Yellow Fever (406)
Therein lies this episode’s first controversy. Although both brothers come into contact with the corpse of another “ghost sickness” victim, only Dean is affected. The reason given why Sam appears to be immune is that the disease only affects “bullies.” So the show is saying “Dean is a dick, but Sam is not.”
Except that’s not what the show is saying. At this point in the story arc, Dean has spent time in hell, and although he says he doesn’t remember anything of his time there, it’s been hinted otherwise. “Yellow Fever” confirms that Dean remembers. Although we don’t yet know what happened, it’s obvious Dean is shaken and feels extremely guilty.
The other outcry came when Bobby and Sam road-hauled a ghost. Fans said it was much too violent, and wasn’t in the Winchesters’ nature. Yet Bobby and Sam were desperate to save Dean, and there was no other option for them. Bobby said, “This is a terrible plan.” Plus, the victim was a ghost. The real violence occurred when the flesh and blood Luther was road-hauled to death. The way I see it, if the ghost is dead, the spirit is now at rest.
Controversy aside, “Yellow Fever” offered some interesting story telling. The puzzle pieces didn’t come together in the usual fashion. Although Sam and Dean (with Bobby’s help) figured out the problem, how the victims were related, and witnessed the ghost for themselves, they didn’t know how everything connected. Only when Sam and Dean talked to Luther’s brother did everything fit.
Given the overall dark tone of this episode, it provided many comedic highlights, most notably Dean’s various responses to fear. And then there was the bonus footage of Jensen Ackles ad lib-lip synching to Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger.” The guy is definitely a performer.
After School Special (413)
Never one of my “must rewatch” episodes, I was surprised with the “heart” of “After School Special.” The consistency of the characters shines through again, and shows us an earlier side of Dean and Sam’s relationship.
We see vestiges of adult Sam and Dean In their younger personas. When Brock Kelly (Young Dean) gets out of the Impala and speaks for the first time, I’d have have sworn it was Jensen Ackles if I’d had my eyes closed. Young Dean enjoys his life. The constant moving means he doesn’t have to take school seriously, and he’s able to seduce numerous teenage girls without getting too involved. Of course, his actions come back to bite him. It’s easy to imagine this was the point when Dean ditched school altogether, giving him the “GED and give ’em hell attitude” he’s mentioned before.
Fans have come to love Colin Ford as Young Sam, and as always, he did not disappoint. Unlike Dean, Sam’s unhappy with his childhood. We see the rage Sam holds just beneath the surface. Sam longs to be “normal,” and hates always changing schools, always being the new kid, the “freak.” In fact, it’s the word “freak” that finally sends Sam over the edge to lash out, beating up the school bully.
Adam Kane directed this episode, the only Supernatural episode he’s done. I don’t know Kane’s work, but this episode was beautifully put together. The seamless transition between young Sam and adult Sam, showing similar mannerisms and thought; the melancholy music playing after Sam and Dean burn Barry’s bones; the Impala in slow motion, driving up to school; the hilarious overhead shot of Sam flailing underneath the slightly obese coach. All are reminiscence of the great Kim Manners. I wonder why Kane hasn’t directed more episodes. Perhaps he’s busy with other shows. But I’d love to see more of his work here.
I still give the episode 3 stars, although I’d give it another ½ star if I did such things.
Pac Man Fever (820)
There’s not much to add to my initial review. I still love it. Always will.
And because it deserves another viewing, here’s Dean hugging Charlie, along with a couple other sweet shots.
– Written by Robbie Thompson; directed by Robert Singer
– TV Fanatic fan rating 4.6 (out of 5); IMDB rating 8.3; TV.com 8.9