Supernatural on CW

2006, TV Show

Supernatural Episode: "Swap Meat"

Season 5, Episode 12
Episode Synopsis: A teenage nerd (Colton James) conjures up a spell to swap bodies with Sam. After the switch, the boy investigates a case with an unwitting Dean and enjoys the perks of being good-looking and older. Meanwhile, Sam is stuck in the kid's body and deals with intrusive parents and high school.
Original Air Date: Jan 28, 2010
Guest Cast Sarah Drew Colton James: Gary Patricia Harras
Full Episode
click to playclick to play
Season 5, Episode 12
Paid | iTunes
Length: 42:11
Aired: 1/28/2010
Also available on Amazon Instant Video and VUDU
play more info

Supernatural Episode Recap: "Swap Meat" Season 5, Episode 12

Supernatural goes all Freaky Friday on us as a teenage nerd switches bodies with one extremely muscled Sam Winchester.

Well, I know many Supernatural fans (I won't say all) have been clamoring for a body swap episode for years. They finally did get one, although I suspect for many, it's not exactly what they had hoped. Nope, the brothers did not swap bodies so there was no Sam acting like Dean and vice versa. What we did get was Sam switching lives with a seventeen-year-old geek with a strict dad that had his whole life planned out for him.

Right off the bat we find out more details about Sam and Dean's childhood as they investigate a poltergeist in a Housatonic, Massachusetts home.  The supernatural presence has worked its way up to attacking the daughter of the family that lives there. Turns out the mom used to babysit and look after Sam and Dean when John headed out of town on a hunt. She was the maid at the hotel where they lived and according to her, there was one time BDW was gone for two weeks. I like the fact we heard a little bit more about Sam and Dean's past and John was mentioned. Of course, the reminiscing didn't really show him in that great of a light, but hey, Big Daddy Winchester made his choices. It didn't surprise me that back in the day a) Sam assigned himself his own reading list and b) Dean had a crush on Donna the babysitter/hotel maid. How very Adventures in Babysitting of him.

At the restaurant we're reminded of the differences between the brothers. Dean's all about artery-hardening meals like a cheeseburger with bacon and a side of chili cheese fries. Meanwhile, Sam's lunch of choice is the health quake salad shake. So hilarious. The way the show has made Sam's non-eating a running joke is funny. It's almost as funny as Dean's ability to shovel anything and everything down his throat frequently throughout the day and night.

The poltergeist case really isn't important because it all becomes about the body switch when Sam is tranquilized while walking back to the hotel. Later he wakes up wearing some seriously geeky clothes. He's walking down a road when a cop car comes up to him and tells him his family's looking for him. It isn't until he gets "home" when he sees himself in the mirror and realizes he's changed drastically. And from there we see Sam having to deal with parents and a little sister. Gary's mom is really worried and his dad thinks his son is drunk.

At the same time, we see Dean dealing with a "brother" that's acting odder than normal. This means Sam is actually not brooding; he doesn't know how to drive the Impala; he asks for Dean to turn up the classic rock playing on the radio; and he says stuff like "biz-atches." Gary uses his affinity for all things supernatural and witchcraft-y to help Dean solve the case. When they're in the basement trying to get rid of the ghost, Gary holds a gun on Dean while the ghost hunter's shoveling up the bones for salting and burning. This is not good and I can't figure out why Gary wants to kill Dean, but before we can find out the ghost manifests and flings Gary out of the way. Then it does the same with Dean. Gary manages to burn the bones ridding the world of another supernatural being. He takes a lot of pleasure in it too.

Sam tracks down the big bad book containing the Freaky Friday spell that enabled Gary to switch bodies with Sam. He meets two of Gary's friends while he's at it. It turns out the two friends (one of whom is very annoying) are in on the plan. The plan the trio of terror concocted is to kill Hell's most wanted (Dean Winchester) and then reap the rewards for this evil deed. Nora's just in on the fun because she's into Gary, but the other doofus friend really thought their plan would work. He ends up summoning a demon to help out. Said demon promptly rips his heart out and makes plans to kill Dean and get Sam's meat suit. After Demon Nora beats on Dean, Gary, along with Dean, exorcise it back to hell.

There are no real consequences for Gary. I mean, his friend is dead. But Gary seems like the ringleader of the bunch. It's his idea that resulted in his switching bodies with Sam and using the Trojan-style tactic to get close enough to Dean to kill him. He either didn't realize he'd enjoy the new body so much or he never really planned on going through with murdering Dean or he really learned Dean's a good guy. I vote the third reason but enjoying the new body also gets some serious points because it really seemed like Gary's a geek who liked being cool and being noticed by women. But his original plan involved killing Dean Winchester for selfish reasons. His "my bad" is pretty lame but all Sam and Dean can do is threaten to kill him if he ever does anything this destructive again.

In "Swap Meat," Sam again lets Dean know he's given up on the wife, kids and white picket fence dream he had once upon a time. But now he also has let go of the wish that he came from an apple pie family. Is this just a sign he's growing up? Is changing the vision of his life a bad thing? I think in Sam's case it's really sad given the current circumstances of his life. He's marked as Lucifer's vessel. Sam may feel he has no other choice but to let go of some of the things he has always believed in. As the episodes air in syndication on TNT, it's fascinating to see Season 1 Sam and compare him to the Sam we're getting in Season 5. The amount of muscles on Sam isn't the only thing that's different about the character. As for Dean, he seems like he's wishing for a life that hasn't existed for him since before his mom died. He gets these wistful looks on his face in both the conversations about an apple pie childhood and the whole wife and kids thing. That's sad too.

This standalone episode does delve partially into the show's current mythology. Hell being after Dean is something we know, but I do think this has to be something that's explored more frequently as the season continues. I mean, if everyone and everything knows Dean's the vessel for Michael, Dean is doubly marked. Hell wants him dead. The angels want him to say yes. Right now Dean (and Sam) is hidden from the angels, but you'd think the demons would be coming after him with everything they've got. I'm glad we're reminded of the bounty on his head, however.  

I do have a small issue with body swap storylines or episodes where a doppelganger is involved. To me, the Winchester brothers know each other so well they should be able to tell something's wrong in Denmark pretty quickly. Sure, their mojo has been off since last season, but they're on the road to getting it back. Did Dean figure things out quick enough for my taste? I think his spidey senses did go off immediately, but it took a little too long to resolve it. I keep thinking back to Season 1's "Skin" when Sam almost instantly knew that "Dean" was the shape-shifter they had been tracking.

Random Thoughts

Sarah Drew played Nora, the teenage demon. I know she played Hannah on Everwood, but more recently she played Suzy Pepper on Glee, the high school student who had a crush on Mr. Schuester. Glee's such a good show.

Dean should know one thing: If anyone complements him, there's almost always something wrong. Stick with me here, I have several examples: 1) In Season 1's "Devil's Trap," John told Dean he's the one who watches out for the family. What happened? A possessed John said those kind words. 2) In Season 4's "In the Beginning," shortly before Dean's grandpa reveals himself to be the yellow-eyed demon he congratulates Dean on a job well done and tells him that he was wrong about him. 3) In "Sam, Interrupted" the sexy lady doctor was all sympathetic to Dean's plight but guess what? She wasn't real. Boo. 4) And now in "Swap Meat," Dean and "Sam" are having a meal of burgers, fries and shots of something strong. Dean can't believe the two brothers are even drinking together. Gary goes on to call Dean "a good guy" twice. If Dean didn't know this guy in front of him wasn't his brother before, he knew right there and then.

Jared really got to have some fun in this episode. I really liked seeing that part of Sam. Because Dean is such a wild personality, sometimes Sam's left having to be the stick in the mud. I enjoy when Sam loosens up. I wish they had written even more fun bits for him to act out. The clothes he wore as "Gary" were simply hilarious.

There's something else that threw me off a little bit. After the body switch, Dean was still looking at his brother Sam but we, the viewers, were seeing Gary, right? But Jensen was looking at Gary's level and not at Sam's Sasquatch level. I hope I didn't confuse anybody more than I'm confusing myself. I'm suspending my disbelief there.

Gary got rid of all the phones in the car from the glove department. That means he got rid of BDW's phone Dean kept charged at all times just in case someone was trying to contact their dad. That upset me a little bit. Did they get the phones back?

Gary's life is all planned out for him. Little does he know Sam and Dean's lives are all planned out, too. Little does Gary know that these plans are beyond messed up. It had to be strange for Sammy to listen to a father who wanted his son to go to college.

Loved that drawing of Dean.

Never thought I'd see Sam drinking a banana daiquiri.

I liked the quick scene where Sam and Gary were in synch in the mirror.

Dean recited an exorcism from memory! He's come a long way...

Love it when Sam picks a lock. Don't know why but I just do. 

It's funny how much I miss the brotherly chemistry that exists between Jensen and Jared when they're separated for a good portion of the episode.

Bob Seger's "Rock & Roll Never Forgets" was the tune playing in the middle and at the end of the episode. It's awesome when the brothers get in the Impala and drive off to a classic rock tune. It's very old school Supernatural.

Favorite Lines

"Bring it!"

"Crystal, I would love to have the sex with you."

"I think I got asthma. Call me back."

"Those guys checked out in the middle of the night."
"Wait, guys? Plural?"
"Yeah, uh, one leather jacket one sasquatch."

"Rebel a little bit, in a healthy, non-satanic way."

"Welcome back, Kotter."

show less

Supernatural goes all Freaky Friday on us as a teenage nerd switches bodies with one extremely muscled Sam Winchester.

Well, I know many Supernatural fans (I won't say all) have been clamoring for a body swap episode for years. They finally did get one, although I suspect for many, it's not exactly what they had hoped. Nope, the brothers did not swap bodies so there was no Sam acting like Dean and vice versa. What we did get was Sam switching lives with a seventeen-year-old geek with a strict dad that had his whole life planned out for him.

read more

Related Links

Other Links:
Supernatural
Tags:
CW, TV Recaps

Are You Watching?

Loading ...
Premiered: September 21, 2006, on CW
Rating: TV-14
User Rating: (10,349 ratings)
Add Your Rating: 1 stars2 stars3 stars4 stars5 stars
Premise: Two brothers hunt demons, ghosts and other supernatural entities as they investigate crimes caused by paranormal forces.

Cast

TV GUIDE Users' Most Popular