1.08 Bugs

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Promotional image from Bugs
Title Bugs
Episode # Season 1, Episode 8
First aired 8 November, 2005
Directed by Kim Manners
Written by Rachel Nave
Bill Coakley
On IMDB Bugs
Outline Sam and Dean head to Oklahoma to investigate a recent spate of insect-related deaths around a new housing development.
Monster Curse
Timeline March 20th, 2006 (Dustin, the Oklahoma Gas & Power worker dies)

March 23rd - 28th, 2006 (Dean and Sam's investigation)

Location(s) Oasis Plains, Oklahoma
Atoka Valley
Sapulpa, Oklahoma
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Contents

Synopsis

Promotional poster for "Bugs."

Sam finds a case in Oasis Plains, Oklahoma where a gas company employee, Dustin Burwash, died from a sudden brain degeneration. The boys speak to the man’s partner Travis who describes how he was in a sinkhole and suddenly started bleeding from his eyes, ears, and nose. They investigate the hole and find some beetles, but nothing more.

Driving around the neighborhood, which is a new housing estate, they stop at an open house where the real estate developers are holding a barbecue. The boys meet Larry Pike, one of the developers and Lynda Bloome, head of sales. While chatting, Sam catches Matt Pike, Larry’s son, trying to scare her with a tarantula.

Dean finds out that a year ago one of the surveyors died from bee stings, and the boys wonder if someone is controlling insects.

That night, while the boys stay in one of the display homes so Dean can try the steam shower, Lynda Bloome is attacked by a swarm of spiders whilst in her shower, and dies as she crashes through the glass door.

When the boys find out about her death, they break into her house and find dozens of dead spiders.

They speak to Matt, and Sam relates to his tale that his father doesn’t understand him. Matt takes them to a place in the surrounding forest where insects appear to be congregating. Digging around, Dean unearths a skull.

While on their way to the Department of Anthropology at the local university, Dean challenges Sam’s perception of their father’s opinion of him. He reveals, to Sam’s shock, that John was proud of Sam, and that he used to secretly check up on Sam while he was at Stanford.

The professor they visit says the bones are about 170 years old, and directs them to nearby Sapulpa. Here they speak to Joe White Tree, a member of the Euchee Tribe. He tells them that there is a story that the tribe that lived in Oasis Plains was slaughtered by the cavalry over six days, and as the chief of the tribe lay dying on the 6th night, he cursed the land.

Sam and Dean postulate that this is the sixth night of the curse, and that Larry and his family are in danger. They arrive at the Pike’s home, as the sky is blackened with swarms of insects. They take the family to the attic, where termites are already eating through the wood. Just as the bugs eat through the roof, the sun rises and the bugs all leave.

Larry promises that the development will not go ahead. As Sam and Dean leave, Sam says he is looking forward to apologizing to his father.

Characters

Definitions

Music

  • "Rock of Ages" by Def Leppard
(plays at the beginning in the bar scene, also played in 1.05 Bloody Mary)
  • "I Got More Bills Than I Got Pay" by Sonny Ellis S1Com
(plays while Dean and Sam attend the open house at Oasis Plains)
  • "Poke in tha Butt" by Bernie MarsdenS1Com (Extreme Music)
(plays at the open house when Larry pulls Matt aside after he sees him talking to Sam)
  • "Medusa" by Bob ReynoldsS1Com (MasterSource)
(plays very briefly as Dean & Sam park at the university where they get the bones identified)
  • "No One Like You" by The Scorpions
(plays at the end of the episode, when the guys hit the road)

Quotes

Larry: Let me just say –- we accept homeowners of any race, religion, color, or…sexual orientation.
Sam: We’re gonna squat in an empty house?
Dean: I wanna try the steam shower. Come on.
Sam: Well, Dad never treated you like that. You were perfect. He was all over my case. You don’t remember?

Dean: Well, maybe he had to raise his voice, but sometimes, you were out of line.
Sam: Right. Right, like when I said I’d rather play soccer than learn bowhunting.

Dean: Bowhunting’s an important skill.

Trivia & References

Filming Location: Chemistry Building, UBC
Sam and Dean reasoned that Dustin Burwash died on spring equinox "when sun and moon share the sky as equals".BoM, p.32
While the tribe cited in the show is referred to as "Pucci", the type of graves featured in the episode were typically made by South American natives and a blanket used in the set dressing is of a Pueblo Indian design.
The filming of the climactic scene in this episode spawned Jensen's favourite anecdote - The Bee Story
While the scenes with the bees were filmed with real bees, the insects didn't show up on film, so they had to CGI the bees in at the end.
Kim Manners (who begged Eric Kripke not to do "Bugs"):
"They bring in six hundred bees, or however many bees, and I was like 'Oh my god, I can't wait to see the dailies!` But you watch the dailies and you can't tell there's one bee in that room - they just don't read on camera or they were too sluggish. (...) And you just start laughing because you put your crew in a room with hundreds of bees and then you can't even tell if there are any bees on camera. It's a bizarre job sometimes."S1Com, p. 52-53
Dean: Mad cow? Wasn't that on Oprah?

Sam: You watch Oprah?

In reference to the "Mad Cow" issue: Winfrey's influence reaches far beyond pop-culture and into unrelated industries where many believe she has the power to cause enormous market swings and radical price changes with a single comment. During a show about mad cow disease with Howard Lyman (aired on April 16, 1996), Winfrey exclaimed, "It has just stopped me cold from eating another burger!" Texas cattlemen sued her and Lyman in early 1998 for "false defamation of perishable food" and "business disparagement," claiming that Winfrey's remarks subsequently sent cattle prices tumbling, costing beef producers some USD$12 million. On February 26, after a trial spanning over two months in an Amarillo, Texas court in the thick of cattle country, a jury found Winfrey and Lyman were not liable for damages. (After the trial, she received a postcard from Rosanne Barr reading, "Congratulations, you beat the meat!")
Dean: Maybe they're being controlled somehow, you know, by something or someone.

Sam: You mean, like Willard?
Dean: Yeah, bugs instead of rats.
Sam: There are cases of psychic connections between people and animals. Elementals, telepaths...
Dean: Yeah, that whole Timmy-Lassie thing... Larry's kid, bugs for pets.

Willard was a 1971 horror movie about a social misfit named Willard, who has a strange affinity/link with rats. He controls the rats to attack and kill people who have been cruel to him.
Lassie, a television series (1954-1974), revolved around a collie named Lassie and her boy owner, Timmy, a farm boy frequently helped out of scrapes by his super-intelligent dog.
Dean: [to Sam] You were kind of like the blonde chick in The Munsters.
The Munsters was a 1960's TV show about a family of... monsters - vampires, a "Frankenstein" type monster, and various other ghouls. "The blonde chick," niece Marilyn Munster, is the only member of the family who is completely normal. The family is vaguely ashamed of their relationship to such an "ugly" person, and even Marilyn is aware of her "plain-ness". She bemoans that she keeps scaring off potential boyfriends, having no idea that the youths are in fact frightened away by her family.
The scene where Dean fights the bugs off with an improvised flame thrower made from a combination of a can of some sort of pressurized accelerantand a lighter, is reminiscent of scenes in the 1990 film Arachnophobia wherein Jeff Daniels' character faces off against the "Queen spider" in his basement with a nail gun and an improvised flame thrower.
Many of the final scenes in "Bugs" appear to have been inspired by the Alfred Hitchcock 1963 Classic The Birds - such as the shots of the bugs swarming against the night sky, the bugs penetrating through closed windows and doors, and the ripped back roof through which the Winchesters see the sky the following morning.

Minutiae

Eric Kripke often cites this episode as one of his least favorites in the series. When the prophet Chuck meets Sam and Dean, he asks them if he they had to live through the "bugs". He laments that they were "forced to live bad writing."
Tyler Johnston, the actor that plays the angel Samandriel in season eight, first had a role as Matt Pike in this episode.

Sides, Scripts & Transcripts

Promotion

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