Supernatural Recap: “The Chitters”

Banner by the Collected Mutineer
Banner by the Collected Mutineer

Episode 11×19 AKA “The One With Jesse and Cesar”

Well, the hellatus is over and Darkness is unleashed on the Earth in the form of a woman. Sam has hair glorious enough to rival season 8; Dean has a weird not-quite-consensual relationship with the Big Bad; and Castiel’s not here right now. I’m guessing the Winchesters won’t be getting sunshine and puppies anytime soon…Warning there be spoilers ahead.

Synopsis

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It’s a story we’ve heard before: a child loses a [close family member] to an unexplainable tragedy, and from an early age devote their life to revenge against the one who wronged them. This is Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride, Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars, and the Winchesters in Supernatural. In “The Chitters,” it is also the story of Jesse, a fellow hunter that the Winchesters encounter while on an investigation.

As a child, Jesse lost his older brother to a green-eyed monster (not jealousy), and has spent the past 27 years learning to be a hunter so that he can avenge his brother’s death. Along the way, Jesse met Cesar, a man who has become his partner in every sense of the word. The need for revenge is consuming Jesse, and it quickly becomes apparent to the audience that Cesar knows it, and hopes that once Jesse gets his revenge that he can leave the hunting life behind him.

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When the Winchesters enter the case, Jesse and Cesar have already spent years working on solving it. They know that the monsters are a creature–of possibly Malaysian origins–called Bisaan, and once every 27 years, they reemerge from their nest to procreate…by inhabiting human bodies and creating an orgy-like situation.

Although the Winchester, Jesse, and Cesar know what the monsters are, and how to kill them, they do not know how to find their nest. Cesar convinces Jesse that they need Dean and Sam to help them, or they will not find the nest in time, and will have to wait another 27 years for the Bisaan to reemerge from their lair. Cesar knows, just as Sam and Dean have learned in the past eleven seasons, that to be consumed by revenge will allow hunting to take over Jesse’s life. We can openly see his concern that he will lose someone he loves to this bitter need for revenge.

After splitting up, Jesse and Sam pay a visit to the previous sheriff of the town, who was around for the last series of attacks, while Dean and Cesar search for the lair. The former sheriff is reluctant to talk about the past, and Jesse will not leave without knowing what the sheriff knows. Eventually, the conversation comes to a head when the older man reveals that his daughter had been taken by one of the creatures, and he had covered up her death and concealed the truth about the Bisaan, never acknowledging that Jesse had been right and never intervening when he was ostracized by the townspeople.

The sheriff’s confession evokes much emotion from Jesse, but one good thing does come from the heart-wrenching visit:  Sam and Jesse now know the location of the Bisaan nest. Cesar and Dean locate it, kill the Bisaan that are still alive, and prepare to torch the nest. When Jesse and Sam arrive, everything is set and ready for Jesse to finally have his revenge, and to finally move past his brother’s death. The discovery of his brother’s body brings Jesse closure, and the episode ends with the four giving Matt a proper funeral, after which Cesar and Jesse leave the hunting life to settle down in New Mexico.

The Big Picture

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Nancy Won is by far the best thing to happen to Supernatural‘s season 11. I’ve enjoyed her three episodes–“Thin Lizzie,” “Don’t You Forget About Me,” and now “The Chitters”–more than almost every other episode this season. Her talent and thoughtful observance of Supernatural‘s audience has made her my new writing fav (don’t worry Robbie; I still love you too).

What I love most about “The Chitters” is that, unlike some MotW episodes, Won never deals us heavy-handed parallels between the Winchesters and the “guest” hunters. Both Jesse and the Winchesters seek/have sought revenge upon supernatural entities for the loss of loved one(s). Both Jesse and the Winchesters have dedicated their lives to hunting in pursuit of such vengeance. Both Jesse and the Winchesters cannot get the “happily ever after” until one brother lets the other go. Both Jesse and the Winchesters must daily overcome childhood and young adulthood in which they were neglected emotionally, forgotten, or misunderstood.

“I’ve seen it over and over. When someone loses someone when they are young, it never heals over,” Cesar tells Dean. Indeed it took 27 years for Jesse to find closure, so how much longer would it take for Dean and Sam, who have lost almost everyone they have ever cared about? Comparisons are there, of course, but the beauty is in the subtlety of the narrative, which allows us to also see the contrasts between the two pairs: where Jesse and Cesar have the option to move on from the hunting life, Dean and Sam do not because they have been enmeshed in a larger narrative since before their births.

It is beautifully poignant, and altogether well suited to the larger arc of season 11. If you need me, I’ll be over here writing fanmail to Nancy Won, thanking her for giving us an exciting, well-written, beautifully crafted episode that also gave us diverse representation. Dear Nancy Won, I friggin love you. 

Until next time, when Chuck returns, 

-The Collectress


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