Before I get started with this week's recap, I want to send my thanks to all of you who read and sent comments regarding my little copout from last week for "Red Sky At Morning". The feedback was fantastic and it seems many of you agreed with my choices for worst episodes. The best episodes list will be coming in a few weeks, and I'm sure I'll get far more disagreement on that one.
Anyway, "Fresh Blood" holds a special place for me, since it's the very first Supernatural episode I saw live. As I've mentioned before, I spent most of October and November catching up on season one, season two, and the first six episodes of season three. As a matter of fact, the hubby and I watched "Red Sky At Morning" on the TiVo that night before taking on "Fresh Blood", holding up our arms in triumph that we finally reached the pinnacle.
Considering I had taken on season three in one week, there was something about this episode I noticed right away, and the rest of the season confirmed that feeling. This was when season three kicked into high gear, and began to reach levels of season two, even sometimes exceeding them. Not that what I had seen up to this point was bad, but here it went from good to really great. Of course, my husband will be the first to disagree with me, but that's because he hates Gordon.
This is the third time a Sera Gamble script connected with Kim Manners' direction, and the results again were remarkable. It's a great combination because Sera tends to write powerful emotional scenes, and Kim knows how to bring out the greatest impact from those scenes. Of course it helps to have great actors like Jared and Jensen in your corner, but that observation treads on stating the obvious. I'm sure no one minds though.
Even the first scene, a Bela sighting, didn't bother me. She was actually good with Gordon. Her presence was minimal, and minimal is always a bonus. She even gets to deliver a great line about hearing Sam was the Anti-Christ from the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy, and then appropriately asks, "Are you off your meds?" Sharp dialogue so early makes me happy.
My feelings of happiness continue as we next get some classic, badass Dean. Sure he was cutting it a little close, but it was awesome. "Come on. I smell good. I taste even better." I'm sure you do! How many of us were insanely jealous of Mercedes McNabb at that point? I shake my mind out of the gutter, and move on.
We go to this week's motel room, and dÃ©cor can't be critiqued, since the mattresses up against the windows had me instead wondering if Sam and Dean flipped a coin over who got to sleep in the back seat of the Impala. When I open my Vampire motel, I'll know how to decorate now. "Lucy the Vampire Girl" was slipped some tainted blood at a club, and wants to come down now. Uh, judging by that machete in Dean's hand, I'm thinking she should be careful what she wishes for. This scene marked the return of sympathetic Sam, something that proved to be a rarity in season three. I was surprised when he flinched over Dean doing the decapitation. Just wait Sam. You'll get to one-up him in the biggest way.
It's Kubrick! Our favorite Jesus freak hunter from "Bad Day At Black Rock". I loved the idea of an overly religious hunter, but when I first saw him with Gordon, I didn't give him big odds of surviving this episode. Doesn't the sidekick usually die in these scenarios? They're doing the FBI thing. Do all hunters do that so well? At least Sam and Dean look far better in suits. A great job by the way from Sterling K. Brown over keeping a dead serious face when he told the guy they might have had to kill him. I wonder if there is some sort of blooper reel of him cracking up over that. They figure out that Sam and Dean were involved, all because of the crack description the man gives, one of the guys is "real tall". Oh, you could have done better than that. How about tall, flowing locks of long pretty hair, knock "˜em dead gorgeous eyes, built like a Mack truck, etc?
"Tall" worked though, for we cut to Sam and Dean, saving another victim from evil Vampire. Who's really hot. A chase ensues and then I scream in delight by the "Oh shit" look on Sam and Dean's faces when they round the corner just in time to see Gordon and Kubrick emerge from the dark with guns held high. That's the one and only shot that Supernatural gets on this summer's CW promo touting their "all teen except for three of our most popular shows and Sunday night" network. I suppose if there was only to be one clip that was a great one. Not that it makes me feel better.
Somehow, even with bullets flying, cars suddenly appear and Sam and Dean have something to duck behind, unscathed. What's even stranger is Dean jumps over the wall to throw them off, and Kubrick goes after him. Isn't the objective to kill Sam? Why would they care if Dean got away? Gordon is denied his chance to kill the Antichrist Winchester by super sexy Vampire, who probably had to avoid peeing on himself in excitement over finally capturing the one man who takes the most responsibility for killing his kind. I guess Sam isn't the real threat here, right Gordo?
Here's an original scene, Sam's angsting while Dean is cracking jokes. Despite the fact that's done a lot, it never gets old. Ah, but Dean goes from joker to badass in a fraction of a second, and this was when I really, really wished a look could kill over the phone. They could have written that in. Stranger things have happened in this show. "Listen to my voice and tell me if I'm serious." I believe you Dean! Oh well, a freaked out Bela was good too.
Oh Gordon, calling vampires bloodthirsty animals? People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Interesting to see how the strategy of rudely insulting the guy who has you chained to a bed backfired. Didn't see that one coming. Oh, I get it, reverse psychology. You just wanted to be vampire didn't you?
Next comes the one part of this episode that bothers me. Dean and Sam are holed up the motel room, with the mattresses still in place. They must have loved the ambience. I'm not sure why Dean called out Sam on the "killing humans is wrong" stuff. Didn't he get over that three episodes ago? Bela calls with information to help out so Dean won't kill her, and delivers the obvious message that Gordon is dangerous. First, why would Bela feel threatened by Dean? She had nothing to gain by helping him, which was completely out of her bad character. Also, by season's end, that whole contacting the spirits from beyond nonsense went nowhere, didn't it? I dismiss those thoughts though, since Bela never really deserved my time.
Uh oh, Gordon's a dangerous vampire now. Not a smart move, was it sexy Vampire? Now he's more powerful than ever, and oh, he still kills innocent people. I guess some things never change. So, Gordon hunts vampires for years and then becomes one. What would Sam and Dean's "˜just desserts' be then? Becoming demons? Dean's halfway there (still sobbing!), and Sam, well, having demon blood qualifies. They don't go around eating people changing tires though. Gordon needs to learn a thing or two from the Winchesters.
Now sexy collides, and it's all good. Dixon manages to hit home with Dean. "You ever felt desperate? I've lost everyone I ever loved. I'm staring down eternity alone. Can you think of a worse hell?" Dean's response is quite interesting. "Well, there's hell." I didn't get why he would say in a joking way until seeing the upcoming scene with Sam. This is the way he acts when he's scared. Dixon then asks, "Do you know it's like when you just don't give a damn? It's like"¦ it's like being dead already." With that seed planted, that comment ends up taking us all the way to "Dream A Little Dream Of Me." Why it took Dean that long to give a damn about dying was beyond me, but it made for some great drama in the process. Sam or Dean weren't shown killing Dixon, so can he pretty please come back? He can turn into a good vampire like what's his name on Moonlight.
So why didn't Kubrick agree to Gordon's plan and kill him after they got Sam? He could have saved his own life that way. He didn't turn out to be all that smart, did he? Even his Jesus couldn't save him from that error in judgment. Another dead hunter. This show loves to rack "˜em up!
All of that was just filler though. There were two scenes that blew me away in this episode, and this was one of them. Before I rave about the scene though, I must comment as a tech person that the whole idea of destroying the cell phones to avoid being traced was ridiculous. It's called "removing the battery." I digress though, and will accept the totally asinine technical aspects for sake of good drama. No, I take that back, I won't. Please show, if you need an experienced technical consultant, just email me. I'm cheap.
This scene is where I came to the realization how far Jared has come as an actor since the pilot, especially since the other 50 episodes were still fresh in my mind. Teary and puppy dog eyes win every time, and by now he has it down to a perfect science. Sam has had enough of Dean's act. Geez Sam, took you long enough! All his frustration over the last six episodes, the intense discussions in the Impala, the frustration over coming up empty in his research, the burden that he took upon himself that he clearly wasn't ready for, it all collided here. He's tired and just wants things back the way they were.
It's interesting, how Sam since last season's finale wanted to be the one to protect Dean, accepting the role reversal and protecting big brother for a change. After all, he had a great example to learn from and he owed it to him. It's here we see how taking on this responsibility has ruined his confidence and he's not handling the burden well. So many things about this scene poked a hole in my heart, mostly because of the outstanding dialogue (what rhymes with "˜shut up Sam') but this line did it. "Yeah, I've been following you around my entire life! I mean, I've been looking up to you since I was four, Dean. Studying you, trying to be just like my big brother. So yeah, I know you. Better than anyone else in the entire world. And this is exactly how you act when you're terrified. And, I mean, I can't blame you. It's just"¦ I wish you would drop the show and be my brother again. "˜Cause"¦ just "˜cause." It was at this moment I wanted to rush in, brush Dean aside and give the lost puppy at big hug.
Dean concedes, because who can deny a needy baby brother, and they sit and wait together, the way things should be. Dean gets the call from Gordo, and they're off to the warehouse to save some damsel in distress, even though the word "trap" is flashing in bright neon letters on the screen. Or maybe my mind put it there. They find the girl, and the door coming down separating Sam and Dean was predictable, borderline contrived, but it was still cool.
We are then treated to a breath taking scene as the lights go out on poor Sammy, and Gordon's nocturnal eyes of death stalk him perfectly. The thick tension from the scene forced me to bite my nails to nothing. Ah yes, Kim Manners. Even in infrared, Sam looked really hot swinging a knife at nothing in the dark. After exchanging some of the usual "villain taunts the potential victim" dialogue, Gordon accuses Sam of not being human, and Sam responds by "look who's talking." That was a big "whoa" moment for me. Sam doesn't disagree, or deny the accusation. Sam isn't sure he's human either. So what does Sam exactly think he is? It's perplexing to think what's going through Sam's mind. Right now, I'm sure its "don't get killed".
Time for the next "blow me away" scene. The victim that Dean saved was turned by Gordon, and Dean has to blow her away with the colt. Gordon tries to relate to Sam, telling him he knows what it's like to have something evil inside of him, just before attacking him. So much for bonding. They crash through a wall and fight, and then Dean emerges after Gordon overpowers Sam. Gordon responds by sinking his teeth into Dean's luscious neck, which really pisses off Sam. Two pieces of cloth and conveniently placed razor wire later Gordo is in trouble, as in a long, slow decapitation trouble. I found this kill to be the most disturbing one in the entire series. Long, slow, bloody, and cold. Sam turns into something unrecognizable, even making a badass like Dean seem like a harmless bunny. The look on his face as he gruesomely delivered Gordon's death sentence was unnerving to see considering he's supposedly the gentle natured one. At that moment, he was lost in the kill. Talk about wanting to be like your big brother!
I absolutely loved Sam's horrified expression once Gordon's head was off, after he realized what he had done. At that moment he believed Gordon was right, he was a monster. Dean, who was obviously disturbed by what happened also, accused Sam of being reckless. Sam should have thrown in a "just like my big brother" line, but he still looked pretty shaken so I'll cut him some slack. Anyone else notice the "183 days" sign behind Dean? I suspected that told us how many days Dean had left, and by the end of the season, we knew the timeline fit.
Oh, but there's more! Just in case we haven't been taxed enough emotionally, the show felt it had to go that extra mile. Dean takes what Sam said to heart and finally decides to act like a big brother. What a better way to show brotherly love that to teach him how to fix the Impala. Even Sam loves the fact that they get to play "auto shop". "Put your shoulder into it." The ending shot is perfect, Sam under the hood, Dean sitting on the cooler having a beer, and the Impala shining in all its magnificent glory. All is right with the world again for at least that one moment. I'm all misty, but it's more because I pictured the Impala without Dean. It's bittersweet.
Next week is exciting for me, for I get to review one of my absolute favorite episodes of the entire series. "A Very Supernatural Christmas" is one I never get tired of watching repeatedly and can recite line by line. It's the anti-Christmas, and it's all good.