4.18 The Monster at the End of This Book

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4-18 The Monster At The End Of The Book promo Pic.jpg
Title The Monster at the End of This Book
Episode # Season 4, Episode 18
First aired April 2, 2009
Directed by Mike Rohl
Written by Teleplay:
Julie Siege
Story:
Julie Siege
Nancy Weiner
On IMDB The Monster at the End of This Book
Outline Sam and Dean meet a writer who has visions about their lives.
Monster Lilith
Timeline
Location(s) Kripke's Hollow
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Synopsis

While investigating a haunting, a comic shop proprietor assumes Sam and Dean are in a role playing game. He shows them a series of books called Supernatural by Carver Edlund.

The boys are shocked to find that the books document their life over the past four years. They discover an online fandom - with both Sam Girls and Dean Girls and Slash fans - and track down the woman responsible for publishing the books. She is wary of them until they reveal their extensive 'knowledge' of the characters, and that they even have tattoos like the characters in the books. The publisher reveals the books were written under a pseudonym by Chuck Shurley. Chuck Shurley is astonished to be confronted by his "creations." he reveals the stories comes to him in visions. His latest vision has revealed that Lilith will visit Sam, and that they will have a night of "fiery demonic passion".

While Sam seems keen to confront Lilith, Dean thinks they should avoid her by doing the opposite of everything Chuck has foreseen.

While hiding out in a motel room surrounded by hex bags to hide him from Lilith, Sam asks Chuck if he knows about him drinking demon blood, which he does, and he confronts Sam about why he is doing it.

Meanwhile Dean is trying to avoid doing what Chuck foretold, but the events keep coming to pass whatever he does. Dean accuses Chuck of withholding information and attacks him, but is stopped by Castiel who reveals Chuck is a prophet of God, who is protected by an archangel and that his books will one day be known as the Winchester Gospels.

Dean returns to the motel, to find Sam has burned the hex bags, so that Lilith will find him. Frustrated Dean threatens to leave, but changes his mind and just storms out into the parking lot. Desperate, Dean starts to pray and Castiel appears. Castiel gives Dean information on how to stop Lilith, revealing that Chuck is protected by an archangel who will intervene if Chuck is threatened. By putting Chuck in the same room with Lilith, the archangel appears and Lilith flees.

Following the confrontation with Lilith, Zachariah appears to Chuck after he has another vision. While it is not revealed what Chuck saw, he wants to warn Sam and Dean, but Zachariah tells him not to. Chuck threatens to kill himself, but Zachariah says they will only bring him back to life. In despair, Chuck asks what he should do. Zachariah replies "Do what you always do. Write".

Characters

Definitions

Music

  • "Leave All This Behind" by Sonny Ellis
(plays while Sam and Dean discuss Lilith in the diner)

Dean confirms his two favorite songs are "Ramble On" and "Traveling Riverside Blues", both tunes performed by Led Zeppelin. (The latter was originally made famous by Robert Johnson.)

Quotes

Comic Book Shop Guy: You're asking questions like the building's haunted. Like those guys from the books. What are they called? Uh... "Supernatural." Two guys, use fake IDs with rock aliases, hunt down ghosts, demons, vampires. What are their names? Uh... Steve and Dirk? Uh, Sal and Dane?

Sam: Sam and Dean?

Comic Book Shop Guy: That's it!
Dean: There's actually fans. Not many of them, but still.... For fans, they sure do complain a lot.
Chuck: I'm a god. A cruel, cruel, capricious god. The things I put you through. The physical beatings alone!
Castiel: (to Dean about Chuck) You should have seen Luke.
Dean: Behave yourself, would you? No homework, watch some porn.
Zachariah: Where are you going?

Chuck: To go kill myself.
Zachariah: Don't be melodramatic, Chuck. We'd only bring you back to life.
Chuck: So what am I supposed to do?

Zachariah: What you always do. Write.

Trivia & References

Nancy Weiner — a writer's assistant on the show — came up with the idea for the episode. Kripke talked about the process of developing the episode at Comic Con 2009 (Source).
The title of this episode is a reference to the Sesame Street tie-in book The Monster at the End of This Book: Starring Lovable, Furry Old Grover. The book features Grover trying to stop the reader from reaching the end of the book, where he knows there is a monster. Finally, the monster at the end of the book is Grover himself.
The boys use the aliases of FBI Agents DeYoung and Shaw. Dennis DeYoung and Tommy Shaw are members of the rock band Styx.
The comic book shop guy mistakes Sam and Dean for LARPers — people involved in a Live action role-playing game.
The title sequence for the episode featured a montage of images from covers of the Supernatural books featured in the episode and ended with a title card "Supernatural by Carver Edlund."
Dean: Everything is in here, from the racist truck to me having sex. I'm full frontal in here, dude.
The book Dean is reading relates the events of 1.13 Route 666.
The idea of Supernatural being a fictional construct is an example of breaking the fourth wall. Many of the references here, (e.g. the boys crying a lot, the books having a small readership, and the references to the fan base) are of course referring to the TV series.
Carver Edlund, the pen name used by Chuck Shurley, is an amalgam of the names of Supernatural writers Jeremy Carver and Ben Edlund. At one point he asks Sam and Dean if "Phil put them up to it," possibly referring to co-executive producer and director Philip Sgriccia.
The list of book titles matches the list of episode titles: "Supernatural", "Wendigo", "Phantom Traveler", "Bloody Mary", "Skin", "Hookman", "Bugs", "Home", "Asylum", "Scarecrow", "Faith", "Route 666", "Nightmare", "The Benders", "Shadow", "Salvation", "Bloodlust", "Croatoan", "Heart", "Sin City", "Fresh Blood", "Mystery Spot", "Jus in Bello" and "No Rest for the Wicked."
Chuck: Is this some kind of Misery thing?
In the Stephen King novel Misery, writer Paul Sheldon is held captive, tortured and forced to write for his 'number one fan' Annie Wilkes.
The now-bankrupt publisher of the Supernatural books was "Flying Wiccan Press: Publishers of Quality Science Fiction and Graphic Novels."
Dr. Sexy M.D. is mentioned by the publisher as one of the reasons the Supernatural books went out of print. This is on of the TV shows featured in 5.08 Changing Channels.
The cover of the Supernatural book features a character strikingly similar to Fabio, who became famous as a model on the cover of romance novels.
SPNFront.jpg
Fabio.jpg

Dean: Although Simpatico says the demon storylines are trite, cliched and overall craptastic...
Simpatico is the name of a poster on the Television Without Pity message boards.
In Chuck Shurley's house there are framed copies of the covers of the real Supernatural comics Origins #3 and #4.
Dean: There's Sam Girls and Dean Girls and...What's a slash fan?

Sam: As in Sam slash Dean, together.
Dean: Like together, together? They do know we are brothers right?
Sam: Doesn't seem to matter.
Dean: Well that's just sick!

Sam Girls and Dean Girls are fans dedicated to one or other of the brothers.
Slash fanfiction is stories written by fans depicting characters in a same-sex romantic and/or sexual relationship. In the Supernatural fandom, Sam/Dean is known as Wincest.
While not named in the episode, the publisher's name was Sera Seige, named after writers Julie Siege and Sera Gamble - as mentioned in this interview by Sera Gamble.
Sam and Dean reveal their anti-possession tattoos to the publisher to demonstrate they are real fans, and she reveals her own. In an interview with Firefox News in March 2008 Sera Gamble said "I'll be convinced we're truly a cult hit when a fan gets the same tattoo." Many fans already had!
Chuck: It's very Vonnegut.

Dean: Slaughterhouse Five-Vonnegut or Cat's Cradle-Vonnegut?
Sam: What?
Chuck: It's Kilgore Trout-Vonnegut. I wrote myself into it. I wrote myself, in my house, confronted by my characters.

Kurt Vonnegut was an American writer. In his book Breakfast of Champions, he wrote himself into the book, as well as a recurring character called Kilgore Trout (a science fiction writer based on the real writer Theodore Sturgeon), who confronts the author character.
When an author writes her/himself into a story, it is known as self-insertion. A particular form of this in fanfiction is the Mary Sue.
Chuck referred to his book about the "bugs" (1.08 Bugs) and "ghost ship" (3.06 Red Sky at Morning) as "simply bad writing." Eric Kripke himself said that the episodes in question was one of their weaker episodes of season three in the Supernatural: The Official Companion Season 3.
Chuck:That's like M. Night-Level douchiness.
A reference to writer M. Night Shyamalan who has appeared in small cameos in his movies. In the film Lady in the Water Shyamalan cast himself as a writer whose work would "change the world" - an instance of what many critics saw as a Mary Sue.
Lilith is possessing a dental hygienist from Bloomington, Indiana.
Waitress: Well if you like burgers, Oprah's girlfriend says we have the best burgers in the mid-west.
A reference to Gayle King when she did her America's Best Burger episode on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Dean: I don't care what you do. Use the magic fingers or watch Casa Erotica on pay per view.
Casa Erotica was the porn Sam watched in 2.04 Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things.

Minutiae

Sam's LSAT score was 174.
The comic book store was called Golden Comics.
The diner was called Kripke's Hollow, possibly a reference to Stars Hollow, the fictional town in Gilmore Girls, which featured one of Jared's first big roles. The Kripke refers to series creator Eric Kripke.
The actor who played the guy who worked at the comic book shop Michael P. Northey played Riley, Jake Gray's boss in the movie Devour, which starred Jensen Ackles.
The actress who played Chuck Shurley's publisher was Keegan Connor Tracy, previous seen on the show as Karen Giles, who was interviewed and murdered in 2.07 The Usual Suspects.
At Comic Con 2009 Kripke said "he has a "tempestuous, loving, conflicting" relationship with the online Supernatural fan community, and that the meta episode "The Monster at the End of This Book" gave him a chance to lovingly make fun of them (Source).
Chuck foreshadows his divinity/real identity (debated topic), which is further hinted at in 5.22 Swan Song:

Chuck: Well, there's only one explanation. Obviously I'm a god.
Sam: You're not a god.

Chuck: How else do you explain it? I write things and then they come to life. Yeah, no, I'm definitely a god. A cruel, cruel, capricious god. The things I put you through -- The physical beatings alone.

Sides, Scripts & Transcripts

Promotion