In the fifteenth episode of the ninth season of Supernatural, a case involving an urban legend leads Sam and Dean to an uncomfortable place. Intrigued? Then itâ€™s time for Mark to watch Supernatural.
HOLY SHIT THIS WAS SO AWKWARD.
As I said towards the end of the video for this episode, I think the parallel storytelling is heavy-handed, but itâ€™s necessary. Not only do Ed and Harry get their own story thatâ€™s complete (and gut-wrenching), it reflects on the relationship between Sam and Dean. This actually reminded me of a lot of the monster-of-the-week episodes in the early seasons of the show, especially since both stories were so strong. LET US TALK ABOUT THIS.
Itâ€™s not uncommon for the show to address popular trends or themes, and I admit to being skeptical about the Slender Man reference in this episode. How do you make something that pervasive scary? How can you change the stories and perception of it in a way thatâ€™s entertaining? People are already going to be biased against the inclusion of this meme, so the show was up against a wall. That was the case for me, too! At the same time, I was interested because I wanted to see how theyâ€™d explain this thing and give it any sort of motivation.
I donâ€™t think they went overboard with references to the Internet and how an urban legend spreads online. There was the proper amount of horror on the part of the Winchesters once they learned that a monster had a fan group. Because RIGHT. Nothing deserves fans more than a murderer! (I canâ€™t even joke about that because there are people in this world who are honestly huge fans of serial killers, GOD BE WITH US.) And I think it was probably the best monster for this specific story. This would not have worked as well as it did if it wasnâ€™t an online urban legend. It had to be something that had a life of its own, that could be chased due to endless new rumors and sightings. That aspect of it is what made Edâ€™s lie possible.
It was clear early on in this episode that the Ghostfacers were not the same team as they used to be. Obviously, the loss of the rest of their staff is an obvious difference, but even the dynamic between Ed and Harry had changed. From Harryâ€™s angst over breaking up with his girlfriend to pursue Ghostfacers, to Edâ€™s insistence that they turn over the case to the Winchesters, this isnâ€™t the same team. Many of their techniques were the same, sure. The show didnâ€™t shy away from displaying their more exploitative tactics (including that gross scene in Caseyâ€™s bedroom). But the teamâ€™s desperation â€“ for ratings, for validation, for fame â€“ was so much more apparent than ever before. They both had reasons for desiring that kind of success. Ed wanted a reason to justify staying with the project; Harry wanted a reason to keep Ed around as well.
And lord, did this all fall apart spectacularly.
The problem at the heart of Ed and Harryâ€™s issue is horrifyingly similar to Dean and Samâ€™s conflict this season. Harry, in a last-minute effort to prevent Ed from leaving the team, invented the Thinman. He did it in a way to convince Ed that it would be worth it for him to stay on, and he did this believing that it would be best for their friendship. His intentions were good â€“ he wanted to keep his best friend in his life â€“ and the result of that is a fucking disaster. Like Dean, Harry wanted nothing but the best for his friend, but he couldnâ€™t see how that might appear selfish to Ed.
Itâ€™s a matter of perspective. Regardless of Harryâ€™s intent, the invention of the Thinman hurt Ed, terribly so. Even stranger? He unknowingly inspired to murderers to assume the identity of the Thinman so they could act out their horrible fantasies. (I canâ€™t believe I sort of guessed the correct ending and then immediately discounted it. SO CLOSE! And yet, so far.) All of this is because Harry didnâ€™t just ask Ed to stay. He built up this lie over the years, and if this case hadnâ€™t dropped in the Winchestersâ€™ laps, I bet Harry wouldnâ€™t have ever have told his friend the truth.
While I donâ€™t think the show would split up the Winchesters in any significant way, it was still brutal watching Ed and Harry go their separate ways. I appreciated that the writers respected the fact that Ed wasnâ€™t ready to forgive Harry. As Sam said, thatâ€™s something Ed has to figure out on his own, and nothing is going to make it easier. So how is this going to affect Sam and Dean? Can their be forgiveness, or will this always be something that Sam canâ€™t forgive? Which is his right, by the way! But perhaps this experience has given Dean the insight he needs to understand why his brother is behaving as he is. I think both characters could learn something from the events in â€œ#THINMAN.â€ At the very least? These two need to take my advice from a thousand seasons ago:
PLEASE SIT DOWN AND HAVE A MATURE CONVERSATION.
The video for â€œ#THINMANâ€ can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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