(Updated 10/31- Now with more teasery goodness.)  I checked my email box like I do every Friday for some clips for the next episode.  Imagine my shock when Warner Brothers instead sent a link for critics and bloggers only to see in ITS ENTIRETY next Thursday's episode, "Changing Channels."  I needed to get some coherent thoughts together and come up with a non-spoilery review, but a day later I managed.     

Holy crap!!!!  That's nothing what I expected.  Nothing!  It's incredible.  Of course I don't want to be guilty of setting lofty expectations, but there's a reveal in there that blew me away.  Heck, the whole episode blew me away.  (Below is a list of teasers.  I promise, no massive spoilers.  I'm basing these comments on the fact that you've already seen the preview and have an idea of what's happening).

********************************************** You've been warned and yes, even the comments section is fair game. **************************

-  This is a Mytharc episode.  A very important one.  Castiel is in it.  As is The Trickster, but considering the episode description says that, I don't consider that part a spoiler.  As we would expect, Richard Speight Jr. does not disappoint.
-  This plays a lot like "Mystery Spot."  Funny to start off with and then it turns dark.  It's also as well done as "Mystery Spot" but not as fast paced.   
-  It starts off with the sitcom and it's huge goofy fun. 
-  There's a new mock episode intro ala "The Monster At The End Of This Book," and it's the craziest damned thing I've ever seen on this show.
-  They do spend a fair amount of time in the medical show, Dr. Sexy MD.  Yes, that's the exact name used by the publisher in "The Monster At the End of This Book."  It is SO a Grey's Anatomy spoof.  Dean is funny in this bit for reasons you'll see early on and Sam is forced to play surgeon.   
-  I especially died laughing over a little Public Service Announcement that made Sam's issues with the clap this past episode seem tame. 
-  The CSI Miami thing is brilliant, and both brothers jump into the role a bit too much.  There's a line that Dean says about wearing sunglasses at night that had me falling off the couch in laughter. 
-  One of the shows is a spoof on Knight Rider.  So the Impala is the Kitt car, that leaves one brother to be the driver and the other...well, figure it out. 
-  One burning fandom question about "Mystery Spot" is answered.  
-  Don't be fooled by the goofy TV Land stuff.  There's some heavy stuff in this episode.  

No wonder Warner Brothers wanted to get the buzz out.  Either that or they were testing a new way to streaming previews like this online instead of sending discs.  I like it!  "Changing Channels" is a must see.  No filler here.   

Comments  

Jasminka
# Jasminka 2009-10-31 05:31
…and here she phrased my biggest fears…
Hi, Alice – this is exactly what I was somewhat afraid of.
With all those funny, goofy scenes the CW gave us in the trailer, I began thinking – no, it’s impossible that they are going to give us a comedy-only episode. It wouldn’t fit into the story, and – looking back – those episodes in the past that included a lot of comedy, also revealed some cruel info.
Mystery Spot was hilarious, but it also opened Sam’s mind to a world without Dean and served as a sort of catalyst to put him on his doomed path. Yellow Fever confronted us with Dean’s fears of Sam (still forgotten the blink-of-an-eye moment in the end when Dean realizes the flash of yellow in Sam’s eyes). The Monster At The End of This Book gave some great side blows to overactive fans, but revealed a lot about the brothers’ destiny.
I’m looking forward to Changing Channels, as it will probably give the guys a lot of different environments to show their acting abilities, but it somehow scared me to hell. Even more after what you hinted at here… Being afraid of a tv-show… yes…. This is serious… maybe I should consult a shrink. Or a sorcerer… Gandalf, anyone?
Deborah
# Deborah 2009-10-31 06:05
Oh, Alice, I just knew this episode was going to be more than the hilarious stuff we'd been teased with in the promos and pictues. Jeremy Carver has become one of my favorite SPN writers, and the Trickster, with his soft spot for Sam and Dean . . . well, I had a feeling he was again going to be trying to get something profound through their thick skulls. I am so looking forward to this episode, especially now after reading what you say here. Thanks so much for keeping us informed!
joelsteinlover
# joelsteinlover 2009-10-31 09:25
I LOVE THE TRICKSTER. Just putting that out there. He is my very favorite recurring character, I've loved all of the episodes he's been in, etc.

I LOVE THE ALTERNATE TV UNIVERSE IDEA. I will admit that on occasion I watch silly Nickelodeon shows like the Fairly Odd Parents and the one with the magic remotes I will always stop and watch or record every time it comes on.

I LOVE JEREMY CARVER. No explanation needed.

Mmmmmmmm I don't think I can wait until Thursday now. =[
vana naine
# vana naine 2009-10-31 09:53
There should be warning somewhere: MAJOR SPOILERS IN COMMENTS SECTION or something like that.

But more than irritated I'm just anxious. Come, Friday, come!
Randal
# Randal 2009-10-31 10:05
If it even plays in the same ballpark genius as Mystery Spot, I'm sold.
Dany
# Dany 2009-10-31 10:31
The Trickster and Jeremy Carver, yep, that works for me!

And know I have to wait until friday, so not fair :-x
Michelle
# Michelle 2009-10-31 14:41
So excited!!!! Thanks for the early review.
I didn't think I could be more excited...guess I was wrong. Is it Thursday yet????
Freyja
# Freyja 2009-10-31 14:43
I am so glad this is going to be a good episode, thanks for your review Alice. I am more excited than I was before. I had a feeling that the Trickster was back for a reason, he is always trying to teach the boys a lesson...
immie_8
# immie_8 2009-10-31 15:56
I have got to get my name on a critics list somehow - you guys are SO LUCKY!!! Thanks so much for sharing, I was all ready to just sit back and enjoy the laughs, but now hearing that this is a mytharc ep that can be compared to Mystery Spot, I am eagerly crossing off the days until Thursday!

So do the boys have "Mc-something" nicknames for their Dr. Sexy, MD characters?
Alison
# Alison 2009-10-31 16:06
Thanks for this, Alice.Your enthusiasm only makes me more enthusiastic for this episode! I also have to wait until Friday but a Supernatural Friday is definitely worth waiting for :D

If 'Changing Channels' is as good as 'Mystery Spot' then I love it already :D

I have to say that this season has exceeded all my expectations so far.Jeremy Carver has been an inspired addition to the writing team and I'm really looking forward to this episode & the rest of the season.I love this show!!!
Drezza
# Drezza 2009-10-31 20:40
I Love the thickster,I Love the thickster,I Love the thickster!!! *_* ( I not need say anything more, right.)
Very excited to see this episode, I love this series, it is very special to me
Allison
# Allison 2009-10-31 22:41
I've been so let down by recent eps, with hints of yet another 'meta' ep coming and the previews for this one, I was about to hang it up until after the hiatus, hoping they'd get this show back on track. Sadly, several of the people I turned onto the show over the summer have already given up and the previews for "Changing Channels" had a couple more ready to throw in the towel. So, thanks for the encouraging review of 'Changing Channels'. I'll give it a shot after all, in the hope it's not as inane as the previews indicate and that it actually does have something to do with the mytharc. But I really need Show to get back to what made it so awesome in season 4, and move away from the insipid shtick and gimmicks (Paris Hilton? Really????), sooner than later.
Evelyn
# Evelyn 2009-11-01 03:17
I am very excited about this episode. Read another review on Buddy TV and they raved about it as well. Is it Thursday yet??!!?!?!?

One question though, anyone have any ideas on what the burning question that will be answered from Mystery Spot will be? I've been going over that episode in my head and can't think of anything that really stood out that we would want an answer for. Any ideas?
vana naine
# vana naine 2009-11-01 07:00
Does Dean know about Sam being 6 months out there with him being dead for example?
supernaturalfan
# supernaturalfan 2009-11-01 08:01
Alice, thanks o much for your review!

I need to ask you something... You don't 'have' to answer, of course, but the reviews that I read made me nervous for what is about to come, so... I would really appreciate if you could.

With the revelations that will come and the scenes that you teased us about, does this episode make the brother more connected or does it make them to be upset with each other or torn apart somehow?

Thanks so much again! :-)
elle2
# elle2 2009-11-01 09:05
as for the burning question...if I remember the eppie (Mystery Spot that is) Sam asked the Trickster a question and the fab. Trickster answered cryptically to the effect of..."that's for me to know" and then snapped his fingers and it was Wednesday and Dean was back. So perhaps this is the answer we've long awaited.

Sadly, my powers of clear memory are faulty -- probably all the candy I ate yesterday -- thus I cannot remember the dialogue clearly. However, I now know what I'll be doing Thursday at 8:00 p.m., watching Mystery Spot to get back into the groove.

I'm loving this season and am thoroughly looking forward to this episode even without this teasing review from Alice...but I'm thrilled to get the tease.

Congrats Alice on getting this 'reward' from the network, with all your efforts, you definitely deserve it!
MyMADWorld
# MyMADWorld 2009-11-01 11:05
Ditto to all comments! Mystery Spot is my all time favourite too. Great idea Elle2 - I'll watch it right before Changing Channels. PVR all ready for Thursday!

Alice - one question - way back in your summary of the Supernatual interviews at Comic Con you said:
"More meta episodes are coming after Kripke had his fun with the online fan base. There's a great story behind the creating on "Monster At The End of This Book" that I'll share."
Did you ever share that story? I've been checking regularly and never saw anything about it. Please share it!!!
Cathy1967
# Cathy1967 2009-11-01 17:54
Oh wow. You are so lucky. Man, I would love to see the episodes early. As in yesterday. *LOL* No matter how negative others get about the show, I just don't follow that. I love this show, love the actors and the writers and everybody. They do such an outstanding job.

Thanks for the review, Alice. That was really cool. Can't wait to see it. It sounds amazing.
Dawn N
# Dawn N 2009-11-01 19:03
I've seen every epi of SPN and loved "Mystery Spot" but I'm going crazy trying to think if I had any burning questions from the epi and I'm coming up with nothing. Could you please tell us what the fan burning question is because I'm sure I haven't the foggiest clue. Throw a tiny bone, please!
Alice
# Alice 2009-11-01 19:19
Okay, I'll experiment here with using a different colored font as a spoiler tag for Dawn N's (and a few other of you) question.  Highlight the rest of this at your own risk!



The "burning question" answered is from when Sam asked The Trickster "What's that's supposed to mean?"  The Trickster's answer, "That's for me to know and you to find out."  In other words, there's a reason The  Trickster  is taking suc h an interest in the Winchesters. 60; Also, Dean kind of throws us a bone about how much he knows about the entire Mystery Spot incident. 
Dawn N
# Dawn N 2009-11-01 20:49
Thanks Alice! I'm still curious but the tiny bone did help :-) I embrace spoilers and if able would love to know an entire episode before it even airs, as knowing in advance never makes me think twice about watching an epi. Shoot, I knew in S2 AHBL that Sam died in Dean's arms almost 3 weeks before the epi aired and I still sat on the edge of my seat to see that one. Thanks again for the speedy response :-)
Cathy1967
# Cathy1967 2009-11-02 02:41
Dawn, I'm right there with you. I love, love, love spoilers and would love nothing better than to know what went on beforehand. No spoiler has ever ruined anything for me. On the contrary. I look forward to the episode even more if I know what's coming.

But I can wait. I'm patient. *bites fingernails* Honestly I am. I can be. *bounces on chair*
Suze
# Suze 2009-11-02 05:13
AAARGH! Alice! That just made it worse!

I thought this was going to be more TV spoofery that would bounce right off me as I don't watch much and never get the jokes ( sniff ) and now it's huge and heavy AND has the Trickster doing his thing ( joy! ) and it's only Monday and I bet the sodding computer goes down again cos it hates me and wants me to suffer ... AAARGH!
elle2
# elle2 2009-11-02 08:23
I got it! I got it! I got it!

Yep, I like it when I 'get' what 'it' is. At least I know what the burning question is...don't know the answer yet but yee, hee, love when I actually remember something.

Okay. Self-congratula tory, narcissitic moment over...back to counting down to the eppie.
Chris
# Chris 2009-11-02 11:26
Alice -- thank you so much for this preview! I love Mystery Spot, and if this episode is of the same quality, then I'm sure it will be great as well.

I can't wait!
Evelyn
# Evelyn 2009-11-02 11:37
Thanks Alice for the answer to the burning question. Now, I am even more anxious now for this episode. I agree that a watching agin of Mystery Spot will be in order before viewing Thursday's ep. This is gonna be good.
Bia - Brazil
# Bia - Brazil 2009-11-02 11:52
I'm anxious to see this episode ...
Witnessing today ... I think it will be one of the best of the season, but the best! :-)
Bia - Brasil
# Bia - Brasil 2009-11-02 11:54
Difficult this translation Google translator ... It sucked! Distorted much of what I meant earlier. "/
Dawn N
# Dawn N 2009-11-03 20:02
Oh, Alice, as more siffs out now I might just have to reduce myself to begging. Could you possibly shed any light on the two bombshells the Trickster tells Sam and Dean near the end of this week's epi. Maybe a little something ... I know it has to do with Mystery Spot and the bone you did throw our way but could you elaborate just a little?
Dawn N
# Dawn N 2009-11-04 05:27
Hey Alice! It's okay, I assumed as much about the gag order :-) I read yesterday that Matt Rousch said things turn "grave" near the end of the epi when the Trickster drops two bombshells on the brothers. I was a little worried with the use of "grave". Will these two bombshells cause any riffs between the boys once again just as they appear to be getting on track as brothers once again? I hope not. Are you able to answer this, maybe :-) Whose bombshell is bigger? Sam or Dean's? I'm eager for this episode :-) Thanks again for the bones you have tossed our way, much appreciated!
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2009-11-04 05:58
Hi Alice,
I am biting my nails in waiting for this episode, just as about everyone here. But, personally, I think you have already revealed more than enough - that's okay. If you had not had the opportunity to watch the coming episode in advance, we would have to wait just as we do now... You're obviously a woman of integrity, and the ones responsible for the sending out of the preview surely count on that (and - as you point out correctly - they would never send you anything again. I'm happy for you that you were given the chance to see something special in advance. I will wait, though for us online viewers, it's going to be Friday... I'll take a look at Mystery Spot in the meantime. Apart from Heart, that is my all-time favourite episode, too.
Love, Jas
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2009-11-04 06:01
P.S: I'm wronging the other episodes here... I also love When The Levee Breaks, and All Hell Breaks Loose, gosh, so many more. So hard to say which one is my fave... But is guess it is MysterySpot and, well...and Heart, what am I doing here...?
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2009-11-04 11:11
Thank heavens, Alice, now I'll be able to sleep... Kidding! Need a bit of sarcasm right now, just got my swine influenza (that's what it's called in English, right?) inoculation, and my arm hurts like hell...
Cheers, Jas
Supernarttu
# Supernarttu 2009-11-04 11:22
Oh, crap. I shouldn't have read anything here (still remaining spoilerfree) so now I'm literally shaking with excitenent :-))
And like some folks here, I gotta wait 'till friday afternoon to watch this ep... So damn, stupid me. I would have been living in a lovely ignorant bliss if I hadn't read these little tidbits you shared ;-)

sooooo...is it friday yet? ;-)
Miiiila
# Miiiila 2009-11-04 12:41
supernatural is foda
es mui bueno si si
amo
amo
amo
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2009-11-04 16:02
Supernarttu, then a collective sigh will be heard from all across the Atlantic... as I have to wait 'till friday evening (when I get home from work) to watch the upcoming episode... Sweetie, you don't want to really live in ignorant bliss, do you? Isn't the anticipation of something wonderful blissful as well...? Take heart. It's almost friday... almost...
All my best, Jas
Supernarttu
# Supernarttu 2009-11-05 06:30
Jas, you're right...and when you're right, you're right, right? :D
I'm just freaking out since I luuuuurve Mystery Spot and the Trickster and the juicy things Alice hinted just made me all giddy and stuff :-)
I love being spoilerfree this season 'cause last season I wasn't and was sometimes bummed when my hubby watched the eps with fresh eyes and I could see the suprise and excitement in his reactions... Where as I basicly new most of what was happening so the actual shocks weren't that shocking...so now I get to join the club... and it's a much better club :-) SOrry, I'm all quotatious today.

And I'll raise your collective sigh with a collective freakoutsquee tomorrow night ;-)
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2009-11-05 15:40
Supernarttu,
you're really sweet, you know?! I like that club. It's like tasting the best ever ice cream for the first time... Or chocolate... or the first ripe strawberries of the year...
My God, I'm hungry... :lol:

It's only one more night to go... Sigh...

Blessings, Jas
Rachel
# Rachel 2009-11-05 22:55
Just finished watching the episode. I think you must have been watching something other than what I was watching. Because what I just saw was 40 minutes of retconning at its finest - and definitely nothing new was brought to the table and no burning questions were answered.

They went back and made the Trickster an angel to fit their shiny new mytharc. They told us Sam and Dean were vessels (heard that already), told us that it was their destiny and they had no choice (heard that, too), they repeated the story of Lucifer and the angels and we saw yet another angel begging for an apocalyptic ending, and most of all, Dean and Sam going head-to-head and one killing the other? Hasn't that obviously been where this is all heading for two seasons now? I thought so. Not a single thing was news to me. Not to mention, the shoehorned Castiel in because Misha Collins hasn't hit his 17 episode requirement yet.

So disappointed that a show about two brothers, urban legends, monster and love of family has become about angels, demons, apocalypses, and killing one another.
Rachel
# Rachel 2009-11-06 09:02
I beg to differ about the urban legends. There was definitely a "mytharc" starting from "Home," but it didn't take over the show and relegate the boys to caricatures. I feel like that's what they've done. It's like they're so enamored with their angel idea that now that's what everything is about, which maybe would be okay, but we know for a fact that Kripke never planned to include them in his story, so knowing that everything about them is a retcon makes it hard for me to swallow from a creative perspective. I appreciate a linearr story much more than one cobbled together that restarts every season because the creator either got bored or ran out of ideas (e.g. Kripke saying he got bored with the Psychic Kids in an interview).

The last exceptional episode I saw that I can think of is Born Under a Bad Sign. I was never a fan of the whole "Dean's deal" storyline because I felt like they really wrote themselves into a corner, and then didn't pay it off in season 3 because apparently they can't tell a story in 16 episodes (hate to see what they'd do on a cable show with a 13 episode season). So that's about when I started scratching my head. That being said, the last episode that I really enjoyed? A Very Supernatural Christmas - good old fashioned hunt, minimal grade-school humor (omg!nutcracker ,herpes,haha!), appropriate levels of angst, no angels, and both boys playing an equal and important role that was not diminished by being the ultimate meatsuits.

After season 3, though, it became a different show, and Sam and Dean became different characters. To say that I've been disappointed with the execution of it all is an understatement. I think there was an intelligent and capable way to change the story, and I would have been all for it if I felt they did it well, but they didn't. In my viewing experience, they've done it badly. There's zero finesse, zero subtlety, retconning abounds, continuity is out the window, the plot holes are big and dangerous, the brotherly relationship was ripped apart and cobbled back together using bad writing and a lot of anvils, and on a more minor I really wish that the grade school humor and meta would stop. The meta especially takes me right out of the story. The only episodes that I really enjoyed last season were Lazarus Rising, It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester, When the Levee Breaks, and Criss Angel is a Douche Bag.

I just really find myself wishing they'd done a better job with all of this.