The Fangirl Business

39: "Carry On" - Pain, Trauma, and Processing

December 01, 2020 The Fangirl Business Season 1 Episode 39
The Fangirl Business
39: "Carry On" - Pain, Trauma, and Processing
Chapters
0:00
intro
11:25
the day of the finale
13:29
the PR campaign for the last 7 episodes
14:55
the fallout from the episode airing an hour earlier in Canada
17:57
the retrospective episode
19:07
Chrisha and Catherine's reactions as the finale was airing
30:04
the real time trauma response to Dean's death and the rest of the episode
42:23
overview of episode trigger: found family erasure
44:31
overview of episode trigger: ableism and the erasure of Eileen
45:13
overview of episode trigger: childlessness and the focus on living on through children
45:53
overview of episode trigger: misogyny and the erasure of, violence against, and silencing of women
46:53
overview of episode trigger: abuse and John's presence in heaven
47:23
overview of episode trigger: queer erasure of Cas and Dean
47:43
overview of episode trigger: suicide and suicidal ideation regarding Dean's death
52:42
the implications of Dean's death for his queerness
58:40
Cas' absence from the finale
1:03:29
"Carry On Wayward Son" discussion
1:06:03
Chuck's "white male privilege" ending
1:08:54
the wider reaction to the episode
1:13:45
if you are hurting, you're not alone
1:16:35
coping discussion
1:32:37
outro
The Fangirl Business
39: "Carry On" - Pain, Trauma, and Processing
Dec 01, 2020 Season 1 Episode 39
The Fangirl Business

*S15E20 SPOILERS BELOW*






In their overview of Supernatural’s finale, Chrisha and Catherine discuss their personal reactions and the many triggers embedded within the narrative.

Note: There are no audio clips in this episode of The Fangirl Business.

CONTENT WARNING: Discussion of abuse, childlessness, ableism, misogyny, queer erasure, suicide, & suicidal ideation.


IF YOU NEED SUPPORT:

  • https://www.imalive.org/online/ (offers online chat)
  • Text SHARE to the Crisis Text Line
    • 741741 in the USA
    • 686868 in Canada
    • 85258 in the UK
    • 50808 in Ireland

IF YOU WANT TO DONATE:

Additional Links:

PS: Catherine here. I say at one point that the CW is generally progressive. We recorded this before I realized just how much hurt the CW has inflicted to other audiences this year, including Riverdale and The 100. I have been so saddened and upset to learn all of this. 

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

*S15E20 SPOILERS BELOW*






In their overview of Supernatural’s finale, Chrisha and Catherine discuss their personal reactions and the many triggers embedded within the narrative.

Note: There are no audio clips in this episode of The Fangirl Business.

CONTENT WARNING: Discussion of abuse, childlessness, ableism, misogyny, queer erasure, suicide, & suicidal ideation.


IF YOU NEED SUPPORT:

  • https://www.imalive.org/online/ (offers online chat)
  • Text SHARE to the Crisis Text Line
    • 741741 in the USA
    • 686868 in Canada
    • 85258 in the UK
    • 50808 in Ireland

IF YOU WANT TO DONATE:

Additional Links:

PS: Catherine here. I say at one point that the CW is generally progressive. We recorded this before I realized just how much hurt the CW has inflicted to other audiences this year, including Riverdale and The 100. I have been so saddened and upset to learn all of this. 

Disclaimer: The information presented in this podcast is intended to be for entertainment and educational purposes only. It should never be used in place of advice given by a mental health or medical professional, or as a substitute for mental health treatment. If you're struggling with a mental health issue, please seek professional help.


*Intro Electric Guitar Theme Music - “Play the Game” by VooDoo Blooze* 


Chrisha

Hello, and welcome to this episode of The Fangirl Business. 


Catherine

I'm Catherine. 


Chrisha

And I'm Chrisha. And today we are talking about the 20th episode of Supernatural's 15th season, "Carry On." And this is not an episode that we have been looking forward to recording. It's not an episode we ever thought we'd be recording. I think we want to sort of put up front so that there's no misinterpretation that this is not an episode that we enjoyed.


Catherine  

Right.


Chrisha  

So if you are someone that is coming to this podcast because you loved this episode of television, this podcast may not be for you. If you are someone that struggled, or you are someone that is trying to understand why people struggled, then you're in the right place. But we do not want to negatively impact anyone else's joy.


Catherine  

Yeah, that's right.


Chrisha  

We do want to say up front, we know well that this episode was extremely triggering for many people from a mental health perspective. We usually add audio clips to our episodes, and we will not be doing that for this one.


Catherine  

Yep, it's just going to be the two of us.


Chrisha 

It'll just be us talking! 


Catherine

Yeah.


Chrisha

I think we also want to be really clear about the mental health content in this episode. We have the disclaimer at the front of every episode, but it's especially important for this one. I am a therapist, but I'm not the therapist of anyone who's listening. And so it's really important that everyone is aware of some of the heavy mental health themes that we're going to be talking about today, so that you can set boundaries for yourself and make healthy choices. We're going to be talking about major character death, but we're also going to be talking about real world mental health implications and a lot of emotional triggers that were embedded in this episode for a lot of folks. You can find a list of all of those triggers in the episode description or on Twitter, and I highly encourage you to do that before listening. Please feel empowered and encouraged to skip this episode if you need to, to skip pieces of this episode, to take breaks, to do whatever it is that you need to do to feel emotionally safe and to have healthy boundaries for yourself while dealing with this content. Because we know it's difficult. And you know, we want to thank everyone so much for all of the support that we've gotten this week. We're recording this on Tuesday, November 24, [2020]. The episode aired last Thursday.


Catherine

Uh huh.


Chrisha

And it's taken us this long even to begin to process, I think. You and I were not even able to have a verbal conversation for about four days because I couldn't talk about it without crying. So we're just so thankful to everyone that reached out and offered support and kindness and encouragement. I think it's safe to say for both of us that after we watched the episode we were feeling not only stupid, but terrible for having encouraged hope.


Catherine  

Yeah, that was my… like, after it faded to black, my first thought was, oh my god, I feel nauseous over the fact that we were so wrong because I feel like we led people on and that both of us, I think one of the first things that we did was like go on Twitter and apologize to people because… it… man. Because we had talked about it. Like, we had talked about it ahead of time and we were worried about being hopeful. But we felt so solid in our foundation of our analysis that we were like, okay, I think... I think we're good. You know, like we could be wrong. But… I didn't think we were wrong.


Chrisha 

I think we were either.


Catherine  

And so I think one of the first things that I felt after watching was just oh my god, we've let people down.


Chrisha

Yeah. Uh huh.


Catherine

And possibly hurt people. And that was just a really sick, awful feeling because we love our listeners so much, and we would never want to do that to them. So, yeah, it, uh. Yeah. It's just one of the many layers of of...yeah.


Chrisha 

Pain. *laughs*


Catherine

Yeah, there's... Yeah. 


Chrisha

You know, I shared in that last episode or one of our last episodes that two of my biggest anxiety triggers are being wrong and accidentally hurting people. And so this episode of television trounced on both of those, as well as a variety of others. And so I guess, I put a lot of pressure on myself, especially here in this space, to be a “professional.” To be a therapist. And I just want to be real up front that it's not that I'm not that, but I'm just... like right now, in the headspace that I'm in, is just pretty much a broken hearted queer fangirl. So um...


Catherine

Yeah. 


Chrisha

So that's, that's where this episode is going to be coming from, I think. 


Catherine

Yeah.


Chrisha

All of that said, I think, because so many people reached out, and the message that we got is that our podcast helped people not feel alone, because people were always seeing the same things that we were seeing, we were just finally talking about it. And so there was an element of… an element of comfort, I guess. And having heard that we were seeing it, too, because we were, we were. 


Catherine

And being affirmed. Yeah. And we did. 


Chrisha

And it was real. And we didn't make it up. And we're not crazy. I think we're pretty firm in that now. 


Catherine

Yes. 


Chrisha

That said, or, additionally, we know that there are a lot of conspiracy theories going on. There's a lot of speculation happening about what happened. And as much as I understand why that's a fun and therapeutic way to spend time right now, we're not going to do that in this space for a wide variety of reasons. We still have love of the actors, and we're so thankful for them and everything that they have given us.


Catherine

So much. Yeah.


Chrisha

And the writers and the SPNFamily. And so we want to be super up front on that, as well. We have significant, significant issue with this episode. It's hard to say why we got what we got when it does not fit with the rest of the narrative of season 15. At all. In any capacity


Catherine

Right.


Chrisha 

So we don't know what happened. 


Catherine

Yeah. And I think that's the bottom line. Something happened. 


Chrisha

Mmhmm.


Catherine 

But we don't know what. And so I personally would rather focus my time and energy on affirming people's feelings about what was presented to us and what we received, rather than focus on the, well, this could have happened or that could have happened. 


Chrisha

Mmhmm.


Catherine

For me, that's just where I am. Because the feelings that people are feeling are happening right now. They're real. They're deep. And there's real trauma. And so for me, that's what I want to address.


Chrisha  

Absolutely. And so we just, you know, all of the actors in this episode acted their asses off. 


Catherine

Oh, my gosh, yes.


Chrisha

Like, absolutely zero percent of our issue is with performance. Our issue is with story and messaging. 


Catherine

Yeah.


Chrisha

And the utter lack of sense that any of this makes.


Catherine  

So English Lit me wants to do an analysis of all of the plot points and the characterization and stuff that don't make sense. But I don't think that's what's important now. I think what's important now is the messaging and the triggers. You know what I mean?


Chrisha

Mmmhmm.


Catherine

So that's what we're gonna kind of be going through. But we wanted to talk a little bit about the reactions that you and I had, because I think it's important for people to know that it was difficult for us too. I think sometimes... I don't know. I think we're always really real on this podcast. But I think sometimes when you have a platform, people think that you're going to be like, somehow different or removed from the immediacy of reactions and feelings, but like... we have been in the weeds.


Chrisha  

*laughs* If you follow us on Twitter individually, I think this is not new information.


Catherine  

No, gosh. I've been a hot mess on Twitter. I’m not gonna lie. But I think that talking through the feelings and reactions we were having as we were watching is important because again, it's normalizing that what a lot of people were feeling was not just what they were feeling. And I think the fandom is starting to get that sense of yeah, I'm not alone in this. But I've also seen a lot of people with big feelings that they still are not sure why they're having them. And I think also a lot of the content that we've been getting, which has been excellent, has been in written form. And there's something important about hearing stuff. Do you know what I mean? Like, it's just, it's a different medium.


Chrisha  

Yeah. Well, and just talking about it.


Catherine

Yeah.


Chrisha

Even just you and I, like, I've been both dreading this recording session, and really looking forward to it. Because... 


Catherine  

Yesssss.


Chrisha  

I know I need to talk about it, I just don't want to. Because this isn't... this isn't what we do. This isn't why we're here. We're here to squee and fangirl and be excited and happy. And every... every indication was that was what we were going to get to do. And so this is really hard for just so many reasons that it's, it's kind of overwhelming to even... like, I went from no notes to so many notes that I might as well not even have bothered to write notes, because there's too many. And that's just scratching the surface. So.


But yeah, so talking about the day of the finale, it was an intense day, I would say.


Catherine

It was!


Chrisha 

Like, yeah, weirdly so? And I don't know why I say weirdly, but it was... I remember the last day of filming, which was intense. But it was...


Catherine  

It was weird, and I think different from the final day because the stakes had been raised so much.


Chrisha  

That's, that's so true. Yeah.


Catherine  

Yeah, ‘cause when the final day of filming happened, we did not have canon queer Cas. 


Chrisha

Yep. 


Catherine

And when the day of the last episode was airing happened, we had canon queer Cas. So I think the stakes were raised to a really high place, emotionally. 


Chrisha

Yep. 


Catherine

And I was nervous. And like… what can I do. Like all day. I couldn't focus on anything An hour beforehand, I was like, I'm gonna straighten my hair and put on makeup because I legitimately don't know what else to do with myself right now!


Chrisha  

Yeah. That's such a good point, though, about the stakes, because I think that really is what it is. The last day of filming, it was just like, okay, we don't really know what's happening. And we don't know if Misha is there. But we can all come together in this knowledge that the show's ending, without any...


Catherine  

Well, with just gratitude. Like sadness, but also gratitude.


Chrisha  

Yeah, because there was, there was no indication of where the story was going. And so it was, it was all about the real life implications. It was real life goodbyes. It was real life, and we could take comfort in… there's comfort in real life. There's comfort in knowing that Jared is going to Walker and Jensen’s recording another album and going to The Boys, and Misha’s in political stuff. We've talked about that so much. You know, it was like, okay, they're happy, we're happy. I'd be happier if I could see Misha’s face, but okay. And this was different, because the stakes were raised. And the PR campaign for this final episode was purposefully anxiety provoking, as far as I'm concerned. I felt like it was... not... nice. 


Catherine

No.


Chrisha

*laughs* I don't know how else to say that. It was not nice. 


Catherine  

Well, we could do a whole thing just about the PR campaign for the last seven episodes, man. 


Chrisha  

Yeah, Mmhmm. Yeah.


Catherine  

We have feelings about that. 


Chrisha  

Well, it impacted people's real lives. I mean, it genuinely did.


Catherine

It really did.


Chrisha

I had a lot of people reach out about that, and how hard it was for them. It wasn't fun. It wasn't excitement. It was just sort of terror. Because when you add the queer storyline in… when you bring Destiel to the fore that way, but you keep that storyline buried in all of the PR, it… it's incredibly anxiety provoking.


Catherine  

Yeah. And now it makes so much more sense. *pain laughter* But, um, but yeah, but like, even prior to that big reveal, there was so little Misha in all of the PR. It was just very strange. There was just no PR surrounding him, which was weird. Yeah, we could do a whole analysis of it. But.


Chrisha

Yeah.


Catherine

It caused real world harm to real people. That's the bottom line.


Chrisha  

Yes. And then I think the reason that it's relevant too is to give that context. So we're going into the final episode, and for here in the US for Eastern Standard Time (EST), the plan always was... there's a retrospective at 8pm, which is weird that you do it before but okay. And then the new episode was at 9pm. And it was what, like 30 minutes before the episode began that it dawned on Twitter that Canada was getting the episode at 8pm, not the retrospective, which meant that everyone who has spent every week with their found family on social media watching together...


Catherine

Oh, CHRISHA...


Chrisha

...suddenly couldn't. And it was horrifying.


Catherine  

And... I'm sorry. I'm just like putting that together with the whole found family theme. And just like, oh GOSH, like it feels… so…


Chrisha

It was really hurtful. 


Catherine

Everything about this just feels really cruel. I had not put that together.


Chrisha  

Yeah. So I was lucky, in that you were gracious enough as your Canadian self  to wait the hour to watch it with me. Because I always live tweet. I always do. I love that. That's my favorite part about the show is to engage in real time and to discuss things in real time. It's so exciting. And this was the last time ever, ever, we were going to get to do that. And 30 minutes beforehand, it was taken away.


Catherine  

Yep. And the way that it was set up on my DVR was weird, man. Like, that's why it took me so long to figure it out. In Canada, it airs on the Sci-Fi channel, and right after it, Star Trek Discovery airs. And it was set up for an hour earlier. And then where Star Trek Discovery should have been recording, I couldn't record anything. And literally on like, what it turned out to be on my end was the episode just aired and then there was Discovery right after it. And then the retrospective... like I don't know when that aired. I still haven't watched that. But it was like, the whole thing was really weird. And it wasn't clear.


Chrisha  

Mmhmm.


Catherine  

It was a hot mess


Chrisha  

So more anxiety.


Catherine

Yes, more anxiety! 


Chrisha 

So then everyone had to go isolate for this huge event that was so emotionally terrifying and taxing. We were forced to isolate at the last minute and to not be able to enjoy this together. And when you take cons out of it, and you take the ability to have parties, like watch parties, like I was going to go to a watch party way back when. But no, you know, I'm huddled in my office under a blanket with, you know, with you on Twitter and DMs and texting my BFF Carin like trying to go back and forth at commercial breaks. It was really tragic, is what it was. So yeah, I came into the episode already feeling isolated from found family. 


Catherine

Yeah. And shaken too.


Chrisha

Very much. Yeah. And then sitting through the retrospective, which the messaging of was... odd.


Catherine  

I really still haven't seen it. Like you couldn't pay me to watch it. *laughs*


Chrisha  

And so I purposefully, I purposefully didn't tell you things about it, because it was anxiety provoking, and I was not trying to share that with you. So then I'm texting with Carin. And it's like, did did did Jensen just called Cas the third brother? Oh, okay. All right. Um, that's interesting at this point in the game. And then Misha there just said that we can all write our own endings. Oh, okay. That might feed into the meta of what we had predicted. So like, okay, but yeah, it was just, it didn't address anything Destiel related, certainly. It felt very much like the old company line of “the bros,” and as Cas as a bro. And so it was jarring. It was really, really jarring. And so my anxiety was like, to the moon by the time we got to the actual episode. So. And then the episode itself. I mean, it's not that I was expecting Avengers Endgame. Right? I knew we were past that. And I knew we were going to get some domestics. But I was anticipating a lot being put into this hour. I was expecting it to move.


Catherine  

Well, I was expecting that it was going to pick up with the urgency of trying to get Cas and Eileen back.


Chrisha  

Yes. That’s what it is. That’s what it is! *laugh*


Catherine  

And I mean, like, the opening montage really should have been the closing montage in my opinion. It just… add in Cas and Eileen and like, we would have been a happy fandom. But that was why it was jarring and also felt slow? Because I think we as fans were feeling the urgency of okay, like we understand what was going on in the last episode, we thought...


Chrisha  

Running on EMPTY….


Catherine

...right?!


Chrisha

Sorry.


Catherine  

Yep. Oh yeah! Let's get to looking for Cas. And let's get to looking for Eileen. And instead we have this montage set to music of them having a normal day in the bunker, and it was just like, this is sweet. This is what we would love to be seeing. But this is not the time that we want to see it!


Chrisha

Right. 


Catherine

And then I started immediately comforting myself going okay, but they're doing a thing. This is meant to, like, fake us out and cause anxiety and it's going to change. So I was looking for signs of what they were trying to tell us without telling us with words. 


Chrisha

Mmhmm. Yes.

 

Catherine

So I was looking at the alarm clock that Dean has, and behind it are two bottles.


Chrisha

Right. 


Catherine

And we know that when he is doing well, his room is clean and organized and tidy. It does not have beer bottles sitting around in it. And there were two beer bottles in the background of the alarm clock. Then we go to a wide shot of the room and there were at least three more in the wide shot.


Chrisha  

And it was a mess. 


Catherine

Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And then, you know, he's sleeping on one side of the bed. We know he does that. But it seemed like a very pointed message while I was watching it. He hugs Miracle. We talked about how Miracle was kind of a stand in for Cas. So I was like, okay, this is telling us something. And then we go to the kitchen shot and it's Sam cooking EGGS, Chrisha. I mean…


Chrisha 

Yeah.


Catherine

We just did a whole thing about the slow burn with the eggs. The slow cook. The low heat. That's what does the trick, right?


Chrisha  

Yeah. And I'm thinking about him cooking breakfast with Eileen, too.


Catherine

Exactly. 


Chrisha

That's what my brain went to when we saw him cooking eggs was: oh, Eileen is clearly missing from this scene. Like, let's go get her.


Catherine

Exactly


Chrisha

Where is she?!


Catherine  

But I also felt like that was signaling to us: don't worry, we got you.


Chrisha

Mmhmm.


Catherine

You guys that picked up on the eggs thing, like, we're gonna pay it off. And then, when we got naked, Sam?


*both laugh*


Chrisha  

Yeah, I was like, oh, boy! I mean, like, Sam's not my dude. But I was like, if we're doing that kind of fan service here up front...


Catherine

What's going to happen in the back half?!


Chrisha

What's coming with Dean and Cas later?


Catherine  

Exactly! So, and there were just things like the “we want to see them doing the laundry” line with Becky, right? And then we get Sam literally sitting there doing the laundry. I felt like they were going: okay, guys. Don't worry, we got you. So I was like, calming myself down. And then we got to the pie scene. And Dean goes, “if we don't keep on living, all that sacrifice will have been for nothing. So quit being an Eeyore and get into this…” meaning the pies. And you texted me and were like, “Catherine, that was literally the line that you were terrified he was gonna say!” and I was like, “It's okay. It's okay. They're faking us out!”


Chrisha  

Well, there was green and blue balloons on either side of Dabb’s van, too. 


Catherine  

And there were other colors, but green and blue was there


Chrisha

Right.


Chrisha  

Yeah. So it was like... Okay. That… that line, though.. it was, it was troubling on so many levels. It was back to the resignation that I was so troubled by in 19… 19 that we had sort of been like, okay, well, that's fine. This is the ending for someone else. We'll get ours. Like, we can… we can cope with this five minutes to get what we're gonna get next week. And so to hear him resigned... that's, I think that you were calming yourself down, and I was officially worried with that line. So.


Catherine  

Yeah. And I think too, like just thinking through that line, telling Sam to quit being an Eeyore because Cas is dead?


Chrisha

Yeah. 


Catherine

It's just like... and then Sam is like, “you're right,” pies Dean in the face, and is like, “You're right. I do feel better.” Because nothing helps you resolve the death of a close friend of over a decade, like pieing your brother in the face. That just solves everything. But yes, let's keep going.


Chrisha  

It gets hazy for me after that. I'm not gonna lie, it… okay. I've only seen the episode once the night that it aired. It's too triggering for me to watch it again. So I haven't. You did.


Catherine 

I did. 


Chrisha

So I am still very... it's very much a blur for me. I'm pretty sure that that's where the clowns come in? The masked mimepires or whatever?


Catherine  

*snicker* Yeah. Yeah, so then we have everything happened with them. And we won't get into all of the ridiculousness that was that storyline. And then we got into the barn scene. And I am 99% convinced that that was the same barn where we had the confrontation with Cas and Uriel, with Anna, and Dean and Sam. And I was like: okay, they're sending us another message. It's gonna be fine. Because, I mean, this was where the the famous Impala sex scene came from! Like, that happened outside this barn. I was like: okay, Cas is gonna, like, swoop down. It's gonna be fine. They're doing this for a reason. This is meant to, like, visually reverberate and reassure us. So I was like: okay, okay, okay. All through the death scene. Like, I was like, it's gonna be fine. It's gonna be, like... complete denial. *laughs* Gonna be fine. It’s gonna be fine, man! And I was in complete denial until after the commercial break. Like we were texting back and forth, and I was like, it's gonna be fine. They're gonna fix it, they're gonna fix it. And then when we got into the Sam living his life montage? I think that was where I started repeatedly texting you: I hate it?


Chrisha

Yeah.


Catherine

I was looking at the clock. And I was like, they can fix this. Right? They can fix this. They can make it right. And then it was like, the commercials ended. And I was like, can they fix this in 20 minutes? And then the montage started of him going around the bunker with Miracle and it felt like the entire thing was in slow motion. 


Chrisha

Uh huh.


Catherine

And I was like, pick up the pace! And then it goes into him leaving the bunker permanently, and his life scene. And that was where I was like: oh, oh, oh, crap. And that was where I started repeatedly texting you: I hate it. I hate it!


How was all of this from your perspective?


Chrisha  

Well. It. The scene in the barn? There were alarm bells, right, that were happening saying, like, this episode doesn't feel right. So, for example, one of the things I have always loved so much about Supernatural is that they can... I think we just talked about this? They can do these callbacks, or these nods to things in a way that feels part of the story instead of feeling cheesy. And I felt like there was a lot of... I feel mean! There was a lot of cheesy… in this episode, I felt like…


Catherine

There was. 


Chrisha

I felt like the Singer and Kripke was so jarring from.. it's not organic to the story. In the story, they are musicians. That's how that works. Having Bob Singer in the background of the pie scene, he was so obvious in that cameo that it drew my focus away from the scene. Like, it was too much. And so nothing felt right. And the pacing, I spent most of this episode looking at the clock.


Catherine  

Yeah. SAME.


Chrisha  

Once I caught myself doing that for the third time, I was like: oh, no. You know? Like, if I'm this focused on the clock, and not the episode, that's a problem. And so, we get to the barn. And I'm not going to talk about it in depth because it's still really hard for me to talk about.


Catherine

Yeah.


Chrisha

It was painfully obvious what was going to happen. It was subtle as a brick, in terms of the way that the scenes were blocked and shot. But I still... I still let myself feel it because I thought they were gonna fix it. 


Catherine

Right.


Chrisha

So it was like: okay, I will go on this journey with you. And so I.. I just sobbed. You know, I just sobbed. Because Jensen is...


Catherine  

He's a ridiculously good actor.


Chrisha  

He's just… just a magical actor. I mean, truly, and, and so I let myself be in it. Because I trusted that they were gonna fix it somehow. I mean, death in this show isn't always bad. I mean, look at Rowena. Right? Death can be transcendent. Death can be a good thing. I mean, Billie showed that even. You can die and come back as so much more. So I was like, okay, maybe he's going to go to the Empty and find Cas. Maybe now we're going to figure out what's going on with him. Maybe Jack is going to send him somewhere else. Maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe. And then the rest of the episode was just so slow. It was just me staring at the clock and panicking. I mean, panicking, truly, like, you know, couldn't feel my fingertips like physical, physical anxiety attack kind of panicking. And I couldn't make sense of what I was seeing, because we hadn't seen Cas yet. And in no universe could I imagine getting through the finale without Misha being in it. That doesn't make any sense on any level. It never has. And so then that was what I was clinging to then. Right? It was like: okay, this isn't right. Something is wrong. I don't understand what's happening. But we're going to get MIsha at some point. We're going to get Cas somehow. So I'm just gonna, I'm just gonna cling to that. 


Catherine

Right. 


Chrisha

And, uh, that never happened. 


Catherine

No.


Chrisha

And so by the end, it wasn't... I'm not even sure I can remember now. Like, maybe when you talk about it, I’ll remember. But it was just the sense of feeling so disconnected from what was happening? Because it made no sense. It felt like waking up in an alternate universe. 


Catherine

Yeah. 


Chrisha

And so I couldn't make it make sense. And I couldn't, I couldn't be in it. Because it didn't make sense. 


Catherine

Yep. 


Chrisha

And I didn't know how to process it. Like I just, it was, it was…


Catherine

Chrisha, I think that what you're describing is a trauma response. I think we need to just say it for what it is.


Chrisha  

I was in shock. I mean, that's what it boils down to is that I was in shock.


Catherine  

But let's just like, stay here for a second. Because I've been in situations that are intense, physical danger, stressful kinds of situations. And everything feels very surreal. Things feel slowed down, you feel disconnected from what's happening, what you're hearing, what you're seeing. And that was the reaction that I was having while I was watching from the end of the death scene to the end of the episode. And it sounds like that is a similar reaction to what you were feeling. 


Chrisha

Yeah. 


Catherine

Am I overstating that? Or am I correct?


Chrisha  

No, I think that you are entirely correct. And I am having a moment right now where I'm fascinated at the fact that I literally spend my academic life talking about how important stories are, and how much they matter, and how they impact the real world. And yet, I'm sitting here feeling silly for having a trauma response to an episode of television. But that's exactly what happened. 


Catherine

Yeah. 


Chrisha

And it's because it hit trauma triggers, you know, a wide variety of them.


Catherine  

Yes, and not just us. But the way that a lot of other people that I've been seeing, who have described this, had a trauma response to this show. And I think that is important to state. Because we are a fandom that revolves around mental health issues. That is a core part of what this fandom is. So, we are a powerful fandom, but we are also a very vulnerable fandom. And what this show gave us as the finale created a trauma response in the viewership. And I think that's really important to state and be very clear about.


Chrisha  

Yeah, I mean, we've watched someone that we love deeply, someone that we see ourselves in, someone that we have fought alongside, die… in a really long, traumatic way that was also out of character. 


Catherine

Yes. 


Chrisha

You know, so it was him, but him from years ago. 


Catherine

Yeah. 


Chirsha

And so it was both traumatic and jarring. 


Catherine

Yeah


Chrisha

Because it was, it was horrifically painful. But it also didn't quite make sense. And so you're, you're questioning yourself and your reaction while also dealing with the pain of that. 


Catherine

Yeah. 


Chrisha

And so at least that's the way that it was for me. I was…


Catherine

Oh, yes


Chrisha

It was, it was pinging two different layers of trauma, I guess, for me, personally, and I... know that everybody has responded differently, but this is sort of my journey and I know yours was similar. You and I are both people that really struggle when we feel like we don't understand what's happening, We are analytical for a reason, because we find comfort in that. We find stability in that. And so Dean's death… just... It was like it walked up to my personal emotional triggers and just, like, stomped on them all at once in a way that I never thought that this show would because it felt...


Catherine  

It felt safe.


Chrisha  

Yes, this show felt safe. And that scene felt careless. To invoke Always Keep Fighting while Dean is giving up...


Catherine

Yes.


Chrisha

I couldn't make it make sense. 


Catherine 

No. 


Chrisha

And it felt cruel.


Catherine  

Oh, yes. Oh, yes. I talked about this with my family afterwards, who do not watch the show. Really don't care about it, even though they're very loving and supportive people in my life. And they were incensed, okay. This is the way that my father characterized it: There was deceit, there was betrayal, and then there was abandonment. And by saying abandonment, what he said is that the show basically was like: we're done now, and you have to live with this. And that leaves people in a place of desolation. And that's a spiritual term that he uses, because he's a spiritual guy. But I bring that up because this is coming from somebody outside of the fandom, who has absolutely no stake in the fandom. And after just describing the course of events that happened in this episode, this was how he characterized it. So I think that when you're talking about cruel, and it felt cruel, I think it's because it did these three things. The narrative arc built towards fulfillment, self actualization, and joy. And so the feeling that we, as viewers, were left with was that we were deceived and betrayed and then left by the show, and we're the ones that have to live with it. And that leads to a sense of desolation, and that's cruel. And I don't think that's an overstatement.


Chrisha  

I think what you were saying about how the narrative had made promises… When I thought about where Dean was going, because it's where Dean has been going all season, and honestly for 15 years, was towards finally getting to have the life that he never thought he deserved. He always thought that he was the grunt, and that Sam was the one that was supposed to have the apple pie life. And he always wanted it, but he never thought he deserved it. And then we had Cas who declared his love, who told Dean that everything that Dean does is for love. And then we watched Dean, in episode 19, really take that in and recognize, you know, the literary symmetry of when Cas walked into the barn in Lazarus Rising and said, “You think you don't deserve to be saved.” And in Episode 15x19, we saw him finally recognize that he did deserve to be saved. 


Catherine

Yes. 


Chrisha

And then here he is, back to suicidal. Back to just resigned. So, he didn't fight for Cas, he's not fighting for himself, and says it was always supposed to be this way... which was so offensive, like so offensive. In a story that is all about the rejection of destiny, that is all about free will. And we have watched him champion that and come to terms with not only that he can make his own ending when it comes to monsters, but that he can make his own ending when it comes to himself. That he can be soft. And that's the other element of it that I thought was mean spirited, is that the hug with Miracle was so soft. And so that pulled that thread of all of these things. Of singing and dancing and cooking magazines and, and baking cakes, and you know, Scooby Doo underwear and all of these just soft Dean things that we've been getting. Now here he is snuggling a dog. And then suddenly it's back to blood and violence and death and not caring about himself or his life and pushing Sam to go on but giving up on himself. It was such a 180, it absolutely broke the promise that the narrative had made to us a million times over the course of the season. 


Catherine

Yes. 


Chrisha

Like, I recognize that Cas’ sacrifice saved Dean so that Dean could save the world. But for Dean, within the course of the episode, to say we have to go on living, or else Cas’ sacrifice doesn't mean anything, and then minutes later, he's gone... 


Catherine

Yeah.


Chrisha

I have to work too hard to remind myself that Cas’ sacrifice wasn't meaningless, because the show told me it was. This episode told me it was. 


Catherine

Yep. 


Chrisha

These are all things going on in my head before the episodes even over. And I mean, that's the thing. Right? This is the trauma that came while we're still in it.


Catherine

Yep. 


Chrisha

And I think that it's important to note that, because I'm reminded of the “The Heroes’ Journey,” and I remember when you and I first watched it, and then we were like, wow, that was cool. But what the heck?  And then we kept digging down, and we kept digging down. And the more layers we got to, the more excited we got, the more amazing it was, the more fun it was, the more narrative there was. And we just kept digging and digging, and it was better and better. Every layer we went down, which is a consistent... that's why we do this. That's why we have a podcast about it. That's why academics love this show. Because you dig through the layers, and it just keeps getting better.


Catherine

Mmhmm.


Chrisha

You dig through the layers of this episode, and it just keeps getting worse! 


Catherine

Oh, yeah. 


Chrisha

It just keeps getting more and more mean spirited. There's more and more erasure the farther down you go. More and more rejection of all of the themes that make this show what it is, or certainly make it what I love.


Catherine

Mmhmm.


Chrisha

Everything I love about this show was patently erased and rejected, in this, what, 38 minutes of television.


Catherine

Yes. And so I think this might be a good point to kind of just talk about the triggers, because there were a lot, and a lot of people were triggered in different ways. And so I think it's important to talk about what those things were. The different ways that this narrative hurt people in the real world who have experienced trauma, and who were re-traumatized by what this episode told them.


Chrisha

All found family was erased from this episode. All of it, with the exception of Bobby in one scene. 


Catherine

Yes. 


Chrisha

So as an umbrella, found family, which is an incredibly important piece of this show... I think it's what brings so many people from trauma backgrounds to this show, you know, people who have come from families of origin where there's been abuse or trauma. I think that speaks also specifically to the queer community, because queer folks are so often rejected by family because of sexual orientation or gender identity. And so that piece of this show is so foundational for so many people. 


Catherine

It's not about just like, oh, hey, it's good to have friends. 


Chrisha

No.


Catherine

It's based in the trauma of having to build your own family, when your family has rejected you or there is something about your family that makes it impossible for you to have that familial connection in a healthy way. 


Chrisha

Right. And there's a million reasons why that could be and I know that I am not being super articulate and trying to be really inclusive of all of the reasons that might bring someone to relate or have the found family resonate, but...  But yeah, it's an important theme in the show. Deeply, deeply important. And it was scrubbed. 


Catherine

It was scrubbed.


Chrisha

I just... 


Catherine

So just to kind of list off some of the triggers that fall under that umbrella. Eileen was absolutely erased from the narrative. There was no mention of her name. And I've seen some people arguing that the blurry figure behind Sam was supposed to be Eileen. There was no indication of that. He did not sign to her. Her hair was the wrong color. There was… like, we weren't given any tangible sign that it was her, and to me that sent a real message of ableism…


Chrisha

Mmhmm.


Catherine

... in the narrative, that the deaf character was completely erased, so that not only did Sam not grieve her, but her name was never spoken again. 


Chrisha

Right.


Catherine

And we're not given a reason for that. There is the message of living on through children, specifically, through blood relations. So the focus is on the child, not on the relationship. It's all about the blood. So like the fact that even his partner was excluded from the narrative. We're not seeing any images of him with friends hanging out having fun, or with other hunters. It's so child focused, and just speaking personally, as somebody who would have liked to have children, but for a bunch of reasons I don't, it's a very painful message to send to a lot of people. There's the erasure of all of the women in the story. They did have one person of color in this episode... 


Chrisha

Oh, yeah?


Catherine

...who was the cop. Yep. A woman.


Chrisha

She had a line? Yes? So she actually spoke?


Catherine

She spoke. She actually spoke. Yes, yeah. But the main women in this episode were either blurry, or had their tongues cut out. So there was violence and silencing of women…


Chrisha

Silencing. Mmhmm.


Catherine

And it was gratuitous silencing. There was no reason for them to do that. They're vampires, they need to feed. So it just felt like gratuitous violence and silencing of women. 


Chrisha

There's a part of me that wonders if there's a reason for that, if they were trying to send some sort of message that was greater. But I don't have the mental capacity right now to try to puzzle through that, because the narrative has just burned us a little too badly for that right now. 


Catherine

I agree. There was the fact that two episodes after Sam grouped John with Lucifer, and thanked Dean for protecting him from John, and from Lucifer, that John is sharing Heaven with Dean and just lives down over yonder. 


Chrisha

Mmhmm. 


Catherine

And the message that that sends to people who have either lived or continue to live with abuse is horrifying. We have a main character who dies within moments of coming out, and then we never see him again, even though he is mentioned in passing. And then we have a closeted main character who dies before he he ever has a chance to come out.


And finally, we have the trigger of a character who has struggled in the past with suicidal ideation refusing medical care, refusing a call for help. And then for seven minutes, dying on screen. And the message that that sends to people who struggle with depression and PTSD and mental health is also horrifying. So there are a number of triggers here that we've just listed. And I'm sure there are more that are embedded in this narrative, and have absolutely triggered people and have traumatized people. The reason that we're articulating this is I have seen a number of people on Twitter who have different pasts and different issues, struggling very, very deeply, but not being able to articulate why they're struggling, because they're just in the feelings stage of this. And I think it's important to be able to articulate some of these triggers so that people can identify them. Because when you identify what is causing feelings, it can often help you to start to manage them. That is the case for me personally, and I think that may be the case for others. But for me, that is why it is important to articulate these triggers, so that people can hear this and say, ah, okay, this is why I'm struggling so much. This is why this is so hard. This is why I've blanked out half of the episode and my emotions are so strong. Now I have a way to start grappling with this and start to take charge and reclaim my own feelings. 


Chrisha

Yeah. 


Catherine

Is that fair? 


Chrisha

Yeah, absolutely. And I think for a show and a fandom that champions itself to be a positive impact on mental health... 


Catherine

Yes.


Chrisha

Which it is...


Catherine

Right. Yeah, yeah, yeah. 


Chrisha

It's... the Always Keep Fighting campaign, when it comes to the SPNFamily, when it comes to the show and the messaging, and when it comes to the fandom, the Always Keep Fighting campaign is incredibly important and it has saved people's lives. I have done academic research on that, I write about it, you know, I've done literal scientific studies on it, because I wanted to capture that. And those things are important. And this fandom should absolutely pat itself on the back for all the good that it has done in the world. But you can't acknowledge the positive impact that the show and the Always Keep Fighting campaign and the mental health messaging of the fandom has on people and their mental health without also acknowledging when it's negative, because if you can't accept both, then you can't accept either. Either it impacts real life or it doesn't. And it does, it just does. And so this episode hurt people. And those feelings are valid. I think that one thing that we haven't really confronted fully, and I think that it's probably because neither one of us wants to yet, is that Cas wasn't in this episode. And Cas was barely referenced. 


Catherine

Yeah. 


Chrisha

And you and I… he is our character. Liike, he's our guy. We have love for the others, but like, he's our guy. And there's about a billion reasons why he's our guy. And he just came out two episodes ago. 


Catherine

Yeah. 


Chrisha

And you know, we sat here on this podcast in our last episode, at the end of it, and said: We trust Dabb. We trust where it's going. We saw Cas come out, and we watched him die. But we don't think that this is going to be a Bury Your Gays situation. They wouldn't do that if they weren't going to pay it off. 


Catherine

Well, and they wouldn't have their gay writer write that, like... I just, I feel so bad for Bobo. Oh my God. 


Chrisha

And Misha.


Catherine

Yes. 


Chrisha

I want to be really really clear. Misha, and Bobo and Jensen and Rich... I think they created something beautiful and important. 


Catherine

Yes. And, like, they fought for it. Like, you know? They had to have fought for it to happen. 


Chrisha

Yeah. And we're so thankful for that. Because what happened here doesn't take away from that sobbing episode - both of them - where we spent so much time talking about what that meant for representation and what that meant for us. 


Catherine

Yeah.


Chrisha

But Dean… Dean was killed before he could speak his truth, even though the narrative demanded it here. Like, the only way for him to self-actualize was to recognize not only that what he did, he did for love... to not just accept Cas’ love for him, but to finally allow himself to love. A friend of ours on Twitter I think really said it best, which is that in a really twisted way, killing Dean canonized him as being bi because they killed him before he could say it. There was no other way out for him. It was either acknowledge that he loved Cas, or kill him. And uh, that hurts in a way… that's really hard to understand and accept and to even put words to, being that you and I are both bisexual women that have had a really hard time - I think you far more than me - but we've had a really hard time understanding that part of ourselves and being authentic in that part of ourselves. 


Catherine

Yeah. 


Chrisha

And you and I are the same age as Dean. You know, we were raised in the same culture as Dean. 


Catherine

I think for me - *crying* frig - okay. Um, I think for me, the part that hurt the most was that he died without ever coming out to his family. I have not come out to my family yet. I've been struggling with that, because they come from a very conservative family when it comes to sexual orientation because of a religious background and my journey of accepting and loving myself has been very much tied to Dean's. So, for this show to send the message that Dean could not live… it was preferable for him to die than him to be shown showing love for a man… I think part of my hope was that the CW is a very progressive network, when it comes to other shows. They have gay characters, they have lesbian characters, they just… there's representation, but it's all for younger people. And the statement that people of our generation have to be kept in the closet, and that that is preferable than seeing them with somebody of the same gender is just


deeply, deeply, personally wounding and hurtful and hateful. So I guess I would just say to those who loved the episode and are listening, because they want to understand why some of us don't? This is the level of personal hurt that so many of us are experiencing.


Chrisha

I love you, and you're wonderful, and you're perfect just the way you are.


Catherine

Thank you.


Chrisha

There's a couple different really important things that go along with this, which is that number one, we were also shown that the only way that Dean could find freedom, after all of the trauma that he's faced, was in death, which, to call that problematic doesn't even begin to cover it. And I understand that within Supernatural, death is often transcendent, right? Like, I understand that, Rowena and Billie died and came back stronger and more powerful and more actualized, but I didn’t see that in Dean. I saw the opposite. 


Catherine

He didn't come back. He just, he drove in a car. 


Chrisha

He came to Heaven, and he was completely alone. He had a conversation with Bobby, he drank his dad's beer, and then was alone. He isolated himself from everyone until Sam came. They erased his identity. And I get like, okay, COVID, fine. There are ways around it. They scrubbed found family from this episode purposefully. The Winchester shrine in Sam's living room, it could have had pictures of everyone, and it had pictures of blood relations, except for one picture I think with Bobby, and Bobby has been there since they were a kid. So yes, he's found family but it's different.


Catherine

They didn't find him. 


Chrisha

It's different than the family that you create as an adult for yourself. It's, it's different. 


And, for me with Dean, when it comes to sexual orientation, what I found really difficult is that I don't know that he ever came out to himself. 


Catherine

Oh, God. 


Chrisha

And that's the part for me that was really difficult. But also… what I always related to with Dean and with Cas, both, is that they both did so many things. They tried so hard. They fought so hard for people that they loved. They put themselves through so much that so often no one knew about. So for Dean, he raised Sam, and he protected Sam and so Sam didn't know half the stuff he did. And for Cas, I mean, just a bajillion things over the years that he did that Sam and Dean never knew. That Jack never knew. That no one ever knew. He carried so many things. And in Despair, Cas made sure to tell Dean that he was seen. That what he had done was seen. It was recognized, it was appreciated and it always had been. And Cas was never seen. 


Catherine

Oooooh yeah.


Chrisha

Dean never got a chance to say that to him. And then he was erased from this episode, and from 19, almost entirely. And it's not just the visual, which is important. That's important… that in this episode, what was given visual and emotional space was death and pain and isolation. That's what we saw.


Catherine

Yeah.


Chrisha

And we talked about showing versus telling, right? That's what they showed us. 


Catherine

Yeah. 


Chrisha

We got told that Cas is in Heaven. But we don't know details. We got told that he's working with Jack. But we don't know. In a show where we've been told lots of things that ended up not being true, Cas was literally never seen again after coming out, and then dying. And I appreciate that Cas made his choice. And I appreciate that he went out peacefully, and I appreciate all those things. But nobody ever told him that he was loved. No one ever told him that they saw him. That they recognized him and everything that he’s done and how far he'd come. And they set it up to make that glaringly obvious. And this is a show that’s supposed to be about hope.


Catherine

Yeah. 


Chrisha

And I can't really describe how much that hurts. And the message that that sends when I'm trying, like so many of us, so hard to stay afloat this year. So hard to keep fighting, because man, it's tough out here. And this was a safe space. 


Catherine

Yep. 


Chrisha

This was a show that I went to for hope. And this is what we got. And we haven't even touched on the fact that Sam's quote unquote apple pie life was also horrific.


Catherine

*cry laugh* It was so sad! We're gonna be talking about this in more than just this episode. 


Chrisha

This one deserves a series. Yeah.


Catherine

Because there's just so much and we can't do justice to all of the things that need to be processed in one episode. Because yeah, like, Sam got… like, I was so sad for Sam.


But I just want to affirm, Chrisha, because so many people that watch this show are caretakers, and you're one of those people. 


Chrisha

*crying* Uh huh.


Catherine

It has been a hard year for everybody, but especially for caretakers, because caretakers always give so much. And when the entire world is in crisis, then they have to give more. So much of that goes unseen and unacknowledged. So those of us who feel unseen and unloved as caretakers, I think especially needed to get that reciprocated, I see you, and I love you. So I'm just gonna say to you now: I see you, and I love you. I see everything that you do for so many people. And everybody that's listening out there that does caretaker work that goes unseen and unacknowledged: we see you and we love you. But again, this is part of the hurt, because it's not just that it happened to Cas. It's that it happens to us… to so many people. And that's part of the pain.


Chrisha

Yeah, I think… I think that what's really been difficult for me to come to terms with is that in a show like Supernatural, the big bad won. Chuck got the ending that he wanted. It was one brother dying, you know, maybe one didn't kill the other. But they both ended up dead. It was death and despair and separation and isolation and pain.


Catherine

And hopelessness. 


Chrisha

It was hopeless. And there was no Cas. And we didn't even get the original version of Carry On Wayward Son to give us that sense of, I don't know, continuity or connection. I mean, that's what pulls us in at the end. It pulls everything together. And we didn't even get that. 


Catherine

No. And I mean, the original version played while Dean was driving before it switched to the really melancholy version. But so many people don't even remember that happening because it was so traumatic, what we were seeing on our screens, that we couldn't even take in that the original version of Carry On was playing.


Chrisha

Really??? I genuinely did not…


Catherine

Yes, that's the song that plays when Dean goes into his car and turns the car on and says, “oh, I love this song.” And then he starts driving. That was Carry On Wayward Son, but you're not the only one that doesn't remember that. I've seen countless people on my timeline go, we didn't even get Carry On Wayward Son. But we did. But we were so freakin traumatized by what was happening on our screens that people don't remember it. 


Chrisha

Wow. Yeah, no, no, because… there's a very specific emotion that goes with that song. It's the beginning of the end of a season. So it brings excitement and anxiety, but continuity, and connection. 


Catherine

And we all sing it together around the world as that comes onto our TV screens, like, we sit in our living rooms, and we sing at the top of our lungs with that. That thing.


Chrisha

Yeah, it’s a very specific, almost ritualistic emotional cue when it comes to the show. And it wasn't there. And it was off from the very beginning. Like, I couldn't get into it from the very beginning because I was so confused. And I don't think I put that part of it together until just right now. 


Catherine

We didn't even get like an overview of the entire season. It was just from the last episode. Yeah. 


Chrisha

Yeah. And so yeah, at the end of the day, we've been talking all season about how Chuck represents white male privilege, and he represents villainous storytelling. And he won, right? He killed the queer woman of color. And she never came back. He killed Charlie, and she never came back. He killed children. And they never came back. He killed Donna, representing Wayward, and they never came back. I get the there was a phone call that alluded to Donna, but we have to work too hard for it. Emotions are too high. 


Catherine

Here's the thing. It's not a mistake that people keep saying he killed, right? Because he didn't kill... people were brought back, but we didn't see it. 


Chrisha

No. 


Catherine

So for us, the visual space was given to people disappearing in fear and in terror. 


Chrisha 

Right. 


Catherine

That was what we saw. So even though we're told - again, we're told - show don't tell. 


Chrisha

It's exposition. It's the worst writing. That's Chuck.


Catherine

Yes. Yes. 


Chrisha

That's Chuck. 


Catherine

So we're told that they're all back and it's all fine. But we don't get to see that. We don't get that emotional catharsis. What we are left with as an audience is death and trauma and fear and terror. That's what we're left with as an audience. That's not okay.


Chrisha

And honestly, I don't know that even now that I feel confident saying that they came back because we never saw or heard from Eileen again. 


Catherine

That's right. 


Chrisha

That wouldn't make any sense. And so if Eileen is still gone, is everybody else still gone? And if everybody else is still gone, or if Eileen has gone, why isn't that the focus? Why isn't there even a mention? It’s just, it's wrong on so many levels.


Catherine

Yeah. And I mean, even the nod to Donna, right? We can't be 100% sure. 


Chrisha

Exactly. That doesn't help me sleep at night. 


Catherine

Exactly. Like, when did she speak to this guy? Like, was it just now or did some weird stuff happen, like, five months ago and now it's happening again? Like, we don't know. And who's given the voice here? Sounds like a white dude from Texas. 


Chrisha

Mm hmm. 


Catherine

It's not Donna we're hearing.


Chrisha

Yeah, the women are just identity-less. And honestly, knowing that the police was a woman is... actually there's a part of me that was hanging on to the idea that maybe the scrub was so severe because they were trying to make a statement? 


Catherine

No. I don't think so. 


Chrisha 

Because Dean was literally stabbed in the back. 


Catherine

I know.


Chrisha

There's some symbolism if you want it, but I don't know if it's purposeful anymore. I don't know what's purposeful anymore. I don't know what to believe anymore. 


Catherine

Yeah. But I think we need to be clear here. We are not crazy. 


Chrisha

Right.


Catherine

What we are seeing come out in entertainment news articles by people who are fandom adjacent... by people who are general audience, as well as the fandom, is that this narrative arc of the season made no sense. It's not just us. It's not just the Destiel shippers who feel like something went really awry here. It's a lot of people from a lot of different places that are coming to the same conclusion, which is they were building towards something and then the last two episodes went horribly wrong. We don't know why. We don't know what happened. But we are not crazy in thinking that something happened. Because it makes no sense. And I think that's really important to state because my first instinct when I got to the end of this episode was: oh my god. Was I deluded this entire season? Was I seeing just what I wanted to see? And I think that there has been some gaslighting going on that is trying to affirm that. But I think it's coming from a very small place within the broader umbrella of people that are responding to this. And so I think we need to be careful to not internalize that and be gaslit into thinking that we just somehow got everything wrong, because we didn't. Like, I feel like I can say that and not doubt myself now. 


Chrisha

Yes, I agree entirely. I think that there's a few different things that have been thrown out. Number one is COVID. And that's fine. And that's true. And I'm sure that it impacted things. These are a brilliant team of creatives. Like, you didn't need Misha there to be able to resolve a DeanCas storyline. The fandom came up with a million ways within five minutes of the show being over. There are a million ways that they could have honored found family without being able to get the actors, they just didn't want to. There's a million ways that they could have resolved Cas’ storyline without having Cas on screen. Dean could talk to Sam, Dean could talk to anybody. But they didn't want that. They purposely didn't want it. They purposefully didn't reference a whole bunch of people and a whole bunch of things that they easily could have because they had plenty of time. 


Catherine

Yes. 


Chrisha

And so you know, the COVID of it all doesn't work as a reason. And the other element of this is that I think that shippers of all kinds are often belittled or looked at as silly or frivolous or annoying. And I think that there was discourse around Cas’ I love you, that was like: oh, they're just throwing scraps at the shippers. Because for as much as shippers across any show are often trivialized, people who ship queer ships… it's catastrophically worse. It's so much worse. The flack that those folks take as if we're lesser, because we see love. 


Catherine

Yeah. 


Chrisha

And so the hurt after Cas’ I love you, and the anxiety, there was a lot of condescension that happened. There was a lot of like, oh, they gave the little shippers what they wanted. That was nice of them. Now we'll get back to the real story. Whereas we were saying: no, this is the real story. Like, that's what we're finally getting to. It's not the story within a story just for us. It is the story. And it's always been the story for years and years and years. And then at the end, it was erased. And all those expectations went unfulfilled. All those promises were broken. And so there is that element of going back to second guessing ourselves. But more than that, it's the flack. It's the, you know, we were right, you're wrong. 


Catherine

Yeah, for the first time ever, like I got @’d on Twitter about it. That's never happened before. I'm, like, a nobody in the fandom. Like, nobody cares. And I got it. So if I'm getting it, can you imagine the high profile shippers in the fandom, what they're dealing with? 


Chrisha

Yeah. And with the layers of it being so personal to so many of our own journeys in sexual orientation, and feeling unseen and feeling like we don't have a voice, having it be scrubbed in that way… and then the cultural implications of that just from the fandom culture. It's just been... it's the layers. It's the layers of pain, and it just keeps coming. 


Catherine

Yeah, I think the point of all of this is to say that: if you are feeling hurt by this finale, if you are struggling with this finale, if you are having big feelings about this finale that you don't necessarily understand yet and feel embarrassed about, or if you're questioning what you thought your read was of all of this... First of all, your read was what the story was telling us, and then something happened, and it all went to crap. So again, it's not just the fandom that's feeling this way. It's coming from a lot of different places. It's coming from general audience, it's coming from critics. Something happened. We don't know what, but something happened. So you're not crazy for having had different expectations of this finale. The second thing is that you're not alone. And there are very good reasons for you feeling hurt or upset or traumatized by this episode of the series that we love so much. I think we cannot understate how bad this was. My personal feeling is that this was not just a bad episode of television, but that it was a dangerous episode of television. The messaging was dangerous because it has real world effects on real people in a fandom full of people who have come to this show for hope, who struggle with mental illness, who have found solace in this place as a place that embraces and gives cause to keep fighting. The messaging of this episode was dangerous. And so we want to validate that if you're angry, if you're hurt, if you are feeling betrayed or sad, any of those feelings, that there is good reason for it. And we love you. And you are not alone. 


Chrisha

I think this is a good time to talk about the I’m Alive network, which is imalive.org. They have crisis counselors set up for chat. There's also the Crisis Text Line, you text SHARE to 741741 if you're in the US, or you text 686868 if you're in Canada, or 85258 in the UK, and there are folks that can be there to provide support. Those services are free, and they're available, and they're there so that people will please use them if they need them. Please don't feel, like... I hear so often that people don't want to be a bother, like, please be a bother.


Catherine

Yes.


Chrisha

Please reach out to those services. That's what they're there for. So I think that you and I can maybe talk about what we've been doing to try to begin to heal or at least to cope. This is a very unique kind of pain, because Supernatural has been a safe space and has been a space of coping for so many. And the SPNFamily is huge, in that not only are there so many people, but it's also so far reaching. There’s Supernatural the show, but then there's fan fiction, and there's fan art, there's so many other layers to it. And that's what has made this family so wonderful, but can be really particularly difficult now, because it can sort of cast a negative light on a lot of things that were keeping us afloat. That were there for coping. I know for me personally, I read fan fiction every night. That's how I turn my brain off at night. And I haven't been able to, or at least I wasn't for for awhile. It was too painful. So then I'm trying to sleep and it's like, I don't know what to do. And, you know, I'm already having anxiety related insomnia just because 2020 is what it is. And so it's, yeah, it's just added this really challenging extra layer to coping. And so I want to acknowledge that because that's valid. And that's, that's real. The first thing that really helped me, and I think you too, and I think so many of us is that almost immediately after the episode aired, the Castiel Project was formed. 


Catherine

God, I love this fandom. We felt pain, and from that pain came love. That is why I love this fandom.


Chrisha

So the Trevor Project, it's a national 24 hour confidential suicide hotline for LGBTQ youth. And they have all kinds of programs and services. And what I loved about it is that - ah, dammit, I’m going to cry again - is that even though we were in pain, what we have been taught by Cas and by Misha stayed. And we turned our pain into kindness, just the way that we've been shown to. And we've raised over $50,000 for the Trevor Project through the Castiel Project.


Catherine

And that's in five days. 


Chrisha

Yeah. And so, to the people that set that up, you're incredible. This isn't a Misha-led thing. This isn't a cast-led thing. This isn't a Random Acts-led thing. This is something that just fans did, to channel grief. And then the Dean Winchester Is Love was started through the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), which hit me… because we get it. Whether the show gets it or not, we do. We understand why it's important. And we understand why that episode was hurtful. And we're going to take our pain from this fictional show. We're going to recognize how storytelling impacts the real world. And we're going to channel that grief, taking what happened to Dean and Cas, that shouldn't

ever have happened, and help real people.


Catherine

That's right. 


Chrisha

And that's, for me, what's been so grounding is that recognition that, yeah, the show, I don't know what the hell happened there, but it wasn't good. But the fandom, we're still real, we're still us. We are still here. We are the same as we were a week ago - for better or worse. We are still here to be a family, and to help and to support and to uplift. And so maybe I can't get my Always Keep Fighting messaging from the show, but I'll damn sure get it from the fandom. And that's important. Like that's important. And there is now the Sam Winchester Project for Together We Rise, which raised money for displaced foster youth affected by campus closures. There's the Jack Kline Project, raising money for 10 Years of Kindness at Random Acts. There's the Eileen Leahy Project, which is raising money for the National Association for the Deaf. And on and on and on, that… Miracle has a project for raising money for the ASPCA. Gabriel, Charlie, there's, you know, like, yeah, these characters impacted the real world. And that's important. And that hasn't changed. And so that has really helped me. 


Catherine

Same.


Chrisha

And I think that it took me awhile to be able to think about fan fiction again. But you and I have spoken so much about how we always knew that fanfic authors were going to be there for us. 


Catherine

That's right. 


Chrisha

And on the one hand, I'm furious on their behalf because they really thought that we were going to get this landing stuck. And that they were going to just be able to write…


Catherine

For joy.


Chrisha

Because they wanted to, you know, for the joy of it instead of having to fix it. Again. But, fix it they have. 


Catherine

Seriously they're my heroes. Within 24 hours - less than - there were fix-its that were addressing what happened. God.


Chrisha

I've read two so far that are my favorites, which are by castielslostwings and tricia_16. And we can link those if people want them. They're beautiful and they're healing. And that's important. And so the fan fiction community is there if and when you're ready. Whether you've been reading fic this whole time, or you never have, if you're hurting, I might give it a try if you feel like you're ready. How about you? 


Catherine

Well, I've been doing practical things. So for me, I knew that I wasn't going to be able to handle seeing a lot of the flack, seeing a lot of the negative responses to people in pain. So I've been really curating my timeline. Muting, unfollowing, doing whatever I have to do to make sure that I'm not triggered when going on my Twitter so that it can be a safe space for me to grieve. And I would encourage others, if that's something that you think will help, to do that. Also, I haven't been able to read fanfic yet.That's too tender of a spot for me. You know, just everything hits differently. I've seen a lot of different people saying I can't do this, I can't do that. I think recognizing what is not good for you and putting up those boundaries for yourself is so important. For me, what's been really helpful is there have been fix-it edits that have come out. 


Chrisha

Yeah. Oh, yes.


Catherine

It's not that I want to erase Sam from it, because I feel like it should be the three of them, but, there's one edit out there that has Dean say Cas’ name instead of Sam at the end. And they literally were able to somehow have him turn around and, as part of that frame, have Cas be in the background with the same background of the bridge? 


Chrisha

Yeah.


Catherine

I've seen that. I've seen edits where they have Dean saying, “oh, I think I know what I'll do.” And instead of seeing Baby, he sees Cas standing there, and smiles and gets up and walks towards him. So there have been those kinds of visual audio fix-its that I've been needing and that I've found really healing. I've been doing the things that I need to do to protect myself. So I took all of my stickers off of my computer that are Supernatural related, which was all of them. Just because I have to work at my laptop all day, and I couldn't manage the pain of that. I took down my art for now because I couldn't manage the pain of that. But I have other stickers and I can put the art back on the wall when I'm ready. But for me, it just... curating my physical space was really important. So that might be something for people to consider as well. Because I know a lot of us collect stuff. 


Chrisha

Yeah.


Catherine

Maybe if you think it'll help, just put it in a closet for a little bit. And let it be, and then maybe you'll be ready at some point. Maybe not. But just, I think there are a lot of things that can be triggering for us. I have been talking to you, my friend, so much.


Chrisha

*laughs* So much.


Catherine

So much. The DMs have been flying. And we've been leaning really heavily on each other. I'm seeing a lot of people doing that out on the timeline. I've connected with a bunch of new people who are in a really similar place emotionally with me. And that's been very comforting. So even though I've unfollowed and muted and done that, I've also followed a bunch of new people, and met a bunch of new people. And that is bringing me joy, because man, this family is rich and dynamic. And one of the people that I followed this week, and I've been really heavily interacting with, I realized made my all time favorite Cas edit, and I just hadn't realized that it was the same person until yesterday. So there are a lot of different things that are happening that are positive. For me, seeing articles coming out from critics from entertainment magazines that are affirming something went wrong have been really helpful for me, because again, it's an outside source that is not coming from a place of inherent bias. And that has been helpful. I've been talking to my non-fandom friends about what happened. Their reactions have been very affirming and helpful. That might not be a safe thing for everyone to do, but maybe for some people it is. I'm making plans for the future, as well as living in the present. I've started a new job. And there have been certain people within the fandom that I've wanted to support for a while but haven't been able to because I've been financially limited with COVID. I'm planning on becoming a Patreon supporter for a couple of artists and a writer in the fandom. My personal decision has been that I'm not going to give the CW any of my money. So I'm not going to give any money to the franchise in the future. But I'm going to support fandom artists, fandom writers, and where I can do that financially, I will. So whether it's through buying their art or supporting their Patreons, or leaving positive comments on their stuff, letting them know how much they're loved. Because this is hitting them all hard too. Like, one of my favorite artists just posted in their Tumblr about how devastating this was for them. So again, sending that love out there. And yeah, I think that's kind of where I'm at with it. That was a lot. Sorry. *laughs*


Chrisha

No, I think having coping options is good. The other thing I would throw out there just because I really, really want to normalize this like, really, is that I educated my therapist on Supernatural. And talk to her about the themes and why it's important. She wanted to understand, you know, and it's really hard to, it's really hard to sum up, right? I mean, we've spent hours and hours and hours podcasting. And so what I did, there was a BuzzFeed article from today about the trauma of silence, that I emailed her. 


Catherine

*laughing* Okay. I literally read that on the phone to my therapist during my appointment today. 


Chrisha

It's important! I mean, it really was able to sum up and articulate why this hurts, while also giving some context for people that maybe don't have 15 years to catch up. Yeah, and so I think that that's important. And as a therapist, I encourage clients to give me that kind of context. If there's a scene, bring it in, show it to me on your phone, or send me a clip. If there's song lyrics. We know from being part of - I'm assuming that most people that are in the podcast are part of social media fandom, and even if they're not - social media fandom is, is huge. And that's where a lot of the SPNFamily is. And we know that communication can take lots of different forms. You know, today, the fandom is coping via meme. And that's amazing. And it's important because we have to find a way to laugh. 


Catherine

Yep. 


Chrisha

And so I want to really say it as a therapist, I always encourage people to talk to their therapists about the power of fiction in their life, if that's something that's impacting their mental health. So, I don't want anybody to feel like they need to shy away from that because stories are important. 


Catherine

That's right. 


Chrisha

That's why I do what I do and talk about what I talk about. I think that there was a lot of messaging in this episode of television that was really potentially negative. And I think that it's been really worthwhile for us to ground ourselves back in what's real. And what's real is that, if you are straight, gay, anything in between, queer in any in any way or not, you deserve love and you deserve life. There is happiness in life and love after trauma. There is. There can be. Found family is real family. Full stop. Pocket friends, social media friends are real friends. They are. And Destiel was never supposed to be. Like, Cas was written for a three episode arc. He was supposed to be one of the many bajillions of side characters that come and go. And then even when he was brought on as a more regular character, they were not writing a love story back then. It just happened. And it happened partially because of Jensen and Misha. But it also happened because of us. Because we saw it, people talked about it, and advocated for it, and fought for it. And so no matter what, we know that Cas was in love with Dean. Because he said so. And we know that Dean loved Cas. And regardless, Destiel belongs to us. Just. Destiel belongs to us. And I just really want to put that out there. Just like Becky didn't need Chuck anymore, we don't need the CW anymore.


Catherine

That's right. 


Chrisha

They’re ours now. So.


Chrisha

Oh, that's beautiful. Thank you. Thank you for saying it that way. 


So if you've found this episode of our podcast at all helpful, and you think it might help somebody else, please share. I think, you know, if we can affirm the people around us, that's always a good thing. And I think that we need to fight back against the messaging of isolation that we received in this episode. We are a community. We love each other. We care about each other. This fandom is an incredible force for good. We're gonna link a bunch of stuff in both the description of our episode and on Twitter for those who want stuff. So, we're going to include a link to the I’m Alive Crisis Network, a bunch of the places where you can donate to the various causes.


Chrisha

Or just read the comments. That's the other thing. Even if you can't donate, go scroll the comments. 


Catherine

It's very affirming. 


Chrisha

Very much. 


Catherine

Yeah. So I think we're gonna wrap it there for this episode. Again, this is not the episode that we wanted to record, but we hope that it has been helpful for you to know that you're not alone, to help to identify maybe some of the reasons that this has been so hard for you. To know that you are in community with other people that are like minded and feel similar things. So that's why we're doing this podcast, because we love you guys. And we don't want people to be feeling alone wherever you are in the world, where you listen. You can message us, as many of you have been.


Chrisha

Thank you. 


Catherine

Thank you. Yeah. And you can stay up to date with the latest on our Twitter and Instagram pages, which are @The FangirlBiz. We will be back. We are not going anywhere. And until then, we will carry on, wayward friends. We love you guys. Bye.


*Outro Guitar Theme Music - “Play the Game” by VooDoo Blooze* 


Outtake:


Chrisha

All right, ready? 1, 2, 3: 


Chrisha’s kids’ voices, mostly in sync:

We love you wayward friends! *laughs* Good enough!


Transcribed by https://otter.ai






intro
the day of the finale
the PR campaign for the last 7 episodes
the fallout from the episode airing an hour earlier in Canada
the retrospective episode
Chrisha and Catherine's reactions as the finale was airing
the real time trauma response to Dean's death and the rest of the episode
overview of episode trigger: found family erasure
overview of episode trigger: ableism and the erasure of Eileen
overview of episode trigger: childlessness and the focus on living on through children
overview of episode trigger: misogyny and the erasure of, violence against, and silencing of women
overview of episode trigger: abuse and John's presence in heaven
overview of episode trigger: queer erasure of Cas and Dean
overview of episode trigger: suicide and suicidal ideation regarding Dean's death
the implications of Dean's death for his queerness
Cas' absence from the finale
"Carry On Wayward Son" discussion
Chuck's "white male privilege" ending
the wider reaction to the episode
if you are hurting, you're not alone
coping discussion
outro