Mark Watches ‘Supernatural’: S06E05 – Live Free or Twihard

In the fifth episode of the sixth season of Supernatural, the Winchesters track a vampire who targets Twilight fans and then that joke isn’t funny anymore. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Supernatural. 

Trigger Warning: For talk of violence/blood, and fandom misogyny.

For real, just make that Smiths song the theme of this show. Is an episode of Supernatural funny at the beginning? Watch in wonder as the writers find a way to make said joke the absolute saddest thing you’ve ever seen.



It’s actually astounding to me how quickly “Live Free or Twihard” abandons the humor surrounding their parody of Twilight in order to take this episode into an extremely dark place. Look, it’s not like I expected a “funny” episode of Supernatural to maintain the humor from beginning to end. I have started to adapt. But after ten minutes or so, this episode isn’t okay, the jokes don’t matter, and I WAS FOOLED SO HARD.

I suppose I am also at a very strange place with Twilight. If you’re not familiar, the very first Mark Does Stuff project EVER was Mark Reads Twilight. I started this all on a bet to read Twilight and write about it, and THUS HISTORY WAS MADE. And while I will absolutely defend my own personal distaste for that series because it glorifies abusive relationships, ableism, and is horrifically racist, I’m also aware of the fact that some people think it’s perfectly okay to use a dislike for Twilight as a chance to be misogynist. I’m actually certain that a lot of Supernatural fans are very familiar with this phenomenon! When a fandom is mostly women, society likes to denigrate them more than fandoms that are mostly men, and that’s exacerbated by critical analysis that crosses the line into sexism. And I’ve seen this happen WITH MY OWN WORK. People seem to think it’s acceptable to use my own Mark Reads Twilight reviews as some sort of cultural ammunition against women who are talking about Twilight. AND THAT’S SUCH AN UNCOMFORTABLE DYNAMIC, OH MY GOD.

Still, I’m a dude, and this shit had to be pointed out to me years after I’d completed that series. I’m not taking credit for that. So I went into “Live Free or Twihard” bracing for the same sort of unfair criticism of Twilight. For the most part, the episode made jokes of the absurdity of the writing, but I think it was pretty uncomfortable to see how the writers almost quietly blamed these Twilight fans for what happened to them. It’s a very subtle thing, but the writers’ jokes about people like Kristen don’t seem all that aware of the fact that they’re framing these crimes as one of mutual responsibility. I don’t think Kristen is the slightest bit to blame for her conversion! I don’t think there’s a problem with people romanticizing vampires or changing the mythology around them, and it’s that lack of specificity that has the unfortunate implications we see briefly here.

In that sense, I’m glad that the Twilight jokes aren’t the bulk of this episode. For the most part, they’re funny and insightful, but they’re not what makes “Live Free or Twihard” the emotional dumptruck that it is.

Dean’s Conversion

Like, I really need to just accept that Supernatural is going to go there. They are going to do things that are irreversible. They are going to put their characters into hellish situations that exacerbate existing problems. Even if there’s a solution at the end of the episode, these characters are going to be haunted by their own pasts.

So that means this show is going to turn Dean into a goddamn vampire, and they are going to commit to it.

I’m still blown away by this because until Samuel comes into the picture, I was convinced that the show had just done something they could never undo. I’m still blown away by this because even when Samuel arrives with a cure for vampirism, the episode is still relentlessly fucked up. The promise of a reversal? It doesn’t make this a hopeful episode. It doesn’t rob the narrative of its tension or terror. Somehow, a cure MAKES THIS EVEN WORSE.

But I think it’s important to address what happens before that. Dean turning has an important affect on Sam, which I’ll address in the next big section. For Dean, though, it’s a cut-and-dry issue: he is a monster and he should be killed before he hurts anyone. (Hahaha, I just realized that this could also be a commentary on his own self-esteem issues in earlier seasons, ahaha i am not okay with this fucking show.) This philosophy of his is why I think it’s possible for him to resist drinking the blood of anyone around him. His willpower is based on years of his own black and white morality. There’s little gray area with Dean, and I think that helps him stay more aware than most humans of what he’s become.

Thankfully. Because if he had killed Lisa and Ben, I WOULD HAVE NEVER FORGIVEN THIS SHOW EVER. (Pretty sure Dean wouldn’t have forgiven himself either.) Jesus, that whole scene was unbearable. But it’s supposed to be. There’s an uncomfortable truth buried in it, since Dean uses the moment to reflect on his unwillingness to bring the ugliness of his life into their lives. Yeah, he’s talking about being a vampire, but I couldn’t help but think he meant more than that. AND THIS WORRIES ME. There’s no scene later in the episode where Dean addresses his violent, bizarre behavior to Lisa, so now I’m worried that this relationship isn’t going to last much longer. I REALLY LIKE LISA AND BEN OKAY.

Clearly, though, we need to talk about the vampire nest sequence because I AM NOT YET OVER IT. Visually, we get some of the most stunning (and bloody) images of the entire series, and there’s a brilliance to the way these scenes were filmed. Dean is framed both as the hero and a brutal monster since he occupies both roles. It’s meant to disturb us and make us feel uncomfortable as he slaughters all of those vampires. Even the final death – where Dean kills Boris – is not framed as a victory. IT’S FUCKED UP. We don’t even see it happen; all we get is the bloody, unnerving aftermath, glimpsed first through that profile of Dean and then in it’s full, gory glory. It’s so goddamn unsettling, but – again – that’s all intentional.


It is a deliberate way to show us the ramifications of Sam’s actions. I admit that I am utterly lost here. There’s a consistency to Sam’s behavior, since he’s demonstrated in the past five episodes that he’s willing to go much further than he ever has before to solve a case. He is no longer the conscientious hunter. What’s worse is that he is entirely aware of what he’s doing. He smiled when Dean was turned, and then he lied to Samuel’s face about it.

I understand what’s happening (to an extent), but I don’t understand why it is happening. Why would Sam do this? And now that Dean knows what happened, how long until he confronts Sam to get the truth out of him? I imagine that this is all rooted in the mystery of Sam’s return. We still don’t know who or what pulled him out of Hell, but it has clearly changed him. BUT WHY? WHAT HAPPENED?

I admit that I’m sad because Sam is my precious baby, but I can’t deny that what he’s doing is awful. I JUST WANT ANSWERS. SO BADLY.



I’m unprepared, and I know it, and goddamn it, y’all are cackling at me. GODDAMN IT.

The video for “Live Free or Twihard” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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