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5.12 - Swap Meat (SPN)

I don't have a whole lot to say about this one. I just want to knock it out so I can move on.

I almost decided not to bother writing anything down until I realized a tidbit from this episode may have a more significant ramification than I anticipated. But before I get to that, let me just say I felt this episode was sloppy. Previously, I mistakenly attributed it as written by Andrew Dabb & Daniel Loflin according to IMDB. But later it was changed to Julie Siege instead. So now, two of my least favorite episodes this season (the other one is "Fallen Idols") are all written by her.

Before I go any further, I want to make it perfectly clear that I never wished for a body swap episode between Sam and Dean. If anything, I think such endeavor is ill advised. It would only cause fights between fans arguing which actor is better at portraying either or both characters, but it wouldn't achieve any real pay off for the characters themselves. How would suddenly living in a body that's 4 inches shorter or taller advances Sam or Dean's character, I have no idea. Bear in mind swapping bodies with each other does not change their circumstances -- they are still two young guys too hot for their own good traveling around the country in a sleek car & have no one else but each other to rely on.

So if TPTB have to do a body swap episode, have the boy(s) swap with someone else is the way to go in my opinion. Although between Sam and Dean, I'm more hoping to see Dean's body get snatched rather than Sam's. There has been too many times Sam's body was not under his control, it's getting a little ridiculous. Besides, it would've been an interesting exercise of having Dean live in a normal household just this once. He's been robbed that experience since the tender age of 4. True, unlike Sam, he has never expressed a longing for normalcy before, but I want to see if living in a white picket fenced house with "Mom", "Dad" and a little "sister" would change things for Dean or not.

Alas, they went with Sam again this time. I don't hate it because I'm okay with the fact that nobody else has yet been able to take control of Dean's body. Actually, more than okay -- I like it. Herein lies the reason why I enjoy Dean as a character much more so than Sam: of all his actions, for better or worse, Dean Winchester has taken full responsibility for them, body and soul. But I digress here, let's get back to Sam.

Sam's the one gets a taste of normal life again after putting Palo Alto in his rearview mirror. The reintroduction to suburbia reaffirmed his suspicion that it's not what he wanted any more, or so he claims. In real life this may be a terrible development, here it's a positive character growth. If that's the point of this episode, I can live with that. But then Nora!Demon opened her mouth and dropped an anvil on my head.

Say what? Anybody (or thing) takes over Sam Winchester's body can give Lucifer teh permission?! Show, are you telling me Sam Winchester's specialty comes not from his character but from his hot body?! If that's not objectifying him, I don't know what is. I now live in fear the story arc would climax in Detroit with someone else takes control over Sam's body and acquiesce to the Devil. Thus Sam Winchester can't be held RESPONSIBLE! Oh how I hate this.

And that's not all. I also take issue with the way this episode was put together. What's the fun of making a body swap episode if Jared Padalecki has to play his original character for the most part? In my opinion, Jared did a fantastic job as Gary in the beginning. Why not have him doing it for the rest of the episode? True, it would be tricky and require fine acting to pull off not!Sam (Gary) when he's with Dean, but I'd rather believe Jared can rise to the occasion. Maybe the director (Bob Singer) thought it would be cute to dress Jared in a geeky hoodie, or funny to shove a 6'4" man in a high school surrounding. But I think it's distracting, and Jared lost a big chance to exercise/show-off his acting muscle. When Dean was interacting with not!Sam, although intellectually the audience knows the body of not!Sam should be a Sasquatch, but from the angle Dean casts his eyes, it's quite obvious he's talking to a man much shorter in statue. Not only that, when Dean finally got to listen to the messages Sam (in Gary's body) left on his voice mail, the sound that came through was clearly Jared(Sam)'s. Ai ya, what a giant ball of confusion! Lastly, the editing was off too. I was rather amused how that glass of Banana Daiquiri gets magically refilled when Gary (in Sam's body) puts it down on the table after sucking half of the glass down:

The twirling umbrella made me laugh. Don't know how or why they did that.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 7th, 2010 01:27 am (UTC)
So THIS!!!!!

This episode had so many plot holes. I did enjoy Jared as Gary--he did a great job--but otherwise this is one I won't be rewatching. I also am confused about the whole body thing--is it the blood, then, that makes Sam special to Lucifer? Then what about Lucifer and his whole "anger" speech he gave to Sam? I would rather forget that this episode even exists.

Feb. 7th, 2010 07:23 pm (UTC)
Yay! We thought alike once again.

I'm so glad you brought up the "Anger" speech Lucifer gave in "Abandon All Hopes". I had a discussion in comm where we were saying how it didn't fit with what Nora!Demon said. Lucifer's words certainly suggests Sam's character is what's important, but Nora!Demon basically claims it's the host, the body, that is the prize. Someone suggested Nora!Demon as a lower ranked demon is basically clueless. I dunno, to think Sam and Dean's more threatening foes as that dumb, that doesn't sit well with me either.

I will ponder more about the brothers as chosen vessels more in my review of the next episode...
Feb. 7th, 2010 03:12 am (UTC)
I'm afraid that episode is right at the bottom for me, yup, even lower than Idols and Curious. Bodyswaps in fanfics is not my favourite genre, I tend to avoid those kind of fics because even when they're written by my favourite authors I tend to get confused a lot, having to imgaine Dean speaking from Sam's body for instance. But having said that, I was looking forward to that episode, I only knew that some body-swapping would occur but I didn't know the details. But I think you're right about the wank that would have occured if they did the Sam-Dean swap thing.

Dean was obviously looking down at a much shorter person when Gary was in Sam's body. I didn't get the voicemail thing until someone pointed it out to me but yeah, that too.

And the biggest fail is of course Dean not recognizing that Sam wasn't actually Sam. But you know, I think subconsciously Dean so badly wanted Sam to be someone he could connect with that he only saw what he wanted to see - which I think contributed to his not catching up sooner. Because otherwise - utter fail!
Feb. 7th, 2010 07:47 pm (UTC)
Heh, I'm yet to decide which of these two (Idols and this) is lower for me. As much as I hate this episode, Jared in a geeky hoodie is cute. And as far as I'm concerned, Sam in Idols completely fails as a character. His speech to Dean was not a character development, it was a character recession. (you probably can tell I'm gung-ho for characters take responsibility for their actions here)

I'm actually okay with Dean not recognizing Sam wasn't Sam there. In my mind, I think Dean was blinded by having Sam so in tuned with him. This isn't the first time he was duped like that. Remember back in "Sex and Violence" how easily he was taken advantage by the Siren?

I think Dean still craved for that little Sammy who used to idolize him when he was small -- liked everything he liked, wanted to be just like Dean. But I think that stopped when Sam hit his teen years.

So it made me really sad that the perfect harmony Dean found with not!Sam wasn't real in the end. And it's this little emotional upheave I can take away here makes this episode not a complete loss to me.

Edited at 2010-02-07 07:48 pm (UTC)
Feb. 7th, 2010 10:02 am (UTC)
This episode was the absolute tribute to Jared hotness. For that alone it is on my watch and watch again list. The man is amazing.
Happy Sunday dear:))
Feb. 7th, 2010 07:55 pm (UTC)
Hee, Jared's hotness is indisputable. I just wish the director would give Jared a better challenge that shows off his talent. He did such a great job as the geeky Gary in the beginning, I don't understand why they didn't let him continue for the rest of the episode.

But I have to admit Jared in a geeky hoodie is darn cute.

Happy Sunday to you too dear! It's Super Bowl Sunday here...
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 8th, 2010 07:26 pm (UTC)
See IMO, Demon!Nora's revelation contradicts the angst presented from what Lucifer said to Sam in "Abandon All Hopes". Also, if they can just get some punk to steal Sam's body, what's the point of all this anyway. If TPTB decides Sam acquiesce to Lucifer in the end (or even pushed to the brink of doing it), I want it to be a conscious decision on Sam's part, for good or bad. Although I envision if that was to happen, Sam would be making a desperate bid to save Dean.

As new writers go, I completely agree with you. IMO new writer ruined my beloved Battlestar Galactica, but that's beside the point here. Although I have to admit the Dabb & Loflin writing team seemed okay to me. The only thing they wrote I didn't like was "Afterschool Special". Siege on the other hand, I don't like most of the stuff she wrote for SPN. I really miss Raelle Tucker, who wrote two of my favorites: "Faith", and "What Is and What Should Never Be". Looks like she went on to write for "True Blood" instead. :(

I think Jared as Gary acting alongside Jensen's Dean would be excellent. And Colton James (Gary) as Sam wouldn't be much of a big deal -- all he needed to do was acting confused in the beginning and concerned/angsty later on. There's not much in-depth Sam here anyway until the very end Sam confess to Dean he thought the white picket fence household was stifling at the end. But by then, Sam's back in his body already.

Oh hon, I took every episode too seriously. That's my downfall. :(
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 9th, 2010 12:31 am (UTC)
Whooo, don't forget Sera Gamble. She along with Ben Edlund and Eric Kripke forms the triumvirate that rules Supernatural I think. ;-)

You are right, I'm happier to write this one as an one off for now. Thankfully, the following episode is really good -- I wish can have time to write down my thoughts soon.
Feb. 8th, 2010 04:23 am (UTC)
What's the fun of making a body swap episode if Jared Padalecki has to play his original character for the most part?

Definitely agree! My friend and I both want to see Jared plays another character. Can you imagine how great would it have been in the exorcizing scene had it been Jensen and Jared playing Gary? That way it would still have been my J2 on screen and not some boy I don't care to see. :)
Feb. 8th, 2010 07:51 pm (UTC)
Oh yes, totally! Not only that, but can you imagine having Jared as not!Sam rear-ending the Impala, telling Dean how much he loves double bacon cheese burger, how much he enjoys Dean's choice of music, and how he realizes Dean is a really good guy... It would be so cool and yet heartbreaking because it's only an illusion. But in the end, none of it matters when real Sam tells Dean he realizes the way he was brought up (essentially by Dean) was so much better than growing up in a suburban household.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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