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Whether you love John or love to hate him, his actions in "Something Wicked" are a fun topic of discussion and the source of many questions. Where were Sam and Dean while John was hunting? Why didn't he contact them or see them regularly over the weekend? Was John aware that the Shtriga was a potential threat to Sam and Dean? This purpose of this Meta is not to discuss whether or not John was a good father but to answer these three questions.

Most of this analysis is dependent on Dean's memories and how much of his memories can we take as fact. Unlike Sam who has a long term resentment of his father that probably dates back to the events in "A Very Supernatural Christmas." Dean in "Something Wicked" still recalls and relates to his father with a child's awe. It is more likely therefore that if there are any exaggerations in Dean's memory, they will show John in a more positive light and any transgressions by Dean in a more negative way.

So where are Sam and Dean while John hunts the Shtriga? Dean says to Sam that “Dad hunted one in Fort Douglas Wisconsin about 16, 17 years ago.” And later in the episode Sam confirms that indeed Dean’s memory is correct “I started with Fort Douglas about the same time you said that Dad was there.” And though none of this is absolute proof that Sam and Dean were in Fort Douglas, there are other indicators that suggest this is probably the case. First when we see Dean looking at his father’s research material on the case there is no mention of Fort Douglas, nor does his father mention where he is going when talking to Dean so Dean got the information in another manner, either a map or a town limits sign or even from the Hotel. In additions, Dean follows up his comments to Sam about when Dad hunted the Shtriga with: “You were there, you don’t remember?” Now we know that Sammy doesn’t even know about the hunting until about 3 years later so the most likely way that Sam would remember Fort Douglas is if he were actually there. Finally there is Dean’s recounting of that night of the Shtriga attack in which he indicates again that he and Sam were in a motel in Fort Douglas. This seem rather conclusive evidence that Sam and Dean were actually in Fort Douglas when the Shtriga was active.

Now that I have established that the boys are most likely in Fort Douglas, this still doesn’t mean that they were in harm’s way. If Fort Douglas was a large city then the boys may actually have been safely away from the killing zone. However from the list Sam rattles off, Ogdenville, North Haverbrook, Brockway and Black Falls, the Shtriga seems to prefer small towns that may not have as many resources to bring into an investigation. A hospital whose function is more focused on normal medical procedures like pregnancy, tonsillitis, appendicitis, gall bladders etc is not going to have the type of labs that could provide in depth analysis of the children’s sickness. All specialized tests would have to half to be sent out to larger facilities and the Shtriga as one of the doctors in charge could certainly control the flow of information. Taking this a step further and looking at the Super-Wiki Map of Fictional Locations it can be determined that Fort Douglass is supposedly located in Wisconsin East of Wausau , between Antigo (9K people 6sq miles) and Wittenberg (2K people 2sq miles) on Route 45 near Birnamwood (700 people in 2.2 sq miles) and Eland (250 people in 2sq miles) if not actually on top of them. This suggests that Fort Douglas is a very small town probably not as small as the nearby Elan, Hatley or Aniwa, each with their populations under 300. That seems far to small to successfully feed and hide a Shtriga who, as per Sam it normally effects “dozens of kids”. Such small towns probably don't have more than a clinic or town doctor. This would mean that the Shtriga probably would not have access to all the children in a centralized location like a hospital in those communities. This would make large communities more appealing and therefore I suspect Fort Douglas was at least as big as Wittenberg and possibly as big as Antigo. However, six square miles isn't much to travel if you can take a direct rougt and fly: which is very likely possibility as he Shtriga is shown in several pictures in Sam’s research as having wings. In addition we know the Shtriga can reach 2nd floor windows with ease. So I my opinion this information suggests that Sam and Dean were indeed the killing zone.

The next question to be answered is why was John gone and out of contact until Sunday. I think the answer to this question is a simple one, John must stake-out either the Shtriga or a potential victim to kill it. We know by the time John is giving Dean his instructions that he has pictures of the Shtriga’s hand print, he knows the type of creature he is hunting, and he knows what needs to be done to kill it. If he is at least as good as Sam and Dean, he knows that it prefers to attack children and siblings and that a local doctor is really the Shtriga. In fact I suspect that like the information on the Azazel, John is still carrying the information about the Shtriga with him rather than leaving it in his journal, eyes sharp for any sign of its return, which is probably how he knew to direct Sam and Dean to Fitchberg even before the news of the illness hit the papers. Unfortunately, all his information while useful for identifying the creature doesn’t help him kill it. So he needs to wait. until he can catch it feeding and that means the stake out. Stake-outs are only successful if you keep round the clock coverage on the suspect or potential feeding ground, if you leave you might never have another opportunity.. Even calling his sons could put his stakeout in jeopardy. Making a call 1987 would not be as easy as it is today, cell phones first became available commercially in 1982, but deployment opportunities and handset volumes were limited by FCC regulations until 1987, the odds of John having a cell phone were slim and the odds of coverage in a small town like Fort Douglas Wisconsin was ‘nil. So calling to check in on his boys meant leaving the stake-out to a pay phone or borrowing someone’s home phone. Consequently even if John was only blocks away communication and checking up on his family had to be minimal if he had any hope of catching the Shtriga.

Finally, did John know there was potential danger to his family? I believe so. He certainly knew about the Shtriga and there are other indicators as well. First his instructions to Dean seem to have changed in the 3 years between "Something Wicked" and "A Very Merry Christmas." Had his instructions stayed the same Dean, having made the mistake of leaving Sammy alone once would never have gone out and left Sam alone again as he did twice during "A Very Merry Christmas". That Sam and Dean were three years older does not make them less vulnerable to attack, 11 and 7 year olds disappear with terrifying ease all the time.. This suggests that there was something special about Fort Douglas, something which made John take extra precautions each time he left the boys alone Another indicator is Dean saying to Sam “No that’s not right she’s vulnerable when she feeds. If you catch her when she is feeding you can blast her with consecrated wrought iron, buckshot or rounds…..Dad told me, I remember…” The fact that John told Dean this information plus the fact we see John leaving Dean with a sawed off shot gun suggests that he was preparing for any eventuality even the chance that the Shtriga might find his children a tempting, meal.

In summation, I believe that the evidence points to Sam and Dean being well within the Shtriga’s hunting grounds and that John was aware there was a danger. John’s reasons and reasoning behind his actions, I will leave up to the fans.



( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 20th, 2008 05:12 am (UTC)
very interesting! thx!
May. 21st, 2008 04:15 am (UTC)
Glad you liked it

May. 20th, 2008 10:09 pm (UTC)
And then you have to add in John's rather sudden appearance. Was he tailing the Striga and that's how he got there so fast, or was he watching the building and using the boys as bait like they did with Michael?
May. 21st, 2008 04:21 am (UTC)
I thought about including some speculation on that topic, but there really is no evidence of any type to prove or support either view point and I like to tie in evidence where ever I can. Must be my background.

May. 22nd, 2008 02:33 am (UTC)
You make a good case, and that's a good point about the difference in Sam being alone between the two episodes.
May. 25th, 2008 10:40 pm (UTC)
Thanks - glad you enjoyed

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )