Sunday, 16 November 2014

Review - Supernatural's 200h episode "Fan Fiction" - "Keep Writing, Shakespeare"

It’s a rare show that makes it to 200 episodes, and an even rarer show that celebrates its 200th milestone by celebrating its fans. But that’s what our show did. Because it’s just that damn awesome.

I was excited about the 200th episode, everyone knows that! I took the damn day off work! I made sure that I was home and situated in time for the East Coast viewing. I closed twitter – even though I knew the Padaleski would be tweeting – because I didn’t want anything disturbing me. I wanted to immerse myself in the episode. Bask in it. I didn’t want anything interrupting this moment. This moment I’d waited 199 episodes for. Because this was my moment as much as the shows. And as the episode played out in front of my heart filled eyes, I realised that was exactly the message the show and everyone associated with the show was sending me, this is my moment, this is my show and any way I choose to love it and celebrate is okay with them. Just when I thought I couldn’t adore Supernatural any more… I fall head over heels for it all over again.

I started my journey with Supernatural in 2006, when the pilot first aired in Australia, and I’ve stuck with it through hell (no pun intended) and high water as Aussie TV bumped it here there and everywhere, took it off air, broke up the season, delayed its return and played it woefully late. It was before episodes could be obtained “elsewhere”, so we were at the mercy of the TV programmers! Then during the hellatus between seasons 4 and 5, I found the fandom. I’d been dabbling in the, now defunct, CW forums and then one night, on an old Supernatural Facebook page, while playing a game of name that Dean Winchester quote, I happened upon a couple of fellow Aussies, who introduced me to their friends, who introduced me to twitter, and KABOOOOOM! My life changed! 

All of a sudden I discovered a new world, with a whole lot of people that thought exactly like me! Loved the things I loved, didn’t make me feel like a weirdo and were happy to talk for hours about my favourite subject; Supernatural and my favourite brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester.

Then, after my comments got longer and longer on my friend’s blog posts about the show, they encouraged me to start writing for myself. So the night before the 100th episode I started my sweetondean.tumblr, dedicated to Supernatural and Dean Winchester, and I started writing…

And here I am 100 episodes later writing up the 200th episode! Who woulda thunk it! I feel so damn bless. As Calliope would say, I can’t even!

When I heard what the show was planning for their 200th episode, a love letter to the fans that would be musicalish and set in an all girl’s school, I wasn’t worried. I’d seen them tackle the most meta of meta episodes in “The French Mistake” and somehow make it into a mythalone ep! I’d seen them cross a particularly tricky line in showing a Supernatural convention and yet somehow keep it context to the story of the season. I mean, I’d seen them discuss fan fiction and slash fiction and somehow keep it in context of the story, for heaven’s sake! So I had no doubt that whatever they chose to do with the 200th episode, they would knock it out of the park. This show is smart and self-aware and they’ve never disappointed me. 

And they sure as hell didn’t this time either!

I was in love with “Fan Fiction” from the THEN. From that typed page with Kripke’s name on it. It seemed like the most perfect way to start. And then the perfect just kept coming, and coming, and coming, and coming.

I laughed, great big hearty out loud laughs. I cried, great big wracking, sobbing tears. I clapped my hands. I yelled out random things into an empty room. I whispered “Oh my God”. I clasped my hands to my heart. I balled my fists into my face. I grinned until I hurt. I had all the feels! Every feel there is to be had, I had it!

Every single moment was perfect. Every single reference. The little things, like Fake!Dean complaining of the Samulet hitting her in the mouth, mirroring Jensen’s own complaints about the amulet chipping his teeth! To the bigger commentary around shipping, both Destiel and Wincest, and how there’s room for all interpretations of the show in fandom. We may not always agree. For example, I’m not a shipper, but you have your story, I have my story, and the show has its story…and that’s the way it should be and we should all be able to respect that and enjoy it how we want to, because this is our show and how we interpret it is personal to us as individuals. I loved that message, it’s a good one to be reminded of, and I loved that though Dean was initially so hell-bent against everything Marie had interpreted for her version of Supernatural, by the end, he was okay with them having a different view. “Keep writing Shakespeare”, was as much for us as it was for Marie. And Sam playfully trying to figure out new names for “ships”! Bringing the fun back into shipping! It was just too perfect.

“Fan Fiction” was like a treasure trove of fandom Easter Eggs. Surely that robot head was a shout out to “It was a robot head!”, Misha’s much meme’d line from “Stonehenge Apocalypse”. Then there was, Fake!Dean’s fan fiction blonde hair! Real Dean turning Fake!Cas’ tie around before she goes on stage. Marie explaining the term Samulet to Dean. We even got an Adam mention! And Marie saying, “reasons” and Calliope saying, “I can’t even”…the episode was even written in our language! Robbie Thompson sure is in touch with this show and this fandom. Bless his heart. 

And then of course there were epic shoutouts, like the opening sequence with Dean tossing a gun into the trunk of the Impala and saying, “We got work to do”. Honestly, could that have been more amazing? We saw that scene with Sam tossing the gun at the end of the Pilot, and we saw it again but with Dean tossing the gun at the end of season 2. 

That whole scene with the brothers… Dean all greased up working on Baby. And surely the single layers were just for us! The show knows how we heartily complain about these beautiful men being layered up all the time! T-shirts and v-necked tops showing off everything - including perky nipples - to perfection…excuse me while I objectify…

I may have rewound and replayed this scene an embarrassing amount of times!

Every performance was a cracker. The all female cast did a stellar job

Marie and Maeve where as funny as all hell, Maeve in particular. Man, she was so dry with those deliveries! The singing was wonderful, everyone had lovely voices. And the songs! My gosh, how catchy are they? I already know all the words to The Road So Far and Single Man Tear – which makes me bawl. The rendition of Carry On Wayward Son was so gorgeous – and also makes me bawl - and I loved I’ll Just Wait Here Then! Flawless, the whole lot of it. And you know what I loved about these schoolgirl characters? They were smart and capable. Smart as a whip. Could stand up for themselves. And in the end, it was the girls who really saved the day! Marie killed the scarecrow and without Maggie and Mrs Chandler’s quick moves, Sam was looking like dead meat! 

And then there was Jensen and Jared and their astonishing comic timing. I know Jared always says he doesn’t do comedy, but the guy is damn funny (in real life too), and he can do Sam playfully pushing Dean’s buttons like nobodies business. Every single reaction was gold. Jensen, of course is some kind of comic genius! I was gasping with laughter at his uncomfortable Dean! I loved his awkward bow onstage. The way he was with Marie – loved his “Oh it needed to be burned” comment about the scarecrow. Dean treats everyone kind of the same, whether adult or teenage girl. I love that about him. And I love how he just rolls with a situation. He may be thrown at first, but somehow, he ends up fitting right in there. It’s a part of who he is that I adore (that and all his other parts…which sounds kinda dirty…oh well!). Oh and Jensen’s classic look to camera. Yes Mr Ackles, we know what you did there!

But for me, my favourite thing about “Fan Fiction” was Sam and Dean. Okay, that sounds like a “D’UH” moment! Sorry!

How I’ve waited for Sam and Dean to reconnect in a meaningful way. Sure there's been moments of harmony but since the events of season 4, the brothers have been torn apart again and again. Whether through trips to hell or Purgatory, or near death or actual death…one damn thing after another. In the past couple of seasons, though they have more often than not been at odds, they’ve also managed to tell each other some truths. Whether it was Sam opening up as to how he’s always felt, or telling Dean he’s a brilliant hunter, or Dean telling Sam he’s is and always will be his number one priority and of course, “I’m proud of us”, the brothers have really been getting some stuff out there! For good and for bad.

Personally, and this is my interpretation… I’ve felt the honesty, whether heartbreakingly brutal, or heartbreakingly beautiful, has all been part of the brother’s journey to understand each other as adults, as individuals, and bringing them to a place in their relationship where they remember why they are together…not just because of the job, but because of the love. They’re starting remember they WANT to be together. They want to be driving down Crazy Street with their brother. Because that is where they’re meant to be. Not out of fate or destiny, but out of love.

We saw that beginning of this reconnection in their lovely moments of honest communication in “Paper Moon” and we see more of it here in “Fan Fiction” as they continue to loosen up and recapture the fun side of their relationship. These guys have always been great at teasing each other, but when you’re pissed at someone, the last thing you want to do is affectionately poke fun. But here we are, with them poking fun with great big grins, left and right. “It’s not a Tulpa”. Oh my goodness…my love runneth over! Sam and Dean, being Sam and Dean…our Sam and Dean, the Sam and Dean who love each other beyond anything else, fandom’s Sam and Dean in fandom’s love letter. My heart was exploding.

The brothers always benefit from seeing their relationship reflected back at them through other people. It’s often the role of guest characters on this show to do that. To give the boys some home truths, or mirror the brother’s current situation. In “Fan Fiction” Sam and Dean got to see their entire lives mirrored back at them! And it was through the eyes of people who thought they were wonderful and heroes and who thought their journey was epic. I’m getting teary just thinking about it! 

And so we have Sam and Dean hearing their Fake!Selves talking about how they have to get back on the road…

Fake!Dean - You're right Sammy, out on the road, just the two of us.
Fake!Sam  - The two of us against the world!

Sam then turns to Dean… “What she said”


Then Sam and Dean, listening to the words of Carry On Wayward Son, a song that means so much to the Supernatural fandom and which words reflect our dreams of some form of peace for these brothers we love and adore… Their faces as they listened… feeeeeels! 

And the brother’s final moment. In the car. Silent. No words needed. As Dean hangs the Samulet on the rear-view mirror. Sure, he doesn’t need an amulet to remind him how he feels about his brother…but that one action, told Sam anyway. Then they drove off into the sunset…the two of them, alone, but together…against the world. I WAS BAWLING MY EYES OUT! Like sobbing. Uncontrollably. I might be crying now. Okay, I am!

Then just to kill us all, we end on Chuck! CHUCK! And don’t tell me it wasn’t all the more powerful because we know what Rob has been through and we know that we could have lost him. Seriously, I wanted to hug my TV…and I would have, if I weren’t in a ball on the couch crying my eyes out!

Oh man…this episode. I love it to the moon and back... (that's for my Batcave girls ).

In the end, it was the monster of the week that completely nailed why I love this show so much and why it’s so successful. Why Supernatural, a genre show on a tiny network that spent years on the bubble of renewal or cancellation, which has been moved so many times it’s literally been on every night of the week, which never gets any kudos from its peers, which until recently got virtually no media or press coverage or even promotion on its own network. Why this little show that could, has outlived so many other shows that we were told were better. Why this show has a fandom that has formed a family that includes the cast and crew…

Calliope - “Supernatural has everything. Life, death, resurrection, redemption -- but above all, family. All set to music you can really tap your toe to. It isn't some meandering piece of genre dreck, it's... epic.”

Yep. Epic.

I could go on and on and on about this episode, all the wonderful lines, all the kickass (kick it in the ass) moments...I really could, but I'll just end on...

Congratulations Supernatural, and thank you. I love you. 

And fandom, thank you too... 



  1. What she said. Thank you, I just watched it again. I know I will again. I absolutely loved this episode, this show, everyone that works so hard and gives it everything they've got. And then goes and gives us an episode to thank us for going on this crazy ride with's almost too much. Yeah what you said.....

  2. Fan Fiction was wonderful. I laughed so much, and then I cried… which I think was a combination of happy and sad, lol. The sadness was for these two brothers, as they watched a somewhat skewed version of their lives on stage and reflected on everything they’ve been through. The happiness was because they’re finding a way back to one another, with Sam’s comment “What she said” and then Dean hanging the ‘new’ amulet in the impala.

    There were also more tears when the camera turned to reveal CHUCK – and I think you’re right, it means so much more to us because of what Rob went through last year. I hope we see Chuck again.

    For me, this episode was perfect. I’ve always said that The French Mistake was my favourite episode, but I think Fan Fiction has just bumped it off the pedestal… and it’s because, as well as being very clever, it was just so goddamn personal. It really was a love letter to fans, as corny as that might sound.

    My personal favourite moments were:
    • Andrew “Floyd” Webber, lol.
    • Sam not listening to Maeve and playing with the buttons in Tech.
    • Dean saying: “Why don’t you take a sub-step back ladies”.
    • Sam trying to come up with new shipping names, lol. CassDean!
    • Marie saying: “That is some of the WORST fan fiction I have ever heard.”
    • Dean being tossed around the stage like a rag-doll.
    • Maeve saying: “Okay, we’re through the looking glass here people (which I’m sure is what Sam and Dean must’ve thought the minute they stepped into the theatre, lol).
    • Maggie using a copy of Homer’s Odyssey to hit Calliope on the head (especially since Calliope was said to be Homer’s muse) – this show is so clever!!
    • The scarecrow exploding all over the crowd and the priceless looks on their faces.
    • The ending with the BM moment on stage and later in the impala; that version of Carry On Wayward Son; and the appearance of Chuck.

    To be honest, I loved every moment of this episode and have already watched it a dozen times. And I enjoyed your review, as always. Thanks for including the song at the end. It’s beautiful.

  3. I loved every minute of it and your review was spot on again. I have watched it many, many, many times and will do that again. Can't wait what comes next.

    - Lilah

  4. I loved everything about this episode! My mind went to so many emotions. I felt a little bi-polar when it was over after laughing out loud and then shedding a tear, or two! HA. It's just incredible how a show can do that to a person. It was just brilliant. The way they wove so much of fandom into the story. In ways I wouldn't have thought possible.

    I will admit that my brain got a little fuzzy at times because it was so meta. Now I understand why J2 want to always stay Sam and Dean in a meta episode. When Sam and Dean are listening to 'Carry on My Wayward Son' and the camera was on them I found myself thinking. "So Jared and Jensen, no I mean Sam and Dean, now know how much that song represents them." Wait, what am I saying? Like J2 in French Mistake saying it was J2 playing S/D playing J2 playing S/D. My brain was just so muddled. HA! I had to remind myself it was TV!!

    Then when J2 tweeted they shed a Single Man Tear! Oh man, there is just too much depth to this Supernatural phenomenon to even try to peel back all the layers and figure it out.

    I always wait with great anticipation for your reviews. I can count on you saying EXACTLY what I feel, but can't seem to express. You allow my brain to process it all. THANK YOU!!

  5. Thank you soooo much!!!you know I don't usually comment(as I'm not an English spoken native but it's the beauty of Supernatural that gather fans from all nations together as a family I guess!!) ,but I gotta say I really enjoy every single word you write,no matter if it's an episode review,a con report or anything else,cause as a crazy Dean girl I'm agree with all your thoughts and feelings!so thank you!!!
    my love for this episode is endless,I lost count of how many times I rewatched it and every time I feel awesome about it!you mentioned almost everything and I'm agree with all of that!!!
    right now I'm shouting out with every fiber I've got that I'M PROUD OF US...

  6. Yes, yes, yes, and YESSSS! From the second it began to the second it ended to the second it began on my immediate re-watch, I loved every single damn moment. I have kind of being going around in a Supernatural daze this past week. Not only was the episode phenomenal but fan reaction was phenomenal! (Oh and thank you, to you and Jules for the immediate WOL Podcast, which I have had on repeat in my car all week. Yes, yes I have) I obviously follow the right people on my social media TL's because everywhere was just love and gratitude and happy fandom feels. I was honestly surprised when I read another blog's review (they loved it) and saw some dissatisfied customers in the comments. I don't think they watched the same episode I did. Hell , I'm not even sure they watch the same Show that I do!

    Fan Fiction WAS a love letter. And I love the Show and the people who create it and everyone who feels like I do about it, with my whole heart!

  7. That was soooooo good! My face is still hurting from smiling so much. :) I'll say like you Amy, everytime Dean has to deal with young people, he treats them like mini adults, with respect. I have nothing to had to the eloquence and squee that was your review, except I love Robbie Thompson! Thank you infinitum Robbie. I've heard some people say that it's condescending to call this epic episode a love letter to the fans, but you know what? that's the way I received it, and it's THE BEST LOVE LETTER EVER, in all creation and all the universe, Amen. :)

    Okay, so how many hours are left in the day until I can watch this episode again?

  8. I'm so very late to this party to comment. I honestly don't think there could have been a more perfect episode for the 200th. For all the reasons you've laid out, and I agree with Karen, too. There's not much else to add, except to say that when the boys talked about the ep at BurCon this past weekend you could tell they were mighty proud of it.