Pranks and Rape Culture

The “posting regularly” thing. I’m trying. :)

Today, I want to talk about pranks. I hate them. I hate pranks, prank shows, April Fools, and any other setup where the goal is to humiliate another human without their consent. I get enough humiliation in my life, every time some kid in the bank says, “Mommy, why’s that man wearing a skirt?” (granted, this doesn’t happen like it used to, but it still burns). What I don’t need is extra doses from people who consider themselves my friends.

Specifically, though, what I wanted to discuss was the idea that pranks are a crucial supporting element for rape culture. There’s an innate requirement that one “be a good sport” about being humiliated, and a stronger one on those looking on that they find it funny, and (crucially) that they don’t intervene when a “prank” is being played, because doing so would be being a “spoilsport”. This is a way of reinforcing people’s tendency to be bystanders in the face of cruelty, helping to train us even as small children in how to maintain the rape culture. It also allows us to write off as “pranks” what might otherwise be seen as something dangerous or frightening to another person, training us to question our own judgement in what we see around us: is that guy really attacking that woman, or is it just a “prank”? Was that really racist bullying I just saw, or just youthful hijinks?

It would surprise me not the least little bit to find that people who enjoy playing pranks on others are also people who have a hard time with the concept of consent in other realms. To be “successful”, a prankster cannot seek consent ahead of time, but must hope for the bystanders to keep their noses out of other people’s business while they violate someone’s consent. The excuses made afterwards are similar to those of rapists: I thought they wanted it, nobody spoke up to object, everyone does it.

I don’t think it takes a diagram to show how this kind of behaviour leads to people unwilling to step in when they see someone being bullied or assaulted. We already have a social imperative, perhaps a necessary one in a tightly-packed society such as ours has become, to try not to stick our noses into things that aren’t about us.

Disability: medications

I thought it might be interesting to see what my daily load of meds looks like. This doesn’t include the one med which is not yet fully recognised as legal, and a couple of others I forgot to gather before taking the pic.

daily meds for CaitieCat

Meds for one day

These are:

  • four large white round pills, marked TEC: 5mg oxycontin plus 375mg acetaminophen (paracetamol) – analgesic plus anti-inflammatory
  • four small white round pills, marked 10: 10mg oxyneo slow-release – analgesic
  • two small green ovate rectangular pills: 2mg Abilify – antipsychotic, offlabel use as intensifier for next med
  • two large orange capsules with black markings: 100mg sertraline (Zoloft), antidepressant
  • six oval white pills, small, marked BAC 10: 10mg baclofen, muscle relaxant.
  • one (should be three) brown round pill: ibuprofen extra-strength, anti-inflammatory

Not pictured are my Concerta (slow-release ritalin, one per day at 18mg), or the various anti-allergy pills I take ad-hoc to combat itchiness effects of opiates, or the laxative and anti-nausea meds I take for other side effects, or that other med which ought to be legalised and makes it possible for me to, y’know, eat and stuff.

That’s one day. And it’s why I’ve been trying hard to keep my dosage down as much as possible, in all things: I don’t want to end up on a liver transplant list. In ten+ years on that pain med regime, I’ve had only two dosage increases, for a total of 15mg/day. And like most chronic pain sufferers, I don’t get any euphoria at all from all those oxy. I know that some people do, and that it can be very addictive in that mode, but believe me, what I’m not getting from them is stoned. What I do get is the Golden Hour, that period a few times a day when the meds overlap in such a way as to give me an hour or so of much-appreciated actual relief of pain. Because of the overlapping nature of the med times – my muscle relaxant is on a 3/day, while my pain meds are 4/day – this Golden Hour moves about during the day, but it’s usually a nice break. I’m headed for that hour next, should be around noon.

The rest of the time it’s all about fidgeting and moving and trying to find a “comfortable” way to sit. Usually failing, but there it is.

Morale will improve until the beatings continue

Things continue to improve, though unevenly. The trend is definitely upward. Feeling a bit cabin-fevered atm, got no money to go anywhere and nowhere to go anyway. And the weather has been so cold, so snowy, that people are being crappy about clearing their sidewalks, meaning I can’t even really go for a walk. I do get out on Saturday nights, when I get together with Craig and Chris at Ken’s place for gaming. Saturday past we played my new copy of Mansions of Madness, which was fun and difficult. We literally lost (everyone, Keeper and Players) on the very last turn, and if I’d had a single action more I could have won it. Much enjoyment all-round.

We followed up with a party game called Time’s Up, a trivia sort of game that was again very close, Chris and I beating Craig and Ken by only a few points in a hundred. It was odd, though; Ken and Chris are ten years younger than Craig and I are (Craig is almost exactly six months older than me), and neither of them is widely read, while we both are. So we were in pairs where one partner would know who Casanova, Malcolm X, and the Marquess of Queensbury were, and the other would know who Kelly Clarkson, John Stamos, and Vin Diesel were. Okay, that last trio was just me. What? I don’t watch reality shows, sitcoms, or action movies much at all. I only know that’s what they do because it had to be explained to me. :)

More posts coming, but I wanted to get the chatty stuff out of the way first.

Improving!

I don’t know if I can express what a feeling it is to have the sense that I’m coming out of the long, long night that has been this latest major depressive episode. It’s been two years at the minimum, probably longer. Last winter was the worst depression of my life, and winter is usually the very worst for me.

And yet…here I am, posting. Not regularly yet, but I’m writing stuff. And I’m making notes in my phone about more stuff to write about. And designing t-shirts for sale. And engaging in social activities.

In February. That’s like MAGIC.

New post today over at The Gaffer’s a Bird – don’t bother unless you’re a fan of the Football Manager games – and if I’m able to, I should be back to posting rewatch episodes here soon. I’m watching a few this afternoon. :)

I think my meds should be slightly raised in dosage, the one that’s made the difference that is, and when it is (I’ve an appointment next Thursday), it feels like fucking OZ is opening up before me, with colours and rainbows and shit.

If you’ve never been depressed, you can’t know how amazing this feeling is. I just hope it’s a real dawn coming down the tunnel, and not a TGV, and fuck mixed metaphors anyway.

I Hate My Voice

It’s kind of like an incantation, that phrase. By using it, I can cause people all around me to say some variation on, “Oh, I love your voice, you’ve got that Kathleen Turner thing going on…”

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard it, and I’ve come here today to write about how frustrating it can be.

How can a compliment be frustrating? When it feels like it leaves no room for how I feel about it. It feels like I’m hearing, “Oh, you’re wrong about that, there’s nothing wrong with your voice!”

But as well-meaning as that is, it’s frustrating because you don’t have to live with my voice. You don’t have to be misgendered on the phone 20-30% of the time. I even left a cable company because despite my asking supervisors repeatedly to make sure that my account was clearly marked as belonging to a woman, EVERY SINGLE TIME I spoke to them, someone misgendered me, and usually more than once per call. When I quit, the retention specialist heard me tell him this reason, and thought that offering me a better deal would make a difference.

Me: “Yes, but my dignity matters to me, and your company has consistently shown it doesn’t matter to you. If you can’t guarantee me that your company will treat me with that dignity, then-”

He: “Wait, your ‘dignity’ is worth more to you than $120?”

Me: “Thank you for summing that up for me. Goodbye.”

We talk of microaggressions when we talk of life as a marginalised person: “Hey, baby, you’d be so pretty if you’d smile!” “Can I touch your hair?” “You’re not like those others!” and so on. For me, at least, being misgendered is not micro at all. It’s a metaphorical punch in the gut, whoosh there goes my breath, “Crap sakes it’s been 22 years when does it stop?!” It’s often a sign of risk, being misgendered; I’ve had it be the start of an extortion attempt, back in the day, and no one has ever physically assaulted me for being trans without throwing in the casual violence of misgendering.

So what would I like, when I say “I hate my voice!”?

I’d like to hear that the person empathises, that it must be difficult/frustrating to make me feel that way, and maybe not to be told I’m wrong by way of wanting to make me feel better.

And I do get that the intent is to make me feel better, but as we so often say, “Intent is not magic“. I think this falls into that habit people have of wanting to always fix things, whether or not the person with the issue wants it fixed. But like offering unsolicited advice, it shuts down the conversation I might have been trying to have, and substitutes the one that won’t make the listener uncomfortable having to acknowledge that sometimes, cis people make my life really difficult.

As always, be clear that I speak for a vast and teeming constituency of one. It’s entirely possible that other people saying “I hate my voice!” are, in fact, wanting compliments. No easy answers, ever, are there?

ETA: Overnight, Miri of Brute Reason (whom you should read because she’s clever and insightful!) pointed out this excellent post from June/14 at Book of Jubilation: Kids these days get too much praise: Praise, validation, and encouragement. Just wanted to add the link because I think it provides a really useful approach for people to understand the concept in terms that might be more familiar than trans life.

ETFA: Further adding a thoughtful development of the idea at C.M.Stone’s blog, A Better Way for Praise, Validation, and Encouragement.

Back Again, Part II: The Ensequeling

Well, it’s like this, see. I’ve finally got some meds that I think are making my brain work a little better. Scary perhaps that it’s an antipsychotic, but still, if it helps, I don’t care. Lots of little signs that the depression may be lifting a little, not going to go into them all, but the fact that I’m writing here is one of them.

Should see a flurry of posts in the next few days, as I’ve been sitting on a number of topics, and wanting to get them written, for the last week or so. I’ve got stuff for all three blogs – here at Fullmetal, and over at TheExpansionBoard and TheGaffersABird as well.

You can expect posts on Grand Theft Auto Online, and how I use it for cosplay, over at The Expansion Board, along with a second post on Firefly the board game. Came up with a delicious strategy on Saturday night, and I plan to outline it.

At The Gaffer’s A Bird, my blog specifically about Football Manager, I’ll be talking about team selection and match prep.

And here you can expect an update about disability stuff, a post about my voice, and a link update post. I’m also hoping to get back on the SPN bandwagon soon.

I hope that’s whetted the appetite a bit; I’m off to do some writing. Thanks for hanging in until things are getting a little better. I hope it will have been worth the wait. :D

Supernatural Re-watch, S1E6: Skin

Sixth episode overall, from October 18, 2005.

Synopsis:

The teaser gives us a proper tease: a SWAT team carefully moving into a house with blood plenty visible, discovering a young blonde woman bound and gagged to a chair, covered in blood. As they rescue her, she frantically points to the other room: “He’s in there!” Moving in, the SWATties see a man trying to get out through the balcony door in the darkness. As they shout the usual things about getting down and complying instantly, the flashlight of one catches the man turning – and it’s Dean, with blood on his face and a knife in his hand. Fade to black.

Backing up, we get “One Week Earlier”, where Dean is talking about their plans for the upcoming drive, and Sam is reading email on his phone. Dean sneers about Sam’s “college buddies”, and lectures him that you can’t have friends when you’re a hunter; Sam disagrees. One of his friends says that her brother has been arrested and charged with the murder of his girlfriend. This seems odd to Sam, as Zach was a pretty level-headed guy, and he insists that they go to St. Louis, NOW. Rebecca meets them at the door, and is pleasantly surprised by Sam’s appearance there. Her folks are in Paris, so she’s staying with her brother at least until they get home, so he has some support.

Zach says he came home, found his girlfriend tied to a chair, badly beaten and not breathing, so he naturally called emergency services. The police arrest him, citing a video they have showing him arriving home around the time she was killed; Rebecca insists that he was with her, having a few beers until at least an hour and a half later. The boys claim Dean’s a detective from somewhere, and offer to have him come through and look at the crime scene.

Sam breaks out the puppy eyes, and convinces her. Dean remains skeptical.

The house is trashed, covered in bloody handprints, but no signs of a break-in. One odd thing: about a week earlier, someone had broken in and stolen some of Zach’s clothes, but the police think it was a homeless person or something. A dog next door is all barky and excited, which is apparently unusual for it, and it started around the murder. Dean is starting to wonder, and conveniently Rebecca has stolen the video that apparently shows Zach entering the building.

Cut away, and we see Zach standing outside an apartment building, watching an East Asian man kiss his partner goodbye, hearing them mention that he’s gone for a couple of days. Zach makes notes. As he watches her walk back into the apartment, Zach grins a little, and then his eyes flare bright white.

Back looking at the video, and Zach can be seen entering the place at a little after ten, half an hour before her time of death, and the tape’s been authenticated as untampered. Sam gets Rebecca out of the room so he can point out the eye-flare to Dean. They theorize it might be a doppelganger of sorts.

Cut away again, to the East Asian man returning home, saying his client cancelled at the last minute. Growing concerned when she doesn’t answer him, his fear spikes when he sees a bloody handprint. He finds her, bound and gagged and covered in blood, but when he frees her, she begs for him not to hurt her anymore! Warily checking the apartment, he meets…himself? With the eye-flare. And, unfortunately, a baseball bat. Lights out.

Sam and Dean pull up at the first scene the next day, with Sam pointing out that the killer didn’t leave by the camera-watched entrance, so he reasons there should be a trail from where he did leave. They do find some blood, but before tracing it further, they notice an ambulance, and follow it to the second scene. We see the police arresting the East Asian man.

Dean discovers that the arrested man was driving home from a business trip at the time of the attack, and that he claims to have encountered himself inside. The police are…skeptical, and take him away.

The idea of a shapeshifter comes up – every culture has a story of them, but apparently they don’t fly. Sam’s picked up a trail running away from the scene, but it just stops. Right by a sewer access hole, so down into the stink they go. Dean discovers a pile of truly horrible glop, slimy bloody flesh, which he speculates is a shed skin. On the good news side, silver is a reliable antidote to shapeshifters.

Rebecca has discovered that Dean’s not, actually, a cop, and wants the boys to stop helping, before they make anything else worse for Zach. Not even SVPDE can help this time. Dean, inevitably, gets his I Told You So on.

Down into the sewers they go, finding more glop near an apparent nest. Suddenly – eye-flares! Sam gives chase, but the shifter books, and after they split up to search, Dean comes back to meet up with Sam, and says they should head to the car. Behind Sam’s back, though – eye-flare. Dean isn’t Dean.

Sam becomes a little suspicious when Dean asks him for the car keys, and tries testing him on their shared history – but Not!Dean passes. Flipping him the keys, Sam moves away while Not!Dean opens the trunk, excited by all the toys. Suddenly, Sam’s back, pistol up, and asking where his brother is. Sam noticed that the real Dean had hurt his shoulder, and wouldn’t have been able to catch the keys left-handed. Not!Dean gets the drop on Sam, and fade to black.

Waking up, Sam’s tied to a post in the sewer, and Not!Dean is claiming that Dean is dead already. Not!Dean demonstrates that he can tap into Dean’s memories, using it to build some animosity between the boys, before heading off to see Rebecca. She’s skeptical, but lets him in. Not!Dean tells Rebecca about the shapeshifter, and gets touchy about her sneering at the idea of sympathy for the monster.

Back in the hole, Dean turns out to be also tied up, and the boys get around to untying themselves. Dean points out that they can’t exactly call the police and put out an APB on, well, him, so they have to go rescue her themselves.

Not!Dean is still trying to get Rebecca to feel sorry for him, and creeping her out by being too forward. Not!Dean takes her down, and starts his usual routine – but SWAT arrives, as per the opener. Not!Dean attacks the SWATties and gets away, but is wounded, leading to a really grody shapeshifting scene, replete with groans and peeling skin and just a lot of ick.

The APB does get put out after all, and Dean’s the most wanted man in St.Louis. Sam points out they have no weapons, but they reason out where the Impala is…only to find the cops were sitting on it. Sam distracts the cops and is arrested, so Dean can get away and (inevitably) go into the sewer by himself. Searching, he finds Rebecca, badly hurt and tied up in the nest.

Cut away to Rebecca’s house, where clean and tidy Not!Rebecca is talking with Sam about his arrest. When his back is turned, she smashes a bottle across his head, and eye-flare, in case we didn’t know. Untying the trapped Rebecca, Dean helps her out of the sewer.

Back in Rebecca’s house, Not!Dean has Sam tied up, and says he’s going to kill him, as Dean, to make sure that Dean will always be hunted. Sam breaks out, and he and Not!Dean fight, fairly evenly, trashing Rebecca’s house. Just as Not!Dean gets the upper hand, Dean shows up, and silver-bullets the shifter into Purgatory for good.

Sam reports that the cops are convinced this “Dean Winchester” guy did the murder, and probably the others, and that the video had obviously been tampered with. Zach is released, and we get some more bad matte work on the driving broment.

Analysis:

Despite the matte work (ugh!), the makeup effects in this one are really strong – the shapeshifter extended transformation scene is disgusting and creepy,

I quite liked Rebecca in this episode – she’s decisive when she needs to be, quick to accept that Dean is not Not!Dean, and her delivery of the creepiness of Not!Dean hitting on her at such a terribly-chosen time was spot-on. Quite a small named cast in this one – Zach, Rebecca, Emily (Zach’s partner), and the boys are about it. If the middle couple got names, I didn’t hear them.

If the episode is missing anything, it’s a stronger sense of the violation it would be to have someone steal your very shape. At least for me, that ties into a strong reaction to body-horror, which makes the episode better; it’s a horror series, after all.

Conclusion:

Next up is a classic legend, Hook Man, and another early-season favourite for me.

(cue guitars and credits)

S1E6: Skin: 4 Pentacles

4 Pentacles from me again on this one: another solid early-show MotW episode, introducing another important piece of the show’s lore, about shapeshifters and their vulnerability to silver.

Trivia:

Running total of innocents killed by the Boys: Still being good boys, yet. 0.

Named women and/or POC (not already dead) who end up dead before the episode’s out: I count only two named women in this, Emily (the first victim), and Rebecca. So we’re at ½.

Marginalized (named) body survival rate: 50%. Yikes!

Objectification by Dean: Some, around Rebecca, but among his milder expressions of same.

Misogynist slurs: Actually, I don’t think there were any I caught.

Aliases used by the boys: None this time, as the vic was someone who knew Sam already.

Hint o’ maple: I didn’t catch a single trace of maple goodness on this one. Small cast meant they didn’t get much with accents, and a fair bit of tight shooting kept the background pretty clear of Canadiana.

Well, I’m back

My favourite line from Tolkien, Sam’s when he returns from the Havens and seeing Frodo off. Well, that and Eowyn’s “I am no man!”

And I am. Back, I mean (also, not a man). Ran into a buzzsaw of depression last winter, and more or less got hermitty. Not intentional, and not desired. I’ve got a couple of posts to make about Doctor Who (#MoffPleaseJustGoAway), and I’ve got a few more SPN eps queued up.

I’ll also shortly be starting another blog, specifically for game reviews (board games mostly, though I’ll also write about video gaming). I’m doing this because I don’t think Anita Sarkeesian and the other brave feminist game critics/reviewers out there should be alone. So I’m gonna take up my place on the Via Cyberia, and shout “I AM SPARTAKEESIAN!” I’ll post a link here when I get started there. Already got my first review written, 3 kwd on the newish Firefly board game (spoiler: I like it!).

Anyway, that’s all for today, just wanted to say hi, thanks for staying with me, and I’m looking forward to hearing from people when I get rolling.

Supernatural Re-watch, S1E5: Bloody Mary

The fifth episode to air, on October 11, 2005. I appear to have made a complete botch of my “Schedule Blog Posts” roll, but I’ve triple-checked Friday’s, and I think it should go out on time. 

Synopsis: 

At a tween sleepover in Toledo, we get the infodump on Bloody Mary, the monster of the week, through a game of Truth or Dare: say her name three times in a bathroom mirror, and she’ll appear to take your eyes and kill you. The girl does it, her friends scare her a little, there is squealing and a woken-up Dad. Dad hits the bog before heading back to sleep, and Bloody Mary shows up to, y’know, take his eyes and kill him. They have a cool effect on her showing up, where people walk around and in every reflection they walk past, she’s in it. Older sister (Donna) comes home, finds the blood and Dad, and screams -

Sam wakes from the usual Jess nightmare, which Dean tells us is happening a lot lately. Pretending to be med students from OSU, they try to get in to see the corpse; Dean’s Bluff roll fails, but Sammy drops in a nice Aid Other action by laying down five twenties. Dude is a gross-out mess: eyes missing and kinda black and gooey.

Running down the leads, the boys pretend to be workmates of dear dead Dad at the funeral reception, and investigate the house a little while they’re there. It’s too bad the family wasn’t Jewish, because having all the mirrors covered for sitting shiva would have been a nice touch. Younger sister Lily – the one who was dared to say “Bloody Mary” – insists it wasn’t a stroke, but in fact her fault for having done the bad thing.

Sam deploys the soft-voice puppy-dog-eyes (SVPDE) to get the details from her. Dean’s kind enough to reassure her that it can’t possibly be that, because, y’know, Dad didn’t say it, did he? No. Sam brings up a good point: why, if this is a real thing, aren’t kids dying all over the US for playing this silly game? Speculation that this is the kernel of truth in the modern legend. Also, it’s weird: Dad didn’t say it, so why was it him who died?

Donna’s friend (Charly) catches them investigating, and points out how crappy their lie was about the Dad, because he was a day trader, so he didn’t have much in the way of “colleagues”. She’s shrewd enough to have put together the weird questions and the oddness of them being upstairs, and demands to know what’s going on. SVPDE again, as Sam explains that they’re just trying to keep other people from being hurt. Sam hands over a phone number where she can reach them if anything weird happens.

Research and infodump. Later, Charly is talking to her friend Jill on the phone when the friend, to taunt her, goes to the bathroom mirror to say “Bloody Mary” – and then looses a huge scream while Charly freaks out. She reveals it was a “joke” before hanging up. As Jill begins to get undressed, Bloody Mary appears in the mirror. Jill’s reflection first begins to not be a reflection, and then blood starts dripping from its eyes, as it does from the real Jill, while Mary says, “You did it. You killed that boy.” Fade to black.

Sam’s nightmare. Frustration at lack of results, then Charly calls. They meet with her, and find out that Jill’s gone the same way Papa Shoemaker did. The boys reassure Charly that she’s not insane, which she rightly points out makes this all so much worse. They have a plan, so they go back to Jill’s place for a Search roll. On the back of a mirror, they find (using a blacklight) a bloody hand print, and the name Cary Bryman. Checking it out, the kid appears to have been struck and killed by a car, the description of which, Charly realizes, sounds a lot like Jill’s.

Going back to the first place, they find the name Linda Shoemaker on the back of the mirror where Dad died. That’s the kids’ Mom, who died of an ‘accidental overdose’ a few years ago. It looks pretty clear that Dad killed her, and that they’ve found Mary’s criterion for whether or not to kill (and thus why kids all over aren’t dying by the bukkitload): if you killed someone in secret, she’s coming for you.

Sam talks about the folklore about mirrors being a true reflection of your soul. Dean finds a source for what may well be the original story: “Mary Worthington” (I snickered), Fort Wayne Indiana. They talk to an old retired detective, who inevitably has taken the file on his one “it just bugs me” murder (as apparently all old retired detectives do, I think it must be like how some careers they give you a gold watch when you retire, if you’re an old detective, they give you a cold case). Turns out she was murdered by a break-in who took her eyes, probably a surgeon with whom she was having an affair. Looks like she was made into a spirit when she was unable to pass along the name of her killer.

Unfortunately, she was cremated. Crap. The mirror from the photograph of her death, the one with the unfinished name on it, was returned to her family long ago. So no obvious reason why this spirit is able to wander across the US yet.

Charlie and Donna are talking, and Donna is annoyed with Charlie’s credulousness, and so defiantly says “Bloody Mary” to the bathroom mirror a few times. As Charlie walks away, we can see Mary stalking her through the reflections in windows.

In a chemistry class, Charlie takes out a compact, and has a complete freakout when she sees Mary, smashes a window, and freaks worse yet when it happens again in the concerned teacher’s glasses.

The boys are chasing the mirror, which was sold one week ago to an antique dealer…in Toledo. They get the idea that maybe if they smash the mirror, she’ll be destroyed. Me, I always wonder (as I did in the execrable Doctor Who episode The Curse of the Black Spot) why people think that smashing mirrors will make them stop being mirrors. If you smash a mirror, you get a whole bunch of little mirrors. Until you either strip off the silvering, or grind it to dust, there’s still lots of reflection there – in fact, almost as much as there was before you smashed it.

Charlie calls and summons the Rescue Rangers, so the boys shut her up in their motel room, cover everything remotely reflective, and Sam gets SVPDE with Charlie to keep her calm until they can destroy Mary. Part of that, of course, is revealing what her dark secret is: she had an insecure and abusive boyfriend, who threatened to kill himself if she left; she said “good,” and so he did. Despite that she obviously didn’t kill him, her guilt over it is enough to bring the big bad.

Sam speculates that they need to pin her down in the haunted mirror before smashing it, and insists that she will come after him, because he has a secret about Jess’ death. He can’t tell Dean, of course, because then it wouldn’t be a secret anymore, and Mary wouldn’t come when called.

Turns out the antique dealer has kind of a thing for mirrors. When they find the right one, Sam gets ready to call her, while Dean goes out to Bluff the cops who’ve responded to the alarm they tripped. When the Bluff doesn’t work, Dean resorts to a surprise attack, dropping the two cops quickly, then heads back inside to help Sam. Hefting a crowbar, Sam gets to smashing mirrors where she shows up, but before she gets into the one they want her in, she starts to use her power on Sam. Mirror!Sam accuses Sam of having precogged Jess’ death, and that his ignoring the dreams meant Sam is responsible for killing her.

Dean arrives to destroy the mirror, which seems like game over – until she starts going all Japanese-horror-movie cliché, crawling out of the frame and walking in that Japanese-horror-movie way (long straggly hair covering eyes, jerky movements). She starts to power-whack both boys, before Dean manages to catch her in another mirror, and her power eats itself, basically.

Back to Charlie’s to drop her off, and Sam gives her a bit of SVPDE as light therapy on the way out. Sam spots Jess standing on a corner as they drive away, and seems troubled. She disappears.

Analysis:

Wow, were the effects for them driving the car crappy in the first season! Crude matte work, bad lighting differences. Just…yeesh. So much better when they started doing it as a practical effect, by what I assume is mounting the car on a low-rider trailer, and filming it actually driving around.

Anyway, this is one of my favourites of the first season. I like the use of SVPDE, it’s what gave me a soft spot for Sam in the first place, and I’m sad that they cut down the use so much later. I like also that the MotW provides a fairly graceful way of introducing Sam’s precog nightmares, in a much less clunky way than the usual expositionary dumping.

The girls’ characters in this episode rang more true to me than those in some other episodes, and I wonder if that’s related to the two Teleplay credits, one of which was to Terri Hughes Burton. She also worked on Wendigo, where I liked the character of the older sister. Unfortunately, those appear to be the only two episodes she worked on, and for me, one of the ongoing weaknesses of the show is how women characters are written, so it’s too bad she didn’t get more chances.

Once again we have a senior police officer who is a PoC: veteran actor William S Taylor. Taylor’s got an amazing resume: an NCAA star in football, he moved to Canada to play pro for the CFL’s BC Lions and later Canadian Heavyweight Boxing Champion, before becoming disenchanted with sports and moving into music and acting.  

I just tend to think this is a well-written episode, with good pacing, some genuinely creepy moments (although undermined a little by the cliche-ness of the spirit’s appearance), and a much less clunky style of infodump than we’ve seen in previous episodes. Not one “As You Know” moment.

Conclusion:

Next episode is S1E6 Skin, another creepy early-seasons favourite of mine.

(cue guitars and credits)

S1E5: Bloody Mary: 4 Pentacles

Four pentacles from me on this one, as I quite simply enjoy it. Not five because there’s a bit of cliché to the herky-jerky-long-hair spirit, and because of the distractingly terrible matte work.

Trivia:

Running total of innocents killed by the Boys: Still zero! Actually, this may not move a whole lot in the first season, it’s not til demons get really rolling (second and third seasons) that we start to get a fair bit of the lads killing civvies.

Named women and/or POC (not already dead) who end up dead before the episode’s out: (of Lily, Donna, Jill, and Charlie, only Jill dies; the Black detective is unnamed) ¼

Marginalized (named) body survival rate: 75%

Objectification by Dean: Actually, amazingly little.

Misogynist slurs: I don’t think I heard a single one. Interesting how much more common it becomes as the seasons go by.

Aliases used by the boys: Again, I don’t think they used any.

Hint o’ maple:  Lots of accents (Donna & Lily and one of Lily’s friends, the cops), but not a whole lot else.

Quick one

Just realized things have been very quiet on this week’s rewatch episodes, and that would be because I set them somehow to publish next week and not this week. I’m not sure how I skipped a week. Anyway, we’ll return on Tuesday with S1E5, Bloody Mary. I’m looking forward to that one, it’s one of my favourite first-seasoners. On Friday next, we’ll have S1E6 Skin, another highlight of the first season. Three-quarters of this second DVD of the series is good (Bugs and I have a love-hate relationship, but Hook Man brings the goods).