|Don't forget to check the "supernatural rewatch" tag to see all the posts in this series!|
Scarecrow: On the one hand, the actual plot of Scarecrow sounds pretty lame on paper. But somehow this episode really works, and it delves into a lot of great aspects of the world. Plus it has a surprise visit from William B. Davis, which is always nice.
By the end of the episode we're back to a girl being in mortal danger and having to get saved by the brothers never to be seen again, but hey, we had a good break there, right?
The things this episode does best actually don't have to do with the main plot of the townspeople and the bad demon of the week. It's about Sam and Dean, and their relationship with their father. John Winchester's phone call at the beginning highlights the differences between Sam and Dean perfectly, and while I was trying to give him the benefit of the doubt that was the start of my intense dislike for John. Sam might be a little unrealistic with his wants sometimes, and yes sometimes you just have to listen to authority and they know what's best. But Sam very rarely, if ever, asks for anything out of line. He just wants to be informed, and given at least the semblance of a choice. And he wants revenge on a demon that killed his girlfriend and mother, who can blame him?
With this episode we also get the appearance of Meg, who is so obviously bad news from the moment you meet her that I'm hoping the creators weren't even bothering to try to pretend she was just a normal girl. Because if they thought the reveal at the end was a reveal, they're kind of naive.
But you can't sell the demon of the week short either. He's pretty terrifying, and I was especially impressed when it didn't go exactly as I expected either. I think the story was really built on the acting, and everybody in this episode did a good job. Stories about a small town that secretly sacrifices people for their own prosperity aren't really uncommon, but this one was a very well done version.
Faith: I absolutely loved this episode. I'm not even sure I can explain why, but it was amazing, even if it did have our token chick of the week. I forgive her because it was Julie Benz. And also because she never actually asked for the brother's to help her, she was beyond their help, really.
Dean goes through a lot in this episode, and while I partially was disappointing that the "Dean is going to die and that is traumatizing" emotional arc for Sam consisted of the first what, fifteen minutes of the episode? At the same time, the emotions that Dean was forced to deal with were much more interesting anyway. He can't figure out why he's still alive, and doesn't want to deal with the fact that he was chosen to live, or what the cost of that miracle was once he discovers it.
Then he also has to decide if it's okay to save the girl or not, and it's one of the first times we've seen him so conflicted, even if most of it wasn't expressed completely in the episode. You could tell that the emotion and the feeling was there. Hats off to Jensen Ackles.
There's a lot of seriously good storytelling and character building going on in this episode, not to mention the layering of the mythology of their world. Now that we know that death can be controlled, even at great price, who or what will go after that next? How long will it take before the brothers start to wonder if that's a power worth having if one of them is hurt? How will Papa Winchester react if he hears about it (since he doesn't really react to Sam's phone call about Dean at all, that also begs the question, where was he and what was going on?)
This episode is so very much like the best of the classic X-Files episodes, and I mean that as a high compliment.