The Meaning of Episode Titles
"Supernatural" is a TV show that uses a lot of popular culture references and fully understands itself as a postmodern text, as it draws from famous texts not only of its own genre, but also "shops" through over a hundred years' worth of popular culture products.
Apart from obvious references of the story, plots, and characters itself (see e.g. Hero's Journey), as well as references made by the characters (see Trivia of Episodes, and They like to watch), an increasing number of episode titles refer to several cultural texts, most commonly songs (of the Mullet Rock variety), as well as horror films and other classical movies (with a preference for the fifties, sixties, and seventies).
1.01 Pilot is the pilot episode. 1.02 Wendigo, 1.04 Phantom Traveler, 1.05 Bloody Mary, 1.07 Hook Man, and 1.08 Bugs name the monster of the week. 1.03 Dead in the Water, 1.06 Skin, 1.11 Scarecrow, and 1.16 Shadow describe the monster of the week—the ghost of a drowned boy, someone who changes skins, an aspect of the local fertility god, demons who are visible only in silhouette. 1.09 Home, 1.10 Asylum, 1.17 Hell House, and 1.21 Salvation name the setting. 1.12 Faith names the key theme of the episode. 1.14 Nightmare, 1.19 Provenance, 1.20 Dead Man's Blood, and 1.22 Devil's Trap name elements key to the plot.
Route 666 is the sixth spur of the famous "motherline" Route 66, and the last remaining stretch of road was renamed into Route 491 in 2003. Route 666 has also been called "The Devil's Highway"(Source). It wouldn't be the Devil's Highway without a number of strange incidents.
The Benders were a family of 19th century mass murderers from Kansas(Source and Further Reading).
The title refers to a line from Shakespeare's Macbeth: "By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes". More on the phrase at Wikipedia. "Something Wicked This Way Comes" is also the title of a Ray Bradbury novel in which two teenage boys encounter Mr. Dark, the owner of a mysterious carnival, who has offered secret desires to several people, only to bind them in service to the carnival. One of the chapters in the episode Something Wicked on the Season 1 DVD is called "...this way comes."
"In My Time of Dying" is a song by Dean's favorite band, Led Zeppelin, released in 1975; it is a cover of "Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed" recorded by Blind Willie Johnson in the late 1920s.
"Everybody Loves a Clown" is a song by Gary Lewis & The Playboys, released in 1965.
Bloodlust! is a 1961 movie, in which a crazed hunter kidnaps people and hunts them for sports on his estate. While this sounds more like The Benders, the "crazed hunter" most certainly is Gordon Walker.
Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things is a 1972 low-budget zombie movie by Bob Clarke.
Simon Says is a game for children, in which one of the players becomes "Simon", and the other players must do as Simon says. "Simon" has to start each sentence with "Simon says...".
Simon Says is also a 2006 horror film.
No Exit is a play by French existentialist writer Jean-Paul Sartre, in which three people are locked into a room (which might be hell) together. While they wait to eventually be freed of their prison, a complex dynamic starts to develop between the three of them...
The Usual Suspects is a 1995 movie by Bryan Singer, in which a con-man, interrogated by the police, tells a convoluted story of events that lead up to a massacre and fire at the docks. Using flashbacks, he tries to explain how he and his fellow partners-in-crime were on the boat that was involved, but not everything is as it seems. The episode draws heavily from the style of the film, using flashback and narration as well, as Sam and Dean tell their story.
The title comes from a plot element, in this case the mystery of Roanoke, explained by Sam and Dean in the episode itself.
The title directly references the plot, in this case Sam Winchester being hunted by Gordon Walker. Several movies of the same name exist, but none of them holds any plot elements shown in the episode.
The title comes from a plot element, namely the dolls which Dean and Sam thought were being used for hoodoo.
The title comes from plot elements, namely the shapeshifter and the bank incident that takes place during the night.
Houses of the Holy is a 1973 Led Zeppelin album. (Incidentally, the seventh song on the album is "No Quarter"—in the same episode, Dean runs out of quarters when using the Magic Fingers.) Led Zeppelin also used the title for a 1975 song.
Born Under a Bad Sign is the title song of a 1967 Albert King album.
Tall tales are elements of American folklore, as such as they are tales about extraordinary heroes or deeds done, "larger than life". In this case, the term 'tall tale' would appear to be used more generally to mean 'fantastical story', as in the absurd stories published in the Weekly World News which inspire the monster of this episode, which do not have particular resonance with American folklore.
This is a direct reference to a plot element. The word generally refers to animals who are killed on the road by being hit with a car; this describes two of the characters to some extent.
Heart is the name of [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heart_(band)a rock band] that became famous circa 1975 for singles such as Crazy on You and Magic Man. "Heart" is also a direct reference to a plot element of this episode: namely the missing hearts of werewolf victims. "Heart" may also be a reference to the Sam's feelings in this episode for Madison.
Hollywood Babylon: The Legendary Underground Classic of Hollywood's Darkest and Best Kept Secrets, is a book by Kenneth Anger, said to unveil the secrets of Hollywood in the 1920s through 1950s. A TV show was later based on this book, as was a song of the same title by [The Misfits].
"Folsom Prison Blues" is a 1955 song by Johnny Cash.
"What Is and What Should Never Be" is a 1969 song by Led Zeppelin.
"The Kids are Alright" is a 1965 song by The Who.
Bad Day at Black Rock is another film by John Sturges with Spencer Tracy.
Sin City is the name of a comic title by Frank Miller (a movie adaptation was done in 2005). "Sin City" is the part of the fictional city described in the comic which is ruled over by prostitutes and other seedy/shady characters. "Sin City" is also an AC/DC song.
This is a direct reference to a plot element. Fairy tales are sometimes referred to as bedtime stories, because they were read to children at bedtime.
The title of the episode comes from an old piece of weather lore" “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky at morning, sailor’s warning”. Red sky at morning is said to signal rain.
The title is a direct reference to plot elements, namely vampires, especially newly created vampires, and their diet. It is possible the new vampires would need fresh blood or could be considered themselves fresh blood, i.e. someone new or 'fresh'.
This title plays on two standard TV tropes: the Christmas episode and the Very Special episode. The Christmas episode is, rather obviously, a one-off episode of a series set around that holiday. The Very Special episode was an episode of a series that focused on an Important Issue such as cancer or addiction and was usually very earnest and serious.
There is a different title card for the episode which is preceded by a version of the old CBS Special Presentation Indent. Sleigh bells are heard and the a Christmas ornament explodes on the screen and then the episode's title appears.
Malleus Maleficarum means Hammer of the Witches in Latin, and it was the title for a fifteenth century treatise on witches. It was used to support argue the nature and reality of witchcraft and was used in the persecution and murder of women accused of witchcraft across Europe in in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
"Dream a Little Dream Of Me" is the title of a song first recorded in 1931. The song, a version by Mama Cass, is heard during the episode during Dean's dream of Lisa.
The title is a direct reference to a plot element. The episode title refers to a tourist attraction near Santa Cruz, California called the Mystery Spot that was open in 1939. Just like in the episode, it is reported be a place where the laws of physics and gravity have do not apply. There are other mystery spots but the Santa Cruz location is the original.
The title is a direct reference to a plot element. Jus in bello means "justice in war" and refers to the guidelines for "fighting well" once war has begun.
The title is a direct reference to plot elements. The title and style of the episode are a parody on the American reality television series Ghost Hunters, which has been airing since October 6th, 2004. In the show, Grant Wilson and Jason Hawes investigate paranormal activity.
"Long Distance Call" is the title of the season 2, episode 22 episode of The Twilight Zone by Rod Serling, in which a boy is able to communicate with his deceased grandmother through a toy phone. "Long Distance Call" is also a 1951 song by Muddy Waters.
"Time Is on My Side" is a song by the Rolling Stones.
The title is a direct reference to a plot element. In the Gospel of John, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead.
The title of this episode refers to the Judy Blume book Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.
In the Beginning is a Journey album released in 1980. It compiles the first three albums they released before Steve Perry joined the band. It is also the title of the 1995 rerelease of Canadian power trio Triumph's debut album; Triumph's hit "Fight the Good Fight" is heard on the original broadcast and dvd release of the season 1 finale "The Road So Far" element. Finally, and most significantly, "In the beginning" is the phrase that opens both the Book of Genesis and the Gospel of John in the King James version of the Bible.
The title is a direct reference to plot elements. The Metamorphosis is a novel by Franz Kafka about a man whoa wakes one day to find himself transformed into a giant cockroach, and the conflict this causes with his family. In this episode the character Jack Montgomery goes through a transformation into a rugaru, and Sam and Dean clash over Sam's continued struggle with the demon blood he was fed by Azazel and how it has affected him.
The title is a direct reference to a plot element. Monster movie is a slang term referring to films with a struggle between humans and monsters - like King Kong. In this episode, the protagonist is himself a monster - a shapeshifter and he is also obsessed with classic horror films and devotes himself to recreating them.
This title is a play on the virus yellow fever caused by the bite of the yellow fever mosquito and the American slang "yellow" meaning a coward. Dean is infected with ghost sickness or "yellow fever", the yellow referring to the fear induced by the supernatural infection.
The title of the episode references the 1966 Peanuts movie It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.
The title is a direct reference to plot elements, namely the wishing well key to the plot and how, given that all the wishes in the episode go spectacularly wrong, it's wishful thinking to believe wishes work. It could also be a reference to a 1965 British rockband named Wishful Thinking
I Know What You Did Last Summer is a 1997 American slasher film based on the 1973 novel of the same name by Lois Duncan. The film changes many aspects of the book, which was not a slasher novel. The film also draws inspiration from the urban legend known as The Hook.
"Heaven and Hell" is the album title and title song of a 1980 Black Sabbath album.
The title is a direct reference to plot elements: it is a play on 'remains' referring to a corpse, and remains, as in what is left of a family after tragedy.
There is a show named Criss Angel Mindfreak staring Criss Angel, a magician, who performs stunts. Angel has a reputation of being a douchebag.
A term coined by the ABC for their made-for-television movie series dealing with conflicts of teenagers. See also CBS Schoolbreak Special.
This is an obviously named episode that deals with a sex demon and ends in violence. The concepts of sex and violence are thought to be contributing factors is the deterioration of morals and family values. Sam and Dean forget their family bond and have a violent confrontation because of the sex demon.
The title is also the name of the pilot episode of The Muppet Show and an episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus.
The title of the episode may be a reference to the Jane's Addiction song "Ted, Just Admit It..." which contains the lyrics "sex and violence" and "sex is violent," or to a song by The Exploited titled "Sex And Violence"
The title comes from a 1934 Fredric March movie where Death decides to live his life as a mortal.
The title comes from the old question "How many angels do you fit on the head of a pin?"
The title is a play on the title of the 1946 movie It's a Wonderful Life starring Jimmy Stewart as a man who wonders what life would have been like if he were never born.
The title is from the Sesame Street book where Grover cautions the reader that there is a monster at the end of the book and they shouldn't go there. At the end, Grover finds out the monster is himself.
The title is a television term taken from an episode of Happy Days where Fonzie jumps a shark. It usually denotes that a show is past its prime.
The title is a direct reference to a plot element, namely the Rapture, which is a term used to describe the events surrounding the second coming of Christ where the faithful is taken back to Heaven.
"When the Levee Breaks" is a 1929 blues song, covered by Led Zeppelin in 1971.
This is the title of a 1972 experimental film by Kenneth Anger as well as an album by the Swedish heavy metal band Candlemass. It is also a play on the title of Season 4's first episode, Lazarus Rising.
The episode title "Good God, Y'All" is from the line 'War! Huh! Good God y'all' a lyric from the song "War" originally sung by Edwin Starr and covered by many including Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Bruce Springsteen.
The title of the episode refers to a 1970s children's record and TV show "Free to be... you and me". This clip from the show is particularly relevant as the kids in the clip talk about how they feel about their siblings.
Another reference - when the CW was formed in 2006, its initial promotional campaign featured the tag "free to be...".
The episode title might refer to The Doors' song "The End", which uses themes of the apocalpyse and a world gone mad ('all the children are insane'). The song also evokes the image of the devil ('the snake is long, 7 miles, (..) and he's old, and his skin is cold'), and has an oedipal part, where a son goes to murder his sister, brother and finally father, to confront his mother, who he wishes to have sex with. Furthermore, the song was used in Francis Ford Coppola's iconic war movie, Apocalypse Now.
The episode title probably refers to idols in both the religious sense and the cultural-icon sense.
The title is a lyric from Whitney Houston's "Greatest Love of All".
The title is a play on the title of the F.Scott Fitzgerald short story, later made into a movie starring Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, in which the protagonist ages backwards.
The title is a direct reference plot elements, namely the many TV shows featured in the episode, which include Grey's Anatomy and CSI: Miami; Grey's Anatomy and another show in the CSI franchise air Thursday nights at nine, the same time slot as Supernatural.
The title of the episode refers to a 1980s animated TV show based on the movie Ghostbusters.
"Abandon All Hope" is a reference to the final line of the inscription over the gate of Hell in Dante's Inferno - "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here" - according to Canto III of Dante's Inferno.
The title is a play on the memoir by Susanna Kaysen and the movie based on same, both entitled Girl, Interrupted and depicting Kaysen's stay in a mental health facility. Misha Collins has a bit part in the movie; a more important character is played by Clea Duvall, who costarred with Jensen Ackles in Ten Inch Hero.
The title may be a pun on swap meets, also known as flea markets. Also, humans are referred to as "meatsuits" because angels are able to occupy their bodies. Sam and a teenage boy swap bodies, so the title could be a reference to that.
Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid is a 1982 movie. In this film, Steve Martin interacts with (now dead) stars of 40s and 50s noir movies through use of clips from their movies.
The title comes from a song by Ice T, famously covered by Jay-Z, entitled "99 Problems"; this is the ninety-ninth episode.
The point of no return is the point at which events have progressed far enough that stopping them becomes impossible, or the narrative climax. The 100th episode celebrates typically the number required for syndicating a series into royalty-producing re-runs, although Supernatural was already in syndication before the episode aired (seeTNT). It may also be a reference to the Kansas album Point of Know Return or to that album's title song.
The title is a line from Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song", referencing the hammer of Thor; the episode includes two gods from the same pantheon as Thor, Odin and Baldur, but does not include Thor himself unless he is one of the unidentified gods.
The title may reference the debut album of the group Heaven & Hell, whose members were all previously part of Black Sabbath; more likely, it is a reference to the idiomatic phrase "better the devil you know than the devil you don't".
The phrase "Swan Song" in modern jargon refers to a final work or performance, or the final part of a story. It was also the name of the record label founded by Led Zeppelin.
"Exile on Main Street" – the episode’s title – is also the name of a double LP released by the Rolling Stones in 1972. It is an album that features songs that represent the genres that Sixties rock could be deconstructed back to - like blues, gospel, soul - a return to its roots. It was also recorded over a period of change and personal upheaval for the band although during the time Jagger also married and had a child.
This episode's title, "Two and a Half Men" is a reference to the TV sitcom of the same name starring Charlie Sheen. It has probably been chosen because Sam and Dean are two adults and the baby they are taking care of counts as a fractional person; also, Sam and Dean are fully human and the baby half human. Also, this is the second episode of the season.
This title is likely based on the famous 1949 noir film The Third Man, starring Joseph Cotton. The phrase 'the third man' is used to describe an unidentified individual involved with the mysterious death of Harry Lime. At Comic Con 2010, Kripke described this Season as being very noir in style.
The title of the episode is based on the comedy "Weekend at Bernie's."
The title of the episode refers to Family Matters, a 1990s sitcom featuring the Winslow family and the nerdy Steve Urkel.
The title of the episode is also the name of a 1989 animated film.
The title of the episode is reference to a line from J.M. Barrie's "The Adventures of Peter Pan", in which Peter asked the children dreaming of the Neverland to clap their hands if they believed in fairies in order to keep Tinkerbell alive. It is also the name of a 1989 animated film.
The title of the episode is the name of a 1974 women-in-prison exploitation film directed and written by Jonathan Demme.
The title of the episode is a reference to an old story about the inevitability of death, most famously retold by W. Somerset Maughm, which was credited as the inspiration for the 1934 novel of the same name by John O'Hara.
The title "Like a Virgin" is a reference to the 1984 song by Madonna of the same name. The song was the subject of a famous dialogue in the movie "Reservoir Dogs." Madonna later gave the film's director a signed CD with the dedication "To Quentin. It's not about dick, it's about love. Madonna."
The title of the episode is the name of a 1992 Noir-Western film directed by and starring Clint Eastwood. The Unforgiven is also a heavy-metal song by Metallica. The band said the horns in the intro are reversed sound from a Western movie but never confirmed which one. It is believed to be from the 1965 Spaghetti Western For a Few Dollars More staring Clint Eastwood.
The title refers to a famous sequence in Mel Brook’s movie Blazing Saddles. At the end of the movie, the action from the movie which is set in the Old West, crashes through a wall (literally breaking the Fourth Wall) onto the set of a musical on the Warner Brothers lot. The song being performed in the musical is called The French Mistake.
The term "French Mistake" purportedly refers to a straight guy having a gay sexual encounter he later regrets Source.
The episode title “And Then There Were None” is a reference to a 1939 Agatha Christie crime novel in which ten people are lured to a remote island and then stranded. Each person was involved in the deaths of other people, though they were never found out, and found guilty by whoever orchestrated their arrival on the island. Although there appears to be no one else on the island, each of them dies by a method described in the Ten Little Indians nursery rhyme until they are all dead.
The episode title “My Heart Will Go On" refers to the Celine Dion song of the same name which was the theme song for the 1997 movie Titanic. Jensen once did an ad for Titanic-related merchandise. The movie was also referenced visually in 4.10 Heaven and Hell when Dean and Anna have sex in the Impala. The image of Anna's hand streaking down the foggy car window is reminiscent of the iconic scene from Titanic when Jack and Rose are having sex.
Frontierland, the name of the episode, is also the name of one of the themed lands at Disneyland, which is a Disney version of the 19th century Old West. It features the rides Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The original title of the episode was ‘Gallows Pole’, which is a song based on an old folk song about a woman trying to buy her freedom from the executioner. Versions Dean would like are by Leadbelly and most famously by Led Zeppelin.
Mommy Dearest is the name of a tell-all autobiography by Christina Crawford, who details an abusive childhood at the hands of her mother, actress Joan Crawford. The film of the book starring Faye Dunaway has become a camp classic, particularly for the scene where Crawford rails hysterically at Christina for using wire coat hangers: "I told you - no wire hangers EVER!"
Dean references this when he says to Eve: "Beat me with a wire hanger, the answer's still no."
The Man Who Would Be King is a short story by Rudyard Kipling, made into a 1975 movie by John Houston starring Sean Connery and Michael Caine. It tells the story of two ex- officers of the British Raj who become adventurers and become hailed as deities in a remote village in the Hindu Kush. They lead successful battles against the villages enemies, but become wrapped up in their own delusions of grandeur. Eventually the villages turn against them. In the movie, the story unfolds as the surviving character relates his story to a journalist. Coincidentally (or perhaps not), the episode aired exactly one week after the royal wedding, in which Prince William (second in line to the British throne) married his long-time girlfriend.
The title of the episode, ‘Let It Bleed’’, is also the name of a 1969 Rolling Stones album. This is the fourth episode to be named after a Rolling Stones song or album. The others were 3.15 Time Is on My Side, 5.01 Sympathy for the Devil, and 6.01 Exile on Main St. The episode was originally titled ‘The Haunter of the Dark’ which is the name of a story by H.P. Lovecraft, the one that he is finishing in the teaser of the episode.
The title of the episode ‘The Man Who Knew Too Much' is the name of a 1956 Alfred Hitchcock movie, a remake of his own earlier 1934 version of the movie. It’s also famous for featuring the song Que sera sera by Doris Day who starred in the movie with James Stewart.
The title of the episode "Meet the New Boss" is a lyric from the song "Won't Get Fooled Again" by The Who: "Meet the new boss/Same as the old boss". The song is widely known as the theme music for the TV series CSI: Miami, which Supernatural parodied in 5.08 Changing Channels.
The title is a play on the phrase "Goodbye, cruel world" which is often referenced as a person's last words before they commit suicide.
The Girl Next Door is a term used to describe a cultural stereotype of a young woman who is good natured and fits accepted cultural norms of femininity. It is the name of many songs and movies, however the one that most closely fits this episode of Supernatural is a Japanese erotic animated movie (i.e. hentai) of the same name in which a man is haunted by the memory of a young woman who helped him when he was injured as a child. This may be a shoutout to the fact that in 7.01 Meet The New Boss, Dean is watching "Asian cartoon porn"
The title of the episode Defending Your Life is also the title of a 1991 movie starring Albert Brooks. In the movie, when people die they must defend their life in an afterlife court. If they can prove they have conquered their fears, they pass on to the next phase of existence. If not, their soul is sent back to Earth.
The episode title "Shut Up, Dr Phil" is a reference to TV personality and relationships advice guru Phil McGraw.
The episode title "Slash Fiction" is a play on three references. First it is a reference to the Tarantino movie Pulp Fiction. Slash or slasher refers to a sub-genre of horror movies.
Slash fiction is also the name of a genre of fanfiction which pairs two characters of the same gender in a sexual relationship – see Slash for more information. There are references in the episode that compare Sam and Dean to a couple - Honey Bunny and Pumpkin from Pulp Fiction, Mickey and Mallory from Natural Born Killers as well as Mr and Mr(s) Smith.
The title is a reference to the CBS series The Mentalist, about a former con man "psychic" who uses his experience to aid police.
The title refers to this episode featuring the first wedding in Supernatural.
The episode title is a play on the famous book How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie first published in 1936.
Death's Door is a colloquial saying to refer to the point just before dying.
Adventures in Babysitting was a 1987 comedy movie.
The title shares the name of Cyndi Lauper's 1984 smash hit song.
The episode title plays off the movie 2009 movie Splice and the 90s UK girl pop band The Spice Girls. Splice was the tale of two scientists who mix human DNA with animal to create a hybrid which matures rapidly.
The title refers to the chain fast food place in the episode "Plucky Pennywhistle's Magic Menagerie", which is similar to the real life chain Chuck E. Cheese, which combines kids arcade games, entertainment and fast food. The name "Pennywhistle" may be a parody of Pennywise, the evil fanged clown in Stephen King's novel (and subsequent movie) It.
"Out with the Old" is the first part of a saying, "Out with the old, and in with the new."
The episode title "The Born-Again Identity" is a play on the 2002 spy thriller movie The Bourne Identity (which was based a novel of the same name by Robert Ludlum). In the film, the main character Jason Bourne, played by Matt Damon, finds himself suffering from amnesia, and his attempts to discover who he is. Along the way he finds he has a number of skills – speaking multiple languages, proficiency in hand-to-hand combat – that give him clues to his identity.
The episode title is a reference to a popular SNL skit called Wayne's World in which the two main characters would introduce themselves by saying "Party on, Wayne." and "Party on, Garth."
The episode title refers to a phrase "of great importance".
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a 2011 thriller movie.
Dungeons and Dragons is a fantasy tabletop role-playing game first published in 1974. Charlie Bradbury, the girl introduced in this episode, has very likely played this game at some point, assumed from her geekish nature.
Reading is Fundamental is a nonprofit literacy organization in the United States.
There Will Be Blood is a 2007 drama movie.
The episode title is a reference to phrase originating in evolutionary theory, as an alternative description of natural selection.
The episode title is a reference to the book We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver and later made into a movie. The book is based around a series of letters from a woman to her husband, about her concerns about their son Kevin who eventually commits mass murder at his high school.
The title "What's Up, Tiger Mommy?" is a mashup of two references. One is to the book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua, about her experiences growing up between two cultures, and of being a parent. The other reference is to the 1966 Woody Allen comedy What's Up, Tiger Lily?" which dubbed original dialogue over the footage of a Japanese spy movie.
"Heartache" is likely a reference to the fact that the organs of Brick Holmes have been split up and distributed to various people. Also at some point, Randa Moreno, the girl who got the heart, tries to take out Dean's heart.
This episode is about werewolves, and how they keep turning others via bite. Hence the title, "Bitten."
There was a band from 1997 to 2007 called The Blood Brothers. However, this episode more likely references a blood brother by oath. Blood brothers swore loyalty to each other through a blood oath ceremony in which each person makes a small cut on their hand or forearm and they press the cuts together. Their blood then "flows" in each others' veins and they are thus "blood brothers."
Southern Comfort is also a type of liquor.
The episode name refers to the saying "A little slice of heaven" - which refers to a highly desirable place or person. It was also the title of an 80s Kiwi pop song by Dave Dobbyn.
The title Hunteri Heroici, is a play on the Looney Tunes cartoon convention of giving fake Latin species names to characters, for example Speedometrus Rapidus for the Roadrunner. During the the episode, there is a freeze frame where Dean is labelled as Hunterus Heroicus and Dr Mahoney labelled as Grotesques Villianus. The tags were presented in the typeface Comic Sans, a much maligned typeface, although in this situation, very appropriate.
The title Citizen Fang could be a reference to the 1995 movie Citizen X which was based on the true story of the hunt for a serial killer in Russia. It could also be a reference to the 1941 movie Citizen Kane.
Torn and Frayed is a Rolling Stones song from the 1972 album "Exile on Main St."
The episode title “LARP and the Real Girl” is a reference to the 2007 movie Lars and the Real Girl starring Ryan Gosling, about a guy who develops a relationship with a doll.
The episode title is also the name of a song written in the 1930s, and most famously sung by Dooley Wilson in the movie Casablanca. It is also the tune playing on the music box that Henry buys for John to help him sleep after he is scared by the movie Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy. Sam says he remembers John whistling it sometimes.
The title of the episode is a play on the UPN/CW sitcom Everybody Hates Chris. Every episode title began with "Everybody Hates… ". Supernatural Producer Jim Michaels was a producer on Everybody Hates Chris.
The title of the episode is a play on the term "man's best friend" that is used to refer to dogs and the 2011 movie Friends with Benefits starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis.
While there are many movies about Titans and the Greek gods, Remember the Titans was a 2000 movie starring Denzel Washington about the desegregation of a football team.
The episode is named after a 1999/2000 TV comedy called Freaks and Geeks about a group of outsiders at high school.
The episode is named after the 1976 Martin Scorsese film Taxi Driver.
The title of the episode is based on the 1963 movie The Great Escape about Allied POWs escaping a German prison camp in World War II.
Clip Show refers to an episode of television which is based around clips from old episodes, usually by having characters reminisce, or dream about the past. They are cheap episodes to produce. The title here refers to the re-appearance of characters from past episodes: Tommy Collins from 1.02 Wendigo, Sarah Blake from 1.19 Provenance and Jenny Klein from 7.05 Shut Up, Dr. Phil.
This episode is so-named becaused Sam is put in a position where he has to sacrifice himself for the world.
The title "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here" is a song from the musical Annie and is sung when the orphan Annie arrives at the mansion of Millionaire Oliver Warbucks. Watch it here
The term "devil-may-care" is used to describe someone with a careless or reckless attitude, the phrase is a shortened form of "the devil may care, but I do not." The phrase's origin dates all the way back to around 1785–95. It is also the title of a 2008 James Bond novel.
I'm No Angel may refer to the 1986 album (and song) of the same name by the Greg Allman Band.
This episode is so-named because Dorothy and The Wicked Witch of the West have been slumbering for years. The title could also be a reference to a sleepover, also called a slumber party where a group of friends spend the night at one friend’s house and might stay up all or most of the night chatting, watching movies/TV and eating junk food. Charlie, Sam and Dean do just that.
The episode title "Dog Dean Afternoon" is a play on the name of the 1975 film Dog Day Afternoon.
The title of the episode is a play on Heaven Can Wait, a 1978 film starring and co-directed by Warren Beatty, about a man who gets a second chance on Earth after dying prematurely. There was also a 1943 film of the same name, about a man who must tell his life story before be admitted into Hell (Spoiler: He ends up in Heaven).
Writer Bob Berens said it referred to the film of the same name and also that "Cas and Crowley have been sidelined, Cas in his human life, Crow in the bunker. But the call of heroism/villainy beckons" source.
"Bad Boys" is also the name of a 1983 movie about a kid played by Sean Penn who is sent to reform school for killing a gang member, where he must deal with the dead man's vengeful brother.
"Rock and a Hard Place" is a song by The Rolling Stones from their 1989 album Steel Wheels.
Holy Terror was the name of a 2011 graphic novel by Frank Miller in which a superhero called the Fixer battles Muslim terrorists.
The title of the episode "First Born" could be a reference to the fact that Cain was the first born son of Adam and Eve in Biblical mythology, as well as being known as the first murderer.
"[ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Purge The Purge]" is a 2013 horror film set in a dystopian future where all crime is made legal for 12 hours each year. The episode title also refers to both the physical process to rid the body of toxins or waste often undertaken as part of extreme dieting, and the emotional process Sam and Dean are undergoing in their relationship.
The title of this episode likely refers primarily to Linda Tran being located in captivity, but also to an angel who is captured and tortured by Bartholomew in front of Castiel, as well as Kevin who, having died and returned as a spirit, is now bound to an object.
The title of the episode "#THINMAN" refers to the meme generally known as the "Slenderman," often called the internet's first urban legend. The meme was spawned by a "paranormal pictures" photoshop contest on the Something Awful (SA) Forums. The idea may have in turn been inspired by the German legend of the Tall Man. The hashtag in the title is used on Twitter to help other users search for terms.
The title "Blade Runners" is a reference to the 1982 science fiction film Blade Runner, which is about a "Blade Runner," a retired special operative for the LAPD, who's job it is to track down replicants (bioengineered androids) on Earth. It also plays on the fact that Sam, Dean and Crowley are making their "run" to get the the First Blade in the episode.
Metafiction in a TV show (or book or other text) occurs when the show, or a character, demonstrates they are aware of their own fictional nature. See our entry on Meta Episodes for the use of this device in other Supernatural episodes. The title could also be a reference to METAtron and his efforts to write his own story that didn’t turn out as he planned so what he wrote became, in essence, fiction.
The episode title is a play on the title of the 2011 psychological thriller Martha Marcy May Marlene.
This episode is also a backdoor pilot for Supernatural: Bloodlines, a series set in Chicago and based on the characters introduced in this episode.
King of the Damned is the name of a 1935 British film about prisoners revolting against the Governor on a prison island.
This is likely a reference to the color of Deanmon's eyes.
The episode title "Reichenbach" may be a reference to Reichenbach Falls, the series of waterfalls in Switzerland where Sherlock Holmes and his nemesis Professor Moriarty originally met their ends in the short story "The Final Problem" (Holmes was brought back to life after fan outrage). In this episode Cole confronts his nemesis - Dean.
"Soul Survivor" is the final track on the Rolling Stones double album, "Exile on Main St".
This is probably a reference to "Paper Moon", a movie from 1973 about a con artist duo of a man and a girl pretending to be father and daughter during the Great Depression.
"Fan Fiction" refers to stories written by fans that make use of material provided by a media text. In this episode, Marie has written a fan fiction script for her school play. Other creative and transformative fan activities include create art, videos and cosplay. See Fanfiction for more details.
Ask Jeeves was a question/answer based search engine founded in 1995. Jeeves is also a name that is most associated with butlers, the name having become prominent through it's use in the series of short stories by P.G. Wodehouse, which were adapted into the ITV series Jeeves and Wooster. This reference was probably drawn from the prominent role of the butler, Phillip, in this episode.
"Girls, Girls, Girls" is also the title of Mötley Crüe's fourth studio album, as well as song from the album.
This may be a reference to the comedy series Reno 911!, but with the word Reno replaced with Hibbing due to the setting of this episode. The comedy was focused around law enforcement, which is probably why it was chosen for this episode about Sheriff Jody Mills and Sheriff Donna Hanscum at a sheriff convention.
The title "The Things We Left Behind" is likely a reference to the Stephen King short story "The Things They Left Behind" which is about a man suffering survivor's guilt following the attacks of 9/11.
"The Hunter Games" is a reference to the book/film franchise The Hunger Games.
"There's no place like home" are the words Dorothy says in The Wonderful World of Oz to get back home to Kansas. Fitting, since the entire episode is about Charlie's return from Oz. Sam also quoted the line "There's no place like home" at the end of 9.04 Slumber Party and Dean did at the end of 2.20 What Is and What Should Never Be.
"The Executioner's Song" is a reference to the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Norman Mailer, which documented the events surrounding the execution by the State of Utah of murderer Gary Gilmore. Norman Mailer also wrote a poem of the same name.
"The Things They Carried" is a collection of short stories of the same name by Tim O'Brien. The stories chronicles a platoon of American soldiers in the Vietnam War, and are based on O'Brien's own experiences.
This episode gets its title from the Rolling Stones song of the same name.
An inside man is someone who helps with the execution of a crime by working inside the target, like Bobby did in this episode. The episode title "Inside Man" probably refers to the 2006 movie Inside Man about a bank heist directed by Spike Lee.
The Book of the Damned is a work of nonfiction by Charles Fort and was published in 1919. The book deals with various types of paranormal phenomenon ranging from UFOs to the existence of giants and fairies. The Book of the Damned that first appears in this episode appears to have more in common with the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis from the Evil Dead film series, which was bound in human flesh and inked blood, and written in ancient Sumerian.
"Angel Heart" is likely a reference to the 1987 horror/noir film of the same name.
This really isn't an apparent reference to any specific thing. "Dynasty" refers to the Styne Family, and the word "Dark" is put in front because this family is creepily dark. The title could also be a reference to the America reality TV show entitled Duck Dynasty, which is about the Robertson family and their successful family owned business making products for duck hunters.
- "Then the Lord said to Cain, 'Where is your brother Abel?' 'I don’t know,' he replied. 'Am I my brother’s keeper?'"
- "The Lord said, 'What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.'"
"Out of the Darkness, Into the Fire" is the name of song by Moxy, a 1970s Canadian hard rock and heavy metal band from Toronto. It could be a reference to the idom, "out of the frying pan into the fire," which is used to denote going from a bad situation to a worse one.
- "And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep."
"The Bad Seed" is a reference to the 1954 novel and 1956 film of the same name about an 8-year-old girl who is also a sociopath.
The title of the episode "Baby" refers to Dean's nickname for the Impala, first used in 2.03 Bloodlust and continued throughout the series. Dean uses the diminutive in the following episodes: 2.03 Bloodlust, 2.05 Simon Said, 3.08 A Very Supernatural Christmas, 6.15 The French Mistake, 7.06 Slash Fiction, 7.01 Meet the New Boss, 8.02 What's Up, Tiger Mommy? and 9.04 Slumber Party.
"Our Little World" is the title of a song by Stephen Sondheim from the musical Into the Woods (a favorite of writer Robert Berens). The song is sung from the perspective of Rapunzel and her mother the Witch, who has her daughter locked away from the world in a tower.
"O Brother, Where Art Thou?" is the title of the 2000 adaptation of Homer's The Odyssey by the Coen Brothers. In Homer's Odyssey, the protagonist Odysseus travels to the underworld to speak with the spirits of the dead in order to find a way out of his predicament of being lost at sea.
"The Devil in the Details" refers to the idiom the devil is in the details.
"Into the Mystic" is a reference to the song of the same name by Van Morrison.
"Love Hurts" is a reference to the song of the same name by The Everly Brothers, which was most famously covered by Scottish hard rock band Nazareth in 1975. "Love Hurts" was also previously used in episode 6.14 Mannequin 3: The Reckoning, which was also written by Eric Charmelo & Nicole Snyder.
Beyond the Mat is a 1999 documentary about pro wrestling. It takes a look behind the scenes and at life outside the ring of three wrestlers -- Mick Foley, Terry Funk, and Jake "The Snake" Roberts.
This is likely a reference to the 2012 movie of the same name. In the movie, the "safe house" is attacked. This relates to the episode in that even the victim's home is not truly safe.
This may be a reference to the motorcycle club Hell's Angels, or the 1931 film, but it's definitely a reference to the fact that Lucifer, king of Hell, is a fallen angel (or that he's using Castiel, another angel, as a vessel while reigning in Hell).
"The Chitters" is an in-episode reference to the monster of the week, both referring to the sound the bisaans make and the seemingly wild and unusual nature of their formerly human hosts to friends and neighbors. It may also be a play on the word "jitter" and the Jitterbugs from The Wizard of Oz].
- "Surely, you can't be serious?"
- "I am serious. And don't call me Shirley."
"We Happy Few" is the name of a recent survival-horror video game, but more likely, this is a reference to the famous St Crispin's Day Speech in Shakespeare's Henry V, in which King Henry is about to send his troops into what's likely a losing battle by saying to them:
- "And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
- From this day to the ending of the world,
- But we in it shall be remembered-
- We few, we happy few, we band of brothers."
A metaphor for God and Amara's dueling natures of creation and destruction, Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the classic Greek alphabet. It's also a biblical reference, as the phrase is used multiple times in the Book of Revelation, usually when quoting God:
- "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last."
Most importantly, "Alpha/Omega" or "ABO" is a reference to a common fanfiction trope which, according to Fanlore.org, originated with Supernatural fanfiction in 2010. The fans and creators really have come full circle.
While this title may be a play on the show's frequent use of the song Carry On My Wayward Son in its season finale recaps and the thrill of a twelfth season, it's more likely a reference to the WWII British motivational poster (which saw a popular resurgence of posters and merchandise featuring parody phrases in the early 2000's) as this season introduces the British chapter of the Men of Letters.
A foundry is a factory where metal casings are produced. The reference is likely a metaphorical one, as this episode deals heavily with Mary's sense of loss for Sam and Dean's childhoods, as well as the vengeful spirit's loss for the children he was trying to protect. When writer Robert Berens was asked on twitter what the title means, he responded that it was "too personal" to be shared.
"The One You've Been Waiting For" is the title of a song by Nick Cave. It can also be seen as a sardonic comment over the fact that this is the episode where Hitler appears. It also references the Grenade Launcher, the largest and (presumably) most destructive weapon in the Impala's arsenal. Despite being very noticeable to the audience due to its size and bulk, it was never used, interacted or mentioned in any way before. It has been part of the arsenal since the first episode, implying that the audience - and Dean - wanted to see it in action for a long time.
The phrase "Celebrating the Life of..." is often used at funerals for people who have passed away, which is the theme of this episode. This episode is also the first by writer Steve Yockey, in which he establishes a pattern for Season 12 of single-episode characters of his own creation who die, making them fully contained to the episode that bears their name.
"Rock never dies" is a common theme in the genre of rock music, used ironically as the title of this episode when rock star turned vessel Vince Vincente and his entire band Ladyheart are summarily killed by Lucifer.
The title is an acronym play on POTUS, or President of the United States. In this episode, Lucifer takes POTUS as his vessel, making him LOTUS. In the rock world, "Lotus" is also the title of a song by REM and an album by Santana. The lotus flower (without the capitalization) is commonly depicted as a spiritual object in Buddhism, Hinduism, other Indian religions and ancient Egyptian artworks, sometimes referred to as Padma.
As well as being the title of an AC/DC song and a story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, "First Blood" is a direct reference to the 1982 film of the same name, in which Vietnam War veteran John Rambo is pursued by authorities through the woods.
The title of this episode follows a pattern established by writer Steve Yockey for his episodes in Season 12 which includes the name of the single-episode character of his own creation who dies in the episode.
"Regarding Dean" is a reference to the 1991 film Regarding Henry about a lawyer who struggles with his memory after a shooting.
"Stuck in the Middle With You" is a 1972 folk rock song by Stealers Wheel, most famously used during a torture scene in Quentin Tarantino's first film, Reservoir Dogs. The nonlinear narrative of this episode is also an homage to the film.
A popular and long-running American game show, "Family Feud" pits two families of five against one another in a race to name the most popular answers collected via anonymous surveys of one hundred people.
In addition to being the name of a modern R&B band with a self-titled album, "ladies drink free" is a policy often employed by bars to draw in more male customers with the prospect of a higher ratio of women in attendance.
"The British Invasion" was a term used to describe a time in music history during the 1960s when rock and pop bands from the United Kingdom such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones were quickly gaining massive popularity, dominating world-wide music charts, and influencing American culture. In this episode, the term likely refers to Dr. Hess' arrival and the turning point in which the British Men of Letters decide to exterminate the Winchesters rather than continue their attempt to recruit them.
In addition to being the title of a song by Prince, a song and album by Leonard Cohen, and a film about a couple that adopts an injured cat, in this episode, "The Future" is likely a reference to both the unborn nephilim, as wall as the vision the Nephilim gives Castiel, which he believes to be a vision of a peaceful future.
The title of this episode follows a pattern established by writer Steve Yockey for Season 12 which includes the name of the single-episode character of his own creation who dies in the episode. "Twigs and twine" are used to create the dolls enchanted by witchcraft in this episode.
Named after the 1998 romantic comedy There's Something About Mary famous for its crude humor, the title of this episode instead refers to the brainwashing of Mary Winchester by the British Men of Letters.
In addition to being the title of a Lifehouse album, "Who We Are" is a popular rock song title, including songs by Switchfoot, Machine Head, and Imagine Dragons. In this episode, Dean reassures Mary that, despite the tragedy of their family story, "Everything that's happened since has made us who we are. And who we are? We kick ass. We save the world."
As well as being both a single and album by The Kinks, a "lost and found" is slang for a designated section of a building or property where lost objects can be retrieved by their owners. In this episode, Sam and Dean come to terms with the people they've lost in the previous episode, as well as finding Jack now under their care.
Some form of the phrase "Rising Son" has been used as the title of a '60s folk band, a song by Sturm und Drang, a TV show on Adult Swim, and even a comic in the Supernatural universe, and is a reference in this episode to the focus on Jack, Lucifer's son.
The name of the newly recurring character introduced in this episode, "Patience" is also the title of a song by Guns N' Roses.
"The Big Empty" is the title a 2003 film, a song by American metalcore band For the Fallen Dreams, and a book series by J.B. Stephens. In the supernatural universe, The Empty is a dimension that had been previously referenced in the series but never directly described or visited prior to this episode.
Write Steve Yockey breaks his streak by not including the name of a episode-contained character in the title of this episode. Thanatology is the study of death: both its physical and cultural effects. Advanced courses are taught at universities and colleges. This episode includes the ghost of a doctor who experimented on (studied) his patients, and also has Dean becoming a ghost himself to discover how to free the remaining ghosts. Related to "the study of death," Death is also featured in this episode, and Death's [reading room] is first introduced.
The 1993 film Tombstone is based on events that happened in the historic city of the same name. Dean points out this reference himself to Castiel in the episode.
Dean: Look, just act like you're from "Tombstone," okay?
Castiel: The city?
Dean: The movie. With Kurt Russell? I made you watch it.
Castiel: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. The one with the guns and tuberculosis. 'I'm your huckleberry.'
The War of the Worlds is a science fiction novel by H. G. Wells first published in 1898 in which Martians invade Earth. It was later adapted into several radio dramas, TV series', and movies. The episode title seems to be more literal as it focuses on Michael and Lucifer's ongoing war in the alternate universe Apocalypse World, and their desire to take this war to Sam and Dean's world as well.
And ancient fable, The Scorpion and the Frog tells the story of a frog that's asked by a scorpion to ride on its back across the river. The frog agrees, and once they're halfway across, the scorpion stings the frog. When the frog asks why the scorpion did this despite knowing that the action would kill them both, the scorpion replies, "It's in my nature." In this episode, Sam and Dean take on the reluctant role of the frog, knowing they'll be betrayed by the Crossroads demon Barthamus because it's in his nature as a demon.
This episode introduces The Bad Place as an alternate universe Kaia Nieves dreams about. It is, as described, objectively bad, as it's populated by monsters and even its residents would rather leave it. In popular culture, The Bad Place is a horror novel by Dean Koontz, the movie rights for which were purchased by The WB in 1990, though the movie was never made. An apt title for one of Robert Berens' episodes as the WB seems to have a habit of getting the hopes of writers up, then dashing them.
Speaking of backdoor pilots that never happened, the title of this episode is a play on the song Carry on Wayward Son by the band Kansas, which has long been used as the "recap" song for Supernatural's episodes, and a quote from Claire Novak in 10.20_Angel_Heart, "So, what? This is some sort of halfway house for wayward girls?"
This episode begins with a woman stopping for gas at a truck stop, only to have her car break down shortly after, which leads to her abduction. This is similar to the plot of 1997 film Breakdown starring Kurt Russell, though that's where the similarities end. "Breakdown" is also a popular title in rock music, including songs of the same name by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Seether, Breaking Benjamin, Guns N' Roses, and more.
"Sundry" means various, particularly small and not fit to be mentioned individually. As writer Steve Yockey has a history of giving exactly those type of characters their own name in the episode title, it stands out here that this time he chose not to do so, most likely because while he did create his own self-contained characters of the Plum sister witches, in this episode he is also writing two much larger, recurring villains for the first time: Lucifer and Rowena.
13.13 Devil's Bargain
A "devil's bargain" is an idiom for a deal that both parties know is wrong, but they agree to anyway because they feel they have no other option for success. In this episode, Sister Jo makes a deal with the actual devil Lucifer to keep herself alive.
The old saying "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions" is a proverb meant to warn people against inaction, or against the unintended, often negative, consequences of good actions. In this episode, Castiel invades Donatello's mind and forces him into a coma, following the road to Hell for good intentions: to prevent Michael and Lucifer from bringing their war back to the universe.
The title of this episode is referenced in the episode itself as an ingredient the boys need to complete a spell. Father Lucca says that the Pope described him as, "un uomo santissimo," or "a most holy man."
A portmanteau of "Supernatural" and "Scooby-doo," this episode is a cartoonish crossover of the two. Jinkies!
The title of this episode may be a reference to the book, film, and TV series of the same name, in which exotic animals are captured. In the context of the episode, Asmodeus is attempting to get his hands on Gabriel, while the Winchesters attempt to keep him safe. Or it may be a reference to the song by Audioslave, which features lyrics that may relate to Gabriel's former plight: "I was on my way to the center of the sun/ When I lost my wings and I fell into a crowd/ And they carried me to a hole in the ground/ And they buried me where no one could see."
"Funeralia" was the Latin word used in medieval times for funeral rites.
In addition to being a popular title for multiple music albums and films, "the family business" is a common theme in Supernatural, often quoted by the Winchesters in regards to hunting, and to their family identity. In this episode, Gabriel confronts his own unfinished business: with Loki's family.
An exodus is a large group leaving somewhere, especially emigrants leaving their home. In The Bible, the Book of Exodus tells the story of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt. In this episode, the Winchesters rescue Bobby and his group from the Apocalypse World. The title may also be a reference to the Bob Marley song/album, Exodus.
A common expression used to encourage excitement, especially at the start of parties or events, "Let the Good Times Roll" is also a B.B. King album, a song by The Cars, and a song by Earl King famously covered by The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
In the King James edition of the bible, Exodus 2:22, Moses says on naming his son Gershom, "I have been a stranger in a strange land.” This quote has inspired numerous songs of the same title by rock groups, notably Iron Maiden and U2. The bible quote also inspired the title of the 1961 science fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A Heinlein, in which a human raised on Mars adapts to life on Earth. Michael and Jack are both "strangers in a strange land" in this episode as Michael attempts to understand the motivations of the humans he meets, and Jack attempts to live for the first time without his grace.
Back to the Future is a well-loved series of movies first released to theaters in 1985, starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd in which the two travel back in time from 1985 to 1955. The first episode of the final season of Supernatural, this episode harkens back to earlier in the series, including ending with Sam delivering the same line as in the 1.01 Pilot episode, "We got work to do."