In Supernatural, the Impala has always been a home for the Winchesters. They grew up traveling with their father in the Impala, and continue to drive around the country in the car even now. Though they may sometimes stay in crappy hotel rooms, Bobby’s house, or even take up residence in the Bunker, the Winchesters are grounded by the Impala. It’s always kept them connected to each other and to their shared past.
“In between jobs, Sam and Dean would sometimes get a day—sometimes a week, if they were lucky. They’d pass the time lining their pockets. Sam used to insist on honest work, but now he hustles pool, like his brother. They could go anywhere and do anything. They drove 1,000 miles for an Ozzy show, two days for a Jayhawks game. And when it was clear, they’d park her in the middle of nowhere, sit on the hood, and watch the stars … for hours … without saying a word. It never occurred to them that, sure, maybe they never really had a roof and four walls but they were never, in fact, homeless.”
— Chuck, “Swan Song,” Season 5 Episode 22
“Baby,” as Dean (Jensen Ackles) likes to call her, is a character of her own in the series, playing an important role in the lives of the Winchesters. Baby is a Supernatural icon, to be sure. In “Changing Channels” Sam (Jared Padalecki) was even transformed into the Impala for a short time. When the Impala has been absent from the series, like in Season 7 when Sam and Dean couldn’t drive her after being framed for a string of crimes, we feel the loss. Though Sam gets to drive occasionally, it’s really Dean’s car, handed down from their father John Winchester.
Not only has the Impala been important to the brothers, but her role as a representational home for the Winchesters helped to save the world. As Chuck (Rob Benedict) narrated in the Season 5 finale “Swan Song,” the Impala turned out to be the most important object “in pretty much the whole universe.”
“The Impala, of course, has all the things other cars have … and a few things they don’t. But none of that stuff’s important. This is the stuff that’s important. The army man that Sam crammed in the ashtray—it’s still stuck there. The Legos that Dean shoved into the vents—to this day, heat comes on and they can hear ’em rattle. These are the things that make the car theirs—really theirs. Even when Dean rebuilt her from the ground up, he made sure all these little things stayed, ’cause it’s the blemishes that make her beautiful. The Devil doesn’t know or care what kind of car the boys drive.”
—Chuck, “Swan Song,” Season 5 Episode 22
Episode 4 of Season 11, titled “Baby,” will be an Impala-centered show. Though “Swan Song” told us a lot about the role the car plays in the lives of the Winchesters, “Baby” will show it. The episode will be set entirely in the Impala. In Supernatural the brothers spend far more time in the Impala than we ever see, as they normally cut to the case after some dialogue between the brothers on the road. In “Baby” we’ll get a sense of what the Winchesters do for all those hours in the car, what they talk about. In an interview with TV Goodness Ackles points out that an episode like this is something only Supernatural could get away with: “It will be cool things, like the camera’s inside the car and one of the brothers runs in to grab something and off camera you hear some stuff and he runs back in and he’s bloody.”
Supernatural does a fantastic job of including the Impala in the series, and not just during the boy melodrama moments. Below are some of our favorite images of the Impala in Supernatural.