From Alice – Before getting started with Sofia’s look at season four episode titles, I wanted to welcome her as an official member of the Winchester Family Business writing team! The link to her author page can be found by clicking on her name in the article title. Welcome Sofia!
It’s time for season four episode titles. You know what that means? We’re one week closer to April 15th! This season had a lot of really great references, it’s also the season I’ve watched the least of all of them. It was great to re-live the episodes and remember some details I’d forgotten. I refuse to let my Supernatural knowledge get rusty! I hope you find these title references as interesting as I did.
4.1 “Lazarus Rising”
This title comes from the book of John in the Bible. Lazarus, a friend of Jesus, dies and four days later Jesus arrives to the town and raises Lazarus from the dead. (John 11:38).
Dean does a little rising-from-the-dead of his own in this season premier episode. Well, Cas definitely lent a helping hand (pun intended). Either way, Dean is alive because Castiel felt called by God to save him. “I’m the one that gripped you tight and raised you from perdition.”
4.2 “Are You There, God? It’s Me, Dean Winchester”
This episode title comes from a Judy Blume book titled “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret”. The book follows Margaret, a young girl who is struggling with her mixed religious heritage and trying to figure out what she believes.
In this episode we find Dean in a very similar place in his faith. Aside from the main plot of the episode which has Sam, Dean and Bobby dealing with the ghosts of their past, we have Dean wrestling with the idea of Castiel as an angel. He also struggles to try and understand why God would choose him and where he has been all this time.
4.3 “In the Beginning”
This title is most likely taken from the Bible. Genesis 1:1 reads “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The phrase also shows up again in John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” I’ll leave it up to you to decide which verse you think inspired this title. As for me, I would say it was most likely Genesis.
In this episode Dean is sent back in time to Lawrence, KS where he meets his parents as a young couple. He learns that his mother was raised as a hunter and hated it, much like Sam did. He also learns that she made a deal with Azazel that changed their lives forever. A deal that sealed Sam’s fate as the chosen one for the demons to rise again.
This title comes from the biological process of the same name. This is a process by which an animal physically develops after birth. It refers to relatively abrupt changes in the body through cell growth. What also came to mind when thinking about this episode is the Frank Kafka novella “The Metamorphosis” in which the main character awakes to find himself transformed into an insect. The story acts as a discussion of various themes including family duty, alienation, freedom, escapism and personal identity.
I think these themes fit nicely in the world of Supernatural. This particular episode deals with the Winchesters coming across a Rugaru that has not yet fully transformed. The plot serves as a way for Sam to deal with his emotions about his powers and whether or not he can resist them. (From Alice – on a more sad note, this was the last episode directed by Kim Manners. Shots like this one with Sam looking into his reflection in the Impala, his genius in storytelling is sorely missed).
4.5 “Monster Movie”
This title seems to come from the MOTW. A monster movie, also referred to as a “creature feature” or “monster film”, is one that centers on the struggle between humans and monsters. (From Alice – yeah, Dracula paying for pizza with a coupon? The challenges these monsters have to face!)
This episode is much like a classic monster movie. Sam and Dean encounter what they later find to be a shapeshifter who identifies with creatures from the classic monster movies and takes on their form. It’s also the episode where we hear Dean’s coined phrase; “I have been rehymenated. And the dude will not abide!”
4.6 “Yellow Fever”
Yellow fever is a virus found primarily in tropical and subtropical areas. The virus is spread through the bite of a female mosquito. I think this title is a bit of a play on the name of this virus. Let me know if you think I’m reaching. The episode deals with ghost sickness which is spread through contact with ghosts. The main symptom of the virus is fear and those who have it eventually end up being scared to death. Calling someone “yellow” is the same as calling them a coward, hence, Yellow Fever? Am I missing something?
When Dean catches ghost sickness from a corpse he and Sam have to find a way to stop the sickness from spreading before it’s too late. Also worth mentioning is the cat in the locker scene. I still laugh out loud every time.
4.7 “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester”
This title comes from the 1966 animated classic “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” the Peanuts Halloween special. The character Linus writes to The Great Pumpkin who he believes to be the Santa Claus of Halloween. Sadly, he never shows up.
This episode also takes place on Halloween but it involves the awaiting of a different kind of arrival. A local witch is attempting a ritual to raise the demon Samhain on Halloween night thereby breaking one of the 66 Seals. Dean is advised by Castiel and Uriel to stop the raising of Samhain or they will be forced to destroy the town and all its inhabitants. Like the astronaut that was robbed of his candy thanks to Dean.
4.8 “Wishful Thinking”
Wishful thinking by definition is the formation of beliefs and making decisions according to what might be pleasing to imagine instead of by appealing to evidence, rationality or reality.
With that in mind, this is an excellent title for an episode that deals with some very odd wishes-come-true. The boys come across a town where wishes are coming true left and right. A teenage boy can become invisible to spy on naked ladies, a young boy wishes for super strength to scare away bullies, a man wishes for a woman to fall in love with him and a young girl wishes for her teddy bear to come to life. (“All I ever wanted was a teddy which was big, real and talked. But now he’s sad all the time – not ouch sad, but ouch in the head sad – says weird stuff and smells like the bus.”) As it turns out the wishes are linked to a magical coin that was dropped into the fountain at a local Chinese restaurant. Oh, and they’re cursed.
4.9 “I Know What You Did Last Summer”
This episode title is taken from the 1997 slasher film of the same name. The film follows a group of teens that accidentally hit a man with their car. Presuming him dead, they dump the man in the ocean. One year later one of the girls receives a cryptic letter stating “I know what you did last summer”.
This episode gives us a much-needed look at how Sam spent his time while Dean was in hell. We also get a chance to understand why Sam trusts Ruby as much as he does. This is also the episode where we meet Anna, a patient at a mental institution who, as Dean so eloquently puts it, is locked up “with a case of the crazies” when she’s “really just tuning into angel radio.”
4.10 “Heaven and Hell”
Heaven and Hell is the title of the ninth album by the band Black Sabbath. The album was released in 1980 and features the title track “Heaven and Hell”.
They say that life’s a carousel
Spinning fast, you’ve got to ride it well
The world is full of kings and queens
Who blind your eyes and steal your dreams
Its heaven and hell, oh well
And they’ll tell you black is really white
The moon is just the sun at night
And when you walk in golden halls
You get to keep the gold that falls
Its heaven and hell, oh no!
This title is very appropriate for this episode where Sam and Dean are fighting to protect Anna from angels and demons. The angels want her dead because she has fallen and lost her grace and the demons want her for inside information into the angel’s plans. (And the DeanGirls want her dead for obvious reasons.)
4.11 “Family Remains”
I only found one reference to this title but I’m not totally convinced”¦There is a short film from 1993 with the same title that follows a young woman who has problems dealing the arrival of her father’s dead body. Is it a possibility that this title is a play on words implying a family member left behind? What are your thoughts?
This episode finds the Winchesters investigating a house that is supposedly haunted by the ghost of a young girl who killed the homes’ former owner. They later discover the journal of the deceased owner’s daughter explaining that her father raped her and she gave birth to a daughter. Sam and Dean realize that they are not dealing with a ghost but the daughter who was treated like an animal and forced to live within the walls of the house, moving around through secret passageways.
(From Alice – I don’t have too many great shots of this episode so enjoy a pretty Impala shot under a bridge. It’s the only scene from the episode that wasn’t in the dark I think).