CHUUUUUUUCCKKKKKK!!!!! WE MISSED YOU!!!!! I’m so freaking happy to see you! It’s been way too long buddy.
Gee, did that ending give you a stir or what? Back when I interviewed Jeremy Carver at Comic Con, he said that someone was coming back and he wouldn’t say who it was. I know exactly what voices that set off in my head. “Chuck?? Please?? Can it please be Chuck?? I really want Chuck back.” After all, who else could you bring back about the 200th episode, especially when the play was based on the Carver Edlund books? All I can say is, thank you, thank you, thank you Mr. Carver! I can die happy now.
“Fan Fiction” was a meta episode, which is always a risk for this show even though prior meta episodes have been wildly successful. Once you’re in season ten though, the accusation becomes that meta is being taken too far and it just doesn’t work anymore. I mean, how often can you show how crazy the fans are and Sam and Dean’s reaction to it? Meta hasn’t been tackled very successfully in recent seasons (I’m talking to you “Season 7: Time For A Wedding”). I can honestly say this time though Robbie Thompson got it right. For what it set out to do, “Fan Fiction” is ideal.
200 episodes, ten seasons of Supernatural, and it all means something different to us. By season ten, my fan girl squee isn’t what it used to be. I don’t flip out the way I used to over an episode, I don’t get all weepy over sentimental brotherly moments (although I’m still touched), and I don’t jump online instantly to share rapid fire messages of full blown fannish love (heck, I rarely get to even watch the episode at air time, opting for DVR later). That’s doesn’t mean I don’t look forward to “Supernatural” every week though. I’m just different now than I was back in season three when I first found the show, as Sam and Dean, not to mention Jensen and Jared, are too. We all have our own way of seeing things and that way is constantly changing. That affects how we choose to enjoy stories, or not enjoy stories.
Taking on in healthy doses Meta is therapy for fans. It’s the chance for the fan voices to be heard and acknowledged in some way. Whatever you want to call it, nuggets, Easter eggs, tidbits, they were all there – so many that I can’t tackle them all in one review (although this episode is prime for one of my full length recaps during the next Hellatus). It hit the important stuff though, to fans anyway.
It’s about time they addressed the amulet (they even called it the Samulet!). Dean didn’t try to make any excuses for throwing it away, just that he didn’t need a symbol to show how he felt about his brother. But I think it was forgotten somewhere down the road that while the amulet may not have meant that much to Dean, it’s always meant a lot to the fans. In my version of the story (which will always be in my head), after Dean hangs the fake amulet up on the rear view mirror, Sam pulls out the real one out of the glove box and hangs it up there as well. I still believe that Sam fished it out of the trash. But that was one of the main points of “Fan Fiction. “You have your version, I have mine.”
You do have to laugh at the fan who only has five seasons worth of canon hearing the overview of what’s happened since then. “That is some of the worst fan fiction that I have ever heard. I mean seriously, where did your friend find this garbage?” That had me rolling! Yes, that’s Robbie Thompson poking fun at themselves skillfully, but it also touches on a very common complaint. The show isn’t what it used to be. The story telling isn’t as rich or bold, the overall construction and fluidity of seasons is clunky, the lack of respect to continuity is offensive and the out of character moments are laughable. Sometimes the cry is we need “Chuck” a la Kripke, back to tell the story. Otherwise we get robots and tentacles and space. The unwatchable second act.
“Fan Fiction” skillfully tackled all that. In Marie’s version, they didn’t forget about Adam. They didn’t forget that no matter what, “Supernatural” is about two brothers alone on the open road. Sure, Marie also loves Wincest and Destiel subtext, but that’s reflecting the desire of a lot of fans. As long as it’s hinted and not canon, why not be acceptable? I’m pretty sure Dean Winchester got his message across as to why it might not be, but that’s been the debate for the ages.
Can I pause to say how HOWLINGLY funny this episode was in tackling the whole subject of Destiel? I LOVED Dean’s freaked out glance downward after hearing the word and then staring at the camera with a, “You can’t be serious” glance of scolding. That had a lot of Jensen in it (he said on last night’s live tweet it was improvised). Way to break that fourth wall again! But then, it’s followed up with Sam pondering the whole “Destiel” ship? Like shouldn’t it be Deanstiel? Or what about Samstiel? CasDean? While Sam was humorously open to the possibilities, Dean crankily shut him down. Oh yes, those two in just that few seconds by the Impala summed up years of fan online debate. I do wonder if Dean’s closing line in that scene was meant to put an end to it all. “Shut your face.” It does send a message!
“Fan Fiction” also went for the heartstrings. After all, Robbie does know us well. As many times as we’ve heard “Carry On Wayward Son” to the thundering montage of season ending clips, this tender, slowed down version with all the key players is the most poignant (and perfect) the song has ever been. It truly does show that while family is the main theme, it doesn’t end with blood. It included Bobby, Adam, Castiel, John and Mary as well as Sam and Dean, all the long forgotten ones that have still made their undeniable impact on this story. Sam and Dean are the ones that must carry on, and the brothers needed this echo from the past to be reminded of their true mission. Saving people, hunting things, the family business. It’s time to get back on the road.
As much as I’d like to critique the “musical” portion of the show, I have to admit, I’m not a huge musical theater fan. I’m the last person that should be judging the quality of songs. While I think the songs had a huge “Glee” like quality to them (I’m not a fan of “Glee”), I do admit that singing about that “single perfect man tear” during a fight with a scarecrow added a fitting absurdity to the whole situation. I do love absurdity. I didn’t need to hear that opening song twice though. It just hit me in the “cringe” category the wrong way, and the first time was way funnier because we got to see Sam and Dean’s initial, very disturbed reactions.
If “Fan Fiction” raises any questions, intentionally or not, it’s did Robbie Thompson take this opportunity to defend himself and fellow writers for creative choices in these later seasons? Was Chuck’s declaration meant to show that Kripke thought they were doing okay? Was it a true homage to the fans (I refuse to use the overdone cliche “love letter”) or was it basically a message that this is their version of the story and if we don’t like it, stick to your own? I think that the fans still came out favorably in this one, because they were all about being true to the story, despite their philosophical differences. It’s captivated their passion and imaginations, and isn’t that what a good story is supposed to do?
As for what “Supernatural” means to us, Calliope said it all. I can’t put it any better. “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. Now that’s my bag.”
This show has long passed the thrills, boldness, and excitement of the days before “Swan Song,” but that’s okay. It exists because plain and simple for us fans, it’s comfort food. We can’t imagine life without the Winchesters. The desires are clear, the brothers need to get back to basics. They’ve been through too much crap for so long. That’s a plan I could live with. Carry on wayward sons.
The “200” on the motel room door was a perfect shoutout to the 100th episode, when they had 100 on the door.
Sam: Hugh Jackman got cast off Oklahoma.
Dean: You ran tech, Wolverine.
I LOVED Sam hiding the FBI badges when he saw the girls doing it. I also loved them using the aliases of “Smith” from “Slash Fiction,” which is after Chuck’s last book. That masks the rock star aliases that would have gotten them in trouble. Great play on continuity.
“I’m going to need 50 jello shots and a hose to get all this stink off me.” Bwah, weren’t Dean’s lines (and expressions) of exasperation perfect?
Marie: Not canonically, no, but this is transformative fiction.
Dean : You mean Fan Fiction.
I didn’t like Sam telling them so early that they were the real Sam and Dean. It made them look kind of silly. I did love however that the girls were more willing to believe the “FBI Hunters” story, like “The X-Files” than Sam and Dean were real.
Someday it will be a Tulpa again! It’s been tossed around enough times since season 1. It happened in “House” when after years of flirting with the diagnosis of Lupus, someone actually got Lupus.
“First of all, this play’s not dumb.” “I thought you didn’t believe in this interpretation.” “Yeah, I don’t…like at all.” Oh Dean, I loved you trying to be supportive despite your objections.
Marie’s a Sam girl! I laughed hard at the wigs they tried for his hair. “I used this for my one woman Orphan Black show last year.”
“Did he just quote Rent?” “Not enough to get us in trouble.” Hee, another brilliantly used inside joke about budget.
They kicked it off the play with “Ghostfacers”! Again, an awesome bitchface from Sam. They just can’t get rid of those guys.
There was even their own version of the outrageous motel room! Pretty darn good I think. Love the wallpaper.
Fake Sam and real Sam slayed the beasts at the same time. And kudos to that one guy that put on his poncho. He was the only one that saw what was coming! Okay, I don’t think anyone would have guessed exploding purple goo. Living out a childhood fantasy there Robbie?
Calliope was after Chuck? It had to be him, since she found the play’s new interpretation rather nauseating. Can we find out??? PLEASE? More of that story? Any reason to bring Chuck back would be amazing. I know, that can’t happen until Kripke comes back. PLEASE????
Well, that’s a 200th episode. Now we can proceed with a murder mystery. Wait, a what? Aren’t all these episodes murder mysteries?