"Pilot" introduces us to Caleb Temple, a young boy, whose older sister, Merlyn, is seriously disturbed. When she starts repeating "someone's at the door" over and over, their father goes crazy and attempts to kill her. Caleb runs and gets help - bringing in Sheriff Lucas Buck, who arrests the father, and then breaks Merlyn's neck (witnessed by his deputy Ben), blaming it on the father. Alcoholic doctor, Matt, takes an interest in Caleb at the hospital, and tries to prevent Lucas taking custody of the boy. Caleb starts getting messages written in blood - and as the first one is "Someone's at the door" it's probable that it's his sister - and she tells him to go home.
Gale Emory, having seen the news reports, comes to town to take custody of Caleb, as she's his cousin... and she has unanswered questions about her parents death in the town... something to do with a fire. The schoolteacher, Selina, appears to be in league with Sheriff Buck. Caleb's father commits suicide in gaol. Lucas, Matt, and Gale all follow Caleb to his home, where Merlyn returns as an angel to show him the rape of his mother by Lucas Buck - the event that left Merlyn traumatized, and fathered Caleb. Fortunately, Caleb manages to escape the Sheriff when he's cornered in the attic. Gail reveals that Lucas was the one who found her dead parents.
"A Tree Grows In Trinity" picks up with Caleb running away from his home and the Sheriff. Selina ensures the coroner's privacy while he performs Merlyn and her father's autopsy - although he's faking the results for the Sheriff, and not really performing an autopsy... until Merlyn intercedes and scares him off. Lucas leads the police search for Caleb.
Caleb takes refuge in a hunting lodge with a crazy man tied up inside. Lucas proves to be more psychic than shown in the previous episode, discovering that Caleb went upstream by boat when he left a branch floating downstream to send them off the scent. Matt questions the coroner (and Lucas kills his goat in return). Lucas plants a tree by the graves of the Temples which grows extremely rapidly. The crazy man turns out to be a reporter (isn't that Imhotep?), and he gives Gail his cassette recorder and a whole bunch of computer discs before dying. Except the Sheriff turns up and claims he's a criminal being held by his partner, Gage, and he needs the information as evidence. Merlyn gets struck by a falling tree when the now massively grown one gets struck by lightning.
"Eye Of The Beholder" sees Gail insist on a custody hearing for Caleb. Lucas calms a man having a seizure in the operating room when the entry for epilepsy is missed from his medical chart (or deliberately removed until Buck gets his hands on it). Lucas is determined that the judge be informed of Matt's past drinking problems, and is threatening the anaesthesiologist's wife to get his way - and he sends them a mirror as a gift, a magical mirror that enchants the wife.
Merlyn wants Caleb to live at a local boarding house. Cheryl (the anaesthesiologist's wife) wants to do everything in front of the mirror, and she can't help admiring herself in it. The boarding house is built on holy ground - the site used to be a graveyard... which might explain why Merlyn wants Caleb to live there. Smashing the mirror looks to be a bad move, but ruining Matt at the custody hearing makes up for it. Fortunately the judge is suffering from advanced prostate cancer, so gives Caleb in to the custody of the owner of the boarding house.
"Damned If You Don't" sees Carter, the owner of the scrap yard, forced to return a favour for the Sheriff, and has to send his 15 year old daughter to work in the Sheriff's office. There's a threat of a child dying in a refridgerator if he doesn't go along with it. There's a science fair at the school and Caleb is doing something involving violent weather. Oh look, the daughter is Brigid Brannagh (wow, doesn't she get around a lot!), and Carter's having nightmares about not signing the consent form.
When Carter doesn't sign the form, his wife is electrocuted, and then predicts exactly what symptoms she's suffering from. And then Lucas changes the deal - Carter has to pick up a friend from the bus and take him back to his place, where Lucas will pick him up. Gail finds her parents old car at the scrap yard, and remembers something her mother asked her to hide when pulled over by the Sheriff - a key. The friend is a criminal who was in prison... although he hasn't aged a day and comments about living on the outside and time moving faster here, makes me wonder if there's something slightly more hellish about his previous abode.
The disappearance of the "friend" tends to support the hell theory, when Carter kills his wife thinking it's the "friend" standing over his daughter's bed in the middle of the night. Caleb wins the science fair based on his book-report type description of Bernoulli's Principle (after nearly disqualifying himself for cheating by buying a tornado chamber as suggested by the Sheriff).
"Potato Boy" sees the boarding house owner try to take Caleb to Communion, but the priest is unable to give him the blood - the cup just won't go near Caleb's mouth. Of course, the main story is about the titular character and the evil house he lives in. Of course, it's childhood rumour, but the kid constantly singing is a little disturbing. Selina's feeling lonely - so much so she almost goes to church herself. The Sheriff teaches Caleb to drive. Ben is stupid - he reveals the murder of Merlyn to a psychologist. Is Selina related to the priest? And Caleb does the decent thing (eventually) and goes to befriend the potato boy.
"Dead To The World" sees the Sheriff dating a nurse at the hospital (Holly) to get his hands on Caleb's mother's medical files. When the nurse discovers that he's Caleb's father, he drives off a bridge, drowning her. Back in the present day, Gail starts investigating Holly's death, but it's been 10 years, so how easy will it be to solve? Well, having her room untouched after 10 years might help... and the love letters from the Sheriff are certainly intriguing.
Lucas takes Caleb under his wing for an archery contest. Ben confronts his ex-wife's new husband over his beating her - but gets beaten up for his trouble. Ben's insistent that the Sheriff not get involved and that he'll handle it. Lucas buys Caleb a really fancy composite bow. Gale hires a diver to find the car which the Sheriff claimed couldn't be found - it's only about 15 feet down, just beside the bridge! And the position of the drivers seat tends to indicate that Holly wasn't driving.
Gail confronts Holly's mother. But there's a phone call in the middle from a sanitarium asking about Holly's medication. Ben confronts the step-father, and nearly gets beaten up or his trouble, but the Sheriff drives pase in the background and the step-father backs down... of course, he then loses his hand to his wood saw... Gail goes to the sanitarium, but so does the Sheriff. When Gail insists she know what happened, the Sheriff offers to show her... by recreating the event... Caleb loses the archery contest to his best friend...
"Meet The Beetles" starts the DVD-18 lottery - the first player balked at the chapter change, but a change of player seems to be okay at the moment. Caleb and his friend go out to the ruins of Caleb's house, now burnt to the ground. However, when Caleb falls through a step on the porch, he finds a skeleton underneath. When Matt and Gail follow him to the bodies, Gail starts showing psychic tendencies when she sees flashbacks to her parents death when touching the body.
They ID the body, but he's only been dead a couple of days, so how come he's a skeleton? A State Policeman (Bruce Campbell) comes to town, called by the deceased man's wife - Bruce's sister - and acting extremely overzealous. Caleb is haunted by visions of his own grave - which he finds full of money, a gift from the sheriff. Bruce starts getting involved with Selina, and when his investigation leads him to the museum of natural history, where he ends up in a box with the flesh eating beetles used to strip a skeleton. Caleb gives the money away to the wives of the victims!
"Strong Arm Of The Law" sees Caleb and his friend going to spy on a woman bathing, but instead seeing three men in pig masks drowning a fourth man in a bath. And where's the owner of the boarding house gone? The Sheriff confronts the men after they beat up Ben in the street, but he appears to be taking them under his wing rather than arresting them. They challenge Caleb in his room, and he calls on Merlyn - at which point he lets out a loud (and mysterious) roar.
Lucas starts on his revenge - hooking one of the men up with a good time, then claiming he confessed when he returned drunk, then burying him alive in a coffin with the man he killed. Between the near hanging in the police cell, and then the accident at the roadblock (and subsequent car explosion with them handcuffed to the car), the Sheriff deals with the criminals in his own unique fashion.
"To Hell And Back" gives us Doctor Matt's backstory, with him having flashbacks to his wife and childs death in a car crash. His contract is up for renewal at the hospital. One of the guests at a charity auction ends up in a car crash when her husband drinks too much, and Matt has to treat her. Caleb watches his neighbour, who he thinks is buring bodies in his garden - a guest appearance by William Morgan sheppard, whose voice I could recognize, but who doesn't appear on screen much (the hologram on SeaQuest, Warleader G'Sten on B5 - otherwise, much voice acting, including Ignatius Cheese in Monkey Island and the narrator of Kingdom Hospital). Matt's clearly under stress, and the Sheriff is piling on more pressure with the drunk husband.
Of course, the Sheriff was the one who told the husband to drive home - to take the wheel, he's the man, his wife isn't feeling well. Matt's having visions of his wife, she's even talking to him now! And then the Sheriff offers him a drink in return for being able to go back three years, and say goodbye. Except, in this replay, his wife declares she's leaving him, forces him out of the car, and then has the accident which kills her and their daughter... so is this how it really happened? Was Matt not responsible? The review hearing on Matt's contract gets shanghaied by Lucas Buck, but Matt returns with a little more fire, determined to get the Sheriff.
"The Beast Within" sees the Sheriff and Ben called to a hold up, and find Ben's brother Artie holding up the store for a 100 dollar watch. Artie leaves with Lucas as a hostage after being shot by the store clerk. Why does Artie need to be back to the base at 11pm? He takes a whole bunch of hostages at the hospital, and demands Matt remove the bullet without anaesthesia. Lucas, Gail and Caleb look on (mainly as they're handcuffed to the furniture), while Ben tries to listen in through the laundry chute.
The urgency of returning to the base? Artie has a bomb in his stomach, set to detonate at 11 or if his heart rate drops too low. Ben has to perform surgery after Matt's hand is injured, and he becomes the hero of the day. Caleb's dream of Lucas giving Artie the blade to set this whole thing up turns out in an amusing fashion.
"Rebirth" brings us a new title sequence with Sheriff Buck voiceover. Merlyn is feeling despondent that she can't help Caleb, and that she can no longer experience sensation or love - and she claims to have found a way to come back. She borrows the spirit of an unborn girl an comes back claming to be Hallie Monroe from Atlanta. And she shows an interest in bad boy Ray. However, the Sheriff is showing a serious interest in her... and her fake identity.
Ray gets introduced to the real Merlyn when Lucas takes him to the graveyard for the evening. Caleb discovers that the baby Merlyn borrowed the spirit from is in distress and may die, as may its mother. So Merlyn has to make a choice - stay, and let the baby die, or give up her new life. Of course, she wants to give it up, but Lucas is determined to make her stay.
"Ring Of Fire" sees Gail giving up on her search for the truth about her parents' death, but she has a vision of a young boy in a pram asking her not to give up. So she makes a deal with the devil... or at least Lucas Buck, to get to the bottom of the deaths, and so, in a confrontation over dinner, she gets a flashback to the events of that night. But now she's having dreams of her parents bursting out of their graves and attacking her if she doesn't find the truth!
Matt's clearly worried about her dealings with the Sheriff. After a trip out to an old house, she finds medical records after a beating, and then questioning Matt, she finds out that her mother was pregnant when she died. So who's the father of the baby? Oh, her mother was having an affair with Gage Temple. And so everything leads back to the newspaper building that the fire took place in. And the flashback to Gage setting the fire, and the love letter telling her to get out of the building by eight.
"Resurrector" sees the return of the original boarding house owner... where's she been for the past several episodes? She puts Caleb on the path to a letting-go ceremony for Merlyn, which leads him to find her needing help, in a place full of flames (and incidentally trying to strangle him). The Sheriff has to deal with a radio presenter who wants to get in to television, but feels his wife is holding him back. The Sheriff sets up the potential TV spot, but first he has to get rid of his wife... an obvious set up in this town, but he still blithely wanders in to it. Caleb frees Merlyn...
"Inhumanitas" sees Merlyn determined to take her revenge on Lucas Buck. He's corrupted a local priest - protect the church from fire if he's willing to give information on the confessions of parishoners - but Merlyn is determined to turn the guy back to the side of light. There's also a lawyer that Lucas wants to talk in to turfing out the blind black guy he gave his word to - Merlyn is trying to save him, but he seems determined to do the wrong thing. Then there's the confrontation between Lucas and Merlyn - she's going to kill him when Caleb comes in... but the spirit of Lucas Buck temporarily possesses Caleb - if Lucas dies, his spirit lives on in his son...
"The Plague Sower" sees a plague break out in Trinity, and Matt's under some stress to find a cure... and he's seeing visions of Merlyn Temple. Fortunately, there's a Dr Billy Peel from the CDC there to help... although he gets a first hand view of Lucas Buck's standard operating procedure... and he's perfectly happy to threaten him with a syringe of something that'll stop his heart! The sick people keep writing REPENT on things... and the first symptom of ringing in the ears seems to be striking Dr. Matt.
Gail and Lucas become intimate, but then Gail gets sick, and Billy agrees to treat her as long as the Sheriff owes him one for doing so! Merlyn is turning the lake to blood... is she the one causing the plague? Selina tries to warn Billy about the Sheriff. Lucas goes out to the bridge to deal with Merlyn, but that's the point at which my disc starts breaking up again. Between this and Inhumanitas, I think it's going to have to go back... oh, and Meet The Beetles. Definitely going back... this'll have to be done again! Gah!
"Doctor Death Takes A Holiday" sees Matt digging in to Merlyn's death, and the x-rays don't match up with the official story. And there's a woman trying to shoot the Sheriff. One of the town judges has a problem - his wife has a gambling problem and they're rather short of money - so he's open to the Sheriff's attempts to have Matt declared insane and committed. Meanwhile, Matt has to deal with the woman claiming to be Lucas's mother, and being talked in to finishing her job for her.
"Learning To Crawl" sees Caleb electrocuted while working in the Sheriff's office. He has the choice of whether to go back to his life or stay with Merlyn, and he chooses to go back (with Lucas' help) and go fishing! There's a B story about a tobacco executive being kidnapped for ransom and Ted Raimi guest starring as one of the bungling kidnappers. Unfortunately, said kidnappers are holed up in the Sheriff's fishing cabin.
"Echo Of Your Last Goodbye" is a dating episode - and begins with Ben and his date (from the Personals column), when he gets a call about a funny smell that his date wants to ride along for... but the date turns out to be Merlyn! Gail seems to be struggling with her relationship with Lucas, but things seem to be much smoother between Selina and Billy. Ben starts being haunted by Merlyn - every woman he sees has her face... Boone and Caleb deal with a bully at school.
There's something about the house with the smell - and when Ben goes back with Gail, they discover drawings of Lucas, and Merlyn forces Ben to see a woman (Caleb's mother) getting thrown out of a window by the Sheriff. Ben finally decides to stand up to the Sheriff - and isn't willing to look the other way in future.
"Strangler" sees Lucas finally determined to deal with Merlyn, and summons the spirit of Albert DeSalvo, the Boston Strangler, as only a ghost can kill a ghost. Of course, the Strangler has a thing about nurses, so the Sheriff's orders to only go after Merlyn might get ignored... And do in short order when he strangles one of the hospital nurses. Then he befriends Caleb and goes after Gail.
The attack on Gail raises some difficult questions for Ben to answer (what with Lucas out of town at a convention) considering the assailant got inside through a closed door in a blink of the eye. The Strangler calls Caleb to the hospital in the hopes that Merlyn will show up... which she does, leading to a brief conversation which Merlyn manages to escape from. But he shows up again at the boarding house - in Caleb's locked room - and tries to strangle Merlyn. But Caleb saves her with his own evil powers, destroying the Strangler in a burst of fire.
"Triangle" sees Gail planning to leave Trinity, and take Caleb with her. But her collapse in the Sheriff's office after informing Lucas sees her discover that she's pregnant with his child. She's convinced the baby is evil and is discussing abortion, but Lucas is clearly dead set against that. Selina and Billy's relationship gets rocky - he's toying with going to Uganda to help with an outbreak, and he wants Ms Coombs to go with him. Gail is convinced the ultrasound is showing a demonic baby which only she can see, and she's having visions of household objects dissolving around her.
Gail decides to jump off the hospital roof to end the pregnancy, and when the Sheriff fails to stop her, Caleb intervenes to talk her off the ledge. Billy and Selina break up over the departure, but get back together again, much to the Sheriff's chagrin - of course, inducing a fever in Selina will definitely put a crimp in their relationship. Merlyn comforts Gail when she goes to church for answers. Billy realises Selina's condition is magical, and confronts Lucas over it - and refuses to swear loyalty to him.
"The Buck Stops Here" opens with Selina and Billy together in Lucas' bed. Gail is having difficulty with the baby - it's growing much faster than it should, but appears to be following the same pattern as Caleb. Unfortunately, Caleb's mother committed suicide the day after giving birth, so Gail is obviously concerned. There's a subplot with Lucas and a woman in long-term hospital care. Gail finds herself drinking the blood and eating the raw meat from a cooking joint.
Caleb's being seduced by his dark side - he's cutting up dollar bills to separate the masonic temple from the rest of the buck (and making an all seeing eye collage on his wall from the temple cut-outs). Lucas is stabbed in the forehead (where his third eye would be) and Billy is the most likely suspect (what with being there and finding the body - and Selina wanting him to do it). Lucas dies in the hospital after speaking with Caleb about "an ancient order, born anew." When Billy and Ben discover who killed Lucas, Caleb has already got to him - forcing him to take an overdose of pills.
"Requiem" opens with Lucas' funeral. Of course, Lucas isn't entirely dead (waking up in his coffin underground), but Caleb is revelling in his new abilities. Merlyn wants her brother back, and looks to have to help Lucas out of his coffin to deal with the boy. Billy thinks there's something suspicious about Lucas' death. Ben is struggling to take on the mantle of Sheriff, but Merlyn steps in to help him out (and drop a hint about Lucas). Selina tells Caleb about Gail's pregnancy, and he decides to do something about it.
Billy and Ben dig up the Sheriff. Caleb confronts Gail, and he's acting extremely disturbingly - he's determined that there's only one Buck in every generation, and that means dealing with Gail's baby. Lucas turns up just as Gail is cornered, and she falls down the stairs. The baby doesn't survive, and Gail is seriously injured, but should recover okay. Lucas and Merlyn confront Caleb, and Lucas throws Caleb off the landing to kill him - releasing the evil within to return to him. But Merlyn sacrifices herself to save her brother, and he awakens without the evil (but maybe with some of his sister's spirit) within him.