On the road so far, we’ve had 200 Supernatural episodes. 200. It’s a monumental achievement for any television show. And what a strange trip it’s been. Those episodes have ranged from dramatic to comedic to tongue in cheek to downright bizarre. Some episodes have made us cry while others have left us in stitches—and some manage to do both. We’ve seen alternate realties. We’ve explored the Apocalypse and its aftermath. And yes, to quote Charlie Bradbury, we’ve had a lot of “meta madness.” From “Hollywood Babylon” to the “French Mistake,” to “Changing Channels,” we’ve seen Supernatural play with this form of story. “Fan Fiction” picks up that torch and takes the tradition to a new height. No show tackles meta fiction the way Supernatural does—and no show smashes the fourth wall better.
Much has been made of Supernatural’s longevity in the build up to episode 200. Everything from the loyal fan base to the emphasis on family to the Winchester’s brotherly bond has been cited as reasons for its staying power. It isn’t until we see episode 200—appropriately named “Fan Fiction”—that we see the reasons for its enduring appeal. By episode end—underneath all of the meta and the inside jokes and the hilarity—a truth is laid bare before us. It is a truth about Supernatural that exposes the true key to its success and legacy. While the show may be about Sam and Dean Winchester—it’s about more still. They stand in for the audience—telling our story each week. “Fan Fiction” captures this truth and allows us to examine it in all its glory.
But first, how do we end up at Supernatural: The Musical?
We begin with the Winchesters looking towards a new case. After all they’ve been through since Dean died and endured the demon cure and after their case with Kate in “Paper Moon,” they’ve been avoiding hunting. They’ve been kicking back, relaxing, and trying to catch their breaths—meaning that they’ve really been “staring at motel room walls.” It’s clear that they’re only becoming antsy. So, Dean brings up a news story about a missing teacher. There’s not a lot to go on. The details are scarce and they could drive all the way there for nothing. And yet, Dean insists that they do so. It’s his “normal,” and after all, “we got work to do.”
So, the Winchesters make yet another trek across the country to find out if there’s a case waiting for them.
What they find on the other side, however, is perhaps more than they bargained for.
When they arrive, they discover that yes, a teacher has gone missing. She’s the drama teacher, responsible for overseeing the student led production of a play. What that play is, however, concerns the Winchesters greatly. It’s a musical based upon the Carver Edlund books—yes, the Supernatural series has now found a new home on stage. Sam muses, “If there is a case it probably has something to do with all this.”
Now that they’re personally invested, the Winchesters set out to figure out just what supernatural cause may be behind the teacher’s disappearance. They’re told by the director and stage manager that it’s possible the teacher simply went to the bar or the liquor store. She’s not exactly been stable since her divorce and so they’re not at all surprised really that she’s MIA. What’s unusual, however, is the timing of her disappearance. Right before that, she had threatened to shut down the production. She was tired of wasting her time with it and wanted to take back control of her class before they unleashed this play on the masses.
We, the viewer, bear witness to her abduction. We see the moments before it happens, as she talks on the phone with someone about the student production. In this conversation, she poses a thesis for the episode as she rants about how absurd Supernatural: The Musical really is. She doesn’t get it and asks, “Where is the truth in Supernatural?”
It’s a question we see answered by nearly every player in the episode.
Let’s first look at the monster of the week’s part in proving the truth of Supernatural.
This week’s monster was Calliope. She is a muse from Greek mythology—most notably tied to Epic Poetry. In her lore, she’s often considered the mother of the bard, Orpheus. In the ancient world, she would have been the one to bestow the gift of eloquence on royalty. She’s the one ancient Greeks may have looked towards for inspiration on their various works of music, dance, or poetry. Often, she’s depicted as holding a tablet and a stylus, symbolizing her love for language and story.
And it is story that has drawn her here, to this school theater. In particular, the story of Supernatural.
We’ve encountered numerous gods from various ancient cultures throughout the series. For Calliope, she’s as much woven into the frame work of the show’s structure as Sam and Dean are. As Supernatural takes her story and puts their stamp on it, we learn what she does with those she chooses to inspire: she consumes the authors. It’s also why we see the teacher disappear and why Maggie, another student threatening to shut the production down, is abducted. Calliope is protecting this play with an avatar that she sends to eliminate threats to the story before it is fully realized. In this case, the play must be presented to an audience. Calliope may need it to be seen for it to become worthy. And so, she’ll stop anyone that gets in the way of the play.
But she’s not done. Calliope has even more nefarious plans in mind. Not only has she planned on consuming Marie, the student director responsible for the musical, she’s managed to capture Sam, one half of the Winchesters. Calliope croons that she’ll be able to actually devour the inspiration for her chosen story. It could be the first time in history that she’s been presented with that opportunity. And it’s a thought she relishes. This isn’t simply consuming an idea and its originator to gain some power. This is going for the source and seeing what its power can bring her.
In this way, Calliope becomes a two-fold representation. She’s a creature in the show, following her directive to feed on the writers of stories she enjoys, on the other she’s a representation of us, the viewer, partaking in the story by watching it. Calliope isn’t seen much in the actual narrative. She’s as much audience member as she is participant—giving her a hybrid status that allows her to explore one truth of “Fan Fiction” and in turn Supernatural as a whole.
Through her, we are told that Supernatural is more than the monsters, demons, angels, or other creatures we see each week. Yes, even more than her. There’s a reason she’s been drawn to Supernatural: The Musical. Perhaps it is because she’s a muse. Perhaps it is because she embodies a love for story. Perhaps it’s because, when confronted with a genuine Winchester, she knows she’ll be able to absorb something from them.
Sam is flabbergasted that she’s chosen Supernatural of all things to fixate upon. Why this story? Why this play? What could it possibly have that would make her so interested? She simply tells him, her voice vibrating with rich emotion, “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.”
This is the first true key to understanding why Supernatural has endured as long as it has. This is the first truth the episode reveals. We’re told in abstract terms what we fans already know to be true. Calliope is drawn to the fact that this story goes beyond its genre confines, transcends its roots as horror and fantasy. She cuts through all of that to reveal its beating heart: family. This is the real reason why people remain fans of this show and why it has reached this episodic milestone. It’s no mistake that this show has always been about family and from family the rest of the story can spring.
But that’s only the surface truth that “Fan Fiction” shows us.
What about Sam and Dean’s truth?
We’ve watched them week in and week out for ten seasons now. We’ve been there for their highs and their lows. We’ve seen their triumphs and their defeats. We’ve taken this journey on this road with them. And yet, when it comes to Supernatural, this is no story to them. For Sam and Dean, this is their reality. This is their lives. They are wrapped up in the action that we watch every week—experiencing it in real time and having to deal with its fall out and consequences. For Sam and Dean, there is no fourth wall. It wasn’t there at all to begin with.
So, when confronted by their own lives made story, we see the Winchesters become equally uncomfortable and protective. Dean especially takes offense to any interpretation of his life that doesn’t match his own view. As the one that lived it, he has no qualms about telling everyone within ear shot that “there’s no singing in Supernatural” or that the “brothers” need to take a “sub step back.” Dean becomes defensive automatically—which is natural for someone seeing their own story being told by another and reinterpreted.
Sam isn’t nearly as worked up in “Fan Fiction,” but we’ve seen him, too, react with anger and disbelief at the thought of others reading—or watching—his life story for their own entertainment. Here, however, he’s bemused by all of the effort put into the set dressing, the acting, the singing, and the dedication to getting the play realized. He quips to a riled up Dean, “I mean I gotta say, it’s kinda charming. The-the production value, and the… No? No. No. I’m gonna check for EMF, you-you look for, uh cursed objects.”
In some ways, it would seem that Sam’s made peace with the fact that his story has become other’s inspiration. For Dean, that’ll take time.
In “Fan Fiction,” each brother gets to take a step back from their narrow perspectives of their world, their relationship, and their lives. They get to trade places with the fans that have flocked to Carver Edlund’s works. Instead of being the participant in the story, going through the actual narrative as players, they are audience members—mostly. Sure, they are working to stop Calliope and help Marie and her friends, but they are watching their lives expressed by another’s vision.
Here, they see their lives in flashes. There’s an actor practicing to be Bobby. There’s “Castiel” practicing the “assbutt” scene. They’re hearing their family’s tragic reasons for learning about the hunting world. Besides the actual books themselves—and their brief stint in “The French Mistake”—this is the Winchester’s first chance to see what others see about their lives.
What’s revealed by the play is the two drastic views they each share about one another—some they must intuitively know. Sam sees his brother as a strong man, one shaped by their father, afraid to be wrong. Dean sees Sam as stronger and wishes he could be as brave to blaze his own trail. It’s things they’ve fought about, discussed, and even expressed admiration for in one other—but this is the first real chance they’ve had to take a true step back and see what it all means. It’s one of the rare chances, outside of themselves, to understand the other side of the discussion.
It also gives them the chance to see a truth about their own story they may have never even considered. At the start, Dean is flabbergasted and angry that there’s a play being done about the books based on their lives. He is adamant about what Supernatural should and should not be—and he won’t budge on those opinions. When it comes time, however, to stop Calliope from killing Marie and her friends, a shift starts to take place inside Dean.
Before they realize that it is indeed Calliope, the brothers believe that they may be facing a tulpa—something Marie picks upon right away. And so, she takes Dean to the boiler room where she keeps her scarecrow prop—a great shout out to a classic season one episode no less. She saw a scarecrow grab her friend, so she assumes this prop must be the focal point bringing this monster to life. When they return, with it burned, Sam tells them the bad news. This monster isn’t a tulpa at all—and even worse, it’s a monster threatening everyone in Marie’s life.
Instantly, Marie wants to stop the show. Unfortunately, Dean knows she can’t. Even if he doesn’t like Marie’s version—and finds this musical idea to be off putting—he can’t let her. After two others were taken for trying to stop Supernatural: The Musical, Dean knows Marie will be the next victim if she does the same. That doesn’t mean, though, that she’s out of danger. Marie will still face a threat from Calliope if they don’t stop the goddess from manifesting after the play is performed—all in front of an audience, no less.
Marie, knowing she has to face down this monster now—and that the world of Supernatural isn’t mere fiction—promptly panics. She starts to hyperventilate, and Dean is left to console her. Here, we see Dean have to step outside of himself—and see the story he’s lived from someone else’s eyes in a new way. He tells her, “Okay, well first of all, the play’s not dumb.” Marie is skeptical, knowing that he’s expressed extreme dissatisfaction with her take on Supernatural—but she’s willing to listen. Dean knows that Marie believes strongly in this vision. He needs her to do so now if he’s going to protect her and manage to stop the monster.
In a way, we watch Dean transfer the story of Supernatural to Marie. He still might not believe in her version— “like at all,” but he’s willing to let her tell her side, to take ownership of the story, and see it through if it’ll help save her and her friends. He cements this transfer best, when he and Sam stand in front of the cast, and delivers this speech: “I know I have expressed some differences of opinion regarding this particular version of Supernatural. But tonight, is all about Marie’s vision, this is Marie’s Supernatural. So I want you to get out there and I want you stand as close as she wants you to, and I want you to put as much sub into text as you possibly can. There is no other road, no other way, no day but today.”
That transfer becomes complete, however, when Dean tells Marie, playing the role of Sam, “Take a bow, Sammy.”
The play itself allows the Winchesters to see their story through another’s eyes—and a concept near and dear to them reach its fruition: that of family. For Sam and Dean, everything has always boiled down to family. It’s the same truth that Calliope expounds upon in her speech to Sam. While the brothers may not have needed to hear it from her or from the play, they may have had to have it reaffirmed. A new outside perspective can truly drive it home for them. And that is no truer than when—after they’ve managed to save the play and become audience members from back stage—we see them watch “Sam and Dean” talk in the Impala. The play has Sam and Dean say, “You’re right Sammy, out on the road, just the two of us.” and “The two of us against the world!”
Sam had been about to say the same thing, and with a firm voice, he reiterates what Marie’s Sam expressed by stating, “What she said.”
It is this sentiment that Sam and Dean most needed to hear—even if it came from another’s mouth. It is the very sentiment that’s gotten them through their darkest times and one they must hold tight onto as they face down the latest threat to that bond: the Mark of Cain. While it may not have been mentioned by name in “Fan Fiction,” we do see it burned into Dean’s skin as he roots around in Baby’s trunk—a subtle and silent reminder that the fight to stay a family will begin anew.
After all, fighting to remain a family is one of the show’s best truths.
Family. After all, aren’t we referred to as the Supernatural Family—cast, crew, and fans alike?
And when the first act is over, Dean takes his acceptance of Marie’s version even further. The young director gives him a prop from her show—the Samulet—and tells him that he shouldn’t have thrown it away. Dean replies, “It never really worked. I don’t need a symbol to remind me how I feel about my brother.” And yet, he accepts this gift. Later, as we watch the Winchesters drive away from the school, we see him cement his acceptance further. He takes the Samulet out wordlessly and hangs it from Baby’s mirror, glancing towards his brother. He’s taken something from Marie’s story and made it his own—and now he’s sharing that with his brother, making it Sam’s, too.
While Calliope summed up Supernatural’s general appeal, and Sam and Dean are the ones living its story as reality, we see the truth of Supernatural further exposed through Marie and Maeve and the rest of the students participating in the musical. They have chosen this story for a reason. It’s not simply because they enjoy the genre. It’s not simply because they like the fantasy elements that weave through its fabric. It’s not just because of subtext or other fannish elements—all wonderful insider jokes for any fan of the show. It’s beyond that. Their interpretation—their “Fan Fiction”—reveals one of the greatest truths about Supernatural: its ability to inspire.
Every fan seems to have their own example of how Supernatural has inspired them. It may have given them courage to try new things or to change careers. It might have given them a boost in confidence to believe in themselves. It’s given fans reason to create and to explore their world in new ways. It’s touched them emotionally and helped carry them through dark times—be it illness or job loss or grief. And Supernatural: The Musical is one example of the many known to be real in the fandom itself. Music videos are created, fan art is made, and yes, fan fiction is written by fans exploring the world of Supernatural in their own way. But the root is still Supernatural itself.
In the beginning of “Fan Fiction,” we see the group of girls ready to split up. The teacher is threatening to report them to the school and to pull the plug on the show. There’s bickering about what should be included—robots and space and tentacles? One retorts—before being abducted by Calliope’s scarecrow avatar—that “if it’s not canon then it shouldn’t be in the show.” It’s easy to see that this play is barley standing on its own two legs. The discourse in the group is nearly leading it to crash and burn before it ever makes it to the stage.
Throw in the fact that a real monster is now threatening Marie, the director, and it’s understandable why she wishes to pull the plug on it. After all, is it worth dying over? And yet, not going on would surely lead to her being targeted by Calliope next. So, Marie must carry on with her vision. Instead of merely being the director, though, she’ll have to assume the role of actor and take over the vacated role of Sam Winchester.
Marie may have balked upon learning the truth—after all, she didn’t want Calliope to abduct her—but as we watch her transform into the role of Sam behind the scenes and on stage, we see one truth that all Supernatural fans have learned in ten seasons: this show is empowering. It’s one reason why she’s willing to insert herself into the narrative—despite expressing a dislike for the meta episodes. Through this—as with all fan projects—Marie is able to connect on a deeper level with Supernatural. She’s able to draw from its power and find new strengths that she never knew she possessed.
After Dean’s pep talk, Marie remarks, “Yeah. You’re right. If Sam and Dean were real, they wouldn’t back down from a fight.”
Marie’s returned to Supernatural for her inspiration. She’s managed to muster up enough strength within to face the monster that threatens her and her friends—and unbeknownst to her at first, to perhaps in turn inspire the very characters that empower her, too.
If Calliope expressed the general truth, Sam and Dean lived it, and Marie exposed its ability to empower, what then about our story? How does “Fan Fiction” show us that truth through the other three?
Simple. As we watch the play unfold and Sam in the basement with Calliope and the other victims simultaneously, we see a transformation take place. Marie and Siobhan aren’t simply actors on stage playing Sam and Dean in a play. They become Sam and Dean. They are “on the road so far,” and going through the story of two brothers that fight alongside one another against everything.
This transformation takes time to bloom. It is the completion of the transference of the story from Dean to Marie—ending with us. We begin with the very beginning—the visit by Azazel that killed Mary and poisoned Sam. As we listen to the song and see them go through the motions of burning Mary, of John hitting the road with the boys, and of the lives they learn to lead as hunters, we see the story we’ve come to know so well become that of another fan’s—even if she’s a meta representation of ourselves.
As we watch Marie and Siobhan deliver the song “A Single Man Tear,” we start to see them become more like the Sam and Dean we’ve known through the years. Siobhan translates Dean’s inner little boy well in the dance off with the demon, the gestures graceful yet sad and moving. We can see the strength begin to build in Marie as she sings Sam’s part about Dean. And as Siobhan sings Dean’s part, we can hear all of Dean’s inner emotions brought to the surface in the song.
The song may be of the tongue in cheek variety, but it exposes the truth about the brothers and their bond—reminding us yet again why its such a gripping show after all these years.
However, when Marie’s Sam is confronted by Calliope’s scarecrow—as Sam is confronted by the goddess herself—we see the truth of “Fan Fiction,” flower. Marie melts away the moment we see her stab the scarecrow. She may be terrified, she may be stunned, but she managed to pull on the empowerment that she discovered from the story of Supernatural to actually follow through. She took her inspiration and followed its example and took action. This imagery is only cemented further—that Marie becomes Sam—as we watch them both kill the monster as one, stabbing their targets at the same time.
It is in that moment we see Marie, our avatar, become Sam—-and we along with her become him, too.
As we watch Siobhan and Marie exchange the “us against the world” speech, we are in that car with them. We have become them, and they have become the brothers. And, we are also the real Sam and Dean, standing to the side watching it happen.
This is the true heart of Supernatural. Each week may be about the Winchesters and their adventures. Each week, we may explore a plethora of creatures. We may face down Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory. We may watch Sam and Dean struggle to overcome almost insurmountable odds. The truth that keeps us coming back, however, is that it isn’t their story. It’s our story. It tells us of life and death. It shows us our flaws and mistakes. It gives us hope for redemption. It inspires and empowers us to be better. Supernatural makes us want to strive for something, to be something, to accept who we are and to take ownership of that—to celebrate it. When we watch Supernatural, we become Sam and Dean, even if it is only for an hour.
As long as Sam and Dean Winchester are real in our hearts, Supernatural will endure—and that’s the greatest truth of them all.
Hannah Levien played this week’s villain in Calliope. From her grand entrance to her swift exit, Levien gave the character great panache. There’s a grace in how she enters in the flower gown. She has great flair as she faces down Sam, showing off her power to pin the younger Winchester against the door. Like most villains, Levien makes certain to add a smug arrogance to the character as she’s certain she’ll triumph over the Winchesters. It’s clear in her facial expressions and her tone of voice as she takes command of the room. And yet, as we see her address him, we can sense that she’s as much a fan as the stage company putting on the musical in the theater. Levien put it all in the way she delivered the line, “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.” Though she may have been short lived as a villain, we couldn’t help but like her—and agree with her assessment of the little show that could.
Alyssa Lynch played Siobhan under the guise of Dean. While we didn’t see her interact with the Winchesters as much as her director, Lynch certainly made every moment of her time on stage and screen. From the moment we see her start the catchy and gripping “The Road So Far” to the last moment in the car, we can see that she wanted to make this performance special. In her singing about the Winchester story, we see her give it oomph and power, making “Dean” familiar. As we watch her play the character through the various acts Marie has written, we see her pull a little from Ackles—seen best in the scene during “A Single Man Tear.” The way she walks around the Devil’s Trap painted on the stage gives the song even more meaning and depth—and also captures the Dean we’ve come to know through the years so well. Lynch seems to grasp the character she’s playing extremely well—even if it’s one that’s not an exact match. What really gives her performance its strength, however, is the powerful voice Lynch possesses. Dean, known for his poor singing evidenced best in this season’s “Black,” is transformed into a beautiful singer by Lynch. She not only hits every note, making them crystal clear and catchy, she also makes sure we catch the nuance of emotion behind them. This is the story we’ve watched for ten years finally put to songs written specifically for it—and Lynch couldn’t have done it any better.
Joy Regullano portrays Maeve, the steady stage manager. She is the calm to Marie’s storm with her deadpan humor. In the way Regullano plays Maeve, we can see that she is just as passionate about Supernatural and their stage production—and yet she knows she has to keep everything going to prevent Marie from flying apart as more and more complications occur. She makes the character pop when we see her paired with Sarife’s Marie, making them a great duo full of chemistry. They are the driving force behind Supernatural: the Musical, and as they work through all the kinks, we see them develop a deeper bond. She’s no nonsense on every level—from handling the stage management as they unfold rehearsals to the real performance—to how she approaches Sam and Dean’s investigation invading the theater. Regullano has excellent comedic timing, too. It’s in how she delivers her lines and in all of her facial expressions. The script may have called for comedy from her, but it’s Regullano that makes it funny and come to life. There’s no shock in her as Maeve sits with Sam, allowing him to ask her about strange noises. Regullano makes all of Meuve’s actions here hysterical simply by how deadpan and bored she seems having to explain to this strange FBI agent that the strange noises heard are in the play presented on stage. And when we see her and Marie confronted with Sam and Dean and the truth of the situation, we see her feed off of Sarife’s energy to amp up the comedy of their reactions. Regullano made Maeve a likable and fun character we could relate to from start to finish. We could see ourselves partnering with her in our own fangirl adventures—if only to keep our heads on straight in the ensuing chaos!
Katie Sarife brings to life the passionate and driven Marie. She’s director, writer, actor, and fan all rolled into one. Sarife makes the character pop in her performance, making her instantly relateable and likable. Even when she seems too intense or too involved in the subject matter of Supernatural, she makes sure we can see Marie’s true passion and love for it through the way she delivers her lines and approaches the story. Sarife gives us, the fans, voice in many ways through this character. She worries about being made fun of or that it’s “dumb.” Sarife makes Marie real and not a mere caricature of a fan making a “transformative” work. We can feel deeply for her as the story progresses, giving us glimpses into our own shared inner minds as a part of the fandom whole. That being said, Sarife also has some great comedic timing in her portrayal of Marie. She manages to hit each beat for each joke—particularly in her retelling of the story about the scarecrow that’s plagued her nightmares since a child or when she shows her created version for the play to Dean. Sarife makes it seem silly, giving that opening to allow Ackles to jump right in with Dean’s one liners and own brand of comedy. She has great chemistry with both Padalecki and Ackles that shines in each scene, be it when she first meets them and is quickly unimpressed with their interrupting her play to laughing in their faces for revealing who they are to the last moment she shares with Dean. Sarife captured it all in her performance, making Marie someone we wanted to cheer for. In the end, when we see her get into the prop Impala alongside Lynch’s Dean to speak the last round of dialog in Supernatural: The Musical, we’re transported into that car with her—and through Sarife’s keen portrayal of Marie playing Sam, we feel we are her and in that moment we become her and Lynch. Sarife also grips us when she realizes that it is indeed Chuck that has come to watch her play, and as the anticipation builds based on her own reaction to his arrival, we can’t help but continue to feel we are her. Sarife made Marie a well rounded character in so many ways—expressing hopes and fears, celebrating triumphs, and showing real tenacity when needed. It may have come from Thompson’s script, but Sarife translated it brilliantly to the screen, making the words come alive on screen and in our hearts.
Rob Benedict makes a stunning appearance at the very end of “Fan Fiction,” as the prophet Chuck Shurley. After his mysterious disappearance at the end of “Swan Song,” he’s been hinted at throughout the subsequent seasons—especially when Charlie informs the brothers that his works past “Swan Song” have become available on Amazon. It all gave us hope that the former prophet wasn’t as dead as once thought! Seeing Benedict revive the beloved role is an emotional one. Now the only question remains is when we’ll see the elusive Carver Edlund again!
Jensen Ackles brings all of Dean’s fanboy nature to the surface in “Fan Fiction.” It’s there the moment they walk into the theater to the last scene. At every turn, Ackles shows us Dean’s passion for his own story—from expressing his distaste for the production to more endearing moments such as headbobbing along with the songs. He amplifies all of Dean’s expressions in this episode, capturing them in hilarious faces reacting to the stage production to his ire with Sam’s teasing. The way he looks at Sam after he says the play is “charming” says it all: Dean does not agree. That comedy only intensifies when we see Ackles express Dean’s frustration at Sam trying to suss out the fan pairing names. It’s in how he delivers the line, “You’re going to do that thing where you just shut the hell up forever.” And when that doesn’t work, we laugh when Dean snaps, “Shut your face.” As the episode progressed, we see Ackles convey Dean’s transformation beautifully. Despite all of his grievances with this version of Supernatural, we see him start to warm up to it in subtle ways. In his performance, Ackles does this mostly with gestures. We see him bow at the end of the first act, we see him headbob to the song “The Road So Far,” and we see him shush Sam as they watch the “BM” scene. Ackles had great chemistry with Sarife’s Marie, especially as we see them have to hash out their creative differences and stand together against Calliope. Ackles really connects emotionally with us as he delivers the speech to the cast before curtain call—and again when we see him pull the Samulet from his pocket. There’s no need for words as he shows all of Dean’s emotions in that moment, sharing this with Sam. We know, going forward into the season, that Dean will have to pull on the strength they’ve reaffirmed here.
Jared Padalecki plays the straight man in “Fan Fiction” brilliantly. He shows a rather unflappable Sam—despite some of the shocked faces he makes alongside Dean. Padalecki gives Sam an amused reaction at every turn, from his remark about the production value to the way he talks about Destiel. The way he delivers the line, “Destiel? Shouldn’t it be Dea-stiel? And what about Sastiel? Samstiel?” drives the comedy home—and yet it adds a good natured teasing layer to it. We can tell that he’s enjoying Dean’s discomfort here—perhaps a little too much. Padalecki also shows a Sam willing to stay focused on the case, remaining in his FBI pose to follow the clues as he would with any other hunt. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t know how to have fun. Left alone in the tech booth by Maeve, Padalecki puts a childlike glee into Sam as he starts playing with lights, drawing ire from those on stage trying to rehearse. His soft, “Sorry,” over the microphone is delivered with great timing and such sincerity that we can’t help but giggle. Despite some of the horrified faces he makes at the beginning of the production, Padalecki makes sure to show us that Sam’s also been emotionally touched by the end of Supernatural: The Musical. As they watch “Sam and Dean” talk in the Impala, we can see Sam absorbing this conversation, breaking off his own similar thought to listen. That emotion is carried through in how he says the line, “What she said,” and the close ups we see of him and Dean as they watch the finale of the play. When they’re back in the car, Padalecki need not say a word to convey just how Sam feels about Dean’s gesture with the Samulet. He knows that they’re committed to this together—for better or worse. And Sam wouldn’t have it any other way.
Best Lines of the Week:
Dean: Sam, out there hunting, it’s the only normal I know. We got work to do.
Marie: No, the boy melodrama scene… You know the scene where the boys get together and their driving or leaning against Baby, drinking a beer, sharing their feelings. The two of them alone, but together — bonded, united, the power of their-
Dean: Yeah, I don’t. Like at all. But you do, okay. And I need you to believe in it with all you got. So we can kill Calliope and save all your friends. Can you do that.
Calliope: 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.
Sam:What she said.
Sam:Destiel? Shouldn’t it be Dea-stiel? And what about Sastiel? Samstiel?
Dean: Say it one more time, but just a little bit more Arnold, you know, like…It’s not a Tulpa.
Dean: Now you get out there and kick it in the ass!
Side note: I was lucky enough to have been with Bardicvoice and Tigershire and oh so many more this year in Vancouver for VanCon. We managed to find the location for this gem of an episode, hung out with Russ Hamilton briefly, talked with one of the show’s carpenters, and met one of the sweetest crew members to help transport the expansive circus for this little show that could. I may not have seen any actual filming or had the chance to glimpse Jared or Jensen while I was there, but I wouldn’t trade my experience for the world. I can actually say I was at the site they used to film the epic 200th episode while they were filming it. And the best part is the picture I got of their lease to the site. Filming was set to wrap on my birthday. So, not only did Robbie Thompson write episode 9.04, he also wrote the episode that would finish on 9/4. The best part of all, though, was knowing I was sharing this wonderful experience with Supernatural Family. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Now that I’ve seen the episode, this experience is all the more special and will be treasured forever. Here’s a few snapshots of the pictures I took while on the scene.
Looks like Supernatural is going table top ala “Clue” next week. Will it be the candlestick in the conservatory or something more sinister?