5.12 – SWAP MEAT
Robin’s Ramblings
Robin Vogel
 
I have never been disappointed in an episode of SUPERNATURAL before, but I was not impressed with last night’s “Swap Meat.” The performances were terrific, and some scenes stood out with humor and more, but the entire show was ruined for me for one reason: Dean would never watch his brother behaving that out of character and not do something about it! It made Dean himself seem out of character, and that drove me crazy!
 
The opening scene, with Sam calling the bartender “barkeep,” flashing his license like he’d just turned legal, agreeing with Crystal that he was really good-looking, ordering a daiquiri—I laughed, anticipating a fun episode. His realization that she wanted to have “the sex” with him? Priceless! After that, with the exception of just a few scenes, blah. 
 
I understand why the decision was made to keep the actor playing Gary with Dean and Jared with Gary’s real family, but it would have been more challenging for the actors to keep it the way Jared did at the beginning. Watching him playing with a teenage boy inside him made for such a funny scene! 
 
There are two things niggling me, and here they are: Did Gary sleep with Crystal and lose his virginity in Sam’s body? Or did he decide her outfit and whip were too scary and high-tail it out of there? We never did find out. The other niggle is this—if the demon brought Gary to Lucifer in Sam’s meat suit and Gary said yes, does that count? Is it legal? I don’t think so. I would imagine Sam himself would have to say the magic word, not someone else inhabiting his body. Can we check any laws on any books on this? It seems relevant to me.
 
Sam’s search of Gary’s room was hilarious. Each item turned up a new fact—Advanced AP Chem and Physics, intelligence. Star Wars t-shirt, virgin. Busty Asian Beauties magazine, frustrated virgin. Witchcraft accoutrements, “Gary, you little satanic bastard.” LMAO! When they called Gary down to breakfast, Sam was annoyed at the interruption, just like any kid involved in something would be. â€œMom” had to call him twice.
 
I loved Gary’s sister; what a hoot she was, berating him for discussing his evil book at the breakfast table. Sam so craftily questioned Gary’s family, asking if any animals had gone missing on the block, and if he was proficient at Latin. LMAO! It’s fortunate they put his behavior down to his having gotten drunk, or they might have shipped him off to an asylum. I also roared when he snatched and ate the toast off “Mom’s” plate, not knowing about the wheat intolerance. He paid!   It was amusing
 
Sam goes to school, running into Nora and Trevor, two of Gary’s friends. He is forced to ask them for his own locker combination, feigning still being drunk from the night before as his excuse.  He’s able to break into the locker using just his own ear to hear the clicks of the numbers, and in there finds the evil book Gary used to switch bodies with him. When he tries leaving campus alone, Trevor shoots him in the neck with a anesthetic dart, the same type Gary used to capture him and switch bodies with him the first time around.
 
Turns out these three kids were fooling around in Trevor’s basement and tuned in to some demons who had Gary, a non-artist, pencil a beautiful drawing of Dean. It’s his wanted poster—the demons want Dean dead! Trevor, Gary and Nora want to collect the bounty the demons are offering. 
 
Sam, firmly tied up in Trevor’s basement, overhearing this horrific information, tries to explain to Nora and Trevor that killing a person is wrong, and that dealing with demons has deadly consequences.  He gets through to Nora, but not Trevor, who is annoyed that Gary hasn’t already offed Dean.  
 
Problem is, Gary, after helping Dean snuff out a ghost that was giving a former Winchester babysitter a problem by scratching “murderd chylde on her daughter’s stomach, had taken a liking to Dean—and besides, he was in bed, getting ready to get laid with Crystal. Nora only pretended to be into this witchcraft stuff because she liked Gary. 
 
Dopey Trevor, over Sam’s pleas, decides to summon a demon.  The demon, which possesses Nora (and the actress plays both shy Nora and bitchy demon brilliantly), is thrilled to learn Dean is in a nearby hotel and Sam in another body that can just be taken to Lucifer. She repays Trevor by killing him, then lapping his blood from her hand.  Trevor reaped what he sowed. Idjit!
 
May I also say how much I enjoyed Gary’s additions to Dean’s case. That he knew where the witch’s body was buried was fantastic. That he aimed a gun at Dean while he was digging her up, not so much. I was grateful for the ghostly intervention; it saved Dean’s life. I found it a bit too convenient that she only slammed one of them into the wall at a time, however. It gave Gary a chance to burn her up while Dean got his wall time. It saved Dean’s life when Gary was about to shoot him.
 
Also, I thoroughly enjoyed the back and forth exorcism of the demon inhabiting Nora? Apparently Dean has made it his business to memorize that thing! He and Gary did it in tandem, one taking over when the other stopped, but they got it right and sent her to hell. Great job, guys!
 
Dean orders Gary a bacon cheeseburger with an egg on top (which he loves, since he can eat the bread), they drink shots and beer, Gary uses words like awesome and brilliant, he thinks the 5th rate ghost case they solved was awesome, he’s in a great mood—and all this puzzles Dean but takes forever to clue him in to the fact that Sam isn’t Sam. He talks about not liking that there is a plan out there for him, but that is one thing Sam and Gary have in common. Of course, Gary’s is MIT and Sam’s is to become Lucifer’s vessel, but Dean gets it when Gary says it’s just nice kicking some ass.
 
The brothers went to this Massachusetts town to solve a case for a former babysitter
—Donna, their favorite. Sam would have been 12, Dean, 16, and he apparently had the hots for her. Donna explains to her daughter, Katie, that she once had them with her for two weeks. John always came back, hurt sometimes, but he loved his boys. Sam explains to Katie that their father hunted ghosts, and now, so do they. It’s the first time either of them ever explained it so simply, like they had taken over the family lawn business. I like that. Later, over a meal, when Dean eats a burger and Sam, a salad, Dean asks Sam if he’d like to have a wife and rugrats. Sadly, Sam says not anymore. I got the idea Dean wanted a shot at it. Later, Sam tells Dean he felt Gary’s family life sucked ass and they weren’t missing anything, apple pie family life is stressful. â€œOr we didn’t know what we were missing,” counters Dean.
 
So is Sam convincing himself a life like Gary’s is something he never had and now would never want, while Dean is wishing that he might still have a stab at it? 
 
I’m not sure what this show was all about, and wonder if I ever will.
 
 
 

Comments  

Supernarttu
# Supernarttu 2010-01-29 15:22
Hi Robin.
Good review, you hit on some good points.
I myself liked this eppie alot. I laughed at so many points, I guess Bodyswapping is my thing, or you know :-)

I got the impression that Dean still wants a family and was kinda testing the waters that maybe if Sam had wanted it too (well, he did some years *sob* ago) then he might have said it aloud. Not sure if Dean was dancing around the subject of actually having a wife&kids or just to have Sam as his family again. They seem so distant even though they are together. And maybe he wanted Sam to give him some kinda sign that he really wants to be closer that they are now... They're realtionship now is kind of going-through-t he-motions for me. I dunno, it could mean so many things.

But I really liked this eppie, it made me smile alot. And it also made me a little somber. Dean with his longtime fragile (unattainable?) dream of having a family, and Sam with his shutting-down-n o-dreams-left -attitude. They both break my heart in different ways. I can see that they both think they don't deserve any happiness or peace and it kills me. It's like after all these years they finally see that everything comes with a price and it's usually taken from your mind, your sanity. I feel like the boys are losing their own 'selves' bit by bit, in a way. My god, that was a depressing string of sentences. And I thought this was a happy eppie. But I every cloud has a silver lining, blah blah.

So, underneath all the happy there was a sad meaning for me after all.But I still like it a lot, it still makes me happy more than mournful. So maybe there is hope that in the end they will make through all this crap and really be brothers again.
Randal
# Randal 2010-01-29 15:31
I still need to rewatch this (c'mon, CW, get it online, not all of us have DVR) but I'm getting the very distinct impression that resignation, a VERY powerful drug, is seeping into both of them in their own particular way. Not about whether they'll beat the devil or no, but that having a normal life is all but impossible for either of them. Knowing what's out there, how the hell COULD you rock the white picket fence? Would you want to even try? Of course you do. Right? Maybe?

On such a complex, visceral issue, I think it's quite easy, especially in their volatile lives, to vacillate between I Want/Don't Want, I Can Have/I Can Never Have. How often have any of us figured there was no way in hell for X to happen, but it did (or a reasonable facsimile of) or vice versa?

Yikes, that sounded almost optimistic, and I certainly wasn't going for such happy-go-lucky crap.

Still would dig an explanation on the whole vessel plus/minus soul thing. A little metaphysics, then they can kill something at the end. Zombie Plato!
Evelyn
# Evelyn 2010-01-29 16:07
Thanks for the review Robin. I agree with you on a lot of points. I, for one, am mixed on this episode. I also thought Dean should have picked up on Sam not being Sam sooner than he did. There were just too many discrepancies in Sam's behavior for Dean NOT to take notice earlier than he did.

I didn't like the first part of this episode (or in general, the body swapping). I thought it would be fun; however, I have a hard time dealing with issues in television and movies where a person's control over themselves is taken over by someone else. Having had experiences where I was not in control of what was done to me - when I view instances like this, I get really irritated and antsy. Thus, I was not liking at all the first part of this episode. I did start to enjoy it when Dean finally caught on and Sam was dealing with the stupid kids and the demon. So the second half of the show redeemed itself for me.

All in all, a mediocre episode, but very interesting given the fact that the demons have a bounty on Dean's head. (Can Dean never catch a break)
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2010-01-29 18:17
Robin, thanks! I enjoyed your review and I agree in many points. But, even though this was mediocre, the subcutaneous resignation issues were painful, and who wouldn't be with a life like that. Hardly anyone could stay optimistic and happy-go-lucky (just borrowing from Randal).

I'm not disappointed, however, with this episode. Need to re-watch it, too, but there are several undertones that might be revisited within the following episodes. ONly ten to go? That thought is cruel...

You know, the DarthVater t-shirt (hinting at SAm's fate? I might be interpreting too much here, but I like the idea), the resignation, the variations how Lucifer might get hold of Sam's body...

I'm just curious, and can't stop to be...
8-) Jas
joelsteinlover
# joelsteinlover 2010-01-31 09:23
I think the reason it took him so long to realize it wasn't Sam was because he liked this new Sam. He wasn't angerbrooddeath deathdeathapoca lpysehelllucife rbrood the entire time. He was being like his big brother.

But yeah, I have faith in the writers, I'm guessing this is one of those episodes you write off as confusing and then something that happens later makes it all make sense.
Robin Vogel
# Robin Vogel 2010-02-01 09:10
Does anyone wonder why Sam-with-Gary-i nside-him didn't call Bobby for help, since they ALWAYS do when having a problem they can't fix? Why was Castiel conspicuously absent, given what danger Dean was in? I realize these are plot devices and necessary, but it just seemed odd. Bobby could have been away and unavailable; one line would have sufficed to settle that.

After reading many other reviews and some excellent metas, I have softened my stance on Dean's not sussing out Sam's OOC immediately. I suspect he DID know sooner than it appeared, but he was having such a great time with the imposter, he's tired of trying to figure out his moody little brother, Gary-in-Sam did save him from the ghost, knew where the body was buried, and managed to be just enough like Sam to throw him off.

As people, Sam and Dean are VERY different. Some in fandom say that if they weren't brothers, they probably wouldn't even be friends. What do you all think of that? I know my brother and I are completely different in many ways, but we love each other dearly and if he needed a kidney, I'd give him one--my left, which is my least favorite kidney.

This episode is a great one if for no other reason than it brings up a lot of discussion, both positive and negative, right?