam meets up with her again at the bus station. They sit down to talk, and Sam reveals his desire to go his way from his family. He finds out the girl feels the same way. They start to bond and in one scene are even sharing a table full of snacks as they talk about themselves.
Dean continues to do his research, and even goes so far as to hit up an old college professor for information. He ends up finding out a Norse deity matches the description of the scarecrow Dean found out in the fields. His suspicions are confirmed when the professor confirms human sacrifices were made to the deity to have a rich harvest that season.
One aspect of the episode is that it’s disturbing, and shoots the creepiness level up with the scarecrow itself. Its face is a dark mask of dried human flesh stitched together. This is confirmed when Dean studies the scarecrow up close. He finds a piece of “leather” that has the same tattoo design as one of the couple missing. It’s not long before the townspeople kidnap Dean and lock him up in a cellar.
The townspeople have a brief meeting about what to do. It’s kind of disgusting as the aunt and uncle of the young girl who lives with them (their niece) talk about sacrificing Dean. The aunt and uncle then go on to state that they have no other choice but to sacrifice their niece. There is no one else to do it. It’s infuriating since the aunt and uncle could very well sacrifice themselves instead of their niece and Dean.
When the niece is brought to the same cellar as Dean, she’s crying. She begs her aunt and uncle (who were also the same people who own the restaurant) to not do it. Despite her pleas, they still insist on sacrificing her. They tie Dean and the niece up only a few yards away from the scarecrow. There is one more moment where the aunt states the good of the many outweighs the good of the one. The townspeople then leave the two to their fate.
Evening comes, and it looks as if Dean and the niece are going to be the human sacrifices. There’s a moment where the leaves are crackling behind them where they assume the scarecrow has come to life to kill them. Thankfully, it’s just Sam who came back. He admits to Dean he stole a car to get there and releases them. A short chase takes place until the trio is trapped by the townspeople.
Poetic justice comes in the form of the scarecrow itself. It goes up and chooses the aunt and uncle as the human sacrifices instead of Dean and the niece. The scarecrow kills the uncle and drags the aunt away still alive and screaming. Sam and Dean burn the tree with the nieces. They see her off on a bus to going their way.
A bit of foreshadowing happens at the end of this episode. The young woman Sam had met while hitchhiking slits the throat of a driver who picked her up. She gets his blood in a bowl and stirs it with her finger. The blood begins to spike up as she talks, but the viewer is given the impression whoever she’s talking to is speaking back to her. The scene ends with her agreeing to wait before going after the Winchester brothers.