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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
All that string crossing Sam's face makes it look like he's already caught in a web. Again, cool foreshadowing.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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?