Supernatural has done werewolf episodes, but never quite like this. “Bitten” is the kind of outside-the-box, stylistically special episode that I love. Nearly the entire hour is told through found home movie footage by a bunch of film students at a college. It’s basically Supernatural‘s take on The Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield and other similar movies.
As such, fans will either love or hate it. There’s almost no Sam or Dean, though they pop up in the movie footage investigating a series of animal attacks. Instead, it’s a brilliantly executed stand-alone episode that doesn’t really resemble the show we’re used to. The focus isn’t on Sam and Dean, but on the inevitably tragic story of three friends that unfolds in a very Shakespearean way, complete with a massive body count at the end.
The movie-makers are Michael and Brian, two film geek BFFs. Michael is the golden boy who quickly lands a hot cinema-loving girlfriend (Kate) while Brian is the nerdy sidekick desperate to stop being Piggy from Lord of the Flies. When Michael gets bitten, Brian decides that his superhero origin story is what they should make their film about, only things take a dark turn when Michael starts eating the hearts of their classmates.
Kate wants to protect Michael at all costs because she’s in love. They figure the FBI agents (Sam and Dean) know something so they stalk them. Aside from assuming they’re gay lovers (a nice callback to the heyday of Supernatural when witnesses assumed they were a gay couple in almost every episode), they overhear that there’s a pure-blood werewolf direct from the Alpha’s lineage, and that’s what bit Michael.
Brian becomes obsessed with Michael’s newfound strength and wants to be bitten so he too can be a powerful werewolf. Brian does some sleuthing to figure out that their English professor is the pure-blood werewolf.
This is where the story turns dark like a Shakespearean tragedy. Brian forces the professor to bite him before selling him out so Sam and Dean kill the professor. Brian, now a werewolf, goes back to stand up to Michael and let him know he’s not going to be stuck in his shadow anymore. They get into a fight and Michael dies. Brian, now a horrible monster desperately in love with Kate, bites her so they can be together forever.
Kate doesn’t agree and instead kills Brian. She then finishes the movie (the one Sam and Dean have been watching the whole time), explaining that she never wanted to become a monstrous killer, but she’s running away and promises that she will NEVER kill any humans. The fact that she wants to go to law school only helps to underscore some thematic similarities with Sam this season, eager to leave behind the Hunter’s life even though it’s a part of who he is.
After watching the movie, Dean surprisingly decides to let Kate go as Sam assures him that, if they hear of animal attacks, they will come back to kill her. Now that’s a surprising twist. A year ago Dean had no problem killing Amy despite her promises not to kill anymore, but after a year in Purgatory, he’s willing to let Kate go. Maybe it’s because he got to see the whole story unfold. Or maybe it’s because she’s “awesome.”
Whatever the case, this was a fantastic story from Supernatural, even if it didn’t really feel like an episode of the show at all. It was a nice, tragic parable, and, creatively, the kind of daring and original episode I like to see from this show.
Next week on Supernatural: Dean introduces his real brother Sam to his Purgatory brother Benny the vampire.
(Image courtesy of the CW)