Supernatural S05E12 - Swap Meat (2010)

Sex :    Violence :     Scary Movie Rating:  

Director Robert Singer
Writers Julie Siege
Starring Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Colton James, Sarah Drew, Alex Arsenault
Genre Witchcraft
Tagline Lucifer Unbound
Supernatural S05E12 - Swap Meat (2010)


"Were you trying to exorcize me? You little piece of crap?"- Nora

The Winchester Bros are in Housatonic, Massachusetts trying to cleanse the house of a woman, who used to baby sit them, of a particularly troublesome Poltergeist. While grabbing food at a local fast food outlet the Bros are spotted by seventeen year old Gary Frankle. Immediate problem for the Boys as Gary is something of an amateur witch. Gary manages to conjure a spell, swapping bodies with Sam, which leads to all sorts of mayhem and mirth as Gary and Sam try to stay above water in each other's lives.

Unfortunately for all involved Gary and his crew of Nora and Trevor have been dealing with the forces of hell. Naturally a demon gets summoned and things are looking dire, surprisingly Gary turns out to have a future as a hunter if he wanted to take up the crusade. Dean is in for some shocks and Sam might just have discovered there are worse parents about than his old man.

Last review we were discussing Supernatural following certain patterns, maybe time for some new writers, and this episode falls into the left field category. The show has a habit of throwing up the odd bizarre episode, which is in keeping with any long running dark genre outing - Buffy and X-File immediately come to mind - and for sure Meat Swap, excellent pun, fits into that category. Get ready for some fun times; this episode is playing it for laughs though I got the feeling there was an attempt at highlighting the pathos in Sam's family life which fell remarkably flat for mine. Scribe Julie Siege was trying for something but for mine pushed it wide of the mark.

Something of a shizo episode, they needed to nail one approach not scattergun it

Unfortunately for this episode forty odd minutes was not enough to really cover the subject matter at hand, we should have spent a bunch of time with either Gary as Sam or Sam as Gary rather than switching between the characters. Yeah it was fun as Sam reacted to the suburban family breakfast, and I definitely got a hoot out of Sam being gluten intolerant, and equally Gary hitting a bar was more than amusing, "I'm out of my depth", but the plot points were stretched and didn't have the impact that was clearly intended.

What I did like was Dean's gradually realisation that Sam wasn't who he appeared to be. Gary drinks, likes mullet rock, and does major damage to a hamburger whereas Sam doesn't appear to drink overly, is definitely in the salad eating bitch category, and is more your light entertainment dude than rocking out. Gary has a plan for Dean, based on rumours from below, is unable to do the nasty and is eventually proven to be an imposter due to his youthful glee at things while Sam simply doesn't overly care about playing a role, though he does come across as a petulant teenager, which I guess fits the position he finds himself in. That's a lot content to be covering, even while trying to keep the humour on the front burner.

Just in case you were wondering we do get some chills and thrills going down. Besides the revenant Maggie Briggs going poltergeist on us, and yes there are a couple of freaky moments there, we also get a summoned Demon as one would expect with amateur witches calling on Hell for help. Now hold onto your knickers friends and neighbours, we get quite possibly the most disturbing kill yet shown on Supernatural through four and a half seasons, it's shocking because it comes as totally unexpected and is fairly brutal. For parents, the actual blood and viscera is off screen, so would imagine most tweens will be cool with it. While the kill involved here may not be up with some of the grittier moments of The Walking Dead it still shows director Robert Singer is swinging for the fence. Two thumbs up if Supernatural decides to go a bit more hard on the bloodletting; this is a horror outing after all.

Before anyone asks yes this episode is a standalone, although you do need to be aware of Lucifer's urges in regards to Sam. Some folk new to Supernatural might be slightly confused by Gary having to meet the Boss and replying affirmative to a question, but it is all pretty solid and in keeping with the overall plot arc of the season. Besides that one little aspect to the episode you can go in cold and check out why this series maintains a solid but not spectacular audience. The average viewership over season five was 2.64 million, which is not small change in anyone's language but isn't setting the world on fire.

Back to some decent mullet rock as we get three tracks in this episode, though am noting the complete lack of decent Heavy Metal. Got My Wings by Hazy Malaze was working for me, Sonny Ellis helped the bar scene with I Got More Bills Than I Got Pay, and finally Gary wants Dean to turn it up with Rock and Roll Never Forgets by the legendary Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band. That's not a bad play list in the wash up and was definitely helping out Swap Meat.

The latest episode of the Winchesters versus Monsters show was another departure from the expected demonic shenanigans involving an appealing Devil. I kind of dug it as they pulled an episode from left field; I also get the feeling with a few lighter episodes recently that we are going to be getting our dollars' worth in the coming weeks. While Swap Meat might not appeal to the hard core horror audience, it's definitely one of the week's television highlights, which might just be faint praise considering the proliferation of inane reality shows on the networks. I'm pretty much down to streaming my entertainment or waiting on the disc release and little fat guts pigging a season at a time. Not the best episode of Supernatural but definitely not the worse, I'm coming in with a view of watch at your own discretion, regular fans will of course be catching regardless. Tape and watch as you desire, for gods sack don't get caught up in the dreary nature of television in the modern age kids.

ScaryMinds Rates this episode as ...

Mixed reaction to this one, too many ideas floating around for the running time.