In the sixteenth episode of the first season of Supernatural, the last time I was this conflicted about an antagonist was Glory. Do we think there’s a connection between her and Ben, by the way?
Y’all, when this show is good, it’s really good. Of course, when it’s bad, we get racist ghost trucks, but alas, we can’t win all the time. But holy shit, “Shadow” appears to be a monster of the week episode, and then it’s BROTHERLY ANGSTY and DADDY ISSUES and MEG BEING THE BEST THING THIS SHOW HAS EVER DONE. Look, Nicki Aycox is INCREDIBLE here, able to navigate between skin-crawling creepiness and allure in seconds, and I absolutely adore the way that she’s written, especially when Kripke plays her off of the boys’ expectations of her character.
Her appearance early on in “Shadow” injects this episode with energy nearly immediately, especially since we know that she is not who she says she is. Of course, Dean, unsurprisingly, is kind of shocked that a woman is paying attention to Sam instead of him, and YOU DON’T EVEN REALIZE WHY, DEAN. Actually, to Sam’s credit, he suspects that Meg’s appearance in the bar is too coincidental. To me, this is one of many ways in which Kripke reverses the roles of Sam and Dean throughout this episode. Sam demonstrates his ability to seek out a hunting case here when he is suspicious of Dean, and Dean is often the one who is better at this. Dean is a natural, but he’s also used to this life. It’s all he’s ever known, so I love the idea that for the most part, Sam is the one out in the field while Dean stays behind to do research.
However, this dredges up an uncomfortable dynamic, one that isn’t revealed until the boys discover that the victims of the Daeva are both from Lawrence, Kansas. As much as Sam has come to enjoy hunting again and has shown to be quite good at it (how many times so far has he saved Dean’s life???), it’s not his master plan. No, he joined up with Dean to seek out the demon that killed their mother and Jess, and once he’s able to do that, he wants to stop. You know, I hadn’t even considered that as a possibility until Sam vocalized it, but it makes sense. Sam was never truly in this in the long run, and that’s because he came back to hunting with a specific goal in mind. So what happens when they meet that goal? What happens when they kill the demon that thrust them back into each other’s lives? For Sam, it makes sense for him to try and get a life back that doesn’t involve the supernatural.
But Dean, oh my god. As much as that man tries to put up this hypermasculine front, we learn that his whole anti-emotions thing is likely due to the fact that he is OVERFLOWING WITH EMOTIONS. He really does try hard to portray himself in a very specific way, as one who doesn’t care to discuss feelings or value emotional connections. However, the entire basis for him seeking out Sam IS ENTIRELY BASED ON EMOTIONAL CONNECTIONS WITH HIS BROTHER. So it’s heartbreaking for him to hear that Sam might want to leave him. LIKE, THAT IS A SENTENCE I JUST TYPED. Dean is heartbroken by the mere thought that Sam won’t hunt with him anymore.
Yet it’s not until the boys’ reunion with their father that all the truly INTENSE face unfairness comes out in these actors. Seriously, their faces. Oh my god, and every time they both say “Yes, sir” at the same time. NO, NONE OF THIS IS ALL RIGHT. However, it’s probably Sam who destroys me the most. The role reversal continues here as I’m forced to admit that I’ve been looking at the brothers’ relationship with their father in the wrong way. It’s Sam who is unable to let go of their father, not Dean. Dean’s respect for John Winchester involves a level of trust that allows him to let his father be away for such a long period of time. But Sam… oh god, Sam. Sam missed his father so much. Letting him go his own way is too terrible of an idea to him, and it’s UNFAIR TO WATCH. Y’all, why? Why is this show doing this to me?
WHICH BRINGS ME TO MEG MASTERS. I am so enamored with her, which is fun because SHE IS THE VILLAIN. But the best thing that “Shadow” does with her character is suggest that we don’t know the whole story. There’s a standout moment in the warehouse where Meg says that she does what she does for the same reason the Winchesters do: for loyalty. It’s never revealed who Meg has been talking to this whole time, but now I’m curious why she is loyal to… this person? Demon? And I also suspect that her line about being in hell is somehow not much of a joke at all. So, why is she loyal to that thing she speaks to? Is she an anti-hunter? Wait, that would imply there are other hunters, I guess. WAIT, ARE THERE? That seems kind of weird, actually. How would that work?
Nevermind, I’m going off on a tangent. BACK TO MEG. My guess is that she’s somehow allied with the demon who killed Mary and Jess and is attempting to protect it from John Winchester, hence the elaborate trap set here that uses the Daeva. WHICH IS GENUINELY SCARY. In turn, this demon is protecting Meg because NO WAY SHE SURVIVED THAT FALL WITHOUT HELP. Was it the medallion around her neck? Except… it had the symbol of the Daeva? So, that doesn’t quite make sense, does it?
Whatever, MEG IS STILL AROUND. She is electrifying when she’s on the screen, so I’m eager to see her show up again. I’m just so entertained by her! She presents a credible threat to the Winchesters, first of all, and she doesn’t fuck around, either. MORE MEG? I feel like y’all feel me on this because Meg.
The video commission for “Shadow” can be downloaded right here.
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