With the hope of getting new Supernatural viewers for season 3, I thought it might be a good idea to provide a bit of the history of the show. While you can enjoy the show without knowing its history, being aware of the backstory helps in understanding the characters’ personalities and motivations.
Over the course of the next 11 or 12 weeks, I’m going to try to summarize the Supernatural backstory. I don’t plan to write episode summaries per se; rather, I want to concentrate on the events that carry over from one episode to another, such as the brothers’ relationship and what drives each of them. So, let me start…
Meet the Winchesters
In the Pilot, John and Mary Winchester are a young couple from Lawrence, Kansas, with two small sons. There seems to be a special bond between John, who had served in the Marine Corps, and 4-year-old Dean. Sam is just a baby and very much the apple of his mother’s eye.
On November 2, 1983, Mary is killed in an unnatural way; a fire erupts, and the house is burned down. The men survive, but their lives are changed forever.
Twenty-two years later, Sam is a college student at Stanford University, preparing to enter law school. He has a serious girlfriend and has become more or less estranged from his father and brother.
One night Dean shows up to ask for Sam’s help. They haven’t seen each other or spoken for two years, but Dean says that their dad has gone missing, and they need to find him. Sam is reluctant to join Dean.
During the course of the following conversation, we learn that John became obsessed with finding what killed Mary. In searching for the answer, the Winchester men became immersed in the world of hunting and killing all things supernatural. This is how the boys grew up until Sam rebelled against his father and went off to college.
Sam agrees to help Dean with the case their father had been tracking when he disappeared, but says he must be back at Stanford on Monday for a law school interview. The boys head off in Dean’s car, a classic 1967 Chevy Impala. During the course of the investigation, we learn that Dean listens to classic rock music (featured heavily in the show’s soundtrack), and that the Winchesters survive economically by running credit card scams (as well as pool hustling and poker games, as we learn in later episodes).
When Dean and Sam finish their investigation, Dean tries to talk Sam into continuing to hunt with him. However, Sam insists on returning to Stanford, and Dean reluctantly agrees. Sam returns home, only to find that his girlfriend, Jessica, has been killed in the exact same way as his mother had been. As the apartment catches fire, Dean returns to pull Sam out.
In shock and disbelief, Sam tacitly agrees to leave with Dean and tells him, “We’ve got work to do.”
Wendigo: the boys hang around Palo Alto, CA, for another week or so, trying to find answers to Jessica’s death, but come up with nothing. As they hit the road to investigate their next lead, Sam has nightmares about Jessica every time he falls asleep.