[Spoilers from episode 4 from here on out]
Sometimes “Supernatural” likes to go all creative on us. Last night, the show paid homage to found footage films — think “Paranormal Activity,” “The Blair Witch Project,” and most especially “Chronicle.” A large, large chunk of the episode was Winchester-less. We watched as three friends, Michael the cool, nice guy, Brian the outcast with a camera, and Kate the girlfriend of Michael (who also likes cameras), all followed the weird happenings on their college campus. This is going to be a short discussion because, let’s face it, not much happened with the Winchesters. But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t some meaty things to bite into.
An animal is on the loose at campus — or at least that’s what the cops think. The three students, video cameras in hand, tape the murder scene and catch Sam and Dean posing as FBI agents. A boy is zipped in a body bag, shredded and heart-less. More heart-eaters this episode, only this time they’re of the werewolf species.
While Sam and Dean are still figuring out the type of creature, Michael follows Brian to the college’s baseball fields to tape “Jackass” stunts that involve Brian hanging upside down from a tree (seriously). At this point, we’re supposed to feel sorry for Brian because he’s a loner with a seemingly “perfect” best friend and he didn’t get the girl (Michael captured Kate’s heart, not literally). Michael catches the attention of an enemy at school — a preppy kid in a green polo. As Michael races off, he gets bitten in the woods. Subsequently, he learns that he has superpowers, and from eavesdropping on Sam and Dean, he also believes he’s a Mayan god.
It doesn’t take long for Brian to realize he’s nothing but another kind of werewolf that craves the taste of human hearts. He goes bonkers and kills a boy on campus and tastes the life-pumping organ himself. Brian’s obsessed with Michael’s super-strength, so he tracks down the original biter — a professor on campus — and blackmails him into turning him into the same monster. The professor reluctantly complies, and from a security camera, we see Sam and Dean rush in hours later and shoot the professor who mutters a thank you before dying.
And this all leads up to the beginning, where the Winchesters enter Michael’s horrific, bloody apartment and they turn on a computer that plays the exact film we’re watching. Brian kills Michael with a knife because Brian’s lonely and jealous and in love with Michael’s pixie blonde girlfriend. Brian bites Kate, sealing her fate as a monster. And then Kate avenges Michael and rips Brian to shreds. She finishes the video and makes a plea to the Winchesters to give her a fighting chance — to not hunt her.
Surprisingly, Dean agrees to let her go since she hadn’t killed anyone human just yet. As we watch Kate backpack out of her college town, I’m wondering if she’ll be brought back again this season. The entire episode played like an origin story for how a monster becomes a monster. In fact, Brian actually talks about filming Michael’s superhero origin story. While they weren’t quite heroic and the story was actually Kate’s, his assertion wasn’t far off.
For the first time, we’re actually in the supernatural’s perspective for the majority of the episode. And the hunters almost seemed cruel to chase a few college students who had no choice in becoming what they were (except for Brian). Out of the three friends, I was glad Kate survived. She has a Meg-like haircut and seems like a promising ally.
Did you like the found footage theme? Will Kate return and be on the Winchesters’ radar? Were you laughing at Michael’s “I am a Golden God” reference? And the biggest question, what are with all of these heart-eaters?
— Becca Ritchie