aka, the evils of humanity exposed. Lies, deception, hiding the truth.
SAM: Wait, you came all the way out here for this Elkins guy?
JOHN: Yeah. He was… he was a good man. He taught me a hell of a lot about hunting.
SAM: Well you never mentioned him to us.
JOHN: We had a… we had kind of a falling out. I hadn’t seen him in years. (gesturing to the envelope) I should look at that. (He opens it) ‘If you’re reading this, I’m already dead’… that son of a bitch.
DEAN: What is it?
JOHN: He had it the whole time.
SAM: Dad, what?
JOHN: When you searched the place, did you, did you see a gun? An antique, a Colt revolver, did you see it?
DEAN: Ah, there was, there was an old case but it was empty.
JOHN: They have it.
John had never mentioned Elkins to Sam or Dean, but we know (thanks 6.18) that his primary connection to Elkins would’ve been about the Colt. Sort of makes a person wonder if their “falling out” hadn’t been about the Colt all along. Elkins not wanting to give it to John, John wanting it to kill the demon…
Gosh that gun has a looooong and horrifying history with the Winchester family. It’s an excellent reminder for just how awful Mary’s ignorance of all this history, of what this gun has meant to her family, and the fact she just ~handed it over~ to the people who’d tortured Sam…
They say Samuel Colt made a gun. A special gun. He made it for a hunter, a man like us only on horseback. Story goes he made thirteen bullets, and this hunter used the gun a half dozen times before he disappeared, the gun along with him. And somehow Daniel got his hands on it.
(I mean… Sam’s the guy on horseback here… and Dean’s the last hunter to shoot it at this point… and he dropped the gun when Cas pulled him back from 1861, and that’s probably when Colt left the gun with the Elkins family in Sunrise…)
JOHN: They were what Daniel Elkins killed best: Vampires.
DEAN: Vampires? I thought there was no such thing.
SAM: You never even mentioned them, Dad.
JOHN: I thought they were extinct. I thought Elkins and – and others had wiped them out. I was wrong.
Most vampire lore is crap. A cross won’t repel them, sunlight won’t kill them, and neither will a stake to the heart. But the bloodlust, that part’s true. They need fresh human blood to survive. They were once people, so you won’t know it’s a vampire until it’s too late.
And here we have the very first bit of vampire lore in the entire series. Something that had always been kept hidden from Sam and Dean by John. This is also the first real hunt we’ve seen John participate in fully, and where we get to see his dictatorial leadership style, the whole “only give them the bare minimum information and expect them to just do as they’re told without question.”
Oh, and this like always makes me so damn angry:
JOHN: Hey Dean why don’t you touch up your car before you get rust? I wouldn’t have given you the damn thing if I thought you were going to ruin it.
He wasn’t lashing out at Dean about the state Baby was in. He was just lashing out in general. It was about obedience, and the fact that Sam and Dean currently weren’t being very obedient. Yes, it brought out the worst in him, this fear and urge to protect his children that manifested the hidden drill sergeant in him:
JOHN: I don’t think I ever told you this but … the day you were born, you know what I did?
JOHN: I put a hundred bucks into a savings account for you. I did the same thing for your brother. It was a college fund. And every month I’d put in another hundred dollars, until… Anyway my point is, Sam, this is never the life that I wanted for you.
SAM: Then why’d you get so mad when I left?
JOHN: You gotta understand something. After your mother passed all I saw was evil, everywhere. And all I cared about was keeping you boys alive. I wanted you…prepared. Ready. Except somewhere along the line I … uh … I stopped being your father and I … I became your, your drill sergeant. So when you said that you wanted to go away to school, all I could think about, my only thought was, that you were gonna be alone. Vulnerable. Sammy, it just… it never occurred to me what you wanted. I just couldn’t accept the fact that you and me – We’re just different.
SAM: We’re not different. Not anymore. With what happened to Mom and Jess… (laughs) Well we probably have a lot more in common than just about anyone.
I mean, it’s not an excuse by any stretch of the imagination, but it does give a little bit of context. But we finally get Sam and Dean standing up to John together.
SAM: You’re leaving again ,aren’t you. You still wanna go after the demon alone. You know, I don’t get you. You can’t treat us like this.
JOHN: Like what?
SAM: Like children.
JOHN: You are my children. I’m trying to keep you safe.
DEAN: Dad, all due respect but, uh, that’s a bunch of crap.
JOHN: Excuse me?
DEAN: You know what Sammy and I have been hunting. Hell you sent us on a few hunting trips yourself. You can’t be that worried about keeping us safe.
JOHN: It’s not the same thing, Dean.
DEAN: Then what is it? Why do you want us out of the big fight?
JOHN: This demon? It’s a bad son of a bitch. I can’t make the same moves if I’m worried about keeping you alive.
DEAN: You mean you can’t be as reckless.
JOHN: Look… I don’t expect to make it out of this fight in one piece. Your mother’s death … it almost killed me. I can’t watch my children die too. I won’t.
DEAN: What happens if you die? Dad, what happens if you die, and we coulda done something about it? You know I been thinking. I …think maybe Sammy’s right about this one. We should do this together.
DEAN: We’re stronger as a family, Dad. We just are. You know it.
JOHN: We’re running out of time. You do your job and you get out of the area. That’s an order.
And in that respect, this is sort of the first iteration of Sam and Dean “tearing up the script.” They defined that direct order, but if they hadn’t, John would’ve been dead, the Colt would’ve been lost, and the whole plan would’ve failed.
Dean’s “assignment” had been to save the people the vampires had in a cage. But he and Sam came back.
And here’s a VERY TELLING AND RELEVANT EXCHANGE BETWEEN LUTHER THE VAMPIRE AND JOHN WINCHESTER:
LUTHER: You people. Why can’t you leave us alone. We have as much right to live as you do.
JOHN: I don’t think so.
Just like the BMoL, this idea that the vampires (and other monsters) don’t have as much right to live as anyone else. >.>
And then Dean stands up to John when their obedience is called into question again.
JOHN: You ignored a direct order back there.
DEAN: Yeah but we saved your ass.
JOHN: It scares the hell out of me. You two are all I’ve got. But I guess we are stronger as a family. So…we go after this damn thing. Together.