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I am not going to lie.  “Unforgiven” was so chock full of amazing things that I had to really restrain myself because I wanted to post about 50 shots.  I managed to keep it to 21, and I am kind of proud of myself for that.  One amazing thing about the episode that doesn’t and won’t come across in caps is the way the flashbacks were edited.  It was amazing.  I absolutely adored the style of the flashbacks.  Putting aside the black and white aspect for a second, the super extreme close-ups and the editing style were brilliant.  All those short shots with the jump-cuts and the odd shooting angles were just amazing.  It made everything feel very disjointed and uncomfortable, which was exactly the point.  And there was still a lot of cool things going on in the present-day story, so this episode was a doozy to look at.  The episode was directed by David Barrett, his first for “Supernatural.”  I, for one, hope he comes back in the future!
 
1.

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This is a pretty ominous way to start the episode, Sam all serious and spattered in blood.  And just from the dead look in his eyes you can tell it’s Robo!Sam and not the real thing.  Kudos to Jared for playing that difference so well.  There’s a lot of sumptuous darkness and shadow in this episode, too.
  
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I love this location.  It's an amazing wooden warehouse on a river with this great wooden walkway outside.  It's really neat.  And those criss-crossing wires are a good foreshadowing for the monster this week, too, as they create sort of a web-strand effect.
 
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Damn, that beating was cold.  And the way David Barrett shot this is really cold, too, over the police car with the cop on the ground as the van just drives away.  It's even colder with the blue light flaring instead of the red.  I also like how the light source for the scene creates that line in the road that extends to the roof of the car, illuminating the body on the ground.
 
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I don't know if I've mentioned before, but I really like it when Sam and Dean squat in derelict houses.  The motel rooms are always fun and cool, but the houses are just so interesting.  The slats on the window in this one create some lovely shadows on the wall and on Sam here.  And hallways and doorways create lots of opportunities for restricted-view shots and interesting framing.
 
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This is such a great angle.  I love how the only part of Roy that's in focus is his face because that's all we need to focus on right now.  It doesn't matter at all what's going on with the rest of him.  I loved how the director only kept part of people's faces in frame, too.  It seems like a counterintuitive thing, cutting off parts of people's heads in the frame, but I think it looks really neat.  Not sure I'd want it to happen all the time, but it really works in small doses.
 
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Again with focusing on the important part of the scene; in this case, it's Roy and Brenna's hands.  The only thing that matters is that they're in it together.
 
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This shot is an allegory for Sam this season.  On the left is him the first part of this season, dark, unreadable, red-tinged to represent blood.  It's Soulless Sam.  On the right is the real Sam, re-souled and lit up, innate goodness showing through.  It's a study in contrasts.
 
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This kind of shot never gets old.  It's the good old "you just know something bad is going to happen to that woman" perspective shot.  Nothing good ever comes from a shot that ominous.
 
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Here's another well-framed shot of the two of them in the house.  The beams on either side of Sam and Dean makes the shot even tighter, more claustrophobic, pushing the argument closer together.
 
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Okay, you might be wondering why I included this shot,  Well, I’ll explain.  I was looking through caps, and I saw this one and immediately noticed that Sam is making an El Greco hand. Once I saw it, I could not unsee it.  If you don’t know what an El Greco hand is, fear not!  I will explain.  And before you all think I’m some sort of pretentious art person, the only reason I know any of the following is because my high school Spanish program was really rigorous and intensive, and we did a whole unit on Spanish art and how to tell the artists by their style.  Right, anyway, El Greco was a Greek artist who lived and worked in Spain.  El Greco is a nickname, meaning “The Greek.”  Very creative, those Spanish.  He lived from 1541 - April 7, 1614.  He is known for very elongated figures and a particular hand style, i.e. he paints people’s hands with their middle and ring finger together like this:
  
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See what Sam's doing?  He's totally rocking an El Greco hand.  And it's not really a very common way to put your fingers together, so it just struck me.  Okay, that's the end of the art history lesson for today.


 
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Samuel and Sam just chilling on the couch drinking beer is just so random and odd.  But this shot of them is pretty cool.  I still don't know why they decided to tell Roy and Brenna about what they do and who they really are, but I do enjoy Sam making that couch look like doll's furniture.  Seriously, nothing Sam sits on looks like real-person furniture.
 
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This is a fantastic angle, and I adore how it was shot through all that stuff on the restaurant table.  Again, nothing is in focus that's not essential to the scene.
 
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What a cool monster's-eye-view right here.  All the fractured pieces are reminiscent of this season's title card and of the Lucifer/Sam conversation in "Swan Song."  In other words, nothing good comes from a fractured view.
 
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The intense shadowing in this scene is lovely.  The only source of warmth in the whole room is that lamp, and it's doing a poor job at that.  The blue undertones on everything is gorgeous, and I love the giant shadow Dean is projecting on the wall.  It's so moody.
 
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Oh, poor put-upon Dean.  The guy just can’t catch a break, can he?  He’s finally got Sam back and re-souled, and what does Sam want to do?  Go poking at the wall.  And Dean knows it’s a bad idea.  Even if he hadn’t been given countless warnings, he’d know instinctively that this was a bad idea.  But he just can’t say no to his brother, even now.  He doesn’t have to be happy about it, though. But in this shot, the way it’s framed with blackness all around him, Dean just looks so alone.
  
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All that string crossing Sam's face makes it look like he's already caught in a web.  Again, cool foreshadowing.
 
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Yay, another shot with stuff in the foreground!  I love those.  All those shots of Sam and Samuel through the plants were really, really cool.  As much as this show deals with the supernatural, it doesn't often have time for the very natural like this, with plants and in a park and all that.  Plus, it just really looks cool in black and white with all the blurring and whatnot.
 
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I cannot mention how much I love this location.  It's even cooler from this perspective, I think.  Quite possibly my favorite warehouse.  And it's very New England, too, with the wooden planking like that.  Nice job, location people!
 
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Here is a perfect example of an extreme close-up and the whole "cutting people's faces out of the frame" thing that happened a lot in the flashback parts.  Gosh, it's just so cool!  I'm running out of adjectives to describe it, honestly.  I'm just going to draw little hearts around all these shots  and write "Arde+Cool Shots 4 Ever" on my notebooks instead of paying attention in class.
 
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I cannot even handle it anymore.  Look at this shot of the pistol!  It's so stark and harsh and gorgeous.  I really, really love this shot.
 
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The lighting here is fantastic.  Dean’s got light streaming through an open window at him, but Sam’s is partially blocked because he still feels shuttered up and slightly closed off about the whole wall thing.  He’s trying to keep it together as best he can, but he’s Sam, so he just has to test the limits.  We all know where that takes him.  Also, I like the contrast between Sam’s pretty neat bed and the chaos of Dean’s couch.  It’s like Sam felt he couldn’t control much in his life, so he decided he could control his belongings and always be neat. Dean, on the other hand, had so many other things to worry about that cleanliness just was not important enough to care about.

Really, I’ve never had such a hard time restricting myself in my shot selection before.  I heard from a few of you that you were curious to hear what I would have to say about this episode, so I apologize for the tardiness.  I had kind of a crazy week, but I hope to get back on track this week. Also, for everyone who’s been commenting, I really do appreciate it.  I often don’t have time to answer comments, which I need to work on, but I do look at them, and I think it’s great that some of you are looking at episodes in a new way because of these articles.  Just know that I am humbled and really pleased by your responses, that they don’t go unnoticed. Right, and before I forget, my favorite shots this week are 15, 20, and 7. Winchesters and guns.  It doesn’t get much better, does it?

 
 

Comments  

CitizenKane2
# CitizenKane2 2011-02-21 01:30
Thank you for this very nice visual review.

Among my favorites are 15,16 and 21. :)
magichappening
# magichappening 2011-02-21 06:47
Hey Ardeospina. Thanks for this review and the art lesson! You learn something new every day ;) I had not noticed any of the wires and string as webs. Am always amazed at how much work goes into this show.

I think 13 may also be because spiders have multiple eyes? I have to agree with you on 7 and 15. Just gorgeous shots of both Winchesters. But I think 19 is a very interesting shot too. Thought the actor was excellent. Oh and you just made me think of that quote 'oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive'. As always, an education :)
Junkerin
# Junkerin 2011-02-21 07:47
Hey Arde
You know during "Unforgiven" it was the first time ever that I thought what pictures will SHE pik?
My favorites are 16 and 17 because you can tell it not the same man and 21.
Thank you
Riverbella
# Riverbella 2011-02-21 08:36
Lovely job--and you did have an embarrassment of riches to work with on this one! I loved the way the physical tones of this episode worked with the emotional tones. Just beautifully shot. Agree about that warehouse, too. It is particularly awesome. I don't usually pay much attention to certain types of symbolism, but I noticed in number 20 that the gun looks pretty phallic, which is appropriate for RoboSam, whose "feelings" are pretty much restricted to the purely visceral. I'm glad I've started following these visual reviews of yours. They are interesting and very cool!
Julie
# Julie 2011-02-21 10:56
Hi Arde
As I was watching this I remember thinking , I know someone who is going to have a field day with this one. :-) I find myself playing `Spot the scene Arde will love`, I managed to get a lot right this week!
Thanks again for the lovely images
Love Ju
Pragmatic Dreamer
# Pragmatic Dreamer 2011-02-21 11:35
Hi Ardeospina,

I don't always have a chance to comment on your Visual Reviews. But, I always take some time to look at them.. and look at them, and look at them! Quite often they serve as my equivalent of a coffee break at work! (I don't have time to get out much.) So, just put me down for AWESOME each week!
Bevie
# Bevie 2011-02-21 13:50
Hi Arde

I don't always comment but I always look and enjoy your Visual Reviews and your reasons for picking them.

My favourites this time are 4, 7, 11 and 21.
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-02-21 16:34
Woman, I love these! You rock! Hugs, Jas
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2011-02-21 18:11
For this visual review I was half expecting you to just post the entire episode and say ‘All of this!’ Fair play to you for reigning yourself in to 21. It really was a treasure trove of good and the more I see it, the more I like it. I appreciate the episode and it’s direction all the more after reading the commentary on your picks.

Jeez, everything looks fantastic in black & white. (If I could find a black & white side profile of the boys here I could possibly keel over with happiness!)

Favourites? Um, 1-21? Can’t do that? Okay.

I love 21. The boys are clearly together but there is still that slight divide between them (ironically a wall in both cases), a divide that Dean will breach in a moment.

7 - It really sums up a main talking point of Season 6 so far. Two completely different people, one body, and how they mesh (or don’t). I think it’s cool that in this shot Sammy’s hair even seems to be that bit freer that Soulless Sam hair. (That point makes perfect sense in my head. Sorry)

I kind of like 11 because of the contrast in Sam and Samuels faces. Samuel is obviously happy to be there. He’s smiling, enjoying his beer and a rare night of (somewhat) normality. Sam on the other hand looks as if it’s beneath him to be there, like it’s a waste of time as he has better things (people!) to be doing.

12 & 15 – So much pretty. SO much pretty.

9 – There are forearms and a plaid shirt....

Happy dreams tonight. Thanks Ardeospina!
Jeannine
# Jeannine 2011-02-21 20:36
Ard, I look forward to these every time. You give us such an added appreciation to our show. I think my faves this week are #11 and 16. #11 was so disturbing for me, the idea of robo-Sam sitting on someone's couch like he belonged made me feel very uneasy. And I caught the foreshadowing too in #16.

Though the close-ups for Sam's flashbacks are such an amazing way to convey Sam's memories as they come back. There really is so much to love. Thank you for putting this together for us.
BagginsDVM
# BagginsDVM 2011-02-22 16:57
My favorites are the overhead shot of the building through the crisscrossed wires, & the shot of Sam through the string. Those really evoke the arachnid origin of the MOTW. I loved all the black & white shots too.
Kayo
# Kayo 2011-02-22 22:42
Speaking as a pretentious art history major, I love your El Greco reference. :-) I also love your Visual Reviews. The cinematic style on "Supernatural" has always impressed me. I really wish someone would interview Serge -- he is amazing!
Ardeospina
# Ardeospina 2011-02-23 21:45
Actually, over at Fangasm, they did a cool interview with Serge last year. You should check it out! It's definitely worth the read.
Kayo
# Kayo 2011-02-23 23:06
Excellent! I'll go to Fangasm and take a look. Thanks!