15.10 The Heroes' Journey

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Title The Heroes' Journey
Episode # Season 15, Episode 10
First aired January 23, 2020
Directed by John F. Showalter
Written by Andrew Dabb
On IMDB The Heroes' Journey
Outline While trying to help Garth, Sam and Dean realize that Chuck has "downgraded" them, making the normal mundane things in their lives more difficult.
Monster Shapeshifter
Location(s) Lebanon, Kansas
Grantsburg, Wisconsin
Belgrade, Minnesota
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In a cage fight, a woman is beating her male opponent as a motley-looking crowd cheers. Almost defeated, the man transforms into a werewolf and scratches the woman. The spectators begin to let their assorted monster sides show. The woman reveals she’s a wraith, scratching and stabbing him with her spike before leaving him for dead on the floor.

At a local convenience store, Dean is shopping and as the cashier is ringing him up, he bites into a candy bar and it hurts his teeth. After swiping his credit card numerous times, Dean is told that the card is declined, causing Teddy, the cashier, to take Dean’s purchases and his partially eaten candy bar back. Dean storms out to the car, only to almost get run over by a teenager on a skateboard and see he has gotten a parking ticket.

Meanwhile at the Bunker, Sam and Dean's dinner is burning in the oven. In a panic, Sam burns his hands twice while taking the food out of the oven and the pot off the stove, spilling pasta and shattering plates. Returning, Dean calls out to Sam, who trips walking up the steps into the War Room. Dean relays what happened as Sam starts to sneeze: he’s getting sick. Dean can't understand why the credit card was declined, as it was a gift from Charlie, who hacked it so they would always have funds and no longer have to hustle for money. As they continue talking about what a weird day it is, Dean gets a call from Garth asking for help.

On the way to Garth’s, Dean states that he believes them to be cursed. Sam assures Dean whatever is going on, they’ll deal... Then the Impala breaks down and the boys have to get out and walk.

Garth is feeding his twin boys when they arrive. Sam warns him off the hug because he’s sick. Dean breaks the hug when Garth tells him he smells good. He takes them to meet his family: his daughter Gertie, and the twins Sam and Castiel. Garth and Bess take Sam and Dean upstairs to show them Bess's cousin Brad, who was found by the police in Minnesota, beaten, bloodied with stab wounds, and left for dead. Dean asks about the slash mark on his arm, which Bess reveals to have come from a wraith. While they wait for Brad to regain consciousness, Garth notices Dean’s teeth are hurting after he takes a bite from some candy in Gertie's room. He takes him downstairs, where he reveals to Dean his dentist's office. Garth reminds Dean that he was going to school for dentistry before he fell into hunting after killing the Tooth Fairy; after he was turned into a werewolf and retired, he went back to school to get his degree and is the dentist for the local werewolves. After giving Dean a look over, Garth informs him that he has seventeen cavities, and knocks Dean out to fill them. In the kitchen, Bess gives Sam her dad’s secret cure for colds. Unfortunately, it’s mostly cayenne pepper, which causes Sam to roll around and cry in pain. This causes the babies to cry as well. While under the effects of nitrous oxide, Dean dreams about tap dancing in the Bunker with Garth.

Garth brings Dean upstairs with his mouth numbed and full of gauze, and asks who they pissed off. Sam replies “God.” Learning that God is a writer and Sam and Dean are the heroes of His story, Garth speculates that as heroes they have never had to worry about the mundane, but now they are experiencing life as "normal."

When Brad finally wakes, Sam asks for information, and the werewolf scoffs at his puppy dog eyes. Bess presses on one of his wounds, and Brad tells them exactly where the fights are held -- Belgrade, Minnesota. He tells the Winchesters he thinks they’ll be killed going there. Bess responds by pressing into his wound again.

Garth wants to go with the Winchesters, but Sam and Dean tell him he has too much to lose with his family. Besides, it doesn’t matter that it will be harder in their current condition, with all those monsters in one place, people are dying and it’s their job to save them. Garth gives them a new set of spark plugs to fix Baby and they head out.

The next day, they arrive at the warehouse in Belgrade. Dean is eating his seventh grilled cheese sandwich, while Sam says they need to be prepared for anything. He loads up with weapons and ammunition while Dean joyfully takes the grenade launcher.

Inside the warehouse is seemingly empty. Sam trips again and Dean’s grilled cheeses are causing him to run for a bathroom. While he is throwing up, Sam calls out to suggest that Dean may be lactose intolerant now. In the bathroom, someone comes in and aims the grenade launcher at Dean, who continues to throw up. Sam and Dean are locked in the cage while Cutty, a shapeshifter and ring leader of the fight club, says that they will fight together to take on a huge vampire named Maul in the cage that night.

A promo for the night's fights plays, including the Mighty Maul against the “Merciless Winchesters.” Meanwhile, the Winchesters are locked in cages, nervous about their situation. Dean finds a nail and tries to pick the lock, but can’t. When Sam attempts to use it, he finds he can’t either. Dean gives a rousing speech trying to restore Sam's confidence. At the end of the fight between Killer Wraith vs. Jamaica Djinn, Cutty comes to get them, telling them to take off their shirts, only to find the cages empty.

In flashbacks, we see Garth infiltrated the building along with the crowd and saved them. As they are fleeing, Garth reveals he has placed C4 around the warehouse and blows it up, killing all the monsters except for Maul, who walks out of the warehouse badly burned by the explosion.

Maul walks towards Sam, Dean, and Garth. Garth "wolfs out", but is immediately hit by Maul and sent flying into the back of a truck, knocking him out. As Maul advances on them, Dean asks Sam if he believed him that they could win. Sam says, “No,” and Dean agrees. The Winchesters attempt to fight Maul, with Dean getting kneed in the crotch for his efforts. Sam's attempts to fight are shown to be futile as well, with Maul offering a free punch, which does not faze him. As Maul puts Dean in a choke hold, Dean quickly taps out; much to his confusion, Maul releases him. After he tells the Winchesters it's been "fun", he is cleaved in the head with a machete from behind by Garth, who gleefully announces that Maul got "Garth'd."

The next day, Sam is holding baby Sam and Dean is holding baby Castiel. Baby Castiel shows his werewolf eyes and poops in Dean’s arms, causing him to pass the baby back to Bess, who gives them more grilled cheese sandwiches for the road.

Garth walks them out and they say their goodbyes, with Sam and Dean both hugging Garth. They declare him a hero. He tells them he learned from the best. Before they leave, Garth tells them about a place he’s heard of where you can go if you’re having bad luck, located on the road between Barrow and Kotzebue in Alaska.

As they’re leaving, Dean look back one last time to see Garth and Bess dance as “Werewolves of London” plays. Sam and Dean watch happily for awhile before Dean says he thinks he could have been a good dancer. Sam agrees because Dean was awesome at the Macarena.

In the Impala, Sam and Dean discuss how in their current state they might accidentally kill each other and won't be able to fight Chuck, so they decide to go to Alaska to get their luck back.

As they drive off, Baby breaks down once again and Dean exclaims, “Son of a Bitch!”




  • "Clair de Lune" by Claude Debussy
(plays over the end of the werewolf / wraith cage fight; also played in 8.14 Trial and Error)
  • "Let's Misbehave" by Irving Aaronson
(playing in Dean's nitrous oxide-induced dream)
  • "Chopperhead" by Thomas Bergersen (Two Steps from Hell)
(plays over the Monday Monster Mayhem! promo)
  • "Werewolves of London" by Warren Zevon
(playing as Sam and Dean are leaving Garth's; also played in 10.04 Paper Moon)


Dean: Still a hugger, huh?

Garth: You know it. You smell so good.

Dean: And we're done.
Garth: I mean, apparently Dean's never been to a dentist before, and suddenly he's got a mouthful of cavities, you're sick, and your car is broken down. Who did you guys piss off?
Sam: God.
Garth: See, the hero never sweats the small stuff. It slows down the story.

Dean: So, then, what happened? Chuck... downgraded us?
Garth: Maybe, yeah. And now you're --
Dean: Cursed. C-Cursed. Cursed.

Garth: No -- normal. For the first time in your lives, you're having normal-people problems. You need to get a colonoscopy, stat.
Dean: Hey, look, just because God yanked the magic horseshoe out of our ass or whatever doesn't mean that we're gonna give up. This is our job. It's what we do. And, yeah, it might be a little harder right now, but so what? Bring it.
Sam: What he said.
Sam: Dude, if Garth was right, if we're really normal now, we can't just charge in there guns blazing. We need to be ready for anything.
Dean: Well, I guess we'd need a grenade launcher. Hey, sweetheart.
Dean: You sure about that? 'Cause if you know us, you know the stories. See, me and my brother here, we've taken down way bigger fellas than, uh, Meredith here. We've killed angels, killed demons, Gods, and Alphas. So why don't you do yourself a favor -- cut your losses, let us walk out that door before we burn this craphole to the ground.
Dean: No way. Wait. After everything, there's no way that Chuck lets us die like this.

Sam: Or he does, to -- I don't know -- to teach us a lesson. Or maybe we just end up paralyzed.

Dean: No, we gotta win. We gotta win, man. That's not gonna be easy, okay? But you and me? Not everything we did was because of Chuck. It was us -- the blood, the sweat, the tears, man. That's us. We've been doing this our whole lives. We're the best in the world. So I say we go out there. I say we go out there, and we kick some ass.
Dean: You are so strong.

Garth: Let's roll.

Dean: So strong.
Dean: This Cas keeps looking at me weird.
Sam: So kind of like the real Cas.
Sam: Hey, listen, Garth, I just want to say, what -- what you did --

Garth: Ah. It was nothing.
Dean: Nothing? You saved us and blew up a bunch of monsters. That's not nothing. That's --
Dean: That's being a hero.

Garth: I guess I learned from the best.
Dean: So... What now?

Sam: I don't know. Garth's right -- stuff like that, there's always a downside. And being normal...
Dean: Is fine. For normal people with normal problems. But you and me? There's zero about our lives that's normal. And the way things are going, if we don't fix this, we might kill each other by accident.
Sam: Yeah.
Dean: And if -- when Chuck comes back, we can't go up against Him like this.
Sam: So, uh... Alaska?

Dean: Alaska.

Trivia & References

The episode title is a reference to Joseph Campbell's concept of the "hero's journey" from his book The Hero of a Thousand Faces, which outlined a fundamental structure to many myths from different cultures. Creator Eric Kripke has said he was strongly influenced by these ideas when developing Supernatural. In a tweet on the day of the series finale, Kripke shared early notes for the series that included him explaining how the novel inspired him and why the "search for dad" story couldn't last for years, "So... I went for the most CLASSIC structure possible. Hero's Journey." Tommy Collins can also be seen reading The Hero of a Thousand Faces in 1.02 Wendigo.
The score for the episode by Jay Gruska was heavily influenced by the work of film composer Dave Grusin.
"Claire de Lune" by Claude DeBussy plays over the opening werewolf/wraith fight, with the calmness of the music juxtaposing the violence being shown. Clair de Lune is French for "moonlight".
Dean goes shopping at "Berens' Kwik Trip," which is a reference to Charlie Berens and the comedy video series Manitowoc Minute. Production Designer Jerry Wanek is a fan of the show, and is also from Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
Dean: No. No, no, no. This is -- This is more than just a no good, very bad day, okay? Chuck must've boned us before he left, you know? Or maybe some of that crap you brought back from Rowena's went sideways.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is a classic children's book by Judith Viorst about a little boy having a day where everything goes wrong.
Garth: Oh, no, no, no. I want to be the guest star. Being the hero sucks. I mean, sure, you'll probably win eventually, but until you do, your life blows. Your parents get gunned down in an alleyway. Your home planet gets blown up. You, uh, interview this good-looking rich guy, and it doesn't go well, so he shows up at the hardware store where you work, and, man, it starts to get, you know...

Bess: It's from, uh -- We love "Fifty Shades".

Bruce Wayne's parents were murdered in an alleyway, which lead to Bruce becoming Batman to fight crime. Clark Kent was sent from his home planet, Krypton, before it blew up to Earth where he became known as Superman. "Fifty Shades" is a reference to the popular BDSM-themed romance "Fifty Shades of Grey" by E.L. James. The novel was originally written as a fanfic about the characters in the "Twilight" novels.
Garth: The point is, the hero thing -- it's not fun. Well, I mean, there are some good things about it. Like, uh, when was the last time that Batman got a flat tire? Or Superman couldn't pay his water bill?

Bess: Or the power goes out in the Red Room?

The Red Room is the room in "Fifty Shades of Grey" where the titular Mr. Grey holds his BDSM sessions.
Dean: Isolated, run-down -- yep, that'll do Monster Bloodsport. This should be perfect.
Bloodsport is a 1988 martial arts film starring Jean-Claude Van Damme.
Sam: Welcome to Fight Club.
Fight Club is a 1999 movie about two men who start a club in a bar's basement where men can fight recreationally.
Dean: Garth! Hey! Hey, what are you doing? We gotta get outta here before the Monster Squad shows up!

Garth: I've already got a plan.
Sam: What?
Garth: The Monster Squad were the good guys. We're the Monster Squad.

The Monster Squad is a 1988 comedy horror about a group of kids who call themselves the Monster Squad who try to save their hometown from Dracula, the Gill-man, the Mummy, Frankenstein's monster (who later becomes their ally), and the Wolfman.
Garth: The guy who told me said it was in Alaska, on the road between Barrow and Kotzebue. He said, "You'll know it when you see it", whatever that means. Look, it might not even be real, and you know this stuff works. There's always a catch. And being normal -- I mean, maybe you'll get used to it.
There are no roads between Barrow (now known as the City of Utqiagvik) and Kotzebue. The only way to travel between the two is via airplane. Barrow was also the setting for the horror comic 30 Days of Night, about vampires who descend on the town during the month-long darkness.
Dean: Bring it on Madison!
Madison was the name of the werewolf Sam and Dean encountered, and Sam slept with, in 2.17 Heart
Maul releases Dean from the headlock after Dean taps out, in combat sports this is known as "respecting the tap."
Dean: Hey, you know what? You don't smell too bad yourself.

Garth: Thanks. It's Hai Karate.

Hai Karate was a budget aftershave sold from the 1960s through to the 1980s.
Dean: You know, I always thought I could be a good dancer if I wanted to be.

Sam: Well, you were awesome at the Macarena.

The Macarena was a dance craze from the mid-1990s.


Jensen did "three hours of lessons, of tap dancing lessons and ended up doing this whole maybe a minute and a half, minute 45 second tap dance routine on the show.” He said "“I think I must’ve done 18 different takes,” Ackles said. “I was like, ‘No, I missed that one step. Let’s do it again.’ I’m not usually like that. I pride myself on knocking it out in one take for most things. This, I was like, it was out of my comfort zone and I wasn’t going to settle. I kept dancing, kept dancing, kept dancing. I must’ve burned 10,000 calories that afternoon.”
According to choreographer Gordon Hart, Jensen and DJ Qualls learned their tap dance routine in an hour. He also said:
"In watching the episode in its entirety, vulnerability is a theme. Dancing can make people feel very vulnerable. This was represented by Dean being vulnerable to Garth. In this dream, Garth invites him into this uncomfortable world. Dances with him until Dean is ready to take it on his own. Again ... my personal thoughts. Vulnerability, trust, friendship. Having friends/family help and support you through uncomfortable times until you are back on your feet and can go it on your own. Things I thought about."
Jesse Hutch, who played Brad, previously played Jason / Crewcut in 9.02 Devil May Care. Jesse was also originally cast as the role of Rich in 1.07 Hook Man, but he was replaced apparently for being "too nice".
Joe Allard, who played the Monday Monster Mayhem! announcer, previously played Elf #1 in 6.09 Clap Your Hands If You Believe...
While pie does not appear in the episode, the magazine Dean attempted to buy from the Kwik Trip was titled Delicious Pies and was the winner of 2019's Best Pie Magazine Award. Like actual pie, Dean was denied his magazine about pie.
It's revealed that Charlie Bradbury created a limitless credit card for the Winchesters to pay for their purchases so that they would no longer have to hustle for money. This must've been the original Charlie, as Dean says he has had the card for five years.
Garth had described in 8.06 Southern Comfort that he went to college and dental school until he killed the Tooth Fairy and that was what lead him into hunting. He tells Dean that when he retired from hunting, he went back to school and finished his degree.
Garth: Well, what's that make me? A supporting character? Special guest star?
DJ Qualls was in fact a "Special Guest Star" for this episode. This is presumably supposed to be a meta reference to Garth's role as both a supporting character and a special guest star.
Brad: Wow. I mean, wow. With the furrowed brow and the puppy eyes -- did you see that? That never actually works for you, does it?
A reference to Sam's famous Puppy Dog Eyes. Without God's influence, they apparently no longer work.
Brad: They pay to watch it. They livestream it on the Dark Web or whatever.
Sam and Dean previously discovered that most monsters use the Dark Web in 13.11 Breakdown to purchase their meals and stay off the radar.
Sam and Dean's pictures in the promo for their fight are their mugshots from 2.19 Folsom Prison Blues.
When Dean gives Sam his speech about the two of them kicking ass in the fight, a slightly off-key version of the track "Americana" (also known as "Dean's Family Dedication Theme") plays behind his words.

Sides, Scripts & Transcripts