I’ve known Matt Cohen a long time. I was there for his first Supernatural convention a decade ago – I remember turning to my friend Kathy as we watched Matt try to hug every single fan he met and saying “this guy is a keeper.” I was thrilled when his reception at the cons ensured he would be invited back, eventually becoming one of the Karaoke Kings and an integral part of the Supernatural conventions all over the world. Matt was one of the first Supernatural actors I invited to write a chapter for Family Don’t End With Blood, because I knew he would have something inspiring and moving to say. I was right. The chapter he wrote is candid, insightful and very personal – it describes the way being on Supernatural has changed his life and how his relationships with his fellow cast members has changed him as well. It’s one of the chapters that makes me smile and tear up simultaneously (like all the best Supernatural episodes).
I was thrilled when he returned to the show again to play John Winchester, and perhaps even more thrilled when he became part of the final season of the show – not as an actor this time, but as a director. By then he had already made his own short film, Mama Bear, which he had directed and proved just how talented he was behind the camera, not just in front of it. I loved that film, so I couldn’t wait to see what he did with Supernatural.
I waited until his episode, Gimme Shelter, had aired last month, then we caught up by phone.
Matt: It’s nice to hear your voice.
Lynn: It’s been a long time.
Matt: Too long as far as I’m concerned!
(I think the entire SPNFamily feels that way at this point – we all miss each other! We caught up with family stuff, and how his son Macklin is doing with online learning (great) and then dug into the episode.)
Lynn: I was super excited that you got to direct an episode before the show ends. It seems so right and so special.
Matt: It certainly was special and I feel lucky. This show has given me everything at this point, and for it to give me my first hour of prime time TV directorial debut? I agree with you, it felt right. I felt like I was at home because I knew these people were going to do everything they could to not have me fail.
Lynn: For sure. You’re family.
Matt: And to me, that made me work harder than I’ve worked on anything my whole life, to make sure I could get them out on time and get everyone home and rested and then back to my set again and we could just knock this one out and keep on moving. And that’s exactly how it went. It was a special experience with the most remarkable crew I’ve ever worked with. They were there for me and I was there for them and it was just beautiful. Every day was emotional for me. When I wrapped every single day, I felt that this was part of my eight day goodbye to the show. And it was difficult, you know? I tried not to cry every night.
Lynn: I can’t even imagine how emotional it was for you, after all this time and this being such an incredible, life-changing journey. This was one of those quintessential Supernatural episodes that has a little bit of everything – humor, excitement, and emotion. All of them came together, but it was a complex episode. The emotional moments are probably my favorite things about the show – in this episode, like the scene when Castiel talks about his journey – finding a family, becoming a dad.
Lynn: It struck me that is so similar to what you wrote about in your chapter of Family Don’t End With Blood, about your own journey finding yourself and becoming a dad too. Misha [Collins] was so good in that scene. How did you feel about the episode’s story?
This was a noteworthy episode for a number of reasons. A) There are now only five episodes of Supernatural left, so EVERY episode is noteworthy.
B) This is Matt Cohen’s first time directing an episode of the show that has impacted his life so much. Matt has memorably played young John Winchester and the archangel Michael on the show over multiple episodes and seasons, and he’s been a beloved fixture at the Supernatural conventions for almost a decade. Matt wrote a very personal chapter about how his experience on the show changed his life in Family Don’t End With Blood, so I know how important the SPNFamily is to him and I’m beyond thrilled that he got to direct an episode before the show ended. It’s a testament to how much the cast and crew and everyone involved love him, and a vote of confidence in his substantial talent. So proud of you, Matt!
And C) This is Davy Perez’s last episode of Supernatural. Davy is one of my favorite writers, and the only writer to contribute a chapter to There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done, about what this show and this fandom has meant to him personally, so he has a special place in my heart. I’m genuinely sad that I won’t hear his evocative words from Sam or Dean or Cas ever again.
I knew these last episodes would be emotionally fraught for me, but I’m not sure I could have anticipated just what that would mean. I didn’t know that there would be an incredible media blitz around the show’s end run, which has been both heady and wonderful and also made the sadness of losing the show somehow even more poignant. It IS this special, and some of us have known that for a very long time. Now it seems like the rest of the world has caught up, only for the show to be ending. I’m thrilled that Rolling Stone and Glamour and CNN and so many other publications are covering the show now, but I’m also a little bit like, where were you a decade ago?
All that is to say that I’m going into these last episodes with a lot of mixed feelings. I desperately want to just cherish and enjoy every minute of what we have left, and at the same time, I desperately want these last episodes to be GOOD. There’s no time left to waste time, and it’s a lot harder to hand wave and say well that one wasn’t my favorite, but maybe the next one will be. That’s a lot of pressure to put on the little show – or, more accurately, that’s a lot of pressure to put on myself and my own expectations. The show is filmed and done and it is what it is, and I’m very aware of that. Now it’s on all of us to draw from it what we can – but damn it, I really hope it’s going to go out in a way that everyone can be proud of!
I did like quite a bit of this episode, which had some of Davy’s emotionally genuine dialogue and which showcased Matt as a director who knows how to get the best performances from his cast – maybe especially because he knows them and they trust him. There were some scenes that were incredibly beautiful, which is something that I think we saw more often in the early seasons, and something that made me fall in love with the show. There were also some scenes that made me tear up unexpectedly because they just rang true, and in each case the actor inhabiting the character was clearly feeling that too. Good job, director Matt!
Like the best Supernatural episodes, there was a fair amount of humor, and Cohen managed to mix that in organically with the grab-the-tissues scenes and the scary/gory/horror movie vibe that is also quintessential Supernatural. I also felt like the episode moved the story ahead, with some reveals and some hints of what’s to come next, so that was satisfying.
This was a Cas and Jack heavy episode, and I thought both of their story lines worked well – and that both Misha Collins and Alex Calvert nailed their characters’ emotional journeys perfectly. The confrontation between Dean and Amara also was outstanding, with Jensen and Emily Swallow making me believe every second of it. The fact that I haven’t mentioned Sam yet is my biggest problem with the episode – I don’t have a very good idea of where Sam’s head (or heart) is at right now during the events of this episode, and I want to! Especially now, with five episodes to go, I need to know exactly what’s up with the Winchesters every step of the way.
I just finished my customary rewatch, and here are the things I liked and the couple of things I questioned. The opening scene delighted me more than usual, not because of anything that happened, but because I found myself asking out loud, ‘wait, is that Dr. Sexy MD???’
It was! Both Steve Bacic (the pastor) and Nicole Munoz (playing the pastor’s daughter) have been on the show before, so it was nice to see them back. I saw a post shared by my friend Amy Hutton about meeting Steve at an Aussie con. He did a double take when she asked him to sign a photo of the Impala. When she informed him, “But you’re Dr. Sexy MD – you’re iconic!” he was dumbfounded, since he had no idea. He told her how great the guys were and how much fun he’d had doing the episode – and that she’d made his day!
The book many of us have been working on for almost a year is finally ready to be launched – and we’re having a party to celebrate! Join me (the editor), Alana King (who wrote a chapter) and Kim Prior (who coordinated the gorgeous photos in the book) for a Book Launch Livestream Party!
When and Where?
Wednesday May 6 kicking off at 9 pm ET/6 pm PST on Alana’s YouTube channel!
Who Will Be There?
We’ll be joined by lots of the actors who wrote chapters for the book at 9 pm – Andrea Drepaul (Melanie the werewolf), Carrie Genzel (Linda in Just My Imagination and Bugs), Chad Lindberg (Ash), Lee Majdoub (Hannah), Julie McNiven (Anna), Tahmoh Penikett (Gadreel), Lee Rumohr ( of the ‘hunter husbands’), Todd Stashwick (Dracula), Shoshannah Stern (Eileen), Brendan Taylor (New Doug) and Lauren Tom (Mrs. Tran) are planning to join the fun (schedules permitting). And we’re expecting a few more actors to join in too, so stay tuned!
We’ll also have almost all of our talented fan contributors – writers, photographers and artists — joining us at 10 pm to chat about their journey with Supernatural and the SPNFamily and how the show and the fandom have inspired them. Tedra Ashley-Wannemeuhler, Michael Banh, Patricia Barbera, Allison Broesder, Tanya Cook, Tara Coste, Sherri Dahl, Dawn Gray, Cris Griffin, Amy Hutton, Kaela Joseph, Liz Madsen, Gail Z. Martin, Jessica Mason, Vickie Ann McCoy, Suzanne McLean, Joelle Monique, Dmitri Novak, Emerson Lopez Odango, April Vian and Sarah Wylde will join me, Alana King and Kim Prior to talk all things Supernatural!
About The Book
There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done: Actors and Fans Celebrate the Legacy of Supernatural has chapters by the cast of Supernatural and the fandom, and is all about what has made this show so special. The actors talk about what it has meant to them to portray their characters and how the SPNFamily has changed their lives. The fans talk about the characters and the actors who have inspired them, how the show has evolved over fifteen years, what this show has meant to them, and how the SPNFamily has done a ton of good in the world. And we ALL weigh in on the legacy of this one-of-a-kind show and how we’ll (always) remember and love it. Including these two guys.
We hope this book will be something inspiring and comforting to hang onto as we come to the end of Supernatural’s fifteen year road trip (and also in this really stressful time when we all need good positive things in our lives).
Join In The Fun!
Please leave your questions for our contributors, both actors and fans, in the comments below or at the @FangasmSPN twitter post or Facebook post of this article. Then tune in to the livestream at 9 pm on Wednesday May 6 as they answer your questions and talk about their own journeys with Supernatural and the SPNFamily!
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?
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.
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!’
Dean’s stopping for food, because he ate everything they had in the cooler while Sam slept.
Sam: (affronted) We’re on a budget!
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.
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.