Sunday, April 10, 2011

Supernatural - 1.02 - Wendigo - Retro Recap

Note - This recap was written in season 6, but I don't think there are any spoilers. Maybe a slight hint or two.

Previously: Mary and Jessica died, John sucked, and the brothers road tripped. Welcome to Supernatural, round 2.

In the middle of the woods, the guy from Glee plays a video game. Nice to know it's all about nature. I'd hum Don't Stop Believing, but he screams monster fodder. He's camping; we all know how this turns out. A monster growls in the background while another camper leaves a status report for Haley. I thought it was his girlfriend originally. The third camper stops his video game losing streak to go to the bathroom, which in SPN means first one to He gets spooked by a branch breaking and I get spooked by monster sounds. Hence the screaming starts. Gary (Glee guy) checks out what happened to Brad (dead guy), leaving Tommy to face the monster alone. He douses the light but no dice. The tent is shredded and out goes Tommy.

We segue to Stanford via the sad violins of dead girlfriend grief to join Sam at Jessica's tombstone. He brought her a mixed bouquet since she wasn't a rose fan. Sam laments not protecting her and my heart cracks before it leaps right out of my chest. A hand reaches from the grave. What? In broad daylight? Or not - Sam's dreaming in the Impala. I scream foul play; I was sucker punched by the Palo Alto place card. Don't pretend you didn't jump too; I know you did. Not nice Kripke. Although I should have known, since no one has a headstone in one week. Hot-Blooded by Foreigner plays in my mind because it should play in Dean's speakers (thanks iTunes) instead of this country song. Dean's worried about Sam's nightmares and asks if Sam wants to drive his baby. That's a lot of worry since he's never offered before. I don't blame you, Dean. I'd keep that beauty all to myself too. Sam mentions Stanford and Dean grabs the exposition baton first. It gets a workout tonight. They stayed there a week but got nothing. The best way to find the demon is to find John since they don't believe in coincidence. I don't believe in John, but they still do. Even Sam. Sam grabs the baton to tell us they are going to Blackwater Ridge in Lost Creek, Colorado. Sam: "Why's (Dad) sending us to the middle of nowhere?" Me: "Because he sucks as a person and a father."

At the ranger station in Lost Creek, Sam exposits abandoned mines and hiker's challenge. I pay as much attention as Dean, who's sidetracked by a bear picture. The ranger catches the exposition baton and asks if they are heading to Blackwater Ridge. Sam says environmental studies, Dean, "Recycle, man!", and the ranger, "Bull.' Yeah, I didn't buy the recycle line either. The ranger calls them Haley's friends and Dean agrees, conning a copy of Tommy's permit. He's stoked but Sam's impatient. They know where the coordinates lead and he doesn't know why they are seeing Haley instead of just going. Dean: "I don't know. Maybe we should know what we're walking into before we actually walk into it." Good point, and one we're used to hearing from Sam, not Dean. Sam's not usually "a shoot-first, ask questions later" kind of guy, but Jessica's death changed things. Dean kind of likes that change.

At the Collins' place, Haley answers the door but doesn't immediately fall for the park ranger story. She asks for id. I like this woman; she's got brains. She lets them and notices the Impala. "Nice car." That she is and Haley has good taste and brains. My kind of PiP (person in peril). Dean's impressed too but Sam rolls his eyes. Nice brother moment there. Sam questions why Haley is worried if Tommy isn't due back yet. Dean says maybe he got busy, but Haley and Ben protest. Tommy has both a satellite and cell phone and always checks in. They've been alone since their parents died and the parallelism between Haley and Dean begins. Sam asks for Tommy's video and Dean says they will look for Tommy tomorrow. Haley informs them that she and Ben hired a guide. Haley: "Look. I can't sit around here anymore. I'm going to find Tommy myself." Dean empathizes, "I think I know how you feel." Dramatic music alerts us that Dean and Haley are similar. Thankfully, Sam cuts in to get the pictures forwarded to his e-mail.

At a honky tonk bar, the exposition baton reappears. People disappeared every 23 years since 1936. Plus, Tommy's video shows a shadow move behind him in a fraction of a second. Dean pulls the "I told you so," but I'm distracted by the stickers on Sam's laptop. Aw, did you guys steal it from some poor tween? I tune back in to hear Sam exposit about a kid in 1959 who survived. Let's visit him. The now old man is reticent at first, but catches the baton to tell how he was asleep in front of the fire, when something unlocked the cabin door and took off with his parents. Yeah, not a grizzly. The monster left him with a nasty claw scar. "There is something evil in those woods. It was some sort of a demon." He passes the baton to Dean and the brothers walk away. Spirits and demons go through walls. Strike them as possible candidates. Sam calls it corporeal and Dean older brother snarks, "Excuse me, professor." Sam retorts, "Shut up." I laugh. They guess skin walker or black dog. Whatever it is, "it's corporeal which means we can kill it." At the Impala, Dean uses the sawed-off shot gun to prop up her arsenal. Sam's protests letting Haley go in the woods, but Dean knows nothing will stop her from finding her family. Sam slams the trunk: "So finding Dad's not enough. Now we gotta babysit too." Dean stares at Sam before throwing the weapons duffle at him. I see Sam's point. They have a lot on their plate and civilians make it extra tricky, but Dean's right. Haley won't change her mind so they have to make the best out of it. Side note - they are definitely squatting; that's not a hotel.

The next morning, Roy the guide says Ben should stay home but Haley's seen a horror movie and knows not to split up. Dean and Sam arrive and Haley introduces them as rangers. Haley: "And you're hiking out in biker boots and jeans?" Dean: "Oh sweetheart, I don't do shorts." (Fangirls hoping for brother skin cry.) From what my Colorado friends tell me, Dean has the right idea, especially in rough terrain. Jeans are better than shorts. Obviously, Haley hikes as much as I do. Roy objects to Dean's levity but Dean definitely knows the danger. Unfortunately, Tommy is just finding out. He awakens to the monster snacking on Glee guy. We both turn away. The sound is bad enough.

Dean makes small talk about Roy's hunting. "So tell me, uh, did Bambi or Yogi ever hunt you back?" Roy grabs Dean; everyone thinks he's cranky but he really keeps Dean from walking into a bear trap. On the ground. Covered with moss. Where anyone could walk. How is this safe? No wonder this national park's so dangerous. The scenario has Haley suspicious too...of the Winchesters. She calls them out on the ranger lie, since they don't have provisions or backpacks. In one of my favorite brother moments, Dean and Sam look at each other, Sam head nods, Dean slightly nods back and Sam walks on. It's a blink and you miss it moment, but it's a sure sign that they are a team. They may be rusty with the 2/4 year gap, but they still have entire conversations without speaking. They still have each other's backs if needed, but they also trust each other to handle a situation alone. It's awesome and makes the relationship more believable. Dean decides on partial truth and tells Haley they are brothers looking for their missing dad. He calls out their similar situations. "Besides, it's probably the most honest I've ever been with a woman…ever." How sad! Haley agrees they are good. Dean: "And what do you mean I didn't pack provisions?" He pulls out a giant product placed bag of peanut M & M's. Haley finds this charming. I wonder if Dean's malnourished.

The group gets to John's coordinates and the Winchesters are on high alert from the silence. Sam warns Roy about going off alone, so of course he does. Dismissing a Winchester never ends well. Dean leads the rest of them until Roy finds the demolished campsite. Blood and wreckage abound. Haley shouts Tommy's name but Sam stops her in case something's still out there. Great! It's the first time we've seen light in Supernatural and I'm still spooked. Dean calls Sam over to look at drag marks that vanish - so no skin walker or black dog. Haley is devastated to find Tommy's smashed sat phone and Dean gives her hope. Unfortunately they are interrupted by someone screaming for help. They all run towards the voice while my head shrieks stay together. Sam tells them to get back to camp where all their stuff is stolen. Smart plan, monster! They are cut off and mostly defenseless since the Winchester duffle is gone too. Roy thinks it’s a crazy person; Sam has a different idea. He pulls Dean away to look at John's journal, and proclaims it a wendigo. Dean is skeptical because it is too far west. They share the exposition baton and tell us that wendigos have claws, mimic humans, and can't be killed by guns.

Sam purposely strides back to the camp. "Ok, it's time to go. Things have gotten more complicated." Haley protests and Roy overconfidents. Apparently, wendigos don't like being shot. Does anyone? Dean plays peacemaker for Roy and a delightfully intense Sam, who doesn't have time for Roy's machismo. Dean pulls him away from Roy before he says wendigo. Haley won't leaving without Tommy so Dean declares they need to protect themselves in the dark, the wendigo natural hunting time. Dean takes the baton to explain that Anasazi symbols keep the wendigos out. I never understood why one thing keeps one supernatural creature out while it has to be different for other things. Makes no sense. Symbols for wendigos, dead man's blood for vampires, silver for werewolves, Latin for demons. Who makes these rules? Roy snickers at the drawings too. Dean: "Nobody likes a skeptic, Roy." (snickers - great delivery) This line always makes me laugh. In fact, I've used it myself a few times.

Dean goes over to Sam. "You want to tell me what's going on in that freaky head of yours?" Dean does sometimes prompt an emo talk. Just rarely thankfully. Sam says, "Dean," but Dean cuts him off, "No you're not fine. You're like a powder keg, man. It's not like you. I'm supposed to be the belligerent one, remember." First, I'm on to you Dean. You scoff at corporeal but use belligerent? Second, I love how you know Sam wants to blow off the conversation but refuse to let him. Classic older sibling move. Sam knows John isn't there because he didn't leave them a message. Dean agrees, saying John was probably never there, because he's a jerk who won't help his kid deal with the same grief he had to deal with 22 years earlier (my words not Dean's). You suck out loud, John. Sam: "Then let's get these people back to town and let's hit the road. Go find Dad. I mean, why are we still even here?" Dean moves across from Sam and taps John's journal. "This is dad's single most valuable possession. Everything he knows about every evil thing is in here and he's passed it on to us. I think he wants us to pick up where he left off. You know, saving people, hunting things - the family business." The show's slogan, what it's all about. However, shouldn't the journal be a whole lot thicker if it's the culmination of everything he's learned in 22 years. Either that or John hasn't learned much. Sam channels my skepticism, "That makes no sense. Why doesn't he just call us? Why doesn't he tell us what he wants, tell us where he is?" Sam, find a good answer and I might cut John some slack. Dean: "I don't know, but the way I see it, Dad's given us a job to do and I intend to do it." Sam says no. His priority is finding Jess' killer. Dean promises they will but it might take a long time. "And all that anger, you can't keep it burning over the long haul. It's going to kill you. You gotta have patience man." Foreshadowing? Sam asks how. Dean: "I mean I figure our family is so screwed to hell, maybe we can help some others. Makes things a little bit more bearable. And I'll tell you what else helps - killing as many evil sons of b*** as I possibly can." I love this scene. It has purpose, shows them being brothers, and isn't too overly emoangsty. This scene is one reason why Wendigo is in the win column for me.

Sam starts to smile but a voice calls out for help. Dean: "It's trying to draw us out. Just stay cool, stay put." Roy: "Inside the magic circle?" BWAH!!! I love Roy snark. Roy realizes it's not a grizzly and Haley promises Ben he will be okay. Roy shoots into the woods and runs after it. Dean yells for the Collins to stay put and the brothers follow Roy, who unfortunately gets his neck snapped by the wendigo. Sorry to see you go, Roy. You make me laugh. The others make it through morning and we pan in on a depressed Sam. I feel for him; he's had a rough month. At camp, Haley tries to process the supernatural, asking how Dean knows about this stuff. "It kind of runs in the family." Sam rejoins them. He looks more balanced like he made a decision. "So, we've got a half a chance in the daylight. And I for one, want to kill this evil son of a b***" Dean: "Well, hell, you know I'm in." Sam and Dean toss the exposition baton, explaining that wendigos were humans who became cannibals and morphed into creatures. Haley asks how Tommy can still be alive. Dean: "You're not going to like it." Thanks for the warning. I'm ready to be grossed out. Dean says Tommy's being stored as food for the winter. I wonder why he ate Glee guy so soon then. They have to look for somewhere dark, hidden, and safe. Haley wonders how to kill it and Dean helpfully informs us, "We've got to torch the sucker." If it was human, it has a heart and brain. Still don't know why a gun won't work, but okay? Moving on.

They traipse in a woods clearly marked by bloody claw scratches. It's connect the dots; so easy to follow it screams trap. Blood drips on Haley and who should be in the tree but Roy. Fabulous. He falls on Haley and the wendigo attacks. Sam helps Haley up, Dean confirms Roy's dead and they RUN! As in all horror movies, someone (Ben) falls, leaving a gap between Sam/Ben and Dean/Haley. That's always bad. The wendigo's plan works and he takes Dean and Haley. Sam and Ben pick up the exposition baton Dean dropped, along with the busted Molotov cocktail needed to kill the thing. Sam explains Roy's dead and not food because he ticked it off. Ben finds a trail of peanut M & M's, proving it was good they brought him along. Sam: "It's better than bread crumbs." The trail leads to an abandoned mine with "extremely toxic materials." Fabulous! If the wendigo doesn't get them, they can eventually die of cancer. They hear the wendigo as they enter but stay silent until it passes. And then fall down into a tunnel filled with skeletons. If the wendigo didn't hear that, I'm not impressed by his superior hunting skills. It does however lead to where Dean and Haley are being stored.

They are strung up like butcher hams but alive. Sam cuts Dean down and helps him sit. He pretends he's okay but doesn't fool anyone. Dean stays at the wall as the others find Tommy. Tommy gasps when Haley leans in, causing us both to jump, but joy prevails as the family reunites. Dean finds equipment against the wall, including 2 flare guns. Sam: "Those will work." They look for a way out hear a growl. Dean: "Looks like something's home for supper." Haley, supporting Tommy, reminds us they can’t outrun it. Dean visibly thinks then says to Sam, "You thinkin' what I'm thinkin'." Yep, he is. I'm thinkin' I love that they know each other so well. Dean tells the Collins family to follow Sam. Haley asks what he's going to do, and Dean winks at her before yelling "Chow time" at the wendigo. "Yeah, that's right. Bring it on baby. I taste good!" Bwah! Love, love it. Kamikaze!Dean was a favorite in season 1.

Sam scouts the place and they hurry in the opposite direction. Dean calls out to the wendigo, "Hey, you want some white meat, b***. I'm right here." Sadly, it doesn't fall for the bait, and Sam goes hero, telling Haley to get her brothers out. Ben pulls a reluctant Haley forward, while the wendigo appears right next to Sam. He fires the flare gun but it goes wide and they all run, wendigo right behind them. It drives them to a dead end and Sam steps in front of them all. Right when the wendigo shows, Dean yells "Sam" and shoots the wendigo in the chest. It goes up in smoke. Dean: "Not bad huh?" They all smile.

Back at the ranger station, Ben and Sam talk about a mega bear attacking them. Haley attempts to thank Dean and he smirks at her. Haley: "Must you cheapen the moment." Dean says yes, and before Haley and Ben get into the ambulance with Tommy, she kisses Dean on the cheek and says, "I hope you find your father." Dean is momentarily startled, which is a relief. Dean and Sam sit on Metallicar as the ambulance pulls away. "Man, I hate camping." Sam and I heartily agree. I convinced my Girl Scout troop to camp at the Holiday Inn. Pool, indoor bathrooms - in every way superior. Dean assures Sam they will find John (again with the promises Winchesters) and Sam knows they will. Sam: "But in the meantime, I'm driving." Ha! I love it! First off, he'd be insane not to want to drive that awesome piece of American steel. Second, I think Sam insists partly because he knows Dean is hurt. No way he makes it on an extended drive. By insisting on driving, Sam allows Dean to rest without appearing weak. Sam knows Dean and how to push his buttons just as well as Dean knows Sam. Brothers together against the world! Dean flips the keys to Sam and they drive off. Although by morning, it's Dean in the driver's seat again. And the credits roll.

This episode might not have the tight writing of the pilot and it doesn't get me emotionally like Dead in the Water, the next episode. It has far too much exposition and sometimes feels like I'm taking Monsters 101 when I watch it. Plus, some people find the wendigo cheesy. Still, it has the awesome campfire scene where we get the first really big brother moment and fantastic one-liners. Also I love Haley Collins as a PiP. She's smart, determined, and brave in the face of an unknown world. I wish all SPN PiP's were like her. In the end, this episode will never make my top 25 list. It may not make my top 50 but it is clearly in the win column for me - baton twirling or not.

Screencaps by Screencap Paradise, Supernatural Caps, and Supernatural Fans Online
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