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”
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:
Dear oh dear, Dean! Continue reading “Supernatural S1 E6: “Skin” Summary and Counts”
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.
Let’s talk about blame.
Content note: interpersonal violence, domestic abuse, suicide
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.
Charlie is pretty much the poster child for girls who’ve been socialized to blame themselves for the toxic behavior of the men in their lives. Continue reading “Supernatural S1 E5: Blame Games”
OMG, Bloody Mary! We used to play this all the time as kids… with much different results.
We start out in a darkened room, with a bunch of girls sitting around some candles. They’re playing truth or dare, which leads to one of the girls daring another to say “Bloody Mary” in the bathroom mirror. The girl tasked to do so is a total skeptic. But of course she does it because you don’t pass up a silly dare like this. And we get a flickering candle flame, and then the girls pound on the door to scare the living shit out of her, which makes Dad tell them to tone it down. See what you get for being a skeptic?
And now a creepy goth silhouette is showing up in every mirror Dad passes. Dear oh dear. Continue reading “SPN S1 E5 Summary: “Bloody Mary””
Are you in the market for a photo essay of Dean’s hilari-terror? You are so in luck today, my darlings, because my partner Zeroth has got a bonza one for you – along with a bit o’ analysis:
I like this episode a lot for a fairly simple sadistic reason: watching Dean be in pants-wetting terror for most of the episode.
This is a testament to the acting capabilities for Jensen Ackles. He’s been able to convey a guy trying to be what he thinks manly masculine manly manly men should be, and the vulnerable pain he carries underneath.
He’s gentle and kind to the vulnerable and scared, especially children. He loves his brother and has a fairly common fear of flying.
Which isn’t made any better with a demon trying to crash the plane he’s on!
Poor Dean. He tries so hard to be macho, and then this… Continue reading “SPN S1 E4 Analysis: The Hilarity of Terror”
Our episode starts in an airport, with a very nervous middle-aged dude. He’s right to be nervous, because he gets possessed in the bathroom by some gritty black floaty goop that sails into his eyes. As he gets onto the plane and is welcomed by the flight attendant, we see he has acquired total confidence and solid black eyes. Well, at least he’s not afraid of flying anymore.
Forty minutes into the flight, he goes to stretch his legs and pull the emergency door open. Of course, this isn’t conducive to keeping a plane flying. Thus, our Death By Monstrosity count goes through the roof. Continue reading “Supernatural S1 E4 “Phantom Traveler” Summary and Counts”
Supernatural is a bro show. A lot of it caters to the stereotypical hetero male gaze, male power fantasies, male tastes in music and cars, and male anxieties. And so you settle, neck-deep in toxic masculinity and casual sexism, vaguely imagining the creative team taking another toke before being all like, “Dude, do you know what would be, like, awesome right here?” and scribbling down another bro-approved idea. You don’t really expect the show to break out of the box it so lovingly wraps itself in.
And then it does. Continue reading “Supernatural S1 E3: Dean as The Child Whisperer”
My esteemed partner in Supernatural has his analysis of S1 E3 up – definitely go check it out!
“Watching one of your parents die isn’t something you just get over.”
“You can’t bury the truth, Jake. Nothing stays buried.”
These two lines of dialogue form the emotional touchpoints in this episode. Trauma, guilt, and grief are the subject.
Almost every man in this episode is dealing with guilt. We start with Sam, guilty about not finding their dad. Bill Carlton and Sheriff Jake Devins guilty about killing Peter. Lucas guilty about surviving his dad’s traumatic death.
And that’s the whole point of this episode – guilt and trauma, and bridging that trauma.
Amy Acker fans, prepare to squee. Supernatural’s third episode is great all on its own, but the fact that Amy stars in it catapults it into my all-time faves. I adore her so much.
Herein, you will find the episode summary and counts. Zeroth and I will have posts up exploring various themes of this episode shortly.
Our episode opens in Manitoc, Wisconsin, at a rustic gabled cabin with an idyllic family: Bill Carlton and his teenage son and daughter, Will and Sophie. I will give you three guesses as to which of them is going to die in a few minutes.
After some sexist banter from Bro, Sis goes outside to swim in the lake. This turns out to be a fatal mistake, as she’s pulled under the water by an unseen something. For a horror show, it’s a very understated death scene, which makes it all the more chilling. Continue reading “Supernatural S1 E3 “Dead in the Water” Summary and Counts”