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Changing Channels

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Title Changing Channels
Series Supernatural
Season 5
Episode 8
Written by Jeremy Carver
Directed by Charles Beeson
Guests Richard Speight Jr.
Previous episode The Curious Case of Dean Winchester
Next episode The Real Ghostbusters
Episode list Season 5

Changing Channels is the 8th episode of Season 5. It aired on November 5th, 2009.


Sam and Dean are thrown into an alternate universe where they become characters in various TV shows, including a medical series, a Japanese game show, a forensics procedural and a sitcom. Castiel warns them that if they don't find a way out soon, they will become trapped inside forever.

Plot Edit

Sam and Dean investigate a death where a woman swears her husband was killed by the Incredible Hulk. They soon work out that they are dealing with the Trickster, but he manages to lure them into a trap and plant them into a series of TV shows including Dr. Sexy, MD, a hospital drama of which Dean is a fan, a Japanese game show, an ad for Herpexia, and a sitcom.

Castiel manages to appear at one point, revealing that he had spent days searching for them but is banished before he could return them to the real world. When he reappears, bloodied and bruised, he reveals that he thinks it may be something more powerful than the -Trickster - who appears and again banishes him. The Trickster says he is trying to drive home the lesson that they must play their roles as Michael and Lucifer's vessels and finish the apocalypse even though it will destroy the Earth. Dean tries to find out which side the Trickster is on, but he denies he is allied with either Heaven or Hell. When he says that the Tricksters is most likely working for one side, the Trickster gets angry and demands that the boys accept their destiny or he will keep them in the TV world forever.

Sam and Dean next soon themselves in a procedural cop show. They think they spot the Trickster disguised as a CSU investigator, whom Dean stabs in the heart with a stake. However, a nearby beat cop starts laughing and morphs into the Trickster, but the boys had themselves pulled a trick, as Sam impales him from behind with a larger stake. But, while it momentarily appears things are back to normal, when Sam appears to have been transformed into the Impala, it is obvious they aren't out. They've merely changed channels again. As they drive down a road, they consider everything that's happened, from the Trickster recognizing Castiel to how angry he got when Dean mentioned Michael and Lucifer.

Finally, acting on a hunch, Dean decides to set a trap by feigning surrender to the Trickster. After getting him to restore Sam to human form, Dean questions why the stake didn't kill him. The Trickster attempt to deflect that he tricked them, Dean doesn't believe him, as Sam sets fire to a ring of holy oil and entraps the Trickster. "Maybe you've always been an angel." The Trickster attempts to deny it, but Dean dares him to step out of the holy fire. The Trickster hesitates and returns them to the real world. He asks where he slipped up. Sam says that no one ambushes Castiel like he did and Dean adds that the way he talked about Armageddon is like talking from personal experience, like the angels are his family. They then demand know who he really is. The Trickster reveals himself to be the Archangel Gabriel. Gabriel reveals he left Heaven and took on his disguise as the Trickster because he couldn't bear his father - God - and his brothers - Lucifer, Michael, and the other angels - fighting. He says that Sam and Dean are destined to be the vessels, because they mirror the relationship between Michael and Lucifer. Dean is like Michael - the loyal son obeying the absent father - and Sam is like Lucifer - the rebellious son. He says it has always been predestined.

Dean gets Gabriel to bring Castiel back by threatening to use holy fire on his vessel. As the trio turn to leave, Gabriel asks if they intend to leave him trapped. Dean turns around and says no, explaining that they don't screw with people the way he does. Dean goes on and says the Apocalypse isn't about an ultimate match between his brothers or a destiny that can't be stopped, it's about him being too afraid to stand up to his family. Dean then hits the warehouse's fire alarm, setting off the sprinklers to extinguish the holy fire.

Major Characters Edit

Featured Supernatural BeingEdit

Featured Music Edit

  • "Move You" - Anya Marina
  • "Not A Through Street" - Anya Marina
  • "Something Real" - Renee Stahl
  • "Love To See You Happy (Livin' my Life)" - Robbi Spencer (during Dr Sexy show)
  • "Supernatural Sitcom Theme Song"

Continuity Edit

Notes Edit

  • Antagonist: The Trickster/Gabriel
  • Steve Bacic (Stargate SG-1, Andromeda, Flash Gordon) plays Dr. Sexy in the medical drama.
  • Hiro Kanagawa (Smallville and Caprica) plays the host in the Japanese game show.
  • The Japanese game show segment is similar to a Saturday Night Live skit in which Chris Farley plays a stereotypically dressed American tourist who accidentally ends up on a game show while visiting Japan with his wife. Like Dean, Farley frantically claimed that he didn't speak Japanese, yet miraculously answered a question correctly when facing harsh physical consequences if he answered wrong.
  • The medical drama is a parody of Grey's Anatomy, which also shows Thursdays at 9pm on ABC.
  • The Winchester Brothers' sunglasses-fiddling antics and successive one-liners in the crime investigative drama segment parody CSI: Miami's Horatio Caine character to hilarious effect.
  • The last TV show they parodied was the 1982 version of Knight Rider.
  • The repeated use of the word "Doctor" in the Dr. Sexy segment references the 1985 movie Spies Like Us where in one scene, a group of doctors refer to each other as "Doctor."
  • Dean reveals that he hates procedural cop shows because they are always the same. 
  • The "ghost character" Dean was referring to in Dr. Sexy, MD was parody of the "ghost character," Denny Duquette in Grey's Anatomy who was portrayed by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, the actor who plays the boys' father, John Winchester.

Quotes Edit

[At the start of the episode]
Dean (voice over): "Supernatural is filmed before a live studio audience."
Dean: "I'm gonna need a bigger mouth."
Sitcom Opening Lyrics:
Town to town, two-lane roads
Family biz, two hunting bros -
Living the lie, just to get byyyyyy
As long as we're movin' forward
There's nothing we can't do
Together, we'll face the day
You and I won't run awaaaaay
When the demons come out to plaaaay
Together, we'll face the day!
Sam: "Okay, um, I need a... penknife, some dental floss, a sewing needle, and a fifth of whiskey!" [notices nurses are staring at each other in confusion] "Stat!"
Sam: "So what one are you, Grumpy, Sneezy, or Douchey?"
Gabriel: "Gabriel. They call me Gabriel."
Gabriel: "You do not know my family. What you guys call the Apocalypse, I used to call Sunday dinner!"
Dean: [notices doctor's footwear, slams him against the wall] "You're not Dr. Sexy!"
Dr. Sexy: "You're crazy."
Dean: "Really? Because I swore a part of what makes Dr. Sexy sexy is the fact that he wears cowboy boots. Not tennis shoes!"
Sam: "Yeah, you're not a fan..."
Dean: "It's guilty pleasure!"
Gabriel: [after sending Castiel away] "Relax, he'll live ... Maybe."
Dean: "Calm down? I'm wearing sunglasses at night! You know who does that? No-talent douchebags! I hate this game! I hate that we're in a procedural cop show, and you want to know why? Because I hate procedural cop shows! There's like three hundred of them on television, they're all the freakin' same. It's like, 'ohh, plane crashed here' -- oh SHUT UP!"
[During the CSI spoof]
Dean: "What do we got?"
Forensics guy: "Well, aside from the ligature marks around his neck, he has what appears to be a roll of quarters jammed down his throat."
[Sam and Dean take their sunglasses off]
Sam: "Well I say... 'Jackpot.'"
Forensics guy: [laughs] "Also, there is a stab wound to the lower abdomen."
Dean: [puts his sunglasses back on] "Well I say... 'No Guts, No Glory.'"
[Forensics guy laughs again]
Sam: [also puts sunglasses back on] "Get that guy a... Tums."
Dean: "Gutter ball..."
Sam: "...I have genital herpes."
Castiel: "Hello, Gabriel."
Gabriel: "Hey, bro. How's the search for daddy going? Let me guess: Awful."

External links Edit

IMDB page for this episode

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