Today, I watched the episode with my friend as usual, but then I came home for dinner - which meant that while I ate, I skimmed through twitter and tumblr to see people's reactions.
It appears that this is an episode for which I may have to remind you of my LJ commenting rule:
I like to like things. Please keep in mind that excess negativity will not be received fondly by me. It's okay to not like something, but please keep it simple when you tell me so, "I didn't like it" will suffice. I won't argue with you, because that's your opinion. Likewise, I would kindly ask you not to argue with me if I say "I liked it." Also, not that any of you do this, but please don't be overly negative about the individual actors. That always really annoys me.
So, now that that's taken care of... let's talk about the episode! Because I liked it.
Jared and Jensen talked about this episode a little bit at VanCon - just about the style it was filmed in, and how they really were looking forward to seeing the finished product. Jared really thought it was well done, and I have to say that I agree.
It's going to be interesting to talk about though, because usually these quick reactions are all about The Epic Love Story of Sam and Dean and what we learn about their characters or their relationship or what hints we get at the bigger picture... but this episode is such a departure in formula that it really doesn't have any of that...or at least, very little.
What it does do is give us an outsider POV on Sam and Dean and what it's like for the monsters they hunt...especially the ones that don't know they're a monster. It's basically a Supernatural episode told from the point of view of a monster.
I'd say the biggest weakness of the episode was the fact that it was slightly unbelievable how MUCH these students filmed their everyday lives. Once Michael was bitten and Brian wanted to capture his "origin story" the hidden cameras made sense - but until that point, some of the recordings were a little odd and forced. Such as the boys with the hockey sticks foolishly trying to protect people in the park at night, yet for some reason using up their cellphone batteries by taking videos... or the fact that Brian films himself editing his film just so that we can get his sad face when Kate comes out of Michael's room wearing his t-shirt. (Also, I mean, if you have self-confidence issues and want to be super suave and powerful why would you editing in footage of you lusting pathetically after your bestfriend's girl?)
I know there will be some people out there that just don't like the episode because Sam and Dean weren't in every frame of it like usual - and that's a shame, because I think it was a really well written episode and the actors who carried it all did really good jobs. I do understand that some people probably will have difficulty suddenly caring what happens to characters they've never met before, but I think you can still enjoy the episode even if you don't care about the characters. For me, I liked it because of the mystery about how everyone ends up slaughtered. I was waiting to see how they all fell apart.
Hmm, maybe I like this episode because my favourite movie is Shallow Grave. ....seriously, if you haven't seen that movie, YOU SHOULD.
At different times I thought different things...like, when the two boys started filming each other, I thought it was quite homoerotic - hahahaha... I read too much fanfiction. And at different times in the episode, I wondered if Brian might actually be in love with Michael and not Kate... but no, it seems that in the Michael-Brian friendship, it was actually Michael who loved Brian more than Brian loved Michael. Poor Michael. I feel really bad for him. It's not his fault he's the biggest and the strongest, he doesn't even exercise! (Princess Bride quotes FTW! y/y?)
I knew the ring on the professor would be important as soon as Brian accidentally zoomed in on it...but then I promptly forgot about it until it was brought up again, because that's what happens when I watch TV shows.
And holy crap, there was a full 20 minutes before the first commercial break!
I liked the jokes about Sam and Dean having an "office romance" vibe. Hehehe. I know, easy jokes are easy, but I like them all the same.
I also love how they start following Sam and Dean to get more information about what might be going on...and we get a bit more Supernatural-Universe werewolf rules! The first 4 generations below the alpha can control their transformations! Wicked cool.
Also, I love the clever ways they used camera angles to get around ever showing what a fully transformed werewolf looks like. You see the teeth and the eyes and the claws, but you never see the full thing.
Speaking of the cafe scene - THAT CAFE IS LIKE 4 BLOCKS FROM MY HOUSE! They actually polished it up a bit (or maybe that's why they shot it in black and white)...so you couldn't really see how...um "rustic" it is on the inside. Hahaha. It's a good place, but it's a bar at night that serves their beer and wine in mason jars, while you listen to hippie bands play for a $5 cover. Anyway, some people might remember it from 7x07 (The Mentalists) when it's exterior was used for the outside of the cafe that Sam and Dean ate in in that episode.
I don't know when the heck they were filming there, but it actually might have been when I was still out of town in the summer...though, the Supernatural crew are ninjas in the night, so who knows, they might have been filming when I was in town and I just never knew.
I also think that it should have been made more clear that the first bit of the video was perhaps shot over MONTHS. Because then Kate's HUGE devotion to Michael would have been a bit more believable. As it was, it seemed that her being that in love with him that she would ditch everything to run away with a werewolf who might not even be in full control...well, it seemed a little crazy to me, before I realized that maybe the whole "falling in love" sequence took place over months instead of weeks. Actually, maybe it would have been better if instead of showing them meeting, they could have just started with Kate and Michael already an item and Brian lusting after her anyway...and just skipped the whole "she could have been mine" scenario (which is actually a scenario that I don't think is true, because Kate obviously went after Michael and was never interested in Brian...Brian never had a shot at all.)
Anyway, once Brian confronted the professor and got him to bite him and such - and then they started getting into a fight, I thought that Michael would kill Brian and then kill himself...but no, Brian kills Michael and then turns Kate. Crazyness.
I did think the end of her little video was cheesy though :P Also, she probably isn't even a day and a half ahead of them, because how long did it take her to finish editing and render that video?! Maybe she never rendered it. Maybe they played it in the editing program :P
I really really liked the very end, with Kate killing Brian and leaving the note...and then you see her walking off into the sunset as Sam and Dean decide not to go after her. That was really cool. I also thought it was really neat that they put the opening credits at the end of the show.
Also, hey! Free laptop for Sammy!
Okay, let's talk about the boys...
Mainly, I want to talk about how Dean let the monster go.... this is definitely a post-purgatory change for Dean. And, I think, definitely to do with Benny. She hasn't killed anyone, so she lives...even though that didn't work forever with Lenore, and Dean made a huge stick about Amy (though, she HAD killed people and it probably would happen again). So, yeah... Dean letting the monster go is a character change...for the better or for the worse is what's yet to be determined. Sam seemed pleased with the decision though, which means that we still have our "think the best of people" Sam with us. :)
Also, it's hilarious how after seeing video footage of people thinking that him and Sam have an office romance going on - the only thing Dean is concerned about is the idea that he might overuse the word "awesome." Hahaha...speaking as someone who overuses the word "awesome", there is nothing wrong with that Dean!
Anyway, like I said, I thought the episode was a really interesting concept and I think they pulled it off pretty well! I also happen to like werewolves though, so maybe I'm biased.
And that's that...next week, HALLOWEEN! I don't think the episode is halloween themed though.