OK, let's get to the fun stuff.
"Supernatural Sitcom Theme Song"(opening credits to the episode)
"Move You" by Anya Marina(plays while Dean watches Dr. Sexy, M.D.)
"Not A Through Street" by Anya Marina(plays when Dean and Sam enter the hospital)
"Something Real" by Renee Stahl(plays when Dr. Sam gets the "you're a great doctor" speech and over Dean getting shot)
"I Love to See You Happy (Livin' My Life)" by Robbi Spencer(plays over Sam performing the surgery)
"The Knight Rider Theme Song" by Stu Phillips(plays when Dean drives Sam to call out the Trickster)
From the Then and Now, we would know that the Trickster is involved and that the whole thing has something to do with the fact that Sam and Dean are THE vessels of Lucifer and Michael. Then the episode starts with the surprise sit-com style beginning which might remind people a bit of It's a Terrible Life in particular. The coloring is actually very similar too, isn't it? First we have the outside of the Motel, and then Dean is closing a fridge and facing his huge sandwich in front of what the voice says is a "live studio audience."
Sam comes in and they have that funny little dialogue which we have to remember has been written by Gabriel himself to tease and make fun of the boys and the whole situation as the Trickster is wont to do -
DEAN:Hey there, Sam. What's happening?
SAM:Oh, nothing. Um. Just the end of the world.
Then of course Sam notices the huge sandwich -
And Sam finds out just what kind of research Dean has been doing all night -
And we have our sit-com theme song and sequence -
Town to town, two-lane roads
Family biz, two hunting bros -
Living the lie, just to get by.
As long as we're movin' forward
There's nothing we can't do
Together we'll face the day
You and I won't run away
When demons come out to play
Together we'll face the day!
(Do you notice that Dean is at the front here for most of the sequence, then suddenly it's Sam in the front at the end? Totally weird.)
A note from Supernatural Wiki - these captions are in "Full House" font, I guess to make it look authentic and as a shout out to the show. I watched a few favorite sitcoms when I was young - Elementary years I think I was mostly into Bewitched, JH and Highschool a lot of Family Ties and Cosby Show. I do recognize Full House as well, although I didn't watch much of it. I really enjoyed these shows, which addressed some important themes and everyday life in a humorous manner, so I love this reference very much.
When the song finishes, we are sent back to two days earlier, in which Dean is glued to Dr. Sexy M.D. on TV in a motel room that looks suspicsiously like the one in the intro but just not as clean or bright colors.
SAM:What are you watching?
DEAN:Hospital show. Dr. Sexy, MD. I think it's based on a book.
SAM:When did you hit menopause?
DEAN:It's called channel surfing.
(That little quip about how the show is "based on a book" is hilarious LOL.)
Sam and Dean then go to check out a case in which a man is killed in his bedroom after being chased into his house and up the stairs and the local police are naturally sure that it must be a bear attack. How could it be anything else?
DEAN:Is that common, a bear doing all that?
OFFICER:Depends how pissed off it is, I guess. Look, the Randolphs live way up in high country. You got trout runs to make a grown man weep.
I really love those little reactions by Dean especially - the way he uses his tongue :D
And they go to talk to the wife, who saw it all - but her mind was surely playing tricks on her because, why would The Incredible Hulk attack her husband? I also like the way Sam and Dean are surprised by what she says but go from there. They've seen pretty weird stuff before this.
DEAN:Bana or Norton?
KATHY:Oh, no, those movies were terrible. The TV Hulk.
DEAN:Spiky-hair Lou Ferrigno.
KATHY:You think I'm crazy.
DEAN:No. Uh, no, it's just...is there, uh, would there be any reason that Lou Ferrigno, the Incredible Hulk, would have a grudge against your husband?
When they do some research, they find that Kathy's husband was a real hothead and was abusive as well. The fact that The Incredible Hulk killed him, and that Sam found candy wrappers on site make them really suspicious that it might be the trickster. This should be a warning sign, because the Trickster is obviously leaving candy wrappers on purpose. He is obviously making a trap for the boys. He wants them to come to him. Sam, on the other hand, thinks that this might be an excellent opportunity to ask for some cooperation. Maybe the Trickster doesn't want the world to end - and when we consider all the "other"gods, this reasoning makes sense. But unfortunately the Trickster is not just another god.
They hear an emergency call on the police line and are on their way to the paper factory. When they get there, there is no one there. It should have been swarming with police, but it is quiet. Come on boys! It's a trap! Maybe they suspect this, maybe they just think that the police were also caught up in the Trickster's trick this time around. They decide to go inside, and as soon as they enter they find themselves in doctors coats in a hospital. When Dean opens the same door again, people are making out in the broom closet.
Then Dr. Piccolo comes up and slaps Sam and Sam... is just very cute <3 (I don't think I could stay mad at someone who looked back at me like that.) Dean is standing there with his mouth open, listening to her "seriously?!"
BRUNETTE DOCTOR:Seriously? You're brilliant, you know that? And a coward. You're a brilliant coward.
(Hehe - it looks like he is being slapped by an invisible girl aye? It's in the gifs that you can really tell when these actors are not actually hitting eachother LOL)
Dean figures out that they are on his favorite *smirks* TV show, but it's all new for Sam, and the whole thing looks real instead of the TV show being filmed with actors and actresses like it should be. Dean has fun introducing the characters to Sam until he sees his favorite character, Dr. Sexy (Dr. Palmer) walk up.
And since it's that kind of an episode, I have to point out here that this scene is a send up of Grey's Anatomy, in which the actor Patrick Dempsey plays the role of "Dr. Sexy" - Dr. Derek Shepherd. Jensen and Patrick were actually in a mini series together called "Blond" about Marylinn Monroe - they acted the part of lovers, and people also like to point out the coincidence that Patrick's character's name was Cass. The link to Jensen's scene in this series was at SuperWiki so I've added a link here as well ( Link to Jensen in Blond) Jensen does a cute little dance in a silk kimono. And oh my, young Jensen... you don't want to miss it.
Dr. Palmer is asking him why he hadn't done the face transplant as he had told him too, and at a loss for words, Dean looks down at Dr. Palmer's feet to see that he is not wearing the cowboy boots he should be wearing. He pushes the doctor against the wall and confronts him
DEAN:You're not Dr. Sexy.
DR. PALMER:You're crazy.
DEAN:Really? Because I swore part of what makes Dr. Sexy sexy is the fact that he wears cowboy boots. Not tennis shoes.
SAM:Yeah. You're not a fan.
DEAN:It's a guilty pleasure.
(Dean finally admits it :P)
SAM:That was you on the police scanner, right? This is a trick.
And Sam asks the Trickster to just listen to what they have to say, hoping that "The Trickster" would see things their way...but of course he doesn't because he's an archangel :P
TRICKSTER: You two muttonheads broke the world, and you want me to sweep up your mess.
SAM: Please. Just five minutes. Hear us out.
TRICKSTER:Sure. Tell you what. Survive the next twenty-four hours, we'll talk.
I love the way Dean gets more and more irritated -
SAM:Yeah. A coward. You already said that. But I got news for you. I am not a doctor.
DR. PICCOLO:Don't say that. You are the finest cerebrovascular neurosurgeon I have ever met, and I have met plenty. So that girl died on your table. It wasn't your fault. It wasn't anybody's fault. Sometimes people just die.
SAM:I have no idea what you're saying to me.
DR. PICCOLO:You're afraid. You're afraid to operate again. And you're afraid to love.
SAM:Okay. Um. I need a penknife, some dental floss, a sewing needle, and a fifth of whiskey.
Dean is magically cured, and they are in their new television show. A Japanese game show - actually modelled after a show in 2007 - which I have found a video of on Youtube. I really don't think this show lasted long - I sure didn't ever watch it and if I ever saw it, I must have blocked it from memory. How awful. Anyway, Sam gets it and I've added the scene on request -
But it's only during the little commercial break and after Cas barges in and is zapped away ("The Trickster does not like pretty-boy angels") that Sam figures out how they can survive the game. Cas also mentions before he disappears that they have been gone for several days, which means that the promise by Gabriel that he'd listen to what they had to say if they could survive 24 hours was either a lie or based on some different sense of time. Sam urges Dean to play his role, and despite not knowing Japanese, Dean is able to answer the question.
So now they know that they are supposed to be "playing their roles" in order to survive and in their next show, which is actually commercial, Sam is humiliated again into playing the part of a person with genetal herpies. Dean loves that.
And we come full circle to our first scene. After Sam leads the girl in her underwear outside (... wait, what? LOL) Dean and Sam are wondering how long they are going to have to do this when Cas again barges in and tells them that this "Trickster" is stronger than he should be and maybe he is not even a trickster before he is slammed to the wall, his mouth taped shut, and then the Trickster appears to the clapping audience. He first zaps Cas away, which should again tell the boys that he is more than just a Trickster. He then proceeds to clarify the lesson he is trying to teach them.
DEAN:All right, you know what? I am done with the monkey dance, okay? We get it.
TRICKSTER:Yeah? Get what, hotshot?
DEAN:Playing our roles, right? That's your game?
TRICKSTER:That's half the game.
SAM:What's the other half?
TRICKSTER:Play your roles out there.
DEAN:What's that supposed to mean?
TRICKSTER:Oh, you know. Sam starring as Lucifer. Dean starring as Michael. Your celebrity death match. Play your roles.
SAM:You want us to say yes to those sons of bitches?
SAM:We do that, the world will end.
TRICKSTER:Yeah? And whose fault is that? Who popped Lucifer out of the box? Hm? Look, it's started. You started it. It can't be stopped. So let's get it over with!
Gabriel is actually blaming Sam and Dean, here, for starting it. This is what differentiates him from Zach and the other angels who wanted them to start it from the very beginning. So, here is where I'm thinking maybe Gabriel really was trying to stop the apocalypse back there in Mystery Spot. I've always thought that he had no reason to give Sam that lesson if he wanted Sam to kill Lilith. Right? Maybe he was trying to stop it from happening at first, but when Dean broke the first seal and Sam went ahead and killed Lilith anyway and broke the last seal, he gave up and decided it was better for them to just get the whole thing over with.
DEAN:Heaven or hell, which side you on?
TRICKSTER:I'm not on either side.
DEAN:Yeah, right. You're grabbing ankle for Michael or Lucifer. Which one is it?
TRICKSTER:You listen to me, you arrogant dick. I don't work for either of those S.O.B.s. Believe me.
He loves both of his brothers so he is not on either side, but he is also angry at them for creating the discord in his family. It actually reminds me a bit of Dean between Sam and John.
DEAN:Oh, you're somebody's bitch.
TRICKSTER:Don't you ever, ever presume to know what I am. Now listen very closely. Here's what's gonna happen. You're gonna suck it up, accept your responsibilities, and play the roles that destiny has chosen for you.
SAM:And if we don't?
TRICKSTER:Then you'll stay here in TV Land. Forever. Three hundred channels and, uh, nothing's on.
Now that he is bent on getting Sam and Dean to say yes, he will go to any lengths to force them. Interesting method though compared to Zach or Uriel who threatened bodily harm and sickness. It's almost like he is keeping them in his own version of Zach's ready room.
And Sam and Dean are in a new television show. This time a procedural cop show modeled after CSI. Dean hates procedural cop shows and sunglasses at night and he is obviously pissed at Gabriel from their last encounter. He doesn't feel like going along. I LOVE Sam and Dean in procedural cop shows and sunglasses at night. They can play those roles for ever and ever. To me, Sam looks exactly like Horatio Caine the way he walks down to the crime scene, the way he talks...! And Dean just looks beautiful in those glasses period.
Sam figures from the lollipop in the police officer's mouth that he is the trickster and - I don't know how they all of a sudden have stakes but - he stakes the officer and they are back in the factory.
In the next scene Dean, is back in their motel room brushing his teeth. He notices that Sam is actually not in the room and leaving a message in his phone, goes out to the car to search for him, possibly.
Surprise of surprises, Sam has turned into a car like that of Knight Rider - I noticed the car was called the Sampala in SuperWiki and thought that was kind of cute LOL. Well, this is another favorite because I used to watch this show! I think I must have been in elementary school at the time. It brings back lots of memories.
Given some time to think a bit about those hints by Cas and what they had seen, Dean realizes that "the Trickster" must be an angel so they decide to go and set their trap. Interesting that they have this time away from Gabriel so that Gabriel doesn't hear them planning or getting the trap ready. Sam being uncomfortable with Dean nosing about in the trunk and his "ow!" as Dean slams it shut is very cute.
They call to Gabriel (Sam : Should I honk?) and suddenly he is there.
TRICKSTER:Okay, boys. Ready to go quietly?
DEAN:Whoa whoa whoa, not so fast. Nobody's going anywhere until Sam has opposable thumbs.
TRICKSTER:What's the difference? Satan's going to ride his ass one way or another.
As soon as Sam is turned back to his old self, they light the holy fire and Gabriel has no choice but to clear the illusion and admit that he is, indeed, Gabriel the archangel, who ran away from home, changed his face and had been in hiding all this time.
SAM:Why'd you ditch?
DEAN:Do you blame him? I mean, his brothers are heavyweight douchenozzles.
GABRIEL:Shut your cakehole. You don't know anything about my family. I love my father, my brothers. Love them. But watching them turn on each other? Tear at each other's throats? I couldn't bear it! Okay? So I left. And now it's happening all over again.
SAM:Then help us stop it.
GABRIEL:It can't be stopped.
DEAN:You wanna see the end of the world?
GABRIEL:I want it to be over! I have to sit back and watch my own brothers kill each other thanks to you two! Heaven, hell, I don't care who wins, I just want it to be over.
SAM:It doesn't have to be like that. There has to be some way to, to pull the plug.
GABRIEL:You do not know my family. What you guys call the apocalypse, I used to call Sunday dinner. That's why there's no stopping this, because this isn't about a war. It's about two brothers that loved each other and betrayed each other. You'd think you'd be able to relate.
SAM:What are you talking about?
GABRIEL:You sorry sons of bitches. Why do you think you two are the vessels? Think about it. Michael, the big brother, loyal to an absent father, and Lucifer, the little brother, rebellious of Daddy's plan. You were born to this, boys. It's your destiny! It was always you! As it is in heaven, so it must be on earth. One brother has to kill the other.
DEAN:What the hell are you saying?
GABRIEL:Why do you think I've always taken such an interest in you? Because from the moment Dad flipped on the lights around here, we knew it was all gonna end with you. Always.
DEAN:No. That's not gonna happen.
GABRIEL:I'm sorry. But it is.
GABRIEL:Guys. I wish this were a TV show. Easy answers, endings wrapped up in a bow...but this is real, and it's gonna end bloody for all of us. That's just how it's gotta be.
So this actually reminds us of the mess they are in in Season 10 aye? This has all happened before between Cain and Abel and probably numerous other brothers in the past, all as part of the same prophecy. Anyway, Sam and Dean have heard similar things from Zach and Lucifer, but I think this talk with Gabriel really brings it home to them. The difference again with Gabriel is that he is not happy with it either. He wishes it didn't have to be this way. And I think his long time on Earth may have something to do with that. He has seen the good in humanity - what God saw in them - just like Anna and Cas - and this makes his words more meaningful.
Dean first forces Gabriel to bring Cas back by threatening to burn him up with the holy fire. When Cas comes back he can recognize Gabriel, which makes me think that maybe the holy fire made him see Gabriel for who he was.
Then an important observation by Dean before they leave -
GABRIEL:You're just gonna, you're gonna leave me here forever?
DEAN:No. We're not, 'cause we don't screw with people the way you do. And for the record? This isn't about some prize fight between your brothers or some destiny that can't be stopped. This is about you being too afraid to stand up to your family.
...Don't say I never did anything for you. (Turning on the sprinklers)
It is interesting to think of how he gets from this point to standing up to Lucifer and giving Dean and Sam a chance to go against destiny.
At the car, Dean turns to Sam:
DEAN:All that stuff he was spouting in there, you think it was the truth?
SAM:I think he believes it.
DEAN:So what do we do?
SAM:I don't know.
DEAN:Well I'll tell you one thing. Right about now I wish I was back in a TV show.
SAM:Yeah, me too.