Supernatural Returns with Episode 15.14 Last Holiday

The two days leading up to Supernatural’s return – for the very last time – were a whirlwind the likes of which I have never seen in fifteen years of Supernatural fandom. For years, in the early seasons, the fans spread the word about the show and advertised it as best we could, sending postcards of support and starting online campaigns when the internet was still relatively new. In 2020, after an unexpected hiatus, Supernatural made its triumphant return with dozens of major publications and seemingly every CW local outlet covering the first new episode in six months – and the beginning of the show’s end run. I’ve been writing a weekly wrap up of everything Supernatural related, so I spent two days running between my laptop on which I was teaching my classes to the other laptop where I was frantically trying to keep up with the Supernatural news. I’m exhausted, but it was exhilarating – if someone had told me fifteen years ago that everyone from Variety to CNN would be celebrating this little show, I wouldn’t have believed it. But that’s Supernatural. It’s special.

More on that in my weekly wrap up article, with links to most of the coverage, but for now, I want to talk about the return episode, Jeremy Adams’ Last Holiday, directed by Eduardo Sanchez, who has directed some of my favorite episodes.

I really really enjoyed some of this episode, and part of me wants to just wallow in that joyful celebratory portion – just like the Winchesters wanted to do. In the midst of a seemingly endless pandemic, without our favorite show, I think we all desperately needed a feel-good episode, and I’m incredibly grateful that we got part of one at least. It felt so good to see Sam and Dean smile and laugh and enjoy their lives. They have had so little of that, their entire lifetimes, and they so richly deserve some happiness. Jack, in his short time alive, has had very little of that too.  So, while we knew from the start that things would inevitably go south, I enjoyed every moment of Mrs. Butters taking care of ‘her boys’. And Meagen Fay was awesome.

The THEN segment reminds us that the Men of Letters weren’t all good guys, especially the problematic Cuthbert Sinclair. Jeremy Adams has said that he wanted to dig into the MoL history a little before the show wraps, so this episode did some of that. Though, as we all know, sometimes when you dig into things you don’t like what you find…

We get some lovely domestic Winchesters to start, Sam researching and Dean coming up from the kitchen, be-aproned.

Sam: What’s with the apron?

Dean: Burgers!

Unfortunately the power, the water, and eventually the air conditioning aren’t working right, so the boys go downstairs to fix the pipes. Oddly, they don’t seem to be very familiar with the control panels etc., which I find hard to believe. Yes, they’ve been busy, but who decides to live in an underground bunker without thoroughly exploring it and making sure you know how to keep it running? Dean especially is mechanically inclined, so his cluelessness is a little annoying. His impulsivity is more Dean-like, I guess, as he hits the giant Reset button while Sam expresses his doubts about that being a good idea.

Everything seems fine until Dean returns to his room with his burger and finds an older woman folding his Scooby Doo boxers (a little shout out to Jeremy’s first Supernatural episode)

Dean: SAM!!

They meet the wood nymph folding Dean’s “underthings”, Mrs. Butters.

Dean: Uh, then shouldn’t you be in the woods?

Sam: Underthings?

It’s the little things that make me smile.

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Last Call! Supernatural Lines Up for The Last Mid Season Finale

 

Last week’s Supernatural was the first written by Jeremy Adams, who I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with at Comic Con last summer. He’s a great guy and a big fan of the show and the genre, and his enthusiasm for what he was writing came through in the episode – and was largely what I liked about it. The episode was split between more serious moments and pure fun, and it was the fun parts that will be most memorable about it for me.

Jeremy’s excitement about being on the Supernatural set was also infectious, and he was kind enough to give us all sorts of behind the scenes goodies too. Here’s Jeremy being appreciated by the cast…

From Jeremy’s twitter

We also got some lovely behind the scenes content from guest star Shoshannah Stern, who was back as Eileen. It’s no secret that I think Shoshannah is awesome, and she understands fandom and our love of this show.

We got the cast practicing signing videos, and this priceless between scenes rest time photo with Jared and Misha. Awww.

Even Jensen got into the act, sharing some photos of him and guest star (and long time real life pal) Christian Kane relaxing between scenes and practicing some stunt fighting too. Still got it, boys!

Let me talk about the fun stuff first, because that’s what I enjoyed the most. The episode wasn’t actually a meta episode, but I don’t know that I’ve ever watched an episode thinking more about what was happening in “real life” and less about the characters and the story. To the extent that I couldn’t see Dean singing with Lee as much as Jensen singing with his old friend Christian Kane.

Usually that wouldn’t make me happy, because it’s the characters and the story that I love with all my heart. But it’s the last season, the last chance that this cast has to do some of the things they’ve wanted to for a long time, and it was infectiously joyful to see Jensen so happy to be able to finally have Kane on his show – both of them were clearly having the time of their lives. I’ve had the privilege of seeing Jensen sing live, and some of those little mannerisms of seeming indecision were definitely his, and it made me smile.

I was oddly nostalgic myself about Jensen and Christian singing together on Supernatural, because one of the first times I saw Jensen sing (not in person, I wasn’t that lucky, but god bless the fans who filmed it) was at a Kane concert for Christian’s birthday. It was so rare and so special to see Jensen sing back then – and I must have watched that little clip… well, probably a lot. So seeing them perform together on the actual show was a reminder of how long they’ve known each other and how long I’ve been watching this show!

It’s rare we get to see Dean Winchester that happy, which was another reason it kept looking like Jensen to me instead of Dean – at first. I mean, look at that FACE!

Toss in a few little meta commentaries about lip synching Eye of the Tiger and that whole first scene in Swayze’s Bar was all about reality instead of fiction. (If that was all the episode was, I would’ve been sorely disappointed, though).

The other part of the episode that worked for me was Dean’s journey from apathy and feeling mostly hopeless to rediscovering his “always keep fighting” determination. The classic hero’s journey, with Dean coming out on the other side of his trauma and hopelessness, realizing who he is and what he wants and resolving to go after that. Lee is a mirror for Dean, at one point even saying “I am you – I just woke up and saw that the world was broken.”

That’s what Dean was on his way to becoming, to giving up just like that. But faced with who he would be if he did give up, Dean finds his motivation to keep going. Yeah, the world is seriously effed up, and it would be tempting to give up like Lee did and just look out for yourself. But that’s not Dean Winchester.

Dean: Then you fix it! You fight for it!

And that’s exactly what he’s now determined to do – or at least I’m hoping that’s where he is now and that he’ll stay there. I liked the way the character of Lee, a gifted hunter and fierce fighter who had gone dark side, provided the spark for Dean to make a decision about how he wanted to end up – a hunter, now and always. That’s my Show.

After all, as he says, someone’s gotta kill the bad guys.

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Everything You Wanted To Know About Supernatural at Comic Con 2018 – Part One!

It’s no secret to anyone who has ever read one of my Supernatural books that I love Comic Con – my first year there was 2007, when you could still drive your rental car right up to the convention center, park in the underground garage and stroll up to get in the (very small) line to get in. It was Supernatural that brought me to Comic Con back then, and it’s still Supernatural that brings me back now, and every year in between. The Show has gone from Room 6BCF to the larger Ballroom 20 and finally for the past few years, the gigantic Hall H. Like many loyal fans, I’ve followed along and celebrated the Show’s success as it defied the odds and refused to be cancelled. Last year saw a triumphant celebration of that tenacity, with Kansas appearing to play the Show’s unofficial theme song, Carry On Wayward Son, live on the Hall H stage.

Nobody expected Warner Brothers to top that amazing feat this year, and yet anticipation was high for our first glimpse of Season 14 – and Supernatural (as always) did not disappoint.

My Supernatural-centric Comic Con began on Thursday night with the Wayward Cocktails party in the Gaslamp district’s Analog Bar. Jules Wilkinson (better known as admin of the SuperWiki) and friends throw this party most years, and it’s a great place to meet up with all your fellow Supernatural fans. It’s also a charity event, so I brought along some copies of Family Don’t End With Blood to donate, benefiting Random Acts and Public Counsel, a legal services advocacy organization. All the television screens in the bar were playing episodes of Supernatural, there were Supernatural themed drinks, plenty of food, and of course pie for dessert. Ruth Connell joined us at our table for a while, and I had a chance to chat with Scoobynatural writers Jeremy Adams and Jim Krieg, who would love nothing more than to reprise that amazing episode.

I also got to hug some of the people who keep the Show awesome, like the always adorable post coordinator Mary Manchin and showrunner’s assistant Meghan – and to talk Season 14 a bit with writer Davy Perez. He’s excited about the upcoming episode written by Meredith Glynn and that makes ME even more excited! More on that later, because SQUEE!

Friday stayed Supernatural-focused with the Warner Bros. party at Float, the rooftop bar of the Hard Rock Hotel. My friend M. Night Shyamalan was also at Comic Con, premiering the trailer for his new film Glass (more about that coming up!) so I invited him to come by the WB party – because it’s always a fabulous party! He stayed long enough to chat for a little while, and then ran into Jensen Ackles as he was leaving, so they got to reconnect too. That’s what makes Comic Con so awesome!

Along with my good friends Laurena and Alice, I chatted Season 14 of Supernatural at the party with producer Jim Michaels while we sampled the delicious food and drinks, including the pros and cons of a reduced season of 20 episodes instead of 23. I was thrilled to hear that Jim’s optimism about the Show continuing for a while matches my own. We also were happy to run into showrunner and director Bob Singer and his wife, writer and executive producer Eugenie Ross-Leming. Both are excited about the new season, even if Bob did try to retire a few years ago – but we all know how that turned out!

Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins and Alex Calvert joined the party a short while in and stayed until they literally turned the lights on to try to convince those of us who were having way too good a time to finally leave – sorry, Float employees! My chats with Jensen were about his singing prowess and whether he’d run into Night before Night had to leave (he had, in the elevator!), with Jared about his recent birthday, and with Misha about politics – and whether I need a new phone (I do).

My chats with Alex were a bit more substantial – I can’t say enough about what a lovely person Alex is and how thoughtful about this unique situation he finds himself in. Needless to say, he was nervous about being onstage at Hall H in front of 8000 people on Sunday, but as I told him that night – the rest of the cast have his back. And so does the fandom.

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A Night of Fright Is A Total Delight! Scoobynatural

 

Last week’s Supernatural episode was one of the special ones – unlikely, risky, innovative, the sort of episode that when you hear the idea half of you is going “What now?” and the other half is immediately jumping up and down and yelling “Hell yeah!”  One of the things I cherish most about this Show that I’ve loved for thirteen years is its fearlessness. It started life on a network that disappeared by the time its first season was over, with a person in charge who didn’t understand what it was or why anyone would like it, managed to get picked up on the successor network that no one expected to make a long term go of it, sat precariously on the bubble for its first four or five seasons, and half the time since, and yet all that time the show never “played it safe”. As Jensen Ackles said when he and Jared Padalecki appeared on ‘The Talk’, at their audition the show broke protocol – and they’ve been breaking it ever since!

In the past it’s been an episode that takes place on a television set, with all the meta commentary that brings; incorporating Supernatural the book series directly into Supernatural the television show; the boys zapped into sitcom hell by the Trickster; an episode that revolved around ghost sickness and saw Dean screaming in terror over house cats and running from tiny dogs; an episode shot entirely from the point of view of the Winchesters’ beloved Impala; and the meta episode of all meta episodes in which Jared and Jensen play Sam and Dean playing Jared and Jensen. When it came time to celebrate Supernatural’s 200th episode, they marked that milestone with an episode titled “Fanfiction” which was an homage to every aspect of fandom, even the ones not usually talked about. I don’t think there’s another show that has dared to go so meta so often, and the brilliant writers and actors have pulled it off every single time.

The latest experimental episode, Scoobynatural, was no exception. An epic crossover worthy of the best fanfic, the episode saw Sam and Dean sucked into their brand new big screen TV and right into Dean’s favorite cartoon, Scooby Doo. The episode took over a year to finish, so the anticipation has been building for some time. Warner Bros. did their part lining up some talk show appearances, and the airing of the episode also coincided with Supernatural’s third appearance at PaleyFest, so that meant the fandom has had a veritable feast of Supernatural content for the past month. And it has been glorious!

One of the things you can count on about an episode of Supernatural is that some people will love it and some people will hate it, sometimes for exactly the same things. But Scoobynatural is one of those very rare episodes that most people agreed on – not everyone was over the moon for it, but few had any issues with it and a lot of fans absolutely loved it. It doesn’t hurt that the cast clearly had a blast making it and as fans of Scooby Doo themselves, their enthusiasm shone through every time they talked about it. Jared, Jensen and Misha were glowing at PaleyFest, happy to greet the gathered throng of fans and answer questions about the show. Even the Impala showed up, posing alongside the Mystery Machine in anticipation of the crossover.

When Thursday night was finally here, I grabbed a slice of pie and sat down to watch, not really knowing exactly what to expect. The episode started off with a bang – literally. BOOM! Dean Winchester hits the floor, wrestling with….a giant stuffed dinosaur?? BOOM! In comes Sam Winchester, leaping into frame. We have a lovely moment of Winchester teamwork as Dean yells for Sam to roll out of the way and tosses his lighter to send the giant plushie bursting into flames.

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