Last year Supernatural celebrated its 200th episode in style – a musical. The first episode was shown on 13th September 2005, therefore this year is 10 years for the TV show! To mark this special occasion, I wrote an article for my English Language coursework, which I thought I’d share with you all:
“Crazy, isn’t it? (Dingo-ate-my-baby crazy?) If when the very first episode of Supernatural had aired, someone said it would still be going 200 episodes, 10 seasons later, you probably would have laughed and told them to keep dreaming on. The pilot was the start of Sam and Dean’s journey together: saving people, hunting things: the family business and who would forget that scene – Lawrence, Kansas: 22 years ago? Of course our main characters needed a tragic backstory and a motive but we were chucked in at the deep end. Then it happened again and that’s it, you were hooked. Just like that.
But here we are at the beginning of 2015 with Supernatural’s 10 year anniversary (double digits now!) right at our doorstep. Over these 10 dramatic, gripping and emotional seasons—and probably several boxes of tissues per episode to go with that—we’ve seen the Winchester brothers change physically and mentally.
They’ve been to Hell and back, encountered wendigo, demons, leviathan and Lucifer himself, but also teamed up with, and lost, many hunters and friends—some even close to family. The 200th episode, Fan Fiction, is a little nod to the past and what’s yet to come on the road so far. What else could be at the top of our list of favourite episodes?
I’ll try not to spoil it for you: the episode takes place at an all girl’s school, focusing on the drama department (when they said musical, they literally meant it!) and Sam and Dean decide to investigate after the disappearance of their teacher. “There is nothing that even remotely suggests there isn’t a case.” Walking in on an all-singing production on their lives, their faces slowly change from ‘another day in the life of a hunter’ to complete shock and confusion. Your emotions are split right down the middle; you feel sorry for them but it’s also a pretty funny way to start the episode. Linking in to the stories of the past, with some very catchy songs that you won’t be able to get out of your head for weeks, the Winchesters try to save the cast as the creature threatens—but the show must go on!
Fourth wall? What fourth wall—we’ve seen Supernatural take a step back and comment on itself but also the fans in meta-episodes (not to be confused with that insidious, irritating, immoral so-called angel… you all know who I’m talking about) such as The French Mistake and The Real Ghostbusters. Bitten is a strange one, some would not call it a meta-episode but you could, as we see the Winchesters from an outsider point of view—I really recommend this episode, even though it’s not on our top 10.
Like any worthy anniversary episode, Supernatural reflects back on its time over the years: the deciding factor of casting Jared and Jensen to accurately play their characters (which would inspire more and another 9 seasons), the very first scene, Castiel’s call to Dean in The End, the dependency of the brothers being symbolised through the amulet Dean used to wear (then threw away…) and the importance of the 1967 Chevrolet Impala – a sleek, black, truly American car, (representing their independence and freedom like our eagle) which just so happens to become their home. “It never occurred to them that, sure, maybe they never really had a roof and four walls…but they were never in fact homeless.”
Fan Fiction is also a recognition of the fans of the show, but in a better style than previous metas; Becky was a very harmful portrayal of the fans: a writer of an inappropriate style of fanfiction, creepy stalker and an obsessive, sexually frustrated Sam-girl. We were introduced to her in this way in Sympathy for the Devil (although there were some humorous points in her scenes, such as in Season 7, Time for a Wedding).
Furthermore, the Supernatural Convention in season 5 had LARPers, even though the majority of which were fat, nerdy neckbeards. (No offence!) But this episode was devoted to the fans personally—to the real us. When news got around that there would be a musical episode in season 10, we weren’t quite sure what to think. Singing demons? Dancing Winchesters? It almost sounded like a Hunter-version of Sound of Music! But because of it being the 200th episode, it was ‘hyped up’ like the Salem Witch trials—we only had very little information to go on, with false ideas and hopes of a distant ship on the ocean of pairings. But in more than one way, Fan Fiction actually exceeded the expectations of many.
Unlike episodes in other seasons of Supernatural, Fan Fiction passes what we call the ‘Bechdel test’. This is when two or more female characters discuss something other than a male character in a scene by themselves. (Not surprising, as this episode is set in an all-girl school!) What’s even better? All episodes of season 10 have passed this test so far.
Would Swan Song be number one on our list if Supernatural had ended there? Just over 4 more seasons have passed since then because of the most important people—without them, the show wouldn’t have gotten this far—the fans. Specifically fan-girls like us who spend our time being productive and creative through the show. This is the most important message the producers are trying to tell us: that they appreciate us, every part of us, and even though we have our own theories, ideas and ships—that’s fine, but it doesn’t mean that these will happen. “You have your version and I have mine.”
But would Doyle have brought back Sherlock Holmes without the fans? Would Tolkien have rethought his ideas of the Ring to write Lord of the Rings without them? We have always been how we are (Becky, LARPer, or just full-on geek) and that’s not necessarily a bad thing; the cast and writers understand they need to be encouraged and welcome because that’s what makes the show work.
Fan Fiction, in short, was one of those one-off meta-episodes where we can take a break from the major story arc of the season, sit back and have a laugh while the writers slip in a “thanks for sticking around” note amongst everything else.
With the promise of returning characters, the introduction of new, important ones and exciting storylines, Supernatural’s newest season looks like it will be a hit as it enters its 10th year of being around. Will we be here in another 10 years with another amazing, eye-opening and laugh-out-loud episode? We can’t exactly have the Winchesters regenerate like Doctor Who to keep the show alive… Or can we?”
To the right of the article is a Top 10 “The Road So Far” list:
“10. Caged Heat (6×10)
Sam and Dean team up with Meg, a demon, to try to get Sam’s soul back from Crowley.
9. Lazarus Rising (4×01)
Dean wakes from his grave and finds he’s been dead for several months – what rescued him from Hell and why?
8. On the Head of a Pin (4×16)
After the death of seven angels, Castiel and Uriel ask Dean to interrogate their prisoner, Alastair – his torturer in Hell.
7. Lucifer Rising (4×22)
As the apocalypse draws closer, Sam goes with Ruby to stop Lilith from breaking the final seal as Dean is locked in ‘Heaven’s waiting room’.
6. Goodbye Stranger (8×17)
While Naomi has control, Castiel continues to lie to the Winchesters as Team Free Will joins up with Meg again to find another tablet.
5. Changing Channels (5×08)
Our old friend the Trickster traps Sam and Dean in TV-Land to teach them “how to play their roles” but all is not what it seems.
4. Sacrifice (8×23)
Sam’s health has taken a turn for the worst after the first two trials to close Hell’s gates—but halfway through the third they realise it could cause more harm than good.
3. Swan Song (5×22)
As Chuck’s story comes to an end, Michael and Lucifer as Sam and Adam battle it out, but Dean isn’t letting them go that easily.
2. The End (5×04)
Dean finds himself in a post-apocalypse future where the Croatoan virus has taken over as Lucifer uses Sam as a vessel while future Dean looks for revenge.”
Thanks for taking the time to read my article and please let me know what you think of it! How did you find the episode? Do you disagree? Is your Top 10 different?
Message me on tumblr (where you’ll most likely find me nowadays) at thefandominterpreters 🙂