So that was different but I enjoyed it. Although it isn't something I'd want to see very often, one episode out of 150 was OK. I missed having more Sam and Dean and couldn't really work up much liking for the three main characters but I liked the story and it was interesting to look at. It took me a couple of minutes to get used to the shaky camera. I could see how you could get motion sickness watching. I haven't seen Chronicle or the Blair Witch Project which used a similar filming style. I also managed to get through school without having to read Lord of the Flies for which I'm actually pretty grateful. I'm sure I'm missing a layer of context but there was still plenty to see. The episode was written by Robbie Thompson who has done three other episodes for SPN. Time After Time, Slash Fiction, and The Girl With the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo which I've liked. Thomas J. Wright directed this one. He's only done one other for SPN, Repo Man, but he's been directing since the mid-80s. He did a good job with an episode that looks to have been very complicated to film. Kudos to the editors, too.
Although the episode didn't have much Sam and Dean in it, parts of the story seemed to be about them anyway. I liked how the story was told from the POV of someone becoming a monster and showed what kind of chaos it brings. It seems like this season we're getting an outsider's view of the Winchesters and hunters in general, some of it from the monster's POV. These cocky FBI agents roll into town in their classic car (government issue, I'm sure). They have confidence in spades and they act like they belong there. You might not question it if they are in FBI mode but if you see them any other time, it's pretty easy to say that you might have your doubts like Kate does. It's a case where if you don't expect to see something, you don't see it. They also make mistakes and miss clues. They eventually catch up though.
A couple of themes seemed to run through the episode that are relevant to the boys' story. I think the line on the computer screen at the beginning about how it should have never ended this way has been the case for a lot of life for Sam and Dean. The idea of becoming a monster without a choice and why that should make a difference in being allowed to live is also something the show has visited over and over. Can you keep the instinctive monster behavior in check or is it always going to get you in the end? What keeps it in check and what in a being's basic nature carries through when a metamorphosis occurs. Can you fight an addiction and win? Choices have been addressed a couple of times so far this season. Like Benny said, choices, there are so many choices. Sam's choice to leave hunting and Dean missing the purity of a really narrow range of choices in Purgatory. Dean didn't choose Purgatory either. He did make choices about getting out. Did he have to choose between people? This is one of the few times they've let a monster go and that it was Dean's decision makes it more significant. What, if anything, changed for him?
Then there was the whole bit about the main characters in the story being in a pretty classic love triangle. How does the addition of a third person impact the relationship of the original two? We've seen that explored on the show every season. It doesn't have to be a romantic relationship. Adding new people/angels/demons/creatures to any relationship changes it.
Along with all of that to think about, there was the very different, often chaotic style of the filming. I like to look for unusual camera angles when I look at caps. I figured for this episode, I'd have to look long and hard for anything that was shot from a straightforward view. There were a couple of shots that stood out anyhow. The jerky nature of the filming upped the feeling of being out of control which went with the story pretty well.
The episode did some really interesting things with color, particularly red, green, and blue. They stuck with red and gray clothing for the most part along with green showing up as a background or an accent. A little bit of blue is there on a shirt or a pile of folders. The majority of the blue comes from blue screens on computers and iPods. It seems important that most of the scenes seem to have two of the colors present but not all three. In order for electronic devices like a computer screen or a TV to produce a full color image, red, green and blue all have to be added together to make the rest of the colors. This is usually called RGB color for the first letter of each of the primary additive colors. These colors are different than the ones that you'd mix for print or paint, red, yellow and blue. For electronic devices, the absence of these colors leaves you with black and white and shades of gray. The time that the colors are all there noticeably is when the Prof trashes his office and Sam and Dean come in and kill him. The colors are all there close to being together but they aren't being projected onto each other so they don't combine for other colors. You see multiple images projected overlapping. I don't know if this focus on three colors is a reflection on Sam and Dean's relationship. It must reflect Brian, Michael and Kate some.
Here are some of the shots out of all the crazy ones that I liked.
Brian on the deck of a sinking ship or a nosediving plane in gray and red. It's the burgundy of the victims in the first couple of episodes.
Everything is about to go upside down for these guys.
Everything is always upside down for these guys.
I like how Sam and Dean are surrounded by all that darkness between a menu board listing choice and their car.
The one below has a billboard in the background that looks like film footage on a screen. (I swear, with this show the slash writes itself, between positioning and Brokeback Mountain quotes.) All three colors are in this shot. It doesn't last long and Scott crashes through.
Here Michael is squeezing Brian out of the picture but he's still there and both of them are looking at Kate.
Brian and Kate are talking but it's about Michael and he's a presence in the background. I have to wonder how coincidental the names Brian and Michael are considering friends Michael Novotny and Brian Kinney from QAF US although the roles seem to be flipped a bit. Michael has an unrequited crush on Brian and a kid named Justin gets Brian's attention. Kate has Justin's blonde hair. Just pondering. It doesn't really matter where we've run into this story before. It doesn't usually end well. In a lot of classics, at least one ends up dead and then the death is avenged leaving the second and sometimes the third dead also. It's interesting to have the girl doing the avenging. I wonder if Dean has some sympathy for Kate because he understands a need for vengance. He's certainly delivered it. Anyhow...back to filming. I like the green lens flare below.
There were a lot of mirrors used to show the filmer as well as the camera's object. I like the one below because the faces are distorted like a funhouse mirror and there is a coffee cup on the shelf that looks almost the same. There's an example of the gray and red. There's red mixed in the gray shirt too.
This one has a mirror to see what's going on behind Brian as well as the monitor showing what's being recorded behind him on the computer camera. The US map has the state shapes done with the words of movie titles that take place in each state. The photos are one of Kate and one of Brian with Kate, leaving Michael out. The red sign with the broken glass says fragile. Lots of indications that things aren't really alright with Brian.
Lots of red and gray. This is one of my favorite shots. Brian is so far outside this relatioship. He's just a voyeur.
The brick on the building and the roof even go along with the red and gray but there's green behind Kate.
Sam with salad and Dean with two burgers. The mirror shows Michael spying on the guys.
We get to see what Michael sees as he transforms.
His life is pretty much shattered like his image. Green bathroom walls.
Later we get the same effect for Kate. Gray top.
The name of the episode, Bitten, reflects the results of a werewolf attack leaving things torn and shredded in a physical sense as well as a circumstantial sense in the life of the bitten person who survived and became a werewolf. The cameras don't focus on faces or whole bodies of the characters like we're used to seeing. Some of the images are just parts of bodies: a foot, half a face, an upper torso with no head like a dismembered body. Above, there were caps with a broken glass poster and several shattered mirrors. Here are a few more with jagged edges like teeth or the idea of being torn.
The person in the picture behind Michael looks clawed. Green shirt.
This image is carved up by the tree trunk. There are flowers here and only a couple of other places in the episode. They don't really matter but they're fun to spot at this point.
There are flowers on dinner plates. On the wall by the shelves, there is a mask with mangled looking features. The rug has jagged designs. Michael has a blue shirt on and the green chair with flowers that's usually at the table isn't in the picture but red paper is.
The other flowers are on Kate's shirt. Sorry, sweetie.
There are a couple of references to predators, particularly large cats. The predators are the champions in this one. More red, gray and green.
Kate's tiger shirt.
Whatever that is wielding a sword.
Dean and his prey, burgers. The poster says Smugglers. That US poster really puts the CAS in Casino. There's a whole meta just waiting to happen in that shot. The orange poster behind Sam is an album poster for a Canadian instrumental band called the Ramblin' Ambassadors. The car is a Dodge Super Bee and the album is appropriately called Ramble On, one of Dean's favorite Led Zeppelin songs.
Here are a couple of other shots of reds and grays, some with greens.
The Prof has an interesting book collection for an English Lit teacher. The most noticeable are The Vicar of Christ by Walter F. Murray and Saving Faith by David Baldacci. Faith is actually a person in the novel.
He's also got:
The Revolution in Sales and Marketing by Allan Magrath
Don't Stand Too Close To a Naked Man by comedian Tim Allen
The Memory Cure by Majid Fotuhi
Malice Aforethought by Francis Iles
I'm Only One Man by Regis Philbin
The titles are awesome and strangely appropriate. (Like Dean, I use the word awesome a lot. I always have to double-check comments to reduce the number of awesomes, greats, and cools.)
Kate, temporarily as a woman in white, with the flowered green chair back in the picture.
I'm pretty sure his t-shirt says something about Little Big Horn. Not a happy reference.
Washtenaw County is just outside the Detroit area in Michigan. One of it's bigger cities is Ann Arbor, home of the University of Michigan. I went there for grad school in 1994. Eastern Michigan University is in neighboring Ypsilanti and there are a couple of smaller community colleges in the area. College kids and student housing are really common. Maybe it was because of the college setting and the way Brian and Michael talked about the other people in the coffee shop but it reminded me a bit of The Social Network at the beginning.
Does Sam have John's journal there? Below, I like how the gash on Brian works into the design on his shirt. Green towel and chair.
All the colors are here.
Let's give green a turn.
All three colors are here.
Green on the toothbrush. The green that has been appearing is a shade like the institutional green in the police station in 8.03. I wonder who is pictured on Brian's shirt. He wanted to be a superhero. There was even a discussion in the coffee shop about the film being about a hero and his sidekick. From what I gather, I guess Piggy was the sidekick in Lord of the Flies.
It's creepy that Brian has a camera in the bathroom. It looks like it's focused on the shower.
There's a continuity art glitch on the bathroom wall which made me wonder if the scenes shot inside the bathroom were shot on set rather than at the house. There's a dog statue on the bathroom shelf.
Sam and Dean get their share of green too. I like how they're surrounded by the police tape. They've been crossing the line since they were born, pretty much.
Here they are surrounded by leaves again.
The next cap has really similar red and green around the boys as the window at the tattoo parlor in 8.02.
More than anyone else, Sam and Dean end up in shots with all three colors. Usually they both have to be in the shot to make it work. I like how they're framed by the porch.
Then all of a sudden the camera in the Prof's office glitches and all three of the colors are being projected but they don't line up.
Enter Sam and Dean.
Bad ass Sam with his knife in the back of his belt. The colors do start to work together again.
Sam still gets choked. Dean delivers while standing in a pile of glass shards.
From here it's all downhill for the three amigos. Before Michael goes out and murders Scott, he strokes Kate's face. This is pretty similar to Sam saying goodbye to Riot in colorless shadow.
Sam and Dean watch the unfolding tragedy surrounded by a bloody mess like their lives have been for years. It's a puzzle like the stickers on the laptop.
There's a DJ Sam poster on the wall. A bunch of these posters were on a construction site wall in Exile on Main Street just before Sam reappears in Dean's life.
I think Brian's shirt says it all, both for the lives of all these characters and the crazy filming. Maybe it had something to do with Andy Gallagher's bong.
At the very end, Sam takes Brian's laptop with the accurate Post Life sticker on it.
I really liked the reactions on the faces of Sam and Dean.
Before they leave, Dean stops to look at a picture of Kate. She's surrounded by red, wearing flowers next to a photo captioned "The Pack and Unpersons".
I liked the picture at the end of Kate heading of into the sunset. The light is really different here than in any of the rest of the episode. It's focus is the light, not the color, although the truck that drops her off is red.
The tracks carry her and your eyes away off into the distance. The skinwalker headed off down a lonely road when the boys let him go also in All Dogs Go To Heaven.
I wonder if the ending will be a boost for Sam and Dean. Sam was pleasantly surprised that Dean let her go. I'm hopeful for these guys. Maybe this ended how it should have after all.
All caps from homeofthenutty