Episode Title: "The French Mistake"
Writer: Ben Edlund
Director: Charles Beeson
Previously on "Supernatural":
After defeating Lucifer, the soul of Sam Winchester (Jared Padalecki) was trapped in hell for a year before Dean (Jensen Ackles) eventually made a deal to return Sam's soul to his body with the memories of his torment wiped away. But when Sam tried to remember what his soulless body had done during the intervening year, he was briefly overcome by a vision of his soul being tortured in Hell's flames.
Castiel (Misha Collins) — the Winchester's only angelic ally — also let them know that there is a new war in Heaven between his forces and those of the angel Raphael, which could devastate creation if Raphael is allowed to win...
At Bobby's auto yard, Sam and Dean are surprised by the sudden appearance of Balthazar (Sebastian Roché), who warns them that Castiel has gone deep underground while Raphael has begun purging all of Castiel's allies, including the three of them. As Balthazar makes an angelic mark upon the nearby window and prepares a potion, he gives Sam a key before he is assaulted by Virgil (Carlos Sanz), a killer angel sent by Raphael. Balthazar tells the brothers to run and they jump through the window... and land on to the set of "Supernatural." Much to their surprise, they find out that they are simply actors named Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki.
Unnerved by the turn of events, they pray to Castiel and spot him outside. When they ask him what's going on, he explains that they've been shifted to an alternate dimension where their lives are a TV show. He goes on to explain that the key Raphael gave him was for a storage room with mystical weapons for the war in Heaven that Balthazar stole. But when the brothers press him further, "Castiel" asks them if they're working off of new script pages. They scoff when they learn that his name in this world is Misha Collins, and he laughs off their banter as a prank.
As the brothers try to figure out how to get back, the crew seems stunned that they're even speaking to each other. They try to drive off in one of the Impalas, only to find that it's a prop car. However, they get driven to Jared's lush mansion that he shares with his wife, Genevieve Cortese Padalecki; who played the demon Ruby on the show. They also use Jared's credit card to buy holy relics to create the potion to get home. But they also find out that this world has no magic, which means they may be stuck. And back on the set, Virgil also finds his way into this world.
In order to get the set to themselves, Sam and Dean are forced to "act" as themselves and hilariously blow multiple takes because of their nervousness. When they spot Virgil, they find he has no powers here either and they start beating the crap out of him. But the stuntmen spot them and restrain them while Virgil grabs the key from Sam's pocket and runs off. Virgil then captures Misha in his car and takes him to an alley where he violently kills him as a homeless man watches. Genevieve tells the brothers what happened to Misha and they race to the scene.
The homeless man tells the brothers that he heard the voice of Raphael tell Virgil to return to the point that he crossed over so he can be retrieved. At the same time, Virgil buys several weapons and returns to the set, where he kills "Supernatural" creator Eric Kripke and several others. The brothers fight him near the window and recover the key moments before Raphael (Lanette Ware) pulls them back into their world and claims the key for himself. But Balthazar appears and admits that the key was a fake to buy him time to recover the weapons, while Castiel warns Raphael to flee while he can.
The Winchesters are livid that they were used like pawns, but Castiel warns them that if Raphael wins the war in Heaven, they will all lose. He offers them a further explanation soon before departing. Alone in the house, the brothers confirm they're back where they should be and jokingly state that "at least we're talking."
After one of the worst episodes of the season, "Supernatural" delivered one of its best scripts of the year, courtesy of Ben Edlund, whose work I largely know through "The Tick" comic and animated series. I haven't been watching "Supernatural" for that long, but I still appreciate a really funny story when I see one.
The notion that Sam and Dean find themselves as Jared and Jensen is such a great idea that I wonder why it took so long. And I loved the brothers failing to act as themselves. Acting isn't as easy as it looks, even when you're acting as yourself. Obviously, the brothers would rather be killing monsters.
If anything, the concept wasn't quite explored as thoroughly as it could have been. The script for the episode of "Supernatural" they were shooting in this world called for the Winchesters to find themselves in an episode of "Supernatural." But we never see Sam and Dean acting as if they are Sam and Dean pretending to be Jared and Jensen... unless that was too meta. Misha Collins was a lot of fun as the wimpy version of himself who loves Twitter and is apparently treated like crap by the guys.
Genevieve Padalecki was also sadly underused and we only see her three times in the episode. There were also a few instances in which the script got a little too cute, like Sera Gamble's appearance over the phone and Eric Kripke's over-the-top death while walking towards Virgil. When you're hiring actors to portray yourself on TV (like the Robert Singer character), then it's getting really self indulgent. At the very least, almost everyone on the creative team of "Supernatural" was willing to make themselves look shallow and even bad. There were even some subtle jokes that Jared makes a lot more money than Jensen and that the audience for "Supernatural" is really small.
The best parts of this episode all dealt with Dean and Sam's disbelief at everything and their reactions to seeing everything they lived for reduced to a TV series shot in... Canada! Seeing them trapped in a world where they mean almost nothing to anyone could have made for a good multi-episode arc as well. It was fun while it lasted, I just felt it should have done more.
Castiel's new war in Heaven seems intriguing, but I'm not buying Raphael as a credible foe yet. We still need to get the stakes of this explained to us better than "everyone loses if he wins."
Crave Online Rating: 8.5 out of 10.