Supernatural s01e03: Dead in the Water

Supernatural Dead in the Water

A commentary by Nalini Haynes, C J Dee and Rebecca Fleming

Director: Kim Manners
Writers: Eric Kripke (created by), Sera Gamble, Raelle Tucker
Stars: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Amy Acker
Running time: 44 minutes
Rating: full starfull star Empty starEmpty starEmpty star 2 out of 5 stars

A long, long time ago — possibly a month or more now — I got together with some friends to celebrate all things geeky. We call it Geek Girl Day and we’re currently meeting something like fortnightly (sometimes more often, sometimes less). We kind of fell into watching Supernatural, a series CJ loves that Rebecca and I were interested in watching but had never seen.

And so it began…

I kinda figured out the basic plot of ‘Dead in the Water’ from the episode title before the story actually began but, if you’re going to watch a series, you have to follow all the story arcs. Right?

Sam (Jared Padalecki) wants to investigate a drowning. Dean says no.

CJ: Poor beta brother. He tries SO HARD.

Predictably, Sam doesn’t let this one go. If he’s going to tag along with Dean then he’s going to make his time count. So he investigates, only to discover a series of mysterious drownings have taken place over the past 3 decades. A baby poltergeist, then.

Watching the introduction, I’m thinking about all the horror movies I haven’t watched but whose images I can’t help but recognise. I ask CJ about the visual references. The lake is calm yet sinister.

CJ: There’s Lake Placid.

Then the girl goes swimming. Even I recognise the Jaws poster. (How bad is it that my ‘Jaws’ typo ended as ‘Jawas’?)

CJ: And Jaws. Lots of movies. Lots of references. All through the series. You’d better put down your drink, Nalini. For the entire episode. [cackle].

There was much howling and figurative throwing of non-existent popcorn at the screen during this episode BECAUSE PLOT.

R: Ah, the good old sacrifice. Couldn’t see that coming, right?

Rebecca’s comment was one of the more coherent responses, contrasting with inarticulate howls. Especially coming from me: “This. series. has. lasted. HOW. many. years???” Accompanied by short, jerky hand gestures. Not THOSE kinds of hand gestures. Get your mind out of the gutter.

This was truly a terrible story executed poorly except EYE-CANDY in the form of boys and car and even EAR-CANDY sound track. This zode was a major reason I started talking about writing a peanut-gallery commentary as a collaborative project.

Patterns are developing with the brothers’ relationship, Dean trying to be a lady-killer but — ugh. I think Jensen Ackles is eye-candy, but his character in these early episodes? Not so much. Sam is the smart one, trying to do the right thing but having to prove his case to his — as CJ would put it — his alpha brother. However, the interplay between the brothers gets my attention. The eyerolls. The conflict. The — intermittent — caring.

Amy Ackers as the male-gaze candy for the week. You know her: she’s been in nearly everything Joss Whedon has ever made. Meaning Angel, Dollhouse, some of his movies…

I don’t think I jumped once during this episode, though. Partly because there was lots of buildup to every supernatural dunking but also… iunno, maybe it was more Doctor Who than scary. When I played Call of Cthulu, a role-playing game, I was TERRIFIED during the first module. It was all demon spirit throwing a carving knife in the kitchen. It was midnight. I held on to the hands of the guys on either side of me (and probably cut off their circulation) as I jumped and shrieked through the story. But the second module? They thought it was much more scary, while to me? Meh. To me it was a Doctor Who story, maybe a bit ‘Terror of the Zygons’, maybe a bit ‘Carnival of Monsters’. It was interesting but not scary. ‘Dead in the Water’ was a lot like that. Not scary… at least, not to the adult me. [shifty eyes]

As the brothers drive off into the not-sunset for another week, I look forward to another Geek Girl Day.

Only one more zode and the peanut gallery notes kick in. Yay! These commentaries will be filled with awesome.