Sam Winchester -
Dean Winchester -
OTHER SUPERNATURAL SEASONS
OTHER DEMON HUNTERS
Buffy The Vampire
Sam just aced his exams at Sanford University and is looking at a great career in the legal profession when his estranged brother Dean shows up to tell him their father is late returning from a hunting trip. Not the first time a bunch of hunters got drunk and had to sleep it off except that their father hunts unnatural things, in this case a spectral woman who may have been responsible for the deaths of a dozen or so young men on a particular stretch of road.
Wow! Very few shows get off to the kind of start that Supernatural gets. The opening sequence is absolutely stunning and the rest of the story has enough intrigue to keep interest high and scares galore that are genuinely scary. It may smack of BUFFY without the laughs, but that is no bad thing.If the show can keep up to the promise of this one then it's future is looking very bright indeed.Top
A trio of guys out camping in the woods get attacked by the Blair Witch - sorry, something nasty. Following the clues left by their father, Dean and Sam show up in the area and find out that people have been dying their every twenty odd years. They team up with the sister of one of the missing guys and a guide and go off to find out what happened. What they find is far more deadly than a grizzly bear and something much harder to kill.
Following last week's explosive opening (no pun intended), momentum was going to be very hard to keep into this week and it proved to be the case. The Wendigo is a cannibal who gets supernatural strength and speed from eating human flesh. Trouble is, it clearly wasn't very convincing, so they keep it hidden and barely glimpsed throughout. This might have heightened the threat in, say, JAWS, but doesn't work here.
Some of the creepy sequences work and some of the scare tactics as well, but it doesn't have the creep factor of last week's story. What it does have is the double act of Dean and Sam in full swing. Their repartee is likely to be a large part of the fun of watching SUPERNATURAL.Top
Dead In The Water
A young woman goes swimming on a lake and is pulled under. She was a good swimmer. So were the others that have died there mysterious circumstances. These drownings have been going on for years, but have accelerated in the past few weeks. Dean and Sam show up to look into the matter and discover that the lake is soon to be drained and that the most recent deaths seem to be linked to something that happened a long time ago.
Water is pretty scary stuff in the right circumstances. There are not a lot of those sort of circumstances in this episode. The sheer spookiness that the show promised at its start is only present here in the last few minutes when the source of the evil is revealed. For the rest of the show it is more of a police investigation show as the two leads follow the clues. Matters are livened up by the presence of Amy Ackerman (Fred from ANGEL), but she plays the same part in all but name.Top
An airliner goes down in unexplained circumstances and one of the airport officials who had previously had dealing with the boys' father calls them in to investigate. The flight recorder has a ghostly voice saying 'No survivors' on the tape. Shortly thereafter, the captain crashes a light plane and the profiles shows that it happened exactly 40 minutes into the flight, just as before. It's a case of demonic possession and the only way to stop it is to get on the very next plane due to be crashed.
The opening sequence of this episode is pretty exciting and sets up the episode really well. Unfortunately, it then settles down into the normal pattern of the boys poking around, figuring out that the plot is a direct rip off of FINAL DESTINATION and then facing up to the evil nasty.
That said, the situation is pleasingly modern and the show's real plus points - the soundtrack and the interplay between the brothers, remain strong. OK, it's a bit hackneyed that Dean hates flying, but considering the use of someone else's plot in totality I think that's being picky. The end, though, offers up the tantalising question of why their Dad's phone is suddenly back in order and taking phone messages when he has made no effort to contact them.Top
If you stand in front of the mirror and say "Bloody Mary" three times then bad things will happen. Your father will die with his eyes scratched out or you will see yourself telling you how it was your fault that the boy died before your eyes start to bleed. Trust me, do not try this at home. When the boys discover that Bloody Mary is real, one of them has to summon her back to her own mirror with a deadly secret of their own and face up to her.
Another week, another episode, who shall we rip off today? If you're going to steal your ideas, then steal from the best. CANDYMAN was a bloody scary movie (if all a bit beyond belief) and RINGU is one of the scariest of the recent asian horror films to storm the world. Sadly, Bloody Mary fails to make the most of either of them, not least because you're sat there amazed that the writers can get away with such wholesale plaigiarism. Anyway, this episode tries for intense, but doesn't manage it, although Mary makes for a scary adversary (unless you've seen the original RINGU, that is). There is less of the usual banter and the threat to the boys seems quite real.
If SUPERNATURAL is going to be simply 'which scary movie can we rip off this week?' then interest is soon going to wane.Top
One of Sam's college friends alerts him to the fact that another of their number is under arrest for a murder that he could not have committed because he can't be in two places at once. Intrigued, the brothers Winchester investigate what they take to be a case of a doppelganger, but when another murder is announced with the same MO, but different faces, it's all change and who can you trust when someone's face is not necessarily their own?
At last, a story in which you can't name the film that it was taken from straight away. It's not exactly original, but at least the source(s) are not immediately apparent. It's also a pretty tense episode, starting with the SWAT team breaking in to find Dean covered in blood and holding a knife and then flashing back to what led up to it. When we get back to that scene, it's a bit muddled, though, as to who called SWAT and how and when. It's as if they came up with the image and loved it so much that they shoehorned it in whether it fitted or not.
There is also the lovely conceit that when the shapeshifting baddie changes shape, it sloughs off the old skin in a disgusting pile of mouldering flesh - lovely. There is also some more character background with the shapeshifter able to tap into Dean's memories and tell Sam what his brother is really feeling.
Finally, any show that uses Steppenwolf's Born to be Wild on the soundtrack with a total lack of irony has got my vote.Top
Sam and Dean take on the hook-wielding fisherman from I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER. Admittedly, he is now the spirit of a priest who is carving up the local immoral kids, but he looks so much like that film's character that they could sue. I doubt that they could be bothered, though, as this is a pretty dull episode that is very much 'been there, done that'.
Come on guys, you've got a potentially great show here and you're just wasting it on reruns of old horror flicks and even older ideas. Can we get back to some original stories and the kind of scariness that has typified the better episodes in amongst the clag. The only light here is Dean's reaction to being around hordes of college chicks.Top
A brand new housing estate is suffering a few problems as the first few people move in. First, a gas and power man falls down a sink hole and has his brain mushed (by bugs), then one of the real estate people gets attacked in her shower by spiders. It's all part of a curse and that curse is about to reach its height at midnight, when the site developer's family are targeted to die.
OK, it's bugs and there's nothing creepier than bugs as INDIANA JONES AND THE THE TEMPLE OF DOOM proves, but the bugs in this show are so poorly realised that the majority of the threat is wasted. The spiders in the bathroom are very poor animations and the dead ones are just rubbery. That said, it is nice to see Dean and Sam come up against something that they just can't beat. Admittedly, the curse comes into force and only appears to last for about ten minutes before the sun comes up and at its height can be fought off with only a can of bug spray and a lighter.
This week's ripped off movies are POLTERGEIST and every bug movie you ever saw
The best thing about this episode is the preview of next week's, which looks a lot more interesting.Top
Sam finally admits to Dean that some of his nightmares come true and that the latest one concerns the new family that has moved into the house where it all began for them. Something has called on them and it isn't the Avon lady. A local medium who had worked with their father senses that there are two spirits in the house and the trio set about an exorcism.
Clearly it's the Winchester family saga that interests the writers of SUPERNATURAL rather than the usual monster of the week format because this is the best episode since the pilot. The return of the two boys is heavy with emotional depth and the threat to the new family is given a real edge. The exorcism goes pretty poorly and it takes intervention from another source to save them, a source that is very close to home.
As a result of the more personal story, the acting is more subtle and just plain better. And then there is the small matter of what their father is doing at the end of episode and what he means when he's talking about 'the truth'.
Maybe the show should concentrate on this story more than all the other stuff.Top
Kids breaking into a disused asylum leads to a tragedy of anger and violence, not the first. Sam and Dean receive co-ordinates from their Dad and go to investigate. They find a whole bunch of angry spirits from a riot in the past, but there is a more shocking truth to be uncovered and a young couple have just gone into the madhouse.
This is a much creepier episode than we have had for a while. True, an old abandoned asylum is just about the creepiest locale you could have for a ghost story, so that helps, but there are lots of shadows behind plastic curtains and figures barely glimpsed in the background. This works really well.
That way that rage is used as the cause of violence and the way that Sam's rage at his brother's inability to question the motives of their father is built up into a deadly situation is also one of the strong parts of the show.
Dean uncovers the real source of the danger with so much ease that you have to wonder why the police and fire service couldn't find any of this stuff following the riot. Ah, well logic has never played that big a part in SUPERNATURAL.Top
Every year in the same week, a couple have gone missing in a small town in the midwest. Dean sets off to investigate, but Sam decides that he's going to California to look for their father and get some answers. On the road, he meets a hitch-hiker who turns out to be not all that she seems whilst Dean finds out that the scarecrow in the orchard isn't all that it seems either.
SUPERNATURAL is back to creepy form. The first few minutes of this week's episode are nicely creepy with strange shadows in an orchard and a very creepy scarecrow. The plot then descends into CHILDREN OF THE CORN territory and has a resolution that is so rushed that it does spoil all that has gone before it.
Hints about the plot arc, though, are starting to emerge. Something has a plan for Sam and Dean and whilst that plan requires something nasty to happen to them, it doesn't want them dead just yet. This is the more interesting of the events and the show could use to focus on that for a bit.Top
Dean manages to get himself mortally wounded in a battle with a supernatural creature, but Sam is not about to sit back and let his older brother die. Through contacts, he learns of a faith healer who is not just a crank. When Dean is healed, the pair discover that the healer seems to have harnessed a reaper, an indestructible creature with the power over life and death. For every person healed, another must die of the same symptoms. They have to stop it, but matters are complicated when Dean strikes up a friendship with the girl who is the next due to be healed.
Well this is just about the most interesting plot that SUPERNATURAL has come up with to date. It's not all that scary to be true, but the moral dilemmas that face the brothers have real depth and impact. Dean is torn up by guilt that someone died so that he could live and is then tortured by the fact that he must sacrifice the chances of a woman he really cares about for the sake of someone he doesn't even know.
This is deep stuff and the performances match that, coming up with some of the best acting of the show to date. Julie Benz pops up from ANGEL as the sick woman, but this is really about how the brothers deal with death when it this close to them.
More of this quality please.Top
Black men are being killed by a possessed ghostly truck. The daughter of the last victim shared a relationship with Dean and calls him in for some help. As the two brothers dig towards the truth, Dean rekindles his old love, Sam teases him about it and the truck gets to take on Dean's beloved car in a race to the, literal, death.
Following the relative moral complexity of last week's episode, we are back to more straightforward stuff. The movie to be ripped off this week is Steven Spielberg's DUEL. A (again literal) monster truck is the image and the plot is built up around the plot. As a result, it doesn't hang together that well and really doesn't inspire. It's also not all that original, actually a re-run of Dead In The Water. Pity, because the truck really is a good image.
What is good about this episode is Sam's making the most of Dean's discomfort at the revelations about his love life. There is a lot of entertainment value there.Top
Sam has a vision that convinces him someone is going to die. The brothers race to the town, but arrive too late. Posing as priests, they contact the family and find both son and mother devastated by what has happened. Soon after, the brother of the dead man also dies and Sam sees it again. Investigating deeper, they discover a story of child abuse and telekinesis. They also discover links to their own past. Can they unravel it all in time to save the mother and son?
Ripped off scary movie of the week is CARRIE, but this is wrapped up in a plot that throws some hints around about the main story arc. Sam's mental abilities are growing and they may be the reason why the demon killed their mother. Sam is less than pleased with these developments and this is actually quite interesting stuff.
The main plot is less interesting, more of the same. What links the dead people and how will it lead the brothers back to what or who is causing the deaths? When you know that a death is coming, the anticipation is everything (look at the success of the FINAL DESTINATION films) and the that makes the final sequences tense and exciting. The outcome is also unexpected.Top
The brothers investigate a string of missing persons only to find that there is no supernatural link this time. The perpetrators are people - sick outback hillbillies to be sure, but still people. They like to hunt humans and don't like to be spied on. Before you know it, they've captured both Sam and Dean and one of the local deputies.
And this week we will be showing our new version of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE with just a little dash of DELIVERANCE added in there. That said, there is plenty of threat to the boys here and for once they don't seem to have all of the answers. The fact that both Dean and the deputy fall foul of the same member of the family is also fun. The violence is much more real and therefore has much more of a punch and there are moments of moral murkiness that are not normally part of the mix.Top
Murders carried out inside houses that are fully locked and without any sign of forced entry bring the brothers to Chicago. There, they bump into Meg, the satanic hitchiker from Scarecrow. Sam isn't willing to believe that this is coincidence and his investigations lead him and Dean into a trap. The trap, though, isn't for them.
This is an odd episode. There isn't enough plot for the full running time. The ease with which Sam follows Megan is patently unbelievable, so when it is revealed that she was setting them up it comes as no surprise and precious little interest. When they kill her and escape to meet their dad, it's obvious that the trap hasn't been sprung yet. There are no surprises throughout.
What there is in this episode is blood. The shadow creatures do their killing with razor claws and both the brothers and their father get to share the pain. Meg is also an interesting enemy and it would have been a shame to lose her so early on, though her invulnerability is a bit cliche. Still, it might add spice to the otherwise less than interesting monster of the week format.Top
Sam follows up a lead he finds on an internet website about a spirit haunting a country shack. They find that the spririt is real, but that it is changing, not following the rules that spirits usually do. Whilst they investigate, they come into competition with another pair of ghost hunters.
Back to the monster of the week format, but at least there are some nice moments, mostly at the expense of the two would-be ghost chasers that the brother encounter. It is nice to watch their reactions as they come up against a couple that would effectively be them if all their cool was taken away. There is also a running gag about practical jokes that just manages to stay the right side of annoying.
The nicest thing, though, is the idea that the spirit is evolving as people's belief in it evolves. The internet becomes responsible for the rise of the ghost and its ever-changing abilities. As the story on the internet changes, so the belief changes and so the ghost changes. That leads to a neat plan of Dean's, but one that is scuppered by IT foul ups leading to a more low tech solution.Top
Kids are going into unexplained comas and they seem to be doing it in family groups. The brothers come to investigate and Sam discovers that the creature causing the epidemic and Dean have some unfinished business.
Another run of the mill episode that is almost indistinguishable from any other. Admittedly, there is some family stuff stuck in there, but it isn't really convincing and certainly not engaging. Even the fact that the evil beastie is preying on kids doesn't help ramp up the interest. Only the natural chemistry of the two leads makes it worth tuning in for.
The show really needs to try harder.Top
A couple are murdered with all the doors locked and the alarm on, their throats slit. Sam and Dean trace the cause to a painting that was sold to them by a loacal auction house. Three previous owners of the painting also died. The thing is clearly haunted, but it won't burn and the family it portrays were all cremated. To make bad matters worse, the attractive daughter of the auction house's owner has taken a shine to Sam and isn't willing to back off, ghosts or no.
This is the kind of story that the show has already done a couple of times in this series and it really doesn't spice it up much either. The relationship between Sam and the girl develops faster than a speeding bullet and brings out all the angst of Sam's losing his mother and girlfriend, but none of it is even remotely believable.
A dull ghost story and unconvincing emotional sideline - SUPERNATURAL is starting to show less life than its ghosts.Top
Dead Man's Blood
Sam and Dean investigate the death of a man whose name was in their father's journal. He shows up and tells them calmly that his friend was killed by vampires. The family reunited go in search of something that the friend had located, a gun made by Samuel Colt, a gun that can kill anything.
This episode peps things up a bit, well quite a lot actually, after last week's sad affair. The vampires make a sharp entrance and prove to be much for fun as bad guys than most of the other forgettable spooks have been. This is because they get some time on screen and have personalities rather than just being the spooky thing of the week to be killed by Dean and Sam.
That doesn't mean that it makes much sense, though, but there is plenty of action to be going on with to ride over the holes in the plot. There is also the sparking between Sam and his father which starts up within minutes of their meeting. This is so much more fun than when they make up and start to talk to each other.
The family Winchester is reunited and going after the thing that started it all, something that they should have done a long time ago.Top
Things are going well for the Winchester family for a change. Dad's figured out which town the demon they've been chasing is going to attack in next, Sam's vision has located the child that will be targeted and they have a gun that can kill anything. You know it's not going to last. And it doesn't. Meg's back. She's really a demon and she's declared war on the Winchesters, killing off every person that ever helped them.
Proving that this show works best when the Winchester family saga is at the heart of the plot, this is a much better episode. Bizarrely, the best strand of the story is the strand that takes the boys' father into a one on one with Meg and you see just why he's managed to stay alive so long.
It's the penultimate episode and the sense of threat and closure is getting ready for the cliffhanger ending to the series. Sam misses an easy shot at the demon and you have to wonder if it's really a bad guy or whether it's doing awful things to create children like Sam to help in the fight. Or am I just reading more into it than is actually there.
Anyway, it's been a rocky road, but the end is in sight and this episode ensures that we'll be there to the end.Top
Last week's episode left Pa Winchester in the hands of the enemy and the demon still at large. The brothers concoct a plan to get their Dad back, but it relies on the demons acting like demons and being a bit less smart than the Winchester boys. It's the final episode, so you just know that there's going to be a cliffhanger.
SUPERNATURAL goes out in some style with an episode that never lets up to the very last scene. It's been a dodgy journey, but now we're in the final action phases and the pace is quick and full of twists and turns, many of which are predictable, but which still play out in a satisfying manner.
The big question, of course, is whether the show deserves a second season. At its best, there can be absolutely no doubt. There have been times in the show that have been downright nailbiting and exciting. At its worst, however, SUPERNATURAL was unoriginal and, dare we say, dull. On the whole, we think it's done enough, but it does need to learn from the mistakes of the monster of week dullness.
If the rest of the series had lived up to this episode, then this would have been a landmark show.Top
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