Supernatural: The Monster at the End of this Book

Chuck: "I am so sorry. I mean, horror is one thing, but to be forced to live bad writing?"

I loved this episode so much that I actually stopped taking notes for my review. That almost never happens.

The fickle finger of fate writes and having writ, moves on. Dean and Sam can't escape their destiny. It's written, immutable; it's even in the Gospels according to Chuck. This blurring of fiction and "reality" (actually, fiction and more fiction) allowed Dean and Sam to step outside of their lives for a moment and see objectively what was happening to them.

I just loved the Winchesters talking about their fans complaining all the time. Common fan phenomenon. Fans are crazy about a show and love everything about it; and then, usually around season three, some of them start compulsively ripping it to shreds. And why? I think it's because a good show has to innovate and change or it gets boring as well as canceled, but some believe it must continue to be what they initially fell in love with, forever and ever, period. You'd think they'd stop watching, but no; they have to stick around and complain endlessly, instead. That's Billie's Television Rule #6, also known as the "Buffy season six Rule."

As it often does, the episode started out funny and ended up heavy. Is this turning into a Winchester competition? According to the angels, Dean is the first seal and must save the world from the Apocalypse, but Sam thinks he's the one who has to do it. He wasn't even intending to go through with the deal; he was going to knife Lilith all along. Was this it for her? What is she afraid of? Archangels?

I automatically assumed Zachariah was on the side of the, well, angels. But I got the creeps from him when he threatened to bring Chuck back from the dead. Poor Chuck. Doomed to write, and he can't even commit suicide. He was actually rather sweet. Almost like a shrink when both of the Winchesters went to him for clarification, reflecting their motivations back to them without judging them. And keeping Sam's secret to himself, as if by not writing it, it would help make it not so.


At the end of the episode, Chuck saw something horrendous happen to Dean and Sam. Probably the season finale.

Bits and pieces:

— There's a Sesame Street children's book called The Monster at the End of this Book. It was one of my son's favorites. It's about being afraid of something that turns out to be yourself. How interesting and applicable.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Monster_at_the_End_of_This_Book

— There were only 24 titles in the Gospel according to Chuck, but there have been 77 episodes of Supernatural. I looked through the list and the only reason I think they picked those particular 24 were that they were all short, only one or two words.

— Loved the cover of the first book. It looked like a romance novel, with Sam as Fabio.

— Lots of in-jokes. Carver Edlund. Kripke's Hollow Diner. We learned that Sam's birthday is May 2 and Dean's is January 24. (Although I think we already knew Dean's.) Sam's score on the LSAT was 174. Dean's favorite songs are Zeppelin's "Ramble On" and "Traveling Riverside Blues." And Dean reads Kurt Vonnegut.

— The guys stayed at the Toreador Motel; it had psychedelic drippy wallpaper. They masqueraded as agents DeYoung and Shaw (Styx) and as writers doing an article on the Supernatural books.

— Another new experience for Dean. Last week salad, this week prayer. I love how Castiel surreptitiously fed Dean the answer to his problem, i.e., prophets are protected by archangels, "heaven's most terrifying weapon." Can't wait to see one. I assume we will at some point.

Quotes:

Dean: "Everything is in here. I mean, everything. From the racist truck, to me having sex. I'm full frontal in here, dude."

Dean: "There's Sam girls and Dean girls, and... what's a slash fan?"
Sam: "Sam slash Dean. Together."
Dean: "Like together together?"
Sam: "Yeah."
Dean: "They do know we're brothers, right?"
When I first heard of the existence of Sam/Dean slash, I cringed. Good God, people. How embarrassing.

Woman publisher: "He's very private. Just like Salinger."

Chuck: "There's only one explanation. Obviously, I'm a god... I write things, and then they come to life. I'm obviously a god. A cruel, cruel, capricious god. The things I've put you through. The physical beatings alone."

Dean: "I'm sitting in a laundromat reading about myself sitting in a laundromat reading about myself. My head hurts."

Dean: "Guess what you do next? 'Sam turned his back on Dean, his face brooding and pensive.' I mean, I don't know how he's doing it, but the guy is doing it. I can't see your face, but those are definitely your brooding and pensive shoulders."

Dean: "Wait, wait, wait. Lilith is a little girl."
Chuck: "No. This time, she's a 'comely dental hygienist from Bloomington, Indiana'."

Dean: "Behave yourself, would you? No homework. Watch some porn."

Chuck: "Writing yourself into the story is one thing, but as a prophet? That's like M. Night level douchiness."

Dean: "The word? The word of God? Like a new new testament?"
Castiel: "One day, these books will be known as the Winchester Gospel."
Dean and Chuck: "You gotta be kidding me."

Dean: "Him? Really?"
Castiel: "You should have seen Luke."

Loved it soooo much. Five out of four stars,

Billie
---
Billie Doux adores Supernatural which is a good thing since apparently, it's eternal.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice review ;-) I am a bit confused as to why a lot of folks think this was purely a funny episode. Once again, folks are forgetting some major Sam stuff in the serious part of the episode. We FINALLY get to hear what he thinks of some of the things happening to him - the blood, his destiny, etc. That has been absent for about 2 seasons ;))
Also, just to correct you a bit - we already knew Sam's birthday as well as Dean's. Sam's birthday was and has always been six months to the day before Mary's death on Nov. 2. So, we've had his birthdate since way early on ;-)
Also, Eric Kripke's own son was born on May 2nd and he even remarked on the creepiness factor of that, going so far as to say he would watch things closely in his home on Nov. 2nd of that year ;-)

carlos said...

Splendid episode.

It's amazing. Looks like the writers can do no wrong. What a wonderful season!

Mark Greig said...

Hey Billie. Great review as always.

I was initially weary of this episode. The whole scenario seemed a little too Heroes season one for me. But Supernatural is not Heroes (this show gets better not worse). Just when I think we’re getting a fun comedy episode I’m blindside with wrathful archangels, suicidal prophets and a slutty Lillith. Never judge an episode by it’s hilariously book covers. And Dean discovering the fan’s slash fiction was just a hoot. A really disturbing and sick hoot but a hoot nevertheless.

I’m defiantly with you on your Rule #6. A lot of fans want their favourite shows to remain consistent to the point of repetitiveness. This is why the CSIs, Law & Orders and numerous other procedural shows are all top of the ratings while the envelope pusher are cancelled in their infancy.

Those that do manage to survive and grow always receive a backlash from some fans when they develops in directions that the fans themselves are not comfortable with or approve of, regardless if these developments are natural to the flow of the story. This can lead to what I like to call the “Voyager Effect” where the status quo is maintained to such ludicrous levels that it robs the show of any sense of drama or tension.

Okay, rant over.

Jess Lynde said...

I love Rule #6! Ain't it the truth. That's why you can't please everybody. Some folks will always want things to stay the same and never change, and others will get bored out of their minds if you don't change things up a bit. I'm all for trying change. It doesn't always work out (see House), but characters that grow and evolve are much more interesting over long form story-telling than those that never change. It just gets stale to the point of ridiculous when characters experience things that ought to change them significantly and yet they almost never do (Stargate syndrome).

OK, my rant over. I really liked this episode and you did a great review. Zachariah was definitely creepy and I felt pretty bad for poor Chuck. It's got to be so much worse for him knowing that he's seeing things that are real and will come true, and there's nothing he can do about it. I think he's going to start drinking a lot more.

The slash thing was hilarious and completely icky. Incest, people? Really?

This season has really been firing on all cylinders. Can't wait to see where it ends up.

Christopher Florence said...

Awesome episode -- I loved how half of it was funny, then it got very serious, very quickly. I agree on the Zachariah bit. Just the way he says, "Come on, you know we'd just raise you from the dead" (paraphrase). The Winchester gospels had me laughing. :)

Whitney said...

It was a great episode in terms of the overall encompassing ideas. Great review as well. Only Kripke could point and laugh at his fans while making us laugh as well.

Harry said...

Also Kripke did a good job of laughing at himself and his writers too. The line about the bugs, ghost ship and bad writing was priceless and also quite gutsy!

A fantastic episode - Billie I couldn't have taken notes during this either. Roll on the apocalypse!

Harry said...

Forgot to say - wasn't Misha Collins brilliant in the scene where Castiel lets Dean know how to intervene in the prophecy without going against his orders? I thought it was brilliantly done and very subtle acting from Misha.

So Billie - what are the first 5 rules?!

Anonymous said...

I really, really liked this one. It was heavy and also funny. Chuck is a prophet and he´s writing the Winchester gospel? That started funny but ended sad because now, Chuck can´t even have a life.

ChrisB said...

This episode was incredibly clever and fun to watch. I watched it twice, and still missed some of the references. Thanks for picking up on them, Billie.

Laughed out loud at the reference to the bad writing on 'Bugs'. You can read my rant about that particular one on this site. It very nearly stopped me from continuing on with the show. So glad I did!

Still not sure what's going on in Sam's head. This obsession he has with killing Lilith is going to end badly. Lucky for us we now have Chuck and his archangel.

Chuck is an excellent character and I hope we get to see more of him. The gentle way he talks to Sam and the honest way he talks to Dean I thought was much needed about now. The boys seem to need someone stepping between them now.

KidLazarus said...

FYI, that's "Ramble On".

Marianna said...

Just before watching this episode thinking back to After School Special and saying that Sam should write books about all the stuff they do. He could change all the names, use a pen name, and pass it off as fiction, sort of like Watson. Chuck ruined my idea! ARGG!

I actually really like this episode. One thing that bugged me is the original Gospels were not prophecies. They were written well after Jesus' death. Also the term "Gospel" is used for books that told the story of Jesus' life so unless the Messiah shows up and is directly related to what's going on with the Winchesters (or is one of the Winchesters) the term "Winchester Gospel" makes no sense. (Hey! Maybe the Messiah is going to show up!)

Marianna said...

I forgot to mention I also loved the LARPer reference! LARPing was big where I went to college so it wasn't uncommon to see people dressed in costumes behaving strangely. I burst out laughing when the comic-book-store guy asked if they were LARPers!

Mallena said...

One of the best episodes they have done. My favorite part is Sam's brooding and pensive shoulders. Makes me laugh every time. The part I don't understand is why Lillith wanted to make a deal with Sam at that point. Doesn't make sense knowing the end game, but still a great scene, regardless. Maybe she wanted to play with Sam a little. Who could blame her for that?? He's dreamy.

velcrofly said...

Why did Sam and Dean come to the comic book store in the first place? The question of whether it was actually haunted like they suspected was never resolved. Perhaps Chuck or the angels faked the haunting so Sam and Dean would discover the books and learn about prophets, archangels etc.

434444334 said...

I loved the reaction too the fanfic writers

Cause fanfics are scary (some are good not the ones I write but others can be)

Puppet James said...

Okay, gonna try something new: my top three moments in the episode :)

3. The laundromat scene was great and, fun fact, Jensen has recently 'complained' that we don't see the boys at laundromats more than that one scene. He joked about wanting an entire episode of Sam and Dean in their boxers, playing cards in a laundromat.

2. Definitely the Sam/Dean fans scene. The absolute disgust on both of their faces, followed by Dean's comment, was hilarious. "They do know we're brothers, right?"

3. The scene outside the motel between Dean and Castiel, and it's for three reasons. Before this episode, I disliked the character of Castiel, but this was the beginning of what would turn him into my favorite character. The fact that Cass kinda showed what side he was on, by giving Dean the answer to saving Sam. And, of course, the amazing chemistry between Jensen and Misha (and not like that, get your mind out of the gutter. I'm talking to you Destiel shippers, you know who you are.)

Alexandre Ramos Mastrella said...

What's the name of the comic book that's on Chuck Shurley's desk in Supernatural?

Victoria Grossack said...

Ha! I grew up in Bloomington, Indiana.