Welcome to our newest guest post series! Head Over Feels are finally filling our SuperWhoLock quota with “Salt vs. Sass: Dawn & Sarah take on Sam and Dean,” a Supernatural recap-a-thon! We’ll learn all about the family business through the eyes of veteran fan Dawn and n00b Sarah. They’ll be posting weekly, so now is the perfect moment to queue up your rewatch or pop your SPN cherry. Take it away, ladies! –S
Dawn Ferchak is a long-term Dean girl who occasionally has trouble resisting the King of Hell.
Sarah Bisman is an SPN newbie and professional crafter of one-line bios.
Sarah: I hate Wendigos and zombies and cannibals, in general. It’s a huge part of the reason I’ve not yet managed to watch a single episode of Hannibal, no matter how much I may talent-crush most of the cast. Won’t watch The Walking Dead either, no matter how amaaaaaaazing I’m sure it is. My need for sleep and sanity outweighs my desire to keep up with those aspects of pop culture. Remember, I’m kind of a wimp about the scary stuff.
Dawn: My previous experience with the Wendigo was Stephen King’s Pet Sematery, a horror novel that still feeds my nightmares. In King’s novel, the Wendigo cursed a burial ground so that anything/anyone buried in it would come back to life as a psychotic, aggressive, and utterly homicidal creature, including the family cat and the family baby (Gage Creed as played by Miko Hughes remains the creepiest fucking horror movie child EVER). King’s creatures were not cannibalistic, something that figures prominently in this SPN episode. I’d much rather a cannibal than a tiny, adorable, terrifying, scalpel-wielding, Achilles tendon-slicing baby boy. Who wants to play with me. Say it with me, kids:
Season 1, Episode 2: Wendigo
Written by Eric Kripke
First, we get the weecap featuring FLAMES FLAMES ALL OVER THE CEILING and the brothers’ hunting trip and MORE FLAMES. Let’s institute a Madeleine Kahn Flamewatch for every time we see flames on a ceiling or in a room:
Sarah: Will we get FLAAAAMES every episode?
Dawn: Actual ones? Not necessarily. Just wait for Season 2, though, when the homoerotic subtext smoulder begins. We will need a different flaming gif for that.
This week begins deep in the forests of Blackwater Ridge in Lost Creek, Colorado. The name of the town should probably have been a clue not to go there, but then there would be no episode. The credits haven’t rolled yet and it’s dark and scary outside, and there is a growly thing making growly noises, so the three guys by the fire probably won’t be enjoying breakfast in the morning. Also they are playing video games. In the forest. While camping. So really no one should feel very bad for them when they become dinner.
Sarah: I took a semester of Monster in college and I’ve translated the growls—
Dawn: Into song!
“Deadshirts, Deadshirts, yummy, yummy Deadshirts. Snatch them from the woods and eat them up, yum!”
Deadshirt #1 is named Tom Collins, which everyone knows is a delicious and refreshing drink. Dead!Tom is recording a message to Hayley, while Dead!Brad and Dead!Gary get annoyed at their games and toss them aside. Dead!Brad decides it’s time for a pee, which means walking off into the woods and the dark all alone. Clearly, he didn’t take Conversational Monster 101, but when you gotta go, you gotta go.
Dawn: I’m pretty sure he didn’t grab toilet paper.
Sarah: I’m pretty sure that makes him dinner.
Cue the ominous twig snap, silence, weird noise, and screaming death. Bye bye, Brad! In true Rocky Horror tradition, you are indeed an asshole. And now it’s Gary’s turn, who also kinda deserves it for clearly never having seen any horror movie ever and being stupid enough to STICK HIS HEAD OUT OF THE TENT after hearing what can only have been the screaming death of his friend. YANK goes Dead!Gary, right out of the tent.
That leave the delicious Tom Collins, who doesn’t run or grab something to use as a weapon. No, this bright boy TURNS THE LIGHT BACK ON, which is totally like screaming “I’M DELICIOUS AND REFRESHING AND PROBABLY TASTE LIKE LEMONADE!” Ominous Shadow clearly agrees, and the tent is slashed open to the dulcet tones of more screaming.
Cut to Palo Alto, California.
Sarah: Shout out to the chyron makers everywhere! You are far too unsung, and without you, we’d never know where anything takes place.
Sad!Sam is sad at Jessica’s graveside; the graveyard is otherwise empty, which should be clue number one that something is off. Clue number two should be the absence of Dean. Sam has flowers that are not roses because Jessica thought roses were lame, and there is more sadness as Sam blames himself for her death.
Dawn: Oh, Sammy. That guilt is just beginning.
Sam lays the wildflowers on her grave, a tender moment that is utterly destroyed when her dead hand SHOOTS out of the grave to grab him, giving Dawn her second Stephen King moment of the episode because that scene is STRAIGHT out of the end of Carrie.
But just like in Carrie, it’s only a nightmare. Sam and Dean are in the Impala and Sam totally tries to pretend nothing is wrong. Apparently nightmares are his new thing. Dean offers to let Sam drive and Sam dies of shock, ending the show prematurely.
Kidding! Dean keeps driving. They are going to Grand Junction in the continuing Search For Dad, because Dad will “have answers” and “know what to do,” re: the Demon that Kills Everyone They Care About. Dean has total faith in Dad. Sam is not so sure.
Sarah: Why do Daddy Dearest’s coordinates send them to a giant forest? And how do they get away with being such terrible liars? They “Yes And” like pros. Yes, they ARE that Haley girl’s pals.
The episode’s first lie is that they are environmental study majors just doing a paper, who also happen to be Haley’s pals. Dean says she’s quite a pistol, which is apparently enough to make the park ranger hand over maps and papers and other stuff it probably shouldn’t be so easy to get.
SPN Life Lesson #7: Authority figures in uniform are really, really gullible. (and thank Crowley, because otherwise there’d be no show.)
Sam could care less about coordinates, Hayley, or the woods. He just wants to get on with shit, which is not very Sammy of him — that’s usually Dean’s job.
Sarah: This is epic. Does Dean always look so tickled by his brother’s mood swings?
Dawn: Oh, it’s early days yet. Winchester Menstrual Syndrome is still in the future.
Off to Hayley’s we go, where now we are park rangers with magic park ranger IDs. Hayley is skeptical, but worried about her (dead) brother. Live Brother Ben helps explain that Tommy sends messages and emails thanks to his satellite phone, but they haven’t heard from him in days. You’d think that three campers who had the wherewithal of have a damn satellite phone would have known better than to get eaten by a growly thing, but whatever. She shows them Tommy’s last message, complete with mysterious shadow in the background.
SPN Life Lesson #8: The shadow is never just a shadow.
Yay, it’s bar time! Sam is researching like the good little college student that he is, and we learn that campers have disappeared before but everyone assumed grizzly attacks. Except they happen once every 23 years, “like clockwork,” and since the nature shows never talked about grizzlies having calendars or clocks, it’s probably not a bear. Also, shadowy thing moves awfully quickly, as Sam points out: “That’s three frames. That’s a fraction of a second. Whatever that thing is, it can move.” Good thing a camper from 1959 survived. Let’s go visit him.
Mr. Shaw, our lone survivor, (HoF note: Played by Duane Barry from The X-Files!) hints broadly that it is indeed not a bear. By “broadly,” we mean calls it “something evil,” like maybe a demon. Dean knows better, even if he teases his brother for using big words like “corporeal.” And Dean knows what corporeal means — it means they can kill it.
Also, Sam is pissed that they will be “babysitting” Hayley, and he slams things to get his point across. Dean is unimpressed.
Dawn: Remember when you asked if Dean is always amused by Sam’s mood swings? He’s not.
Hey, the Ranger is Callum Keith Rennie! While Sarah is momentarily distracted by thoughts of hot cylons, we cut to a mine shaft and a surprise: Dead!Tom and Dead!Gary aren’t dead at all! They are just hanging by their wrists in a dark place. Totally ok, right? Or not, because a fast, skinny shadow appears (see Life Lesson #8)) and eats Gary.
Back to Ranger Cylon, who is not impressed by the Winchester uniform of jeans and boots, thus proving he is heterosexual. Hayley isn’t impressed either, which makes every het fangirl ever question her sexuality, because damn, girl. We love those jeans. Also Dean has M&Ms. Because he knows trail mix sucks.
Anyway. Ranger Cylon leads everyone to the Blackwater Ridge where they note the uncanny silence. “Not even crickets.” MOAR CLUES. Cylon Roy goes off to do some exploring and discovers the bloody remains of Tommy’s campsite. Dean helpfully notes that the bodies were dragged from the campsite but that the tracks disappear. It’s no skin walker or black dog. PERHAPS IT’S A WENDIGO SINCE THAT IS WHAT THE EPISODE IS CALLED, HMMM??
Dean is trying to comfort Hayley when everyone runs in the direction of terrible screaming. Everyone runs. Sam is the first to note that maybe that wasn’t such a good idea. They make it back to camp where everything has been stolen, even Ranger Cylon’s GPS. Good thing Sam has a theory that involves the episode’s title, which means he is totally correct. He tries to explain to Roy that Roy’s in danger of being eaten alive. He and Roy do everything but whip out their dicks for comparison.
Sarah: Sam is really working through some anger issues. It’s kind of hot.
Everyone decides it’s time to camp for the night, and Dean draws some Anasazi symbols in the dirt to protect them from the Wendigo that Ranger Cylon and Hayley still think is a bear. Or maybe they doubt the efficacy of Anasazi symbols as protection against a demon drawn from Algonquin mythology. But who gives a crap what they think anyway, because it’s time for a protective big brother talk. Dean would like Sam to remember that HE is the belligerent one, thank you very much, and also Dad has never even been to this part of the country, but they can’t leave before completing the mission like good little hunter boys who listen to suspiciously-absent hunter dad. Why else would he have left them the magic notebook of giant clues if he didn’t want them to take over the family business. Sam calls shenanigans — he wants concrete contact with firm instructions.
Dawn: Sometimes I wonder if Sam has ever actually met John Winchester.
Sam also doesn’t understand how Dean and their dad manage to keep their shit together. Dean’s awesome answer? “I figure our family’s so screwed to hell, maybe we can help some others. Makes things a little bit more bearable. I’ll tell you what else helps. Killing as many evil sons of bitches as I possibly can.”
Dawn: Should that smile be hot? Because it probably means he’s a lot crazy. Crazy hot.
Brotherly love is interrupted by screams for help, which is probably the Wendigo because poor Ranger Cylon gets yanked up by his freaking head into the trees. This concerns Hayley, who doesn’t believe in monsters, and thus the brothers take on their roles as Basil and Cecil Exposition and teach the Collins kids about how Wendigos are born. Cannibalism leads to eternal hunger and their only way out is fire.
Good thing: Resourceful Dean knows how to make a Molotov.
Bad thing: He’s not quite as quick with it as he should be when he and Hayley run into the fucking Wendigo.
This leaves Shaggy and Scooby, err, umm, Sam and Ben. Good thing Dean had those M&Ms, because they make a handy trail to follow to a mine entrance marked with every possible signage variation of “Hey dumbass, don’t come in here.” Since Sam a) got into Stanford and was b) reading in the bar, we have to assume he’s literate and therefore just choosing to ignore the signs. In they go, flashlight at the ready. There is growling, and Sam proves his resourcefulness by shutting off the flashlight and clapping his hand over Ben’s mouth before Ben can scream. It’s no Molotov cocktail, but it does the trick, and Growly heads down a different path. Good job, Sam!
And then they fall through the floor. And land next to a bad pile of skulls. Oh, Sam.
But it’s ok, because they find Hayley and Dean hanging in a sort of cave. They also find Tommy!! Who’s alive! Hooray. The gang’s back together, even if they are trapped in a mine shaft with a hungry monster.
Sarah: This is sort of like a horror movie in reverse. They’ve collected a half a dozen people and are hunting the monster.
In addition to skulls, there are lots of supplies, because Wendigos are hoarders. And the prop ex machina this week is flare guns. Sam says “Those’ll work,” and Dean’s response is a smirk and a spin of the gun a’la spaghetti Western, and now Dawn needs a minute.
The brothers concoct a plan in that telepathic way that accompanies anyone saying “are you thinking what I’m thinking,” and Dean tells the Collins sibs to go with Sam and get out of the tunnel. But what will Dean do, Hayley asks. Why, he will wink. Charmingly. And go off into the tunnel, yelling things like “Bring it on, baby” and “I taste good,” and there goes Dawn again.
Sarah: I really like Dean. He’s kind of a dick, but a really well-meaning one.
Dawn: He said he tastes good. I no longer have any idea what is happening in this episode. Nor do I care.
Sarah smacks Dawn and now we’re back to the recap. The Wendigo fails to immediately run to Dean’s charms, which Dawn CANNOT UNDERSTAND, but then there is growling so maybe it’s not so dumb after all. Sam hears it too, so he sends Collins x 3 out of the mine and stays behind to help his brother. But oh crap, Growly apparently prefers smart over cocky, because it found Sam and growls right in his face. Sam, who is indeed the smart one, runs and catches up to the Collinses who still haven’t found the exit. Sam shoots the Wendigo, but misses. There is more running, and Sam is all brave, putting the three sibs behind him and waiting for what might be Certain Death x 4. Good thing Dean’s “Sammy Sense” was tingling. Dean doesn’t miss.
Finally, everyone is out of the mine shaft and has bandages and EMTs, and also lies about grizzly bears that “must have weighed eight hundred, nine hundred pounds.” Hayley is thankful; Dean is smarmy but gets a kiss on the cheek anyway.
Sarah: I like Hayley.
Dawn: I like her stepping the hell off my man.
The brothers are a little bumped, a little bruised, and in agreement about two things:
1. They hate camping
2. They are going to find Dad.
SPN Life Lesson #9: Determination > Logic.
And Sam gets to drive. It’s a nice bonus in an ep that wasn’t quite as strong as the pilot. Next week, we get our first non-Kripke scripted ep, complete with ghosties and watery graves and wondering where the fuck Dad is. Salt up — see you in a week.