The post-convention blues are real, my friends. They can range from the blah’s, to the blues, to full-on depression. There are some very good reasons for that. In our everyday lives, we may feel marginalized or isolated. There are few people we can connect with about the things that light our fires. We may even live in places hostile to our skin color, gender expression, or sexual orientation. When we go to conventions we find Our People.
I will illustrate why it matters to find Your People in a series of Stock Photo Comics. (I can’t draw so this is my solution). Your People do not side eye you for:
Sexual orientation/gender identity...Particular combo of ethnicity and interests...Or we just found people we could bond with over the stuff that matters to us...Not saying conventions are perfect places where every human being is a rainbow farting unicorn. NOPE NO WAY NOT EVEN A LITTLE. But we do find Our People there. We go from isolated minority to a sea of people who GET us. It makes sense that coming back to our own realities at home can be a jarring experience. So the important questions is: how can you minimize the impact of that loss? Because I want you to be happy, my fangirl/boy/non binary darling!
Integrate your passions into your everyday life. First things first. Are you filling your everyday life with reminders of your passion and joy? If you are, DO IT EVEN MORE.
Think of how you played in your childhood.
The things that matter to us in our fandoms today, flow from the imagination, play, and whimsy of our childhoods. Whether our childhoods were lovely, traumatic, or all points in between, we just got on with doing what we loved. We connected without shame to the things that filled our spirits with joy. That could have been faeries, dragons, spaceships, robots, quests, magic, monsters, it could have been anything. But to a one, our worlds of imagination offered us comfort, solace, hope, inspiration, and freedom. Then we grew up, and became disconnected. FUCK THAT. It’s time to reconnect. Think back to when you were a kid. What did you play? What did you imagine? What did you read? What do you love now that fills you with those same feelings?
Then make a list of those things. That’s your to do list of life, my friends. Take the items on that list and let them inspire you to:
- Start a creative project. That could be designing a cosplay, writing a fanfic, making a piece of art, shooting a video, or recreating props. Some Supernatural fans have literally spent months fixing up Impalas to look like Dean Winchester’s Baby, and then they get to drive around in them every day! Bottom line, be the originator of your own badass life content. It creates a consistent thread in your life of imagination and creation.
- Don’t assume that no one near you can relate. Maybe not in your town or school or home. But check meetup.com, check social media, ask on your own profiles to be connected to folks who live in your vicinity. Visit your local comic book shop and look at the flyers they have up. You never know.
- Organize a local meetup for your community with a theme. Even if they live a few hours away, you might be surprised. They could be feeling the way you are and would welcome a day trip out to you. It can be as simple as a TV-watch party for Buffy with vampire themed drinks. It could be meeting at a local diner in Winchester and bringing your con photo op binders to swap stories. It can be a Wynonna Earp cosplay photoshoot near a dive bar that kinda looks like Shorty’s. I know it can be intimidating to plan events. What if no one shows up? But here’s the thing. What they do and it is fucking amazing? Plus, having it on the calendar will make you feel like you haven’t been dropped off into the deep end.
- Stay connected with your con family through binge watching together on Skype or rabb.it. Lots of folks have remote watch parties. I have not used rabb.it. but I have used Skype and google hangouts. You just say one, two, three, HIT PLAY and then watch together.
- Put fan art or merch everywhere at work or home. Looking at it will reconnect you with the things that matter to you. Whether it’s the love and acceptance of Sense8 or the optimism and sense of possibility in Star Trek, you will always have reminders. You can get mugs, candles, art prints, cutting boards, calendars, the fandom options are endless.
- Be creative with your style. Represent your fandom wherever you go. You can find low key fandom items to wear at work. You can also play with your hairstyle. Hell, tattoos are always an option. Rock it.
- Start planning your next convention. Buying those tickets, planning your photo op poses, or deciding what you want your fave to autograph will give you something to look forward to.
- Bring headphones to work or school if possible. Listen to fandom podcasts, audiobooks, or music associated with the things you love. Even if you are only listening on your commute, that is something.
- Start projects online with your fandom. In fact you can choose a fandom based on its level of activity and creative energy. For example, if you are a Misha Collins fan, you ALWAYS have a project to work on, whether it is doing a bizarre scavenger hunt, raising money for a refugee family, or creating a piece of art with a group.
- Make time for yourself to enjoy your favorite shows/books/movies. Don’t feel guilty for scheduling in time to do that stuff, even if you are a parent. (I’m talking to myself now.)
- Write fan letters or art and send them to the people who are making a difference to you. The time and love you put into that will be time you spend thinking positive thoughts of gratitude.
Make your life better in general.
Sometimes it is MORE jarring to return home because we hate our jobs, our partners are not supportive, or our families look down on us. Tackle those issues according to your level of emotional energy and your financial situation.
- If someone is being actively homophobic or racist at work, report it if possible.
- Start building the groundwork to leave your job, or to move somewhere better.
- If your partner or family belittles your interests, it’s time to have some come to Jesus talks and good healthy boundary setting sessions.
I know this is a whole lot easier said than done because I’ve had to do a whole shitton of it. I have had good therapists help me through it. And the impact on my level of happiness was incredibly positive.
Look ahead to next time.
Prevention is worth a whole lot more than cure. Being exhausted and actually sick with con crud when you get back just compounds the misery.
- Make sure you bring hand sanitizer to the con and wash your hands often while you are there.
- Make sure you eat and take care of yourself at the con.
- If you have anything you swear by like vitamin C or emergen-c, bring it to the con.
- If you DO have the option, make sure you ask for a recovery day off work ahead of time. You will need to rest, and you will thank yourself for the brilliant planning.
Lean into it.
Will having a cry make you feel better? It’s ok to do that! Share your pain with other fans. Let yourself feel it. As long as you are taking care of yourself and you try not to wallow toooooo long, honoring your feelings is a good thing.
Make sure that if you actually have full blown depression that you get treatment from a health care professional.
Know the symptoms of depression. Here is a handy reference list from the Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/symptoms-causes/syc-20356007
If things seem like they are slipping deeper from blue to depressed, get professional medical treatment. When in doubt, get professional medical treatment. (sensing a pattern?) Again, I know this is easier said than done. I say this as someone who has survived 25 years of major depressive disorder, PTSD, and anxiety disorders that have resulted in no fewer than five hospitalizations. Many of those years were spent with no health insurance, which, as an American, sucks donkey balls. I say this only so you know that I get it. I have called upon many different resources in my life – teaching hospitals, local universities, public health departments, free support groups at local nonprofits, I have tried and used it all. When I couldn’t afford it I’d call and tell them. They often came up with ways to help me. The important thing is that you don’t wait for it to get better on its own. I’ve done that and I’ve suffered for it. So I know for a fact that depression compounds upon itself. Depression is terrifying and traumatic, and having a full blown episode itself causes damage. The longer you wait, the worse the long term impact will be on your health.
So. Ask for help. If someone says no they can’t or won’t help, ask someone else. If a treatment doesn’t work, try another one. Keep doing that until you get the treatment that works. It is horrible and unjust that that you have to fight so hard for your own life, but your life is worth fighting for. I have been happy and symptom free for several years and I rate being non depressed a 15/10. I highly recommend.
And keep doing what you love.
In the end, attending conventions is worth the pain of coming back home, especially if you are taking good care of yourself in between cons, making space for joy, and if your life is nice to come home to! If you have any other advice for weathering the post-convention blues, please put it below in the comments!
And as a bonus for reading the entire article, enjoy a picture of babby 19 year old Rebekah after her first fan convention. It was the 1995 Star Trek Grand Slam convention in Pasadena and I was just a tad excited for the first female star ship captain. Can you tell? Once a nerdy feminist, always a nerdy feminist. At the convention, besides asking Kate Mulgrew to sign everything but my face, I got a 'Q' poster (you can see part of it in my hand) signed by the man himself, John de Lancie for my uberfan younger sister Michele. I also remember swooning over Marina Sirtis and Jonathan Frakes in person. (Troi and Riker, my first 'ship). Great memories! I can't wait to go out and make some more. See you at the con!
Blackwelder 2164 is a rollicking, sci-fi adventure, with a brilliantly drawn, lovable (and reprehensible) cast of characters. It is set in a time where warring countries on Earth have been forced to unite in the face of an alien threat. Blackwelder refers to Spencer Blackwelder, a disciplined, sharp shooting sergeant in the Allied Earth Forces.
The book starts off with a bang and keeps up a steady pace throughout. In the first chapter, the reader is dropped right in the middle of action, as Blackwelder’s squadron from the warship AES Barack has been sent to check out an abandoned alien craft. The mission does not go as planned and the stakes are life or death. In the second chapter, the reader learns that Blackwelder’s personal life has not gone to plan either, and he is grappling with a painful decision with no easy solution in sight.
By the end of the second chapter, I was already rooting for Blackwelder. He is clearly a good man and a great soldier. However, he has made choices in his personal life that have led to heartbreak and put his cherished friendships in jeopardy. He has fallen in love with one of his best friends. Due to the small detail of his friend being engaged, paired with the homophobia of his commanding officer, he feels completely trapped and miserably guilty. He decides to essentially run from his problems and requests to be transferred to a remote planet called Triton. Triton is a planet likely to be the target of a first wave of alien attacks, and the soldiers there are woefully unprepared.
Blackwelder’s request is granted and he takes up the responsibility of training soldiers on Triton. He quickly finds out there are many more layers to this war than he had imagined. As a top soldier on a prized warship, he was shielded from most rumors and secrets. But on Triton, he begins to see complexity to the war. Perhaps earth wasn’t so blameless and perhaps an insurgent terrorist group posed more of a threat than he previously thought. Moreover, a suspicious sabotage leads to a terrifying malfunction in the training arena. As the mysteries pile on, and the stakes rise and rise in the face of an alien invasion, Blackwelder meets a man (a badass, gorgeous, well-connected ambassador with a heart of gold) who helps him move on much more quickly than he thought possible. Triton is just full of surprises.
Blackwelder 2164 delivers heart stopping sci-fi space battles, government intrigue, spies, action, humor, and feels. Also, bonus sexy scenes and romance! I also appreciated that this is a story about a gay man of color, written by a gay man of color. When people write protagonists that reflect themselves, there is an easy authenticity that makes the story more absorbing. In fact, all the characters reflect respect for a diverse spectrum of cultures. And I was delighted as I kept meeting women characters who were written with love and style. A book set in the military with a male protagonist could easily fall into the trap of forgetting women soldiers exist or tokenizing them. But this book has women soldiers and they are written with character, personality, and depth. It is sad how refreshing it is to read a genre book that actually acknowledges that earth is a diverse place.
I highly recommend Blackwelder 2164 for your 2018 reading list. It's a fast, fun, intriguing read. In fact, I hope it gets a sequel. Blackwelder 2164 does end with a resolution to the first battle, so thankfully no cliff-hanger. But earth’s scheming and secrets that Blackwelder uncovered would make a fantastic act 2.
You will have more fun in Star Wars: The Last Jedi than you knew was humanly possible. There are scenes so striking, innovative, and flat out magical that you will nearly fall out of your seat. You will gape. You will cheer. You just might cry.
Megafans will debate for years about character arcs, continuity, and whether porgs are adorable or nah. But what cannot be denied is that The Last Jedi is visually stunning, massively entertaining, and almost never takes the predictable route.
This crop of Star Wars movies has the unenviable task of pulling off the near impossible: honor the past while creating the future. Change is hard. Launching the next generation of heroes and making space for them is crucial, but honoring the deep love that fans have for the original heroes is equally as important. The Last Jedi did both.
Our beloved heroes, Luke and Leia, are still leading the rebellion and bringing hope to the galaxy. They still know how to pull victory from the jaws of defeat. Our iconic villain, Darth Vader, still casts a looming shadow even in his absence. Yet it is clear that the power of the force is not owned by anyone or anything. The Jedi religion is not shackled to any physical place. Good and evil are choices, not destiny, and we all get to make choices, no matter our family tree.
The Last Jedi also succeeds making the Star Wars universe more nuanced and complex, even while delivering crowd-pleasing scene after crowd-pleasing scene. In The Last Jedi, heroes can make mistakes. Legends can have crises of faith. Things that are shiny can be grotesque upon closer inspection. And the girl who fixes the pipes can have a hero inside of her you just haven’t met yet.
The plotlines are equally innovative. There are numerous times I thought I knew what was coming, and The Last Jedi surprised me.
A forty year old franchise that can still surprise you is pulling off something special.
At its heart, Star Wars is an epic, timeless story. Truly valuable stories are living, breathing things that we pass down to our children and grandchildren. When we hoard them and encase them in carbonite, they become more suited for museum display. The surprises and innovations of The Last Jedi ensured that Star Wars is a story that will inspire generations to come.
Still dubious? Stand in my sensible-yet-attractive middle-aged pumps for a second. Let’s go on a journey to 1999. Picture being an overjoyed young adult camping out for a Star Wars prequel--the first in fifteen years. Imagine squeezing into a movie theater with breathless anticipation. The projector turns on and The Phantom Menace appears on the screen. Imagine a void where the soul and charm of Star Wars was supposed to be. Picture acting so wooden you want to feel something but you just don’t. Then you see Jar-Jar Binks. Yikes. What you are picturing is the experience of being fed an aggressively mediocre sci-fi movie dressed in a Star Wars suit. If you didn’t experience that, count your blessings.
I was born the year before Star Wars premiered. I have lived long enough to see great Star Wars movies being made again. These movies have introduced wildly endearing new heroes like Rey, Finn, Poe, and Rose. They are movies packed with talented people acting their asses off, and with chemistry that sparks off of the screen.
You don’t even have to imagine that last part. Just go see The Last Jedi, and experience it for yourself.
When you fall in love with a television show, you cannot predict its longevity in the pop culture consciousness. Its lifespan depends on the next generation. What parts of your pop culture will resonate with them and thus persevere? That matters to nerds like me. But no one can predict what the next generation holds on to.
As I enter my forties, I’m starting to see answers in the teenagers around me. My son’s friend showed up for a party wearing a Nirvana shirt. I made a mental note. Nirvana made the cut. One day last June, I picked up my nephew from high school. He got into my car and realized Biggie’s Juicy was playing.
“Auntie, how are you gonna be playing Biggie on Tupac’s birthday?”
Touché, young man. Touché. But for every Biggie and Tupac, a hundred more artists I love have been relegated to the dustbin of pop culture history. The same is true of TV shows. My love of Star Trek has been richly rewarded. Star Trek is a juggernaut of merchandise, spinoffs, movies, and documentaries. That means the fandom regenerates like a time traveling alien with two hearts. I get to connect with others who understand what that show and those characters mean to me. Other shows I am devoted to haven't endured in the same way. But one incredibly pleasant surprise has been the staying power of the little cult show that could: Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I could fill a novel with the reasons I love Buffy.
Buffy was a hero. She had a heart as big as a the Rocky Mountains. Sometimes she suffered. Sometimes she gave up. She even fucked up. It didn’t diminish her or her value. It didn’t change what she was capable of. And she always found a reserve of hope. The humanist values, the family you choose, it all hit me where I lived. And guess what? The people who understood and loved Buffy, understood me. Buffy ended, but has remained an important part of my life.
Twenty years later, I watch Buffy. I read Buffy. I buy Buffy fanart. I make friends because of Buffy. Buffy still determines what new shows I will watch. I follow writers from Buffy-and its spinoff Angel-throughout their careers, because I know they tell stories that resonate with me. That is how I found Supernatural, which is where I continue to connect with people around Buffy. In my Supernatural fan group on Facebook, we maintain photo albums of every Buffy alum that has appeared on Supernatural. We have a files section that lists Buffy/Supernatural crossover fan fiction. Buffy fans created our own subculture within the Supernatural fandom where we connect with people who love the same stories and characters that we do.
Then I discovered Wynonna Earp, and the ante was upped. I watched Wynonna Earp because of an article where the creator of the television show, Emily Andras, talked about her Buffy influences. So I gave the show a try. I immediately saw Buffy’s –and Supernatural's’--fingerprints everywhere. But Wynonna Earp progresses beyond Buffy and Supernatural in a few important aspects. One is LGBT representation. A main character (not a dead side character) is in a same sex relationship. That relationship is complex, three dimensional, and fully recognized. The cast embraces their opportunity to represent LGBT characters in a positive light, and attends LGBT fan conventions. (Raises eyebrows across the room at my SPNFamily) Secondly, Wynonna Earp reflects a more modern and evolved understanding of feminism. Wynonna is not shamed or punished for her sexual choices by anyone. The men in her life fully understand that they do not own her, even when they are attracted to her. (Sit down, Xander) The male characters--such as the love of my life, Deputy Marshall Xavier Dolls--are fully formed, secure badasses in their own rights and are not threatened by her strength and fire. In fact they thrive on it. So hey, add in all the kicking demon ass, rollicking fight scenes, hilarious one liners, and fabulous cast, and I was all in on Wynonna Earp. I followed/joined/signed up for everything Wynonna Earp fan related. I found a creative, inclusive, welcoming community.
But it got even better, and even Buffy-ier. A few Wynonna Earp fans (called Earpers) launched a #BuffyEarpers initiative. I assumed it was just a hashtag with some clever, adorable accompanying fan art. But #BuffyEarpers is an initiative by Buffy fans within the Earper community where they share their love of Buffy with each other, and with the uninitiated. It has art, merchandise, watch parties, social media accounts, live tweets, and a podcast. Throw all of those ingredients into a bowl and pour in a heaping helping of pure fangirl (and boy and nonbinary) love and devotion. I listened to the premiere episode of the BuffyEarper podcast last week. The episode opened with the Buffy theme song and I found myself in tears. It dawned on me that some part of this initiative involved Buffy fans in my generation sharing the show with a younger generation. I find that touching. I have zero time or energy for people who slag off the younger generation. Secondly, that means my show offers something of value to the next generation, who will bring even more creative energy and connection to the community. I don’t ever have to say goodbye to my fandom.
Just to put this in perspective to the younger ones, in the 80’s and early 90’s, when something was over, it was over. Did your family move to a different state? You aren’t ever seeing those friends again. I hope you said goodbye. Did you lose a phone number? A recipe? Google doesn’t exist, bitch, it’s over. That set of encyclopedias isn’t gonna help you. The same with shows. When your shows were over. They were OVER. And you didn’t have a fandom to sustain you because you didn’t have the internet. If your siblings or hometown friends didn’t like a show, tough titties. If they thought drawing blueprints of the Starship Enterprise and learning Klingon was fucking weird, or that wanting to be called Galadriel was childish, well you were up shit creek without a paddle. You got to be the social leper reading dragon books in the back of the bus. (Ahem.) So it wasn’t just that your show that was gone. Your point of connection was gone. Your validation that you were not alone disappeared. Buffy was just on that cusp where the fans and creators were pioneering online communities and fan meetups. But I didn’t have a computer. How was I gonna afford that? I wasn’t Scrooge McDuck.
But of course, things changed. Remember those long lost childhood friends? THEY. ALL. FOUND. YOU. ON. FACEBOOK. Oh, hey Devin from 2nd grade, you still exist. Laptops became common. Starbucks, your local library, and maybe your entire city got Wi-Fi. We used the internet to build entire communities along fandoms instead of along geography. Frankly, the latter leaves much to be desired when you are a kid that doesn't quite fit in the box. New generations of fans were born and found each other. Comic Con became a worldwide sensation. And the best part? Some of the things you loved the most, but thought you had to say goodbye to, just. Kept. Coming back. And in that moment, listening to the #BuffyEarper podcast, I realized that even though Buffy may not be the massive phenomenon of a Star Trek or Star Wars, she isn’t going anywhere. Not only is my generation of fans still devoted to the little show that could, we are sharing it with the next generation of fans, who are falling in love too. And they are breathing new life into the fandom. We are going to be here, regardless of whether there are remakes, reboots, and regardless of whether they turn out to be any good. Given the uncommon resilience of Buffy herself, I suppose it is fitting.
Buffy Lives, indeed.
Let's Laugh, Cry, and Cuss about Supernatural Together
Episode Name: Lost and Found
Air Date: 10/12/2017
*SPOILERS* DO NOT READ IF YOU DON'T WANT *SPOILERS* SERIOUSLY I MEAN IT *SPOILERS*
Hi my name is Rebekah and I’m a Supernatural addict. If you are reading this, you have probably watched 12 years’ worth of Supernatural, so we’re in the same boat. Welcome, fellow sucker for punishment! Feel free to let it all hang out.
Last night I eagerly watched the Season 13 premiere of Supernatural. I don’t start every season of Supernatural eagerly. But I enjoyed the hell out of the Season 12 finale and the set up for Season 13 was right down my alley. Creepy as hell, a parallel dimension, and the promise of seeing some old favorites. Also, the acting in the show has reached Oscar caliber. No exaggeration. Jared and Jensen inhabit these characters and make you feel like they are old friends. The delivery of their lines feels real, raw, and impactful. That’s a tall order considering it is a fantasy show and you can get burn out from the constant trauma. But the writers can put in the most absurd plot line and those boys sell the shit out of it. These guys know what they’re doing. They’re just doing it on a cult favorite CW show so they probably don’t get the recognition they deserve.
So just for set up purposes, Season 12 finale ended with the boys losing everything and everyone they love. Again. It wasn’t as traumatizing as it could have been because as y’all know, the boys lose everything all the time. And characters have the tendency to come back. Also, there were some character deaths I was ready for. (Sorry. I love Mark Sheppard but the writers didn’t know what to do with Crowley anymore, it was painful.) Additionally, the few scenes in the parallel dimension were a joy. We got to see Bobby, which, it’s always a good day when you get to see Bobby. And he mentioned Rufus. Almost nothing makes me happier than Bobby and Rufus. (Safe House, written by superbae Robbie Thompson is one of my favorite episodes they’ve ever done.) So Season 13 was set up to be very cool, which after 12 years is impressive.
Season 13 Episode one opened up exactly where we left off, with Sam standing in the cabin gaping at the ENTIRE GROWN ASS ADULT Nephilim that was born FIVE MINUTES AGO crouching in the corner naked as a jaybird (are jaybirds more naked than other birds?) with glowing eyes being CREEPY AS FUCK. Like, genuine chills down your spine creepy. Sam tends to use his words so he tried to communicate with the Nephilim. Dean walks in and instantly whips out his gun to shoot the guy. Dean had just left Castiel’s dead body so he was not in the mood. Sam knocks his arm out of the way. Which was probably for the best, because Dean, what’s a regular ass bullet going to do to a Nephilim? Well, that pisses ol’ dude off and he yells and the blast of his power picks up both of the boys off the ground and throws them into the wall. So, he is hella powerful. Then he gets away.
The boys give chase. For stunningly gorgeous Greek god looking model types, they look like shit. Bruised, dirty, depleted, bags under their eyes. Dean was reacting to the crushing loss of Cas by being enraged (appropriate reaction) and that was manifesting partly by him uberpissy and barking at Sam. Even his most pissy retorts crackled with grief. Sam obviously knew he was grieving and didn’t give him any pushback. There is this unspoken understanding that Cas’s death is more Dean’s loss than Sam’s loss. Part of that is because most of the writers are Deanboys, and partly because Dean and Cas have a more profound bond. They’re boyfriends. Or they would be if the showrunners had the sense God gave a fruit fly. But I digress.
The Nephilim ends up in a police station. He’s confused and bewildered. He’s trying to figure out who he is, and what feelings are. He tries nougat for the first time. It’s intense. He’s in turn adorable, off-putting, and terrifying. The actor is fantastic. It’s hard to make these kinds of characters work. It’s easy to lean a little too hard on the crazy or on the bewilderment. But he was perfection. I truly hope they keep him around. He infuses the old SPN dynamic with new life.
Any who, the most significant thing is that when he hears voices in his head (angel radio), it hurts, and he reacts by throwing folks around. But he doesn’t know how it happens. He doesn’t have control over his powers just yet. Which makes sense, because he’s like three seconds old. The boys catch up to him. Sam spends some time with the Nephilim (the audience knows his name is Jack at this point) and realizes that he is an innocent. Also, Jack reveals that Castiel is his father, which was a brilliant little twist that hurts sooooo badly because you know that beautiful Castiel is dead. Poor kid, Dad killed while he was making his way into the world. But wait, wasn’t Lucifer the father? Apparently, Jack’s mom found the concept of fatherhood pretty flexible. She said since Castiel would be the one to protect him, that he would be his father. And since Jack was conscious in the womb, he was always hearing Cas take care of him, so he cosigned that (extremely solid) choice.
Then the dicks show up. Ok that sounds weird. But any SPN fan knows what I’m talking about. According to Dean, angels are dicks. And the group that shows up lives up to that less than stellar reputation. They are there to kidnap Jack and to use him for nefarious power-hungry purposes. There are some really cool, creative fight scenes. Only in Supernatural do you laugh during a fight scene. They are often sly and inventive. Ultimately, Sam and Dean prevail. The angels are either sent to heaven or ganked. But before the last one is stabbed, she stabs Jack right in the heart. It doesn’t take. He pulls it right out. Yes Jack is innocent, but also menacing and scary, mostly because we don’t know what his powers are yet. He doesn’t know what his powers are either. But we do know that he can be stabbed in the heart and not even ask for a band aid. He’s like. Hm. (kanyeshrug)
The boys head back to the bunker and take Jack with them. Which I thought made sense. Jack is a loose cannon and you don’t really want him bouncing around out there. Sam mostly wants to look after him. Dean mostly wants to kill him. They only thing stopping Dean is that he has no idea how to do it. Dean still doesn’t see these decisions on whether to kill folks as a democratic decision between him and Sammy. If he wants to gank somebody it doesn’t really matter what Sam wants. And of course, you can see both of their viewpoints. Dean is sick as shit of these supernatural creatures killing his boyfriend and his family. But to be fair to Sam’s point of view, rational thought generally makes for better strategies. Also, there is no real reason to believe that Jack will be evil. Lucifer is not a demon. He’s an angel. His villainy was purely a conscious choice, not his genetics. Also, Dean saying his job is to kill the supernatural is a bit disingenuous. Because in reality, the boys have a long storied history of partnering with supernatural creatures (You know, like Castiel? Or Crowley? Or Dean’s ex Benny? I could really go on). But Dean is completely over it. Which. You can’t blame him there considering what they just went through. So that’s where we are.
Then we get the thoroughly heart wrenching scene where Dean prays to God to bring Cas back. Here is what he says:
Okay, Chuck… or God, or whatever. I need your help. See, you– you left us. You left us. You went off. You said… You said the earth would be fine because it had me… and Sam, but it’s not, and we’re not. We’ve lost everything... and now you’re gonna bring him back. Okay? You’re gonna bring back Cas, you’re gonna bring back Mom, you’re gonna bring ‘em all back. All of ‘em. Even Crowley. ’Cause after everything that you’ve done, you owe us, you son of a bitch. So you get your ass down here and you make this right, right here and right now.
Ugh. Now that is writing. Interesting to note that Dean explicitly refers to Cas as his everything. And if your heart can survive that, you should probably check whether you have a pulse at all. Maybe you are a vampire. Then Dean asks for his mom back, and even Crowley! He wants to turn the fucking clock back. Like. Takesies backsies the whole thing. As I mentioned, Jensen is just a masterful actor. He’s always been good at grief. (As well as comedy. As well as singing. As well as being the most beautiful boy in the world. *shakes fist at sky*) After all, he inspired the ‘single man tear’ meme and subsequent song. But Jesus Christ he just gets better and better. He barely needs to use body language or gestures anymore. It’s all in his eyes. How does he do that?? He can barely flinch yet rip your heart out by the roots. (do hearts have roots?) Then he wraps Castiel’s body for a proper burial and if you thought his prayer was devastating, watching him wrap Cas’s body is a punch to solar plexus. Jensen is JUST SO GOOD AT THIS. And Castiel’s face IS SO GORGEOUS. Just. Come ON with that face, Misha Collins, you have GOT to be kidding me.
Then during the body burning scene, Sam asks Jack if he wants to say anything. Jack of course doesn’t know which way is up yet. So he asks what Sam what is normally said in these situations. And Sam’s answer had me in tears.
You say thank you. You say you're sorry. You hope they're somewhere without sadness, or pain. You hope they're somewhere better. You say goodbye. --Sam Winchester.
The simplicity of the writing is perfect. Jared Padalecki's delivery was phenomenal. Jared Padalecki why are you trying to kill all of my feelings? I swear to Chuck, man. When the writing and the acting is on point, no one has a prayer of getting out without crying like a goddamn baby.
Then the last scene is a short one where you see that Lucifer spared Mama Winchester’s life in the separate dimension. Why? I guess we’ll find out. He says he needs her. Which he clearly doesn’t, unless he’s up to something. What is that something?
So this episode. I was all about it. Clever. Well written. Great fight scene. Genuine emotions. The guest stars had distinct personalities and you cared about them right away. The cop mom and her teenage son were everything. The head of the angel gang had some hilarious, very SPN-ish one liners. And the prospect of seeing some friendly faces in the parallel dimension has me excited. Andrew Dabb mentioned Missouri Moseley at the SDCC panel this year and I am all about it. Let’s face it, Loretta Devine is a goddamn gift and I’ve been wanting to see her again since the last time we saw her in season one. Of course Supernatural often handles female characters, particularly WOC characters, atrociously, so consider me down on my knees praying they get it right for her. Maybe they will actually HIRE some women of color writers (imagine that) and we can do this thing. (God, are you listening? Wait. I’m atheist. Whatever. You know what I mean.)
Now, as the supernerd and fangirl that I am, I always check who writes the episodes regardless whether I like them or hate them. This one was written by Andrew Dabb, which makes a lot of sense. Andrew Dabb is particularly adept at taking the stories, which are in a heightened world of fantasy and melodrama, and making them emotionally impactful in a way that you identify with. He’s like a heat seeking missile of finding the most searing and relatable human emotions and journeys the boys are experiencing, despite whatever plot is happening. He also hits that very particular soft point of Supernatural fans--people who deeply connect with the family dynamic and the experience of surviving trauma and chaos together. Also, he is great at creating compelling supporting characters. My only quibble is that he is a Dean boy, which isn’t a sin or anything. But one day I’ll find an SPN writer who centers the emotional journey on Sam and lets him drive it. Not that I don’t love Dean. Of course I do. How could anyone not love Dean? What are you a monster? (Careful, he’ll stab you in the neck.) I just feel that Sammy consistently gets the short end of the stick and functions as the support for Dean's journey. But that’s how I’ve felt for almost the entire run of the show and it’s unlikely to change anytime soon.
When all is said and done, though, here is the final thought I’ll leave you with for ‘Lost and Found’. It is Season 13 of Supernatural and I still care about the Winchester boys. That’s kind of extraordinary.
Disclaimer: This article reflects my personal opinions, not the opinions of my fellow Geeky Girls, who are also Supernatural super-fans and (who knows!) may want to banish me to purgatory for my views.
Photo credits: All photos are promotional photos from the CW
CORRECTION: My previous version identified the writer of the episode as 'Adam Glass' as opposed to 'Andrew Dabb'. I have literally no excuse except for the fact that my brain is terrible and I didn't do a terribly careful edit because I didn't think anyone would especially read my article ahaha. Andrew Dabb is the showrunner, and has written the all time classic favorite episodes like Yellow Fever, Afterschool Special, Weekend at Bobby's, and Dark Side of the Moon. Darkside of the Moon in particular is notable for a few things: 1) Being PAINFULLY accurate about siblings and about how, despite growing up shoulder to shoulder in the same home, experience things suprisingly differently 2) The way that those siblings deal with the trauma of childhood can be so different it causes the other pain and pushes them apart 3) Being so heart rending that my sister Michele can't watch it unless she is feeling very strong and 4) Giving Wincest shippers the joy of their lives when Ash says that only soulmates can share a heaven, and there Sam and Dean are, sharing a heaven. There you have it. My excessively verbose correction.
I Hate Musicals How Did this Happen to Me in Ten Easy Steps; or, Learn to Humiliate Yourself by Crying about Eliza Hamilton at Work
Last month marked the two-year anniversary of the cast recording of Broadway’s Hamilton. During those two years I moved from absolute resistance on day one, to a complete mess on day seven hundred and thirty. Come make the same journey with me. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's the signpost up ahead - your next stop, Hamilton.
- See fifty headlines about Hamilton. Investigate briefly. It’s a musical. You don’t need to read those articles. You hate musicals. Well, except for the Buffy musical of course.
- Be worn down. Finally click a link. Read that it is a hip hop musical. You would rather scoop your own eyeballs out with a spoon than see a stage full of white musical theater nerds rapping about the continental congress. Try again to ignore it.
- Notice that your Blerd friends are obsessed with it. Investigate. Ok. They hired actors of color and actual rappers. Still. The founding fathers are overdone. Anyway, you hate musicals. Well you DID love belting out ‘Under the Sea’ as a little kid. Ok, you probably still remember the lyrics.
- Decide you are at least allowed to read articles about Lin Manuel Miranda. You get to know the brilliant Latinerd with a heart of gold. Your heart grows three sizes. You’ve never been so in love. You watch every interview, you follow him on any social media he posts on.
- Look up the Hamilton cast online. Their collective charisma, talent, and good looks are so overwhelming that you momentarily black out. You jolt back to consciousness mumbling something about Daveed Diggs.
- Relent when your sweet Midwestern friend looks at you with eyes as wide as saucers and asks to play it for you. Well, you can’t exactly crush the dreams of a sweet Midwestern girl, can you?
- Think wow, this is clever, catchy, and deadly accurate. The cabinet battles are perfection. These guys were savage. Still, why did your friends act like this changed their lives? Come on guys. Who cries because of Hamilton?
- Resist listening again even when the catchy songs and hilarious one liners come back to haunt you. You are already a fantasy/sci-fi nerd. You are already a political geek. You don’t need to be a musical theater nerd too. There has to be limits to this. You have to draw the line somewhere. Also, you HATE MUSICALS! Ok, Edelweiss was a beautiful song. But that’s mostly because Captain Von Trapp was a freaking fox.
- Decide that you need something new to listen to at work. So you listen just once more. You catch so many more words. As you listen, you sink into thought, connecting their battles and drama to the present day. The founding fathers all agreed to fight, but they were not fighting for the same things. They disagreed vehemently about what America meant. They set the stage for warring ideologies that are still playing out today. You think about the casting choices. The founding fathers were white land owning men and they only freed themselves. Yet LMM cast a troupe of actors of color to claim this story as their own. LMM could have written a musical about an inspiring American of color. But he chose to tell a story about the white founding fathers and had people of color lay claim to that story. You can’t stop turning over the multiple layers of this. And it. Is. Catchy.
- Fine, you listen again. You absorb even more nuance. You sink deeper into thought about the human condition. How does a human being live with taking soldiers into battle? Creativity, intelligence, kindness and anything else a soldier could offer America is snuffed out because the meat of his body is good for stopping bullets. What do you do with that guilt? And what about the omnipresent grief? How did parents go on when so many of their babies died in childbirth and childhood? STAY ALIVE. And on top of the losses the world dealt them, the people they loved were often the cruelest, just like today. What were the virtues of making history at the cost of their families? Isn’t family sacred? God, none of us know what the fuck we are doing, do we? WE HUMANS ARE RIDICULOUS. We are so sure, we put everything on the line, only to be humbled and humiliated. Oh God, the orphanage. Not the orphanage. Eliza, you precious precious woman. You deserved so much better!
You hear a splash and pause. You look down. Those big drops of water on your desk came from your eyeballs. There is snot. Mascara streaks. Are you sniffling???!! HOW DID THIS HAPPEN TO YOU!??! You silently curse Lin Manuel Miranda. You look sheepishly at your coworkers and grab some tissues. Ok, you like SOME musicals.
Now to check out the fandom.