THEN: The Trickster played some tricks on Sam and Dean, making the Winchesters want to kill him.
NOW: “Supernatural is filmed before a live studio audience.” Yes, we’re starting off the show with our first TV parody, and the Winchesters are stuck in their own sitcom Hell.
Dean puts his lunch-making equipment away, turns around, and the live studio audience erupts in canned applause. He’s made himself a giant sandwich that would make Dagwood blush and says “I’m gonna need a bigger mouth.” The audience laughs hysterically as if that were the funniest thing since sliced bread.
Sam walks in to another burst of applause and, after repeating the “bigger mouth” line (which gets even more laughter) he asks if Dean did his research. When did Sam become Dean’s TV sitcom dad? Dean says he has, and just then a sexy women walks out of the bathroom in her underwear. Since this is a sitcom, this is when the audience does various catcalls, wolf whistles and “Oohs.” She asks Dean to come back for more “research.” I’ve never heard that used as a euphemism for sex before, but OK.
Dean looks straight at the camera and utters his classic sitcom catch phrase: “Son of a bitch!” Except he says it like he’s Alice the maid from The Brady Bunch, making it a million times funnier.
Next we get our opening titles, only they’re in the style of a traditional sitcom, complete with cheesy title song. It’s so funny, I think I just need to reprint the song lyrics:
Town to town, two-lane roads
The family biz, two hunting bros
Living the lie just to get by
As long as we’re moving forward
There’s nothing we can’t do
Together we’ll face the day
You and I won’t run away
When the demons come out to play
Together we’ll face the day
While the sight of Misha Collins and Jensen Ackles on tiny motor-bikes is hilarious, my favorite has to be when Sam opens a closet and sees a ghost, which is just a little kid in a white sheet. I could watch that opening title sequence all day long.
Two days earlier we see a doctor and intern get into an elevator and start making out. No, you didn’t accidentally change the channel to ABC, it’s actually on a TV in a motel. Dean’s watching his new favorite TV show, Dr. Sexy M.D. That’s officially the worst name for a TV show ever.
After Sam correctly mocks Dean for watching this crap, they stop by the police station to investigate an alleged bear attack. They find out the dead man’s wife thought she saw something other than a bear, and after some prodding, the Winchesters find out what she thought she saw: the Incredible Hulk. After Abraham Lincoln, Paris Hilton and the Tooth Fairy, this doesn’t seem quite as shocking as it might’ve a few seasons ago. Dean wants to know if it’s the Eric Bana or Edward Norton version, and the woman claims they both suck, and that this was TV’s Hulk, Lou Ferrigno. Sadly, Ferrigno himself doesn’t have a cameo.
After some quick research, they find out that the dead man had a violent temper, a bit like the Hulk, and murder site was strewn with candy wrappers. Sam and Dean add 2+2 and get the Trickster. Dean is eager to gank him because of the whole “Mystery Spot” thing, but Sam isn’t so quick on the draw. Sam wants to talk and possibly use the Trickster, since he is one of the most powerful creatures they’ve ever met. I’m getting really excited about some weird, messed up Supernatural Justice League with Hunters, the Trickster and maybe a few other weird demonic beings working together to fight Lucifer.
Dean isn’t as excited about allying themselves with a multiple murderer, so Sam agrees that if talking doesn’t work, then they can kill him. But first they have to find the Trickster, so they listen in to the police scanner and take off after hearing a strange call. They arrive at the empty warehouse and see no cops, which is a bad sign. They walk into the warehouse and then…they’re transported into the elevator from Dr. Sexy M.D. No duh, of course it was a Trickster trap!
Now it’s time to wade into the world of our fake Grey’s Anatomy, so let’s just say it’s created by a woman named Rhonda Shimes. Sam and Dean are dressed as doctors while annoying chick music plays in the background. They’re confused, especially since two people are making out in the supply closet. Of course they are.
A woman comes up to Sam and slaps him. “Seriously?” she asks. She calls him a brilliant coward then slaps him again and says “Seriously” again, just for good measure, before walking away. That scene alone was better than the last two seasons of Grey’s Anatomy combined.
Dean is able to figure out that she’s Dr. Ellen Piccolo (oddly similar to the name of Grey’s star Ellen Pompeo), the sexy doctor at Seattle Mercy Hospital. It’s a combo of the newly merged Seattle Grace and Mercy West on Grey’s Anatomy, meaning the Supernatural writers must be closet fans.
Sam suggests that they’re on Dr. Sexy M.D. because the Trickster trapped them in TV Land. Dean dismisses it, but he’s too busy ogling Dr. Wang, the sexy but arrogant heart surgeon. He also sees Johnny Drake, a ghost who only exists in the mind of one of the neurotic doctors. And boom goes the dynamite, since Papa Winchester Jeffrey Dean Morgan also played a ghost on Grey’s Anatomy. Sam correctly finds it stupid that this show has ghosts. I’m sure even Grey’s Anatomy fans agree with that one.
Dr. Sexy himself shows up, and Dean gets this weird smile on his face. Someone has a big fat man crush. That comes to a crashing halt when Dean realizes this isn’t the real Dr. Sexy, because Dr. Sexy wears cowboy boots, not tennis shoes. It’s equally pathetic, hilarious and awesome that Dean would know that. Dr. Sexy makes all the other people in the hospital freeze before morphing into the Trickster.
The Trickster is as fun and off-the-wall as always, but all Sam wants is to talk about teaming up. The Trickster promises that if they survive 24 hours in his game, they’ll talk. However, he doesn’t say exactly what the game is or how to play it. Let the fun begin!
Sam has another run-in with Dr. Piccolo, which allows her to deliver another heartfelt speech while sappy chick music plays in the background. Her speech includes this gem of a line: “You are the finest cerebro-vascular neurosurgeon I have ever met, and I have met plenty.”
A random guy asks Dean to perform an experimental face transplant on his wife, and when he refuses, the man shoots Dean in the back. It’s real, so Sam is forced to perform surgery and fix Dean’s back. That leads to some weird smooth jazz music that sounds more like the operating room on Nip/Tuck than Grey’s Anatomy.
Having completed his mission of doing his doctorly duty, Sam and Dean pass Dr. Sexy M.D. and move on to the next TV parody, a Japanese game show called Nut Cracker. Uh oh, that can’t be good, nor can the fact that Sam and Dean are shackled to podiums with ominous balls attached to levers while a crazy Japanese man screams at them.
Sam gets the first question: “What was the name of the demon you chose over your own brother?” That’s an easy one, it’s Ruby, but since the question is in Japanese, Sam has no idea what’s happening, and when his 20 seconds are up, he loses. So the giant lever is released and, as the show’s title would suggest, Sam’s nuts are cracked. Getting hit in the groin is always funny, especially when they replay it in slo-mo several times.
While Sam recovers, the host does an ad with his female co-host, dressed in devil horns, about the nutritional benefits of Shrimp Chips. Sadly, I would totally eat Shrimp Chips. Just then, Castiel arrives through the doors of the game show, there to save Sam and Dean. He tries, but is quickly zapped away. As the host says, “Mr. Trickster does not like pretty boy angels.” Come on, who doesn’t love pretty boy angels?
With Cas gone, it’s time for Dean’s question, and it’s a big one. “Would your Mother and Father still be alive if your brother were never born?” That’s a surprisingly deep and introspective question, and my guess is that this will play some sort of role in the rest of the season. Dean freaks out because he doesn’t want to get hit in the nuts, and Sam finally figures it out. In order to survive, they need to play along with the roles the Trickster wants them to play, so he tells Dean to answer the question in Japanese.
Since he doesn’t speak it, Dean makes up some fake Japanese, and the subtitles say that his answer is “Yes.” After a long pause, the host reveals that he’s right. The boys celebrate, but I’m not sure they would if they actually knew the question and the answer.
If you watched this episode on DVR, you may have accidentally fast-forwarded past the next part. It starts out like a normal commercial, with a young girl turning to the camera and saying that she has genital herpes. Then an old man says it. Then Sam turns around to the camera, and with a hilariously depressed and mortified expression on his face, he plays his role and says, “I’ve got genital herpes.” Sam just had the Clap last week, and now he has genital herpes? Someone on the Supernatural writing staff is definitely playing a joke on Jared Padalecki.
After Sam’s Herpexia commercial, it’s back to where we started in the sitcom where we once again get to hear Dean’s high-pitched “Son of a bitch.” Sam shows Dean’s sexy research buddy out the door as they both start to think about how they might die in TV Land. Finally, Cas shows up again, and he warns that this guy is way too powerful to be a Trickster. Before Cas can expand on that point, he’s thrown against the wall and gets tape over his mouth when the Trickster walks in.
The Trickster seems to recognize Cas before sending the angel back to another TV Land while Sam and Dean demand answers. It turns out the Trickster doesn’t just want the boys to play their roles in his game, he wants them to do it out in the real world too. By that, he means the roles of Lucifer and Michael.
It’s all about the big battle, and since Sam and Dean started this whole mess by releasing Lucifer, he just wants them to accept their roles and end everything already since it is their destiny. The Trickster claims not to be on either side, he just wants it to be over. He gets ticked off and snaps his fingers, sending the boys to their next destination: CSI.
The boys are in nice suits, wearing sunglasses at night as the crime scene investigators pour over a dead body. Dean is furious because he HATES procedural cop shows. God bless you, Dean Winchester. They see one guy sucking on a lollipop, so they assume it’s the Trickster. Sam forms a plan to play along, so they walk slowly towards the body while a Who sound-alike plays (I guess the real music rights were too expensive). The body has a roll of quarters in his mouth and a stab wound in his stomach, prompting a series of hilariously awful one-liners right out of the CSI franchise while the boys slowly take off their sunglasses and put them back on for dramatic effect.
Sam: Well I say, jackpot!
Dean: Well I say, no guts, no glory.
Sam: Get that guy a Tums.
Dean: Gutter ball.
I imagine in the first draft of this script, that scene went on for about 30 more one-liners, but Dean ends it by stabbing the lab tech with a wooden stake to kill the Trickster. However, the real Trickster appears and laughs that they got the wrong guy, but just then, Sam comes up behind him and stabs him with another wooden stake.
Ding don, the Trickster is dead! TV Land disappears and the boys realize they’re still in the warehouse. The boys go back to their motel, and while Dean washes up, Sam seems to vanish. Dean gets worried and jumps in his Impala to find his brother when he hears Sam’s voice. Where is Sam, you ask? He IS the Impala, and we see his voice represented by some modulating red lights inside the car. “I don’t think we killed the Trickster” Sampala says.
Yes, you guessed correctly: Knight Rider! The classic theme songs kicks into action as Dean drives the Sampala down the road, complete with the red light going back and forth in the front bumper. Dean and his car debate why the stake didn’t kill the Trickster, and Sampala suggests that it’s not a Trickster after all. Dean puts the pieces together and delivers his catch phrase (sadly not the high-pitched sitcom version).
At a rest stop they set a trap for the Trickster, but Sampala feels kind of weird when Dean puts things in his trunk. Dean calls out for the Trickster and he shows up. Dean orders him to turn Sam back into a person before they agree to let Lucifer and Michael take them over. He does, but the boys have a trick up their sleeves. Sam throws a lighter on the ground and a ring of fire forms around the Trickster.
It turns out their theory is correct and that the Trickster isn’t a Trickster at all. He’ an Angle! He tries to deny it, but the jig is up. They go back to the warehouse with the Trickster trapped in the holy fire circle. He reveals that he’s actually Gabriel, the archangel. He left Heaven, got a face transplant and hid out as a Trickster in his own version of Witness Protection.
Gabriel left because he couldn’t stand watching his angel brethren fighting all the time, and now that Lucifer is free and the end is near, he just wants all the fighting to stop, which is why he’s pushing for Sam and Dean to accept their roles and get the final battle over with.
Then he gets personal by breaking down what’s really happening. This isn’t about the end of the world, it’s about two brothers who used to love each other but now are bitter rivals. It’s no coincidence that Sam and Dean are the perfect vessels for Michael and Lucifer. Gabriel finally explains everything that Supernatural has always been about:
“Michael [aka Dean], the big brother, loyal to an absent father.”
“Lucifer [aka Sam], the little brother, rebellious of daddy’s plan.”
It all makes perfect sense. They aren’t just roles and vessels, Sam and Dean are these two angels, thus making John Winchester God. It’s one of those things that makes so much sense that you’re sad you didn’t realize it until Gabriel literally described it all.
Gabriel says that this is the unavoidable destiny the Winchesters have been leading up to all along. It’s why Gabriel was always so interested in them, because he knew they were the ultimate players in the battle all along. It’s why he tried to turn them against one another in “Tall Tales” and why he tried to get Sam to stop caring about Dean’s death in “Mystery Spot.”
Dean still thinks they can stop it, but Gabriel assures them that it is what will happen. Sam and Dean will accept their roles, fight, and one will kill the other. It’s how it has to be. Man, this new archangel Trickster is a real downer.
Gabriel brings Castiel back from wherever he was, and the three good guys leave. But Dean is still the hero, so he pulls the fire alarm so the sprinklers put out the circle and let Gabriel go. First, Dean explains that this wasn’t about the final battle, it was about Gabriel being too afraid to stand up to his family.
Cas, Sam and Dean walk outside and, depressed by what they just learned, Dean wishes their lives were just a TV show. Trust me Dean, if your lives were a TV show, it would be very, very good.
Next week on Supernatural: Things might get a little bit lighter thanks to Sam and Dean getting invited to a Supernatural fan convention. Then again, we also thought the TV parody episode would be all laughs, so nothing is certain.
-John Kubicek, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image courtesy of the CW)