The Road So Far, on Supernatural.
Welcome back, Supernatural superfans! It’s the second week of our recap project. In these episodes, the show puts aside the Papa Winchester mystery to focus on what unites us as an audience: sexy drifters slaying monsters with unabashed violence.
While the pilot was shot in L.A., the rest of the series—like many of your sci-fi (and SyFy) favorites—is filmed in Canada. Consequently, supporting roles are often filled by a cavalcade of the Great White North’s finest players. If you’re like me, this will lead to peering at the screen, wondering, “Hey! Is that the guy? From the thing?”
Rest assured, darlings: it probably is. Let’s toast our pop culture mastery!
THE OFFICIAL FYA SUPERNATURAL DRINKING GAME
Take a drink every time:
• Dean or Sam flashes a badge and passes for federal law enforcement despite being clad in denim and/or flannel
• A demon possesses some hapless schmuck
• The camera gives tight artistic focus to blood being splattered
enjoys a cheeseburger crams his face full of junk food
• Sam purses his lips passive aggressively
• Either brother picks a lock
• Someone employs a Titan of Classic Rock as an alias
• The Glorious and Faithful Impala is damaged in the line of duty
Monster of the Week: Wendigo
Enter three hapless campers. They’re ensconced in tents, two playing handheld video games while the last uses a satellite phone to update his vlog. The glam-pers are so entranced by their own electronics, they don’t notice the growling monster outside their tents. After dispatching the gamers with a brutal efficiency, the monster slowly stalks around the vlogger’s tent, then rips into it with terrifying claws.
Tragedy in action. A cowrie shell choker? Really? (His imminent demise is also sad).
Dean and Sam are in the area investigating coordinates Papa Winchester left in his journal. When they meet the local PD, Sam claims they’re “environmental studies students,” a story Dean gracefully sells by exclaiming, “Recycle, man!” But the cop isn’t buying it, warning them to stay away from the case of the missing campers, and most especially from the sister of the missing vlogger who has been investigating his disappearance.
A forbidden sister? Dean is intrigued. After successfully posing as park rangers (drink), the boys team up with said sister, her younger brother, and a creepy hunter, heading deep into the forest to find the vlogger. They aren’t in the woods long before the sister questions whether Dean, who hikes in jeans and biker boots, might not actually be who he claims.
Another clue? Dean refers to peanut M&Ms as “provisions”
The group comes upon the vlogger’s blood-splattered campsite, including a smashed-up satellite phone. From somewhere deep within the woods, the vlogger calls to the crew for help. They run to look for him, but he is nowhere to be found. When they return to the campsite, all of their gear’s been stolen. The thing stalking them is smart, Sam opines. The perfect hunter. A wendigo.
At this point, Predator pops up (in my mind) to scoff, “Wendi-who?”
Keep a lid on that shade, Predator. We all know you’re the best hunter.
The brothers explain that wendigos were once human before harsh winters drove them to eat other people. Ingesting human flesh gives them speed. Strength. Immortality. Pssst…you guys are kind of making the case for cannibalism. But there is a downside. Apparently it does this to your face.
Sparkly vampires aren’t looking so bad now, huh?
The good news is wendigos store victims alive to eat at their leisure, so there’s a chance the vlogger’s alive. The bad news? Guns are useless against it. So are knives. Setting it aflame will work, but before Dean gets a chance to use his Molotov cocktail, the wendigo attacks, capturing him and the sister. Luckily, our quick-thinking protagonist manages to leave a trail of peanut M&Ms to the dank cave where the monster has him tied up. “Better than breadcrumbs!” Sam says. “Is it though?” Dean’s future cardiologist asks.
The reunited crew finds the vlogger and escapes the cave, but not before catching up with wendigo and shooting a flare gun into his abdomen.
This one’s called the “Premature Viking Funeral”
The Winchesters deliver the other siblings back to civilization. The sister tells Dean she doesn’t know how to thank him. Dean’s smirk appears to have one or two ideas.
Never change, buddy.
Brotherly Angst Quotient: Greasy. The episode opens with an openly distraught Sam having a recurring dream about visiting Jess’s grave.
Aw, Sammy. Jess would want you to wash your hair.
Sam’s so depressed about Jess’s murder, Dean commits a truly selfless act—offering to let him drive. But when the chance to helm the Glorious and Faithful Impala doesn’t make Sam feel better, Dean offers advice instead. Sam should work through his anger by helping people and also “killing as many evil sons-of-bitches” as he possibly can.
Where in the World is Papa Winchester?: Unclear. Dean tells Sam that the “search could take awhile…you gotta have patience, man.” For now, they should just focus on doing what their dad (and the audience) would want—monster-killing and plenty of it.
How Drunk Are We?: Barely. Only five drinks by my count. If it weren’t for artfully splattered blood (thanks wendigo!), peanut M&Ms, and the boys’ brief stint passing as park rangers, we would be entirely sober.
Soundtrack: “Fly By Night” by Rush takes us out.
The Quotable Winchesters: Dean wins this episode, telling the sister, “Oh sweetheart. I don’t do shorts.” No, Dean. You certainly don’t.
Moment Most Likely to Inspire Troubling Fan-Fic:
Alden Ehrenreich from Beautiful Creatures plays the role of weirdo little brother.
The late Cory Monteith of Glee fame, playing hapless camper #2. RIP.
1X3: "Dead in the Water"
Monster of the Week: Ghost, Creepy Child Varietal
After bidding her family goodbye, a young woman goes for swim in a peaceful mountain lake. The underwater Jaws-style filming begins and I pull the blankets closer because SHARKS ARE THE WORST WITH THEIR POINTY TEETH AND THEIR PEOPLE-EATING AGENDA
Nononono, I don’t care if it is freshwater, Jaws is gonna get you, girl!
*Sneaks a sip of a non-drinking-game-related restorative* Sorry. Where were we? Right. The young woman hears strange whispers and is pulled underneath the water by something evil. (But not a shark, so we can all relax.)
Our intrepid heroes spot the case in the paper, apparently the third missing body in a year. In their usual jeans and leather, they pretend to be Agents Ford and Hamill (heh) from the U.S. Wildlife Service. The dead girl’s brother praises her merits as a swimmer, saying she never would have drowned. Her dad won’t talk to them so they move on to interview the local PD. The sheriff—who, to his credit, is skeptical of their credentials—ends the meeting when his lovely daughter shows up with her young son. The boy’s been mute ever since he witnessed his father, the sheriff’s son-in-law, drowning in the lake.
The mute boy knows more than he’s saying (sorry), and Dean, child psychologist, reaches him by bonding over toy soldiers, crayons, and the sharing of his own childhood trauma.
Know what this kid loves? Guys that don’t hit on his mom.
Because he's charmed, or perhaps because he just wants to be left alone, the boy responds, drawing revelatory pictures that Sam and Dean use to solve the case. Apparently, when the dead girl’s dad and the local PD were horrible children, they bullied another boy, eventually drowning him and burying his bicycle to hide the crime. The child’s ghost wants to get revenge by killing the people close to his bullies.
The ghost’s next victim? The traumatized boy’s mom. The brothers show up just in time to rescue her from the bathtub where the ghost has slipped up the drain Pennywise-style in an attempt to kill her.
Best ending to the worst bath ever.
But while the brothers are confronting the local PD with his crimes, the traumatized child wanders into the lake, leading to this MAGNIFICENT shot of his rescue.
The local PD wades into the lake, offering himself as a sacrifice so that the ghost will leave his family alone. The ghost accepts, pulling him under.
Awfully gracious of you, ghost.
Brotherly Angst Quotient: Simmering.
Sam’s still angry they’re no closer to finding Papa Winchester or Jess’s killer. He goes so far as to interrupt Dean’s potential hook-up with a pretty blonde waitress (not cool, bro), using only the power of his passive-aggressive lip purse (drink). Dean snaps that he wants to find Papa just as much, if not more, since he was the one who was actually his partner while Sam was off at pep rallies.
After meeting the traumatized little boy, a lot of emotions are stirred up for Dean, especially his memory of Mama Winchester fricasseed on the ceiling. He admits to being scared and living his life the way he does because he knows his mom would want him to be brave. *wipes tear*
This display actually penetrates Sam’s sad bubble of self-involvment, and he reaches out to Dean, who immediately shrugs on his protective machismo saying, “Oh God. We’re not going to have hug or anything, are we?”
Not this episode, Dean. But soon.
There will be hugging. So much hugging.
Where in the World is Papa Winchester?: The trail's getting colder. Dean says they’ll keep looking but in the meantime they should kill everything bad between here and there. A plan we can all get behind.
How Drunk Are We?: Not very. Only four drinks by my count. Sam throws us a few lip purses to help, but this episode is short on blood and diner food. But next week brings demons, darlings, so gird your livers.
Soundtrack: “Late Night Fade” by 383 Stroker.
The Quotable Winchesters: Best line of the episode comes from the mom of the traumatized boy. When Dean requests to be personally shown to a motel two blocks away, she puts on her sassy pants, saying “Must be hard with your sense of direction never being able to find your way to a decent pick-up line.”
Moment Most Likely to Inspire Troubling Fan-Fic:
Dean/Illyria crossover fic? I’d ship it.
Whedonverse veteran Amy Acker plays the traumatized boy’s mother.
Alright, that's it for this week. Join us next week for s
nakes demons on a plane!