The Fangirl Business

42.1: Deconstructing "Carry On" - From Recap to Vamp Fight

February 23, 2021 The Fangirl Business Season 1 Episode 42
The Fangirl Business
42.1: Deconstructing "Carry On" - From Recap to Vamp Fight
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

*CONTENT WARNING: This episode discusses and analyzes "Carry On" up to and including the vampire fight, but prior to Dean's death. We are including chapter markers in this episode so that you can skip moments that may be too difficult. There are no audio clips in this episode, as we feel that they could be triggering. Please take care of yourselves, friends.*

In this episode, Chrisha and Catherine break down the structure and content of "Carry On" in order to analyze why, exactly, the episode didn't work: how it deviates from the trajectory of S15, and how it conflicts with established canon. They also discuss the visual cues scattered throughout the episode that seem to indicate there may be an altered reality of some sort at play throughout the finale.

Links from discussion:


Disclaimer: The information presented in this podcast is intended to be for entertainment and educational purposes only. It should never be used in place of advice given by a mental health or medical professional, or as a substitute for mental health treatment. If you're struggling with a mental health issue, please seek professional help.


*Intro Electric Guitar Theme Music - “Play the Game” by VooDoo Blooze*


Chrisha

Hello, and welcome to this episode of The Fangirl Business. 


Catherine

I'm Catherine. 


Chrisha  

And I'm Chrisha. And today… *deep breath*... we are going to talk about the finale.


Catherine  

*laughs* Every time! *deep breath*


Chrisha  

I do a lot of deep breathing *Catherine laughing* on this topic. I encourage all of our listeners to do the same if you can. But yeah, we are going to continue our conversation of the 20th episode of Supernatural’s 15th season, “Carry On.” And in this episode, we are going to do our deep breathing exercises as we go through the... I would call it kind of the setup? So we're gonna go through the beginning of the episode through to the vampire fight, but before the conclusion of the vampire fight. We reference things here and there, I think it's safe to say? We probably, you know, I don't want to say that this is completely avoidant of major character death. But we're not going to get heavy into analysis or deconstruction of Dean's death in this episode. That'll be for the next one. So I think that this episode is going to be much heavier on logical analysis of the setup, the life of the bunker, and we go through the pie festival. And then we just go through, like, working the case, and trying to understand the case and understand the logistics of where that ends up. So would we like to start with some deep breathing exercises? *deep breath*


Catherine  

*laughs*


Chrisha

This is fine.


Catherine

*laughing* Aaaaah I adore you. I just, I adore you. Okay.


Chrisha 

I think I want to start out by saying that we know very well that there is a lot of triggering content in this episode. So we will still not be using sound clips from this episode. 


Catherine

It'll just be us. 


Chrisha

It'll just be us!


Chrisha

We will give you some sort of indicator of what part of the episode we're in if people independently want to go and find it and watch for themselves, but we are not going to embed that in the episode just for everyone's emotional safety. Always feel free to take breaks, to skip this episode altogether... 


Catherine

And I'll put timestamps on this one in the final audio like I did for our first episode on “Carry On,” just so people can see what we're talking about when, so that if they want to fast forward, they know how to skip into a section where we're not talking about the thing that they don't want to listen to.


Chrisha  

But yeah, if anything is upsetting, please, please feel encouraged and empowered to just tap out. 


Catherine

Yeah.


Chrisha

You do not have to listen to something just because we have recorded it, I promise. So.


Catherine  

That's right. So I think in terms of the overall framing of this, we talked about this a little bit before we started and we wanted to be careful in the way that we talked about what we're doing here. Again, like we talked about in our first episode about “Carry On,” there's a lack of information about what happened during this episode. We just don't know. And so we don't want to make assumptions about so-and-so had this intention or so-and-so made this happen. So instead, what we're going to do is kind of look at things that don't make sense to us, that don't fit within other parts of canon, and stay rooted in the story rather than assigning intent to any one or any group. Because in the end, we just don't know. We don't have enough information or really any information about what happened. And so we can only really work with what was presented to us, and with what we have to compare it to with the rest of what is canon. So that's going to be our approach as we, kind of, take this apart and look at the pieces. So we're gonna kind of go through chronologically, just because that seems the most straightforward way to do it. 


Chrisha  

Well, I think we know that some people have only watched this episode once and have no plans to watch it again, which is fair. So we're gonna try to go through in chronological order. So if you're not watching, or you haven't watched it since the finale aired, you'll still be able to have a general idea of where we are. With that said, interestingly, with this episode we truly start at, like, the very first second, because this episode was sort of strange from the very first moment because for... they started “Carry On” as the season finale song in season two, right?


Catherine 

*laughs* I don't know. 


Chrisha

It wasn't season one.


Catherine 

No.


Chrisha

I’m pretty sure it was season two. So it's been…


Catherine 

It’s been a long standing tradition.


Chrisha

….a long time. And we didn't get it this time, which was, for me, really disconcerting, like just right from the beginning. And I couldn't put my finger on why. But I just kept... I remember thinking like, this isn't right. What's wrong? Something's wrong. We got a “Then” sequence, but the “Then” sequence was only Episode 19. 


Catherine 

With a little bit of 18 thrown in because it did show Cas.


Chrisha

Mmhmm. Yeah. So it wasn't the whole season, let alone the whole show. Usually, the season finale has the “Carry on Wayward Son” playing over a montage of the threads of the season, you know, what, what has gone on the whole season, leading towards...


Catherine  

...leading towards the ending. And they'll do fun stuff, like one season, where it was like “lay your weary head to rest,” like, for each beat of “lay-your-wear-y-head-to-rest,” like, they have heads lopped off, like a sequence of all the heads that they cut off during the season. 


Chrisha

Yeah.


Catherine 

So they'll do like, they'll do fun stuff that makes you giggle, as well, as you know. And I'd seen people ahead of time be like, “when the first strains of ‘Carry On Wayward Son’ play, I'm going to lose it!”


Chrisha  

Mmhmm.


Catherine 

Right from the beginning. So people were anticipating that?


Chrisha

It’s a focal point. It... for me, having watched for so long, that's what gets me into that headspace of like, oh, okay, here we are, we are at a season finale. Everything is big, the stakes are high. And everything that's gone on for this whole season, we get to watch the threads, we get to watch how that storyline has evolved. We get to thematically see it visually, to set us up for where we're going. And so to not get that was very jarring. And to not have this episode attached to the rest of the season, let alone the standard format of the 15 years of the show... When you're going into the very, very last episode, it was really bizarre. 


Catherine 

Yeah. 


Chrisha

And I felt very off kilter from the very first minutes. 


Catherine  

Yeah, I think emotionally it had that effect. But I think in terms of the structure of it, it isolates this finale from the rest of the series. It isolates it from the standard show format. And so it's telling us that something different is happening here, right from the beginning, which is an odd choice to make when you are wrapping a series. Usually a series is all about tying the threads together over time into a complete entity. And this, from the beginning, is isolated. It's standing alone. 


Chrisha

Yeah. 


Catherine 

Which I found odd. For sure.


Chrisha

Agreed. 


Catherine 

So then we move into this domestic sequence. It's interesting, because you know, back in the very first episode that they shot, which we saw as Episode Four, you have Becky talking about how we want domestic bliss stuff. We want to see them doing laundry. And in this opening montage were given them doing laundry. Sam's literally doing laundry at one stage as part of this opening montage. So it was odd to me that I found it so disconcerting, because it's something that we should want as an audience. But both in terms of the placement, in that it's setting this really slow narrative beginning, when we have these two characters that are beloved by the two leads, who are either actively suffering in the Empty or fate unknown with Eileen, it doesn't make sense that this should be the opening scene. So in terms of pacing, and the structure here, this doesn't fit. But then embedded within the visuals of this opening montage, there are a whole bunch of context clues that are also telling us that this doesn't fit.


Chrisha  

Yeah, I mean, Dean's room... I think, for people that do analysis like you and I do, I think that the first shot is of Dean's alarm clock going off at 8am. But behind it are two beer bottles. And so for both you and I that immediately signaled: something's wrong. Because Dean drinks when things are bad, like he's always shown turning to alcohol as a coping skill.


Catherine 

That's right. And we specifically saw that, both after Cas died in Episode 19, where he's literally sleeping on top of a whiskey bottle... an empty whiskey bottle. But we also saw... the last time we saw his room looking that messy was when Eileen and Sam were together, and he was missing Cas like crazy, but not admitting it to himself and went out in search of a case in "Last Call." He was literally, you know, hung over looking for cases, and his room was trashed, and there were empty beer bottles everywhere. And that was the last time we saw his room looking like this. 


Chrisha 

Over the course of the episode, we see his room from several different angles. And I counted eight empty beer bottles and one whiskey bottle, which is a lot. I mean, in terms of Dean's typical room, that's a lot. There was also two pizza boxes, which we have also seen associated with him being depressed and hiding. After Michael left, we saw him hiding from all of the hunters in the bunker in his room with beer and pizza boxes. So that.. it's a visual storytelling element that we've seen several times, and also very recently. We also saw - and this is so strange - there's a whole bunch of clothes thrown on that couch that he has in his room. And the jeans - there's a pair of jeans - those look like his but everything else I don't think I’ve ever seen him wear. I don't know whose clothes those are! *laughs*


Catherine 

Yeah. I know.


Chrisha

It’s such a weird thing! 


Catherine 

It's really weird. 


Chrisha

How hard would it be to find some of Dean's wardrobe and toss it on the couch? Like, wouldn't it have to be a choice to have it not be the Dean’s clothes? It's so strange.


Catherine 

It's really really strange. And like in particular, what caught both our attention - first of all you, and then you showed it to me - there's this white shirt with green splotches on it in a couple of different shades. And it's like nothing that Dean would ever wear. It's so like, not Dean clothes that it's glaring. Which then made both of us look at the other clothes and there's a plaid shirt that just doesn't look like one we've ever seen before. And, like, a gray t-shirt, which I suppose... 


Chrisha

Yeah, like, the other ones are possible. But that green thing... I don't... it's like camouflage but not quite? It's like trendy camouflage, almost? 


Catherine 

Yeah.


Chrisha

So yeah, not…


Catherine 

So not Dean! *laughs* Yeah, so these, these things that are kind of strewn about... first of all the fact that it's messy, right. And we and we know that when Dean is not doing well, he gets extra messy. When he first moves into his room at the bunker and he's nesting, everything has its place. Everything is neat and tidy. His bed is always made neatly. He doesn't have stuff strewn around. And we've seen the messiness of the room as a direct reflection of his mental health status. So what the visual cues are telling us in this scene is that Dean is not okay.


Chrisha

Right. 


Catherine 

And it was really interesting because, in the background, this music is playing that's, like, really upbeat again. And the last time that we heard really upbeat music with stuff that didn't fit was in the montage at the end of 19, where it's talking about “Running on Empty,” while they're like, “Yay, we’re off and driving in the Impala!”


Chrisha

Into the sunset!


Catherine 

Yes. So, in this scene we've got a song all about the normal life and how it's good and how it's grounding and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And we're seeing this montage of Sam and Dean going around doing normal, regular everyday things. And they should be happy, you know, according to the song, and I think according to one layer of the messaging, but on this other layer, on this visual cue layer, where we're being told that they're deeply unhappy. And again, I think this ties into the fact that Cas is missing, Eileen is missing, Jack is missing. These people that they deeply care about are just gone. And there's, there's no sense of looking for them. And something is terribly wrong, because the Sam and Dean that we know will always put aside normal for helping the people that they love. That's just who they are.


Chrisha

Yeah, and I mean, there wasn't even any joy in it. Like, they didn't look particularly happy. They looked like they were going through the motions. It didn't exude happiness to me. And so that part of it was strange. But there were some things in Dean's room too, like the pizza box. There's two of them. And one of them was by his bed on a table that isn't typically there. So they made a choice to make sure that it was there and visually in the shot, which I - at that point, right, we're at the very beginning of the episode. Expectations are still high. You know, I was like, oh, pizza... pizza man. We had that, you know, that “Then” sequence earlier this season that seemed to be, just for no reason, about Dean being the pizza man for Cas. I wonder if it's a Cas reference? Uh... yeah, that's certainly not what jumps out at me now. But I did dig on the type of pizza, because we were able to see the restaurant. So I was curious if it had been in the show before, and it has been - once - in a dream. 


Catherine

Yeah.


Chrisha

So in 13x21, "Beat the Devil," there is a dream sequence of Sam's. And in the dream, everybody is sitting around the map table eating pizza, and Dean and Cas are being super domestic. And Sam's giving Dean a hard time for eating too much pizza, but Cas is like, sneaking it to him. Things like that. Which is like, super cute and domestic. But that's the only other time that we've seen this particular brand of pizza, even though we've seen other pizza references in countless episodes over the years. 


Catherine

And I went back and looked at all of the other scenes where there are pizza boxes. And so I looked, I checked, and it's nowhere else. They have different brands. Like for instance, there's Sioux Falls Pizza in the "Celebrating the life of Asa Fox," where they go and see Jody; they have Papa Giovanni's Pizza in "A Most Holy Man," and possibly in "Mint Condition," that one it was hard to see the label, but like, I went back and like looked all the way back to season six, and it wasn't used anywhere else that I could find.


Chrisha 

So. Interesting. I mean, part of what we think, or how we have experienced this episode from a thematic perspective, is that there seems to be things that make it seem like it's not real. I don't know how else to say that. You know, like it's a dream or that it's in some alternate, unreal capacity. And so, isolating it from the rest of the season and the rest of the show in terms of formatting, and pizza from a dream sequence, you know, so it's like two things out of the gate that seem to sort of other this episode.


Catherine  

And it's very interesting... The kind of pizza it is is called Corelli’s Pizza, which is likely named after a gay composer from the 17th century, whose first name is Arcangelo, which literally means arch angel. And so the first scene that it's in it has Cas, and it's, like, a dream sequence where they're being super domestic and loving with each other. And then it's here, in this scene where Cas’ absence is LOUD.


Chrisha

Yeah. And the pizza man.


Catherine 

And the pizza - exactly. So the two layers of this, the visual cues are showing us that there's something wrong here. And then they have a couple of different kinds of beer. And this information is from a Tumbler by MittensMorgul. So interestingly, different beers mean different things. And we're going to come back to this later because it's significant towards the end of this episode. But early on, they have a couple of beers in Dean's room. One is the Margiekugels , which is a beer that typically is used in Supernatural to symbolize home and family and safety. And it's usually the only beer that you see used within the bunker, apparently. So that's one of the brands that's in Dean's room. But the other brand is Schultz. And according to the research, Schultz is almost entirely associated with death. So if a character is shown in a scene with a Schultz, it's a warning. And obviously, we know that later on in this episode, Dean dies. So they are using beer in an intentional way that fits with the way that they've used it in earlier episodes in this series, both that they're using the Margiekugels, which is the typical bunker beer, and that they're showing us that there's a warning with this use of Schultz in the same shot, and that it's typically associated with death. We see it in Dean's room. He dies later on in the episode. So they're using beer in a way that is consistent with the earlier use of beer in the series. And that's going to be an important point to come back to later on, which is why I wanted to foreground it here.


Chrisha  

I do want to say there are other bottles around the room that I was not able to figure out what brand they are. It seems like there are people that have software that can, like, clear that up. So I'd be fascinated if anybody has been able to figure that out. But I have not been able to. But, just for reference, the beer bottles in Dean's room that I saw, there's two on his nightstand behind the alarm clock. There's two on the table by the door that we see at the end with Sam. There's one on the above bed shelf. There's one on the desk. There's one on the phone table. And there's one on his dresser. And then there's an empty whiskey bottle above the bed. So it took me pausing and analyzing all through the episode because they're tricky. They're like... some of them are like, shadowed strangely, to not be the focus. You really have to look for them, which I thought was interesting as well. But yeah, once I decided I wanted to count the beer bottles, I kept finding new ones. I'm like, “Wait, hold on! There's another one! Wait, I missed that one the first time!” Yeah. So there's a lot of them. 


Catherine  

There are. So we know that there's some intentional framing going on in terms of the beer. It's really interesting about the pizza. And so the fact that it had been used previously in a dream sequence, and now it's being used in what's supposed to be reality, I think is a second sort of cue that something is not the way that it should be here. That there's something off. That there's something wrong. It starts in the intro, we go into the opening sequence and there's this brand of pizza that is only a fantasy pizza. So kind of, we're starting to question things. Then it was really interesting because Sam in this sequence is being very exact. Like, he takes a long time getting the covers of his bed turned down just right. You noticed that he folded his wet towel. 


Chrisha  

Who does that? *laughs*


Catherine  

Who does that? Right?


Chrisha  

It’ll get stinky! What are you doing, man? Hang it up!


Catherine  

Yeah. And it's interesting there because where Dean gets really messy when he's struggling with his mental health, Sam gets really precise. We know that from, for instance, the "Mystery Spot"episode where Dean dies, and suddenly the trunk of the Impala looks like John's. Because it's all organized according to type and everything has its own individual foam encasing. He's sitting down and eating in this very precise way. So it's been used in the past when he gets very neat, like extra neat.


Chrisha

Well, didn’t he, in that episode, didn't he… don't we actually see him do the precision bed making in that episode?


Catherine

You're right.


Chrisha

“Makes the bed in a meticulous fashion after waking. He brushes his teeth and stares in the mirror at a reflection that is defeated and emotionally dead inside.” Oooooh, boy.


Catherine

*squeaks* So again, we're seeing Sam revert to behavior that shows that his mental health is poor. Because of a loss. 


Chrisha  

Yeah. And for context, this is in "Mystery Spot," after he gets to Wednesday, and Dean dies again, like, for real. And he's by himself for like, six months. That's when he's doing all of this, precision, meticulous stuff. So. Hmm.


Catherine  

Right? So again, this is... what we're being given on the surface is this cute, fluffy domestic stuff. But there are cues within what we're seeing that are based on previous canon that are telling us that Sam is not okay, and Dean is not okay. And they're reacting in a similar way to the way that they did with loss in the past. So when Dean thought he'd lost Cas permanently when Cas walked away. When Sam thought that he lost his brother permanently, and was grieving that and trying to find a way to bring him back. So it's, it's bringing up echoes of these past losses, and telling us that the surface narrative that we're getting is not the real story here.


Chrisha  

Yeah. Something's wrong,


Catherine  

Something's wrong. And I think it's also important to note that the "Mystery Spot" episode was an episode where reality was manipulated. 


Chrisha

Yep. 


Catherine

And this is going to be an ongoing theme that we're seeing in this episode.


Chrisha  

So yeah, so then we move into the kitchen, where Sam is making breakfast. And there are two echoes here, because I remember the thing that it brought up for you was taking it back to Charlie and her girlfriend when she was making eggs and talking about the slow burn and how you have to get it just right. And so for you, it invoked that. For me, it invoked Sam and Eileen, you know, because the last time we saw Sam making breakfast he was with Eileen, they were making eggs and bacon and it was so happy. Except in this one, he's back to making fake bacon.


Catherine  

Okay, how do we know that?


Chrisha  

Well, because I've been a vegetarian for 20 years. 25? *laughs*


Catherine

*laughs* Thank you! 


Chrisha

*laughs* Let's not put numbers on it, shall we? 


Catherine  

Okay, ‘cause I was wondering, and I was like, “How does she know?” 


Chrisha

Yeah.


Catherine

*laughs* Okay, thank you! 


Chrisha

Because fake bacon is flat. And real bacon is wavy. It was like flat chunks of... something. It's not fake bacon I've ever eaten! But it sure as hell wasn't real bacon!


Catherine

Okaaaaay.


Chrisha

So, and that was really significant. Because when Sam and Eileen were making breakfast, it's been this ongoing thing all season with Sam and Dean over the fake bacon. You know, where Dean's like, “Oh, yeah, that's totally veggie!” and you know, like, got Sam to eat it. And then when Sam and Eileen were cooking together, Dean's like, “Oh, is that real bacon because, you know…” and it was. And so the fact that it has now reverted back to fake in the sequence where the absence of Cas and Eileen, first of all, is extra loud. And we're getting this chipper ordinary life music while they're doing these things. It was, yeah, I feel like the fake was like, oooh. Okay.


Catherine  

Yeah, yep. Absolutely. Every… agree with every point of that. It's one of those scenes that's doing double work, triple work, you know, telling us a bunch of different things that are happening. So, then we move on…


Chrisha

Well, do we want to talk about Miracle being there?



Catherine

Oh. Yeah, we can do that.


Chrisha  

*laughs* You don't like talking about Miracle, huh.


Catherine  

I don't. Like, I love Miracle as a character, and I would love for Miracle to be part of canon forevermore. And I would also love for Miracle to be included in every piece of fanfic from here on out, ‘cause like, yep, she's adorable. But the fact that she's a Cas substitute? I don't, mmmm.. Don't like it. Don't like it, ‘cause I mean, like, it puts Cas into this place of being like a pet. 


Chrisha

Yeah. 


Catherine

And he was so much more than that. But yes, Miracle was a part of this sequence and was featured quite heavily. 


Chrisha

Well, I mean, I think it's important first of all, just to show soft Dean, ya know, so... things are, to my mind, at this point, not particularly happy. But Dean Winchester is snuggling a dog, like properly snuggling a dog in his bed.


Catherine

Mmhmm. 


Chrisha

Yes, then we have the fact that Miracle could be interpreted symbolically as a Cas figure. He calls him buddy. They snuggle in bed. He calls him a “good boy” later. I mean, there's... there's some stuff there... *Catherine laughs* ...uh, that I can't decide if that makes me smile or cry, which, you know… 


Catherine

*laughs* Pain laughter is back!


Chrisha

*laughs* Uh huh! Pain laughter! 


Catherine  

Uuuuuugh! *laughs*


Chrisha

But you know, regardless of Miracle as any potential connection with Cas, I think the fact that they showed Dean being soft and snuggly, is frustrating. Like, it was nice in the moment. But yeah, overall, it's frustrating. 


Catherine

It makes it more painful, because we've talked about it in past episodes. Dean just has never liked dogs. I think that may be tied in part to the hellhounds and some trauma from that. But he also made fun of Sam for having a dog during the year in Purgatory and was mad that the Impala smelled like dog and was suspicious. Sam had broken some kind of rule if there was a dog in the Impala. And now this dog is like, living with them. And there was also all of the weird stuff with Dean becoming a dog in his brain. And then, but it was like, so it's just been weird with him and dogs, it's been an uncomfy thing. So this was just... it was so wholesome, and so soft. It felt like one of those few moments in the finale where we had a glimpse of who Dean could have been...


Chrisha

Yeah.


Catherine

...if he was given the chance to live. And so it makes it that much more painful in the end, that, you know, he doesn't even get to have a relationship with Miracle. You know, he was the one who was sneaking Miracle the plates to lick off. And he was the one snuggling with her in his bed. And he was the one that had her dog dishes in his room. That was where the deep bond was. And I was glad that Sam had something left of Dean after Dean was gone. But there wasn't that same kind of relationship there. And so it just like, again, it just it hurt, man, it just... it seemed like, extra, extra painful. 


Chrisha  

And I guess like, as you're saying that the other thing that it brings up for me is just, Dean has done so much for the world, and he's had so many amazing relationships. But he's lost so many people that now, here he is at the end, and he has his brother and a dog. And like, dogs are great. I'm not disparaging dogs. But two episodes ago, he had a son, he had a best friend-slash-husband, basically. We still don't understand what happened with all of their found family. We don't know if Charlie came back. We don't know if Donna came back. We don't know what's the status of anybody else. So I feel like when we already have these things set up to show the absence of Cas and the absence of Eileen, I feel like him snuggling with a dog, for as cute as that dog is, it also makes that - the absence of all of the other humans that he loved so much - loud. 


Catherine  

Yeah, you're right. Absolutely. So there's that depressing opening! *laughs*


Chrisha

UGH! UGH! *laughs*


Catherine

So much ugh! But again, you know, we're picking it apart so that we can look and see what the visuals are telling us that on the surface, may be looking good. But if you take a slightly deeper look, we're being warned that things are not good. And there may even be some questions about how real is this. And that's just within that opening montage.


Chrisha  

Uh huh. One thing in talking about the loudness of their people being absent, when they are sitting in the library with their laptops, looking for a case, that visual, the angle, and everything of that shot is very, very similar to the future that we saw that was like, the bad future that Chuck showed Sam, where it was Sam and Eileen sitting at that table with laptops, both up back to back, and then Dean and Cas standing. So, for me, the second time I watched it, it seemed to be another echo of the people that they'd lost. Like, it just seemed empty, because we've seen this before - this exact setup...


Catherine

But filled with other people. 


Chrisha

Yeah. And that was quote unquote, “bad.” Like, that was the bad future. So I feel like that is a very strange thing. 


Catherine

Well, I mean, this is a worse future than the future Chuck warned them about.


Chrisha

Yeah, exactly. Like, how is this better? I mean, I suppose… yeah. If Cas was truly in the Empty, is that better than him being a Malek box? Probably. But we don't know that. 


Catherine

Not really. 


Chrisha

Yeah. I mean, we don't know!


Catherine

Like, in one, he's insane. And then the other he's being tormented with his worst regrets over and over and over a loop. 


Chrisha

Yeah.


Catherine

Either way, it's torture. 


Chrisha

Right. And we don't know where anybody else is. Are they alive? Are they dead? 


Catherine

Are they somewhere else that's horrifying? Because like, originally, Chuck does that snap. And he tells Becky that he's just sent people somewhere else. They're not dead. But we don't know what that other place is, like, it could be horrifying! It's not that they're just dead, it's that they're like... we don't know. 


Chrisha

Right.


Catherine

And knowing Chuck, it could be bad. 


Chrisha

Yeah, so this is not better. 


Catherine

No. This is way worse than the bad ending. 


Chrisha

Yeah. So anyway, I just wanted to call attention to that. It was one of those, like, as I was watching it the second time, I like... yelped. I was like: “Oh my god!” *laughs*


Catherine

THEN we transition over to the pie festival. *laughs*


Chrisha  

Yes! We got here eventually. *laughs*


Catherine  

We did! The feel of this entire scene… and, it's really interesting, because going back, they’re invoking these feelings of past stuff repeatedly. And so to me, the feeling of the scene was very reminiscent of the feeling of the town in "Peace of Mind" from season 14.


Chrisha  

Yeah! That’s what it is. I could not put my finger on that, but that's exactly what it is. 


Catherine

Uh, huh. It's very, like, apple pie, 1950s kind of like… the perfect pie festival with all of the perfect balloons and all of the perfect people. And it just... it had that whitewashed kind of picket fence feel to it?


Chrisha  

Yeah, part of this episode that I kept getting tripped up on was the lighting, because there were parts of it that was just so bright? And almost hazy, which always reminds me of Amelia. Which…


Catherine

Yeah.


Chrisha

...I still... like, we'll get there eventually, but still believe that there's a strong possibility that she wasn't real. So yeah, I got that feeling a couple of times. So I don't think it was actually hazy or blurry, like Amelia was, but there was just something about the quality of it.


Catherine  

Yeah, and I think that was kind of emphasized by the old school picture of the woman on the side of the truck with the Dabb pies. It had a very 1950s feel to it. 


Chrisha

There's a classic car there too. Yeah. 


Catherine

Okay. Yeah. Yeah.


Chrisha

Next to the truck. Next to the pie… whatever. 


Catherine

Oh, interesting. 


Chrisha

Like an old timey car. Mmhmm


Catherine

Hmm. So we're getting all of these cues. And of course, if you don't remember, in "Peace of Mind," everyone was living this apple pie life, but they were living it because they were being controlled by an outside force. So it was all a lie. It wasn't real. It was being created by this malevolent mayor figure. So I thought it was really interesting that there was this vibe in this scene. And in the "Peace of Mind" episode, when Sam is under the control of the mayor, he's saying, “but it's just... everybody's so happy!” And this is after he's lost all of the hunters, right? And he's really struggling, he doesn't want to be in the bunker anymore. Because he just keeps seeing everyone that he's lost, because of what he sees as his failure of leadership. And here in this scene, Sam is trying to feel his feelings, but Dean cuts it short. 


Chrisha

Yeah. 


Catherine

And is like, “Oh, I see your Sad Sam face,” and “Stop being such an Eeyore!” or…


Chrisha

That was so frustrating. 


Catherine

Yeah. 


Chrisha

And so not like him!


Catherine

Right. 


Chrisha

Not current him. 


Catherine

No.


Chrisha

Maybe years ago, him, but not now.


Catherine

No.


Chrisha  

So, okay. So following that thread, because one thing that I noticed, well, two actually.. So number one is that when they get to the pie festival, Dean says, and I quote, that this is “his destiny.” And I really was like, of all the words in a show about freewill... Dean Winchester brings up destiny? Like…


Catherine

OOOOOOH…. oh, yeah, cuz he's always fighting back against destiny! 


Chrisha

Yeah. And I know, it was like a throwaway LOL. But when things already felt off…


Catherine

But no, that's... no. Like, that's a big word for Dean Winchester.


Chrisha

Yeah, well, and then Sam asks Dean if he's crying, assuming that he would be crying from happiness? And Dean does his defensive “no!” which usually indicates that he is. And so the idea that Dean would be crying of happiness after they lost everyone... over pie?


Catherine

Like, over pie... 


Chrisha

I'm like, what? And so putting that together with "Peace of Mind" is like, “oh, okay.” That definitely makes me see it in a different way because negative feelings were downplayed. And it was all just this assumption of all this, like, supreme happiness, which doesn't make sense given the context that we're given. And I know that Jared has indicated that maybe this was, like, five years later. But, frankly, that would make it even worse for me that nothing changed for the better. That they're stable, but alone. Yeah, I wouldn't see that as helping.


Catherine  

No, that five years down the road they've given up on Cas and they've given up on everybody. 


Chrisha

Mm hmm. 


Catherine

Like, that's just.. that's just.. Eugh.


Chrisha  

Yeah, yeah.


Catherine  

It's a very surreal feeling scene. And you've talked about the intrusion into the narrative of Robert Singer being in the background, which honestly, I only noticed this time, because I was so transfixed by how awful the dialogue was on that bench. *laughs*


Chrisha  

Well, I think it was the combination of... because I missed the dialogue the first time. I know I did. And it's because, I think, like there were too many nods to real world things that I couldn't stay in it. So the Dabb van followed up with Singer in the background… there was just... there was a lot of those, like, real world things that made it really hard for me to stay in the fictional world. And I was also just trying to sort through, because the first thing I visually saw in this scene was green and blue balloons, which are Destiel colors. So it was like, oh, oh, so then I'm like, looking through the people. And I'm looking through everything trying to see if there's any other indicator, and there's not and there was other color balloons there. And it looked very idyllic. And then there's the Dabb van, and then there's Singer, laughing and yeah, it was just it was hard to stay in it for me.


Catherine  

The whole thing, like I said, it has this vibe. And it's interesting because they've been moving to this place of being able to have real authentic conversations about loss and about grieving to the point where Sam brought up Jessica.


Chrisha

Yeah.


Catherine

And Dean brought up Ben and Lisa. And suddenly in this scene, they can't have a conversation… like Eileen is not even mentioned. She just doesn't exist in this episode. Which is... yep. But then Cas and Jack are seen as, you know, something to get over. Something to move on from, and the conversation is shut down, in favor of moving on and living on so their sacrifice will mean something, which then Dean dies the next day! *laughs* So...


Chrisha  

Yeah, and I think that the wording there is super important. Just to recap, he says, “that pain is not going to go away, right. But if we don't keep living, then all of that sacrifice is gonna be for nothing.” So future tense. “So quit being a frigging Eeyore. Come on, get into this.” Which is so profoundly invalidating. 


Catherine

It is. Again, that's a regression, that's not... that's out of character. That's not the trajectory that they were on. They were on a trajectory where they were able to have real feelings about real things. And so again, I feel like this is another moment where our understanding of who these characters are is being fundamentally hijacked almost into being something else. And in a scene that is evoking things from "Peace of Mind," where people act in ways that are completely out of character for who they actually are, I think it's really interesting that there's this complete reversal, in terms of being able to be emotionally vulnerable, and to grieve, and to talk about things in a really real way, which is what they had been moving towards the entire season. So again, I think this is a cue for us as an audience that there's something deeply and profoundly wrong here. And maybe there's something going on that is bending reality, perhaps.


Chrisha 

Yeah. And now we move on to the vampire case. That, um, well... so here's the thing. 15 years we've been watching these guys work cases. And so I think that that has given us some skills to work cases. Like, we have some expertise now after going on this journey with them. So here's the basic facts that we understand about this case: It's an old case of John's from 1986. So Dean would have been 7 and Sam 3, just to think about that. Gosh. So, it's in Ohio, which is a nod to Kripke. But I am also in Ohio, so it's always wild when they're hanging out in my state. Yeah, their license plate, the Ohio license plate, that's what my license plate looked like for a long time. Not anymore. But anyways, cool. So the vampires target families who live out of town, isolated, that have kids between the ages 5 and 10. So really specific.


Catherine

Yeah.


Chrisha

The vampires wear masks…. *Catherine snickers* for reasons that defy logic… *Catherine laughs*... and we should have done our deep breathing before we started this. *deep breaths* I'm gonna put it in now. *deep breaths* Here we are. 


Catherine

Yeah.


Chrisha

And so the MO is that they rip out the mom's tongue and then they drain the dad. So.


Catherine

Here's another point that I just realized, Chrisha. They killed the dad with a sword through the heart. But then he's drained. But vampires can't drink dead man's blood. *laughs* 


Chrisha

………………….I'm just like massaging my head at this point. My forehead. Just trying to manage the tension headache. Okay. So.


Catherine  

*laughs* I just realized this.


Chrisha  

The the... why stab the dad if they're just gonna rip out his throat and drain him is definitely on my list of questions. Like. Why? Why do they wear a mask, which stops them from using their primary weapon, which is their teeth?


Catherine  

Mmmhmm.


Chrisha  

Why… WHY would they leave the mom alive? If she's a threat, why not kill her? And even if she's not, why not kill her? They're vampires! Why? Why in the world...


Catherine  

Why waste the food?


Chrisha  

...would you leave her alive? And if they ripped out her tongue, she's actively bleeding in front of...


Catherine  

A vampire. 


Chrisha  

Hungry vampires. The only reason that they would need masks, like the only possible reason I can come up with is so that they wouldn't be recognized. Who would possibly recognize them if they just killed everyone? Also, they're vampires. Why would they care? 


Catherine

Yeah! Exactly.


Chrisha

So like, we have the tools as fans of this show to be able to look at this case and say: “What? None of this makes sense.”


Catherine  

I’m still not over the dead man’s blood thing!


Chrisha

Like, they kill him with a... it's almost like a scythe. Like what the hell even is it? 


Catherine

And like they didn't, they didn't feed on him right away, because the priority would have been getting the mom and getting the kids. So like, he would have been dead before they could feed on him. Because also like, you're dead pretty quick when a blade goes through your heart. It's kind of over. So then for him to have been drained and had his throat ripped out literally makes no sense within the canon of the show. 


Chrisha

No.


Catherine

Because it would have screwed them up. And they literally have dead man's blood used on the bullet to capture the vampire at the next setting. So we know they didn't abandon canon. But they drank blood from a dead dude. I…


Chrisha

And then they and then they left a woman alive who can ID them, who can draw a picture of the mask. In a world where there are hunters, like the Winchesters, that go after monsters. Why? 


Catherine

Why? 


Chrisha

Why? There is no reason.


Catherine

And why use such identifiable masks? Why not just ski masks? 


Chrisha

Right? 


Catherine

And like then nobody would be able to know who they were. Then Sam and Dean would never have found them.


Chrisha

And such an oddly specific MO. And they're doing all of these things that don't make any sense... it's super clunky.. and yet John didn't catch them.


Catherine

*cackles* Nope!


Chrisha  

So, anyway. There's all kinds of places we can go with that. But yeah, the whole thing makes no sense at all. And so you tell me what you think, but this is the part in the episode... So at the pie scene, that is where I started saying, “Oh, no.” Like, when I first watched it, like on the night, the pie scene is when I was like, “Okay, something is going catastrophically wrong.” And then, when I heard them say that the wife's tongue was ripped out, that's when I said to myself, “Oh, the subtext on this one's gonna be... weird.” They ripped the woman's tongue out for literally no reason. It doesn't exist for any canonical reason other than to be representative, I guess, of something, or that's the only logic I can get out of that. Do you? What are your thoughts? 


Catherine

Same. I mean, but it's just, it's so like, it...it's so on the nose? So like, the fact that these vampires who end up killing Dean wear skull masks that are symbolic of death, when there's, like, no logical reason for vampires to be wearing masks, let alone highly recognizable masks that they've been using for decades. It's just the heavy foreshadowing of death. It's just, it's very, very heavy handed and very clunky and it just feels weird. Because usually when they do subtext, it's fun and playful and clever. And it comes out and grabs you and you go “oh my gosh, how did I not see that!” And this is hitting you over the head. And the same with the cutting the tongues out thing. It's, you know, she's silenced. And I think there's a running theme of silencing throughout this entire episode. Eileen was erased. Like, she had no presence. Cas was silenced. Jack was silenced. All of the wayward women were silenced. You know, we hear about Donna, but we don't hear from Donna. So…


Chrisha

Amara. I’m still struggling with that one. 


Catherine

Amara is silenced. Yeah! I really did not like what they did with her. And I mean, I didn't like what they did with Jack. I don't like the implications about who they made Jack be with this episode. Because, and this is just going on a side rant - sorry, but not sorry - I have huge problems with the idea that Jack was supposed to be the superior, Good God. And make everything... like he made he made all of the things right. And he would be in the sand and in the wind and then the bla bla bla. And yet he didn't fix the broken mechanism that was the world that Chuck created. Yay, you fixed heaven. But it's the world where Anael says - Jo says - thousands of people die screaming every day. That's the world that he inherited, and he chose not to fix that. He chose to leave vampires as vampires rather than like, making everybody human again. If he can make humans into angels, surely he can make vampires back into humans. And werewolves back into humans. So he leaves a world where there are little boys getting dragged out of their beds in the middle of the night by monsters. Literal monsters. And he lets his father die an agonizing death on a spike. Yeah, this is not the Jack that I know. 


Chrisha

Well, that's not a merciful God, in my opinion.


Catherine

No, it's not. But yeah, the idea that Jack, who was supposed to create paradise on Earth, according to Cas, and what he told Dean, we were textually canonically told that Jack was supposed to bring paradise to Earth. Not paradise to Heaven. 


Chrisha

Right.


Catherine

But paradise to Earth. So just again, this is one of those things where this is not matching what canon told us was supposed to happen. Back to the vampires.


Chrisha 

Yeah, honestly, in that vein, kind of, they capture the vampire, and the vampire says, “we take a harvest every few years, grab a couple kids, raise them up, feed them right, juice ‘em. We don't do fast food.” Okay, fine. Well, then, well, I guess before he says that, that Dean threatens to torture the vampire to death. And it's not that that's un-Dean-like, necessarily, it's just that in 19, he internalized what Cas told him and chose to not kill Chuck, because that's not who he is.


So this scene was very confusing and kind of jarring for me, because it's been a theme throughout this entire 15 years of show that humans can absolutely be far more evil than monsters. So making Chuck human is, I suppose, way better than him being God. But the idea that he couldn't be dangerous because he was never going to get his powers back never made a ton of sense to me? I get why Dean didn't want to just kill him. But I thought that that's because Dean had turned some sort of corner. And so to have him right back here, threatening torture - like, Dean, who went through hell, and all of his history with torture - 


Catherine

Oooooooo….


Chrisha

...threatening to torture this guy after we just went through, “That's not who I am.” I was not expecting to see. So it was just like another one of those like, this is close to normal, but not. It's like a funhouse mirror. Like a Supernatural funhouse mirror.


Catherine

Yeah.


Chrisha

Because it would have fit Dean years ago, but it didn't make sense in this context, like, where we had gotten to now. 


Catherine

Yeah. 


Chrisha

So they do the thing. And the vamp says what he says, and then I guess, they pull up to the barn. I think you had some thoughts on that.


Catherine

*sighs*


Chrisha

Deep breaths! *deep breath*


Catherine

Yeah. Well, again, I think this is all pointing in a very specific direction. That there's something wrong here, okay. And so these guys are hunters. They know how to stalk vampires. They know that most supernatural creatures have really good hearing. You know, and I actually rewatched the episode that introduces vampires. 


Chrisha

"Dead Man's Blood," right? 


Catherine

"Dead Man's Blood." And literally, they're in this… actually, they're in a barn! Hahahahaha…. Okay, they're in a barn and the lead vampire - Luthor, I think his name is - can hear John's car all the way on the highway. And it's, like, barely audible. But that's how well we're told canonically vampires can hear. Okay. Dean and Sam pull right up outside of the vampire nest. In Baby. And Baby is a loud car. Like, she makes a really throaty, grumbly, noticeable noise when they pull up in her. Then they close the doors loudly. Then they have a full voiced conversation. “Is this the place?” “Yeah, it looks like it's right out of a Wes Craven, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” And they're having like this full voiced conversation right outside the barn where these vampires are. Dean, as part of that conversation, wants to use weapons that would not do anything to a vampire. He wants to use throwing stars, which again, doesn't make sense. When he's been stuck on weapons in the past, like with the bazooka, that would blow almost anything away. So it makes sense to use something like that as a weapon or want to. But a throwing star? Not gonna do much.


Chrisha  

No, but you know what occurred to me on the second watch of this, because I had that same sort of like… Number one, why can't Dean have fun? But number two, if they had brought stars dipped in dead man's blood?


Catherine

Ooooooh…


Chrisha

It could have saved his life! 


Catherine

It could have.


Chrisha

They could have just like: bing bing bing. And then...


Catherine  

Why didn't they shoot them with the bullets drenched in...? Which is what they did at the...? Chrisha…?!


Chrisha

I know. And this is when they came, like, fully prepared for like, the boss battle. 


Catherine

Yes.


Chrisha

Like why did they show up...? 


Catherine

Yes! Okay, so then, so back to the noisiness. Okay, then they, like, slam the weapons part of the trunk thing closed. Then they slammed the trunk door closed. Then, they don't do a recon around the barn. They go straight in through the front of the barn doors, and we're immediately shown all of these vampires lurking outside. So like, none of these things are in character, in terms of what our Sam and Dean would do on a typical hunt. They would always scout out the location first. They would always know to like, be quiet. And approach stealthily. They wouldn't stop using a weapon that was so effective on an enemy. I can't believe that they didn't just have the bullets drenched in dead man's blood. They could have walked in and been like boop boop, boop, right?


Chrisha

Right.


Catherine

You're all done. Lop, lop, lop.


Chrisha

You know, I mean, there's been conjecture, I think, even amongst the cast. I feel like it was Rob Benedick talked about this in some Q&A somewhere that he thought that maybe what happened is that once Chuck was no longer driving the story, that Sam and Dean weren't as good of hunters anymore, which is certainly one interpretation. It would be an interpretation I patently reject because it tells us that all 15 years are invalid and weren't real. Which. No.


Catherine

And that's and that's the thing, because this goes directly against Cas’ take, which was that he may have created the maze, but they're the ones that ran the race. 


Chrisha

Right. But see, I don't know that that was true. I think that was true for Cas. I don't think everybody else had that same level of autonomy. No, because Chuck literally could take over their bodies and do what he wanted with them like he did with Eileen, because Cas was the only one with true freewill. 


Catherine

Yeah, but Chuck dipped in and out in terms of his interest level.


Chrisha  

That's true. And that I agree with for sure. So I do believe that most of the time they had free will and maybe were just being nudged. But that's kind of my follow up point is okay, so even if they had this extra Chuck magic, like they had sort of at the beginning of the season, and they showed when they lost their Chuck mojo, they still would have known to shoot a vampire with a dead man's blood bullet. If they did it one night, they would remember to do it the next night, like this isn't about skill. This is about basic intelligence. 


Catherine

Yeah.


Chrisha

They wouldn't forget to recon a location before they go in. That's general knowledge. That's not about skill. I don't believe that Sam and Dean are suddenly stupid.


Catherine  

No, but I think you raise a really important point here, which is that they didn't lose their skills, or their intelligence after Chuck was gone, because Sam was still able to use his computer skills to scan the web. And Dean still knew how to clean a shotgun. And then they were able to come up with a new way of doing things which integrated their knowledge from the past. So instead of making a devil's trap engraved in a bullet, they dipped it in dead man's blood, like adapting bullets for their prey. Just like the witch killing bullets, dip them in a thing. So I think this shows that they hadn't lost their knowledge or their adaptive natures, which is why they were so good at hunting, after Chuck was out of the picture. So then it just again, that draws this sharp contrast between what happens prior to the barn scene and the barn scene. And again, this seems to be pointing to: something's wrong here. This is not behavior that we would normally see out of these characters that we love. They wouldn't willingly put themselves in this kind of danger. They wouldn't walk into a vampire nest, *loudly* talking like this to each other…


Chrisha

They wouldn't put each other in danger. And the vampires wouldn't have let them get into the barn. They would have just taken them out at the car, unless there was something else going on that we're never privy to, in which case who cares? It's the literal series finale. If there's something going on, now's maybe the time to share that.


Catherine

Mmhmm.


Chrisha

So, and the, you know, the other thing is just, Baby is also filthy in this scene. She's all like dusty, and mucked up, which, in my mind goes along with Dean's messiness that is out of character. 


Catherine

Yes. But you know what's really interesting, Chrisha... she's also filthy in the outro from Episode 19.


Chrisha

Uh huh. She sure is.


Catherine

Which we also have a lot of concerns about and questions about, because what happens after Chuck is rendered useless just doesn't make a whole lot of sense in terms of the characters we know. You know, the characters that we know that at the beginning of the episode were, like, bring Cas back, at the end, don't bother to ask Jack right to bring Cas back. So like, something shifts there. I don't know what. But there's stuff that - we can get back to this, but - there's stuff in the montage that raised a lot of questions for both you and I. But one of the big things was that Baby was dirty. In that outro scene. She was dusty. You could see, like, the smear of a handprint next to the top of the door. And she was also that way going into the vamp nest scene. The barn scene. But then, Chrisha, she's also filthy in Heaven. 


Chrisha

I saw that too. And I was like… surely it's just... there must be like some sort of glare. There must be some sort of…


Catherine

Nope.


Chrisha

Yeah, that one I still can't... I honestly, I was gonna ask you because I was like, is it just me? Because like, like, looking straight at it. I'm like… no, I... she can't be dirty in Heaven! Like, they couldn't… they couldn't miss that!


Catherine

No, she was dirty. And I think this is... I think this is all pointing, again, to things being wrong. Because when was the last time that Baby was dirty Chrisha?


Chrisha

She’s never dirty! Dean.... And it's so funny that this…


Catherine

Guess what? No, no, no, no, the last time that she's dirty, and it's brought up? Is "Dead Man's Blood."


Chrisha

Yeah, that's what it was gonna say like, it echoes back to "Dead Man's Blood," which is…


Catherine

Okay!


Chrisha

Yeah, when he got called out by John in this really nasty way where he's, like, he's projecting his anger at Sam on to Dean. John is, because he's an ass. So yeah, it's like such a… like, what? Whaaaat?? *laughs*


Catherine  

And ever since he made that comment, Baby was a pristinely kept car. And so for Baby to be suddenly dirty… It would have been one thing if it was just in one scene. 


Chrisha

Mm hmm. 


Catherine

She's pristine in the pie scene. But she's dirty in the outro montage in 19. She's dirty in the scene going into the barn. And she's dirty in Heaven. 


Chrisha

So weird.


Catherine

To me that is signaling that there's something going on here because it's, it's so rare at this stage to like, see her anything but spotless. I mean, other than the episode Baby, where she got trashed. *laughs* Like, this is showing that there's something off. There's something fundamentally wrong. And it's, again, those visual cues that I think are all adding up to something significant here.


Chrisha  

Well, what's strange, though, about Baby being dirty in Heaven, which is actually part of why I've been wrestling with it is we saw set pictures. And she wasn't. I mean, obviously, there's multiple Babys. But you know, there was a Baby set out for crew to come take pictures with. Cast and crew. And she was glorious, you know? Just glorious. So, yeah, that's why I kept like, Is it the... Is it the haziness of Heaven? Is it the weird lighting? Is it… I don't know. It's very strange, though. And I had the same, like squinting…. Whaaaat?


Catherine

Uh huh.


Chrisha

So I don't know.


Catherine  

Yeah. So it's, it's a thing. But let's get back to the vampires. And Jenny.


Chrisha  

*deep breath* Okay.


Catherine  

So, there was a huge discussion that happened on Twitter about Jenny and the vampire trope that exists outside of Supernatural lore. And we'll link sources. But so, what I found most fascinating about all of that is, there is a long history of vampires being associated with queerness. And one of the people that was talking about this brought up Carmilla, which is a vampire novel that came out in the 1870s. And I remember reading it as an undergrad, and being like, absolutely shocked as this is like naive, undergrad lit student, that it featured a lesbian vampire as the main antagonist in this story from the 1870s. And she preys exclusively on young women of virtue. And so it goes back a long way. And I'm sure even further back than that, because so often things that were supernatural were also associated with parts of society that were ostracized or marginalized in some way, and often that included LGBTQ + people, but it goes at least as far back as that, and we have modern stuff like True Blood. They literally have signs in there saying “God hates fangs.” They're making really strong parallels there. There's this queer coding of vampires in general. But what I thought was really exciting and where my brain went with all of this as people were kind of like, figuring things out, was that Jenny was, in the in the story, her character is originally part of a heterosexual couple. And in "Dead Man's Blood," she and her boyfriend, partner, whatever we want to call them, are captured by the vampires. He's killed by the vampires. So the straight man is killed. And then she is turned by Kate using this non consensual kiss that is the first reference to non-straight sexuality within Supernatural and, and it's like highly, highly sexualized because Kate starts off the scene making out with Luther who is her mate. So she's characterized as bi. Like, she's coded that way. She starts off the scene making out with a man. Ends up making out with a woman. And through that kiss, which is... she transfers vampire blood into Jenny's mouth, Jenny becomes a vampire. So this, this queer kiss turns her into this queer coded bisexual character, because she and Kate are close throughout the rest of the story. And it's actually Jenny who grabs Kate at the end and gets her out of the situation with John and Sam and Dean.


Chrisha  

Huh. I did not remember that.


Catherine  

Yeah. So after Luthor is killed, it's Jenny who grabs Kate and takes her out and they drive off. So it's really interesting that they reintroduce this canonically bisexual character to confront Dean right before he is killed in the traditional way that you would kill a vampire, which is like a stake through the heart or the body. In some cases, it's through the heart. In some cases, you just pin them to their graves, so they can't rise again. And so, you know, we kept asking, like, why Jenny? Why was this character brought back? 


Chrisha

Well, because nobody remembered who she is. Like…


Catherine

I… I did…?


Chrihsa

Did you? Like just from looking at her? Really? 


Catherine

Yes. Because of the flashback.


Chrisha

Well, right. Like with the flashback, I was like, okay, once they showed that, but her walking in I wasn't like, “Oooo.” I was like, “Who in the hell is that?” 


Catherine

I was like, “This person looks familiar. Who are they?” And then it immediately flashed back. And I was like, “Oh, yeah, I remember that chick. There was the making out scene.” *laughs*


Chrisha

Ah. Yeah. I was just like, why? *laughs*


Catherine

Uh huh. 


Chrisha

I, I understood who she was, after they showed the flashbacks, but still, for the life of me couldn't figure out why I cared about... like, of all the characters for 15 years, they could have brought back, I was like... I have absolutely no emotional attachment to this one at all. 


Catherine

Same. And I didn't make the connection, even though I was like, “Oh, yeah, she's the chick that had the kiss with the vampire that I found strangely enticing when I still thought I was straight.”


Chrisha

*laughs*


Catherine

But yeah, I knew who she was immediately because I remembered that story. But I didn't make the connection to Dean. So it was like staring me in the face, but I didn't put those things together. So it was really interesting to me that this bisexual character - canonically bisexual in terms of she does, which her alliance to Kate afterwards and there's this implied closeness and that she literally saves Kate's life, who personifies the coding of vampires as LGBTQ coded beings - is reintroduced right before Dean dies. And that Dean dies the death of a vampire as a character who is bisexually coded. And he never gets to speak who he is in an episode where people have their tongues cut out. 


Chrisha

Yeah. 


Catherine

So I think they were doing something really interesting there. On top of this, Jenny is never named in the original episode. 


Chrisha

Yeah. 


Catherine

And I don't... I haven't seen original scripts where it so I don't know if she was given a name in the original scripts. But in terms of her character being on screen, she's never given a name. She's never addressed by any name. So I don't know where Jenny comes from. But Dean knows her name. And he shouldn't, because she never said it in his presence. Nobody ever said it to him. Oh, wait! Kate also kisses Dean in that episode.


Chrisha

Does she?


Catherine  

Yep, she does. She grabs him. 


Chrisha

Oh, that's right. He was bait. 


Catherine

Yeah, it's another forced kiss moment. She grabs him by the throat and by his face, and is holding him and forces the kiss on him just like she forced on Jenny.


Chrisha

*slow exhale* 


Catherine

So like, right? So this creature who is LGBTQ coded kisses one person and erases their heterosexuality with a kiss, and then kisses the bi coded guy. It's really interesting stuff. Like, I don't know how to untangle all of it, but like, there's stuff happening here that I still am wrapping my head around. But yeah, like, there's no reason that Dean should know Jenny’s name. No reason. And so this is another one of those moments where it's a small detail, but I think it's very significant, because there's no logical reason why he would know her name. So this is a moment of dissonance within the narrative that doesn't make sense. 


Chrisha

Yeah, you know, it doesn't. And so he never heard her name, necessarily. 


Catherine

Nope.


Chrisha  

So I mean, the only reason I could... like was 15 years ago, and Dean is good. But even if she had said her name, I still feel like it would be odd that he would be able to remember her name immediately, when she was a blip on the radar. Like, she just really was not meaningful, necessarily. It's not like those, you know, they have some monsters and some humans that they bond with during cases. But she was not one of those.


Catherine

Right.


Chrisha

The only reason that I could even think that he would remember her, or that she would stand out, is if her bisexuality or change in sexuality, or whatever we want to call it was noticed, because he always seems to take notice of queer characters. He always spends some time paying attention to that. But I've also been looking around at baby names, and some website that I found said that Jenny is a feminine for John. 


Catherine

Ewwww.


Chrisha

In English baby name meanings, the meaning of the name Jenny is “God has been gracious” and is a feminine form of John. 


Catherine

Ewwwwww.


Chrisha

Yeah. I don't know quite what to do with that information, if anything. In the dictionary, if you look for the word Jenny, it means a female donkey. So an ass.


Catherine  

*loud cackle* Oh, no.


Chrisha  

If it was a male ass, we would be talking about that right now! *laughs*


Catherine  

*laughs* Oh, my goodness. Well, it's interesting how John keeps popping up, right? Because dirty car: John. John's old case. And I've heard some people be like, well, it couldn't have been John's case because he didn't know that vampires existed. But he doesn't actually mention vampires in his case. It's, it's Sam that makes that connection. But like, it is an old case of John's, the name Jenny apparently is shorthand for John and then John's in Heaven. So he keeps popping up, doesn't he? 


Chrisha 

Yeah, it's um, odd. The other thing that jumps out for me about Jenny is that the context that they put her in is very specific, and very weird. Because he asks her if she's the boss. And she says, “No, I just called dibs.” And I'm not quite sure why, in a finale episode where we're trying to wrap things up, we create a new enemy that we don't get to see and don't know anything about. 


Catherine

Yeah.


Chrisha

The only reason I can come up with is to let us know that there's plenty of monsters running around, but I feel like we already know that? 


Catherine

Yeah.


Chrisha

By the fact that they go to a pie festival and bump into some vampires. So, you know, I don't feel like that's something that needed to be said. So why would we specify that this woman - in an episode where women are having their tongues cut out - this is the one woman that has any kind of power, that has more than a couple of lines, and even she doesn't have that many before she dies to further the men's plot! But why would we make sure to contextualize her as not being powerful? You know what I mean? She's not the boss. She's a mid level monster. Which means that the dudes in the masks under her are even lower level monsters. So it's just like making sure to let us know that these are really crappy vampires.


Catherine

Who beat Sam and Dean.


Chrisha

Easily. Yeah. I mean, you know, I guess they take out four of the five. But.


Catherine

Yeah, but after they knocked out Sam cold. And then yeah, and then one of them kills Dean. 


Chrisha

Right. Well, and I mean, Jenny is also stupid in this. So if she knows the Winchesters, then she should know their legacy. 


Catherine

*gasp* Oh my gosh, okay. Do you know what I was also… So frickin hilarious. Luthor dies because he grabbed Sam by the throat, like in a headlock, and is squaring off with Dean ‘cause John's been knocked out of commission, and he threatens to snap Sam's neck. And then he has his back to John. And while he has his back to John, John gets up, grabs the Colt, says “Hey,” he turns around, and he shoots him in the head. And that's how Luther dies. So literally, Jenny watched what happens when you turn your back on a Winchester who's out for the count. And yet she turns her back on Sam. 


Chrisha

And like, doesn't even keep an eye on him. Doesn't, like… nothing.


Catherine

Nope. And like nobody warns her from her vampires. *laughs*

 

Chrisha  

*laughs* Like, literally no one’s…. Like, everybody in this scene…


Catherine

...is really dumb.



Chrisha

...is stupid. And I don't understand why that is. 


Catherine

Huh uh. Huh uh. Well, I think it's telling us that this is wrong. This is all wrong.


Chrisha

Well, they’re also in Ohio, and Jenny was killed in Colorado 15 years ago. Like, she's not geographically… not that, like you can't travel. It's not like that's impossible. But it's just weird. You know, like she suddenly ended up, I mean, the place where they are, there's not a lot out there. *laughs* I mean.... Like, Akron is a big city. Canton is, you know, relatively, but those little ones in the middle? No. There's not a whole lot out there. So it's just strange to me that we're not given any context for anything that makes any kind of reasonable or logical sense. We're not explained any of it. We just know for sure that they're low level, but that somehow she remembers the Winchesters. But also hasn't learned anything from her time with them.


Catherine  

Well, and it's crazy, because somehow she knows they're coming, too. I just realized right now.


Chrisha  

Yeah. I mean, ‘cause that’s….


Catherine  

‘Cause like, they kill and capture the guys who went to the house.


Chrisha

Right.


Catherine

So there's no, like, there's no way that those guys got word that the Winchesters are coming. And yet she strolls in the middle of this thing and is like, “Hey, I have dibs.”


Chrisha 

Well, I suppose that could go back to the fact that that car is super loud, and they're not trying to be stealthy. 


Catherine

That’s true.


Chrisha

But then why let them get out of the car and kill a bunch of your people? Why not just attack them at the car? Like, Chuck isn't involved anymore. Like, I get that it used to be that way for TV, you know? And so we just sort of hand wave it to Chuck. And that's canonically true now. But if Chuck is gone, and why can Sam and Dean have an actual, typical fistfight with vampires who should be able to break their neck by breathing on them, basically. Do you know what I mean? Like vampires are supposed to be so powerful that it doesn't make sense to me that they're just having a fist fight as if they're both human.


Catherine  

Yeah, so much just doesn't make sense. So I think that's the main point is that this doesn't make sense. It doesn't work. If this was supposed to be good writing, like, it failed. And, and so this, this is just like a complete breakdown of the story. 


Chrisha

Yeah. 


Catherine

Okay. So we're going to wrap it there with this discussion of vampires in this episode. Thanks for hanging in there with us. We love you. We know this is hard. So we're just sending you extra love through the ether. And you can message us and stay up to date with the latest on our Twitter and Instagram pages which are @TheFangirlBiz. We will see you again next time. And until then, carry on wayward friends. We love you. Bye.


*Outro Acoustic Guitar Theme Music - “Play the Game” by VooDoo Blooze*


Outtake:


Catherine

I think I'm pronouncing that correctly. But I also mispronounced pronouncing, but that's fine. 


Chrisha

*laughs* It’s a tough episode man.


Catherine

It is. 


Chrisha

*laughs*  It's just...We're doing it live. We're just doing it.



Transcribed by https://otter.ai




disclaimer and intro
the "Then" sequence and the lack of "Carry On"
the domestic montage
Dean's room
the pizza box
the beer
Sam's behavior during the domestic montage
Miracle
missing found family
the pie festival
the case
who is Jack in the context of the finale?
the vamp interrogation
the (loud) arrival at the barn
why is Baby dirty?
Jenny & LGBTQ+ coding
outro