Season 4 Episode 11

Family Remains

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Jan 15, 2009 on The CW
out of 10
User Rating
789 votes

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Episode Summary

Sam and Dean investigate a house occupied by a female ghost, but when a new family moves in things take a turn for the worse.

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  • Very dark

    A very good episode: very dark however and shows just what kind of depravity, evil and monstrous actions humanity is capable of. I wouldn't watch if you have a weak stomach or are easily scared or offended. This episode is like I said: very dark. I however really enjoyed this episode, I found it very well done, and the acting in it was brilliant from all those involved.
  • haunting or not?

    Ok this one offended me. I've gotten used to the fact that Supernatural can be quite insensitive sometimes, but this episode was too much for me. I'm from Austria and incest-children-in-the-basement is a subject we only touch with velvet gloves around here (look up Fritzl on Wikipedia, if you don't know what I mean). My point is, there are children like those two, real children who have suffered more than anyone can imagine. And they are no feral, killing, zombie-like monsters. I can see the writers idea behind it, that humans are always more terrible, but didn't like it that this happened over the head of some innocent poor souls… Dean's speech in the end saved a little (subject and story-wise) but still I had this shallow feeling that this wasn't right.moreless
  • A good stand alone with only a couple of fairly minor quibbles.

    'Family Remains' has the unenviable task of following show creator Eric Kripke's epic pre-New Year plot fest 'Heaven and Hell' and being the first new episode of Supernatural in around a month... the weight of expectation, as you may be able to guess, is almost unmanageable. The fact that the production crew chose to place a stand-alone 'supernatural element of the week' instalment in the episode eleven slot certainly doesn't help matters; after all that to-ing and fro-ing with the forces of Heaven and Hell, and the gravitas of the hoo-hah with Lillith and the 66 seals, we get a story about a family being terrorised by Joseph Fritzl's long-lost relatives? This could arguably seem a little lightweight and is bound to disappoint, especially given that, apart from a few comedy episodes and perhaps 'Metamorphosis', season four hasn't really given us this scenario so far. All the 'cases' that Sam and Dean have investigated, bar the ones listed above, have been tied to the over-arching mythology. Still, there's no reason why we can't enjoy a break from all the monumental madness and explore what made Supernatural a hit in the first place. Jeremy Carver's script is well paced and keeps the viewer on his or her toes: removing the supernatural element a third of the way through is a deft touch as it both unsettles the viewing experience and makes the entire narrative about ten times more disturbing... and then there's the inclusion of the brother which comes completely out of nowhere and is all the more enjoyable for it. Phil Sgriccia's direction is superb too, wonderfully methodical and meaning, and as is the score and cinematography which just delight in scaring the bejesus out of you with misplaced dissonant sounds and scatter shod lighting. The decision to film the kidnapped son's encounter with the somewhat psychopathic daughter in night vision is just sublime and the direction of this sequence in particular just knocks your socks off. The only drawback, unfortunately, is some of the casting. The father and daughter in particular are somewhat patchy in their performances - their delivery of certain lines of dialogue comes across a little clunky. The son's damn good though. In all, a good stand alone with only a couple of fairly minor quibbles.moreless
  • Definitely scary!

    This episode scared the crap out of me. I watched half of it hiding behind a book! The young girl is ridiculously creepy in and of herself, and then I didn't see her brother coming AT ALL!!! I about peed my pants when he showed up. The eating of the live rats was so nasty too! That said, scary doesn't always equal awesome. I thought it was a pretty solid episode, one that made the viewer consider what it is to be human and how monsters become monsters, but one that was also a distraction from the season's overarching mythology.

    I might watch it again, just because I think I missed quite a bit while hiding!moreless
  • Sam and Dean investigate a popssible haunting at a Nebraska farmhouse. There are complications when they find out that a new family has moved in.

    A bit off the beaten path for Supernatural. When all is said and done, the Winchester boys are dealing with a human, not the usual spirit.

    It all begins as Dean finds a new case to investigate. A man was murdered in a locked room and he figures there's a ghost to exorcise. They head off to the farmhouse in Nebraska and find evidence of spiritual activity. There's a complication, however, the house has been recently sold and the new family is moving in.

    Sam and Dean tell the new family that they are inspectors and head off to investigate further. They soon find out that the murdered man had a daughter who hanged herself years ago. They are puzzled to also find out that the remains were cremated. Meanwhile, the Carters are trying to adjust to their new home. They have had some tough times to endure and are ready for a fresh start. The boy finds a mysterious new friend to play with in his closet. Later that night, more strange things happen. The daughter also encounters the mysterious girl in the wall and rushes to tell her parents. Sam and Dean come back to the house and try to convince the family to leave. They agree, however, the car is incapacitated and they are stuck. They all retreat back into the house and Sam and Dean lay salt lines all over. Sam heads up to the attic where the dead girl committed suicide. She appears and walks right over the salt line Sam laid and attacks him. Sam realizes it's a human girl they are dealing with. She is driven away back into the walls by his flashlight.

    The boys have the mom and daughter board up in the shed outside while the men split up to look for the boy, Danny, who has gone missing. Dean and the uncle find their way into the walls where they find the girl's lair. The girl suddenly reappears and kills the uncle. Sam, Dean and Brain go back to the shed. Sam reads the diary he found in the attic and realizes the mysterious girl is the daughter of the woman who hanged herself in the attic and that they have the same father, the man who was killed in the locked room. Ick.

    Danny wakes up in the basement and the girl is eating a rat. Dean breaks through the dumbwaiter and finds his way to the basement. Danny says that "he" is coming back. There is also a brother. Meanwhile the girl attacks the shed. Dean blinds the brother with flashlight, retrieves his gun and kills the boy. Outside, the girl busts into the shed and then is promptly yanked out and stabbed.

    The next day, as the family packs up, they thank Sam and Dean for their help. They admit they still have problems but will work them out eventually. Afterwards, Dean confesses that he sympathizes with the boy and girl. Sam says that they were barely human and Dean was not like them when he was in Hell. Dean says he was worse because he wasn't defending himself, he actually enjoyed torturing all those poor souls. And no matter how many people he saved here on Earth he can never turn back the clock and save them.

    The final scene was the most pivotal of the episode. It showed how much Dean is haunted by his actions when he was in Hell as Alastair's apprentice.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Sam: You okay?
      Dean: You know, I felt for those sons of bitches back there. Lifetime of torture turns you into something like that.
      Sam: You were in Hell, Dean. Look, maybe you did what you did there, but you're not them. They were barely human.
      Dean: You're right. I wasn't like them…I was worse. They were animals Sam, defending territory. Me? I did it for the sheer pleasure.
      Sam: What?
      Dean: I enjoyed it Sam. They took me off the rack, and I tortured souls, and I liked it. All those years, all that pain, finally getting to deal some out yourself, I didn't care who they put in front of me. Because that… that pain I felt, it just slipped away. No matter how many people I save, I can't change that. I can't fill this hole, not ever.

    • Dean: Boy, three bedrooms, two baths, and one homicide. This place is going to sell like hotcakes.

    • Sam: It's probably a dumbwaiter. All these old houses had them.
      Dean: Know-it-all.
      Sam: What?
      Dean: What?
      Sam: You said…
      Dean: What?
      Sam: Never mind.

    • Mrs. Curry: I already told the local boys, there was blood… everywhere.
      Dean: And Mr. Gibson, where was he?
      Mrs. Curry: Everywhere.

    • Dean: What kind of ghost messes with a man's wheels?!?

    • Dean: Dog: it's what's for dinner.

    • Susan: Well, where's Ted?
      Dean: He's outside.
      Susan: Well, why doesn't he come inside?
      Dean: Because I had to carry him out.

    • (seeing the family in the haunted house)
      Dean: Crap! So, what now?
      Sam: We could tell them the truth.
      Dean: Really?
      Sam: No, not really.

  • NOTES (1)

    • International Airdates:
      Denmark: February 22, 2009 on TV3
      UK: March 29, 2009 on ITV2
      Australia: May 18, 2009 on Channel Ten
      Sweden: May 24, 2009 on Kanal 5
      Norway: June 4, 2009 on FEM
      Portugal: July 6, 2009, on AXN
      Spain: November 9, 2009 on AXN
      Germany: January 4, 2010 on Sky Cinema Hits
      Poland: April 23, 2010 on TVN7
      New Zealand: April 28, 2010 on TV2
      Czech Republic: July 23, 2010 on Prima COOL
      Finland: June 21, 2011 on Sub
      Slovakia: March 28, 2013 on Markiza


    • Aliases: The brothers' detective names "Babar" and "Stanwyk" come from the Chevy Chase movie, Fletch. Stanwyk was the character played by Tim Matheson. Babar was one of Fletch's aliases.

    • Dean: Aw, we can sleep when we're dead.
      Referring to the Bon Jovi single released in 1993 entitled I'll Sleep When I'm Dead off of their '92 album Keep the Faith.

    • Dean: Well, story ripped from the Austrian headline.
      This is a reference to the Fritzl case in Austria, where Elisebeth Fritzl was raped, physically abused and held prisoner by her father Josef for 24 years. She was held in the small, windowless and soundproof cellar. She gave birth to 7 children while being a captive. One died three days after birth, three stayed with their mother in the cellar and three were raised by their father and his wife in the upstairs home. The former captives are extremely pale and cannot endure natural light.

    • Dean: Geez, rent Juno, get over it.
      Referencing the 2007 movie starring Ellen Page as Juno MacGuff, a teenager dealing with an unplanned pregnancy and having to choose between adoption and abortion. The movie won one Oscar and received other three nominations.

    • Ted: Hey, Fonzie.
      Referencing the 50s greaser character Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli, played by Henry Winkler, who appeared on Happy Days (1974-84). The character proved a surprising breakout role and was soon heavily featured and promoted, and immortalized the phrase "Aaay!" while giving two thumbs up.

    • Ted: It's just some backwoods hillbilly b*tch and I'm not about sit around here waiting for her to go all Deliverance on my ass.
      Referencing the 1972 movie starring Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ronny Cox, and Ned Beatty, based on the novel by James Dicky. The four city men go canoeing and end up at the mercy of backwoods hillbillies.

    • Kate: I just got molested by Casper the pervy ghost, that's what happened!
      A reference to the animated character Casper The Friendly Ghost. Casper was first developed as a series of theatrical shorts. Casper later appeared in comic books, a few television series, and finally a full-length theatrical movie.

    • Danny: Like Scooby-Doo?
      Referencing the Hanna-Barbera star Scooby-Doo, the canine star of several animated series who's teamed with the gang of Mystery Inc. in solving various cases involving ghosts and monsters.

    • Dean: That's psycho Nell!
      Nell is the character from a movie of the same name (1994, starring Jodie Foster) where she is raised in isolation in the remote backwoods of North Carolina. When her mother finally dies, Nell must confront the outside world.