Supernatural’s Season 2 Episode Croatoan  – The Mystery Deepens

I feel like I say this for every episode in the first couple seasons of Supernatural, but I love this episode SO much. Creepy, a mystery that you can’t easily figure out, more insight into the brothers – and their father. In this episode, you understand just how far Dean will go to save Sam, and just how deep the bond between the brothers runs. Which makes eventually learning about the impossible thing that John asked of Dean all the more heartbreaking. I love the way the first two seasons spooled it out, so slowly, teasingly. I was on the edge of my seat all the time and it was glorious.

Now, doing this rewatch in 2021, this episode also hits a little too close to home, when the words “a demonic virus” don’t sound so far fetched. That just adds to the ominous feel of the episode.

THEN

Saving people, hunting things – John telling the YED “I’ve known for a while” – a reminder of Sam’s visions, the demon having plans for kids like him. We see John whisper to Dean, Sam ask him at the funeral pyre, ‘Did he say anything to you?’ and Dean’s “no”. We know it’s a lie, but we still don’t know what those fateful words were, as we’re reminded that neither Sam nor Dean is handling the loss of their father well.

NOW

In surreal slow motion, the visuals distorted, Dean loads his gun and opens the door to a lab. A young man is tied to a chair, pleading with Dean “no, no, I swear it’s not in me, please don’t” as Dean sets his chin.

Dean: I got no choice.

He twitches, raises the gun, fires.

Sam wakes from a vision, gasping, in a motel room. Dean comes in, holding a six pack, chewing on some beef jerky.

Dean: Sam?

Night, the boys in the Impala, trying to figure out what the vision meant. Sam’s sure it happened in Oregon because he noticed a poster with a picture of Crater Lake before he saw the guy tied to the chair. Dean’s having a hard time making sense of it, but he knows by now to trust that Sam’s visions are to be taken seriously.

Dean: And I ventilated him?

They argue about what might have led to it, Sam saying that Dean thought there was something inside the guy.

Dean: Well, all our weirdo visions are always tied to the YED, so was there black smoke? Did we try to exorcise it?

Sam: No. You just plugged him, that’s it.

Dean’s defensive even about the vision.

Dean: Well I’m sure I had a good reason – I’m not gonna waste an innocent man.

Sam glances toward Dean, saying nothing.

Dean: I wouldn’t!

Sam: I never said you would!

Dean: Fine!

Sam: Fine!

It’s an argument over something that hasn’t even happened, but it gives us some insight into the tension still simmering between Sam and Dean. Dean is worried about Sam’s visions and what might be happening to him (especially in light of what John said to him, though we don’t know that yet) and Sam is worried about Dean, who’s on edge and volatile (partly because of the burden he’s carrying that John put on his shoulders). No wonder they’re sniping at each other.

They eventually give up the brotherly bickering and continue to Oregon, driving past the sign that Sam saw as they pull into a small town.

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Supernatural Charlotte Con 2021!

I headed to Charlotte last weekend for the second Supernatural convention that Creation has put on in 2021 post pandemic. While the one before, in Denver, was a whole lot of everyone being overjoyed to see each other and simultaneously get accustomed to a lot of new rules, this one felt a bit like “the new normal”, at least the one we’ll have for a while. We’re still in the midst of a global pandemic, so masks and Covid tests and social distancing (and the plexiglass photo ops) are here to stay for now.

It seems the altered schedule might also be here to stay – Jared and Jensen once again did some of their photo ops and both their meet and greets on Saturday instead of Sunday. When they were both working on Supernatural, it made sense that the production gave them Mondays off so they could be at conventions until late – now that both are working on different shows, no other production is going to be as accommodating. Doing some things on Saturday allowed them to finish up autographs on Sunday at a reasonable time so they could be back where they needed to be on Monday morning – in Jared’s case at least, on the Walker set! It also gave them a chance to hang out more now that they don’t get to see each other on a daily basis. I’m a creature of habit, so I pretty much loathe change, which means I miss the way Sundays at cons have been the same forever – but I’m also a realist, and the changes do make sense with the actors all working on other gigs. It made Sunday a bit less hectic at least!

Apparently at the next con, even autographs will be split between the two days, which I actually don’t like at all. If you don’t have a photo op for them to sign, you need to do autographs on Saturday now – but I’ll miss end of the con autographs as a nice way to wrap things up and say goodbye. Ah well.

Charlotte, for me, was different in other ways too. I got there late afternoon on Friday, which meant by the time I got the vendor table set up I missed pretty much everything, including some panels I really would have liked to see. There was once again no Richard Speight, Jr. to host and no Matt Cohen either, so I didn’t miss them -but I DID miss them! Rob Benedict stepped up the plate again as host and house band and generally kept things rolling like the pro that he is.

Friday night was the ‘Saturday Night Special’ concert, so at least I didn’t miss that – and it was a really good one. Louden Swain was on fire, and so were all the guest actors who joined them onstage that night.

Adam Fergus introduced everyone’s favorite photographer, Chris Schmelke, who played bass on Juliet. We missed out on an exhausted Chris at the SNS in Denver, so it was great to have him back onstage with the band!

Jake Abel joined in the fun to introduce her, Kim Rhodes sang ‘Be Me’ (no, it’s not actually called ‘Dimestore Refugee,’ who knew?) and made it clear why it was one of her favorite songs, and David Haydn-Jones channeled his inner rockstar (and George Michael) with ‘Faith’.

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Walker Deepens Micki’s Backstory with ‘The One That Got Away’

I was at a Supernatural convention when last week’s episode of Walker aired, glad to have the opportunity of telling Jared Padalecki in person how much I’m enjoying his new show, so I didn’t get to watch live. When I returned, I watched on the CW app and decided to just enjoy the ride instead of taking notes for this review – and I was so glad I did! The second episode of Season 2, The One That Got Away, was full of excitement and fight scenes and close calls, but it was also a poignant episode with an amazing performance by Lindsey Morgan. I’m not always a fan of episodes that switch back and forth among multiple story lines, which Walker sometimes does thanks to its large ensemble cast, but this episode was tightly focused on just two story arcs – the culmination of Micki’s undercover work and the Walker-Davidson ‘feud’.  I loved being able to just sink into a story line and let it play out, almost in real time.

This episode had a significant Supernatural connection since it reunited star Jared Padalecki with his Supernatural costar and frequent director Richard Speight, Jr., whose distinctive touch gave the episode some striking scenes.

Let’s talk about the family feud arc first. Last week explored the origin of the bad feelings between the Davidsons and the Walkers, focusing on the older generations and their complicated history. This week the focus was on the younger generation, especially Stella and Colton, as they try to figure out how much of that history will color their own relationship. As I told Jared last weekend, I always like watching Walker for the deeper themes as well as the kicking ass, and this season’s focus on long-standing and difficult to disentangle tensions and resentments seems like a frighteningly relevant theme to tackle. Stella and Colton inherited the animosity between their families, which is something that happens in all facets of life every day, from families to politics to fandoms. Can they even get to know each other as individual  humans with all that baggage?

With a little help from Coach Trey (who is perhaps trying to keep his mind off constant worry about Micki), they make a start on that in this episode. He engineers escape rooms for the two pairs of kids, who must start to communicate before they can find the literal key to get out of the rooms and out of detention. August apologizes for the Ruby debacle, and that facilitates the boys’ escape to a congratulatory Coach Trey.

Stella admits she wrongly accused Colton (Jalen Thomas Brooks) and he apologizes for his insensitivity, complaining about his divorcing parents when Stella has actually lost one of her parents. It was a little too convenient, sure, but I liked the message behind it – and I was rooting for them by the time Stella stopped the car to tell Colton to hop in.

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‘Walker’ Returns for Season 2 and Some New Mysteries

Walker returned for its second season last week, and immediately hit the ground running with some intriguing new mysteries and some deeper themes that kept my psychologist brain happy too.  I couldn’t watch it live so caught up on the CW app, which means I missed live tweeting with Jared Padalecki unfortunately. I am so enjoying how active he is on Twitter recently – I always end up smiling at his ability to spread joy and excitement throughout the Walker and Supernatural fandoms by just randomly replying to tweets. At the same time, I really admire his ability to ignore the haters who seem to always be lying in wait. It must be tempting to just pull back and stay quiet when you know you can count on being attacked every time you interact – he does see some of that and it has to be hurtful on some level – but being a positive force is more important and so he does it anyway. One of my first in depth conversations with him, way back in the early days of Supernatural, was about how hurtful those online comments can be – yet here he is, still persevering and being a bright light in the lives of so many fans.

Last week was an eventful one for the Walker fandom – it was premiere week, which was a joyous occasion, but it was also the week that Lindsey Morgan announced that she would be leaving the show. I don’t know anyone who didn’t love her character of Micki, and her dynamic with both Cordell and Trey, so the fandom was sad about her departure. I’m sure the cast and crew and producers were also sad about it, since a mid season unplanned departure has all sorts of ramifications – but it is to the credit of both the fandom and the show that everyone supported Lindsey in her decision to take care of her own mental health. Too often, we all ‘push through’ and ignore what our brains and bodies are telling us we need, sometimes with disastrous consequences. I will miss Micki, but Lindsey set a great example in being candid about what she was going through and making the tough decisions she needed to.

I know Jared understands that need – in his autobiographical chapter in the book Family Don’t End With Blood, he wrote openly and eloquently about his own mental health and how difficult it had been for him to ever make that a priority as a lead on a television show. There’s a lot of talk about how we all should do that, but Jared put his money where his mouth is and got behind Lindsey and her decision, both as a lead actor and as an executive producer. That’s a real departure from ‘the way things are done’ in television and film, and I feel kind of proud of both Jared and Lindsey for doing the right thing.

That said, I am really going to miss Micki Ramirez!

The episode itself was non-stop, sometimes moving so quickly I felt a little dizzy.

Micki Undercover

Micki’s story line was the action-packed one, with her undercover assignment three months in and the demands of living that role 24/7 starting to take a toll on all her relationships, just like it did when Cordell became a little too much Duke and less Cordi.

She’s cut herself off from Walker and from Trey (and presumably from her moms after just reconnecting/reestablishing those relationships). It’s easy to see how that seems like the right thing to do, to keep everyone safe, but it takes a toll anyway. Lies and deception and isolation are built into being under cover – which is something I honestly never gave a moment’s thought until watching Walker.

I really felt for Trey, knowing that Micki is in danger but cut off from her and unable to verify if she’s okay. I don’t blame him for tracking her down at trivia night at some bar, just in time to see her partner-in-crime (literally), the hapless Spider, get tossed off a building onto the roof of a car and murdered. Micki grabs Trey and tells him that she loves him, tearfully saying that she “sure hopes that girl of yours comes home”. But then she sends him on his way.

Everyone, in fact, is worried about both Micki and Trey. The episode begins with a nice bonding scene, Walker and Trey and Liam all out for a run. They make a pretty picture for the fandom too, which I’m sure was not lost on anyone (though they looked a lot more like Jared, Jeff and Keegan to be honest).

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Supernatural Conventions Return – DenverCon 2021!

It’s over a  week later, and I finally have time to sit down and write about Supernatural Denver con, the first Creation Supernatural convention since the whole world changed completely right after the Las Vegas con in March 2020. I remember flying home from that convention, when we had all just barely heard about Covid, wondering what it all meant and how long it would be until I’d be with my SPN friends again. Little did we know that it would be THIS long!

I was only able to go to Denver for the weekend, so I missed the festivities on Friday – and some of my favorite people, including Chad Lindberg, who was only there on Friday. Some friends were kind enough to get my vendor table set up and put out some books, since this was the first convention since There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done:  Actors and Fans Celebrate the Legacy of Supernatural was published. The contributors all put together their chapters for that book just as the pandemic began, so I hadn’t been able to bring it to a con until now. I think the book was excited to finally meet the cast and fandom!

And I was finally able to give the actors who contributed to the book their copies – if you haven’t read their chapters yet, have some tissues ready if you do. Hearing how much Supernatural meant to them, and what the experience of bringing their characters to life brought them, makes me tear up every time I read the actors’ chapters.

Photos Chris Schmelke (hand model Alana King…)

That was exciting – and so was finally being able to see some of my fandom friends for the first time in 19 months! One of the best parts of conventions is being able to be immersed among people who totally get it – and whose eyes will not glaze over alarmingly if I talk about Supernatural for too long. Therapeutic for sure!

Denver con will definitely go down in history as an unusual con – which I feel like we’ve said about so many things over this past 19 months. There were Covid protocols in place, which meant I stressed myself out trying to get a Covid test that would come back before I had to get on a plane but would also be within 36 hours of me checking into the con – thank you, neighborhood CVS! I’m accustomed to masks all the time, so wearing one for the weekend was no problem at all, and I was relieved that everyone else was pretty good about keeping masks on too. Considering how unsafe I feel teaching in person now, in spite of masks, I felt a little safer at the con knowing everyone was both masked and recently tested.

So that part was good. No fan is ever going to like having a giant plexiglass panel between you and the celebrity you came there to see, but we’re in a pandemic and there’s a lot that we wish was different right now. Waving at Jensen, Jared and Misha is not the same as a bear hug, but it will have to do for now. I have to admire the creativity of some fans, who came up with no-touch photo ops that put that plexiglass panel to good (and sometimes amusing) use!

The other odd part of this con was that the schedule was switched around from what we’re all very accustomed to – there are always things that happen on Saturday (like Misha Collins’ panel) and on Sunday (like the Jared and Jensen gold panel and main panel). Because Jensen was shooting on the Rust film and had to be back on set for Sunday, he appeared on Saturday instead. That caused ridiculous amounts of fan theorizing and conspiracy theory tossing around about why the switch was happening – which was for exactly the reasons put forth, Jensen’s professional obligations – i.e., filming on Sunday. It was different to have solo panels for Jensen and Jared instead of a joint one, and fans had different opinions on that, some happy to have an hour with their fave and others missing the banter that always comes with a J2 panel. In other words, as always, your mileage may vary.

I caught some of Briana Buckmaster, Kim Rhodes and Samantha Smith’s panel on Saturday. The fan who sometimes collects words for a Mad Libs at the con asked them for some adverbs, they talked tattoos, and gave a shout out to Rachel  Miner, who we all missed.

Fan: What tattoo should I get?

At that moment, a loud whistle drowned everything out.

Kim: A train, apparently…

Sam talked about how she had decided to leave acting when Supernatural called her to come back for the finale of Season 11. She thought they meant series finale, and was surprised when the show was actually still going – and that she was returning for more than one episode. Briana talked about the rejection inherent in being an actor and having to learn to keep telling herself that she is enough. All three were happy to be reunited and I was happy to have their inspiration back on the stage.

Jensen’s solo panel was next, and he seemed to take a moment to soak up the love when he came onstage.

It really felt like forever since we’d seen them all in person, so there was ALOT of love in that ballroom!

I think all of them prefer being onstage with one of their friends, and he mentioned that he missed Jared being up there with him – especially because it was the first con back and they’d been looking forward to it.

Jensen: It’s just me – I don’t have my brother here!

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