Recap / Supernatural S 04 E 18 The Monster At The End Of This Book

Recap of Supernatural
Season 4, Episode 18

The Monster At The End Of This Book

Written by Julie Siege.

Directed by Mike Rohl.

Air Date: April 2, 2009.

Not to be confused with the book it was named after.

While investigating a haunting, Sam and Dean discover that their lives were written down as a series of books, titled Supernatural. They find and confront the writer of the books, Chuck Shurley, only to find that he is a prophet of God. Chuck gives them a copy of his latest work and, upon finding out that Sam is going to sleep with Lilith, the brothers do their best to prevent his prophecy from coming true.

Body count

For this episode = Everybody Lives.

For the series so far = At least 304 humans (of which 5 were witches), 28 ghosts, 22 demons, 10 vampires, 6 changelings, 3 gods, 3 shapeshifters, 3 zombies, 2 angels, 2 werewolves, 2 dogs, 1 crocotta, 1 djinn, 1 rakshasa, 1 rawhead, 1 reaper, 1 rugaru, 1 shtriga, 1 siren, and 1 wendigo.


Tropes

  • A God Am I: Chuck's reaction to finding out Sam and Dean are real. He concludes he must be a Jerkass God for all the (in Dean's case, literal) hell he's put them through.
  • The Alcoholic: Chuck drinks a lot, especially when stressed out.
  • Angel Unaware: Chuck has been having visions and writing down the lives of Sam and Dean without knowing that he is a prophet predicting the future. At least, until they show up on his doorstep...
  • Author Avatar: Chuck, as the Author Avatar of Eric Kripke, comments on the writing of the Supernatural books and starts a round of Conversational Troping.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Dean is hit by a minivan and, no, Chuck, he doesn't look terrible.
  • Big Damn Heroes: "I am the Prophet...Chuck!"
  • Blessed With Chuck:note  Chuck's visions start with a headache that's so painful he drinks himself unconscious. He's an alcoholic now. And at the end of the episode, he's still getting visions of the Winchesters and their suffering. Only now he knows it's all true, and all he can do is write it down.
  • Brain Bleach: Sam and Dean do not respond well to learning that, in addition to Sam-girls and Dean-girls, there are slash fans. As in Sam/Dean.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall/Leaning on the Fourth Wall
  • Conversational Troping
  • Contemptible Cover: As perhaps a nod to the female fans, the cover of the Supernatural books feature shirtless hunks.
  • Could Say It, But...: After being pressured by Dean to help save Sam, Cas explains to Dean how prophets are protected by archangels, in order to explain why he can't help.
  • Cultured Badass: Sam gives Dean another surprised look as per "Sex and Violence" (S04, E14).
    Chuck: It's very Vonnegut.
    Dean: Slaughterhouse-Five-Vonnegut or Cat's Cradle-Vonnegut?
  • Cult Classic: The Supernatural books are an In-Universe example.
  • Cut Short: The publisher for Supernatural went bankrupt before finishing the series. The last book published was No Rest For The Wicked.
  • Deal with the Devil: Lilith offers to stop breaking seals in return for Sam and Dean's deaths.
  • Discontinuity Nod: Chuck is ashamed about writing "Bugs" and "Red Sky at Morning", two of the show's unpopular episodes.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Sci-Fi: Averted. Lilith tells Sam that the dentist she's wearing "wants it, real bad", reminding him that sex with her would be raping the woman she's possessing. Sam never intended to go through with it anyway.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Chuck gets a headache, drinks a lot, falls asleep, dreams of the future, wakes up, and writes.
  • Embarrassing Tattoo: Where exactly did the publisher have her tattoo? Might qualify as a Sexy Discretion Shot depending on the answer, given it's implied she took off her panties before showing them.
  • Exposition of Immortality: After finding out that Chuck is a prophet of God, Dean turns to Castiel and asks, "Seriously? Him? A prophet?" Cas' response? "You should've seen Luke."
  • Everybody Lives: One of the rare instances of this trope in the show.
  • Facial Dialogue: Lampshaded like other writing tropes. "Sam turned his back on Dean, his face brooding and pensive."
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: Dean's Rousing Speech to Chuck doesn't work. That's OK—threats do.
  • Foregone Conclusion/You Can't Fight Fate: Dean's attempts to go against what Chuck foresaw keep backfiring until the end.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Lilith tries to play on this trope. Chuck also decides to kill himself to avert the Apocalypse.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: Well, Chuck can, but the angels will simply bring him back to life.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Sam seems to accept the deal with Lilith, but quickly tries to stab her when about to seal it.
  • Loophole Abuse: How Dean manages to prevent Lilith from killing Sam: bringing Chuck with him.note 
  • Manipulative Bitch: Lilith tries her hand at persuading Sam to make a deal with her: no more broken seals in exchange for the deaths of himself and his brother. But, alas, Sam is wise to her double-dealing ways, thanks to Bela, and tries to double-cross her first.
  • Mind Screw: "I'm sitting in a laundromat, reading about myself, sitting in a laundromat, reading about myself. My head hurts."
  • Mood Whiplash
  • The Nth Doctor: When Dean finds out that Chuck has made a prophecy that Sam and Lilith will have sex, he protests that Lilith is (or at least wears) a little girl. Chuck says that this time she's possessing a "comely dental hygienist from Bloomington." Well, good, 'cause that could have made a certain scene that much creepier.
  • No Sell: Lilith to Sam's powers (even though he could kill Alastair with them only two episodes ago) but also Sam to Lilith's.
  • No-Tell Motel: The Toreador Motel.
  • Not So Different: When Sam hesitates to take her deal, Lilith slyly suggests that she and Sam are more alike than he would like because they both have demon blood coursing through their veins. This provokes the desired response in Sam, who tries to prove it's not true by going along with her deal. Or so it seems.
  • Oh Crap! There Are Fanfics of Us...
  • Prayer Is a Last Resort: Unable to convince Sam not to take on Lilith, Dean prays for help from Cas.
  • One of Us: In-Universe: Sam and Dean have to prove to Chuck's publisher that they are true Supernatural fans before she gives them his real name.
  • Prophet Eyes: Just so the audience knows it's her, Lilith rolls her eyes white when she comes to Sam and Dean's motel room. She does it again when she's pulling Sam down on top of her.
  • Purple Prose: "Fiery demonic passion."
  • Recursive Canon: The Supernatural books.
  • Scarpia Ultimatum: Turns out that deals made with Lilith have to be sealed with sex rather than the usual kiss. Sam doesn't seem all that willing and we don't know how Lilith's host feels about the situation (Lilith says she "wants it bad," but she's not exactly a reliable source), but Lilith coerces Sam into doing it anyway in order to stop the seal-breaking. Except he doesn't, he's just trying to get close enough to stab her with Ruby's knife.
  • Self-Deprecation:
    • Chuck mentions that he didn't include Sam drinking demon blood in his books, since he thought it would make the character too unsympathetic.
    Come on man, sucking blood? You've gotta know that's wrong.
    • Author Avatar Chuck also mentions that he didn't include the part about him being a prophet because he felt that inserting himself into his own narrative as a prophet would just be douchey.
    • One reviewer notes that the plot line about Deans' Deal with the Devil was "trite and cliched".
    • After accepting that they're real, Chuck immediately apologizes to Sam and Dean for the bugs and the ghost ship, saying there's no excuse to put people through "bad writing". Bugs and Bad Day At Black Rock are two of Eric Kripke's least favorite episodes.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Everything Dean does to try and avoid Chuck's prophecies leads to them coming true.
  • Ship Sinking: Sam and Dean's disgusted reactions to discovering fanfiction pairings of the two of them sink Wincest. To the surprise of only the most hardcore shippers since, considering how most people view incest, Wincest was a ship that was never gonna sail on The CW.
  • Shout-Out: Chuck's pen name is Carver Edlund, a combination of the names of show writers Jeremy Carver and Ben Edlund. Furthermore, he lives in Kripke's Hollow, a nod to Eric Kripke, creator of the show.
    • Chuck's first thought when Sam and Dean start losing patience is a couple of rabid fans are about to go all Misery on him.
    • As mentioned at the top, the title of this episode is copied word-for-word from a famous Sesame Street children's book.
  • Sick and Wrong: Dean's reaction to the Wincest fans.
  • Special Person, Normal Name: Lampshaded.
    Chuck: I am the prophet Chuck!
  • Summon Bigger Fish: Dean tries getting an Archangel to kill Lilith.
  • Stylistic Suck: Well, it is a first draft.
  • Take That!: "Writing yourself in as a prophet? That's like, M. Night-level doucheyness."
    • Take That, Audience!: The brothers' disapproval of the Wincest shippers. Dean also comments that "For fans, they sure do complain a lot".
    • Take That Me: Carver describes his writing as trite... and pointlessly cruel to the characters.
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That:
    Sam: Stop it!
    Dean: [reading] "Stop it!" Sam said. Guess what you do next? [Sam turns his back on Dean] Sam turned his back on Dean.
  • Villains Never Lie: Averted.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: What happened to the original case Sam and Dean were investigating?
  • What the Hell, Hero?: "Sucking blood, you gotta know that's wrong."
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: Chuck, unwitting Prophet of the Lord.
  • Worst Aid: Dean is knocked unconscious when hit by the minivan, but wakes up to a woman merely apologizing for hitting him and telling him he's going to be okay. He then gets up and wanders away from her, which she seems fine with. No one attempts to stabilize his spine, no one appears to have called an ambulance, and no one seems interested in monitoring the pedestrian who was hit by a vehicle for signs of concussion, internal bleeding, or any other unseen injury. To top it all off, these idiots allowed their young daughter to stick band-aids onto the face of an unconscious man, disregarding any further injury that might be caused by her disturbing the position of his body or the possibility of him waking up confused and reacting badly to her ministrations.
  • You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: A Running Gag, including a simultaneous one from Chuck and Dean when Cas drops his bombshell.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Clever Lilith, knowing how much Sam loathes her, invokes this trope to manipulate Sam into accepting her deal when he hesitates.
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