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S02.E14: Born Under A Bad Sign

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After receiving a frantic call from Sam, who has been missing for over a week, Dean races to his brother's side.

 

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I'm probably going to have a lot to say about this episode, so I'm apologizing upfront for the sheer length it could turn into. ;)

 

This episode has me watching from start to finish every time I watch it. There's really a lot of ground covered here and I think they hit a perfect pace throughout. I also think this might be Jared's best performance--and no I'm not saying that Jensen didn't come to play either, but Meg-In-A-Sam is so utterly disturbing at times. I love how she seems to be taunting Dean throughout the first half, pushing him and trying to get him to believe this was really Sam--very layered stuff there and superbly played by both Jared and Jensen. That scene where they're in the house of that hunter that Sam killed--the way Meg is showing Dean more and more and Dean is still not accepting what he's seeing. Then Meg-In-A-Sam opens that closet of weapons and starts reading his mail from his daughter--pushing, pushing, pushing until Dean erupts and smashes that computer. Just perfect, IMO.

 

And then the stuff with Jo. The way Jared turns from dimples and charm to terrifying and disturbing is really amazing. And now I can't hear The Crystal Ship anymore without hearing that taunting "My daddy shot your daddy in the head."  I also really like Jo in this episode. She's a far more grown-up Jo, not looking at either Sam or Dean as idols anymore. I love how she patches up Dean and I love how she knows he won't call her later. Nice stuff there and probably my favorite scenes that Alona Tal did on the show.

 

I have a love/hate relationship with the way they shot those warehouse scenes, though. The quick shots of Meg-In-A-Sam here and there were great and they kept the tension building, but I didn't need all that dialogue and think the scene would have been far more intense (and made more sense) if they had played it without all the yammering.  But hey, minor quibble here, still enjoyable to watch.

 

Nice touch with Bobby and the holy water. I have never decided if I believed he just knew it wasn't Sam or if he just spikes everyone's beer as a precaution--either way, doesn't really matter, the moment was golden, IMO. This is an example of why I used to love Bobby, before he became surrogate daddy and deus ex machina for the show. And really nice touch the way they shot those scenes to mimic the exorcism of Meg in Devil's Trap. The binding lock and those anti-possession charms were other interesting touches.

 

Jared was fucking awesome with the whole "I saw your daddy down there and he says howdy" speech--seriously unsettling stuff there--and Jensen was perfect showing his anger there. I also adore that ad-libbed punch and Sam's "you look like crap" afterward.  And the denouement scene at the end might be one of my favorites. They get the "I'm going to save you" stuff out there, but end it on a lighter note. Dean's "Dude, you like full-on had a girl inside you for like a whole week. That's pretty naughty" was a nice bit of bravado and big brotherness followed by a smile from Sam.

 

So, in short, that's the way I like my Supernatural--intense, disturbing, heart-pumping with a little bit of fun and brotherly affection mixed in.  Yes, I do realize I could have saved you some time and left it with that last sentence, but then what would I do with the rest of my day? ;)

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I don't think it was too long. It perfectly sums up why this is one of the perfect episodes of Supernatural.

 

I strongly believe after the Meg incident, Bobby put Holy Water in his water supply and spiked his beers as well. He must have read up on demons since he gave them those possession charms. Whatever one might think of the character, he was smart. Still, Dean might have been able to warn him anyway, his reaction afterwards indicates he wasn't terribly surprised.

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I think Bobby found someone willing to make beer with Holy Water.

This is a good episode at least partly because you're not sure where it's going.

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I didn't comment on this episode? Maybe it was because DDD said it all so well... and yes Jared was great with his creepy "I saw your Dad" and "My daddy shot your daddy in the head" monologues.

 

When I rewatched this, I paid attention to what Jared was doing, and at first I thought maybe there should have been more clues that it was Meg acting - like when Dean couldn't see "Sam's" face it could have changed - but then I remembered that that was more of a Sam thing - when Sam is sometimes acting the part to get information for example - and so might instead indicate that it was Sam but Sam acting in some way rather than Meg acting like Sam. So in the end that was likely a good choice by Jared not to do that: 1) since it's sometimes a Sam thing and 2) Because Meg would find it easier to not break character, since she likely does the acting thing less often.

 

It was also a similar difference he chose for Soulless Sam as well. Soulless Sam "acted" differently than regular Sam "acted" and he was less patient and invested in the act than regular Sam was.

 

It's episodes like this where I think Jared gets less credit than he deserves. Except with certain episodes, he often has the less emotional role, and when he gets an episode where he does get a chance to really stretch - like this one, "Heart,"  "Croatoan," "Mystery Spot," and "The Man Who Knew Too Much" I think he often makes the best of it.

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Again, all the awesome has been covered.  I'll admit upfront, I'm a Dean girl and love Jensen's mad skills  I don't tend to "get" Sam (or his motivations) very often, and Jared can be so-so for me in the acting dept.

Everytime I watch this episode, I am blown away by Jared.  I'm always thinking "where the hell did that come from?"  He plays evil, possessed Sam so well and effortlessly in this episode and I love it.  
There are a few times when we(the audience) see "Sam's" expression sour or change (or a bit of an eye roll), that Dean can't see, giving a slight clue that all is not well with Sam, and on re-watch I appreciate the subtly of it.

His scenes with Alana/Jo are terrifying, watching Jared's face flip from "Sam" to Meg is just pure gold.

 

Also, Sam's hair is less distracting by this point in the season (cause good lord was it awful at the beginning of Season 2- the little tufts that looked like wings by his ears... I can't even).

I do wish Sam would have felt a little bad about shooting his brother (again).  Just a little, tiny bit of apology?  Poor Dean was wrecked this episode, emotionally and physically.  

 

I do love the beginning, how the scenes are cut up to show even more desperation/erratic searching on Dean's part.  It worked well for getting us ramped up and anxious right out of the gate.

All in all, an episode I can watch over and over and always find something that hits home.  I remember thinking back when I first got into SPN that "Wow, this was getting dark"... ha ha ha, that's cute, right?  ;)

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I watched this one last night, not remembering it's when Meg possesses Sam. It just happened to be the episode after Houses of the Holy, which I'd just watched, so I turned it on and let it play.

 

Sam did seem strange, but I believed completely that it was him at first. He was acting weird, and cold in a strange way (he just didn't seem like he was getting worked up enough? and he wasn't speaking as bluntly as he usually does), but it wasn't until seeing that video of him slitting the hunter's throat that I thought about possession, and it wasn't until he pistol whipped Dean that I realized he was still possessed. When he pistol whipped him, man, I was shocked! How could I forget this episode so thoroughly?!

 

Really glad that this one ended on a silly note, with Dean calling Sam "naughty" for spending a week with a girl inside him. And really glad that Dean got a lick in after Possessed!Sam got exorcised after all that hitting/taunting/attempting-to-kill-him. The episode was just so heavy and sad otherwise.

 

Nice touches that I enjoyed:

  • When Jo finds Dean shot through the shoulder and washed up on the riverbank, and he immediately asks where Sam is, and she says she doesn't know, she was looking for Dean. (I like how flat her voice sounds when she says it. Alona Tal was really great in this episode imo).
  • When Possessed!Sam has Jo bound and gagged, and Dean comes into the bar, and "Sam" immediately switches up his act.
  • When Possessed!Sam "begs" Dean to shoot him, and Dean drops the gun with a big clunk and says he'd rather die. It was sort of melodramatic and corny (who just drops a loaded gun onto the floor like that? Isn't that dangerous?) but they pulled it off somehow. Jensen really made me feel like Dean had just realized that he honestly *would* rather die and that he would never be able to kill Sam.
  • When Possessed!Sam was taunting Dean in the warehouse. I think that DittyDotDot is right and it would have been even better with no dialogue, but even as it was, I knew that Dean *wouldn't* be able to shoot Sam, and he just seemed really (physically) vulnerable right then. This demon was immortal *and* armored with Sam's body, and Dean was just some guy with a gun. Dean was fucked. And you could tell he could tell, and then he really did get shot.
  • Demons were freaking *scary* back then! The guys just seemed like joe schmos back then, and so delicate compared to these horrifying monsters they were fighting. I miss those days.
  • I thought it was funny that, in trying to make Sam act completely unlike himself and push Dean into killing him, Meg has Sam buy beer and cigarettes. That scene between the guys and the cashier at the gas station store was a little dumb, but the premise was funny imo. I like that Dean sees Sam as just naturally prissy or something, and that apparently Meg, does, too. LOL. Something *everyone* agrees on:  Sam is a boy scout. LOL. Then the next episode is Tall Tales and obviously Dean doubles down on how prissy he thinks Sam is. Hilarious.
Edited by rue721

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Everytime I watch this episode, I am blown away by Jared.  I'm always thinking "where the hell did that come from?"  He plays evil, possessed Sam so well and effortlessly in this episode and I love it.

 

I think Jared did a decent enough job in S1/S2 but excelled at "Evil" Sam early on.  I used to joke on TWOP that somewhere between S2/S3 Jared bulked up and forgot how to act.  Currently, I think Jared does really, really well with the Meta/Comedy episodes but just doesn't seem to emote very well in the other scenes.

 

Having just watched Born Under a Bad Sign, I'm once again reminded that there was a time when I thought Jared did a good job with Sam, especially when playing evil.  This was a very good episode.  I'm shocked since I usually put S2 as one of my least favorite seasons but TNT has been running a whole bunch of good S2 episodes right now.

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I thought Born Under a Bad Sign was great work from Jared.

 

He seems to do really well with some of the mimicry and nuances of Meg in this episode. Upon rewatch I started looking for the nuances of Meg!Sam sooner than the bar scene and it's there throughout.

 

I've said before that I think Jared does better playing dark!Sam and everything other than regular!Sam if that makes any sense.  I mean Meg!Sam and Lucifer!Sam and Gadreel!Sam weren't actually Sam at all.

 

I really felt like s10 was the best he's played regular!Sam since like s2 or s4.  JMO

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Jared really does some off his best work in this episode. In addition to being great as possessed Sam, one off my favorite scenes ever is the aftermath of Meg's eviction.

Sam's kind of rolling on the floor, completely confused and asks, "Did I miss anything?" And when Dean's response is to haul off and punch him, Sam's facial reaction is totally just, "Oh. Okay," as he's clutching his jaw. Like, "It seems possible that I deserved that."

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This is kind of strange. This was on in the background and with the sound down and I looked up to see the part where Sam is attacking Jo and slamming her head onto the bar.

It's even more disturbing without sound because Sam is fucking feral and awful. You can't hear his voice so you don't hear that kind of whispery thing he does sometimes that makes him seem less threatening. 

But holy shit, that is a super disturbing, super violent scene and for the life of me I will never understand Sera Gamble's comments that it was HOT and sexy.  Ugh. Gross. 

ETA: Also without the sound, you can really see how Jared nailed the mimicry of Meg's physical and facial expressions.  And of course upon rewatch, I can see Meg throughout, not just when the reveal happens.

Edited by catrox14
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This is definitely some of Jared's best work.  And totally not sexy.  I've posted this before, but I think Jared's best work is when he's not Sam.  He's absolutely disturbing as Meg.

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7 minutes ago, sarthaz said:

This is definitely some of Jared's best work.  And totally not sexy.  I've posted this before, but I think Jared's best work is when he's not Sam.  He's absolutely disturbing as Meg.

I agree, he is very creepy and scary. I also agree that some of Jared's best work is when he is not Sam.  After watching for the first time, I can tell it's not him from the beginning. But the 1st time I was taken by surprise, he played it very well.

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My favorite!

The tension is beautiful. Meg is a great villain, and Jared plays her so well. I mean, getting Dean to kill Sam as revenge is a brilliant evil plan, but of course, Dean'd rather die, so he screws up her plan. 

I liked Jo in this more than her earlier appearances, perhaps because I genuinely feared for her safety. She's so tiny! And Jared is so huge! That moment where he grabs her wrist is terrifying. And the way he taunts her with the "My daddy shot your daddy in the he-ead!" -which yes, I think it is my favorite line of the entire series. Although much less useful in real life. And the little nuances that remind you of Nikki Aycox.

Bobby! Genius Bobby who puts holy water in the beer! "Don't try to con a conman." We went far too long before we saw Bobby again.  The scene with the three of them is the moment he seems most Meg-like. Jared just absolutely nails it. And his "You wouldn't want to bruise this fine packaging" and then totally checking out the fine packaging.

Poor confused Sammy getting punched in the face.

"Now if it's the last thing I do, I'm gonna save you." Supernatural: A summary.

I mean this in the best way, this episode feels longer than a lot of them. We got a lot of story in this one. 

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12 minutes ago, bettername2come said:

And the way he taunts her with the "My daddy shot your daddy in the he-ead!" -which yes, I think it is my favorite line of the entire series. Although much less useful in real life.

Seriously, I've been trying to figure out how to work in so many quotes from this damn show into my own lexicon. I've managed a couple, but only with other Supernatural fans, because without the context, people just give me these blank stares. ;)

13 minutes ago, bettername2come said:

I mean this in the best way, this episode feels longer than a lot of them. We got a lot of story in this one. 

I agree, also in the best possible way!

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Re-watching this one and I realize that it's pretty obvious from the moment Dean meets up with Sam that he's not Sam. I think this is one of Jared's best performances. He mimicked Meg so well. Even his face looked different to me. Upon first watching this I remembered that Sam was just weird. It was also interesting to me to watch Jared act like Meg acting like Sam but not really being Sam. It still bugs me that Dean didn't notice his facial differences. It's slight but it's there. I mean Sam can have a major bitch face at times but this was different. If this had happened in s1, I could more believe that Dean, having been separated from Sam, might not pick up on those differences. But after being together again, I figured he would get it.

So now, in retrospect, I wonder when Dean pinged that Sam was actually possessed. Did he know from the jump really? Or when he found the cigarettes but he didn't want to believe it was true or was just tracking it to make sure? Or making sure he stuck with "Sam" to cover up "Sam's" role in the murder?

Was it more that he just took a guess that Sam was possessed when he threw the holy water in his face? I do wish they had shown just a little bit more of Dean trying to sort it out.  For me, that's the biggest weakness in the script. Or maybe I missed something. Of course, Sera couldn't have written that "hot" (by her words) scene of Meg!Sam attacking Jo if Dean figured it out right away.

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I really like this episode as well. Jared does a fantastic job with "evil". That bar scene with Jo was really hard to watch. They wouldn't go there, but obviously Meg-in-Sam would be much more violent - perhaps raping Jo or beating her to a pulp. Speaking of Jo - I really felt sorry for her in this episode. It was obvious that she's carrying a torch for Dean, and she looks so devastated when Dean says he'll call her, and she replies softly "no you won't". Her conversation about demons lying wasn't about the information about her father's death, but about whether or not Dean thought she was a schoolgirl. So sad. Especially in light of a later episode.

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15 hours ago, catrox14 said:

Re-watching this one and I realize that it's pretty obvious from the moment Dean meets up with Sam that he's not Sam. I think this is one of Jared's best performances. He mimicked Meg so well. Even his face looked different to me. Upon first watching this I remembered that Sam was just weird. It was also interesting to me to watch Jared act like Meg acting like Sam but not really being Sam. It still bugs me that Dean didn't notice his facial differences. It's slight but it's there. I mean Sam can have a major bitch face at times but this was different. If this had happened in s1, I could more believe that Dean, having been separated from Sam, might not pick up on those differences. But after being together again, I figured he would get it.

So now, in retrospect, I wonder when Dean pinged that Sam was actually possessed. Did he know from the jump really? Or when he found the cigarettes but he didn't want to believe it was true or was just tracking it to make sure? Or making sure he stuck with "Sam" to cover up "Sam's" role in the murder?

Was it more that he just took a guess that Sam was possessed when he threw the holy water in his face? I do wish they had shown just a little bit more of Dean trying to sort it out.  For me, that's the biggest weakness in the script. Or maybe I missed something. Of course, Sera couldn't have written that "hot" (by her words) scene of Meg!Sam attacking Jo if Dean figured it out right away.

Maybe Dean was just so relieved to have Sam back that he was trying subconsciously to block out any signs that Sam was maybe not quite right? Dean was also pretty wrapped up in trying to figure out where Sam had been and what Sam had done and why. Meg in Sam didn't give Dean much time to stop and think. It was one "revelation" after another... "oh, I think I remember this..." and "this seems familiar..." and by the time they got to the murder and the footage, maybe Dean wasn't in much of a place to really figure out Sam wasn't quite right - or at least not in a possessed way anyway. Dean was pretty freaked out.

Likely lack of sleep probably didn't help either. I suspect that Dean slept little and/or poorly most of the week Sam was missing due to worry and working himself half to death looking for Sam.

I much more call crap on the time in

Spoiler

"Swap Meat" where Dean supposedly couldn't figure out that that wasn't Sam.

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4 hours ago, AwesomO4000 said:

Maybe Dean was just so relieved to have Sam back that he was trying subconsciously to block out any signs that Sam was maybe not quite right?

Yeah, I thought it was great how Dean was almost in denial throughout most the episode. He just didn't want to admit there was anything wrong with Sam. And Meg just kept pushing and poking until Dean kinda erupts when he smashes that computer. The episode has really keeps building and building. It's funny how many times I've seen it and I still watch it on the edge of my seat.

20 hours ago, catrox14 said:

Of course, Sera couldn't have written that "hot" (by her words) scene of Meg!Sam attacking Jo if Dean figured it out right away.

Gamble didn't write this episode, Cathryn Humphris did. 

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57 minutes ago, DittyDotDot said:

Yeah, I thought it was great how Dean was almost in denial throughout most the episode. He just didn't want to admit there was anything wrong with Sam. And Meg just kept pushing and poking until Dean kinda erupts when he smashes that computer. The episode has really keeps building and building. It's funny how many times I've seen it and I still watch it on the edge of my seat.

Gamble didn't write this episode, Cathryn Humphris did. 

Oh weird, I was under the misconception that Sera  wrote it. Regardless, doesn't change my point that the writer had to keep Dean in the dark, in order to get the scene of  Meg!Sam attacking Jo, which was sexualized violence,  which Sera has described as "hot". 

spoilers for other seasons

Spoiler

her talking about being so concerned about consent in s4 with Ruby strikes me as rather disingenuous given she thought a scene in which Sam is attacking Jo as hot.

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On 29/03/2017 at 4:34 PM, catrox14 said:

But holy shit, that is a super disturbing, super violent scene and for the life of me I will never understand Sera Gamble's comments that it was HOT and sexy.  Ugh. Gross. 

 

unfortunately i thought the same as well, that it was hot. i know it's wrong, why this of all scenes i first find sam sexy :T

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i underestimated jared A LOT. he was so good. when he sang "My daddy shot your daddy in the head" i mentally applauded him, it was effortless. it was like he couldn't wait to jump into this and prove himself. but i think everyone is missing two things:

1. when jo untied herself and said "Wait, Sam was possessed?!?" and dean looked at her. it was such a powerful look, it was more than 100 answers in one look. as if sam would be the person to rape anyone out of the blue! if she ever had a chance with dean she BLEW it with that.

2. meg chanting the latin or whatever. that whole scene actually, with meg in the chair. 100% perfect. 

this episode pulled my fam right in, we were all interested. well done on everyone who contributed to this.

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This is a really good one. For all the reasons noted above, particularly the work JP does as Possessed Sam/Meg-in-Sam. I didn't recall this was THAT episode at first, until the hotel room when Sam begs Dean to kill him, over a single murder they haven't even investigated. Sure, "Sam" did it, but there could be many reasons to justify a killing-- so when he seemed intent on dying by Dean's hand without truly acknowledging what he was asking of his brother? I was like "DUDE... let's look into this a little more" (out loud, of course). Then I remembered.... Not!Sam. So I had to go back and watch the scene in the hunter's house to see if I could detect a bit of Meg, and sure enough, it's there. Exceptionally good work.

The scene with Jo is disturbing, both in the physical threat to her and in the mind-forking Meg unleashes. So cruel, and so much better a demon than some later seasons. I don't see anything sexy about the assault, but I guess if you're someone who views Sam as kind of prissy and ineffectual, his demon-fueled "take charge" thing might trip a trigger?  I don't see it, but maybe that's the root of it.

When Bobby's exorcism didn't work, and Meg taunts them with their failure? I got very nervous. Fortunately a fairly quick, albeit temporary solution. Still a great ending, with the "naughty" line. 

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