Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Monster At The End Of This Book

What kind of librarian would I be if I didn’t mention the children’s book which inspired this episode’s title? Jon Stone’s self-referential Little Golden book, which has Sesame Street’s loveable Grover warning the reader they should not turn the pages lest they come across a scary monster at the end, only to learn the only monster there is HIM, is a personal fave.

Here Sam and Dean discover a series of books based on their actual life. It starts when FBI agents DeYoung and Shaw (Styx) show up to investigate a haunting at Golden Comics only to be accused of LARPing by the shop owner. He thinks they are Live Action Role Playing, quite convincingly, their favorite characters from a series of books called Supernatural. The paranormal novels didn’t sell a lot of copies, but had an underground cult following. When the store owner yanks book one from the bargain bin, replete with a Fabio cover, the Winchesters demand all the books on hand.

“I’m full frontal here, dude.” ~ Dean

In addition to learning the author has a freaky inside look at their life, they also discover a fan base of Dean girls, Sam girls and to their hilarious horror, Slash fans. After shuddering at the idea of Wincest, the two track down the publisher who’s a bit of a fangirl herself, but before she’ll put them in touch with the enigmatic author, Carver Edlund, they’re going to have to prove their fanaticism. She quizzes the boys, but it’s not until they flash their tattoos, and I so love it when they do that, that she’s convinced of their allegiance and flashes her own intimate inkwork.

Turns out Carver Edlund is a pseudonym for Chuck Shurley and one of the funniest scenes is when he’s narrating Sam and Dean’s arrival as they approach his house. Still, he’s not easily convinced his characters are flesh and blood.

“Is this some kind of Misery thing?”

Eventually the boys do persuade him they’re the real deal and he is not, in fact, a God who’s forcing them to live bad writing, but maybe a psychic who, for some odd reason, is really tuned into their lives.

Still, Sam isn’t entirely convinced Chuck can foresee their future and this becomes abundantly clear in the laundromat scene when Dean is able to “read” Sam’s mind by reading Chuck’s new pages.

Dean: “You just thought I was a dick.”
Sam: “The guy is good.”

But it’s Chuck’s latest vision about Sam in the “throes of fiery demonic passion” with Lilith, now in the form of a comely dental hygienist, that has Dean really trippin. He admits he’s worried Sam’s going to go all darkside and decides their best plan of action is to do the opposite of everything scripted. Only that doesn’t work out so well. Despite their every effort, they end up exactly where they were written to be.

And poor Chuck is writing himself more and more into their story. First, Sam calls him to the hotel, where Dean has put his brother under house arrest, and quietly confesses he wishes he could stop sucking demon blood. Then, a pissed off Dean is waiting for Chuck at his house. Just when the writer is about get his ass kicked Castiel shows up and tells Dean that Chuck is a prophet of the Lord. That’s right, those books are the Gospel of Winchester. And here’s where my fave line came in.

Chuck: “I mean, writing yourself into the story is one thing, but as a prophet? That’s like M. Night level doucheness.”

At this point Dean learns there’s not a damn thing he can do. What the prophet has written can not be unwritten. What’s he’s seen will come to pass. In other words, Sam and Lilith are going to get busy. Ew.

Distraught and pissed off, Dean prays for help. Cas pops in and tells him his show of faith is a good thing, but it’s not in his power to help. However, if say, a demon, were to seem like she was threatening a prophet, that prophet’s protective Archangel warrior would come kick her sorry ass. The hint is all the incentive Dean needs. He grabs Chuck and heads for the hotel where Sam is waiting for Lilith.

As foretold, Lilith shows up and puts the moves on Sammy. Turns out she’s not going to survive this war and she’d much rather squash things in their tracks and go back to the way they were. All Sammy has to do to stop the seals from breaking and the apocalypse from coming is sacrifice himself and Dean for the greater good and cement the contract by sleeping with Lilith. Ew. Ew.

Sam’s first instinct is to fight, but Lilith easily breaks his devil’s trap and when he shoves his powerful palm at her, he just prettily blows her hair like a Pantene commercial. The two are at an impasse, so Sam finally agrees to the deal, gets her on the bed and tries to stab her. She wrestles the knife from him and—

Bang! Dean and Chuck come flying through the door. “I am the prophet, Chuck.” Classic!

Given the choice between taking off or fighting an Archangel, Lilith smokes out. The boys are back on the road and Sam gleefully tells Dean that Lilith is running scared.

Meanwhile, Chuck has another prophetic dream, which we don’t get to see, and it’s a doozy. When he wakes up Zacariah is there. “Did you see it?” Yes, yes he did. And whatever “it” is made him want to call Sam and Dean, to warn them, but Zac won’t let him. Chuck’s so devastated over what he saw that he threatens to go kill himself, but Cas’s boss says, “Don’t be melodramatic, Chuck. We’d only bring you back to life.” Instead he advises him to do what he always does, “Write.”

It’s now 12:50 in the morning and I can’t think anymore so I’m just going to finish with some random thoughts.

This episode had some brilliant wit and a lot of fun meta references, but it certainly got much darker than I expected. And did Zacariah look evil or what? He scared the crap outta me and I got the sense that Chuck was scared of him too. Also, why didn't they let the archangel get Lilith? Finally, I have to wonder who exactly is the monster at the end of this book?

Additional fun metas:
Carver Edlund: from writers Jeremy Carver and Ben Edlund.
Kripke’s Hollow diner
Any others?