I enjoyed the episode--and the treat afterward was something special. *g*
Well. That was rather emphatically unlike the promo we got last week (Previews Always Lie), but it was enjoyable nonetheless. In fact, let me just sum up my reaction before I get into details: I felt like I was watching a good, solid first season episode. Which means even without bottomless angst and terror, "Yellow Fever" was really kind of made of win.
Things I Disliked:
I'll get this bit over with quickly, as there isn't much and what there is mostly stems from some personal preferences for this type of story. Take it with a grain of salt. *g*
--I really wish this episode had gone less for the humor and more for the true scare. (Example: the scenes with yellow-eyed Sammy and with Lilith.) Partly this is because they practically told it from Dean's pov, and he was actually terrified. Part of it is because that's the way I would have written this episode. And partly it's because I have a firm grasp of the power of irrational fear and it would have been cool to see that played out a little more intensely. (Points you all to dodger_winslow's fantastic fear demon fic Living Inside the Box.)
--Dean's comments about the life they lead, how they're insane to do it.... The wording was close to identical with his discussion about the hunting life with Jamie last week, but Dean's new sense of mission is gone entirely. Now, this is because of the fear disease, of course. But it still made me uncomfortable, since I loved that bit last week, that sense of Dean getting to enjoy life and hunting again.
Things I Liked a Lot:
--Bobby speaks Japanese. ROTFLOL. Bobby, you are so flippin' awesome, would you please marry me?
--I see we have new writers for this episode? Cool. If this is an indication of what they'll be able to give us, I say "Welcome!" Solidly written MOTW episode, with a hard-hitting ending (and a very cool and individual ghost). I liked the build-up of fear, both in Dean and in the sheriff.
--Speaking of writing, add to that the awesome guest star playing the ghost's brother. That scene, where Dean almost gives away the game over their ID; the guy checks them out; and he tells them the story.... I loved that. Beautiful.
--"Hey, don't pick at that." Sam having to be the parent. Hah. How'd you like that, Sam?
--Dean not eating food! Sure sign that there's something seriously wrong with him. The double-take Sam does is great.
--Along similar lines: Drunk!Dean. First time we've seen him that plastered, right? "You're awesome." "Uh...so are you?"
--"I don't want to be a clue."
--The hallucination with evil!Sammy. So. Brilliant. Because yeah, that's what Dean's afraid of (though I love that his first conclusion is OH NOES SAM'S POSSESSED, and it's the fear of Sam-as-evil that only comes out second. Dean doesn't want to be afraid of his brother. *clings to Dean*
--Ditto the scene with Lilith and her creepy little girl voice and creepy little girl hugs. Geez. Very, very effective.
--Spooky location for the haunting.
--Dean reaching for the Bible, holding it as if for comfort. Interesting. And holding it out like a shield between himself and faux!Lilith. That may be as close to prayer as we've ever seen Dean get! Whether he's thinking about it or not, he lights on the Bible as a symbol of a power he knows saved him once from Hell (Castiel, and God). That's trust. That's faith, there at the desperate end.
Questions I Have:
--I'm sure people will be discussing Sam's attitude in this episode. Now, that's fair, given how unmoved he seems to be at times, but I will argue that 1) Sam is different now, more able to cope with stuff like this, especially when there is a solution to seek; and 2) Dean's flipping out. Best way to help someone who's scared is to pretend not to be scared yourself, provide an emotional anchor. That's what Sam's doing.
--Sam gets exposed to the ghost sickness at the same time Dean does. According to Sam's research, that may be because Dean is more of a dick than Sam. I really, really don't buy this. What I would buy is that Sam is immune for some reason. "Croatoan," anyone? (Show is being subtle!)
--OMGWTFOMG. I did not see the yellow flash in Sam's eyes in that final scene the first two times I watched it. I do not know how I missed it (there's a response from Dean and a musical cue to boot!), but now I have seen it and OMGOMGWTF. I see 3 possibilities. 1) Dean's not fully recovered from the disease yet (though the scratches are gone, so hmmm). 2) Sam is changing into what Dean saw in his hallucination. Eeeep. 3) Dean had more of a memory flash, there.
I'm going with 3, for now, just for my piece of mind. But I have a sinking feeling that it's actually #2.
In conclusion: fun plot, good acting, some excellent moments, and Show actually being subtle.