The 200th episode of Supernatural—the one that’s been teased since the summer, the MUSICAL episode—it wasn’t exactly what we expected, but it was still a joy to watch.
Sam and Dean investigate a normal-sounding missing persons case at an all-girls school and, lo and behold, the theater kids are putting on a production of Supernatural. With an all girl cast. The camera corkscrews around to see Sam and Dean’s stunned faces, while we eagerly await more.
This was the homage episode. I can’t even count the number of nods to previous storylines and general Supernatural fandom that occurred in this episode, but I’ll give a few honorable mentions. The beginning “Now” segment was “Supernatural: Pilot by Eric Kripke” typed on the screen. META. Every Supernatural logo from its beginning, including the jokey special episodes, were flashed across the screen. There were references to early monsters and the Sam and Dean bromance that so often was misinterpreted as romantic by secondary characters early in the show’s run. The episode began with a shot inside the Impala trunk, mirroring the shot from the pilot, and Dean said, “We’ve got work to do.” The “bitch/jerk” comments (turned on its head this time) were playfully resurrected. Dean/Sam and Dean/Castiel shipping. “Subtext.”
From the first 10 minutes we could tell the writers had fun with this episode. Self-deprecating humor on their own show and tons of meta moments. This one must have been a blast in the writer’s room. Unlike the know-it-all director of Supernatural: The Musical, I like the occasional meta storyline. Chuck and the Supernatural novels were a fun diversion from the usual mythology of the show. “Fan Fiction” brought it all back.
They also brought back ideas and themes I’d been dying to see again. For example: the Tulpa. I have been wondering forever when the Tulpa might come into play again. A monster that exists simply because you believe in it hard enough? The implications were staggering, but the creature hadn’t been brought up again for years. This baddie in Fan Fiction actually didn’t turn out to be a Tulpa (As Sam said, “It’s not a Tulpa”—but now say it in Ah-nold’s accent like in Kindergarten Cop.), but it was nice to have the nod and the red herring to keep things interesting.
When I say the show wasn’t what I was expecting…Well, yes, I was thinking that Sam and Dean would end up on stage embarrassing the heck out of themselves by singing, or maybe we’d have a filler episode in which Sam and Dean are cursed to sing their way through their next case (Writers: Get on that one). Despite no Sam and Dean belting out show tunes, the episode was entertaining and a rewarding experience for fans who’ve seen all 200 episodes.
We got to laugh at the girl’s well-meaning but flawed interpretation of Supernatural, and not just the Winchesters got the good lines. Stage Manager/ Understudy-to-Jody-Mills has the flattest form of humor that just killed me. Oh theater techies—may you never lose your sense of wonder at how stupid people sound when they ask about “strange noises.”
Say what you will of meta episodes, but this was a win for me. Funny, homage-y, and introducing a new kind of monster, “Fan Fiction” was a little ray of humorous light in what will likely be an extra dark season of Supernatural.