Monday, October 29, 2012

The "Bitten" Potential Within Character Analysis in CW's "Supernatural:" A Television Review

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Director: Thomas J. Wright

Writer: Robbie Thompson.

CW's latest "Supernatural" episode makes a radical departure from its norm and shows that not every episode has to keep its focus on the Winchesters. The series has gone against the grain before, but this time, the change in direction needs to be studied and explained. Perhaps the biggest item that needs to be addressed is in why the producers chose to use the found footage format in in the fourth episode, "Bitten."

The style effectively highlights how rabid two future filmmakers, Scott Parker (Eric Benard) and Mike Wheeler (Brendon W Jones), are gung-ho about their future. Instead of making a pseudo-documentary movie that could potentially rival Michael Moore's, they wind up making a film about themselves. This film reveals their give and take relationship. When Mike takes a shining to Kate in a café, she could have slapped him in the face for stalking. Instead, they become a merry couple. Only in Hollywood can all this happen in act one.

In the prologue, Sam and Dean have broken into a house only to find the footage Scott and Mike filmed during the last few weeks. Someone, rather expertly, has put together a video detailing what these filmmakers were up to. They were observing the Winchesters. In a few chance encounters, they saw them playing F.B.I. during the 42-minute show.

There are times that audiences may clue in that Scott and Mike are like Sam and Dean. Perhaps that's why this story was presented as episode four. Mike has the potential to lose control when he realizes that he has transformed into a werewolf. And, that is a brilliant foreshadow for what Dean may be like later on in season eight.

After all, the elder Winchester has been to Hell and survived Purgatory. Viewers will have to recall how inhumane Dean had to be when down below (he was the tormentor than the tormented), and cold-hearted when he was trapped between pure evil and absolute bliss. Now that he is back in the mortal world, he has shown a few instances of wanting to commit unmerciful murder. That attitude was also seen when "Soulless Sam" was kicking around in season six. By the episode's end, Dean finds compassion over what he had finished watching on the computer. He shows humanity by saying that he and Sam should let the girl go.

In last season, Dean killed Amy Pond, a kitsune (fox spirit), despite what he promised to Sam. He even said: "Once a monster, always a monster." But can monsters turn around? As this episode suggests, some do try. But there is always a chance of falling back into old habits.

And when the two finish watching the video, the younger Winchester was even ready to go find Kate, the person who made the video. Kudos have to go to the least used of all the secondary characters to make a presence finally. She did not have any meaning as the doting girlfriend, but when she is on her own, her personality finally showed. Not only do viewers discover that she put together a well-made story about the fall of two best friends, she may be an important figure who might return near the end of the season.

The only real problem involves the timeline of everything that had happened. Sam and Dean surmised that only a day or two has passed before she fled. To think that she put together many hours worth of footage in a very short time is hard to digest.

Even stranger is why Mike and Scott never once thought of putting down the camera. The concept of a camera glued to one’s hand is as stupid as the people from the Paranormal Activity movies. They always die. When Scott wants to take a camera to film Mike's transformation, he is altogether not quite up there.

The reasons behind Scott wanting to record his pal turning into a superstar are selfish. The story gets far more interesting with the last half than the first, since it engages the viewer with relatable everyday characters than film club nerds. At the episode's start, they were just dweebs. But by the end, they have become the everyman. Secrets start coming out that speak of how broken Scott and Mike's long-term relationship has been. That analogy is a direct reflection of what the Winchester brothers will not admit to.

Dean gets the message and he amazingly decides to let Kate live. Maybe he will finally learn to let go of his past grudges and start to reconcile with everyone he knows instead. Werewolves have always been representative of humanity's feral side. Just how anyone can tame it may get addressed in future episodes.

Overall: 7 out of 10.

"Supernatural" at the CW

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