Fear Itself – Something with Bite (01/03/09)

Veterinarian Wilbur Orwell is watching a news report about the parking garage murder that opened the show.  He is oblivious to the goop squishing out of the donut [1] onto his white shirt.  Should it concern me that there is a nice white bakery carton of pastries on the table?  It is breakfast — did someone go all the way to the bakery and bring them home that morning? [2]

On the plus side, the donuts are well used to a) make a nice transition from the bloody previous scene, 2) provide a little humor, 3) introduce his son, and 4) establish Orwell as a lazy slob.  So it’s nice to watch an episode where someone is using their head.  I could have done without his wife’s twerking in front of the TV.  But to be fair, only about three women in the world can pull that off.

Orwell goes about his day with the soul-crushing ennui of an iPhone assembly line drone:  dog with ear infection, lizard with worms, dog with stomach virus, rabbit with diarrhea, cat with hemorrhoids, dog with erectile dysfunction.  At 2 PM, his day gets more exciting as a trucker brings in something that was hit by a car but not quite roadkilled.

The trucker thinks it is a bear.  But then BJ thought his chimp was a bear.  What is it with truckers and bears?  Orwell tells him it is not a bear; he thinks, maybe a dog? Whatever it is has a name tag that says Michael.  As Orwell is wrestling to hold it on the table, it swats his cute assistant Mikayla away and takes a chunk out of Orwell’s arm. The beast dies but doesn’t turn into a human, so at least we know it isn’t a werewolf.

The next morning, Orwell is baffled by his suddenly heightened sense of smell  He first notices it sniffing his wife; maybe it was all that twerking.  At breakfast, donuts play another pivotal role as their overwhelming sweetness are now disgusting to him.  At the office, he re-examines the thing brought in yesterday.  He notices that it has pierced ears and a filling [3].  An older couple, the Dougdales, come to the office wondering if maybe their uh, Michael, was hit by a car and brought in.  They ask for the body to give it a proper burial.

That night, he checks his arm and finds that the bite has healed already.  He then goes into convulsions and turns into a . . . ohhh, I guess it was a werewolf after all.  The next morning, the TV news is covering another murder.  Well, that seems to be a nightly occurrence, but this time Orwell’s bedroom window is open and he has tracked muddy prints back to his bead.  And his wife says he was a “beast” last night.

Orwell discovers that the Dougdales are werewolves and that it was their son Michael who was run over by the truck.  The screenplay was written by Max Landis whose old man wrote and directed An American Werewolf in London.  While that was a fun film, it had one of the most abrupt, underwhelming endings in movie history.[4]  I was worried Max was going to follow in his father’s footsteps.  I should have known from the quality of the episode so far that I was in good hands.

After his cute assistant Mikayla is attacked, Orwell’s new mad olfactory skillz lead him to the real killer.  It is a creative sideways turn, going the extra mile that most TV shows can’t be bothered with.  Aided by an excellent set of performances, this turned out to be a great episode.  The fact that it is rated 8th out of 13 in the IMDb ratings just further taints the credibility of that list.


  • [1] Donuts is in spellcheck, but donut is not.
  • [2] You can tell they didn’t come from Dunkin Donuts because they were not packed upside down with the icing stuck to the bottom of the carton.  You can tell they aren’t from Krispy Kreme because they aren’t glazed.  Enough with the bloody glazed!  Nobody likes glazed donuts!
  • People who bring glazed donuts to an office are the same ones who bring vanilla ice cream to a party.  Sure, no one buys it for themselves, but they are scared to get anything remotely exotic for other people.  So vanilla is the #1 seller and they think it is because people like it.  It is a viscous circle.
  • [3] If that is a silver filling, another standard werewolf trope is ignored.
  • [4] Bang.  Werewolf dead.  The end.
  • Ernest Dickerson directed the 2nd to last episode of Dexter . . . talk about dodging a bullet.

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