The Fangirl Business: A Supernatural Podcast

16.2: "The Winchesters" E12 - Red String Edition

December 20, 2023 Season 2 Episode 16
16.2: "The Winchesters" E12 - Red String Edition
The Fangirl Business: A Supernatural Podcast
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The Fangirl Business: A Supernatural Podcast
16.2: "The Winchesters" E12 - Red String Edition
Dec 20, 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 look into the theme of mirrors and misdirection, which is particularly prevalent in this episode but has been a running theme throughout the series. They also examine the parallels this episode has with multiple episodes of Supernatural, which all look at the temptation of peace and happiness vs. facing the difficulty of real life and its associated difficulties and traumas! 

A big chunk of the episode dives into the background imagery of sideshows and includes a discussion of othering, autonomy, and what visual messaging the audience might have been given.

Further time is given to discussions of spell ingredients, Macbeth, music, and thinking forward to the finale!

The Winchesters audio clip credits: The CW
Supenatural  audio clip credits: The CW
JIBCon 11 audio clip credits: Aurélie Kitty at YouTube
Music clip credits:  "I'd Love to Change the World" by Ten Years After; "The Viper" by Paul Lenart & Billy Novick; "Everybody Loves a Clown" by Gary Lewis and The Playboys; "The Tears of a Clown" by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles

Follow us on Twitter @TheFangirlBiz and on Bluesky

Join our Kofi Discord community at $1/month:

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Thanks for listening!

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 look into the theme of mirrors and misdirection, which is particularly prevalent in this episode but has been a running theme throughout the series. They also examine the parallels this episode has with multiple episodes of Supernatural, which all look at the temptation of peace and happiness vs. facing the difficulty of real life and its associated difficulties and traumas! 

A big chunk of the episode dives into the background imagery of sideshows and includes a discussion of othering, autonomy, and what visual messaging the audience might have been given.

Further time is given to discussions of spell ingredients, Macbeth, music, and thinking forward to the finale!

The Winchesters audio clip credits: The CW
Supenatural  audio clip credits: The CW
JIBCon 11 audio clip credits: Aurélie Kitty at YouTube
Music clip credits:  "I'd Love to Change the World" by Ten Years After; "The Viper" by Paul Lenart & Billy Novick; "Everybody Loves a Clown" by Gary Lewis and The Playboys; "The Tears of a Clown" by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles

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!

16.2: "The Winchesters" E12 - Red String Edition

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 back to talk about Season 1 Episode 12 of The Winchesters, “Tears of a Clown.” And now we turn our attention to red string, which this freaking episode was drowning in. What the hell? 

*Both laugh*

Chrisha: A literal hall of mirrors, because it was a whole funhouse. Like, the whole literal episode was funhouse mirrors. I’m like just―*pained sound and laughter*

Catherine: First of all, I think it's hilarious, because when we started talking about this, we were like, “We're going to be able to knock this out in one episode.”

Chrisha: LOL.  

Catherine: *laughs* “Easy.” And then I started reading all of this stuff about everything that people had seen, and heard, and noticed and I was like, *sighs* “This is not going to be one episode.” 

Chrisha: No.

Catherine: Dammit! *laughs*

Chrisha: Yeah, shout out to everybody in the Ko-fi Discord, because basically this is a team effort at this point. Because everyone has such incredible perspectives that were like, “Oh, did you see that?” “Oh, I hadn't considered that!” “Oh, look at this over here.” Like it's … yeah, the red string is out with force.

Catherine: It's amazing. I love the Discord community. I'm loving that I'm getting to enjoy it, even though it's only the last two episodes of the season.

Chrisha: Yeah, well. 

Catherine: But I'm really glad that I'm there, and that I'm able to see everything that people are seeing and doing, and it's just really, really exciting, Chrisha. And these people are really frickin’ smart. 

Chrisha: I know! 

Catherine: And I'm so glad that they're all there. I'm learning so much. And this is … this is the part of fandom that I love. If we don't see something, other people will.

Chrisha: Yeah. We were both rewatching last night. We're recording in the morning. This is March 6, 2023, and we were both watching last night. And usually in the past I think our typical thing would be to rewatch independently and take our little notes and then get together. But now we have a whole Discord we can scream in! So I can be like, “All right, y'all, I'm getting ready to rewatch. I'm throwing unhinged stuff in the chat!”

Catherine: *laughing* It was fantastic. And you were doing that when you were editing too. And, like, you were teasing them with something that I said and had to be edited out in a previous episode. And then I was like, “What did I―What did I do? What did I say?” And you're like, and I quote, “You were laughing like a bog witch.” And I, like, that is the best description!

Chrisha: Cackling. Yes. 

Catherine: Cackling! Yes! "Cackling like a bog witch." That is the best descriptor ever of what we do.

Chrisha: It happens. Yeah. It does. So yes, it's been fun to be able to do rewatches and have a conversation kind of any time. 

Catherine: Mmhmm. 

Chrisha: Because we also have people all over the world. So―

Catherine: Yeah.

Chrisha: It's super fun. And there's a lot of screaming that happens a lot of, “Are you freaking kidding me with this, Ackles?!?!”

Catherine: “Robbie Thompson!” Shaking fist!!!

Chrisha: This whole episode in a friggin nutshell is like, “Are you kidding me? So you're telling me we're gonna have a whole episode that's about clowns, which has a very specific connotation in Destiel fandom, because we are all clowns. And then also that is full of a hall of mirrors, literal funhouse mirrors?” Cool. Cool. Cool. Cool. 

Catherine: *laughs* Yeah. 

Chrisha: Cool. Cool. Cool. So where would you like to start in our descent into this madness?

Catherine: I wanted to pick up on your mirror theme.

Chrisha: Mmm. Yeah, there's a lot there.

Catherine: So one of the things that I picked up on this episode was the key phrase “misdirection.” 

Chrisha: Mmm! Mmhmm! *enthusiastically* I have thoughts. 

Catherine: Mmm, yeah! 

Chrisha: What are your thoughts? 

Catherine: Well, from Episode 8, which is “Hang on to Your Life,” which is the Loki episode. 

Chrisha: Yes!!!! I knew we'd go the same place. I knew we would.

Catherine: Oh, good! 

*Both laugh*

Catherine: I like it when that happens. Lata, again, figures stuff out and says:

Lata: Loki’s magic is tied to a powerful symbol of misdirection and trickery that he carries with him. A hand mirror.

Chrisha: Hand mirror? Hmm.

Catherine: Mmhmm. Which is interesting because typically in medieval imagery, it was associated with vanity, not with trickery. So, again, different universes. And in this episode when John turns around and he thinks he's turned away from the mirror, Limbo smiles at him and says:

Limbo: *over organ carnival music* A bit of misdirection. Sorry to have to trick you, John, but I guess the joke's on you. 

Catherine: And so again, we have that word “misdirection” cropping up, and it's directly tied to mirrors. We've been talking about the funhouse mirror effect. You have literally been using that term for episodes and episodes and episodes. We had the Through the Looking Glass conversation also in the episode about “Hang on to Your Life,” where they were bringing up the Alice in Wonderland imagery. And “through the looking glass” is a term to mean you've gone through into a world that's just slightly different from our own. It's a reflection. It's strange, it's different. It's not quite right. So I got very excited about the fact that, again, they're affirming that this is a different universe. But I'm wondering what more is there to this? If we're being told repeatedly that misdirection is happening, which is kind of I think the message that has been a through line for this: “Something is a little off. Something's a little wrong. There's misdirection happening.” We've had the vision without the context, and then the context is fully revealed and it's a totally different story with the vampires. Like, where are they going with this? And that's where I kind of got really excited. What were your thoughts?

Chrisha: Yeah, I mean, I went the same place. There's a point where Limbo says:

Limbo: Look at you! What a smarty-pants you are, covering your eyes so you don't look into my special mirror. But―which one is it?

Chrisha: And I'm like, “This is me watching this show.” Like, “What is real, which mirror is important?” Because there's a bajillion mirrors!

Catherine: Reflections.

Chrisha: Reflections! It―

Catherine: Reflections! I mean, like literally the entire episode called “Reflections.” I'm sorry. 

Chrisha: I know! I know. 

Catherine: *makes frustrated sound*

Chrisha: So having that be such a theme, I definitely got the feeling that Limbo reminded me greatly of Loki. And I feel like part of that was the mirror. But also, part of that was we talked about Loki being a director and how similar that was to Chuck. 

Catherine: Yes!

Chrisha: And here we have Limbo as the ringmaster, as the leader of this troupe of clowns. And so he seemed to be doing that same kind of thing. 

Catherine: He's directing the action.

Chrisha: *agreeing* He’s directing the action. He's saying, “Okay, it's time to put on a show!” All of that kind of language that I was like, “Wow, okay.” 

Catherine: Yeah. Wow. Yep. 

Chrisha: So they're doing a thing. 

Catherine: They are!

Chrisha: They're being so blunt about doing a thing that they are bashing us over the head with it at this point: a literal funhouse. Like are you really? Really? I know I'm stuck on it. But like―

*Both laugh*

Catherine: When the first character walked into that hall of mirrors, I was like, “No! No, they're not. Are they? Yes, they are. Oh, screw them.” *laughs* They're doing a thing. 

Chrisha: Well, and one more thing about that we talked about Supernatural Season 2, Episode 2, which was just visually so strongly a parallel of this one―or a reflection, one might say―definitely tied to this episode. In that episode of Supernatural, Sam and Dean end up in a funhouse, where the clown is invisible. And I thought that was interesting as an inverse of The Winchesters where there was too many images, too many mirrors, too many reflections. So, I don't know what to do with that. I just thought it was interesting that the way that they flipped it kinda.

Catherine: Yeah. And the early Supernatural visuals were so great. I think it's rare for modern stuff to outdo it. But the funhouse in The Winchesters totally stole the show from the one in “Everyone Loves a Clown.” It was so much cooler. The reflections upon reflections upon reflections―like, you really got that effect, whereas you didn't in the episode “Everybody Loves a Clown.” They had the distorted effect, but it wasn't layers upon layers upon layers of mirrors.

Chrisha: Yeah. And it was like a modern funhouse. It had like the neon colors, versus the old-timey, which I find much creepier.

Catherine: Yeah, like the wood with the flakes on it. Yeah. Yup. Very―like that distressed wood look and then the perfectly pristine mirrors, where you can't tell― Hello, props department. You did an amazing job with that!

Chrisha: Amazing. Stop it. *laughs*

Catherine: I can't even imagine how hard you worked to get those visual effects going, but also to get everything perfectly smudgeless? 

Chrisha: Yeah.

Catherine: Must have taken some time. So well done. Well done. 

Chrisha: Oof!

Catherine: *laughs* Yeah. As you said Dean says:

Dean: I hate funhouses.

Catherine: *laughs* Listen, I'm with you, buddy. Another parallel that we have with Supernatural… I mean, listen, there are all kinds of ones. That's the problem: reflections upon reflections upon reflections. But happiness as an escape from hard realities is definitely a theme that Supernatural has looked at more than once. That happened in Season 14, Episode 15, “Peace of Mind,” which is a Sam episode, really. That's where Sam and Cas go and investigate this creepy ‘50s town where everything is perfect, and everybody's happy, except occasionally people’s heads explode. *laughs*

Chrisha: Yeah, I mean, it's fine.

*Both laugh*

Catherine: And then people get replaced as these characters. So Sam gets taken over by a character named Justin. So it’s Sam, but he thinks he's Justin. At the end, there's the big revelation scene, and it's the mayor, whose name is Chip, who is controlling everybody. And he says:

Chip: And the world kept getting worse. And they called it modernization. And no matter what I did, people would turn to drink, or drugs, or move away. They just weren't happy. Things kept getting worse. And I started to hear noises, voices. And I screamed at these voices: I said, “Just make things better!” And you know what happened next
Castiel: No, but I have a feeling you're gonna tell me.

Catherine: Which honestly, that was very echoed by Carlos in this, where he's like:

Carlos: Uh, I'll probably regret asking this later. But, uh, who's that?

Catherine: Which I didn't realize until right now. So Chip says:

Chip: The very next day, I thought that―just thought―“I wish there was more people in the soda shop.” And I came in here that day, and it was packed. And that's when I figured it out: I can make people do whatever I want. I remade this town. I gave everybody new names, new lives. I made everybody happy. Well, most everybody, and ones who fought it, well―
Castiel: You'd murder them.
Chip: I was just protecting my home!

Catherine: So there's big parallels there, right? 

Chrisha: Yeah. Yeah, I mean, peace or freedom, destiny or free will? 

Catherine: Yep.

Chrisha: It’s that constant through line.

Catherine: And that episode, Sam has just lost all of his AU Hunter friends to Michael, and a part of him, like Mary, is not wanting to come back. He's wanting to stay in this character. And Cas is telling him: 

Castiel: *over intense music* Fight this!
Sam: Why? I'm happy in Charming Acres. We're all happy!
Castiel: *over Sam struggling* Sam, I know you want to be happy. And I know what it's like to lose your army. I know what it's like to fail as a leader, Sam. But you can't lose yourself. You have to keep fighting―you can't lose yourself! Because if you do, you fail us. You fail all of those that we've lost. You fail Jack. Sam! You fail Dean.

Catherine: It's that speech that brings him back and helps him to face his hard reality of, “Yeah, he failed as a leader.” Sort of. I mean, it was really Michael's fault. 

Chrisha: It really was. 

Catherine: Let’s be honest. But he's feeling he failed as a leader. So I think that's what Cas is addressing: that feeling of failure. 

Chrisha: Uh-huh. Yeah.

Catherine: And having to come back from that is really hard. He can't even stand to be in the Bunker. Because every time he's in there, he just sees all these dead people that he failed.

Chrisha: Yeah, the future’s scary. 

Catherine: Yeah.

Chrisha: It's hard to even know where to go when you've experienced that level of trauma. And I feel like that's kind of been Mary's journey, too, is she's experienced so much trauma that she almost doesn't know how to live a different way. 

Catherine: Yes!

Chrisha: And it's hard to figure out how to move past that trauma to live in a more healthy way, more authentically. Even if she wants it, she just doesn't know how to do it. And so it's scary. 

Catherine: Yeah.

Chrisha: Yeah, I think that's a great point that Sam was in the same place, where he just wanted a break. Like it was just so daunting to think about moving past that kind of trauma that there is a part of him that just didn't want to. I think that's incredibly relatable. I think we all have times where it's just like, “This is so big. Where do I even start?” So. 

Catherine: Yeah, that's absolutely true. I think the other through line from Supernatural is also from Season 2, which is where “Everybody Loves a Clown” is from. It's Episode 20, “What Is and What Should Never Be,” which is the djinn episode, which we've looked at before. But there are some really strong echoes there of the dynamic that was happening between Mary and John in the funhouse, where Mary is like:

Mary: 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.

Catherine: So in “What Is and Never Should Be" there is a very similar scene of trying to get the person to stay in the happy place where they don't have to face stuff. First of all, Mary appears, then Sam, start saying― Because Dean is going to kill himself in this reality, so he'll wake up in the real reality. Ooooh. *indicating a revelation*

Chrisha: Hmm. 

Catherine: Mmm, okay. Anyway, and Sam is like:

Sam: *over emotional music* Why couldn't you have left well enough alone? You were happy.
Dean: You're not real. None of it is.
Mary: It doesn't matter. It's still better than anything you had.
Dean: What?
Mary: It's everything you want. We're a family again. Let’s go home.
Dean: I'll die. The djinn will drain the life out of me in a couple of days.
Mary: But in here, with us, it'll feel like years. Like a lifetime. I promise. No more pain, or fear. Just love, and comfort, and safety. Dean, stay with us. Get some rest. 

Chrisha: That's always the carrot. You know, that's always what they dangle, is, “Get some rest; get some peace. You don't have to have the weight of the world on your shoulders.” I feel like in the first Apocalypse, it was like, “This isn't yours! Just give up control and everything will work itself out.”

Catherine: Yup.

Chrisha: And it doesn't work. It doesn't work for them. But it's still, I think, hard every time to turn it down, you know? Just like it was hard for John and Mary to turn it down.

Catherine: Oofta. Yeah, very tough. 

Chrisha: I did have one kind of aside, I guess. We were talking about the parallels between Limbo and Loki, and it made me think about … So Loki had a mirror and he was making deals. We found out that for Limbo to keep his power, he had to keep sharing his happiness. Like, that was part of the parameters: that he had to keep building his troupe. 

Lata: He can only maintain that happiness by spreading it to others. 

Catherine: Yes.

Chrisha: So it made me wonder if Loki had to keep making deals to keep his magic. 

Catherine: Ooooh, that's interesting. And I wonder what that says about―I mean, I think it ultimately talks about, in Limbo’s case, the unsustainability of that false kind of happiness. 

Chrisha: The cost.

Catherine: Yeah, he can't sustain it on his own. So he has to take more and more and more from other people and destroy more and more and more lives. So I think that's really a metaphor for the way that we were talking in the last episode about toxic positivity. And I think you defined that really well for us: that sense of pushing down any kind of negative talk about emotions, excluding them completely, to just talk about, “Look on the bright side!” And that is unsustainable.

Chrisha: Yup.

Catherine: You keep having to put more and more and more resources into maintaining that kind of false positivity, because the other stuff doesn't go away. 

Chrisha: Right.

Catherine: It just stays there. And it grows. So I think maybe that's kind of the message, the metaphor, of what Limbo is in this episode.

Chrisha: Which, if we zoom out, then: What does that mean for what the show is saying, and where we are? Because it certainly feels like we're very much in limbo with this franchise. 

Catherine: Yes. 

Chrisha: Both from, like, specifically, where is Dean? How we feel about the franchise? And is it going to continue? Like, there's just so many ways that we are in limbo right now!

Catherine: Oh, that's accurate. I mean, I was thinking about the meta of clowning― 

Chrisha: Well, that too!

Catherine: ―for this episode, but like, yeah, the meta of limbo, being in limbo, being stuck?

Chrisha: Yup.

Catherine: And just kind of not knowing. 

Chrisha: Yep, yep, yep. 

Catherine: Oof. I'm very much thinking about the finale again. And how there was this sort of strange and weird positivity as Dean drove around listening to “Carry On.” It just―*makes frustrated sound* I mean, we've talked before about how it didn't feel right.

Chrisha: But it was―yeah, we were supposed to just, like, “It's fine! Just be happy.”

Catherine: Yeah. Yes! Thank you. 

Chrisha: Mmhm. The fact that this episode made us think about Loki, which is all about trickery and misdirection. Within the episode itself, it's all funhouse mirrors. We're also thinking about “Peace of Mind,” which is an alternate reality that wasn't quite real. And then, when we think about our finale analysis: that was a theme that we kept coming back to, is feeling like it wasn't quite real. That we were being told that there was― This wasn't right, this wasn't real. It just―

Catherine: Question the reality. And it's interesting, because this episode, so much of the story was told―and we'll get to that in a moment―through the props, through the visuals. It was that second layer of the story that I found very interesting. And that was very much the case for the finale episode. A lot of those notes of concern were told through visuals, through props, through setting. And I feel like a very similar technique was used here.

Chrisha: Yeah, I still don't know what any of it means. But just noting this constant, constant theme of: “Something doesn't seem right.” I think at first we were like, “Does that mean it's an AU?” But now that we're into these later episodes, where we know it's an AU, essentially― 

Catherine: Yes.

Chrisha: ―it feels deeper than that. It's like, “Wait…” I don't know, it just seems to be getting more and more pointed.

Catherine: Yeah. I think we've talked in the past about how, honestly, this entire series has felt like a giant rebuttal of the finale. I mean, if we wanted to sum it up in a few words. So there's been, like, the importance of found family; there's been the openly bisexual character, plus hints about characters; there's been talking about your feelings; there’s been the “What you have seen may not be the full context.” It just keeps going, right? 

Chrisha: Mmhmm.

Catherine: It feels like over and over and over and over, down to the costuming, they keep bringing up the finale and those last few episodes. And saying, “No, this is not what this series is going to stand for. This is not what this series is going to be about.” So when, throughout the entire arc of the series, there's been this continued sense of, “No, we're taking a stand. We’re making a statement,” when you do get to the second-to-last episode, it does leave you wondering, “How far are they going to push this?” And the ever present dilemma of a fan is, “How excited should I get?” vs. “How grounded do I need to stay?” 

Chrisha: Yup. And I have no idea.

Catherine: Neither do I. I mean, we'll find out tomorrow. The episode is airing tomorrow. So by the time you hear this, we'll know. *laughs* 

Chrisha: Yeah.

Catherine: But―

Chrisha: We may have even released a reaction episode before this. 

Catherine: Yeah.

Chrisha: When it's fresh, as we've done before in the past. But, you know, there was a line that Limbo had. I mean, we know he talked about a little bit of misdirection, but John said:

John: Where is she?
Limbo: *laughs* Come on, John! I can't tell you. That would spoil the show. 

Chrisha: And I was like, “You s***s.”

Catherine: *gasps*

Chrisha: Like. *laughs*

Catherine: No he did not!!!

Chrisha: I was like, “That one's directed at us.” Mmkay. 

Catherine: *pained/pissed off sound*

Chrisha: So.

Catherine: So much directed at us. There's so much. I feel like there's an entire conversation happening.

Chrisha: I think there's a lot of cackling happening behind the scenes. That's what I think. Like, “Oh, this one is going to drive them nuts!”

Catherine: *laughs* Oh my goodness. Okay, so let's talk about some of the background stuff. Because there was a lot going on in the background.

Chrisha: Oh, like the posters and things?

Catherine: Yeah.

Chrisha: Yeah, there was―my goodness, we have spent large chunks of time trying to figure this stuff out.

Catherine: Yeah. So basically―I mean, we can go through it more in depth. It's interesting. I say that a lot, but I really mean this. The main show is the clowns in this episode, but all of the background stuff is talking about the sideshow. And back in the day, it was called the freak show, which obviously is problematic for many reasons. But it has all of these characters who are featured on these background posters that are set around the tent that are strange or different for various reasons. They evoke a period of time where people would come to these carnivals or circuses, and they would have a section where you would walk through and look at different people who were different for various reasons. Some of them were physically different from birth. Some of them had modified their bodies in some way to be different. And it was all about displaying differences in the human body. And all of these signs allude to this sideshow element of the circus, which is not a part of the main narrative of this episode. So I was very perplexed at first about that. And maybe you can speak to how this relates to the episode “Everybody Loves Clown,” which is Season 2, Episode 2 of Supernatural, because I think you notice quite a bit there.

Chrisha: You know, interestingly, I hadn't considered it from the perspective you just said. So I'm sitting here kind of pondering the side show. Would that qualify as subtext, that―

Catherine: Oh! Ohhhh!

Chrisha: ―not the main narrative, but is also blatantly hung all over the walls?

Catherine: Yeah! I mean, it's literally―the sideshow is the subtext of the scene. It's the text under the text, the text that's not the main narrative, but is present and speaking very loudly. And we've talked about how in this series there hasn't been subtext the way that there was in Supernatural. There's hidden mysteries, and the red string of tying together all of these different elements to try to make sense of a wider picture, which is very different work from the work of uncovering subtext, which is the messages that you get within a show that are coded for a specific audience. So I think it's interesting that there is, as you say, subtext going on within this episode. And it's about the sideshow, it's about the people who are Othered.

Chrisha: It wasn't like that in “Tears of a Clown.” So in the Supernatural episode, you could see a couple of here and there but they were not prominently displayed, actively, to pull focus the way that they were in this episode. Somebody knew that we were going to be pausing and taking screenshots and analyzing. It was set up for that. 

Catherine: Yes. 

Chrisha: I don't think it was just we meta folks that were trying to read them. They were very prominently displayed and very clearly displayed. And one of them is the Devil's Child, which in a Supernatural universe is going to pull some focus. *laughs* Those are big words around here. 

Catherine: Yep, they sure are. 

Chrisha: So yes, I think that the posters in the back were very much telling a story. And that was a primary difference from “Tears of a Clown,” where there were some there, and I could tell that the style was the same, but they were not meant for us to be focusing on. It was truly background props, set design, that kind of stuff.

Catherine: Okay, yes. One of the central problems or tensions within the history of sideshows is the tension between bodily autonomy and exploitation. So it was problematic because these people were being Othered in order to draw in a crowd. “They're different.” “They're freaks.” “They're strange.” Like, “Come gawk.” But one of the things that is often unexplored is that these people within this Othered space found a safe space for themselves. They were able to have control over their bodies in a way that they often wouldn't otherwise. A lot of these people, their other option was often to be, like, literally shut away in an attic somewhere, or to be hidden from sight, because in that time period, there was a lot of shame in families, when it came to people being born physically different. And the sideshow gave them a space where they were safe, people might come and look at them, and they were being Othered. But at the same time, they had community, they had people like them, who they were surrounded by. They were usually paid very well and were able to make a living and sustain themselves rather than living in poverty. So there's this tension and this duality that exists within the sideshow space, which I think is really important when we're looking at this episode of television and the series in general. The legacy of Supernatural was these two really handsome, straight, white boys from the Midwest who thought they were freaks. They consistently call themselves freaks, both of them, especially Sam―but Dean did too. But within The Winchesters we have the people that would be Othered. We have people who are Latinx; we have people who are Indian; we have people who are women, doing “men's jobs,” being mechanics, hunting―

Chrisha: Quote/unquote, “men's jobs.” 

Catherine: Pardon? 

Chrisha: Big air quotes around “men's jobs.”

Catherine: Yeah. Oh, yeah. Sorry if that wasn't apparent. 

Chrisha: *chuckles*

Catherine: That was meant to be said with big scare quotes around it. *laughs* We're having people who are bisexual, who are Othered within the queer community itself. “The greedy bisexual” is a stereotype within the queer community―as well as outside. And so you have these actual Othered people being the focus of the show, addressing that legacy of the story being about straight, white, cis men from the Midwest. And the pictures in the background are all about people who are different. One of them directly addresses gender binaries, and is―the name is John, right? “John: half man half woman. Is he is she?” with, like, these pink and blue question marks next to it. And it's very problematic language, right? It's upsetting to read. But within that space, there is room for gender fluidity; for breaking down of the gender binary in a way that couldn't and wasn't sanctioned outside―and still isn't, in many ways, outside of that space. You―so that's just, like, one of the many ways that these posters are representational of challenging stuff. And this show is about―except John―people who are Othered within society in many ways. I'm gonna stop talking now. 

Chrisha: *chuckles* Yeah, it's interesting that they address that too, in “Tears of a Clown,” because when they went to apply for the job, Mr. Cooper explains the community that's formed there, and how it's for people that don't fit in anywhere else:

Mr. Cooper: Ran a freak show, till they outlawed ‘em most places. Apparently, displaying the deformed isn't dignified. So most of the performance went from honest work to rotting in hospitals, and the silence. That’s progress, I guess. You see, this place? It’s refuge for outcasts. Always has been. For folks that don't fit in nowhere else. But you two? You should go to school. Find a couple of girls. Have 2.5 kids, Live regular. 

Chrisha: You don't belong here. You're pretty boys that are the societal ideal of beauty, basically. Yeah, it's a really complex subject. I think … I guess I'm not quite sure how to resolve it all. Because on the one hand, yes, going into that space where everything is happy? And having these things on the wall, showing these things as being accepted there, makes sense to me on that level: That that's part of what can make a space like that happy, is just acceptance, no matter who you are, no matter what you look like. On the other hand, it's not real. And I've been wondering that about The Winchesters. Now that we really kind of know it's an AU, I have noticed, specifically, that there doesn't seem to be homophobia, there doesn't seem to be racism, there doesn't seem to be these kinds of things that are, unfortunately, so much part of our world and that Supernatural in so many ways perpetuated. And I've been wondering if this universe is sort of a Schitt’s Creek kind of universe, meaning that there just aren't those things there. 

Catherine: Yup.

Chrisha: They just aren't part of the story. They're just not there. Part of that sunk in with some of these posters. Some of it also sank in when Ada went to the witch speakeasy, essentially, and was being treated very differently and dismissed. And I was like, “Ooh, is this a racist thing?” And then I looked around the room and was like, “No.” You know? 

Catherine: No. Mm-mmm.

Chrisha: “Not that.” It's been interesting. The way is that I'm still on guard for things. And it doesn't seem to be there. And again, “Tears of a Clown” spoke to some of the sideshow things specifically, too. About having some of those things outlawed, and how that led to really negative consequences for those performers. And, you know, yeah, should we live in a society where that's not the only kind of work that those folks can get? Like, yeah! 

Catherine: Yes. 

Chrisha: That's not ideal, certainly, by any stretch of the imagination, but also recognizing it as the best option and a sea of terrible ones. And then having that removed. It's a really complicated and touchy thing. So.

Catherine: Yeah, the idea that there's not an easy resolution, because we don't live in an ideal society where everyone is accepted. So what is exploitation versus what is autonomous? 

Chrisha: Right. 

Catherine: But should people have to live this way? No, absolutely not. And I don't think there are easy answers, which is tough, right? We like to have clear yes and no stuff. And this exists in this limbo kind of space.

Chrisha: Yeah, it also seems adjacent to peace or freedom, in some ways. Different. 

Catherine: Yes.

Chrisha: But, like, adjacent. 

Catherine: Yeah. 

Chrisha: So just a lot of really difficult questions about priorities and about autonomy. And so then to go, I guess, a step beyond: Some of the posters did seem very … specific. Um … you know? 

Catherine: *laughs* Yeah. 

Chrisha: The Devil's Child one is like, “Okay, well, are we talking about Sam? Who has this history with demon’s blood? Who was the brother that tended to skew more demonic in those early seasons? Or are we talking about Jack who is the literal Devil's child?” it's gotta be referencing somebody. 

Catherine: I mean, there's the literal Devil watching his son with pride. *laughs* I'm skewing more towards Jack. I think part of the work that those signs were doing, and that the costuming was doing, was preparing us subtly for John and Mary to become a part of that space and to lose themselves in that space. I mean, I don't think it's coincidental that John's name is on a poster, in that opening scene, where the boy’s walking in and looking around the space, we see John's name in that space in that opening scene. And then Mary the whole time is wearing that ruffled collar, which echoes Limbo’s collar and kind of hints that she's going to be ending up in that space and being trapped in that reality. So I think that the signs and the costuming were doing work on that level. But then we have been seeing these drops, these hints, these teases, throughout the series of characters that we know and love who are coming back. We talked in the last episode about how Roxy's character really teased Rowena for us. We've had Crowley's name dropped now, but I think it's really interesting that we may have Jack being teased in this episode

Chrisha: We just had a character playing God named Jack. So …

Catherine: Yes. I think it's kind of a repeated theme that's coming up. And what kind of blew me away was the fact that on every poster around the circle, usually these things will say, “Live: Come see this live performance!” But all of these posters have the word alive on them.

Chrisha: I do think that was the style of circus poster at the time―unless you found something different. So it's different verbiage than we would use now.

Catherine: Okay, so this helps me. Thank you for bringing this up. Because I think this was meant to differentiate these sideshows [from] traveling oddities shows. 

Chrisha: Oh, yeah.

Catherine: Which had usually bones, or stuffed creatures, or whatever. There's a really famous one of a mermaid that I think PT Barnum had, where it's, like, half fish and half skeletal remains. It was obviously not alive. And they would also travel around, and people could go see the oddities, versus the sideshow, which was real people who are alive and breathing. And there's much more of a thrill, right?

Chrisha: Seeing real life folks versus bones. 

Catherine: Yeah! But I'm wondering what it says in the context of the show, because it was on every single poster. I mean, all of the people who were frozen in time and were part of Limbo’s troupe came back, and they were still alive at the end of the show. They didn't die when he died. And so I was wondering, in a show that finished with everybody dead that we cared about, if that might be speaking to something wider with what they want to do going into the future―if they have a future as a series.

Chrisha: Well, and interestingly, the one poster that didn't say “alive” is the Devil's Child.

Catherine: Ooooh! I didn't notice that. 

Chrisha: I'm looking through my pictures here. The sword swallower, Lady Jean, it was hard to read hers. It doesn't have that “alive” that everyone else's has?

Catherine: Okay. 

Chrisha: But it has something. There's something written there. I just can't read it. But the Devils Child is very clearly the same style as all the other posters, but does not have the “alive” thing on it. Which is fascinating to consider, considering that is the one that really directly resonates more than any of the others. Like, we can make some of the others fit, I think, if we want to, with other characters.

Catherine: Yeah.

Chrisha: But that one's real on the nose.

Catherine: Yeah! It is. And I should note, also, that the word “freak” is used in one of the posters. It's also in the opening scene, and it has different characters, and they say “alive, all alive.” So―

Chrisha: Yeah. And the word “freak” in The Winchesters was the lyrics playing in the song when John gets off the bus in the pilot? 

Catherine: Yes! 

Chrisha: So it's a callback, even within The Winchesters

Catherine: Yes, and specifically, it's:

*“I’d Love to Save the World” by Ten Years After plays* "Everywhere is freaks and hairies, dykes and fairies"

Catherine: So it's referring to people who are living outside of the cultural norms in terms of choosing to live that way, but also in terms of gender and orientation. And so I think it's interesting that that's brought up in those opening lyrics, in the opening song of the opening episode. And now we have that echoing here and there's specifically stuff about gender in the background.

Chrisha: Yeah, cause we noted those lyrics because they seemed very …

Catherine: The words are not generally accepted now. I mean, for some people, they've been reclaimed. But I mean, I found them jarring when I first heard them.

Chrisha: I was surprised to have them in a Supernatural context at all, let alone in such a critical moment. Like, we are just meeting the main character in the pilot. And that's what we've chosen. I was like, “Wow.”

Catherine: Yes.

Chrisha: So they seemed to be doing a thing there, too.

Catherine: They did. Do we want to talk a little bit more about some of those signs? Because there's one with a quarter man who's literally, in the sign, is a quarter of a man. But it has another meaning, which was told to us by ArtsyKitkat. Katie. So the term quarterman, one word instead of two, refers to a foreman in a shipbuilding yard.

Chrisha: *sighs heavily*

Catherine: In an episode about clowns.

Chrisha: Right. Shipbuilding in the clown episode.

Catherine: Ship. Building. In the clown episode, which is all about a relationship.

Chrisha: There's also one that says, “blockhead.” And I'm just like, “Is that the one that's for us?”

*Both laugh*

Catherine: I think that's the one for John, to be honest.

Chrisha: Well, that’s fair. Yeah.

Catherine: Even though he has his name on a different one. And it was interesting, because there's knife throwing included in with people like “The Headless Girl” and “The Human Skeleton.” There is a tattoo artist included in the group. 

Chrisha: Yeah.

Catherine: So there's stuff that would now be considered very normal, and back then was considered very taboo. So that speaks to the ways that we continue to Other very specific people, and groups of people, and how problematic that is. And one of the signs says that the show is “Refined, educational, and fun for young and old.” And that was a big part of the justification for these sideshows in the 1800s, early 1900s, was that they were educational for people to learn about human anatomy and differences in human biology. And I still see us doing stuff like that when you look at, like, TLC shows, right? The draw is that you're supposed to learn from these shows, and learn from the differences. But many of these shows are deeply, deeply exploitive. 

Chrisha: Yeah. 

Catherine: So that's a problem that still continues, I think, just in different venues now. Oh, I have a random parallel with Supernatural. John stuffing his face with a sandwich and moaning, “Oh, my God,” was such a Dean moment.

Chrisha: Coming back to the Supernatural parallels of it all: I had one that … You know how names will pop up and you're like, “Oh, I'll just do a quick Google search. I'm sure it's nothing. I'm sure it wasn't a big deal in Supernatural.” And then, you know, it's two hours later, and you're a mess … or is that just me?

Catherine: *wheeze laughs* No. I was up until five o'clock in the morning last night researching this friggin’ episode.

*Both laugh*

Chrisha: So at the beginning, the very first frame, basically, we see that the Carnival is called “Hugo's Midway of Fun.” And I was like, “Okay, I wonder if there's any characters named Hugo in Supernatural.” So I did a quick Google search. And there is one, and he's from Season 12. It's a ghost. And I was like, “Oh, that's interesting. Season 12. That's when Mary comes back.” It's the ghost that inhabited the house where you would hear a baby crying. And so then people would come in to find the baby.

Catherine: That was the Mary episode. 

Chrisha: Right.

Catherine: Oooh!

Chrisha: So I was like, “Oh, that's interesting.” It's one of Mary's first hunts, or whatever, when she comes back. Yeah. So then I kept looking at it some more. And this ghost, whose name was Hugo Moriarty, was different than a typical ghost, because he would trap the souls of children. And then he would get more powerful through their souls, which is very not typical ghost behavior.

Catherine: Yeah, I think we saw one other place, which was the haunted house where Bobby is a ghost. And he can see all the other ghosts and there's a head ghost who's feeding off of their souls and is controlling everybody there. I think that plays on something similar, but they explored it more here.

Chrisha: Yes. And so the other thing that Hugo could do that sort of stopped me in my tracks is that he… *pain laughs* His presence caused interference, like electromagnetic interference. It messed with Dean cell phone and the calls dropped.

Catherine: *gasps*

Mary: Hello?
Sam: Mom! Where are you?
Mary: I'm at the Chamberlain house. On a hunch.
Dean: Yeah, we salted and burned all the remains.
Mary: Yeah. Didn't work.
Dean: *his voice over the phone begins to break up* Okay, get out of the house and wait for us.
Mary: *breaking up* What? Hello?
Dean: Mom?
Mary: *breaking up* Hello?
Sam: Mom!
Dean: Let’s go.

Catherine: What? 

Chrisha: Yeah.

Catherine: Which is what happened here! It was the first time that the radios didn't work.

Chrisha: The radios didn't work. Mmmhmm.

Mary: *over walkie, with carnival music in the background* John, I found Limbo’s tent. I’m going in.
John: Uh, Mary, wait for me. I’ll be right there. *carnival music becomes spooky background music* Mary! *radio static* Mary! *radio static* Mary…

Catherine: Oooooooh.

Chrisha: He also did the light popping stuff. 

Catherine: Yaaas.

Chrisha: So―or it might have been the kid that did the light popping stuff. But either way, it was all tied to his power.

Catherine: Right. I mean, that [the Supernatural episode with Mary] really reminds me of the limbo that I was talking about from medieval Christianity, which was the limbo for the Innocents. 

Chrisha: Right. Yeah, that's a good point.

Catherine: Where children were kind of kept in perpetuity who had not been baptized, and were not allowed to enter heaven. Then this is what that guy was doing. He was trapping the children. And if I recall correctly, it's because he lost his daughter?

Chrisha: Right.

Catherine: In some sort of accident and went crazy, walled himself up in the house, died, and then stayed there, like, coveting the children of other families. Right?

Chrisha: Right. Yeah. So Mary gets possessed by Hugo and attacks Sam and Dean, and then she is able to break through the possession because of her love for Sam and Dean. But it's also in this episode at the end that she leaves the Bunker.

Catherine: *gasps*

Chrisha: That she says she wants to go out on her own. 

Catherine: I was so mad at her for that. I still am. 

Chrisha: And, coincidentally, if we're really going to get out our red string? As if this isn't bad enough―*laughing* as if this wasn’t already down far enough? The other half of that episode, the other plotline going on, is Cas and Crowley working together to manage Lucifer when he's in Vince. And they do that by going to talk to Rowena. 

Catherine: HAAA! *laughs*

Chrisha: So I'm like, “Cool, cool cool cool.” 

Catherine: And she just wants to survive.

Chrisha: Right! And she says no, because she's just trying to survive. ‘Cause Lucifer already killed her once. So…

Catherine: Oh my word. *laughs*

Chrisha: Yeah, and then even―I know. I just sat there like, “Yeah.” Late last night, just staring at the ceiling. Like, “What even is this show? I am at 3 seconds into this episode. It has now been 20 minutes. What is my life?”

Catherine: *losing it laughing* Uh-huh.

Chrisha: *sighs deeply* Yeah, and then I also looked at the latest victim: the kid, who first of all walks into the carnival after hours saying, “I didn't come here to talk. I came here to have a good time.” Which is, like, Dean Winchester, if ever I've heard it. But his name was Wally Gorman. And I looked up “Wally.” And there's one Wally from Supernatural, also from Season 12. It's the hunter that worked with Mary when she was working for the British Men of Letters. He specifically turned them down. But then they went to Ramiel to steal the spear. And he died on that hunt with Mary, because Mary wasn't being honest. That's also the one where Cas nearly died and said “I love you” for the first time. “I love you. I love all of you.” So … does it mean anything? I don't know. But I did two random Google searches up front and they both came to Mary season 12. Cas episodes.

Catherine: Which were limited.

Chrisha: So.

Catherine: And one had Rowena and one had “I love you.” Okay. Okay. *bursts out laughing*

Chrisha: There was no Jerome for Jerome Hoskins, which is Limbo’s real name. I looked for him. I did not find a Jerome. 

Catherine: Okay. 

Chrisha: Certainly a Clarence, though. We got one of those for sure. So the names … seem to have threads. 

Catherine: Wow. The meta. Just layers and layers and layers and layers and layers and layers and layers. And reflections and reflections and reflections and reflections and reflections and reflections.

Chrisha: There's a lot. Yes. So, you know, there's also a parallel even within the episode, which I found really interesting, which is: We talked about the way that using your soul as the cost of gaining dark magic, how that we've seen that play out 11 bajillion times in Supernatural. We had Ada doing that within this episode, but it was also described that that's what Limbo did as well. So Jerome Hoskins, when he went to the occultist, he had to trade his soul for this limbo state that's being frozen happy. 

Catherine: Wow. Yes, he did.

Lata: 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. 

Chrisha: So, we talked about the time-period parallel: That both Jerome and the speakeasy time period had a similar look. And then what Ada was doing is also the same as what Jerome did before becoming Limbo. So, we got to see right within this episode that selling your soul is unsustainable and doesn't work, just in case we didn't know that from the 12 examples in Supernatural. Cause we gotta get one in there for the new kids, you know? 

Catherine: *laughing* Yeah. Yep, yep. Yep. It's good that they're doing that: mindful of both of their audiences. 

Chrisha: Right.

Oh, my goodness. Wow. I'm just thinking, too, about how in both the Loki episode with the mirror, and in this episode with the mirrors, it was Carlos being really raw and honest and taking risks emotionally and with his self that broke the spells. And I wonder if we're looking at this theme of misdirection and funhouse-mirror effects, and things not being quite right, if there's some sort of parallel that they might be making―

Chrisha: Yeah.

Catherine: ―with the importance of honesty. And I mean, I guess that's―that's literally what Dean talks about in his narrative!

Chrisha: It is! Yeah.

Catherine: Like, “No, you can't lie to yourself.” And Carlos refuses to do that. He's the one character who has been really raw and honest and vulnerable for pretty much this whole journey. Even the stuff that he was guarded about, it wasn't really a secret. It was just something that he wasn't focusing on at the beginning. And now he's focusing on more as he's doing his healing journey.

Chrisha: Yeah, I think that they've shown over and over that being authentic, being real, being in touch with your emotions, taking care of yourself emotionally? Those are things that are protective. It has literally protected against monsters. It's protective of relationships, it's protective of the person. It's important as a hunter.

Catherine: Yes. Which is a wildly different kind of hunter identity than what we've known.

Chrisha: And, well, so in that vein of the funhouse mirror and things not being quite right, one other thing that I think it's important to point out in terms of parallels is in “Tears of a Clown” from Supernatural? That's where we see the Roadhouse for the first time: the Roadhouse which is in heaven and the finale, which feels off. 

Catherine: Ooof! Ooof, oof, oof! ‘Cause it's empty, like, there's nothing―it's hollow. The people who were part of it weren't there.

Chrisha: Yeah, so the fact that this was the first episode where we meet the Roadhouse and the Roadhouse crew felt … wow. I don't know, felt significant with all of the other misdirection, funhouse-mirror kind of stuff? Yeesh.

Catherine: They could be taking this in some pretty remarkable places. But I say that, and even as those words leave my mouth, I get anxious. 

Chrisha: I know.

Catherine: Because I've had high hopes before, and they were dashed. 

Chrisha: Yeah, this is not our 15:19 episode, friends. *laughs*

Catherine: No.

Chrisha: *laughing* This is very different. Where, like, I don't know, we see a bunch of stuff, but that doesn't mean anything. 

*Both laugh*

Chrisha: Could be something; could be nothing. Probably nothing. I dunno. Trust nothing. Have no hope. 

*Both laughing harder*

Chrisha: Yeah, we've been through some stuff at this point, huh?

Catherine: Yeah, we sure have. It's been a ride. That's for sure. 

*Both continue to laugh*

Chrisha: Yeah. So: What's gonna happen next week? I dunno!

Catherine: Yeah, it's gonna happen tomorrow. Yikes!

Chrisha: Oh, yeah. I have a couple of Ada comments I wanted to make. A couple things that popped up in the Ada storyline that I thought were interesting. So, one of them is that we are specifically told that Samuel and Ada are off searching for magic to kill the Akrida queen. And then we are also told that they split up. So I was curious why we were given that information. Because it could have just been Ada went off to―I don't know. I just thought it was like, “Okay, that's very specific.” Ada’s magic? When she is at the speakeasy she describes it as:

Ada: *over music* Seed of nightshade, tended under the full moon. 

Chrisha: And nightshade is a poison that is often referred to as Devil’s Berries. 

Catherine: No! 

Chrisha: So, that's two devil references, one in each storyline. 

Catherine: Oh, no! *pain laughs* 

Chrisha: So it's like, “Mmkay.” And this one's a stretch, but like, hey, that's what we do here, right? When Ada walks up and the witches are playing cards, one of them loses and says, 

Witch: *over lead witch laughing* Sorry, but that's all the adders’ fork I can part with.
Lead Witch: *mockingly* Awwww.
Witch: This witch is out.

Chrisha: And adders’ fork: It's a snaky ingredient.

Catherine: Yes, like a forked tongue of the snake.

Chrisha: Right, right. And so it's referenced in “Double, double, Toil and Trouble” from Macbeth. Not quite sure what to do with that. But as I'm just reading through descriptions, it's commonly called the trout lily, which is a small plant with delicate purple or yellow flowers that is beloved by honeybees. *laughs* Like, okay. 

Catherine: Oh, also, do you remember the rainbow trout, Chrisha?

Chrisha: Yeah, I do. But yeah, anything with honey bees, I'm always like, “Okay.” 

Catherine: I'm sorry, but it's a thing that has to do with rainbow trout, which was a Cas thing, and then also honey bees, which was a Cas thing. 

Chrisha: Yes. So.

Catherine: *bursts out laughing* *wheezes* What?

Chrisha: Small things that just make me go, “Okay.” 

Catherine: *pained sound*

Chrisha: But I mean, the fact that the witches know about the Akrida and find the Akrida to be inevitable, I thought was an interesting commentary on witches. I mean, they are very based in their own survival. So, “Let’s just find a coven and survive.” 

Catherine: Yep. 

Chrisha: But they left the door open for Rowena, certainly. The “So much I can teach you.”

Catherine: *chuckles* Yes. 

Chrisha: We may see her again.

Catherine: We may. And I was so bummed out, because I was like, “Magic is maybe different in this world. Maybe it's a good thing.” And then we have all these witches and I was like, “No, no, it's not. It's not a good thing.”

Chrisha: Not necessarily, no. 

Catherine: No, those were not nice Samantha Stevens witches.

Chrisha: No, she definitely reminded me of Olivette, who was the Grand Coven head that got turned into a hamster?

Catherine: The only thing I remember about her now is that she was really cute hamster.

*Both laugh*

Catherine: I don’t remember anything about the way she looked or acted or anything.

Chrisha: Yeah, visually, I think she was similar to the snarky, elitist witch in this episode.

Catherine: Okay.

Chrisha: So I thought it was kind of a cool callback there. 

Catherine: Yeah. 

Chrisha: Rowena has always had trouble with authority and seems to have trouble with authority and every universe. So.

Catherine: Yep. *laughs* That's a lot. I'm just like, “You had me at Macbeth.” *laughs* That's where that classic “double, double, toil and trouble―

Chrisha: Right.

Catherine: “―fire burn and cauldron bubble” thing comes from. That's iconic witches’ stuff right there. 

Chrisha: Yep. Yep. One last thing. 

Catherine: Yes. 

Chrisha: Which is the line when Mary walks in at the very beginning, opening scene, and throws the picture of Dean down on the bed and says:

Mary: Another day looking for this Mystery Man, and still nothing. It’s like this guy's a ghost.

Catherine: *chortles*

Chrisha: No. Stop it. And John's like, “We're gonna find that guy. I know it!” And I'm like, “You damn well better, buddy. You damn well better. Get on it. I have needs.”

Catherine: *giggling* Oh my goodness. The Weird Sisters from Macbeth? They're sometimes called the Wayward Sisters. 

Chrisha: Shut up. 

Catherine: *cracking up* According to Wikipedia, they’re sometimes called the Wayward Sisters. I just looked it up, and I’m dying. 

Chrisha: What.

Catherine: *laughing*

Chrisha: This show.

Catherine: This show! My God. Wha―How, what, when, where? How is this possible? Also, I just wanted to look it up. I thought I remembered this. Shakespeare’s witches are prophets who greet Macbeth early in the play and predict his future. So there's that sense again of destiny―

Chrisha: Yeah.

Catherine: ―or freewill? 

Chrisha: Interesting.

Catherine: And I believe that is one of the central themes of Macbeth. It's been a while since I've read it: over a decade. But yeah, prophetic witches … Good Lord!

Chrisha: Yep. Shall we transition into music? 

Catherine: Right. So Philip White was in charge of the music this week. I love his style. It's different from Jay Gruska’s. But I think it's very evocative and cool. The opening song in the speakeasy: It's actually a modern song, called “The Viper” by Paul Lenart and Billy Novick. It’s from 2010, and the album is called Dixieland: New Orleans Jazz.

*Excerpt from song plays: it has a very slinky feel to it, with a brass band taking center stage in terms of sound*

Catherine: So I liked that they have that hint of New Orleans in there, since even though the show is primarily located in Lawrence, Kansas, it's filmed in New Orleans, which is pretty cool. 

Chrisha: Yeah.

Catherine: I thought the entire show was going to be based in New Orleans. 

Chrisha: Yeah?

Catherine: I was confused at the beginning. But it's not. So, “Everybody Loves a Clown” is actually played in this episode. It's when the Monster Club goes to the carnival for the first time, that song plays. So it's the title of Season 2, Episode 2 of Supernatural, “Everybody Loves a Clown.” But it actually plays in this episode. It's by Gary Lewis and The Playboys. The lyrics are talking about a guy who tries to be funny to get someone's attention. So it says:

*Gary Lewis and The Playboys’ “Everybody Loves a Clown” plays* “Everybody loves a clown, so why don’t you? Everybody laughs at the things that I say and do. They all laugh when they see me coming, but you don’t laugh―you just go home running. Everybody loves a clown, so why can’t you? A clown has feelings too.”

Catherine: And it's all about being in love. 

Chrisha: Right.

*song resumes* “If you wonder why this clown is crying? Look a little closer: inside I’m dying. It’s not easy to be in love, you see, when you’re a clown like me. I don’t know how to say that I love you.

Catherine: This entire song reminds me of Dean's ethos. He acts the part of the clown a lot. Not a literal clown, obviously, but sort of like the class clown. The clown of the group.

Chrisha: Oh, yeah, he's always making jokes, cracking jokes.

Catherine: Yup.

Chrisha: That's his defense mechanism.

Catherine: And it literally says, “You would smile and say, ‘Tell a joke or two.’” 

Chrisha: Yeah. 

Catherine: So like the entire song is a Dean song from the perspective of someone who doesn't know how to get the attention of the person they love and doesn't know how to say, “I love you.” Doesn't know how to say, “I love you,” after Cas said, “I love you,” and Dean― *laughs*

Chrisha: Yeah, it's fascinating. Because within this song, the person is saying, “I don't know how to say I love you, because you'll just want me to tell a joke.” They don't reciprocate, or they wouldn't acknowledge it. And so it certainly makes me wonder … We can all get in our head, if given enough time. So if there's been a stretch of time between the confession and where Dean is now, is he starting to talk himself out of what happened or out of what's real? I do that. Something happens, and it's huge. And I know how I'm feeling about it. And then with enough time, I'm like, “Maybe I don't. Maybe you didn't.” You know, like, “Maybe it wasn't what I thought it was.” Like, we can just, like, get in our head about it. So―

Catherine: Yes.

Chrisha: ―Dean lives in his head. Dean is very good at talking himself out of positive things, I would say.

Catherine: Yes, he is. I could see Dean being like, “Oh, he meant it as a brother.” *burst into laughter*

Chrisha: Jensen even said that! I don't think I remembered to tell you this one.

Catherine: No! 

Chrisha: At JIB, he was asked how Dean would respond to seeing Cas. What that reunion would look like. And he said:

Jensen: You know, I believe we’ll get to see that at some point. *gasps and cheers from crowd* But I'm sure it would go how … how we all think it would go. It would probably be a … a big embrace. And then Dean would say, “Can we talk about that goodbye a little bit?” *laughter and cheers* I’m kidding. He would―he’d just be like, *in a silly, overly enthusiastic voice* “Hey, buddy! How’s it going? Good to see you, old pal!” *crowd titters*

*Both laugh*

Chrisha: And I was―

Catherine: *laughing* I don't want him to do that! That’s the thing I don't want him to do!

Chrisha: But like, it was so obvious that it would have been an awkward, terrified-of-intimacy, defense mechanism. Like, the way that he played it, it was obviously masking something. So I―

Catherine: *laughs* Okay!

Chrisha: ―laughed a lot.

Catherine: I mean, that is totally what Dean would do. Gah. He talked about that, huh? 

Chrisha: Mmmhmmm. “Can we talk about that goodbye a little,” and then the next episode is called “Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye.” Not that I overanalyze every word that comes out of his mouth.

Catherine: This man is an enigma, wrapped in a riddle … stuffed inside a closet. 

Chrisha: *chuckles*

Catherine: And definitely that song as a Dean song to me. 

Chrisha: Yeah.

Catherine: The next one―which is not in the episode, but is the title of this episode―is “The Tears of a Clown,” which is by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles. These wild names: “Gary Lewis and The Playboys” and “Smokey Robinson and The Miracles.” This one is about love lost. Do you have thoughts, Chrisha? 

*Both laugh*

Chrisha: A couple.

Catherine: Okay, you go ahead. 

Chrisha: Yeah, so it's saying:

*Smokey Robinson and The Miracles’ “The Tears of a Clown” plays* “Now, if there’s a smile on my face, it’s only there trying to fool the public. But when it comes down to fooling you? Now, honey, that’s quite a different subject.”

Chrisha: Isn't it just? Cas always calls him on his, “I'm fine.”

Catherine: He does.

*song continues* “But don’t let my glad expression give you the wrong impression: Really I’m sad. I’m sadder than sad. You’re gone, and I’m hurting so bad. Like a clown, I pretend to be glad.”

Chrisha: And it says later”

*song continues* “Now if I appear to be carefree, it’s only to camouflage my sadness. In order to shield my pride, I try to cover this hurt with a show of gladness.”

Chrisha: It’s like Dean all over. He can be devastatingly hurt and is going to put on a show. But this is saying it's putting on a specific show of, “I've lost you. I'm devastated. But I'm trying to pretend like I'm not.”

Catherine: I think that really speaks into that pie scene, which is very carnivalesque, honestly―the pie scene in the finale where Dean goes in and is like, “This is my destiny.”

Chrisha: Oh, my god! That's a whole tie-in I forgot about. *pained sound* Those are―

Catherine: Yeah. 

Chrisha: ―something I talked about the night of and then forgot. Yeah, the whole tie through. 

Catherine: Please speak to that. 

Chrisha: Well, yeah, they go to the pie festival to avoid dealing with their grief over all of these people they've lost. 

Catherine: Yep. 

Chrisha: The mimepires, that's where they run into them. So it ultimately leads to Dean's death. 

Catherine: Yep.

Chrisha: Going to this pie festival to avoid dealing with grief, to “Don't be a friggin’ Eeyore.” So, like, toxic positivity of the highest order literally got him killed. And what's funny―

Catherine: Good Lord! 

Chrisha: ―is that we specifically linked the lighting in that scene to the lighting in “Peace of Mind.” That was part of the questioning of, “Is this real?”

Catherine: Yes. 

Chrisha: “Because it doesn't feel right.”

Catherine: That really, really overly bright, highly, highly saturated―which is just not the typical light for Supernatural.

Chrisha: No. And it was a festival, which is, to your point, very similar to a carnival. So yeah, the theme is absolutely there. The through line is there that… Ah, they are doing a thing! 

Catherine: Yep. What does it say? “I camouflage my sadness. And cover my hurt with a show of gladness.” All I can think of is that pie festival scene. 

Chrisha: Yep. 

Catherine: “Everything's fine. Don't be an Eeyore.” 

Chrisha: They have to honor Cas’ sacrifice by going on living, though them being dead in the same episode is fine. 

Catherine: Yep. 

Chrisha: Oh, so many things wrong. And that all ties into the theme of this episode, which is that you have to feel your feelings, or else bad things will happen. And―

Catherine: Yeah. 

Chrisha: ―that's what happened to Dean. 

Catherine: It'll destroy you and the people around you. 

Chrisha: Yeah, that's what happens to John. In many ways, it's what happens to Mary―at least in her initial death. She really tried to pretend that all of those bad things didn't happen. That the hunter life wasn't real, which is why she's tapping a light going like, “Oh, what's going on?” instead of―

Catherine: *snorts*

Chrisha: *sighs* ―getting the weapons that should be under the bed. That avoidance of reality, that avoidance of trauma, kills within the context of Supernatural. Just the through lines, the layers, the complexity, is just wild.

*song continues* “Don’t let the smile I wear make you think that I don’t care. Really, I’m sad … hurting so bad.”

Catherine: Oh, my goodness. *laughs*

Chrisha: Yup. I mean, it certainly seems like again― Not that I'm going to hope for anything, ‘cause I'm not. But they're talking about the finale a lot.

Catherine: They are. Like, the finale of Supernatural. Yeah, I think, you know, I'm going into this one with low expectations.

Chrisha: Very. 

Catherine: In some ways, I think this episode, weirdly, set me up for low expectations. *laughs* As we’ve been doing all of this analysis and going, “AHHHHH!” The show itself, like, the surface narrative aims to really set things up to be a continuation. And they're not going to resolve things in the finale. The finale, I think, is going to be a big reveal. And then a cliff-drop moment at the end, where we don't know what's going to happen, or what's going on, and then they're going to f***ing cancel it. 

*Both pain laugh*

Catherine: Cause that's the way things go in this fandom. *pain noise*

Chrisha: Well, glad to know you have that positive thinking happening. 

Catherine: Yep. *laughs*

Chrisha: Yeah.

Catherine: I mean, I know that there's toxic negativity, but―

Chrisha: I genuinely don't even know what to expect. I don't know how to even have … I just don't even know. I'm just kind of vibin’, like, “Okay, I guess we'll see.”

Catherine: Story-wise, they're setting things up for a second arc. They're setting Ada up for a second arc. I don't think they're going to resolve that in one episode, especially teasing Rowena coming back to instruct her further, I think that they're setting her up for an arc for Season 2. There just wasn't enough resolved for me in this episode to think that they're going to resolve stuff in the next episode? I will be mad if Dean comes back in the last two minutes of the episode, and that's all we get. I will be friggin’ mad. *laughs* Because we deserve more than two minutes of Dean Winchester. We already got two minutes. It wasn't enough. Give us more. Give us an episode with Dean Winchester popping in and out, like, please. But I don't … I don't think that's going to happen. I think it's going to be all about stopping the Akrida, and the big rush to stop the Akrida. And then there's going to be Dean stepping in at the last minute, or some other big cliffhanger moment that's not going to be resolved. That's where I think it's gonna go. I don't know the specifics. But that's my feeling. Just because I've seen so many series do that, where they're like, “We're gonna end with a cliffhanger so they have to pick us up for another season.” And it doesn't happen. They did that with Timeless. They've done that with so many shows, so many shows. And they just never get picked up. And the execs, like, they don't care. So my expectations are kind of in the basement in terms of, I think there's going to be some really cool moments, but it's going to leave us going, “Whyyyyy? Why!?”

Chrisha: I have no idea.

Catherine: You're wiser.

Chrisha: I think Dean’s going to be in the finale. I have no expectations around that. It's just gonna be what it is. I don't know if it's like, protective feature or what, but I'm just like, “I don't know, I guess we'll see.”

Catherine: I don't know, Chrisha. I don't know. 

Chrisha: We’ll just have to see.

Catherine: Well, just over 24 hours from now, we will know. I can't believe you're this chill. Are you really this chill? 

Chrisha: Yeah, I can't have expectations this time. I just can't. It'll be what it is. I mean, I think I trust the process a little bit more this time, but not to think that there's going to be something grand. I think that this time, I'm just a little bit better informed about how it all works. 

Catherine: Yes.

Chrisha: And so it's not about, like, trusting … Like, last time we were like, “Oh, we trust Dabb.” Well. It's not about trusting one dude. There's just so many things that go into it, that―

Catherine: Yeah.

Chrisha: ―I'm just like, “I don't know. I guess it'll be what it is.” No, I really am this chill. It's a defense mechanism, I'm sure, but I appreciate it. Thanks brain!

Catherine: No thank you’s to Catherine's brain. Just, zero thank yous. *makes disgusted sound* I am tied up in knots about it. Well, we will wrap it there, perhaps? Perchance? Okay, this has been epic. Good Lord. You can message us and stay up to date with the latest on our Twitter page, which is @TheFangirlBiz, that's B-I-Zed or B-I-Zee, depending on where you live in the world. As always, you can also join our Ko-fi at the bottom tier for $1/month and be part of our Discord group. We will see you again 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


Catherine: I had to memorize that when I was a kid. I remember parts of it: “Fillet of a fenny snake in the cauldron boil and bake. For a spell of powerful trouble, like a hellfire, burn and bubble.” Very fun stuff.