Television: CW Gives Out an Advance Look at Supernatural S5.08 Changing Channels And It’s A Tricky Ride For Sam and Dean Winchester!


Supernatural on the CW had a good week last week with the airing of S5.07 The Curious Case of Dean Winchester

SUPERNATURAL Hits Season High in Adults 18-34 and Adults 18-49;

Delivers Second Largest Audience of the Season. At 9:00PM The CW’s SUPERNATURAL scared up another strong performance, matching its best ratings of the season in adults 18-34 (1.5/4) and adults 18-49 (1.4/3-tie) and delivering its second largest audience of the season (2.9 million).

I on the other hand had a bad week last week. So when I came home on Friday to find an invitation to see an advance viewing of Supernatural 5.08 Changing Channels waiting for me in my inbox I was more than happy to turn my attention towards it. By the middle of the episode I was laughing so hard and so often I was almost falling out of my chair! Yet that is not to say that Changing Channels doesn’t have its serious moments. I would venture to say that Changing Channels is actually one of the more pivotal episodes so far in season 5 in terms of bringing forth more information about the apocalypse and the roles that Sam and Dean Winchester have to play in it. Not to mention what other players there might be and what roles they could play as well.

Right of the bat and without giving away too much, I have to say that one thing this episode proves beyond any doubt is that both Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki can do comedy with the best of them. What was truly impressive was that they could do the sometimes over the top comedy that was asked of them and yet still keep their characters in character which is another testament to how gifted these two talented actors really are. Dean was channeling his inner ‘Jack Tripper’ to the max for the ‘Supernatural as a sitcom’ sequences, yet underneath it you could see Dean’s desperation and how ragged the edges of his patience was becoming. Jensen Ackles has an amazingly mobile face and can fall into the fine art of ‘mugging for the camera’ with ease and yet never lose touch with being Dean. Jared Padalecki once more proves that he is not only an accomplished mimic, but he is also adept at physical comedy. Both actors pull out all the stops to make this episode work and work it does.

The Trickster is never one to go easy on the Winchester Brothers and Changing Channels, which was written by Jeremy Carver and directed by Charles Beeson, is no exception. From the moment Sam and Dean find themselves living inside the world of Dean’s favorite medical drama, Dr. Sexy, M.D. to the horrors of being trapped inside of commercials for the prevention of Herpes, the two brothers are on a tricky ride that is both funny and at the same time darkly ominous. What is the Trickster up to this time and what is he trying to teach them?


I am always hesitant when I find out that the Trickster is going to be featured in an episode of Supernatural mainly because S2.15 Tall Tales is one of my two least favorite Supernatural episodes (the other episode being the S3.01 episode The Magnificent 7) and is one which I have never re-watched. I almost skipped over watching S3.11 Mystery Spot when I found out that it was going to be an episode about the Trickster. None of this has any bearing on Richard Speight Jr. in the role of The Trickster. He always does an outstanding job of bringing the character to life. For me it was the writing and over all characterizations of Sam and Dean in Tall Tales that I found made the episode one of my least favorites. Still, I gave Mystery Spot a chance because it was suppose to be pivotal to the storyline about Dean’s deal and Sam’s trying to save him from it. Mystery Spot turned out to be a decent episode.


Supernatural S5.08 Changing Channels also turned out to be a very well written; cleverly plotted episode and I enjoyed every minute of it. I have to say that overall my favorite part is the homage to Knight Rider. I just couldn’t stop laughing! And seeing one of favorite actors, Steve Bacic popping up in Supernatural was a real treat as well.

That’s not to say that the episode was perfect. Some sequences in Changing Channels I felt went on too long and became too absurd, but I have a feeling that was done so that the audience could get the same sense of impatience and frustration as Sam and Dean were feeling while the things they were trapped in dragged on.

It was interesting to see the Trickster return and to see Sam wanting to talk to him while Dean just wanted to kill him. Sam sees the Trickster as a potential ally in the struggle to stop the apocalypse and Dean reluctantly agrees to this. But as viewers, we have to wonder what the Trickster knew about the plans that Ruby had for Sam to get him to kill Lilith and unleash Lucifer. The last we saw of the Trickster he was trying to teach Sam a lesson about just leaving things alone and walking away. So much of what we saw in the episode Mystery Spot seemed to become symbolic or prophetic of things to come.


The Trickster told Sam that it would take all the blood in a human being to do the spell that would raise Dean from hell and in S4.22 Lucifer Rising we find out that Sam had to take the life an innocent woman and use all of her blood to be strong enough to kill Lilith and then her blood released Lucifer. What if Sam had paid attention to what the Trickster was trying to tell him back in Mystery Spot and that the real lesson was for him to just walk away and not become part of the events. That he didn’t have to ‘save Dean’ that a higher power would do it for him and things would in essence ‘reset’. That with Sam trying to ‘save the world’ he did more harm than good.

So what more might the Trickster know that Sam and Dean doesn’t? Tune into Changing Channels tomorrow night at 9PM EST on the CW Network and check it out. Supernatural stars Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles as Sam and Dean Winchester and Misha Collins as Castiel.


  1. Oh, so Sam is a worthless human (?) being that should have listened and understood when the Trikster told him that Dean is under divine protection?

    How didn't I see this coming? 😀

    How does this even make sense with Castiel and angels aiding in the release of Lucifer? The breaking of the first seal? The plot hole of all plot holes!

    1. Sam is not worthless. I would never say that. What I said was the Trickster was trying to show Sam that the consequences of his actions might not be what he thinks they are and that rushing to save something…be it Dean or the world without considering what the consequences might be rather than what he thinks they will be could be a huge mistake.

  2. My memory is a bit fuzzy on Mystery Spot, but did the Trickster actually come out and tell Sam that Dean would be saved by a higher power? I don't recall that. If he didn't, there really isn't any way Sam would have known that. He couldn't just walk away and not try to save Dean because of how the whole theme of Family ties into the series. We've seen John, Dean, and Sam sacrifice themselves for each other time and again. So even though what Sam did was a bad idea, it fits in with the theme (one could even argue that Dean sacrificing himself to bring Sam back in AHBL was a bad idea, but he couldn't live without his brother, much as Sam can't live without Dean when he tries to keep him from going to Hell).

    At least that's how I see it.

    Nonetheless I'm looking forward to seeing this one.

    1. Nope, the Trickster told Sam that Dean was dead and doing the "Hellfire Rhumba" as they spoke. There was no indication that Dean would ever be saved. But, hey, only Sam is the bad guy in the whole situation. Everyone else is a saint.

      1. That's what I thought.

        And yeah, it certainly does seem that way from what the author wrote. Hopefully it's just their interpretation/musings and not what we're actually going to see in the episode.

        1. It was just a musing. my point was I thought the Trickster was trying to tell Sam to let it go and that the whole point of the Tuesday's constanly resetting was an indication that Dean would be saved in the end and things would reset and Sam really didn't have to do anything.

          1. Ah, okay. I understand now. And I can kind of see that point, unless he was trying to get Sam to not do anything so as not to prevent Dean from going to Hell, thus prompting all the events following as they're supposed to occur (if we're going by the whole "destiny" thing here).

  3. I agree with you that in Mystery Spot, the Trickster was trying to tell Sam to let Dean go, nothing good comes from them trying to 'save' each other.

    I'm really hoping this is your interpretation and not what actually occurs. I haven't seen Mystery Spot in awhile so someone correct me if I'm wrong, but the trickster said nothing about saving Dean from his deal, only how to get him back in the AU the trickster had created and certainly NEVER said there was a higher power who would get Dean out of hell so if Sam did nothing there would be a "reset."

  4. No, the Trickster didn't tell Sam that. What happened was the Trickster (in disguise as Bobby) told Sam that he would have to drain a person of their blood to bring the Trickster back to the spot where he was last. I've watched Mystery Spot four times just this week – especially that one scene – and this is what happened. The Trickster never mentioned that a higher power could bring him. The Trickster said HE could bring Dean back "but that don't mean I should." That's it.

    1. I guess I messed up convening my point! Sorry about that. All I meant was that by having the Tuesdays constantly reset that this was The Tricksters way without getting himself in trouble with the other Angels of telling Sam that Dean would be 'reset' so Sam didn't have to do anything drastic and be pushed into doing something.

  5. Oh God, I SO feared that this whole episode would be a beat-down on Sam. Why do I continue watching this show? I mean, enough already! I wish we could all hit some big "RESET" button and start over from mid-season 3. It's all been downhill from there. And yet I watch, thinking it will get better. I'm an idiot.

    1. I don't know if that's going to be the case. Maybe it's just this author's musings or interpretation. It might be best to just wait and see for yourself how the episode is going to go. Don't write it off yet.

  6. thanks for the review this one episode is getting alot of good early reviews. 😀

    that last paragraph threw me off though. Is that just ur theory/interpretation?
    I totally see the parallels between of sam willing to do whatever to get back in mystery spot and doing whatever to stop lilith in Lucifer Rising but was that suppose to be the trickster's lesson. I thought it was about letting Dean go and that's way he way he would be without Dean.

  7. Dean is always right about everything and Sam is always wrong. Why bother watching this crap anymore? I feel sick, and I was so looking forward to this episode.
    Honestly, even though Mystery Spot wasn't kind to Sam, I loved it for the insight into his character. Maybe I shouldn't be so surprised that Sam is being beaten down into the dirt again by the same character who beat him down in season 3. BTW, The Trickster tortured, tortured! Sam for 6 months in Trickster-Time, he didn't give him a real lesson about anything. Sam should walk away – walk away from what, saving the world, killing an evil demon? So, Dean's ostrich, head in the sand, Captain Do-Nothing BS is the act of real heroism in SPN? What crap! SPN is the only hero-show that promotes the idea that heroes should never do anything about the Big Bad! I've never gotten that approach at all. Forget Hitler, and concentrate on some murder in a little isolated hamlet – that is SPN in a nutshell. It is crap. Heroes take action, even if that action is only a decision. Even if you work the little hamlet, why not research the Big Bad and how to stop him in the mean time? You can't even do that on SPN!
    I guess I am still looking forward to this episode, but making everything all Sam's fault for not listening to the half-million people who told him he was wrong the last 2 seasons just makes me vomit. Go to hell, SPN. Liars, liars, liars. Season 4 treated Sam like garbage, after totally bypassing his story in season 3. This show is not remotely about Family – it never has been.

    1. "Dean is always right about everything and Sam is always wrong. Why bother watching this crap anymore? I feel sick, and I was so looking forward to this episode. "

      Jill I'm sorry I made you feel that way. My whole point, probably put across not as well as it should have been, is I think the Trickster was trying to both warn and protect Sam from making a decision whose consequences would not be what he thought they would be. That more harm than good would be done.

  8. . Most likely it will be Dean who is wrong and beaten down, so do not worry Sam will be blame free and Dean will shoulder all the guilt and blame. I mean come on this is not a BE episode so naturally it will be a beatdown of Dean and how Dean has to apologize for not staying dead or interfearing with Sam's time and freedom with Ruby. I mean come on did you miss Fallin Idol.

  9. Jill, you do realize this is just a show right?

  10. Yes, but I like my shows to be good and to have good writing. What is wrong with being passionate? Truth is, I have never liked the writing on SPN, even though I've been obsessed over it since season 2, when I started watching it. However, frustrations do grow if problems aren't fixed, or are made worse over time. I have been frustrated over the writing for Sam since I started watching the show, actually. I almost thought it was getting better in season 3, but then they dropped his story entirely for Dean's Deal, then they compounded the problem by hiding him in the background while making him the Wrongest Person in Wrongville, for the entire fourth season! It is season 5, and ALL of the angels still ignore Sam completely. It is ridiculous and it is poor writing, poor plotting and poor characterization. God, it made me sick and it cost SPN some long-time viewers, who basically dropped the show and never came back.

    At any rate, I thought I should mention that Sam didn't sacrifice a human being in MS. He knifed Bobby because he thought he was a not-Bobby, aka, The Trickster or a shape-shifter, some kind of dupe. Also, while the human host was innocent in LuR, the demon inside her was certainly not. Sam wasn't drinking human blood, but demon blood – big difference. Yes, they are combined, but one is not the same as the other. Plus, Sam didn't even need the blood to kill Lillith – the issue is that the sacrifice was not truly required by the circumstances, because Ruby lied to Sam about how his powers worked, because Sam needed a "feather" like Dumbo, to believe in himself. Sam never had to become addicted to demon blood at all, and that was the cause of so much damage in season 4. Yes, Sam made all those poor choices his own self, and he could and should have chosen differently. That is on Sam. But to say that Sam should have spent season 4 sitting on his ass rather than trying to oh, I don't know, stop the apocalypse or kill some evil demons, is too much.

    Sam was lied to, he never had full knowledge of anything that went down in season 4. Maybe the Trickster should have just sent Sam an email about what he really meant, because it sure wasn't clear to me. All he said to Sam was to stop trying to save Dean, nothing else. I get the link between human sacrifices, I do, it has been brought up on forums. But the situations were still entirely different. MS was about saving Dean, but LuR was about saving the world. Or stopping Lillith, which looked like the same thing at the time. But the thing is, Sam didn't take a human sacrifice in MS, not really. He thought he was killing a replica of Bobby – he was not making a human sacrifice. Sam got Dean back by pleading with the Trickster directly – he begged that torturing egotist, begged him, on Dean's behalf. Maybe the Trickster would have brought Dean back at some point on his own, but we don't know that. Sam asked for Dean back with total sincerity and real feeling, after months of blocking all his emotions, becoming a robot. That took real courage. And the Trickster was just there to insult him after torturing him for 6 months. I love MS, I really do, and I could wind up loving CC, but watching Sam get bitch-slapped for everything is just nauseating. I'm not looking forward to that tonight.

    And remember kids, next time you see evil in the world, or family in peril, don't do anything at all – that's what heroes do, after all, nothing.

    *head slap*

  11. Jill, yes, it's been my problem with the show a long time; crappy writing. Haven't watched much lately but the Horatio scene in the promos I caught had me thinking that maybe this episode was worth it. Then I read this and the fact that heroes on this show are not at all proactive but just follow orders just goes against all hero myth I've ever read about, in any culture. The only proactive stunts that will not bring hell to earth is taking angels to whorehouses and it just has me roll my eyes. Both characters are being ridiculed by now.

    At this point, it's just too stupid to watch even for the pretty boys.

    And yes, the sad morale really is what you say: "And remember kids, next time you see evil in the world, or family in peril, don't do anything at all – that's what heroes do, after all, nothing."

    And that really is the sign of the times , isn't it?

  12. Irritating to me (and other fans I know) is the opinion that if Dean had killed Lillith – thinking that doing so would save the world – he would be hailed as a hero nonetheless and not a screwup or horrible person. If the "angels" had led him astray, he would have been given the benefit of the doubt and would have received all kinds of sympathy for getting screwed by them. Dean told Sam how many times that it was HIS job to kill Lillith? He told Sam when he locked him up in the panic room that he and Bobby were going to kill her. Not knowing, of course, that it would actually release Lucifer.

  13. My point is that both boys had the same goal in mind – to save the world, to keep Lucifer from rising, and to keep the other one's soul intact. Dean didn't want Sam to travel down a wrong road, and Sam thought Dean had been too damaged by hell to be strong enough to kill Lillith on his own. Both of them were misguided, screwed and manipulated all over the place, yet Sam gets not one iota of sympathy. Granted he messed up – trust Ruby was the wrong thing to do, but then again , trusting "angels" was the wrong thing to do too. In spite of the fact that Dean said he did not trust the angels, he was going to follow their plan (which at the time he thought was to kill Lillith), so to me, anyway, it's a wash. Either of the boys could have brought on the end of the world. Just turns out both did. And it was just bad luck that Sam opened the gate and let Lucifer out. It could very easily have been Dean.

  14. um, there is no evidence whatsoever that this episode will be another beat down on Sam, so why not wait to see the episode before making such a statement! Reading thru the comments, I wonder if we're all watching the same show. The reviewer said that Sam suggests they talk to Trickster, and Dean goes along with it. So where do some get the idea that Sam is being discounted? It appears that the bros will need to work together to go up against Trickster again.

  15. continued…

    I also don't understand where folks are getting the impression that Dean wants to do "nothing". Both boys are heroes by putting themselves in danger to stop the baddies. And both boys are equally at fault for this mess… Dean started it, Sam finished it. Dean isn't mad at Sam for killing Lilith (which he would've done as well) but for choosing a demon over his own brother.

    Tall Tales was like a filler MOTW episode at the time. But Mystery Spot was definitely more pivotal and profound. Trickster tried to teach Sam what life would be like without Dean. But if Trickster were as smart and powerful as he claims to be, then he should know that the brothers are loyal to each other to the bitter end and nothing will change that. It sounds more like Trickster was telling Sam to give up, to not bother trying to save Dean, that way Dean would go to hell and like the Crossroad Demon said, they would "have him right where we want him." Gotta wonder which team Trickster is batting for.

  16. Exactly. The Trickster wanted Sam to give up on saving Dean because nothing good would come of it. There was nothing about not killing bad guys except his own self.

    I loved MS, and you could say that was less than kind to Sam. But I loved it for the time spent and the exploration of his character, even the negative spaces. They could have done that all along, instead of playing a silly shell game that pushed Sam's entire sl off-screen for a full season, or even two!

    I just want CC to be fair in looking at Sam's darker self, whether it is in the past or present. Knowing there is a risk that Sam will be blamed for everything (again!) is one thing, having it confirmed is another. I'm sure I'll enjoy the episode, I just don't know what to hope for anymore.

  17. Mousita

    The issue the commentors have with the review is this:

    " That he didn’t have to ‘save Dean’ that a higher power would do it for him and things would in essence ‘reset’. That with Sam trying to ‘save the world’ he did more harm than good"

    Not about who suggests they talk to the Trickster or the lesson the Trickster was trying to teach Sam.

    1. I stand by my feeling that by constantly resetting the Tuesdays, the Trickster was trying to tell Sam that someone else would reset things and bring Dean back.

      By now you have all seen the episode and know that the Trickster is really the Arch Angel Gabriel and was in on knowing the plans of the Angels. I believe that in Mystery Spot that The Trickster/Gabriel was trying to stop Sam from his part in starting the Apocalypse without drawing the wrath of the other Angels because there was no way left for him to stop Dean from breaking the first seal.

  18. Amy, thanks for that clarification — it helps. In that case, I never got an impression in MS that some higher power would save Dean if Sam stopped trying. That's something we found out later… that Castiel was sent to raise Dean from perdition before he broke the first seal. But that was not info implied in MS. If we go along with the retconning, then Trickster was trying to convince Sam to NOT try to save Dean, so that Dean would be "right where we want him"… in hell to break down and break the first seal. I also need to hypothesize that Tall Tales was the real Trickster, and he got 'vesselized' in MS, otherwise the TT actions don't fit in to the actions of an angel in this retcon. As far as Sam, there was nothing that marginalized him in this episode.

    1. No, nothing to marginalize him… just beat the audience over the head again that Sam betrayed Dean, completely ignoring all mitigating circumstances, and when combined with the whole Dean is the good son/brother/Michael vessel and Sam the rebel son/betraying brother/Lucifer vessel–and both ALL ALONG, and it would have been better for John, Mary, Dean and the world if Sam had never been born, it's just too much.

      I actually really enjoyed the parodies, Jensen and Jared did outsanding jobs, it's the mytharc (and continual retconning) I have a problem with.

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