Episode 7, “Unhuman Nature” allows the viewer to experience the organic nature of the major players. While the plot centers around finding a cure for the now dying, human called Jack, the writing shows each characters’ true nature sans the supernatural influence,(except for Cas who by his nature is supernatural, but has human qualities).
Without a complete play by-play of scenes, lets just say the scenes between Dean and Jack are so well acted that tears of joy flow forth only to be replaced with those of sorrow later in the episode. Perhaps without the supernatural influences in Dean’s life, he might have made a good Dad,(as witnessed by his time with Ben in earlier seasons). Ackles facial expressions as a content Dean show just how much Dean is capable of enjoyment and even accepting a compliment and fond memories of John. There is food, fishing, and driving involved. Alex’s sincerity as Jack, a character who wants to experience life before his demise, comes through on the screen. One feels as if Alex, the actor, wants to emulate Jensen, the actor. The scenes are not forced and feel organic: good writing, direction, and acting. Wondering if there is improvisation with these scenes or is the writing that good?
So too the quiet scenes are organic,especially where Sam’s concern for Alex and his understanding of his brother, Dean, reflect Sam’s nature. Again, Jared’s facial acting is on point. Sam’s nature is one of reflection, logic, and concern. Of course, apres episode of the hilarious Vimeo of the outtakes of this scene demonstrate just how much Jared does have to act to be this Sam. Showalter, the seasoned director of SPN, is not amused.
Even Rowena, shows her ability to care as she comes running when she thinks it is Dean who needs her help. Both Dean and Sam think of her as an alternative cure, with Sam being just ahead of Dean in this thought. Winchesters on the same page and in the same scene.The script’s hole with Rowena is that now it makes Alex’s parentage known to Rowena? This “hole” will force a replay of the episodes where Rowena basically saves the A/U folks by holding the rift open to see if she really had no idea who Jack’s dad is. Her organic tenderness in her failed attempt to cure Jack through magic, shows that she may have been able to be a better parent to Crowley had she not gone to witch craft as a priority. “Bollocks” she shouts organically. Her advice for Cas, Dean, and Sam is to stay with the boy while they watch him die: this line does not feel sarcastic. The writers keep Rowena and her Book of the Damned current so as to not lose this character for some future use. Her willingness to hear Jack’s compliments to her make her more vulnerable. The quick conversation between Sam and Rowena about her possession of said book again keeps alive their connection and the connection to the past emotional attitude toward Lucifer . Her magic fails, Cass is impotent to cure Jack, and the Sharmen’s solution by way of Ketch is questionable.
Cas interacts with a Sharman to retrieve a bit of grace left over from Gabriel and when he is surrounded by holy oil, his ability to cut to the quick of the issue, shows his bravery, and practicality which is the warrior Castiel’s true nature. Cas, although supernatural by nature, shows how much human emotion he has absorbed through contact with the Winchesters.
The Sharman comes across as a stereotype carnival barker and true to his nature as a snake oil salesman, the grace with which he barters with Castiel for a future favor from Sam and Dean, is not effective on Jack. One wonders if his reference to an experiment with the grace is a connection to Michael’s experiments or if he is just a shady person with little violence. Where the scenes of Jack and the Winchesters and Cas are potent, they are not filled with violence. In contrast, the story of Nick is nothing but gory violence.
This episode reveals that Nick’s character was dark prior to the murder of his wife and son. No longer possessed by Lucifer, he continues to do dreadful acts of violence on his own, while lamenting the loss of Lucifer and then reinterpreting through his world view, the advice to pray for the resurrection of Lucifer. Is he deranged as an after effect of possession by an archangel or was he always capable of bad and truly misses his cohort in crime. While the Nick story distracts from the Jack problem, the theme of the personal nature of this episode continues. And somehow Nick is reaching something in the Empty which looks like the Terminator. Is it Lucifer? Is it a new entity quickly mentioned by name as Abraxis?(Get google going now). Indeed Nick’s story is not a distraction, but a necessary contrast to show the Unhuman nature* and to pivot the arc back to a big bad.
The episode works well because it is so personal to each character. Baby even gets a work out. And perhaps that is the underpinning of why Supernatural hits home with the viewer. It is not just a horror series, but one that his very personal to the SPn family.
The directors choice to put Cas, Dean, and Sam in shots together cements their family bond. ( Sometimes they look like models posing up against the bunker wall).The hospital scene, although dire in nature, has some surprising comedy as these three attempt to explain Jack’s ailment to an admitting nurse who remains true to her professional standards and paper work until Jack collapses. Cas wraps his trench coat around Jack for practical reasons but it also reflects an encompassing family hug. Even in times of dire circumstance, Supernatural infuses humor. Bravo. Despite the barberous acts done by Nick, this episode is introspective. An alternative title might have been “My three Dads”.
Some things to think about:
- Dean’s blurred vision- effect of possession? remnants of archangel grace?
- Dean hiding the above physical problem-something is resonating
- How much of Dean’s new physical problem is known to Sam intuitively
- Nick as one of those humans that needs to be punished(the benders,)
- Do the Winchesters owe the Sharmen even when the grace is ineffective?
- The Empty- how easy is it to access- change in canon?
- * Do the movies titled “unhuman nature” have any relationship to this episode-can anyone tell me?
- Did anyone notice the continuity error when Jack and Dean are driving Baby? The interior shot and then the long shot- the railroad is on opposite sides and yet Baby is still going in the same direction. I think- check it out.
- Vimeo. Initiation 2- just appreciate how good the acting is in this show as the true nature of the actors rises forth in the blooper
- How surpising well written this episode is and what a surprise to find out the writing team.
- How long has director Showalter been with Supernatural? Season 1? Research. He gets the characters and the nature of the audience.
- Worth the re-watch
- More thoughts….later. What are your thoughts on “Unhuman Nature”