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CCFFFF: Siblings to Utopia by Way of the Cornfield: a reading of "Slumber Party.": 04/11/19

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At the fantasy end of the road narrative the second most magical type of traveler are the siblings. I place the siblings next based on the number of stories involving siblings traveling to other worlds or escaping from dire experiences. I am also inspired by the long traveled Winchester brothers in Supernatural (2005-2020).

Sibling travelers don't have their parents with them. That means in some seasons and episodes of Supernatural, the brothers Winchester are downgraded to family travelers (33) when traveling either with their father, or more recently, their mother.

As with the orphan, the first destination, the most extreme destination is utopia. That means a no-place. A place that can't be reached by conventional means or found on a conventional map.

The most magical route to utopia is via the cornfield or tkaronto "place where trees stand in water." These are barriers between nature and man, places that can hide the magical or trap the unsuspecting.

My one example for this spot in the spectrum is episode four from season 9 of Supernatural, "Slumber Party." As I've mentioned before, road narratives can be about visitors coming to the protagonists. The traveler for the sake of the placement on the spectrum is the protagonist. In Supernatural, the travelers are Sam and Dean.

"Slumber Party" comes early in the days of Sam and Dean occupying the old Men of Letters bunker. A big part of the episode is their on-going debate on whether or not the bunker counts as home. The bunker, though the setting of the episode, isn't the destination. That's Oz and it's also the source of their monster as well as the person who can help, Dorothy herself.

Image showing a drawing and handwritten description of the key to Oz.

Oz, while from later adventures by Dorothy (in the books, not necessarily the Supernatural incarnation) is a known place with known routes, to Sam, Dean and Charlie (who is visiting to do IT work on the 1950s era computer), is utopia (FF). It is both eutopia (good place) and utopia (no place). It is the place of dreams and magic. While the show offers a door, really any door, as the way into Oz, the door needs a magic key. The key is decorated with a complex design that at the bottom shows the many branches of country road that ultimately lead to Oz (Road to Oz (1909) as well as a modified staff of Asclepius. All together it looks a bit like a complex crop circle, and harkens to the cornfield. Also keep in mind that Dorothy as well as the Winchesters are all from Kansas and the bunker is located somewhere in Kansas. Though there is no physical cornfield, its presence and influence is heavily referenced throughout (FF).

Note the overwhelming blueness of this scene where Dean reveals Dorothy inside the cocoon.

From the point of view of the brothers, their Bunker was invaded by two people: Dorothy and the Wicked Witch who were trapped together in a semi liquid form in a jar in the computer room since 1936. Now it's implied by the winged monkeys that the Wicked Witch in question is the one from the land of the Winkies. However, in their liquid form, the two are blue. Blue is the land of the Munchkins. Dorothy throughout the episode insists she can't kill the Wicked Witch but never states which one she is. Given the strong color coding Oz has throughout the series, I suggest that the witch's body under Dorothy's house didn't whither and disappear, that instead, she survived and went somewhere to plan her next move, thus leaving the Wicked Witch of the West, well and truly dead.

Image showing Dorothy and Charlie leaving the bunker via the yellow brick road with the Emerald City (MGM style) on the horizon.

The entire hunt and Charlie's temporary death all happen in the bounds of the bunker. Throughout Oz is spoken of in terms of the books and in terms of this alternate Men of Letters reality. According to Dorothy, her father was L. Frank Baum and he was a Man of Letters. He wrote the books to hide the truth about Oz and to provide clues to defeating monsters from Oz. Since his life with Maud is well documented, we'll argue that perhaps Dorothy is from an extra marital affair. Or that Dorothy was adopted. Or she's lying to keep the brothers focused on killing the unkillable Wicked Witch.

Regardless, killing the witch and getting Dorothy back to OZ are in the brothers' best interest so that they can get back to their larger mission: tracking the fallen angels. Had this episode been told from Dorothy's point of view, it would have been the same as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Had it been told from Dorothy and Charlie's joint point of view, as a couple, the episode's placement would have been further down in the spectrum: 33FFFF. As it stands, though, it is about siblings using their ties to the cornfield to open a door to utopia.

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