Happy Birthday Sam Winchester!

I couldn’t let May 2nd go by without wishing one of my favorite fictional characters of all time a happy birthday. Yes, I’m aware that Supernatural wrapped at the end of 2020. Yes, I’m aware that it’s mid 2022. But in my heart, Sam and Dean are still very much alive (probably driving Baby down the most scenic roads in Heaven). They’re also alive in my brain, which continues to devote significant amounts of time to thinking about the Winchesters and friends and just how much Supernatural will always mean to me.

The things I love most about Sam Winchester are the things that, for me, make him so memorable. So I thought I’d share five of those here.

Before I do that, though, I’d have to be utterly oblivious not to include the fact that Sam is ridiculously good looking. Blame Jared Padalecki.  Whoever made this graphic of Sam’s Hair Evolution understood that too – yes, I love Sam’s hair, guilty as charged!

And Sam without a soul may have lost his empathy, but he certainly didn’t lose his ability to be incendiary.

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You’re welcome for the eye candy. But now, five things I love about Sam Winchester.

Number 1. His personality. His optimism, his determination. His wide eyed enthusiasm for life, that floppy haired boy who left the family business and struck out to make a different life for himself. Who dared to go to college when it was seen as a betrayal, even when it was clearly also painful for him to leave his family.

And the grown up Sam, forged in trauma, tested so often and so cruelly, still capable of hope and moving forward despite the odds. Sam often was the one encouraging Dean when it felt hopeless; the brothers did that for each other throughout the series, each taking their turn to keep them both going. And through it all, Sam never lost his capacity to feel.

Number 2. His great big brain. Sam’s a researcher. He’s inquisitive, curious, needs to know how things work and why things happen. I can so relate, since so much of being a psychologist is also needing to know how things work – those things being people in my case. I love the continuity in Sam’s love of research, that he’s not afraid to be the “geek boy” throughout the entire series – and how that helped save the world a time or two!

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Number 3. His empathy and compassion. Sam, who for so much of his life felt like a freak who didn’t belong, was never afraid to reach out to others who might have felt the same way. He instinctively put himself in others’ shoes, and often knew just how to relate to someone else who was struggling and needed reassurance.  His candid conversation with Rowena about their shared Lucifer trauma. His gentleness when he reassured Magda.

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Number 4. The flip side of Sam Winchester’s empathy – his fierceness. He personified the word ‘badass’, so much so that I still exclaim “Sam Fucking Winchester” when I rewatch lots of episodes. His rage-fueled taking out of Gordon when Dean’s life was threatened. His cold and confident announcement that there would be no new King of Hell, bearded and still grieving his missing brother. Don’t threaten a Winchester if you don’t want the other one coming at you just like this, just saying.

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Sam showed every kind of bravery throughout the series – striking out on his own to go to school, fighting through the psychological struggles of feeling like a freak to embracing his destiny of saving people, hunting things. Sacrificing himself to save the world, and standing up to Lucifer himself!

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Supernatural Indy Con 2022!

This was my first convention in Indianapolis, though not my first time there since I’ve been to other conferences and business meetings in the city. It’s a quick 1.5 hour flight so I got there on Friday in time to at least catch a few panels – though I was very sad to miss Gabe Tigerman’s panel. I love Gabe and I love his chapter in There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done – I at least got to say hi later that afternoon luckily.

I did catch some of Adam Fergus and David Haydn-Jones panel, which turned out to be delightfully full of all kinds of innuendo and just blatant naughtiness. These are good things imho.

David said he was lucky to get the role of Ketch. He had his final callback for Supernatural after working until 6 am the night before filming a Hallmark movie and he was exhausted. (But apparently not too exhausted to throw on a suit and be perfect for the part!)

Adam agreed, and gave him all the props for his portrayal.

Fan: Sorry David killed off your character, I liked him.

Adam: I liked him too!!

They had some amusing stories to tell, including the one about David and the motorcycle helmet – they couldn’t find one that was big enough to fit his head, so when they put it on it looked like a little kid’s helmet – which apparently was hilarious.

They also had a few serious things to say about their roles on the show. David said that one of his favorite character moments was when Mary told Ketch “this is just a one night” thing. He wanted to show a glimmer of broken heart in Ketch. Near the end, David said that Ketch also felt guilty and wanted to redeem himself.

David: In the hospital, that was the first time he called them ‘friends’.

Adam: Mick and Ketch were brainwashed as kids, but Mick was trying to break out of that.

Both Adam and David had lots of positive things to say about working on Supernatural.

David: The best working experience I’ve ever had is Supernatural. Jared, Jensen and Misha are the best, and the crew that’s been with them since the start and stayed the whole time, that really says something.

Adam talked about the first prank the boys played on him and then about the atmosphere on Supernatural and how special it was.

Adam: It’s so much fun to do what we do, and on Supernatural they are all so nice, and the leads never phoned it in – ever.

A fan asked about shipping Ketch with…. (pause)… Rowena?

David: I thought you were gonna say Ketch and Mick.

Adam: I was hoping!

Jason Manns helped out with the music and the emcee duties on Friday, along with Adam.  It’s always nice to have his beautiful voice on stage.

Kim Rhodes and Briana Buckmaster were up next. A fan asked Kim to answer a question about working with the boys on Zach and Cody and Briana attempted to answer – hilariously.

Briana: So Zach and Cody were in the make up trailer…they liked to put on their own rouge and makeup… just like Jared and Jensen!

Kim: lol

Someone asked them their favorite words and Briana said “audacious”.

Briana: I love the word audacious. It’s used sometimes to mean that women are being too bold, but I love being told that!

Her favorite quote is by Isadora Duncan: “Darling, don’t let them tame you!”

Kim: I love the word “home”. It means different things to all of us, but we all know what it means.

Kim invariably makes me tear up at some point in the weekend. In a good way.

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Supernatural’s Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki Reunite On The Walker Set for ‘No Such Thing As Fair Play’

Last Thursday was a big day for Supernatural fans who miss seeing “Sam and Dean” on their screens. It marked the first time series star and Executive Producer Jared Padalecki was reunited with his Supernatural brother and costar Jensen Ackles – this time as Director of an episode of his new show, Walker. To say that I was bouncing with anticipation for this episode would be an understatement!

Because this was a special episode, I’ve gathered together some of the behind the scenes interviews and photos and posts here along with my review of the episode itself – I want to remember how much fun it was!

The episode title is ‘No Such Thing As Fair Play,” but the SPNFamily will always think of this episode as “Don’t You Cry No More”, the title that we all saw on director Jensen Ackles’ working copy of the script – our first clue that this was going to be a very special episode for all of us who love Supernatural and now love Walker. (And a big hint that Kansas would play an integral part in this reunion episode)

Katherine Alyse, the writer of the episode who is a bona fide Supernatural fan, explained in a tweet after the episode aired:

Katherine: To atone for the heart break I’ve caused I offer to you a fun fact about why the episode title changed. Using song lyrics for an episode title is actually very expensive. Like eat up your whole music budget expensive. But we all know what the episode title in our heart is.

Yes we do, Katherine.

The episode marked the first time that Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki had been on set working together since Supernatural finished filming over a year and a half ago. While the two didn’t technically have time onscreen together (though both appear in the episode), it was a new kind of collaboration too, with Jared an Executive Producer and Jensen the director.

The anticipation leading up to the episode airing was like the old days of Supernatural fandom, everyone online and constant content coming in every single time I played a little hooky from work to check in on social media. We even got a Walker cast and crew TikTok thanks to Ashley Reyes:

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There were multiple interviews with Ackles about directing on his friend’s show, which made it clear that he thoroughly enjoyed the experience. He told TV Line that it gave the duo a whole new audience for their fifteen years of jokes.

Jensen: Jared and I kind of laughed about…all the jokes that we repeated for 15 years, they’re now landing on fresh ears – we have a whole new audience! This is amazing!

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Ackles spent his birthday on set with Padalecki, which he said had happened so many times that he’s lost count, and appreciated that Jared had told the cast and crew how much he’d learned from Jensen (and vice versa clearly).

Jensen: I was walking a little taller that day. It was very sweet and so typical of Jared to give some good shoutouts and some honor… He’s that guy.

On working with Padalecki again, he told EW:  It was fun to get back into the shorthand with him with performance notes, with technical notes. I can even use a reference to a movie and he knows that I’m actually giving him a note. There’s nobody else I can do that with. He and I have that, and we’ll always have that. That’s not something that fades away.

There were a few photos leading up to the episode airing, which at one point made up about 99% of my social media feeds. Keegan Allen proved himself one of us with his post of the photo of Jared and Jensen from EW, saying that “It was a joy to see this in person – totally understand the fandom because I am a fan as well.”

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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.

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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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