In pursuit of their latest case, Sam and Dean wind up on a college campus where bodies are turning up missing their hearts. Yes, it's a heart-eater for the second week in a row. Their search leads them to a house shared by three students. At least two of them are dead, covered by blankets so we don't learn their identities until the end. They find a laptop with a note: "Play Me." Most of the rest of the episode is Sam and Dean (and the audience) watching the file in order to learn what happened to the students.
In the beginning, there are two friends named Brian and Michael. Brian, the geekier of the two, is making a movie, which consists of just filming daily life. Michael, the big, strapping one, meets a girl named Kate and they fall in love. Brian secretly pines for Kate the whole time. One night, they become separated as they're chased by a fellow student who doesn't appreciate being filmed. Michael is attacked by some mysterious creature, some of which is caught on film. He returns home, covered in blood, but his wounds have magically healed. He also finds that he's even stronger than usual, but prone to violent outbursts.
To learn what's happened to him, the three friends spy on two devastatingly handsome FBI agents who've been poking around campus. Basically, all we see of the Winchesters this episode is whatever the students manage to overhear. (They're also sure that the guys are in love with each other.) They figure out that Michael is a werewolf, but a special kind of werewolf who's very close to the Alpha bloodline. This means he supposedly has more control over himself and can subsist on animal hearts. The key word here is "supposedly," because he does end up killing a student. Brian begs him to turn him into a werewolf, too, but Michael refuses. This leads Brian to tracking down the wolf who turned Michael. It's their lit professor, and Brian blackmails the guy into turning him.
A big fight erupts between Brian and Michael that ends with Michael dying. Brian confesses his love to Kate and bites her. She kills him and then finishes putting together the movie to explain what happened to them all. Though she's now a werewolf herself, she promises to subsist on animal hearts. The Winchesters, moved by her plight, decide to give her a chance. As long as she doesn't go after humans, they'll leave her alone. Stay tuned for the full recap.
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Let me start by saying that this episode has some things working in its favor. For one thing, it gets rid of the pointless "THEN" intro and just gets right into the story. For another, it has less exposition than we've seen in many, many past episodes. We don't have to slog through multiple scenes of the Winchesters sitting around and just reading things to each other. Nor or are there endless pouts of brotherly recrimination and repeated declarations of hurt feelings. It's just that it shouldn't take excising Sam and Dean almost entirely from the story to accomplish this.
The episode starts with a clear indication that something is terribly, horribly wrong: new music is playing. Also, copious amounts of blood paint every surface in the house in which we find ourselves. Blood streaks the walls, spatters the sofa and decoupages the end tables like a Martha Stewart craft project gone hideously awry. Moist, red chunks of what used to be a person lie on the floor, identifiable as such only by the fact that one of the chunks is still wearing a shoe. Another body lies nearby with a sheet draped over it. By the completeness of the shape, this body seems largely intact.
As the camera continues its slow pan across the carnage, the front door swings violently inward, having been kicked open by Sam's enormous, boot-clad foot. He and Dean charge inside, guns at the ready. Sam toes the sheet-covered body just to make sure it's dead for real while Dean zips upstairs for a quick check. Once he's certain nobody else is in the house, his first order of business is to turn off the music. Take that, Milo Greene. Sam peeks under the sheet. "No clue on this one and no idea who is painted on the walls." Dean sighs. "Well, whatever happened, it looks like we missed it." They glance around the room in frustration, then notice an open laptop on the desk. There's a sticky note on the screen: "Play me." Not ones for ignoring sticky notes, the Winchesters do as they've been told. "This should have never ended this way," say the words on the screen. At first, I was miffed at the awkward phrasing, but by the end it's clear the person writing the message was perhaps not in a writing state of mind. The words explode in flames, giving way to the title card.
When we rejoin the Winchesters, they're glued to the screen. It's blank. The same song from the intro is playing. "Hey, Christopher Nolan -- lens cap," a man's voice says from the screen. Our forgetful auteur removes the lens cap and turns the camera on himself to catch his sheepish green. He's a young guy, with dark hair and a slight build. He turns the camera on his friend, who is sandy of hair and bulging of biceps. They're sitting at a table in a coffee shop. "Dude, I have no idea what to make this movie about," says the would-be filmmaker. "I'm, like, the A/V club president so it's gotta be... good." His brawny friend takes the camera and starts narrating the trailer for their imaginary movie. "In a world where nothing is what it seems, one brave, shockingly handsome, virile young man and his faithful, learning-disabled, robotic manservant..." He turns the camera on his nerdy friend. "...must battle through waves of cybernetic asshats..." He focuses on a nearby table where three male students sit. "...in order to sexually liberate the women of..." He starts to film a table of female students, but Nerdy Friend takes the camera back. Brawny Friend encourages Nerdy Friend to make a try for one of the ladies, but Nerdy Friend is a judgmental little dweeb who deems most of the girls not quite good enough. Then he sees a girl with short blond hair who sets his heart all aflutter. She looks up, sees him filming and frowns.