Edlund always writes stories with multiple layers which all play well together. Not only did his documentary style allow us to get another perspective on the Winchesters, the footage also tells the stories of the Ghostfacers, allowing us to discover the real friendships that bind them together and in Corbett’s case, the love he feels for Ed. And that love story is told matter of factly, with no preciousness about being ground breaking. It simply unfolds along with the other elements of the story, eventually saving all our heroes except Corbett himself.
To my eyes, “Bitten” fails to deliver on any of these kinds of layers. I was not intrigued with the college kids we saw through the camera lens. They were not engaging and I didn’t get caught up in their stories. I was able to predict how the friendships/love stories were going to go, particularly as we started at the end of the story. I figured out a werewolf was involved immediately. I wasn’t frightened or on the edge of my seat. Instead, I was glancing at my watch, unable to believe how long this episode was taking to be over. I have never felt like that during a Supernatural episode. Ever.
Even though I wasn’t intrigued with the college kids themselves, there was the possibility I could love the episode for what it showed me about Sam and Dean. But “Bitten” fails to deliver there, too. We’ve seen Sam and Dean from an outside perspective before, done well, so the writing has to do more than just show me them walking through a scene to be interesting. I want to find out more about what’s up with them and now is a particularly difficult and nuanced time in the brothers’ relationship. Seeing them through a dispassionate lens should have given us an interesting perspective on both boys.
However, I didn’t notice anything relevant to where we are with Sam and Dean’s stories. Thompson uses his found-footage technique to make a tired Wincest joke, which besides having been done many times before in ways that were actually amusing, doesn’t fit with this current story line at all. The set-up this season is that Sam and Dean are most definitely not a committed couple. Sam has moved on from needing Dean and now views him as emblematic of what he does not want in his life. He’s hunting with his brother reluctantly, because he feels guilty.