The writers have given us another meta episode, again looking inward toward the show itself and its fans. As with last season’s “The Monster at the End of This Book,” this episode focuses around the awesomely fun Prophet Chuck, only this time, instead of discovering a series of books, we now have a Supernatural convention. As someone who’s been going to conventions, big and small, I was excited to see where they were going with this.
In the show, “Supernatural” is a series of books based upon the lives of Sam and Dean, so it makes sense that the first convention revolving around the books would be a smaller, more intimate affair like early fan conventions with maybe 100-200 attendees max. I honestly miss conventions like this. One thing that I cried foul about, however, were the insane amount of men at the convention. Totally not realistic at all. ^_~
The episode starts off with some good laughs, like all sorts of cosplayers — dressed up as Azazel (the Yellow Eyed Demon), Bobby, the Scarecrow, and lots of Sams and Deans — as well as some humorous panels, such as “The homoerotic subtext of Supernatural.” I’m sure the Wincesters loved that one. We also get some funny and honestly poignant fan questions from the audience, which doesn’t feel too far off the mark. The writers and actors did a great job of making it honestly feel like a convention, and besides the unrealistic amount of men, I totally believed that this convention could easily happen.
This episode also marks the return of superfan Becky. While I know a lot of people who can’t stand her, I honestly found her adorable and fairly true to life. I honestly thing the best thing about this episode is Chuck, played brilliantly by Rob Benedict. Chuck’s tirade about not being a “good writer” and so on cracked me up, and his nervous brilliance on answering fan questions were fantastic. I especially loved the scenes he had at the end, especially the line, “It’s not jumping the shark if you never come down.” I don’t think Supernatural has jumped the shark, but I do love this little nod to those folks who do.
The other great thing about this episode is the Sam and Dean larpers Damien and Barnes. These two actors were wonderful, as they captured the thrill of being a fan as well as the fear and confusion of finding out the spirits they’ve been reading about are real with perfect zeal and zest. I also adored not only their twist about being partners as well — which was indeed adorable — but I also really liked the perspective they gave to Dean about how the importance and awesomeness of his life. The fact that they, in the end, saved Sam and Dean was icing on the cake.
This episode wasn’t all fun and laughs though, it had its darker elements too. Of course the monster of the week was present, but it was a nice twist that I honestly didn’t see coming at all. The tension was handled well, as the monsters this time out where pretty damned awesome, and creepy. I also really enjoyed Dean’s heartfelt rant on how he thinks the Winchester story sucks. It was very sincere and honest, and I believed every word of it.
While there were a lot of things I liked about this episode, such as the attention to detail in the fan behaviors, clothing, jewelry, fake agent names and so on, I didn’t like everything about the episode. Most notably was the reveal by Becky of where the Colt is. First, that felt like it came out of nowhere, and secondly, it felt forced, as if it was fully steering us back into the mytharc from out of the blue. I mean, in a way it was cool that a fan had more insight into their story than the boys themselves, but it still felt a bit jarring, a pothole in what was otherwise a smooth ride of an episode.
So overall, I really enjoyed this episode a lot. It was fun, funny, but also dark, tense and, at times, touching and heartfelt. It, like the episode before it, “Changing Channels,” perfectly mixed the light with the dark. Thankfully, however, it looks like next week we’ll be jumping back onto the dark angstiness in a big, big way, which I am a fan of. I enjoy the fun, funny episodes, but I think we’ve had our fill at this point. I’m thinking these light episodes were softening us up for the heart-wrenching darkness that is to come. If that’s the case, I won’t mind at all.