When Dean Winchester Breaks Your Heart: Supernatural What Is And What Should Never Be

As Season 2 neared its end, Supernatural aired one of its most innovative episodes, ‘What Is And What Should Never Be’. Written by Raelle Tucker, who I wish we’d had longer on Supernatural, and directed by Eric Kripke himself, this 20th episode of the season was a brilliantly done episode that asked the provocative question, what if the Winchesters were never hunters and lived a “normal life”? But of course, because this is Supernatural, it’s a dark and twisted version of that question and its surprising answer.

The ‘THEN’ sequence is a flashback to the very beginning, John and Mary and four year old Dean living a happy “normal” life, then the fires, Mary and Jessica, with a reminder that Sam was headed to law school once upon a time. Then a reminder of Dean’s headspace at the time, as he and Sam argue.

Sam: I’m not gonna just ditch the job!

Dean: Screw the job, man, we don’t get paid, we don’t get thanked, only thing we get is bad luck!

He’s not wrong, especially with what they’ve gone through recently, in prison and with Agent Henriksen on their tail. As this episode aired, Dean was questioning everything, including the job that has been his identity, that he’s sacrificed so much for. Inevitably, there had to be times when he wanted out, even if he felt guilty about that desire, as though he was letting his father down. But Dean is only human, and this episode is a brilliant reminder of that, and of the hopes and dreams and wishes beneath the often stoic surface.

Needless to say, Jensen Ackles portrays all that so vividly that this episode is both painful as hell and impossible to look away from. He has talked about how hard this one was for him, because it took away what Jared and Jensen had relied on for two seasons – the bond between Sam and Dean. Jensen felt destabilized not having Sam’s partnership for Dean to count on, and couldn’t wait to finish filming – just like he would later feel about the Soulless Sam arc which also took “our” Sam away from Dean. That destabilized feeling totally works, though, as Dean himself is thrown by the  sudden changes in his world and in his relationship with his brother.

NOW

Dean driving down the road in the Impala – which has a new license plate! I remember at the time grieving for the original Kansas plate KAZ2Y5. It seems like a little thing, but the Impala was already vastly beloved by the fandom, so it hurt us almost as much as it probably hurt her boys to change the plate. CNK80Q3 Ohio it was, until the end of the show.

Sam is back at the motel, worried that a cop car outside is coming for them, even though they changed the plate and ditched the credit cards they were using. That’s a toll that their newfound visibility took on them, constantly worrying more than they ever had about being caught by law enforcement as they tried to do their job of ‘saving people, hunting things’. It’s another reason for Dean’s discontent, as everything that they’re trying to do – to help people – is getting harder.

The cop car eventually drives away and Sam breathes a sigh of relief.

Dean, as always, keeps his game face on, saying nothing to worry about.

Sam: Yeah, being fugitives? Friggen’ dance party.

Dean (grinning): Hey man, chicks dig the danger vibe.

Half of Dean’s game face is to bolster his little brother, the other half he tries to believe himself.

They’ve been trying to figure out where a bunch of victims disappeared to, Dean driving around and Sam researching. Back at the motel, Sam says that he’s figured out what they’re hunting – a djinn.

Dean: A freaking genie? You think these suckers can really grant wishes?

Sam says they’re powerful enough, they’ve been feeding off people for centuries and are all over the Koran.

Sam: But not exactly like Barbara Eden in harem pants.

Dean (with a wistful look on his face): My God, Barbara Eden was hot, wasn’t she? Way hotter than that Bewitched chick…

Sam (annoyed): Are you even listening to me?

The whole conversation is priceless brotherly banter, with early seasons Dean constantly distracted by his libido and early seasons Sam constantly trying to get him back to concentrating on the job. It was 2007, and we all knew that Dean never actually sacrificed any part of doing the job – and Sam knew that too.

The conversation is also amusing to revisit in 2023 because does anyone watching on Netflix now actually know who Barbara Eden was or that Bewitched was a show that also had a hot woman with powers? I am old enough to know, but Sam and Dean were going back a ways even in 2007 to bring up television shows from the 1960s before they were born! (I imagine they watched a lot of reruns while left in motel rooms as kids though).

Dean decides keep driving and searching for the djinn’s lair, saying he saw a place that fits its MO a couple miles back. Sam is instantly worried – it’s never a good idea for the Winchesters to split up, as we all well know!

Sam: Wait no no no no, come pick me up first!

Should have listened to Sam, Dean!

But Dean goes on alone. The Impala pulls into a dark alley, full of the “atmo” smoke that they used so often in the early seasons. (The first time we visited the Supernatural set, they had gotten a little carried away with it and it took our transport van a bit longer to come pick us up while they cleared it out – there were alarms going off as we talked to the PA on the phone!)

He walks into an abandoned office building or storage warehouse, past an old fashioned typewriter.

His spidey senses tingle and he grips his knife as he goes, flashlight searching the room.

Then we see him walk by the Djinn’s bald head and it is CREEPY and SCARY as hell omg. This scene was so well done, the cinematography gorgeous, the barely visible figure of the djinn looming in the background where Dean doesn’t seem him – but we do. Well done, Kripke!

Suddenly the djinn attacks, grabbing Dean by the throat, forcing his blue hand onto his forehead as Dean’s eyes roll back. Ackles is so good at scenes like this; you can see the moment that Dean loses the battle, his expression going blank and his eyes vacant as the djinn puts him under.

It’s horrifying and terrifying in its realness.

 

 

 

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Supernatural and Radio Company Take Nashville 2022!

Welcome to Part 2 of our Nashcon coverage with lots of pretty pretty pictures courtesy of Prior Studios. I was so happy to have Kim, my partner in crime, back with me at a con. And we all benefit from the photos she was able to take. I had to have a cold drink beside me to post this article, and it’s winter on the East Coast of the US…

So here we go with Part 2, starting with Sunday, J2 day! The boys looked fine fine fine at the morning gold panel in gray (Jared) and ivory over plaid (Jensen) and those long long legs.

They wasted no time in getting to the banter that we all enjoy so much.

Jared said that he had been excited to wear a scarf yesterday.

Jensen: You live in a bad place to have a scarf fetish…

They love to reminisce about their time on Supernatural and I am unspeakably grateful that they want to keep talking about it as much as I want to keep hearing about it.

Jensen: We were full on kleptomaniacs on Supernatural.

Jared: We got little gift packages from Props…

I don’t think we STILL know everything that they ended up with when the show wrapped – and good for them! Look how joyously unrepentant they are.

Jared: I stole…uh, that is, two things went missing from Bobby’s house. I have the Samulet, and an army man from the car.

Jensen: Jared and I snuck in and went full Sam and Dean…

I love it. Can you just imagine the two of them being all sneaking, channeling their inner Sam and Dean? Good for you, boys! I am so glad that Jared has the Samulet, that warms my heart.

They also were remembering the early episode Wendigo, when the actor who was playing Roy was all gung ho to be set on fire and then was suddenly screaming “Put me out!”

Jared and Jensen at the time: What have we gotten ourselves into?

Fifteen years later… lol

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Supernatural Nashcon 2022 – Friday and Saturday with Misha Collins and SNS!

Nashville is one of my favorite Supernatural conventions. It’s usually around the holidays, and it’s usually at the Gaylord Opryland, which is a ridiculous Disneyland of a hotel with a river running through it and a boat you can take from one side to the other and so much walking that it makes my still-messed-up knee hurt just thinking about it. But I kinda love it too – also it’s a con that a lot of my good friends go to, and that alone makes it special.

This year the con was in a different hotel (sans inside river and boat) and Alana didn’t make it, but Kim and I had a lovely room and I was thrilled to have her beside me taking photos – I’ve missed her photos but I’ve missed her being my partner in crime at cons even more! She didn’t make it to many panels but the ones she did make, whew, there are some pretty pretty pictures from them! So this con gets two posts, this one for all the Friday people fun and Saturday with the Saturday Night Special concert, and stay tuned for the Sunday festivities and the Radio Company debut concert wrap up – it was a busy and awesome few days!

I caught a little of Osric Chau and Adam Rose’s panel – when I walked in they were reminiscing about how they initially bonded over Osric’s Goku cosplay. I remember that! I loved the early days of the cons when Os would show up in some incredible cosplay and Gil or Misha or Jared or Jensen would have no clue what to say in response. Priceless!

The two got along famously, and were soon busy planning a joint birthday party – which would inevitably be amazing.

Adam has become internet famous for being the blue cardigan guy on TikTok. He said it’s always funny when someone knows him as that and then suddenly is like, wait, you’re on Supernatural??

A fan asked how he convinced Jensen to do the cardigan TikTok.

Adam: I said, wanna do a TikTok? And he said…okay…

Of course Adam was planning a new TikTok with Jensen – maybe an evil red cardigan? Or maybe one with Jared?

Osric: Do they make them in Jared size??

They were asked what Supernatural’s tag line would be, and pondered.

Osric: Bitch…jerk?

Seems legit.

Osric was asked about doing the first Supernatural HIllywood Show video and said he loved doing it.

Osric: How many casts are so down for doing a parody of their own show??

They talked about writing, which Osric is doing a lot of recently. He also wrote an insightful chapter in Family Don’t End With Blood about his experience playing Kevin on Supernatural, which I love. He said that he was so sad about his character dying that he snuck out after filming that scene without even saying goodbye, he was so emotional.

Briana Buckmaster and Kim Rhodes also had a panel on Friday.

Kim got some questions about autism and had some great advice: if you want to know about autistic people, ask autistic people!

They both talked about how much they loved working on supernatural, with how collaborative and respectful an environment it was for an actor.

Briana: It’s wonderful to work on a show that makes you feel like an artist.

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Supernatural Comes to the Rockies – Denver Con 2022

 

Supernatural conventions resumed in September with a visit to one of my favorite states, Colorado. I grew up visiting my aunt and uncle who lived on the mesa in a generous-sized log cabin with a spectacular view and a grumpy alpaca named George who lived next door, so I have a special fondness for the state. The altitude, alas, does not have a special fondness for me – which means I missed some of the con while trying to get rid of a banging headache.

Luckily the altitude impact didn’t set in the first night, so I got to out to a local restaurant and sit outside on their deck to enjoy some delicious burgers and the beautiful night. Shout out to some of the crowded table gang for letting me hang out with you for the weekend!

I don’t think I got to Denver early enough to catch any panels on Friday, which was a disappointment, but I did catch some on Saturday in between doing my vendor thing with the books – including Rob Benedict doing a solo panel. He said he’s excited about the new prequel that starts next week, The Winchesters, and all the Easter eggs he expects will be in it.

Rob: And maybe God will be in it…pre Alex!

Rob also said that he’s learning a lot doing the Supernatural Then and Now podcast.

Rob: I didn’t know about Sam’s abilities or that John whispered in Dean’s ear he might have to kill him (before the podcast)

He’s having so much fun watching Supernatural from the start that he interrupted a fan to say “don’t spoil me!”  (That’s a tall order considering Rob and Rich are currently watching Season 2…)  Of course, he knows where some of the show will end up, or at least the actors.

Rob: It’s so cool to hear Dean say “the family business” and be like hey, one day you’ll have a brewery called that…

A fan asked what would have happened if Chuck prevailed at the end of the show instead of the Winchesters.

Rob: I think Chuck would’ve brought Sam and Dean back anyway because they’re his favorites and he’d miss them.

Rob talked about returning to the show in Season 11.

Rob: I came back in season 11 and came out of the closet as God – in more ways than one which was cool!

He did feel the responsibility of actually playing God.

Rob: The first time I actually spoke as God, I asked Bob Singer, was that okay? He said you’re not gonna be one of those actors are you? Which he said to Jensen in Season 1 too.

Having been on set to watch Bob Singer direct, I can testify to his ‘grumpy old man’ kinda thing, but also to how well he and all the actors worked together and understood each other.

Rob also enjoyed Chuck getting the upper hand though.

Rob: It was so fun doing the scene where I beat up Jared and Jensen – bam bam! It’s like a dance and those guys are so good at it. I rarely get cast as the guy who kicks ass!

He also shared something that RuPaul told a good friend of his, which stuck with me: What other people think of you is none of your business.

There was a panel of awesome ladies of Supernatural, including Samantha Smith, Briana Buckmaster, Ruth Connell and Samantha Ferris, who hasn’t been to a con in a while, so that was a treat! She told a hilarious story about the time she was filming something I won’t spoil (because she said not to lol) and they used a body double for a shot of her ass – and she still gets compliments on it! Shhhh.

Someone asked about Rowena and what she’s probably doing with hell now that she’s in charge.

Ruth: My tag line for what Rowena is doing with hell – make hell great again…

Me: lol

Fan: What would your characters and the guys be doing if they were all in a scene together?

Everyone on the panel: They’d be sitting around the table going what the hell is taking the guys so long?

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Supernatural Comes to DC – Jared, Jensen, Misha and Lots of Friends at DCCon 2022!

DC Con is one of my “home cons” – that means I can drive there instead of flying. I hate driving, but it’s still better than spending a fortune to fly, so I started down I95 on Friday and actually managed to navigate to Crystal City without any major mishaps – until I got to the parking garage that is. I then drove around for a ridiculous amount of time to find ZERO spots. Finally, in desperation, I inched my Honda into a spot that it barely fit into, and then went through some truly disturbing acrobatics to inch my way OUT of the car. Not fun!

I cheered up when Carrie Genzel came by my vendor table soon after I got set up. It was SO good to see her again and have her at a con – I sadly didn’t get parked in time to catch her actual panel on Friday with Nate Torrance, but hugging her made up for it a little. Carrie wrote a powerful chapter in There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done and is an inspiring person in so many ways. Follow her on social media if you don’t already!

Friday night was a rare tourist excursion while at a con, joining friends for a tour of DC with our tour guide extraordinaire Smiley. The bus stopped for us to get ice cream too, and I got to catch up with some SPN Family friends I hadn’t seen in far too long, and get to know some new ones a little better too.

Saturday I caught some of the Matt and Rob panel. Rob and Rich are watching the show from the beginning for the Supernatural Then and Now podcast, and Matt is also watching the show – it’s been interesting to hear all their takes on this show that I’ve watched from pretty much the start.

Matt: I was impressed that Jensen Ackles was the same badass in early seasons as he was in Season 15.

Someone asked Matt, if John Winchester picked a theme song for Supernatural, what would it be?

Matt: Miley Cyrus, I Came In Like A Wrecking Ball.

Rob: If Chuck chose the theme song, it would be What If God Was One Of Us.

Also Rob: It’s all fun and games until I actually get to Heaven and God’s like, oh no, not you, I watched the show…  I’ve actually signed some bibles – I’m like oh, I’m glad that you liked my book…

Rob said he did his first con right after The Real Ghostbusters aired, and he was scared shitless, then thought OMG this is exactly how I felt in the episode!

(When I live tweeted that it apparently said he was scared shirtless and now I’m laughing at my own mistakes – no shirts were frightened off)

The conversation turned to that time Benedict Cumberbatch was being interviewed by Matt for EW and pronounced him “hot”.

Rob, apropos of nothing: If I married Benedict Cumberbatch, he’d be Benedict Benedict.

Lol

Matt: I just interviewed David Boreanaz and he was like, why are you not ON the show, you look like a SEAL!

I mean, accurate…

It was nice to have Matt a a con again (Matt, Rob, Kim and Briana all wrote chapters in Family Don’t End With Blood too).

Saturday also had an awesome ladies of SPN panel with Carrie Genzel, Samantha Smith, Kim Rhodes and Briana Buckmaster.

Carrie got some props for being amazing at karaoke the night before, which I missed due to playing tourist with friends (and Smiley).

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