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

All is not what it seems in "Swap Meat." First, we have the seventeen-year-old Gary who appears to be Sam, and Sam who is stuck in a high schooler's body. And then there is the episode itself that appears to be a playful throwaway episode, but turns into something more serious along the way.

There are a couple different ways a show can do a body swap storyline. The actors can continue to play the person they really are, on the inside, which is what Supernatural chooses to do here, or they can be shown as the person everyone sees when they look at them. Both can be fun for the audience to watch who wouldn't want to see Jared Padalecki play Gary pretending to be Sam? What I found myself doing was enjoying the scenes of Sam getting more and more frustrated, stuck with Gary's life, family, and friends, yet at the same time I was wishing Padalecki had been given the chance to play the fake Sam. It would have been fun to watch him have to deal with Dean in that situation.

Of course, it is not possible for the show to do it both ways (although they do have a little fun with mirrors, showing us the other actor for a few minutes). Luckily the actor playing Gary (Colton James) does a good job with the task of balancing Gary's goofy teenager attitude with the thrill of finding himself in Sam's much cooler older self. A few times the silliness threatens to be too much, but before we start to wonder if Dean is blind to not realize that something is very wrong with Sam, things stop just short of going too far in that direction. And there's no complaining about the dialog, not with lines like "I would like to purchase an alcohol."

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