I’m halfway through season 8 and one thing I’ve noticed is that it seems like the Winchesters are traveling to other tv shows.
It started with s08e12 “As Time Goes By”:
This episode introduces into the Supernatural pool more than another Winchester Grandpa, but introduces the Men of Letters. The Men of Letters, heretofore unmentioned because they were exterminated in 1958, were a missing component to the Supernatural universe: they were wizards. Prior to this season, there have been Anti-Christs, Psychics, and Witches, but never full-on Harry Potter wizards. The the Men of Letters are Mad Men meets Gandalf. Henry Winchester even gathers components for a spell including a feather of an angel and the sands of time. And where does he get these? From a magic store.
I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy it, but it feels like a late expansion to the universe that feels forced because they’ve never been mentioned before. And let’s not even get started that a Letter Man can travel through time, a feat only observed from an angel prior to this season. The implications that humans can be potentially on par with angels for mystical juice is pretty staggering. Basically, the Men of Letters are a completely different tv show that the Winchesters just kind of wander in to and then take their Bat-cave.
Then there’s s08e13 “Everybody Hates Hitler”:
This is an episode the feels like a full-blown spin-off. First, it introduces another expansion to the Supernatural universe by first establishing mystical warfare in World War 2, and then showing that there’s been another secret organization of immortal Nazi wizards (the Thule) roaming around the world. No one has heard about them, nor the “Judah Initiative” which was a program created in World War 2 to fight them.
This feels a lot like Hellboy.
What makes this feel truly like a spinoff is the odd couple of Aaron Bass, grandson of one of the Judah Initiative, and the Golem, the super powered muscle. Aaron was supposed to be a Rabbi, trained in Judaic magic, so that he could pair up with the Golem and fight the Thule. Instead (oh no!) he’s a laid-back drug-user who rejected his destiny, and ended up completely unready to take up the duties thrust upon him, and the Golem (a very conservative Golem) is very upset with him. Hilarity and adventures ensue!
They defeat the Thule, but there remains a bunch more, so Aaron and Golem ride off into the sunset to fight crime together in their new tv show, which I assume will just be called Judah Initiative or Stoned Men.
Finally, there’s my favorite, s08e15 “Man’s Best Friend with Benefits” but is really the pilot for a show I called Witch Cop & Dog Girl.
More than the previous two, this episode clearly takes place in another universe. There’s a large community of witches (like a city full of them), first of all, something that I believe could never happen in the super hostile hunter heavy Supernatural universe. Secondly, these witches aren’t Supernatural witches.
It was established early on that witches were people who made deals with demons, basically in exchange for supernatural powers. There’s that aspect, but what’s weird is that there’s just a rather functional part of witchcraft, I’m referring to hex bags here, that anyone can make (see them teaching Kevin Tran). I think what we’re seeing is a division of two different kinds of witchcraft. There’s the hex bags, which can be made by anyone, and then there’s telekinesis and reality warping, which is done through demon boosting.
Anyway, these other witches are something else entirely. There’s no mention of demons. And they suddenly have a never before mentioned part of having “familiars”, which are creatures that bond to them permanently and can be either human or animal depending on how they feel at any given moment.
Enter Witch-Cop! He fights crime with his secret powers of witchcraft. And with him is his familiar, who turns into a dog, and is also his girlfriend! Together they face down evil witches and corrupt cops!
This one is painfully noticeably a spinoff because it opens with the Winchesters talking about how they knew, and liked this guy. I checked and he’s never been mentioned before season 8. They find out he’s a witch, and naturally they want to kill him (witches in Supernatural are pretty bad), but then discover a world of wtiches that’s more like Charmed or Lost Girl. Anyway, they beat the bad guys (the Winchesters might as well have never even been in this episode) and then Witch Cop and his sidekick, Dog Girl, ride off into the sunset like David Banner at the end of The Hulk.
I’m not mad. These are pretty fun episodes, but they clearly don’t fit in to things. And Dean & Sam act weird in them. Like in s08e12, Dean is super hostile and aggressive, highlighting his thuggishness to contrast Henry’s super nerd sensibilities. Then in s08e15, Dean is super gung-ho about killing their friend, and completely and utterly clueless about witches.
And no one, of the people they come across, mention the Apocalypse. Because it happened. Three seasons ago. I don’t need a full recap or anything, but seriously, someone should be like, “Oh crap, it’s those guys.” I also don’t care about them as much as I care about the Winchesters, and when the Winchester Bros get sidelined, so does my interest in what’s going on.
Personally, I speculate that after the events of “The French Mistake”, the Winchesters actually never returned to their original universe, but instead to one very similar. That explains their ignorance about things, and the radical changes to the universe. The fact that they haven’t caught on is interesting, but clearly the universe they’re in is close enough that it hasn’t aroused their suspicions.