Supernatural Re-watch, S1E7: Hook Man

Seventh episode overall, from October 25, 2005.

Synopsis:

We’re in East Iowa this time, at a sorority party on a university campus. Some painful dialogue between the prudish white girl and her fabulously sassy Black roommate later, PrudishGirl (per the trope, not my judgement; I like the way she sets boundaries) is making out lightly with her boyfriend when she stops to check caller ID, not taking Dad’s calls. I’m gonna call it here, pal, she is really not that into you. If she can get away with not taking even her father’s (the preacher, we’ll find out shortly) calls, but still stops to check who it is? This is Not A Good Sign.

She checks him when he tries to slip her top off her shoulder, and she frowns a bit (told you, letter boy!), then we get to see the shiny old hook of a cloaked figure outside the car. As LetterBoy persists in overstepping her clear boundaries, she stops him again, more firmly this time, only for the hellish noise to start – a metal sign being gouged by the hook. Encroaching screechy noises get worse and worse as the kids are more confused than scared. LetterBoy gets out (he’s not actually wearing a letter sweater, but you know the sort), and as the noise gets closer to PG a few moments later, he disappears suddenly.

She steels herself to get out eventually, and gets to see LetterBoy hanging upside down from the nearby bridge.

Cut to Sam and Dean together at a hot dog stand, talking “about a hundred miles from here”, where an invisible attacker is reported; frustrated at not finding Dad, they figure they’ll look into the job. Pretexting as frat brothers transferring in, they crash the frat for info and some no-homo from Dean (gah), locating the church where PG (Lori Sorenson) is attending her father’s memorial service for the dead boy. Blah blah live on in spirit, blah blah life everlasting, et c.

Sam starts puppy-dogging Lori, and the details he turns up makes the two of them think they may have the original Hook Man on their hands. To the Archives, boys, and don’t spare the atmosphere!

Sam turns up a preacher from 1862 who killed thirteen sex workers in one night over his rage about their illicit behaviour. The place? 9 Mile Road, the same place where the latest murder happened. His weapon? A silver hook, replacing a hand lost to an accident.

Dad is unhappy about Lori going to her dorm to sleep, and fails to get her to change her mind. Inside the dorm, she finds scratches all around, and Taylor (the sassy Black roommate) fast asleep. Lori showers, while the boys check out 9 Mile Road and the bridge. We get introduced to the tequila shotties (the ones with the rock salt) – and the police staking out the spot. Oops.

Lori again, heading to bed, sees Taylor shift contentedly in her sleep. Cut to morning, Lori wakes to find the room all scratched up and Taylor slaughtered in her own bed. “Aren’t you glad you didn’t turn the lights on?” is in the wall.

Boys leaving the police station crowing about getting off with a fine, they see 5-0 peeling out with lights and sirens. Following them, they find Lori’s dorm. Dean’s weird entitlement thing peeks out: he parks in the only place on the entire street where there is a fire hydrant. In an unlikely daylight break-in, they find the symbol confirming that it is the same preacher’s spirit. Dean’s got a parking ticket.

A party that night, Sam tells us he was a good scholar, not really a partier, and Dean is draping his 26-year-old eyes across every 18-year-old in the room in a totally not creepy way (hint: it really is kind of creepy, and gets only worse as the seasons go by and he gets older). Some lore Sam’s found makes them suspect Lori’s Dad, either summoning or haunted by a violent spirit. Sam watches Lori argue with her Dad, and Dean starts looking for the unmarked grave of the preacher. He finds the same symbol, by good luck, and starts doing what Winchesters do in cemeteries.

Back with Lori, Sam’s watching the house and Lori’s watching Sam, he puppy-dogs some more, they meet cute again. Dean burns the bones. Lori announces that the Reverend Daddy “Morality” Sorenson is having an affair with a married parishioner. And hug time with kisses. W00t for Sammy.

Dad says “Come in now,” and Lori’s all like, “Nuh-uh!” and he’s all “Uh-HUH!” and she’s like “Nuh-UH!” and then HOOK MAN HOOKS HIM AND DRAGS HIM INTO THE HOUSE WTF WE BURNT THE BONES!?!? Sammy saves him, and we cut to the hospital. Sam’s getting stink-eye and The Talk from 5-0, about how he keeps turning up when bad stuff happens.

Now that Dad’s in the clear, they turn their focus to the girl, maybe the spirit has latched on to her overdeveloped morality and is punishing people for her. And Sam reasons that if the hook wasn’t in the coffin, maybe the hook is the item carrying the spirit; eventually, they get to the part where the church had it melted down into new stuff. Time to burgle the church and the house.

Sam clears the house, and while Dean is stoking up in the basement of the church, they hear noises from upstairs. It’s Lori, come to pray for her father. Sam gets puppydogging, while Dean gets on with the fire. Hook Man shows up while Lori is blaming herself for the attacks, and long and short, it’s her necklace! A crucifix which was made from the melted hook. Dean chucks it into the fire, and Hook Man gets the hook.

With the necklace destroyed, the spirit goes too, and this one’s in the books. Sam walks away from Lori, looking glum – still bummed about Jess, he’s in no shape to start up with anyone new just yet.

Give it a few months (Provenance, S1E19). 😉

Analysis:

Dean really creeps me out in this one. John Shiban didn’t write that many episodes for the show, his first two being this one and the previous, Skin. He seems to like writing Dean as a creepy lech, rather than a hedonist. Looking back into his work, he wrote a bunch of X-Files episodes, most of which I didn’t like, so maybe I just don’t enjoy this dude’s work. He was also partly responsible for the execrable Torchwood: Miracle Day, which is not exactly a mark of favour, from me.

Also, the director on this one (as indeed is true of the director of Skin, last ep) is someone who never worked on the series again. Make of that what you will.

There’s a bit of lore in this one that quietly gets dropped, like the “Demons can only affect the weak and sinful” thing from Phantom Traveler: the boys smell a strong ozone stink in the dorm room, which I don’t recall ever happening again.

The Hook Man becomes one of the iconic monsters of the series, parodied later in the Supernatural convention episode. I’m not sure why it does so little for me, but I’ve just never really enjoyed it much. I think it’s the strong focus on the purity-police morality of the episode, a thing which never fails to annoy me for its appalling effect on women and girls (ahem, Mr. Duggar to the white courtesy phone, Mr. Duggar). Not that I expect the show to deal with those effects, it wouldn’t fit, but it makes a poor contrast with Dean’s objectifying behaviour in this episode.

Also, there’s that metal-scratching, which is my nails-on-a-blackboard sound.

Conclusion:

Next up is one I have mixed feelings about, Bugs.

(cue guitars and credits)

S1E7: Hook Man: 2.5 Pentacles

Just 2.5 Pentacles on this one, and I’ll admit some of it’s petty: the scratchy-metal noise from the teaser really (excuse the pun) grates on me, and makes it hard to watch, or at least listen to. Picayune, I know, but hey, it’s my blog. I could also do without the implicit slut-shaming in Taylor’s death (made explicit when Sam dismisses her as “a party girl”), but that’s just background misogyny for most of the cultures I’m aware of.

Trivia:

Running total of innocents killed by the Boys: Still at zero! Wait til we get to demon-possession, this number will go up quickly then.

Named women and/or POC (not already dead) who end up dead before the episode’s out: All of them but Lori The Good Girl. *eyebrow*

Marginalized (named) body survival rate: Lori and Taylor make up the lot this week, and it’s one for two: 50%.

Objectification by Dean: All OVER the place. “Sorority girls”, creeping on nine-year-younger girls at the party (he’s 26, they’re frosh), checking out the librarian’s ass. Shiban gave us a script with Dean at his most dudebro.

Misogynist slurs: Explicitly, almost none. Which is surprising, given the dudebro-turned-to-11 nature of the episode.

Aliases used by the boys: None. They cover as frat brothers from Ohio once.

Hint o’ maple: Couldn’t find any today! Small cast again, and mostly imports.

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Re-watch update

I should be posting Hook Man tomorrow; I did most of it yesterday, but my partner needed to re-watch the Harry Potter films today for a project she’s working on, so I will finish up tomorrow morning. I’ve also worked ahead on some of the fringe stuff for the next three shows, and there are some really good ones coming before we roll into mythos territory. Next after Hook Man is Bugs, one of my least favourite of the first season. But then we get Home, Asylum, and Scarecrow, before Faith leads us into the execrable Route 666.

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.

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). 

Supernatural Re-watch, S1E4: Phantom Traveller

Fourth episode of the first season, air date October 4, 2005.  First appearance of demon-as-black-smoke, black-eyed demons, and DIY exorcism.

Synopsis:

We start with a nervous flyer in a bathroom at an airport, where we see a wisp of black smoke (which we’ll pretend later we don’t notice is completely and totally different from every later instance of black smoke demons) entering his eyes (yeah, yeah).  When he boards the plane, he turns black eyes to the flight attendant, but she dismisses it as she carries on working.

Later, in flight, the man stands up and walks to the back of the plane.  One passenger notices him by the door, when the black-eyed man grabs the impossible-to-move handle on the inside of the door, opening it wide.  He is sucked out, and follows the door as it smashes the jet’s right elevator.  The plane goes into an immediate loss-of-control state, and eventually crashes.  There are only seven survivors.

The boys are called in by a phone call from a Pennsylvania air traffic controller, whom Dean and John had helped before with a poltergeist problem.  Sam’s having trouble adjusting to hunting again, having nightmares and angst.  Jerry the ATC has a recording of the black-box voice recorder, which has a voice saying “no survivors” in a weird way – double weird, because seven people survived the crash, including the pilot and the flight attendant we met.  He can’t get them in to see the wreckage, though, as it’s locked down by NTSB.

The boys hit up their local Kinko’s-clone, where Dean puts together some Homeland Security ID for them to use in infiltrating the wreckage warehouse (careful examination of the ID shows that Dean is using one with “Jerry Wanek” as the name – this happens to be one of the crew, the production designer).

They also go to the psychiatric institution where one of the survivors is regaining his equilibrium.  Careful probing turns up the bit about the black-eyed guy who opened the door.  He points out that this is impossible, but he sure as hell thought he saw it anyway.

Dean and Sam speculate that the passenger may not have been human, given his apparently-impossible levels of strength.  His widow says he was a dentist, headed to a convention, and a terrified flyer.  I think this is the introduction of an idea that gets dropped pretty quickly for narrative reasons, that demons could only possess someone if they were weak in some manner when it happened: his huge fear made him vulnerable.

Cue a Blues-Brothers transformation, as the lads get themselves into cheapish black suits, so as to look more the part for their wreckage survey.  Dean introduces us to the idea of the EMF meter, with a bit of clumsy As You Know Bob, and finds a fair bit of EMF signature – meaning spirit activity.  Sam, meanwhile, finds what turns out to be a fair bit of sulphur on the wreckage of the door.  Then, trouble!  Real DHS agents show up, only to find that the boys somehow magically knew they were coming and got away just in time.

Cut to the crashed pilot going up for his first flight after the crash, in a small twin-engine.  Again we get the trope about the demon-vulnerable scared guy, as the black smoke once again drifts in through his eyes (I know).  He gets very cocky, and soon goes black-eyed, before knocking out the other pilot and diving straight at the ground, and then there were six.

Sam checks further, having noticed that the flights both went down 40 minutes in, and finds six more previous flights which crashed 40 minutes in.

When they hunt down the other survivors on the phone, only one of them is still flying: the flight attendant is to take her first flight back on the job tonight, from an airport five hours away.  They try to dissuade the flight attendant from taking the flight, but she won’t go for it.  They have no other choice but to get on the plane with her.  Dean, it turns out, isn’t the happiest flyer ever, and the demon is definitely taking the flight with them.

Another demon-hunting tidbit is introduced here and then quickly forgotten: the whole “demons flinch from the name of god” thing.

Dean gets a good hit off the EMF meter when he spots the co-pilot coming out of the bathroom.  Muttering the (wrong) Latin name for god, the demon goes black-eyed, but heads into the cockpit.

The boys try to talk Amanda into luring the co-pilot back out of the cockpit, and obviously get critical successes on their Bluff and Diplomacy rolls, because even in this post-9/11 age, they manage the task.  This, by the way, is where my suspension of disbelief nosed over and headed for the ground at a high rate.

Confining the dude with some duct tape, Sam starts the exorcism, but the demon starts fighting back – when he gets his mouth loose, he talks some smack about Sam’s dead girlfriend, but they complete the ritual, and the demon leaves him.  Somehow, it possesses the plane, which takes the usual tumble to the ground, causing Sammy to lose the journal with the exorcism ritual in it.  He finally grabs it, shouts some stuff, and the plane is fine.

When the plane gets back on the ground, the boys find out that Jerry found them by calling John’s cellphone, the message on which has been changed to redirect people to Dean’s phone.  They now know that John is alive, but for some reason staying away from them.

Analysis:

Like the last episode, it’s hard to find much to critique here, because the episode is basically a pork (the other white meat) sausagefest: only one named/speaking character is not a white man, and she’s pretty inoffensive as a character – brave, but a little too easily manipulated for my taste.  I know Sam and Dean are superheroes, and one of their powers is their high Diplomacy/Bluff skills (for Sam and Dean respectively), but really, this one just is hard to take seriously.

Conclusion:

Next up is a fan favourite, as well as one of mine: Bloody Mary.

(cue guitars and credits)

S1E4: Phantom Traveler: 1 Pentacle

1/5 – I wonder if I’m being a little harsh on this one, but I just find it way too hard to keep my suspension of disbelief in the air.  Post 9/11, this is just not a very believable episode to have made: we’ve all heard WAY too many stories of planes which made emergency landings because someone whose skin was too brown made an offhand reference to a comedian’s joke bombing, so the idea that two guys could talk a flight attendant into luring a pilot out of the cockpit to be ambushed?  Just…no.  I don’t care how big Sam’s puppy-dog eyes are, I don’t care how cute Dean thinks he is, just…no.  Though the numbers (see below) indicate a much less lethal world for not-(hetero-white-men) in this one, so maybe I am being too harsh.  Of course, it’s hard for the world to be much less lethal for marginalized people than this one, since there simply are almost none to work with.

Honestly, it’s a good thing I found the show watching fourth-season reruns.  I don’t know how long I’d have stuck with this show at this point, if I hadn’t already know there was some awesome coming.  The pacing has improved considerably, but there are still dead zones in the episode: the editing will get much tighter and much better as the series continues.

Trivia:

Running total of innocents killed by the Boys: 0 (they’re doing so much better than I thought they would!)

Named women and/or POC (not already dead) who end up dead before the episode’s out: 0!  A new record!  Of course, the streak continues, with only one named woman character who speaks, and no POC who speak or have names. 

Marginalized (named) body survival rate: 100%!  1/1 (Amanda, the flight attendant, who lives)

Objectification by Dean: 0 again!

Misogynist slurs: And another big zero!

Aliases used by the boys: Wanek (Dean), unknown (Sam).

Hint o’ maple:  Three actors (Kett Turton as Max Jaffe, Daryl Shuttleworth as Chuck Lambert, and Paul Jarrett as George Phelps), plus Vancouver International Airport’s South Terminal, and a few CF and CG tail-numbers on the non-CGI aircraft.

Supernatural Re-watch, S1E3: Dead in the Water

Third episode of season one, original air date, September 27, 2005.

Synopsis:

In Lake Manitoc, Wisconsin (the inevitable temperate rainforests of Wisconsin), we get a fairly gratuitous Jaws reference in the underwater shots of champion swimmer Sophie Carlton, before she’s snatched under the water and disappears.  Fade to black, and find Dean going through the obits hunting for weirdness.  A Penthouse-Forum version of a waitress hands over the bill to the boys, then wiggles away so she can be objectified by Dean.  He even explicitly calls her “that”.  Way to go, Dean.

Turns out the dead woman’s the third drowning victim this year in the lake, none of whose bodies were found.

Off to Wisconsin, where Agents Ford and Hamill show up to investigate the disappearance.  The local plod says they swept the lake with dragging and sonar, and found nothing.  Also, the lake’s going away soon, because the dam’s leaking.

Dean tries some crappy pick-up stuff on the sherriff’s daughter: turns out she’s a widow, whose husband also died in the lake recently.  Her kid doesn’t talk.  He was stuck on a float for two hours after his father disappeared.

Sam doesn’t think it’s a lake monster, despite several more unexplained disappearance/deaths.  Discovering the truth about Lucas’ father, they track him down, and Dean tries to engage the boy without much apparent success, despite their both having lost parents horribly.  When he goes back to talk to the mother, Lucas wordlessly hands Dean a picture he’s drawn, of a house in the town.

Sophie’s father is gripped by melancholy.  Her brother, cleaning fish, sees the work sink back up with filthy water.  Rolling up a sleeve to check the problem, he is dragged into the sink and drowned, before the water drains quietly away again.  Dad’s not going to like this.

The boys figure out that whatever’s killing is going fast because the lake is emptying, and that it can reach anywhere on the town water system.  Bracing the dad, they find him in a deeply painful contemplation.

Dean spots the house that Lucas drew, in which they discover that a child drowned in the lake many years back, a bullied kid, used to live.  Realising the dead kid was a friend of Bill Carlton (Sophie’s father), they return, to find him setting out on the lake in a small boat.  He hears them calling him back, but carries on, until the boat explodes into the air, then disappears under the surface with him.

The sherriff is skeptical of their story, having determined that they’re not really federal wildlife agents as claimed, and runs them out of town.  Naturally, they know better, and come back into town, arriving at Andrea and Lucas’ place just in time to save her from her bathtub.

She says a voice was telling her “come play with me” – Dean discovers that the drowned kid from way back was in the same scout troop with her father and Bill Carlton.

While they talk about it, Lucas walks to a spot in the yard, and the boys find a rusted old bicycle in the ground.  While they’re excavating, the sherriff returns, and is a very unhappy camper indeed to discover them doing this.  The boys guess, apparently accurately, that the sherriff and Bill Carlton killed the dead boy, and that his spirit has been murdering everyone he loves.

The tricky bit is, the two didn’t bury the kid: they just let his body drift off into the lake.  That’s going to make the whole salt-and-burn routine hard to do.  The sherriff confesses that they killed him while bullying him, drowning him accidentally while torturing him.

They turn around from their discussion to see Lucas at water’s edge, reaching down to the dark water for a plastic army man that fell in.  He’s grabbed and pulled in by a dark greenish figure, which surfaces just enough to give the sherriff a baleful look, then submerges again.  Dean and Sam hunt frantically under the water, and the sherriff comes up with his own solution: begging forgiveness, he pleads for the return of Lucas, offering himself, and being dragged away into the inky depths.

Dean then pops up with Lucas, whom they revive quickly.

Lucas and Andrea show up to see them off, giving them lunch for the road, before Lucas – now talking – goes to learn how to say “Zeppelin rules!” from Dean.  Sammy shows his sensitive side.

(cue guitars and credits)

Analysis:

There’s not a lot to criticize in this episode, because it’s a version of Wisconsin in which there are no POC, and again only one named and speaking woman (Andrea Barr – Peter Sweeney’s mother is never named).  Her character is basically the typical spunky single mom, almost exclusively expressed in the ways in which she looks after the men in her life: her husband, her father, her son, Dean and Sam, she’s an all-purpose mom for everyone.  Not what you might call the most enlightened approach.  The only other women in the episode are a waitress whom Dean totally objectifies, and various extras.

Given that there are literally no other marginalized people in the episode, there’s little to critique other than the near-absence of anyone who isn’t a hetero white man.

Conclusion:

Next episode is one of my least favourite overall, Phantom Traveller.  But we have to take the bad with the good, so onward we go, to episode 4 of season 1!

 S1E3: Dead in the Water: 2 Pentacles

2/5 – again, I’d like it better if I were a horror-movie fan.  The show’s not found its place as a TV show yet, rather than as a movie: the cinematography, lighting, everything is aimed at the horror-movie genre – the low-saturation filming and lighting style, the uneven acting, and the overall quietness of things just aren’t as exciting and fun to watch as the later shows are.  The pacing is still horror-movie slow, too, but a forty-minute format needs a lot tighter pacing than we’re getting here yet.  YMMV, as ever.  I’ll also enjoy it more when it’s not quite such a sausagefest: when episodes get up to having TWO women and/or POC who actually speak in the same episode…

Trivia:

Running total of innocents killed by the Boys: Still 0, arguably.  They don’t do very well in the saving people stakes this ep, though: pretty much the entire extended family Is wiped out, save for Andrea and Lucas.

Named women and/or POC (not already dead) who end up dead before the episode’s out: 1, Sophie Carlton.

Marginalized (named) body survival rate: 50%, ½ (Sophie dies, Andrea lives; no POC with lines in the episode at all)

Objectification by Dean: The waitress at the beginning; Andrea Barr, Lucas’ mother.  Also, by the camera, with both Andrea getting into her tub, and Sophie swimming at the beginning.  No such shots of men’s bodies are seen, despite the audience of the show being at least half women, and presumably at least a few non-hetero men, too.

Misogynist slurs: 0!  That doesn’t happen often.

Aliases used by the boys: Ford and Hamill, a reference (of course) to the actors who played Han Solo and Luke Skywalker.  This is a meta-ref, too, because these are the characters whom Kripke had explicitly in mind when he created Dean and Sam.

Hint o’ maple:  Not much, save for the (ahem) slightly improbable mountains of Wisconsin.

Comics about depression

Saw this at buzzfeed after a friend sent me the link in e-mail. I don’t know why I’m always shocked when i see that other people experience depression in ways that are so, so familiar to me. I guess it’s the nature of the problem, that I tend to think I’m all alone in far more ways than I actually am. 

comics that capture the frustrations of depression

Also, à propos de rien (ha! as if), I’ll try and get responses to your comments on the S1E2 SPN episode from yesterday, but I’m having a bad brain day. Those happen. Did read ’em, did enjoy ’em, can’t find my spoons is all. 

Supernatural Re-watch, S1E2: Wendigo

Second episode of the show to be aired, September 20, 2005. 

Synopsis:

The teaser gives us a park in Colorado – the temperate rainforests of Colorado, of course – where a group of young men are camping backcountry, but not so far back that one of them can’t be sending his daily video home.  Others are playing with their handheld games.  Soon, scaryfast shadow-monster (mmm, cheap effects, chuckles the producer to himself, and fingers his BMW keys), and bye-bye, dude.  Brad, we hardly knew ya.

At least he got a name.

Cut to Palo Alto, and Sam in a nice suit approaching a gravestone marked for his fridged girlfriend (hey, hero’s gotta have a reason to hero, right?).  He’s got flowers.  While he woobies about the pain of surviving her untimely and Sam-related death, a dirty hand rises Carrie-like out of the ground, grabbing Sam by the wrist.

He jolts awake in the Impala.  The brothers bond a bit.  There’s some natter about an old fight that Dad couldn’t finish, and a bunch of young men missing in the back country.  CRASHY-SMASHY TITLES!

At the Ranger cabin, Sam barfs up some exposition for a while, then the Ranger comes in to tell them not to go out in the Very Dangerous Place.  Which, of course, we all know means they’re going to do exactly that.  The boys break it up a little by getting to the family’s place, where they discover it’s a set of orphans who are very close.

More exposition: 23 years ago, and 23 years before, and 23 years before, people went missing in this area.  But hey, there’s a survivor!  Isn’t there always?  You’d think apex predator monsters would be more efficient. It was a grizzly, right?  Right?  And now the survivor is grizzled, too.  Ooh, narrative symmetry.  Nah.

Anyway, That Was No Bear!  Dean’s happy because it’s a solid creature.  The next day, they meet up with the family and their Grizzled Hunter guide, claiming to be rangers in a pretty improbable set of gear.

Cutaway, now, and we find that Tommy is still alive.  He’s hanging from a hook of some sort, alongside one of his friends, when a long, skinny-looking monster comes along and noisily dismembers his friend.

Back to the rescue op, the Grizzled Hunter is being lectured by Dean on how skilled Dean is, and gives Dean a comeuppance with a barely-avoided leg trap.  Dean then has an uncomfortable conversation with the girl of the week, and makes the creepy confession that he’s never honest with women.  Ever.  Dude, that’s not cool, that’s rapey.

Coming on the campsite (damn, you guys are good – one teeny campsite, in many square miles of heavy forested mountains?), they find evidence that it wasn’t a skinwalker or a black dog.  A predator trick draws them from the camp, and takes away all their survival gear while they’re distracted.  Totting up the evidence, Sam realizes it’s a Wendigo – Dean rightly points out that wendigo is a concept/creature/diagnosis from First Nations cultures found in Michigan and Minnesota (as well as here in Ontario and Manitoba), Sam handwaves, blah blah Donner party blah.

Sam makes the “Shit is Getting Serious” speech, and is scoffed at by Grizzled Hunter.  Night falls.  Dean gives the speech we’re going to see for ages in the opener, about with great responsibility comes great privilege, and duty is a feather heavier than a mountain, and all kinds of guff.  Basically: “We’re gonna do monster of the week, and finding dad is the big arc.  Also, there’s a book by MacGuffin, full of Useful Information.”

Once again, the monster gives with the distraction noises, sounding (for me) distractingly like Surak’s voice in the dreadful Star Trek: TOS episode.  “Help me, Spooock, help meee!”  Grizzled Hunter falls for it, and gets himself et.  Oops.

More exposition, gotta torch it.  Monster attacks, scattering the party, and Dean and Haley disappear.  Dean starts dropping M&M’s to leave a trail, and Sam and Ben track them to the entrance to an abandoned mine.  With a bit of good luck, they tumble through a shaft to the pantry, where Dean and Haley are hanging to cure.  They discover ample evidence that plenty of people here have been eaten already, and then – Tommy!  Tommy!  He’s alive!

The way out is a bit more character development: Sam’s the carer, Dean’s the stupidly brave Han Solo-type.  To distract the creatures, he runs off yelling and offering “white meat”, while Sam escorts the wounded out.  The flare guns they find are one-shot, and Sam misses his!  Ack!  They hobble for the exit, chased by the monster, only to have Dean show up just in time to save them, using his flare gun to give us the episode’s only big effect: the wendigo going up in flame.

They fashion a story for the police, and the family goes to the hospital.  Dean gets shot down (not literally) by the expected Girl of the Week – a nice aversion of the trope.

And the hunt for Dad goes on, sorta, in that they’re really kinda just going where he tells them, not so much where he might be.  Guitars and credits.

Analysis:

Dunno about anyone else, but as soon as I saw one of the teaser campers was Black, I was worried, I’ll admit.  There’s a reason it’s a trope.  It would have been so, so easy to avert it, too.  I find it hard to believe that horror-movie veterans would be unaware of this one, so it’s really hard to excuse.

And then, the giant creature in the room: the appropriation.  Oh. My. $DEITY. the appropriation.  As they point out, wendigo (or, more properly, WIIN’digo) is a concept from Ojibwe culture – which makes the Anasazi protective symbols an odd choice, let’s say mildly.  But hey, they’re all one kinda people, amirite? (hint: I am not right).  It’s just a whole big bucket of fail, splashed all over the episode.  The show would have done well to stay away from First Nations material entirely, rather than give it the disservice and disrespect shown here.  It’s not the last time, either.  We’ll have S1E8 coming up soon, Bugs, when they’ll do it again.  At least in that episode an actual First Nations actor got a few lines, and some nice snarky shots at Dean while he was at it.

Honestly, the show tries to include some diversity in the first season in ways that just totally fail, and this is one of them.  The racist truck in S1E13 Route 666 – hello Mighty Whiteys, Sneering Racists, and Noble Lib’ruls! – is another real failcontainership of an episode.  They get somewhat better at this in later seasons, but even to my white-privileged eyes, they get it wrong a whole bunch as well.

Gender-wise, it’s actually not quite as completely awful as some episodes.  Wow, that’s a lot of qualifiers.  But it’s true: the one woman who has a speaking role (Haley; the only other women are unnamed and unspeaking extras in a bar scene) not only gets out alive, but is brave, determined, and not ridiculously useless.  She’s not a backcountry camper, but then not many people are, and she’s not without skills: she can see through the boys’ claim to be rangers pretty soon after they get into the woods, and is clearly a responsible head-of-family person, even as a teenager.  Her younger brother gets the scream-queen role, really, being more frightened, and Sam actually having to restrain him from crying out just from seeing a blurry distant slow-moving silhouette of the monster.  Nice aversion, I’d say.  She’s also dressed reasonably appropriately, if a little lightly, though I wonder at the wisdom of shorts: do they not have deer flies in Colorado?  I know I wouldn’t go hiking in northern Ontario in shorts, let alone in the mountains.

Anyway, since they spend the whole episode out in the woods with the small cast, there’s not a lot of interaction to provide a lot of analysis here.

Conclusion:

Next episode we have Dead in the Water, the third of the show and season.  It’s another MotW episode, and it’s a reasonably good one – save for being the usual Hollywood White town, somewhere in the temperate rainforests of Wisconsin.

S1E2: Wendigo: 2 Pentacles

2/5 for this one.  I think if I were more of a horror-film fan (I’m really, really not), I’d have liked this one better, but this one felt a whole lot like an X-Files episode to me – the one where Mulder and Scully are going to the team-building thing, and stop in the woods to help find a missing person.  And frankly, I think the X-Files did it better.  They just haven’t hit their stride yet, the boys’ personalities are rough and wobbly, the acting is uneven, and the cinematography way too X-Files.  Growing pains, yes, but in the context of the show?  This isn’t a great ep.

Trivia:

Running total of innocents killed by the Boys: 0 (you wait, this’ll go up)

Named women and/or POC (not already dead) who end up dead before the episode’s out: 1 (Brad, the Black man in the teaser)

Marginalized (named) body survival rate: 50%, ½ (Brad dies; Haley lives)

Objectification by Dean: Pretty much the whole catalogue of his interactions with Haley. He even admits it when she calls him on it.

Misogynist slurs:  Dean, 1 (bitch, to the monster)

Aliases used by the boys:  Samuel Cole (Dean, maybe a Colt reference?)

Hint o’ maple:  Veteran Canadian character actor Timothy Webber (Cold Squad, X-Files, Lone Gunmen, about a hundred other things) plays Ranger Wilkinson, around and aboot the ranger shack.  Yes, I know, fellow Canadians, we don’t really say “aboot”, but that’s what they hear it as.  Trust me, I’m a linguist.  A most cunning one.  With a degree and everything.

Anyway, he’s joined by Donnelly Rhodes, another veteran of just about everything, but who does a much better job of hiding his accent.  And I don’t think Callum Keith Rennie needs any introduction: Da Vinci’s Inquest, BSG, Due South, and a host of other appearances on a range of geek favourites.

Supernatural: a Progressivist Re-watch

So, recently I decided I’d like to get some regular writing, and having enjoyed a bunch of really good re-watch/re-read threads at various places (Tor.com got me started, but the one I’ve loved best was The Viewscreen’s Star Trek: TOS series, followed by their work on the animated series, and other works on the astrogator for later), thought it might be time to start my own.  To some extent, then, Torie and Eugene, this one’s for you.

You’re probably thinking: OMG, Caitie, why the fuck would you want to subject yourself to a show that is SO not feminist?  And yeah, I’ve asked myself a few times.  But I’m a fan, what can I say: I love the show.

Oddly enough, I don’t like horror movies (I’m a big fan of being scared, but I tend to believe suspense + surprise = pleasant scare, and suspense + gorefest = unpleasant scare), so being a fan of SPN (as we call it in the fandom) is a real surprise: not really progressivist at all, very man-centred, horror-lite series.

But one can’t always choose what one will fall in love with, can one?

Who am I?

I’m a queer polyamourous working-class trans white woman gamer geek with mental and physical disabilities, and an immigrant from the UK to Canada (but you can just call me Cait – short for Caitlin, pronounced, in NorthAmEnglish anyway, as “Kate”).  I wrote for a couple of years at Shakesville as a contributor and moderator (CaitieCat), and have been published in a couple of anthologies (one of queer pastiche, one of trans erotica).

I’ve been a fan since I was old enough to watch ST: TOS on my own.  That’s…ooh, probably forty years now.  I use fan as a shorthand for someone who is a general sf/fantasy geek, and who has a (possibly unhealthy ;o) devotion to one or more media properties in that pursuit.

What is Supernatural, anyway?

Supernatural is the tale of two brothers (Dean Winchester, played by Jensen Ackles, and Sam Winchester, played by Gilmour Girls alum Jared Padalecki) in a world where monsters, demons, and angels are all real, though most people don’t know about them.  Circumstance reveals the truth of that world to their father when their mother is killed by a demon when the two are very small (Sam an infant, Dean four and a half).

Created by Eric Kripke, the show has recently finished its eighth season as I write this, and has shifted from a Monster-of-the-Week horror-lite show with a background story arc, to a show more or less defined by each season’s story arc, with some MOTW action thrown in to break up the big story.  Think of it sorta like the X-Files, except that instead of the mind-numbing and eventually show-killing takeover of the conspiracy episodes, we have a set of story arcs that work with and among the MOTW stories.

What Can We Expect from this Re-Watch?

Ahh, good question.  I’m glad I asked.

My concept here is to watch each episode, lay out a synopsis, and then look at the things they do that are or are not progressivist, before closing with a bit of trivia about the ep in question and the show in general.  Among those latter trivia will be, for instance:

  • a running count of the “innocent*” people slain by the two heroes;
  • a percentage rating, for how many named characters who are POC and/or women end up dead by episode’s end;
  • favourite lines;
  • good bits: stuff that is stealthily/surprisingly progressivist!;
  • and a misogynist slur watch (how many times a show is someone called a “bitch” or a “whore”, et c.).

Closed out with a rating of how much I, personally, enjoyed the show.

So that’s the premise.  I hope you’ll enjoy watching along with me, twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays. I’ve already set up the first four episodes to roll out on schedule.

A Note About Spoilers

There will be some.  I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect to do a re-watch without them.  What I’d like to see is people trying to avoid giving spoilers about shows we haven’t done yet, but the episode we’re looking at will, obviously, be chock-a-block with spoilers.  Until we get caught up**, anyway.

* For instance, if the boys kill a demon with the, well, y’know, (SPOILER!) that thing they can kill demons with, and the human doesn’t survive?  That’s one for the boys’ total.  People who die because Our Lads haven’t figured out the MOTW yet, they don’t go on the total.

** If we ever get caught up – at eight seasons, the show has something like 170+ episodes, which at two a week means this is a two-year project, by which time there will be (supposing no cancellation) another 20+ episodes, and so on.