It’s time for the season five episode title origins. I hope this has been as fun for you guys as it has been for me. This season has a ton of great references that I think you’ll enjoy.
5.1 “Sympathy for the Devil”
Sympathy for the Devil is a song by the Rolling Stones. The song, which was written by Mick Jagger, is the opening track of the band’s 1968 album, Beggars Banquet. The song’s working title was “The Devil is My Name” and is sung by Jagger as a first person narrative from Lucifer’s point of view.
Please allow me to introduce myself
I’m a man of wealth and taste
I’ve been around for a long, long year
Stole many a man’s soul and faith
And I was ’round when Jesus Christ
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that Pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
But what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game
This is an appropriate title for the season opener which has Lucifer freed from Hell. Sam and Dean are somehow transported out of the church and begin to search for the Michael sword while Lucifer talks a man named Nick into being his vessel. I did find myself sympathizing with Lucifer at some points in this episode but I also sympathized with Nick who had lost his whole family and actually preferred the idea of being Lucifer’s vessel to his current life.
(From Alice – I’m sure the Rolling Stones had a twisted fan girl groping her crush in mind when they said “But what’s puzzling you is the nature of my game.” Pure evil!)
5.2 “Good God, Y’All!”
This episode title seems to come from a lyric of Edwin Star’s “War”. The song was a blatant anti-Vietnam War protest. The song was originally recorded by The Temptations but was released instead with Edwin Star on vocals for fear of alienating The Temptations more conservative fan base. The song was later successfully re-recorded by Bruce Springsteen.
(War) It ain’t nothing but a heartbreaker
(War) Got one friend, thats the undertaker
War has shattered many young men’s dreams
Made him disabled, bitter and mean
Life is but too surely precious, to spend fighting wars each day
War can’t give life, it can only take it away!
AAH! War… Huh… Good God y’all!
What it is a good for?
Say it again
War… Huh… Lord, Lord, Lord…
What it is a good for?
Listen to me:
(War) It ain’t nothing but a heartbreaker
(War) Friend only to the undertaker
Peace, love and understanding tell me,
is there a place for these today?
They say we must fight to keep our freedom,
but Lord knows there’s got to be a better way
This episode follows Sam, Dean and Bobby as Rufus calls them to a town dealing with a demon infestation that turns out to be the arrival of the first horseman of the apocalypse, War. Meanwhile, Castiel decides to go in search of God, the only one that can defeat Lucifer. But he needs Dean’s amulet to find him.
5.3 “Free to Be You and Me”
This title comes from an album and illustrated book released in 1972. A project of the Ms. Foundation for Women, “Free to Be..You and Me” featured songs and stories by celebrities of the day including Alan Alda, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross and more. Two years later, the project was followed up with an ABC Afterschool Special saluting values like gender neutrality, tolerance, and individuality.
This title is especially appropriate for an episode in which Sam decides he can’t trust himself anymore and gives up hunting. He gets a job in a bar but at night his dead girlfriend Jessica visits him to tell him that people can’t change. It is later revealed that his visions of Jessica are really Lucifer. He explains that Sam is his true vessel and he just needs to say yes. Meanwhile, Dean teams up with Castiel to search for the Archangel Raphael who may know God’s location.
5.4 “The End”
This title could have many possible roots but I found what I think is a good fit in The Doors song “The End”. Originally written by Jim Morrison as a breakup song, it continued to evolve over months of performances eventually becoming an almost 12 minute composition on their self-titled album. The song was also used in the opening sequence of the 1979 film Apocalypse Now.
This is the end
This is the end
My only friend, the end
Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end
I’ll never look into your eyes”¦again
I think this song works really well with the premise of this episode. Dean awakens five years in the future in an abandoned city infected with the Croatoan virus. Zachariah appears to Dean to explain that the world he is seeing is a direct result of his refusal to be Michael’s vessel. Dean crosses paths with his future self and finds that Sam has said yes to Lucifer. When Dean confronts him, he has just killed future Dean. Lucifer/Sam explains that no matter what choices Dean makes he will always end up in the same situation. Dean still refuses to say yes to Michael and is saved from Zachariah by Castiel. The brothers reunite and begin hunting together again.
5.5 “Fallen Idols”
I had trouble locating a reference for this episode title, which leads me to think that the title is directly related to the MOTW. In this episode Sam and Dean come to a small town where people are getting murdered by famous dead icons like James Dean, Ghandi and Abraham Lincoln. But when Paris Hilton starts attacking people the brothers realize there is something else going on.
5.6 “I Believe the Children Are Our Future”
This episode title is taken from the song “Greatest Love of All”. Written by Michael Masser and Linda Creed, the song was first performed by George Benson for the 1977 Muhammad Ali biopic The Greatest. The song was later successfully re-released by Whitney Houston. The song was inspired by Linda Creed’s fight with breast cancer and was meant to describe her feelings about coping with a terminal illness.
I believe the children are our are future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be
Everybody searching for a hero
People need someone to look up to
I never found anyone who fulfill my needs
A lonely place to be
So I learned to depend on me
5.7 “The Curious Case of Dean Winchester”
This title comes from the 2008 movie “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” which stars Brad Pill, Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton. The film follows a man, Benjamin Button, who ages backwards getting younger as time goes on.
In this episode, Dean and Bobby find themselves in the opposite situation. After encountering a powerful witch who plays poker for years of life Bobby looses 25 years. In an attempt to save him, Dean decides to play for 50 years, 25 of which he gives directly to Bobby. Dean looses the game and ages rapidly making for some great “Grumpy Old Men” moments between him and Bobby.
5.8 “Changing Channels”
This episode title could easily come from the concept of the episode itself and it would be a good title.
But as I was searching around for references I did come across a Jimmy Buffett song of the same name. “Changing Channels was featured on his 1989 album Off to See the Lizard. I’m not sure there’s a real parallel between the song and the episode though. What do you think?
This place is full of beachhead sailors
Fisherman and old retailers
Simple lives are so deep seated
and history always gets repeated
Some folks see a birds eye view
Others haven’t got a clue
Some will go and some will stay
It doesn’t matter anyway
They are changin’ channels
Crazy girls and boys
They’ll be changin’ channels
Survivors of tidal waves
children of former slaves
strange that they behave
Like it’s another world
This title is especially appropriate for the episode that has Dean and Sam trapped in a series of real life TV Shows where they must play their part to survive. The trickster, who has trapped them in this parallel universe of sorts, eventually reveals himself to be the archangel Gabriel. He explains that his family was torn apart by his two brothers’ hatred of each other and guesses that Sam and Dean can relate. He explains that he doesn’t want to be a part of the apocalypse and he doesn’t care who wins, he just wants it to end and it has to end with Sam and Dean.
“You’re the one who said ‘Play our roles.'”
5.9 “The Real Ghostbusters”
This title comes from the animated series that ran from 1986 to 1991 based on the 1984 film Ghostbusters. “The Real” was added to the title after a dispute between Filmation and its Ghost Busters properties but the characters and premise remain the same.
In this episode Sam and Dean are tricked by their number one fan Becky who uses Chuck’s phone to text a 911 to the boys. When they arrive at Pineview Hotel they find themselves in the middle of a Supernatural convention. What starts as a convention game about the haunted hotel quickly escalates into a real haunting and Sam and Dean find themselves partnering with an unlikely pair. Before leaving, Sam and Dean make Chuck promise not to publish any more stories about their lives.
Sam: Oh, hey, Chuck, look. If you really want to publish more books, I guess that’s okay with us.
Chuck: Wow. Really?
Sam: No, not really. We have guns and we will find you.
5.10 “Abandon All Hope”
This title comes from Dante’s Divine Comedy and is part of the supposed inscription at the entrance to Hell. The story follows Virgil who leads the reader through the afterlife taking them through Hell, Purgatory and finally Heaven.
Through me you pass into the city of woe:
Through me you pass into eternal pain:
Through me among the people lost for aye.
Justice the founder of my fabric mov’d:
To rear me was the task of power divine,
Supremest wisdom, and primeval love.
Before me things create were none, save things
Eternal, and eternal I endure.
All hope abandon ye who enter here.
Such characters in colour dim I mark’d
Over a portal’s lofty arch inscrib’d:
Whereat I thus: Master, these words import.
In this episode the brothers, Castiel, Ellen and Jo get word of where Lucifer is and they decide to see if they can hunt him down and kill him. When they arrive in Carthage, they learn that Lucifer is planning a ritual to raise the fourth horseman, Death. Jo is injured by a hell hound and she and Ellen stay back to hold them off while the Dean and Sam carry on. They are unable to stop the ritual and lose Jo and Ellen in the process.
5.11 “Sam, Interrupted”
This title is taken from the 1999 film Girl, Interrupted. The film follows a teenager’s 18 month stay in a mental institution. The film was an adaptation of a memoir by Susanna Kaysen.
This title fits well in this episode that takes the boys to a mental institution. Dean and Sam go undercover to work a job in a mental hospital but they soon find that they may have mental issues of their own. “Pudding!”