Supernatural’s “The French Mistake” has been cited as one of the best episodes of the series — here’s why the episode is one of the most beloved.
Of the 327 episodes of Supernatural across its 15-season run, very few episodes are as beloved as “The French Mistake.” This fourth-wall-breaking episode is the favorite of many a Supernatural star and fan, and it frequently tops episode rankings. So what is it about “The French Mistake” that makes the episode so beloved?
Supernatural season 6, episode 15, “The French Mistake,” begins with the archangel Raphael attempting to take out Castiel and anyone who allies with him. When Raphael’s hitman arrives, Balthazar sends the Winchester brothers into an alternate reality in order to protect them. In this alternate reality, they find they are now “Jensen Ackles” and “something called a Jared Padalecki.” Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki, just as they are in real life, are the stars of a show called Supernatural. Sam and Dean hilariously have to navigate the “real world” in order to make it home alive; all with Raphael’s hitman hot on their trail.
Part of the reason that “The French Mistake” is so beloved is that it’s a humorous break from the show’s overall serious tone. The show, its stars, its writers, and even its fans can’t escape the lighthearted ridicule that this meta episode dishes out. It’s almost like a good, old-fashioned roast — just with the addition of a heavenly mercenary. The episode brings the audience into its inside jokes, allowing them to feel like a part of the crew while proving they don’t take themselves too seriously. The episode gave the actors a chance to play themselves — or, in some cases, their characters pretending to be themselves. Breaking away from their traditional roles, the actors are able to let loose and truly enjoy themselves while filming something different from the usual classic monster plots in Supernatural. On paper, the high-comedy concept sounds ludicrous, but Supernatural was able to deliver a zany episode filled with self-mockery — all on top of the serious, looming threat of Raphael in the background.
The episode also takes the chance to include jokes from outside Supernatural. They take a moment to poke fun at some of the actors’ names (particularly Padalecki and Misha), their spouses (in reference to Jared’s wife, Genevieve Padalecki, who played Ruby on the show), and their former acting gigs (a clip of Jensen Ackles in his Days of Our Lives years can be spotted during the episode). The running gag about Jared and Jensen not getting along also draws humor throughout the episode, as many dedicated fans know the pair are best friends in real life.
“The French Mistake” has been named the favorite episode of many Supernatural cast and crew members. Eric Kripke, Supernatural creator and showrunner, has cited “The French Mistake” and “Changing Channels,” another meta episode, as his favorite episodes of the series. Misha Collins, who plays Castiel, and Jared Padalecki also list the episode among their favorites. Between the uniqueness and the humor of the episode, it’s no surprise that Supernatural stars and fans alike love “The French Mistake.”