Supernatural S1 E10 Summary: “Asylum”

We start at a creepy old gothic-looking abandoned asylum at night. You know nothing good can come of this. Someone cuts through some serious chains on the doors. All we see is their shadows stepping through the door. Then there are two cops coming after them. This is for the sake of exposition: Older Cop tells Younger Not-Local Cop the legend of the asylum. It’s your stock haunted-by-spirits-of-patients-who-will-drive-you-insane-if-you-spend-the-night story. The cops go in to fetch the kids out, and unwisely split up. Younger Cop goes through a steel door with a radiation symbol on it.

Screenshot shows a white cop with a hat with a badge on it. He's going through a dirty old metal door with a small rectangular grate near the top. Just beneath the grate is a painted red radiation symbol.
Never do this. Continue reading “Supernatural S1 E10 Summary: “Asylum””

Supernatural S1 E10 Summary: “Asylum”

Supernatural S1 E9 Summary: “Home”

If it’s not already obvious from the title, Sam and Dean are going back to Kansas. It’s on, y’all.

There are shenanigans happening in their old childhood home. A pretty young single mom is moving in. As she unpacks, her daughter comes to tell her something’s in her closet. Mom checks and finds nothing. She does the parental reassurance thing and goes back downstairs, where she hears a skittering like rats. We know it ain’t rats. She goes down to the basement, where she finds a box full of old Winchester Family photos.

And, back upstairs, the chair wedged against the closet door slides away, and a burning figure steps out.

Image looks into a dark closet, the two white doors wide open. A vaguely human-shaped pillar of flame stands within.

Freaky-deaky.

Meanwhile, Sam has a dream about the mom standing in the upstairs window of their house and screaming. He turns to art, sketching the tree from their house on hotel stationery while Dean tries to find a case for them. He gets a count for asking Sam if any of these possibilities are blowin’ up his skirt. Continue reading “Supernatural S1 E9 Summary: “Home””

Supernatural S1 E9 Summary: “Home”

Supernatural S1 E8 Analysis: Curses! It’s Cultural Appropriation 100

You know, fellow white storytellers, we need to stop being so fucking lazy. Okay, so a lot of us grew up on particular cultural tropes that we probably thought were cool: the Indian curse; the mystical, inscrutable Indian; and so forth. When we’re writing and want a little variety, some of us sprinkle that crap in without thinking. If we get really ambitious, we may throw in an Indian from a lesser-known tribe, then pat ourselves on the back for being all diverse and stuff.

It’s garbage.

A lot of people don’t yet grok cultural appropriation. I’m still working on grokking it, myself. Some of it can be kind of complicated! But what happens in SPN’s S1 E8 episode “Bugs” is like Cultural Appropriation 100. It hasn’t even reached the college level, it’s so basic. Let’s look at the elements here: Continue reading “Supernatural S1 E8 Analysis: Curses! It’s Cultural Appropriation 100”

Supernatural S1 E8 Analysis: Curses! It’s Cultural Appropriation 100

Supernatural S1 E8 Spork: “Bugs” – Worst Episode

Because Zeroth is genius, he has expounded upon all of the things that are horribly wrong with “Bugs.” He has noticed patterns that I didn’t see, even.

We can learn something from dissecting what went wrong here.

So first, check out Dana’s excellent breakdown of the last time Supernatural was egregiously bad with cultural appropriation: “Wendigo”

Notice a pattern? Laziness. No research and no respect for NDN peoples and their cultures. Once you start with that attitude in one aspect of the writing, it can invade the rest quite easily. And that’s what happened here. A lackluster and frankly lazy script followed up by shoddy camera work and exploitative filming.

So let’s expound on what is lazy with the script.

But that’s not all! Continue reading “Supernatural S1 E8 Spork: “Bugs” – Worst Episode”

Supernatural S1 E8 Spork: “Bugs” – Worst Episode

(Repost) Supernatural S1 E8 Summary: “Bugs”

(Reposting due to social media sharing issues with the last one)

We’re not going to do a traditional summary for this episode, because both Zeroth and I can’t stand it. It’s one of the worst SPN episodes ever. I’d rather spend an afternoon with Gwyneth Paltrow learning how to steam my vagina than watch this episode again. At least then I could have a different reason for rolling my eyes until they sprain. And hey – Galadriel. I could tolerate steaming my intimate bits in exchange for an afternoon with Galadriel.

“Bugs” is a poorly-written, poorly-executed attempt to show us what evil lies in store when we trigger ancient Native American curses. And it could have been good: death by bugs is really gross and awful, and there’s a lot to say about the appalling way white people have and continue to treat indigenous folk. Instead, we get Continue reading “(Repost) Supernatural S1 E8 Summary: “Bugs””

(Repost) Supernatural S1 E8 Summary: “Bugs”

Supernatural S1 E8 Summary: “Bugs”

We’re not going to do a traditional summary for this episode, because both Zeroth and I can’t stand it. It’s one of the worst SPN episodes ever. I’d rather spend an afternoon with Gwyneth Paltrow learning how to steam my vagina than watch this episode again. At least then I could have a different reason for rolling my eyes until they sprain. And hey – Galadriel. I could tolerate steaming my intimate bits in exchange for an afternoon with Galadriel.

“Bugs” is a poorly-written, poorly-executed attempt to show us what evil lies in store when we trigger ancient Native American curses. And it could have been good: death by bugs is really gross and awful, and there’s a lot to say about the appalling way white people have and continue to treat indigenous folk. Instead, we get Continue reading “Supernatural S1 E8 Summary: “Bugs””

Supernatural S1 E8 Summary: “Bugs”

Supernatural S1 E7 Analysis: When Sexual Repression Kills

Ah, good old repressed American culture. We’re so very obsessed with sex, but we’re terrified of it. Like many human cultures, we want to enjoy it, but we believe we have to carefully control it. And so we hedge it round with ridiculous rules. We demand women adhere to strict modesty standards in the vain hope we can keep the boys in line (while teaching the boys to ignore all the rules, of course, because having sex with girls is how they prove they’re men). We even come up with horror stories to teach the kiddies that if they give in to their hormonal urges, they’ll die.

That’s what the Hook Man’s for. He’s there to keep young people away from Lover’s Lane. At the beginning of this episode, we see a randy young man getting fresh with the virginal preacher’s daughter. We see him die for his immodesty – a nice departure from our cultural habit of punishing the woman for the man’s inability to heed the word “no.”

In the urban legend, the Hook Man is an escaped serial killer, a dangerous mental patient, or both. The girl who, upon hearing the news of the homicidal escapee, insists on fleeing rather than just locking the doors and having their fun, saves the day. It’s how the randy couple ends up with a hook on their door handle rather than in their tender flesh. In this episode of SPN, the Hook Man isn’t a corporeal being, but the spirit of an 1860s preacher who, enraged by all the immorality going on in the red light district, went on a spree and murdered thirteen prostitutes. And he’s hung around beyond death to fight against carnal sins. People can’t flee him because there’s no warning over the radio that he’s coming. The only way to survive is never to sin in the first place.

But he’s just a symptom now. Continue reading “Supernatural S1 E7 Analysis: When Sexual Repression Kills”

Supernatural S1 E7 Analysis: When Sexual Repression Kills

SPN S1 E7 Analysis: Suspense and Horror

My Supernatural partner Zeroth has an excellent post up examining the horror tropes in the “Hook Man” episode. Check it out!

What I really enjoyed with this episode (check out the summary of it) is how effectively they used horror tropes to build and convey suspense. But at the same time, they subvert expectations and give us multiple red-herrings so everything is kept fresh and interesting.

So the cold-open, let’s look at the elements used in it. Continue reading “SPN S1 E7 Analysis: Suspense and Horror”

SPN S1 E7 Analysis: Suspense and Horror

Supernatural S1 E7 Summary: “Hook Man”

It’s Supernatural Thursday! Zeroth was kind enough to do the summary for this episode. Cross-posted from Social Justice Wizardry. Thank you, Zeroth!

We open up at a sorority house at Eastern Iowa University. A young white woman paces nervously and asks her black roommate for clothing suggestions. Her roommate suggests a red halter top. The roommate tells the nervous woman, “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.” and gets in friendly rejoinder, “There’s nothing you wouldn’t do.”

Black woman sits on a bed and reads, while her roommate, a white woman in a red halter top, leaves, saying "There's nothing you wouldn't do."
Joking…

We cut to the jeep stopping underneath a bridge, and it is dark and rainy outside. There is a quick glimpse of a cloaked figure with a hook for their hand. Continue reading “Supernatural S1 E7 Summary: “Hook Man””

Supernatural S1 E7 Summary: “Hook Man”

SPN Analysis S1E6 – “Skin” – Dean’s No Good, Horrible, Terrible, Very Bad Day

Zeroth has a very nifty analysis up for Season 1, Episode 6. Despite the shit Dean goes through in this one (hence the title – this was pretty much our refrain through the entire thing!), this episode has a lot to say about Sam.

Identity is performative. It is the things we do. So what is Sam’s identity here? He’s clearly been playing the role of the kind, sympathetic listener that gets people to open up, and he’s good at it. And that is something he had in common with his law-school whiz kid personality. The kind, helpful, gentle personality helped him build a circle of friends who loved him and cheered him on. And its so different from what he had with John and Dean. Dean pokes fun at Sam, at Sam going to college, while Sam’s best friends were so happy for his success on the LSAT.

Dean could care less about Sam’s law school ambitions. He cares about hunting, about family.

And poor Sam is stuck in the middle.

Continue reading “SPN Analysis S1E6 – “Skin” – Dean’s No Good, Horrible, Terrible, Very Bad Day”

SPN Analysis S1E6 – “Skin” – Dean’s No Good, Horrible, Terrible, Very Bad Day