Supernatural 13.14 – Good Intentions!

 

It’s Monday morning and I’m still sitting here pondering the last episode of Supernatural. Make no mistake, my enthusiasm for the Show is as healthy as ever – otherwise I wouldn’t have spent the last three days thinking about it! This season has been uneven for me, with some wonderful episodes and some wonderful moments even in episodes I didn’t love, but when I get two in a row that don’t show me as much of the Winchesters’ perspectives as I need to see, I get impatient for more of what drew me into this show in the first place. This week’s episode was written by one of my favorite writers. Meredith Glynn wrote the incredible ‘Regarding Dean’, one of my favorite episodes of the entire series – so I went into this episode with high hopes after being disappointed by the last one three weeks ago. There were definitely things I liked about this episode, and it was indeed well written, but it didn’t leave me jumping up and down and screaming about my love of my Show, which is where I really like to be at the end of a new episode.

Someone on Tumblr wrote a provocative little post after this week’s episode about how Supernatural was never meant to be an ensemble show. The premise that drew me in was the story of these two brothers – two characters who have fascinated me for going on thirteen years. I enjoy Sam and Dean’s relationships with the other important people in their lives, which enriches my understanding of them, but Sam and Dean are my route in, and if I don’t have that route in, I feel too much on the outside instead of immersed like I want to be. The episodes that relegate Sam and Dean to more of a supporting role don’t have the emotional resonance for me that I’ve come to count on with this show. They may be good episodes in the sense of a self contained 42 minutes of drama, but they don’t give me that unique thrill that watching Supernatural does.  I’m the last person to suggest that anyone should keep up the sort of pace that Jared and Jensen have for the past twelve years because I care about them as human beings, but some have suggested that a shorter season would be a win/win alternative and I think I’d be down with that.

Let me be clear – I really liked a lot of this episode. Just not fangirl-thrilled-jump-up-and-down-OMG-I-love-this-Show kind of like, but like nevertheless. I think the scenes I enjoyed the most were the ones in the AU. I realize that seems to contradict what I said before about Sam and Dean being my route in since they weren’t even in the AU, but it’s not just having them onscreen, it’s having an emotional and psychological focus on them, and that didn’t happen in the ‘real world’ portion of the past few episodes either. The AU story was well done, it just didn’t leave me squeeful.

I liked the opening scene with Jack dreaming of being back “home” with Sam and Dean, even if I recognized it as a manipulated image from the start. The glimpse of what Jack longs for — his fantasy of Dean saying “You, me and the kid, home safe where he belongs” was heartbreaking. It’s so much the theme of Supernatural, that longing for family, the ability to create those bonds both with blood and without, and I was reminded how young Jack is with that glimpse, and how much he does long for that sort of family love and acceptance. For whatever it’s worth, Jack has bonded with Sam and Dean. They are his attachment figures, the first people who protected him and nurtured him. That early bond is powerful, resistant to a lot of outside attacks (as Michael (Christian Keyes) and Zachariah (Chad Rook) are finding out).  Jack’s deepest desire is to do right by Sam and Dean, to save them as they have saved him – I wanted to cry when his cruelly manipulated dream took such a dark turn and he was unable to save them.

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Making History at Supernatural’s VanCon

Best Cast Ever
Best Cast Ever

I’ve spent the week happily immersed in VanCon photos and reports and vids, like most of the Supernatural fandom, musing about why VanCon feels so special. Of course every occasion that fans have to get together is special, because we don’t often get to be with our SPN Family face to face. VanCon gives me lots of other fans to squee about Show with, to share my anticipation for S10, and to hash out what we did and didn’t like about S9 (and the eight seasons before that too). And then VanCon does other cons one better by giving me not only the actors but some of Supernatural’s writers and crew – which makes it pretty much the enactment of the reciprocal relationship we’ve written about in all our books. My week in Vancouver was all about those relationships – fans and fans, fans and actors, actors and actors, with some crew members and writers to round out the reciprocity. Relationships are what make we humans happiest, so I guess it’s not surprising that I’m still smiling.

VanCon coincided with the beginning of filming Supernatural’s 200th episode, which seemed entirely fitting. We contributed to some 200th episode gifts for the cast and crew, along with many other fans. Another group of fans arranged for a banner to be flown over the set congratulating the cast and crew on reaching such an important milestone.

The occasion made me think. When we first started researching Supernatural back in 2007, the Show was on the verge of cancellation at the end of every season, with fans rallying with postcard campaigns and network pleas and then crossing our fingers until the renewal was announced and we could finally breathe again. Nobody – not even the fandom – would have believed that we’d see 10 seasons and 200 episodes. But here we are, and going stronger than ever!

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