Thank You Robbie: Goodbye to SPN’s Robbie Thompson
Supernatural and the creative team in charge has always had a bit of a love/hold-at-arms-length relationship with its fanbase.
During the controversial plot decisions in season 6 and 7, with their small digs at the fanbase, it’s often felt more like the show-runners and writers’ room preferred for the fans to quiet down and stop expressing their opinions and requests. The following seasons of Supernatural improved, by varied amounts, but it often felt like there was a wall between the fanbase and the creators of the show.
Into this void came a few of the writers, seeking to improve the relationship between the fans and the powers that be. The one that has been the most successful is unsurprisingly the writer widely considered one of the best writers on the show. Robbie Thompson sometimes sympathized with, sometimes reasoned with, and sometimes soothed a fanbase sensitive from past hurts. He was a friendly ear when the show felt not-so-friendly, and his episodes were full of winks to the fanbase and nods to fan theories. So it was frankly devastating to hear that Season 11 will be his last.
Robbie Thompson’s episodes were brilliant. They contained creative monsters and introduced many memorable and diverse characters, characters the fanbase loved and embraced and mourned deeply when they died. So for that, and for being so wonderful to a hurting and sensitive fanbase, I’d like to say thank you.
Thank you for giving us something to smile about in your first episode, in the dark days early in season 7. When I do try to think of good things from the early days of season 7, I always think of the leviathans making fun of the boys and that basket of “Welcome” muffins that Crowley tried to bribe Roman with.
Thank you for Charlie. She was the perfect avatar for the fandom. She was smart, geeky, and more than capable of holding her own with the guys and the enemy. Thank you for making her approachable and fun, someone we’d love to hang out with. Thank you for making her a three dimensional character who just happened to be gay. She felt real, and very human. Thank you for giving a face and a voice to groups of people who aren’t often represented as anything more then cannon fodder, comic relief or a token cardboard character. Thank you, for giving her a life.
Thank you, as well, for introducing her and Cas. That meeting and the dinner that followed were a long-held wish of the fandom, and gave us something nice to remember when the show turned on both those two characters and the fans that love them.
For the same reason, thank you for Eileen. We never see Hunters with any form of challenges, so to see a female Hunter that was both Deaf and successfully hunting by herself was huge. I adored the fact that it was she and the older woman that beat the monster in “In the Mystic”, rather then the guys. Thank you that they both lived. I wanted to see her again, but now I’m not sure if I want her back with you leaving; as after Charlie, I’m not sure I trust the rest to write her well. Sometimes, it’s better to have the good characters off on their own adventures, if they only come back to poor writing and death. Hopefully, my fears are unwarranted.
As a fan of Meg, thank you for having her go out with a bang. Thank you for her Unicorn nickname for Castiel. It was good to see someone appreciate Cas. So few characters do, and he deserves far more appreciation then he currently gets in the Supernatural Universe. And thank you for every step you took in furthering the bond between Dean and Cas, even when the opposing forces seemed to be winning. The images of all those dead Deans and the commingled fight in Naomi’s office and the vault were breathtaking and full of meaning, providing hours of discussion in various fan spaces.
Thank you for “Meta Fiction“. Thank you for that monologue of Metatron, the question about who and what gives the story meaning. Thank you for listening and giving us hope (however tiny it was) for Gabriel.
Thank you for “Fan Fiction“. The episode contained so many references to the fanbase, from the various types of fanfiction to various fan jokes, the fan focus on Adam and the Amulet to mentions of the major “ships” that influence some parts of the fanbase. You could analyze the various references and meta for hours and come to different conclusions, but overall, the episode clearly said, “We see you. Thank you for being there.” Thank you, for being appreciative. And thank you, for including “Carry On Wayward Son” at the end, sung by the girls. It was perfect.
Thank you for “Angel Heart“. Thank you for giving us closure for the Novak family, and an answer to the question of where Jimmy was. Jimmy’s heaven was wonderful, and I’m glad he and Amelia are together now. Thank you for giving us the Grumpy Cat doll, emotional growth for Cas, and a Claire with a newfound relationship with Cas and the Winchesters. Thank you for using Tamiel the Grigori as an antagonist, an angel from legend that I’d wanted in the show for a very long time, and lost hope would ever find his way in. He was fantastic, even if he was a very bad guy. And thank you for sending Claire to Jody, and thus inspiring the formation of Wayward Daughters. So many of us needed that.
Thank you, for always treating women in the show with respect. This show kills off so many of its female characters, and those that aren’t killed are frequently degraded to the point that they might as well be. Your female characters were always written well, capable of defending themselves and, unless higher powers interfered, allowed to go out on their own terms. Even when they died, they went out heroes.
Thank you for “Baby“. By the time a show reaches season 11, the viewers don’t normally expect to see something both new and interesting, and you delivered. By the time the episode finished, I was reminded why I loved this series. It showed us how things look when you’re down in the dirt with our heroes, and it looked like fun. It also struck a good balance between focusing on the Winchesters and including both long-term and short-term additional characters. It occupied a middle-ground between filler and arc episodes, and provided a great potential blueprint for future episodes.
Thank you for “Don’t Call Me Shurley“. Thank you for the humor in the episode, from the “World’s Best Dad” mug to the sunglasses Divinity reveal, the light switch motion that turned on the amulet to Dean’s method of ironing. Thank you for managing the balancing act of keeping ahold of the Chuck we know and love while still managing to selling him as an uninterested and emotionally conflicted God. Thank you for that monologue from Metatron, for redeeming him and allowing us to hear a lecture that so many of us wanted to hear said in Chuck’s direction, even though you couldn’t use the one we wanted to say it. And thank you, for the last five minutes of the episode. It was beautiful, and perfect. And a wonderful goodbye, even if we didn’t quite realize who was actually saying it yet.
Thank you for listening to our complaints, for reassuring us that everyone doesn’t always agree with the show-runners, for mourning Charlie with us. Thank you, for treating us with respect and care, for treating us as human. Thank you for never treating us as though we didn’t count, or that our views were unwanted or ridiculed. I know some days couldn’t have been easy, and your twitter mentions had to be a nightmare of fighting and conflicting views, so thank you for always being nice.
Goodbye, and keep in touch. We want to know where you go. Good writers are always appreciated.
And thank you, Robbie. For everything.
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