Basic Plot: Dean is close to death after a hunt but gets healed by a Reaper, who is bound by a faith healer, which causes other innocent people to die.
Spoiler: The faith healer’s wife, Sue Ann, is the character who has the Reaper bound.
Season Context: Sam and Dean are looking for their father.
Writer: Sera Gamble & Raelle Tucker Director: Allan Kroeker (one off director)
Air Date: Jan 17th 2006 No. of Deaths: 3
Safe for Children: Probably not Monster: Reaper
Warning: Slightly tense, very morbid, a lot of Sam and Dean moments
Favourite Song Featured: (Don’t Fear) The Reaper by Blue Őyster Cult
Interesting Fact: The nurse at the hospital where Dean is taken to is played by Erica Carroll who currently plays the Angel Hannah on the show.
Favourite Line: “Well…I’m not much of the praying type,
but…I’m gonna pray for you.” – Dean to Layla Rating: 7/10
Sam’s Journey: Sam watches his brother deteriorate after his heart attack and tries absolutely everything to save his life, even if that means finding a fake miracle.
Dean’s Journey: Dean accepts death and, after being unconvinced that he was healed by God, strives to find out the truth.
Criticism: This episode marks the first appearance of a Reaper but the established laws and rules are completely ignored and disregarded in later appearances. For example, their appearance is changed and the ability that this Reaper can stop time is never seen again.
Favourite Prop: Dean’s Taser Favourite Guest Character: Layla Rourke
Favourite Scene: Sam and Dean in the hospital
Series creator Eric Kripke revealed that “Faith” was his favourite episode of Supernatural saying…
“It’s when I first realized what the show was capable of. Here’s this episode about: Is there a god? What’s meant to be? And is there free will? And is your life worth the cost of someone else’s life? It’s a metaphysical and moral study of the boys’ universe. There’s so many different places the show can go and so many tones. That’s been really fun to do.”
This episode really stood out for me the first time around, mostly due to the lovely relationship between Sam and Dean, but re-watching it has made me realise that there is so many great messages and interesting characters within it as well.
Dean, in particular, shows so much courage and strength in this episode when, learning of his near death, he tries to keep things light-hearted and jokey for his brother’s sake. When he is healed he demonstrates even more wisdom as he “knows what evil does to good people” and therefore won’t accept that it was a miracle, but rather that something dark and evil is going on. He proves to be right and, realising that an innocent man is dead because of him, he starts to feel guilty even though he couldn’t have possibly known what the consequences were.
Dean’s character is really delved into even further due to his interaction with Layla, a local woman who had been hoping to be healed of her inoperable brain tumor. They both feel sympathy and care for each other and the audience can see clearly that Dean feels responsible for her. Layla really develops Dean and, at the end of the episode, we know that she’s made an impact on him when he tells her that he will pray for her despite being extremely non-religious and skeptical. Then there’s the obvious “Why me?” thing that Dean always seems to carry with him that follows right though the entire series…
Despite the episode being very Dean centric, Sam’s character is also opened up a little to show his utter determination to save his brother no matter what. Sam seems to believe that there is “good out there too” in contrast to Dean, and easily accepts that, just maybe, God wants him and his brother to carry on doing what they’re doing. Analysing deeper, you could say that Sam is right about this as we learn later on in Season 4 that the Angels do want Sam and Dean to keep fighting, in order to forfill their destinies in the apocalypse.
Obviously the messages of this story are very high concept. It plays with the idea of playing God, cheating death and I also noticed the slight theme of being forced in one way or another to do something that may be immoral. Sue Ann is described as being “desperate” by Dean which is the reason why she binds the Reaper to stop it from killing her husband. Sam is similarly desperate to save Dean, Dean gets passionately motivated to find out the real reason why he is alive and Layla is forced by her own hope and faith, and by trusting her mother, to try and get healed by Roy despite Dean honestly telling her that something bad will happen if he heals her. Additionally, Roy seems to be a victim in all of this as he doesn’t know anything about the black magic that his wife uses to save him and kill other people. He is then subsequently forced by his faith and inner responsibility to help save people’s lives.
You can see that, near the end of the episode, Dean is rethinking things due to Layla completely deserving but not being healed. Again, it’s another character being forced by their inner principles, in this case, to walk away from the situation. Dean says that he’s not sure if they’ve done the right thing, to which Sam reminds him “You said it yourself: you can’t play God.”
I have to talk about the funniest moment in this episode (which I didn’t even notice on the first watch) which is when a protester, claiming that the faith healer is a fraud, gets chased by the Reaper. After Sam saves his life, the instant reaction of this complete non-believer is “Thank God!”.