There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done – Thanks To All Our Incredible Contributors!

 

When Supernatural announced that it was ending, I was too caught up in my own grief for a while to even think about what might help all of us get through a loss of this magnitude. Then I thought about the many people who have told me that the inspiring messages in Family Don’t End With Blood written by the cast and fans of Supernatural had helped them get through difficult times. Would a book that gave us all something tangible with which to celebrate and remember the show be helpful now?  I had already been working on another book about the show – one that would trace its evolution in terms of representation, especially for the women of Supernatural, and including the voices of actors who hadn’t written for Family Don’t End With Blood. Now that the show was ending, I thought about expanding that book. Maybe a book that would celebrate all fifteen years of this incredible show and its legacy would be an inspiration and allow all of us to “always keep fighting.”  A book that would give us all something beautiful (inside and out) to hang onto so we can always remember this extraordinary show and fandom.

By the time I had this realization and called my publisher at Ben Bella, the date on which the last episode of Supernatural would air was little more than a half year away. Was it even possible to put a book together that quickly and actually have it be released in time for the series finale?

I think my wonderful publisher at first laughed, and then maybe asked, wide eyed: Oh wait, are you serious?

I was.

It felt important to pull together the cast and fans of this one-of-a-kind show one more time to celebrate the legacy that Supernatural leaves behind. But that meant we had almost no time to gather people together and ask them to write about their experience with Supernatural at a time when they were already emotionally raw from the news of it ending (both the actors and the fans). It meant asking them to write something very personal very quickly. That’s asking a lot, especially when many of them were already over-the-top busy. It’s a real testament to just how important this show is to both cast and fans that 20 actors and 18 fans managed to contribute something to There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done. Or, as my publisher has said, it’s a miracle.

But then again, Supernatural always has defied the odds, hasn’t it?

This is my thank you to all the talented people who contributed to There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done, both fans and actors.

A big giant shout out to Tedra Ashley-Wannemuehler, Michael Banh, Patty Barbera, Allison Broesder, Tanya Cook, Tara Coste, Dawn Gray, Amy Hutton, Kaela Joseph, Alana King, Gail Martin, Jessica Mason, Joelle Monique, Dmitri Novak, Emerson Lopez Odango, April Vian and Sarah Wylde for sharing their powerful stories. Each one of their chapters was a labor of love, and it shows on every page. I think every fan of Supernatural, no matter why you watch or how you watch or how long you’ve been watching, will find something to relate to in these amazing chapters.

Fans not only wrote this book; they also made it beautiful. A special shout out to my partner in crime, the uber talented Kim Prior, who not only contributed many gorgeous photos but also coordinated the other talented photographers who contributed (and kept me mostly sane throughout this entire process). Those photographers, all fans of the show and the cast they focus their lenses on with so much talent, also came through with a tight deadline. Thank you to Monica Duff, Liz Madsen, Krista Martin, Suzanne McLean, Hansi Oppenheimer, Melissa Rothman and Chris Schmelke for contributing your beautiful photos. We also were incredibly fortunate to have the talents of three amazing artists – Christine Griffin once again created the breathtaking cover art, and Sherri Dahl and Mary Twist contributed sketches that bring the chapters to life. The talent in this fandom is almost unbelievable.

 

As is the talent onscreen – the actors who bring Supernatural’s characters to life. Another big giant shout out to the cast members who took time out of very busy schedules to contribute to the book (and who didn’t run away screaming when there was yet another nudge from me in their inbox…)  Jensen Ackles (Dean Winchester), Jared Padalecki (Sam Winchester) and Misha Collins (Castiel) all contributed even though they were in the midst of dealing with their own strong emotions about Supernatural ending after being such an integral part of their lives for so long, and in the midst of still filming that show we’re trying to celebrate. Jared and Jensen both wrote chapters in Family Don’t End With Blood also. Misha has written substantial chapters for not one but two of our previous books. He was in the midst of about a dozen projects (most of which are helping to save the world), yet still contributed a briefer but heartfelt special message. (Most importantly, we’ve partnered with Random Acts once again — this book, like our previous one, benefits Random Acts – to help Misha keep saving the world!)

So many other actors also contributed chapters. A big shout out to Hugo Ateo (Cesar), Andrea Drepaul (Melanie the werewolf), Adam Fergus (Mick Davies), Carrie Genzel (Linda Berman “with sparkle on her face”), David Haydn-Jones (Arthur Ketch), Chad Lindberg (Ash), Lee Majdoub (Hannah), Julie McNiven (Anna Milton), Tahmoh Penikett (Gadreel), Lee Rumohr (Jesse), Richard Speight Jr. (Gabriel/Loki), Todd Stashwick (Dracula), Shoshannah Stern (Eileen Leahy), Gabriel Tigerman (Andy), Brendan Taylor (New Doug), Lauren Tom (Linda Tran) and Rick Worthy (Alpha Vamp), and to writer Davy Perez. Despite all the other projects these talented creators are juggling, they managed to write with genuineness and candor about this show and this fandom that has had such an impact on them.

A special thank you to Eric Kripke, who created this show and these characters that have changed all our lives. Without Kripke, there would be no Supernatural. I am beyond honored that he contributed a cover blurb for There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done that captures his love for the show and the fandom.

The book includes its original theme of exploring the evolution of Supernatural over the past fifteen seasons in terms of representation and the emphasis on family of all kinds. Both actors and fans wrote from diverse perspectives themselves in terms of race, sexuality, gender and disability. They are people of color, Indigenous people, deaf persons, gay and lesbian and bisexual and trans persons and all sorts of other persons. Some trace the evolution of the show in terms of representation as they themselves have searched for it. The book is also a celebration of Supernatural for all that it has brought to its fans and its cast, and of the important legacy it will leave behind. Some relate a powerful personal story of how this show and this fandom changed their lives, supported them through a tough time, or even helped them survive. Every chapter – and every author – is different. What ties them, and all of us, together, is Supernatural.

We all hope that when you read There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done that it will be a permanent way of remembering just how special Supernatural is, and will always be. Something beautiful and heartfelt to hang onto, to help with the inevitable grieving – and at the same time a joyous celebration of the Little Show That Could.

Every purchase benefits the important work of two charities that were created out of the show and the fandom: Random Acts, a partnership between Misha Collins and the SPNFamily, and SPNSurvivors, a non-profit organization started by fans of the show to bring to life and spread the “always keep fighting” message.

–Lynn

You can preorder now at

Peacewhenyouaredone.com

and get bonus goodies too!

If you missed Family Don’t End

With Blood, there are links on

the home page.

 

Supernatural Wins with ‘The Gamblers’ 

 

It feels SO good to sit down to write a review of my favorite show and be overflowing with love for it, like I’ve been so many countless times over the past fifteen years. We have nine episodes left of Supernatural, and all I want is to feel like this – grateful, inspired, in love, dreading the end. The relief is like a physical thing, to feel this way right now, as melodramatic as that might sound.

So, let me do some squeeing, because I’ve missed it!  I enjoyed this episode by Davy Perez and Meredith Glynn so much that I just want to go scene by scene and savor it all over again.

THEN:  (Moment of inappropriate giggling because they actually used the vampire Dean hiss in the ‘Then’ montage. Ahem. Okay, sorry.)

The opening is another musical montage, which seems to be a thing now for the Show, but it works especially well because the song is so damn fitting. “North to Alaska” is exactly where Sam and Dean are headed, and the song actually starts off with the lyrics “Big Sam left Seattle…” and something about his brother, and how perfect is that? Meanwhile, some poor guy named Leonard is losing at pool and losing his cool and clearly about to die. He loses, gets kicked out of the pool hall, falls in the dirt and can’t find his now-broken glasses ala the Lord of the Flies scene I’ve never gotten over and then gets run down by an 18 wheeler. In other words, quintessential Supernatural beginning.

As Sam and Dean make their way to Alaska, Sam texts with Eileen and Dean snarks about turning off the sound. Eileen is skeptical about this trek they’re on and so is Sam, but Dean insists they need to try, and is hanging onto hope.

Dean: It’s there, it’s gotta be. Chuck wants us weak, because he’s coming for us, Sammy.

So on they go (Baby might be down on her luck but apparently she can still drive all the way to Alaska, and the Winchesters are a whole lot better at getting through those Canadian border stops than I am most of the time even with their currently shitty luck!)

Sam’s asleep in the car like he often is in the best fanfic, and Dean of course wakes him like any big brother would, with a slap and a ‘Hey!’

Brothers.

Dean’s stopping for food, because he ate everything they had in the cooler while Sam slept.

Sam: (affronted) We’re on a budget!

Gifs sasquatchandleatherjacket

Jared Padalecki has such a knack for making even a simple line so funny and so Sam, and I laughed out loud at that. The Winchesters are down to their last $4.60, so all they can get is a cup of coffee and a slice of pie.

Dean: Two forks?

I laughed again, realized I was thoroughly enjoying the episode, and became practically euphoric at the realization.

Gif sasquatchandleatherjacket

Sam gives Dean grief about not being able to have cheese and Dean gives him an affronted look right back.

Dean: Dude, Lactaid!

Me: This episode is everything!

Much of the episode – dialogue included – really did read like fanfic, and that is my highest compliment. It means the writers get the characters as well as we do, and that feels incredibly good. Sam and Dean and Cas and Jack were Sam and Dean and Cas and Jack!

Dean turns his 1000 watt smile on the waitress and they find out there’s a “magic pool hall” in the middle of nowhere and that people like poor Leonard don’t come back from it.

Sam: Now we know the down side – it might kill you.

Dean is much more optimistic.

Dean: This is my game – hell, our game!

He reminds Sam of all the memories they have of playing pool.

Sam: (frowning) Yeah, because we had to eat!

Me: Yep, definitely have read that fic.

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Supernatural Director Jensen Ackles Hits It Hard with Atomic Monsters

Supernatural’s fourth episode of its fifteenth and final season reminded me of all the reasons I’m going to be a sobbing mess when the show wraps – and I don’t have this sort of episode to dig into and enjoy! Written by Davy Perez and directed by Jensen Ackles himself, ‘Atomic Monsters’ ran the gamut (as some of the most enjoyable Supernatural episodes do) from action hero sequence to humor to meta to tear-your-heart-out boys in the car conversation. In other words, exactly what I want from my Show.

I was bouncing with anticipation for the opening sequence after hearing Ackles talk about it so excitedly and hearing some of his original ideas (never doubt that the man can write), and then reading some of his interviews about the sequence. Jensen sent a full pitch to showrunner Andrew Dabb, who came back saying he loved it but it wasn’t possible unless they were doing a full length feature film. (Um, who’s on board to watch that film? Line up to the left).

Ackles and stunt coordinator Rob Hayter posted the two of them practicing some of the John Wick type moves in the studio. Jensen’s conversation with Rob: “Let’s go hard here. We’re gonna go big, we’re gonna do like a full Dean Winchester as John Wick.”

And that’s exactly what they did.

All the applause for triple threat writer/director/actor Ackles for creating the perfect showcase for the character he loves so much, making Dean badass (and bearded) and showing off his own smooth stunt moves in the process. He filmed the sequence red lit, much like the  scenes of demon Dean tracking down his brother in the bunker, with the lighting giving it all a surreal feel and somehow accentuating the violence and desperation.

We get the feeling this is Dean, but not our Dean, as he takes down demon after demon, stalking the familiar halls of the bunker. The dread builds as he encounters a fallen comrade – and we realize it’s Benny.

I’ve complained already about too many characters being brought back in one episode, but this time it worked for me, in part because Ty Olsson was in a short but emotional scene. Despite his few lines, the chemistry between Ackles and Olsson was clear, as was Dean’s genuine affection for Benny, and the lines that he did have hit right in the heart. The show is understanding and leaning into the power of the call back this season, as we all try to prepare ourselves to wrap it up. Benny’s words to Dean echoed his words from many seasons ago, as Benny once again dies.

Benny: I’ll see you on the other side, brother.

Well done, Ty Olsson and Jensen Ackles.

Jensen also shared that it was he who wanted someone memorable to be killed in the fight sequence, and suggested Olsson. Although Ty was working elsewhere, he was able to fly in for just a few hours to do the scene, and he killed it. And we got another fan favorite character back before the show ends! Interestingly, in this sequence – which seems to be an alternate reality – Benny is human. But it seems like in every universe they’re in, Dean and Benny care about each other.

Our sense of dread builds as the body count increases, and when Dean finally demands “Where is he?” I think we all knew who he was looking for.  It’s still shocking to see Sam standing there, lit in red, a halo of beautiful hair around that handsome familiar face – which looks totally unfamiliar because of the cold expression. All Sam’s empathy, which Jared Padalecki is so skilled at showing us, is gone. Erased. Sam’s voice is cold, even in the face of his brother’s pleading. Long before his eyes go black, we know that this Sam is not going to hear Dean. And that is profoundly terrifying, upending the one thing that we all count on for this Show. The Winchesters always, always care about each other.

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Every Episode Counts Now and I’m Emotional: Supernatural ‘Don’t Go In The Woods’

 

My review of last week’s Supernatural isn’t exactly what it would have been if I’d written it right away. That’s because the world of every Supernatural fan careened off its axis on Friday when it was announced that the Show would end after one more season. Most of us have been very emotional since, and when I went back to re-watch this episode, it was through a very different lens. A lens that has me wanting to cherish every last second of the Winchesters and company that I can get before this wild ride is all over. This may not have been one of my favorite episodes, but it gave me Sam and Dean on a hunt and an emotional story with Jack, and I’m feeling grateful.

‘Don’t Go In The Woods’ was directed by John Fitzpatrick and written by first-time writer Nick Vaught and veteran writer Davy Perez, both of whom are avid horror fans, so we knew this episode would be heavy on the horror tropes. It started off like so many horror films do, with a young couple making out in the woods and hearing spooky noises. Which, for some inexplicable reason, they always think is the wind. When does the wind sound like that?? Instead of a monster rapping on the car window, we get the horror trope curve ball, since it’s the boy’s gruff dad – who’s also the town sheriff because of course he is. The young woman decides to give them space and go off to the bathroom, which is a shack in the middle of the woods and OMG WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT YOUNG WOMAN??? Even if it wasn’t scary as hell I wouldn’t sit down on the toilet seat like she does, btw. But she does, and the eerie whistling starts, and then we see the deformed clawed hand reach over the stall door. Cue screams!

That scene was nicely done, scary and disgusting and we didn’t get to see the monster which is always scarier anyway. The entire episode that took place in the woods was very dark, like old school Supernatural, and that added to the scary factor.

Cut to the bunker, where Sam is researching and starting to feel maybe a little bit better, though it’s clear the guilt over the AU hunters being killed is still there. Dean walks in to find Sam hunched over the laptop, and I get unexpectedly emotional because that’s such an iconic Winchester scene and SHIT we’ll only have 24 more episodes to get more of those! Where are my tissues?

Dean: Whatcha looking at? Porn? Sex tapes? Nip slips?

Sam: The internet is more than just naked people, you know that, right?

Dean: Not my internet.

Iconic Winchesters. I smile through my tears.

Sam shares the case and offers to go get Cas, but Dean explains that Cas left that morning, feeling too cooped up and needing to stretch his legs. Sam asks about taking Jack, but Dean says no, that he’s gotten them in trouble before with his powers and he just got them back.  Much to Sam’s disagreement, Dean doesn’t tell Jack the truth though, instead making up a fairly lame story about Jack needing to be there in case Mary comes by (why?) and them needing him to go on a supply run.

Jack, still trying his new strategy of not worrying Sam and Dean, agrees to do the supply run.

Me: Wait, so you think he’ll be less likely to get into trouble going into town ALONE??

But this is a horror movie, so I guess the bad decision fits, and we all know that what’s coming can’t be good.

Jack looks so eager to please as he says “I’ll do it” and it breaks my heart.

Somewhere out there, there’s a clip of the gag reel that shows what was really on that list, and makes me feel great empathy for Alex Calvert trying to keep a straight face. Just another day on the Supernatural set…

Next up, Winchesters in FBI coats and fed suits, and once again I’m hit by a wave of anticipatory nostalgia that I have to swallow down. The Sheriff (Adam Beach) isn’t nearly as moved as I am, not exactly wanting them there but reluctantly allowing them to examine the body of the murdered young woman.

This scene is also scarier than these scenes usually are on Supernatural, because as soon as they pull out the drawer, her arm falls off the side and hits Dean, who jumps back like he’s been electrocuted. Sam makes a face, incredulous.

Sam: Seriously?

Dean insists he has cat-like reflexes, can’t help it.

Gifs by itsokaysammy

Me: Ohgod, I can’t lose them, this is painful…

Also the body is seriously scary because her eyes are OPEN. *shudders*  Nice work, someone.

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Two In A Row! Supernatural Does What It Does Best With ‘Damaged Goods’

I don’t quite know what to do with myself – this is two weeks in a row that I’ve been absolutely blown away by how GOOD the Supernatural episode was. I must have become accustomed to getting a good episode here and there and every now and then a great one, and having the ones in between be frustrating in some way or not quite satisfying. I didn’t even realize how accustomed to that I’d become, but apparently having two fabulous episodes back to back is almost too much for me – I haven’t felt this euphoric about the Show in a while, and it feels amazing to be back to fangirling my little heart out over Supernatural.

Thank you, Show! Thank you Steve Yockey for last week’s episode and Davy Perez for this week’s episode. The cast never disappoints — even when I’m disappointed in the episode itself, I’m never anything but impressed with all of them. But this week and last week, something special happened. That spark, that magic, that “lightning in a bottle” that first captivated me about this Show returned. This week and last week, Jared and Jensen were onscreen together after being apart for much of this season, and I was blown away all over again by how much emotional impact they bring to Sam and Dean when the brothers are interacting. That’s what made me fall in love with this Show, and what I found so compelling – and I’ve missed it. Something happens when those two are onscreen together, when the emotions are so intense and so palpable and so REAL and I can feel everything Sam and Dean are feeling. It’s magic, pure magic.

Damaged Goods was also heartbreaking and horrifying, but that too is what Supernatural has always been about. From the moment we see Dean packing up his duffel, there’s a sense of foreboding. He leaves his room and glances down the hall, almost wistfully. Was he regretting not being able to say goodbye to Cas and Jack? Regretting leaving the place he’s come to call home? He finds Sam in the library, hard at work trying to figure out a way to vanquish Michael and save his brother. Dean overtly expresses his appreciation, and that’s…. odd? Then he says he wants to go see Mom, sounding downright sentimental, and he doesn’t want Sam to come along, and … uh oh. Every alarm bell in my head starts going off. Dean’s going to do something stupid and sacrificial, clearly.

When Dean starts to leave and then suddenly veers to pull Sam into a hug from behind, I already want to cry because something very bad is clearly about to happen. Ackles is brilliant in this small, quiet scene. The way it looks like he’s trying to leave without touching Sam, but he’s pulled almost like a magnetic force, and the way he clutches Sam to him, almost kissing him on the head – it’s almost more maternal than brotherly, so full of affection it makes my heart ache.

“Take care, Sammy,” he says, and forces himself to leave.

Sam stares after him, looking as worried as I’m feeling.

Caps itsokaysammy

Such a small scene, but so much of what this Show is about. The love between these two brothers, the shared history of sacrifice and courage and saving each other and the world and trying to do the right thing – it all adds up to become this intense emotional experience when you’ve been following the Winchesters’ story for going on fourteen years. We know them; we know, as Dean rests his chin on Sam’s head and pulls Sam to him, that this is goodbye.

And that fucking hurts.

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