Supernatural turned 200 on Tuesday with what might be its most meta episode yet (and that's saying a lot).
A mysterious disappearance leads Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) to an all-girls school where the students are in the middle of staging an original musical based on the Carver Edlund Supernatural books. The boys are understandably thrown by the production, but Sam's inner drama nerd quickly embraces the situation while Dean basically just walks around gawking as his onstage persona gets too close for comfort with the play's versions of Sam and Castiel.
The brothers eventually discover that a Scarecrow is abducting those who defy the musical, but the monster is only a manifestation of Calliope. Although she has a beautiful dress (and great taste in musicals), Calliope is actually a pretty evil God who creates creatures to protect an author's vision until it's realized... and then eats the author. (Yikes!) So in order to draw Calliope out into the open, Sam and Dean see the truth in the old adage: The show must go on.
Everything then unfolds exactly as you would expect: Boys hunt monster, boys kill monster, boys jump in the Impala and leave. To be honest, beyond the postmodern winking, there wasn't a lot to the episode — but who cares? "Fan Fiction" was a true celebration of the Little Genre Show That Could, warts and all. Not only did it include wonderfully nostalgic nods to Bobby, the Harvelles and the "assbutt" heard round the world, it also acknowledged some of Supernatural's less well-received developments (Dean shacking up with Lisa, that time Sam hit a dog) in a way that made the show that much more lovable.
But while the episode's plot lacked the oomph of the series' better episodes, it definitely left me feeling hopeful with regard for what's to come. After watching one of the musical's big B.M. scenes (Boy Melodrama, that is. Not bowel movements, as the brothers thankfully learn), Sam and Dean seem to remember why they enjoyed this lifestyle in the first place. Just the two of them on the road, saving people, hunting things. You know, the family business. And when Dean hung his replacement Samulet on Baby's rearview mirror — even though it was only a prop from the show — I just about teared up. (Please don't let this be a psych-out, Jeremy Carver. I need me some good bro times this season. The boys have been through enough recently.)
However, for an episode that was repeatedly billed as "a love letter to the fans," I don't know how well the fans came off in "Fan Fiction." Slash ships such as Destiel were played for laughs (cue accusations of queerbaiting), and while the musical's author wasn't as stereotypical (and obnoxious) as superfan Becky Rosen, she was a teenage girl, which is probably the most tired comparison in fangirl history. For a show that constantly brings its own fans into the story, it would be nice to see a more accurate and flattering depiction of what a Supernatural fan is really like. You know, as opposed to what they're accused of being by outsiders.
But with that said, there was one moment in "Fan Faction" that made any reservations I had seem irrelevant because What. The. Frak.
At the end of the hour, when the show has wrapped and Sam and Dean have driven off into the sunset together (literally), the musical's author begins talking to non other than Chuck Shurley himself. Cue this face.
I don't expect us to see Chuck again this season, but God — pun not intended — would I love to finally get some in-canon answers. Because although the cast and producers have acknowledged in interviews that yes, Chuck Shurley is the almighty, we have yet to actually see this confirmed in canon.
We last saw Chuck in the Season 5 finale, "Swan Song," when he contentedly snapped his fingers and disappeared. Since then, the world has fallen apart a few times over. Does he not care about the Winchesters anymore? Does he not care about his children, the angels, or any of his creations? Does he just spend his time watching teenage girls obsess over his books like some pervy puppet master? What's he doing? I just want to know what this means. I know I'll probably never find out and that's okay (for now), but bringing back a character as big as God is a pretty hard thing to accept as just a two-second cameo.
When asked last season about the potential return of Chuck to aid the Winchesters last season, Padalecki pointed out that his return would pretty much mean the end of all the boys' troubles, and therefore the show. "If you've got God on your side or an angel on your side, you're never really in danger," the actor explained. So maybe Chuck's appearance was just a little reminder that yes, he is God and he is out there, but that we won't see more of him until Sam and Dean are ready to hang up their hunting salt once and for all.
But enough of the philosophical. Here are the best little Easter Eggs and tidbits from Supernatural's 200th episode:• The mash-up of every single title card ever featured on the show was just delightful, and needs to be GIF'd from here to eternity. • It was a lot of fun to try and spot all the ways producers snuck in references to the number 200, like Sam and Dean's hotel room number and the high school's bingo jackpot. • It was a subtle one, but as a Die Hardfan I really appreciated Sam and Dean's aliases #norelation • The only thing worse than the way the girl playing Bobby pronounced "Idjits" was her fake beard. He's probably rolling over in his grave as we speak. • First Becky, now this girl. Why are all the bigSupernaturalfans represented on this show Samgirls? Deangirls deserve their day too! • The entire time Sam and Dean were hunting the Scarecrow backstage was giving me major flashbacks to Miss Congeniality. • "On the Road So Far" is a darn catchy tune and I'm glad we got a Destiel love song (just as I'd hoped), but it was when the cast got together to sing "Carry on Wayward Son" that my heart really sang with them. Plus, all the actresses were really singing! • At one point in the musical, "Sam" was driving "Baby." I don't care that she wasn't the real deal. It was just wrong. • Forget too little, too late. At this point, I will take any reference to Adam being trapped in that cage with Lucifer. • I don't know what I expected when the author stabbed the Scarecrow (yelling "no chick flick moments," no less) but I definitely did not see it going all Gallagher on the audience. Well done, Supernatural. Well done. • Dean's awkward bow at the end of the show was probably my favorite non-brotherly moment.
What did you think of the 200th episode?