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S01.E08: Bugs

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For as almost mawkish and problematic as this episode is, I really like it. First, I have a great love for Ryan Robbins and have ever since I first spied him in a small part on Dead Like Me. (the guy who plays co-worker and friend to the electric company guy who dies via beetles at the top of the episode). Secondly, they start off the episode with a Def Leppard tune, who, I may not still be in love with now, I once was as a youngin' and now every time I hear them my heart grows two sizes. Add on that it's directed by Mr. Manners and I'm already in my happy zone.  Plus, it's fun to see

Samandriel's vessel (Heaven's most adorable angel from S8) before he was possessed by an angel (hee!) and also apparently Sam's prom date co-wrote the episode, so hee again!

 

The good:

  • I like the insight into Sam and John here and even though I have grown to dislike John over the years, I didn't start that way and this is a reminder why.
  • I also love Dean's perspective. Of course Dean would think that John was never disappointed, how could he see it any different. I find how Dean is stuck in the middle of Sam in John throughout S1 to be pitch perfect.
  • I love that they were squatting and Dean is adorable about the steam shower. The first season on-the-road feeling never fails to entertain.
  • I think the best thing to come from this episode is the story of how Kim Manners directed the bee scenes. Jensen has said that the whole crew got suited up in protection gear, but Kim Manners looked at Jared and Jensen in their regular Sam and Dean get ups and said if they weren't wearing protective gear then he wouldn't either and went in that tiny room with the thousands of bees in shorts and a T-shirt, sat on a little box and directed the entire scene. I respect respect, so it always makes me smile when I watch this episode.
  • I particularly like the shot of Dean pulling that skeleton out of that hole in the ground and then turning it around to face him.

 

The bad and the ugly:

  • Insta-dawn. Granted, I expect they ran out of time and had to punt, but it still looks really bad.
  • Native American curse? Not super fond of that aspect, but can go with it.
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Poor guys, I can't handle one bee landing on me much less the amount that they had to deal with.  They said, yes they got stung.  Glad to know that Manners was willing to face the bees with them.

 

I just hate the bugs killing scenes cause I Hate Hate bugs.  So I will never watch most of the ep and only watch a few bits but it isn't one I'll watch over and over.

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I can handle the bees, but the spiders?  VERY NOPE. 100% TOTAL COMPLETE NOPE FOREVER. NOPE NOPE NOPE

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They could have fixed the InstaDawn with a line about how they've been up there for hours now.

 

I cringe at the way they handle the archaeologist and the skull. In real life the professor if not one of his grad students would be down there at the site so fast...

 

That said I thought the reservation looked fairly realistic. 

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I love this episode.  I'm not ashamed of it for one second.

 

Yeah it was kind of stupid, but it was so much fun.  You could tell Ackles and Padalecki were having fun with it.  Everyone working on the episode realized it was kind of stupid, but just ran with it and had fun.  The only bad thing about it was the instadawn, but I can overlook that.

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Another early favorite of mine, in spite of all its flaws.  It's just fun.  I love the touches of The Birds in it.   I even like the insta-dawn, because when I watch the episode I just assume they've been in that attic for a long time. (Of course, several seasons of watching Smallville had given me lots of practice at filling in crater-sized plot holes by the time this show came along, so I had that working for me.)  I'm not exactly a fan of bees or spiders, but I can watch them without a problem.  I've just always been glad the show didn't include cockroaches, because I can't even watch those pesticide commercials with the talking ones and I'd have had to skip this episode completely if it did.

 

I love that they were squatting and Dean is adorable about the steam shower. The first season on-the-road feeling never fails to entertain.

 

 

Same here..  It makes sense that they would squat somewhere once in a while.  I love the crazy motel rooms, but the way they live on the road it makes sense that once in a while, when circumstances allow, they'd squat for a few days. Or camp, for that matter.  It's still in keeping with the on-the-road vibe unlike, say,

settling down in a bunker for a year or so

.  And Dean takes such joy in the simplest pleasures in life.  

 

I also like Sam's relationship with Matt, the parallels, and his understanding of where Matt is in life.  And I love that moment when Sam is talking to the realtor, sees the spider, and is totally comfortable with collecting it to bring over to Matt.  Although I think the direction or editing of that scene and the way the realtor is just dismissed from it could use a little work.

 

 

I think the best thing to come from this episode is the story of how Kim Manners directed the bee scenes. Jensen has said that the whole crew got suited up in protection gear, but Kim Manners looked at Jared and Jensen in their regular Sam and Dean get ups and said if they weren't wearing protective gear then he wouldn't either and went in that tiny room with the thousands of bees in shorts and a T-shirt, sat on a little box and directed the entire scene. I respect respect, so it always makes me smile when I watch this episode.

 

 

I keep learning new things!  I hadn't heard that before.  My respect for Kim Manners just keeps climbing.

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I have to admit this is the only episode in the series I've never re-watched. There were actually a lot of cute/hilarious scenes - which I only remember because people gif them - but I just can't deal with all the bugs. All those beetles and bees and worst of all - spiders!! That is one powerful curse I would never mess with. Biggest deterrent EVER. 

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Seriously, with the spiders.  I had to hide my eyes through like half of the lord of the ring with the giant spider and then same with the Hobbit.  I wanted to watch Penny Dreadful but spiders in like the first 5 minutes!

 

I couldn't NOPE out of there fast enough.

Edited by catrox14

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And I love that moment when Sam is talking to the realtor, sees the spider, and is totally comfortable with collecting it to bring over to Matt.

 

Me too. That and the fact that Sam seemed to be really looking at the beetles and know what they were warmed my little bug-loving heart. And I liked to think that Sam had a sort of fondness for the critters himself (I may be wrong, but I don't think regular people just go around picking up great big spiders. Just because that would be a normal thing for me to do...) So yeah I loved the bugs part of the episode.

 

One thing that sort of annoyed me about the episode though was that the kid just gave up insects in the end because of that one scare. I realize that the story was tying into Sam's story and the idea of growing up and out of something - like Sam had been trying to do - but being a bug person myself and knowing a lot of bug people during my life... we're just weird. Our interest in and sometimes passion for insects is generally strong, and I have heard stories from people where things happened to them and they still stuck with their insect interest - for example, one guy I knew held up an insect to his ear to listen to it when he was a kid, and it accidentally crawled in his ear and he ended up losing some of his hearing... he still studied insects (we went through our Junior and Senior year of college Entomology classes together), my husband studied cockraches and developed an allergy to them, and he still studies insects, even roaches (though we still both think some species of roaches - not all* - are gross). I played with ants as a kid and got bit a bunch. I worked with fire ants and was stung about 3-4 times a week for years. I know a guy whose passion for moths had him staying up at night and he had a heart attack due to it - he still studies moths. There are more bug people stories - I won't tell the bot fly one - but my point is... nope I didn't buy the kid giving up bugs** and wasn't sure I liked the message either. Were they also implying that the kid should give up being different and weird and that that was part of growing up too? Because I wouldn't like that message either.

 

* Yes, to me some cockroaches are pretty and there are some cute ones too, in my opinion, and most are rather inoccuous and live in the forest (those are cool), but some? Knowing more about them... actually makes them even more gross. However despite that "Joe's Apartment?" So much fun. And loved Jerry O'Connell in that. He had some guts to take that role, I'll say.

 

**and I was saying "No! Don't throw away the specimens... someone would want those." And what happened to the poor tarantula? :(

 

Seriously, with the spiders.

 

Hee. The tarantula and Sam was one of my favorite parts. I was going "awww" almost the whole time. But the plastic spiders Sam and Dean found? That was just bad. They could have at least sprung for hairy fake spiders.

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For me this was the only clunker of the first two seasons I watched.  First of all, bugs are the least interesting and least scary monsters there are, unless they are giant carniverous bugs.  But getting attacked by swarms of bees or ants or mosquitos or whatever, it's not only visually boring to watch (people swatting at the air while engulfed by thousands of little CGI critters), but the "monsters" themselves have no personality and no motive other than to do what they do.  I also blinked at the insta-dawn, they ran up to the attic at midnight and after five minutes of flailing their arms it was sunrise.  Some people really had to be asleep at the switch on that one, from the script writer to the director.  Of course, the whole Native American curse on a new housing development over old burial ground was straight out of Poltergeist.  I'm okay with the show borrowing old themes, as long as the story is scary and entertaining.  Fell short this time.

Edited by Dobian

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This is one of my early favorites because of the glimpses we get of the relationship the boys have (not to mention wet Dean)...before all of the misery. The angst was bearable. I loved how Sam related to Matt. I could have done without the hideous "special effects" especially the spiders and the insta-dawn really bothered me the first time I watched, but overall I really enjoyed it.

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In an episode that I hate, there are so many things to like.  Weird!

Ok, I only hate on this episode because it has three KEY lame things:

  • Bugs (not scary and especially not scary when they look plastic and fake)  And bees became unacceptable to me after the whole Mulder/Scully debacle ;)
  • Native American Curse (its rarely scary and its only funny on Buffy*)
  • InstaDawn (as in, who the heck let that slip by in editing?! Take another pass at it)

Then there's the obligatory gay couple joke.  Oh, ha ha, we're just brothers!  awkward.  Yes, it was funny once, maybe twice... let it go show

But, there are so many cute things.  Love the kid with the bugs.  Good actor and the parallels being drawn between Matt and Sam are great for Sam's characterization and groundwork of who he is.  Remember when the show used to be able to have character growth mixed in with MoTW? Character growth... NOT anvils.

Dean's excitement about the steam shower and the empty house.  Towel on his head.  Great stuff and as mentioned above, Dean enjoys the simple pleasures...

Spoiler

remember when Dean enjoyed the simple pleasures in life?  When he could be light hearted (ish)?

More layers in the Sam and Dean dynamic.  
I find Dean's POV in the episode re: family and Sam's attitude about John, to be a little OTT ("bow hunting is an important skill" or whatever and "what kind of advice is that? kid should stick with his family" re: Matt going to college to name a few).  LOL, like can he not, even a little bit, see Sam's point?  He can't be that militant and clueless... right?

 

*ha ha, now I can't stop singing about the Chumash Tribe from Buffy and Xander's poor affliction.  Hee hee

Edited by GirlyGeek
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"You watch Oprah?"  The look on Dean's face was priceless. I missed that the first time.  I loved the early dynamic of Dean earning money the way he always did and Sam not comfortable with it.  Not because I think Sam is right but because it shows how differently he saw the world.  But, in the Pilot, he remarked about the credit card scams. So... I'm wondering if Sam ALWAYS had an issue with how they got their money.  

And it felt a little bit "ouch" when Sam was talking about the most wonderful thing will happen in 2 years when the kid gets to go away to college.  After "Skin", I think he would be a little more sensitive.  Then again, Dean was TEAM DAD this episode.  So... not all that surprising that the conflicts are starting to get a little more meaningful.  

And Dean is right, Sam's apology is not going to last 5 mins.  Not if Sam believes the best thing he ever did was run away.

 

S1 spoilers:

Spoiler

It HURT watching Dean talk about how John would drive by Stanford every chance he got.  All I can hear is YED saying that this is more concern than John has ever shown Dean.

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3 minutes ago, SueB said:

And it felt a little bit "ouch" when Sam was talking about the most wonderful thing will happen in 2 years when the kid gets to go away to college.  After "Skin", I think he would be a little more sensitive.  Then again, Dean was TEAM DAD this episode.  So... not all that surprising that the conflicts are starting to get a little more meaningful. 

Yeah, a little re-phrasing of that would've been a bit more sensitive, but I choose to think of it as Sam working the job and trying to bond with the kid more than anything. I think his look at Dean after Dean says "What kinda advice is that? Kid should stick with his family," a bit of a "not helping" look, mixed with a "stop bringing our personal business to the job" look.

Yeah, I'm more than happy to sit over here in Delusional Land. It's nice here, the sun's shining and there's always ice cream in my freezer! ;)

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Rewatching now for the first time in years. I've decided to only say nice things about it since this episode gets a disproportionate amount of criticism. 

1. Dean: "It's how we were raised."

Sam: "The way we were raised was jacked." Man's not wrong.

2. Dean watches Oprah.

3. Sam insists on going into the hole by catching the coin midair after Dean says he'd go if Sam were scared. 

4. Dean going with the gay bit the second time just to bug Sam. (Pun intended)

5. "Bow hunting's an important skill."

6. Dean's love of the shower and the fact that he actually wrapped his hair in a towel.

7. "You're like the blonde chick from The Munsters." I like the whole conversation about John not really being disappointed in Sam but wanting to protect him and how John would check on him at Stanford. I like Peacekeeper Dean.

8. Native American guy: "You know who starts sentences with 'The truth is?' Liars." 

9. OMG, the kid from Bugs is the guy who dances in the "Shake It Off" parody who I couldn't recognize, isn't he? *checks imdb* He is! And is one of those people who've played multiple characters on Supernatural.

Edited by bettername2come
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The "instadawn" was so weird that I actually thought I had missed something. It felt like there were 100 ways to fix that. Honestly, this episode was a bit of a clunker from the Native American curse trope to the sort of boring MotW (even if the spiders grossed me out). The ending felt forced. 

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