In one of the more interesting methods of exploring a monster of the week episode, “Bitten” surprisingly and successfully captures the intimacy of found footage and the magic of Supernatural. With the whole episode focusing on an ill-fated group of college students, their stumble upon the very real curse of a werewolf takes Supernatural in a direction rarely seen for the series. Though the first half was far superior to the latter, the overall effect of such an episode felt closer to a coming of age film than anything else.
After arriving in a bloody crime scene, Dean and Sam watch a video on a laptop at the instruction of a mysterious person. We’re introduced to Brian and Michael, close friends who meet Kate, a camera enthusiast who makes an instant connection with the good-looking Michael. The three become seemingly inseparable though Brian expresses deep jealousy over the relationship that Michael and Kate have, even showing a longing for Kate’s company. They talk of their dreams, their goals, and their friendship like most people their age do while filming every second of it.
Immediately, us as the viewers have something to latch on to – Dean and Sam as well. Within a good 15 minutes of the episode, they’ve already covered enough of their relationship and characters to warrant sympathy for the impending fate of these kids without being overly pushy or dramatic. It’s a story we all know: the loser falls for girl, girl falls for his best friend, loser becomes jealous of best friend, chaos ensues. It’s nothing new, yet incredibly well done with the pacing being almost perfect. Sure, the conditions in which they meet Kate were far too convenient, but that was all but forgotten once the warmth of the characters became evident.
The trio eventually stumble upon a crime scene where our heroes, Dean and Sam are masquerading as the FBI. Later, Brian and Michael further stumble upon the brothers overhearing something about an animal attack. In an unfortunate turn of events, Michael is attacked and bitten by something, but is later found alive by Brian. Though the bite heals, Kate and Brian worry over what happened to Michael. When Michael accidentally tears apart a door, he discovers he has become imbued with superhuman strength, something that is initially praised by Brian and Kate until Brian wishes for Michael to bite him in the hopes of having superhuman strength as well. Michael rejects Brian due to the unknown circumstances of the situation, much to Brian’s chagrin.
With the first half of the episode done, the discovery of the supernatural source of the episode wasn’t necessarily a surprise, but the outcome was different that I would have imagined – at first. The way the kids reacted to the transformation had a very naive innocence to it that hit a chord in my heart and strangely made me smile as if a superhero was actually being born. As Brian said, this was Michael’s origin story: something that every little boy dreams of….until the weight of it all comes crashing down.
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