The episode was directed by Jeannot Szwarc in his third time out with SPN. He also directed Mannequin 3 and Adventures in Babysitting. He's been directing for many years for both movies (Somewhere in Time and Jaws 2) and television. He does an excellent job setting up a scary scene. The episode was written by Jenny Klein, her sixth SPN episode and her third by herself. Kudos for the incredibly scary teaser. It felt a lot like S1 scary. I'm not a huge Ghostfacers fan but she wrote them pretty well. My only other comment about the episode is best illustrated by the cap below. Normally I like my stories with a little more subtlety but in this case, maybe the obvious parallels are necessary. They are for Dean and probably for the audience too.
Maybe with the way fandom has been reacting to Sam and Dean this season, we needed an episode that very specifically showcased what the show and its writers think the rift between Sam and Dean is all about. On the surface, it works pretty well. It encompasses the aspects of lying and the inability to let go. The comparison breaks down for me because it doesn't cover the non-con possession of an already overly used and abused vessel in the person of Sam. It also compares the friendship of Harry and Ed, which we know only on the surface, with the tangled, complicated relationship between Sam and Dean that the audience is very familiar with on a pretty intimate level. That being said, I still enjoyed the episode and was completely freaked out by the first bit. It becomes extra-scary with the later realization that there wasn't anything supernatural (impossible) about what happened. In S7, you would have been able to look at the colors and flowers in the room and the pink sweater and know that this lass is not long for this world. That seems to come and go this season but it's fun to track anyhow.
I would really like to see SPN's wallpaper warehouse. It would probably be blinding though.
It turns out the Ghostfacers are in town and are calling themselves supernaturalists. In light of that, it makes Harry's safari vest so much more appropriate. As much as I'm ambivalent about the Ghostfacers, I did have a laugh at the suitably cheesy book title and web picture.
The boys find Harry and Ed at the local diner. I liked the way the mirror captured both Sam and Dean on their way in.
Harry and Ed are eating next to a set of flowered curtains. The diner is Johnny's Apple Country Diner, maybe named after Johnny Mac (John MacCarthy), one of the two first assistant directors on SPN. It makes sense that it would refer to Apple Country because they are in Washington state, a huge apple producing region. The seating at the diner reinforces the parallel between Sam and Harry as well as Ed and Dean. The Ghostfacers' clothing also echoes the way we've seen Sam and Dean dress.
I don't know if it was the way the shot was filmed or just reality but Sam and Dean look so much bigger than the Ghostfacers. I always think Travis, the actor that plays Harry, looks like he's about 16 even though he's five years older than Jared. It adds a certain innocence or naivete to Harry's character.
Later, we come back to the diner and see that it's red, green and yellow. Uh oh.
We get a shot of the manager with the flowered curtains.
There is a lot more red in the diner than I originally realized. I didn't see the twist with Deputy Norwood coming. The sheriff's on a hunting trip...
Most of the rest of these caps are from the motel room at Paul's Old Mill Inn. The Paul in this case is Paul Bunyan, the mythical lumberjack, who travels with his blue ox, Babe. Paul and his ox are supposed to be enormous and stories about them include Paul's creation of the Grand Canyon by dragging his axe. The stories probably started with the French Canadians and were first written down in about 1906 in Michigan. They were later used in an advertising campaign in California and Babe was given his name at that point. Logging is a big industry in Washington state so it's logical he'd end up there as well.
Here's Babe as well as the motel room's flowered wallpaper. I'd have to ask ash48 if the floor layout is the one that gets frequently used on SPN.
I like seeing that someone in the room ate off of real plates and then did the dishes.
The room also has a mural with mountains and forests appropriate for Washington.
My favorite part of the room is the carved wood divider with Paul and Babe the ox. I like how all three of these guys have their shirt sleeves rolled up.
Here's a better look at Babe (in this case, I mean the ox).
The hallway is a claustrophobic nightmare full of saws.
There's a saw hanging in the room too. Sam's shirt coordinates with the bedspreads. I wouldn't want to have the boys on my case for anything. I'm way smaller than Ed and he looks dwarfed.
A bit of art in Harry's room.
I like the angle of this shot.
This one too.
The most useful piece of dialog was Sam and Harry talking about forgiveness.
SAM I know what you mean. Look, there are things you can forgive, and there are things you can't.
HARRY So, which one is this?
SAM That's something you got to figure out for yourself.
I'm wondering if Sam has it figured out. Even if you can find a way to forgive something like what Sam or Harry are dealing with, it doesn't mean that what you're forgiving has gone away or that you will forget that it happened. The relationship is irrevocably changed. It doesn't mean you can't live with it but the change has to be acknowledged and dealt with.
Dean straight-up killed the murderer in a pretty cold-blooded fashion but still looks pretty bothered by the fact that Harry ended up killing someone.
For all their threats earlier, the boys look after the Ghostfacers and try to comfort them when they can.
I like the shifting camera focus in this scene.
I'm glad that Ed didn't cry that single tear. I'd have probably thrown something. There's really only so much obvious parallel I can handle.
We end with Sam and Dean contemplating the empty chair. That implies some sort of settled life at the end of the road with a porch and a chair and I'm finding it harder and harder to think that will ever happen.
All caps from homeofthenutty