This is a pet project I’ve been meaning to do for a while now, and what do you know, quarantine seems to be providing the best opportunity. If you look in our handy dandy Episode Guides, you’ll notice that a review in my name is attached to most of the episodes. MOST. There are a few missing. 50 ish to be exact. Since we’re biding our time, waiting for “Supernatural” to play out it’s long delayed end, I’m going to do my best to catch up on all those missed reviews. This should be interesting.
I’ll tell you right now, you won’t see any catch-up reviews for seasons three, four, five, six, seven, ten, and eleven. For some really strange reason, I managed to keep up on all those seasons. I started blogging for “Supernatural” is season three and did try to go back and do reviews for the first two seasons, but that initiative failed with season one’s “Something Wicked” and I never got back to it. I have done a few recaps of really big episodes for seasons one and two, but there are three episodes in season one and the majority of season two where I missed general reviews. In season nine, well, we had glut of reviewers and I really, really hated season nine. So I didn’t write many reviews except for the TV Fanatic Roundtables. I missed a chunk of the last part of season thirteen too because of personal circumstances and a lot of the end of season fourteen because by that point in the season I was really pissed off. :) Then there’s just some random ones in between for seasons eight, twelve, and fifteen that I just didn’t get to.
I’ll start where it all began, with season one. I pulled out the DVDs and started the missed review rewatch. Up first, episode 1.18, “Something Wicked”.
Okay, the episode starts with a child saying her “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep” prayer. It’s dark, it’s creepy, the eerie score is playing in the background, and I’m thinking, “You’re f**king messing with children Kripke?? You bastard.” It is funny, going back all this time, how crude season one was, but the darker film tone really sold the horror story. They really knew how to sell suspense at the time. But the bad monster coming after the cute little girl? That’s probably why I haven’t watched this episode much through the years.
The Quick Review
All in all, this was a well crafted monster story, weaving in the parallels of the current events with flashbacks of the brothers alone in a motel while John was away on a hunt. Yes, the formula was a bit paint by numbers, but this type of parallel story telling was necessary for character exposition in a series' season one so it did its job very well.
The guest kid of the week, Michael, made for a good young Dean parallel. I like the “big brother” bonding he and Dean had. There was some light humor to help with the intensity of the situation, something definitely missing in the later years of the show. The old lady made for a light humored red herring, and the brotherly antics as usual delivered. Poor Dean carried all that guilt for years of letting the Shtriga almost harm Sam and get away when he was nine, just because he was berated by John for letting his guard down. That delivered a good glimpse into some of the Daddy issues Dean was carrying and why he blindly followed John’s orders. The experience certainly gave Sam appreciation of what his brother has done for him, as well as Dean a chance at that redemption for failing to protect Sam before. The flashbacks weren’t heavy or overbearing - just the right enough amount of character information that you would expect when unfolding a story in season one. As we learned later in the series, the Daddy issues ran much deeper.
This episode was written by Daniel Knauf, a spec writer at the time (who has since gone onto better credits like “Carnivale”) and directed by Whitney Ransick, who was guesting from studio neighbor “Smallville,” and is another director who never returned to “Supernatural” after this. This was a common thing in season one as they were trying to find their footing. The creative lineup stabilized a lot going forward in season two.
This was the first episode to give us a “Weechester” flashback. This was the first appearance of Ridge Canipe as Dean, who would again appear in season three’s “A Very Supernatural Christmas.”
One thing I SORELY miss from the earlier seasons is the really wild, over the top motel rooms. Oh man, have we seen something as classic as a bowling pin divider in recent memory? A checkered wall? Priceless! But why was Sam mindlessly watching “Thundercats?” Shouldn’t he be reading or something? I know, I’ve got to stop nitpicking flashbacks. Anything can happen when you’re five.
I also miss the classic Dean Winchester setups of Sam, which left Sam in this episode quickly flashing his “bikini inspector” badge. That must be in a museum archive sometime when this show is done!
I’m also too seriously distracted by Sam’s bangs to pay real attention to the plot, but I’ll get over it. I have comfort in knowing that by season two this won’t be an issue. But why, oh why is Sam wearing a t-shirt with a greyhound-ish type animal on it? Notice how we never saw that sort of thing again? Just plain undershirts. I’m sure Kripke looked at this, much like the umbrellas in “Bugs” and said “Never again!”
You know this episode is old when Dean is using a flip phone and Sam is using a Blackberry. Hilarious! These guys have definitely aged when they can show that outdated technology to their kids and say, “Remember when…”
This is one problem I have with season one, Sam was so damned pissy about things. I get that Jared was still trying to define his character, but it’s a bit too obvious at times. He was like this right off the bat in this episode and I just wanted to slap him and tell him to stop whining. It is funny how that is exactly what happened in later seasons, so much so he has internalized most things, leaving us to guess what in the world was in his head. At least with season one pissy Sammy, we knew how he felt!
When I watch these older episodes, it’s funny how much I recognize the shooting locations now that I’ve been location hunting a few times in Vancouver. This is shot at our perennial favorite, the Riverside Hospital campus in Coquitlam, British Columbia. I have so many photos of that complex. Creepiest place I have ever seen. Judging by the inside, it was filmed in the Crease Clinic building, which has been very popular for all Vancouver TV shows and films. The exterior shot was done at the East Lawn Building, which is the nicest of the exteriors there.
(Photo courtesy of Alice Jester)
I’m also really excited to see the 2400 motel, another place I got to see while location touring on the Kingsway. It’s still going strong. It’s funny how Vancouver still has these little independent motels thriving in the age of hotel chains. I miss seeing those in the later episodes. I suppose you can only location shoot those for so long, though.
(Photo courtesy of Alice Jester)
For the record, I always expected Michael to turn up later as a full fledged hunter. Seven episodes, left, maybe not too late? Maybe he and Ben could team up.
It should be noted this episode contains my absolute most favorite “Simpsons” reference, something I used to catch quite often when doing reviews early in the series. Sam told Dean from the library that the Shtriga struck in Ogdenville, North Haverbrook, and Brockway. Suddenly I broke into song. “Monorail, Monorail, Monorail!!!” That legendary Simpson’s episode BTW was written by the one and only Conan O’Brien.
(Credit to DJ Clulow at crabbysquid.com)
Pop Psychology of a Main Character in a Paragraph
I know that the episode focused on a deep seeded guilt trip of Dean’s, but this gave us a great glimpse of just how damaged John was. He loved his boys, no doubt, but his intense fear for their safety drove him to take the extreme measures he did. He felt he had to be out there in the world, protecting not only his boys but others from the evil in the world, just so that what happened to Mary wouldn't happen to anyone else. He did what he did so families wouldn't be broken apart like his was. They were at war. It’s the sacrificial mentality that defines a soldier and the overbearing sense of duty. Once a soldier, always a soldier. In his eyes, he had no choice but to put that kind of pressure on Dean too. That was the reality of their fight. Sure, we know from “In My Time of Dying” that John had regrets of making Dean grow up too fast, but I’m sure if put in that situation again, he would have done the same.
Overall grade for “Something Wicked,“ a B. As I said earlier, this is not a story I rewatch frequently. Maybe because many of the season one episodes were just scratching the surface and not digging too deep into the Winchester psyche. It was an average MOTW story for the time, although it runs circles around them now. Up next on "Reviews I Missed," “Provenance,” which is one of my top season 1 episodes.
What are your thoughts on "Something Wicked"? Reactions to Alice's observations in her review? Share with the class in the comments below!
Enjoy Alice's many episode reviews! They can all be found on The WFB Writer's Page!