This is the first year I’m wishing Jensen Ackles a happy birthday that he hasn’t been Dean Winchester. Last year at this time, I knew that would soon be true, though I had no idea that it wouldn’t be until 2020 was almost over that Supernatural would actually come to an end. It’s been three months, and during that time Jared Padalecki has kicked off a new character and a successful new show with Walker, doing lots of interviews and talk shows and even live tweeting on Thursday nights again. Misha Collins has continued to fight the good fight to change the world, with livestreams and tweets and collaborations with the other people out there trying to do the same thing, and a GISH mini hunt coming up. Jensen, on the other hand, took the time in between Supernatural and his new role in The Boys to retreat to the snowy wilderness of reputedly Colorado to enjoy some family time and shovel snow, with only brief appearances to document the snow shoveling or to accept well-deserved awards.
Suffice it to say, we’re all missing him. A glimpse of his stand-in on The Boys at Friday’s filming location was enough to create a social media uproar, and Jensen wasn’t even the one in the pictures! That says something very good about how much of an impact he’s made on many people’s lives.
In the spirit of missing him, and of missing Dean Winchester (because I still haven’t managed to completely separate them in my head or my heart) I thought I’d do a little appreciation post to celebrate Jensen’s birthday. If I do more of these in the future (which, let’s face it, I’m sure I will), they won’t be focused on Dean. They’ll be focused on new characters, new projects, new photo shoots, new aspects of his life. So for one more birthday, in this post let me express my gratitude to Jensen for giving us Dean Winchester.
There’s no doubt that the characters and the story are a big part of why Supernatural had such a huge impact on my life, and that’s down to Eric Kripke and the other writers over the years, but there’s also no doubt that it was Jensen who breathed life into Dean and made him so compelling.
People joke that Jensen has chemistry with even inanimate objects, and I think that might be true. He could disarm someone as easily with a moment of flirtation as with a knife to their throat. But make no mistake, Dean Winchester is dangerous.
You never doubt that, the way Jensen portrays him.
At the same time, Jensen also made you believe in his vulnerability.
Dean was not a cardboard character who didn’t have emotions. Far from it. Jensen’s ability to make you really believe in Dean’s feelings about the other people in his life who were important to him was so brilliant that the show made us love anyone he loved, and root for those relationships with all our hearts.
He didn’t love easily, but when he did, he loved fiercely.