In the thirteenth episode of the eleventh season of Supernatural, there’s literally a movie made about this that’s so much better. LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT IT. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Supernatural.
I think there might have been a decent episode here if it weren’t for a major flaw in the concept behind “Love Hurts.” It’s a story that challenges what we know of both witches and shapeshifters, and it’s got a neat little mystery in it. But I can’t ignore that it’s so similar to a story that already exists – It Follows – and thus, I can’t feel excited about it. At all.
This is not the first Valentines Day-themed episode, though the story here follows a different type of love than we’ve seen in the past. Melissa Harper simply wanted the best for herself and her relationship, and she turned to supernatural means as a way to achieve that. If there’s anything here that’s cool about this specific story, it’s Melissa. I like it when characters must accept the world of the supernatural, and I like it even more when they’re not the kind of people to leap joyously into said world. Melissa is constantly terrified, she’s realistically emotional, and she’s a very human character. I appreciate that. Yet even in her, there’s a glaring flaw: the episode never really resolves anything for her. Oh, sure, Sonja is killed, and the curse of the Qareen is stopped, but we never see anything of an emotional resolution for her characters. She has no closure. It’s a little frustrating because I wanted to see more of her, and the writing feels sloppy. Does she go back to her normal life? How is she going to cope with knowing the supernatural now exists?
The only other aspect of “Love Hurts” that felt exciting is the longer scene at the end where Dean speaks honestly about his bizarre “attraction” to Amara. It’s one of those stories that ties in to the longer mythology very well. I know it’s weird to get excited about someone telling the truth, but I think that speaks to this show’s reliance on lying as a storytelling element. Dean and Sam keep so much shit from each other, so it’s refreshing when they don’t. What’s not surprising about this conversation – but is totally in character – is the fact that Sam offers his unconditional support for his brother. I loved that the script outright confirmed that Dean had no choice about his feelings towards Amara. It is the end result of her freedom, and it’s not real attraction or love. It’s something far more insidious and sinister, and now that Sam knows that, he can be more prepared when they face Amara next. What if he’d never known that Dean couldn’t pull the trigger? It’s good that that scene happened, and I’d say it was necessary for their development.
I kept waiting for “Love Hurts” to change. Once Dean and Sam began to theorize that Sonja’s curse was passed by contact, and that the Qareen tracked their victim down in order of infection, my mind instantly went to the best horror film of last year. The show wasn’t seriously following that story, was it?
Unfortunately, It Follows does this same concept – a sexually transmitted “curse” creates a line of victims, back down to the first person who has the curse – about a trillion times better than “Love Hurts.” It’s an unsettling and deeply upsetting film about sexual activity, responsibility, and loyalty, one that challenges the viewer because it forces you to mistrust every character on the screen. Like It Follows, there is a monster who can assume the appearance of literally anyone, who is seemingly invincible, and who slowly pursues their victims until their inevitable death. While this episode might have been a little eerie, the film is downright horrifying, or at least it was to me. You can’t trust background actors. You can’t trust who the camera is focusing on. The film deliberately messes with your perception of horror films due to its camera work and in the design of the monster.
So let’s assume that none of the writing staff, nor any of the production team, ever saw It Follows. This episode was still doomed to be subpar for me because I can’t see it any other way anymore. It’s a pale copy of it, even if it is unintentionally so. My only hope is that people in this fandom now get the chance to go see a wonderful film because of this episode. IT’S REALLY GOOD, I SWEAR.
The video for “Love Hurts” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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