Monday, February 28, 2011

Supernatural - 6.15 - The French Mistake - Recap

Fair Warning #1 - If you know me, you know I hate meta episodes. Don't get me wrong. I love meta. Changing Channels was awesome and little winks like in Caged Heat when Crowley said, "Castiel, haven't seen you all season" make my day. I just can't stand meta for meta's sake and the refuse it makes canon in its wake. To me, only The Monster at the End of the Book and The Real Ghostbusters were meta episodes, both of which make my Top 10 Worst Episodes list. I've dreaded this episode. However, Unforgiven and Mannequin 3 were both subpar episodes to me, equally boring and equally filler. So, tired of writing negatively about Supernatural for 2 weeks, I decided not to recap this one. Until I saw it. Unlike many, it is not my favorite episode of season 6, not even close. But, it would land squarely in the middle for me. Some of you may be disappointed but believe me, if I think a meta episode was decent, even good, it was one heck of an episode. Certainly better than Unforgiven and Mannequin.

Warning #2 - I know nothing about TV production. Also, I typically avoid all but the very basics in Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki's personal lives, including some DVD extras. I am a huge fan of the show, but it makes me feel stalkerish to delve too deeply into them as people. For these reasons I'm doubly clueless in this episode compared to most of you. I have a hard time deciding if something is meta or plot, so forgive me if I miss an obvious reference.

Previously - Cas and Raphael are in an angel civil war, Balthazar stole heaven's weapons, Balthy killed Raphael's vessel, Meg killed a trucker and dialed home with his blood in a bowl (way to reach back to season 1 folks), Ruby was a manipulative witch who got Sam addicted to demon blood and died with her own knife (ah, the good old days)

Fierce storms hit South Dakota so people with brontophobia beware. Dean copes with copious amounts of liquor (aka hunter's helper), which Bobby is at the store to replenish. That makes Bobby a hero in Dean's eyes. Sam has no time to reply because in pops Balthazar, who helpfully told RoboSam to kill Bobby the last time we saw him. Dean's rightfully nervous, but Balthy's so into his Godfather allusion he doesn't notice. He starts a potion of Dead Sea brine, blood of lamb, and bone of a lesser saint, all of which Bobby has on hand. Makes me wonder what other obscure goodies Bobby procured. Everything is confusing as Balthy pops from one place to another and refuses to answer questions. The gist is that Raphael is after Castiel but can't find him. "So good old Rafy put out a hit list on every last Samaritan who helped out dear Cas, including both of you, and so much more importantly, me. See he wants to draw Cas out into the open." Both Balthy and the Winchesters are in deep trouble. Balthy makes an Enochian sign on the window with the potion and hands them a key. He also got stabbed by a Raphael's best hit man, Virgil, and is "down a lung at the moment." Ha! Sorry - I know I should hate Balthy, but he's funny and fills the RoboSam void. If we must have angels, I hope he survives. He tells them to run and pushes them through the window….

…where they fall onto a TV set (the place where a TV show is shot not the thing you see said TV show on). They do an excellent job of showing fear, earning applause from the crew. A random guy slaps Dean's butt and the director smiles. In a fantastic transition, a crew guy claps the tail slate leading into the broken glass title card. Dean and Sam ponder where they are and what happened to the angels, while the director ponders why they can't use the shot. I ponder whether to get drunk on hunter's helper for the first time since college in order to get through the meta. Sam asks if they should kill someone, but Dean says no. They nix running too. Miscellaneous crew people try to fix the scene and Assistant Director (AD) Parks suggests they reset the window to redo the scene, but that would cut the scene "where they sit on the Impala and talk about their feelings." Bwah! Maybe this won't be so bad after all. The director rejects that - "Right. You answer the hate mail." They end up with the "serviceable" freeze frame solution. Hopefully, this doesn't happen too often in real life. Sucky CW budget! They call it a wrap and one woman takes Jared/Sam, while another pushes Jensen/Dean into a makeup chair. This is getting confusing fast. While everyone else is fascinated by Dean's reaction to the make-up he has on ("I'm a painted whore."), I'm fascinated with the pictures of RealJensen and RealJared attached to the mirror. There's bloody Dean and bloody Sam along with the obligatory goofy pictures. I wonder if this is really what it looks like. Meanwhile, Trish Evian, a field producer, interviews Sam as Jared, who is as confused as I am. What's a field producer? She asks him to "include the question in your answer," which I find funny since we tell that to middle schoolers writing constructed responses.

The brothers exchange horror stories. You know it's bad when Dean passes up free food. Sam exposits they are on a TV show about their lives, they are the stars and their names are Jensen and Jared. Dean: "Why would anybody want to watch our lives?" Sam: "Well, according to the interviewer, not very many people do." True, but while we vary in age and gender, we are all very passionate. "We landed in some dimension where you're Jensen Ackles and I'm something called a Jared Padalecki." Dean: "Oh so what now, you're Polish?" They go outside where Dean sees the Impala. His joy at having "his baby make it" is diminished when someone throws dirt on her. It turns to despair when he sees 4 other Metallicars in various states of disrepair. A two-door version is missing a wheel and the doors. It's disheartening. Dean: "I feel sick. I'm going to be sick." Me too, Dean. Dean is creeped out and "there's no place like home" becomes a refrain. They decide to reach out to Cas. (I love when they pray to get Castiel's attention. It's hilarious.) "Dear Castiel, who art maybe running his *** away from heaven. We pray that you have your ears on. Breaker, breaker." Is it a prayer or the CB channel, Dean? Regardless, they see Cas, who is likely TVMisha in this scenario, so let the confusion reign. Cas uses a deeper voice than normal to robot talk about being in this dimension to avoid Angel Hit Man Virgil. Cas asks for the key, which opens Balthy's treasure trove of heaven weapons. Cas needs them to win the civil war. Sam asks about the show, Dean calls Sam Padaleski, and TVMisha (not Cas) consults his script. TVMisha talks in his normalish, higher voice, making me laugh. Plus he has a sky blue T-shirt underneath the trench coat. Bwah! Dean makes fun of the names Misha and Jensen with a classic "this is screwed" face, while TVMisha is gleeful about their prank. Even I know that's meta for the prank wars that got pretty intense between Misha and Jared. TVMisha tweets, "Ola, mishamigos! J2 got me good. Really starting to feel like one of the guys." I know it's spelled that way because in a case of meta on meta on top of meta, RealMisha tweeted it to about 131,000 fans at the same time this episode aired for the eastern US. I however, saw the episode an hour later when it made a whole lot more sense to me. RealMisha is a hoot so if you're not following him, follow at @mishacollins.

The brothers Winchester stop at TVJensen's on-set trailer, which is helpfully labeled J. Ackles, Supernatural, for anyone confused. Or anyone who has snuck onto the set and wants to surprise an unsuspecting actor. I hope this isn't real because that could be scary with some Jensen Ackles fans. Dean: "That's fake me. This must be fake mine." (snickers and snorts here) TVJensen's trailer has a massive fish tank, toys, big flat screen TV, fireplace, and laptop conveniently waiting for Sam to use. I don't know if it is RealJensen's trailer but if it is, it's sweet. Why don't they just sleep there on those days when they are on "extra pay." I got that term from Jim Beaver's Twitter account by the way. It's a day when they go over schedule at night but still have to start at the regular time in the morning, thus negating their 8 hour break in between shooting clause in their contract.

TVJensen likes watching himself as his giant face is plastered on the flat screen. Sam researches Jensen Ackles, which is strange plot wise since they have more important stuff to research, but meta wise leads to a YouTube video of Real Jensen on Days of Our Lives. I wonder what they paid to show that clip. I'd prefer a classic rock song next week. Dean is also unimpressed. "Don’t like this universe, Sammy. We need to get out of this universe." Meanwhile, Dean picks up a copy of Supernatural magazine (it's great if you haven't subscribed) and makes slurs about male models and Sam's Blue Steel face. Again very meta. Oh, and while the Action Buzz website does not exist to my knowledge, I have seen every one of those pictures on the internet. It looks like most fan sites. However, there is a plot in all this meta, and the brothers realize they're "out of soul phone range." Ha! The new plan is to get the ingredients, draw the Enochian symbol on the window, and zap themselves back.

They search for the ingredients in TVBobby's set house, only to find everything is fake. The knives bend or push in and you can't crush up a rubber saint bone. The director and AD shake their heads but "at least they're talking to each other." Now that is NOT meta since Jensen and Jared get along well on set and off. They decide to leave in the Impala. It squeals and knocks and barely runs. Aww, this is just sad! A desperate crew guy begs Mr. Ackles to stop and Dean does, asking, "how the hell are we supposed to get out of here?" They are chauffeured out of K M Motion Picture Studios and I take that as a shout-out to Kim Manners, former producer, director, and show's soul who died in 2009. Aww! You were amazing Mr. Manners. Clif asks where TVJensen wants to go and he says TVJared's. Clif wonders about them hanging out. I wonder what RealClif thinks since he's the real bodyguard. Suddenly, I'm really confused between Dean/Sam, TVJensen/TVJared, and RealJensen/RealJared. Aaaargh! We're only 13 minutes in and already this recap is three pages. Sam wants to go to TVJared's house and Jensen realizes they are in Vancouver, Canada. "Dude, we're not even in America." Who knew Dean was such a xenophobe?

At the TVPadalecki house, my jaw drops. I have no idea if this is meta, but if RealJared can afford a mansion like this, I'm not feeling sorry for J2. This place is huge for a low-rated TV star's place. Dean agrees. "Nice modest digs, Jay-Z." Sam: "Wow. I must be the star of this thing." Ha! I bet some fans are in a tizzy. They see a tanning bed in the foyer (The foyer? Shouldn't you have an entire room for this? You don't lack space.) and Sam is confused. "What am I? Dracula." Dean counters, "George Hamilton Dracula." Dean spots a bar so he's good. Um, everyone who said that Dean wasn't happy with Lisa because he drank so much? How do you explain his current alcohol rate? Cuz it has not changed one bit. I'm distracted from Dean's cirrhosis by the Warhol-like paintings of Jared and Genevieve Padalecki on the wall. At first I wondered if anyone really displays so many pictures of themselves, but then I thought of the family pictures at my grandma's house and realized it makes sense.

Dean and Sam are startled by a horrible snurfling sound in the backyard. Genevieve (Gen to save space) calls Dean names and says it's an alpaca. She looks smoking hot by the way. Dean calls her Ruby and she sighs that the joke is old. However, the Winchesters are completely confused. She kisses Sam and both brothers have priceless looks on their faces. Dean puzzles out who she is and why "the lovely actress who plays Ruby" is in Jared's house. Luckily a wedding picture clears everything up. In fact, it's their real wedding photo and things are suddenly squicky in a "I feel like a stalker" way, not a "I'm a crazy fan who can't handle that J2 got married" way. At least it should shut up the crazies who insist that Jared and Jensen are married to people other than Gen and Danneel. Dean is as befuddled as I am. "You married Fake Ruby." BWAAAHHH!!! My favorite line of the night so far, given so many people negatively call Gen Cortese fake Ruby as a slur. I happened to like her better, but to each their own. TVGen wants to know what they are doing since TVJensen has never been to the Padalecki house. "Well, now that I know there's an alpaca in the back I'm definitely coming back." Ha! TVGen talks about eco-friendly animals and heads to the International Otter Adoption charity dinner. Dean has a hard time not smirking. I smirk away because I'm guessing this is meta for RealJared's animal charity projects. Gen kisses Sam while Dean eye rolls grimaces. I keep laughing. Best scene in the whole episode. She heads off after saying she's glad they are talking and they check her out as she goes. That's a bit awkward since RealJensen is technically checking out his real best friend's wife. "Well, it looks like you did alright." Sam quickly agrees. "I should figure out her name." BWAH!!! It's at this point I realize that I actually like this meta episode. I nearly fall out of bed in shock.

They use their post-TVGen time to find the materials they need. Cheesy western music plays in the background while Sam sits in front of a huge picture of him as a cowboy. Either it's a still from the yet-to-be-seen western episode or a meta reference to it. I'm astonished someone would want a huge picture of himself hanging over his shoulder as he works. That would creep me out. Dean wants to head to Mexico City to rob a saint's wrist bone, but one perk of being an actor instead of a hunter is legitimate credit cards with a high limit. Hello Foster's World Bank Ultimate Card! I want a card that accepts $100,000 charges. Oh, and a job that pays the bill. They max out TVJared's credit cards and have a great time doing it. Dean: "Money, man. There's nothing like it." Dean couch crashes for his "beauty rest" while Jared grills Gen. At least he knows her name now. He asks about the Apocalypse disasters while she wonders why he's talking about Supernatural's season 5. Didn't happen in this reality, Sam. Gen: "You have been Sam Winchester way too long." Sam takes Gen's fabulously bejeweled hand and gets very lucky. Sometimes it's not bad to be Sam Winchester.

They take Clif's SUV to pick up their holy relics while he questions whether it's illegal. It looks like Dean's going for his seatbelt and I about fall over again. Huh? Anyway, they get out the spell ingredients at TVBobby's house as the director and AD show up. They're shocked to see them so early. Dean talks to the director about clearing the set so they can "do some actor stuff." Director Singer: "Jensen, we're thrilled to see you collaborating so creatively and your enthusiasm is refreshing. You know Dean Cain was like that on Lois and that man's a real actor." Huh? Is that a slam against Jensen and Jared's acting? Surely not. A quick check on IMDB makes me think it's meta about Robert Singer's producing days on Lois and Clark. Still, there's got to be a story here that I'm missing. Singer denies Dean's request and he realizes they have to ACT. He joins TVMisha and Sam. Misha asks what's in the package and Sam replies, "Upper part of a dead person." Again, I snort with laughter at TVMisha's reaction. Sam freaks about having to act. Pervasive hard staring, hand flailing, mark missing, word stumbling, body swaying, and head bobbing ensues. I heard once that the hardest thing for a good actor to play is a bad actor. If that's true, RealJensen and RealJared are acting geniuses because that was atrocious. Director Singer rolls his eyes upwards, "Season 6" he sighs. They decide to splice it together. Sam grouses about lines; Dean's more direct. "Gun. Mouth. Now." However, TVMisha takes the cake. He tweets, "IMHO j&j had a late one last night. Rotflmfao!" Again RealMisha tweeted it to his fans in the 9 o'clock hour while the west coast and St. Louis watched live. However, the absolute funniest thing of actually happened Saturday when RealMisha tweeted, "My phone was stolen and apparently cast into a parallel universe devoid of magic. I've retrieved it. I promise it won't happen again." BWWAAAHH!!! Truly, guys, follow him.

Back to the show - Singer calls Sera Gamble in LA to alert her to the problems. "They started talking to each other." Ha! Sera says that's a good thing, but Singer counters that TVJensen's staying over at TVJared's house where they are smuggling illegal items. TVMisha tweeted it was organ smuggling but AD Parker says it's drugs. I say move on. Just as Singer says, "Anyway, as far as I can see, I think they've lost any shred of talent they ever had," the Winchesters crash through the fake window. Yep, drugs. Back in TVJensen's trailer, Sam exposits no demons, angels, ghosts, monsters, or Apocalypses on alter-verse. No hunters either. Unfortunately, the spell summons Virgil to a fake hotel set. I guess this music budget went to the extra 23 plate glass windows they broke.

The next day, stunt doubles greenscreen while Dean wants out of Canada. It's not your fault Northern buddy. Dean just hates feeling out of control and hockey, I guess. He runs into Virgil, who gets the shock of his eternal life when he has no powers. "Mojo-free zone." "No magic in the house." "Makes you nothing but a d***" The stunt coordinator tries to impress some female I don't know (anyone help here?) while Dean and Sam wail on Virgil. AD Parks and the stunt guys break it up and Virgil flees with the key. That can only end badly. On a conference call to Sera Gamble again, we see a cover of Dean and Sam on TV News in the background. It's a much better picture than the TV Guide cover. Maybe we can use this one next time. They also have at least seven trophies, one looks vaguely People's Choice shaped but with writing in the wrong place. There's definitely a Constellation award (won for What is and What Should Never Be - excellent choice and best SciFi series as a whole), but I have no idea what the others are. Singer voices his concerns about Dean and Sam "beating an extra to death." Sera's response, "Huh." (snickers) Producer Jim Michaels and AD Parks insist that it wasn't so bad because he could still run. They concur the boys are on an acid trip, so Sera agrees to talk to them. Except Jim thinks Kripke would be more effective, since Sera is "new". If "new" means there from the beginning and simply changing jobs within the same show, then…um..Ok. Sera flips and then I do. Kripke's new pilot is called OctoCobra . Is it for the SyFy channel? Kripke, I said I would follow you anywhere, but I can't in good conscious go there. Thanks goodness this is the meta that isn't meta.

TVMisha leaves hair and makeup in a hideous blue snowflake sweater. I think my grandma gave these as Christmas presents. He enters his car with a massive grin, tweeting "Ever get that feeling someone's in the backseat - " You should go with that feeling Misha, as in go out of the car. Then an angelic hit man wouldn't have a knife at your throat. Also, so much for set security if they get through the guards like that. Meanwhile, Dean and Sam enter TVBobby's house only to be confronted by Producer Singer. He asks if killing the extra is about getting a pay raise. Dean: "More money. You already pay these two jokers enough money as it is." Sam agrees. Don't let the CW hear you say that. They'll be all for it. Producer/Director Bob says he is Robert Singer. Dean: "What kind of a douchebag names a character after himself?" Sam: "Oh, that's not right." They ignore Executive Producer/Director/Douche Robert Singer only to realize that Virgil has the key. Singer: "Guys, you can't come to work on poppers and smuggle kidneys in from Mexico and make up your own lines as you go. You cannot make up your own lines…what about your careers." Of those 3, you worry about the lines? Got to love Hollywood. Sam: "You know what, screw our careers Bob." Dean: "You heard my brother. That's right I said brother. Cuz you know what Bob, we're not actors. We're hunters. We're the Winchesters - always have been and always will be. And where we're from people don't know who we are but you know what, we matter to that world. In fact, we even save a (SOB) once or twice. And yeah, OK here maybe there's some fans who give a **** about this nonsense…but Bob Singer, if that even is your name, tell me this. What does it all mean?" It's nice to hear Dean positive about hunting after the downer of last week's "sit on the Impala and share their feelings" talk. Oh, and the Winchesters quit the acting business.

In a dark alley, Virgil pushes a hysterical, weeping TVMisha while whining about this universe. His high pitched squeal makes me long for deep Cas voice. But as Virgil slits his throat, I move on. A homeless man sees Virgil use TVMisha's blood for a phone call, a la Meg in the previouslies. I thought it was a demon party line but apparently angels use it too. He calls Raphael. Meanwhile, Dean and Sam plan to break into a police station and put an APB on Virgil. They are stopped by a crying TVGen, who shrieks that TVMisha is dead. The brothers ask, "Where?" in unison (aaww) which bafles TV Gen. Hey, Canadian police tape looks like American except for the maple leaves. The brothers walk right into the crime scene and I expect a real cop to kick them out. You know, like real life cops do. But I guess it's still the Supernatural world where cops welcome random people off the street to enter and contaminate evidence. They overhear homeless guy talking about Raphael. "The scary man killed the attractive crying man (ha!) and then he started to pray and the strange part, after a while I swear I heard this voice answering." Virgil needs to go to the place he crossed over at the time he crossed over to get back. And, there's the plan. Dean gives him $50 Canadian dollars while Sam freaks about Virgil, the key, and Cas dying. Dean: "Well, then we stop him. I mean, how bad can an angel with no wings be?" Answer - pretty bad when he stocks up at the local gun shop. I bet the gun guy is fish bait tonight. Or just knocked out. It's the customer that gets iced.

On set, Dean reminds Sam and us that they might be stuck in alt-verse. Sam says they'll find a way, but Dean suggests Sam has a good life here. Sam tells Dean not to be stupid, but with no heaven vs. hell politics, there's wiggle room. Sam: "Dean, our friends are back there." Um, besides Bobby and Cas who are family, what friends? Dean: "Yeah but, here you've got a pretty good life. I mean, back home the hits have been coming since you were 6 months old. You gotta admit that being a gazillionaire, married to Ruby, the whole package. There's no contest." Anyone else think Dean gives this speech because here there's no way for the Great Wall of Sam to fall? It's noble to offer Sam the option, but no way he takes it. Sam: "No, you know you were right. We just don't mean the same thing here. I mean we're not even brothers here, man." Dean: "Alright then. Let's get our crazy show back home." There's no Impala but I'm pretty sure this is the feelings talk for the episode.

Meanwhile, Kripke arrives and he chats with Singer about TVMisha for 2 seconds before saying it got them "the front page of Variety." Please let this be Hollywood meta and not Kripke meta. They talk OctoCobra breakthroughs and TVJ2. Until Virgil interrupts by killing them AAALLL!!! As crazy western music plays, Kripke walks until a 3rd bullet takes him down. Bob Singer goes in 1 shot, as AD Parks and others go down too. A random guy dodges the bullets and I laugh out loud. Funniest thing in the last half. Perhaps this is meta about how almost everyone dies in SPN but a very select few have dodged the bullet so far. Anyway, Sam draws Virgil's attention and Dean sacks him. The beat down begins while Sam gets the key and the Enochian symbol glows. They realize Raphael's a-calling but get sucked through yet another window before they can get away.

They land back in the "real" world at the feet of a female Raphael. It's got that kick-your-butt Jackie Brown vibe. She brings the Winchesters to their knees and grabs the key. But wait, Balthazar pops in to explain that the key goes to a bus locker. The Winchesters were a diversion. Great! At least it explains why Balthy saved them instead of just saving himself. It's more believable. Balthy tells her the weapons are gone. "You see, they were so well hidden that I needed time to find them so I volunteered these 2 marmosets for a game of fetch with Virgil. You two were such an adequate stick. Thank you. Thank you boys." Ouch! Got to suck to be angel pawns again after the annoyance of the last 2 years. Sera, you told us we wouldn't deal with angels this year. Can't Virgil blast them away too? Raphael is as ticked as the Winchesters, but Castiel stops her. He has the weapons and does that flashy thing where we see the shadow of his wings. Cas: "If you don't want to die tonight, back off." Very convincing; Raphael disappears, but I wonder if Cas really had the wherewithal to do it. Why not kill Raphael if he could? It would end the civil war - Cas's goal all season long. Balthy: "Well Cas. Now that you have your sword, try not to die by it." I like Balthy! He leaves.

Cas magically transports them back to Bobby's, who is still not home and going to be ticked when he finds the living room window blown out. He might need extra hunter's helper. Sam confronts Cas on using the Winchesters as bait. Cas states that while it was Balthy's plan, he would do the same thing. Dean takes exception but Cas whines for the 93rd time that losing to Raphael would destroy everything. So why not take him out when you had the chance? Hmmm? Dean demands answers but Cas apologizes and leaves. "Freakin' angels." I agree. Let's hope that the weapons end the civil war in heaven and they go through a 10 year rebuilding plan where all angels are too busy to come to earth. I am so freaking sick of the angels on this show. Kill them, move them to an alternate reality, have Death create a freaking Great Wall of Heaven. I don't care. Just be done with them.

Sam gets wiggy and comes straight at the camera. In all honesty, I expected him to talk directly to the fans because this is after all a fourth wall breaking meta episode. Instead, he hits the wall, vastly relieved that it is real and not a set piece. Dean: "Yeah, real, moldy, termite-eaten home sweet home. Chock full of **** that want to skin ya. Oh and uh, we're broke again." Sam: "But hey, at least we're talking." Dean shakes his head. I metaphorically do the same because we get it. They are brothers again. Fan's dreams have come true. No more separations, brother strife and rifts. We got it. You can stop talking about it. Maybe we should send you that fruit basket with our thanks and a please move on.

So to recap the recap, this episode was funny and had a somewhat rational reason for the meta world. It gave us a fabulous new Raphael and increased the rift between the Winchesters and Cas. It nattered on about annoying angels but allowed Misha to do the comedy he does best - again, someone please give the man his own show. Some parts were slow but they didn't recap everything like in the last two episodes. It was vastly superior to MatEoTB and Real Ghostbusters, even if it making alternate realities canon might bite us in the future. However, it wasn't fan meta and that made all the difference to me. I was pleasantly surprised and although it won't make my top 20 episodes, nor even the top 5 this season, it's certainly on the plus side. For me, that's huge!

Next week - we're finally back to the mytharc. Remember the Mother of All a few weeks ago. I know it's hard to remember the 2 minutes she was on, but she's the Big Bad this season. Yes, I realize there's only 7 episodes to establish her as evil on any level much less above Lilith. Hopefully, this episode will move her story line forward. I'm afraid the finale has to cover too much ground with heaven, purgatory, souls, Grandpa Creepy, monster armies, and the Mother if they don’t start tying up loose ends soon.

Screencaps by Supenatural Caps
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