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Rewatch S5: Swap Meat (5x12)

 Ok, so I actually had time on my birthday to watch this episode...but I didn't. I think this is my least favorite Supernatural episode ever, and I did not want to watch it on my birthday...so I saved it until my older sister's birthday, which just so happens to be the day after mine. Yay!

So, let's begin...

Is it wrong that as soon as Sam declares he's 26, I want to sleep with him....even more so than usual? I feel like the cougar-lady that's hitting on him, even though I'm only two years older than Sam (one year older than Jared).

The problem with this episode is that the opener is actually pretty strong. Sam is really hilarious...actually, I should say: Jared is really hilarious. This is where the episode sets itself up to fail: Jared is so funny, that for the rest of the episode you are left thinking how much funnier it would all be if Jared was playing the part of Gary!Sam and the kid playing Gary was playing the part of Sam!Gary. It just would have been better. I don't know if that's a directing decision or a writing decision, but it's a decision that really should have been made by someone.

"You are a stunning looking man"
"I know, right!"

-Jared really does this so well. it's just hilarious.

Ok, the thing is though, if I were the cougar lady and I was talking to a 26 year-old dude that sounded like this...well, I would stop hitting on him and start looking around for his primary caregiver, because he is obviously mentally-challenged in some way.

They actually made a mini version of Sam's green panel jacket!! I WANT IT! I bet I'm small enough to squeeze into that kids clothes!! DUDE, where do these wardrobe pieces go when they don't need them anymore? Ugh...WANT.

We meet a former babysitter! Somehow, I don't think is the one who liked dynasty and bedtime.

When she explains to her kid that one time John was gone for 2 weeks, Sam gets this look on his face...and it's so sad...like, these aren't happy memories that they're reminiscing about. "Remember that time your dad took off for so long you started to wonder if maybe he wasn't going to come back?"

Salad shake! Poor Sam...it's hard to eat healthy on the road. I love how used to it Dean is...even though he is being all annoyed.

"Oh, you shake it up, baby"

"Dude, don't tell me you still have the hots for our babysitter"
"What? No! Weird....I'm just saying that she's doing good. The husband, the kid..[...]...do you ever think that you'd want something like that? Wife, rugrats, the whole nine?"
"No, not really my thing anymore."
"Yeah"

-Ah, another hint to Dean's secret desires. It makes sense...he's 30...people start involuntarily thinking about procreation and settling down around 30. It doesn't mean it's the RIGHT decision for Dean (so those of you who think Dean shouldn't be domestic at all, don't argue with me)...but if there's a forbidden fruit in Dean's life, that's it.

Ok, so again...not recognizing your own reflection is a sign of insanity or heavy narcotics - it is not a sign of being drunk. Also, it kind of annoys me that we're supposed to believe that everyone sees a kid, when everyone is craning their necks to look up at Jared. I really didn't want this to be negative...but it's just...they could have even kept the script with all the holes in it, and this episode would have been better if they just shot more scenes with the body OTHER people are seeing rather than the body of the SOUL. Sigh.

That being said, IT'S A LITTLE VERSION OF THE GREY STRIPED SHIRT FROM HEART!! I WANT THESE LITTLE SAM CLOTHES!

No Gary, not the phones!!! How will Sam and Dean find out about all their half-brothers?!?!

So, yeah, if Dean didn't realize that Sam wasn't Sam before (and he totally should have), then he REALLY should have clued in when Gary!Sam backed the Impala into the trash bin.

"I think I got asthma, call me back."
-Ok, this comes to one of the more existential problems I had with this episode. I wanted there to be something different about being inside Sam's body. Think about it...in your life, you will only ever be able to inhabit the one body...you ARE that body. You are NEVER able to know what other body's feel like. It's like your parents...you don't start thinking your parents are weird until you are a teenager, because it's usually when you are a teenager that you start noticing OTHER people's parents are not like yours. We can never know whether our own bodies are weird, because we can never experience other people's bodies.

My mum has this story that she likes to tell about one of her daughters - though she can't remember which one anymore. (She thinks it's me, and I think it must be a sister). But apparently one of us came up to her one day and said "You know that shooting pain, that you sometimes get in your back?" and my Mum was like "what?" ...and apparently we had normalized it. We had assumed that EVERYONE got a shooting pain in their back, because we always had.

And that's the thing...I wanted there to be something different about being Sam, that Sam didn't know wasn't normal...whether it was heightened anger, or a heightened 6th sense...or just...something! I wanted Sam to notice it was missing in Gary's body, and I wanted Gary to notice it was there in Sam's body. Basically, I wanted a physical manifestation of the demon blood fed to Sam as a child.  I realize that internal things like that are harder to get across in a mainly visual media...but yeah...if I had been writing the episode, that's what I would have put in (among other more obvious changes)

Ok, now that I've said that...the mirror scene is really well done. Good job, dudes.

I also LOVE the way Jared delivers the line "I'm coming!" like a teenager. Man, I never think Jared gets enough credit, because everyone is always going on about wunderkind Jensen...but Jared is so awesome at comedy (which is surprising, given that he's said that he doesn't like doing it).

I think the wheat gluten allergy was just an excuse for them to have Jared bend double so that little girl didn't have to look straight up to have a conversation with him.

Then at the school, they film the conversation between he and Gary's friends, with Sam standing down a few steps from them - again, I'm sure just to make the eye level less obvious - same with the conversation outside - had with a lot of distance between them (they pulled a similar trick in the Lucifer-Michael showdown in Swan Song with shorter Jake Abel.)

Gary is not very good at impersonating someone...I mean, he MET Dean and Sam when Sam was eating a salad. You think he would have realized that Sam's a salad kind of guy, and that ordering a bacon double cheeseburger with a fried egg on it would be suspicious. (Also, how on earth is Dean still alive and not 400 pounds?)

"I got a gun. I'm getting drunk and I look like this!"
-A line that would have been so much more hilarious if Jared's face was the one delivering it.

"You're a good guy, Dean"
'You are drunk"

-Awww...Dean even causes 17 year old straight dudes to fall a little in love with him.

Dean only clues in that Sam isn't Sam when he sees him leave with the cougar? Really? 

And now we get Sam's body being raped...well, is it rape if the dude currently in possession of the body gives consent, but Sam doesn't? Is it rape if Sam's soul isn't in the body? These are all interesting consent issues. We'll touch on them again later.

I do like how Sam actually sort of just feels bad for the kids...like, "these poor idiots are accidentally being evil"

I was fine with the idea of there being a bounty on Dean's head...well, I would have been more fine with it if it was a thread that was ever picked up again! Instead, because it's never touched on again...and really, to what end did the demons want him?...it ends up being a flimsy plot-device.

"You are making a terrible mistake. We're talking about a demon deal, killing somebody. You are crossing a line you won't come back from, believe me!"
-I like the way this speech is filmed, with the close-up of Norah realizing that Sam's right.

Dean stepping forward from the shadows and punching Gary is also shot really nicely...it's a very cool shot.

Ok, and we're back to consent issues: Can someone illegally possessing Sam's body give consent for it to be used by Lucifer? Does that fly with heavenly law? It all comes back to rape (for which I believe possession is used as a metaphor)...if the body consents to something the rightful "mind" that belongs to that body does not consent for...is it truly consent? If you rape a dude, and he gets off...it's still rape...even though his body enjoyed it - he was still violated. That being said...if he's not PRESENT in his body...well, in our reality, that's either like raping a brain-dead coma patient  or it's necrophilia....both of which are illegal.

Again, a SIMPLE thing that could have made this episode better: Have GARY'S voice on the frickin' voice mail messages!

"All that apple pie family crap, that's stressful, trust me. We didn't miss a damn thing."
"Or we don't know what we're missing."

-So, some people could look at this and think "Ok, are you mad at your dad for the way you grew up or aren't you! Make up your minds!!" but I actually think it's realistic that they go back and forth on it. The truth is that Dean's right, they DON'T know what they're missing...but not in the way that they don't know how good normal people have it, no - they don't know what they are missing, because they just don't KNOW. In the end, you can only life ONE life. You don't know what you are missing because you moved to town A instead of town B, because you cannot undo what has been done and see the alternative. 

I think this is a lot about what the beginning of S6 is about...and forgive me for jumping so far ahead. But the truth is, that Dean DIDN'T KNOW whether or not he would enjoy a normal life. And Sam didn't know if Dean would be happy in a normal life either...they both ASSUMED it was what Dean wanted, because it's something Dean was curious about and never had, and WANTED TO TRY (at least on some level of his psyche). I think the beginning part of S6, is Dean TRYING it...and finding that although he liked aspects of it, he also missed aspects of Hunting....whether it's an either/or situation remains to be seen...but yeah, the truth of the matter is, that you can't KNOW what you are missing.

For instance, I desperately want a new job, because I hate mine. I have a particular career that I'm currently looking into...I think I'll like it, but I could be wrong. I could start this new career and end up hating it worse than the one I have now! This is a possibility...but I don't know right now one way or the other. 

So, yeah, my point is, that sometimes I hate my job, and sometimes I see the benefit of it over other jobs...it's sort of a "better the devil you know" scenario sometimes. I think Sam's reached a point where he's made peace with the Hunting life. Having normal ripped away from him hurt too much, and he's just decided that as messed up as he is, he should just stick with what he was raised to do. Dean's never had a chance to try out normal - he's still curious about it...so, he's tends to make more statements about how sucky being raised a hunter was...and Sam is going to agree with him there, because Sam remembers how miserable he was as a kid, even if he's less miserable about the same lifestyle now.

Anyway, I'll stop ranting and go to bed...


Thankfully it only gets better from here!

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Comments

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
trystan830
Oct. 7th, 2010 01:44 pm (UTC)
nothing wrong with your ranting.... it sounds kinda meta-ish, like Dean and Sam (still) don't know what they want.. y'know?

anyway, i enjoyed your review, like always!
hells_half_acre
Oct. 7th, 2010 04:27 pm (UTC)
Thanks!

And yes, that was the point of my rant: Nobody really ever knows what they want - we shouldn't expect Sam and Dean to. :)
trystan830
Oct. 7th, 2010 04:30 pm (UTC)
welcome.

and yep, exactly!
claudiapriscus
Oct. 7th, 2010 02:59 pm (UTC)
This episode was not one of my least favorite...because it was so easily forgettable! This is how I define hating an episode: I'll be inescapably reminded of it during the course of the season, perhaps over and over again, and each time it will bring up so many unpleasant feelings towards the show that my enjoyment of even the best episode is lessened somewhat.

Thankfully, nothing in this episode is anything I will ever recall (hopefully).

Though it did get really really absurd with the lack of consequences. I will say that. Both in the small things you point out...and the dead body they left on the floor!
hells_half_acre
Oct. 7th, 2010 04:31 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I didn't bother writing about the lack of consequence, because I figured the review was complainy enough without me driving a truck through the plot-holes :P

I think this episode is my least favorite because I can't watch it without seeing the myriad of ways they could have easily made it better (despite the poor script). It's frustrating.
mymuseandi
Oct. 7th, 2010 03:52 pm (UTC)
I feel like the cougar-lady that's hitting on him, even though I'm only two years older than Sam (one year older than Jared).

LOL I feel like that too, when watching that particular scene, and i'm the same age as Sam!

Awww...Dean even causes 17 year old straight dudes to fall a little in love with him.

Well, he is Dean Winchester.. :p

I like this episode, although it's not one of the most memorable ones, because it's one of the few that involve witches or witching or something like that, even though the bad guys are not necessarily bad, and see at least one of the boys in a family setting (before the reset for s6). Plus, there's also the little insight into the Winchesters' lives pre-series, something that i hoard like crazy. :)

hells_half_acre
Oct. 7th, 2010 04:33 pm (UTC)
True, it IS one of those rare episodes where the bad guys aren't really bad...also, one of those rare episodes where they don't kill the "bad guys"...instead they just reform them (actually, it might be the only episode like that).

And I'm also a sucker for pre-series insight...so yeah, definitely the beginning was going pretty strong for me, and then it just descended into annoying-ness. But that's me. I'm glad other people enjoy the episode!

:)
mymuseandi
Oct. 7th, 2010 04:46 pm (UTC)
Oh, by the way, i know this is late, but Happy Belated Birthday! Hope the day was good for you, and you get to do all sorts of fun things and good food to eat!!!
hells_half_acre
Oct. 7th, 2010 04:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

My birthday was fantastic - and it ended with good wine, good music, and chocolate torte. So, I have absolutely no complaints!
sinesofinsanity.dreamwidth.org
Oct. 7th, 2010 04:12 pm (UTC)
Yea, this was my least favourite episode of the season too. (I usually don't like body-swapping as a plot device, this episode took out the few things I do like about it, namely having actors play other characters)

On the subject of giving consent and when it is rape, there was an interesting case a couple of years ago in which a man was convicted of raping a woman with Dissociative Identity Disorder because one of her alternate personalities gave permission, but her more dominant personality didn't. The point then is that it doesn't matter who is in possession of your body, it's still your body and no one has the right to do anything you disagree with to it. Carrying your rape/possession metaphor, if Gary had said yes to Lucifer, Luci would still have been violating Sam, and Gary could then be seen as an accessory to the crime. That being said, based on Swan Song, I get the impression that Lucifer needed Sam to be in the body for him to use it.

If you want more info on the case mentioned, go here (http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-1157800.html)
For more info on DID and rape, there's this (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7892389) article about self rape by DID victims.
hells_half_acre
Oct. 7th, 2010 04:42 pm (UTC)
I don't really like body-swapping as a plot-device either...mainly because nobody does with it what I would want to do with it.

Interesting about the DID comparison! I hadn't thought of that. I was trying to think of a metaphor I could use to break down the consent issues, and I couldn't figure out one...but DID actually works pretty well, because it can be said that the person "isn't present" in their body at certain moments, yet a person IN that body can still give consent (or not, seeing as how the judge ruled it didn't count.) I was trying to think of it like a stolen car or something or someone trashing your house while you are on vacation, but yeah...DID is a good practical parallel.

But yeah, I also got the impression in Swan Song that Sam had to be in the body...why else would his anger make a difference?

elliemurasaki
Oct. 7th, 2010 04:56 pm (UTC)
I think the demon who put out the hit on Dean and the demon occupying Nora were both working on insufficient information. Lucifer could have killed Dean in 5x10 and chose not to. And I don't know what woulda happened if Gary-in-Sam had said yes to Lucifer but I doubt it woulda been pretty.

I think the reason we got Jared playing Sam and whatsis playing Gary except in mirrors is whatsis wouldn't have been able to play a convincing Sam. Especially in the first scenes with Sam in Gary's body.
hells_half_acre
Oct. 7th, 2010 04:59 pm (UTC)
See, I think whatsis COULD have played a convincing Sam. He seems like a good little actor, and if he WASN'T good enough to play a convincing Sam, then they shouldn't have cast him.

But I agree with you about the possibility that the demon was working off of insufficient information...that would explain a lot. I mean, if it were so easy to gain control of Sam's body that teenagers could do it - you'd think they'd have a more capable man/demon for the job.

Edited at 2010-10-07 05:00 pm (UTC)
elliemurasaki
Oct. 7th, 2010 05:07 pm (UTC)
So how would you have made it clear which times were Sam in Sam's body and which times were Gary in Sam's body if Jared was playing both parts?
hells_half_acre
Oct. 7th, 2010 05:10 pm (UTC)
Acting!

Also, PLOT! You do the reflection thing both times when they switch bodies, and then it's just a matter of remembering that they haven't switched back yet (and seeing how weird Sam is acting when it's Gary in Sam).
borgmama1of5
Oct. 7th, 2010 09:13 pm (UTC)
Season 5 had some spectacular episodes...and nearly an equal number of WTH ones...

My biggest complaint was all the leftover threads. All their cell phones...leaving the body of the dead kid in the basement...leaving the bounty on Dean idea just hanging...

I didn't hate it, it just disappointed me.
hells_half_acre
Oct. 8th, 2010 04:03 am (UTC)
Yeah, same here...well, I kind of hated it BECAUSE it disappointed me.

But it was really all in the writing and the decided execution of it...the production crew and cast all did really well with what they had to work with, I thought.
borgmama1of5
Oct. 4th, 2011 04:57 am (UTC)
Okay, I did what I said I was going to :)

Going to reread your rewatches as I rewatch the episodes (enough repeats in there?) and I could live with this episode if they had just tied up the loose ends!!!

How can show be so good at details sometimes and totally handwave huge issues other times????

Also, 'Sam, Interrupted' was a very decent episode that I lost sight of. Just my thought...
hells_half_acre
Oct. 4th, 2011 05:04 am (UTC)
Yay! Yeah, as I said, this is my least favourite SPN episode ever.

But yeah, Sam, Interrupted has grown on me the more times I watch it.
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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