WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?!
Truthfully, I didn't think the episode had much meaning at all when I first went into this review - just a funny episode full of inside jokes. Fun to watch but boring to write about.
I did scrounge up a couple of serious points as I went - one obviously to do with the theme from last episode - the burden that the boys carry and the horrible things they have been through. What if they didn't have to push it down and bury it all any more. What if there was an out? Would they take it?
Another, I guess, is to do with how the war is going upstairs. How Cas has all the weapons of heaven at his disposal at the end of the episode, and how Balthazar's words will come true as only we as rewatchers know.
The multiple universe/realities aspect of this episode, and how that might relate to time travel in Supernatural are quite interesting as well. The idea is that there are many universes - some universes within others - like in the Dark Tower series by Steven King or even Horton the Elephant: both with the interesting idea of a world inside one little flower.
SupernaturalWiki explains how the episode was named after a scene of Blazing Saddles, when the main characters break through a window and find themselves in the "real world" - the actual set of the musical in which the song, The French Mistake is being performed. Characters of a story finding out that they are actually characters in a story is called "breaking the fourth wall" which is what they literally do in both shows.
Of course, the real world as portrayed in the show is not really real either - many of the people played by different actors, and all are different from the actual people in some way. It's just another universe within the "writers' brain." If you think of it that way, the future in The End can also be considered an alternate future/ending imagined by the writer. (In which case... there is no reason to puzzle over whether or not it is possible to change the future. duh). Characters with power or the right spell (like angels) then have the ability to jump from one story idea to another, connecting them and kind of making them part of the Supernatural story, like bunches of brain neurons making new passages to connect different parts of the brain :D *muses*
We also see various references to other shows in this episode. Most notably the Wizard of Oz. If I go into those, I think I will have to write the whole script so I won't. If you get them it's sort of fun, if you don't, you're not really missing anything.
ANYWAY, let's get started.
"Ancient Celtic Lands" by Biddy Blyth & Mike John Trim (plays in Jensen Ackles' trailer)
We start the episode with Dean emptying a bottle of whiskey into his cup as he sits at Bobby's desk, researching. When Sam comes up and asks where Bobby went, Dean tells him he's gone on a supply run because they've run out of "hunter's helper." Sam is surprised that Bobby would choose such a time to go on a supply run since there is a storm outside, but the booze is quite necessary and Dean calls Bobby a hero for going, which is kind of cute.
Suddenly Balthazar appears and first he's blabbing cryptically about the Godfather and how they are in it - that scene where the Godfather sends assassins to kill all the other dons. (Can I just remark on how interesting angels are - how some angels like Cas would not know or be able to understand a movie like the Godfather, while some like Balthazar and Gabriel would?) Sam and Dean are standing with their mouths open at the sudden intrusion. Dean tries to get Balthazar's attention but he's too busy finding stuff for the spell and talking about the Godfather to answer. And finally when he does -
DEAN: I said "hey."
BALTHAZAR: You did. Twice. Good for you.
He pats Dean on the back but goes right on with his task, complementing Bobby on his pantry. I love how Bobby has food and blood of lamb together in the fridge and the bone of a lesser saint in an almost empty long drawer of his desk. A normal person would probably think he was a mass murderer.
Balthazar's just finished telling them that Raphael is after them all, then given Sam a key and told him to run with it, when Virgil comes crashing in and Balthazar gets flung to the other side of the room. Balthazar shouts to Sam and Dean to run. Of course Sam and Dean don't know where to run so they just stand there while Virgil advances on them. Balthazar then flings them through the window with the painted sigil on it and they are suddenly "not in Kansas anymore."
SAM: Should we be killing anybody?
DEAN: I don't think so.
SAM: - Running?
And the people in the chairs - Bobby Singer, Kevin and Serge are talking about the scene and how they can't use it because there was something wrong with the sigil; discussing whether they should do it over, in which case they have to cut the broment at the car.
KEVIN Well, we can clean up, reset the window, takes about 95 minutes, basically. So, we'd have to blow off the scene where they sit on the impala and talk about their feelings.
BOB Ha. Right. You answer the hate mail.
The thought of all these guys discussing Sam and Dean "talking about their feelings" is quite funny to me. Also interesting to imagine how certain scenes get cut because they just don't have time for a do over.
Sam and Dean are lead off - Sam to answer an interview, and Dean to fix his makeup.
They have to get out of this crazy place and while they do, they talk about their very unique names - especially Sam's.
SAM: Yeah. I mean, here --wherever "here" is, this -- this twilight zone Balthazar zapped us into. For whatever reason, our life is a tv show.
SAM: I don't know.
DEAN: No, seriously. Why? Why would anybody want to watch our lives?
That's interesting - Dean saying what he has already said once in The Real Ghostbusters. A bit sad that he hasn't remembered the message he got from the fans then.
SAM: Well, I mean, according to that interviewer, not very many people do. Look, I'm not saying it makes sense. I'm just saying, we -- we landed in some dimension where you're Jensen Ackles, and I'm something called a "Jared Padalecki."
DEAN: So what, now you're polish? Is any of this making any sense to you?
"Something called a..." LOL! It was also mentioned in The Real Ghostbusters that the books didn't have a very large fan base. It might have been more interesting to change that bit, since they are in a different universe. Come to think of it, it doesn't really go with the fact that Jared and Jensen here are so well paid.
When they get outside, they pray to Cas. Misha just happens to be there, which makes them think that Cas had come in answer to their prayer, so they rush up to him with all their questions
Misha thinks they are practicing lines on him and, flattered, decides to go along with it. I love the completely clueless faces Sam and Dean have as they listen to Misha explain what the key is, and why Balthazar brought them over to this reality.
Once they find out Misha's just an actor, they quickly leave Misha behind but not before Jensen getting a jab in again about the weird names.
DEAN: Misha? Jensen? What's up with the names around here?
MISHA You guys! You really punked me! I'm totally gonna tweet this one. "Hola, mishamigos. "J-squared... Got me good."
DEAN: I just want to dig my finger in my brain and scratch until we're back in Kansas.
MISHA "Really...Starting to feel... Like one of the guys."
Love how Misha is tweeting even here. Anyone who has listened to Jared and Jensen or Misha at the conventions also knows that if Jared and Jensen prank someone, they like them. Misha is stoked :D
They come across Jensen's trailer -
SAM: Hey. "J. Ackles."
DEAN: That's fake me!
DEAN: This must be fake mine
And they go in to discuss the situation, and find all kinds of neat stuff - Jensen has a huge fish tank and a mobile helicopter.
DEAN: Well, he's not a hunter, but he plays one on tv. Oh. Come on. Look at these male-modelin' sons of bitches. Nice "blue steel,"Sam.
We pretty much see that TV Guide cover everywhere in the episode. The blue steel being mentioned is funny as well, considering Jensen and Jared like to make fun of other actors with their blue steel.
SAM: Yeah. And, uh...Oh. Says you were on a soap opera.
All the while, a huge screen is showing Jensen (and Jared) in the Season 4 gag reel. I love how they are both winking at the screen as Dean explains his plan to put the sigil on the window and go back to where they came from. The screen shows the two to be pretty friendly with each other while it is mentioned numerous times in the episode that they are not on speaking terms. The gag reel almost seems like a little message to us from the real Jensen and Jared. Not the fake Jensen and Jared that don't like each other.
DEAN: If we can reverse Balthazar's spell... I watched every move. We just, uh, get the ingredients, right, get back to that same window, and...There's no place like home.
Bobby and Kevin watch puzzled as Sam and Dean find that all the props are fake. Wasn't there a scene in one of the gag reels about that? Maybe with Zachariah? LOL
Sam and Dean then decide to get out of there in order to get the necessary ingredients.
They try to ride the Impalla out of the set and find out that even the Impalla is a prop. They get Clif to take them to Jared's house - which I guess he has in Vancouver. It's actually sort of inconsistent that this reality's Jared and Jensen - who are supposedly not on talking terms - share a driver/bodyguard. Anyway, another funny moment when Dean finds out they are not in the USA:
DEAN: Dude, we're not even in America.
Jared's house is a huge mansion with a tanning table (making fun of Jared and his visible tan at an event) and a very nice liquor cabinet, which Dean is just about to raid when he hears a weird sound outside. He peeks out into the yard to find ... a camel?
GENEVIEVE: It's an alpaca, dumbass.
GENEVIEVE: "Ruby." right. That one never gets old. (to Sam) How was work today, hon?
Gen is not amused by being called Ruby. Dean finally figures out that she's just the actress that plays Ruby. Looking around the room and finding the (real) wedding photo and the pair photos of Jared and Gen on the wall, he also figures out that they are married.
We again have the revelation by Gen that Dean has never been to their home before, since the two are not on speaking terms. I guess this is making fun of the fact that they practically live together in real life.
DEAN: Well, now that I know there's an alpaca out back, I'm definitely coming back.
GENEVIEVE: Well, alpacas are the greenest animal.
DEAN: Right. Right. That is so important.
I love that exchange - Gen sounds like a dumb rich girl, and Dean so doesn't care about which animal is "greener" - whatever that means!
Gen leaves them for a charity dinner for adopting otters but not before kissing Sam (while Dean covers his eyes) and noting how it's nice that they are talking at least. This is a big "theme" in this episode - the fact that in this non-magic world, Jared and Jensen do not get along. It's very similar to the message we get in What is and What Should Never Be - that, in another life/reality, Sam and Dean would not have necessarily gotten along. The theme is important as a reason that Sam mentions for not chosing to stay in the alternate reality
Anyway, Sam and Dean start researching about how to get the ingredients for their spell and realize that they don't have to steal anything in this world. They just have to buy it! Hilarious how Jensen's credit cards are all up to the limit while Jared's are not :P Also love how while we had Jensen's face on the screen in his trailer, we have a huge picture of Sam behind his desk!
They finish prepping and Dean hops on the couch for the night while Sam goes out to get a beer from the cooler just as Gen comes home. Sam wants to see if the apocalypse happened in this reality so he asks her about the earthquakes and stuff last year. Gen tells him, yes she remembers it from his show, but not in real life, tells him he's been playing Sam for too long and leads him off to bed. Awwww :DDD
The next day, they are up early to pick up their lesser bone of a saint and other stuff for their spell.
CLIF: We're not doing anything illegal, are we?
SAM: Would it make you feel better if we said no?
They get to the set and try to set up the spell when everyone arrives for shooting. Dean tries to clear the set, but Bobby Singer kindly tells him, no. And now Dean realizes that they are actually going to have to act.
This scene with the fake acting... I know it's totally hilarious if you like this sort of thing, but boy I just can't watch it I am so embarrassed for them. How fake can you get?!
OK, it's kind of funny in a gif but, Dean's face there... REALLY?!
Come on. They are con artists. Sam was even in a school play in high school. They can act.
I am a bit puzzled and humored by this conversation though -
SAM If there's a key...then there has to be a lock. And when we find the lock, we can get the weapons, and then we can have the weapons. And the lock. We'll still have the lock, I imagine, because we've opened it, and, of course, the initial key.
DEAN We need to get all three of that crap.
DEAN That's how he does it.
Sam is obviously adlib-ing here right? I have no idea what Dean is talking about. Maybe what they need to do in real life?
It was also fun to see Misha having to go through so many takes on their scene together. I loved the make up lady coming up and fixing his hair. I also enjoyed Sam and Dean making fun of the lines (with Misha listening in behind them).
SAM Who wrote this? Nobody says "penultimate!"
DEAN Gun, mouth. Now.
Bobby and Kevin then talk about how they can maybe put pieces together to create a scene because they don't have time to do them over.
KEVIN Well, uh, technically, we have them saying everything in bits and pieces. Could be sort of experimental?
BOB Whatever. Season six.
I guess in a sense, that is really what Season 6 is - sticking bits and pieces together, experimental LOL!
Then Misha's tweeting - which according to wiki, the REAL Misha really tweeted.
MISHA "I-m-h-o, 'J' and 'J' had a late one last night."
Finished with their "acting," Sam and Dean finally get to their real purpose.
Having got all the ingredients ready, they draw the sigil on the window and crash through... But nothing happens except for OWWWWWW...
Sam and Dean are on the ground for a while trying to recover from the fall and in front of both of them are Bobby Singer and Kevin with expressions of pure despair, which is kind of cute.
Sam and Dean are back at Jensen's trailer, trying to figure out why the spell didn't work. Dean is sure he did it all correctly. Sam tells Dean that he checked on the net and found no sign of the apocalypse. What if this reality didn't have any of that? Maybe that's why they can't contact Cas or work the spell.
DEAN: No demons, no hell, no heaven, no -- no god?
SAM: Something like. Even better -- No angels.
At which point, Virgil comes crashing through the window on set.
Dean and Sam walk through the set, talking about how maybe they can leave Canada somehow because Dean is getting tired of all the hockey conversations (haha)- when suddenly Sam sees Virgil in front of Dean. Virgil doesn't know what kind of reality this is, which is interesting. He tries to burn out Dean's eyes or something but he can't.
SAM: No magic in the house.
DEAN: Which makes you nothing but a dick.
While Sam and Dean are beating Virgil up, their stunt doubles are practicing their stunts a little way off and the guy in charge of all the stunts, Lou, is bragging to a lady in front of him that he oversees all the fights. The lady points over to Sam and Dean and asks him if he is overseeing this too. Lou and the stunt doubles come to stop Sam and Dean, which makes an interesting picture for them I guess. Virgil gets away after snatching the key from Sam's pocket - you'd think after Bad Day that Sam would have learned not to put important things in his jacket pocket.
While they are doing that, Bobby and Kevin are talking with Sera Gamble on the phone, trying to figure out what to do to get Jensen and Jared back on track. They think it might be that Jared and Jensen are buying illegal drugs and are high on something.
Sera suggests she'd come and talk with them, but Bobby says they don't know her well enough. They should call Kripke. Which reminds us again that Kripke was the creator of the show until the end of Season 5, and Sera has just taken over from Season 6.
So Dean and Sam are still on set, talking about the implications of Virgil being here in this reality while Misha is getting ready to go home.
MISHA 'night, little fella.
(I like that - calling the guy "little" - makes him feel taller I suppose, after a day of working with Jared and Jensen.)
He gets in to his car after getting his keys and starts tweeting:
MISHA "ever get that feeling...Someone's in the backseat?"Frowny face.
And someone is in the back seat. Virgil. LOVE Misha's panic.
Bob decides to talk to them and ask what is the matter. Sam and Dean find out that his name is Bobby Singer which just gives them the creeps. In actuality, it's not Bob Singer himself who named the character but Kripke.
BOB Guys...You can't come to work on poppers and smuggle kidneys in from Mexico and make up your own lines as you go! You cannot make up your own lines! Good god, what about your careers?
SAM You know what? Screw our careers, Bob.
DEAN You heard my brother. That's right, I said "brother." 'cause you know what, Bob? We're not actors. We're hunters. We're the Winchesters. Always have been, and always will be. And where we're from, people don't know who we are. But you know what? We mattered in that world. In fact, we even saved a son of a bitch once or twice. And yeah, okay, here, maybe there's some -- some fans who give a crap about this nonsense.
BOB I wouldn't call it nonsense.
DEAN But, Bob Singer --If that even is your name --Tell me this --What does it all mean?
BOB Okay. This is good. I mean, we've all had our psychotic breaks, right? I can work with this.
SAM Dean. Virgil --I think he has the key.
DEAN We quit.
This little speech by Dean is probably the most meaningful conversation in the whole episode. Despite the failures, despite the bad luck, Dean has a pride in their work and in their family. They matter to the world they live in. They save people.
I LOVE Bob when he says, "I wouldn't call it nonsense." Obviously he feels that this show has some meaning to the world in a modest way. And if there were some fans, they would rush to tell the Winchesters how the show - even as it is created on a set by actors - actually saves people:
Anyway, Sam finally notices that he doesn't have the key,and they "say their good-byes" to the open-mouthed Bob and leave LOL
is being held hostage in an alley. Virgil seems to think that Misha is Cas too - at least a version of him - and maybe he is *muses* But of course he can't answer Virgil and has no idea what he is talking about. I'm going to just add Virgil's lines here since Misha doesn't really have any LOL
VIRGIL How do you do it? Live in this grubby, shabby desert? Nothing greater than yourselves. Nothing but dirt when you die. No power, no magic. There's no magic in your universe! Nothing but a bag of strings and pulleys. You should thank me for what I'm about to do. I need to make an important call.
And he slits Misha's throat and Misha DIES! But this little speech by Virgil is quite meaningful too.
First, it's very interesting that we see from the speeches by Dean and by Virgil that both Dean and Virgil would rather be in the Supernatural universe. They belong there. They have a purpose. And neither can understand the meaning of living in a world without that. I talked a little bit about how fans might possibly answer Dean. But how would you answer Virgil?
The funny thing is, if we think of this "real" world as one that created Supernatural in the first place, then the only reason Virgil even exists is because this "real" world exists. Even in a world that did not have a god or angels or demons, humans always find a way to create them in their imaginations. It's a world full of gods in a sense.
Sam and Dean find out about Misha's death from Genevieve:
GENEVIEVE: Oh, my god! Oh, my god!
GENEVIEVE: Misha! He's been stabbed to death!
LOL! Definitely not the question that Gen was expecting from them. Sam and Dean rush to the scene on time to catch the homeless guy who had seen the whole phone call by Virgil to Raphael (using Misha's blood). He tells them what Raphael's answer to Virgil was, which was to go back to the place where he "crossed" at the time of the crossing bringing the key and Raphael would bring him home.
Sam and Dean rush over to the set thinking that one angel without his powers should be pretty easy to stop. While they are waiting for him to arrive, they have another little talk.
DEAN: You know that if we drop Virgil, get the key, then this might be it. We might be stuck here.
SAM: No, we'll figure out a way back.
DEAN: Yeah, you wouldn't be that broken up if we didn't, though.
SAM: What? Don't be stupid.
DEAN: Well, I'm just saying. No hell below us, above us only sky.
SAM: Dean, our friends are back there.
DEAN: Yeah, but here, you got a pretty good life. I mean, back home, the hits have been coming since you were 6 months old. You got to admit, being a-a bazillionare, married to Ruby, the whole package. It's no contest.
SAM: No, you know, you were right. We just don't mean the same thing here. I mean, we're not even brothers here, man.
DEAN: All right, then. Let's get our crazy show back home.
So back with Bobby Singer, we had Dean affirming that he felt more needed in the Supernatural world than here. Now, we have Sam agreeing with him. Sam could have lived a normal life in this world without demons or angels. He could have become a lawyer or whatever. Sam tells Dean that he is right - they mean more in the Supernatural world as the Winchesters, and as hunters. But most of all, they are brothers and he wouldn't trade that, even for a safe life like he wanted in Season 1.
But Virgil is stocking up on weapons. He gets a mean firearm and is ready to fight his way to the location - the set of Bobby's room - where Raphael would take him home. Virgil obviously doesn't like that he is on even footing with humans in this world. As a keeper of weapons in heaven, he needs to feel that extra bit of power over others. So he goes in gun blazing. The first people he meets are Bobby, Kevin and the newly arrived Erik Kripke, who's come to talk some sense into Jared and Jensen.
As Kripke goes to greet him and hopefully make him a deal so he won't sue them or something, he's shot. Numerous times. Until finally he falls and lies dead in the middle of the street. Bobby and Kevin die with one shot as do all the other people in Virgil's path except for one, who dodges the shot! and the way Kripke just keeps walking toward Virgil is priceless! The scene is a shoutout to a similar scene in the Terminator, and I find it very amusing. Also, maybe this is symbolic of the end of the Kripke reign with regard to Supernatural - which is very sad.
Despite his weapon, Virgil is easily overwhelmed by Sam and Dean and Sam gets the key back from him. Just then they see the sigil glowing and before they can avoid it, they are sucked back through the window...
to where Raphael, in a woman's meatsuit, is waiting for them. Dean has a quip about the meatsuit and she makes them double up with stomach pain, but as soon as she bends down to get the key that Sam dropped, Balthazar comes and tells him/her that the key was a decoy. He already gave the weapons to Cas. It's too late.
Cas appears in all his power and first Raphael, then Balthazar disappears - but not before he warns Cas about the power he now has.
BALTHAZAR Well, Cas...Now that you have your sword, try not to die by it.
Which is a reference to the Bible : "all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword." An important foretelling, don't you think??
Once the others are gone, Cas brings the boys back to Bobby's.
Sam and Dean are both hurt that Cas was in on this plan and did not let them know - they were pawns in the hands of angels, as usual. Cas leaves telling them that he will explain it all one day (ahuh...).
When Dean looks over at Sam, Sam is busy pounding on one of the pillars in Bobby's room to make sure it's real. According to Wiki - the fact that the walls cannot be broken is supposed to reassure us that the 4th wall (that between the imaginary world and the real world within the story) is back in place. It seems to reassure Sam anyway.
DEAN Yeah. Yeah, real, moldy, termite-eaten home sweet home. Chock full of crap that want to skin you. Oh, and, uh, we're broke again.
SAM Yeah. But, hey...At least we're talking
So serious broment here despite the wording... Reaffirming what Sam said last episode - they have the most important thing. Family. Each other. Nothing else matters. Just as Dean gives up his life with Lisa last episode, Sam gives up a normal life with Gen in this episode. And Dean's face here... Dean never wanted to stay in that reality without the job that he did best - but for Sam - he wishes there was something better.