Filed under: Recaps & Reviews
After a university student named Michael is bitten by a strange creature in the woods, it will change his life and the lives of those around him in way he never thought possible.
Sam and Dean break into a house, searching for a demon only to find they are too late. A body is covered in a cloth and then Sam notices a post it note on a laptop computer that says "Play Me". Once they open up the laptop, the Winchesters get front row seats to a tragic story. The video begins with two students, Michael and Brian, having a few drinks at a pub using Brian's new video camera. They see a girl across the room named Kate who has a thing for video cameras, and Michael. Michael and Kate hit it off and now Brian and Kate film everything that happens. One day while walking they see the police have sectioned off the area next to Brian and Michael's house, as their neighbor has been killed. They see the police talking with two FBI agents (hint hint) but don't know what's happening. Later that night when Michael and Brian go out filming for Brian's movie, they get separated running from a jock in the forest. Michael hears sounds and is suddenly attacked by a ravenous animal. Brian finds Michael bleeding and unconscious with a bite on his shoulder but when he takes him home, the bite has strangely disappeared. Along with Michael's newfound abilities, the consequences manifest when they discover he is a werewolf and the game is over. Over the course of Michael's transformation and through the lens of every camera, we get to see how everything started so innocently and ended so terribly.
After last week's disappointing Heartache, I am completely blow away by the quality of Bitten. Even though Sam and Dean ended up being guest stars on their own show, the perspective of Michael, Brian and Kate gave the episode a pathos I have not seen in quite some time on Supernatural. After last week's preview I was unsure if Supernatural would take the campy route with the found footage genre (like whenever the Ghostfacers were around) but Michael, Brian and Kate's story was taken seriously. Even though I've seen all of the camera techniques before in the Paranormal Activity movies, they fit perfectly in Bitten and when Kate shoved Brian's camera away it showed that the cameras not only told a story but they were a part of it as well. The highlight for me was how Bitten told a complete story with characters that changed significantly from beginning to end and it never held back for a second.
Speaking of the characters, Michael, Brian and Kate had more dimension than every leviathan combined last season. Played by Brandon Jones (Michael), Leigh Parker (Brian) and Brit Sheridan (Kate), this trio was given the time they needed to give the relationships a past and a present. Jones's ability to be the likable boyfriend and the loyal friend in Michael provided a great contrast to Parker's jealous Brian and Sheridan's unconditionally loving Kate was impressive. Overall, each character's motivations were well understood and all of them were inherently real people doing their best in unreal circumstances.
Bitten reminded us that of the people that Sam and Dean fight to protect don't always get saved. Each week the Winchester brothers fight demons, monsters, angels and leviathans and it's easy to get caught up in that and forget who the people are that suffer the consequences. Michael being bitten didn't just change his life, it destroyed it. Even before he died, Michael had to accept that his life would never be the same and that came full circle in the episode when the video showed who they wanted to be in five years. Each of them had hopes and dreams that would never be realized due to one bite.
Bitten is remarkable episode that was closer to a short film than television. Sam and Dean were barely there but that didn't change how most people don't know hunters exist. Dean's decision to let Kate go showed a new attitude compared to when he killed Sam's friend last year and we'll see if he made the right choice with Benny in next week's episode, Blood Brother.
Tags: Supernatural, Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Brandon Jones, Leigh Parker, Brit Sheridan
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