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.
…then continued with Rowena’s dress…
…and Crowley’s ties, which relfected purple atop the gray pipe.
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.
Even the young girl’s hair bow and gym shoes reinforced the show’s palette.
The Astoria Hotel sign lit these same colors in neon.
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.
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.
Claire’s innocence is suggested by a pink glow, reinforced with the pink lighting and her purple/pink hoodie.
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.
Crowley’s sarcophogus has a purple/blue hue…
and reveals the Blade box’s royal lining of purplish red.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Graffiti implies the complexity of the conversation between Sam, Dean and Crowley.
Shadows (and the lines on the books) add interest to the boys sitting at a table…
…and the conversation in Hell’s warehouse. The linear repetition of the bricks again offsets the shadowy squares and diamonds on the floor.
In the playgound, the geometrics combine with color to frame Castiel and the very important sandbox.
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:
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.
This fantastic view looks down on the boys and combines the color and geometric themes of the show.
This visual effect shot was just…cool.
The last look at Claire was both insightful and symbollic.
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!
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:
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!
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!