Episode Review: Supernatural 4×18 – "The Monster at the End of the Book."

Instead of the usual “Then” recap that begins nearly every episode of Supernatural, this one found us watching the flashing, disjointed images of what’s to come, seen by an unnamed bearded gentlemen who looks distraught over what he’s seen, and rightly so. We, then, find the boys in a comic-book shop, asking the salesmen the usual questions about possible hauntings. This goes on for a moment until he recognizes them as trying to portray Sam and Dean in a “LARP.”

 
Sam and Dean, naturally, have no idea what a “LARP” is, but it stands for “Live Action Role Playing.” The salesman thinks Sam and Dean are PLAYING Sam and Dean. They then find out about the book series written by “Carver Edlund,” to the horror of the brothers. I laughed at “Carver Edlund,” a nod to two of the writers on the show, Jeremy Carver and Ben Edlund.
 
We then cut to the title card…which is the dang cover of the book with some funky guitar music. This was TOTALLY awesome, in my opinion. It’s little touches like these that make me love the show even more with each passing episode. Anyway, we find the boys in a seedy hotel room, Sam doing research as usual while Dean is reading the books, which apparently have everything…and I mean everything. In talking more about the book series, it began in 2005 and ended with “No Rest for the Wicked,” when Dean ended up going to Hell at the end of season three.
 
Then…THEN…they talk about the fan community, how there are Sam girls and Dean girls, how the fans always complain and how there’s slash fic. These little nods/winks to the fans were BRILLIANTLY inserted into the show, and I was in stitches at this part. Heck, I’m still giggling about it as I write this, no lie. The boy’s reaction to slash fic, “don’t they know we’re brothers?” and so on was absolutely amazing. But it gets better…
 
They go to the publisher to find out who the author really is, since they find that “Carver Edlund” is a pen name. The girl at the publisher’s office is dubious as to how dedicated they are as fans. She, however, is a huge fan, and loves the series, saying “the best parts are when they cry.” Totally hilarious.  After grilling both Sam and Dean about personal information that only “true fans” would know, which ended up having both Sam and Dean showing…the tattoo they first showed in “Jus In Bello.” This personally made ME happy because I have that same tattoo in the exact same place. Yeah, I’m crazy, I know.
 
Anyway, they eventually find their way to the author’s house, as the author reads aloud what he just wrote, essentially exactly what’s happening at that moment, Dean and Sam approaching the house, ringing the doorbell and so on. At first, the author — whose name we come to find is Chuck Shirley — doesn’t believe Sam and Dean are who they of course say they are. Eventually he’s convinced that the boys are telling the truth through the use of their last names — which was never published —  and begins to feel the awful pangs of regret, calling himself a “cruel, cruel capricious God,” for what he’s done to Sam and Dean. He also feels bad that they’re “forced to live with bad writing.” I love it when a show can not only poke fun at its fans, but its writers as well.
 
We eventually find Sam and Dean…in a Laundromat, a place I don’t believe we’ve ever seen them before. Dean is reading Chuck’s latest writings while Sam does laundry. Dean begins to recite to Sam everything he’s about to do, and everything he’s thinking, which is both funny and creepy. We also see Sam and Dean in a diner, of course, talking about how they’ll get off-book, Dean declaring there will be neither fighting nor any ordering of a bacon cheeseburger. Dean orders a veggie-tofu burger, only to ACCIDENTALLY be given a bacon cheeseburger…and while the boys don’t fight outright, they still do, subtlety.
 
In learning more of Chuck’s visions, we see what looks to be Lilith seducing Sam into what looks like…gasp…FORNICATION! He tells Sam and Dean of this, as well as Lilith looking to be coming for Sam personally.  So, of course, the boys try to get out of town and avoid all of this. However, the bridge — the ONLY way out of town, humorously enough — is inconveniently out, so Dean takes Sam to a motel that isn’t the one Chuck wrote about.
 
Dean places hex bags in the hotel and tells Sam to stay put while he goes to park the Impala before it gets into an accident or some such. Sam, disobeying Dean again, asks Chuck to come by, to find out if he knows about the demon blood suckage. Chuck knows, of course, but didn’t write it because he didn’t want to make Sam’s character seem "unsympathetic". Chuck and Sam talk about Dean, Sam admitting Dean “is not Dean lately,” and feels he needs to shoulder the burden of stopping the Apocalypse. Chuck sees through it, however, and calls Sam out on seeing the blood as making him stronger and putting him more in control. While Chuck admits Dean is “supposed” to be the one to stop the Apocalypse, the story is going in the direction of everything resting on Sam’s shoulders. Very ominous indeed.
 
While Sam and Chuck are having their little chat, Dean parks the Impala. When he sees it’s about to be robbed, he runs back to the car only to get hit by a mini-van, something he said would happen earlier from Chuck’s writings. The beloved Impala has indeed been damaged as well — as Chuck wrote it would be. Dean, getting angrier by the moment, finds Chuck and demands more information out of him, threatening his life if he doesn’t get it. Before he can make good on this, however, Castiel shows up, saying Chuck is to be protected because he’s…gulp…a Prophet of the Lord.
 
This amazes Chuck — and me too, honestly — who is not only surprised that he’s a Prophet, but annoyed that he’s gone to “M. Night level doucheyness,” by having himself written into his story. When Dean grills Castiel about what’s going on, he says that Chuck is writing the “Winchester Gospels”. Holy. Crap. The Winchster Gospels?! That’s some AMAZINGLY heavy stuff right there, or so I think. I’d buy that book in a heartbeat, honestly. Anyway, apparently the choice of who is a Prophet comes from VERY high up, with even Castiel not fully understanding how they’re chosen.
 
Dean then rejoins Sam back at the hotel to find that Sam has destroyed the hex bags, and now WANTS Lilith to find him. This pisses off Dean, understandably, and they have a fight which finds the two at odds over how to proceed, with Dean ultimately leaving Sam in the room all alone. Outside, Dean prays…he PRAYS. This is awesome and uncommon in and of itself, Castiel even saying it’s a very good act of faith on his part. Sadly, Castiel can’t help Dean break the prophecy…directly…giving Dean a hint that by putting the Prophet in the room with a demon, it would bring an Archangel to protect him, since Prophets are tied to Archangels.
 
We then cut to Sam in the room when Lilith finally shows up. She offers Sam a deal. Both of the boys, dead, with their heads on pikes, and Lilith walks away. Why? Because she doesn’t think she will survive the Apocalypse long enough to see the good stuff. MORE heavy stuff, I love it. To seal the deal, Lilith says she needs "more than a kiss" and directs Sam to
the bed. Sam, at first, reluctantly agrees, only to trick Lilith — and us, because I thought he might actually try to go through with it — by taking the knife and trying to stab Lilith.
 
Suddenly, in comes Dean and Chuck, with Chuck screaming “I am the Prophet Chuck!” Awesome stuff! The room starts a-shakin’ and bright light starts a-blazin’ until Lilith, terrified of running into an Archangel, leaves the body she was occupying and flees. Thankfully the day is saved…or is it?
 
Cutting back to Chuck, who is having another vision, when he gets a visit from Zacharia, the angel from last week’s episode, and Castiel’s superior. He tells Chuck that he can’t warn Sam and Dean of what’s to come because one can’t mess with destiny. Chuck, looking like he’s been in tears, asks, “Is all that really going to happen?”
 
Holy crap.
 
Was this review a little meandering? Yes, and you know why? Because I was so dang engrossed and enthralled by the episode that I couldn’t even take NOTES people, it was that good. I’m still numb, yet giddy from this amazing episode. So much happened that I don’t even think I hit it all, and it set the stage for what is looking to be an explosive and heart-wrenching finale in the weeks to come. I say, personally, bring it on.
 
 

 

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