Halloween Binge Guide: Supernatural Season 8: “Bitten”

“Bitten,” the fourth episode of Supernatural Season 8, has been on my mind for many years. With Halloween right around the corner and the episode celebrating its tenth anniversary, I thought it was a perfect time to share this episode with you all. If you have never seen Supernatural, this episode is a great standalone experience without having to jump into the show’s sprawling mythology. Another reason why I love this episode is that it feels like a love letter to the film Chronicle. The 2012 classic was released months before this episode airing so I have no doubt the writer of this episode took inspiration from Josh Trank to pen “Bitten.”

I enjoy the found footage genre. It is fast-paced and unpredictable. This episode was excellent because I remember the story going on for 20 minutes without a commercial break. That seldom happens. I also noticed that the credits did not appear until the end of the episode. 

Guest stars Leigh Parker, Brandon W Jones, and Brit Sheridan deliver thrilling performances as Brian Wilcox, Mike Wheeler, and Kate. Sam and Dean Winchester are in town to solve an “animal attack” murder. They find dead bodies. Sam and Dean are usually able to piece together any mystery. However, they are given a front-row seat to how this tragedy unfolds in the form of found footage. Fans of the show are used to the brothers finding the monster and taking it out. This trope gets turned on its head.

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I was hooked from minute one. We are introduced to an aspiring filmmaker named Brian. He is hanging out with his friend Mike at a diner. Brian is a geek/ nerd. You can tell he is introverted when the pair spot a group of attractive women and Brian is clearly out of his element. Kate spots the pair and takes notice of Brian, but then it quickly takes the cliche turn of being smitten by Mike. There is a plot twist. Mike is a good-looking dude and Brian instantly becomes the third wheel. Luckily this is the first time this has ever happened in television history ( wink sigh)

Mike is a great friend as he mentions to Kate that Brian has no one else to geek about filmmaking with. There is a scene earlier when Brian is bullied and Mike defends him. I like Mike already. But this show is called Supernatural, so something wicked must come this way. The trio notices a dead college student at a crime scene, and Sam and Dean are nearby posing as FBI agents. Mike and Brian decide to film and notice Sam and Dean and eavesdrop. 

They hear that this is not just any ordinary murder. They later run into Scott (the bully) and it doesn’t go well. Mike and Brian split up, but something attacks Mike. He survives, notices a bite mark and it heals instantly.  

If you are thinking of Mike becoming Spider-Man, then you are happily mistaken. Mike does get some abilities like super strength, ravenous hunger, and some teeth marks. It is fun at first for Mike when he lifts Kate and proclaims himself a golden god. However, it takes a turn, when he goes all cookie monster on some food and notices his teeth change. 

Brian decides this is a fantastic film opportunity and wants to recreate the moment with himself. Mike decides against this, and Brian takes his response well.

He doesn’t.

Sam and Dean posing as FBI agents interrogate the trio and they come up with nothing. I wished they had confided in them. Things would have turned out differently. The trio listens in as the Winchesters think it could be another Mayan god. (That’s another different episode) .

Mike, unfortunately, runs into bully Scott once more. Scott meets a bloody demise. Kate and Brian freak out. This would be a great time to call the Winchesters, but this is a teen-found footage drama so young people making good decisions is a thing of the past. 

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Mike and Brian have a falling out and Kate sides with Mike. Brian becomes jealous and distressed. They later find a way to snoop on Sam and Dean for more information. They discover an unsettling truth that Mike is not a superhero or Mayan god, bitten by a werewolf. Sam finds an entry about how close descendants of the pureblood can control their change and subsist on animal hearts. The brothers figure that one of the purer werewolves came to town, killed its victim, and then decided to stay.

Mike is not a descendant but someone in town is. Thanks to Brian’s video skills, he notices a clue at the attack site.

Brian comes home and enthusiastically proclaims he took care of it. He shows Mike and Kate his nefarious deeds. Brian went to great lengths to record his confrontation with Professor Ludensky. He discovers the professor is the culprit because a pin he wore earlier in the episode matches the one Brian found at the scene of the crime. Ludensky eventually pleads guilty. You can tell the professor is not a monster. He made a mistake and spent years trying to resist the werewolf urge.

David Lewis acts the heck out of this scene. You feel the anguish of trying to be sober of human flesh. He went clean for years feeding off animal hearts. But the temptation of the real thing was too much to bear. He fell off the wagon and killed Jacob. He needed a scapegoat to avoid hunters taking him out. Mike was a potential victim. 

The one-time Mike Wheeler sleeps in class. (I have a feeling it was several times). Ludensky felt a “slacker” like him would be missed. Not a smart move. It’s poetic how Mike’s warning to Brian perfectly emulates Ludensky warning as well. This is a power not worth having. Brian fails to see the light and “convinces” the professor to bite him. Brian is a werewolf. The bad news is that he kept the cameras in the room. Sam and Dean rush in long after Brian left. After a small skirmish, Ludenksy is killed. My heart ached when the professor kindly thanked the Winchesters. The brothers find the camera.

Things take a turn for the worse. As the footage ends, Brian confronts Mike. Brian is tired of being the third wheel and helpless. Brian feels like an apex predator and invincible. Mike pleads with him he doesn’t want this power. He made a mistake. Brian is no longer the intrepid kid we knew at the start of the episode. 

Brian makes a move on Kate. Mike is having none of it. The pair brawls and Mike is killed. Kate is torn and then is shocked to find out Brian love with her. Brian bites Kate, thinking that it will enlighten her. She succumbs to the newfound enlightenment as she changes. 

This lasts about one second as she kills Brian. She is heartbroken about losing her boyfriend and a friend in Brian as she records a message to leave for Sam and Dean. She hopes the Winchesters won’t consider her a threat. She is committed to eating animal hearts to contain her werewolf thirst. 

I must mention that Sam and Dean have been watching this footage the entire time. I like how this episode was structured. The Winchesters like us were the audience. They were background players throughout the episode. If you get the chance to watch Chronicle, then please do so. This is the perfect love letter for that film. I believe that film was released months prior, so the timing is perfect. Werewolves make the perfect Halloween monster. 

Supernatural Sam and Dean.

The true monster was the element of bullying, anger, jealousy, and loneliness. Brian Wilcox yearned to be larger than life. The dark side is a pathway to many abilities some would consider unnatural. Brian was jealous and wanted to feel accepted and loved. There was a moment to help Brian in his hour of need. But pride and greed got in the way and lead to chaos. Kate now must live with the fallout forever. 

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Mental health continues to be something I have thought about for a long time. I added a line from Star Wars. I did that on purpose. Anakin Skywalker is proof of wanting more out of pain from the past. Anakin fell prey to not finding inner peace and falling to lofty ambition. Andrew Detmer from Chronicle suffered the same fate. Brian Wilcox suffered too.    

 I have often thought about this episode for years thanks to the excellent writing talents of Robbie Thompson. It continues to be a cautionary tale worth contemplating.

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