With Supernatural season 15 right out of the gate, here is our wishlist of 15 things we’re praying Supernatural has a chance to cover in its last ride.
Before we get too far into the season — the season 15 premiere “Back and to the Future” gave us just a taste of what’s to come, enough to sniff out a thematic direction but not enough to predict how we’ll get the boys to where we know they need to go — I wanted to share a final wishlist of things that I hope we get to see on Supernatural before it goes off the air for good next spring.
I started my season 15 wishlist a few days after the final season was announced, sharing hopes and speculation on which recurring characters might surprise us once more in the season 14 finale or beyond into the final run. (A lot of these — Eileen, Amara, Chuck, Adam, and hint of Michael — are actually now confirmed! Thanks Supernatural! Make with Benny, next! You can keep Lucifer though!)
Last week I wrote about another particular wish I had for Supernatural season 15 — I hoped that the show could do an episode which features its production home of Vancouver actually as Vancouver, in tribute to the area’s versatility in helping Supernatural to create the hundreds of U.S. towns crucial to the show’s transient nature. That piece was more of an excuse to reflect on the show’s unique relationship with the city rather than a yearning for a particular story — though I did learn about and come up with some interesting suggestions based on Vancouver history and urban legends.
This one’s is a bit different. This one’s a straight-up list of demands. Boxes to tick off before time runs out.
Some of these concepts are uber-popular fan theories or episode ideas that will live on in Supernatural legend and fanfiction long after the show goes off the air, and some are my personal priorities for things we’ve yet to see or issues we need to tie up that I feel are crucial for my satisfaction with seeing Supernatural as a final, complete product. Given that the season only has 20 episodes, there’s no way that all of these should or would ever make the cut, but any single one of these getting in there would be epic.
Which is my cue to issue a warning/beg for clemency. If you are a reader and you like these ideas: the word ‘demands’ as used above was hyperbolic. Do not send this article to anyone who makes the show. There is a huge difference between the show’s writers vibing the general mood of a fandom and knowing what popular ideas may be worth incorporating as ‘fanservice,’ and fans directly pitching specific concepts to the show’s creative team.
Supernatural season 15 will definitely pull off the former — expect to be pleasantly surprised and/or gut-punched by this. But the latter is usually the fastest possible way to assure that the concept you pitched will never happen, for intellectual property reasons, much like it’s legally ill-advised for authors to read fanfiction about their own work.
If you happen to work on the show in a story capacity, please either: exit out of this article right now or take this disclaimer as a total waiver of ownership over any of these concepts. Seriously. If your name is Andrew Dabb, or if you work in the Supernatural writers’ office, turn around. I know you’ve probably broken the majority of the season by now, so if any of these ideas coincidentally happen to be in the works, keep on rolling and don’t mind me. I don’t want to kill my own dreams by writing this article. I just want to yell about them with several thousand of my closest friends here in the SPN Family.
Here are 15 things that I really, really want Supernatural season 15 to tackle before the series finale.
‘Supernatural’ season 15 wishlist
1) The Impala turns into a person
Before I started watching Supernatural, I was a little bit confused by the role of the Impala. Learning by osmosis that the car was special, important, magical, and a character in its own right had me sort of, kind of, a little bit assuming that the car was, ahem, sentient in some way? Hearing that there was an episode in season 11 from the “point of view” of the Impala didn’t help my confusion. Look, I don’t know what I was expecting, but obviously the show is a lot more grounded in reality than that, for which I am grateful.
However, the idea of the Impala turning into a human-shaped being for an episode — a la the TARDIS in Doctor Who’s “The Doctor’s Wife” — is a massively popular concept. The show has never done too much with technomancy, but this sort of curse or whatever causes the shift would not even be in the top ten weirdest things to happen to the Winchesters, so it’s well within the realm of possibility to work into the story.
Viewers have all sorts of casting headcanon and fanfiction about what the Impala might be like in person — female or perhaps unexpectedly (to Dean) male, young, older, sexy, motherly — but the universal appeal seems to be, much like Idris and her Doctor, the chance for the boys and the car to verbally express how much their role in one another’s lives truly means.
2) Sam and Dean swap bodies
So we’ve seen Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles portray other characters (when Sam and Dean have been possessed by angels, demons, or copied by shapeshifters, or Leviathan) and we’ve seen other actors play Sam and Dean, mainly in flashback episodes to childhood, but also a couple of times as the actual present-day character in another body (see “Swap Meat,” “The Curious Case of Dean Winchester,” and “About A Boy.”) But the big one — the boys playing one another — has yet to occur.
It’s been asked about at conventions and events, and the idea was apparently initially considered as a part of “Swap Meat,” an episode that underwent a lot of changes in the script to make things work logistically. The takeaway seems to be that the writers decided “no, not just yet — we’re sure we’ll do this but let’s do it right” and the boys seemed fairly certain back then that it would happen eventually. Well, clock’s ticking — and yes, it is sort of an obvious gag that we maybe don’t have time for when the stakes are so high.
But, as the kids say, I would like to see it. After fifteen years of working so closely, they’ve built these characters, and each other, into a part of themselves. And after many, many accurate impressions of one another’s speech and body language while telling stories about one another, it would be cool to see just how deeply they could inhabit one another’s roles onscreen. I’ve got a feeling it would be mind-blowing. Alternate take: Dean and Castiel somehow swap bodies (a trickier lore concept given angelic possession and so on) just for the sheer delight of watching Sam laugh himself sick — and the gag reel content of Padalecki tormenting Ackles and Misha Collins.
3) Sam and/or Dean swap genders
I mean, one million fanfictions of this already exist, but it would just be such an interesting exploration of self, don’t you think? You’d have to cast it so, so carefully — someone who could do the body language in how one of the boys would handle this in a mostly-comedic episode. My preference is for this to happen to Dean, both because I think it would be interesting to see how he would react — his wannabe alpha male bravado is nearly non-existent these days, and I am curious if this instance would prove that progression even further or cause a relapse — and also because I know who I would want to cast.
She’s a little young to play a present-day Dean, but if you know both properties, you’ll know that Schitt’s Creek’s Annie Murphy is one actress could match Jensen Ackles eye-roll for eye-roll in terms of his wonderful rubber-facing, as well as his expert straight-man comedy. Love that journey for him. However it shakes out, Supernatural has never been a show that belittles the power of women, and Sam and Dean have proven that they’re feminists many times over, so there could be a cool validating element to a Winchester girl-power episode.
4) Team Free Will 2.0 plus the Wayward women
Of course, we don’t actually need a Winchester to turn into a girl to fill our screens with ladies who kick ass. We just need to get Sam, Dean, Cas and Jack on the road to Sioux Falls. The CW’s choice not to carry on with the Wayward Daughters idea after season 13’s backdoor pilot Wayward Sisters is still one that seems senseless to many fans, even more so now that Supernatural is coming to an end.
If Wayward had gone ahead, I am positive that its existence would have affected the outcome of the Supernatural series finale — for example, if the actors had a show set in their universe to come home to once a season or so (as they said they wanted to guest star on Wayward) that might make a case, narratively, for their characters to survive Supernatural. Castiel was reportedly talked about as a significant part of Wayward Sisters due to his relationship with Claire.
We’ve never, to this day, seen Cas and Jody interact over Claire, we’ve never seen how Claire reacted to Jack’s existence, both in terms of his role as Cas’s son and his history with Kaia, and if we’re never going to see it on Wayward, I want to see it before Supernatural ends. Get all four of them over to Jody’s and mixed up in an episode with all six of the Wayward women — Jody, Claire, Alex, Patience, Donna, and — in one way or another — Kaia. Ten main characters in an episode is a lot, sure, but I believe it can be done!
5) A birthday party for literally any main character
Maybe the above idea could be integrated into this one — I just want someone on this show to have a nice time on their goddamn birthday. The only birthday celebrated on the series is, if I recall correctly, Sam’s weird hazy picnic with Amelia, which is nice and all but a symbol of a really problematic time and choice for Sam. Where is the big family birthday? I really thought we might get it for Dean’s 40th, but alas. This is a show about family, found and earned and treasured, and it would be so lovely to see them take a second and celebrate each other in an adorable way.
If not a Winchester brother — if you look at the show’s date timeline, some extremely grim things have happened over what would have been their birthdays over the years — Jack technically has a birthday (May 18) and the idea of celebrating like, his third or something is very amusing, and while Castiel does at some point in history have a day of creation, it might be more relevant for the Winchesters to give him a birthday acknowledging the person he is today, based on some sort of significant date in his journey (we celebrated his ten year anniversary on the show last year) whether that’s him taking Jimmy as vessel, meeting Dean in the barn, deciding to Fall for their cause, or some other moment.
Regardless, it’s shameful that the boys don’t take the time to do this for one another, and you just know that the Wayward women do, so a big extended hunter family gathering is well, well overdue. If not a birthday, then a huge Christmas dinner? Or Thanksgiving? Shut up. The show is ending, and I want to squeeze every drop of sentimentality out of it while I still can.
6) A hell rescue flashback showing Castiel’s true form
Whether you ship Destiel or not, you have to admit that this show cannot end without whatever the deal is between Dean and Castiel coming to a head. The pair’s dedicated yet contentious friendship over the years has been the cause of much anxiety, excitement, adoration, and porn. The reason this pairing is so popularly interpreted as a romance is perhaps because the nature of their bond lives in a place outside of relationships that we don’t have any human context or definition for, and certainly because they are undeniably connected in a way that isn’t fully explained, aside from the ongoing acknowledgment and framing which proves that the way they relate to each other is very different to Cas’ relationship with Sam. They’re not particularly open about addressing their unique dynamic and there have been a lot of misunderstandings and miscommunications and bad choices made, usually in the name of someone being protective, someone shouldering a burden to keep it off another’s back, or just a failure to read between the lines of how their actions affect one another.
There are things that need to be settled — executive producer Robert Singer said as much at SDCC, and I think that given Dean’s lashing out at Cas at the end of season 14, and their continued friction that we saw entering season 15, we have one big “things-coming-to-a-head” drama for Dean and Cas before the show sets them on the same page for the final curtain. I wrote a bit about what I think might happen in my review of the season premiere. But why are they the way they are? My personal belief has always that they are too deep under each other’s skin — maybe even literally. I think we — and they — need to figure that out to move forward. And to fully understand it, I think that we need to go back ten years to when Cas pulled Dean out of hell.
You have to remember that Castiel, God’s Shield, in his true form — without a vessel, the weird three headed six winged wavelength of celestial intent — was the one angel able to beat off the armies of Hell and reach Dean after forty years down below. He rescued Dean’s soul, in its tortured, most delicate form — held it in whatever counts for his arms — and rebuilt Dean, healing every part of him and putting his soul back into his body. Doing so left a physical mark on Dean’s body — a handprint, at a time when Cas did not actually have hands. To me, the big question about why Dean and Cas are the way they are always comes back to this. What actually happened? There’s a quote of Castiel’s when dealing with another angel’s misdoings during season 6, “when a claim is made on a human soul, it leaves a mark – a brand.”
Do you perhaps mean, Cas, something like the literal brand we saw burned onto Dean’s body when he dug himself out of the grave? Does Castiel literally own Dean’s soul — is that how he got him out of Hell, by claiming him, therefore breaking the contract of Dean’s soul belonging to Hell? Or a less extreme version: did this act of salvation — Cas, a being of pure grace, interacting with Dean’s raw soul — cause their essences to be forever entangled? Does rebuilding Dean mean that Cas knows every one of Dean’s secrets — knows his whole heart and mind? If so, are either of them aware of it? Was Cas rather removed from all this, and has come to understand it more as he lived life on earth and learned to translate human emotions? Does Dean remember? Is it locked behind a wall somewhere? Is the terrifying idea of being that deeply known a factor that makes Dean lash out so often when clashing with Cas? Give me an episode where some occurrence triggers this flashback, unpicks it, and brings this relationship into new light.
7) An episode featuring the music of Led Zeppelin
Listen, it’s just criminal that this hasn’t occurred yet. It’s so cruel. Eric Kripke got it for Revolution, and recently it was reported that Robert Plant gave indie film The Friend the use of two songs for a fraction of the usual cost. If you read the story of The Friend, it’s an understandable favor, but it’s been fifteen years and I repeat, they let Kripke use it for another show, one with no legacy of any kind to speak of. Why do you hate Supernatural so much, Robert Plant? Why do you hate Dean Winchester? Why do you hate me personally? Send me your address so I can explain to you my passions.
Led Zeppelin have of course been cited as Dean’s favorite band since the first draft of the Pilot — over time, we learn that this is inherited from his parents — and in a show that pitched itself on its classic rock soundtrack, their silent presence as Dean’s beloved playlist is a constant source of frustration for fans. So many episode titles named after Zeppelin songs. So many undercover aliases named after the band’s members. Zeppelin are such a fascinating choice for Dean, because they’re so damn weird. They were a weird, strange little band. They’re obviously British, despite the show’s obsession with Americana. They weren’t hyper-masculine cock rock, they were dreamy, psychedelic and flamboyant. They’re cited as some of the most influential founders of “heavy metal,” but they’re not heavy at all in terms of how we would consider that genre today. They wrote folk and blues. They wrote poetry. They wrote about Lord of the Rings.
I would pay a significant amount of money to hear Dean talk about what his emotional connection to Zeppelin is all about, in a truly soul-baring way, much like he talked about his attachment to horror movies in “Mint Condition,” but real talk: if money is the only issue, the SPN Family could have crowdfunded the song fee by now if they weren’t busy raising tens of millions for charity. Do us a solid, Plant. It would just be such a victory to actually have the music appear in the show. To make the most of it, it would have to be diegetic, of course –- we need to see Dean actually listening on screen. Maybe we could even find out what his “top 13 zepp traxx” are, at last.
8) An actual musical episode
I don’t actually trust that this would be well-executed story-wise or worth spending time on, but I don’t care. I just want them to sing their feelings. Given that so many of the cast are such talented musical performers, it seems like such a waste not to showcase it just for fun. We seem to be getting, at least, a musical performance from Jensen Ackles in the episode featuring guest star Christian Kane — Dean is going to get onstage at a roadhouse called Swayze’s and sing with the house band (made up of real-life crew members who have played together for fun at Supernatural wrap parties and such) and I am thrilled by the very prospect. But it’s not quite the same. Alas.
9) An entirely mundane episode — no monsters, no cases
Before the 300th episode turned into a Johnstravaganza, it was meant to be more of a look at the day to day lives of the Winchesters in their adopted hometown of Lebanon, Kansas, hence the episode title “Lebanon.” These elements are still crucial to the 300th — the relationships that the brothers have with the people in town serve to show the change in circumstances as John’s presence affects the past and future — but that ended up being their main purpose, to incidentally serve. The John plot was super important for the story for all sorts of other reasons and I wouldn’t change it — it’s a huge and needed turning point for the brothers on their road to self-actualization — but I do grieve the idea of a whole episode of the daily life stuff.
I would be extremely interested in revisiting the concept of how the boys treat their downtime at home. Cooking, cleaning, chillaxing, crafternoons updating fake IDs, going to the local cinema, or catching up on Netflix in the Deancave. Legitimately the more domestic, the better. No monsters, no cases. I will allow some research to be done, based on the premise that they are stuck on something that they can’t physically follow up right that moment. Timeline-wise, jumps between episodes have glossed over weeks of their lives where not much has been going on –- which makes sense, because we drop in on them when Plot is Occurring and not when it isn’t.
But as the show has grown into something where the character dynamics come first by several miles — “I think we’ve gotten to the point where the characters feel real to the actors, they feel real to the writers, and they feel real to the audience, so we can just settle into an episode where sometimes not that much happens, and it’s okay, because we’re just tuning in with people who are real, that we know,” Misha Collins told Hypable at at 300th episode party — I really want them to put their money where their mouths are and pony up a worldbuilding episode of completely mundane home life, showing us what happens in the inbetween. It will absolutely, without a doubt, become my favorite episode of the entire show.
10) A genuine bottle episode
If crowdfunding doesn’t work, here’s how we get the money for the Zeppelin songs. In TV, a bottle episode means an episode filmed within one tightly contained location, generally one of the show’s standing sets, with minimal cast outside the show’s regulars, and it’s often done to save money or to create a high-stress psychological story. They’re generally dialogue heavy as being stuck in one room sort of lends to that. The episode of Buffy where everyone is stuck in her house on her birthday is a pretty famous example. Supernatural has done a few episodes that could be considered close to a bottle episode — in a weird way, “Baby” is a bottle episode except for the part where it’s not at all, and lot of “The Vessel” is a bottle episode in a specially built set (the submarine), though it doesn’t run top to tail.
I’ve always been curious about how Supernatural would do a true bottle episode in the Bunker — thought “Slumber Party” comes very, very close — or better yet, in just one room of the Bunker, like the library or kitchen. Or the criminally underused Deancave. Why set up that whole gorgeous room full of found furnishing and Dean’s creative handiwork — keg light shades, a hand-built bar — and never show it to us again? I basically just want Sam, Dean, and Cas all stuck in a room with nothing to do but talk. Trapped in one room would be a case episode — maybe undoing a curse with limited resources, like an escape room in their own house. Or, if using the whole standing set of the Bunker, the idea could probably get combined with the casual domesticity episode mentioned above — we all definitely have those days when you just don’t end up leaving the house and it’s fine, and the same goes for the Winchesters.
11) A fun Sam episode addressing his personal interests
Another concept that could be contained in the aforementioned domesticity episode, or the birthday party episode — the festival of Sam. We have had quite a few episodes that are heavily driven by Dean’s personal interests and fannishness. I love this quality about Dean and have written about it before, when the perfect example “Mint Condition” was gifted to us, and the season 14 finale “Moriah” took a couple of crucial, validating airtime minutes to have Sam pause and read Dean the riot act about his deep-seeded geekiness and how hypocritical it was that Dean constantly scoffs at those he considers “nerds.”
Dean was always the first one to paint Sam with the nerd brush, taunting him about knowing certain facts and pop culture references, but given that Dean is an unreliable narrator in this case, we don’t actually know much about Sam’s real interests. “Moriah’s” truth-telling curse also revealed his favorite singer to be Celine Dion. We know he likes serial killers, podcasts, possibly Harry Potter (though he may have just enough passing knowledge to drive Charlie to action), Ladyheart, Jason Manns and possibly Elvis Presley. He loves dogs and makes a fuss of them every chance he gets. We know that he loves learning — the sheer act of discovering something interesting about the past or seeing how something works in person that he’s only read about tends to make him more excited than engaging with fiction — “Mint Condition” gave as a little of that, as did his blossoming friendship with Mick Davies. I like to imagine he spends a lot of downtime asking Cas questions about things from his memory of the history of the universe, and being delighted and awestruck by the scope of humanity’s potential.
But given the amount of time we have spent deep-diving into Dean’s interests, Sam’s turn in the sun is well overdue. There are deeper, sadder ideas about why we see more of this from Dean that Sam, ideas that involve the contrast of Dean being able to find contentment in a moment of escapism that seems impossible for Sam, who tends not to enjoy anything while he knows the bigger picture is not a good one. But can’t we have a bit of a silly Sam-centric episode –- his own “Mint Condition” –- before we say goodbye? Just let him go solve a real murder at a My Favorite Murderer live show or something –- or better yet, reveal some secret passions we don’t already know about.
12) Naked SPN
It’s not what you think!
This one’s a wish for the sake of our wonderful lead actors, though I have no doubt that anything that they feel very strongly about achieving for their characters will be vocalised by them and incorporated by the writers into the final season. This is more just for funsies.
At the recent Salute to Supernatural Vancouver convention, a fan asked Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles if they were given the chance to write an episode, what would it be about? It’s a question they’ve been asked in various forms before, and I’ve heard them joke about it in different ways, but this time Ackles chose to describe in a bit more detail a humorous pet project that he, Padalecki and Richard Speight Jr have been “collaborating” on for the past few years, since Richard has been back on set regularly helping to make the show as a director.
“Throughout the last maybe two or three seasons, we have started thinking of… Started having these ideas of funny moments that could or should happen on Supernatural, and we’ve been writing them down in a little text thread and we just call it Naked SPN, as an homage to The Naked Gun. So doing a full slapstick comedy version of Supernatural where it’s just ridiculous and stupid and funny to us. And we’d like to kind of put those moments together in a way that makes sense for a script but we’re running out of time, so we might need to get on that if we’re going to make it happen.”
“Some are homages, a lot are just goofy, slapsticky-silly. It would be a great episode, it would be one I would watch more often than the others,” Padalecki added.
None of the scenes they had in mind were actually described, but Ackles’ umming and ahhing about whether he should reveal anything about the idea at all makes me wonder if this is actually a serious idea they want to execute (it could of course have been a simple teasy crowd-pleasy tactic — these guys are excellent at putting on a great show at conventions.) Either way, the bits they’ve come up with are guaranteed to be very funny, likely to be very dirty, and if there isn’t time to make this episode as part of season 15, those dudes should just film it in their backyards by themselves once the show is done.
13) A Winchester urban legend episode
Season 12’s excellent episode “Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox” showed us a little of how the hunting community views the mythos of Sam and Dean Winchester –- to us, riding shotgun with them means that we don’t really see their story from an outside perspective, so them walking into that wake was a bit like Harry Potter arriving at Hogwarts and being pointed at and gossiped about. It’s a fascinating angle and a great demonstration of human behaviour –- some people starstruck, some challenging if they’re all they’re cracked up to be –- and it was a moment of worldbuilding that was well overdue.
But Supernatural’s original concept started out as chasing, week to week, the urban legends of America, as Sam and Dean discovered the truth behind them, and because of this, it would be so fitting and full-circle to showcase the Winchester urban legends that have grown up around their journey. Over the years, cocky monsters of all sorts have crowed about getting to be the one to kill Dean or Sam Winchester. Season 13’s “Breakdown” took a creepy twist on that competition –- the reveal of a human seller of bodies to the millions of monsters who stay off the radar and the online auction among that crowd, the ones the brothers didn’t even know existed, to find the highest bidder for Sam’s heart.
Former Supernatural EP Ben Edlund once told Hypable — when talking about unfinished business with the show: “I do think that there’s a point where really, this is the story of Sam and Dean becoming demigods in a way. That to me is really… Like, you look at it as what happened in ancient times. I’m sure Gilgamesh and Enkidu were probably normal guys for a while but shit just kept happening, and then they got heartened by the forces of myth to the point where they transcended the definition of human.”
(He also said “I feel like there’s still room to land certain things, but to me there’s a whole story that is the underpinning of why those events started and why the archangels did what they did, and why all these things fell into place, why Chuck is where Chuck was — all of those things fit into a large mechanism that makes sense and I’m not certain necessarily that’s where they’re gonna go. It’s something that I was fairly vocal about. Hopefully they’ll get there, I don’t know.” — Which, yeah, Ben, they’re getting there. Big time.)
But. Heartened by the forces of myth. Just sit with that sentence a moment.
The Winchesters themselves don’t spend a ton of time thinking about the legend of the Winchesters, but there are so many versions of their story –- from the hunter community, the monster community, the fandom of the Supernatural books, and maybe even –- a la Doctor Who’s “Love & Monsters” the civilians who don’t know the whole truth about who saved them –- that it would be really cool to see an episode told from these outside perspectives and lenses, a melding together of the true and the exaggerated, all about the tales people tell about the Winchesters. The things mommy monsters tell their baby monsters to make them behave, the heroic superhero dreams of a lonely victim, and all the other stories about Sam and Dean that have forged together to become not just their legacy, but their own mythology.
14) An exploration of Castiel’s mind-wiped past
For Castiel, there’s an even bigger question that needs answering than the one in part #6, one predates his rescue of Dean from Hell and all that happened there eventuating in his fall. In season 8, Cas is the victim of a nasty course of brainwashing — we see a powerful angel Naomi tap into his mind, figuratively and literally, using him as a sleeper agent in the war over the Angel Tablet. Over the course of the season, we see other angels fear Naomi, shocked that Castiel doesn’t know who she is. She issues psychic orders and makes Cas forget their meetings, but her control over him fails when she tries to force him to kill Dean. With Castiel now in the know and on the run from Heaven, a confrontation between Cas and Naomi in the “The Great Escapist” asks maybe the biggest unanswered question that Supernatural still holds for me.
CASTIEL: We were supposed to be their shepherds, not their murderers.
NAOMI: Not always, angel. There was that day, back in Egypt, not so long ago, where we slew every first-born infant whose door wasn’t splashed with lamb’s blood. And that was just PR.
CASTIEL: Well, I wasn’t there.
NAOMI: Oh, you were there. You just don’t remember it.
CASTIEL: How many times have you torn into my head and washed it clean?
NAOMI: Frankly? Too damn many. You’re the famous spanner in the works. Honestly, I think you came off the line with a crack in your chassis. You have never done what you were told. Not completely. You don’t even die right, do you?
Like, I’m sorry: what?
The “why” is sort of easy to work out, now — if Cas was made wrong, the one angel who always challenged the acts of Heaven, it’s because Chuck made him that way — built him to rebel, built him to cherish humanity, built him to be the stuck between Heaven and Earth, the Winchesters’ greatest ally and the one needed to help further their story. He’s miraculously popped Cas back to life enough times for that to have been a pretty good guess even before the season 14 reveal. Even if Chuck wasn’t an evil puppet master, I always believed he made Cas “wrong” on purpose — made him to be more loving of humanity in the way God wanted all the angels to be, the way that every one of them — aside from Cas — is disgusted by.
But that doesn’t change the fact that it occurred, and what we learn in that conversation between Cas and Naomi sets my brain on fire. What other times in human history has Cas broke ranks or taken a stand, needing to be recovered by Heaven and brainwashed back into compliance? For what? For who? I ask this without diminishing his relationship with Sam and Dean, because clearly they have surpassed everything — they’ve stuck, despite Heaven’s best attempts — but who else has he loved and lost and forgotten? Who else has he fallen for?
This history, stretching back millenia, is enough to fill another series, let alone an episode. Jensen Ackles did, after all, pitch a spin-off featuring Castiel and his garrison of angels, and with the way things are going, if that idle suggestion went ahead, it would unlikely be set after the events of the series. I guess it would be one of those horrid stories — like Star Wars: Rogue One, or the prequel trilogy — filled with a sense of dread, where knowledge of the eventual outcome might not allow you to fully live in the moment for the characters or stakes at hand. And it would be difficult to incorporate Misha Collins as the star, as he was not Castiel’s vessel back then.
But an episode would totally work — Naomi returned to the show as a very reluctant ally in season 13, and present-day Cas could uncover his past, told as flashbacks, and even acting out the roles with the context that his Jimmy Novak image is just how he is projecting himself in memory, or something (I guess a series could do this, if the writing establishing it was iron-clad.) Castiel is the show’s greatest and deepest representation of what free will actually means — unlike humans, he is a being allegedly created not to possess it. His journey coming to terms with what the Chuck reveal means is going to look different to Sam and Dean’s, and I’m curious how Heaven in general will react. This — Castiel’s past — could be a way to address that, as the angels learn of Chuck’s true nature. Maybe he’ll even get an apology from Heaven to boot, and the respect he deserves from being so unbelievably screwed around.
15) A public reveal of the supernatural
I’ve believed for quite a while that the crux of Sam and Dean’s journey as hunters should — or at least might — involve a public revelation of the existence of monsters and demons, creating a world where the boys’ burden is lessened because everyone out there knows the truth and is therefore better equipped to defend themselves, giving the threats of their world no place to hide.
The modus operandi of keeping the supernatural secret has gone on without much questioning for many years. Some one-time characters are brought into the fold, and the truth is shared on a need to know basis. Some characters never find out. But it has never been challenged as a way to proceed — everyone tends to buy into the idea that hushing up is the way it needs to be.
But late in season 14, the boys have an unresolved argument with one of the characters that gets caught up in the monster-of-the-week hunt — in this case, a Kohonta. The guy, a cop called Sheriff Romero, questions the brothers’ practice as hunters — the fact that they work alone, they fact that they keep it a secret. It’s better that way, they say. They know what they’re doing.
SHERIFF ROMERO Do you? Look, if those monsters are out there, why don’t you tell people? Give them – well, us – a chance to fight back?”
DEAN: Because telling people about this stuff — they don’t always believe. Your people tried to warn you about this whistling freak. Nobody bought it. Not even you.
SHERIFF ROMERO: So? Just record them, put it on YouTube.
DEAN: Knowing about monsters and fighting ’em are two different things.
SHERIFF ROMERO: So you make that choice for everybody? Imagine telling them. Imagine the lives you could save.
SAM: No. No. It doesn’t work like that. People die. Even when they know how to fight, people still die.
This philosophical debate does not get concluded properly, due to more urgent threats. But it was the stand-out moment in the episode, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. I’d be keen to hear more on this subject, because I don’t think Supernatural particularly showed us Sam and Dean as being in the right here. I think that despite their experience, their arguments are weak, and I think we are meant to be on the side of the sheriff, and say, “hey, yeah, about that.” But I think that one way or another, no matter which option is right, this issue will come to a head in a big way.
Case in point: season 15 is throwing that muddle into the mix immediately. The season premiere episode establishes that the Ghostpocalypse has not yet happened everywhere, but that it very much could. Sam and Cas spending the bulk of the episode saving a mother and daughter who now know the truth, sending them into a quarantine lockdown full of confused townsfolk and warning them not to spill the beans. The brothers later discuss the limited time they have before the real FBI shows up to find out why this town has been evacuated. They’re telegraphing the consequences of the current crisis pretty loudly, and for good reason.
For the show to be able to end with Sam and Dean facing a new status quo — one that we’ve been promised allows them more peace — then the matter of how much their burdensome roles as the last line of defense between a naive public and the paranormal will continue to be needed or not needed is a crucial factor that is going to come into play one way or another.
But there’s another potential path related to this too, an idea that I can’t help kicking around, a few different little things that are baking together into one concept pie, and if it’s even close to what the show has planned it will be simply too much to bear — but in a good way. I think. I hope, anyway.
The first element: how Eric Kripke revealed that when Jensen Ackles called him to talk through his feelings about the planned ending of the show, he heard the pitch, took some time to give the matter serious thought, tried to imagine other versions given where the story has come to, even challenged himself to see if he could top with a new idea, and came back to Ackles saying that nope, the plan laid out by the current team is the perfect ending, the only viable ending, to give Sam and Dean, and the fans, what they deserve for having weathered this journey. So there’s that.
And then, in the latest season 15 trailer, the “Shaving People, Punting Things” production trailer, we have Chuck’s voiceover about his plan acts as the lynchpin of the whole thing. He’s talking about his role as the story’s writer, and he’s talking to a fan.
What we are facing now, after the sickening reveal in “Moriah” — the idea of Chuck, God, Carver Edlund, the writer taking the story wherever he wants — is not a hard metaphor to interpret at this stage. It’s a hyper-conscious real world parallel of the significance of the show Supernatural coming to a close, asking us to consider what sort of ending might be owed to both those who live within and those who love this story. Asking us to remember that Sam once said, of the Winchester Gospels, “End of the day, it’s our story, so we get to write it,” with no idea how deeply important that mindset would become. The fact that now, in the recent trailer, we hear Chuck forcing fans to accept his ending takes that concept to another level.
Chuck’s callousness about what he’s done, the fact that he says, “I can do anything. I’m a writer. Fans are gonna love it,” is almost concrete proof that he can’t, and won’t be allowed to. Proof that stories are promises and the relationship between a storyteller and audience is one based on trust, trust that the story you put your faith into due to what the tellers have fostered will not betray its own heart. Proof that for Supernatural, certain things have been earned, and will be delivered, and that Chuck’s approach represents the opposite of any of those plans.
And as the Supernatural characters come to terms with the truth about their reality, it’s a chance to service the promises made by the show, and to define the difference between respecting and exploiting an audience. It feels like those who make the show are saying, “We’re showing you this so that you know we’ve got your backs. This is what the bad guy would do, and we’re not on his side.”
Saying that while God may be the writer, the writer is not, in fact, God. The cruelty of “You’re my favorite show…” is, in my book, a clear message, one that lets us know that those actually in charge are saying, “Don’t worry. We’re with you. And we’re with the boys. We know this is more than just a show, for them, and for you.”
Because, in so many myriad ways, it is.
The whole God-as-the-writer thing becoming so literal would be painfully heavy-handed if Supernatural wasn’t such a dab hand at incorporating meta that no other show could get away with into the very DNA of the show. One of Supernatural’s greatest strengths is their ability to land pretty much anything, no matter how weird and self-referential, as believable and worthwhile storytelling. There’s no other show that can do it like they can, and there’s no other fandom who could roll with it. The reciprocity of that relationship — our support has allowed the show to push the boundaries more than most are allowed to — has been well-documented.
Which brings me to this: Carver Edlund’s Supernatural books have a fandom. It’s not quite as voracious as the SPN Family, but it exists, and the show has, over its lifespan, managed to acknowledge, offend, parody, and pay touching tribute to its own fandom via the vehicle of the Supernatural fandom in the universe of the show, without making it awkward for the story.
So what I’m wondering, about Chuck’s controlling storytelling, about Kripke’s comments on the ending, and about the one of a kind obligate symbiosis between this show and its fans that must weigh heavy on all those involved with delivering the finale season, is if somehow the fandom — within the show — is the thing that somehow saves them, that grants them peace, that allows them to survive and sets them free.
Say that due to the Ghostpocalypse or whatever other move Chuck pulls, the secret of the supernatural does start spilling out, far beyond Sam and Dean’s control. Say the fandom of the Supernatural books — not even those in the know, like Becky, Marie, Demian and Barnes, but the wider fandom, those who just believed, not in a delusional way, but in the way we believe in the show, those who built a house for those stories in their hearts, those who perhaps were saved by these stories not in a literal way, but in the way that we were — twigged to the occurrences with no other exposure to the possibility that the books could be real. Say that circumstances panned out to the point where the threats were recognisable and impossible to ignore, and that members of the Supernatural fandom began talking about it online, attempting the methods of protection laid out in the books and finding them successful.
What if they mobilized? Once they connected with those in the fandom who do know the truth… The Supernatural fandom has the power to change the world in this reality, and I see no difference in the potential power within the show’s reality. What if the Supernatural fandom are instrumental in helping this unlikely news to go public, showing the rest of the world that the content of their beloved book series is real, that it matters, that it’s literally going to save lives? What if those who were rescued in spirit by this story about unlikely heroes who go to Hell and back to save the world took what Sam and Dean’s story gave them, applied it to real life, and used it to actually help save the goddamn world?
Throw in some death of the author stuff, show us that the story is more than its writer, tell us that what truly gives a story power is everything a reader absorbs and builds from what the story means to them. What if the clincher of the ending is a metaphor about how the show and fandom have supported each other, about how once we say goodbye to the boys on screen and let them rest, that we’ll be gratefully applying what they gave us for the rest of our lives? What if the takeaway at the end of the day is one of “You brought us together. One way or another, you taught us how to survive, you gave us one another, you equipped us with the resources and resilience we needed. You showed us that we were not alone. You showed us how to always keep fighting. Thank you for looking out for us. Thank you. We love you. We’ll take it from here.”
What if the only reason they can let go is because they know that — thanks to all they’ve given us — we’ve got this on our own?