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Supernatural Fodder

Supernatural: Scarecrow

Quick note

I'm going to temporarily move away from providing a recap, and just give my critique and trivia. For one thing, recaps take a long time to do. For another, they are available elsewhere on the net. When the new season starts (this week!!), I'll start providing a quick recap, in addition to impressions and trivia. But until then, I won't be recapping. I'll also have to double up on catching up.

Impressions

Now we're getting somewhere! This episode was surprising, introducing some new elements, including the start of the real storyline of the series that we'd been waiting so long for....

Critique

Strong episode. I got the feeling that this episode is one the writers had been waiting for throughout the year. They get to take a little different direction for a change - the brothers split up. The longstanding simmering issues between the two have been hinted at in a couple of episodes, most recently in Asylum. It finally comes to the surface when their dad, John, contacts them from California. Sam wants to track him down, Dean wants to do as John asks and head out to investigate another paranormal death. So they decide to part ways.

The Scarecrow in the episode is nothing new in the way of monsters (as we'll see in the trivia section), but the episode is suitably creepy, and the success or failure of the brothers this time carries consequences: if they fail, the town continues to sacrifice young people, and the immediate sacrifice in the episode is an innocent teen.

The real meat of this episode, though, is the implications for the longer term story of what happened to the Winchester family, and the hunt for the demonic killer. The episode also introduces a new character, Meg, who figures as a lukewarm romantic interest for a while. In a surprising twist, Meg turns out to be demonic. Excellent plot twist. The series badly needed a running antagonist to play against the brothers. Quite clearly (I know I'm harping on this but it's the series' biggest weakness), the brothers will not be killed by the phenomena they face. However, a human (or demi-human) personality that can plan ahead and put obstacles in their path can make the series more interesting. Instead of just solving the problems presented by whatever they're facing in the current episode, now they have to consider the long-term strategy, and sometimes (such as in this episode), their goals for the long-term will conflict with the problems of the moment. This is a quite welcome development.

From the very beginning, Meg creates problems. She is attractive to Sam, and she presents him with a choice, come with her to California, or go back to see why Dean isn't responding to Sam's attempts to contact him. Meg loses... this time.

However, we all know she'll show up again. And next time, no more nice girl.

Trivia

A Kim Manners, John Shiban episode.

Burkitsville, Indiana is the site of this episode. Burkittsville, MD is the site of the movie The Blair Witch Project.

Living scarecrows aren't really an urban (or rural) legend, but they are also not a new idea in fiction. Many movies have been made about evil scarecrows, including Dark Night of the Scarecrow, a1981 television movie. But what this episode most resembles, in my opinion, is 1978's Dark Secret of Harvest Home, about a town that sacrifices strangers to ensure their continued prosperity. I haven't see the movie, but I have read the excellent Thomas Tryon novel it was based on.


Posted by Miller on September 24, 2006 10:38 PM
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