As a latecomer to the series, I started watching Supernatural with the express intent on shipping Destiel (I blame Tumblr) and enjoying some very hot guys killing monsters. I took years to begin the show because I didn’t know anything about it except, well, the hot guys killing monsters. Plus, it is on the CW in the middle of the week and programming-wise, that usually is not the sign of my kind of television. Basically, I started watching Supernatural because of the hot dudes and inexplicably fell in love with the show because of the writing, the quick wit and the over arching themes that get me right in the feels. The Winchester feels.
This is the episode Supernatural goes meta. I didn’t know it was coming, this metanarrative. So far, the basic, monster-of-the-week episodes had been fun; the relationships between the boys, beautiful, and the introduction to Cas, everything I’d hoped for. But Chuck and his Supernatural books, aka The Winchester Gospel, took this story to another level for me.
S04xE18 AKA the Metanarrative That Made My Head Explode
Dean’s Best Line:
“I’m sitting in a laundrymat reading about myself sitting in a laundrymat reading about myself. My head hurts.”
Sam’s Best Line:
“Have you seen visions of me, when I’m not with Dean?”
On the hunt for ghostly activity in a comic book store, Sam and Dean get called out as LARPers by the shop keep, claiming they must be role playing those two guys from a book series called, aherm, Supernatural. An author, pen-name Carver Edlund, real name Chuck Shurley, has a cult hit in the series, and our boys, after reading a few of the books, pay him a visit to find out how he is penning every word of the last few years. Essentially, Chuck has written the series audiences have been watching for 4 seasons. The scrawny, oft-drunk writer has visions and has predicted or “seen” every monster the Winchesters have killed and every detail of their lives. They believe Chuck is a prophet, so the brothers spend the episode trying to change the future and do the opposite of what is already written. What they soon find out is, one can’t go against fate, or Chuck apparently, and no matter what they do, Sam and Dean end up right where Chuck says they will, which is Dean hit by a car and Sam on his own with Lilith. This episode has very little Castiel, except, of course, when he comes after Dean threatens Chuck and goes against the laws of Heaven to reveal to Dean a loop hole in the whole prophecy rule so Dean won’t stay mad at him. Adorbs.
What the Episode reveals about the Winchesters:
Sam and Dean have fangirls. And fanfiction. Chuck knows everything. And I mean, everything. He’s seen Sam drinking Ruby’s blood, which wasn’t in the books because Chuck thought it would make Sam an unsympathetic character. Even though the books haven’t been published since Dean got out of Hell, Chuck never stopped writing. He knows about the Angels and Lilith and Lucifer. But Chuck is a drunk, his books aren’t that popular, and so Sam and Dean plan to find a way to use Chuck and stop the seals from breaking. Dean and Sam are separate for much of this episode, both having individual chats with Chuck, and since he has basically documented every instance of their lives, both boys seem fairly open and talk freely about very private affairs. It’s nice to see the boys have someone to talk to, but Chuck can’t seem to change anything, he just writes, so Dean is forced to look elsewhere for help keeping Sam away from Lilith.
When Dean prays and gets Cas on the other line, we begin to understand that there is a profound bond between the two. Dean begs Cas for help, and while Cas tries to remain the good little soldier, he cares for Dean, and ends up telling him about a loop hope in the whole “so it was written so it shall come to pass” thing. So Lilith is thwarted for another day, and we move on with the knowledge that there is a prophet named Chuck who knows all about the Winchester antics and that in itself is pretty cool.
The Big Picture:
The metanarrative in this episode is impressive. The writers have created a universe that is self aware. So, Dean sitting in a laundrymat reading about himself sitting in a laundrymat reading about himself is more like, the television show Supernatural, with a huge cult following, has an episode about the fictional characters Sam and Dean finding out that they have been fictionalized by a writer of a series called Supernatural, which has a huge cult following. So, after my head exploded at the realization that a prime-time, network, not-even-paid-cable-show had just created a truly unique and brilliant over arching theme, I delighted in my obliviousness of any larger connotations and moved forward.
But you know me, nerds. After I finished all 8 seasons, I spent hours reading about the show, the characters and the meta (and of course the fanfic), I realized I had been blind to the one theory that might just make this episode blow my mind even more. So, um, Chuck is God? As in, the Big Cheese Himself, Sent His Only Son, and, in Dean’s words, a Major Dick GOD??
This. Changes. Everything.
My Favorite Scene(s):
Suddenly, the scene where Sam is talking to Chuck about drinking demon blood takes on new meaning. Sam is confessing to GOD. He is talking it out. He is praying. It is a thoughtful scene in which Sam says drinking the blood scares him, but ultimately refuses to admit weakness, allowing pride to harden his heart. We all know the path that takes Sam down, and Chuck knows it too. When Dean has his little conversation with Chuck, it goes the way I think any conversation between the Righteous Man and God might. Dean cusses, he yells, he threatens and then is put in check by his angel, Castiel. This is an episode worth watching again, if just to contemplate the genius that is Eric Kripke and to try and figure out if Chuck really is GOD. Shout out to the amazing writers, Julie Siege, Nancy Weiner and director Mike Rohl, without whom, this episode would have been far less complete.
The Collectiva Diva
- Supernatural Season 3: “No Rest for the Wicked” (acollectivemind.wordpress.com)
- Geek Chic: Supernatural Femme!Dean Cosplay for J2 BurCon (acollectivemind.wordpress.com)
- Supernatural Season 1: “Dead Man’s Blood” (acollectivemind.wordpress.com)
- Supernatural Season 2: “Roadkill” (acollectivemind.wordpress.com)
- Fanfic Wednesday: Destiel’s Greatest Hits (acollectivemind.wordpress.com)
- Sam Winchester: Lack of stability and motherlessness (bangingpatchouli.wordpress.com)
- Abandonment and other parallels in SPN S8 (bangingpatchouli.wordpress.com)
- Dean’s Story Arc: Fairies and Vampires, Oh My! (bangingpatchouli.wordpress.com)