This roundtable features five contributors from The Geekiary staff and a special guest contributor. We’ve strived to get panelists from various segments of fandom including Dean!Girls, a Sam!Girl, and Cas!Girls, shippers and non-shippers, people who have been in the fandom since episode one and someone who marathoned nine seasons back to back last summer. Our panelists have various levels of involvement in online fandom and differing outlooks on the show and fandom at large. Before we dive into the roundtable, get to know us!
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary, a proud Minion of Misha Collins, Cas girl, and GISHer (go Team Subtext! Top 10 team 3 years in a row!). She dabbles in Destiel fanfic and considers it one of the larger ships in her overcrowded harbor. She’s been a main reviewer for the show since The Geekiary was founded.
Erin is a little boy crazy, so of course, she loves Supernatural. You can find her lost in Dean’s dreamy eyes most of the time, or cheering on memorable minor characters (Donna!). Feeding Jared Padalecki a drink while he was recovering from shoulder surgery is one of her proudest moments. Although pretty neutral in the shipping department, she loves all the guys and how they give us all insight into the minds of men. She live tweets the show for The Geekiary.
Jessica has been a Dean fan since she started watching Supernatural in early season four. She was attracted to the horror element but stuck around for the characters. She’s not nearly as jaded as she used to be and is incredibly happy to see Dean with a storyline. A huge fan of Jensen and Misha and the Dean and Cas friendship, she is not a shipper but is cool with any ship or lack of ship people choose to love. Team Free Will is her favorite thing to see on the show.
Emily is the Captain of the USS Destiel, and has embraced her reputation within the fandom as an unashamed ‘Destiheller.’ A fan of urban legends, myth and horror, she got sucked in for the mytharc and stayed for the characters. A devout supporter of Team Free Will, you can usually find her recommending angsty fan videos about Dean’s lack of self worth, Sam’s struggle to fight fate and find hope, and Castiel’s conflicting motives.
Bandit has watched Supernatural since day one back in 2005, when her love of Halloween drew her to the show, but it was Dean that made her stay. She is also a Misha Minion, as well as a GISHer and faithful servant to all things Random Acts oriented (which involves a lot of running). In addition, Cas has earned himself a well deserved place in her heart right next to Dean, as Bandit herself is a lot like Dean in real life (self-sacrificing and love of pie included). And yeah, she ships Destiel and is damn proud of it. Bandit also reviews the show for this website.
Amanda is relatively new to Supernatural, having marathoned all seasons after Season 9 had already aired in the U.S. She is thrilled by the amazing talent brought forth by everyone involved in the show and, when it comes down to it, just really loves everyone! (Though she does identify as a Sam!Girl, for… less than honorable reasons) She would also like it noted that she answered her questions before reading everyone else’s answers, so if she says the same thing as them, well, great minds.
Now that you know who we are and what we do, let’s dive into the roundtable.
Q1: What effect do you think the death of Cain will have on Dean going forward?
Emily: Certainly nothing good! I think that there was certainly some hope still that Cain was able to fight the effects of the Mark and exhibit some… while not entirely heroic or altruistic, at least fairly noble characteristics. Dean can’t go the pacifist route, it’s just not in his character to go commune with nature and find his zen, but there was still some hope there that he would be able to accomplish a level of distance from the violence that the Mark makes him crave. Now with that hope taken away, I foresee some spiraling in the future.
Angel: I feel like this is going to be a big blow to any hope he had that he could beat this. I’m not even sure how much hope he had before, but now that Cain has shown how impossible it is to get a hold on things, he’s going to sink further and further into a state of despair.
Bandit: Let me preface this by saying that I don’t think anyone ever really dies on Supernatural. There is always wiggle room. But, I have to answer said question, so, I think that the only thing that can save Dean is his Collette, as Supernatural is a BIG fan of parallels. There is so much overlapping and referencing to itself, that you need a slide rule and enough paper to cover a city block. I think he’s going to go along thinking he’s fine, but sink further until someone who truly loves him gets him out of there. What form of love that comes in, only the writers know. I think things are going to get worse before they get better. So, pretty standard when it comes to my favorite show.
Amanda: Can’t say I’m entirely certain I believe Cain is actually dead. But, if we make the assumption that he IS dead, I think that would close a door that probably shouldn’t be closed yet. With “the river begins at the source” and all that, I just don’t think Cain’s part in the MoC story is over. If he is actually dead, I don’t see that as having any positive effect on Dean at all. Like Sam said – Dean’s in trouble.
Erin: I was really hoping that Dean would find some much-needed peace, but Cain’s words are going to linger with him… maybe forever. Unfortunately, I think Cain’s prophecy will end up being a self-fulfilling prophecy for Dean; he fears it, so it must be. But do put me in the camp that thinks Cain is not dead. He has such a huge impact on the overall mythos of the show, that I am sure we will see him again.
Jessica: It does not look good for Dean, that’s for sure. Something is definitely not right with him. There was that look after he told Sam he was okay. He’s not at all okay. Jensen’s acting choice there was very much deliberate, I think. Not to be a pessimist, but it seems to me that at least one person in Team Free Will (or Crowley) is going to die this season. I’m hoping we can avoid Castiel’s death this year. He hasn’t died in awhile and I fear he’ll be the one who may stop Dean with his own life.
Q2: What do you feel was the most defining moment so far this season for each of the four main characters?
Erin: I will probably pick an unpopular moment for Dean, but it was actually when the Winchesters teamed up with Jody and Donna. For ten seasons, we have been told that hunting is the family business, and for one episode, Dean was able to see that the ability to hunt can sometimes lie outside the the norm. I think he left that episode with a lot of respect for Donna, especially, and I think it was a growth moment for him, particularly it being an interaction with a female character.
Sam’s defining moment, by far, was his reaction to Dean’s killing of Cain. I think that there is still a lot of unfinished business that he feels he has with Dean, and now it is Sam’s turn to be the protector. I think he finally realized it in those final moments of “The Executioner’s Song.” This is a long time coming in the characterization of Sam.
Castiel, in my opinion, has been underused for this entire season, but without a doubt, his most defining moment was his relationship with Claire. There is a lot about humans that Cas still does not understand, and I like that he tried to relate to her much like he does with the Winchesters, but it didn’t work out the way he planned. Seeing Cas interact with a variety of characters is always a treat.
Crowley having his mother show up is going to create a lot of turmoil for him. We have seen Crowley “lite” for a while now, and I am looking forward to him returning to the King of Hell! Let’s face it, Mark Sheppard is just better when he is scheming, so I am very happy that we appear to be headed in that direction.
Amanda: With each new episode, Dean seems to get a new defining moment. He has been going through SO many changes this season. I’m so proud of how he’s growing emotionally. Dealing with the MoC has left him vulnerable in ways he’s never experienced before, and, rather than shutting down and blocking everyone out, he’s learning to open up to others and rely on them, because he knows he can’t rely on himself anymore. With that said, all my defining moments for him revolve around the Mark:
- “Screw it, I’m gonna believe in myself.” (About a Boy)
- “My peace is helping people…the answer is not out there, it’s with me.” (H&CF)
- “I’m scared, Sam.” (The Executioner’s Song)
Dean is coming a long way emotionally this season, and I’m so proud of him.
Sam’s strongest moments have been when he is most focused on helping Dean. It’s his turn to be the “big brother.” His role has been rather subdued this season, but if you look closely, you see how much strength he displays in everything he does, and it’s all focused on getting his brother “back.” His defining moments are when he fights for and supports his brother in whatever way he possibly can.
I’m not entirely sure that Cas has really had a defining moment yet this season. Don’t get me wrong – he’s had some kick-ass moments…but I didn’t think any of them really defined him. In the beginning of the season, he was struggling between the obligation he felt towards heaven, and dealing with his fading grace. He helped Sam “cure” Dean, but a permanent solution to the MoC still eludes him. He struggled with relationships with Hannah and Claire, both without outcomes that he may have preferred. Cas is out of sorts right now, and I think we have yet to see a truly defining moment for him.
Crowley has had some great moments this season as well, and they all show how torn his mental state is, between his demonic tendencies and his humanity. When he force feeds Cas that other angel’s grace, when he provides the First Blade and the magic to fool Cain in “The Executioner’s Song” – I loved those moments, but he struggles with those decisions because they go against his nature as the King of Hell. I think Crowley’s defining moment is yet to come – he needs figure out exactly where he stands, and when he does, it’s going to be epic.
Emily: While I wish that the demon Dean storyline had been allowed to go darker and last longer, I think the Mark of Cain is giving us some very poignant looks at the darkness in Dean. Like torturing Alastair in the episode “On The Head of a Pin,” this story really shows both Dean’s awareness that he could easily go dark and become the worst of what they hunt, and his struggle not to do so. The Mark is also a sign that Dean’s stuck in someone else’s destiny again: first he was meant to be Michael’s vessel and kill Lucifer/Sam, and now as Cain destined to destroy himself killing his Abel. How will Dean keep himself from being defined that way?
I think this season, for Sam, has really helped allow him to take the role as caretaker for Dean; sure we’ve had the furrowed brow of brotherly worry as a staple in the show since Season 1, but allowing Sam to really be the one to save Dean and drag him back from the ledge, cure him from being a demon and tell him that there’s still hope even with the Mark, was a great moment for the character. I’ve missed Sam being the voice of hope in Supernatural, and I enjoy when the relationship between the brothers shifts and evolves. I hope this leads to a more balanced relationship between the two of them, in the long run.
For Castiel, I think going after Claire did a lot to bring the character back into a storyline that resonated with us. While we, as fans who’d seen the creator comments, knew that Jimmy was in heaven, it was good to bring the storyline back to that. It’s a personal struggle for Cas, who has in the past expressed suicidal guilt over the decisions he’s made. While he can’t fix everything for Claire, or for his past choices, he can still do good in the world, and isn’t beyond forgiveness. He’s been trying to impart that belief to Dean as well, as he works to save Dean from himself, and from the Mark.
As for Crowley, I think that’s still up in the air; if the final scenes of him in “The Executioner’s Song” were indicative of where he’s going, I’d put it there. Crowley’s being influenced by Rowena to retake his position as the feared ruler of Hell, like he was in Season 8 as he began ripping the Winchesters’ lives apart, and Dean just double-crossed him to get the blade back, undermining ideas of them still being BFF. If Crowley’s path goes back to ruthlessness and… well… demonic behavior, then I think we can credit that moment.
Bandit: For Sam, it was definitely the bunker fight with Dean that we saw in the previews before the season even started. Sam was both hunting and being hunted by his brother, and when it came down to it, he couldn’t hurt Dean, despite his demon status.
Crowley has been fantastic this season, but it’s really the addition of his mother that has altered the dynamic of his character. My favourite moment is actually from the most recent episode where he is in the alley arguing with the Winchesters. We can see that he’s gone soft from the demon that he once was, at least in regard to our boys.
Cas, oh my lovely Cas, (who really deserves more screentime, but oh well) has had so many great moments this season it is really hard to choose, but I really liked seeing him in that moment in Dean’s bedroom. He did the exact opposite to everything he had told Hannah the entire episode in regard to humans. He has definitely been emotionally compromised when it comes to Sam and Dean, and I know he’s not the only one (*points to Crowley and to self*).
And then there is Dean, who has been the focus this season. It’s hard for me to pick one moment, but I would have to say the beginning of “Fan Fiction” when it’s Dean and Baby (and Gordon Lightfoot acting as soundtrack). I love the Impala, and seeing him taking care of her again after the horrible things he said after being a demon (just a car?!) saw him doing penance. It meant a lot to me.
Angel: I feel like the death of Cain is going to have a profound effect on Dean going forward. It’s going to be a turning point for him, but not in a good way. I predict there will be more drinking and more risky behavior because he feels he’s once more doomed to a terrible fate. We’ll have to see how the rest of the season plays out to see if I’m right about this. But right now I feel that Cain’s death is his turning point.
For Sam, I feel like the defining moment lasted several episodes. Everything he was willing to do to rescue Dean instead of killing him while he was a demon proved just how far he’s willing to go. It once more brings up the ongoing moral conflict between killing monsters and demons on sight or making exceptions. Obviously Dean was an exception, but where do you draw the line? If demons can be cured, do you attempt to cure them all? His arc to save Dean was a very long defining moment that spanned several episodes.
Castiel’s turning point in the season was when Hannah made the decision to vacate her vessel. I think that caused Cas to have a large amount of self reflection, though his situation is different because his vessel is his and his alone at this point. Jimmy Novak has moved on. Another moment that stands out for Castiel is when he first heard that Dean was a demon. The look on his face in that moment was absolutely crushing and a stark reminder of just how important Dean is to him.
I feel bad, but I don’t feel Crowley has had a defining moment yet. He’s been mostly sitting around side-eying his mom, fully aware that she’s manipulating him but not really doing anything about it. Perhaps his moment is still coming in the back part of the season.
Jessica: I think for Dean, the defining moment was after he had killed Cain and gave the First Blade, the one weapon that can kill him, to Cas. It shows a certain level of trust that is hard for Dean to put in people. Most of those around him have failed him – Castiel has failed him. But he is counting on Castiel to be the one to stop him if necessary. The honorable mention for me is Dean listening to and enjoying Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off.” I always appreciate when Dean realizes it’s okay to be who he is and that he doesn’t have to conform to daddy’s idea of who he should be. Dean is many things. He does not fit into a caricature box.
For Sam, I’m going to go back with the aftermath of Dean killing Cain. He realizes how far gone Dean really is and that he and Cas will have to do what is necessary to help him or stop him. He may have put on good face for Dean, but he admitted the truth to Cas. Dean is not okay. I just hope that Sam and Cas don’t try to save Dean in a way that is “screw the rest of the world.” That kind of thing just disappoints me. These guys love each other, but I think they need to remain heroes as much as possible too.
With Castiel, it was definitely when he realized just how his using Jimmy Novak as a vessel affected more lives than just Jimmy’s. Jimmy is dead, there isn’t anything Cas can do about that. I thought it showed great character growth when he decided to pursue helping Claire Novak and how much he obviously cares. I definitely hope to see more of Claire in the future. I don’t think her and Castiel’s story is over yet.
Crowley has been different this season. He’s been a little more reflective. Something that really stuck with me was how much he obviously valued his friendship with Demon Dean. He was hurt when Dean decided to leave him behind. As much as he’s a demon who, by all rights hates Sam and Dean most of the time, I do believe he’s always had a bit of a soft spot for Dean and was honestly hurt when Dean left him behind and more recently quite obviously put Castiel before him.
Q3: Where do you think each character’s path is headed as we head into the final episodes of the season?
Emily: I think (hope?) that the path this season is going to involve spitting in fate’s eye once again (metaphorical fate, not pretty librarian-esque blonde Fate). Right now, Dean, Sam and Castiel are having their destinies ‘scripted’ at them again. The story of Cain and Abel is Lucifer and Michael on a smaller scale, still with devastating consequences for all involved, but this time everyone’s roles are more clearly defined. I don’t know if this will involve calling back to Season 5’s struggle, and “the river ends at the source” regarding Michael and Lucifer and the beginning of their bloodline, but I believe it is something that they’re going to have to defy the intended outcome once again. The Team Free Will fan in me admits that may be wishful thinking, but hey. It’s all right THERE.
Angel: I think the ultimate rescue for Dean is going to involve all three of the other characters to some degree. The brothers are constantly self-sacrificing for each other, so that’s to be expected, but I think Cas is going to put in everything he can to save him, too. Crowley may have a more reluctant and selfish reason for helping out, but I see him being there when it all goes down too. Perhaps it’ll be because Dean will return to his demon form and Crowley will be eager to return him back into a human. He didn’t seem too keen on demon Dean.
Bandit: Crowley is on his way to being dethroned by his mother. Sam is going to do something stupid to save Dean. Cas is going to end up human, again. Dean will get rid of the Mark, and hopefully return to his state of mind post-purgatory (when he started to have hope for an actual future), but that’s wishful thinking. I am probably completely wrong on all accounts, so I’m just going to sit under a desk and drink my feelings a la Robin Scherbatsky, so pass the whiskey.
Amanda: I think I touched on this more or less with my previous answers. Dean is in trouble, and it looks like it’s all downhill for him from here. The Mark is going to continue to make his life extremely miserable and difficult; I’m not sure, but he might be past the point of being capable of finding peace while struggling with that. It’s going to be rough for him.
Sam is going to continue doing whatever he possibly can to a) help his brother live with the Mark, and b) put an end to the Mark’s influence over his brother, whatever that may be. Dean is Sam’s number one priority, and I think we’re just going to see more and more of that as the season progresses and concludes.
I could definitely see Cas turning his focus once again to heaven and dealing with Metatron and the angels and the turmoil that is still probably happening up there. Obviously, he still has the problem of needing to find/fix his grace, so I think that will be his priority now. Finding the cure for the Mark is going to be an underlying factor at all times, but I hope Cas will see that he will be best able to help the Winchesters once he is back at full strength and no longer has to worry about his own mortality.
Of the four main characters, Crowley has the most control over his future, and, as such, might have the hardest time the rest of this season. He has not lost any of his physical abilities, so he still has power there. He does, however, have some big decisions to make. He needs to deal with his mother and ensure that she never gets the upper hand on him. He also needs to re-evaluate his relationship with the Winchesters and how that relates to his demon and human sides. Crowley has always done what is best for Crowley – he just needs to work out what that is.
Erin: Finally, Sam being the protector (hopefully). I am just hoping that Jared Padalecki can pull it off! I think we are all in agreement that Jensen Ackles can do “dark” very well, so I am looking forward to Dean continuing to go down the dark road. And Crowley…he needs to go down the dark road again, too. Heck, let’s throw Cas down the dark road, too. Although, I think in reality, they will continue to write Cas more “human,” and therefore more hopeful in general.
Jessica: I think Crowley is either going to have to go rogue with the Winchesters or he’s going to get killed. I think Mark may be signed up for season 11 though, so not permanently dead. Dean is going to probably go much darker before he either is killed or healed. There’s also a possibility that the Mark of Cain may always be a part of him. For Sam, I guess my fear is that he’s going to go too far to try to save Dean. I don’t want Dean to die by any means, but I would like to see the brothers save each other in ways that aren’t so destructive. Castiel will probably continue to get weaker while doing everything in his power to save Dean. We might ultimately be looking at some kind of grace healing that will kill Cas in order to save Dean. Or maybe Cas is able to get his grace back. I definitely think we haven’t seen the last of his interactions with Metatron.
Q4: As a reader pointed out, this season has had a lot of dynamic female characters in prominent roles. Which character (or group of characters) has been your favorite and why?
Erin: Without a doubt, Donna and Jody. I could watch a whole series of their banter.
Jessica: Jody and Donna were amazing. I’d love to see more episodes with the both of them. Both are strong women who can take care of themselves and don’t take crap from the brothers. I also admit to enjoying how Dean and Donna get along. Other honorable mentions would be Charlie, who is always awesome, and Claire Novak. While the latter fell victim to plot device in her second episode, I was excited to get a glimpse into her story and what she means to Castiel’s story as well.
Angel: Everyone else has sung the praises of Donna and Jody so I’m not going to repeat it. Let’s just say I definitely agree. But I’m also going to echo Jessica’s opinions on Charlie and Claire.
I was surprised to see so much negativity towards Claire because I was thrilled to see her storyline come back after all this time away. I think most people take issue with her decisions, but she’s a teenager and most of the people criticizing her are adults, so perhaps it’s just hard for us to put ourselves in her headspace. Making bad decisions is sort of part of that period of life so I’m not going to be too hard on her for that. She also has a heavy backstory that justifies her anger, confusion, and rebellious nature. To me, Claire is very believable and a highlight of the season.
Charlie had a particularly epic episode this season that further fleshed out who she is as a person, clearly defining both her light and dark side. I was thrilled to see Felicia Day get such an amazing piece of material to work with. Even though her episode only played into the main part in a small way (the brief glimpse of the effect of the Mark on Dean), it was still a solid episode in my opinion. And I’m usually not a big fan of MOTW episodes. Charlie seems to break me away from that standard.
Amanda: You know what? I’m gonna have to go with Rowena on this one, for several reasons. One, she is a new character that is specific to season ten. Most of the other female characters in SNX had been on the show in previous seasons, and I already either loved or hated them from before. Two, from the moment she first spoke, I loved her character. Her accent delights me, and her manner of speaking is endearing. At times, she may be an over-the-top character, her dialogue bordering on campy, but I just enjoy her. Three, she stirs up the pot. Nothing is ever boring if Rowena is involved. Things may be overly dramatic, or mildly annoying, but she is anything but boring. Plus, Ruthie Connell is just lovely.
I think my second favorite for the season would be Hannah. No, I did not like the plot involving her storyline – tracking down rogue angels to be brought back to heaven felt very out of place to me, and it did nothing to enhance ANY overlying story-arcs. However, I thought her character growth was beautiful. I loved the direction they took her story…and I really hope we have not seen the last of her. Also – Erica Carroll is lovely.
Emily: Jody Mills. Yes, Donna, but even more than that Jody–I think we’ve seen this character grow and change since her introduction in Season 5, and it’s been a very natural progression. We saw her go from a grieving mother, to a sometimes-ally, growing more and more savvy in the Supernatural realm without losing either her authoritative role as a police officer, or her maternal side. Beyond that, I’m going to point at Charlie Bradbury. Again, like Jody, we’ve seen her go from being an intended victim of one of the Big Bads, to really finding her own footing in the world. She, like Jody, continues on in her story even when she’s not on-screen, but her arc as a character is something you can trace in her episodes over the years. I enjoy Claire as a glimpse of how the story carries on once the boys turn their attention away from the people they leave behind, but it’s really Charlie and Jody who have had developed arcs of their own–and boy do we need that for the ladies in Supernatural.
Q5: What do you think the biggest weakness of the season has been so far?
Jessica: Sadly in more recent seasons there has been some disjointment between episodes and some screw-ups in the canon that can be fairly glaring sometimes. They’re small things sometimes, but it can make a difference. Like Dean forgetting that he’s died before and Sam forgetting that he did drive the Impala while Dean was dead. I’m also not a fan of the heavy-handed parallels and anvil dropping. The supporting characters often exist just to parallel Sam and Dean to a strong degree. I like when they’re worth a little more than that and the audience isn’t treated like we don’t get it.
Amanda: Up until the mid-season finale, I would have said that the biggest weakness of SNX was the disconnect between storylines. During several episodes, there would either be two (or more!) distinct storylines involving the series regulars, OR it would be a standalone ep. The non-standalone episodes did not seem to be overly cohesive, and it was rather distracting for me as a viewer. The stories have once again started relating to each other in the latter half, however, and I no longer have complaints. This season is absolutely killing it, and I am utterly pleased!
Angel: I wish we could have seen more demon Dean. I know it wasn’t an ideal situation but it was something different.. And, okay, let me be shallow for a moment… demon Dean was extremely attractive. Jensen Ackles plays ‘dark’ very well. For something that was such a shocking cliffhanger for last season’s finale, it sure got wrapped up far too quickly. I need more demon Dean in my life and I hope my predictions that he’ll return are accurate.
Bandit: Not enough Cas and Crowley. I’m sorry, but if they are part of the main cast, they should be in more episodes. Misha and Mark are talented actors, and I want to see more of them.
Erin: The writers have no idea what to do with Cas anymore, and it is very sad, because I love Misha Collins! Those of us who are fans of the show, and particularly Misha, know that he is very different in person than his character. While a lot of actors can shake off being effectively written into a corner, I don’t think the writers are doing him any favors as of late.
Emily: The season’s been disjointed in a few ways. It’s okay to use a parallel every once in a while, but what it seemed like they were doing, episode after episode of the MoTW reflecting on the main story, wasn’t actually pushing or evolving it, but wallowing in it without letting it actually progress. I think that bringing it back to the Mark of Cain solidly in the last episode, reuniting the stories of all of the main characters, has helped give the story a much needed boost; I’m hoping that they keep riding that momentum forward.
Q6: What are your thoughts on the 200th episode and the continued breakdown of the fourth wall between the showrunners and the audience?
Angel: Robbie Thompson, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. First you bring us Charlie Bradbury and let Felicia Day bring to life one of the best characters on the show. Then you bring us this masterpiece of a meta episode. Your brilliance has lessened the sting of losing my favorite writer, Ben Edlund. Long story short, I loved this episode so so so much.
This show has always played fast and loose with the fourth wall, even literally shattering it back in ‘The French Mistake’ (Sam and Dean shoved through it, literally shattering it to pieces). When I first heard how they were going to play with the fourth wall in this episode I was worried that what was being billed as a “love letter to fans” would read more like hate mail. Instead we got a troop of incredibly creative and intelligent young fangirls, in universe acknowledgement of the show’s most popular ship, and a hilarious and high-quality musical score. Well done! Applause all around. In Robbie we trust.
Amanda: F-ing loved it. I’m amazed at how well the creators of the show can communicate *directly* to the fans while still putting together a perfectly acceptable episode for casual viewers. And I felt it was a beautiful love letter to the fans, as many cast/crew have said it was meant to be. As I said: I f-ing loved it.
Bandit: I loved “Fan Fiction”, and I squealed through the whole thing, and screamed so loud at the end, you’d think that I was pinned to the ceiling and on fire. Okay, bad joke. I read Deadpool comics, so I’m used to the fourth wall being non-existent. I like the nods to the fans, but I really like Supernatural being its own entity, though there are storylines and characters I’d totally follow and bring back if I were TPTB. Sorry, but there are plot holes so big that it’s ridiculous *cough* Cristo *cough*.
Erin: “Fan Fiction” was a great episode, but it was filler. I am okay with that in this particular scenario, because it was a love letter to the fans. In context of the season it obviously did not make sense, but I liked it as a standalone episode. I thought the writing was clever (any references to Rushmore make me very happy!), and the casting and subsequent acting was incredible. I don’t mind these types of episodes every so often because they tend to lighten the mood.
Jessica: I was not happy that Castiel was not in it and that Misha was excluded. I’m still not happy about that. But I did really enjoy the 200th episode and I love Robbie Thompson and his writing. I’m a huge Thompson fangirl. It’s a little bit of a problem. I just enjoy his style and the obvious care he has for both the characters and their story. I think this episode does prove that he takes great care in his writing and loves his craft. And I think he definitely displayed his love for the show and us with “Fan Fiction”. I never should have doubted you Robbie. Keep writing just like you do!
Emily: While lighthearted and ultimately a fun romp with some great references for long-time fans, there wasn’t a lot of content to the 200th episode. I enjoy the episode lightening the mood for a time, and it’ll be a fun one to rewatch, but ultimately… none of the wall-breaking in “Fan Fiction” really did much for me. ‘You have your interpretation, we have ours, we can coexist’ strikes me as neutral, not a love letter, and not really permission we NEEDED given the thriving fandom community. So, a fun one for later rewatches of the more meta-episodes but I wasn’t feeling the love as much as others were, I suppose.
Q7: How well do you think the issue of who is good and who is bad is being handled – especially in light of how that has changed through the seasons?
Erin: There is no good or evil because we all have bits of both. It is what you choose to do with those bits that matter. After ten seasons, this is my takeaway.
Amanda: Who is good and who is bad, and how well do I think that’s being handled? I think there’s been a great amount of ambiguity in that regard this season, and I absolutely love it. I mean, first you have Demon!Dean – who, duh, demon = bad. But he’s making moral choices, like killing the adulterous husband instead of the wife like he was expected to. And then you have Sam, who is typically very conscious about the morality of his decisions, yet some of the actions he took when trying to find his brother were rather morally questionable. And then there’s Crowley, the King of Hell, helping Cas get some borrowed grace and saving his life, helping the Winchesters trap and “kill” Cain…basically, just helping, which is very contradictory for a character who, by definition, should really be considered evil. Cas has either a) been the most morally neutral of the four, or b) I haven’t cared enough about the heaven storyline to judge his actions too harshly one way or the other (sorry – I love Cas, I do, but the heaven storyline did nothing for me). So yeah, it’s all very ambiguous, at least in regards to our four mains. I don’t think ANY of them are overtly BAD, but I also have a very forgiving/understanding nature, and a HUGE bias towards all of them, so my opinion might not be the most objective.
Angel: I feel like this is an ongoing moral question that gets flipped back and forth several times per season. Sometimes there’s a clear line that all monsters and demons are bad and all humanity is good. Sometimes that line gets blurred. Some demons and monsters may be worth sparing whereas some humans are truly evil. The line even gets blurred with the Winchesters themselves. If you put yourself in other people’s positions, sometimes the Winchesters look like the bad guys too. It’s all a matter of perspective.
I do wish they would have some consistency between episodes in regards to how the Winchesters handle monsters and demons, though. Do you spare some? Kill them all? The inconsistencies on this issue drive me up the wall.
Bandit: In reality, there has never really been a ‘definitely good and bad’, just shades of ‘better than you’d think’ and ‘could be worse’. Even those meant to be truly evil or good had redeeming or tarnished qualities. I am so a champion for Team Free Will, but all of them have screwed up. Yes, they try and regain some sense of goodness, but that’s always going to be there. No, it may not last, but it has an effect on that character from then on, and since everyone plays the martyr and never lets things go… argh. I seriously think everyone just needs a good cuddle and some pie. Sorry, what was the question?
Jessica: It’s something like – close to 30 shades of gray – with this show most of the time. The lines of good and bad get more convoluted. Many innocents die due to both sides. Sure Sam, Dean, and Cas are still our heroes, but they are our incredibly flawed heroes. Sometimes our heroes become the villains in effort to keep those they love alive. I’d like to see growth from that. Who is the big bad this season? There hasn’t been a real main big bad. We have Dean at times, Rowena is definitely up to something, and Metatron who really can only do so much from where he currently is. Dean may end up the end game big bad, but he may not.
Emily: The moral ambiguity, and the question of what separates the Winchesters from the monsters they hunt, has been an ongoing theme within Supernatural. I don’t really think there is a line of good and evil. Look as far back as Gordon, in season 2, presenting the hunting life as black and white with no shades of gray. The closest Dean has come to that black and white mindset in years is Purgatory, where everything but him was a monster–even then, though, he allied with a monster to save a fallen (falling?) angel. Like Angel, I wish we had a clearer view of the Winchester brothers’ beliefs on this, currently; they’re inconsistent episode to episode. But maybe that’s just further proof that they have to take it on a case by case basis?
Q8:Are there any aspects of the show or season that you’d change?
Angel: What I appreciate is that one of the things I wanted changed actually happened this season. I always wanted the women on the show to live longer and have more prominent roles, and it seems that we got that wish. We got Donna and Jody rocking it, Charlie getting an episode that deepens her character, and we got the resurgence of Claire Novak. That’s four dynamic, diverse, and incredible women that have had episodes focused on them.
If I was going to ‘change’ anything, it would be for them to continue this trend. Keep bringing back these amazing women, and maybe add some more prominent POC characters too. I’m also grateful that Charlie has been such a great representative for the LGBTQ+ community and hope they recognize that’s an important thing for many viewers. So in short, let’s keep diversifying the cast! This season has been great in that regard and I want more of that.
Bandit: Yes, but as I’m not TPTB, I chose not to impose my view or beliefs. Canon is canon, and until I get asked for story ideas by the Supernatural writers’ room, I’ll get my fill from fanfic.
Emily: Canon may be canon, but I’d like a little consistency in that canon. There have been aspects that have left fans scratching their heads, and trying to ‘fanon’ in explanations recently for what seems like (to quote Ben Edlund) “dropping the canon ball.” This can be anything from who’s written dumb for laughs (“holding the idiot ball”), or writers mistaking small but significant bits of canon, to retconning years of mythology to fit a gimmicky episode or handwave in a shortcut (looking at Taxi Driver, for instance, and Reapers as angels). These, like the heavy-handed parallels, really take me out of the story and make it hard to immerse in the show.
Amanda: Oh yes, absolutely. The one thing I would change about this season is…SAMMY NEEDS TO GET LAID.
Oh, I’m sorry, did I say that out loud?? While I DO think that it’s far past time for Sam to get a little lovin’ (plus, I want more shirtless Sammy in my life, so sue me), I really wouldn’t change anything. I bow at the creative abilities and talents of this cast and crew, and any suggestions I had would either pale in comparison, or be so cracked that they’d be better left for fanfiction. I may have binge-watched all nine seasons in a few months on Netflix, but I have never been left disappointed by what the creators of this show have put forth. I am very excited to see what they have in store for us! Onward to SEASON ELEVEN!! Woohoo!!!
Erin: Better writing for Misha, more range for Jared. I still enjoy the MOTW format, and I think that is still the show’s strength. Of course I like getting into the messy relationships of dudes (I don’t pretend to know what they are thinking), but I hope we can revisit what made the early season so successful.
Thank you for reading our roundtable. We’ll see you at the end of the season for a follow up!
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She’s contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She’s written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. She identifies as queer.
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