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October 26, 2014

Supernatural: Nightshifter

by Brett Love, posted Jan 26th 2007 8:45AM
Chris Gauthier(S02E12) "We are so screwed."

While things could certainly be better for the Winchester boys, fans of Supernatural have nothing to complain about. This was a great episode. It brings to mind conversations I've had with people concerning which episode of Firefly you show to someone to introduce them to the series. I always pick "Our Mrs. Reynolds". And now I would put "Nightshifter" high on the list for giving people a look at Supernatural.

There is quite a bit of back story that leads up to this story, but the episode was done in a way that it will stand on its own very well. All the big elements of the series are in there too. We had ladies man Dean, the brothers arguing, a creepy and mysterious foe, nutty guest star, gorgeous girls, dead bodies, something slimy, great music, and the boys being misunderstood by the authorities. The only thing lacking was for Jared and Jensen to take off their shirts for the ladies, or guys, depending on your tastes.

Anyway, on with the show. Things got started with a nice twist, replacing the normal NOW with the breaking news segment. Seeing Dean on the news at a bank robbery certainly set the mind racing with just what kind of complications that entails. It's one thing to dodge the law when investigating a case with little coverage that they found in the paper. And it is an entirely different thing to be inside a bank with news cameras on you. That draws all kinds of unwanted attention.

The investigation was kept to a minimum, but I liked what we did see. It was fun to have ladies man Dean back in action, getting the number from the girl at the jewelery store. Bringing in Ronald Resnick (Chris Gauthier, Eureka, pictured) to sum up what is going on was a fun bit of writing. His mandroid explanation was great, as was the reaction from Dean and Sam when they realized it was a shapeshifter.

Speaking of the shapeshifter, give some credit to writer Ben Edlund for taking a creature we have seen before and managing to make everything about it exciting. I automatically thought of season one's "Skin" but nothing in the story felt like it was rehashed.

Once inside the bank, business really picked up. Chris Gauthier was fantastic in his part. He was harried and on the edge. His brief, but tumultuous relationship with Sam was pretty funny. "I ain't talking to you. I don't like you." To which Sam replied, "Fair enough." It all came full circle when it became clear that they would have to work together. I loved Sam's sheepish, let's be friends voice when he said, "Hi Ron..." More evidence of just how well written this episode was came when Ronald was shot. In just those few minutes of screen time they managed to get us invested in him so that bullet came as a shock. I really didn't see that one coming.

Of course, the big twisty announcement that is going to move on and factor in to future episodes is the appearance of Special Agent Hendricks. Dude has attitude for days, doesn't he? I wasn't quite as surprised as Dean when he dropped his name on the phone. He gave away that he was after Dean when he mentioned the monster inside the bank. Clearly the FBI wouldn't be chasing down a shapeshifter. But the news that he has been tracking the boys and knows about St. Louis, Baltimore, the desecration, and the thefts came as quite a surprise.

I thought Detective Ballard from "The Usual Suspects" might have been able to put the kibosh on some of that stuff, but no such luck. While watching the episode I considered the possibility that the shapeshifter would change into Dean and Hendricks would get his man, kind of. No dice there either. This changes the game quite a bit. Hendricks will have to be dealt with at some point. It's tough enough to get around being wanted. All the more so when someone is actively looking for you. It opens up lots of fun possibilities.

Finally, how about that ending? Supernatural has always done music well, but that was just fantastic. "Renegade", by Styx is a great song, and they used it to perfection. The long pause after the slow intro as we watch the reality of all of this wash over the boys, followed by Dean's line, "We are so screwed." Then it was all topped off just right as the next line when the song picks back up is "The jig is up, the news is out, they finally found me..." Awesome.

Overall, a great episode. I watch a ridiculous amount of TV, and this was the best hour I've seen in quite some time. The only gripe I had about the episode as I watched it was that tiles in a drop ceiling don't support dead bodies. That's it. I'm on board with everything else they brought us this week, and can't wait for the next one.

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Brian

I disagree with Yvonne because I personally think it's brilliant to re-use an old "bad guy" that they've encountered in the past. It makes it seem more real because of course they're going to encounter more than one of the same type of demon over their years and like this review pointed out, they used it in a way that was different than the episode Skin. They could've gone a simpler route and had the shapeshifter turn into Dean and then have them kill it just like in Skin but they didn't. They added a level of drama to the show which is exciting.

As for Yvonne's other comment, sure it's make things harder on the boys if they're going against a lot of authority people knowing them but that's just another element that raises the drama and make everything that much more suspenseful. I don't want to see the boys getting easy outs. I like wondering how they're going to get out of this mess. I LOVED the ending because really what else was there to say. They might have had the boys celebrating the fact that they got away but happily they didn't. Instead they showed that even with the escape, they still acknowledge that they're in deep trouble. We can feel that worry and the looks on their faces were perfect.

I loved the boys' reactions to Ron's death because just like this review noted, we came to care about him in a short amount of time and so did the boys, especially Dean. I also thought Jensen did a great job during the phone conversation with the FBI guy.

Brilliant episode all around.

January 27 2007 at 3:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
MrC

I really liked the twist with the shifter and the pretty blond girl. It wasn't hard to figure out once she saw herself dead, but it was cool.

January 26 2007 at 5:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
4ham

My family watches Supernatural, I do the dishes or leave the room when it we play it back, but wow, you're right this is a good introduction for someone who doesn't watch it. Now I'm interested. This episode definitely perked my interest and I'm going to be paying a bit more attention to this show from now on.

January 26 2007 at 2:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
radwimp

this show has been amazing all season, i also really notice an acting improvement (especially from jensen - not that he was a bad actor before), i'm glad they are somewhat getting back to monster-of-the-week type episodes, i really missed those.

mole has a great point, the reason i started watching this show last year was because a lot of old x-files people were working on it... and it really has an (early season imo) x-files feel to it, which was why i kept watching (besides it being an awesome show on its own).

January 26 2007 at 11:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Yvonne Pagan

I wasn't really crazy about this episode. It kind of went away from everything and it left me utterly confused. Too many people know about them now and wouldn't it be harder to drive around and fight supernatural things, if everyone knows who you are?
I think they should have fought off a different creature rather than the same one from "Skin". There are so many other types out there.
My two favorite parts though was at the beginning, with the guys in the suits and long coats (they can show up at my front door any day of the week) and in the SWAT outfits.

January 26 2007 at 11:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
A Boy Named Mole

This series is getting better by the episode, to me, it has taken on an X-Files feel. Not with just the story but from the cinematography to sets to locations. Reminded me of latter X-Files episode where Mulder stumbles into a bank robbery, and is some how caught up in the day ala the movie Groundhogs Day.

January 26 2007 at 10:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Heather

I thought this was a great episode as well although I am slightly confused as the who Special Agent Hendricks is and where he came from. Did he just come out of nowhere or has he been in another episode?

January 26 2007 at 9:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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