Supernatural: Yellow Fever

Sam: "It's ghost sickness."
Dean: "Ghost sickness."
Sam: "Yeah."
Dean: "Oh god, no."
Sam: "Yeah."
Dean: "I don't even know what that is."

Was it fun? Absolutely. Clever and well-acted, too. But the more I thought about it, the more this episode bothered me.

Luthor's initial death felt off. It had the feel of a hate crime, not murderous jealousy. And it actually seemed mean-spirited, pun intended, for Sam and Bobby to kill huge, gentle, kitten-loving Luthor the way they did. And killing the dead? How do you kill the dead? Did they re-animate his body, somehow? They didn't really explain it. It was flimsy storytelling.

And while I'm complaining, I have to say that I really didn't enjoy seeing brash, fearless, Hell-don't-scare-me Dean in a constant state of mortal terror and acting like a coward when it is so antithetical to his nature. But I did like the hint that Hell has changed Dean and he's a lot more interested in living than he used to be. It said a lot that the things Dean found most frightening were (1) hellhounds, (2) Lilith, and (3) Sam turning into Azazel.

Sam flashing a bit of yellow eye at the end did not make me happy, either. (I'm assuming that was real, and not a tiny bit of residual hallucination.) How do demons propagate? I assume that they don't, since demons are people who have done hard time in Hell. Is that Azazel's end game – creating demonic offspring out of his "kids"? Is Sam actually becoming a Yellow Eyed Demon?

There has been a strong focus on Dean so far this season, and I certainly don't object to that. But I feel that season four Sam has become a stranger. And that makes me uncomfortable.

Bits and pieces:

— The action took place in Rock Ridge, Colorado, which was also the name of the town in the great classic comedy, Blazing Saddles. (There were old west and galloping horse murals, too.)

— They stayed at the Bluebird Hotel. As in "of happiness?" The guys were FBI agents Tyler and Perry (Aerosmith), which didn't get past Reptile guy. I liked Reptile guy. Fun character.

— The paranoid Sheriff Al Britton of the antiseptic hand cleanser was fun. I knew I recognized him but couldn't place him. It was Jack Conley, who played Sahjahn the demon on Angel. (As well as the werewolf hunter on Buffy.)

— Speaking of Angel, four months in Hell feels like forty years? Gee, that sounds familiar.

— Bobby speaks Japanese. Yes, he can do anything.

— Were they running short again? Yes, Jensen Ackles lipsynching Eye of the Tiger was pretty damned funny. I especially loved him doing air guitar on his thigh, and hearing Jared Padalecki laughing in the background. (Did Jared call him "Jenny"?)

Quotes and there were lots of good ones:

Coroner: "Sorry. Spleen juice."

Sheriff Britton: "Me and Frank, we were friends. Hell, we were Gamecocks. (Dean snickers) That's our softball team's name. They're majestic animals."
Even better, their opponents were called the Cornjerkers.

Reptile guy: "The Wizard of Oz was on TV the other night, right? And he said that green bitch was totally out to get him."
Sam: "Anything else scare him?"
Reptile guy: "Everything else scared him. Al-Qaeda, ferrets, artificial sweetener, those Pez dispensers with their dead little eyes..."

Sam: "Dude, you're going twenty."
Dean: "And?"
Sam: "That's the speed limit."
Dean: "What, safety's a crime now?"

Dean: "I don't scare people."
Sam: "Dean, all we do is scare people."

Dean: "I'll man the flashlight."
Sam: "You do that."

Dean: "We search out things that want to kill us. Or eat us. You know who does that? Crazy people. We are insane! And then there's the bad diner food and the skeevy motel rooms, and the truck stop waitress with the bizarre rash..."

Dean: "Do you actually like being stuck in a car with me eight hours a day every single day? I don't think so! I mean, I drive too fast, and I listen to the same five albums over and over and over again, and I sing along. I'm annoying, I know that. And you! You're gassy. You eat half a burrito and you get toxic."

Dean: "I'm fine! You wanna go hunting? I'll hunt. I'll kill anything."
Sam: "Aww."
Bobby: "He's adorable."

Two out of four stars,

Billie
---
Billie Doux adores Supernatural which is a good thing since apparently, it's eternal.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

I understand what you are saying Billie but I loved the episode and the contrast it made with Dean being the cautious, fearful one. It was a lovely role reversal from earlier seasons. I agree that the dragging of the ghost was nasty and I didn't like it but it certainly added moral ambiguity which seems to be big this season. One of my favourite lines (and I won't get this perfect) was when they were discussing why Dean got the sickness and Sam didn't. Dean said - "Well you're a dick too" and Sam said "Apparently not" Sam was enjoying his status as "non-dick" in this case as most brothers would even in the face of calamity. I also liked what this episode did with macho gender roles -ie. it was only the macho men's men that got sick. Too bad they had to end by doing the stupid macho, bully thing and drag the ghost behind the car.

Sean White said...

I actually am surprised for you to have missed this when you usually catch things I have missed but it was explained in the final act how they "killed" the ghost. The chain was made of iron and bobby put intricate spells on it and then dragging the ghost "scared it to death" Now the last part might be a stretch to some people but in a show full of ghosts and demons I'm willing to suspend my disbelief. Personally I really enjoyed this episode (so far supernatural is on a roll and has taken over as my favourite show on television until lost comes back) Of course I especially loved the "surprise ending" Personally I'd put it at 3 stars but maybe I'm too generous

Billie Doux said...

DrSandyMom, I did enjoy the episode. I certainly didn't hate it. I love Jensen Ackles, and I thought he did a great job. He certainly made me laugh.

Sean, I did catch the iron thing. Technically, they did sort of explain "scaring a ghost to death." It just felt flimsy to me, as well as mean. As I said on my Supernatural discussion list, maybe they should have brought in Jennifer Love Hewitt to point Luthor toward the white light instead. :)

Eric Kripke actually addressed fan complaints about the implication that Dean is a dick. Apparently, I wasn't the only Supernatural fan to bitch about this episode.

Anonymous said...

Good episode, I liked it. I agree, it seemed unfair them scaring that ghost when he was such a nice guy, but he was killing people.

As to the thing about demon kids - didnt Azazel have kids? And I dont mean Sam and the other humans he fed blood to. Meg and that guy from First Wave were both supposed to be his children weren't they? He certainly got ticked off when Dean boasted of how he killed them. Did they become demons themselves because they were fed his blood the way Sam was? Meg was able to enter holy ground, to the surprise of that Priest Hunter, and remarked that she wasn't small fry or something. Maybe YED was trying to make demons that were stronger than the regular sort. Would also explain his pitting them against each other in deathmatches - he wanted only the strongest to survive in order to make the strongest possible demon.

Anonymous said...

Just watched this one for the first time tonight and it had me clapping my hands and howling with laughter several times. Thank God some shows still know how to deliver the chuckles. I really liked this episode. Dean screaming at the cat in the locker was priceless :-)

Josie Kafka said...

I watched this a few hours ago and still can't stop laughing at the teaser, as well at the cat-in-locker girly scream. And Dean grabbing Sam's jacket whenever he got scared, and being frightened of donuts, and the fourth floor, and Gumby.

Even poor Luthor hugging a kitten made me laugh, because it was such a cliche. (I hope the kitten grew up to be the cat who lived in the factory, and kept him company.)

Ben said...

Well to be very honest Bille, Supernatural is my new favourite show after BtVS, and I found this episode to be fantastic! (Must also note that I have read all your reviews on Buffy, Angel, Dexter, Supernatural and Lost but have never commented before.)

I have not read any interviews by EK, but I found the idea that Dean got infected by ghost sickness because he is a "dick" helped set up a major plot line. He tortured many a soul in hell by using "fear as a weapon," and I believe it was Lilth that told Dean that he knows why he got infected. It was a subtle illusion to what Dean was really subjected to in hell, and in my belief was a fantastic way in which to do so.

It can be argued that Dean was taken away from his character. His is never scared or afraid, and always the first one to jump into battle. But seeing the vulnerable side of Dean that was FORCED to feel the way he did honestly opened up his characters deepest and darker fears. It was established in S3 that he didnt want to go to hell. His deepest fear was Lilith sending him back to the pit.

If it took a ghost sickness to manifest and show the audience this, then I fully agree with it. What would not be scarier than being sent to the pit by the child demon that held the contract in the first place??

Anyway, this is an abridged version of my thoughts on only one episode.

If wanted to talk in depth about Supernatural or any of the shows I mentioned above, then please contact me at nbl_fan@hotmail.com

Hope you get this,

Ben

Billie Doux said...

Ben, I get every comment that is posted, and I hope you'll keep posting them. Reaction to this episode was mixed, and I totally get it. I think I like this one more now than I did when it aired, too.

Anonymous said...

Jensen Ackles doing Eye of the Tiger was a lot of fun. But this episode is one of my least favorite and I feel Dean is out of character.

Anonymous said...

Great episode! Seeing Dean scared of everything and the fact that he was infected in the first place bothered me, but at the same time it was just sooo funny! I spent most of the episode laughing my head off, and I practically fell on the floor laughing when he screamed about the cat! SL

ChrisB said...

Billie - great minds and all that. More than once during this episode, I reflected on what is happening over in the writers' room. For the past three episodes, JA has had the meatier, some might say leading, role. Luckily for us, he can carry them.

JA is a fantastic comic actor. The little girl scream, running away from the ghost and his face as the snake crawled over him had me in stitches. He also plays a very funny drunk.

I agree that Sam is feeling like a stranger. These boys are still keeping a lot from each other; that won't end well. The yellow eye flash caught me off guard - I actually had to watch it again to be sure I had actually seen it.

It may have been filler, but 'Eye of the Tiger' was a blast. I loved it. And, his smile at the end of it? Melt...

sunbunny said...

I had a similar problem with the way they killed Luthor at the end. When they burn a ghost's bones, it has a funerary aspect. It's like they're putting the person to rest at last. It's peaceful. What the did (had to do) to Luthor was violent and cruel. Not to say our boys are violent and cruel (they're not cruel, at least), but there should have been another way to do this.

Sami V. said...

I love reading your reviews, Billie. I found them as I started binge watching Supernatural the second time through. I love all the bits and pieces and getting to see things through your eyes as a fresh, as it was aired, I-have-to-wait-a-week-until-the-next-episode perspective. I was really looking forward to your thoughts on Castiel/Misha as he is my favorite character (sorry boys) and has been from the beginning.

Anyway, I loved seeing Dean in this episode scared, as he has never showed that as he is usually being tough Hunter man. I thought that was very amusing. I agree about the end part with the ghost, it seemed like a terrible way to end the ghost. I thought there should have been some opposite/kindness wins the day sort of solution as we have seen sometimes. But this show sure does like to play with the moral dilemna aspect. Thanks for reviewing, keep up the good work!

Billie Doux said...

Thanks so much for the lovely comment, Gee Buttersnaps. I absolutely love your handle. :)

Unknown said...

For me, the scene with Luthor resonated differently, so I was surprised that so many of you found it hard to swallow. Personally, I always saw it as evidence of just how far both Sam and Bobby are willing to go, to save one of their own, in this case Dean. It's not pretty, and I doubt they enjoyed it, but it was what needed to be done to keep Dean alive and that made it believable to me, albeit horrifying for the poor, innocent Luthor.

I, too, loved the end scene, especially the back story behind it, because it shows how close J2 have gotten at this point. That Jared knew Jensen would have something hilarious in him, to the point where he didn't hit his mark and just waited to see what Jensen would do, is perfection. I also love how clearly we can hear Jared's laughter, essentially because he was micced for the scene. Wonderful.

endaira91 said...

I don't really get why people complain of Dean being out of character in this episode. Wasn't that the point of the episode? Or is this referring to the "him being a dick" part of the equation?

Louise said...

This is one of my faves of all time, and it puzzles me to read that you and some of your readers didn't enjoyed it. When I first saw it, i laughed hard. The Yorkshire, the flashlight, the snake, the fourth floor, the fake badge, the driving, the Eye of the tiger, everything was hilarious. And then, when I rewatch it, i got the underlining meanings, the foreshadowing. Yes, Dean is a dick, specially at this time of fourth season, but we don't really know it yet. It's a hint, not a OOC assumption. And seeing freaked out like that allows us to measure how hard it really is for him to be a hero, to never show that he's scared, to put on the brave face in any case. And I loved that he was open about it with his brother, he didn't even tried to hide it, he was totally paniking and was honest about it with Sam and himself.

I was never bothered by the ghost killing scene. I don't know if it is because I'm a horrible human being (probably) and I have very little empathy towards ghosts and monsters and bad guys all together, or because I am pretty cold about what happens on the screen in general (i don't like horror movies, but i love gore, Tarantino-ish stuff. I'm messed up).
Reading that you were unhappy about it made me think a little bit more and, as much as I agree about Luther being generally a sweet, misundertanded guy, I still think it was a better idea than set the all factory on fire.

Billie Doux said...

Louise, there is clearly a lot of disagreement about this one -- it's interesting. Sometimes I think I'm way too invested in Dean as a character and that's why I didn't care much for it.

Louise said...

I'm a Dean girl myself (even if I really like Sam too) so I can get it, but i think I love Dean even if sometimes he's a dick :)