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Television Tourniquet: 'Supernatural' Episode 5.8


"Changing Channels"
Written By: Jeremy Carver
Directed By: Charles Beeson
Original Airdate: 5 November 2009

In This Episode…

When a witness describe the beast that killed her husband as The Incredible Hulk, and piles of candy wrappers are found at the crime scene, the boys suspect the Trickster is back.  Their suspicion is confirmed when they answer a call on the police scanner for a strange homicide, but upon arrival, they do not find a crime scene at all.  Checking in the nearby abandoned building, they are transported into Dr. Sexy, M.D., a Grey's Anatomy spoof in which the Winchester boys are the new stars.

Dean calls out the Trickster.  Sam wants to talk to him, thinking that maybe they can convince him to help stop the apocalypse so that he may continue to use Earth as his playground.  The Trickster agrees to talk – if they survive the next 24 hours.  They must play out their roles in whatever TV show the boys are zapped to. 

When Dean is shot by the disgruntled husband of a patient, Sam must operate to save his life.  When they are zapped into a Japanese game show, Dean must man up and answer a question – in Japanese – so that he doesn't meet the same fate as Sam: a catapult to the crotch.  When they are zapped into a pharmaceutical commercial, Sam must pretend he is the face of genital herpes.  When they get to the sitcom, the Trickster tells the boys that they have to play out their good/evil battle in the real world, a real-life Celebrity Deathmatch.  The boys refuse, and are dumped into a cop procedural, where they manage to trick the Trickster, and stake him.

Back in the real world, Dean is nervous when he can't find Sam in the motel.  Checking at the car, it turns out Sam is now the car itself – he is K.I.T.T.  The Trickster was not dead after all.  Dean has an idea of who or what Trickster may be, and drives him and Sam out to the woods and draws the Trickster out.  Once present, Dean confronts him.  The Trickster insists that is all he is – a trickster – but the ring of holy fire the guys spread around him tells a different story.

Zapped back to the real world – for good this time – Trickster reveals that he is in actuality Gabriel the archangel.  His guise as a trickster was merely a self-imposed "witness protection program."  He was sick of watching his brothers wage a bloody war against each other.  But he refuses to help the guys stop the apocalypse.  He doesn't care which side wins, he just wants the fighting to end, and Sam and Dean's fates have been written since the beginning of time.

Dig It or Bury It?

Possibly the best episode of Supernatural I have seen so far.  The TV show spoofs were hilarious and so dead-on I would be surprised if the knocked-off shows didn't sue.  Dr. Sexy M.D. was insanely close to Grey's Anatomy, with the neurotic doc who sees a ghost all the time, the sexy cardio surgeon with a frosty exterior, and ridiculous Lilith Fair chick music playing throughout.  The cop procedural was dead on for any number of CSI clones.  Sam and Dean were both dressed as David Caruso, complete with sunglasses at night (which, Dean tells us, are only worn by douche bags).  Their wardrobe, the cocky tilt of their heads, their off-the-cuff cheesy catchphrases were so spot-on it was spooky.  The sitcom had canned laughter for virtually ever line spoken.  It even had a catchy theme song and credit roll, painting Supernatural as a cross between Growing Pains and Scooby Doo.

Sadly, the whole archangel/apocalypse/good vs. evil final act really yanked all the fun out of it.  But the rest of it was so good I was able to ride high on the silliness, right through the end credits.

Sibling Rivalry

The Winchester brothers got along very well this episode.  Sadly, it sounds like Trickster – a.k.a. Gabriel – has an awful lot of dysfunction in his past. 

Blood Brothers

Not a whole lot to be had, but the boys do drive a massive wooden stake through Trickster's chest.

Spooky Humor

The whole damn thing was funny.  One that stuck out was, at the beginning, when Sam catches Dean watching Dr. Sexy, M.D. (which later becomes a running gag through the episode), Sam asks when his brother hit menopause.

When questioning the witness to that first murder, the wife finally admits she thinks she saw The Hulk.  Dean asks if it was the Bana Hulk or Norton Hulk.  The wife was offended: "Neither!  Those movies were terrible!" 

Another favorite was when the guys meet Trickster at the very end, Sam still in K.I.T.T. form.  Dean points at the car and says, "No one is going anywhere until Sam has opposable thumbs."  Good thing Trickster didn't just zap a couple hands on to the car.


Looks like more laughs are in store for next week's episode, in which the guys attend a Supernatural convention.  Fanboys rejoice!