There are so many different ways to watch and enjoy a Supernatural episode. You can watch for the plot or for the pretty. You can analyze canon, decipher symbolism or listen for subtext. One of the best filters to apply to each show, though, is specifically analyzing the cinematography.  The visual themes in "The Hunter Games" were particularly striking.

Purple was a prominent color in this episode. It first struck me in one of the earliest scenes with Rowena's hex bag.

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...then continued with Rowena's dress...

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...and Crowley's ties, which relfected purple atop the gray pipe.

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Purple appeared in several subsequent scenes, then, along with its component colors of red and blue. It was frequently accompanied by a complimentary pink and contrasting yellow.

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Even the young girl's hair bow and gym shoes reinforced the show's palette.

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The Astoria Hotel sign lit these same colors in neon.

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The first shots of the bar emphasized the primary colors, with purple, pink, red, blue and yellow dominating the visual. The neon sign in the background further lit the shot with yellow and red.

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The pool hall's purple walls were lit with pink lighting. The pool tables must have been red, but they seem to have a purple/pink tint. The psycho girl's base shirt also looks purple.

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Claire's innocence is suggested by a pink glow, reinforced with the pink lighting and her purple/pink hoodie.

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Even the clandestine meeting in the alley is brightened with pink/red and yellow neon, and a line of street lamps that trail off into the horizon.

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Crowley's sarcophogus has a purple/blue hue...

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and reveals the Blade box's royal lining of purplish red.

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In previous shots, Claire's hoody looked to be a redish color, but in this shot it matches the color of the Blade's box almost perfectly.

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Beyond the color scheme, this episode displayed complex geometrics. This simple shot of Dean and the bunker is full of lines and diagonals, including the blurred shot of Sam's shirt in the foreground.

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One of the first images of the throne room starts with Crowley's complex, geometric chair in purple/red velvet in the foreground. The eye pans right to find Rowena's purple dress, then a meshed weapons screen full of diagonals, arcs and lines. The entire shot is grounded with the pattern created on the floor with light.

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A momentary shot of the brothers in the bunker begins with arcs and lines from the shadows on the right and continues to their shirts, the windows and the staircase railings.


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Graffiti implies the complexity of the conversation between Sam, Dean and Crowley.

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Shadows (and the lines on the books) add interest to the boys sitting at a table...

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...and the conversation in Hell's warehouse. The linear repetition of the bricks again offsets the shadowy squares and diamonds on the floor.

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In the playgound, the geometrics combine with color to frame Castiel and the very important sandbox.

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There were several outstanding visual effects in this episode as well.  I'm sure they will be highlighted in some of WFB's other reviews. My favorite shots of the episode, though, were the following:

The Most Unusual Shot:


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Dean will be entering through that doorway in the next frame, but this anticipates his presence by looking up through lines and shapes in the bunker.

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This fantastic view looks down on the boys and combines the color and geometric themes of the show.

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This visual effect shot was just...cool.

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The last look at Claire was both insightful and symbollic.

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The single, most powerful frame of the show for me, though was Dean's expression. It said everything that needed to be said about the progression of the MoC.


I have not researched possible meanings of the colors or lines used in these numerous shots. Please feel free to speculate or share expertise you might have in these areas. I would also love to hear what your favorite shots were from "The Hunter Games" or if you noticed any of the same themes that leapt out at me. What was your #1 shot of the show? Please share!

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P.S. In rereading this article the next day, I realized that stars also appear in multiple places in this episode. Look at the pictures above. Coincidentally, the shot with the playground girl's starred jeans is immediately followed by the stars on the Hotel Astoria sign. Can you find stars in other scenes during your rewatches?

I also want to acknowledge this shot of the telescope in blue, first mentioned by Cheryl42:

05

P.P.S
I can't believe I forgot this image of Dean!! It was the first thing I noticed about the episode but I blew past it in my screencap review!
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Dean is literally split in two by the crack in the mirror. Half of him is in the light, representing what is good and human about Dean, while the other half of him is in the dark, representing the monster, the darkness, inside of him. The Y pattern of the break was the first geometric I noticed!

- Nightsky


Comments  

cheryl42
# cheryl42 2015-01-23 22:57
Well it probably didn't mean anything but....you know Wet Sam? Probably was my favorite gratuitous shot. But that shot of Dean leaning over Metatron was so powerful. Who didn't want to see Dean skewer him once and for all right then, but the thought of actually witnessing Dean lose it was terrifying. Jensen uses his size and physique so well when he is threatening. It was disturbing.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2015-01-23 23:21
There were two shots in the bunker with the telescope pretty prominently in the scene. Did that mean anything? Or was it just a cool shot? It was also blue.
http://www.thewinchesterfamilybusiness.com/images/SeasonTen/10-TheHunterGames/05.jpg
nightsky
# nightsky 2015-01-24 11:25
I am SO glad you mentioned that shot! I strongly considered including it, but then thought, "No, the telescope is always there - nothing new". Interesting that it caught your eye too! You know - I don't think it's ever been highligted in blue, though, so that counts!!
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2015-01-24 01:29
You guys are good, I have NEVER noticed a telescope.
I watch for acting and scripts then make-up/clothes .
AlyCat22
# AlyCat22 2015-01-24 05:54
Speaking as an artist and someone who enjoys meditation...pu rple is expensive to create. It denotes royalty, power and nobility. The subconcious, creativity. Also associated with supernatural energies and the cosmos. Spiritual fullfillment, meditation - represents the Crown Chakra... and thats just the tip of the iceburg. Interesting article. With their color pallette I'm not sure what they may or may not have been wanting to get across. I know I read something about purple being Thursdays color - isnt Cas Thursdays angel or something like that? Coincidentally red and purple are my favorite colors but sadly I am not royalty or anywhere close! :) Thanks for the great read!
nightsky
# nightsky 2015-01-24 11:31
Thank you for the insights on purple! That is exactly what I hoped to research but couldnt due to posting deadline.

Purple and pink are my two favorite colors, whch is probably why the show's color palette stood out for me. My whole house is done in purple accents and my writing office is in pink. I knew purple was the color of creativity, but had forgotten about the spirituality and cosmos. Never heard about the subconscious - that would be the perfect reason to use it for this study of Dean's motivations.
SanSummer1
# SanSummer1 2015-01-24 10:09
There’s something almost reptilian about Dean in that picture. Or like he is a bird of prey, a raptor.
nightsky
# nightsky 2015-01-24 12:05
An afterthought - Rowena first appeared in a blue dress, but subsequently was shown in a purple dress. Could this signify her progression to attaining Crowley's throne?
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2015-01-24 12:54
I noticed that about Rowena's dress too. Now with Alycat's explanation of color that does seem to mean something. She is after power.
novi
# novi 2015-01-24 13:15
Never thought of symbology of colors on the show. Interesting! And Raptor!Dean - ha! Deanosaurus is better fit than Squirrel imo. Just look at him, he was gonna eat Metatron alive.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2015-01-24 15:59
Another visual I noticed was that Sam was dressed in almost white and in a few shots he was bathed in light. Dean was in dark clothing and in the shadows. In the dungeon Sam is sitting on the table with light shining down on him while Dean is in shadows. At the table in the bunker Dean almost looked like he was praying while the telescope was pointing to the heavens. In the shot above with both brothers at the table the light is on Sam again. It wasn't until Dean went to talk to Claire that we saw Dean in the full light. Maybe coming to terms with who he is and what he is capable of. And maybe Sam in the light because he had the right answers.
nightsky
# nightsky 2015-01-24 21:14
I noticed that light/dark contrast as well. I saw it in the wardrobe choices. I hadn't seen it in all of the scenes you mentioned. This is fascinating stuff!
AlyCat22
# AlyCat22 2015-01-24 22:03
All very interesting!!! And when Jensen has indicated that he learned that the director is expected to decide on the big as well as little stuff, about how when someone comes up to you to ask what you want - that it is all important. He was suprised as to how many decisions the director is supposed to make. Who chooses the colors used or as someone postulated, color schemes? The Director? Is it something the writer decides? The person who is in charge of lighting? Is Dean going to be in his normal plain black t with blue shirt or a plaid? And if plaid, what plaid? Maybe this would be an interesting subject to ask him at a Con?
nightsky
# nightsky 2015-01-26 18:54
I asked one of the creators - I think set designer Jerry Wanek - who is responsible for these kind of things. He said that eveyone works together to make these choices. I'll have to see if I can find that tweet...
lacysos
# lacysos 2015-01-26 01:59
Where is wet Sammy? That was the only visual that caught my eye.
nightsky
# nightsky 2015-01-26 18:52
That shot of Sammy contained a whole different subliminal message! I think Alice runs a special article each year devoted to just such shots -something about all the pretty??:)
nightsky
# nightsky 2015-01-26 18:50
I hope you are all subscribed to the comments here because I would like to call your attention to another visual I just added to the article above. I can't believe I forgot about it! I am having way too much fun with this episode's subliminal shots!

I think I'm done now ;)
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2015-01-26 23:00
I did see your amended visual of Dean in the mirror. It was interesting that the human/good part of Dean was above and dominating the dark/monster part of Dean. I do think we could go on and on.