This is a great episode. It includes the return of The Trickster, who is actually the Archangel Gabriel, and is a great parody of the various types of TV shows. This is a long article, as Alice, Elle and Elle2 all had a lot to say about this amazing episode!
Recap – “Changing Channels pt. 1 by Alice Jester originally published November 9, 2009
This recap is ridiculously long. I was not kidding when I said last week I’d be setting a record here. The recap is so long, just like with last year’s “On The Head of A Pin,”I’m breaking it into two parts. Except this one has WAY more screencaps. The faces in this episode were too good. So enjoy every single detail! There’s plenty.
Want to know how to get 3 plus million people to say “WTF???” right off the bat? Open with a very bright and cheery shot of a sun drenched motel with palm trees in the background and the voice of Jensen going “Supernatural is filmed in front of a live studio audience. “I pause, open my TV guide and check the listed genre. Horror. Then it dawns on me cheesy 80’s sitcoms are horror shows. I continue.
IIt’s Dean! Wow, where the fuck is he? The Technicolor lens is back! The colors on the wall are bright, the cabinets perfect white, the refrigerator is full with condiments, beer, and something called “smeet”(what, they couldn’t get the rights to Spam?) and Dean is happy. There’s a Dagwood sandwich piled about a mile high in the center of the two person kitchen table. “I’m going to need a bigger mouth.”Laugh track goes. Yep, I’m positively freaked out right now. Way to scare the crap out of us Kripke!
Sam walks in and there’s loud cheering from the laugh track. You know, the Big Bang Theory uses a laugh track. They don’t need to! We laugh on mark all the time. Want to know why? Because the jokes are funny. Why does this shameful device still exist??? So, if you havenâ€™t already noticed, I will be taking the chance from time to time in this recap during the episode spoofing the absurdity of US television to throw in my own mini rants about the absurdity of US television.
It’s Dean! Wow, where the fuck is he? The Technicolor lens is back! The colors on the wall are bright, the cabinets perfect white, the refrigerator is full with condiments, beer, and something called “smeet”(what, they couldn’t get the rights to Spam?) and Dean is happy. There’s a Dagwood sandwich piled about a mile high in the center of the two person kitchen table. “I’m going to need a bigger mouth.”Laugh track goes. Yep, I’m positively freaked out right now. Way to scare the crap out of us Kripke!!
Town to town, two lane roads
Family business two hunting bros
Living a lie just to get by
As long as we’re moving forward there’s nothing we can’t do
Together we’ll face the day
You and I won’t run away
When the demons come out to play
Together we’ll face the day
Kripke you magnificent bastard.
Wellington, Ohio, 2 Days earlier. I suppose we do need to know how they got into this mess. Some moody music plays, it’s a hospital, and a hot doctor and hot other doctor get in the elevator. Door closes. They jump on each other in throes of passion and we see that it’s a show on one of those old TVs that shouldn’t be operating anymore without a digital converter. Swipe over to Dean who’s watching this on the edge of the bed totally engrossed. Sam comes out of the bathroom. “What are you watching?” “A hospital show. Dr. Sexy MD. It’s based on a book.” Sam scoffs. “When did you have menopause.” Ooh, nice one Sammy. “It’s called channel surfing,” Dean defends. Yeah, right. Dean asks Sam if he’s ready. “Are you?” Sam responds.
They’re talking to a sheriff doing their FBI thing. They’re investigating someone getting their head ripped off. Always a winner. The sheriff said the man, Bill Randolph, died from a bear attack. Sam asks how sure he is it was a bear. Remember Sam, this is Ohio. We don’t like the unexplained. The simplest explanation is usually the correct one. Yeah, that’s it. Its raccoons getting into my garbage every week, I swear. 6 foot raccoons that can remove garbage lids.
Dean makes his point. “Whatever it was, it chased Mr. Randolph through the woods, smashed through his front door, followed him up the stairs and killed him in his bedroom. Is that common, a bear doing all that?” “Depends how pissed off it is I guess.” Oh man, it’s the ignorant sheriff thing again. If we actually weren’t that dense in Ohio, I might be offended. The sheriff defends that they live in high country. Near Wellington? Seriously? (yes that gets said a lot in this one) Don’t they know what flat boring and very tame part of Ohio that’s in? Okay, there is existence of some rolling hills in those parts, but no wild undiscovered country. No bears either. You tend to get shot by your cousin, or there’s Amish rake fighting, but that’s it. Sam asks about Mrs. Randolph who saw the whole thing. The sheriff says the woman was confused. That’s grounds for an interrogation.
Mrs. Randolph sticks to her bear story. “What else could it have been?” Sam asks what does she think it was. She’s still very hesitant, insisting on the bear. Dean goes for the “every angle” bit asking what she thought she saw. “It’s impossible, but I could have sworn I saw “the Incredible Hulk.” Cue the light hearted score. Both Sam and Dean have that “she’s crazy”look on their faces. “Bana or Norton,” Dean asks. “Oh no, those movies were terrible. The TV Hulk.” Oh Jeremy Carver, you’re reading my mind! Dean clarifies, Lou Ferrigno? She confirms. “Would there any reason that Lou Ferringo, the Incredible Hulk, would have a grudge against your husband?” The woman has an understandable no, but I can’t hear it over the sounds of my own howling.
Dean reads about the supposed bear attack on the laptop at the motel, while Sam comes in. He saw the house. There’s giant 8 ft wide hole where the front door used to be. A Hulk sized hole. Dean found out that Bill Randolph had a temper. He had counts of spousal battery, bar brawls, and court ordered anger management. “You might say, you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.” Hee! How many times have I used that line in my past recaps? At least a few. Damn, I did watch that show growing up, didn’t I?
Sam sees the irony. “So, a hothead getting killed by TV’s greatest hothead. Kind of sounds like just desserts, doesn’t it?” Sam concludes it’s all starting to make sense. Dean needs to know more. Sam found candy wrappers at the crime scene. Watch out Sam, I think those were planted there. Dean rattles off the clues and it clicks. “We’re dealing with The Trickster, aren’t we?” “Sure looks like,” Sam says. Who hoo! I love him.
“Good, I’ve been wanting to gank that mother since Mystery Spot.” So, you know about that Dean? Sam asks if he’s sure. “Son of a bitch didn’t think twice about icing me a thousand times.” So, you know then about intense psychological torture your brother went through with that? Please tell me your anger is guided at what he did to Sam. You don’t even remember getting killed by him, so it must be. I hope that’s a brief indication he knows everything that happened.
Sam doesn’t like the idea of killing him. He wants to talk to The Trickster. “Think about it Dean. He’s one of the most powerful creatures we’ve ever met. Maybe we can use him.” Dean wants to know for what. For the freaking apocalypse, that’s what. Sam rationalizes he’d a Hugh Hefner type that doesn’t want the party to end and hates this Angels and Demons stuff as much as they do. Maybe he’ll help them. That’s not half bad logic. Dean pulls out the other half though. “Ally with the Trickster. A bloody, violent monster and you want to be Facebook friends with him? Nice Sammy.” You know Dean, when saving the world I’m hardly recruiting my Facebook friends. We aren’t exactly an organized bunch.
“The world is going to end Dean. We don’t have the luxury of a moral stand.” Sam thinks it’s worth a shot. If it doesn’t work, they’ll kill him. Uh, no you won’t! Sorry, getting ahead of myself there. Dean wants to know how they find him. Sam knows that he never takes one victim and he’ll show. Next scene has Sam listening to a police scanner while Dean carves wooden stakes. A report comes through about a murder (at least I’m assuming that’s what a 187 means). The guy calling it in is at the old paper mill on route 6. You know, a route that doesn’t go through Ohio at all. He can’t even describe what he’s seeing. Just send everyone. Sound suspicious!
Sam and Dean show up at said abandoned paper mill and there’s nobody there. They know it’s a trap. They grab their wooden stakes and flashlights and cautiously go inside. Not good enough! They’re doctors! Sappy indie music plays in the background and Sam and Dean are pretty freaked. Two nurses go by and call them “doctor.”Sam doesn’t get it. Oh wait, you will! Dean opens the door they came through and two medical people are making out. Honestly, I don’t watch much Grey’s, but does that happen a lot? Okay sure, Chase and Cameron had sex in a supply closet in House and then there was that time JD and Elliot did it in Scrubs and okay, it happens in medical shows.
Might I point out that I’m really bummed they’re wearing their white lab coats? I saw the rehearsal pictures of them in the navy blue scrubs without the coats and both Jensen and Jared looked positively yummy! They should wear navy a lot. A female doctor comes up to Sam and slaps him. “Seriously? Seriously? You’re brilliant, you know that. And a coward. You’re a brilliant coward.” Dean watches her with amazement while Sam has this “WTF?” look. She slaps him again and he gives a bitch face! “As if you don’t know.” No lady, he doesn’t. Dean does though, for he knows that’s Dr. Ellen Piccolo. Isn’t that a St. Elsewhere nurse name? (runs off to imdb). No? I’m sure I’ll figure out where that name came from. Oh yeah, name that medical show.
Dean goes on with a sparkle in his eye. “The sexy yet earnest doctor at” then he sees the sign. “Seattle Mercy Hospital.” Sam, who’s pretty bored, wants to know what Dean is talking about. “The doctor get ups, the sexy interns, the ‘seriouslies,’ it all makes sense. “Sam still doesn’t get it. “We’re in Dr. Sexy MD.” Sam still doesn’t get it. Come on, you’re hunting the Trickster, right? This makes perfect sense. Perfect hilarious sense.
Now Dean is asking the questions. “What the Hell. No seriously, what the Hell?” You see, he’s already adapting to his role! He begs for one theory from Sam, any theory. “The Trickster trapped us in TV Land.” Sam throws that off the cuff, but he’s actually right! Dean thinks the theory is stupid. TV Land has actors and lights and crewmen. This looks real. Sam wonders how this can possibly be real. Um, it isn’t? Okay, it kind of is. It’s real to you. Dean spots Dr. Wang, the sexy but arrogant heart surgeon. And there’s a patient there, Johnny Drake, who’s not even alive. He’s a ghost in the mind of her, “the sexy but neurotic doctor over there.” Oh man, Jeremy Carver has been watching a lot of Grey’s Anatomy, hasn’t he? Those descriptions are hitting a little too close to home. Wait a second, where’s the racist black doctor?
Sam gets the inside joke line this week, something just for Jeffrey Dean Morgan. “So, this show has ghosts, why?” So, medical dramas where people die shouldn’t have ghosts, but the paranormal horror show is allowed to, right? Do you watch House? Oh wait, that was a hallucination. Sam can relate to that. Oh man, everyone is borrowing each other’s plot twists! It’s madness! “I don’t know. It is compelling,” Dean says. Bwah! Dean likes crappy writing. (I say in mocking sing song).
“I thought you said you weren’t a fan,”Sam says. Busted! Dean gives the most unconvincing “I’m not.” Liar! Luckily we don’t have to wait long for the lie to be exposed because out comes none other than Dr. Sexy himself. What is this? Dean is getting excited? Could Dean Winchester be having a man crush? Sam is throwing another bitch face in the background so he clearly doesn’t have one.
Dr. Sexy walks up to them. “Doctor,” he says to Dean. Dean gives the “Doctor”l ine back. Then he goes “Doctor” to Sam. Sam nods but that’s not his line, so Dean slaps him. “Doctor,” Sam says with irritation. I love irritated Sam. He so hates stupid rules. Dr. Sexy is mad at Dean. He wants one good reason why Dean is refusing to do the experimental face transplant he was ordered to do. “One reason?”Deans asks. Uh, he’s not a doctor and doesn’t know how to do one? No, instead of saying that, Dean notices that Dr. Sexy has tennis shoes on. He gets all mad and slams Dr. Sexy against the wall.
“You’re not Dr. Sexy.” Dr. Sexy calls him crazy. Sam watches all this actually thinking Dean is onto something. Way to trust big brother there Sam. “Because I swore what makes part of Dr. Sexy sexy is the fact that he wears cowboy boots, not tennis shoes.” Now Sam isn’t impressed. “Yeah, you’re not a fan.” “It’s a guilty pleasure,” Dean says. Hee! Yeah, that’s right. This show is my guilty pleasure. Yeah, that’s it.
Suddenly everything freezes and Dr. Sexy morphs into the Trickster. With a bright smile he says, “You guys are getting better.”Dean orders him to get them the hell out of there. “Or what,”the Trickster says not intimidated. He strong arms Dean making the point he can’t do anything about it. “Don’t see your wooden stakes big guy.” Sam realizes it was him on the police scanner and this is a trick. The Trickster, who’s in top notch gloating form (welcome back Richard!) points to himself, does this phantom circle around his face and harps sarcastically, “Hello… Trickster!”
The Trickster heard they were in town and couldn’t resist. No, I’m pretty sure he baited them with his Hulk prank. Dean wants to know where they are, which opens up the opportunity for the Trickster to brag about his own little “idiot box.” He made the sets, has his own actors and yes, I’m impressed. Of course he won me over in “Tall Tales” when he created that little love nest for Dean in the auditorium so I knew he wouldn’t disappoint here.
Now it’s time for Dean to throw at him twenty questions. Oh sorry, the $64 question. Wasn’t that the $64,000 pyramid? Yeah, I don’t know my game shows very well either. They were all the same after a while. Sam says they need to talk for they need his help. “Hmm, let me guess. You two muttonheads broke the world, and you want me to sweep up your mess. “Yeah, that’s it exactly. Sam thinks “Please” still works and asks for five minutes. Oh Sam, you adorable sap. This is so not going to work.
Instead, the Trickster tells them to survive the game for 24 hours and they’ll talk. “Survive what?” Dean asks, still in question mode. The game of course. “What game?” You’re in it Dean. “How do we play?” Can’t you tell Dean you’re already playing? You’re wearing a freaking doctor uniform for Christ’s sake. “What are the rules?” The Trickster just does a deliciously evil double eyebrow raise, which is the best expression I’ve ever seen for “That’s for me to know and you to find out.” He disappears. Oh, what a brilliant way to start a mind fuck.
Dean chastises Sam for his great plan to talk to monsters while everyone else is trying to find Dr. Sexy. Sam asks what do they do now? Dean is leaving, but leave it up to the Trickster to throw some obstacles in their way. Doctor Slappy Face shows up and Sam’s sharp reflexes kick in just in time to avoid getting one across the jaw. “Lady, what the Hell?” She goes on with the “brilliant” and Sam beats her to “coward.” “I got news for you. I am not a doctor.” Uh oh Sam, you asked for it. She’s utterly appalled and the sappy music comes on again. “Don’t say that.” Her over-emoting even has Dean rolling his eyes, not to mention triggering a trademark Sam bitch face. “You are the finest cerebrovascular neurosurgeon I have ever met.” I go to Google to see what if there’s such a thing as cerebrovascular neurosurgeon or if Jeremy Carver made it up. Cerebrovascular is blood flow in the brain, making the neurosurgeon part redundant. So, he did.
The doctor isn’t done with the melodrama. “So that girl died on your table. It wasn’t your fault. It wasn’t anybody’s fault. Sometimes people just die.”Sam has no idea what she’s saying. No, you wouldn’t. Ask Dean. “You’re afraid. You’re afraid to operate again. And you’re afraid to love.” You don’t want to love Sam lady. You’ll end up dead. Once she leaves Sam concurs with Dean. “Yeah, we’re getting out of here.”
Nope, a man comes out to talk to Dean. He tells Dean his wife needs to face transplant. The novelty of being on this show has obviously worn off, for Dean starts ranting. “You know what pal, none of this is real, okay, and your wife doesn’t need jack squat. Okay?”I love irritated Dean. They walk away and the bothered man says “Hey doctor.” He pulls out a gun and shoots Dean in the back. The gunshot isn’t all the shocking at first and Sam watches the guy leave. He doesn’t see what’s happening until Dean falls to his knees with a horror-struck look gasping “real.” Now I’m stunned, for Jensen is making this part look really scary. Sam grabs hold of Dean and starts frantically shouting for a doctor. That’s you Sam, don’t you know that?
Dean is on the surgical table, staring face down onto the blue floor. Sam is the surgeon? Okay, this is interesting. Dean is not under anesthesia and Sam isn’t wearing a mask. I guess masks and pain killers ruin the sexy of Dr. Sexy MD. Sam stares at the wound and has no freaking idea what to do. The nurses of course ratchet up the tension by spouting off how low Dean’s blood pressure is. Sorry, but if it was that low, he’d be unconscious. Sam just nods, not really caring at the moment. He’s got bigger problems. Another nurse hands him a scalpel, but he just waves it off.
Dean is a little more worried than Sam. “Sam, come on, do something.” Sam admits he doesn’t know how to use any of this crap. Dean challenges him to figure it out. You know Sam, you are good at making it up as you go along. So Sammy goes and proves me right. “I need a pen knife, some dental floss, a sewing needle, and a fifth of whiskey.” Dr. Slappy Face is watching Sam in the observation room with admiration. No, total googly-eyed love. Everyone looks at Sam like he’s crazy, Dean can’t believe he just asked for that, and the music changes to a more upbeat soulful tune of triumph. Sam takes control of the situation. “Stat!” See, he has watched a medical show before! Everyone scrambles and Sam is somewhat impressed that it worked.
Next is a shot of a half bottle of whiskey on the table, Sam’s gloves are all bloody, and he’s sewing up the wound with some pretty hefty dental floss. Dean asks if they’re good, and I’m wondering with all the blood and pain how Dean isn’t griping and complaining up as storm by now. Sam tells him they’re good. Then Dr. Slappy Face with a tear in her eyes mouths, “I love you.” Sam is really freaked out now. She adds to his horror by putting her hand to the glass and letting herself get lost in doughy-eyed love. You know, I don’t blame her. He gives her a squirmy look, the kind that only Sam/Jared can do so well, turns away and we know he’s plotting his escape. Dean looks at the blue line on the floor, and that’s the perfect setup for the next transition.
There’s an audience chanting, the blue floor becomes blue doors, the doors fly open and a Japanese game show host with full-on game show host leisure suit enters. Suddenly we’re hit in the face with one colorful set and two perplexed Winchesters in the middle. Whoa, my eyes! What are Sam and Dean strapped to the platform with? Ski boots? What are those strategically placed sticks with a ball on the end of them? How warped is Jeremy Carver right now? What man would do that to another man? Sera Gamble maybe?
The Japanese man is all excited. It’s time to play, “Nutcwacah”. Sam and Dean are totally confused. Apparently neither of them watch Japanese game shows. The host with the most readies his blue card. First up, “Sam Winchestah.” He asks in Japanese what we presume in showing in the subtitles. “What was the name of the demon you chose over your own brother?” Ooh, the Trickster doesn’t have it in for Sam at all, does he? This is where Sam wishes he took Japanese in college as well as Spanish. He doesn’t understand so the guy asks again. Too late. The little man bows his head in remorse and then snickers like a little devil. Considering the hostesses are wearing horns, I sense a Hell theme here. Oh that crafty Trickster!
Stick goes up, Sam gets it painfully hard right in the nuts. No, this nutcracker is not a ballet. Sam doubles over in about the worst agony we’ve seen him in yet. Heck, even his own stabbing death wasn’t this gruesome. The TV replays the blow a couple of times just to add insult to injury, which is common ground for Sam these days.
Dean watches with horrified shock and realizes he’s setup for one of these things too. He looks pretty sick, but not anywhere near as bad as Sam. While Japanese guy goes over with Japanese scantily dressed hostess to tout the benefits of shrimp chips, Dean asks a writhing in pain Sam if he’s okay. Sam can only muster a strained look considering he’s been rendered speechless. Fuck no!
There’s a knock on the blue doors and they come open. It’s Castiel! He found them! “What are you doing here?” Duh Cas, going through personal torture. “What are you doing here?” Dean asks. He’s been looking for them since they’ve been missing for days. Sam wants him to get them out of there. Castiel holds out his fingers to do the angel zapping thing and gets zapped himself. Hmm, the Trickster is more powerful than an angel? Okay. Japanese game show host comes backs over. “Mistah Trickstah does not like pretty boy angels.” Speak for yourself Mistah Trickstah. Me likely pretty boy angels just fine. However, we wouldn’t get all this upcoming fun if he took them out of there.
Japanese guy resumes the game now turning to “Dean Winchestah.” “Would your mother or father still be alive if your brother was never born?” Now, I can’t believe that some people actually thought Dean understood the question. The clock is counting down and Dean is starting to panic. This is where I wish he breaks the fourth wall a la Volunteers and reads the subtitles. Ah well, what they did works too. Lucky for Dean, Sam has recovered enough now where he can offer some advice. He had to play doctor and operate in Dr Sexy, so Dean needs to answer the question. He doesn’t know Japanese. Sam rightfully implores him to try. Yeah Dean, you’ve got it pretty easy considering Sam had to operate on you. Dean presses the button with no time to spare.
Suddenly, Dean is speaking Japanese! How cool is that. If only he knew what he was saying. Basically, the answer is yes. The Japanese guy considers the question while Dean sweats it out big time then declares Dean the champion. Ouch, nice slam on Sammy there. Is the Trickster bitter much? While the celebration goes on Sam wonders how Dean did that. “I have no idea,” he confesses. Sam concludes the obvious. “So that’s it, we play our roles we survive.” “Play our roles for how long?” “Good question,” Sam uneasily answers. Dean clenches his teeth and gives the most perfect uncomfortable smile and wave to the crowd.
If I hadn’t been watching this at first during a commercial free viewing, I would have skipped over this. I’m so glad I didn’t because I think it’s up there as a top five funniest moment. I usually gage that based on how long it takes to pick myself up off the floor after laughing so hard. Almost five minutes. Only giant teddy bear and alien slowdance went longer. So here we go.
A woman is doing yoga in a serene setting by the water. “I’ve got genital herpes.” Then an older guy in his living room. “I’ve got genital herpes.” Sam is playing basketball, shoots a pefect nothing-but-net-basket then turns to the camera uneasily. “Seriously?” Dean comes up and takes the opportunity to rub it in. “You’re the one that said play our roles.” Sam drops his head in defeat and then mans up. In a nice monotone voice he declares, “I’ve got…genital herpes.” Sorry, I’m laughing way too hard where I can’t even type this!
The yoga girl tried to be responsible. The old man tried. Sam just keeps clenching his jaw. “But now, I take twice daily Herpexia to reduce my chances of passing it on.”
Can’t recap…can’t breathe…
Yoga girl helps me out by telling us to ask our doctors about using Herpexia. Then Dean comes on with the disclaimers! “Patient should always consult with a physician before using Herpexia. Possible side effects include headache, diarrhea, permanent erectile dysfunction, thoughts of suicide and nausea.” Man, he could make a decent living just doing that! Sorry, stopping to grasp my aching side. Oh no, Sam’s going for the kill! I’m doing all I can to slightly lessen the spread of” (face clench – higher pitched voice) “genital herpes. And that’s a good thing.”
Sorry, no more recapping today. I’m typing on the floor now. More coming in a day or two…
originally published November 11, 2009
Suddenly Castiel comes in to the oohs and ahhs of the laugh track. Luckily none of that phases him and says he doesn’t have much time. “Something is not right. This thing is way more powerful than it should be.” “The Trickster?” Dean asks. “If it is a Trickster.” Just as Sam asks for clarification, Castiel goes flying against the wall.
Speak of the Devil, in pops the Trickster! He does the celebrated “hi-yo” entrance that happens so much in those lousy shows. He turns toward the angel struggling on the ground. “Hi Castiel,” he says cheerfully. Castiel can’t answer back since he has duct tape over his mouth now. You know, as bad as The Trickster has it in for Sam, Castiel is getting it about ten times worse. There’s an untold story there that I hope we find out eventually. He zaps Castiel away.
Dean asks where he sent Castiel in an overprotective manner. It’s so nice how Dean has that type of concern for Cas, just like he would for Sam or Bobby. I know many people have been getting down on Castiel this season, but I for one still love the bond between Dean and him. I’d like to see a stronger one formed between Sam and Cas. Anyway, The Trickster answers, “Relax, he’ll live. Maybe.” Dean gets really angry. He’s done with the monkey dance. “Playing our roles, that’s your game?” The Trickster tells him that’s only half of the game.
Sam asks “What’s the other half?” Ooh, time for a delicious plot twist! “Play your roles out there.” They still don’t get it and the Trickster is never one to be afraid to spell things out. “Sam starring as Lucifer, Dean starring as Michael, your celebrity deathmatch. Play your roles.” Sam is confused. “You want us to say yes to those sons of bitches?” You know, that saying in plural form always sounds off to me, yet this show is using it more and more. Ah well, it serves its purpose. “Hells yeah. Let’s light this candle!”
Sam is still having issues with the idea. “We do that the world will end.” The Trickster is unsympathetic. “Yeah, whose fault is that? Who popped Lucifer out of the box? Look it started. You started it. It can’t be stopped. So let’s get it over with.” Oh, so that’s why the Trickster has it out for Sam. He’s blaming him for starting the apocalypse. I think. Okay, I’m only guessing.
Sam is guilt ridden, Dean is angry. “Heaven or Hell, which side you on?” The Trickster claims he’s not on either side. Dean doesn’t buy it. “You’re grabbing ankle for Michael or Lucifer. Which one is it?” “You listen to me you arrogant dick. I don’t work for either of those SOBs, believe me.” Dean prods further, for he hasn’t gotten what he wants. “No, you’re somebody’s bitch.” Suddenly the Trickster loses his temper and slams Dean against the wall. “Don’t you ever, ever presume to know what I am.”
Dean and the Trickster have this long, mean, ominous stare down. The Trickster holds onto to Dean by the throat with one hand and turns around to Sam to issue ultimatums with the other. “Now you listen very closely. Here’s what’s gonna happen. You’re gonna suck it up, accept your responsibilities and play the roles that destiny has chosen for you.” “And if we don’t,” Sam says with defiance since Dean can’t say much in that stranglehold. “Then you’ll stay here in TV Land, forever.” Glare from Sam, glare from a struggling Dean, back to the smug Trickster. “300 channels and nothing’s on.” I wish these guys would end up on Mythbusters. I would love to see them high five each other over blowing stuff up.
What happens next works too. The Trickster snaps his fingers, and they’re at a crime scene. Dean and Sam turn around and they’re both wearing blue suits with blue shirts, no tie and sunglasses! They’re Horatio Caine clones. God, I hate that show. Don’t get me wrong, I love the original CSI in Las Vegas. The rest, I don’t need to tell you why I hate them. Dean does just a perfect job for me.
“Oh come on,” Dean says, definitely not happy. Sam isn’t looking too pleased either. A guy comes up to them asking what they think. Dean gives a very agitated, “go screw yourself,” line. The original line is a bit more colorful than that, but I’ve already gone overboard with the four letter words in this recap and will refrain. Sam is a little more polite, asking for a minute. Ah, good cop bad cop. Like that’s never been done before! Sam tells Dean he’s gotta calm down.
“Calm down? I’m wearing sunglasses at night. You know how does that? No talent douche bags. I hate this game. I hate that we’re in a procedural cop show, you want to know why? Because I hate procedural cop shows. 300 on television and they’re all the freaking same. It’s ooh, plane crashed here. Oh shut up!” This is why being a TV writer is my dream job. I want to be able to get away with venting like that at my job!
Sam notices that the one guy that came to talk with them is eating a lollipop. That could be their guy. Sam tells him to follow his lead. They walk, no, they cooly stride over, putting the sunglasses on their faces, and they’re ready for some investigating! This is so funny because Sam is actually getting into the role. Maybe because he knows he’s a dead ringer for David Caruso. It’s certainly evidence that he does watch procedural cop shows.
While the boys “make their entrance” a remade version of the CSI: Miami theme song, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” plays. It should be noted that when I got to see this on the critics preview, the ACTUAL Who version of the song played. I guess they couldn’t get the rights in time for airing. Bummer, but it’s still a great entrance. Dean’s voice goes into a Caruso husk and he asks what do they got. Victim has ligature marks on his neck and a roll of quarters down his throat.
Dean crouches down to take a look. Sam removes his sunglasses, does his Horatio sneer and says in perfect rough voice “Well I say, jackpot!” before putting his glasses back on with the smooth moves and striding a few steps away. Hee! We’ve been seeing that for weeks in previews and it’s still hysterical every time. You know Jared was practicing that in a mirror the second he read the script. Either that or he actually watches CSI Miami. That thought scares me though.
There’s a stab wound to the lower abdomen. Dean picks up a nearby stick and plays with the wound with it. Dean gets up and does his slick putting on of sunglasses. “Well I say, no guts no glory.” Hee! They’re both really hamming it up. Again, and I say this a lot, how many takes did they have to do to get through this? Sam’s turn. “Get that guy a”¦(puts glasses back on)”¦tums.” Dude with the lollipop laughs, but I groan. Dean’s turn. This time he turns his head in a glam pose and leaves the glasses on. “Gutterball.” Ooh, now these are just getting plain bad. What’s sad is Caruso has actually said crap like this before.
Sam is providing the distraction while Dean circles around. Then he jumps in front and stakes the guy right through the heart. Then the screen shows the inside computer graphic of the stake piercing the heart! I’m on the floor in a fit of laughter again. That was cool a couple of times when CSI did this in the first season, but everytime since then they’ve become a parody of themselves. So, why not it become an actual parody? This is where the attention to detail in these spoofs has made this episode brilliant. The gags aren’t over the top, striking in perfect timing. That why this script works so well.
Dude falls to the ground, gurgles and dies but stays there. Not the Trickster. Suddenly a nearby cops laughs, and morphs into The Trickster. He ridicules them for getting the wrong guy and then bam! Sam stakes him through the heart from behind. The Trickster collapses, Sam looks really hot being in killing mode in that suit and glasses, and suddenly everything morphs to normal. They’re in the warehouse, the Trickster is dead on the floor. Notice how all the bright pretty colors of TV Land are gone and its back to hues of grey. Seriously, they killed him? There’s still a lot of time left. Here comes the twist!
This is where I’m going to take a few paragraphs to give deep honor to the set designers. That’s all because of the next shot. They show the outside of the real motel they’re in, the Day-Z. It’s hardly the Sun and Sand. Inside the trim is dull white and chipped, while in the sitcom it was all bright white. The floors were a brilliant red in the sitcom, here the floors resemble a worn gray. The wallpaper is faded in the Day-Z, while the sitcom has the bright colors. The detail that went into these sets is incredible, especially since they had to do so many, but to take the same room and give it such a stark contrast is a truly interesting feat. Fantasy vs. reality. It’s these little things that we barely notice that makes this show so exceptional.
Dean’s worried about what that “SOB” did to Cas. You should be! However, there’s a bigger problem right now. Sam is nowhere to be found either. Dean looks around and thinks asking an empty room “Where are you?” will get him an answer. Nope. He leaves and calls Sam on his phone. He just gets a message. So he leaves one? Sam is missing and you’re leaving a message? After all that’s happened he’s just not going to take off.
Of course, maybe the message was a device for Sam to hear Dean talking as he climbed into the Impala. “Dean?” “Sam?” He turns around and we get a great back seat shot from within the Impala. I love those kinds of visuals. They’re few and far between. A freaked out Dean looks all around. “Where are you?” “I don’t know.” Then the reveal! It’s the KITT computer from Knight Rider! “Oh crap.”
Oh my God, Sam is the car? I strained my back falling on the floor this time.
“I don’t think we killed the Trickster.” Really? No time for that though, because just like the other shows, there has to be an intro. This is the best one yet. Yes, better than the sitcom. Why? Because I watched Knight Rider avidly as a kid. I LOVED the KITT Firebird Trans Am. I loved the opening with the “duh, duh, duh, duh, duh”¦”, the car whoosing down the road with all the glory shots and the Hoff with the 80’s hair driving with his steely glare. The show, I don’t remember much but it had the best intro ever. It’s such a shame the screen caps don’t do this one justice, but here goes.
Now that the intro is over, it’s time for the Knight Rider premise. Solve the mystery while driving. See, you get a recap of the whole series right here! Dean guesses the stake didn’t work. Why is that KITT? “I don’t know, maybe because it’s not a Trickster?” Ah, KITT, I mean Sam, is always so smart. He of course drew his conclusion off of what Castiel said earlier. Then Dean recalls the way the Trickster looked at Cas like he knew him. Sam remembers how pissed he got when Dean brought up Michael and Lucifer. It all hits Dean. “Son of a bitch.” At least it’s his real saying this time. Dean knows what they’re dealing with.
More Knight Rider music and this time it’s a really cool shot of the Impala coming toward the camera with the red light running along the front then an undercarriage view before coming out and showing the rear angle. Awesome! Prettiness abounds in all sorts of ways in this episode. Eat your heart out KITT. You’ve been outclassed by the Metallicar!
The Impala is parked in a rest area and Dean is searching through the trunk. “Dean?” Dean asks what. “That uh, feels really uncomfortable.” Hee, the little details they put into everything. That one’s good. Dean rolls his eyes and slams the trunk. “Ow.” Oh come on Dean, haven’t you ever wondered what happens if the Impala could talk and tell you things. No, I didn’t think so.
Sam asks if he’s sure this is going to work. No, but he has no other ideas. In Supernaturalland, that means it’s going to work. The “only idea” always does. Dean walks in front of the Impala giving us one more amazing piece of eye candy and shouts to the sky, “Alright you son of a bitch. Uncle!” Nothing happens. “We’ll do it!” Dean shouts. “Should I honk?” Sam says. Man, they just won’t quit with the funny! Sam makes the perfect KITT by the way. He’s every bit as snarky as William Daniels was in the original version.
Enter Trickster. “Wow! Sam, get a load of the rims on you.” “Eat me,” Sam dryly replies. That’s so much better than “Go to Hell!” The Trickster asks if they’re ready to go quietly. Dean won’t do anything until “Sam has opposable thumbs.” “What’s the difference? Satan’s going to ride his ass one way or another.” Harsh! He really has it out for Sam. I still think there’s more to it than what’s being revealed here.
Dean stares down the Trickster and he reluctantly snaps his fingers. Sam gets out of the Impala and is not happy! Disturbed is a better description. The Trickster asks if they’re happy. Sam slams the door in a slight huff and then walks over looking bothered while Dean gets to business. “Why didn’t the stake kill you?” “I am the Trickster,” he says. “Or maybe you’re not,” Dean replies. Sam not missing a beat lights the lighter, drops it and the flaming angel trap ignites in a flash.
The Trickster looks at the circle still keeping up his game. Dean gives up the theory. “Maybe you’ve always been an angel.” The Trickster laughs. “A what?” He thinks Dean is nuts. “I tell you what. You just jump out of the holy fire and we’ll call it our mistake.” The camera goes on Sam and what a face! He’s really angry about this. I wonder if this hatred toward angels is going to lead to his downfall with Lucifer. Maybe I’m just reading too much into a chilling glare.
The Trickster laughs and then his face gets serious. The scene changes to back at the warehouse and he ain’t leaving that circle. He claps. “Well played boys.” He is an angel? Whoa. “Where do you get holy oil?” I’m presuming that Castiel stocked them up by the gallons for that’s one healthy burn going there. Dean, being in full character, goes for the clever answer. “You might say we pulled it out of Sam’s ass.” Sam gives Dean a bitch face. *snigger* I love Sam as the car jokes.
“Where’d I screw up?” The Trickster asks. “You didn’t,” Sam says. “Nobody gets the jump on Cas like you did.” Yeah, except Alastair, and Zachariah, and Raphael, and”¦ Oh let’s face it. Cas has become the universe’s bitch. Dean gives the main clue. “Mostly it’s the way you talked about Armageddon. Call it personal experience, nobody gets that angry unless they’re talking about their own family.” “So which one are you? Grumpy, sneezy, or douchy?” There’s Sam talking like Dean again! He does want to be just like his big brother. Oh, but the answer is so good! “Gabriel, okay? They call me Gabriel.” Seriously? He’s Gabriel? As in THE Gabriel? Sam clarifies just in case there are those that don’t know about Gabriel. “The archangel Gabriel?” That’s the one!
Dean asks the burning question. How does an archangel become a Trickster? “My own private witness protection. I skipped out of heaven, had a face transplant, carved out my own little corner the world until you two screwed it all up.” Man, that sounds a little Scooby-Doo ish to me. Dean goes on. “What did Daddy say when you ran off and joined the Pagans?” “Daddy doesn’t say anything about anything.” Granted this isn’t a big reveal knowing what we know from other angels, but it sounds like God has washed his hands of Heaven as well as Earth. Interesting way of showing things. In Paradise Lost (in which this arc is heavily based on) it was free will of man that separated God from Earth. I wonder what caused it to happen in Heaven too? Maybe it was Michael and Lucifer turning on one another?
Sam wants to know why he ditched. Dean answers the question, just so he can get the Trickster/Gabriel mad. “Do you blame him? His brothers are heavyweight douchenozzles.” “Shut your cake hole. You don’t know anything about my family. I love my father, my brothers, love them. But watching them turn on each other, tear at each others throats, I couldn’t bear it, okay? So I left. And now it’s happening all over again.” Oh no, it’s the awkward middle child syndrome. I’m shocked Carver didn’t break into a “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha,” line. Oh yeah, Kripke already stole that last season.
“Then help us stop it,” Sam asks. “It can’t be stopped.” Dean can’t believe he wants to see the end of the world. “I want it to be over. I have to sit back and watch my own brothers kill each other thanks to you two. Heaven, Hell, I don’t care who wins. I just want it to be over.” Hmm, avoiding conflict. Definite middle child.
Sam, the eternal optimist, takes the next line. “It doesn’t have to be like that. There’s got to be some way to pull the plug.” Back to pessimist Trickster/Gabriel. “Oh, you do not know my family. What you guys call the apocalypse, I used call Sunday dinner. That’s why there’s no stopping this, because this isn’t about a war. It’s about two brothers that loved each other and betrayed each other. You think you’d be able to relate.” Ouch! He’s right though. However, Sam for whatever reason isn’t getting it. Seriously Sam? Crap, there’s that word again.
The Trickster/Gabriel is amazed that the obvious point is lost on them. “You sorry sons of bitches. Why do you think you two are the vessels? Think about it, Michael, the big brother, loyal to an absent father. And Lucifer, the little brother, rebellious of daddy’s plan. You were born to this boys, it’s your destiny. It was always you! As it is in Heaven, so it must be on earth. One brother has to kill the other.”
“What the Hell are you saying?” Dean asks. Now I’m confused, because I understood that speech completely. I think Sam did too, because while Dean looks angry, Sam looks beside himself. The Trickster/Gabriel clarifies further for Dean, just because we need more showboating. “Why do you think I’ve always taken such an interest in you? Because from the moment Dad flipped on the lights around here, we knew it was all going to end with you. Always.”
Sam looks like he’s gonna cry. Dean looks at Sam, musters up some resolve and give the Trickster/Gabriel his trademark glare of defiance. “No, that’s not going to happen.” Trickster/Gabriel apparently doesn’t take no for an answer. “I’m sorry, but it is. Guys, I wish this were a TV show. Easy answers, ending wrapped up in a bow, but this is real. And it’s going to end bloody for all of us. That’s just how it’s gonna be.” Wow. That’s actually making me a bit weepy. How sad! So, we get a nice commercial break to chew on that for a while. I’m stunned! I know many didn’t like this Trickster as Gabriel reveal, but after “Mystery Spot” it makes so much sense. That’s for another article though.
Back to the action and Trickster/Gabriel asks now what. “Stare at each other for the rest of eternity?” You’re in the dude in the flaming circle, I wouldn’t push buttons. Dean tells him he’s going to bring Castiel back from wherever he stashed him. Trickster/Gabriel isn’t taking Dean’s order seriously. “Yeah, or we’re going to dunk you in holy oil and deep fry ourselves an archangel.” You see, they do have gallons of it! Trickster/Gabriel obvious has figured out by now when Dean is serious and snaps his fingers. Castiel is there!
Cas is pissed! Dean asks if he’s okay. “I’m fine.” You realize that the acronym for fine is “fucked up, insecure, neurotic and emotional.” So yes, Cas is FINE. He looks at his tormentor and says “Hello Gabriel.” Oh, so you figured it out! “Hey bro. How’s the search for daddy going. Let me guess. Awful.” Siblings always love to rub in failure. Ooh, that makes Cas angrier! Trickster/Gabriel shrugs it off.
Dean is in full control now, becoming the leader he’s meant to be. I’ve never been prouder! They’re leaving. Trickster/Gabriel asks if they’re going to leave him there forever. Oh goodie, goodie, time for the best line ever! “No, we’re not because we don’t screw with people the way you do. And for the record, this isn’t about some prized fight between your brothers or some destiny that can’t be stopped. It’s about you being too afraid to stand up to your family!” Who hoo Dean! You tell him.
Judging by the look on Trickster/Gabriel’s face, something is sinking in with him over what Dean said. Will it last? Who knows? Dean turns around, smashes the glass and pulls the fire alarm. The sprinklers start putting out the fire. “Don’t say I never did anything for you!” Dean shouts. They leave and Castiel stays around for one last long stare. Remember that! That has to mean something. Trickster/Gabriel watches the fire go out.
Outside, our three heroes are pretty shell shocked. Sam looks outright defeated. Castiel is background wallpaper. Dean asks Sam “All that stuff in there, you think he was telling the truth?” “He believes it,” Sam says. Yeah, you kind of do too, don’t you Sam? “So what do we do?” Dean asks. “I don’t know,” says Sam.
You see, this is where I wish there was enough time in the episode for Dean and Sam to turn to Castiel for an answer. So, why don’t I write that bit? Dean and Sam both turn to Castiel and with their eyes ask “What should we do?” Castiel looks back and says with those hopeless angel eyes, “We’re screwed.”
“I tell you one thing, right now I wish I was back on a TV show.” Sam gives him a sad look. “Yeah, me too.” They climb into the Impala. Wow! We’ll just file that one under the “Classic” category. Thanks for enduring the longest recap to date!
So how do you feel about “Changing Channels” after all these years? I still think it is one of the most innovative and entertaining episodes of Supernatural. It’s funny and unique and advances the mytharc all in one. Tell me what you think.
So, you want to know how psyched elle was over this episode? She sent me a review at 3:14 am this morning! (Sorry, I usually check email after I get home from work). I read it over and love it! It’s also her longest review yet. She was definitely running on some inspiration.
This is a good way to start for I’m hoping to share some deep analysis on this one this weekend. There’s so much to discuss in the terms of Gabriel, angels, destiny vs. free will, Sam and Dean and their man pain, etc. So let’s see what gets sparked. In the meantime, enjoy the review!
Original Review by Elle
Two brothers that loved each other and betrayed each other. You think you’d be able to relate. The way Gabe breaks things down “ Dean, the big brother obeying the absent father (Michael) and Sam, the little brother, rebelling against Dad “ this was a very intriguing plot point as it wasn’t something I’d thought about before, certainly not the depth of the parallel between Sam and Dean, Lucifer and Michael. Gabe brought some matter-of-fact elements to the table which was thoroughly satiating. (Didn’t see the ring of holy oil-fire coming, but that’s become a great tool “ Thanks Cas, for the knowledge in the art of angel-trapping.)
Original Review by Elle2