The Winchesters episode 11, “You’ve Got a Friend” inspired plenty to talk about in my review – writing, crafting characters, what may have been done through the season… etc., which is always a plus for an episode in my book.
Here’s the IMDB entry for the X-Files episode I mentioned. It was directed by none other than… Kim Manners! If you didn’t see it, Fox Mulder uncovers an insect monster who controls people via a triangular bite to the back of the neck. The monster ends up manipulating Mulder into coming off like a lunatic and getting himself locked up in a mental hospital. As usual, Dana Scully doesn’t believe him at first, but Mulder gets her to examine some clues and by the end of the episode, she ends up seeing the truth herself and coming to Mulder’s aid right before the insect monster can get him.
Obviously this episode (and season) isn’t an exact copy, but you can see enough broad strokes in common between the two that it wouldn’t surprise me if this The Winchesters episode was an affectionate tribute to that X-Files tale. It could only get better if they get one of the stars of the X-Files to show up in the finale to play the Akrida queen. ?
There’s a lot I could go on about writing and storycraft in this episode, but I think I’ll save some of it for the season review at the end. As I was editing the video, I realized should explain a bit of story writing terminology, though. This is kind of a quirk of the English language, as “character” technically applies to any person within a story, but there aren’t a lot of terms denoting gradations of a character save the very cumbersome “one-, two-, three-dimensional” add-on, which is a mouthful on the best of days. So in this video I want to distinguish between someone in a story who’s just “there” and someone in a story who is more fully fleshed out and realized. So I am using the terms “person” for the former and “character” for the latter.
Note that there is nothing innately good or bad about how someone is used in a story. Time and resources are limited so you pick and choose who are going to be characters and who are going to be persons serving as plot devices, background filler, inciting incidents, etc. Someone can also change over the course of a story, too. As an example, in The Winchesters, Roxy would have originally been just a person – the antagonist. It was in the previous episode “Suspicious Minds” that she graduated to a character as we finally learned more about her. As ever, the question remains what are your needs, what does your story require? By now, especially as often as the show has gone to her as a plot solution, it is clear that The Winchesters required Maggie to be a pretty fleshed out character. Even if she was off screen, we needed to have a much better and clearer picture of who this character was to have had such an effect on those around her and to have continued affecting the world after she was gone. All we really know is that she was “a cousin” and a few other tidbits. There are some hints that she might have been an awesome aunt to Sam and Dean had she lived, but not enough to really create a fanfic of it. Which again just lends the overall sensation to the show that it being just half-baked.
Drake at least keeps putting in great performances week after week. He does feel like he’s in the same family as Sam and Dean. Maybe he can play Dean Jr. in a sequel series?
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