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SPN: "The Monster at the End of This Book" Episode Review + Meta

Supernatural 4.18 "The Monster at the End of This Book"

Sam and Dean get an unexpected shock when they discover their entire lives have been written up into a book series, ironically named "Supernatural"; and have a small underground cult following. The author, real name Chuck, has been having visions and unbeknownst to him, is a prophet of the Lord. These visions are foretellings of what is to come for the Winchesters ever since the beginning of their entire journey, including the outcome of the Apocalypse, which we have no idea what he saw near the end. Though it is clear whatever is going to happen, isn't going to end well. Not at all.

Meanwhile during the episode one of his visions is of Lilith who is to approach Sam Winchester, either to trick him or kill him, or worse. As Dean is desperate to find an alternative way to avoid that encounter at all costs, Sam refuses to back down from confronting her, thinking he has a chance to stop everything once and for all, even though his morals have been compromised as he is still blinded, and he knows it too.

Though started off comical, the episode interweaves the mytharc of the season and the mythology of the whole series and adds new spin on things of what's to come in the future.

The Winchester Gospel: Prophecies Of The Past, Present and What's To Come

The silliness of the entire first half of the episode aside, even the whole concept of the book series and the fan community following which parallels fandom, I do like the fact that they added the perimeter of having prophets into the show and that not all prophets are monks or extremely religious folks that know of their callings. Chuck was a normal guy who had been chosen to be part of God's plan, whether he liked it or not, and like normal people sometimes getting visions that seem like dreams often gets mixed with what could it all mean? So instead of going "hey this could mean something on a metaphysical level" he had the notion of "hey this could be a great book series!" and placed his productivity in that way.

Also yes, a nice way to make a shoutout to fandom which btw, if anyone doesn't see that as pure hilarity they are missing out on the joke. Anyway....

What's interesting is how immensely detailed the books are and how they've become known as the "Winchester Gospel" which is known by Heaven. It makes me wonder whether angels get future passes to knowing of what's to come on certain levels, because obviously they either cannot percieve the outcome of certain things but know of what holds the future for others, in this case how those book series becomes of vital importance one day because it tells the tales of the Winchester legacy. Going back to the start of the series we tend to have thought that the boys were just regular 'ole hunters who had been thrown into that lifestyle from a devastating travesty, though it seems that their entire life has been orchestrated from the very beginning. Fate and destiny, as it were. God's plan perhaps, and everything surrounding them now is also part of it as well? Their conflictions, their encounters with both angels and demons, the angels themselves coming across testaments of faith; I am a firm believer that in such a mythological kind of show there would be something like this happening, orchestrating it all.

Also notice how Castiel said that you couldn't undo what has been written, and demonstrated as Dean tries again and again to avoid whatever Chuck had written from his visions always tends to happen one way or another. It's definitely Fate.

Castiel and Dean: Slippery Slope of Disobedience by Trusting Bonds

What is a review/meta from me without some Castiel discussion of love, eh? From the wonderful Castiel-centric episode that was 4.16 "On The Head of a Pin", even with a few scenes in here they presented a lot more of his character and what he's going through and his growing relationship with Dean and how that affects him. There are those little moments that are so subtle and yet you notice them because Misha Collins is just that brilliant with how he's approaching the character. In addition of what we learned from 4.16, this episode brought more even in those little scenes of him.

One of the scenes that really added progress to both their characters was their interaction outside the motel, and in that one scene alone there was so much going on. First we have Dean praying, probably for the first time, asking for help, by which Castiel answered his calling telling him it was a good sign of faith. We know the fact that Dean hadn't believed or had much faith from before, but over the course he's been gradually getting there, and now we have his plea of desperation. Secondly in the midst of that desperation is Castiel being torn between accepting Dean's offer for help and refusing it because of his dedication to Heaven. If it were any other time from before Castiel would've stated straightforward he could not and find another alternative, but because Castiel has become personally attached to Dean and wants to help him, he is conflicted on what to do. Disobey and risk getting killed by the archangels, or stand back and watch Dean fade away from his trust, from their gradually building wall of trust.

I really love this development for both of them. I love how utterly broken and lost they seem to be and they need each other.

That's what I find interesting of their growing relationship. Castiel needs Dean just as much as Dean needs Castiel. I've predicted this, because they are both undergoing severe self-discoveries and understanding their place in everything that's happening. Castiel saved Dean, and I believe that somewhere down the line Dean will need to save Castiel, just as it has probably been foreshadowed in these recent episodes. They'll need each other in the coming days ahead, especially since Castiel is slowing spinning downward from his heavenly orders.

The idea that Castiel would fall because and for Dean is entirely poetic and, for the lack of a better term, romantic. It would be the ultimate sacrifice which would truly make him part of the Winchester legacy. Though I don't think it'll be quite that simple, and in fact if he's going to be sticking around as a regular for next season I would much rather him becoming a rebel!angel than a fallen one, even though I think punishments like falling depend on ranking and the offenses given against the angelical orders. I do like him questioning and second guessing things because it adds more complexity to his character, even though angels themselves are complex (and dangerous) beings altogether, seeing an angel who is still an angel expressing emotions and feelings is definitely something to explore. But unlike others, he still holds strong faith in God and his mission, he just questions the orders coming from Heaven and what it all means to everything (hell, I think he may even question his superiors, and that can also be very dangerous and treading on a thin line).

This episode presented Castiel in a slightly different light than before. Already we knew he was questioning and starting to feel, but in this episode we actually see expressions appearing on his face. Nothing too extreme but just enough that it means him becoming humanized by his experiences on Earth and being around Dean is finally settling into his personality. Honestly, the way he kind of is sly and smug and contorts his face like he's making a joke, wrinkling his nose and widening his eyes expressively to empathize his meaning on all speaks of humanity.

I am very enthusiastic about the Dean/Castiel interactions and growing bond between them. My shipper heart aside, they both seem to be utterly alone. From 4.16 Castiel losing Uriel was a parallel of Dean slowly losing his own brother, and they'll need that reassurance of one another for what lies ahead. And judging from the ending of this episode, it doesn't look like it'll end in gumdrops and rainbows.

Sam Winchester, the Demon-Blood Power Addict

Most will know I am perhaps not pleased with Sam and his attitude lately this season, however the great thing about this episode is that they actually address this issue head-on. I liked that they had Sam confront Chuck about how much he knew, which is everything (because he's a prophet, duh). But surprisingly, here's Sam's moment of confession.

He feels stronger by drinking the demon blood, he feels invincible; he wants to take care of his big brother like he'd done for him since they were kids. Understandable. Sam and Dean are brothers, they would do anything for each other, and it's nice to hear him say that. But he's addicted, he can't control those urges, that feeling he gets when using his abilities and moreover drinking that demon blood which, even though he doesn't like to, says he needs to because it might help in the Apocalypse. I see where he's going with his explanation, but there are flaws in his logic.

He says that Dean isn't the same after returning back from Hell. Well, neither is he either. Neither of them are the same, they are both going through their own personal shit and quite frankly, I side more with Dean than with Sam at this moment because his rationalizing is only for his benefit even if he says he's doing it for Dean's behalf. If he were he wouldn't be lying directly to Dean's face about what he's doing, has been doing and continues to do. He wouldn't continue to deny that it was the siren's spell that made him say those things about Dean being weak, about him being the stronger more efficient hunter. Seeing Sam and Dean in the car in the end, Dean didn't look particularly happy with Sam after he talked about Lilith. In fact we all know that Dean, despite being angry about the lying, is scared shitless of his brother and how far along he's gotten. They are both on separate pages and they need to start straightening up before things get out of hand. Or rather, let that final straw drop so they can go their separate directions and then come back later, stronger than before.

Sam wants to help his brother out, but he's going about it the wrong way. He's losing track of things, getting blinded by his need for revenge on Lilith, that he's not seeing straight anymore. He's losing his morality ground and needs to have a reality check before he spins out of control and yes, I do believe he'll go darkside. Perhaps not consciously since he's already dancing dangerously on that edge, but he'll not be the same Sam anymore.

Brother versus brother. Biblical stuff, and what I am anticpiating to happen between them.

Memorable Moments of the Episode:

++ OBVIOUS FANSERVICE IS OBVIOUS. The "SUPERNATURAL" book coverart looking like some fanartist took the concept of some cheesy romance covers and made them into the supernatural hunter version of Fabio. Roleplaying! Fansites! Fanatics! Mentionings of fandom without really saying it but the content that resides in fandom like Dean!girls and Sam!girls, fanfiction and SLASH BB, SLASH BEING MENTIONED IS LOLARIOUS. AS WERE SAM AND DEAN'S EXPRESSIONS, LOL.

++ Also the book titles being the episode titles from the show? I lol'd at that. Oh Kripke, you amuse me so frakking much.

++ "Full frontal" being used by Dean? And Sam's expression to that? MOAR LOLING LIKE WHOA.


++ Just the boy's expressions throughout the first half of the episode, trying to figure out what the frak is going on and how they entered bizarro-land. lol.


++ CASTIEL!!! ♥ ♥ ♥ Truly anything with Castiel is bound to be worthwhile, and honestly this episode never faltered in delivering just that. Castiel kinda fanboying (fanangeling? idek) Chuck, the Prophet of the Lord, and flipping through one of the "SUPERNATURAL" books like it was his own personal Bible or something, so engrossed in it even though he's read his "works" before (Heaven has libraries of prophecies, lol)? And him being all deadpan throughout it all? Misha Collins is just so much love, alright? So much love. ♥

++ "THE WINCHESTER GOSPEL" WILL NEVER NOT BE FUNNY, MKAY? Of course there could've been other names, like The Winchester Chronicles, or the Book of the Winchester Prophecies.

++ "I am not...kidding you." CASTIEL DOESN'T JOKE PPL. HE SPEAKS TRUFAX.

++ However, "You should have seen Luke" in reference to Chuck's strange behavior is made of absolute WIN! LOL CAS MADE A JOKE AND I LOL'D AND IT IS ALL SHINY AND AWESOME. :DDDD

++ Dean/Castiel interactions = love and win and awesome. I just love everything about them, how they interaction and their verbal and even nonverbal exchanges. They can have an entire meaningful conversation with just their eyes without saying a frakking word, amirite y'all? Also, how expressive were they in this ep? The emotions were so high, more on Dean's part but Castiel is getting there. Just look at his eyes, dammit. His eyes, they emote! Emoting from Castiel makes me into a wibbly puddle of goo. DAMN YOU MISHA! JUST MY GOD, THAT WHOLE BIT OF HIM RELUCTANTLY REFUSING AND THEN DEAN GOING ALL "SCREW YOU" AND YOU CAN SEE HOW THIS RUINS CASTIEL SO MUCH BECAUSE HE WANTS TO HELP AND - GAH! LOVELOVELOVE.


++ Also, how much do I love that last bit with Castiel being all sneaky and smug about telling Dean what to do without truly telling him directly -- all in the eyes ppls! Hee! Clever sneaky Cas is clever and sneaky.

++ Chuck was kinda hilarious. But that hilarity died down in the end for most of the eppy, and I felt sorry for him. He didn't ask for this power or to be a prophet, and now he'll have to deal with knowing that his dreams and writings are of real events happening. Gods.

++ Zachariah! Damn he's one badass motherfucker. I still miss Uriel because he was one funny sarcastic sonofabitch and a badass motherfucker, but Zachariah is all business. Dangerous business at that. Him appearing to Chuck and then saying that killing himself wouldn't help because he, or rather the angels, would just bring him back. Damn. They are hardcore these angels -- and I LOVE IT. But to make it clear that these angels are all strictly business, and I'm sure this is definitely going to be repeated in the remaining eps this season and perhaps next season.

++ INTRODUCTIONS TO ARCHANGELS! YESYESYES! ABOUT TIME! (though this means that Uriel wasn't of the archangel ranking as it appears, oh well)

++ Ah, Lilith. She's scared shitless, as she should be because angels? Not to be triffled with. But still. I wonder what she seems to terrifed about other than lack of self-perservation if something is pre-written in her destiny or whatever.


Overall: I felt this was a nice tie-in with the sporaticness of the stand-alones and mytharc-centric episodes, intertwining both into one episode where we can have some hilarity along with what is happening in the mythology of this season and even the series. Also nice to have a laugh and then have it get squashed with some of the emotional points, particularly between the brothers and Dean and Castiel. So much angst happening all around those three that it makes everything go 'round. And it's nice to see things progress with the Lilith storyline, I was wondering when we'd see her again. And making note that Castiel appearing in a semi-cracky episode, even having some crack-filled lines himself, is made of WINWINWIN! \o/ Looking forward for more Castiel the rest of the season, for sure. Also the Dean and Sam relationship distancing as Dean and Castiel's grow closer and closer.

This is what happens when an episode does something to me, and dammit I needs to rewatch certain scenes again. Whether I missed something or I want to squee, doesn't matter. Crackaliciousness is the best, totes.
Tags: meta: supernatural, show reviews: supernatural

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