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(Note from Alice:  Please welcome Sofia, who's sharing her latest Supernatural review on The Winchester Family Business!  She current writes for her own blog, Last Week On...)

This week's episode of Supernatural, "The French Mistake", was an entertaining look into an alternate world where Dean Winchester is Jensen Ackles and Sam is "something called a Jared Padalecki". Supernatural does a great job of creating stories that poke fun at the show and give the actors a chance to showcase their awesome comedic skills. We've seen episodes similar to this before; "Tall Tales", "Monster Movie" and "Changing Channels" to name a few. But these episodes function best when they also serve as a catalyst to the over-arching story of the season. 

In this case, "The French Mistake" brought to the surface the much talked about civil war in heaven. We've heard about it on and off from Cas but so far he's managed to keep the details to a minimum. Maybe we were a little preoccupied with soulless Sam for civil war talk but either way, it's about time we get to hear a little bit about what's going on up there. Except, we didn't really get much information at all. We know Balthazar used Sam and Dean as a decoy so that the weapons could be transferred to Castiel and we know that if Raphael gets his hands on them, something very bad is going to happen. But that's about all we got as far as the over-arching story goes. But for me there was a little more story than meet's the eye.

When I first saw the promo for "The French Mistake" I thought "oh, that looks funny, kind of like Changing Channels" but after watching the episode I see a much different comparison. To me, "The French Mistake" seemed reminiscent of the season two episode "What Is and What Should Never Be" which finds us at the end of season two. Dean has spent the majority of the past year trying to protect Sam from his "destiny" as one of Azazel's chosen children and he's at the end of his rope. He's ready to give up on hunting altogether.

Dean: "Screw the job. Screw it, man. I'm sick of the job anyway. I mean, we don't get paid, we don't get thanked. Only thing we get's bad luck."

Sam spends the year dealing with John's warning to Dean, resisting Azazel and fighting his inner demons.

"The French Mistake" finds the boys in a similar position; Dean has spent the season trying to save Sam from himself and find a way to safely restore his soul. He has lost Lisa and Ben, the only fraction of a normal life he's ever had. He's at the end of his rope once again.

Dean: "All we do is make a mess"
Sam: "That's not true, we do save lives now and again."
Dean: "I guess, I'm just tired of all the bad luck, you know?

Sam has come back from his year of soullessness and is trying to reconcile his broken relationships while fighting to keep his memories at bay and "the great wall of Sam" intact.

At this point in WIAWSNB Dean finds himself in an alternate reality (which he comes to find is not reality at all) where he has everything he wants most. His mother is alive, Sam is happily engaged to Jessica and in law school and his dad died peacefully in his sleep. Dean has a girlfriend and a regular job as a mechanic. Sure, he and Sam don't get along but he can fix things with Sam. He's a civilian and he couldn't be more happy about it. In TFM Sam and Dean are sent to an alternate reality where they are actors in the television show about their lives. Sam is happily married to his former co-star and both boys have all the money they could possibly need. But there is one striking difference between these two episodes, Dean is alone in this alternate reality. There is no Ben or Lisa in this world, there isn't a mention of any family at all. He and Sam aren't even brothers and apparently they don't get along here either.

In reality, Sam and Dean are each others only family and they would do anything for the other. They have both sacrificed their lives to save each other and would do it again if they had to. So, it's odd to think that in both these alternate worlds this relationship doesn't exist. If they were never Winchesters then their mother never died and they never went hunting. Even if they were brothers as they were in WIAWSNB, if Mary doesn't die, their relationship never forms.

In WIAWSNB Dean wants to stay in his djinn-induced coma even when he finds out the truth. Sam is happy and his family is together so he's willing to sacrifice his existing relationship with Sam and work on a new one. In TFM Dean questions whether Sam should go back to the real world.

Sam: "No, we'll find a way back."
Dean: "You wouldn't be that broken up if we didn't."
Sam: "What? Don't be stupid."
Dean: Well, I'm just saying, no hell below us, above us only sky.
Sam: "Dean, our friends are back there."
Dean: Yeah, but here you got a pretty good life. I mean back home the hits have been coming since you were six months old. You gotta admit being a bazillionaire, married to Ruby, the whole package. It's no contest.

It seems like Dean is willing once again to make a sacrifice for Sam's happiness. But Sam isn't interested in staying in this world.

Sam: "You know, you were right. We just don't mean the same thing here. We're not even brothers here, man."

Sam and Dean have come a long way since season two but it seems as though they continue to struggle with a lot of the same issues. Sam struggles with who he is and who he was destined to be. He resists the evil that forces its way into his life and continues to try to right his wrongs and alter his destiny. Dean continues to sacrifice everything for his brother and the family business. He's still willing to settle for second best if it means that Sam gets a shot at a better life. Despite their constant battles one thing remains the same, family is the most important thing they have and they will fight to protect it.

“The French Mistake” was a treat to watch. The episode brought the civil war in heaven back to the forefront and balanced humor and drama the way only Supernatural does. So what did you think of “The French Mistake”? Did you see similarities to any other episodes? 

There were a couple great moments in "The French Mistake" that I can't go without mentioning.

* Dean had some really great lines.
  "I'm a painted whore"
  "Dude, we're not even in America."
  "Dude looks like a lady."

* The picture of Sam on horseback was priceless. I almost couldn't pay attention to the scene because I was so distracted by it.

* Eric Kripke getting gunned down Godfather-style.





# alysha 2011-02-28 06:27
I liked it too, but it was no where as flawlessly intertwined as WIANSB and "Monster..." Both of those created a more compelling monster story while also showing the depth of the characters. In the case of Monster, the Lillith plot was also further advanced and a massive foreshadowing was had when Lillith stated she wouldn't live to see the good part.

If foreshadowing is happening with TFM then it is Sam and his willingness to let life follow the natural order. That's all I have there.

We also know that Cas is winning the war at the moment b/c he has the weapons.

I did like all the jokes, but it sure helps to know a little about the actors and the crew. For some reason, all the Canada stuff cracked me up. Probably because the show is always suppose to be about the great American roadtrip.
# Sofia 2011-02-28 10:17
Good point, I hadn't thought of the parallels between WIAWSNB and Monster.
# AndreaW 2011-02-28 17:25
Interestingly, VIRGIL (the hitman)is the name of the Roman poet who guides Dante through Hell and Purgatory. Any ideas?
# Jasminka 2011-02-28 18:45
Poor Virgil actually suffers an unfair fate - being a 'heathen',since he comes from a time where people were not baptized and thus has no right to receive redemption or heavenly salvation. But, because he somehow predicted the coming of Christ (in his Fourth Eclogue), , he is allowed to spend the time till Judgement Day in Limbo, with the other pagan righteous men...
I wonder what Supernatural might make of that...
# Sofia 2011-02-28 18:51
Perhaps Purgatory and Hell are nothing more than one of the realms mentioned above. What do you think? Is it possible that Hell, Heaven, Purgatory and wherever Sam and Dean got transported in TFM are nothing more than coexisting realms?
# nancyL 2011-02-28 19:09
Great review Sofia, and welcome. :D

Even the funny episodes of SUPERNATURAL add a little something to the ongoing story.

I loved this episode. I agree with your comparisons of TFM to WIAWSNB.
Dean has no problem with sacrificing his happiness for Sam's. But for Sam it always comes down to 'Because you're still my brother' (when he gets in the car in WIAWSNB).

If this is just a made up world by the angels, then I guess we will never find out what happened when Jenson and Jared met Bobby the hunter :lol: :lol: .
# nancyL 2011-03-01 09:06
If the real Jensen and Jared were anything like they were portrayed here, the brotherly relationship beteen Sam and Dean would not be as realistic.
Because Jensen and Jared are so close, they bring that closeness to our favorite brothers. :lol:
# Evelyn 2011-03-03 11:28
I loved your comparison of this episode with WIAWSNB. There are a lot of similarities between the two. Dean always putting his brother's well-being in front of his own of particular note. The biggest one is with Sam at the end of both reminding Dean that they are brothers and he is glad about it and wouldn't have it any other way. Considering their history, it's nice to see/hear Sam making that the important part between the two universes.

I enjoyed TFM, it was a nice lighter fare. But as far as emotional impact and gravitas it does not come close to WIAWSNB. So, in that respect those two episodes are miles apart.
# Sofia 2011-03-03 11:58

I couldn't agree more with you on the differences in the emotional impact of the two episodes. Even while watching WIAWSNB the other day for the 100th time I still felt so sad for Dean. He was so defeated by that experience and it was as emotional as the first time I watched it.

Thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts!
# Evelyn 2011-03-03 12:53
Sofia - So agree with you. Always feel so sad for Dean and heartbroken after watching WIAWSNB. In fact, I feel/think that knowing what we know now, what all Dean and Sam have been through since that episode, for me, that episode is MORE emotional for me than it was the first time I viewed it. Such a poignant, beautiful episode and always in my top 10.