The Trickster Messes With Sam and Dean for the First Time in Season 2’s ‘Tall Tales’

Tall Tales is one of those episodes that felt like FUN, despite some typical Supernatural monstrous happenings and, of course, people dying. But still, FUN. It was also a great episode to showcase Sam and Dean’s relationship as brothers. For better or worse! And, of course, it introduced us to Richard Speight, Jr. as the Trickster.

The ‘Then’ segment reminds us that Sam and Dean have pranked each other in the past, as brothers do, from Nair in the hair to Dean’s hand stuck to his beer bottle, Sam and Dean taunting each other with “That’s all you got?” and “Bring it on, Baldy!”  And lots of calling each other ‘bitch’ and ‘jerk’ which at this point (rewatching the series after it has ended), just makes me tear up because we know now exactly what those words mean when the Winchesters say them to each other.

Sigh. I miss my Show.

This episode opens with a professor walking to his office building at night, encountering an attractive young woman hanging out waiting for him, inexplicably dressed in a little sundress even though it’s cold and other people have jackets on.

She shows off her legs and he doesn’t notice, and he initially does try to get her to come back during office hours. He’s reluctant to respond to her flirty advances and hero worship until she finally says okay, I should go, and turns to leave. Then he changes his tune, saying he understands what she’s feeling. He shows his true narcissist colors by saying it’s natural, since he’s “somewhat of a celeb around here”. I had to cringe on behalf of professors everywhere when he said that. Nice touch of what his latest book is about though.

He kisses her even as he says it would be wrong for him to take advantage of her, and then… her face starts to disintegrate. Because this is Supernatural. He recoils in horror.

Zombie woman: What, you don’t like me anymore?

Outside the building, a janitor played by Richard Speight, Jr. watches as the professor’s body falls from the window high above, head splattered on the stones in a pool of blood.

Of course at the time that was not newsworthy (the janitor, that is). But now, on rewatch, we all squealed because Richard has joined Supernatural! He will become an integral part of the SPNFamily over the next 15 going on forever years.

ONE WEEK LATER

Sam is researching, as a Joe Walsh song plays on the radio. He’s clearly annoyed at his brother, who’s munching on something on Sam’s bed.

Sam: Dude, you mind not eating those on MY bed?

Dean (as he stuffs more in his mouth and licks his fingers enthusiastically): No, I don’t mind.

Gifs roadtripwithmybrother

Boys. I love how Supernatural always gets it so right. They are such brothers.

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What Happens In Vegas – Creation Supernatural Con 2022!

The Creation Supernatural convention’s return to Las Vegas this month was extra emotional for me. Vegas was the last convention that happened before the pandemic became a pandemic, which means it was the last convention of the Before Times. This year, I was once again with my friends who were there with me at Vegas 2020 as we all started to wonder what the hell was happening and clung to each other bolstering our courage to fly back home after a last round of pina coladas and uncertain goodbyes. I remember hugging my friends that night, not knowing it would be a very long time before I saw them again, and then flying home as the world changed around me.

I don’t think the Before Times will ever return in the same way – the world has changed now, in so many ways – so that Vegas 2020 con will always be a symbol of how the world was pre Covid. Despite the fact that things aren’t the same, though, it felt incredibly good to be BACK. To have Jared and Jensen and Misha and everyone else who made the pilgrimage back to where we left off two years ago on stage once again. It felt healing, even if it wasn’t exactly the same – and it felt hopeful, which I desperately need right now.

I have no choice but to be extremely Covid cautious, and all my friends were incredibly lovely and considerate as we ate in our hotel rooms instead of the restaurants we usually frequent and avoided the actual casino (okay, I do that part every time I’m in Vegas…). Creation has done a great job of making the conventions themselves feel safe enough even for me, and I’m very grateful for that also. In 2020, the new book with chapters by the show’s actors and fans that I had put together to celebrate the legacy of the show, There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done, was not yet released. In fact, it was at the printing press as Vegas 2020 happened, with me on the phone frantically trying to coordinate some last minute changes (I see you laughing, Alana King…). I was thrilled to be able to bring the book to Vegas con this year and share the inspiring messages the actors put together about why Supernatural and the SPNFamily made such a difference to them – and will always be with us.

Vegas con, like all cons, reminded me of the good in the world – and in the fandom. My friends got there early and set up the vendor table for me, Betty working her magic on setting up those banners and convincing me to finally use Venmo and Sue getting everything so organized that we even had printed signs for the table! The con was a reunion with so many fellow fans who I hadn’t seen in way too long, so the weekend was a constant OMG it’s so good to see you fest too. Like the best shot of endorphins all weekend long – and add to that a reunion of sorts with some of my favorite people who made that little show I love so much.

Here are a few highlights from the panels that I caught – work ensured that I missed the entire first day and part of the second, unfortunately. Boo on having to work for a living.

It was wonderful to see Felicia Day again – Charlie is so many fans’ favorite character. In fact, there are multiple chapters in There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done written by fans whose lives were touched by the character of Charlie in such a positive and powerful way.  I love her sense of humor and her ability to tell a story.

Felicia: When I got the call that Charlie was going to die, I thought OMG my performance was so bad that they wrote me off the show!

She understands that many of us take issue with the way Charlie died, but she also has an enduring appreciation and gratitude for Supernatural and all it brought her.

Felicia: Charlie could have fit through that window, just saying…. But it’s all okay, because even when you’re dead on Supernatural, you’re always part of the family. I would have loved to be on more, but making television is hard and I’m not gonna second guess the people who make this show and loved this show.

She’s excited about the prequel The Winchesters as a fan of Supernatural, especially because Robbie Thompson is showrunner – and of course also created the character of Charlie. She does wish that OG Charlie could have had a story line with Cas though – that would have been fun!

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In Memory of Kathy Larsen, With Love

This is not an article that I ever wanted to write – or that I ever, in a million years, imagined myself writing. But I want to say something about the friend that I lost this week, and remember just how special Kathy Larsen was.

I met Kathy through fandom. In fact, she was one of the first people I met through fandom, shortly after I discovered that online fandom was even a thing that exists. We were part of a small listserv, passionate about some of the same rather obscure things – a movie, a band, an actor that not many people had even heard of – and fangirled each other’s writing immediately. Kathy was a brilliant writer, whether it was fiction or nonfiction. She could make you laugh, pull you into a mystery, or absolutely gut you with a tragic ending. She could explain concepts that were difficult to grasp in a way that never felt like talking down to anyone, which I’m sure her students appreciated too.

Once we found out we lived only a few hours from each other, we started driving that two hours often, especially when we fell down the rabbit hole of loving a new thing – a relatively unknown little TV show on the WB called ‘Supernatural’.

Along with two friends, we fell in love with Supernatural together, and became fascinated by the close-knit community we found in that show’s fandom. At the same time, we questioned whether it was really okay for us to be quite so far down the rabbit hole. We were professors, professionals, partners, parents. Was it really okay for us to spend so much time and energy loving a TV show? Maybe because we were both professors and accustomed to research, or maybe because we just needed to prove to ourselves that it WAS okay, Kathy and I set out to find the answer. We would write a book, we decided, that set the record straight about fans and fandom, and especially fangirls. We’d examine it from our somewhat diverse perspectives, me as a psychologist and her as an English professor. But to do that, we reasoned, we needed to dive into Supernatural fandom head first and not look back – and that’s exactly what we did.

We flew across the country on almost no notice to see Jensen Ackles on stage in Fort Worth for A Few Good Men, leaving partners and kids a bit stunned. Especially when we decided one performance was not enough. The personality differences between me and Kathy made our fangirl adventures quite a contrast, and occasionally hilarious. We met Jared Padalecki (who had flown in to see his friend in the production) in the lobby candy line. I marched right up to say hello; Kathy opted not to budge from her spot in the corner and watched from a safe distance.

We needed some margaritas after with our friend Amy.

We flew across the country again all the way to LA for the premiere of the Ackles-laden indie film Ten Inch Hero (starring both Jensen and Danneel).  I managed to tell Danneel how much I loved the film while Kathy once again watched supportively from across the room.

But in other things, Kathy was fearless. We rented a PT Cruiser, figured out how to drive it (mostly) and drove down to San Diego to experience Comic Con and the Supernatural panel for the very first time.

Kathy drove.

Driver picked the music.

Shotgun shut her cakehole (and enthusiastically sang along to the classic rock and a little Steve Carlson).

With our friend Sabrina

Comic Con was eventful. We finally met Jensen Ackles.

I cried.

Kathy watched supportively from ten yards away and then hugged me and patted me until I calmed down.

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Walker Deepens Micki’s Backstory with ‘The One That Got Away’

I was at a Supernatural convention when last week’s episode of Walker aired, glad to have the opportunity of telling Jared Padalecki in person how much I’m enjoying his new show, so I didn’t get to watch live. When I returned, I watched on the CW app and decided to just enjoy the ride instead of taking notes for this review – and I was so glad I did! The second episode of Season 2, The One That Got Away, was full of excitement and fight scenes and close calls, but it was also a poignant episode with an amazing performance by Lindsey Morgan. I’m not always a fan of episodes that switch back and forth among multiple story lines, which Walker sometimes does thanks to its large ensemble cast, but this episode was tightly focused on just two story arcs – the culmination of Micki’s undercover work and the Walker-Davidson ‘feud’.  I loved being able to just sink into a story line and let it play out, almost in real time.

This episode had a significant Supernatural connection since it reunited star Jared Padalecki with his Supernatural costar and frequent director Richard Speight, Jr., whose distinctive touch gave the episode some striking scenes.

Let’s talk about the family feud arc first. Last week explored the origin of the bad feelings between the Davidsons and the Walkers, focusing on the older generations and their complicated history. This week the focus was on the younger generation, especially Stella and Colton, as they try to figure out how much of that history will color their own relationship. As I told Jared last weekend, I always like watching Walker for the deeper themes as well as the kicking ass, and this season’s focus on long-standing and difficult to disentangle tensions and resentments seems like a frighteningly relevant theme to tackle. Stella and Colton inherited the animosity between their families, which is something that happens in all facets of life every day, from families to politics to fandoms. Can they even get to know each other as individual  humans with all that baggage?

With a little help from Coach Trey (who is perhaps trying to keep his mind off constant worry about Micki), they make a start on that in this episode. He engineers escape rooms for the two pairs of kids, who must start to communicate before they can find the literal key to get out of the rooms and out of detention. August apologizes for the Ruby debacle, and that facilitates the boys’ escape to a congratulatory Coach Trey.

Stella admits she wrongly accused Colton (Jalen Thomas Brooks) and he apologizes for his insensitivity, complaining about his divorcing parents when Stella has actually lost one of her parents. It was a little too convenient, sure, but I liked the message behind it – and I was rooting for them by the time Stella stopped the car to tell Colton to hop in.

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 The Characters on Walker ‘Dig’ Deep with Episode 1.17

Believe it or not, it’s already time for the penultimate episode of Walker’s first season! This was another episode that was well paced, with a lot happening but not so much that it felt jampacked or overwhelming. Jared Padalecki’s former Supernatural costar and frequent director, Richard Speight, Jr., joined the Walker family to helm this episode, with many of his signature striking shots enriching ‘Dig’.

In addition to the main characters, Stan (Jeffrey Nordling) had a roller coaster of an evolution, from feeling on top of the world and confident of his success and power, to all his deceptions and shady alliances coming down on him by the end of the episode. Nordling is talented enough to let us see Stan as not just a stereotypical villain, but a man who longs for the family bonds that the Walkers have and the resilience those relationships give them. Instead of using that as motivation, however, Stan is envious and bitter – and ultimately dangerous. Nevertheless, especially in a few scenes with Abilene, we see that Stan has a human side too, and Nordling makes me wonder what went so wrong that he ended up in the position he’s in now, harmful to the people around him and tied to North Side Nation whether he likes it or not.

The episode begins with Stan reinstating Walker with the Rangers – and warning him that they don’t need “some new breed of Ranger in touch with your feelings or whatever.”  Stan at times seems like the embodiment of toxic masculinity beliefs and an example of what those beliefs can shape you into. Walker, however, has come to realize that he doesn’t have to embrace anger and aggression as the only acceptable emotions.

Walker: Well, Stan, maybe it’s time we embraced some change.

Stan is unconvinced, warning Walker to “color inside the lines” – that is, don’t stray from those traditional values especially when it comes to masculinity or law enforcement. He knows how to play on the norms that we all absorb, Cordell included, to push him back into that ‘box’.

Stan: I’m hoping for both our sakes, you won’t have to take orders from your kid brother.

That was a good example of how we all police each other to stay inside those lines, with reminders of the consequences if we don’t. It’s all about competition and winning in Stan’s book, with relationships taking a back seat in importance.

Stan pins a ‘Vote for Stan’ button on Walker, as Cordell tries not to grimace.

Stan: Welcome back, Ranger.

Even that is a reminder – I’m the one in power, giving you back the position you want. That means you’ll support me, that’s the way the game is played.

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