Page 1 of 6This is one of the most intense recaps I've ever attempted. "Born Under A Bad Sign" is a delicious, thrilling, and completely nerve wracking episode that ranks in my top five of best episodes ever. It's not only one of the best acted episodes of the series, it's one of the best directed as well. So much detail went into the making of this, and this recap is going to do its best to capture every bit of that. So, in the process, treat this recap as though you were tackling your next novel. Get comfy!
The writer is Cathryn Humphries, who created an absolute classic and proves that no writer does brotherly angst better (well, her and Sera Gamble). The director is first timer for Supernatural J. Miller Tobin, and boy did he bring something fresh. Nothing like a few director's tricks here and there to take a suspense filled tale and slam dunk it into the stratosphere. This is also THE episode that everyone goes back to when trying to pinpoint when Jared Padalecki's acting finally soared to new heights, putting him and Jensen on even ground. This episode was the acting game changer, and the show and viewers have never been the same since.
So, here we go, intense detail and all, "Born Under A Bad Sign."
Raining in Vancouver?
The Impala sits under an overpass on one very wet and rainy day. In Vancouver? Noooo. Dean is standing next to his baby talking on the cell phone, and man is he frantic. Right off the bat there's a directing choice that manages to heighten the intensity. There are quick cuts in the frame, which jars everything a bit, and delivers the message that we're dealing with a pretty heated situation. This trick is used throughout the episode.
Dean asks Ellen on the phone if she's heard anything. Jensen does this one sided conversation brilliantly. "I swear, it's looking for my dad all over again. I'm losing my mind here"¦(quick cut)"¦I've called him a thousand times, there's nothing but voice mail. I don't know where he went or why. Sam's just gone." Excuse me? Sam's missing? No, not Sammy!
Then, speak of the devil, Sam's call comes through. Again, a great one sided conversation with more abrupt scene cuts in which Dean demands to know where he is, and then tells him to calm down and he'll be right there. Uh, how about asking "Where the Hell have you been?" All in good time I guess. The Impala thunders off, looking so pretty doing it.
The scene turns to a very despondent Sam, whose bewildered reaction as he slowly puts down the phone is shown from the viewpoint of the mirror, then moves to regular Sam sitting on the bed. There's a close-up of this bloody knuckles. The Impala thunders past a sign that says "Twin Lakes 100," and yes, that's reused footage from another episode. Back to Sam who's completely out of it, staring at his hands before three quick screen cuts happen while a frantic Dean briskly walks down the hall, looking for the right room.
Dean finds it, knocks on the door and asks for Sam, but there's no answer. He opens the door and sees Sam staring off into space. He calls Sam again, this time getting a soft "Hey Dean." Sam doesn't move from his dazed position on the bed. The score is distorted and creepy too, and I'm already freaking out.
Dean comes over and sees the bloody knuckles. "I tried to wash it off but-" We don't get to come up with suggestions though, because Dean notices all the dried blood on Sam's shirt. He inspects, and Sam confesses he doesn't think it's his blood. He doesn't know who's it is. Dean wants to know what happened, but there in lies the rub. "I don't remember," a distraught Sam tells him. Now that's a teaser!
Flaming Supernatural logo. Hurry up and burn already!
Another shot from the mirror, this time showing the reverse image of Dean coming through the front door before moving back to the real Dean. Keep in mind, there will be no rest or slowdown in the action from now until the closing act.
Sam, now with fresh, not bloody shirt, paces anxiously (and I'll be using variations of that word a lot in this recap) while Dean closes the door and shares his info. According to the motel manager, Sam checked in there a few days ago as "Richard Sambora." I guess that's a bit less obvious than Jon Bon Jovi.
Besides the fact that Dean's disturbed over Sam being a Bon Jovi fan (which Jared totally is BTW), everything's been quiet and no one's noticed anything. Sam is far from okay though, and starts rattling the "what if's" worse than my paranoid-over-life mother-in-law. "You mean no one saw me walking around covered in blood?" Dean doesn't care. Sam's okay, that's all that matters. "What if I hurt someone or worse?" Dean isn't worried, so Sam digs further. "What if this is what dad warned you about?" Oops, hot button.
Dean isn't going there, preferring to think rationally. He asks Sam to retrace his steps. That ain't so easy though, since the last thing Sam remembers is going out for burgers in West Texas. Gee, if I were in West Texas, I'd block that out too. Dean points out that was over a week ago. Sam claims that's it until he was sitting there, bloody. "I felt like I've been asleep for a month."