Happy Birthday to Walker and Supernatural’s Jared Padalecki!

Last year I wrote a long and emotional post for Jared Padalecki’s birthday, remembering (fondly) some of my favorite moments with him over the years. That was his last birthday as Sam Winchester, so I had all sorts of feelings about that fact – and so did he. Nobody knew what 2021 would bring, either in terms of Supernatural being at an end or whether or not we’d still be living in a pandemic-impacted world. They hadn’t yet started filming the final episodes of Supernatural, and we didn’t know how Jared or Jensen or Misha would do afterwards, or how any of us would feel about that big transition. It was frightening, to be honest, to think of giving up these fictional characters that have meant so much to so many of us for so long. And for them, to make such sweeping changes to their lives after being in a routine that worked for so long, working together to film the show and traveling from city to city on weekends for conventions.

(No, this is not just an excuse to put some of Kim Prior’s gorgeous photos of equally gorgeous Jared at conventions in here…)

Fast forward to now – 2021 and the show did finally manage to wrap up, in a way that felt satisfying to its cast and crew despite the pandemic’s restrictions. We’re still living in a pandemic-impacted world, unfortunately, but the other unknowns are clearer now. Jared isn’t Sam Winchester, though it’s very clear that Sam will always be in his heart, but it’s been wonderful to see him thrive on a new show and create a new character in Cordell Walker.

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Supernatural Rewatch – The Shocking Season One Finale, Devil’s Trap

I have to admit, I went into doing our rewatch of the Season 1 finale of Supernatural feeling a little ambivalent. For me, doing this rewatch has been a coping strategy, in part, to get me through the loss of my favorite show (which in itself has been a coping strategy!)  Knowing I have the rewatch to look forward to for literally years in the future is a real comfort, and watching it with a group of friends makes that sense of community feel secure as well. That said, it feels like our Season 1 rewatch has flown by – almost as quickly as the original airings of the show did! I never wanted it to end and always felt a little sad as we came to the season finale, and in the early seasons, we were often terrified that we wouldn’t get a renewal and that might be the last episode we ever watched. It was a tremendous relief in later seasons that the network gave the show an early renewal so we didn’t have to bite our nails about it!

So, the Season One finale…

We start with something innovative at the time, now familiar and nostalgic for anyone who watched the show throughout its run – The Road So Far. It’s a badass rock montage to Triumph’s ‘Fight The Good Fight’ with some of the most dramatic moments the boys have experienced so far, ending with Meg’s  ominous message, “You boys really screwed up this time, you’re never gonna see your father again.”

And we’re off – to an episode that is an unrelenting roller coaster toward a cliffhanger end that left us all open mouthed.

Sam and Dean react to Meg’s phone call, Dean grabbing the Colt and shoving it in his waistband and telling Sam, “we gotta go!”

Sam: Why?

Dean: The demon knows – it’s coming for us next.

Sam: Let it come.

Sam is so much like John, once again, willing to take this thing on out of pure rage and desire for revenge, and not caring what price has to be paid. But Dean is not – his focus, as always, is on protecting his family.

Dean: Listen, tough guy, we’re no good to anybody dead. We’re leaving now.

They peel out in the Impala, skidding in the dust, still arguing about whether they should have tried to confront the demon, or whether they could try to trade the Colt for their father. Sam is focused on killing the demon at any cost, and Dean is not.

Sam: Dad…he might be…

Dean: Don’t! Screw the job, Sam!

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It’s a Good Day for Fandom – Jensen Ackles Soldier Boy Supersuit Reveal!

Today was a big day for fans of The Boys and Supernatural – and all fans of Jensen Ackles! After he teased that there would be a reveal of his new character Soldier Boy’s ‘supersuit’ today, just about everyone in the fandom was glued to their social media this morning. I had a dentist appointment, but I confess I kept my phone in my pocket on vibrate, knowing that if it started blowing up, I was missing the big reveal – it actually turned out to be a pretty good distraction for the dental work!

Shortly after I got home, the big reveal happened – and yes, my timeline exploded. And it felt SO GOOD! As a Supernatural fan for the past 15 years (and The Boys for two), I’ve really missed my timeline going nuts over some new information or new photos. There’s nothing that brings fandom together more than having something new to savor, and today was all about that. Fannish differences were put aside and everyone just squeed together over finally seeing Jensen suited up as Soldier Boy.

First we got one photo, with some backstory from articles in Variety and Entertainment Weekly. The suit was designed by Laura Jean “L.J.” Shannon and concept artist Greg Hopwood. Shannon called Soldier Boy the original bad-ass and said her goal was “to highlight a bygone era of overt masculinity and grit.” So they included “an all-American quality grounded in a military soldier’s practicality with a heavy dose of old school cowboy swagger.” Shannon also commented on the casting that they were counting on to do the suit and the character justice: “We knew that the actor had to have Steve McQueen looks and chops with a John Wayne attitude — luckily Jensen Ackles embodies all of that.”

Damn right he does!

LJ Supersuits, the suit designer, posted an additional close up on their Instagram and sent another wave of euphoria and excitement through the fandom, with this message:

“LJ Supersuits presents SOLDIER BOY. This suit was an incredible team effort that required hours and hours of research, planning, and detailed craftsmanship to get it right. We always start with the concept art, and Soldier Boy’s concept was created by @greghops, along with all of his hard surface sculpting. The concept then gets translated into a physical suit by our incredible team. We are so proud of how epic Soldier Boy is and couldn’t be more excited for @jensenackles to take on this character and The Boys Season 3!!  Suit sculpting by @cce_inc

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Introducing Jenny the Vampire – Supernatural Rewatch of Dead Man’s Blood

This was a good episode when I first saw it, but not an overly emotional one. That is all changed now, watching it post series finale – because this is the episode where we meet the vampire whose nest will take down Dean Winchester fifteen years later. It’s amazing to me that the show managed to do that – to have the same actress come back to portray a character we never thought of as at all important, all those years later, to do something so pivotal to the show’s eventual ending. It makes this episode hard to watch, knowing what will happen so many years later.

‘Dead Man’s Blood’ stands on its own as a well done episode, though, especially because it has all three Winchesters, something that feels like a treat now because we got precious little of that in other seasons. Its vampires are pretty memorably too, and not just because of what Jenny eventually does.

We open in Colorado. Daniel Elkins having a drink, well known to the bartender, who describes him as “a nice old man, just a nut.” He senses trouble coming as a group of people walk in the door, and Elkins stares. They talk about having “dinner plans” (because they’re vampires, get it?) and when the bartender turns to ask Elkins if he wants another, it’s just his glass still there on the bar.

Elkins gets to his cabin and hurries inside, scared, locking the door behind him – but the vampires are already there. He gets a gun from his safe, muttering ‘come on come on’, and frantically loads it as the vampires are breaking down the door and smashing windows. They knock him down before he can fire, and the female vampire picks up the gun, saying it wouldn’t do him much good.

Vampire lady: Boys, we’re eating in tonight…

Cut to a diner in small town America, Dean reading the newspaper and Sam on the computer, just another night with the Winchester brothers on the road, saving people, hunting things. Dean’s still trying to convince Sam to swing by where Sarah is and see her again.

Dean: Cool chick, man. Smoking. You two seemed pretty friendly.

Sam puts him off. Again.

Sam: We have alot of work to do, Dean, you know that.

He also has found that a Daniel Elkins was found mauled in his home in Colorado, and Dean pauses, saying he knows that name. He pulls out the journal and finds an entry on Elkins, and it’s a Colorado area code. So to Colorado they go.

They find the cabin, looking around by flashlight in the mess they vampires left behind.

Dean: Looks like the maid didn’t come today…

Sam: There’s salt over here.

Dean: Like protection against demons salt or oops I spilled the popcorn salt?

[This scene is included in some of the behind the scenes features on the Season 1 DVD which we watched as part of our rewatch – Jared and Jensen look like babies, but they’re already clearly having so much fun, joking with each other and with the crew, pelting the crew with snowballs and then running away. It seems like so long ago now, but I’m so grateful we have these little glimpses that we can hang onto forever.]

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Supernatural Rewatch – A Classic (and Scary) MotW Episode with Provenance

Provenance is a Phil Sgriccia directed episode, and it shows. It’s creepy and scary and memorable in multiple ways, starting out with a close shot of a decidedly creepy old painting in a giant antique frame. A young couple, for some inexplicable reason, just bought it – though the wife has the good sense to say it’s “kinda creepy”. The husband reassures her that he’ll keep her safe, so we’re fairly certain he’s about to die.

Wife: Maybe you’re the one I ought to be scared of…

He is actually kinda creepy and keeps pinching her, but she seems into it and heads upstairs. The old man in the painting turns his head and watches her go up the stairs and OMG that is super creepy!

The husband locks up, sets the alarm and turns out the lights while the wife lights some candles and gets into bed.

“Hurry up or I’m gonna start without you,” she teases, as someone makes their way up the stairs and slowly comes into her room. A gust of breeze blows out the candle and we see her husband just starting to climb the stairs and UH OH that’s not the husband in the room with her….   The clueless husband comes into the room telling her to get the lights, then pauses.

Husband: You smell something?

When the lights come on, his wife is dead on the bed, covered in blood. He falls to his knees, looks up at something we can’t see, and screams.

Cut to a bar and a band playing Steve Carlson’s “Nighttime”, which I wrote about in my recent look back article on some of my early chats with Mr. Carlson, so check those articles out here if you missed them.  Here’s what Steve had to say about how that song came to be in this episode:

I had seen my friend Chris, who co-wrote the song, one night at a birthday party and he was dancing using the drink as his prop and I was like, that would be a great beer commercial! We put the song together and I got back and played it for Jensen and he asked me to burn him a copy. He was playing it in his trailer one day and a producer was like oh, who’s that? He said it’s my roommate, Steve, and the producer said, that would be perfect for the bar scene in our next episode. Their people called my people and negotiated it and worked fast to get it in and sign a contract, and the next thing I know I was flying to Boston and it aired. I was on the phone with someone because I couldn’t watch it live and he was watching and telling me oh, it was loud (on the show) – I was going through security and the guy was like, you have to get off the phone, so I threw it in the Xray machine and then grabbed it back and was like, so it was loud? And he was like yeah, and it’s still on! I had it on Tivo but it sucked because I was in Boston and no one I knew had Tivo so I had to wait a week to watch it when I got home – that was the first thing I did!

You can read that full article here fyi:

Radio Company Vol 2! A Look Back at Steve Carlson and Jensen Ackles’ Musical History

Anyway, Dean’s flirting with a young woman (Brandy with a y or an ‘i’?) while Sam’s reading in the newspaper about a couple’s throats being slashed. Sam tries to call Dean over and he keeps ignoring him until Sam in exasperation says ‘Come ON’

Dean: I gotta go, be right back…

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