?

Log in

No account? Create an account
 
 
27 October 2014 @ 11:16 am
SPN Reviewed: "Asylum"  
.


splash


Supernatural
Season 1, Episode 10

Asylum

Writer: Richard Hatem, DIR: Guy Bee

Blurb: If these walls could talk. The brothers investigate a long-shuttered mental asylum that has the power to drive intruders mad… and murderous.


Scene 01: After the “what has happened thus far” review, we open Roosevelt Asylum in the dead of night. We’re in Rockford, Illinois where some panning reveals that the asylum is actually an ex-asylum, closed down and posted with no trespassing signs… which, ‘natch will be entirely ignored.


Scene 02: Inside, we POV with a flashlight through the interior… which is fortunately lit by the world’s brightest street lamp just outside the windows.

Someone takes a pair of bolt cutters and removes a bothersome set of chains blocking access deeper into the asylum through a set of double doors. We see at least two people.


Scene 03: Outside, a pair of legs gets out of a car. This is a police officer performing a sweep. His older partner observes that they can’t keep the kids out of the place. Junior Officer isn’t a local and so doesn’t know the stories behind the local haunt, which gives Older Partner the opening he needs to tell the tale.

It’s actually not much of a legend: Ghosts haunt. You stay the night, you go insane.

That’s pretty much all he has to say about it right now.


Commentary: The first thing to do is give a half-kudo to Guy Bee for his opening direction. It was a little too fancy-schmancy for the scenes which were the usual “let’s get into trouble by going where we shouldn’t” deal, but at least he didn’t just film it all flat and straightforward. By hiding things in shadows and oblique angles, he showed that some thought went into trying to generate interest in the scary, dark house clichés.


Scene 04: The police duo enter the Asylum next, whose front door is lit up by another of the world’s brightest street lamps. They announce themselves before hearing a bottle rattle in the distance and notice the cut chains over the doors.

They proceed to go in to roust the kids, obvs requiring them to split up.


Scene 05: Junior Officer nervously enters the boiler room. In the distance, a door slams shut - echoing in the empty passages.


Scene 06: With Older Partner, he’s shining his light down a series of rooms somewhere deeper in the hospital.


Commentary: Okay, y’all - if you’ve been around a bit - you know how much the constant switching scenes back and forth, but not having anything happening bugs me. I’m hoping this is just an attempt to work tension and that it won’t be an ongoing choice. There was no reason to cut to Older Partner just to get a face-shot of him looking slightly perturbed at the quiet. We already know our officers are separated, thank you.


Scene 07: Junior Officer finds a partially opened door labeled with Hazard Warnings. Obviously an old treatment room using radioactive particles.


sc_07


Scene 08: Older Partner continues his sweep in dark corridors [well, Hollywood-Dark corridors -- the entire building is apparently surrounded by the world’s brightest street lamps].

He enters another treatment room and finds the three kids that snuck in.


Scene 09: In the radiological room, Junior Officer continues to sweep with his flashlight, although there doesn’t appear to be anywhere that the kids could be hiding in this room. His flashlight goes off [but don’t worry -- those street lamps are taking care of all the light he needs anyway].

Off to Junior Officer’s side, a metal door squeaks open on its hinges.


Scene 10: Outside, Older Partner has sent the trespassing teens on their way. He calls on his shoulder radio to Junior Officer who doesn’t respond. When Older Partner turns around, Junior Partner is standing right there - looking a little odd.

Older Partner asks if Junior Officer saw anything on his sweep and is answered in the negative, though the look on Junior Officer’s face still isn’t exactly right.


Scene 11: They get back in the cruiser. As Older Partner is calling into dispatch, Junior Officer turns toward the window and we see his nose bleeding.


Scene 12: Later that night, Junior Officer is at home. His wife/girlfriend is still up, reading in bed and greets him, but he remains silent and odd-acting. She asks if he’s still not talking to her -- and he isn’t. She apologizes once again for whatever and asks him how many times is she going to have to do so. He continues to emotionlessly remove his officer accoutrements and car keys, etc.

Suddenly, he snatches up his service gun. We cut to outside as a gunshot rings out. It’s followed seconds later by a second shot.


Commentary: There. See we have 12 scene changes here [13 if you want to add one for the view swap from inside the bedroom to the outside of the house] in about 5 minutes. That’s too many scene switches for this sequence which makes things feel like they’re being dragged out too far and eating up unnecessary time, even though when you actually look at the sequences the only one out of place is the switching between Older Partner and Young Officer and they weren’t that time intensive. Basically, we needed some longer holds on the scenes we received rather than switching back and forth in order to keep the pacing active. This is especially true when we’re dealing with the cliché-ridden openings of SPN, Season 1 because we already know the basics of this scenario. There isn’t any reason to stretch out this sequence since we just need to know which of our cops runs into the boogeyman and what happens to him. The rest is window dressing and the swapping viewpoints all over doesn’t add anything -- including tension, because we already know where the ‘old haunted house’ scenario generally leads us.

Now, I did like that we didn’t get any ghosts in this scene and I did like the direction of having the Young Officer coming out of the building not quite right, but not grossly and obviously disturbed either. And I did like the sequence in the police cruiser when Young Officer notices his nose bleed but doesn’t say anything. This wasn’t a bad sequence at all -- it was just too choppy for the few minutes that this entire opening takes.



Title - Nice, short, simple and quick.


Scene 13: In a motel room, Dean is going through his father’s log again while Sammy is on the phone; he’s checking in with his father’s contacts to see if anyone’s heard from him lately but is coming up a bust.

This quickly leads to tensions between the brothers about what to do. Our Sam is ready to file a missing persons with the Feds, while Dean knows that their dad would be really pissed to have the authorities on his tail.

Our Sam brings up their trip to Kansas and how their father should’ve been there or at least returned Dean’s phone call for help. Dean is just as frustrated. His cell phone rings and as he’s looking for it, Sam broaches that their father could be dead but Dean won’t hear of it.

Dean’s call is from “unavailable” and is a text. All it contains is another set of mysterious coordinates for the brothers to scope out. Our Sam immediately looks pissy.


Scene 14: Moments later, Dean is on the laptop looking up the coordinates that they’re guessing probably came from dear ol’ ignoring-them dad.

Dean finds the coordinates of Rockford, IL while Sammy kvetches a bit. As Our Sam whines, Dean finds the local news about the policeman killing his wife and himself. Nothing so unusual about that, alas. But interestingly, the news reports mention the earlier assignment of the officers out to the local haunted asylum, and the Roosevelt just so happens to be earmarked in John’s journal as well… apparently something that he’d planned on investigating at some point when time allowed.

The journal has a news clipping about ‘sightings’ and two deaths before the officer and his wife. Dean logically concludes their father is sending them on this mission to stop whatever the problem is in Illinois. Our Sam is not pleased by this cloak-and-dagger crap, but Dean is a follower of their father -- he tells Sam that if their dad wants them to go on a job, they’re going -- end of story.


sc_14


Sam sighs in frustration at how Dean is allowing them to be led by the nose long-distance in the hope that John will be there waiting for them, when he hasn’t been anywhere they’ve gone.

[Except of course, John was in Kansas but stayed hidden from his sons for reasons yet to be explained.]


Commentary: And I want to mention just once more how terrific the casting was in putting together Jared and Jensen. These two guy’s instant chemistry opposite one another went a long way in keeping me interested in the early seasons when I found it hard to like Dean and found the stories to be too clichéd by half to maintain interest. If it wasn’t for the dynamic between the brothers, it’s very possible I wouldn’t have made it past SPN’s first season halfway point and that would’ve been a real shame because this show will have some very interesting stories in its future.


Scene 15: The boys head to Rockford, where Dean joins Older Partner in a bar - posing as a Chicago reporter. Dean starts asking for the scoop, but Older Partner is obvs not in a state to want to answer a bunch of questions about this.

Fortunately for Older Partner, somebody gets just as angry at his hassling the Older Partner as we… weirdly, it happens to be Our Sam. He yanks Dean away from Older Partner and shouts at him to leave the police officer alone with his sleazy “reporter” ways. He gets appreciative looks from the other bar patrons.

Dean leaves with his proverbial tail tucked between his legs… but of course this was a set up. Our Sam uses this opening to buy the officer a beer and gain his confidence.


Commentary: Uhhhh… yeah… didn’t quite like it. Jared’s look at the officer after he orders the beers is downright goofy and his acting was a bit… dodgy. We also manage to not see just how he was going to swerve the conversation into getting the information the Winchesters need without sounding just as scummy-intrusive as Dean was playing at being… How Convenient.


Scene 16: Sometime later, Our Sam comes out to find Dean waiting near Impala -- he mentions that Sam shoved him kinda hard, as Sammy smirks at him. But the ruse has worked and Older Partner turned into Officer Blabby and info-dumped all kinds of information about how swell his partner was and the local asylum that was their last visit before Younger Officer’s murder-suicide.


Commentary: See the scene before -- really badly done info dump of just what they happen to need by a reluctant witness who doesn’t want to talk, but suddenly turns into blabbermouth because of one contrived encounter and a beer. Don’t like it, didn’t buy it and feel like the scripter didn’t either which is why we didn’t actually see any convincing by Our Sam.


Scene 17: The following day, the Winchesters are outside the asylum.

[For some reason, we get a pan and hold on the Roosevelt sign. Mr. Director, did you really think we’d be confused over where this scene takes place??]

Sam mentions that Younger Officer was checking out the South Wing and Dean double-checks the newspaper clipping in John’s book to find that was where the other occasion of mysterious deaths originated.

Dean wonders why there haven’t been a lot more deaths if kids have been treating the place as party-central and Sam notes the chain suggesting that only the South Wing is a problem and it must’ve been chained shut for years.


Commentary: Okay, okay - since I complained before about the editing and all of those scene cuts in so short a set up, let me here compliment the director. Yes, the sign focus was redundant but the camera work is set up for different angles and really gives the scenes a sense of progression and movement, even when Dean and Sam are “observing” things that we’re already way ahead of them on.

This could’ve been filmed as a static two shot of them gabbing at one another, but Guy keeps things engaging by not setting up a camera, turning it on and walking away.



Scene 18: Our brothers walk the halls with a ghost detector, while Dean needles Sam about his new ESP powers. Sam is defensive about whatever mystery is happening with him.

Dean asks Our Sam who the hottest psychic is: Patricia Arquette, Jennifer Love Hewitt, or Sam. His answer is a playful punch to his back.


Scene 19: Our boys wander into a treatment room where the left behind equipment suggests lobotomies and electro-shock were the treatments of the day. They discuss whether they could be dealing with possession, or perhaps induced insanity.

Sam, with a sigh, asks Dean when they’re going to talk about something and to Dean’s questioning, Sam replies the fact that their dad isn’t there… again. For Dean, this isn’t even a thing: Their father sent them here to solve a case, so they do it. Sam, of course, thinks that’s horseshit. Our Sam doesn’t think they should be blindly following John’s orders until they get some answers about his disappearing act, while Dean is fully on board with taking John’s commands seriously.

Again, the Winchester family dynamic is clear. Dean finds a placard with the Chief of Staff’s name and decides that their next step is to find out a lot more about the South Wing of Roosevelt Asylum - putting an end to their conversation about finding John and ignoring his intent.


Scene 20: Sometime later, Sam has made an appointment with Dr. Ellicott. This is the son of the Chief of Staff of Roosevelt, who has also gone into psychiatry. Sam pretends to be a local history buff and to recognize the last name… yadda-yadda. When he tries to lead the doctor into talking about whatever happened in the South Wing all those years ago, Doc won’t have it. He reminds Sammy that they’re talking on his dollar and turns attention to what Our Sam needed to discuss.

Sam hems&haws before retrying the South Wing tack again -- he does get the Doc to mention a riot back in the day, but the Ellicott again confronts Sammy about avoiding the reason he’s there: to talk about himself. The Doc makes a deal - if Our Sam will talk about something honest about himself, Ellicott will fill in his knowledge about what happened during the South Wing riots at Roosevelt.


sc_20


Our Sam finds it difficult to answer the doctor’s question about how he actually feels about the brother he’s “road tripping with”.


Scene 21: We cut to Dean waiting outside the medical center for Sam’s intel, not hearing just what answer Our Sam came up with.

When Sam comes out of the office, he has loads of new info to share. Doctor Exposition told him all about the riots back in ‘64 in which the patients revolted against the staff, took over the asylum and ended things with a bloodbath among both patients and medical staff. Some of the bodies were never even recovered -- including Dr. Ellicott’s father’s. It sounds like the sorta history that could lead to an angry ghost, no?


Commentary: No. Just no. I will buy the Doctor sharing with Sam as a ploy to get Our Sammy to open up about Dean. I won’t buy that he’d go so far as to blab about his father’s body never being recovered… not to a new, transient patient. I’d go so far as to accept that he may have included that his father was killed in those riots - perhaps to get Sam to stop asking questions and go back to talking about his supposed problem he’s there to talk about, but that detail that Daddy’s remains are still tucked away somewhere in the asylum is a gigundo step too far.


Scene 22: That night at the asylum with the brightest streetlamps in the world, two figures creep their way into the South Wing. But this isn’t the promised return trip by the Winchesters. It’s more stupid kids… teen couple out to have a creeptastic evening with maybe some lovin’ on the side.

Naturally Chick is reticent, just as naturally Boy is excited to explore… and breathe in asbestos.


Scene 23: Boy deliberately startles Chick. Boy finds a door to check out, Chick is not feeling it, he leaves her in the hallway with the world’s brightest streetlamp lights for company. She’s annoyed at his persistence in not taking her to a movie.

As Boy is shining his flashlight in seemingly empty room, Chick hears creepy ghost voice howl [which was foleyed in a bit too loud to be creeptastic… sorry show].


Scene 24: As Boy is all grin over an empty room, the door on the world’s rustiest hinges super loudly squeaks shut, surprising Boy.


Scene 25: In the hallway, Chick gets the heebies.


Scene 26: In empty room, boy continues grinning to himself. He gets the flashlight going out thing happening. Behind him we see Ghost Girl standing in another doorway. He turns around to find Ghost Girl, who he takes with the shadows to be Chick.

Ghost Girl wordlessly walks up to him and starts a make out session. Then he hears Chick calling for him from the hallway. He pushes Ghost Girl away in shock only to find a messed up face looking back at him and Ghost Girl with claw-hands menacing him [we don’t get to see messed up face except in a very brief flash]. He inhales breath to scream….


Commentary: It’s all so cliché-tastic! But once again, I’ll put in word for Guy who is at least keeping the camera moving and giving these scenes some life.


Scene 27: At the South Wing doors, the Winchesters arrive to ghost hunt. They’re not even in the door before the EMF detector goes crazy. Through the viewfinder of the camera Sam’s brought, they see orbing.


sc_27


The Winchesters decide they need to find the remains of all those not recovered and burn them.

Behind them, Ghost Boy walks in front of the camera.

As they continue, we pan to a Ghost Patient still in the throes of suffering and straitjacketed.


Scene 28: Our boys split up, as they often do. Sam continues to shine flashlight and pan camera around a room lit by the world’s brightest streetlamps. He slow-spins to find ghost face in the camera -- in front of him stands mutilated old lady with claw-hands outstretched.

Sam calls for Dean, because being armed during a Ghost Hunt would be silly. Dean uses the salt shotgun on the old, mutilated biddy-ghost. Sam gets extreme-revulsion face.

Our Sam tells Dean that the woman didn’t seem to want to hurt him.

They hear more noises.


Scene 29: They search behind an overturned cot, only to find terrorized Chick. She relates that they need to find Boy. To do this, they’ll naturally split up with only Dean properly armed… because….


Scene 30: Our Sam wanders down another hallway lit by… etc… calling for Boy.

Unarmed. In a Ghost Asylum. And he’s a monster hunter.


Scene 31: Elsewhere, Chick has ended up with Dean who does have a shotgun with rock salt so that’s something. She also calls for Boy.

Dean stops them for a moment to chastise Chick for learning nothing from horror movies before continuing on.

[It’s meant to be amusing; it’s mild to say the least.]


Scene 32: Our Sam finds Boy unconscious on the floor - though he’s quickly roused with a start.

[Hello Gavin’s treasure trail, nice to see you.]

From Boy, Sam learns that Ghost Girl with Messed Up Face also didn’t try to hurt him. In fact, after kissing him she wanted to whisper something to him, but he ran, tripped [in that brightly lit room lit by the world’s most… etc…??], hit his head and knocked himself out. He didn’t get to hear what she was trying to say.


Scene 33: In a hallway, Chick and Dean skulk about only to have Dean’s flashlight go out. Dean offers he has a lighter [and guess what -- not needed].


sc_33


Chick tells Dean that he’s hurting her arm. He’s not close enough to her to be grabbing her. They look down to find a disembodied hand grabbing her elbow tightly. She’s yanked into a side room with a heavy steel door which slams locked before Dean can hold it.


Scene 34: Dean yanks on door, while Chick bangs and screams from the other side. She backs away from door without looking behind her - guess what - there is a heavy breather behind her.

As Dean old crowbars at the door, Chick spins around sensing someone behind her only to find empty space.

When she turns her back again, scary figure ghost is back. He tries to whisper to her, but she’s busy screaming and jumping around.


Scene 35: In the hallway, Our Sam and Boy arrive at Dean’s location. Sam shocks Dean by yelling at Chick not to run away from the ghost, but to listen to what he’s trying to communicate having come to the conclusion that the general hauntings haven’t been malicious acts.

She summons her courage to face the scary ghost and it leans in to whisper in her ear.

A moment later and the door trapping her opens on its own. Chick tells them that the ghost whispered “137” at her. The Winchesters take it for a room number.

Sam is sent to escort Boy and Chick to the exit, while Dean goes in search of Room 137.


Scene 36: As they’re walking out, Chick asks how anyone would have a ghost hunting job and Sam says he had a bad guidance councilor. Then she asks if Dean is his boss, which gets an emphatic ‘NO’.


Scene 37: With Dean-not-the-boss, he’s searching corridors for the mysterious room. It’s an office… in fact, it appears to be the long departed Doctor Ellicott’s office.


Scene 38: Meanwhile, Our Sam leads his charges to a side exit instead of back to the main swinging doors that don’t have locks and so finds the side exit doors locked.

Sam suggests that something in there, other than the whispering patients, doesn’t want them getting out.


Commentary: This is really badly blocked, but I think there is an attempt here to suggest that their perceptions are being altered so that they couldn’t just go back to the main entrance. It’s really annoying because Kat and Gavin have served their purpose and we don’t need them anymore plus this haunting is really being drawn out, is repetitive with its elements, has dull dialog and is horribly over-lit robbing any of the sets of their creep-factor. And we still have over 10 minutes to go. The camera work was pretty great mostly, and Jared & Jensen do their parts but really -- this episode has been a bit of a drag.


Scene 39: In ‘137’, Dean finds a hidden panel partially rotted away over the years. Inside is a journal with some hideous drawings and pages of script. He starts to peruse it, looking for clues.


Scene 40: In the hallways, Sam returns to Boy and Chick to report that he can’t find another way out, and not to panic. Boy is a whiney ass -- seemingly forgetting that if he hadn’t been trespassing at the local haunt, none of this would’ve happened to him.


sc_40


Sam gets a call from Dean in static telling him to get to the basement. He heads for the basement, with Our Sam giving Chick a rock salt shotgun he pulled from… uh… his jacket, where it’s been hidden from view this entire time… [stop looking so closely!]. She and Boy stay where they are.


Commentary: Again leaving unarmed Sammy back unarmed after the shotgun-from-Hammerspace scene. Jeez -- who was in charge of continuity on this thing?


Scene 41: Sam calls for Dean as he passes by the boiler room and enters the radiological treatment room.  He now has a rock salt sawed-off in hand.

[OH FOR FUCK’S SAKE!]

His flashlight goes out, but despite being in the basement, there is - naturally enough [sigh] - more than enough light to make it redundant anyway. Behind Our Sam, a basement door squeaks open. He cautiously enters. He spot checks the room and then sees a shadow behind a curtain.

When he checks, nothing is there. He has the gall to look confused, despite knowing that spirits can be invisible and teleport around. He turns to find that invisible/teleporting ghost is standing there. It’s old man who tells Our Sam not to be afraid as he puts the Vulcan Mind Meld Grip on Sammy’s head.


sc_41


Our Sam gets the shudders as Ghost Thumbs glow bluish-white against his face. Doctor Ghost tells Sam that he’ll make it all better for him.


Commentary: Whatever. It’s far too late to try to inject excitement and menace into this thing: the clichés and the horrible continuity with the weaponry and the TOO DAMNED BRIGHT lighting have ruined any sense of chills that the admittedly great set design may have had. I’d like to be done now.


Scene 42: Back with Chick and Boy, she tells Gavin that if they make it out of there alive, they’re breaking up. They hear a bang and see a shadow coming toward them. Chick almost takes out Dean’s face with the rock salt gun.

Dean wonders what they’re still doing there and where Sammy is. Boy tells Dean that Sam went after him after the phone call, which naturally Dean didn’t make. Dean grabs his real gun and tucks it away as he rushes off with the rock salt gun to waiting baby brother.


Commentary: Really. We never saw them carrying a pack with all of this equipment into the asylum and we didn’t see them store it in this random room and we didn’t see where the ghost detector and camera were left, which have totally vanished now and oh-my-god, was-this-a-rush-job??


Scene 43: In the basement, Dean calls for Sam. He finds him, and yells at him for not answering. He informs Sam that the big bad is Dr. Ellicott and informs him of finding his hidden journal describing his barbaric experiments on patients. Our Sam pretends that he hasn’t seen anything of the good doctor or anything else in the basement.

Dean plans to find a hidden procedure room in the basement, find the doctor’s remains where the rioting patients probably hid them after murdering the doctor and torch his bones. He doesn’t notice Sammy’s glare or his reluctance to do what Dean says.


Scene 44: In the room Dean had just led Sammy to, our Sam is obviously getting angry behind Dean’s back as the elder Winchester hears the whistle of a breeze from a hidden door somewhere in the room.

He pulls his salt gun on Dean, his nose starting to bleed. Dean guesses that Doctor Ghost did something to him and tells him to lower his gun. Sam tells Dean that he’s gotten pretty tired of him telling him what to do. Dean points out that rock salt gun isn’t going to kill him -- so Our Sam shoots him point blank to the chest!

[Yay -- something surprising in a sea of cliché! I loved it!]

Dean flies backward through the hidden door into the secret treatment room, unconscious. Sam tells him that it’ll still hurt like hell.


sc_44


Scene 45: Dean comes to a moment later with Our Sam standing over him. He tells Sammy to burn Ellicott’s bones. But Sam is pissy because of the whole John thing still and chooses now to berate Dean for never thinking for himself.

Dean pushes Sammy on whether he’s really going to stand there and kill him. He hands him his real gun to force the issue. Dean stares up into the barrel of the pistol and asks Sam if he really hates him that much that he’d murder his own brother.

Sam pulls the trigger… multiple times. But no bullets fire. Dean knocks Sam off of his feet with a punch to his scrunchy, angry face. He punches Sam out to look for the bones unimpeded.


Scene 46: Dean does a search of the hidden treatment room for Ellicott’s bones. In the meantime, we see Ellicott walk unnoticed in the foreground.

Dean finds a tuft of hair poking out from a cabinet. He finds the doctor’s gross body stuffed in the cabinet. As he salts the remains, his flashlight starts blinking again.

Surprise! Ellicott doesn’t just stand around waiting to be burned up. He sends a gurney flying into Dean’s back, knocking him to the floor. He starts a treatment on him.


sc_46


As Dean’s brain is getting an electroshock treatment, he’s able to grab for his lighter from the pack we didn’t see him carrying around. Ellicott’s remains go up in flame.

Ummm… for some reason, this turns the ghost into a solid, crumbly ash figure who topples to the floor and shatters.


Commentary: Wait… the GHOST turns into a crumbling, ashy mass to shatter on the floor?? WHAT??

Oh, dear. I’m starting to actively dislike this episode despite its few real selling points.



Scene 47: Well after dawn, everyone is gathered outside of the asylum for the wrap up. The teens are sent packing. Sam apologizes to Dean for the awful things he said during his post-treatment.

Sam wonders if they need to talk about it, since Dean doesn’t seem to buy that Sam wasn’t saying what he really feels but Dean declines.


Scene 48: Later, Dean is in bed sacked out [while wearing his watch?] when the cell goes off. Sammy answers it… and sits up in shock, “Dad?”



The Good:The direction and the music really helped out this episode. Also good, was the set design for the rundown, closed asylum location.

I love Sam being wordless when younger Dr. Ellicott asks for his opinion about his brother and the general ongoing tension below the surface in regards to the brother's respective views of John Winchester.

I totally loved the sudden surprise of having Sam actually shoot Dean and the way he was sent blasting through the doorway. I also did like that Sam was going to murder Dean [but we have a caveat in Other].


The Bad: The Hollywood-Darkness was in full effect and it was awful. The lighting was ridiculously bright in conditions where it didn't belong, but worse that that, it actually hurt the ambiance of the creepy, old abandoned mental hospital environment. Almost every scene was ridiculously over-lit.

I didn't like the infodump scene at all. The way that Sam got the information needed from Older Partner was just bumbled and trying to skate by how it would've worked didn't help us be convinced.

Weapons continuity and having packs that aren't shown to be carried suddenly appearing as needed was awful. This episode is just horrible when it comes to the Winchesters actually shown carrying things into scene that will suddenly appear when they need them later.

A lot of the scenes in the asylum as we're headed for the showdown are not only cliched, but they're also repetitive with what happened earlier already. Repeat-Rinse-Repeat is never engaging.


Other Thoughts: The editing this time around bugged me just a bit, with slightly too many swaps between where the action was to somebody elsewhere looking somewhat concerned with nothing going on. I thought I'd end up putting this in The Bad, but things simmered down after the pre-title setup scene.

I'm going to slot Sam's conversation with younger Doctor Ellicott here. His trying to swerve the conversation into another needed infodump on the asylum was just SO clumsy. And again, we cut away from the scene where Sam supposedly was able to get the doctor to talk about his father's disappearance and presumed murder. Although I will say that I did like the work of James Purcell as the doctor, which saved this scene.

A big problem with the episode - though not in The Bad - is the cliche storm throughout the whole thing with absolutely nothing new done with the hoary old haunted asylum story. The tale isn't bad, but it is overly familiar with no twists to share.

I liked that only one spirit was actually malevolent, but not enough was done with this idea -- we didn't even get a wrap up for the trapped spirits after the doctor's evil ghost was dealt with.

I had problems with keeping Kat and Gavin in the asylum longer than their characters actually had a purpose.

I also have a problem with Dean grabbing a real gun to go off after Our Sam, just so that Sammy could have a deadly weapon to false-shoot Dean with later. They are hunting a ghost... a gun is useless. And even if Dean suspected that Sam may have been set up to get mind controlled like the cop, the gun was still useless since he'd never fire it at Sam -- it looks large enough to blow Sam's limbs off. It was just weak to include that handy weapon for possessed Sam.

And I won't put it in The Bad, but I didn't like the ghost turning solid and ashing away either. It's not consistant with what we've seen before, or what we'll see later.


The Score: I started off giving this episode the benefit of the doubt due to the continued work of Jared and Jensen opposite one another and the dynamic camera work and the sound design. But the episode just got draggy, repetitive, clumsy and stupid the longer it went on.


2.50 out of 5 stars


.


706 IMDB "Ten" votes for THIS?? WTF?