Episode 1×06: Skin  (PART ONE)

Written by: John Shiban

Directed by: Robert Duncan McNeill

Originally Aired: October 18, 2005

 

Because this post was ridiculously long once I wrote it all out, I’m breaking the episode “Skin” into two parts.

Let me just start this post by saying that “Skin” is my favorite season 1 episode, hands down. I have seen this episode 15 times already, and that number is likely to rise in the next few months. There’s just something about the Shifter (and particularly, about Shape Shifter!Dean) that is fascinating to me in a really, really wonderful way. This episode is the result of more half-cocked, ludicrous fanfiction ideas in my head than any other episode of this season… It was the episode where I *knew* I was going to be obsessively scrolling fanfiction archives to read about these two brothers.

So, once we get through the recap that prefaces nearly every episode of Supernatural (and I admit, there are times when they annoy me, but I’ve grown rather fond of the frequent recaps and have learned to pay attention, because they tell you what characters and monsters we’re gonna see in the coming episode), we’re in a dark room in St. Louis, Missouri, with a woman tied to a chair, bloody and terrified while a SWAT team sneaks in.

She tells them her attacker is through another door and they enter, catching the guy, with his back to them and tell him to freeze.

He turns around and… Holy shit, it’s Dean! He’s dirty and covered in blood and there’s a horribly evil look in his eyes that sent shivers down my spine. My mind immediately tried to come up with reasons for why Dean was there and what was going on, but the most I could think of was “Obviously, there’s something I’m missing,” I know Dean would never, ever hurt an innocent woman. Right?

Then we cut to “One Week Earlier” and Sam and Dean are at a gas station, gassing up and Sam’s checking emails on his phone or… Digital assistant thingy… I’m not sure. Not important anyway. Dean is surprised that Sam still talks to his friends from school and asks what he tells them.

Sam: I tell ’em I’m on a road trip with my big brother. I tell ’em… I needed some time off, after Jess…
Dean: Oh, so you lie to them.
Sam: No! I just don’t tell them… everything.
Dean: Yeah, that’s called lying. I mean, hey man, I get it. Tellin’ them the truth is far worse.
Sam: So what am I supposed to do, just cut everybody out of my life?
Dean: [shrugs]

Remember this. It becomes a pretty big theme of the show. Sam and Dean are just not allowed to have friends or lovers or… well, be happy, really. It’s Rule No. 1 in the Supernatural universe. Also, the whole “lying” thing here I find interesting. Sam might hate hunting, in fact, at this point in time, I’m sure he does. But what I do not understand, and never have understood, is why he seems so surprised here about the fact that they have to lie to people and Dean has to tell him that people don’t and won’t accept the truth.

Sam’s been raised in this life, ya know? He should already be aware of that. Since he was a kid his dad and brother have taught him the ins and outs of hunting and let’s just be honest for a second, Sam’s a damn good hunter. He might hate it, but he’s good at it. (We’ll ignore the fact that much of season 1 was Dean saving Sam… Sam was rusty after going so long not hunting and that’s my personal theory there) Sam should be used to hiding who he is and what his family does, considering he’s done it HIS ENTIRE LIFE. He never told Jessica the truth, I’m sure his friends in high school never knew the truth and in fact, he’s still keeping that secret because he never told Amelia *gags* the truth about his past either.

Anyway, Sam gets an email from his friend Rebecca who tells him that her brother Zach, another friend of Sam’s, has been arrested on suspicion of murdering his girlfriend. Rebecca is absolutely sure Zach is innocent, but the police have a pretty solid case against him what with video evidence and DNA linking him to the crime and all. Sounds to me like Rebecca just doesn’t want to accept that her brother is a murderer, and Dean agrees with me.

But Sam, ever the compassionate optimist (which WILL get him into trouble, mark my words), insist that they have to help. I’m curious about just how two young guys, one of whom definitely has a criminal record at this point, with no jobs and no power over the legal system are going to help here. Dean is also confused by how they can help. Sam says they’re his friends and they’re going to help. Obviously, this means they go to St. Louis to “help”, though I’m still not sure how they can. Obviously, something supernatural is going on and I’m sure Zach is innocent, but… Sam doesn’t know anything weird is happening, he’s just going to help a friend. It’s sweet, but seems kinda pointless and like a lost cause. My guess is, Dean just decided to humor him because he just cares that much about his little brother.

So they arrive in St. Louis at a huge mansion and we meet Rebecca, a pretty blond girl who looks so happy to see Sam. There’s a strange line where he calls her “Little Becky”, which seems a bit out of place to me. She looks older than him… Though, she definitely is shorter than him. Pretty much everyone is “little” to Sam though, because Jared Padalecki is a friking giant.

Jared Padalecki seen here, being extra super tall with his wife, Genevieve.

Jared Padalecki seen here, being extra super tall with his wife, Genevieve.

She leads them into the kitchen, says her parents are still in Paris where they live half the year. I can only deduce that these people are filthy rich by the looks of the house that they’re in. She tells them about what happened to Zach’s girlfriend. Funnily enough, I have no remembrance of the dead girlfriend’s name…

Apparently, Zach got home late after having a few beers with his sister until “at least midnight” and found his girlfriend blood and beaten and tied to a chair. Becky doesn’t mention whether or not she was raped, but from things that happen later, I can assume she probably was. He calls 911 and when the cops show up, they arrest Zach. I’m not sure if that’s really how police work, though I do know Zach would certainly be a suspect being so close to the victim and also discovering the body.

They put the time of death at around 10:30 that night, meaning Zach couldn’t possibly have done it, right? Because he has an alibi. Haha, WRONG. The police have a surveillance tape that shows Zach coming home at around the time of death. Which is impossible, because he was with Becky until 12. Sam asks to see the crime scene and tells Becky that Dean is a cop. Dean, being Dean, looks a little shocked at Sam’s lie for a second, then smoothly goes along with it, correcting Sam and saying he’s a detective.

So, they illegally break into the crime scene and look around and Sam tries to convince Dean that something weird is going on and Zach couldn’t be two places at once and they’re his friends so can they please just look around and make sure. There’s a dog that’s going nuts and apparently dogs are sensitive to the paranormal. Dean admits that maybe something is weird about this, but he’s still not sure. You mean the psychotic dog didn’t convince you, Dean? For shame! What kind of hunter are you?

They ask Becky if she can get the surveillance tape because Dean doesn’t really have any jurisdiction here and Becky admits she already has a copy, because she swiped it from the lawyer to “see for herself”. That strikes me as a bit strange, considering how very, very illegal that is and also given her reaction to finding out Dean’s not a cop. But more on that later.

We cut to “Zach” sitting on a park bench or something, watching this business man kiss his wife goodbye before driving away. His eyes flash silver, which is freaking creepy, and then he smiles. Hey, I wonder if he’s about to do something evil? Ha, of course he is!

Then we’re back with Sam and Dean as they in Becky’s parents’ mansion again as they watch the tape, seeing a weird eye-flare whenever “Zach” glances toward the camera. I find it amusing how these things always look toward the camera to give them a shot of the weird silver flare that shows up when they do. Sam reasons that maybe it’s some dark double of Zach’s, kind of like and evil twin or something. Dean says maybe and agrees that this could possibly maybe kinda be their sort of case. Really, Dean? Still not convinced? Jeesh.

Anyway, then we cut to the business man, coming home early because his meeting was cancelled. The house is quiet and he sees blood on the walls and finds his wife, bloody and tied to a chair, sobbing into a gag. He rushes to her, freaked out, and undoes the gag, asking her what happened while she sobs and begs him not to hurt her. He’s still freaked and now he has blood all over his hands. He then hears a noise and realizes her attacker must still be in the house.

He creeps around cautiously and turns a corner to see… *insert dramatic pause here* HIMSELF. Dun dun dun.

“He” knocks himself out with a baseball bat. Then we cut to Sam and Dean again.

Dean’s whiny because it’s five thirty in the morning and he would clearly rather be sleeping, but Sam insist that this is important. He realizes that the security tape shows “Zach” entering, but not leaving and realizes that “Zach” must’ve gone out through the back.

Nah, really? *sigh* I would’ve figured that was a bit obvious, but I suppose they wouldn’t automatically assume that since they originally weren’t sure what was going on, so I won’t complain about it.

Anyway, Sam finds a blood trail, because, for some reason, the shifter wiped his bloody hands all over a street light post. Sure, why the heck not. Maybe he was all sticky from the torture and murder he’d just finished up and just couldn’t wait until he was somewhere safer to wipe it off. The trail apparently ends there since Dean casually looks around and sees absolutely no blood.

Then an ambulances passes and they follow it all the way to Business Man’s house, where he is being arrested for beating and torturing his wife. Luckily, this lady survived. Unluckily, she tells cops that, yes, her husband totally did it, even though he was driving home whenever she was attacked and couldn’t have done it. The cops think he’s crazy ‘cos he told them he saw the attacker in the house and it was like his clone or something.

Sam and Dean realizes that it’s unlikely they’re dealing with two “dark doubles” (I’m curious to know if that’s a real thing since we’ve never seen a “dark double” on the show…) and maybe it’s something that can change its shape and look like anyone. Therefore, it’s a shape shifter.

They follow a similar trail out the back door of Business Man’s house and the trail suddenly ends again. Sam wonders if shifters can fly, but Dean notices the sewer lid-thingy (whatever it’s called… I forgot and don’t feel like looking it up) so, logically, this means they must go into the sewers after it…

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