Having had such a positive reaction to my retro-look at The Pilot - and a moment of Wendigo - I decided to try my hand at another of Season 1's episodes that stood out from the others. Granted, some of you may say to yourself - she chose that episode? What about Home or Faith or Shadow or Devil's Trap or, or, or...well, all excellent choices BUT (that awful word) this one 'spoke' to me because it's got a vibe that is not as evident anymore in the series. I miss the vibe of this episode.
Now, before anyone thinks I'm complaining (I'm not) the reason the 'vibe' of this episode isn't seen, felt, heard, or whatever of late is simply because since this particular episode John died, Sam died, Dean died (again, as this is post-Faith, where he almost died, but pre-IMTOD so technically Dean has died again, and again and again and probably two more times (but that's a different bunny trail), Dean's gone to hell, come back damaged, Sam psychologically and emotionally went to hell and also drank demon blood (sure to mess with anybody's funny bone.) Suffice it to say, a whole lot of junk has 'gone down', and the light-hearted funny found in this episode, particularly between the brothers, isn't as evident. So for those reasons and many others, Hell House stands out from Season 1.
"Who ya gonna call?"
Trey Calloway wrote this episode. I know, we're all scratching our SPN heads wondering, who? He never wrote another SPN episode but he gave us a great example of brotherly fun, bonding, one-upmanship that has yet to be repeated. Who can forget Sam having itching powder in his shorts (yes, and Sam in a towel but I'll give credit there to the director) and Dean's line of: "I don't have any skin on my palm." BWYAH! Trey (if I may be so bold) also gave us the polarizing (yet I love them) Ghostfacers. Okay. Technically here they're just the guys that run the HellhoundsLair.com web site, still, without Trey's writing here they wouldn't be. (Although I'm well aware there are many in the fandom wishing they never were; I for one love them!)
Chris Long directed this episode. We've never heard of this director since, at least in the SPN realm. It's possible he is enjoying a career elsewhere in La La Land, I don't know. I do think he did a fine job directing this episode. There are great parts with Mordecai moving around in the background and then popping out to terrorize. He includes great shots of the Impala traveling down the road (and, Alice, you can check me on this 'cause you pay a whole lot more attention to this than I do; I believe he keeps the rear view mirror in his shots. I'll expect verification from someone (or I'll just watch it again.) It may not be a Kim Manners signature piece but this is straight up fun and the cuts between Sam and Dean and Harry and Ed are funny and take full advantage of the comedic timing of all involved. Also, I'll give credit to Mr. Long for giving the frenetic energy of Harry and Ed to Harry and Ed, and to the actors themselves for willingly making themselves the butt of many jokes and going all out for the funny.
There's also the simple yet oh-so-funny little lines in here. What exactly is a persquiter (and I probably did not spell that right, if there is such a right) and how is it that Dean chose that word at that time? I don't know but it's funny each time.
How about Sam actually saying that, since Dad is gone 'who-knows-where,' he thinks they might as well hunt something in the meantime; Sam, our Sam, really? Love that little bit of Dean/John insight of Sam there.
Then there's Dean's ever-present rebellion against authority: "I hate to agree with authority figures of any kind butâ€¦" Yep, that's the Dean we know and love.
"What would Buffy do?" WWBD...too funny for they're so serious when they say it.
And let's not forget the how persuasive the argument for staying the course... "Fame, money, sex - with girls."
Check out the scene again as Sam and Dean 'pretend' to be fascinated over Harry and Ed's use/explanation of EMF in Mordecai's cabin. I love the cuts back and forth that give us the bemused and then serious faces of the brothers as the HellHoundsLair.com boys wax expert on EMF and what meeting a ghost does to a man; how it changes a man.
There's so many shout outs and meta references in here and I catch almost all of them by now. From Richardson, Texas (Jensen's hometown) to Sweet Lord of the Rings, to Who Ya Gonna Call to I hate rats (Indiana Jones perhaps?) and so very many more this is fun with fun.
"Makes you wonder, of all the things we hunted, how many existed just because people believed in them."
Oh the profundity of such an observation. In one simple line a genre show does what genre shows do best, points a microscope (or laser beam, but those can hurt you) on humanity and asks a question. I wonder how many things do exist just because we believe. How often do you fall down simply because you imagine you're going to fall on a slippery surface? How about fears of the dark, how many monsters are in the closet simply because you imagine you hear them breathing? (And why is it that hiding under the covers makes you feel safer, I mean really, what's a cotton blanket and sheet gonna do against a chupacabra anyway?)
"What if the legend changes again and he is allowed to leave the house? Then we'll just come back."
If there is a Season 6, here's a plot line all ready to go. Hope it includes the ghostfacers...you know, where it all began.
Thanks for reading. Elle2