The Fangirl Business: A Supernatural Podcast

16.1: "The Winchesters" E12 - Witches & Clowns (And Biggest Fears)

December 13, 2023 Season 2 Episode 16
16.1: "The Winchesters" E12 - Witches & Clowns (And Biggest Fears)
The Fangirl Business: A Supernatural Podcast
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The Fangirl Business: A Supernatural Podcast
16.1: "The Winchesters" E12 - Witches & Clowns (And Biggest Fears)
Dec 13, 2023 Season 2 Episode 16

We'd love to hear from you! Reach out to us via this link to let us know what you're thinking!

In this episode, Chrisha and Catherine talk about the penultimate episode of The Winchesters, "The Tears of a Clown."

Topics include: the concern about Ada considering giving up her soul; Dean's narration about the lies we tell ourselves and what self-lies he might be confronting; Mary's addressing of issues and John's determined avoidance; Carlos' continued therapy work and the ripple effect of an individual's therapy on their community; Lata's incredible research ability which saves the day again; and the episode's commentary on toxic positivity and the importance of facing our grief and problems. They also screech, of course, about ROWENA!!!!

The Winchesters audio clip credits: The CW
Supenatural  audio clip credits: The WB; The CW

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Show Notes Transcript

We'd love to hear from you! Reach out to us via this link to let us know what you're thinking!

In this episode, Chrisha and Catherine talk about the penultimate episode of The Winchesters, "The Tears of a Clown."

Topics include: the concern about Ada considering giving up her soul; Dean's narration about the lies we tell ourselves and what self-lies he might be confronting; Mary's addressing of issues and John's determined avoidance; Carlos' continued therapy work and the ripple effect of an individual's therapy on their community; Lata's incredible research ability which saves the day again; and the episode's commentary on toxic positivity and the importance of facing our grief and problems. They also screech, of course, about ROWENA!!!!

The Winchesters audio clip credits: The CW
Supenatural  audio clip credits: The WB; The CW

Follow us on Twitter @TheFangirlBiz and on Bluesky

Join our Kofi Discord community at $1/month:

Support our podcast by buying our new merch:

Thanks for listening!

S2 E16.1: "The Winchesters" E12 - Witches & Clowns (And Biggest Fears)

Disclaimer: Welcome to The Fangirl Business: A Supernatural Podcast. 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 are struggling with a mental health issue, please seek treatment from a mental health professional in your area.

Intro Instrumental Rock 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 we are here to talk about Season 1, Episode 12 of The Winchesters, “Tears of a Clown.” And I don't know, it's nice that they named an episode after us. Yeah?

Catherine: *laughs* Yeah, we were talking before we started recording, and I was like, “Listen, you call us and we come, you know? Like, we show up.” There were .36 millions of viewers for “You've Got a Friend,” not including DVRs because that stuff hasn't been updated yet. And the next episode, which was this one, “Tears of a Clown,” it had .49 millions of viewers. So that's the fifth highest-viewed episode of the season, and a huge increase from the last one. I mean, it's been doing what typically all seasons do, which is you start out high and then you kind of trickle down. So I was just like, “Aww, there we are.” *laughs*

Chrisha: We came back for the clown episode.

Catherine: We did. *giggles*

Chrisha: It’s always nice to see ourselves represented on screen, 

Catherine: That’s right, they summoned us. 

*Both laugh*

Catherine: Ah, Hellers. 

Chrisha: Mmm.

Catherine: So before we get started, just a little bit about the episode itself and who was doing what: David H. Goodman, who is sort of the writing partner, although they've done independent episodes as well, for Robbie Thompson. This is his third episode writing for The Winchesters. He also did “Teach Your Children Well” and “Reflections." And the director was Menhaj Huda, and he was born in Bangladesh, but he's worked in British television series pretty much exclusively until this point. So it seems like this is him kind of breaking into the American market. He did really great visual storytelling in this episode. There was lots of visual richness to kind of pick up on so I really appreciated what he was doing with creating an experience for the viewers to kind of step into, you know? That being said, this wasn't my favorite episode of the series. I didn't hate it, but it felt kind of slow for the penultimate episode of a series. Especially given that they don't have a second season yet. So I had a lot of concerns when the episode ended. And I kind of spent the episode watching my clock, which― *laughs* Kind of going, “Okay, when's it gonna―” You know? And that's not a good feeling going into the finale and brings back other finale angst.

Chrisha: Yeah, I think for me, when I watch episodes of The Winchesters I tend to be torn between staying in the current story and thinking about parallels from past Supernatural stories. And I feel like with this episode, I didn't feel compelled to be present in the current story, because it was pretty … basic, I guess. John's mad, Mary and John are fighting. Cool. You know what I mean? Like it was just like, there's avoidance and grief. Yes. Okay. This is the very basic kind of Supernatural storytelling. So I was spending a lot more time looking at the details in the background than I was staying present in the current story, because it was … yeah, pretty standard Supernatural stuff: We're gonna yell at each other because we're avoidant and grieving.

Catherine: *laughs* Yes. 

*Both laugh*

Catherine: And I think―I was trying to figure out why I feel … I did not like Ada's story in this episode. 

Chrisha: No. Mmhmm.

Catherine: Well, first of all, she was just very hesitant and …

Chrisha: Timid. 

Catherine: Yeah, the whole episode.

Chrisha: And like, desperate. 

Catherine: Yes. 

Chrisha: She seems very desperate in a way that is not in line with what is typical for her. 

Catherine: Yeah, I agree. I agree. I understand that there are real pressures and she's really trying to work hard to save the people that she loves, and so she's feeling the pressure. But I think for me, it came down to the plotline that it was setting up. And we don't know if that's going to be resolved at all because we don't know if we're going to get a second season. So it felt kind of like a plotline that they were setting up that we might not get a payoff for. And it's also been one that we've seen a lot on Supernatural, where a character that you love loses their souls. I mean, Sam lost his soul after he was in Hell, Dean was a demon. Jack lost his soul after he used his powers. Amara sucked out all those souls from really nice people who became awful. Sister Agnes sucked out souls for Abaddon’s army. Donatello lost his soul. So it's like, we've seen that a lot. And I was trying to figure out why so many of the echoes are exciting for me and this one wasn't. Maybe it's because for so many of the later ones, there never was a satisfactory resolution. You know?

Chrisha: Mmhmm.

Catherine: Donatello never did get his soul back. He had to live the Mr. Rogers way. Like, “What would Mr. Rogers do?” for the entirety of the rest of his life so that he wouldn't become a raging psychopath. I mean, that's not a satisfying ending for a character. 

Chrisha: Yeah. 

Catherine: And I found the Jack storyline was very similar in terms of there was a really long period where I really hated what happened to him.

Chrisha: Well, and it's what drove the Dean/Cas divorce there at the end. 

Catherine: Ohhhh, that's right! Thank you. *chuckles* Like bad, bad things happened.

Chrisha: *laughs* Mmhmm. 

Catherine: Bad things. 

Chrisha: And their resolution was wonderful. I feel like we'll get into that, because I felt like there was some echoes of that in this episode. But, I guess I felt like the parallels were just kind of very on the nose. It was less of a reflection and more of just doing the exact same thing again. 

Catherine: Yeah. Okay. It wasn't building up layers and tension. It was just a repetition. 

Chrisha: Yeah. 

Catherine: Which I think speaks to, honestly, how amazing the rest of the season has been.

Chrisha: *enthusiastically* Mmhmm. For sure.

Catherine: That it's the first time that we felt that way. And they've been bringing up these parallels the entire season. Like over and over and over again. And this is the first time that I didn't feel excited about it. I think the other part of it could just be there's more pressure on this episode because it is the penultimate episode, and we are wondering what they're going to do, and if there's going to be payoff or resolution, or if we're going to end up hanging. So as of recording this, it's March 6, and we don't have anything. So it's the day before the finale we're recording this, and we don't have any kind of news about renewals or not. I think there was a lot of pressure on this episode, to be fair to this episode, that there really wasn't on the rest of the series in quite the same way.

Chrisha: Yeah. And I think for me, with the Ada storyline, I was confused by a lot of it and I wasn't necessarily over-enthusiastic about it, but I wasn't bummed about it primarily because I guess I'm hoping that in the next episode she will make a different choice than we've seen before. We don't know necessarily that she's going to do the same thing that's always done. But that's the thing is like, we're almost conditioned at this point to be like, “Alright, here we go.”

Catherine: Right.

Chrisha: So, like, I'm hoping she makes a different choice. 

Catherine: Yeah, that would be refreshing. *both laugh* "Let’s not do the thing that burns off part of my soul."

Chrisha: Cause it doesn't work. Ever. 

Catherine: No.

Chrisha: Never ever.

Catherine: There's like an immediate payoff. And then everything goes to hell like really, really, really fast.

Chrisha: Let's just not. 

Catherine: Yeah. *laughs* So, Dean's narration:

Dean: *over background music* Hunting’s a dishonest business. You gotta lie all the time about who you are, what you do. But the hardest lies aren't the ones you tell other people. They're the ones you tell yourself.

Chrisha: Mm-mm-mm. My baby's growing!

*Both laugh*

Catherine: He really is. 

Chrisha: He is the King Master of lying to himself. And to be able to recognize that the hardest lies aren't the ones you tell other people? They're the ones you tell yourself. Like, I just―every week I'm like, “Wow, he said that!”

Catherine: Yeah.

Chrisha: That's incredible. 

Catherine: Yeah. 

Chrisha: Also, watcha doin’, Dean? What is all this work leading towards? Cause you're clearly introspective here.

Catherine: Yeah, seriously. I mean, just on the non-shippy level of things…

Chrisha: Mmhmm.

Catherine: We'll get into it more later, but this episode is very reminiscent of “Everyone Loves A Clown” from Season 2 Episode 2 of Supernatural.

Chrisha: So much.

Catherine: And in that episode, Dean is lying to himself the entire episode. He's fine. He's fine. His dad has just died and he's fine. You know, one of the opening moments is them burning John's body with the single man tear. And Dean is fine through the whole episode until the end when he trashes Baby. 

Chrisha: Yep. 

Catherine: Oh, gosh, that part of the episode is still … I rewatched that last night, and it's still like, “Oof.”

*Audio from Dean smashing a window and then taking a crowbar to Baby*

Chrisha: Yeah, it hits me. I tear up every time. It's such an iconic moment because Jensen is so brilliant in it. 

Catherine: Yeah, he is. I mean, first of all, he destroyed that thing. 

Chrisha: Yeah! 

Catherine: I know it was a junker. But woah. 

Chrisha: Yeah.

Catherine: On the level of, “It's Baby!!!” but also on the level of …

Chrisha: Damn. 

Catherine: Yeah, exactly.

Chrisha: *laughs* Yeah. I think that we knew by this point that Dean struggled with anger. But I think this was such an iconic turning point, I guess, of just realizing how much anger Dean is often carrying around with him that he doesn't let show. 

Catherine: Yep. 

Chrisha: And the way that he taps into anger to express other emotions, right? So at this point, he's, I mean, he's pissed for pissed’s sake. That's one of the stages of grief for a reason. 

Catherine: Yeah. 

Chrisha: But it just all came out in this fit of physical aggression towards the car. The poor car. 

Catherine: *murmurs* I know.

Chrisha: And I just feel like it was a really important moment in understanding the psychology of Dean. 

Catherine: Yes, absolutely. We see him being violent towards supernatural creatures all the time. And so I don't tend to think of that as violence. *laughs*

Chrisha: Hmmm.

Catherine: It's protecting himself, protecting other people. It's violence for a productive purpose, I guess. But this was just sheer rage with no place to go. And yeah, honestly, it still takes my breath away. Again, talking about, like, the lies that you tell yourself, and the way that represses things and leaves you with all of this emotion that has no place to go. Except someplace, in this case, literally destructive. 

Chrisha: Yep. 

Catherine: I think it was speaking a lot on that level. But then if we want to shift it, let's think about the shippiness. For me, I was very much thinking about that moment in our finale episode “sss”, but in one of them, where you say that you don't know if Dean even ever came out to himself? 

Chrisha: Mmmm. Yeah.

Catherine: That was also where this brought me. I think Dean did continue to avoid certain truths about who he was. And his sexuality was a part of that. His feelings about Cas were a part of that. For me. It brought that aspect of things up. What are the things that he was being avoidant of? What were the lies that he was telling himself? My brain kind of went there as I was sitting with that piece of narration as well. 

Chrisha: Yeah,that's a great point. I mean, it's interesting looking at it on the whole, because we were just talking in a previous episode somewhere about the lack of Sam, and how it's felt a little strange that The Winchesters hasn't really brought Sam to the fore much. 

Catherine: Yeah. 

Chrisha: And so this episode on the surface: very Sam, right? Sam hates clowns. We all associate clowns with Sam because he hates them so much. It's the ongoing gag. 

Catherine: Mmhmm.

Chrisha: And it does mirror so … wow, so significantly “Tears of a Clown” from Season 2 of Supernatural. It's a Sam and Dean episode, like for sure. 

Catherine: Mmm.

Chrisha: In looking at this episode, it had a lot of Sam in it. But if we look at it, just from an anger perspective, since obviously, John is doing a very Dean thing here―which is being angry and yelling about how fine he is, which Dean does very specifically in “Tears of a Clown.” 

Catherine: *laughs*

Chrisha: “I’m fine! The next person who asked me if I'm okay, I'm doing―” I don't remember what he said, but like, “I'm gonna get violent with the next person that questions if I'm fine.” *both laugh* It’s like, “Okay, buddy.” 

Catherine: *still laughing* Yeah.

Dean: Dude, I'm okay. I'm okay!!! Okay, I swear the next person who asked me if I'm okay, I'm going to start throwing punches. 

Chrisha: Allllll right.

Catherine: “Mary, can you please just accept that I'm okay” while

Both at the same time: Slamming the table. *both wheeze laugh*

Mary: It's like you're pretending nothing ever happened.
John: Well look, I'm sorry if you're upset that I don't feel worse about this. Okay, maybe it's the fact that we left Lawrence or that, I don't know, we got to spend a moment alone together?
Mary: Yeah, but, John―
John: *slams table* Can you please just accept that I'm okay?

Chrisha: Sure. Yeah. All the evidence is there. You're right. 

*Both laugh*

Chrisha: And so when we think about Dean's anger issues, again, this iconic scene in “Tears of a Clown” with beating up the car is one of those early signs of his anger. But then if we also think about where his anger resolves, well, that's in purgatory with Cas acknowledging his anger issues, owning it, apologizing for it, and then the shift that happens from there. 

Catherine: Yeah.

Chrisha: So interesting, the way that it does bring up those early years. And it does bring up Sam so much. But then as the episode progresses, I felt like it was encompassing all of Dean's anger issues throughout the 15 years. And so by the end, I was getting different vibes. 

Catherine: Mmmm. Definitely.

Chrisha: And so we can get there eventually. But I just thought that was fascinating the way that they did that. 

Catherine: Yeah. I wanted to talk a little bit about the costuming again. 

Chrisha: Mmhm.

Catherine: Because Mary is wearing a shirt with a ruffle collar for the whole friggin' episode. *laughs*

Chrisha: Mmhm.

Catherine: Which is mimicking the ruffles from Limbo the Clown’s neck piece thing? Ruffle thing?

Chrisha: Yup. Mmhm.

Catherine: And John was wearing a shirt that was very, very, very reminiscent of the purgatory jacket again, again, the whole way through. *laughs* We just keep seeing that jacket. 

Chrisha: Yeah.

Catherine: I mean, it was different because it was more of a shirt than a jacket. But it was very frickin' similar. So again, the costuming was telling a story.

Chrisha: As they often do.

Catherine: Yeah. Just touching briefly upon Mary. Again, I was really proud of her. She keeps addressing stuff that never gets addressed in a television show within a relationship. She talks to John about their relationship and says:

Mary: It's something happy to distract you from your issues. And it's been working, because ever since we left Lawrence, you’ve been pretending that we've been on vacation together instead of on the run for Kyle's murder. Well, either that or you're flying off the handle, because it's like you're totally ignoring reality.

Catherine: The way that she consistently just addresses behavior? 

Chrisha: Mmhmm. 

Catherine: I just love that about her. And she keeps doing it. Normally people dance around this stuff and act with way less maturity. Then this 19-year-old character, 20-year-old character, whatever she is, who is just calling stuff out and airing stuff and being like, “I'm not going to play these games. I'm not going to dance around this stuff. Let's talk.” The amount of talking that happens in the series about real stuff. 

Chrisha: Yeah.

Catherine: It’s just kind of incredible.

Chrisha: It’s wonderful.

Catherine: Yeah. I think for me, that was one of the bright points of the episode is how much talking about real stuff. There was, I mean, for as much as there was avoidance and John not addressing his stuff and being like, “I'm fine,” llllllike Dean? There was also all of this addressing of stuff. And I really appreciated that because Carlos says the same thing. He talks about trauma with Mary and says:

Carlos: Everybody processes trauma differently. Least, that’s what Doctor Z says. 

Catherine: So we have that reminder that he's in therapy, we have that reminder that he's processing his own trauma. But he's taking that stuff that he's learning in therapy and using it to address stuff that's happening around him with people that he loves. So I really loved that part of Carlos' story in this episode. There were some great John moments too, when he and Mary are going back and forth. I was frustrated with him in this scene because he's John and he's pushing. So he says to Mary:

John: Okay, what about life after hunting for us?
Mary: I applied to college and I got in!
John: Great. And now what have you done since? I mean, have you accepted the offer? Have you enrolled for any classes? Have you taken a second to think about any of this works if I’m still hunting?
Mary: Well, sorry, I'm too busy trying to save the world!
John: There it is, Mary! The eternal excuse.

Catherine: And I was like “Oooooh. Well.” Um, we've literally been talking about that in this series for several episodes about how Sam and Dean never processed their stuff because they were too busy trying to save the world. And he just says it and I was like, “Okay, much as I'm frustrated with you for pushing Mary really really hard in the scene? Kudos.” 

Chrisha: Yeah, I―It's John so I'm never really able to― I feel like even that was … It was spot on, for sure. 

Catherine: Yup!

Chrisha: It’s just, “Do as I say, not as I do.”

Catherine: Well, yes. Of course!

Chrisha: So … But, she applied and got into college. How long has it been since she got that acceptance letter? Like, two weeks? I mean, come on, man.

Catherine: I think two episodes, yeah.

Chrisha: Like settle down. I just―

Catherine: I know. It’s not even the fall yet. Come on.

Chrisha: He's so ridiculous because he's just so desperate to get the focus off him.

Catherine: Oh yeah, that's totally what he's doing. I agree with you 100%.

Chrisha: I think he just desperately wants her to be messing up, too, so that he can feel better about himself. And I just―I'm so irritated by that. *laughs*

Catherine: I mean, like that dynamic comes up all the time in unhealthy relationships. 

Chrisha: Mmhmm.

Catherine: I have lived that. Um … *laughs*

Chrisha: Same. Same.

Catherine: It's enraging because it so easily gets you off track from what you really need to talk about.

Chrisha: Well, it’s manipulative.

Catherine: It is! 

Chrisha: It’s a manipulative strategy, I guess, to use when arguing. And this whole episode, Mary is trying to address things with him. She's trying to talk to him. She's trying to work with him. And he's the one saying “No, I'm just gonna go with Lata.” And it's so childish. 

Catherine: Mmhmm.

Chrisha: Ah, God, I'm just so deeply annoyed. And so it's like, his good point loses credibility, because he's using it as a “gotcha.”

Catherine: Yes. 

Chrisha: Not as a genuine, “Hey, let's figure this out.” 

Catherine: Yes. 

Chrisha: And I feel like that's a very John approach to things. And, just to continue on with that, one of the themes in “Tears of a Clown” from Supernatural is: John is dead. They're processing their grief. Right? Dean has shut it down. Whereas Sam is messy in his grief?

Catherine: Yes. 

Chrisha: You know, he was the one crying and he's the one like, “Oh, now I'm suddenly going to make all of the choices that Dad would have wanted,” which I think is pissing Dean off so bad he can't even see straight. Which like, fair.

Catherine: Yeah.

*Both laugh*

Chrisha: And so―

Catherine: Aw, Sam. 

Chrisha: *laughs* But towards the end, they're talking about John and Ellen, and Sam's like, “Well, why have we never heard of her?” The consensus is maybe they had a falling out. And Sam’s like:

Sam: You ever notice Dad had a falling out with just about everybody? 

*Both laugh*

Chrisha: Yes, yes, I did notice that. Because Ellen says:

Ellen: John was like family once.

Chrisha: And so of course, I'm thinking about the Scooby Gang. 

Catherine: Mmmmm.

Chrisha: The idea that the John/Ellen dynamic where they just do not talk anymore could be the same as John and Lata because of John's choices? Having friends and then falling out is kind of John's … 

Catherine: Thing.

Chrisha: ―Thing. *laughs*

Catherine: Yeah, I mean, he was basically trying to push Lata away in this episode. 

Chrisha: Mmhmm.

Catherine: He was very aggressive with her. 

Lata: I wanted to check in after everything that's happened.
John: Right. Is this you checking? Or did Mary put you up to this?
Lata: Whatever is going on between the two of you is none of my business. I'm asking because you’re my friend.

Chrisha: And he's like, “Oh, okay, I'm still gonna say I'm fine.”

John: *over music* I’m good. Fine. Thanks.

Catherine: Yeah! *laughs*

Chrisha: Like. UGH.

Catherine: And because Lata’s Lata, she's very …

Chrisha: “Mmmmkay.” 

Catherine: Yes. She's very, like, authentic and warm with him. But even then, like, as you say, he can't reciprocate. He can't be authentic and warm with her. Because feelings are scary. 

Chrisha: Mmm.

Catherine: Unless they're exploding out of him. *laughs*

Chrisha: Mmhmm. Yeah, I did want to just go back for just a quick second about the scene with Carlos and Mary, where Carlos is talking about trauma and therapy with Dr. Z. 

Catherine: Mmm.

Chrisha: Because I felt like that was such an important scene. As a clinician, one of the things that I see a lot that I find incredibly satisfying is not just people coming to therapy and doing the work, but then they talk to their people about it. And so there's a ripple effect. One of the most lovely things I ever hear is not just the progress that clients make, but when they come and say, “Oh, I shared this with a friend, and it completely helped them.” 

Catherine: Mmm.

Chrisha: Because that's what it's all about, right? Not everybody has access to therapy. Not everybody has the resources or the time. 

Catherine: Yeah.

Chrisha: And so when people talk about it, it's all about changing perceptions and decreasing stigma and just allowing space for these healthier ways of doing things. So I just really appreciated that being thrown in there. These little lines that Carlos says about Dr. Z and trauma just keeps representing that: this idea of not just going to therapy and doing the work, but then also the benefit that can come from sharing that knowledge, those experiences, that growth with your people. 

Catherine: Yeah!

Chrisha: Not that you have to, but it's nice.

Catherine: It is. It is. Honestly, when you talk about that ripple effect? That's exactly what it is: people sharing. And you don't know how far it goes. 

Chrisha: Yeah. 

Catherine: So I love that you brought that up as a point, because it's so true. And so important. And that's what therapy does. It literally changes lives.

Chrisha: Yeah, it does. And having it in this episode when it's directly contrasting John not talking about anything, saying it's fine. And then we're supposed to be thinking about Supernatural, too, and what John taught his sons. Again, just, man, I wish Sam and Dean could have had Uncle Carlos. How different things would have been for them to have that example. 

Catherine: Good Lord.

Chrisha: Mm.

Catherine: Yeah, that hurts. It really does. *pain laughs*

Chrisha: I’m here to cause pain.

Catherine: *laughs* Yes. I guess just a little bit about Lata. She fixed everything again.

Chrisha: It’s what she does. 

Catherine: She found all the things at every point that they hit a wall. She had been researching behind the scenes, figured stuff out, gave them new information. Save the day.

Chrisha: She went to a library and got like 20 books on carnival lore and then read them.

Catherine: *laughs* I know.

Chrisha: *laughs* That's one of the circles of hell for me. Just. Ugh. Bless.

*Both laugh*

Catherine: Read them, found out about the story of Limbo, what his real name was, figured out who the occultist was who he saw, gathered their lore and figured out what it was that happened, what powered Limbo, how to break his power over people.

Chrisha: Without the internet. Like, she's just doing this right in a hotel room with, you know, a phone and library books. Yeah, I don't know. She's amazing.

Catherine: She really is. 

John: *dusts off hands* These are all from the library?
Lata: There aren't many holes in my lore collection, but I’m afraid carnival lore is one of them.
John: *reading book titles* “Folklore of the American Carnival,” “Clowning Around: A History From Alfie to Zappo.” You really think there's gonna be stuff about Limbo in here?
Lata: *over music* I think I found something. Limbo’s real name was Jerome Haskins, and he was a part of a carnival that traveled the Midwest in the 1920s until the one-two punch of the Dust Bowl and Depression hit and the entire carnival went under. Except that wasn't the end of it. According to legend, Haskins searched out a powerful occultist and asked to trade his soul for dark magic. It was for a spell to make him forget all of his problems and freeze him like that so he could stay happy forever. I think I might have some ideas based on the information I found on the occultist that Limbo made a deal with. Limbo’s happiness is the result of a mirror that was given to him by the occultist that's enchanted by dark magic. And he can only maintain that happiness by spreading it to others. The good news is while Limbo’s happiness is absolute, it's also very fragile. Because if anyone from his troop were to be convinced to embrace reality again, then Limbo would be destroyed and all of his victims set free. 

Catherine: I think for me, the most powerful moment of the episode was Carlos’ interaction with Roger. 

Chrisha: Yeah.

Catherine: It was f―king powerful.

Carlos: *over terrifying clown noises and Lata hyperventilating* Roger, I know you can hear me. I know what it's like to lose your parents. How painful and how chilling it all is feeling like you're all alone in the world. And you just want that feeling to go away. But I promise you, you are not alone. You have a family, just like I do, that loves you. And that misses you. A―and your brother. Your brother, Clarence. He's been looking for you this whole time. And he never gave up on you because … because he loves you.
Limbo: No, no, no, no, no. Hey!
Carlos: And he wants to be with you again. You just have to want that, too.
Limbo: Hey, cheer up in there, kid, huh? *clown horn noises* Hey! I said, cheer up!
Carlos: Roger, listen to me. Do you want to see your brother again? 

Catherine: Ah, Carlos. Good God.

Chrisha: Yup.

Catherine: First of all, he's saying this to a maniacal child clown. *laughs*

Chrisha: Bless. Like, just props to Carlos and Lata for being able to function anywhere near this situation. Cause you could see them going just like, “Oh, hell no.” Like, “No, no, no, no. Gross. No.” Like, they responded appropriately. It wasn't just like, “Oh, no! Scary!” They were just like, “Ohhhhhh.” I appreciated that.

*Both laugh*

Catherine: Lata has the best line of the whole episode.

Chrisha: *laughs* Yes.

Lata: Oh, my God, we’re gonna die in here! *bicycle bell rings and other clown noises in background* IN A CLOWN CAR!!!! 

Chrisha: Girl, same.

*Both cackle*

Chrisha: Same, same.

Catherine: Oh, gosh. Yeah. Yeah.

Chrisha: But yeah, the fact that they were able to keep it together under pressure… because John and Mary couldn't. I mean, that's the thing. They became so reactive that Mary split up, she went in the tent alone, which is unlike her. 

Catherine: *overlapping* Which is so dumb. So dumb.

Chrisha: But she's mad! And so … And then John being John’s just like, “No, I'll go through this door without telling anybody. It's fine.” 

Catherine: *cackles*

Chrisha: Ugh. So Carlos and Lata again were the calm ones, the ones that stayed calm, used reason. And to go get in the car? I never would have thought of that. I'm not a hunter.

Catherine: I would have run around in circles with clowns chasing me.

Chrisha: There’s a good reason that I’m not a hunter.

Catherine: Just done laps around the tent while they sort of shuffled around after me, that would have been―

Chrisha: Oof. Lord. Ugh. So yeah, I was very impressed at them both reacting in a genuine, “You have got to be kidding me. This is a horror show,” kind of way, while also continuing to move forward, stay safe, and then reason the kid out of staying in the clown headspace.

Catherine: Yes. And it's a tear that breaks the spell. John cries going into the spell. 

Chrisha: Mmhmm.

Catherine: But it's the tear of the child, which is genuine―and he's not retreating from his feelings. He's going into his feelings: leaning into that grief, that sadness. And that's what breaks the spell. What I love about Carlos is that he is so open. He talks to Clarence about losing his parents, he talks to Roger about losing his parents, he's so open about his own trauma. And to me that does show the healing journey he's been on because we didn't find out about that until midway through the season. 

Chrisha: Mmhmm.

Catherine: He didn't talk about that.  And now he's talking with strangers about his trauma and using it to reassure them and say, “You're not alone. It's hard. You were just a kid too.” He says to Clarence:

Carlos: *over music* You were just a kid, too. I lost both of my parents to monsters. I know how hard it is.

Catherine: Which, I mean, he was 18. And his brother was 10. And he felt the weight of the world. And I mean, we've seen that dynamic before. 

Chrisha: We sure have. 

Catherine: And to say that to him, “You were just a kid, too,” is just, I mean, when these guys are 19, 20. You know, it's just, oof.

Chrisha: He was also upfront with John too. So I mean, I just feel like he, across the board, is being authentic while not reactive, you know? 

Catherine: Yes.

Chrisha: So like, he was very aware of the tension between John and Mary trying to give it space, but then also the, “How will we get into the tent?” where he's saying:

Carlos: Why don't we get Limbo to target one of us? I know, I'm pretty upset with Jonathan now that Mary's missing. 

Chrisha: So―

*Both laugh*

Catherine: That was lovely. 

Chrisha: Again, it's like acknowledging the feeling without being reactive and blowing up. I just, I feel like, that across-the-board, “I'm just going to be here and honest about feelings without letting them control the situation, using them for good.” I mean, even in that he's still trying to essentially say like, “No, I've got some feelings that could open the tent, if that's the direction we need to go."

*Both laugh*

Chrisha: So.

Catherine: "I can help. "

*Both laugh*

Chrisha: Right?

Catherine: Yep. I think one of the loveliest things about what he said to Roger was, “You have a family just like I do.”

Chrisha: Yeah.

Catherine: “That loves you and misses you.” And we've talked before about how this series is treating found family like Supernatural treated blood family in the end. And how refreshing it is. Because Carlos is talking about Mary and John and Ada and Lata and saying, “Your family is just like mine. I have family. You have family. It's the same. It has the same validity.” And I was just like, “Oh, Carlos, thank you. Thank you.

Chrisha: I know. It was so beautiful.

Catherine: Ahhh, yeah. Also, I have to acknowledge Millie, who is the magical solution to everything at the end. Just drives up and is like, “Everything's fine.”

John: Mom, what are you doing here?
Millie: *over emotional music* Thought you would want to hear the good news. Betty and I found a witness who can attest that Kyle arrived at the garage after he made the 911 call saying he was already there. Talked to a lawyer. He said it's enough to clear you.
John: *gasps* Thank you.

Chrisha: Yeah, I feel like if the Akrida have taken over the judges…?

Catherine: Right. *losing it laughing*

Chrisha: Having a witness maybe isn't going to solve all your problems. But the magic of TV? We only have one episode left, I guess?

Catherine: Yup. It's not like they couldn't get to the witness either. 

Chrisha: Yeah. Well, unless the witness was Dean or something, but yeah.

Catherine: Mm. Oh goodness, I can't even emotionally go there yet. 

*Both laugh*

Catherine: Just a couple of things about the guest characters. This is a thank you to Kristi from our Discord channel: His name was Clarence.

Chrisha: Mm. HMM. It sure was.

Catherine: Clarence. 

Meg: Why are you so sweet on me, Clarence?
Castiel: I don't know. And I still don't know who Clarence is. 

Catherine: We keep talking about the way that Castiel keeps showing up in this series. 

Chrisha: Mmmmhmmmm.

Catherine: His name was Clarence. And he never gave up on finding the person that he was charged to take care of. 

Chrisha: Yep.

Catherine: *huge sigh* 

Chrisha: He spent his life chasing Limbo. Which was interesting. 

Catherine: Yeah.  

Chrisha: I guess it wasn’t really wasn't chasing Limbo, it was chasing his brother. But yeah, I mean it*sighs* Yep. I dunno.

Catherine: Yeah. And Kristi pointed out that we've had a character named Jack who was playing God. We have Samuel, not Sam. Deanna is missing while they're looking for Dean. And now we have Clarence. *whispers* This show. 

Chrisha: Mmhmm.

Catherine: I can't. Shall we talk about the Monsters of the Week? So I think there were two Monsters of the Week this week. We have witches and we have clowns. So we have the thing that Dean hates the most and we have the thing that Sam hates the most.

Chrisha: *chuckles*

Dean: *over the sound of rain on the Impala’s windshield* I hate witches. Always spewing their bodily fluids everywhere.
Sam: Pretty much.
Dean: It's creepy. You know, it's downright unsanitary. 

Dean: *new clip, speaking over the sound of the windshield wipers* Well, I know what you’re thinking, Sam. Why do they have to be clowns?
Sam: Oh, give me a break.
Dean: *chuckles* You didn't think I remembered, did you? I mean, come on, you still bust out crying whenever you see Ronald McDonald on the television.
Sam: At least I’m not afraid of flying.
Dean: Planes crash.
Sam: And apparently clowns kill!

Catherine: The witches were fabulous. 

Chrisha: They were amazing. Oh my God.

Catherine: *laughs* I could not get over how incredible the witches were. Just absolutely fantastic. I want to live in that witchy world. It was amazing. I mean, less the attitude but like the space with those looks? Yes, please. 

Chrisha: Mmhmm. Oh, she walked in and I was like, “Oh, this place is rad. Like, I want to be there.”

Catherine: *laughs* Yes. The space was just amazing. They have these turquoise, kind-of flaking walls. They had all these plants and bookshelves and there was this kind of 1920s luxe feeling to the costuming. There were these arching interior windows. There were lanterns. There were tree roots coming down from the ceiling. There was an interior fountain. I mean, it was just so rich and beautiful. So to the props and set people: That was delicious.

Chrisha: Yeah, it was like a magic speakeasy. But with amazing eye makeup. 

Catherine: Yes! *laughs*

Chrisha: Just outstanding.

Catherine: One of the things that I thought was really cool was they were definitely going for 1920s vibe, because they have a 1920s eyebrow and lipstick on the main witch. And then Limbo was originally from the 1920s as well. So that was kind of like a theme that ran through the episode, which I thought was really interesting. But like yes, the eye makeup. 

Chrisha: Amazing. 

Catherine: Fantastic. Beautiful, gorgeous, different on every witch. And they witches were diverse, which I appreciated, because in Supernatural they are all middle-class white women.

Chrisha: Mmhmm. Skinny ones. 

Catherine: Yes. Yes, there are all sorts of body shapes represented as well. Absolutely. And they were all just gorgeous. Gorgeous! And one of them had my perfect hair, which was blue-green and curled and so pretty. And I was like I want to be you. *happy sigh* Anyway, that, for me, that was the highlight of the episode was just that space and those witches. 

Chrisha: Mmhmm. It was amazing. Is there really a witch with blue-green hair? 

Catherine: Yes! 

Chrisha: Blue and green, or like turquoise? 

Catherine: Bluish-green, greenish-blue. 

Chrisha: Got it. 

Catherine: Yeah, not blue and green. *laughs*

Chrisha: *chuckles* Cause I was like wait, wait…

Catherine: So one of the things that I noticed was, again, kind of a difference from our Supernatural. I mean, now we know that they are in an AU, but just kind of reinforcing that. 

Chrisha: Yeah.  

Catherine: Because the lead witch―I don't remember what her name is. I don't think maybe they said her name? Anyway, she said sort of in a derogatory way about Ada that she:

Lead Witch: Prefers pruning her demons instead of sending them straight back to Hell where they belong.

Chrisha: Mmhmm.

Catherine: And in Supernatural in the episode with Rowena which kind of really introduces her properly, which is Season 10, Episode 7, “Girls, Girls, Girls,” she talks about the different kinds of witches.

Rowena: There are three recognized kinds of witch in the world. Most common are the borrower's: those who harness the power of a demon in order to practice the art.

Chrisha: Mmm. Mmhmm.

Catherine: So most witches are reliant on demons in Supernatural

Chrisha: Right. Yeah. 

Catherine: The ones like her who are born with the ability are much rarer.

Rowena: Secondly, and rarest of all, are the naturals: those who are born with the gift.
Woman: You're one of those.
Rowena: Well, you are correct.
Woman: And what's the third?
Rowena: The students: those with no natural ability, who with enough practice and training and a Grand-Coven-approved mentor to show them the path can eke out a modicum of witchly power.

Chrisha: Yeah, and can we just stop for a second and just acknowledge that Rowena was back on our TV screen?

Catherine: I know. *laughs* 

Chrisha: God, she was so Rowena, I just … I don't know. I don't know what that means. But I feel like we know what that means. She was just … Ah, it was so nice to see her. 

Ada: Who are you?
Rowena: *over dramatic music* I'm your new best pal. My name is Rowena.

Catherine: Yes, I didn't talk about her yet. *giggles* 

Chrisha: *makes strangled sound*

Catherine: I can't believe I didn't talk about her yet. First of all, it was so great to see Ruth Connell on screen again. She is one of my favorite actresses.

Chrisha: Oh my gosh. 

Catherine: To see Rowena back―But our Rowena was very evil … very, very evil in Supernatural when she started out, and this Rowena seems to be just amoral, but not necessarily malicious. She's just sort of working outside of the rules and doing her own thing. And it was delightful to see Rowena being played in that way. I really enjoyed it. She also had fabulous eye makeup I've gotta say.

Chrisha: So good.

Catherine: Did you catch that they did the thing with the hooded cloaked figure, which was the thing that threw us at the beginning with a hooded cloaked figure that ended up being Roxy. 

Chrisha: No, I didn't. 

Catherine: I was just like, they did know that they were doing a thing to those *mumbles* bleep bleep bleep bleep bleep.

Chrisha: Mmhmm. I'm still reserving judgment on whether she's evil or amoral. I can't decide. I think that her line about:

Rowena: So much evil and such a small package.

Chrisha: That was like, “Oh, that's her!” *laughs*

Catherine: *laughs* That's true.

*Both laugh*

Catherine: That’s so true. Oh my gosh,thank you for saying that! 

Chrisha: *laughs* It made me laugh.

*Both laugh* 

Chrisha: But yeah, I mean, it's interesting. Like she's definitely looking for power, I think, which is consistent with our Rowena. And she's trying to go about finding it in not-so-honest ways, which is also our Rowena. 

Catherine: Mmhmm. 

Chrisha: The fact that she used a grimoire as a bait and switch, because we're so used to Rowena and her grimoires. So I just loved hearing her say that word again.

Catherine: Yes. 

Ada: You promised me magic powerful enough to kill the Akrida queen.
Rowena: That I did. But there's just one teeny, weeny, wee little problem. This was never my grimoire. I lied. Terrible of me, I know. But I had to make sure you let me through that heavily warded door.
Ada: Why? What do the Men of Letters have here that you want?
Rowena: Not the Men of Letters, Ada Monroe. I'm here for the demon you trapped in a plant.

Chrisha: It did feel very her, but just, again, funhouse mirror: ever so slightly different.

Catherine: Yeah.

Chrisha: Having her seeking out a demon to ask about her son of course gave me the tingles, and I’m like *squees*.

Rowena: Your potted little hellraiser here has information about my son.

Chrisha: *high-pitched* CROWLEY! *in Scottish accent* Fergus!!!

*Both cackle*

Catherine: That was really good. 

*Both laugh*

Chrisha: Thank you.

Rowena: *over bar chatter* We’re talking about Fergus. A man, abandoned and loveless, tricked by demon, died in a gutter. He deserved better from the world … from me.

Catherine: I think the one difference that really stood out to me was that our Rowena, when she first comes on the scene, is trying to build a coven for the sake of building her power base. 

Chrisha: Mmhmm.

Catherine: So she's looking for power for power's sake. She wants to break the binding that was put on her by the Grand Coven, and obliterate them and become the most powerful witch in the world. That's her goal.

Rowena: I'm about as far from “Grand Coven approved” as it's possible to be. They threw me out many years ago, disapproved of my methods, said my magic was too extreme. I was forbidden from using magic, from taking students, from forming a coven. I’ve been on the run from those utter fannies ever since.
Rowena: *different scene* Years ago, the Grand Coven cast a binding spell limiting aspects of my magic.
Rowena: *different scene* I have done horrible things. And I told myself it was fine. It was the price of power, and power’s what matters, right?

Catherine: In this she's looking for a coven to protect her from the Afrida so that she can survive.

Witch: The Akrida.
Ada: Yes.
Witch: No one knows when that invasion’s gonna happen. But when it does, it can't be stopped. They're too powerful.
Lead Witch: She's right. Find a coven to join. Enough dark magic users should be able to protect each other from the storm those bugs are going to pick up.
Ada: I can't do that. I have friends, I have family that I have to think about.

Ada: *different scene* A test.
Rowena: To see if you were powerful enough to join my coven. Those witches were right about one thing. The Akrida are so powerful, even with the right magic? Stopping their invasion may be impossible, and it's coming.

Catherine: So the motivation is slightly different and slightly less evil for evil's sake. *laughs* 

Chrisha: Yeah, I tend to feel like that's because of circumstance, though. Because we definitely saw Rowena in Supernatural do anything she needed to do to survive.

Catherine: Absolutely.

Chrisha: She got herself into some stuff because it was just about survival. So the circumstances of her coming in were different, but I do feel like her energy is the same. But we also know that if she survives, like, I have to believe that then she would want to harness the power of her Mega Coven to then take over again. 

Catherine: *giggles* The Mega Coven! 

Chrisha: That's just her jam. And I do feel like―

Catherine: *dying of laughter* Sorry, it’s just―

Chrisha: It’s the best.

Catherine: That was the most ridiculous thing.

Chrisha: *laughs*

Both at the same time: THE MEGA COVEN!

Chrisha: You gotta do the hand gestures, too.

*Both cackle*

Rowena: *over piano music and restaurant chatter* And I'm looking for the best of the best to leave the Grand Coven and join me in … the … Mega Coven. *several beats of silence* You heard what I said, right?

Chrisha: I love her so much. Oh my God. 

Catherine: *laughs* Seriously, that voice and that accent, just … 

Chrisha: *emphatically* Mmm.

Catherine: I'm enchanted. Every time I listen to her speak, every time I see her on screen, she's just the best.

Chrisha: That’s just part of why I love her, is because she's so powerful and so beautiful. And her dresses and her makeup are on point―and her hair, and she's like so put together. And yet she comes up with something like “Mega Coven.” Which is just, like, so awkward. And gosh, that's just refreshing. I love it. 

Catherine: *laughing* It is. Oh, God, Rowena. I love her. 

Chrisha: I missed her. 

Catherine: Yeah. So it's funny because in terms of the wider stuff―I'm not going to save this for red string―they were hinting broadly to us at the beginning of this series that Rowena was going to come back. 

Chrisha: Yeah, I agree. 

Catherine: They had the hooded figure, with the many rings on the fingers, and the long fingernails and the red hair kind of peeking out. I think it was Episode 2, at the end of the episode, where we first see Roxy collecting the magical essence from the witchy flower lady. When we first see Roxy, we see parts of her and she's dressed very witchily. And they kept associating her with witchy things, like, “I Put a Spell On You,” the song. So they've been like hinting, right? They've been dropping all of these hints that Rowena was going to show up at some point, I feel like.

Chrisha: I would say they were teasing us. 

Catherine: Yes, they were teasing us. That's a good―that's a good way of saying it, especially because she showed up in like a frickin’ identical hooded cloaky thing. 

Chrisha: Right.

Catherine: I was like, “Oh, they were doing a thing.” And who else have they been teasing us with this entire time? 

Chrisha: *deep breath* Stop it. *pained sound*

Catherine: *laughs*

Chrisha: Stop it! Nope. We are not getting our hopes up. No!

Catherine: I don't think It's gonna pay off this season. But I think if they get picked up there's so gonna be a big Cas payoff.

Chrisha: Yeah. And Crowley, because they're definitely teasing him, too.

Catherine: Yeah. I'm very excited about it, if they get picked up. And I'm trying not to―like it's, it's such a … *sighs* It's such an emotional tilt-a-whirl, since we're in a carnival land. Cause I get excited about it, and then I'm like, “Oh, but reality, and behind the scenes stuff with the CW being a burning-trash-heap fire and kicking all of their scripted people out and blah-blah-blah.”

Chrisha: Mmhmm.

Catherine: So, I try to ground myself. That's part of the frustration, I think, because we were supposed to get 20 episodes? Something like that. And we got half a season. 

Chrisha: Yep. 

Catherine: And who knows if they're gonna get picked up. There's so much more to explore. I don't want this journey to end. *sighs* Anyway. 

Chrisha: Yup. Yup, yup. 

Catherine: The other monster of the week is clowns. 

Chrisha: God help us. 

Catherine: *laughing* And there's a line in “Everybody Loves a Clown” where Dean says:

Dean: I can't believe we keep talking about clowns.

Chrisha: Same.

Catherine: *laughs* Oh, goodness gracious me.

Chrisha: Dean also says, for the record:

Dean: I hate funhouses.

Catherine: Yes, he does. 

*Both laugh* 

Chrisha: Like, “Welp!”

*Both laugh* 

Catherine: He does, at the end of the episode. And we've been in one this whole damn time. I did a little bit of research into clowns. 

Chrisha: Wow, you are dedicated. I did not.

Catherine: Well, I wanted to kind of understand the dynamics at play. And I was like, “He's costumed very oddly for a clown. He's all black and white.” And first of all, Wally, that teenager who is mad about his parents getting divorced: anyone who follows that clown into a dark room? 

Chrisha: Yeah. 

Catherine: Deserves what's coming to them.

Chrisha: *bursts out laughing* It's like the little kids in “Tears of a Clown!” They, in the middle of the night, are opening the doors to these creepy clowns! 

Catherine: “Come on in!”

Chrisha: Like, my children would be traumatized for life if they looked out the window and saw that! Who are these kids?

Catherine: I mean, your children? I would be traumatized. 

Chrisha: Well, yeah! 

Catherine: A fully grown adult. *laughs*

Chrisha: Geeze! Inviting them into― “Let me take them to Mommy and Daddy's room while they're sleeping.” Are you kidding?! What the hell is wrong with you??? 

Catherine: That slow creepy smile that the guy does who’s playing the clown? 

Chrisha: Geeze Louise. 

Catherine: Oh gosh! 

Chrisha: Mm-mm. No.

Catherine: It’s horrifying. The clowns in this episode were also so creepy.

Chrisha: They did not have to go that hard. All season, all the monsters are so freakin’ creepy. And I'm like, “Clowns? You really had to make a statement with creepier clowns?” Mmmkay. 

Catherine: I mean, and again, we keep seeing how they make these not-so-subtle Supernatural callouts. The daytime ghosts? One of them was a clown. It was just not creepy. *giggles*

Chrisha: *sighs* 

Catherine: Not creepy at all. And, goodness gracious, these clowns were creepy. I did a little clown research. Again, I can't believe we keep talking about clowns, but this is happening. Limbo is an example of a white face or white clown, which is one of the oldest clown archetypes, and they were called that because their faces and necks were entirely made up with white. And then they had black or red features and usually had very extravagant costumes, like Limbo with that huge ruffled collar. And they're typically the leader of a group of clowns. 

Chrisha: Mm. So that fits. 

Catherine: So it was very intentional that they had him dressed the way he was, with the kind of makeup that he had. Also, the first time they mentioned limbo, they had creepy, echoey children's laughter. 

Chrisha: Mmmhmm.

Carnival Clown: They say that kid’s the latest victim of Limbo: Limbo the clown. *clown horn honks as ominous music picks up, and creepy, echoey children’s laughter sounds*  

Catherine: The clown that first tells them about Limbo, he would be considered an auguste clown. And the base tone for his makeup is like a reddish hue or their natural skin color. And they're usually kind of the butt of the joke. So the white-face clown would set them up, and then they would take the fall, kind of deal. 

Chrisha: Mm. Mmhmm. 

Catherine: So those dynamics were definitely a play in the troop. A lot of them were the auguste kind of clowns. And it was interesting because John and Mary were both white-face clowns, and they had more of a leadership role. They were much more actively menacing than the other clowns. And holy guacamole, I loved Mary's makeup. It was so wonderfully creepy.

Chrisha: Yes, it was good! Mmhmm. And she did that―the way that she was looking, with her head tilted forward?

Catherine: Her body language. Yes.

Chrisha: Right. It's just so frigging creepy. 

Catherine: She was holding herself like a creepy child. 

Chrisha: Blech. 

Catherine: Yeah. *laughs* It was so great. They really nailed that look for her, with her curled hair, and looking so perfectly quaffed, and so horrifying.

Chrisha: So horrifying.

Catherine: I looked into limbo because I thought I remember it being a little different from purgatory in the lore of our world. And both of them have their roots in medieval Christianity. But the difference is that limbo, it's really awful, it's primarily a space for people who died before Jesus was born, who were basically stuck in this space that was hell-adjacent until Jesus died and saved them from being in that space. But the other kind of limbo? There are two kinds of limbo. So there's that one; it's the patriarch's limbo. And then there's the limbo of the innocents, which is unbaptized children. And they're both kind of gross and horrible and are very much, from my perspective, people trying to apply rules to fit human perceptions of problems, which is often one of the problems with organized religion. And I say that as a person who follows an organized religion. The difference is that for the limbo of the innocents, there is no avenue out. Ever. 

Chrisha: Yikes. 

Catherine: You're just stuck there. 

Chrisha: Geeze.

Catherine: So the patriarchs could be saved. But all of these innocent babies who just weren't baptized are stuck there forever. 

Chrisha: Hmm.

Catherine: Yeah. It's truly terrible and horrifying. Whereas purgatory in medieval Christianity is a place where you kind of go through a process of purification in order to get to heaven. So there's an avenue out for people. So it's for people who didn't necessarily die sin free, but who lived a good life. And were Christian, obviously, because this is a Christian belief, and were oriented towards heaven, but had some stuff that they needed to work through before they could go there. So I was thinking about that and the difference between limbo and purgatory, because purgatory in Supernatural lore is a very different kind of place, obviously.

Chrisha: Little bit. 

Catherine: It's the place where monsters go after they die. But it kind of made me actually think right now about the question of where do monsters go once they die in purgatory, which they never answered. So it seems like there is a way out of purgatory: maybe to a better place, maybe to a worse place. But the point that I wanted to make was that purgatory was a place that our characters moved through, and transitioned through. And was a place of growth and healing for Dean and for Cas. And Limbo in this episode is a place where people are just stuck.

Chrisha: Right.

Catherine: And they can never get out. And there is no growth or change or healing. It's all about repression and fantasy. 

Chrisha: Mmhmm.

Catherine: So that's where I think the lore to our world kind of ties in a little bit. Purgatory was a place that could be journeyed through, as Dean and Cas. It changed them, it healed them, it propelled them forward on their journey, and they emerged different and better and stronger. And Limbo is a place that people go and end up just being stuck. Nothing changes, nothing evolves, nothing grows. Because there is no space for emotion and hard feelings and facing hard feelings. It's all about repression and pretending to be happy. 

Chrisha: Yeah, I mean, this episode, again, really hit kind of on the nose, this idea that you really have to feel your feelings or you get stuck. 

Catherine: Yep.

Chrisha: You lie to everybody else. If you lie to yourself, yeah, you're gonna get stuck. Or, like, I thought it was interesting the way that they did it with John, which is that he was trying to keep his eyes closed in the hall of mirrors. So he was still trying not to look. And then he was forced to look in the mirror, but it was not on his terms. He got manipulated, basically. And it was Carlos and Lata―who are the healthy ones, who are the ones that are very aware of their stuff, who are facing their stuff―they were the ones that did not get sucked into Limbo. They went in, Lata even set it, under their own, like, “We don't want to play his game. We don't want to do it his way.” 

Lata: Playing into his hand can't be a good idea. There has to be another way to gain admission.

Chrisha: Carlos found a different way to come in on their own terms. And so I felt like that was just a really important underlying story here, that applies both to John and Mary and also to Sam and Dean, for sure. 

Catherine: Yeah, absolutely.

Chrisha: Just to also―with Roger and Clarence, there was an eight year age gap instead of four years as between Sam and Dean. And yet their parents died, Clarence took Roger to a carnival and says:

Clarence: If only I helped him through his grief instead of taking him to that damn carnival. He'd be here right now.

Chrisha: And this is again, echoing “Tears of a Clown,” which is where John died. And they're both messing around with their grief trying to figure out what to do. And so they take a hunt. And Sam takes the hunt, even though it's clowns which he hates, because, “Oh, it's what Dad would have wanted me to do.”

Sam: *over windshield wipers* I don't know. I just think, taking this job. It's what Dad would want us to do.
Dean: What Dad would have wanted?
Sam: Yeah. So?
Dean: Nothing. 

Chrisha: So it's this, like, roundabout way of dealing with grief without dealing with grief. You know, dealing with guilt without dealing with guilt. 

Catherine: Mmmhmm.

Chrisha: So the echoes and parallels there are certainly direct and interesting. And―yeah, just in a literal funhouse, with mirrors everywhere. *laughs*

Catherine: We can talk about that more in our red string episode. *chuckles*

Chrisha: *laughs* I know. Yeah, but it definitely was commentary on toxic positivity. This, “Oh, just smile! Just put on a happy face, and it'll be fine!” How that just does not work.

Catherine: Can you unpack that a little bit: the term “toxic positivity?” Because I think it's a really important concept that not a lot of people really understand. 

Chrisha: Yeah. Toxic positivity is something that a lot of folks do with very good intention. But big negative feelings very often make people uncomfortable. And so toxic positivity is encouraging people to squash and avoid their feelings and just put on a happy face. And it's called toxic because that's what it tends to be: you know, stuffing our feelings, not feeling them, not addressing them, tends to make things worse. So an example of toxic positivity would be like, “Oh, don't cry! You have nothing to be sad about!” or, “Look on the bright side!” It's a way of invalidating feelings. 

Catherine: Mmm. 

Chrisha: And even when well intentioned, that's kind of what it is. Sometimes we need somebody to just sit with us and say, “Yeah, that's terrible. Yeah, that's hard,” as opposed to trying to kind of bandaid it by saying like, “Oh, it'll be fine! Don’t cry!” 

Catherine: Yeah. And what you just said: someone to just sit with us and say, “Yes, that's hard,”―that's exactly what Carlos was modeling through the whole episode.

Chrisha: Exactly.

Mary: *over carnival sounds* I see no sign of Limbo’s Hall of Happy anywhere. So what now?
Carlos: We get to the important stuff, like you spilling on what you and Soldier Boyfriend were fighting about back at the motel.
Mary: Let’s just say being accused of murder hasn't exactly helped John with his anger issues. He's in total denial.
Carlos: Well, everybody processes trauma differently. At least, that’s what Doctor Z says.
Mary: I just wish I knew how to help.
Carlos: Well, the timing’s definitely not great. If Ada finds that magic, we'll definitely have an Akrida fight on our hands too.
Mary: *crying* I’m just so worried about him.
Carlos: We're in this together. 

Chrisha: Lata, too.

Catherine: Yeah, yeah. Yes, she did, in her conversation with John. I love the modeling that we're getting in this series.

Chrisha: Mmhmm!

Catherine: It’s really, really lovely. And I really appreciate the work that they're doing showing us how to address difficult things. They've just been doing that consistently through the whole series: “We’re gonna talk about it. We're going to show you, we're going to talk about it. There's going to be modeling.” It's just―it's so refreshing. 

Chrisha: Mmhmm!

Catherine: So refreshing. This is honestly, I think, you know, reflecting back about this season, I think that we can basically say this is the therapeutic model of Supernatural. *laughs* 

Chrisha: Mmhmm.

Catherine: Which is quite wonderful. Like, John runs away from therapy, and so there's a spell that makes him take therapy.

Chrisha: *laughs* I mean, that consistently happens in every episode. Here is another one: “Oh, you're gonna avoid your feelings. Alright, well, now you're a clown.”

Catherine: *laughs* “And you can't feel them.” 

Chrisha: Yeah. 

Catherine: “And here are the consequences of you not feeling your feelings: it's going to destroy the people around you.”

Chrisha: Yeah. And I feel like the way that they tied it in, too, to the most basic of Supernatural themes here also is like, “Do you feel your feelings or do you go for avoidance or toxic positivity?” And the way they tied that to peace or freedom, destiny versus free will. Because John hesitated. Like Mary's like, “Come on, stay here!” and he's like, “*pained sound* … No.” Like, he had to think about it for a minute.

John: Okay, look, we have to get out of here.
Mary: John, we can’t.
John: What are you talking about? We’ll break our way out of this maze if we have to.
Mary: No, you don’t understand. I want to stay here. And I want you to stay with me, too.
John: What?
Mary: We can be together where there aren’t any problems. And we never have to fight again: about my future, or your anger. We can be happy in Limbo’s tent, forever.
John: None of it would be real. It would all be a part of Limbo’s spell. Mary, there’s a world out there that we have to save.
Mary: Not if we stay. Limbo can protect us from all of that here. All you have to do is look in the mirror behind me.
John: *pauses* No. We’re leaving. Come on.

Chrisha: And Mary spent some real time saying it was nice. 

Catherine: Yeah.

Chrisha: Like, it was nice.

Lata: *over people talking and music* I have to ask: do the two of you remember it, when you were clowns?
Mary: Yeah. All of it.
Lata: How terrifying.
Mary: Actually, it was kind of nice.
John: So, do you really mean that?
Mary: Didn’t it feel good to you? Not having to worry about our problems for a second? Not having to worry about us? 

Chrisha: You know, sometimes peace is nice. Freedom is hard. Free will is a pain in the ass. 

Catherine: Mmhmm!

Chrisha: And I just thought it was really interesting the way that they did layer that in, because destiny versus free will? That's Supernatural

Catherine: Yes. 

Chrisha: And it was completely invalidated at the end of Supernatural. Destiny won.

Catherine: Yes.

Chrisha: It's like, "Why'd we fight for 15 years, when it was always supposed to be this way?" You know, like, blech. 

Catherine: Yes! Blech indeed! 

Chrisha: So that they are addressing it again, but they are addressing it alongside the importance of being honest with ourselves, feeling our feelings, facing our grief, facing our anger. I just, like, that's delicious. 

Catherine: Yes.

Chrisha: Like, amazing. 

Catherine: Yes. I'm glad we're talking about this episode, because these are the things that were good. And there was real good stuff in here. When you dig into it? It's good stuff. I think the surface narrative was just a little bit meh. 

Chrisha: Yeah. 

Catherine: But when you dig into it, yes. There's really good stuff in here. 

Chrisha: Mmhmm.

Catherine: Let's talk about John's apology. 

Chrisha: Yeah. So, the resolution at the end, we kind of talked about at the beginning. The way that the story arcs from this very early days, Sam and Dean anger, energy, avoidance―

Catherine: ―With John, yeah.

Chrisha: ―and then we get to the end. And it was interesting, because I was listening to John's apology, and I was like, “That's pinging something. What is it hitting?” And it took me a while to get to it, because he says:

John: It also made me realize that you were right. I have been ignoring things because it's easier than facing the truth. I'm sorry for that. I am also sorry for being so angry with you.

Chrisha: And what that was pinging for me was―

Catherine: *whispers* Was it the purgatory scene?

Chrisha: Yeah.

Catherine: *gasps*

Chrisha: Cause it was easier than admitting that I was wrong. 

Catherine: Ohhhhhhh damn.

Dean: I should have stopped you. *melancholy music begins* You’re my best friend, but I just let you go. Cause it was easier than admitting I was wrong. I don’t know why I get so angry. I just know―I know that it's―it's just always there. And when things go bad it just―it comes out. And I―I can't stop it. No matter how … how bad I want to, I just can’t stop it. And I f―I forgive you. Of course I forgive you! I'm sorry it took me so long―I'm sorry it took me till now to say it. Cas, I'm so sorry. Man, I hope you can hear me. I hope you can hear me.”

Chrisha: *laughs* And I was like *frustrated sound*. 

Catherine: *muffled* I―

Chrisha: They just got out of Limbo. And now we have a speech that the cadence and the word choice is pinging Dean owning his anger, on his knees in purgatory, praying to Cas. 

Catherine: And he’s saying it to Mary. 

Chrisha: Mmhmm. Yeah. Yeah, he is.

Catherine: *pain laughs* Gosh darn it all. 

*Both pain laugh*

Catherine: Okay, thank you for setting it up for me like that, because I was like, “*gasps* Wait!!! It's doing a thing!!!”

Chrisha: It's doing a thing.

Catherine: Wow. Wow.

Chrisha: So Mary was also part of the conversation and the resolution, right? She said: 

Mary: I guess I got kind of angry, myself: You calling me a hypocrite and all. But you were right, too: thinking about the future is scary.

Chrisha: So what I thought was interesting about that is that we got John's apology as he has acted very much like Dean throughout this episode. And John's apology pinged me to Dean and purgatory: owning his anger. But it wasn't a conversation, right? It was a monologue. 

Catherine: Yes.

Chrisha: We didn't get Cas. So the idea that we now have Mary contributing, and she's saying, “Yeah, thinking about the future is scary.”

Catherine: *high-pitched noise*

Chrisha: Like, mmmkay.

Catherine: Yes, it is scary. Thinking about the future is scary, Mary. 

Chrisha: It is.

Catherine: Because the future might involve Cas, and it might not, and what's gonna hap―okay, yep, sorry. 

Chrisha: Mmhmm. Yeah. So, in the funhouse, Mary very much summed up, “If you stay here, we don't have to deal with your anger or my future.” Those are their issues: is his anger and their future. So Dean has sort of made a lot of progress with his anger issues, but the future: that's still dangling. *laughs*

Catherine: It really is. It really is, and specifically, one part of his future, which was ripped away from him before he could do anything about it: which was Cas. And then he is told that Cas is around but we never see him again. So, right. Okay, well, what a Destiel note to end this episode on!

*Both laugh* 

Chrisha: It is about clowns, so …

Catherine: Yes.

Chrisha: I just have to say that when the clown car showed up, my whole Twitter was just filled with “Hey, look, it's our car!”

Catherine: *cackles*

Chrisha: “Our ride showed up!” Oh my God, I was laughing so hard. 

Catherine: I love that. 

Chrisha: “Look, it's our cameo!” Mmhmm.

Catherine: “It’s our cameo.” *breaks into more peals of laughter* Oh, God, I love Hellers. Seriously. 

Chrisha: Mmhmm.

Catherine: I've got to say, too, it's been lovely seeing kind of the dominoes fall as people have been sucked into this show. 

Chrisha: Yeah, it’s fun.

Catherine: I think so many of us were on the same page when it started, where we were deeply, deeply wary. And as it's kind of progressed, more and more people, I think ,started watching who were reluctant to begin. I've just seen a lot of people on my Twitter talking about how healing this show has been, just on so many levels, from the way that Supernatural ended. I've seen several people talk about that over the past few weeks. So it's been fun seeing people find it, and get excited about it, and go on the same journey that we've been on, where we started out being like, “Well, I don't know. We're gonna do this, but we're very hesitant and wary!” to, “Please let there be a Season 2.” 

Chrisha: Mmhmm.

Catherine: Shall we wrap it there?

Chrisha: I believe we shall. 

Catherine: Okay. You can message us and stay up to date with the latest on our Twitter page, which is @TheFangirlBiz, that's B-I-Zee or B-I-Zed, depending on where you live in the world. As always, you can also join our Ko-fi at the bottom tier for $1 a month and be part of our lovely Discord group. Shout out to everybody there: You are wonderful. I've been finally enjoying being part of the community again after sort of exiling myself, because I didn't want to get spoiled. And everyone's lovely. And I was reading through all of the insights last night people had from this latest episode, and just sort of―I was blown away by how smart everybody is and the things that they notice. 

Chrisha: Right?

Catherine: And just, like, what a group of people. I mean, you are amazing. Thank you for being there. Thank you for supporting us. And if you'd like to join, you are very welcome. 

Chrisha: Mmhmm.

Catherine: Please come and be a part of our community. Until then―wait.

*Both giggle*

Chrisha: Wait!

Catherine: That doesn't follow anymore! Anyway, yeah, join our community, and uhhhhh… we'll see you next time. And until then, carry on, Wayward Friends. We love you! Bye.

Chrisha: Bye!

Outro Instrumental Rock Music: “Play the Game” by VooDoo Blooze

Ummm. Ugh, clowns! Umm―