In the second episode of the first season of Supernatural, the Winchesters continue their search for the father, but come across a whole lot of NOPE instead. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Supernatural.
So, this was fun! It’s not the most amazing television I’ve ever seen, and, truthfully, the writers pretty much stick to all the tropes involving creature horror. I’m going to be unfairly comparing this show to The X-Files every five seconds because I can’t help it, so let me recommend “Darkness Falls” from season 1, and “Detour” from season 5 as fantastic examples of this exact story. Seriously, they’re all eerily similar in their own way, but that’s because there are certain story elements that always show up whenever you’re addressing the whole idea of a scary monster in the forest. It’s always smarter than the people being tracked; it always has some advantage over humans; and people are picked off one-by-one. This familiar pattern works every time, even if it does get predictable. I mean, I totally called the fact that the peeing black dude was going to die first because why did you willingly walk into five tropes at once? Then I knew Roy was going to die because he’s an arrogant asshole, and they almost always die.
Still, I’m watching this show in order to find out why it’s so beloved, so I’m not expecting to have this answered within the first 90 minutes. Well, it’s not just that. I like being patient with shows, so I’m doing the same thing here. All that being said, I admit that there is something to “Wendigo” that lifts it above being stereotypical horror. I can see myself enjoying the exploration of the Winchesters’ family and how Sam and Dean differ in their approach to fighting evil and staying loyal to one another. Here, the writers don’t ignore that Sam’s girlfriend just died. Granted, I don’t like that Jess was fridged, but at least Sam doesn’t immediately jump into hunting without a second thought. No, he’s haunted by her death, consumed with guilt at being unable to protect her from what essentially amounts to a family secret. It explains his willingness at the end of “Wendigo” to want to continue helping people out. Perhaps that’s how Dean and John assuage their own guilt over what they were unable to stop, you know?
And yet, over the course of this episode, Sam is frustrated by the perception that they’re wasting their time. Their father is clearly not at Blackwater Ridge, so why aren’t they following their next clue? But Dean, who hasn’t given up on hunting “evil things,” can’t imagine a life not doing what he’s doing. It’s almost like he’s offended that Sam has to ask why they’re doing this. At the same time, Dean is supportive of his brother, concerned about his state after the shocking events in the previous episode. I think he wants Sam to be fine, to work out his issues and his anger, so that he can focus on the present. And that’s kind of adorable? I mean, yes, it’s a billion times funnier when they’re bickering and arguing, but I appreciate that there’s some attempt at exploring the dynamic between these two.
Other than this, this is a remarkably light episode of the show, focusing mostly on the storyline involving the Wendigo and the group’s efforts to avoid it. Which is okay! Again, it was fun to constantly yell at the screen because no one makes good decisions ever. Except the flare guns. Those were awesome. I absolutely LOVED the fact that Dean and Haley were on the same page in terms of family loyalty, but I wish it was explored more. I was left uncomfortable by a show (once again) using Native American folklore (specifically the Ojibwe people, where the Wendigo legend is from) without having a single person from the group they stole from appear in the episode. Not surprised by this, I should say, because the horror genre (and entertainment in general, I suppose) does this all the time. At least name the people who you’re taking from?
I am curious as to what the hell John Winchester is doing, and that’s probably the biggest thing that’s keeping me interested in where this show is going. I like the idea that he’s passing along the family business to his sons, but I cannot figure out why he’s doing it in the way he is. Why be so mysterious and ambiguous? What’s capturing his attention like this? Clearly, he’s found something that’s inspired him to up and disappear like this, but I don’t feel like I have enough to formulate any sort of theory as to why.
Anyway, I realize this is a very brief review for me, but I don’t have a whole lot to say about “Wendigo.” Onwards I go to discover more!
The video commission for “Wendigo” can be downloaded right here.
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