THEN:  Chuck says, "I hate missing my favorite show."  The Winchesters kill monsters.  Lots of killing.  Dean says, "We're the guys who saved the world."  We see Garth with his werewolf wife.  Chuck says, "You still think you're the hero of this story."  He destroys their spell and says, "That was just the beginning.  This is the rest."  

NOW:  A young bearded man with a slightly bloody face is staring straight at the camera.  He is hit in the jaw and collapses to the floor.  He's in a ring, surrounded by cheering people, but the sound is muted, reflecting his dazed reaction to the blow he just took.  A slim young woman with long dreads in a ponytail swaggers around the ring, taunting him.  He gets to his feet and swings, but she ducks, baring her teeth aggressively, confidently.  The man is beaten to the ground again.  His eyes flare yellowy-gold; his teeth extend.  With a roar he jumps to his feet and claws at her side, drawing blood.  How could she win against a werewolf?  But then, a long, sharp spike descends from her wrist; she's a monster too, a wraith, armed and lethal as well.  The music has incongruously changed to pleasant piano music as the two creatures fiercely battle.  Surrounding them, the audience avidly cheer, many showing teeth identifying them as monsters as well.  Eventually, the wraith prevails.  The werewolf collapses forward onto the floor while his opponent prances triumphantly around the ring.   At a distance from the crowd, a shadowed figure is seated, watching.  Inside the cage the werewolf lies still, his face against a grate in the floor, while his blood obscures our view.

SUPERNATURAL.  "The Heroes' Journey"

Jazzy piano music plays in the background as Dean parks the Impala and goes inside a convenience store, Beren's Kwik Trip.  Browsing the shelves, he picks up a six-pack of beer, then a second.  A beeping alarm sounds.  In the bunker, Sam comes rushing into the kitchen:  "Oh, no!"  He opens the oven and smoke pours out.  Back at the convenience store, Dean, who knows the cashier, asks him what's new.  The clerk replies that he has psoriasis.  (Dean's expression shows that he thinks that's a little too much information!)  In the bunker, Sam awkwardly removes his burned food from the oven but clunks it onto the island counter with a little too much force.  A dish gets pushed off the counter and shatters on the floor.  Dean takes a bite of a candy bar but grimaces.  Sam, grabbing the boiling pasta off the stovetop, forgets to use a potholder and jerks his arms back, dropping the pot and its contents all over the floor.  At the register, Dean's card is declined.  Dean can't believe it; it's gotta be good, but it's not, and the clerk takes back Dean's items, including the partially-eaten candy bar.  Dean frowns reproachfully at the clerk.  As the hunter steps outside the building, he's nearly run over by a skateboarder.  "Seriously?"  Approaching the Impala, he sees a ticket on the windshield.  "Seriously?!!"

Arriving at the bunker, Dean calls for Sam who stumbles into the room.  "Was that a trip?"  queries Dean.  He informs his brother that he got a ticket.  Sam reminds him that that could be because he parked in front of a fire hydrant, but Dean says he's always parked there and never gotten a ticket before.  And the card that was declined - it was one doctored by Charlies that was supposed to be guaranteed to always work.  Suddenly, Sam sneezes.  Dean can't believe everything that's going wrong:  "This day!  What's next?"  Then the phone rings.   the 

It's Garth.  We see him in a button-down shirt with a red cardigan standing outside a pleasant, two-story house with a plastic kiddie slide on the front lawn.  "I need your help," Garth says.

Dean and Sam are driving the Impala through the night.  "We're cursed," states Dean.  "It's just a bad day," Sam demurs.  "This is not just a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day," insists Dean.  "This is not normal."  Sam sneezes again, grossly.  Through sniffles, he says that Castiel is in heaven, trying to get information from the angels, but he's having trouble communicating because of his excessive sneezing.  Dean is sure something's wrong, but Sam says, "It happens.  We'll deal."  Then, the Impala's engine begins to stutter; her lights flicker.  "No, Baby!  Please don't do this," Dean pleads, but the Impala coasts to a stop and dies.  Barely believing this is happening, Dean tries unsuccessfully to rev the engine, then hits the wheel in anger.  "Yeah!  Normal."  The brothers exit the car, looking a little at a loss, then slowly walk away.

The scene opens on cute little baby feet; then the camera moves upward to show a blonde baby in a highchair.  Garth is feeding him, pretending the spoon is an airplane, then he turns to a second baby seated nearby, calls him Sammy, and happily serves him too.  The baby spits it back out, splattering the dish towel Garth has tucked into his shirt.  A little girl in long ponytails at the table giggles.  There's a knock at the door.  "Is that them?" asks his wife, coming down the stairs.  Garth opens the door for the Winchesters, who've had to walk about ten miles to get there.  He approaches Sam for a hug, but Sam waves him off, saying he has a cold, so Garth turns to Dean.  "Still a hugger," Dean observes, allowing it, but then Garth, with his enhanced werewolf senses and his occasional lack of a filter, says, "You smell so good."  "And we're good," announces Dean, stepping back abruptly.  Garth introduces them to his kids:  Gertie, the big sister, and the twins.  The first is Sam - "I named him after you!" says Garth to the younger Winchester brother.  Dean eyes the second twin with a smile, only to have Garth reveal that his name is Castiel.  

Garth has called them because of his wife Bess's cousin Brad.  They go into Gertie's bedroom where a wounded man is lying in bed - it's the werewolf from the cage match.  Beaten and left for dead, he'd been found by police who thought he'd been in a fight.  His wounds aren't from a knife however.  They're from a wraith.  "Why would a wraith go after a werewolf?" they wonder. Dean snags a candy from a bowl on a shelf but winces when he takes a bite. 

After they leave the room, Dean glances around, telling Garth that he has a pretty nice place.  "Better than anything I thought I'd get," Garth admits.  As a hunter, he thought his life would end before forty, and he'd die "young and pretty."  "I guess sometimes things work out," he adds.  "You deserve it," Dean tells him.  Garth notices that Dean teeth are hurting.  He leads him into the basement where he has a room outfitted with a completely authentic dentist's office, where it not in the basement of someone's home.  Dean tries to back away, but Garth grabs his arm and yanks him into the room, never losing his friendly demeanor.  Garth is stronger than he looks.  As Garth prepares, he explains to an unwilling but oddly compliant Dean that he'd studied to be a dentist and now finds his skills useful in the werewolf community.  "Fang maintenance is a b," he explains cheerfully.  

Upstairs, Bess is concerned about Sam's illness and has just the thing - her father's secret remedy.  She hands him a glass.  He doesn't want to drink it but complies.  It's as gross as he fears.  Within minutes, tears are streaming from his eyes.  Bess admits that a primary ingredient in the concoction is cayenne pepper.  "The giant's crying," says Gertie.  Sam collapses onto the floor, trying to wipe his burning tongue on his coat sleeve.  His obvious agony upsets the twins who start crying.  

Dean reluctantly allows Garth to check his teeth, admitting that he's never been to the dentist.  He shocked when Garth reveals that he's found seventeen cavities.  Their friend pulls out a canister of nitrous oxide.  "I'm doing this for your own good, buddy," he says, putting the mask over Dean's mouth and nose.  Everything goes blurry, and then contracts into one bright light, which then changes to a spotlight.

Dean, dressed in a white hat and suit jacket with a black bow-tie and black pants, stands in the doorway to the bunker's warroom.  A bright spotlight shines on him.  The entire scene is black and white.  A cheerful jazz song begins to play. Garth appears , dressed similarly, and begins a soft shoe, complete with cane.  Dean slowly begins to imitate him, then, gaining confidence, begins to dance alone, polished black shoes skimming over the floor like Fred Astaire.  He swings a floor lamp as if it's a dance partner, then does a step or two on top of the map table.  "Let's misbehave," croons the singer as he finally gives a small tip of his hat, and the light converges back to one small dot, and he wakes up, dazed, mouth bloody and stuffed with gauze, to hear Garth saying, "Hey, slugger.  You did good."  

Sam sits on the couch sipping coffee.  He admits he's feeling better.  As Dean and Garth appear in the doorway, he's a little surprised at his brother's swollen appearance, but accepts that Garth was doing some impromptu dentistry.  Having heard of their recent mishaps, Garth asks, "Who did you guys piss off?"  "God?" admits Sam.  "I'm sorry.  What?" responds Bess.  Dean, unable to speak, gives an apologetic smile.  "God's trying to kill you?" queries Garth.  "Or make us kill each other," Sam clarifies.  Apparently, they've been the heroes in God's favorite story.  "What does that make me?" wonders Garth.  "A supporting character?  A special guest star?"  Sam immediately tries to negate that, but Garth isn't insulted.  Garth doesn't want to be the hero:  a hero's life sucks.  Look at what happened to Batman - or Superman - or the girl in 50 Shades of Grey.  The Winchesters are a little surprised at that reference, but, primly sitting together, Garth in his Mr. Roger's sweater and Bess in her floral dress, admit that they like that story.  But despite all the horrors they face, eventually something goes right for the hero.  In the meantime, heroes never sweat the small stuff; they're usually dealing with bigger struggles.  Dean tries to speak but can't.  Finally pulling the last of the wadding from his mouth, he says that they're cursed.  "Normal," insists Garth.  Then adds that they should probably get a colonoscopy.

Brad wakes and calls for Bess.  When they all go into the room, he isn't too thrilled to have hunters there.  Sam tries to reassure him by earnestly asking him what happens, but Brad mocks his sincere eyes and furrowed brow, until Bess sinks her fingers into his wound - tough love, werewolf style.  He tells them about the monster fight club; he'd gotten into it because he has bills to pay.  He even tells them its location in Minnesota, because he knows they'd get ripped apart if they went in there.  Garth doesn't think they should go.  He knows the old Sam and Dean could handle it, but he's not sure about them now.  "We're not gonna give up," states Dean.  "It's what we do."  "What he said," echoes Sam.  Garth wants to come with them, but they can't let him do that:  he has a wife and children.  Reluctantly, Garth agrees but says he can at least get them some new spark plugs.

Daylight.  The Impala pulls up near an old warehouse.  Dean's finishing up his seventh sandwich:  he likes Bess's grilled cheese.  Dean grabs the weapons bag, but Sam stops him, saying they should be fully prepared and armed for what they're facing.  "We need to be ready," he says.  "We need a grenade launcher!" grins Dean.  He's still finishing off his sandwich, looking normal and funny and decidedly non-heroic with a mouthful of food.  

Walking into the empty building, they see the small cage where the fights occur, but, as they approach, Sam stumbles over a chair, which falls clattering to the floor.  "Forget how to walk?" Dean asks.  But soon his stomach begins to gurgle.  He goes rushing off to look for a bathroom.  Finding a rather grimy one, he frantically tries the doors which seem to be all locked.  Finally bursting into a stall, he begins to violently vomit into the toilet.  There's a bang from outside.  "Sam?" he calls, but he feels too weak to get up.  "Just kill me now," he groans.  "Can do!" says a voice as the stall is kicked in, revealing a bald man in a jacket and chain necklaces, holding a gun on him.  

Sam and Dean are standing in the ring, completely trapped in a cage topped by barbed wire.  "Normal sucks!" rants Dean.  Sam can't believe the monsters got the drop on them.  Cutty, the bald man, appears, asking what they might want.  He has a very unassuming manner, but Sam sneers.  Does he keep all his friends in a cage?  Cutty doesn't take offense.  He's a shifter - "So you CHOSE that face?" insults Dean - but at heart he's a sportsman.  He loves competition.  He's planning on putting the Winchesters in a match.  They'll be together - you against the world - or more specifically - against Maul.  A huge bald guy in a black t-shirt approaches, then bares his teeth.  He's a giant vampire.  Dean tries to bluff his way out, warning them that they've killed angels, demons, gods, and alphas.  It'd be better if they just let them go, but Cutty wants his big fight.

Suddenly, the action is interrupted by a commercial advertising FIGHT NIGHT! It's  Killer Wraith (the woman in dreads) vs. Jamaica Djinn.  After that, the main event will be Might Maul against the Merciless Winchesters.  The screen shows their mug shots.  

Sam and Dean are locked in adjoining cells with caged fronts.  Monsters are filling the building, excited to see the fight.  "just how I wanted to die -- with a freaking audience," gripes Dean.  He's been picking away at the bars, finally pulling out a nail.  He tries to pick the lock with it, but is unsuccessful, breaking his own nail instead.  Sam tries but is equally unsuccessful:  "I do this all the time!" he exclaims, baffled.  Then the nail breaks and they toss it away in frustration.  Sam slumps onto the floor.  Their recent ineptness is causing him to wonder:  "Could we ever do this or was it Chuck?:  "How can we fight Maul?" questions Dean.  "I don't think we can," replies Sam, rather hopelessly.  "No way Chuck lets us die like this!" Dean insists, but Sam thinks it's possible Chuck might.  "Or leave us paralyzed," he adds.  Dean isn't giving up:  "We gotta win, man.  It's not easy, but not everything was Chuck.  It was US.  The blood, the sweat, the tears - US!"  They're the best in the world; they're going to go out there and kick ass!  Sam is listening to his pep talk.

In the ring, the djinn defeats the wraith.  Now the announcer calls for Maul at 310 lbs.  and then - "You know them.  You don't like them -- the Winchesters!"  Cutty approaches their cells.  "It's time.  Shirts off."  Then he stares - the cages are open.  The brothers are gone.

The action rewinds to show a figure in a jacket and slouchy hat with ear flaps.  It's Garth, entering as Dean coughs with something caught in his throat.  His eyes glow and he rips off the locks.  "You're so strong," says Dean.  They run out to the parking lot, but Garth stops.  "We're the monster squad," he tells the Winchesters, holding up a remote.  The action backs up again, showing him entering the warehouse and secreting a small bomb inside.  Now, he pushes the button and the place explodes.  "C4," he says.  "A hunter's best friend!  Cool, right?"  "Thanks, Garth," says Sam.  Garth wants a hug, but there's a sudden, enraged roar.  Maul is still alive.  He stomps out of the burning building.  "Go!" yells Garth.  "I've got this."  He wolfs out, teeth descending, body hunching.  Fearlessly, he hurls himself at Maul, who flings him aside with one mighty blow.  Garth lands crumpled in the bed of a pick-up truck.  

Despite Dean's pep talk back in their cells, Sam admits that he didn't really believe it.  The odds are truly against them.  Sam and Dean both try to battle the giant monster, but first he fells Dean with a blow below the belt, then ducks Sam's swing before decking him.  Dean rises to ineffectively batter at the gigantic opponent only to be knocked down.  Sam tries a kick but gets thrown by Maul.  Dean tries again, but Maul hits him, then grapples him around and puts him in a choke hold.  "This was fun," he grins.  Dean is frantic but helpless, until he gets a brainstorm.  Reaching up, he taps out -- and the vampire lets go.  Side by side, Sam and Dean face off against Maul, but suddenly, the monster's face has a line of blood on it.  He collapses, revealing Garth standing behind him with a machete.  He got Garthed.  Dean limps away, his voice unnaturally high, as he comments on the pain he's in.

Back at Garth's house, Dean is holding one of the twins.  "Cas keeps looking at me weird," he comments.  "Like the real Cas," teases Sam who is holding baby Sammy.  Baby Cas's eyes glow and there's a poopy sound.  "There's something for you," Dean says, handing him off to Bess.  She gives them more grilled cheese sandwiches for the road.  

"What you did - " Dean says to Garth outside the house.  "It was nothing," says Garth.  "It's NOT nothing," says Sam. :You saved our lives."   "You were being a hero," Dean tells him.  "I learned from the best."

Garth is worried about them being OK, with the Almighty after them.  He tells them that there is a place in Alaska that can change luck that's turned bad.  He's not exactly sure where it is, but they'll know it when they see it.  Of course, there's always a catch with that sort of thing.  Sam steps forward to give him a hug, followed by Dean, who says, "You don't smell too bad yourself."  "Stay safe!" says Garth.  

Dean and Sam pause before getting into their car.  Through the window of the house, they can see Garth dancing with his wife to the classic song, "Werewolves of London".  They smile.  "I could be a good dancer," Dean suddenly says.  "You're awesome at the Macarena," agrees Sam.  They wonder if they should seek a cure.  Is it so bad to be normal?  "Normal is fine for normal people with normal problems," says Dean, but it doesn't cut it for them.  Also, they could even end up even killing each other by accident.

"So, Alaska?" asks Sam.  "Alaska," agrees Dean.  He starts to pull away from the house, but, instead of her usual roar, the Impala chokes and lurches.  "Son of a bitch!" Dean yells.

THE END

QUESTIONS:  

  1. How many times did you laugh during tonight's episode?
  2. Out of all of the Winchesters' friends, why does Garth get a happy ending?
  3. What "normal" problem would you have given the Winchesters if you'd written this episode?  
  4. Which fake commercial that's appeared on SPN has been your favorite?
  5. If this episode is claiming that Sam and Dean don't usually have to deal with normal problems because they're heroes, at what point in the show did they change from tough, blue-collar hunters to mythic, "blessed" heroes?  
  6. Do you agree with what this episode seems to imply:  that because the Winchesters are heroes, they haven't had to deal before with issues like sickness or parking tickets and other normal annoyances?
  7. Was what was happening to them in this episode truly "normal" or were they cursed as Dean kept claiming?


I'm looking forward to hearing what you think!  


Read more of Emberlast's amazing episode recaps and speculation questions! Visit her Author Page to get Episode links! Recaps for seasons 9 to 13 can be found on Bookdal's Author Page!