Season 4 Episode 19

Jump the Shark

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Apr 23, 2009 on The CW
out of 10
User Rating
729 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Sam and Dean are on a hunting trip when they receive a call from an Adam Milligan, who is trying to find John Winchester. They discover that Adam was conceived 19 years ago when his mother fell in love with John Winchester.

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  • This was really a substandard outing for the Winchester boys, in fact it might be the worst. Which is really disappointing considering the overall quality of season four.

    I'm quite baffled as to how so many people have rated it so high. Sam and Dean seemed to be very out of character, the plot lacked tension and made irrational leaps, and the writers seemed to ignore the giant plot hole the episode fell into near the end. I have a pretty stout sense of suspension of disbelief but it was out of line for the writers to expect the audience to believe that after an entire season of Sam honing his demonic skills he'd just lie there and let himself get cut on by the lamest baddies of the series to date. I hope the creators and production team seriously rethink giving these two writers another episode. After an entire season of building intensity and pace this episode really sucked a lot of the momentum out of the plot. While the episode didn't jump the shark for the season it sure as hell flopped as a stand alone story.moreless
  • The long lost Winchester

    This was a tragic episode. The main premise, of course, being the long lost half-brother of Sam and Dean. This not only impacted them on the level of how to deal with a new sibling, but also made them face yet more startling revelations about John. This was one of those eps that could be considered filler yet not. Because while it did not focus on any of the main arc for the current season, it did bring more insight to overall mythology of the series regarding the boys' father and family history, which has always been an important component of the show.

    Obviously, we are privy to meet the long lost half-bro of Sam and Dean: Adam. And foot note here, I thought this name for him was pretty interesting given the whole religious tone of the season with the angels and all. But aside from that, while the brothers get to meet their, well, "new" brother, we also get some old fashioned Sam and Dean in the mix of the ep here. Meaning, Sam being the one ready to welcome Adam into their midst, while Dean is the ever-so-reluctant one ready to douse the poor boy with holy water and use silver to repel him, thinking this is once again a demonic trick. And actually, Dean was right. At first......

    Hence our ghost story for the week. Eww! Ghouls! We've seen so many rarely-heard-of creatures and spirits before on the series (rakshasa, shtriga, to name a couple), but this ep introduced ghouls - simple, popular, everyday kinda things - and still managed to turn it into something frightening. And nasty! The ghouls portrayed here were scavengers, feasting on human flesh and blood and, according to Sam, evidently rank way low on the spook chain of the supernatural order. They take the form of the dead, as evidenced by Adam and his mother coming to prey upon Sam. So Adam had been dead the whole time, the tragic thing being that the bros never got a chance to meet the real him.

    And as tearfully sad as that is, in some ways this is not a bad thing. First, it removes the stigma of having an "extra" Winchester in the mix that, by all counts, right now is not really needed. Which leads me to my second reasoning: Sam and Dean have enough on their plates for themselves - actually, TOO much - without having to worry about yet another family member in peril. Sam said it all when he was talking to Dean: "He's a Winchester. He's already cursed". Therefore, Dean was right when they burned Adam's body at the end by saying he was in a better place. I mean, the boys know and live the horrors of what they do and by what Dean meant was that Adam would be better off not being subjected to the evils the bros face every day. But that's the beauty of the twisted irony of the events that happened here: Adam was already subjected to it by being killed by the ghouls in the first place, and Dean and Sam were ultimately too late to save him, making the sitch all the more tragic. God, I love it! I really would've enjoyed seeing more of Adam, believe it or not, but like I just said, right now it's just not needed.

    Even more tragic were Dean's reactions to Adam's existence. He realizes that Adam had more of a normal life with John than he or Sam ever had. Did you see his reaction to the fact that John had taken Adam to a baseball game? How absolutely sad was that? There were obviously some very strong hints of jealousy from Dean here over Adam's privileged "normal" life, and I gotta say who can blame him? Still, it was an interesting dynamic between Dean and Sam over Adam's life. Sam was ready to accept Adam as their brother whereas Dean was reluctant at first, and it even went as far as Sam mentioning calling in a favor with Castiel to bring Adam back to life, but it was ultimately Dean who did right by letting him stay dead, keeping him out of harm's way. If they had given in and somehow brought Adam back, then it would've gone against everything they stand for, really. How many times have these boys played the martyrs, not only for themselves but for each other, and then bearing the consequences after the fact? Dean realizes they can't do that any longer so he conveniently - and smartly - does the right thing this time.

    Dean makes the remark at the end that he gets why Sam and John are so much alike, practically the same person. He's not wrong. What I got from this was how ready Sam also was to intro Adam to the world of demon hunting, and even giving him the 411 on if he's got any connections to the normal world (friends, girlfriends, etc.) that he is to cut them off, to stay detached if he wants to pursue this. Looking back, John did the exact same thing to Dean and Sam. However, in Sam's case he obviously rebelled and took off, but after everything he's been through he does a complete 180 and becomes his father. Adam simply wanted revenge for his mother's disappearance. Who said he was ready to stay in the fight for good? But Sam utilizes John's psychology here that it is never over, that it is a life, you're in it for the long haul, kiddo. And I believe that this is what Dean meant about Sam and John being so much alike. But also let's not forget that John has shown signs of wanting normal things, too. As evidenced in season 1's 'Salvation', John told his boys that he wanted normal things for them too. And because John mostly started just wanting revenge for Mary's murder, it ultimately became a lifestyle to him. So it's no wonder that Dean breaks the cycle here, because he realizes what this was headed for.

    As for John, well....what can I say? Yet another shocker from him. Yet actually, it does make sense. I mean, Sam was right here: John most likely got lonely out on the hunt, met a woman, and...well, now we know the rest. So in that respect it's understandable. But still, it had to be a huge slap in the face with this realization, especially given the fact that while poor Sam and Dean were somehow fending for themselves John was having these special father/son moments with Adam elsewehere. The only logical reason I can think of why he never told Dean and Sam is the fact that perhaps John felt there was at least one child of his that he could keep from this lifestyle, thereby subjecting him to Sam and Dean would somehow be a bad influence. John, sweetie, I love you dearly, but sometimes you could be such an ass! Bits and Pieces:

    - It's so nice to see the boys doing ordinary things in the middle of their hunts. Sam brushing his teeth on the side of the road was just cool to me.

    - It's also cool to see they still retain their brotherly ways, like playing "Rock, paper, scissors" again.

    - One thing that did add a tad of current continuity was when the ghoul of Adam's mom commented on Sam's blood tasting different.

    This ep is definitely a perfect 10. Like I said, it was tragic. Next ep looks like we get a closer exam on Castiel. I'm really looking forward to that one.moreless
  • This episodes tells us a lot

    Unlike many I loved the episode.

    I think it tells us a lot about Sam and Dean and finally John seemed like a real person that had a real life (just like his boys), women included.

    John never wanted this life for his boys and when he was provided a third change, he took it and had Adam live a normal life. Unfortunally, he was wrong about not training his youngest son. When Sam and Dean meet monsters they are able to deal with them, Adam wasn't and so he got killed painfully. Poor guy!

    We also see that Sam has become more like his Dad. He now sees that the best way of keeping someone save is to teach him how to take care of himself. Dean on the other hand doesn't get this until the end of the episode. We also get to know that Sam's tired of being the youngest. He knows a lot and wants to share his knowledge. While Dean doesn't want anyone to be cursed with this life, Sam is eager to get some help, to pass on the legacy.

    Jeolousy turns into pity. Sam and Dean may never have had Adam's life but they are still alive because of what their Dad taught them.moreless
  • Or 'the episode that had Supernatural fans crapping themselves in the fear that their show would be forever ruined'.

    Or 'the episode that had Supernatural fans crapping themselves in the fear that their show would be forever ruined'. I guess 'Jump the Shark' was a snappier title. It's fitting, of course, that Dabb and Loflin choose to name their second episode of the season after the phrase given to the moment that a television show abandons its credibility and is no longer as good as it was, since it shows an awareness of the danger inherent in what they're doing here. The inclusion of a third Winchester brother veers dangerously close to the lamentable concept of 'retcon', re-writing the mythology of the show to suit a desired narrative twist (in most cases, something that acts as a last ditch effort to pump shock and surprise into a show), and when poorly handled, it spells disaster for everyone. Thankfully, this highly talented writing duo, who have an excellent handle on the motivations of the Winchester brothers (something that was a stand-out characteristic of their earlier episode, 'After School Special'), avoid this problem by handling the issue delicately and logically, presenting the viewer with something that is completely believable and ties in well with the history already established within the show. Another brother does not denigrate John Winchester's character in any way as he was without a partner, and his reasons for not informing his other boys are painfully obvious. It's a deft touch to have Adam Milligan be unaware of the concept of 'hunting', to show another side to John, a side that is able to be a standard dad and shows a considerable amount of compassion, given that he clearly wanted to spare the kid from the life that the rest of his family has had to lead. This, in turn, leads to some fantastic emotional interplay between Sam and Dean as they grapple with how to deal with their new brother and Jensen and Jared both rise to the occasion yet again. It's almost a shame that Milligan is written out of the show so fleetingly. I understand that this is the most sensible course of action, since the disturbance of the central storytelling structure is what cripples so many shows (two's company, three's a crowd... I'm talking to you, Scooby Doo - Scrappy?! Please!), and that this is executed in the best way possible by incorporating the kid into the supernatural element of the hour, but there's a whole wealth of possibility that is lost by laying him to waste. Plus, Jake Abel does an excellent job of displaying shades of Winchester determination, allowing you to believe him as the brother, while also making the character considerably different to Sam and Dean. And he's rather hot. Still, credit to Dabb and Loflin for surprising us all here: the knee-jerk critics bemoaned the transformation of a two into a three and they are proved wrong. The level-headed determined that, given the episode's title and the show's track record, this would turn out not to be a third Winchester brother and that things would be okay and *they* are proved wrong. Adam Milligan exists, he lived, he is a reality for Sam and Dean. And in that, the writing staff give us the best possible outcome of this most dangerous of plot devices.moreless
  • well how can put this, it was sad. really horrific.

    I absolutely hate this episode because well there brother dies and that is just not cool. the whole time, i was clinging to the couch chanting, "God please dont let Adam die." I Cant Believe They Wrote Him Out!. its really cool though the fact that they wrote in that character. am sad he died so soon. woow that demon sure did murder him, it was too brutal and omg what they were doing to sam was beyond words. I know sam is crazy but those demons were crazier. I just wish there was a way they could have kept the character around a little bit longer. OMG it was sad. I am seriously cryig justwriting about it.moreless
Dedee Pfeiffer

Dedee Pfeiffer

Kate Milligan

Guest Star

Heather Feeney

Heather Feeney

Lisa Barton

Guest Star

Michael Puttnam

Michael Puttnam

Cemetary Director

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • At the very beginning of the episode we see Sam brushing his teeth. However, when he talks to Dean there is no sign of toothpaste in or around his mouth at all.

    • It's never made clear why the ghouls take so long to kill Sam. They have several opportunities throughout the episode when he's essentially alone and they can dispose of him when Dean is nowhere nearby, but instead they leave him alone.

    • When the female bartender pours Dean the beer and sits the glass in front of him, the amount of head and the level of beer in the glass changes dramatically from one shot to the next before he even takes his first sip.

  • QUOTES (5)

  • NOTES (4)

    • Music: A Little Bitty Tear (Burl Ives)

    • Injoke: The motel Sam and Dean was staying at was called Kelsey Manor, in honor of the late Kim Manners who directed many episodes of Supernatural. The photo on the hotel card, although it's supposedly "Sonny Buono," is actually of Manners, who looks a bit like Sonny Bono.

    • Injokes:
      * The Winchesters meet Adam at the Cousin Oliver's Diner, a reference to another "jump the shark" character, Oliver from The Brady Bunch.
      * As the guys eat at the diner, a "31st Annual Fonzarelli Skiing Championship" poster can be seen in the background, referring to the 1977 episode of Happy Days when Fonzie on water skis jumped a shark, leading to the establishment of the term.
      * In the hotel room there's an advertisement for the Sonny Bono Lounge, referring to the jump the shark moment when he left Cher and tried a solo career.

    • International Airdates:
      UK: May 31, 2009 on ITV2
      Denmark: June 7, 2009 on TV3
      Australia: July 13, 2009 on Channel TEN
      Norway: July 30, 2009 on FEM
      Portugal: August 31, 2009 on AXN
      Sweden: October 18, 2009 on Kanal 5
      Spain: January 11, 2010 on AXN
      Germany: February 1, 2010 on Sky Cinema Hits
      Poland: June 18, 2010 on TVN7
      New Zealand: June 23, 2010 on TV2
      Czech Republic: September 17, 2010 on Prima COOL
      Finland: August 16, 2011 on Sub
      Slovakia: April 9, 2013 on Markiza


    • Title:
      The term Jump the Shark is a colloquial term that refers to the point when a TV show has gone past its peak and has resorted to stunt programming, such as introducing a younger sibling.

    • Cemetery Director: Tell me, Agent Nugent, have you thought about where you might like to spend eternity?
      Referring to Ted Nugent. Theodore Anthony "Ted" Nugent is an American hard rock guitarist and vocalist from Detroit, Michigan.