The title of Season 10 Episode 15 of Supernatural, “The Things They Carried,” references a book of the same name by Tim O’Brien that narrates the experiences of a group of American soldiers during the Vietnam War. The short stories describe what these soldiers carried with them while they were out on missions. Some of the objects are physical items they carry in their pockets or on their backs, but they also carry intangible burdens such as feelings of guilt, fear, and anxiety. In Supernatural, Dean continues to carry the affliction of the Mark of Cain, along with the feelings it elicits and experiences it has wrought.
Supernatural is grounded in the relationship between the Winchester brothers. As individual characters, Sam and Dean engage us, but it’s their relationship as brothers that really draws us in. Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) are shaped by losing their mother as children and being raised as hunters by their father, though each react to these life experiences in different ways. The complex and evolving portrayal of Sam and Dean as brothers has kept us engaged through ten seasons of Supernatural.
“Halt & Catch Fire” starts with some old-fashioned drinking and driving. A couple of college kids, Billy and Janet, decide to take a trip to Taco Town, which apparently they need directions to find. It gets really cold in the truck and the navigation app screams, “Janet, get out of the truck, now!” Luckily, Janet complies so she can later serve as a witness. The truck goes out of control and drives itself over a pier with Billy still inside.
The character of Bobby Singer has had a big impact on the series Supernatural. Bobby is gone, but certainly not forgotten. In fact, he continues to return to the series in various ways. Bobby is the longest running character on Supernatural besides Sam and Dean. In the first part of this series, “Supernatural: Remembering Bobby Singer – Part 1 History” we explored Bobby relationship with the Winchester brothers, as well as the way he assisted the entire hunting community. For the second part of this series, we are revisiting our favorite quotes of Bobby Singer throughout the Supernatural series. His words and unique phrases are reminders of why we love this character so much.
“The Things We Left Behind” touches on serious themes as Supernatural reaches its mid-season finale. The undercurrent of this episode lies in how our families shape who we are. Though the importance of family in determining who we are and what we choose to do is one of the main themes of Supernatural generally, this episode takes it further by exploring how personal choices affect members of our family. We begin to see reflection on the consequences of actions taken by Castiel and Dean. Rowena’s impact on Crowley and the legacy it has borne starts to become more evident as well. There are things that our characters may have thought, or hoped, they had left behind, but this episode reveals what they still carry with them and what might not be so easily forgotten.
Sam and Dean Winchester have not always had good relations with the authorities. The Winchesters’ dealings with the law enforcement community have had mixed results. In thepilot episode of Supernatural, Sam and Dean pose as Federal Marshals and while talking to the local deputy, Deans makes the comment, “Well, that is exactly the kind of crack police work I’d expect out of you guys.” Dean is later arrested by the same Deputy. In “Nightshifter” (S02E12) Dean complains about the interference of police:
Dean: “Friggin’ cops.”
Sam: “They’re just doing their job.”
Dean: “No, they’re doing OUR job, only they don’t know it so they suck at it.”
“Girls, Girls, Girls” had a few really good moments, though it is probably one of the weakest episodes so far in what has been an outstanding Season 10. Some of the best parts were a revelation (who knew we would become so attached to Hannah?), while other great moments were less of a surprise because of the consistently strong characters on Supernatural (you can always count on Crowley). There were several separate storylines occurring, which is not unusual on Supernatural since Mark Sheppard and Misha Collins have both become season regulars. The multiple storylines worked mainly because the narrative with Castiel and Hannah was so compelling. The scenes with Castiel and Hannah were also beautifully filmed, which we appreciate in a series with sequences that often take place in dimly lit rooms, dark alleys, the Impala, Hell, or purgatory. Even when Sam and Dean have visited Heaven the scenes were generally dark both in terms of content and images. Seeing the angels Castiel and Hannah in a beautiful, natural environment just feels right, a heaven on earth, as it were, and is a nice contrast with the demon Crowley in the gloomy, prison-like atmosphere of administrative Hell. “Girls, Girls, Girls” places Sam and Dean squarely into their traditional hunter roles.
Supernatural is in its 10th season and just celebrated its 200th episode. A lot of people love this show, so why aren’t you one of them? If you aren’t watching Supernatural, here are 10 reasons whey you should start.
1. 10 seasons of good TV.
Supernatural has been on the air for 10 seasons. That is impressive by any score in a world where most televisions shows don’t make it past the first season. It’s been on the air for 10 seasons because it’s good TV. Just because a show has been on the air a long time certainly doesn’t make it inherently good, Judge Judy has been on the air for 18 years with no end in sight, but in this particular case it is a reflection of quality television. You want good TV? Everyone wants good TV. That why Supernatural has remained on the air all this time.
2. It’s still on, right now!
Since this television show has been on the air for 10 seasons now, you might want to jump on the Supernatural bandwagon while they are still making new shows. It’s more fun to be invested in a current program because you truly don’t know what will happen next.
One of the major characters could die, which is kind of a given on Supernatural, or one of the actors could become involved with hilarious antics for charity that you can be a part of. There are live interviews and articles posted about the show and its stars a lot. Really, a lot. You get to see the cast and crew at award ceremonies (if you’re into that kind of thing).
You can have those TV conversations about something interesting, for once. Instead of having to listen to your co-workers talk about how horrifyingly disturbing Criminal Minds was, you can say, “OMG, did you see Supernatural last night? Can you believe the scene with the thing? Jared Padalecki must really work out.” When watching an on-going show, you are get excited for the newest episode to come on the air, along with millions of other viewers. Which brings us to the next point.
3. Live tweeting and other social media fun.
Sure we know not everyone is part of the Sure we know not everyone is part of the twitterverse, but really, almost everyone is. How fun is it to see what the show actors and fans are tweeting when the show is actually on (or at least shortly after that if you live in a distant timezone or have to wait until it shows up on Hulu because your horrible cable company doesn’t carry the CW). Misha Collins (@mishacollins), Jared Padelecki (@jarpad), Mark Sheppard (@Mark_Sheppard) and Osric Chau (@OsricChau) are particularly active on twitter, not to mention hilarious. We know, because we (@spnfoxsisters) like to stalk them just as much as anyone else does. You can see all kinds of awesome Supernatural gifs, pretty much everywhere. Supernatural posts, pictures, and gifs are just cool. If you do a search on Tumblr for, let’s say Criminal Minds, it just seems kinda lame in comparison. No one wants to see a gif from that show.
4. Be part of something bigger than yourself.
By this we mean of course, the amazing fan base for Supernatural. These fans are one of the most hardcore fan bases in television. We mean, the fans are known for being so passionate about the show, they did a piece on it on NPR. WHAAA??? That’ right, National Public Radio, not known for its flashy entertainment reporting (no offence to you, EW, we love you for who you are), but a purveyor of serious journalism. The fans have been a constant for the show, keeping the show solid through shaky episodes (a ghost ship, really?) and difficult seasons (we blame you, Dick Roman).
Supernatural also has one of the strongest Fan Fiction followings for TV shows as well. And we don’t mean Fan Fiction the episode, though it was fantastic, but the fictional writing about the Supernatural universe and its characters that thousands of fans put their heart and soul into. According to net, Supernatural has 102,000 pieces of Fan Fiction, the only show that has more is….. Glee?! (really people?). Though looking at this page, Criminal Minds is tenth on the list. Hmmmm…. people do love to see the appalling underbelly of humanity. Our point is that Supernatural will bewitch you body and soul, and you love, love, love it. Bewitchment is as good of an explanation as any for how mesmerized the fan base of Supernatural is.
5. There’s something for everyone.
Supernatural has several major aspects of the show – brotherly love, scary monsters, heaven and hell, and witty metafiction. Most episodes integrate all of these aspects, but showcase one theme over the other. One of the core characteristics of Supernatural and the strong relationship between the Winchester brothers – based on loyalty and loss. The family aspect of the show may help us connect emotionally to the story, but ultimately it is a show about scary monsters and the Winchesters hunting them down. Though Sam and Dean do hunt demons and have been known to kill an angel or two in their time, the
Though Sam and Dean do hunt demons and have been known to kill an angel or two in their time, the Heaven and Hell aspect of Supernatural goes far beyond hunting. It brings a moral complexity to the show and fascinating storylines that brings something more than scary monsters (not that we don’t love a good monster story). Though what makes Supernatural so unique are what are known as the meta episodes – the shows where the author of the story inserts himself into the story or the characters on the show exist in a parallel medium. The meta-fiction episodes have some of the best writing and stand-out acting of any episodes in the series. There are some episodes that are not quite meta-fiction but have
What makes Supernatural so unique are what are known as the meta episodes – the shows where the author of the story inserts himself into the story or the characters on the show exist in a parallel medium. The meta-fiction episodes have some of the best writing and stand-out acting of any episodes in the series. There are some episodes that are not quite meta-fiction but have very funny self-referential facet to them. These varied approaches mean that there you will find something you like. If you aren’t into the drama of family and watching the brothers have serious talks (“boy melodrama”), you may just like straight up monster hunting. If you think most monsters are “meh..”, then you might like the moral ambiguity that having angels and demons as characters bring.
“How do you feel about angels? Let me tell you, they’re not really as lame as you think.”
– Chuck Shurley.
Maybe you are not so into hunting (hey one of us is vegetarian too!). The meta episodes provide the viewer with something not seen on other shows, where the writing and delivery is often laugh-out-loud funny. To get head start in delving into episodes based on one of these themes, check out our Supernatural Starter Guide.
6. Let’s watch just one more.
Supernatural just celebrated its 200th Not only has the show been on the air for 10 seasons, but they have a lot of episodes per season. This is no Game of Thrones with a measly 10 episodes a season – Supernatural generally has 22 or 23 episodes a season. That’s a lot of episodes to keep you going through many a cold night. You can buy the DVDs (so you can see the special features) or enjoy the wonder of Netflix, to satisfy all of your binge-watching desires. You will become entranced and forget your friends and family – as though nothing before was real. Or, you can take it slow catching up on past seasons and prevent all that fighting over what to watch on TV for the next six months.
7. An excuse to go to a convention.
The Supernatural cast and crew participate in a lot of Con events because they know how much it means to fans. Their panels are always very popular at events like Comic-Con and they have their own Supernatural-only Cons as well. We don’t believe you need any excuse to go to these always-to-be-remembered Cons, but sometimes you do need to get other family members on board before you are allowed to go to a Con or participate in cosplay.
Sure, at first you wanted to go to Comic-Con to meet Neil Gaiman because you love The Sandman, but your family thinks that comic books are for kids and mocked you, so never went. Well, once the whole family gets into Supernatural (see number 5), you can slowly get them introduced to the idea that Comic-Con is no longer a fringe thing. Tell them that its so mainstream that in 2014 The Penguins of Madagascar had their own panel – it’s pretty much a Hollywood thing now and they might even see Keanu Reeves. Have them watch videos from former cons with Supernatural Show them how charming and funny the actors are in real life. Your family will come to love Supernatural and they may even want to dress as Supernatural characters for the coplay (luckily, you can always play a Supernatural character of the opposite sex – just in case you have any women in your family). Once you’re at Comic-Con, there’s nothing stopping you from going to the panel on “The Psychology of Star Trek vs. Star Wars: Episode I.
8. Amazing writing.
The storylines of Supernatural episodes are complex and interesting. The writing is what makes keeps us engaged, scared, moved, and looking for more. The strong writing is evident in the way that the scripts are able to capture the characters so well. Also, these writers are really funny and smart. Certainly the outstanding acting of the main characters only enhances the writing, but you can’t tell a good story without starting with solid writing. Great TV writing involves characters you care about playing roles in exciting and thought provoking storylines. Supernatural does this season after season.
9. Attention to detail.
A recent example of how Supernatural places so much attention on detail was the Flamingo Club that Dean and Crowley were hanging out at in “Reichenbach.” We loved the flamingos on the bar top and Crowley’s fancy umbrella drink. Another example is Dean’s room in the Men of Letter’s Bunker. We saw Dean’s character clearly emerge from the room in “Soul Survivor,” but we have seen this kind of thing in previous episodes as well. The prop people, location scouts, and set design crew on Supernatural help make the show more powerful in so many ways.
First of all, Supernatural is hard, hard show to create and film because they have no permanent sets, except the Impala. So crew have to constantly look for good locations for filming (many of which are outside), make the set look they way the want, and create props to fit the image they are trying to create. An example of a prop that added a lot was the library book that talked about Colliope in “Fan Fiction” – beautifully done. They may have to do this for several different scenes in an episode. Sometimes it might just be a scary barn, but other times it’s a biker bar or family cottage (that’s right, we’re thinking of “Paper Moon”). Somehow the crew creates details that brings the show alive.
10. Something nice to look at.
You can’t deny it – these guys are good looking. Jensen Ackles and Jared Padelecki already made handsome factor high, but with the addition of Misha Collins in Season 4, the show turned it up to 11. It’s not why we watch the show certainly (Umm Hmmm), but it makes it just a little more enjoyable.
Perhaps this list has inspired you to renew your Netflix subscription so that you can go back and watch Seasons 1 – 9. We hope it has at least given you some incentive to catch the next Supernatural episode. Enjoy!
“Paper Moon” is a good old-fashioned Monster of the Week Supernatural episode. The boys’ development as hunters and brothers is shown during the opening montage. The reference reminds us why we love Supernatural so much: hunting provides excitement and suspense, while the characters’ relationships provide meaning and investment for the viewer. We get a chance to revisit Sam and Dean’s previous dealings with werewolves—mostly involving Sam or Dean killing them, but also showing how their relations with lycanthropes became increasingly complex over the course of their hunting career. Werewolves have been a staple of Supernatural’s terrestrial monster repertoire from the beginning.
The first episode of Season Ten of Supernatural helped us to get a sense of our bearings, providing opportunity for a lot of action as we move forward. The “THEN” montage concentrated on the end of last season and the previous episode, indicating that we will continue to focus on our current theme: Just how evil is Dean and what is Sam going to do about it? Though Supernatural stand-alone episodes are great, delving deeper into a season’s theme often provides a more intense viewing experience.