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S01.E05: Bloody Mary

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All over the world, kids play the "Bloody Mary" game, daring each other to say her name three times in a mirror. But no one has even died from it. Until now. Sam and Dean must find a way to stop her before she claims another victim.

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I've personally never been particularly fascinated with stereo-typical horror legends like Bloody Mary or Hookman--as apposed to the more sci fi-ish legends like reapers and tulpas-- and I'm not sure Supernatural really does anything particularly new or interesting with it either. But even though the legend of the week doesn't interest me much, I still overall like this episode. I'm going to go back to bullets for this one...

 

Things I find I like:

  • The opening scene with the girls--they are so very 10-year-oldish--those girls did a great job with the Bloody Mary exposition and the bathroom scene with the one girl was very effectively shot.
  • I love Dean throughout this episode. From his "you know sooner or later we're going to have to talk about this" (referring to Sam's nightmares); to his "because, I'm an awesome brother" (after Sam asked why he let him fall asleep); to "no, I don't like it. It's not going to happen. Forget it." (referring Sam wanting to summon Mary.) He's worried and concerned, but still smart and sassy, and not at all not crying in his beer--he's Dean. And I love the way he just takes out those two cops, mostly out of impatience--so very Dean.
  • There's some great music choices in this episode--I'm particularly fond of the end scene where Sam thinks he sees Jessica with that Stones song.
  • It once again feels like they're on the road. Even though some of the green screen driving was badly done, I still prefer this feeling that they're on the road to the current more settled feel of the show.

 

Things that could have used a second pass:

  • The actual legend of the week felt a bit weak to me. It started as Mary exposing people's secrets about how they killed people, except Sam didn't actually kill Jessica, so it became just about people who have secrets involving someone who died. It seems like they tried to hard to make it work with Sam's guilt, for my taste. Also, I'm not sure that it makes total sense to me that Mary would try to kill Dean, but I can make it work if I try.
  • I could take or leave Kasey depending on the scene. I liked that she was willing to believe them and helped them, but could have lived without her fake-y crying in a few scenes. Plus, that shot of her walking through the halls like she was in a '80s music video makes me crack up every time I see it.

 

Mostly, I think of this episode as being typical WB fare for its time--teenage drama--eh, maybe one step up from typical. Overall though, it's mostly a fun, solid episode that I don't mind seeing.

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The actual legend of the week felt a bit weak to me. It started as Mary exposing people's secrets about how they killed people, except Sam didn't actually kill Jessica, so it became just about people who have secrets involving someone who died.

 

Thank you. Because what nobody seemed to be paying attention to was that not only didn't Charlie kill anyone, her emo suicidal ex made a point of letting it be known that he considered it her fault he was killing himself, so even if it was true it wouldn't have been a secret any more. Both she and Sam only had secrets about someone's death if you define "secret" not as something no-one else knows but as something you don't like to talk about. Which seems like a kind of feeble thing for a vengeful ghost to slaughter someone over...

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I like this episode.  (That's a comment that will show up on a lot of my posts during the first few seasons' episodes.  Apologies in advance for the repetition!)

 

A lot of the episode evokes a kind of nostalgia for me, because when I was that age my friends and I were the typical sleepovers-and-scary-stories kind of kids.  (We once scared the heck out of each other trying to contact Kurt Cobain with a ouija board.)  So I like that the urban legend in the ep captures that scary/silly tone for that reason - and obviously that's not the way to judge the merits of the episode, but it's part of the reason this episode is fun for me.  

 

I have a fondness in general for stories that deliver classic shallow frights - a scream in the dark, a reflection in a mirror, an unexpected noise, that kind of thing.  I also like when Sam and Dean talk about old superstitions they've heard over the years, like the bit about covering up mirrors because they can trap spirits.  It's as if they learned throughout their childhoods that there's a kernel of truth in those things, and they use them as starting points for how to handle the current MotW.  I see Sam and Dean in those moments - I mean, I see how their childhood shaped them into who they are at that point in time, as brothers and hunters.  Familiar with this stuff, yet still new enough at being on their own. This episode ticks off the right boxes for me.

 

It's also fun for me because I'm a fan of Chelan Simmons, who tends to show up in most of my favorite Vancouver-filmed shows sooner or later.  

 

I love Dean throughout this episode. From his "you know sooner or later we're going to have to talk about this" (referring to Sam's nightmares); to his "because, I'm an awesome brother" (after Sam asked why he let him fall asleep); to "no, I don't like it. It's not going to happen. Forget it." (referring Sam wanting to summon Mary.) He's worried and concerned, but still smart and sassy, and not at all not crying in his beer--he's Dean. And I love the way he just takes out those two cops, mostly out of impatience--so very Dean.

 

 

This.  In the first four episodes Dean is fun, and we get glimmers of him as smart and as a good brother.  But in this episode, Dean really comes into his own as a great character.  Everything that's good about him is becoming more defined.  

 

 

It once again feels like they're on the road. Even though some of the green screen driving was badly done, I still prefer this feeling that they're on the road to the current more settled feel of the show.

 

 

So do I.  It (like the great music choices you pointed out, too) contributes so much to the mood of the show, the way they're just on the road, with nothing tying them down, no place to be, and no obligations except to each other while they try to find their father and take on whatever they come up against along the way.  It's adventurous and almost light.  

Unlike later seasons, when the angst is like a series of boulders weighing them down.

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Because what nobody seemed to be paying attention to was that not only didn't Charlie kill anyone, her emo suicidal ex made a point of letting it be known that he considered it her fault he was killing himself, so even if it was true it wouldn't have been a secret any more.

 

I thought he only let it be known to Charlie, and since he was dead, it was technically a secret again when Bloody Mary targeted her.

 

I liked this episode for all of the reasons stated already, especially the brother moments mentioned.

 

And I especially agree with you DittyDotDot about that end sequence with the Stones song. I loved that whole scene from Sam saying that he'd die for Dean (and Dean's look at that - heh), but there were some things he just had to keep to himself to Sam's haunted look when he thought he saw Jessica. That's one one of my favorite ending sequences of season 1 - maybe in my top 10 for the show.

 

And I liked Charlie. She's one of those PIP characters that I would like to have known more about and/or what eventually happened to her.

Edited by AwesomO4000

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I liked that both Sam and Dean tried to reinforce to Charlie that she wasn't at fault about the creepy ex's suicide and that while she listened to them, and will think on it, she wasn't all magically "gosh yes! You guys are right!" because taking time is the realistic thing.

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Don't feel bad DittyDotDot. All this time I thought she was KC also. (I think because Drunken Bee from TWoP calls her KC in the recaps, and so it stuck in my brain that way).

 

I'll edit my above post accordingly.

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Reading through the posts and seeing my name (Kasey) made me very happy, although I know they don't have a girl by that name on the series for several seasons (demon chick in season 3). 

 

I love the "You're my brother, and I'd die for you" line along with the others mentioned. I love the caring vibe in this episode. This was an episode where it was about helping the victim more than stopping the demon, which is how I prefer the boys.

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I have an affinity for this episode.  I think its the episode where I got hooked for good, actually, and it was all because of the brother's developing characters and relationship.  Dean continues to be concerned about Sam, but not overly coddling.  A lot of good one liners and Dean snark, too.

And, for some reason, I laugh every time at "and a giant mirror fell on a guy named Dave"
Also love "cause I'm an awesome brother".

Don't like the whispery, sing/song voice Sam/JP has adopted.  Its too soft spoken and comes off as fake.  I do like that were getting mentions of Jess, dreams about her death, and that its effecting Sam.  Too often shows gloss over things that should and would effect characters over the long term.

Also do not like most of the guest actors.  The kids were good in the opening sequence, but the older teens were just awful for the most part.

I am a fan of Mary.  What can I say, I fall for the creepy girl trope every time, and seeing her reflection in the mirror down the hallways was super creepy.  Yes, the legend doesn't make a lot of sense, but I can accept it cause it got the boys talking about real life stuff and moved the characters forward.  I'm easy like that ;)

Love, love the ending sequence.  Yes, it could come off as OTT or cheesy, but I love what Sam said to Dean.  Love that he kept some of it to himself for now, and love the final song and seeing Jess (though I'm watching it on Netflix, so the songs suck, but I know what it should sound like).

 

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I don't much like this episode.

I don't like the MoTW here and totally agree about JP's acting here.

I usually put it down to JP sucking as an actor at this point of his career because I only knew him from this but I have developed a new head!canon that whenever Sam had to be "empathetic" it was all fake and maybe Jared was OTT with it to convey that Sam was "acting empathetic" vs actually being empathetic. Sam has been hyperfocused on finding John and getting vengeance and IMO didn't really give that much of a crap about  saving people and hunting things at this point of his life. I just wish the show would have not tried to spin that Sam is better at touchy feely when IMO it's never been the case. Dean IMO has long been better able to connect with the victims.

This episode, once again, makes me question why Sam and Dean even want to be around each other at this point.

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...and I had to watch the final scene via youtube because I just couldn't do it with the fake music (streaming on Netflix).  Ugh, it kills the scene.  Laugh I Nearly Died MUST play during the key scene  :)

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2 hours ago, GirlyGeek said:

Don't like the whispery, sing/song voice Sam/JP has adopted.  Its too soft spoken and comes off as fake.  I do like that were getting mentions of Jess, dreams about her death, and that its effecting Sam.  Too often shows gloss over things that should and would effect characters over the long


Love, love the ending sequence.  Yes, it could come off as OTT or cheesy, but I love what Sam said to Dean.  Love that he kept some of it to himself for now, and love the final song and seeing Jess (though I'm watching it on Netflix, so the songs suck, but I know what it should sound like).

I never really looked at it like that. I thought Jared played Sam well here. He was talking with teenage girls. I remember being a teenage girl. It sucked. I was a huge ball of hormones and angst, and sadly could get emotionally set off fairly easily if I got a harsh word at the wrong time. So I thought Sam/Jared playing it soft-spoken was the right choice. I thought that this episode somewhat established that Sam was the one who generally related to the teen girl Persons in Peril - something the show has surprisingly been fairly consistent with and still shows - while Dean relates to the younger kids - which the show also still shows. I thought Sam's soft spoken manner with them was what was needed to get them to open up and to get the information they needed.

2 hours ago, catrox14 said:

I usually put it down to JP sucking as an actor at this point of his career because I only knew him from this but I have developed a new head!canon that whenever Sam had to be "empathetic" it was all fake and maybe Jared was OTT with it to convey that Sam was "acting empathetic" vs actually being empathetic. Sam has been hyperfocused on finding John and getting vengeance and IMO didn't really give that much of a crap about  saving people and hunting things at this point of his life. I just wish the show would have not tried to spin that Sam is better at touchy feely when IMO it's never been the case. Dean IMO has long been better able to connect with the victims.

This episode, once again, makes me question why Sam and Dean even want to be around each other at this point.

Interesting on how much we disagree here. I didn't question Sam's empathy at all or Jared's choice in acting it. He did start out acting empathetic vs actually being empathetic in the beginning (and I think it was a deliberate acting choice,)* but I thought that Sam actually did relate very much to Charlie and her situation as it evolved and did so rather quickly. By the end of her story, I think Sam could entirely relate to her guilt about her boyfriend's situation and death, and I really liked the scenes between them and felt an understanding and connection there. As I said above, I think it has generally been shown that Sam relates to the teenagers while Dean is able to connect with the kids. I think in general both Sam and Dean have various connections with the victims, depending on the situation. Sometimes Dean gets distracted - especially if it's an attractive woman or Dean is just not feeling the PiP (as in he's suspicious of them) - and sometimes Sam gets distracted - especially if it's a monster and/or an outcast that he can relate to.

I also loved what Sam said to Charlie in the end and that entire end sequence (I agree with GirlyGeek on that one). I loved how Jared played the "You're my brother... but some things I have to keep to myself" conversation and that final sequence where he thinks he sees Jessica. The way Sam looks after he thinks he sees her, and from that look, Dean glances over and just knows Sam's not in a good place. It's still one of my favorite ending sequences of the show.

I also agree with GirlyGeek about Sam and Dean's relationship. I could see brotherly concern from Dean and I could see Sam letting Dean know that he appreciated that concern, but that some things he was just going to have to work out for himself.

I liked the insight into Sam and how he felt. As GirlyGeek said, all too often that kind of loss is glossed over. I actually kind of missed Sam's point of view episodes like this in some of the Carver years (it's one of the reasons I liked season 11 the best of those years, because we finally got some Sam POV episodes again - like "Just My Imagination" which I loved.)

* And I did notice that deliberate choice in other scenes in season one - and later in the series - and it was sometimes humorous on purpose to the scene, but not here.

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1 hour ago, AwesomO4000 said:

"You're my brother... but some things I have to keep to myself" conversation and that final sequence where he thinks he sees Jessica. The way Sam looks after he thinks he sees her, and from that look, Dean glances over and just knows Sam's not in a good place. It's still one of my favorite ending sequences of the show.

I thought that scene was all about trying to setup whether Sam was trustworthy or not. I thought Dean's reaction was a mix of concerned and distrustful of Sam not talking to him.

I still don't think they are really that happy being together again and are just making the best of things. Again, I'm still stuck on their 2 year estrangement. They were not on good terms when they got back together again. So I think there is still awkwardness and mistrust/distrust on some level between them. 

I guess I'm just not seeing this great brotherly dynamic so early on. More like they are kind of stuck with each other and trying to heal whatever caused their 2 year non talking to each other thing. 

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4 hours ago, GirlyGeek said:

Don't like the whispery, sing/song voice Sam/JP has adopted. 

I have a similar reaction throughout S1. I'm not sure I'd say it's bad, but definitely different somehow. It seems his cadence to his line readings stopped being so sing-songy in S2. I always wonder if someone pointed it out and suggested he stop or he made a conscious choice to do it differently in S2.

4 hours ago, GirlyGeek said:

...and I had to watch the final scene via youtube because I just couldn't do it with the fake music (streaming on Netflix).  Ugh, it kills the scene.  Laugh I Nearly Died MUST play during the key scene  :)

I understand why it's changed, but that's just so wrong. I'm so thankful that I found the show before it was available for streaming on Netflix. I would've never known about the music change and probably not been so drawn to the show without the music.

9 minutes ago, catrox14 said:

I guess I'm just not seeing this great brotherly dynamic so early on. More like they are kind of stuck with each other and trying to heal whatever caused their 2 year non talking to each other thing. 

I do agree they haven't yet found that groove with each other and aren't always happy to be stuck together. It's not till later in the season where I feel like they're choosing to stick together, but I do feel an underlying affection for one another--especially in this episode--and when it matters they are pretty in-sync with each other, IMO.

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See, I TOTALLY bought Sam's POV both the first time and this time.  I thought his soft voice was the right approach with the girl. I really feel like in these first few episodes, as Sam reacclimates to the hunting world, I'm catching up too.  Sam was sort of a normal person I could relate to in many instances.  Of course in this episode we learn 'not so much' because he is seeing visions of his dead girlfriend.  Awesome music cue. 

Other notes:

- That elder sister whose Mom died? Certifiable brat.  As was the other one who said it on the phone and died.  BLEECH.
- Why did Dean's eyes bleed after Mary came out of the picture?  Do we have a working theory on this?  
- Mary crawling out of the picture is legit FREAKY.  I always find those jerky ghost-like movements scary.  Little SFx, BIG impact for me.
- I liked that Dean pulled the car over when Sam started with the guilt thing.  I like how he prioritizes his brother's needs over the case in that moment.  He had been patient with the "lollipops and gumdrops" obvious lie but it was starting to get serious and I think he did the right thing. But I also appreciated that Sam (at the end) wasn't ready to share and care on everything yet.  Especially the vision-thing.  So, I liked the tension in the relationship because I felt like it came from a place of caring and fear versus any other unresolved sibling issues (which I'm sure they have).

On a personal note, I remember when I played Bloody Mary back in Iowa in the late 60's/early 70's.  I don't recall a specific consequence (except that she kills you or something) but this particular urban legend was definitely part of my youth.

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5 minutes ago, SueB said:

- Why did Dean's eyes bleed after Mary came out of the picture?  Do we have a working theory on this?  

I don't know if there's a consensus, but I can see a few possibilities:

  • Dean does have a secret that we just don't know about where someone dies.
  • Mary doesn't ONLY go after people with secret deaths on their conscious, but is her preference. In this case, Dean was a threat, so she went after him anyway. 
  • TPTB just thought it would look cool and scary.

Anyone else got another option? ;)

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11 minutes ago, SueB said:

See, I TOTALLY bought Sam's POV both the first time and this time.  I thought his soft voice was the right approach with the girl.

Yes, with the younger girl I get it.  But it seems like Sam takes this soft, breathy voice thing to all the PiP and, while I don't believe its disingenuous, it rubs me the wrong way.  
 

12 minutes ago, SueB said:

- Why did Dean's eyes bleed after Mary came out of the picture?  Do we have a working theory on this?  

No theory here other than I'm sure there's lots of life and death and secrets in the years of hunting with and without Sam.  
Of course, there's a thousand fanfics out there that try to explain this too :)
 

14 minutes ago, SueB said:

- I liked that Dean pulled the car over when Sam started with the guilt thing.  I like how he prioritizes his brother's needs over the case in that moment.  He had been patient with the "lollipops and gumdrops" obvious lie but it was starting to get serious and I think he did the right thing. But I also appreciated that Sam (at the end) wasn't ready to share and care on everything yet.  Especially the vision-thing.

Yes!  Love that he did that too.  Dean had been putting up with secrecy and not wanting to talk about its, and had shown veiled (and not so veiled) concern about the nightmares, but Sam starting in on blaming himself for getting Jess killed... No way Dean would let that slide.  And in no way did he want to let Sam use that misplaced guilt to be ghost-bait.

5 minutes ago, DittyDotDot said:

Anyone else got another option? ;)

Could also be that once she was free from the mirrors (more corporeal) maybe the rules didn't apply anymore.  The rules were kinda bendy to begin with ;)

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34 minutes ago, DittyDotDot said:

I don't know if there's a consensus, but I can see a few possibilities:

  • Dean does have a secret that we just don't know about where someone dies.
  • Mary doesn't ONLY go after people with secret deaths on their conscious, but is her preference. In this case, Dean was a threat, so she went after him anyway. 
  • TPTB just thought it would look cool and scary.

Anyone else got another option? ;)

Dean probably wasn't able to save SOMEONE at some point in his life so that's the death that he hasn't told anyone about.

OR it's Dean's damaged 4 year old subconscious thinking he's responsible for Mary's death and that he couldn't save her.

Edited by catrox14
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17 hours ago, catrox14 said:

I guess I'm just not seeing this great brotherly dynamic so early on. More like they are kind of stuck with each other and trying to heal whatever caused their 2 year non talking to each other thing. 

By this episode, I think they're getting into the brotherly groove. And I like Jared's more "natural" voice; I don't hear it as soft & breathy. It's also great hearing Jensen's natural voice - the gravelly growl of the past view seasons grates. IMHO, of course. 

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On ‎6‎/‎6‎/‎2016 at 10:05 PM, DittyDotDot said:

I don't know if there's a consensus, but I can see a few possibilities:

  • Dean does have a secret that we just don't know about where someone dies.
  • Mary doesn't ONLY go after people with secret deaths on their conscious, but is her preference. In this case, Dean was a threat, so she went after him anyway. 
  • TPTB just thought it would look cool and scary.

Anyone else got another option? ;)

Dean's killed lots of things secretly.  Mary probably doesn't care if it's human or not.  After all, she's a ghost, so why wouldn't she care about other ghosts getting killed.

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Thank you  TNT for some vintage episodes for Halloween!  Bloody Mary was the one that hooked me, as well.  While watching it today with my daughter, who does not watch the show except for a random episode occasionally, I wondered the aloud about why Dean's eyes would bleed in that scene.  She said "Because he feels guilty about every bad thing that's ever happened to anyone, anywhere.  He carries the weight of the world on his shoulders, always has."  It's obvious to even someone who you wouldn't even call a casual viewer.   Le sigh. 

It struck me odd though, that Sam says there are things he prefers to keep to himself, but in the recent seasons it's like he wants Dean to open a vein and spill every thought he has, ever.  Maybe that's due to all the seasons of lies and deception between them, though. I miss those seasons, thank Chuck for Netflix!

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So, I watched the pilot years ago and never picked up Supernatural. I am on maternity leave and decided to work my way through this show (having done the same with Veronica Mars). I have to watch something while feeding the baby/pumping in the middle of the night so I don't nod off and VM worked well. This episode made me realize that Supernatural may not be the best choice for those middle of the night tv sessions. I have a serious fear of Bloody Mary and mirrors freak me out. Watching it in the dark in the middle of the night wasn't the best choice. 

I agree that the premise here was weak. The victims' stories didn't align well enough to make it anything other than arbitrary. I think they could have at least dug into the idea that she targets people who blame themselves/feel guilty. Then the lack of objective culpability would make sense.

Still, the overall episode was creepy and definitely freaked me out in the middle of the night.

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