Okay, it's episode night!  Tonight, the body switching tale of "Swap Meat."  Just like everyone else, I'm very very curious how this one is going to go and what the fan reaction will be.  So, let's go into it with a huge open mind and I'm sure there will be plenty to say when its all done!  Happy episode everyone.
Provenance"
--Robin's Rambles
--Robin Vogel
 
I told myself I wasn't going to write anything about "Provenance," but after viewing the episode this morning, I had to. Sarah, my favorite gal for Sam, was in this ep, so spunky, pretty, fearless. He told her that his girlfriend and mother had died and that he feared he was the cause, yet she still wanted to be with him! Even Dean insisted, "Sam, marry that girl!" Before leaving, Sam gave her a great bunch of nice, slurpy kisses, and Dean watched and said, "That's my boy."
 
"Provenance" had one of the ugliest, nastiest little girl ghosts who stole her adopted father's razor, exited the painting, and killed people. She murdered while alive, before she was adopted, too, so she apparently had issues and should have been drowned in the nearest lake"”with her doll! 
 
Dean saved both Sarah and Sam from the bitchy ghost girl just in time by burning the doll's hair. That left Sam directly on top of Sarah, and she would have probably been willing to let him do the deed right there, she wanted Sam so badly. Alas, he didn't give her the full-fledged lovin' she wanted, but a half-hearted vow to return to her - which hasn't happened yet, damn it. Here was a rich, pretty gal who knew their "profession," swept away Sam's angst, and genuinely liked him! When he looked uncomfortable on their date scanning the wine list, she ordered a beer, letting him off the hook. She had lost her mother and was coming back from her own grief, so they had a lot in common. Such a pity! 
Winchester Gospel
                                     
Ever wonder where the writers of Supernatural get their ideas for the series episodes? Well most of the MOTW ideas are from urban legend, folklore, pagan festivals, and even fairy tales. However ideas for the myth arc, according to Kripke & Co, are taken from two main sources, John Milton's classic poem Paradise Lost (1667), and the last book of the bible The Book of Revelation (c.96 CE). Other books include the ancient Jewish apocalyptic The Book of Enoch (200B.C), and Paradise Regained (1671).   So, what are these works and what stories do they tell? Let look at the two major pieces.
 
Paradise Lost
 
John Milton, a Puritan Englishman, wrote Paradise Lost in 1667. He was considered a ‘man of letters’ and a polemical writer. Milton is also believed to have been a Calvinist and the question of predestination and freedom was crucial to his intellectual orientation. He lived (1607-1774) during the 17th century which falls into the Early Modern period of Europe. It was characterized by Baroque culture, the French Grand Siècle dominated by Louis XIV, and the beginning of modern science and philosophy. Milton was well aware of the works of Copernicus (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres), and Galileo (The Starry Messenger), and these really influenced his poem. His descriptions of space and planets are very vivid and enjoyable.
 
This poem is actually two stories, both about a fall from Paradise. In the first story (introduced immediately), Adam and Eve are thrown out of the Garden of Eden after eating the forbidden fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge. The second story (told in flashbacks) tells the tale of Lucifer’s fall, which apparently started when Christ was born to God. God set his son above the angels for them to worship, causing immediate jealousy in Lucifer.
 
“ … so waked Satan- so called now; his former name
Is heard no more in Heaven. He, of the first,
If not the first Archangel, great in power,
In favour, and pre?minenence, yet fraught
With Envy against the Son of God….”
(From Alice) Robin was so wonderful to send a review for "Something Wicked," especially since I've fallen behind.  Thanks to her, we're caught up!  So, enjoy a different yet great POV on this season one episode.

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"Something Wicked" is Something Wickedly Good
--Robin's Ramblings
Robin Vogel
 
Just watched "Something Wicked" on TNT, the shtriga episode. I had forgotten how wonderful it was.
 
When Dean requests two queens as he's checking into the 4200 Hotel, Michael, all of 11 years old if he's a day, snarkily says, "Sure you do."
 
This is also the first flashback ep, where we see Dean sacrificing the last bowl of Lucky Charms for Sam, who gives him puppy dog eyes because he doesn't want Spaghettios for dinner. Sam adorably offers Dean the prize at the bottom of the box. Does the scene, filmed in sepia tones, still make me tear up? It sure does. 

SWYoungSamandDean
 
It hurts to watch John leaving freckle-faced ten-year-old Dean alone in a dreary motel room with six-year-old Sam, nothing to do but watch TV after being given a million orders, the biggest, of course: protect Sam. Dean grows bored and leaves the room after Sam ia safely asleep to play a few video games.  The shtriga attacks Sam just as Dean returns home, but a nervous Dean doesn't dare shoot the shtriga while it's feeding on his brother; what if he misses and kills Sam? John arrives home, shooting wildly at the creature, furious at Dean for not following orders. The look he gives Dean while cradling Sam in his arms after staving off the shtriga stays in Dean's guilty mind and psyche for 17 years, so when the time comes around again, John again tasks him with killing the shtriga, and this time, Dean isn't going to screw up!
Sam Winchester, with totally ripped body, wearing nothing but a skimpy towel? (Drooling, picking jaw up from floor). Uh...ooh...I'm sorry, you wanted something from me? A review? "Hell House," right? Well, you see, there's this one scene where Sam comes out of the shower wearing nothing but a skimpy towel!
I'm not sure what it is about "Shadow," but it's not one of my favorites.  After re-watching I figured out why. For a good chunk of the episode, it isn't thrilling. It's boring actually. Since the plot isn't so great, the strengths of the episode easily come from the Winchester family drama. 
Ah, "The Benders." What can you say about this episode? It's so"¦depraved. For the first time, the MOTW is just one really sick family. John Shiban, complete with X-Files pedigree, wrote this episode, so naturally the comparisons are made to that series' icky tale of a family gone horribly wrong. This might not be the stomach churning, completely disturbing inbreeding tale the X-Files "Home" was, but for whatever reason I like that series'version better.  I think it was the Johnny Mathis tune that won me over in that one.   
Because Kim Manners directed so many great episodes, naturally there are a ton of amazing moments to be found within them.  I wanted to make a Top Ten list of moments in Kim Manners episodes, but I had such a hard time cutting it down to ten, I just decided instead to expand it to fifteen.  Even that was crazy difficult.  My first off-the-top-of-my-head draft had like 25 things on it.  Making this list was like trying to pick the winner of a cute puppy contest: they're all cute!  It can't be done!  Instead, here are my favorite fifteen moments or scenes from Kim Manners episodes.

Honorable Mention - Best use of a Kim Manners photo - Jump the Shark


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This was a fun little tribute to Kim Manners.  There he is on the Sunny Buono Lounge ad!  And the giant K and M are a nice touch.


#15 - Father/sons reunion - Shadow

 
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Sam and Dean have been searching for their father all season, and they finally meet up with him in Shadow.  Of course Dean was happy to see his father, but the highlight of the scene was Sam and John.  There was a sort of tension there where you knew they were glad to see each other, but at the same time, you weren't sure if they might start fighting again.


#14 - "I hope your apple pie is freaking worth it!" - Scarecrow


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Dean's been tied up by townspeople as a sacrifice to the vanir, and that is what he has to say for himself?  Brilliant!  I will always laugh at ridiculous things like this.  It's just so outlandish and amusing and so Dean!


#13 - Gordon loses his head - Fresh Blood


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Gordon was a pretty intimidating foe, and I'm glad he got an appropriately awesome death.  Sam decapitates him with razor wire.  Razor wire, people!  The whole thing was gruesome, what with the blood spurting and Gordon's lips moving when they pan down to his severed head on the ground.

#12 - Sam prays - Houses of the Holy


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These two have seen horrific things in their lives, and how they have interpreted those events is so fitting to their characters.  Sam still believes in God and angels and everything, despite what he's seen.  Dean doesn't because of what he's seen.  That disconnect is summed up perfectly in this little moment when Sam tells Dean that he prays every day.  Dean had no idea, and he was pretty surprised by that revelation.



#11 - The secret - In My Time of Dying


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John and Dean have just had probably the best father/son moment in Dean's life, and John has to go ruin it by telling him...something.  We don't know what it is until Hunted, but judging by Dean's horrified reaction, it's not good.  And that's the last thing John ever says to Dean.


#10 - Devastation around Dean's grave - Lazarus Rising


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Dean's just pulled his way out of his grave.  We see his huh? face but not what he's seeing.  Until they pan out.  Then we see that dozens of trees have been felled in a concentric circle around Dean's grave.  What the heck is powerful enough to do that?  This shot was amazing, and set us up for the great reveal at the end.


#9 - Rock, Paper, Scissors - Heart


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This was such a great brother moment.  Dean always throws scissors!  Sam knows and exploits this!  And even when Sam tells Dean about his propensity for scissors, he still throws it!


#8 - Ouija board conversation - In My Time of Dying


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Due to Dean's coma, the boys have to find alternate means of communication.  Enter the Ouija board.  Though Dean is skeptical, it works, and he's able to tell Sam about the reaper that's after him.  I love how this scene was shot.  The way the camera circles around the brothers, with Dean being there and then not being there, really adds an ethereal quality to the whole conversation.  Not even a coma can keep those two apart.


#7 - The car crash - Devil's Trap


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The Yellow-eyed demon has just possessed John, almost killed Dean, took a Colt shot to the leg, and evacuated John's body.  That has to be the worst of the episode, right?  Not so fast.  Enter one possessed truck driver and a speeding semi, and you get one massive and amazing car crash.  That scene was just brutal.  It was a great cliffhanger and an excellent way to end season 1.


#6 - Enter Castiel - Lazarus Rising


Castiel

Castiel made two attempts to contact Dean before he realized he needed a vessel.  He finds Jimmy, a "holy tax accountant," and meets up with Dean in an abandoned barn covered with occult symbols.  He pops light bulbs, he puts Bobby to sleep, he's fairly menacing towards Dean, even though he's the one who pulled him from hell.  And then wings!  Best introduction ever.


#5 - Dean's last words - No Rest for the Wicked


Remember

"Keep fighting. Take care of my wheels.  Sam, remember what Dad taught you, okay?  And remember what I taught you."  Oh.  Oh, Dean.  His final words to his brother were heartbreaking without being sappy and held so much more meaning: "Remember what Dad taught you," meaning hunting and survival skills; "remember what I taught you," meaning how to live and how to love and how to take care of himself.


#4 - The ending - Heart


4heart

This is just devastating.  Sam is just so upset, and Jared really kills it in this scene.  But what I think I loved the most about the whole thing is that after we see Sam take one more reassuring look at Dean, he steels his nerves and walks out of frame.  We're left with Dean's reaction and how the killing affects him, not Sam.  We know this is breaking Sam, and so does Dean.  Hearing the killing instead of seeing it makes it that much worse, too.


#3 - Dean's many deaths - Mystery Spot


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DeanShower
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If it's wrong to laugh at Dean dying so many times, I don't want to be right.  He's survived so many things that would kill an average person, but he's felled by: tacos, a sausage, the shower, axe-wielding Sam, his razor, etc.  And though the deaths themselves are played for comedy, clearly they are causing Sam enormous amounts of pain.  Which leads us to...


#2 - OCD Sam - Mystery Spot


When Dean dies on Wednesday, he's gone for good.  And Sam becomes something entirely unrecognizable.  He goes so far over the edge, and it's terrifying.  The part that hurts the most for me is that he lays out a plate of food for Dean at mealtime.

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#1 - Dean breaks down over his brother's corpse - All Hell Breaks Loose Part II


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This whole sequence is as fine a tribute to Jensen's acting and Manners' directing as you'll find in the entire series.  Dean is so broken.  He just absolutely cannot bear the thought of life without his brother, so he goes and sells his soul to bring him back.  It was monumentally stupid, but if that's not love, I don't know what is.  I loved how they kept cutting to show Sam lying there, like Dean was willing him to answer back.  That was a cool way to set up the scene.  And Jensen is so understated here.  I know he's crying and breaking down, but in a less-capable actor's hands, this scene could easily have veered off course.  That, too, is a tribute to Manners' directing.

So what's at the top of your Manners moments list?  Did I neglect any of your favorites?
Kim Manners directed 17 episodes for Supernatural before his untimely death.  Most of them were very good, some were great, and there was even one stinker. (Bugs!)  But no matter what the episode was about or how it turned out, it always looked amazing, and the acting was (almost) always fantastic.  Manners really knew how to shoot an episode to make it look cinematic, and the bond he had with Jensen and Jared allowed him to draw out some incredible performances from them.  That being said, which of his episodes were the best of the best?  Since we're all familiar with the episodes, I won't go into too much depth about each.  Instead, I'll offer a Clint Eastwood-esqe highlight version.  Read on for the Top Ten Kim Manners Episodes!