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Saturday, February 26, 2011

About: Supernatural "The French Mistake"

This week's episode of Supernatural, "The French Mistake", was an entertaining look into an alternate world where Dean Winchester is Jensen Ackles and Sam is "something called a Jared Padalecki". Supernatural does a great job of creating stories that poke fun at the show and give the actors a chance to showcase their awesome comedic skills. We've seen episodes similar to this before; "Tall Tales", "Monster Movie" and "Changing Channels" to name a few. But these episodes function best when they also serve as a catalyst to the over-arching story of the season. In this case, "The French Mistake" brought to the surface the much talked about civil war in heaven. We've heard about it on and off from Cas but so far he's managed to keep the details to a minimum. Maybe we were a little preoccupied with soulless Sam for civil war talk but either way, it's about time we get to hear a little bit about what's going on up there. Except, we didn't really get much information at all. We know Balthazar used Sam and Dean as a decoy so that the weapons could be transferred to Castiel and we know that if Raphael gets his hands on them, something very bad is going to happen. But that's about all we got as far as the over-arching story goes. But for me there was a little more story than meet's the eye.

When I first saw the promo for "The French Mistake" I thought "oh, that looks funny, kind of like Changing Channels" but after watching the episode I see a much different comparison. To me, "The French Mistake" seemed reminiscent of the season two episode "What Is and What Should Never Be" which finds us at the end of season two. Dean has spent the majority of the past year trying to protect Sam from his "destiny" as one of Azazel's chosen children and he's at the end of his rope. He's ready to give up on hunting altogether.

Dean: "Screw the job. Screw it, man. I'm sick of the job anyway. I mean, we don't get paid, we don't get thanked. Only thing we get's bad luck."

Sam spends the year dealing with John's warning to Dean, resisting Azazel and fighting his inner demons.

"The French Mistake" finds the boys in a similar position; Dean has spent the season trying to save Sam from himself and find a way to safely restore his soul. He has lost Lisa and Ben, the only fraction of a normal life he's ever had. He's at the end of his rope once again.

Dean: "All we do is make a mess"
Sam: "That's not true, we do save lives now and again."
Dean: "I guess, I'm just tired of all the bad luck, you know?

Sam has come back from his year of soullessness and is trying to reconcile his broken relationships while fighting to keep his memories at bay and "the great wall of Sam" intact.

At this point in WIAWSNB Dean finds himself in an alternate reality (which he comes to find is not reality at all) where he has everything he wants most. His mother is alive, Sam is happily engaged to Jessica and in law school and his dad died peacefully in his sleep. Dean has a girlfriend and a regular job as a mechanic. Sure, he and Sam don't get along but he can fix things with Sam. He's a civilian and he couldn't be more happy about it. In TFM Sam and Dean are sent to an alternate reality where they are actors in the television show about their lives. Sam is happily married to his former co-star and both boys have all the money they could possibly need. But there is one striking difference between these two episodes, Dean is alone in this alternate reality. There is no Ben or Lisa in this world, there isn't a mention of any family at all. He and Sam aren't even brothers and apparently they don't get along here either.

In reality, Sam and Dean are each others only family and they would do anything for the other. They have both sacrificed their lives to save each other and would do it again if they had to. So, it's odd to think that in both these alternate worlds this relationship doesn't exist. If they were never Winchesters then their mother never died and they never went hunting. Even if they were brothers as they were in WIAWSNB, if Mary doesn't die, their relationship never forms.

In WIAWSNB Dean wants to stay in his djinn-induced coma even when he finds out the truth. Sam is happy and his family is together so he's willing to sacrifice his existing relationship with Sam and work on a new one. In TFM Dean questions whether Sam should go back to the real world.

Sam: "No, we'll find a way back."
Dean: "You wouldn't be that broken up if we didn't."
Sam: "What? Don't be stupid."
Dean: Well, I'm just saying, no hell below us, above us only sky.
Sam: "Dean, our friends are back there."
Dean: Yeah, but here you got a pretty good life. I mean back home the hits have been coming since you were six months old. You gotta admit being a bazillionaire, married to Ruby, the whole package. It's no contest.

It seems like Dean is willing once again to make a sacrifice for Sam's happiness. But Sam isn't interested in staying in this world.

Sam: "You know, you were right. We just don't mean the same thing here. We're not even brothers here, man."

Sam and Dean have come a long way since season two but it seems as though they continue to struggle with a lot of the same issues. Sam struggles with who he is and who he was destined to be. He resits the evil that forces its way into his life and continues to try to right his wrongs and alter his destiny. Dean continues to sacrifice everything for his brother and the family business. He's still willing to settle for second best if it means that Sam gets a shot at a better life. Despite their constant battles one thing remains the same, family is the most important thing they have and they will fight to protect it.

There were a couple great moments in "The French Mistake" that I can't go without mentioning.

Dean had some really great lines.
* "I'm a painted whore"
* "Dude, we're not even in America."
* "Dude looks like a lady."

* The picture of Sam on horseback was priceless. I almost couldn't pay attention to the scene because I was so distracted by it.
* Eric Kripke getting gunned down Godfather-style.


  1. Great review Sofia! I really liked how you tied the two episodes together. I hadn't seen a lot of similarities between TFC and WISWSNB except for the idea of an alternate reality and comic relief during a bit of a nerve-racking plot line. But I think you found a lot of good connections that tell us a bit more about the characters than we already knew.

  2. Well, thank you Kaitlin! And thanks for reading!