Okay, first off, before I even get into the episode... I love it. If you didn't love it, please refrain from commenting, because you know I hate negativity and I feel like this was a love letter to the fans and if it's not taken in that spirit, I don't even want to know. Not that your opinion doesn't matter - but it doesn't matter to me. :P
Also, I was drinking red wine tonight, which apparently hits me 3x harder than white - so I am not as think as you drunk I am.
As per usual, I've seen this episode once, while drinking, so my memory might not be spot on - if I get a major plot or character point wrong, then please correct me - otherwise, if I capture the jist of the things but get minor details wrong, don't bother correcting me ... and all quotes are paraphrased.
Okay, so... let's figure out WHERE EVEN TO BEGIN!
I loved the THEN and Now... I mean, I love that the THEN was just that computer screen and the pilot written by Eric Kripke - geezus. Feelings already.
And then we get Dean making Baby all shiny and the engine looking good and he's just in a t-shirt, and Sam's coming out of the motel room all sleep mussed and Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugggggggggggggggg
Actually, I've jumped ahead. Damn it! I'm already getting it wrong. The opening we already saw the musical! With the girl on the couch and the ghost and the drama teacher quiting. I loved her "there's too much drama in the drama department"... because, yeah, this episode is about fandom, and sometimes there IS too much drama - it's actually why I'm pretty removed from fandom everywhere except my own very controlled LJ. So, I liked this, because they kind of nodded to the darker side of fandom without actually pointing a figure at it, but got it out of the way early.
And the SAMULET! I love the inside-joke thing about the real reason that the Samulet disappeared - it kept hitting Jensen in the mouth and it was annoying, just like the ring kept cutting his finger (because he had opened too many beers with it) and so both "disappeared" canonically.
Then Drama teacher is sucked into the bushes by vines and I make a "Groot" joke, but my gardener friends start making jokes about Wisteria, because apparently it is an uncontrollable monster of a plant that also has purple flowers.
Okay, THEN we get hot mechanic/sleepy boys.... and Dean thinks the drama teacher disappearing is a case, and Sam is like "yeah, okay, whatevs, as long as you are feeling better dude" and then they go...
NO! Wait, I have to talk about the opening... I LOVED the title card, with the lights, and Marie saying it needs more *sound affect* and then them going through all the title cards ever... and so lovely.
OKAY, NOW WE GET THE BOYS....
And then they go to the school and Sam talks about how he was in Our Town (again! Yay! Shout-out to fact we learned way back in S1) and we find out that it was the only play that Sam was ever in, but he worked Tech on Oklahoma and is actually a theatre nerd - and I LOVE HIM SO MUCH. And I loved his defense of Oklahoma as being the play that Hugh Jackman was discovered in... and then Dean saying that Sam only worked tech on it, and Sam being all like "shut-up." And I love them.
And then we actually see their reaction they get to the auditorium and the girls are all singing about Sam and Dean - and it's the classic horror movie zoom-ins on their reactions - and it's hilarious and wonderful.
I loved Sam going with the FBI ruse, and then seeing the actors doing it on the stage and stopping Dean - and introducing himself as Smith, and Dean not thinking quick enough to come up with a non-rock alias and just saying Smith too. And I love how Dean couldn't even stay in FBI character because he had to blurt out "There's no singing in Supernatural!"
I then love the ensuing conversation where Dean says that they should have at least put in classic rock, and they say they've put in Carry On My Wayward Son, and Sam's like "Really?" And both Dean and Marie defend it as a "classic"... I love that Dean and Sam just come off as fanboys.
But mostly I love how Sam just rolls with it - I love that he's the first to be charmed, and then when he smiles and tries to say to Dean that it's charming - and Dean's face is all *grr* and Sam's just like "No? Okay, no, not charming - back to the case then" and it's hilarious.
I also think there must have been inside crew-jokes, because I think that bit where Marie takes Dean past the prop weapons and Dean starts playing with them, and Marie is like "no! stop!" is probably an inside joke about their prop-gun-master Robin - who I know Jensen has talked at conventions about how she's protective of the guns. There are probably plenty other shout-outs that I don't even get - which makes this episode, like the French Mistake, awesome on so many levels.
Meanwhile, we get Sam in the both with Maeve (BTW: Maeve is one of my favourite names. Based solely on the figure from Irish mythology and the desciption: "It was said it took seven men to satisfy her..." Because Maeve is too awesome to be satisfied by just one man (unless that man is Fergus). ANYWAY...way off topic now...
I love Sam being all like "in my day, we had two CD players" and Maeve just not caring and Sam being all put out, because he's a giant DORK and I love him. And then she tells him not to touch anything, so he touches all the things...
Oh, I forgot to talk about things again... like Dean noticing that Dean and Sam were standing too close together, and repeating his line from 4x18 - "You do know they're brothers, right?" Lovely.... and the whole "BM" scene "Boy Mellow-drama". So awesome that the show can also poke fun at it's own cliches.
And I can't remember when it happens, so I'll just talk about it now - but I love how Dean also notices "Dean" and "Cas" hugging and asks about it - and I love that Maire explains that the actors for Dean and Cas are a real life couple - and that's an ordinary thing, AND THEN Marie goes on to explain how it works with the subtext anyway... and then we get Dean's exasperation at the shipping... but the lesbian couple isn't remarked on at all, because it's normal, and Dean doesn't fetishize it or make any comment about it whatsoever and that's just NICE. (Also, in general, I like how Dean wasn't sexualizing any of the girls in this episode - in the past, we HAVE had Dean sexualize High School students - notably in S4, but that was 6 years ago, 8 years ago if you follow chronological time in the SPN 'verse, and Dean is well into his thirties now, and I like how he's NOT a dirty old man.)
I also absolutely loved the direct look into camera by Jensen Ackles - the breaking of the fourth wall SO COMPLETELY for that second actually worked so well.
I also love how we find out that the second half of the play is Marie's fanfiction and she's got robots, space, and tentacles (all things that I know from talking to Robbie at VanCon 2013, the writers haven't been allowed to include in episodes (so far) - no matter how much they may want to.)... and I love Dean telling her what ACTUALLY happened, and her laughing and saying that it's the worst fanfiction she's ever heard. And it really is another message about the show and the fans - that the fans don't have to love every aspect of the show to still be fans, to still be adored by the show and treasured - that you can disagree with storylines and still be part of the fandom - that as long as you love the Winchesters, you an write your own fanon and play with them however you like, and you're still considered a treasured fan.)
And I LOVE LOVE LOVE Sam critiquing the portmanteau ship names as they walk tot he car - "shouldn't it be Deastiel?" And then making his OWN portmanteau ship names with HIM and Castiel - and EVERYTHING ABOUT IT IS AWESOME. Dean's uncomfortable with being shipped, but Sam's just like "Huh, I wonder what the name for ME and Cas would be... this is a fun game!" and Dean's like "OMG SHUT-UP" my only complaint is that Sam never said "Sassy" which is my favourite ship name for what is more commonly known as Sastiel - but, granted, it's the least intiative ship name. Anyway, my point is that once again, Sam is more secure in his sexuality/masculinity than Dean...
And then they conclude that there isn't a case and go to leave... but that's when the girl playing Sam is captured by the plant-monster... and so they return.
This time, Marie saw what happened, but no one will believe her. Because she's read the Supernatural books though, she now realizes that they're true - that the supernatural DOES exist - so Dean and Sam try to go with the truth and reveal who they are - but Marie and Maeve just laugh, because the books are FICTION. But luckily for Sam and Dean, they DO believe that the X-files might be real, so Sam and Dean go with that excuse for their presence. Then it's fun, because Sam and Dean work WITH Marie and Maeve to solve the mystery.
So, they say it's a Tulpa, but Sam has his doubts, because that should take more psychic energy, and also doesn't explain the flower... but Dean and Marie burn the "terrifying" scarecrow just in case they're right about the Tulpa.
Meanwhile, Sam discovers that the flower is associated with the goddess Calliope, which is yet another mythological name that I absolutely love - because, man, that name is just so beautiful to say. It fits in the mouth like the most delicious linguistic morsel.
They discover that Calliope, the Muse, defends authors works until they're fully realized and then she eats the author - this means that there's still a chance that the two victims thus far are still alive. The only problem is that they have to use Marie as bait. The show must go on.
So it does! And it's great! It's just - charming, like Sam said... and the songs are hilarious and very high-school musical... and it's a full stage production.
I love the bit with the ponchos for the first few rows - and the one guy who actually listens... but we'll get to that.
I love Dean getting fully involved in the production, making sure that Marie's vision comes to life - becoming a champion for her interpretation of HIS LIFE, even though he might not agree with every aspect of it. Again, it's such a show of support to fandom, "go, use this thing we've created however you want - we love and support you, even if your interpretations are vastly different than what we intended."
Also, for someone who supposedly hates musical theatre, Dean can quote RENT of all shows... so, take that where you want. ;)
And then the show starts, and the "scarecrow" actually appears and Dean tries to tell Sam, but Sam totally just thinks Dean is giving him an approving nod, and it's hilarious.
Oh, I've forgotten to talk about something else - I love that Marie is a Sam!girl. It's so cute - especially because Dean's been the one bonding with her the whole time, so, ironic and perfect. Also, I love that her wig was from her "one woman Orphan Black show" - I believe I quipped "That's what Orphan Black IS!!" Because, hey, I'm a fellow Canadian who is super proud of Tatiana Maslany.
And I love the song that they have "Sam" sing about how much he loves his brother - and I miss the "Dean" part of the "Single Man Tear" duet, because I was too distracted by Dean fighting the monster, but I'm sure I'll be able to find the lyrics on the internet soon. ;)
But yeah, Sam gets abducted by the monster first, and ends up in the basement with the other two kidnap victims. All alive! And Calliope, who tells Sam that Supernatural has EVERYTHING and it's a great show - and I just love that whole speech... and the whole time she does it, the two ladies she kidnapped previously conspire to surprise attack her and get the killing-stake back in Sam's hand... and it's just perfect, because even though Sam does the killing, these ladies rescue THEMSELVES.
And it's the same onstage - as Dean gets the shit kicked out of him, Marie picks up the stake and confronts what is obviously a fear of hers: The scarecrow... and yes, she kills him because she stabs him at the same time Calliope dies, but she still saves HERSELF using the tools that Dean and Sam gave her. Oh my god, I am actually getting emotional - but all I can think about is all those ladies at conventions who tell Jared, Jensen or Misha about how the show, or they, saved their lives because of helping them through a dark time - but really those ladies saved themselves and all the show, or J2 or Misha, did was provide them with a source of courage to do so. Oh man, I'm usually not this much of a sap - I'm totally blaming the wine - but I just want you all to know how BRILLIANTLY this was written by Robbie Thompson for this reason. These women all saved THEMSELVES and I think that's so important.
The front row gets sprayed with purple goo and the one dude who actually covered up gives them a standing ovation at Intermission - and it's HILARIOUS and BRILLIANT.
Before they come back from intermission, Marie actually realizes that yes, this IS Dean from the books - and she gives him the prop Samulet and tells him he never should have thrown it away - but Dean corrects her and tells her that he doesn't need a symbol to tell him how he feels about his brother... and YES, EXACTLY - this is why I don't care that the amulet is gone - that I think it was actually more of a symbol of the relationship that they needed to leave behind, rather than the relationship that they needed to move forward.... which is why I like the fact that Marie gave Dean a NEW amulet - a prop one, that's handmade and DIFFERENT, because it's about a different relationship now - but I'll get to that.
And then we get the Brother-Moment scene... and it's had at the same time as the one on stage... and Sam is freaked out, but Dean shushes him and they just watch...
Wait, is that before Carry On or after? Because the rendition of Carry On was beautiful and reminds me of singing it at Karaoke at the Cons - and I love how Dean and Sam kind of get it... and pause and just listen....
And then we get Sam listening to the Brother-Moment, and "Sam" telling "Dean" that it's them against the world, that in the car, hunting, is where they belong - and Sam just says "what she said"... and ugh, I just love it. Not least of which is because the whole cast is girls - but I'll get to that too...
Oh man, *I* nearly forgot to talk about Adam - but I love that in an episode where they DO bring back the Samulet, they also poke fun at the dropped thread that it Adam. I love how hilarious and awkward Sam and Dean are when they ASK who the other cast member is and are told it's Adam, and they just sort of look at each other and then look ANYWHERE ELSE. Hahaha... poor Adam. For the record, I think Adam was dead before Michael fell into the cage, but I'm probably alone in that.
And then we get the final scene in the car - where Dean takes out the prop-amulet and hangs it over the rearview mirror - casting a glance over at Sam, because he's not putting it up there for himself, he's putting it up there so that Sam knows that Dean loves him.
(Meanwhile, all I could hear in my head was my Aunt's voice saying "Only assholes hang stuff from their rearview mirror" ... my apologies to any of you who hang things from your rearview mirror.... I don't actually believe that, but my aunt sure does, so I had to laugh when Dean did it.)
ETA: I forgot to talk more about the new amulet - I like that it's different and new, because it symbolizes the relationship that they have NOW rather than the one they had as kids. It symbolizes the "you and me against the world" the "what she said" relationship - rather than the caregiver-Dean/little-Sammy relationship of their youth, where Sam gave Dean the amulet originally intended for his father, because he viewed Dean as a better father. This new amulet isn't about what was, it's not connected to their shitty childhood or the night that Sam found out about monsters. It acknowledges those things, because it's in the shape of the amulet that was about those things, but it's DIFFERENT and the visual difference is a reference to the difference in symbolic meaning - and I love it.
The Winchester drive off into the night....
And then we get the PERFECT END SCENE... as Marie and Maeve find out that someone from the publishing house DID come and watch the show, and she stammers and stares and runs up to greet the person - asking if he liked it, hoping that she hadn't offended... and the camera pans around to reveal... CHUCK! And Chuck smiles and declares it "not bad." AND EVERYTHING IS PERFECT AND NOTHING HURTS.
This did spark a debate in my friends house, as they recalled that Chuck was a recluse who was never scene - and they didn't understand how Marie would have recognized him. I argued that she might have assumed, my friend argued that that wasn't good enough... and then I remembered that Chuck appeared at that Supernatural Convention in S5, so there WOULD be pictures of him and Marie, being a fangirl, would have definitely of seen those pictures - so mystery solved.
Also, God came to her show!! I mean, that very rarely happens in musical theatre. ;)
So, that's basically the episode, but I also wanted to talk about two other brilliant things about this episode:
1)The cast (speaking roles) was ALL GIRLS except for Dean and Sam. Before, when Supernatural did the meta-episode in S5 with the Convention, they did a subversive wave to the fandom by making the audience all guys - doing the reverse of what conventions were like as a sort of weird joke about how that's exactly how they weren't. But I like the fact that they went the opposite direction here and pretty overtly acknowledged and showcased their very strong female support for the show - male fans don't need the kind of cultural support that female fans do - and so it was so awesome for Supernatural to have an entire episode that was about supporting it's female fans, recognizing how passionate, creative, and amazing they are, and how Sam and Dean couldn't defeat monsters without them.
2) No one died! Just Calliope, the monster of the episode... but no one else. I think that's so sweet for an episode about the fans - because they certainly don't want fans to die, and they also know how much fans hate it when people die, even if the writing is brilliant and they get the best send-off imaginable... we still just want everyone to live and be happy ever after, even though we should know damn well by now that we're watching a tragedy - so for his one episode, that's what they gave us - an everybody lives happy ever after.
So yes, in the absence of Ben Edlund, Robbie Thompson has become my favourite SPN writer and this episode just cements that.
Okay, so, I'm sure I missed a TON of stuff... please talk to me in comments!!