I'm currently watching Supernatural for the first time on Neflix. In Season 4, there are several extremely self-referential episodes in a row. They are:

  • 4.17 "It's a Terrible Life"
  • 4.18 "The Monster at the End of This Book"
  • 4.19 "Jump the Shark" (I haven't watched 4.19 yet, but I'm assuming it is because of the name and description.)

I'm wondering if there's a reason that these episodes were grouped together. Usually, the more 'light-hearted' episodes are scattered through-out a season, rather than put in one large block. The timing seemed really jarring, especially after the extremely epic 4.16 "On the Head of a Pin".

Is there any explanation from the show's creators as to why they choose to do this? Was this at a mid-season break?

(Please avoid spoilers if possible. 4.18 is the furthest that I've watched. I'd be fine with answers like "There's something bigger or darker than every before on the way" as long as there aren't specifics.)

  • It's all building towards the end of that season and beyond. I think that's about all I can say since you don't want spoilers. Commented Apr 21, 2014 at 14:20

1 Answer 1


tl;dr: The angels' ability to create (or possibly travel to) alternate realities creates a few of these "fourth-wall breaking" episodes, but the three you named really aren't tied together in any particular way. It simply seems to have worked out that way.

First of all, just to set your mind at ease, "Jump The Shark" is a normal episode, internally at least. The title, I suspect, is a joke about the big reveal that happens in that episode, but otherwise it's no different from the other episodes.

"It's a Terrible Life" is the first in a recurring theme among the angel-heavy episodes, where some angel moves Sam, Dean, or both into an alternate reality to try and make them agree to something they don't want to do. This happens to them a few more times at the hands of angels, with the most infamous being the Season 6 episode "The French Mistake", which I won't spoil for you (but it's awesome).

The third episode, however, is actually the beginning of a very critical storyline in seasons 4/5. Again, I don't want to spoil things for you, but

Carver Edlund, the Prophet, plays a pretty significant role in a number of upcoming episodes, and the general concept of a prophet with the power to read the Word of God is a focus point for several whole seasons.

Both of those episodes are tied into the general conflict that Sam and Dean are experiencing during the 4th and 5th seasons: is their future predestined to end a certain way (and thus, they should just do what the angels want) or can they change it by going "off-script"? The presence of a person that can legitimately predict their future throws a big twist into that debate.

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