Supernatural: The Show Must Go On

supernatural

I was kind of nervous to watch “Fan Fiction” Tuesday night. So much anticipation had been built up around Supernatural‘s 200th episode and I had such high expectations that it seemed inevitable it would disappoint. But guess what? It didn’t!

Am I the only one who wants the soundtrack to Supernatural: The Musical now? I’ve seen other shows try to do musical episodes and I’ve watched them fall flat, but I have to say, Supernatural did it right. They avoided a lot of the pitfalls that turn what could be a fun episode into a cheese fest. They didn’t force any of the main cast to sing (although Jensen Ackles has some pretty impressive pipes if you ever want to check him out on YouTube) and they kept the songs original and fun, instead of just covering Top 40 pop songs. As the baddie of this episode says, it was music you could “really tap your toe to.”

The episode started out the way most monster-of-the-week episodes do, with the boys chasing a case across the country. Although there was still underlying tension about whether or not Dean was really OK after his brush with demonism, the episode didn’t linger on it. The whole tone reminded me of the good old days, before all the angels and demons craziness, when Sam and Dean were younger and a bit greener and each week put them up against an new urban nightmare come to life. Maybe I was just set up by all the promotion for this landmark episode, but everything seemed thick with nostalgia. Even the opening scene with Dean lovingly polishing the innards of the Impala was heavy with meaning.

Cut to a group of very dedicated Supernatural fans–I mean, all-girls boarding school drama nerds–rehearsing their interpretation of Carver Edlund’s not-so-hit book series. Since Chuck stopped writing the books after Swan Song, leaving Dean alone and Sam trapped in hell, the director Marie decided she would write her own ending. It was, as she put it, “transformative fiction” (fan fiction by any other name).

The boys seemed a little thrown off when they walked into a theatrical retelling of their lives–complete with fake beards and musical numbers. After a while, though, they seemed to warm up to the idea. Sam, a self-professed theatre geek (who knew?) seemed quite intrigued by the “subtext” of the story and even the more reluctant Dean couldn’t help bopping to the catchy tunes.

The case appeared at first to be a tulpa with a taste for drama nerds, but it turned out to be Calliope, goddess of epic poetry. And what’s more epic than Supernatural: The Musical, am I right? I was all dewy-eyed thinking about the last time the boys went up against a minor deity. Makes you all gooey and sentimental thinking about wooden stakes dipped in the blood of goats, doesn’t it?

When Sam and Dean realized the show had to go on if they wanted to get Calliope to show her face, they really got behind the production 110 per cent. Dean’s pep talk to the girls was a really sweet moment and it doubled as a love letter to fans of Supernatural who love having fun with the story lines and characters in their fan fiction interpretations, but always stay true to the brotherly love that is the beating heart of this show. Supernatural has done episodic shout-outs to their fans before, but this one felt different. It was respectful and really tender, not so much poking good humoured fun at the audience as it was saying thank you for ten years on the air.

As the all-girl cast drew the curtains on their opening night, the boys were busy back stage hunting Calliope and her scarecrow minion. I have to confess, although I was watching the boys in action, most of my attention was on what was happening onstage.

I can’t stress enough how much I loved the original music in this episode. The opener, “On The Road So Far” had some kickass harmonies and a great use of minor chords, and as a longtime fan of the show, the song lyrics hit me right in the feels. I think they should replace the opening sequence with this number in every episode from now on. And Castiel’s solo,”I’ll just wait then”? Adorable! I always loved that scene with Cas and the cellphone call. Come to think of it, all this episode was missing was Cas and his perplexed “humans are strange” commentary.

Like true professionals, the boys had everything squared away before the curtains went up on Act 2. There was a really lovely scene where Marie handed Dean a prop Samulet (that’s fan speak for the necklace Dean used to wear) and although he told her he didn’t need a necklace to remind him of how he felt about his brother, Dean did end up hanging it from his rearview mirror. So for all you fans who have been mourning it’s loss since Dean tossed it out in Season 5, the Samulet is back! Kind of?

The final act of the musical was so epic. The girls did a beautiful cover of “Carry On Our Wayward Son,” the Kansas song that has become the official unofficial theme song of this show. Seeing all the characters we’ve known and loved and lost over the seasons reunited onstage–albeit played by teenage girls with fake beards and really bad wigs–was more emotional than I expected. I may have teared up a bit. Maybe a lot. Even the touch-as-nails Winchester boys got a little misty-eyed!

What a great episode and a great tribute to all us diehard fans who have stuck it out until now. May the show go on and on.

Supernatural aside:

  • Chuck shows up after literally disappearing into thin air at the end of Season 5’s “Swan Song”! Does this mean he really is God?
  • Quotable quote of the episode: so many to choose from, including some really clever song lyrics. There was the moment where Sam said “It’s got to be somewhere in the lore.” – that really brought me back, all the way back to Season 1. And that “a single man tear” line from the musical really slew me. But I’d have to say my favourite quote came from Marie: “You can’t spell subtext without spelling S-E-X”
  • Speaking of subtext, the boys arguing over the pronunciation of “Destiel” was hilarious. Everyone knows it’s “Dee-stee-El”, dur!
  • I LOVED that Adam made an appearance in the final number. I guess this means the writers are finally publicly acknowledging fan rage about the fact that Adam is still technically trapped in a cage with Lucifer! Maybe it’s just me, but I’m still waiting for the episode where the boys go back for little bro’….
  • What was your favourite musical number? Let me know in the comments.

Looks like the boys are in for a little dinner theatre next week. Can’t wait!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKZTHw9Dl1I

Supernatural airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.