♫ All your love is lost on me.
What's the matter with you, baby ♫
SPN10 Countdown Challenge | day 20
[4/23] Spells, Curses & Ganking - 8x04 Bitten
Lets go take a howl at that moon.
This episode has haunted me from the first time I saw it. The eerie but all too realistic way friendships and love fall apart in the face of obstacles, particularly when it is the internal struggle that causes the external conflict, yeah, Bitten blew me out of the water.
The process of Dean’s transformation into a demon a year and a half later only makes me fangirl over this episode all the harder. Particularly in light of the gifset above and even more so -as neven-ebrez so rightly tagged it in this post, the single most stunning shot of foreshadowing- Dean looking into the mirror and the black shadow moving across his eyes reflecting the state of his increasingly corrupted soul.
Whether these shots of Dean were callbacks to this moment in Bitten, or whether the shot of Kate was a piece of incredibly well-planned foreshadowing I will leave to your judgment of Carver’s skills as a showrunner. Fact remains that the parallels between the two are brilliant no matter which way you look at it.
Kate panics in the first gif, knowing life as she knew it is over. Bitten by a werewolf, her very nature will change, has changed. She almost cries, looking down, not able to look at herself. What we the audience are left with is the shattered reflection of herself. An image of a fractured identity symbolised outwardly by the bite mark in the second gif. The werewolf bite has changed her at a fundamental level, yet parts of her character are still the same. As a human, she probably would have never killed, but the wolf in her allows her to take revenge, to act at a primal level. A course of action she chooses in the last gif as she visibly and disconcertingly calms down. Filming herself in the mirror, we are presented with a face once again aligned, but the wounds have left their mark. The cracks in the mirror symbolise the scars that will never disappear. Kate is still Kate, but different.
We are also left with an inverse image of who she used to be. Her good traits have not vanished. She chooses to live off animal hearts and vows the Winchesters will never have cause to hunt her down. She is not entirely werewolf, not entirely human. She won’t just howl at the moon, because the characteristics of kindness and wanting to change the world have not entirely vanished. Her characteristics have simply shifted in dominance. And Sam and Dean let her go.
In the contrasting gifset, Dean is shown with water running down his face as if they were tears, yet he isn’t crying. A fogged over mirror obscures his vision of himself. Guilt and grief having blurred his perception of reality. The mark of Cain in the second gif symbolises that which is altering inside him. And in the final gif, like Kate, he gives himself clarity by wiping the mirror clean. However, to us, the image remains slightly distorted. Dean yet not quite Dean.
The rest of the season slowly changes him into the snarling thing in Stairway to Heaven. His less prominent characteristics become more visible as his dominant ones move to the background. It is a process which ended at the end of season 9 as he became a demon who in behaviour, as we have seen in the promos, is the mirror image of his human set of characteristics.
Dean was protective before in order save lives and if that gratitude became a one-night stand, then awesome. The season 10 promos suggest, however, that he is protective now in order to have that one night stand/intense fling. Same characteristics, different focus. It is not that he has completely changed. It is simply that dominant and latent traits have switched in importance. Like Kate, Dean is still Dean, just different.
And as surely as Kate turned on her maker, so Dean will turn on his. Crowley has never underestimated human Dean and it has been key to his survival, but maybe demon!Dean will prove his undoing.
Lets go take a howl at that moon.