Jump the Shark is the 19th episode of Season 4. It aired on April 23rd, 2009.
A blond woman is running in her house, clearly terrified. She runs into her room, slamming the door behind her and locking it. Something pounds on the door, but it can't get in. The noise stops, and she pushes a dresser in front of the door and then sits on the bed, panting.
Something is watching her feet from under the bed. Suddenly, it grabs her ankles and starts to pull her under. Screaming, she reaches for something to hold onto, but she is pulled under and knocks over a nightstand. A picture falls off. It's a picture of John Winchester.
Sam is leaning on the Impala, parked by a lake. He's brushing his teeth, and Dean is sleeping in the car. Dean wakes up and stumbles out of the car, declaring that he’s hungry. Sam reminds him that they’re two hours from anything, so he inspects the backseat for breakfast options. Suddenly a phone rings. Dean checks his pockets, then realizes the ringing is coming from the glove compartment; it’s one of their dad’s phones. A young male voice asks for John. Dean tells him he’s not available and asks if he can help. The caller says his name is Adam Milligan and he really needs to talk to John. Dean tells him John died over two years ago, and asks who he is."I’m his son," the young man says.
The boys pull into Cousin Oliver's Diner, and Dean heads to the trunk, obviously agitated."The best I can tell, Adam Milligan is real,” Sam reports. “Born on September 29th, 1990 to Kate Milligan. No father listed on the birth certificate. He's an Eagle Scout, graduated from high school with honors, and currently goes to the University of Wisconsin, Biology major Pre-med." Dean grabs a bunch of weapons and closes the trunk, convinced that they’re being led into a trap.They enter the cafe, and Dean heads over to a table for four and arranges the chairs so that he and Sam sit on one side, with a single chair on the other. Sam continues to try to tell him that the kid checks out, but Dean will only acknowledge that he's an actual person on the planet Earth, who unfortunately has a demon in him. A waitress arrives with glasses of water and Dean rudely interrupts her as she begins to ask for their order, saying that they’re waiting for someone. Irritated, she slaps down two menus. Sam thanks her and gives Dean a disapproving look, which he ignores. Dean empties one of the glasses of water into the plant behind him, pulls out his flask and begins filling the glass with holy water. Sam asks,“What if he's not possessed?” Then he is a shapeshifter," he replies, while replacing the original cutlery with silver. Again, Sam strengthens the case that Adam is legit, pointing out that John’s journal entry says he was headed to Minnesota to check out a case in January, 1990, roughly nine months before Adam was born. "Coincidence," Dean says firmly. Sam shows him the jagged edges of the next two pages in the journal that were coincidentally torn out. Dean looks in silence for a second, not believing that Sam’s buying in. Sam says he doesn’t want to believe it either, but he’s not blind to the probability that their dad connected with a grateful rescued damsel occasionally on his many long trips, and may have "slipped one past the goalie."
Just then, a young man walks into the café and Sam calls out his name. Sam introduces himself and Dean, who silently glares at him, and Adam sits down. He asks how they knew his dad, and Sam replies that they worked together. Adam looks a bit confused when Sam tells him that John died on the job, believing him to have been a mechanic. "A car fell on him," Dean snaps.The waitress arrives with another glass of water and greets Adam by name. Dean annoys her again by rudely grabbing the glass from her, saying he’s very thirsty. She shoots him a look and asks Adam if he wants his usual order. "Yeah, thanks Denise," Adam replies. He drinks from the glass of holy water as Dean watches intently. Nothing happens.
As Sam tries to discern what Adam knows about John, Dean slowly takes his gun out of his jacket, keeping it under the table. Adam tells Sam that he has not seen John in a couple of years, and only called now because his Mom is missing and he had no one else to call; John is the only family that he’s got. Sam shows some concern about his mother, but Dean only remarks snidely that it’s tragic, then asks why they’ve never heard of him. Adam admits they didn't really know each other and only met a few years ago. His mom, a nurse, never talked about him, but he’d known that John had come into the ER pretty torn up from a hunting accident. He didn’t actually meet him until he was twelve, and that was only after he found John’s number and persistently begged his mom 24/7 until she called him. Adam recalled that when John heard he had a son, he dropped everything and drove all night to get to town. Dean coldly utters, "Well that's heartwarming," as Denise brings Adam’s food, which Dean encourages him to eat. He cocks his gun under the table as Adam reaches for his fork. When the silver has no effect, Dean uncocks the gun, looking disappointed.Adam continues telling them about his relationship with John; he taught him how to play poker and pool, bought him his first beer at fifteen, and even showed him how to drive. Dean finally explodes as Adam begins to describe John’s beautiful Impala, angrily insisting he’s lying. "I'm sorry, but the who the hell are you to call me a liar?" Adam asks. "We're John Winchester's sons, that's who!”, Dean yells. Adam stares, audibly shocked that he has brothers. Dean, adamant that they are not brothers, accuses him of being a hunter playing games. Adam angrily retorts that he’s never been hunting in his life. Exasperated, Dean gets up to leave and tells Sam to follow. Adam calls out after them that he can prove it.
At the Milligan’s house, Dean and Sam stare at a picture of John and Adam. Dean tries somewhat unsuccessfully to contain his ire when he finds out that John took Adam to a baseball game for his fourteenth birthday. "He took you to a friggin’ baseball game?" He asks twice, to confirm. Adam says yes and quite innocently asks what “Dad” did for Dean’s birthday. He can only manage a fake smile in response. Sam asks Adam how long his mother has been missing and he replies that a neighbor saw her three days ago. Her supervisor at the hospital called the police when she failed to show up at work. He says he drove home from school as fast as he could."She wouldn't leave without telling anybody. It was like she just dropped off the face of the earth, you know? "
Dean is looking behind a dresser for clues. On top of it are more pictures of John with Adam and his mom, Kate, and he can't help but stare. Adam enters and Dean asks if the tipped-over nightstand is the only possible clue. Adam says that the cops searched the house and found nothing but wonders if Dean thinks they missed something. "Maybe – they don't have my eyes," says Dean. "You're a mechanic," Adam says with an obvious tinge of confusion. He asks Dean what he can tell him about his dad. Dean ducks his questions by sagely telling him he doesn’t want to know. Sam appears and motions for Dean to join him.
Sam reports that the police have no leads on Adam’s mom, but he did find out that there were seventeen grave robberies in Windom in January 1990. They realize the pages that were torn out of John’s journal are the ones that would tell them what he was there to hunt. Very unfortunate, because the “corpse snatching” has started up again, as three bodies have disappeared from the local cemetery in the last month. They figure that John didn’t kill whatever it was he was hunting and now it’s back. Sam worries that since Kate and a local bartender named Joe Barton are now missing, maybe the thing has graduated from corpses to “fresh meat.” He shows Dean a black and white picture of Joe Barton.
Dean walks over to Adam to ask if he or his mom knows Joe and notices scratches on the floor that trail underneath Kate’s bed. He has Adam help him lift the mattress and finds a grate under the bed leading into the air ducts. Dean looks at Sam, and together they put up their fists. Dean throws scissors, Sam throws rock. "Every time!" Dean growls, frustrated.
Dean shines his flashlight down into the ducts first, then lowers himself head first down the narrow tunnel. He inches through the maze, gun at the ready, and is soon greeted by the sight of blood splashed all over the ducts and several pieces of flesh and hair.
Later in their motel room, Dean is cleaning a shotgun and Sam is sitting nearby when there's a knock at the door. Sam opens it, and Adam pushes his way in, demanding to know who they really are. Dean quickly throws the cloth over the shotgun and Sam tries to calm Adam down. He wants to know how they found what the cops didn’t and why they had to bail the now designated crime scene before the police arrived. He heard them talking earlier about grave robberies and knows they’re not mechanics.The boys silently exchange looks. Adam pleads with them to tell him what's going on. Finally, Sam says "We're hunters." Dean cuts in loudly to stop him, but Sam asserts that he deserves to know, and Dean shakes his head in opposition. Adam is confused.
After Sam sits and begins to break things down for him, Adam tries to grasp the idea that every movie monster, every nightmare he’s ever had is real. "Godzilla's just a movie," Dean chimes in from across the room. Sam explains that they kill monsters and so did their dad. "Okay," Adam says. Dean is expecting that Adam would call them liars or just crazy and reacts as though he would have prefered it that way. But Adam seems resigned, and calmly says that he believes them because they’re his brothers.
Sam and Dean admit that they don't yet know what took Adam’s mom, only that it’s stealing bodies, both living and dead, and there's a long list of freaks that fit the bill. When Adam asks if they think maybe she might still be alive, the boys can only look away. Adam wants to know how he can help, but Dean immediately replies that he can't. Adam makes it clear that he wants in on the hunt for what took his mom. "No," Dean says, loudly. Sam interjects and wants Dean to empathize with Adam’s loss of his mother, Dean wants Sam to think about why John kept Adam a secret, and even ripped the pages out of his journal to do so. He puts it to Sam that it’s because he was protecting him from a hunter’s life. "Dad's dead, Dean," Sam says. Dean yells that it doesn’t matter that he’s dead; it’s clear what his intentions were and they are going to respect his wishes. He leaves no doubt that Adam doesn’t even get a say as he storms out of the room, slamming the door behind him.
Sam sighs. "Is he always like that?" Adam asks. Sam laughs. "Welcome to the family." He pulls out a gun. "Here. I'm gonna teach you a few things." "Uh… Dean said…" Adam begins. "I know what Dean said," Sam says, holding the gun out to Adam. "And I know what it's like to want revenge."
Dean visits the cemetery posing as Agent Nugent and the director shows him the mausoleum that the bodies disappeared from. Dean notices something sticky and wet on the side of one of the coffins and asks the man what it is. He tells him it's embalming fluid, there because the “sick, deranged hooligans," didn't just take the corpses, they also opened them up.
Dean sits down at a bar, and the bartender fills a glass. "First beer's on the house for cops," she says, noticing his “law and order” vibe. She asks what the FBI is doing in Windom. Dean replies that they are looking into the disappearance of Joe Barton, and shows her his picture. She's silent. "I assume you knew him?" Dean asks. "A little," she says. "I'm his wife. Lisa." Dean proceeds to ask about his disappearance, and she tells him that Joe stayed late to do inventory one night two weeks ago, and never came home. She was afraid that the local police had stopped investigating because they’ve found nothing, and she seems pleased to see the FBI there. Dean looks behind the bar and sees pictures of Lisa and Joe together, and a picture of Joe in a police uniform. She tells him that Joe was a deputy a long time ago. Dean finds out that he was the one who found the bodies in the 1990 grave robbery case. He also notices the same article with his dad pictured at the crime scene. He asks if Joe ever told her how he solved the case; she says that after a few beers Joe would admit that in addition to good solid police work, he had help from "a specialist.” She says that when she pressed him on it, he would only say not to worry, because they took care of it.
Back in the motel room, Sam is teaching Adam how to clean a gun when Adam asks how John really died. When Sam tells him it was a demon, he wants to know if they hunted it down and got revenge. “Dean killed it," Sam says shortly. "So it's over for you?" Adam asks. "It's never over," Sam replies. Suddenly, the lights go out. Sam picks up a gun and heads towards the bathroom, where the creaking is coming from. He kicks open the door, but there's nothing there. They hear the creaking again; it seems to be moving above them. Sam realizes something’s in the vents and pushes Adam out of the room, shooting as they go.
Outside, they run for Adam's car. Sam is unlocking the doors when something under the car pulls him onto his back by his ankles. Adam runs to help just as Dean pulls up in the Impala and comes running. Together they pull Sam out of its grip, and Dean fires a round under the car. It's gone.
Adam moves the car and they find an open manhole with evidence that Dean winged whatever attacked. They still don’t know what it is, but now realize who it's going after: Joe Barton, Adam’s mom, and now Adam--all people that John knew in town. "At least we know why it's back," Dean says. "It wants revenge," says Adam.
They return to the Milligan’s house and Dean sends Adam to gather his stuff so that they can take him to Bobby’s place. Sam sits down at the table to bandage his ankle, and tells Dean that they shouldn't leave. Dean is resolute in his plan to get Adam to safety and then come back and finish the job that their dad started. Sam rather coldly points out that in the absence of leads or witnesses, having “what this thing wants” might give them their only chance to kill it. Dean is shocked that Sam actually wants to use Adam as bait, but Sam wants to stay and train Adam to fight this and every other freak that might want to seek revenge on their dad, or on them. "I'll do it," Adam says from the doorway. "Whatever it takes, I'll do it."
Dean does not participate in Adam’s training, and only shoots disapproving looks from a distance as Sam directs Adam through target practice and shares hunting stories with him. "That is some job you got man," Adam says. "Being a hunter isn't a job, Adam. It's life," Sam tells him bluntly that if he chooses to be a hunter he has to cut out connections like girlfriends and friends; they are weaknesses he can’t afford because his hunting life will put them in danger. “There's only one thing you can count on,” he says, “Family."
Dean summons Sam out into the hall and angrily reminds him that their dad gave him the same speech just before he ditched them for Stanford, and that he hated John for it. Sam responds that it turns out their dad was right and did them a service by teaching them how to protect themselves. Dean accepts that it’s too late for himself and Sam to lead normal lives, but believes that Adam still can. Sam is unmoved. He’s decided that what people think is real, normal life is an illusion and concludes that Adam isn’t so special that he gets to go on living it - he’s cursed like the rest of the Winchesters. Dean does not accept that, and storms out again to search for what’s hunting Adam.
Dean is back in the tomb where the bodies were stolen, and finds a tunnel leading to hidden room. He crawls in and sees a severed arm on the ground with a pair of eyeglasses lying next to it, which he recognizes as Joe Barton’s. Suddenly, he hears the blocks shifting at the entrance and looks up to see them being moved back over the hole. He fires his shotgun, but dirt falls down and fills up the tunnel.
Back at the house Sam and Adam close off every way into the house but the grate that was under the bed. "We've closed off every other way. If this thing's coming, it's coming through here." Suddenly, they hear a door open and a voice cries out for Adam. "Mom?" he shouts, and runs out of the room. Sam runs after him with his shotgun, yelling for him to stop. Adam hugs his sobbing mother as Sam yells at him to step away from her. "She's not your mother!" He is aiming the gun, ordering Kate to stay away from Adam, as he pleads that it’s really her. Sam tells him that’s not possible; there was too much blood in the vent. Adam grabs the shotgun away, and Sam commands him to “shoot it.” Adam moves the shotgun to aim at Sam, and then back at Kate as Sam continues to yell that she’s not human. Finally, Adam smiles and says "I know." He then hits Sam in the face with the shotgun, knocking him out. Adam smiles at his mom.
Dean is searching for a way out of the crypt when he notices a fairly new looking coffin at the side. He opens it to find Kate, the bottom half of her body torn apart. He opens another one and discovers Adam, also torn apart. He frantically looks for a way out and notices a stained-glass window above him. He pries a carrying bar off a coffin, and uses it to break the window and lift himself out of the tomb.Sam wakes up to humming, tied down to the kitchen table. He sees Kate, nearby, cutting her fingernails with a silver knife. He realizes that silver had no effect because they aren’t shapeshifters but ghouls, scavenging monsters taking the form of the last corpse consumed. The ghouls balk at the term “monster” and tell Sam that the real monster was the thing that killed their father: John Winchester. They cut Sam and begin to drink and drain his blood as they tell him about how living off dead flesh they’ve survived in the twenty years since their father was killed inspired them to “move up to fresher game.” and decided to start by taking revenge. "First, it was John's cop friend. And then his slut, and then his son," Kate says. "And I called John, but… son of a bitch was already dead," Adam adds. "So, I guess you and Dean'll have to do instead. Kate emphasizes to Sam that Adam really was his brother.
As they continue to taunt Sam about how they killed Adam slowly, Dean arrives and shoots Adam into the wall. "Dean, they’re ghouls!" Sam yells. Dean adjusts his aim and takes Kate’s head off with the next shot .He moves to untie Sam but Adam grabs him and they fight. Dean finally kills him by repeatedly striking him in the head with a lamp base.
"You sure we should do this?" Sam asks as Dean adds wood to Adam’s funeral pyre. "Ghouls didn’t fake those pictures, and they didn’t fake Dad’s journal,” Dean replies. “Adam was our brother." Dean feels he deserves a hunter’s funeral. Sam suggests maybe calling in a favor from Cas to bring him back, but Dean says no, assured that Adam’s in a better place. As they watch the fire, Dean reveals that even though he worshipped their father and tried to emulate him, he now realizes that Sam is more like John than he will ever be; they are practically the same person. Sam watches him for a second and says, "I’ll take that as a compliment". "You can take it any way you want," Dean replies, jaw tight.
Featured Supernatural BeingEdit
"A Little Bitty Tear" by Burl Ives
- TRIBUTE - When Adam arrives at the motel to confront the boys, an advert/placard for the motel "Kelsey Manor" briefly appears in the lower right of the frame just before Sam opens the door for him. The "K" and the "M" are very prominent on the card, as is a photo of director Kim Manners which is captioned by the phrase "Please join us for Happy Hour in the Sonny Buono Lounge." Kim Manners passed away in March, 2009. Season Four is dedicated to him at the end of the episode titled "Death Takes A Holiday.
- Dean's FBI alias - "Agent Nugent" - is named after rock legend Ted Nugent.
- Antagonist: Ghouls (posing as Kate and Adam Milligan).
- Jump the shark is an idiom used to describe the moment in the evolution of a television show when it begins a decline in quality that is beyond recovery. It's a reference to an episode in the show "Happy Days", where Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli literally jumps a shark, a gimmick in an attempt to keep viewers. It is synonymous with the phrase, "the beginning of the end."
- Dean threw scissors. Again. He always throws scissors. (see: Heart)
- Sam and Dean learn of the existence of their half-brother in this episode.
- Adam is given a "hunters" funeral which was the same thing that was given to his father, John Winchester, when he died.
- It is interesting to note that Sam, from the moment he met Adam, wanted to train him up and teach him to hunt, but Dean insisted that they honor John's wishes and not involve him in their life; it is interesting because Sam was always the one to fight against their way of life and now he wanted to train Adam and even use him as bait for the monster.
- Another thing to note is that where Ghoul Adam cuts Sam on the arm correlates to where butchers cut animals to assist in draining the corpse after slitting the throat.
- Cousin Oliver's Diner can be a reference to Cousin Oliver who appeared in the last season of the Brady Bunch. The sudden addition of Cousin Oliver into The Brady Bunch was considered the moment the show clearly jumped the shark, as the character was only introduced to draw in a younger demographic.
- When Adam shoots the gun at the target, he is shown to have near-perfect aim--perhaps a reference to either his natural-born ability to shoot as part-Winchester or, more likely, a hint to the fact that he was a monster in disguise.
- Dean makes the admission in this episode that Sam and John are more alike than he and John were.
- Jake Abel states that the part in the episode when he thunked the knife near Sam's head was actually improvised.
- We can see Dean's "big brother" mindset rise even early on when Adam asks about their Dad. Dean tells Adam exactly the same thing he told Sam when Sam was little, "Trust me, you don't want to know." Even though Adam's existence is a huge surprise and Dean is still trying to come to terms with it, Dean's natural instinct to "protect the little brother" still emerges.