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20 April 2013 @ 07:25 pm
Reviewed (finally): Supernatural's "Skin"  
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Supernatural
Season 1, Episode 6

"Skin"

Written by: John Shiban
DIR: Robert Duncan McNeill

Blurb: [I've decided not to post the blurb. The episode is set up as a mystery to begin with, and the blurb tells you everything.] I will be spoiling though.


Scene 01: We open (after a pre-episode flashback of the previous episodes highlights) in St. Louis, MO. Our first scene is a girl - bloody, gagged, tied down to a chair... oh, dear.

We then see a man's hand, it brandishes a knife in a way that promises bad times to come for our victim... oh, dear.


Scene 02: But there is hope! Outside, a tactical SWAT team moves in on a house. Our good guys proceed into the house, where there are signs of a struggle.

In the meantime, knife-guy reacts to hearing noises.

As our SWAT continue deeper into the house, we see our bad guy slip away behind them... our bad guy looks familiar? SWAT finds the girl, and she is still alive! Yay!

Our girl is obviously traumatized, but as they free her arm and try to convince her everything is okay now, she points off toward the direction that our bad guy went, so they can send men after him.


Scene 03: Our SWAT come across the bad guy trying to escape from a locked window, and order him to freeze. He's ordered to drop the knife, but turns instead -- and our bad guy is DEAN WINCHESTER! Oh, noes!

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Is the girl a demon? Was Dean interrogating her? Could she have something to do with the Yellow Eyed Demon? Who knows, we have to time travel back a week first in order to find out how we've come to be here.


Commentary: So. Does anyone really believe that Dean lost his crap in episode 6 of the first season and turned into a psycho? No? Good.

Which is to say that the opening is harrowing and tense, but this type of episode set up would have worked better later in the series when we do see Dean starting to crack up as he's trying and failing to save Sammy from his traumas. Still, it isn't a bad way to start.



Scene 04: Back a week- The Impala takes our boys to a gas station, where fuel is at $2.65 a gallon... ahh, the good old days.

Dean is laying out an itinerary for them, to Sam's apparent disinterest. He explains that he's getting caught up on his emails as Dean gets out to gas up Our Girl. Dean has trouble believing that Sam would keep in touch with his Stanford pals, considering what he and Dean are up to these days. Sam tells him that he's going with "I need time off after Jess and am on an extended road trip with my brother" without getting into the details of what the road trip actually consists of.

Dean advises cutting everyone from Sam's previous life out of it, as that is the hunter way. But we know that Sammy isn't planning on doing this forever, even if Dean thinks differently. Sam's only interest in continuing is finding Jess' (and his mother, Mary's) killer.


Scene 05: Sam gets "oh my god"-ed by whatever he's reading in his email over his palm-pilot like gadget. To Dean's inquiry, Sam tells him that a girl he went to school with is telling him about her brother -- he's been charged with murder, but girl is convinced he is innocent. Sam can't believe that Zach is a killer either and tells Dean that their plans just changed -- they're headed to St. Louis next.

Dean is not down with this, but Sammy gives him implacable face. Dean complains that St. Louis is 400 miles back the way they came, and this doesn't sound like supernatural-monster business. Yeah, neither Sam nor I are convinced by this as a reason to not help Our Sam's friends. We're... "Uh, you're going, Dean".


Scene 06: In St. Louis, Sam and Dean arrive at Becky and Zach's.

There is exposition to explain why we'll not be seeing adults in this episode (away in Paris, on their way back). Sam asks for details of Zach's situation.

According to Becky, Zach had come home to where he and his girlfriend lived. He found her tied to a chair where she'd been beaten. He dialed 9-1-1, but the girlfriend wasn't breathing and couldn't be saved. The police arrested him.

The reason is that across the street from Emily's (the girlfriend's) place, they retrieved taped evidence of Zach going in at 10:30p with the medical examiner confirming Emily had died shortly thereafter. But, Becky swears to Sam that Zach was at this house with her having a few beers until shortly after midnight. There is no way that he could have gone to Emily's that early.

Sam suggests that he and Dean check out the crime scene to Becky's confusion. Sam lies to her that Dean is a police officer. Dean isn't pleased with this, either, and changes his bio to detective out of Brisbane, Arizona [which happens to be the place he wanted to go instead of coming here with Sammy].

Becky is hesitant, but Sam points out that they need proof of Zach's innocence. She goes off to get the keys.


Scene 07: Dean throws in a dig at Sam for the whole lying thing he is doing with his so-called 'friends' (Shut up, you ass. Not everyone can be socially disconnected like we can). He also returns to the "not our kind of case" reasoning for not getting involved in this.

Sam points out the "two places at once". He tells Dean that they've looked into cases on less evidence in their storied pasts.


Scene 08: Becky worries they're going to get into trouble, but Dean only-a-tiny-bit sarcastically claims his law-enforcement credentials.

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In the apartment, there is evidence of Emily's violent ending.


Commentary: And, for some reason, no body closes the door. Now, you could understand with Becky but Sam and Dean should not want everyone walking by to see people wandering around in a place that has been marked off with crime tape. Professional hunters, everyone -- let's give 'em a hand.


Sam questions Becky more about what the police say, while Dean gives everything a closer look. Becky states that Emily apparently let her attacker in and the lawyers are already talking about a plea bargain, so even Zach's attorney's are pretty sure he did it. Becky, being confronted by the evidence of Emily's bloody death, becomes deeply upset. Sam gets her back on track by asking her if anyone else she can think of would want to harm Emily and pin it on Zach.

Becky can't think of anyone, but she does relate a weird occurrence of a week prior: Someone had broken into the apartment, only to steal some of Zach's clothing, which the police have dismissed as having anything to do with the murder itself. Sam goes to give the apartment a once over.

In the meantime, Dean has returned to the front door of the apartment, where a dog is barking up a storm. Becky mentions in passing that the dog used to be the sweetest animal and now has changed. To Dean's question, she guesses that he suddenly got meaner around the time of the murder.


Scene 09: Dean leaves Becky at the front door to join Sam in the kitchen. He's staring at a buddy pic of he, Zach and Becky. Dean reports the tidbit about the suddenly psycho-dog. Sammy smirks that maybe it is their kind of case? Dean denies that this is probably so, but he's willing to take a look at the security footage.

Becky joins them in the kitchen, where Dean asks about it. She reports that she stole a copy of it from the lawyer's desk as she wanted to see it for herself.


Scene 10: Fading out on the fridge-picture, we join... Zach? Not-in-a-jailcell-Zach??

He is currently scoping out a man saying good-bye to his wife on his way out of town for an overnight business trip. By the way that woman walks back to her home in slo-mo, it is apparent that free-Zach-doppleganger has found another victim. The music, creepy half-lipped smile, and flicking eyes also adds evidence to back up my assertion.

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Commentary: Nice effect on the eyes. But the story portion of this is a bit draggy as we go through the procedural part before Sam and Dean can get to the monster fighting/evil Dean bit.


Scene 11: Back at Becky's parents' place, they're watching the video tape that Becky procured from her brother's lawyer. She says that video analysis finds no tampering, as the Winchesters see Zach entering the apartment at 22:04. Sammy asks for those beers that were offered earlier.

With Becky safely off in the kitchen, Sam replays a part of the tape that shows Zach up close... and he has reflective eyeshine.


Scene 12: Over at business man's place, he has returned home because of the meeting being cancelled that he was supposed to be gone overnight for. He finds the place too quiet and Lindsey not answering him... then he spots the blood smear along the wall.

He finds her tied down to a chair, gagged and injured. When he tries to release her, she begs him to stop hurting her to his confusion. But he's interrupted from freeing her by the sounds of smashing glass. He goes stalking through the apartment, at no time grabbing a weapon or a phone.

As he stands in the hallway, we see his duplicate behind him holding a baseball bat. He sees 'him' also, and stands in shock at the doppleganger eyes flick.

Alas, standing there isn't a great plan, as he takes a shot to the head with the bat and goes down.


Scene 13: The following morning, Our Sam, Dean and The Impala pull up to an alley parking lane. As they get out, Dean explicates for us that it is 5:30am, and he's not real thrilled with the hour. We then find out we're out back of Zach and deceased Emily's place. Sam shares that he noticed while watching the videotape that they never saw Zach leave the apartment after Em's murder. But since they're going by the fact that a monster is involved, it must have left via the back door into this alley -- a lead that the police wouldn't have followed up on because they're so convinced that real-Zach is the killer and ergo never left after carving up his girlfriend.

Sam now looks for any trace of the actual killer; Dean grumbles about the early hour a bit more. Sam uses his well developed spot-check skills to... finally... notice that absolutely huge splash of blood on a pole right near his face. (Good going, Our Sam!! Kudos for that crack-detecting skill! -end sarcasm-)

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As Dean points out that the trail, assuming it is one, doesn't seem to go anywhere from there however - leaving them in another jam. Thankfully, some angel (HI CAS -- Can't wait for you to show up!) is looking down on them and sends an ambulance into their path to follow.


Scene 14: When the boys reach the front of Asian guy's door, they ask a bystander about what happened. She relays that the guy tried to kill his wife and had apparently tied her to a chair and beaten her pretty badly. She further explicates that she'd see him leaving for work everyday and they seemed happy together.

Sam and Dean share "this isn't what it appears" glances at one another. But with the police hauling off their witness, the wife being loaded onto the ambulance and the crime scene being covered in cops, this is all gonna have to wait for later.


Scene 15: Minutes later, Sam has gone around to the back of the building to look for another blood smear. He doesn't find anything, but while he was off doing this, Dean used his natural gift for gab (this is a real thing -- the ex has this gift in spades) to get information from a patrolman, because until those guys make detective they can never keep their mouths shut.

He relays that his blabbing source reveals that the guy's car is on streetcam at the time of his wife's assault. Even more weird, the guy is telling the detectives about his twin being in the house and bashing his head (which apparently doesn't mean that he should also be checked out before getting shoved into a police cruiser and shuttled directly to jail).

Dean is now fully onboard the "we have a shape shifter monster and your friend is innocent after all" train, where before he was only kinda hanging out of a box car.

There is brief discussion of shapeshifter lore with Skinwalkers and Werewolves getting a shout out.

Sam then tells Dean that he found a trail (we didn't see any of the evidence that Sammy if referring to -- let's call it blood drops), but then the (blood drops) end suddenly and the trail vanishes. Dean points out there is a way to go... the sewer cap that Sam is practically standing on (well - embarrassing).


Scene 16: Our boys go under into the St. Louis tunnel system. [And, we'll find that The Sunnydale Mayor wasn't the only politician to make sure that their city was demon travel friendly.]

They soon run across slime, blood and skin in a puddle confirming for them that the shapeshifter is using this underground trail. Much revulsion ensues.


Commentary: This was another nice effect. Simple, economical, but supremely nasty. I'm pretty sure I spotted an ear in that flesh pile. Up to this point, the only problem with this story is her pacing. It's a bit slow to get the boys up to speed so they can really start hunting in earnest. But as things progress from here the action picks up nicely so stick with us, here.


Scene 17: At the Impala, Dean retrieves guns and silver bullets while sharing with us that all shapeshifters are vulnerable to silver as a rule.

Sam then receives a call from Becky. She is pissed. Since Sam presented Dean as a police officer, Becky updated Zach's lawyer about their helping her find evidence to prove her brother's innocence. Unfortunately, she also shared that they'd been to the crime scene which panicked the lawyer enough to check for a Detective Dean Winchester which blew Sam and Dean's lie which has not placed her brother's entire case in jeopardy for their trespass into a sealed crime scene.

She tells him to stop what he and his brother is doing and cuts off his apologies by hanging up on him.


Scene 18: Dean, having heard Sam's side of the conversation has enough information to point out that he'd warned Sammy that they can't have friends the way other people can. You tell them lies about what they're doing and they freak out. It'd be even worse to try to tell them the truth. [He doesn't mention that Sam wasn't in this catch-22 until Dean intruded back into his life.]


Commentary: And to the Dean-defenders-unto-death, Yes - I'm aware that Jess was doomed from the start because of the greater implications of the Yellow-Eyed Demons' plans. Sam and Dean don't know all that, so chill out.


The brothers put aside Sam's friend-issues for the moment to concentrate on finding their bad guy.


Scene 19: Back in the generously spaced underground tunnels, Dean tells Our Sam that they may be getting close to the monster of the week's lair. Our Sam wonders how he's coming to this conclusion, and he points out the bits of grue near Sammy on a pipe running along a wall. This leads to more pile o' ick and some clothes.

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Sam wonders how many murders this shapeshifter has gotten away with. As he turns in his brother's direction with the light, Our Shapeshifter is RIGHT THERE.

Dean gets backhanded to the ground, and Our Sam takes a few shots but the Shifter is able to retreat successfully. Our Sam sees to Dean, but he's pissed and sends Our Sam off to "get the sonuvabitch!", while he nurses his injured shoulder.


Commentary: Some more good, icky effects work for the waste product of the Shifter's assuming new forms. I also, again, want to appreciate the chemistry between Jared and Jensen when it comes to their interactions. Both guys play well off one another, continuing the trend from their Pilot.


Scene 20: The Shifter comes up into the city and dashes down the block, while Sammy is too far behind to see which way he disappeared to. Dean comes up behind him still nursing his shoulder, and there is a quick move to hide the guns. Alas, by this time the Shifter is a block away.

The brothers split up and try to head him off (although, how they know which direction he went isn't explained -- there is no way in hell that Our Sam could have seen which direction the monster split).


Scene 21: We switch back and forth between Dean scoping alleys and Sam eying the pedestrians around him.


Commentary: This is an interesting shot, just because of how often we don't see Sam and Dean in crowd shots trying to do their job. It was weird to see both boys having to hunt with the inconvenience of actually having people around them in a busy urban environment.


Scene 22: At a corner, Our Sam is standing in frustration. Dean calls out to him from behind and asks if he's spotted anything, but their search is a bust. Dean directs them back to The Impala.

But, of course, when a car goes by its headlights reflect off of Dean's shiny eyes... It ain't Dean that Our Sam is now with.


Scene 23: Back at the car, Our Sam gets a look of "waaaiiit a minute". He throws out a trick question to Dean about their father's past hunts to see if Dean will correct his 'mistaken' information. And, Dean does. The Shifter, you see, has the memories of the swap-ee via demon-sympathy-magic or something so he is able to perfectly mimic Dean Winchester as long as he has his form.

Sam goes to the front of the car, while Dean pops the trunk. He grins at the amount of hardware stored in The Impala.

But, Our Sam isn't so fooled after all. He pulls a gun on "Dean". Our Sam points out that Dean caught the tossed Impala keys with his left arm... the shoulder that he was just nursing without so much as a wince. Dean tries to convince Sam that its fine now, and he's not a whiner about it. Our Sam declines to believe him.

Dean tells him to pull the trigger if he's so sure. He implores Our Sam that he knows him, but Our Sammy doesn't lower his gun.

Not that it does him much good. Y'see the Shapeshifter is one fast dude. A quick lunge to knock Sam's gun hand away and a little help with the crowbar that Dean-shifter snatched up from the trunk, and Our Sam is on the ground. And, he's out cold to boot.


Scene 24: When Our Sam comes to, he's been bound in the underground lair of Dean-shifter. Dean wanders up to him, apparently just to get another backhand out of his system.

Our Sam pulls himself together to demand to know where the real Dean is. Shifter implies that Dean is either already dead or at least in horrible straits, and then turns his attention to all of the new memories he's pulling from his new shape. He's finding himself amazed at just how screwed up the Winchester clan is [and he doesn't know the half of it, because it hasn't been written yet!].

Under Sam's questioning, Dean-shifter starts telling Sammy that Dean has some major issues with him for being able to break free and try to be something else. Sam tries to deflect this by asking where the real Dean is again, but Dean-shifter tells him that he's his brother. He starts unloading Dean's psychological and emotional baggage onto Sam. He claims that deep down "I" am really just jealous because Sam got to have friends and a chance at a real life. "Dean" claims to feel like a freak and to know that in the end, everyone will leave him behind.

But in an echo of something that real-Dean said earlier, he points out to Our Sam that the hunter life does have its perks. Perks like "little Becky"....

Sam is covered in a tarp.


Commentary: This is very interesting, because the way it plays out, you can't tell if Dean-shifter is just screwing with Sam's head or if he really is channeling Dean's buried resentment and feelings of inadequacy. It's the first real chinks in Dean Winchester's emotional armor that we get hints of, and the way that the Dean-shifter keeps referring to Dean's memories and feelings with "I", seemingly without sarcasm, leads one to conclude that at least a good portion of his ramble really is coming from Dean.

It's the start [small future spoiler!] of a long road to us finding out just how screwed up in the head Dean is in regards to his self-loathing over John's turning him into a pale reflection of himself over the years. It's even more fascinating as we watch Dean struggle with this, and come to a complete 180-degree turn in his feelings toward his father, his childhood, and his conflicted feelings toward his brother - especially when it comes to Sam's options that he can't see for himself. [end small future spoiler!]


Scene 25: We skip a bit forward in time to Becky's parents' home. She answers a knock on the door and finds a smirking Dean on the doorstop. Becky is, of course, not very pleased to see him standing there. But, as we know, Dean -- even faux-Dean -- is quite the charmer. He claims that he came despite Sam's asking him not to in order to explain the lying to her.

Alas for her, she doesn't slam the door shut and lock it while dashing madly for the phone to call 9-1-1.


Scene 26: But, before we can catch up with ourselves in the time stream and return to our opening scene, we skip back over to Sammy in the 'Tunnel de Bondage'.

Our Sam has gotten the tarp off and is swearing at his situation as he's been unable to slip the ropes securing him. In the background, he hears a cough. It is real-Dean, who was there all along -- also captured and apparently unconscious and under his own tarp this whole time. Real-Dean snarks at him.


Scene 27: Back at Becky's parents' she's ... uh... invited Dean in, gotten them beers, lit the fireplace(?!), and sat intimately on the sofa with him (!?!) ...

Wow, 'charmer' is right. It's nearly a mutant superpower.

Anyway, fake-Dean has explained the actual truth of what happened to her brother. She's trying to wrap her head around it and Dean admits that it all sounds crazy.

Becky asks how such a thing could even exist, and Dean asks her how else she can explain her brother clearly being in two places at once. She decides to play along, and asks him if it's some sort of genetic freak. We can see faux-Dean's face fall for just a split moment, before he agrees that maybe it was born human but different.

He goes on to give his own backstory, but relating it to Becky as a 'theory' of the Shapeshifter-hypothesis.


Scene 28: Back at the tunnel nest, Dean has finally worn through his ropes and as he's getting free, Our Sam is telling him about the Shapeshifter-Dean actually sounding like he was becoming him... not just that he looked like him, but that he was remembering things from Dean's past that he couldn't know otherwise.

The boys, as Dean is untying Our Sam, wonder if this is why they've been kept alive: So that the demon-shifter can keep a psychic connection in place (which works for Dean, but not really for Our Sam -- unless the Shifter is holding his form for next).

Our Sam tells Dean that they have to get over to Becky's.


Commentary: This episode, like many of season 1's eps, has a great premise and Jared and Jensen continue some really nice work -- especially opposite one another, but the pacing is a bit lag-gy with the expositioning dialog of things that we've already figured out on our own. At this point, we're really ready to get to the ass kicking now that we know the answers. But our scenes are still the boys escaping from the tunnels into the alleys and talking about where they need to go.

It isn't bad... but... some tightening of things and more punching, rather than talking, could only have helped out this one.



Scene 29: Over at Beck's, Faux-Dean is still playing suave. Fake-Dean plays the sympathy card, comparing the Shifter's loneliness to his own (Again, it's hard to know if he's actually channeling a bit of Real-Dean here -- or if he's just trying to seduce her now -- which, actually, could still be channeling Dean).

Faux-Dean uses a "it's so hard to be different" gambit while brushing her hair from her face. She isn't playing and tells him he should be on his way.


Commentary: And that side-look she throws is this actress' greatest performance in this episode so I just had to screen cap ---

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LOL. That's wonderful!


Faux-Dean leans forward instead and whispers in her ear. Whatever he said, she is instantly off the couch and yelling at him to get his disgusting ass out of her home. But, y'know, Demon-Dean so the answer is a big, fat 'NO' on that.

They get into a yelling match and then Becky goes for the phone to call the police. It doesn't go well, as Faux-Dean starts using the phone cord to wrap up her hands instead. When she won't stop screaming, he also back hands her hard (but we jump cut away before the blow is struck).


Scene 30: Did I say we jump cut away? I meant, we jump cut to a bit in the future (but still the past from the beginning scenes) where Faux-Dean is wiping his hands from retrieving some more rope and some chains. Becky is already secured to her chair and has blood on her. Fake-Dean is telling her about how nice of a girl she is in that creepy, serial killer way in which even compliments just sound awful.

He complains about actually liking her and how it only makes this next part harder as he pulls out a wavy knife. Before he can stab/slash her, we return to the SWAT guys breaking into her home as Faux-Dean creeps casually away. We return to SWAT confronting Dean at the exit window and telling him to drop the knife.

As we move past our own beginning, Shifter-Dean throws the knife into one SWAT's arm. A kick to the abdomen of a second guy sends him into a third and allows him to jump from the second story into a rolling landing below onto the lawn.

As SWAT recovers and fires at him to take him down, Faux-Dean runs off into the night.


Scene 31: A bit later and Faux-Dean has made it back to the sewers, where he starts stripping off his clothes (And yes, Jensen-fans, you get a bit of man-skin. I'd only say to freeze-frame and savor before it quickly gets icky ---  uh, which is totally not what I'm doing... *cough-cough*. WHAT? Freeze- framing is a completely necessary reviewing procedure!).

So, anyway... *sigh*... our brief bit of above-the-waste nudity is soured as Shapeshifter has been injured and is now ready to shed the Dean identity.

As he convulses and grunts, we see his finger nails come off first. This is followed by his skin-under-Dean's-skin bubbling and contorting as he begins to split (rather painfully also, it appears) apart. He loses his teeth next. And then the fun really begins as he starts tearing off his own ear and then ripping his chest open.

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Commentary: Yes, these effects are really done very well. I could do without "Hey Man, Nice Shot" by Filter over the scene. It would have been better without the music getting in the way of the squishy, ripping sounds -- but the scene is quite fine at taking a fan-squee and changing it into a fan-squick.


Scene 32: Sometime later, we see a local news report. It is about the attack on Becky and a sketch of Dean's face is now all over the airwaves as a suspect in her assault. Dean and Sam are seeing this and while the usual banter is from our beleaguered, Our Sam isn't as jokey about it.

They head down an alley out of public view. Dean gets more pissed as they're walking, while Our Sam is relieved that at least Fake-Dean didn't kill Becky. Dean is ready to head back down into the sewers, find his doppleganger and visit some serious hurt on him. Our Sam is more practical and reminds him that they don't have any weapons (especially the kinda-necessary silver bullets).

Our Sam suggests finding The Impala to see if their special weapons are still with it. They head over toward Becky's, where they're hoping Fake-Dean parked it without the police impounding it. The thought of the Shifter touching his baby drives Dean to distraction.


Scene 33: A bit later, Dean and Sammy arrive in another alley and spot The Impala. Dean exclaims that something finally went their way that night, which of course is Tempting Fate. He's immediately punished for his slip by a police car turning on its siren and pulling into view.

As their avenues of escape start to get cut off, Our Sam stays behind to distract the cops sending Dean over a fence to hopefully escape. As Sam point out, they don't really have anything to hold him on.

Our Sam yells after him for Dean to stay out of the sewers alone... Uh-Huh.


Scene 34: The following morning, Dean has returned to The Impala to retrieve his gun and silver bullets and heads down into the sewers, as expected.


Commentary: And, wow, awkward insert scene. I'm pretty sure this was filmed as a pick-up later as the POV is so cramped we barely see the car at all and can't see any of our surrounding location. It's also awkward because of the nonsense. There is no way that the plates of the car wouldn't have been run as a matter of course when they took Sam into custody so nearby it. Especially since Becky would have been asked about what her attacker had been driving, and she'd been in The Impala to go over to her brother's girlfriend's apartment.

That car is SO impounded and being swept for evidence! It's a total logic-fail to move the episode along.



Scene 35: In the sewers, Dean hunts for his (now non-existent) twin and finds hunks of shifter meat on the ground. He hears a noise and rushes to investigate, where he finds another tarp covering a human-shape. When he uncovers it, he finds... BECKY!?!


Scene 36: Meanwhile, over at Becky's parents' place - BECKY is serving Sam a beer and trying to wrap her head around Sam's explanations that it wasn't his brother that attacked her.


Commentary: OH, FUCK ME!!

NO! NO, No, no... the entire episode just blew any Suspension of Disbelief into shards of pointed bitterness for me. WHAT THE?!

1) Becky wouldn't have been released from the hospital after one night.
2) Police wouldn't have allowed her back into her home after one night. They'd still be there with CSI combing the place for any trace evidence to determine any clues as to where "Dean" had been recently and for eventual prosecution of him.
3) Sam is Dean's brother and there is no way the police didn't hear Sammy yelling at him to avoid the sewers when they were being surrounded. Even if they didn't have enough to hold Sam at that moment (which is iffy -- clearly he was with his wanted brother, so they could have held him for 24 hours surely without charging him as a material witness, or via arresting him for being an accessory after the fact even if they ultimately had to let him go).
4) "Becky" would have had to get to Real-Becky and abduct her to the sewer lair between the time the shifter threw off Dean's form and Real-Dean finding Real-Becky in the sewer lair, and the timeline just doesn't add up to do all of this at the same time that Real-Becky would be dealing with her injuries and the police due to the assault.

I mean, jeezus -- there's minor logic problems (The Impala being left for Dean to retrieve his weaponry) and there is
THIS MESS....


BUT... Faux-Becky goes on to ask how Sammy plans to stop the Shifter, assuming that he and his brother aren't just crazy-cakes. Sam replies with 'silver bullet to the heart'. Fake Becky gives him a smashed beer bottle over the head as an answer to that plan.


Scene 37: Meanwhile, in the sewer, Becky tells Dean she was walking home and got hit over the head from behind. She came around just in time to see "that thing" turn into her and leave.

Dean tells her that Our Sam is on the way to see "her" right now!


Commentary: Excuse the continued pissiness, please, but NO! There isn't any time for all of this with what we've seen. In addition, Becky "WALKED HOME"? From the hospital?! Unescorted, when her attacker is still loose?

Wow, St. Louis' police department is stone-cold when it comes to victims of violence.

And, also -- Just how does Dean know where Sam is? Shouldn't he be more worried right now that Our Sam is being interrogated by the police and may be charged with obstruction? Wouldn't he think that if Sam was free, that he would be visiting Becky in the hospital to convince her Dean is stuck in the same boat as her brother. Or, that he may be investigating her empty house? Or, that he may be somewhere in the sewers trying to track down the Shifter (or him -- surely he realizes that Sammy would assume he'd ignore his injunction against investigating the sewers alone, especially when he finds the car emptied of the silver bullets and would come down after him)?

Why would he assume that Becky would be back home already and that Sam would be there? Did they speak since he fled the police? HUH, WHA, TIMELINE-LOGIC BROKEN.



*Sigh* He pulls up the traumatized and beaten woman to rush off to her house to confront the monstrous-her... without any protest from Becky who apparently is stronger than a normal person in this situation. Fine.


Scene 38: Back at Becky's, by the way, we get shots of blonde hair and bloody mess upstairs in her room before joining Our Sam. He's been tied up again and is just as irritated as we.

"Becky" has become "Dean" again.

He pulls a large knife and with amusement shares that Dean's whole life is going to be spent running from the murder of his own brother.


Scene 39: And then it's a while later, and Faux-Dean is still yapping and drinking, instead of slicing. He tells Sam that his brother has a lot of good qualities and he should hold more regard for him.

There is some time wasted with Faux-Dean doing slightly menacing things without actually hurting Our Sam. Our Sam, despite being tied up, power kicks Faux-Dean to the floor. He's able to rub the ropes tying his hands against the absurdly sharp knife that Faux-Dean jabbed into the pool table and nearly instantly the ropes are cut through, freeing his hands to fight.

There then follows a fight echoing the Dean vs. Sam battle at Sam and Jess' place in the pilot. Well, except its a lot more vicious since Faux-Dean isn't playing around and Our Sam knows this isn't actual-Dean.

Ultimately, Fake-Dean is able to get Our Sammy on the floor and begins to strangle the life out of him. Things look pretty bleak -- when suddenly we hear real-Dean shout at his faker counterpart from off screen.

Actual-Dean shoots Faux-Dean a few times in the chest, presumably with the special bullets of really-killing. Becky comes in behind him.

sc_39

Everyone exchanges looks with one another and Real-Dean reclaims the necklace that Faux-Dean had stolen from him.


Commentary: A few things -- Obviously the transition between scene 38 & 39 is really clumsy. But, once the fight occurs there is some really great stunt fighting between Fake-Dean and Real-Sam. I can't help but kinda wish it was between Faux-Becky and he though... watching Sammy and her trading just-as-brutal blows with one another would have been awesome in a Buffy-fight way. But, still, this was really well done especially with the amount of grunting and vocal reactions to each hit. It was just executed well, even if the set up was clunky.

I also want to mention another glimpse we get of Dean's inner turmoil via his doppleganger. When he mentions that Sam doesn't appreciate Dean's good qualities enough, this must logically be Dean's actual thoughts since the Shifter never took on Sam's form and so wouldn't know his actual feelings about his brother (assuming that we can accept that there is any actual logic left working in this episode by this point). But the thing is that if you add this utterance with what was said in Scene 24 (which may have only been mind-screwing with Sammy, admittedly) it points to Dean really needing Sam's validation much more than he's let on. This plays well with Dean in the pilot, as well, as it seemed like Dean really was needy for Sam to stay with him at the end of the episode before Jess' death acted as The Return Call to Sam.

We are getting this subtle appearance of Dean's underlying psychology that we're going to get so much more deeply later and I really like looking back at these hints of where we're going. It really does help in getting that Dean isn't just the pretty-boy-wisecracking-tramp that he seems to be even before we get into the serious angst in upcoming seasons. Very nice.

I also always like seeing when Sam can hold his own against Dean in hand to hand, instead of only being the computer-guy/information-dude. Especially since Jared is a bit too well built to not be able to do so.



Scene 40: With the Shifter dead, Dean has a map out on The Impala's hood. They were traveling to a specific destination, after all, when Sam's friends' problems intruded and have to get back to The Search For Dad.

Meanwhile, Becky is trying to wrap her head around the Sam she thought she knew being a monster hunter... and that there are monsters. She asks if Jess knew, and Sam shares that no, she didn't. (As we know, this is a sore spot for Sammy as he feels guilt over not warning her about the things in the dark -- even though we know that it wouldn't have helped her any.)


Scene 41: Sam joins Dean at the Impala and his brother asks about Zach. He's to be cleared and freed as now the police are pretty sure that Emily was killed by Dean Winchester and that the tape with him on it was tampered with after all.

This is relayed with some amusement, and we en--- oh, wait, no we didn't end here.


Scene 42: A bit later, on the road in The Impala: Dean apologizes to Our Sam for his life interrupted. Sammy tells him it's okay (it isn't, though Sam seems to swerve back and forth on just how okay/not okay it actually is).

Dean jokes about how he'll be missing his own funeral.


Commentary: But future!us more groan than smile because we know how many effing times they pull out the "The brothers are killed! Oh, never mind." plots.


The Good: I like the effects in this one: They were generous with the smeared blood, there was hunks of shapeshifter meat around, some gnarly teeth falling out of head and the eye-flashing. It was all a good time.

There are some really good scenes between Jared and Jensen where again the actors are just clicking with one another.

I really love the glimpses that we're getting via our Shapeshifter [assuming he's not just mindgaming] of Dean as a three-dimensional person who is dealing with some heavy psychological and emotional baggage that he keeps tightly underwraps using his playboy persona. I'm so happy that they not only embrace and explore these things heavily with the character in future, but that Jensen Ackles really sinks his teeth into these opportunities and handles them exceptionally well.

I will never complain about Jensen's torso being displayed (well, unless it turns into a S6 Spike debacle).

The Sam/Faux-Dean beat down is some awesome, brutal fun.


The Bad: The timeline is completely screwy and you need to ignore it almost from the beginning, especially when it involves anything having to do with policework and the amount of time it takes up (which would inconveniently get in the way of returning to Becky's home over and over, not to even mention the Becky/Faux-Becky swap).

The Logic-Fails because of the screwy timeline is the real problem. It's SO outrageous that it yanked me completely out of the story.

What was with the sharpest knife in the world vs. weakest rope ever made thing about? Could we have not had a better way for Sam to free himself? And why were the actually-much-stronger-because-steel chains never actually used to secure a prisoner... like the heavily muscled Sam? Why have the chains in the episode at all if they were going to be an illogically not-used prop?


Other Thoughts: The utter lack of Zach is bizarre! Everything about him is relayed through Becky and we never seen him - the boys never once visit him in jail to get his side of the story firsthand. And at the end of the episode, he's still not seen thanking Sam and Dean for clearing him and for saving Becky's life. He's a complete non-entity.

It really drives me to distraction when people are supposed to be sneaking into forbidden areas and then they do things like leave doors so anyone passing by can seen them snooping.

The middle of the episode can get a bit draggy... it isn't really bad, so much as just slow, a bit.


The Score: This episode was humming along nicely, until the severe logical fails piled up and broke the story. I had to deduct a full half-point just for those flaws. I liked this one overall though, but as with the usual S1 episodes - watching the Winchesters get caught up with the things we already know is a bit draggy on the pacing. But the special effects and the stunt work was really good. But, man, the script problems with that timey-whimey and associated logic bombs....

3.25 out of 5 stars


--end--


Next Up: BTVS, Season 9 Issues 3 and 4 to wrap up the "Freefall" arc.