All The Supernatural Easters Eggs In The Winchesters Pilot

Falling in love while hunting demons is certainly an odd way to start a relationship, but what else would we expect from "The Winchesters"?

A prequel series to the 15-season behemoth that is "Supernatural," the new CW series sees Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) returning to our screens to narrate the story of how his parents met, fell in love, and fought monsters while hunting down the truth about their missing fathers. Before tragedy finds Mary Campbell (Meg Donnelly) ablaze on a nursery ceiling, she's just a young monster hunter who happens to cross paths with John Winchester (Drake Rodger), a soldier who has no idea that he comes from a long line of supernatural scholars. While Dean begins and ends the episode by setting the stage, Mary and John are the duo at the center of this story.

Ultimately, the table setting is minimal: "The Winchesters" invites old fans to return to the world of supernatural creatures but also makes plenty of room for new folks to drop in and learn everything they need to become obsessed with the world of hunters. But that doesn't mean that the show is without callbacks to the original series — after all, the prequel is the brainchild of three "Supernatural" alums: Jensen Ackles himself, Daneel Ackles (his wife and producing partner), and Robbie Thompson, the writer behind many "Supernatural" high points. Between them, they've made sure to pack the pilot with lots of winks and references that fans of the series will appreciate — and we've made sure to spotlight the best easter eggs in the bunch.

'Dad's on a hunting trip, and he hasn't been home in a few days...'

Based on some early revelations in this pilot, the Winchester-Campbell clan has an alarming track record when it comes to absentee fathers. Much like their sons began their journey in the debut episode of "Supernatural," John and Mary cross paths because they are both searching for their missing dads. Trauma-bonding over daddy issues is an ironic start to this love story, especially for John Winchester who will go on to be the reason for 327 episodes of childhood PTSD. But the pilot of "The Winchesters" is working overtime to let us know that he's not the guy — at least not yet.

Newly returned from the Vietnam War (which he forged a signature to enlist in on his own) John is searching for purpose and decides to track down answers about his father, Henry, who disappeared when he was five. "Supernatural" alums will remember that the truth of the matter was uncovered in the original series' eighth season, when the brothers saw their grandfather murdered by a demon. But John has no idea what he's delving into when he stumbles into the world of the supernatural. Lucky for him, he crosses paths with Mary before a demon can kill him, and together, they decide to track down some truth with the rest of their teenage hunter Scooby gang.

A movie theater meet-cute

The first version of John and Mary's love story came from the lips of Dean Winchester himself, who repeated the story he grew up hearing: Mary and John met after bumping into one another at a screening of "Slaughterhouse-Five." Embarrassed about knocking him down, Mary offered to buy John a cup of coffee. Together they went to a diner, exchanged numbers, and the rest is history. Or so we thought.

"The Winchesters" reveals that while the highlights were right, the details are a bit fuzzy. Mary and John do bump into each other outside of the theater, but neither of them has seen the movie. Mary just popped into the cinema for some stakeout snacks and John's newly arrived back in town, right off the bus from his time serving abroad. It's a charged but brief encounter — there's no exchanging of numbers, Mary simply leaves him with a snack and walks away. The coffee date comes much later. 

After fighting a demon together and revealing the truth of the supernatural to John, Mary rejects the offer to befriend him and leaves John standing outside the theater, with the marquee reading "Slaughterhouse-Five." The next day, John surprises her with coffee and doubles down on his interest in her mission.


So what's the deal with "Slaughterhouse-Five"? Besides playing a tiny role in the John and Mary meet-cute, the Kurt Vonnegut novel also gets a few other mentions throughout the course of "Supernatural." Most notably, we get hints that Dean is a big fan of the author. 

"Slaughterhouse-Five" in particular is a fitting read for a man so obsessed with free will and plagued by PTSD: it's an account of soldier Billy Pilgrim's experience of the bombardment of Dresden as a prisoner of the Germans and also recounts his travels to the planet Tralfamadore. It's a good thematic fit not just for Dean but for the John Winchester that we meet in this episode. He's so haunted by his experiences abroad that upon learning about the supernatural, he reasons that an actual ghost is haunting him. An EMF reader says otherwise, making it clear to at least the audience that John will need some time to reckon with the trauma he hardly realizes he's experiencing. 

I wonder if actually heading into that theater to catch the movie would make things better or worse...

Licorice: the superior movie snack

Speaking of the movie theater, Mary and John have more in common with their future son than chasing down a missing father or two: they also have very similar tastes in snacks. 

As Mary notes, good snacks are very important. How is a hunter supposed to get the job done if they haven't had a balanced diet of, uh ... pie and movie theater candy? When she barrels into John outside the cinema, Mary drops said snacks, including the licorice drops that John is so thrilled to see.

Licorice isn't for everyone, but evidently, John and Mary share a fondness for the chewy treat, as does Dean himself. You might remember the delightful exchange from the seventh season of "Supernatural" where Dean called licorice "little chewy pieces of heaven" only to be ridiculed by Sam for his terrible taste in candy. It's an acquired taste, and evidently, one that only Dean has picked up from his parents.

The monster under my bed

Upon discovering the truth about his father's past as a member of the Men of Letters, John reminisces about how Henry used to respond when young John worried about monsters under his bed: "Don't worry son, I know how to trap it." It's a sweet memory and a wink at the fact that John will later be a parent who knows a thing or two about handling the monsters that threaten his family's lives. Except the whole thing becomes a lot less sweet when you remember that Sam Winchester indicates a very similar memory in the pilot episode of "Supernatural" that paints a horrifying image of the father John will later become.

Sam: "When I told Dad I was scared of the thing in my closet, he gave me a .45."

Dean: "Well, what was he supposed to do?"

Sam: "I was nine years old! He was supposed to say, don't be afraid of the dark."

Dean: "Don't be afraid of the dark? Are you kidding me? Of course you should be afraid of the dark. You know what's out there."

The John that we meet has the temperament of a golden retriever. He's a long way from becoming the drill sergeant that trains Sam and Dean to hunt, but it's still heartbreaking to think about where he ends up after becoming entrenched in the supernatural.

Holy water squirt gun

There are many reasons that Carlos Cervantez (Jojo Fleites) is the MVP of "The Winchesters" pilot, but chief among them is the way he enters the story. I'm not talking about his stylish flair or even the way he hits a demon with his van. I'm talking about the fact that he takes one look at the black-eyed creature, sizes it up, and then whips out the cleverest weapon a hunter has ever conceived: a squirt gun full of holy water.

Holy water in the face is one of the funniest running gags in "Supernatural." There's no faster way to tell if someone is a demon than to splash some blessed H2O in their face and see if it burns. Many cases see the Winchester brothers splashing each other, strangers, or fellow hunters just to do a quick check. But it also works as a handy weapon. Splashing some on a demon will burn and distract them for a bit but usually, the boys just have a small bottle of the stuff so it's no more than a quick distraction.

Carlos, the genius he is, loads the water into a kid's toy and makes himself a fierce opponent for the unholy. In addition to being a hilarious twist on the holy water gag, it's the same clever thinking we saw in fan-favorite "Supernatural" character Kevin Tran (Osric Chau), an extremely paranoid prophet who once whipped out a squirt gun against two Sam and Dean lookalikes who turned out to be demons.

Saving people, hunting things

Saving people and hunting things is the Winchester family business, in more ways than they ever really realize. On both Mary and John's sides of the family, killing the things that go bump in the night is part of the family legacy, and though Mary is ready to leave it all behind, John embraces this new future for himself. 

Speaking those infamous words aloud to his concerned mother, he explains, "I was born to do this." He may not know too much about what he's getting into, but he's been looking for a purpose and this world seems to be calling to him. True as those words may be, they also hint at the tragedy that awaits: time and time again, doing this job is exactly what gets this family killed.

Driver picks the music

"Driver picks the music, shotgun shuts his cakehole." Those are the "Supernatural" house rules as explained by Dean Winchester in the series pilot, and nearly two decades later, they remain true. 

Music has always been an essential part of the "Supernatural" DNA, largely showcased through Dean himself and his penchant for classic rock. Thanks to series creator Eric Kripke, he kept the soundtrack going with everything from Led Zeppelin to Metallica. 

Well, now those same rules apply: Dean is once again in the driver's seat, literally and metaphorically. "There's gonna be some surprises," he tells us at the episode's end. "Hell, I'm still trying to find all the puzzle pieces myself. But I'll explain everything. And until then, I'll keep picking the music." Not only do we have the promise of a great soundtrack chosen by Dean, but we also know that this story itself is guided by Mary and John's son.

Bits and pieces

"Soldier Boy" — Is this an easter egg or just a coincidence? Immediately upon meeting John, Mary takes a quick look at his uniform and gives him the adorable nickname, "Solider Boy." This also happens to be the name of Jensen Ackles' character from his season 3 stint on "The Boys," where he plays a vintage '40s superhero with a bad attitude, a crass sense of humor, and a tendency to commit multiple murders at once.

The palm slice — Naturally, we can't make it through three minutes of a "Supernatural" spinoff without having to watch someone slice their entire palm open for reasons that are beyond understanding. The mysterious man who tracks down the Akrida (presumably Mary's father) only needs a smidge of blood to draw a single rune. But instead of pricking a finger or nicking a random spot on his arm, he slices his entire palm open much like Sam and Dean made a habit of doing. What a lunatic. No wonder he drops his flashlight a couple of seconds later — how can he hold anything with his palm bleeding out?!

Lawrence, Kansas — John and Mary cross paths in Lawrence, Kansas. As Dean says at the top of this episode, this is the very beginning of the story; once upon a time, Lawrence was also meant to be the place where everything ends. The season 5 finale "Swan Song" sees the brothers returning to Lawrence, the place where their family began, for the final confrontation between the archangels Lucifer and Michael. This marked the end of the story that Eric Kripke originally conceived, but the story ended up continuing for a whole other decade.