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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

About: Supernatural Season 6 Episode Titles

Believe it or not it’s already time for the season six episode title origins. Was this not the quickest season ever? As usual, there are plenty of interesting references. Enjoy!

6.1 "Exile on Main St."

“Exile on Main St.” is the title the 12th American studio album by The Rolling Stones. The album received mixed reviews at the time but has since been hailed as one of the 500 greatest albums of all time by Rolling Stone magazine. The album has a more complex sound than the Rolling Stones were known for and explores many new genres including rock and roll, blues, country, soul and calypso.

It’s interesting that this album was the inspiration for the season opener. I would argue that season seven played around with lots of new ideas, themes and the overall season structure. Plus, it has also had some pretty mixed reviews. Coincidence? Maybe.

You’ll remember that this episode picks up a year later where we find Dean living as a civilian with Lisa and Ben when Sam pays him an unexpected visit. As it turns out, he’s been alive and well(ish) almost the whole year. 

6.2 "Two and a Half Men"

This episode title is taken from the CBS television show Two and a Half Men which follows Charlie Harper (Charlie Sheen) a self-indulgent jingle writer. When his uptight brother Alan and impressionable nephew Jake move in his bachelor pad is compromised.

In this episode Sam calls Dean for help when he finds a baby at the scene of a crime. They later discover that the baby is a shapeshifter and they must decide what to do with little Bobby John. Watching Sam and Dean try to care for a baby was pretty great too.

Sam: “Dean, make it stop.”
Dean: “How?”
Sam: “Everyone’s staring at us like we’re child abusers. Feed it!”

6.3 "The Third Man"

This title is taken from the 1949 British film noir of the same name. Staring Joseph Cotton, Alida Valli, Orson Welles and Trevor Howard the film follows Holly Martins as he arrives in Vienna to accept a job offered to him by a friend Harry Lime. He quickly realizes that Harry was recently killed in a mysterious car accident.

This season seven episode has its fair share of mysterious deaths that the boys quickly find are associated with the Biblical plagues of Egypt. Castiel reveals that there are many weapons of Heaven missing including the staff of Moses. And they set off to find the angel responsible.

6.4 "Weekend at Bobby's"
This episode title seems to come from the 1989 movie “Weekend at Bernie’s” in which two slackers pretend that their dead employer is still alive. Meanwhile, the person who murdered him is out to “finish him off”.

In this episode, directed by Jensen Ackles, we get to see life from Bobby’s point of view; answering phones, researching and hunting on his own all without so much as a “thank you” from the boys. Poor Bobby.

6.5 "Live Free or TwiHard"

This title is a play on the 2007 Bruce Willis movie “Live Free or Die Hard”, the fourth movie in the Die Hard franchise. The movie follows John McClane as a group of cyber terrorists attempt to wage a cyber war on the United States infrastructure. The term “TwiHard” is used to describe a fan of the Twilight franchise. You know, like Misha’s Minions?
This episode finds the boys dealing with an outbreak of vampire attacks. But this is no ordinary vampire activity; instead, they are luring young girls in by acting like the vampires from a best selling twilight-esque series. When Dean is bitten (While Sam watches) all hell breaks loose.

Vamp Kid: “What the hell are you doing?”
Dean: “Open your mouth! Take those out. Take 'em out! Ohhh, for the love of... what are you, 12? Are you wearing glitter?”
Vamp Kid: “I only do it to get laid, man.”
Dean: “Does it work? (Vamp Kid shrugs) I'll be damned.”

6.6 "You Can't Handle the Truth"

This title is taken from a memorable line in the 1992 film “A Few Good Men”. The movie follows a Neo military lawyer as he defends marines accused of murder who claim to have been acting under orders.

The truth is hard to hear sometimes; especially in this episode where the goddess Veritas is forcing people to tell the truth. When Dean becomes a victim, he hears a few things he wishes he didn’t. Mainly whatever Bobby’s first girlfriend turned out to be.  But he is also given the opportunity to question Sam who has been acting strange since he showed up on Dean’s doorstep.

Bobby: “I get a pedicure once in a while. This nice Vietnamese joint. This one gal, Nhung Phuong, name means ‘velvet phoenix.’ Tiny thing, but the grip on her. She starts on my toes and I feel like I am gonna…”

6.7 "Family Matters"

This episode title most likely comes from the long running sitcom of the same name. The show follows the middle class Winslow family and their nerdy neighbor Steve Urkel living in Chicago. The show is a spinoff of  “Perfect Strangers” (not relevant, but I just found that out and I thought it was interesting!).

There are all kinds of family matters at hand in this episode. Castiel reveals that Sam has no soul and his soul has been left in the cage with Michael and Lucifer. Despite his many concerns, Dean decides to go along with Sam and the Campbells on a hunt to take down a nest of vampires and they discover that Samuel is not killing the alphas as promised; instead he is torturing them for advice on how to find Purgatory.

6.8 "All Dogs Go to Heaven"

This title is taken from the 1989 animated film of the same name. The story follows a dog, Charlie B. Barkin a con-dog of sorts who gets mixed up with the wrong crowd and ends up dead. With the help of a magical “life watch” he is able to return to Earth but only as long as the watch keeps running. Charlie makes friends with a young girl he saves, Anne-Marie, and begins to change his ways.

This episode features its own bond between man and beast, make that woman and beast. The boys encounter a skinwalker who poses as a dog and lives with a family. As it turns out, the skinwalker is one of many who await orders from their Alpha to bite and transform their owners creating a growing army of their own.

6.9 "Clap Your Hands If You Believe..."

This episode title is taken from the book The Adventures of Peter Pan. The line refers to clapping your hands if you believe in fairies. The actual line is “If you believe than clap your hands.” Side note: this is one of my favorite children’s books.

This title could not be more appropriate for this episode. This was our first encounter with fairies or I guess I should say “faery” since we didn’t only encounter tinker bells in this episode. At first the boys don’t know what to think. I didn’t really either! But it turns out that making deals with faery people is not as magical as it may seem.

Glitter Glue: “Personally, I think they’re taken to Avalon to service Oberon, king of the faery”
Sam: “Dean, did you service Oberon king of the faery?”

6.10 "Caged Heat"

This title comes from the 1974 movie of the same name. “Caged Heat” is an exploitation movie about women in prison. The film follows Jacqueline Wilson who is imprisoned for illegal drug use.  When in prison, Wilson bands together with a group of female convicts to fight oppressive prison policies. 

This episode deals with a prison of sorts as well. Castiel and the boys decide to work with Meg to gain entry into a building where Crowley is holding all kinds of monsters as prisoners while he questions them for information. While there, they are betrayed by Grandpa Samuel and taken prisoner themselves.

Dean: “I’ll tell you who I am. I’m the guy you never want to see again. ‘Cause I’ll make it outta here, trust me. And the next time you see me, I’ll be there to kill you.”
Samuel: “Don’t think there’s gonna be a next time.”
Dean: “Whatever gets you through the night.”

6.11 "Appointment in Samarra"

This title has a bit of a trail to follow. “Appointment in Samarra” is the title of a John O’Hara novel from 1934. But O’Hara’s title is in reference to an old story retold by W. Somerset Maugham that appears as an epigraph to O’Hara’s novel. Confused yet?

Here is Maugham’s retelling:

The speaker is Death
There was a merchant in Bagdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions and in a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said, Master, just now when I was in the marketplace I was jostled by a woman in the crowd and when I turned I saw it was Death that jostled me.  She looked at me and made a threatening gesture,  now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate.  I will go to Samarra and there Death will not find me.  The merchant lent him his horse, and the servant mounted it, and he dug his spurs in its flanks and as fast as the horse could gallop he went.  Then the merchant went down to the marketplace and he saw me standing in the crowd and he came to me and said, Why did you make a threating getsture to my servant when you saw him this morning?  That was not a threatening gesture, I said, it was only a start of surprise.  I was astonished to see him in Bagdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.

In this episode Dean makes his own appointment with Death. After a risky procedure Dean is able to contact Death long enough to make a deal. Dean does Death’s job successfully for one day and Death get’s Sam’s soul out of the cage. Meanwhile, Sam makes a little deal of his own.

Tessa: “Just so you know, when people die, they might have questions for you. Well, not you, but Death.”
Dean: “You mean, like "How did Betty White outlast me"?

6.12 "Like a Virgin"

“Like a Virgin” is the title track of Madonna’s second studio album. I think we’re all familiar with the lyrics but I’ll give you a little taste anyway!

I made it through the wilderness
Somehow I made it through
Didn’t know how lost I was
Until I found you

I was beat incomplete
I’d been had, I was sad and blue
But you made me feel
Yeah, you made me feel
Shiny and new

Like a virgin
Touched for the very first time
Like a virgin
When your heart beats
Next to mine

This is the perfect title for an episode dealing with “Virgins, Sam. Virgins”. The boys take a case involving missing virgins and gold. After ruling p. diddy out, they decide they are dealing with dragons.

Dean: “I’ve decided I’m going to give Stan my most precious gift”
Sam: “Wow, that sounded really creepy coming out of your mouth.”
Dean: “I think I delivered it.”

6.13 "Unforgiven"

This title has a few possible origins. There is a 1992 Clint Eastwood film “Unforgiven” which follows a retired gunslinger, William Munny, as he takes on one more job to find justice. In a review I found, they describe Munny’s character as “blurring the lines between heroism and villaniny, man and myth.” Sound like anyone we know?

There is also a song my Metallica called “The Unforgiven” featured on their fifth album “Metallica”.

What I’ve felt
What I’ve known
Never shined through in what I’ve shown
Never be
Never see
Won’t see what might have been

What I’ve felt
What I’ve known
Never shined through in what I’ve shown
Never free
Never me
So I dub thee unforgiven

This kind of sounds like the anthem for Sam dealing with his soulless past. What do you think? Which one is a better fit?

In this episode Sam and Dean follow coordinates to a small town where Sam and Samuel once worked a job. Many townspeople recognize Sam and he learns a little bit about how he spent his soulless year.

6.14 "Mannequin 3: The Reckoning"

This title seems to come from The 1987 movie “Mannequin” and it’s 1991 sequel “Mannequin Two: On the Move. Before I go into the plot, I have to ask why? Why are there not one, but two of these movies!? The film follows an ancient Egyptian named Emmy who is hiding from her mother because she is trying to make her marry a man who sells camel poop. Yes, you read that right. So she prays to the gods to save her. It also follows modern day, Johnathan Switcher, an employee of a mannequin manufacturing company. Switcher creates a mannequin that comes to life as the reincarnated Emmy.

This episode also features mannequins that come to life. Only in this episode the mannequins are killing a group of men that all took part in a practical joke that cost a girl her life.

Dean: “Maybe we’ll have a Snooki sighting.”
Sam: “What’s a Snooki?”
Dean: “That’s a good question.”

6.15 "The French Mistake"

This title seems to come from a scene in the film “Blazing Saddles”. In the scene, there is a brawl between the good guys and the bad guys. The film proceeds to parody itself by pulling the camera back and revealing that the scene is being shot on a Hollywood set. There is a musical number (“The French Mistake”) being performed on an adjoining soundstage by a cast of gay men. The song goes as follows:

Throw out your hands
Stick out your tush
Hands on your hips
Give ‘em a push
You’ll be surprised
You’re doing the French Mistake

If ever there was a show that liked to parody itself, then Supernatural would be it! In the episode, the boys are transported into some kind of alternate reality where they are actors playing Sam and Dean Winchester on a TV show called Supernatural. Oh sweet meta goodness.

Dean: “Why would anybody want to watch our lives?”
Sam: “According to the interviewer, not very many people do.”

6.16 "...And Then There Were None"

This title comes from the Agatha Christie novel of the same name. The book follows 10 people of different social classes who are invited to a mansion on a fictional island. When they arrive, they are told that their hosts are away. At dinner, a gramophone record plays that accuses each guest of murder and they realize they were tricked into coming to the island but they are unable to leave. The ten guests are then murdered one by one.

Sam, Dean and Bobby search for The Mother of All’s newest creation, a black worm that crawls into the ear of its victim and possesses them. They run into Samuel and Gwen who are hunting the same thing and the monster starts picking them off one by one. Farewell Rufus!

Dean: “Well, hey there, you little herpe.”
Sam: “Why do you keep talking about herpes?”
Dean: “What? I don't. Shut up. Shut up.”

6.17 "My Heart Will Go On"

This title is taken from the theme song of the 1997 movie “Titanic”. Music by James Horner, lyrics by Will Jennings and recorded by Celine Dion (Alice’s favorite gal!) It became one of the best-selling singles of all time.
Every night in my dreams
I see you. I feel you.
That is how I know you go on.

Far across the distance
And spaces between us
You have come to show you go on.

Near, far, wherever you are
I believe that the heart does go on
Once more you open the door
And you're here in my heart
And my heart will go on and on

This title works well for this episode that shows us what would have happened to the Winchester’s world if the Titanic never sank. As it turns out, Balthazar and Castiel worked out a plan to reverse that historical event in order to collect more souls for their war machine.

6.18 "Frontierland"

This episode title is taken from one of the “themed lands” at Disney-run parks. Frontierland is themed after the Old West of the 19th century and features many classic western elements like cowboys, saloon, gold rushes and pioneers.

This aptly titled episode finds the boys taking a trip back in time to pay a visit to Samuel Colt and collect the ashes of a phoenix, their only weapon against the Mother of All. There is nothing quite like a strategically placed cowboy hat!

Bobby: “You goin' to a hoedown?”
Castiel: “Now is it, is it customary to wear a blanket?”
Dean: “It's a serape. And yes, it's... never mind, let's just go”

6.19 "Mommy Dearest"

This title is taken from the 1978 memoir “Mommie Dearest” written by Christina Crawford, adopted daughter of Joan Crawford. The memoir depicts Christina’s childhood and her often rocky relationship with her mother. The book was later adapted as a film in 1981.

In this episode Sam and Dean hit the road with Castiel and Bobby to hunt down the Mother of All. They find her in a small town in Oregon where she is experimenting to create the perfect monster. Dean actually references Crawford’s memoir saying to the Mother “Beat my with a wire hanger, the answer’s still no.”

6.20 "The Man Who Would Be King"
This title is taken from an 1888 short story by Rudyard Kipling that was later adapted to film in 1975. The story follows two British adventurers who become kings of a remote area in Afghanistan. The story is believed to be inspired by the travels of American adventurer Josiah Harlan and Englishman James Brooke.

In this episode we are given a look at things from Castiel’s perspective. The episode serves as an outline of his unintended “adventures” on his path to becoming his own kind of king. Castiel explains to us just how the dominos lined up to get him to the point of his secret partnership with Crowley.

6.21 "Let It Bleed"

“Let it Bleed” is the title of the tenth American album by The Rolling Stones. In a 2001 Stones bio, author Stephen Davis describes the album by saying that “No rock record, before or since, has ever so completely captured the sense of palpable dread that hung over its era.”

Dread seems like a good theme for this episode. When Crowley kidnaps Ben and Lisa, Sam and Dean join forces with Balthazar and Castiel to save them. The episode ends with Dean’s final request of Castiel; wipe Lisa and Ben’s memory so that they don’t remember him. Ironic that the final track on the Stones album is “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”; seems to be the anthem of Dean’s life.

6.22 "The Man Who Knew Too Much"

This title is taken from the 1934 Hitchcock film of the same name. The film was remade by Hitchcock in 1956. The story follows a family vacationing in Morocco when the accidentally find themselves in the middle of an assassination plot. The conspirators kidnap their daughter to keep them from reporting the plot to the police and the couple must track down their daughter and prevent the assassination before it’s too late. 

In this season finale episode Castiel causes the Great Wall of Sam to crumble as a means to distract Dean and Bobby.  Sam is trapped inside himself and is forced to confront what the wall had hidden from him. Meanwhile Dean and Bobby hunt Castiel and Crowley as they attempt to open the door to Purgatory.

So there’s season six. It may have had its rocky moments, but looking back through the episodes there was a lot of really great storytelling. As usual, if I missed any references be sure to post them below! And if you just want to chat about what you did and didn’t like about the episodes, you can do that too. Who’s ready for season seven?

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