Saturday, November 15, 2014

Carry On, My Wayward Winchesters: Review, Supernatural Season 10, Episode 5, "Fan Fiction"

When Jeremy Carver said that the 200th episode of "Supernatural" was a "love letter to the fans," groans could be heard throughout the land.  Then came the promo stills of a girls' high school.  High school girls doing a musical about "Supernatural".  One fan tweeted it beforehand with the hashtag #Atrocity.  The knives were sharpened and ready.

This was the Internet's response after seeing "Fan Fiction," written by Robbie Thompson and directed by Phil Scgriccia.

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 My twitter timeline exploded.  I rewatched three times in a row until my eyes felt like boiled eggs.  This is "Supernatural: The Musical" in the best possible sense.

 I'm stumped as to how to properly review this episode.  It is packed with in-jokes, fan references, and more meta than you can shake a wooden stake at.   Maybe I should have asked a non-fan to do it, because God knows, I'm biased.

A throwaway line from Sam wondering if there's anything there besides "The Charlie Kaufman of it all," is a brilliant reference to the film Adaptation, written by Charlie Kaufman about a blocked screenwriter named Charlie Kaufman (Nicholas Cage) who is trying to write an adaptation of the (real) non-fiction book The Orchid Thief.  It is trippy and hilarious, rather like "Fan Fiction."


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NOW: In a high school auditorium, a group of Catholic school girls are rehearsing "Supernatural: The Musical."  Marie (Katie Sarife), the director, is a tiny tyrant who stomps around in a director's beret (but no jodhpurs), accompanied by her technical director, Maeve (Joy Regullano, marvelously deadpan).  The rehearsal turns stormy and the drama teacher slams out, vowing to shut down the show.  "Theater is life!" she yells into her cell phone.  "Why couldn't they put on Godspell like good little skanks?"  Suddenly, a giant scarecrow creature wraps its vines around her and they vanish. Marie is looking at a cheaply made marquee sign saying "Supernatural."  "It needs something," she says:

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The only one they missed is my favorite, Season 4.  Dang.

We first see Dean in a tight t-shirt, cleaning Baby's fire-red engine, drinking a cup of coffee and standing like a male model, which is obviously intentional, playing on fandom's obsession with Jensen Ackles.

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"Worship my unreal beauty, slaves."

Sam steps out in a v-neck layer, hair oddly flat. It remains that way throughout the episode--one clanging wrong note.  But since my dream is to take down Jared Padelecki in a flying tackle, I'm giving it a pass. Both actors get to display their comic chops, particularly Ackles. Dean wants to work, so they speed off to the school where the teacher disappeared. 

They enter the auditorium only to see a girl with a trucker's cap and glue-on beard practicing saying "idjits." Horrified, the brothers watch a young girl dressed as "Dean," with blond wig and painted on facial hair launch into a song called "The Road So Far" about the beginning of their lives.  The camera tilts and swings as the Winchesters stare at the stage, replicating their brains imploding.

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Sam starts to say, "I think it's charming--" but is stopped by Dean's glare.  Sam was briefly a "theater kid" who acted in high school staple 'Our Town,' and did tech for 'Oklahoma'.  Marie thinks they're publishers, disappointed that they are merely "FBI hunters."  Sam sees the "Winchesters" onstage holding out FBI badges, so he quickly stuffs his into his pocket and introduces them: "I'm Agent Smith, and this is Agent..." "Smith," Dean finishes. "No relation."

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Marie and Maeve are not impressed.

Dean: "There is no singing in Supernatural! If there was singing, and that’s a big if, if there was singing, it would be classic rock. Not this Andrew Floyd Webber crap!" Sam: (under his breath) "Andrew Lloyd Webber." Apparently this was improvised.

"We're teddy bear doctors!"

 To keep his brother from completely losing it, Sam suggests he go with Maeve and Dean go with Marie to look in the teacher's office for cursed objects.  As Dean walks backstage, he sees "Sam" and "Dean" leaning against the prop Impala, talking.  When he asks what that is:

Marie: “They’re rehearsing the B.M. scene." 
Dean: “The bowel movement scene?" 
Marie: “No, the boy melodrama scene. You know, the scene where the boys get together and they’re driving or leaning against Baby, drinking a beer, sharing their feelings. The two of them, alone but together, bonded." 

Sam goes to up to the tech booth.  He starts to reminisce about his days as a techie, but Maeve shuts him down and leaves, warning him, "Don't touch anything."  Of course, Sam starts playing with the lights until the actors stare at him with "what the hell?" all over their faces.

When Dean and Marie go into the teacher's office (I demand to know who posed as Shakespeare holding a jackalope's instead of Yorik's skull), Dean puts his hand on a spaceship helmet.  Marie says since the Carver Edlund books had such an unfinished ending, Dean with Lisa and Sam back from Hell, she wrote her own ending. Dean: “You wrote your own ending? With spaceships?" 

Marie: “And robots. And some ninjas...and then Dean becomes a woman." BWAHHAAAHAA!  Since I'm not a fan of anything except Supernatural crack, I love that line. You could consider this whole episode (or most of it) as crack if you wanted to.  Which I want to. Marie defends it as "transformative fiction," which is an argument in fandom as old as time. 

Dean tells her what really happened.  This is done in a long, unbroken tracking shot as they walk back to the auditorium. “Sam came back from Hell, but without his soul. Then Cas brought in a bunch of Leviathans from Purgatory. They lost Bobby. And then Cas and Dean got stuck in Purgatory. Sam hit a dog. They met a prophet named Kevin, they lost him too. Then Sam underwent a series of trials in an attempt to close the Gates of Hell, which nearly cost him his life. And Dean became a demon, Knight of Hell actually."  He finishes with a proud smile.  Marie says that is the worst fanfiction she has ever heard, and says she needs to send him links (hee!)


Sam remarks that besides "the Charlie Kaufman of it all, I don't see a case." Of course they are leaning against Baby. The brothers also find out about "Destiel."  Going back to the car, Sam observes, "Shouldn't it be DEEstiel?" Despite the elder Winchester's freaking out, Sam muses, "Samstiel.  Sastiel.  CasDean?"  "SHUT YOUR MOUTH!"

When the actress playing "Sam" quits, despite Marie's pleas, she is also taken by the monster.  I'm going to skip ahead before this entire review turns into a moment by moment recap.  Suffice to say they discover  that the monster behind all of this is Calliope, the Muse.  She takes away all of those who interfere with the author's vision--then she eats the author.  This is extremely bizarre, but whatever.  The show must go on.  Marie grabs a wig to play "Sam," (from her one-woman "Orphan Black" show) and announces, "Let's Barbra Streisand this bitch!"

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Dean gathers the cast for a pep talk.  He admits Marie's vision isn't his vision, but hearkening back to his Braveheart speech, he announces that “there is no other road, no other way, no day but today.” Maeve: “Did he just quote Rent?" Marie: “Not enough to get us in trouble." (Hee!)

The show goes on.  Marie warns the audience to put on the ponchos under their seats after admitting the show could be a "Gallagher."

Sam and Dean prowl backstage.  It's a symphony of sight gags as "Dean" sings the opening song, "The Road So Far" (which is STILL running through my head, you bastards!).

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 Same production values as the show itself!

The monster appears and takes Sam away.  He wakes up in the basement, along with the teacher and the student.  Another fantastic moment is a parody of Sam being flung against the wall, this time sloooowly, his feet skidding across the floor.  Calliope appears, and explains why she is particularly interested in "Supernatural": “Supernatural has everything: Life, death, resurrection, redemption. But above all, family. All set to music you can really tap your toe to. It isn’t some meandering piece of genre dreck. It’s epic."

That sound you hear is the Internet breaking.

Dean chases the scarecrow monster backstage, but it throws him across the stage while "Sam" is singing a song about "Dean," "A Single Manly Tear."   In the basement, Sam kills Calliope. At the same time, bellowing "NO CHICK FLICK MOMENTS!" "Sam" stabs the scarecrow.  It shuffles towards the edge of the stage and explodes into a mass of purple goo.  Sam(s) save the day!

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I need to know what exactly this shot is imitating!  "Jeremy"?

At the end of the show, the cast joins together for a haunting acoustic rendering of "Carry On, My Wayward Son."  Not only was this the first time in several seasons that I haven't wanted to commit suicide upon hearing it (there will never be peace! They will never be done! Never, I tell you!), it made me cry.

"Who's he?" Dean asks, pointing at one of the actors.
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"Still in Hell, God, still in hell..."

“That’s Adam, John Winchester’s other kid. He’s still trapped in the cage. In Hell. With Lucifer.” THANK YOU ROBBIE THOMPSON, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

When the show is over, Marie gives Dean the prop "Samulet," which Dean hangs on Baby's rear-view mirror. Dean graciously tells Marie:


The Winchesters drive off into the sunset.  Back in the theater, Marie is accepting the last of the congratulations and flowers. Maeve told her that somebody picked up the producer's ticket.  Her mouth dropping in awe, as the camera slowly turns around, Marie faces:

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Rob Benedict has a renewed reason to do all of those conventions

GOD!  I mean, Chuck!  I mean Carver...oh what the hell, you know what I mean.  By the time this appears, the nit-picking will probably have started, but I'm satisfied, and that's what's important.  

Stuff: Thank you, Robbie Thompson, for the continuous fan-speak, making "fake" Destiel canon, Castiel's song "I Wait For You," and ADAM!!  A million fans will now stop bitching that the writers forgot about the poor bastard.  For saying that Sam and Dean are "too old" to be Sam and Dean.  All the characters: Crowley, Ash, Jody Mills, the Harvelles, the Samulet, etc.  AND NOBODY DIED.

 Canon Problems: You know I had to.  So, if Chuck has been alive all of this time, what's happened to Kevin?  Is Chuck back for good?  Does this mean there is a God?  Is God going to bitch-slap Dean, not to mention Metatron?  If Calliope the Muse is dead, does that mean that around the globe, all writers will instantly have permanent writer's block?  I had it for five years, and it's a bitch.

Hey, at least Dean didn't go demon on Marie's ass.  He's saving it for the next appearance of Tiny Crazed Marine.

Next week: "Clue" comes to life.

Screencaps courtesy of

GIFS courtesy of fiercelynormal at

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