15.10 The Heroes' Journey

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SPN-1510.jpg
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
Vampire
Timeline
Location(s) Lebanon, Kansas
Grantsburg, Wisconsin
Belgrade, Minnesota
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Synopsis

In a cage fight, a woman is easily beating her male opponent as the crowd of monsters cheer. Almost defeated, the man transforms into a werewolf out and scratches the woman. She responds by revealing she’s a wraith, scratching and stabbing him with her spike. Leaving him for dead on the floor.

In a local quick mart, Dean is shopping and as the cashier is ringing him up, he bites into a candy bar and it hurts his teeth. Then his credit 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 see he’s gotten a parking ticket.

Meanwhile at the Bunker, supper is burning. Sam gets hurt while taking food out of the oven and the pot off the stove, spilling pasta. Returning, Dean calls out “Sammy,” who trips walking up the steps to the War Room. Dean relays what happened as Sam starts to sneeze. He’s getting sick. The declined card was a gift from Charlie, it’s always supposed to work. They talk about how this is odd. When Garth calls. He needs their help.

On the way to Garth’s, Dean calls them cursed. Sam says they’ll deal… then Baby stalls. They get out and walk.

Garth is feeding his messy twin boys when they arrive, one he calls Sammy. Sam warns him off the hug because he’s sick. But Dean has no excuse. Dean breaks the hug when Garth says he smells good. Then he takes them to meet his family. Gertie his daughter. Sam, named after Sam…. and Castiel.

Then, he takes them upstairs to see the werewolf from the earlier fight. It’s Bess’s cousin. He’s alive, barely.

Garth notices Dean’s teeth are hurting. So he takes him downstairs to his dentist’s chair in the basement. Turns out, he went back to school to get his degree and is the dentist for the local werewolves.

Garth informs Dean he has 17 cavities and knocks Dean out to fill them. While under the effects of the gas, Dean dreams about tap dancing in the Bunker with Garth.

In the kitchen, Bess gives Sam her dad’s secret cure for colds. Sam reluctantly drinks. Unfortunately, it’s mostly cayenne pepper. Which causes Sam to roll around and cry in pain, even licking his sleeve. This causes the babies to cry as well.

Garth brings Dean up with his mouth full of gauze and numbed, so he’s unable to talk. Sam is better. Garth asks what’s going on, who did they upset. Sam replies “God.” They basically come to the conclusion that heroes never worry about the small stuff, but now Sam and Dean do.

The werewolf wakes up and they go upstairs. Sam asks for information, and the werewolf scoffs at his puppy dog eyes. Bess tortures him for it. The werewolf tells them exactly the fighting ring is, he thinks they’ll be instantly killed.

Garth wants to go with the Winchesters, but Sam and Dean tell him he has too much to lose. 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 the plugs to fix Baby and they head out.

The next day, they arrive at the warehouse in Belgrade, MN. Dean is eating his 7th grill cheese. And Sam says they need to be prepared for anything. Dean joyfully takes the grenade launcher.

Inside the warehouse is seemingly empty. Sam trips and Dean’s grilled cheeses are causing him to run for a bathroom. While he is throwing up, the cage fighting ring leader grabs the grenade launcher and threatens Dean.

Sam and Dean are locked in the cage while Cuddy, a shifter and ring leader, says that they will together take on a huge vampire named Maul in the ring that night.

There is a promo for the fights, including Maul and the “Merciless Winchesters,” who are currently locked in cages nervous about their situation. Dean finds a nail and tries to pick the lock, but can’t. Sam can’t either. Dean gives a rousing speech trying to restore confidence. Then it’s their turn. Cuddy comes to get them, telling them to take off their shirts only to find the cages empty.

In flashbacks, we see Garth infiltrated with the crowd and saved them. As they are fleeing, Garth reveals he has placed C4 around the warehouse and blows it up.

Maul survives and walks through a hole blown in the wall. He immediately hits Garth, sending him flying and 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. But they fight him, hilariously, until Garth is able to come from behind and kill him. Garth declaring, “You’ve been Garthed.”

The next day, the 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.

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

As they’re leaving, Dean looks back one last time to see Garth and Bess dance as “Werewolf in 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.

Once in Baby, they decide to go to Alaska to get their luck back, worried about accidentally killing each other in their current state or being able to fight Chuck.

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

Characters

Definitions

Music

  • "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)

Quotes

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 got a mouthful of cavities, you're sick, and your car is broken down.

Who did you guys piss off?

Sam: God.
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.
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.
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 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: Wait. After everything, there's no way that Chuck lets us die like this. Or he does, to I don't know to teach us a lesson. Or maybe we just end up paralyzed. 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: 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 That's being a hero
Dean: So What now? Is fine.

Sam: I don't know. Garth's right stuff like that, there's always a downside. And being normal --
Dean: 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. And if -- when Chuck comes back, we can't go up against him like this. 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 this when developing the series. Tommy Collins can be seen reading The Hero of a Thousand Faces in 1.02 Wendigo.
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. It's from, uh --

Bess: 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.
Dean: 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, and the Wolfman.
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.
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: 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.

Minutiae

Jesse Hutch, who played Brad, previously played Jason / Crewcut in 9.02 Devil May Care.
Joe Allard, who played the Monday Monster Mayhem! announcer, previously played Elf #1 in 6.09 Clap Your Hands If You Believe...
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."
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.
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

Promotion

Interviews