In the fifth episode of the first season of Supernatural, the boys try to find the source of an apparent Bloody Mary spirit that’s killing people. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Supernatural.
Now this is a much better example of what this show can do! And then it also granted me my wish of more Winchester feelings by punching me in the heart a couple million times. I should really stop utilizing this super power of mine because it never truly pans out for me.
Anyway, “Bloody Mary” has got a lot going for it that makes me excited to see what else is in the future for Supernatural. Let’s discuss it!
Fucked Up American Road Trips
I think that after five episodes, I’ve got a much better grasp on one of the narrative standards of this show that I know I’m going to love: Dean and Sam travel across the United States and investigate fucked up things. It’s like American Gods with more scope (since it deals with more than just gods), and I love that the writers aren’t straying from exploring everything. See, this episode isn’t just about the Bloody Mary legend. Instead, we get so much more information about the pervasive nature of the myth, including all its variations, and then the writers explore the concept of revenge narratives for ghosts, and then there’s the whole bit about mirrors and souls, and it’s clear that the writers are researching the origins of all these apparent phenomena. And the world of the supernatural is so dense, so varied, and so disparate that it’s easy to see how much the writers can use for future storylines. On top of that, the geographical importance of certain tales is respected as well, and that’s awesome!
I Get To Yell At Things
I wasn’t kidding in my review of the pilot: I LOVE YELLING AT PEOPLE IN HORROR MOVIES. It’s so fun! Actually, most of the best experiences I’ve ever had in a theater were watching horror movies with a bunch of people who (respectfully) yelled at the characters on the screen. There were plenty of chances for me to do so in “Bloody Mary,” particularly when Donna thought it was a great idea to yell the titular chant at a mirror because THAT ALWAYS ENDS WELL IN YOUR LIFE, DOESN’T IT? Oh my god, stop it.
I can guarantee at least 236% more yelling in the future.
One of the best things about “Bloody Mary” is the way that the Winchesters behave towards Charlie. It’s a very common trope to have people within horror narratives experience a moment where they question their sanity, particularly when they feel like they’re the only person who can sense whatever weird, supernatural thing is happening to him. I’m sure we’ll see more of it on a show like Supernatural, but I adore the way in which this pans out for Charlie. The writers fall into the trope immediately, having Charlie freak out about the dramatic and horrifying events around her. And then Dean and Sam support her. This was one of the most endearing features of The X-Files for me, which is that often, Fox Mulder believed the unbelievable as a way to provide comfort for others who also experienced this sort of terror. Here, Sam and Dean explicitly tell Charlie that they will believe her. They do not ever belittle her for being afraid. They protect her in ways that most people would view as absurd, and I love that. And if this is an aspect of the family business that continues in the future, then sign me the fuck up, y’all, because it’s fantastic.
A Vehicle for Feelings
“Bloody Mary” is remarkably solid for a number of reasons, but I think drawn most to the way that the Winchesters still matter as characters. They’re not just supernatural detectives and hunters in the narrative. No, this story is still very much about them, and details of the case they’re on reflect on what they’re going through. In this case, the writers parallel the guilt that Charlie feels after her boyfriend committed suicide post-break-up with the guilt that Sam feels over Jess’s death. I had this huge point ready in my mind as I watched Charlie confess why she thought Mary was after her, but then the text itself addressed how fucked up it was that the Bloody Mary still went after Charlie, even though she wasn’t really responsible for her boyfriend’s death. In that same vein, the writers address Sam’s insistence on blaming himself for Jess’s death. I’m still uncomfortable with the very obvious fridging of Jess because Adrianne Palicki is such a fantastic actress and I wish we’d gotten more of her, so I don’t want to ignore that. At the same time, there’s such a great rapport between Sam and Dean in “Bloody Mary” that makes it feel like these two characters are actually brothers.
It’s fascinating to me how quickly these two have grown closer after years apart, and it’s neat to see how Sam has just slid back into being a hunter again. As much as Dean wants to pretend that he doesn’t like talking about feelings, I’d argue that he really does want to take care of his younger brother, that he’ll do anything to keep him safe and make sure he’s doing well. He’s able to recognize that Sam is torturing himself over what something else did, and he does his best to convey this idea to him. The respect here is mutual, too! Sam even says as much, though he does choose to keep his secret about Jess’s death to himself. (HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE, Y’ALL. How did he have dreams of Jess’s death before she died???)
Yeah, this episode is also super fucked up. It’s violent in a way that feeds on images of body horror. The way Mary appears in reflections is NOPE FOREVER. But it’s that final confrontation – laced with Sam’s guilt and self-doubt – that’s truly scary, one of the creepiest things I’ve seen so far. Oh my god, when Mary came out of that mirror The Ring-style, I was done in every universe ever. JUST NO. NO! Unlike the resolution in “Phantom Traveler,” this one was far more clever and satisfying. Dean turned Mary’s demonic revenge on herself. Holy shit, that was awesome.
In the future, though, I’d like it less if things came out of mirrors. Yeah, that is NOPE UNTIL THE END OF TIME.
The video commission for “Bloody Mary” can be downloaded right here.
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