‘Raising Hell’ With Supernatural 15.02

 

Episode two of the fifteenth and final season of Supernatural was called ‘Raising Hell’. I’m not sure why it was called that, since Hell was ostensibly already “raised” in the first episode, but it turned out to be sort of fitting anyway, since the episode raised a fair amount of disagreement and infighting amongst the stressed-out-because-we’re-about-to-lose-this-show fandom. As a fan, I sometimes agree with all the sides. I understand the fans who don’t want to hear any complaints or criticisms, who desperately want their last 19 episodes of the show to be something that feels good, a celebration without critique that brings only joy and lots of good memories. I understand that feeling; I tend to be good at forgiving, handwaving and even ignoring in order to appreciate the good parts of what I love. On the other hand, I also understand the fans who are critical of an episode. When you only have 19…18….episodes left, having one of those feel unsatisfying is tough to swallow. I’m somewhere in between the extremes.

The writers of this episode are not always my favorites, as I’ve said before. They have written some good episodes, but there are quite a few that haven’t worked well for me. Whether it’s because they’re seasoned television writers or because they just enjoy juggling, these are the writers who often are given the episodes that include everything but the kitchen sink (which I’m sure, in all fairness, is challenging). Some people like that and are happy to greet each new revelation with a more is better attitude. That’s not me. I like to savor each little bit of this show. I like the show to spool itself out without too much rushing, and for every moment to be invested with depth and a meaning I have to work a bit to figure out. I’m not just here for the action; I expect the show to give me insight into the characters that are why I love it.  I start to get a headache when there’s too much going on that isn’t well connected to the main characters or when there are too many characters jammed into one episode.

We’ve been told that lots of ‘fan favorite’ characters will be coming back this season, which makes sense. It’s the last season, our last chance to see some of our favorites and perhaps to give them a proper send off. I’ve been on board with that revelation, and at the same time concerned that it would be overdone, so that each return wouldn’t have the gravity it’s due. For me, that happened in this episode. Rowena and Chuck were back, which was expected, so I won’t consider those a “return” as much as a they’re-part-of-the-current-storyline. But in addition to Rowena and Chuck (and new character Belphegor) in this episode, we had three other returns: Amara, Ketch and Kevin. That’s a lot of returns in one episode!

I like all three of the returning characters, and the actors did a wonderful job with their portrayals. While I initially wasn’t a Ketch fan, I’ve warmed up to the character over the seasons, partly I suspect because David Haydn-Jones is an awesome human being and a talented enough actor that he brings a vulnerability to Ketch that’s unexpected and interesting. Most of fandom was spoiled for all three returns, which also dilutes the impact considerably, and while I don’t entirely know if it made sense for Ketch to turn up there in the nick of time, I could go with it.

Then we had the return of Amara, something fandom also knew about. I loved Emily Swallow showing us Amara’s evolution (and her snazzy new wardrobe) but by the time we saw her and Chuck, the episode was already feeling a bit crowded.

And then we got the most emotional return of all – Kevin Tran. Again, most of us knew he’d be back, which diminished the impact, unfortunately. I was happy he was coming back; It’s no secret that I love Osric Chau to bits and that I adored his character. But by the time Kevin appeared, I think I actually exclaimed “Kevin too??”

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Nineteen More To Go…. Supernatural’s Season 15 Premiere!

 

The experience of watching Supernatural for this season is going to be very different than the fourteen seasons before. It’s Season 15, the final season of the show I’ve been loving for fourteen years and reviewing for almost as long. I usually write an emotional, bouncing-with-anticipation review of the season premiere after waiting impatiently, my heart in my throat and overflowing with gratitude that I get another twenty plus episodes with my favorite fictional characters. I’ve never watched a season premiere and thought ohgod, we’re one episode closer to the end – until now.

I wanted desperately to just watch the episode and savor every second of it, every moment with the Winchesters and company something to cherish now that I know we won’t have that many more moments with them. I didn’t want to think about how it was the last time I’d sit down to watch a season premiere, or that now we have one hour less with Supernatural than we had the day before. I just wanted to squee, but I couldn’t shake the knowledge that we’ll need to say goodbye soon. One down, nineteen to go. Somebody stop me from counting!

I’m sure my reviews will be a little different this season too. I can’t be cavalier about anything – not about my intense love for the show and the characters, and not about my frustration when any of those 42 precious minutes of an episode are squandered. So expect even more passion than usual (if that’s possible) and a little more rage than usual every now and then. I’ll try to temper it, honest.

‘Back And To The Future’ wasn’t the strongest season starter we’ve had, and there were things that made me grind my teeth or scratch my head, but there were also things I enjoyed. I selfishly – and perhaps unfairly – want every second of the last season to be exactly what I want to see, and I recognize that’s not going to happen. I’ll still likely rail against it anyway.

‘The Road So Far’ had Bob Seger’s ‘The Famous Final Scene’ playing, which is not only melancholy and dramatic (which I thought was fitting) but meta as hell, cueing us into the fact that this season is probably going to be very meta indeed.

And then we got the last title card. Sorry, I couldn’t help the L word. It made me instantly emotional to think we’ll never hold our breath waiting to see what the title card will be and then gasp at how bloody awesome it is.

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Are We Ready, Fandom? Supernatural Season 15 Premieres Tomorrow

 

It’s Wednesday, October 9, 2019. It hasn’t been a noteworthy date in the past, but to many of us who are Supernatural fans, it’s feeling like one now. It’s the night before Supernatural’s Season 15 premiere – and the last time I will ever sit here trembling in anticipation of a new season of the Show that changed my life a decade and a half ago. Like most humans, I don’t do all that well with change – and I certainly don’t do well with loss. Supernatural has been incredibly important to me, in countless ways. It brought me some of my closest friends, gave me a community that I cherish, pulled me out of my anxiety-caused reticence to go places and do new things. It inspired me to attempt career moves, world travel, new relationships. It turned me into a writer, because I had so damn much to say about this show and these characters and this fandom that even fear and self doubt couldn’t keep me from saying it.

It’s been a long time that Supernatural and I have been together. It’s a long term relationship, with all the benefits that brings and all the potential losses that carries. I’ve grown used to the rhythm of the seasons, intense weeks of episode after episode when I join other fans in jumping up and down in joyous celebration of what we love and gnashing our teeth over what we hate, followed by intermittent hiatus breaks where we all speculate about what’s going to happen next and read a lot of fanfic. Supernatural is part of the ebb and flow of my life, enriching it in the best of ways. It’s personal, this thing I have with the show – and I don’t mean that in the pathologizing sense of the old scary term “parasocial relationship”. I mean the real one, the validating and inspiring and healthy one that lets me immerse myself for 42 minutes a week in a fictional world with beloved characters who manage to teach me about myself and feel like old friends. There’s research on this folks, I’m not making it up. It’s good for you. And for me.

The past week has seen article after article in all the mainstream media publications that cover all the shows and are well aware that a venerable series is about to end. I remember when no one was writing about Supernatural. When my first phone call to the studio was met with an incredulous “you want to write a book about this show?”  I remember season premieres heralded mostly by fandom, mainstream media unaware of this hidden gem that only we knew was going to be something very special. I was frustrated for a long time that the rest of the world didn’t recognize Supernatural for what it was, or its cast for how amazing they are. Now, as it prepares to tell its last stories, it seems like the whole world finally knows. And I’m so very proud of our Little Show That Could, but each time I read an article I also think, you don’t really know. Not the way we do.

You don’t really know what this show means to us or how much it’s changed our lives. (Unless you’ve read Family Don’t End With Blood, and then maybe you have an idea). You don’t really know how we feel right now, caught between incredible joy and anticipation for tomorrow night and the constant looming knowledge that this is the last time we’ll have this. As always, I’ll have a slice of pie and a glass of wine and a comfy blanket ready as I sit down to watch tomorrow night. As always, I’ll also have a big box of tissues. But this time, I need those tissues tonight too. I’ve needed them all week, every time I read another headline. This time I’m steeling myself for the first of the lasts, desperately not wanting that to be the case. I’m determined to cherish every moment I have left with my favorite show and my favorite characters, but I also know this will be a rough season full of anticipatory grief as well as celebration. Luckily I know I’m not alone – as always, the fandom community who really does get it is there to take the last trip on this wild ride with me, just as it’s always been.

Buckle up, SPNFamily.

See you on the flip side.

— Lynn

You can read how Supernatural really has

changed lives – for the actors and the fans –

in Family Don’t End With Blood – links on

the home page

 

Happy Birthday Rob Benedict – And Here’s to Season 15!

 

As we head into the last season of Supernatural, we know there will be lots of familiar faces returning for one last time. I think we’re all agreed that we’re grateful one of those familiar faces will be Rob Benedict, returning as Chuck or God or The Writer or whoever the hell he really is. We all have mixed feelings about his character right now, but no one I know has mixed feelings about Rob himself.

Whether he’s kicking ass with Louden Swain or the Station Breaks in concerts all over the world or waxing eloquent about The Bachelor on Will You Accept This Rose podcast or showing off his acting chops on multiple projects (how does he have so much energy??), Rob makes us happy.

I’m forever grateful that he took down all his defenses and wrote the inside story of what happened when he had a stroke at a Supernatural convention six years ago in Family Don’t End With Blood. Not only did his story inspire many others to ‘always keep fighting’, but his chapter saved some lives for real because people who had read his story recognized when they were having a stroke and got help right away. Talk about making a difference!

The fact that we almost lost Rob has made us even more grateful that we still have him as the heart and soul of the SPNFamily. He is every bit as passionate when he takes the stage for a Saturday Night Special and brings us all together to celebrate Supernatural, the fandom, and life itself as he was the very first time I saw him play a decade ago. I watched that concert sitting in the back with Richard Speight Jr. – and we all know how that turned out! What a gift to have Rich and Rob together for all these years, making magic onstage at conventions, emceeing at Comic Con, and immortalizing a tongue in cheek (and hilarious) take of what this has all been about in Kings of Con.

It seems fitting that Rob would rejoin Supernatural for its final season. He’s been an integral part of the family since his first appearance on the show over a decade ago – and a force for good in the lives of so many. I wrote a retrospective of the many chats I’ve had with Rob last year, with lots of great quotes from Rob and lots of Kim Prior’s pretty pretty pictures, which you can read here:

Looking Back – Rob Benedict and SPNFamily

He’s pretty special.

Happy birthday, Rob – here’s to much much more of your beautiful music and inspired acting, and to an amazing Season 15!

— Lynn

You can read Rob’s heart-stopping chapter in

Family Don’t End With Blood, links at the

Home page!

Happy Anniversary to Supernatural’s Castiel!

In celebration of the anniversary of Castiel’s debut on Supernatural (which isn’t really his birthday because we all know he’s WAY older than that), here’s a throwback to what Misha Collins had to say about that fateful moment and Castiel’s epic entrance in the season premiere of Season 4 in a little excerpt from the chapter he wrote in our second book, Fan Phenomena: Supernatural.

I didn’t expect being inducted into this world to be anywhere near as strange, wonderful or overwhelming as it has been. I didn’t expect any of it. I remember watching the season premiere of Supernatural Season 4 – the episode in which my character was introduced – with the producers and writers at a little screening party at producer McG’s offices in West Hollywood. Sera Gamble, a writer and producer on the show, was standing next to me as we watched. When my character came on-screen, she leaned over and whispered to me, ‘Your life is about to change.’ I thought, ‘That is a truly arrogant thing for a producer of a CW television show to say. I’ve been on plenty of television shows. My life is going to stay exactly the same, I don’t know what you’re talking about.’ Well, Sera, I think I owe you an apology for that thought.

I think Sera probably just chuckles when she remembers that now. Not only did Misha’s life change, but the character he brought to life changed the lives of many fans as well. Sera Gamble has good instincts.

You can read more of Misha’s thoughts on his character and how Supernatural has changed his life in the chapter he wrote in Family Don’t End With Blood. That book benefits Random Acts, the real life change that this show and this character have created in the world.

Happy Cas anniversary, Misha and Supernatural!

— Lynn

Links to all books on the home page!