As far as episodes go, "Wendigo" for any other show out there today would end up being a mediocre effort. When compared to the 92 episodes that have aired for Supernatural so far though, it actually sucks. Not really bad, but bad enough where it makes the "What was Kripke thinking" files. The first clue that the monster story might not work? When you watch the three tools in a tent that are destined to be cave dweller food and don't care. Then the one thing you do care about, what the hell happened after Jessica is flambe'd on the ceiling, ends in less than a minute. The brotherly strife, which actually isn't bad, ends up being about finding Dad. They don't get very far. Sure, its episode two and that might be considered being impatient, but come on, throw us a bone. A least a nugget or two. Instead, we got a mission statement.

This episode decided to make the creepy monster story the main focus and push the family drama to the back burner. I suppose that would have been okay for an episode four or five, but considering Sam had just lost his girlfriend in the most tragic way, he didn't seem to be too upset over it other than the dream at the beginning. Which was totally cool BTW. As a matter of fact, when that scene came on, I sushed everyone. "Quiet, this is the only great scene in the entire episode! Talk to me in two minutes!"  Couldn't have Sam at least told Hailey in a short conversation how broken up he is over the fact that his girlfriend is now charcoal? How much he's suffering right now or even showing some simmering anger over the thing that killed her and how he's going to find it? No, he whines about daddy for three sentences and then follows the golden trail of M & M's all the way to the poorly CGI'd wendigo. 

 
The only real personality comes from Dean, and he's trying to flirt with a woman who's frantic over her missing brother. As you might guess, he doesn't score.  Add to all that the fact there are two really hot looking guys in the wilderness and one of them ends up having the worst hair day imaginable. Also, Hailey's tagalong brother was cardboard and unnecessary.  

 
In episode two, a show needs to start forging identity. The tone, the pacing, the monster story all felt like an X-Files episode. The uniqueness that came from the Pilot all but disappeared with the already done phantom creature stalking the heroes in the woods bit. In fairness to this episode though, once they got out of the safety of the circle camp, the episode did get interesting. Enough where I watched the final showdown with some interest. The outcome was satisfying for the most part until Sam smiles, proclaims he's driving and they pull away to Rush's "Fly By Night." Huh?  
My grade, a C-. 

Comments  

Jasminka
# Jasminka 2010-01-06 05:35
Alice, loved your Wendigo-recap. That first scene scared me out of my wits, with Jessica’s hand coming out, gosh, ‘Carrie’, anyone? Even though I know this episode now so well, whenever I watch it, I lose my breath at that moment.
I also thought the show moved on too fast, after Sam had just lost Jessica. I’m not really sure why the writers decided to get on with it in this manner. Even after Sam had to kill Madison, there was only one small sequence of dialogue in the following episode, ‘Hollywood Babylon’, referring to that. That bugged me. It did not seem natural for the brothers to get on with their ‘job’ like that. Also, Dean seems to be injured in the Wendigo’s cave and there’s no attention to that. (He has a great Han-Solo-moment there, though, storming after the monster.) Personally, I would have loved to see the brothers deal with those inner and outer injuries more. Perhaps the show did not know yet how to deal with those. But, well, I’m only one of many viewers. The power is all Kripke’s…
:-), Jas
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2010-01-06 05:38
P.S., I'd give it a C+... You know, I like that we can be critical about some episodes, but still love this show. Being a fan luckily does not mean blind adoration... 8-)
Suze
# Suze 2010-01-06 06:26
I'm rather fond of this one, I just like campers getting shredded.

It reinforces my conviction that the outdoors is bad for you and coming down out of the trees and inventing central heating and soft loo paper was a sound move and shouldn't be messed with, and that no matter how much you think you like nature it looks a lot better through double glazing ( if this sounds a bit sour I live with a bloke who makes Ray Mears look like an indoor wussie so I'm allowed to be slightly twisted on the subject)
Sablegreen
# Sablegreen 2010-01-06 13:16
I liked this one too. Not of course as much as later years, but for being the second episode of the series, it still had a pull to bring viewers back. As long as we're grading, I'd ive it a B.

And yes, this is one of the many times Sam drives the impala. In one episode of s1, and now I can't remember which one to save my soul, Dean and Sam make a comment about their rotation shifts when driving long distances. Something they apparently do all the time.
magichappening
# magichappening 2010-01-06 13:37
I have to say I really like Wendigo as well. Agree with the B grade by Sablegreen though. I think you are right about the X Files-y feel, but then I loved the X Files (twas like that episode where everyone kept ending up being wrapped in webs by some sort of insect). I think you are right Jas that they had not yet decided to focus on the brothers as opposed to the monsters yet. I do think Sam's emotional lability goes some way to showing how distracted he was from the monster of the week and the 'saving people, hunting things, the family business' conversation was key at that stage. I love the 'do you have to cheapen the moment?' line demonstrating that there is more to Dean than meets the eye. I have to agree though with Alice that Tommy was very wet. On a random note am pretty sure that Haley appeared in that Christmas movie Jared did. The Impala looked beautiful in the episode. Oh and also? 'Well sweetheart I don't do shorts': Classic.
Bevie
# Bevie 2010-01-06 16:22
I have to disagree completely with you Alice. (I know you will be devastated to hear that. LOL)

I love this episode as I love the pilot. The brotherly stuff going on in it showing their diverging points of view as to their missions. (find dad! saving people!)

I liked the pissing contest between Dean and the guide and the feeling that violence was nigh between them, loved the don't do shorts bit and Dean's defence to Sam as to why they should stay with the family. Liked Haley a lot and her cheapen the moment comment. Loved Dean's Peanut M&M supplies. Actually liked Dean's attitude in this one a lot, opposed to Sam's one track attitude to ignore everything except to find dad. But when Sam came around, he really came around. Protecting the others with his arms out in front of them even though practically defenseless himself. And at the end getting to drive the Impala.

I definitely give this one a score of A.

And besides all that, the scenery was absolutely gorgeous! :lol:
Bevie
# Bevie 2010-01-06 16:30
Sablegreen, I believe what you are thinking re the driving rotations of the brothers was from Route 666 when after leaving Cassie (Sam driving) Dean puts on his sunglasses, leans back and says "Wake me when it's my turn to drive".
Sablegreen
# Sablegreen 2010-01-06 16:38
THANK YOU, Bevie! Your right...I have been trying to think of the episode all day! You saved my soul! :lol:
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2010-01-06 17:21
I have to say, Bevie, I have not thought of that scene in which Sam puts his life between the Wendigo and the campers… This does indeed improve the rating… I loved that scene… (and here she swooned… aaaaah, my hero :lol: :o :lol:-). Sam was established as an utterly protective and selfless character. I liked that a lot...
Thanks for reminding me, Jas
banzaicherokee
# banzaicherokee 2010-01-06 18:14
I recently did a marathon of S1 and I have to say that out of all of the episodes this one remains in my top 5. I loved the monster and the suspense, bad CGi and all. The support characters held their own far better than other ensembles in other episodes. Whilst mileage may vary I'd also say that S1 held some rather heavy anvils and this one managed to navigate/get away with that part of the plot - quite possibly because it was number 2 though I would prefer to think it was because of the other things mentioned above.
Alice
# Alice 2010-01-06 21:43
I'm not too shocked to see how many people liked Wendigo. The season one episodes had a different appeal to many.

I'm not anti X-Files at all! On the contrary, that's one of my favorite shows. This episode though did remind me too much of the one where they were being spun into spiderwebs (thanks magichappening! ). In the end, I was put off by Sam's behavior and didn't care for Hailey and her brothers. Granted, Sam's issues do get addressed in episode five, so I forgive. I stand by my grade though!

I suspect when I do my glowing review for Phantom Traveler (one of my favorites), I'll have plenty of others telling me how much it sucked! I love it when we all agree to disagree.
Karen
# Karen 2010-01-06 23:09
Hi Alice
I have to side with the consensus here, I really enjoyed this episode.
The many heart to hearts between the brothers. After loosing Jessica, Sam is finally able to understand his dad and his relentless desire to go after the entity that killed Mary.

As for camping, I go every year for a week. I love it. Living out of a tent. Cooking outside on either a portable bar-b-q, coleman stove and or over an open fire.
Being with the family, enjoying the beach, the sun, reading, swimming….
At night looking at the stars while sitting by an open fire, cooking marshmallows, hot dogs…
Playing guitars and singing and/or murdering songs…dependi ng on how many beers/coolers you’ve had.
As for the wild life, as long as you lock up your garbage and food supplies, the raccoons, skunks, squirrels and chipmunks will just come and check things out and then go away. This will also help keep the bears from visiting. Just make sure you have some kind of noise maker to scare them away. A quick access to your vehicle doesn’t hurt either, just in case.
Wow is it summer yet?
elenaM
# elenaM 2010-01-07 00:18
Suze, you crack me up.

I remember liking that X-files lost in the woods ep a lot, even though MOTWs are always a harder sell for me. Wendigo was the first bit of Supernatural I ever saw; I'd been intrigued by the promos. But it wasn't long before I sort of dismissed it as a mediocre X-files knockoff (I know-- SO wrong!!!) I didn't finish the ep, and forgot about the series until years later... Not that I don't find stuff to enjoy when I look back now. I get a kick out of Tommy reading "Hero With a Thousand Faces" in the tent, peanut M&Ms, a Carrie ref, & Jas, loved Dean's Han Solo rampage as well. A C from me, but I tend to be ambivalent about a fair chunk of S1...
Supernarttu
# Supernarttu 2010-01-07 13:37
I also really like this ep.
Ok, the Wengigo itself was badly done but I liked the brotherly bits and I could see Sam being a stone-cold-man- on-a-mission over Jessicas death (and then Dean got through to him d. The graveyard -scene was creeeeeepy.
But I gotta agree that the ending was a little too "All is well now??" I agree with the "Huh?" on that one :-)
I dunno about your grading scale since we have a different scale here... So A is the best? And F is fail but a B is second best? I'll give it a 8 out of 10 'cause it's S1 and that's always close to my heart