Oh, joy. Get ready for the torturing of women as a plot point, because our episode starts with a terrified young woman tied to a chair and bleeding.
Blood and Gore: 1
Unlike many shows of this sort, though, they don’t linger on the helpless female. They cut straight to the SWAT team in the yard. So we know she’s going to be rescued. And they don’t make the shots of her overly sexy. A lot of shots focus on non-sexy things, like her arm.
Of course, what they’re leading up to is this dramatic moment:
I recently spent an instructive few months reading Jonny Scaramanga’s blog, where I learned just how screwed up Accelerated Christian Education is. Imagine a room full of young kids stuffed in study carrels (“offices,” in ACE parlance), sitting silent on hard plastic chairs while they’re taught truly-true Christian things from thin newsprint booklets. As they grind through their science lessons, they answer review questions such as:
Christ’s shed blood is the _______ of our salvation. (Science PACE 1085)
My SPN partner Zeroth has a beautiful piece up analyzing the use of framing and action in Supernatural Season 1 episodes “Phantom Traveler” and “Bloody Mary.” Most definitely check it out!
Taken together, “Phantom Traveler” acts as a mirror for how the world, at least Dean and John, see Sam. And then “Bloody Mary” is about how Sam sees himself. He’s in pain, and that pain is induced by how Dean and John view him.
It’s also reflective of a certain bias and issue with the show overall – Dean is the character they care about. The one that is the voice of morality and ideals. And I argue that is a serious flaw because Sam has all the makings of a fantastic, tortured character. And its never really been delivered well. The show runners don’t know what to do with a guy who isn’t posturing endlessly about his masculinity or straightness. He’s comfortable in who he is, at least on fundamental identity aspects like that.
Dean on the other hand, is the character the show runners like and empathize with. They understand a man, whether consciously or subconsciously, that wrestles with his sexuality and masculinity. They don’t always understand abandonment issues, or how someone sensitive like Sam would handle these issues.
So let’s take a look at how the show framed these aspects, of Dean overshadowing Sam in “Phantom Traveler” and “Bloody Mary” being about that pain.
Yes, I am. I am proposing to you all (excepting any creeps reading this – I’m not proposing to you). I want you all to marry me (see previous disclaimer). We don’t necessarily have to stay married, if you don’t want to – we just need to all have the big lavish wedding together. Why? Because thanks to Zeroth, I just found out geode wedding cakes are a thing. Go feast your eyes on those.
That’s pretty much what Supernatural’s “Bloody Mary” is about. You’ve got a ghost in a mirror going after people who’ve done bad things, or think they’ve done things. There’s the guy who either killed his wife or drove her to OD on sleeping pills. There’s the teenage girl who killed a young boy in a hit and run. There’s Sam, who blames himself for Jessica’s death because he didn’t take his prophetic dreams seriously or tell her he’d been a hunter. And then there’s Charlie, who blames herself for shit her abuser did.
In our last installment of Escape by Carolyn Jessop, we got a taste of the depression, despair, and abuse Carolyn lived with in her FLDS community. Today, we’ll see how her childhood conditioned her to fear the outside world, and accept her lot as an abused wife pumping out endless babies in a loveless plural marriage.