1.06 Skin

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ShapshifterChanging.jpg
Title Skin
Episode # Season 1, Episode 6
First aired October 18, 2005
Directed by Robert Duncan McNeill
Written by John Shiban
On IMDB Skin
Outline Sam and Dean hunt a shapeshifter that has framed Sam's college friend for murder.
Monster Shapeshifter
Timeline February 28 - March 7, 2006 (according to episode 1.15 The Benders)
Location(s) St Louis, Missouri
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Contents

Synopsis

Sam receives an email from a friend in Stanford, Becky, whose brother Zach has been arrested for the murder of his girlfriend. Keen to help them out, Sam convinces Dean that they should travel to St. Louis.

When they arrive, Becky explains that Zach came home to find his girlfriend Emily beaten to death. Becky claims that Zach was with her when Emily was killed, but that a security tape shows him arriving home around the time of her death.

Claiming that Dean is a police detective, Sam gets Becky to take them to the scene of the crime. The only clues they find are that the house was robbed about a week before the murder, and that the dog next door has become vicious since the attack. Dean is still skeptical, but when he and Sam examine the security tape, which Becky has obtained from Zach’s lawyers. On the tape Zach’s eyes flare when he looks directly at the camera.

Elsewhere in town, “Zach” watches a man leave his apartment and kiss his wife goodbye. Later that night, someone who appears to be the same man, returns and tortures her.

Early the next morning, Sam and Dean return to Zach’s house, as Sam points out that if the person they saw enter wasn’t Zach, then he must have left by the back entrance to avoid being captured on the video camera. The blood smear in the alley behind the house supports this theory. They then see an ambulance pass, and follow it to discover that another murder has occurred, and in a striking similarity to Zach’s case, the man claimed to be driving home at the time his wife was killed.

Shapeshifter!Dean captures Sam.

Dean and Sam find another bloody trail behind the apartment block, and follow it down a manhole to the sewer. On finding a pile of skin and blood they realize they are dealing with a shapeshifter. Suddenly the shapeshifter attacks them, and runs off. During their pursuit the boys are separated, and when they reunite at the car, having lost the creature, Sam suspects that Dean is actually the shapeshifter. As Sam confronts him the creature knocks him out and takes him prisoner.

Sam regains consciousness in the sewer, bound to a beam. The shapeshifter has access to Dean’s memories, and claims that Dean is angry at Sam for having left him to go to college, and for having opportunities Dean never had.

The creature finally leaves, telling Sam it has plans to attack Becky. At her house, Becky invites the shapeshifter, who she obviously thinks is Dean, in for a beer. They talk for a while, but eventually the creature attacks her. Suddenly a SWAT Unit arrives, and the shapeshifter flees, leaving Becky alive but bloodied.

In the sewer, Sam struggles to get free, and suddenly hears Dean regain consciousness. Together they manage to escape, and as they walk the streets, see a police sketch of Dean on TV – he is now wanted in relation to Becky’s attack. They return to her house and Dean gets the Impala, while Sam distracts the police.

Dean returns alone to the sewer to track the creature, and finds Becky there – the creature has assumed her identity now. Back at Becky’s house, the shapeshifter has tricked Sam, and is holding him captive. Sam fights back, and then Dean arrives, finally shooting the creature who looks just like him.

The police decide to release Zach, as they now suspect "Dean Winchester", who they found dead at Becky's house, was the culprit in Emily’s murder. As they leave town, Dean muses that he is missing his own funeral.

Characters

Definitions

Music

  • "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" by Iron Butterfly
(plays while the shapeshifter is surrounded by police in the apartment)
  • "Good Deal" by Mommy and Daddy
(plays while the shapeshifter is surrounded by police in the apartment; Netflix Streaming version)
  • "Poison Whiskey" by Lynyrd Skynyrd
(plays at the gas station, where Sam's reading his emails)
  • "Hey Man, Nice Shot" by Filter
(plays when the shapeshifter is fleeing the crime scene and shedding its skin in the sewers)
  • "Mary" by The Death Riders
(plays when the shapeshifter is fleeing the crime scene and shedding its skin in the sewers; Netflix Streaming version)
  • "All Right Now" by Free
(plays at the end of the episode when Dean tells Sam that he wished he could have a normal life)

Quotes

Dean: Look, it sucks, but in a job like this, you can’t get close to people, period.
Shapeshifter: I am your brother. See, deep down, I’m just jealous. You got friends. You could have a life. Me? I know I’m a freak. And sooner or later, everybody’s gonna leave me. (He backs away.)

Sam: What are you talkin’ about?

Shapeshifter: You left. Hell, I did everything Dad asked me to, and he ditched me, too. No explanation, nothin’, just poof. Left me with your sorry ass.
Dean: I really wish things could be different, you know? I wish you could just be…. Joe College.

Sam: No, that’s okay. You know, the truth is, even at Stanford, deep down, I never really fit in.

Dean: Well, that’s ‘cause you’re a freak.

Trivia & References

Filming Location: Gastown, near Victory Square
When Sam is reading his text messages on his phone, one of the messages was sent by a Jerry Wanek, a reference to the show's production designer.
The song playing in the pre-title teaser, "In A Gadda Da Vida", may be an homage to the 1986 film Manhunter, in which the same song is background music to a very similar scene. Manhunter was the first film to feature the character Dr. Hannibal Lecktor, a character Dean references on other occasions.
Jared Padalecki cited this episode as one of his favorites to the premiere edition of the Official Supernatural Magazine saying: "I really enjoyed Skin! Great sets!"
At the Paley Festival in 2006, John Shiban spoke about the gratification he got from coming up with scary concepts and effects.
"A fan was watching the show and giving her impressions as she watched it, “Oh my god, Dean’s taking his shirt off!” And followed immediately by, "Oh my god, he’s taking his skin off!" I knew then that we had it. I was very pleased with that."
The fight scene in which Sam fights shapeshifter!Dean was mainly done by the actors themselves. There are just a few edits that uses the stunt actors, the rest of the fight scene was done all by Jared and Jensen.S1Com, p. 42
Sam: I don’t know, it was like he was downloading your thoughts and memories.

Dean: You mean, like the Vulcan Mind Meld?

From the TV show Star Trek. "Vulcans are a humanoid species [...] and are noted for their attempt to live by reason and logic, with no interference from emotion. A procedure known as a mind-meld involves physical contact with a subject (though instances of mind-melds without contact have been seen), making it possible to share thoughts, experience, memories, and knowledge with another individual."
The text in the ancient book, "written by a priest who went dark side", is taken from Julius Caesar's Commentarii de Bello Gallico (Commentaries on the Gallic War), Book VII.

Minutiae

Aerial shot later reused in 3.04 Sin City.
The aerial shot of the Impala traveling through green fields dotted with livestock was also used in 3.04 Sin City.
The second victim (Lindsay) is played by Anita Brown who later played Hope Lynn Casey in 4.08 Wishful Thinking. She also had previously appeared as "Gill Girl" in an episode of Dark Angel alongside Jensen.
In 1.15 The Benders, Dean's police record indicates he died on March 7, 2006 in St. Louis.
Sam's contacts include Jerry Wanek and John Marcynuk, both named after production designers for Supernatural, and Mary Ann Liu and Stanislava Shmakin, both named after graphic designers for Supernatural.

Sides, Scripts & Transcripts

Promotion

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