This post links to all my individual Supernatural University essay posts, in the order in which they were written. Additional Supernatural University discussions take place in most, if not all, of my episode commentaries, but those tend to focus on specific episodes; the standalones tend to cover bigger topics and haven’t been easy to find. But here they all are. Hope you enjoy them!
I’ve grouped these into the seasons in which they were written. Bear in mind when they were written as you read them; each essay only references episodes that were in existence when they were written. I used to have a lot more time available for meta; as the seasons progressed, more and more of the meta became integrated into the episode commentaries.
( This way to the Table of Contents ... )
It occurred to me that I’ve done an awful lot of these Supernatural episode commentary/review things, peppered across years of time. On the off chance that visitors here would like to see what I said about a specific episode back when it first aired, I thought I might as well collect links to all my episode commentaries in one central place. So, welcome to my master list, and I hope you enjoy what you find here. You can get a good laugh about how wrong I turned out to be on some of my thoughts and guesses back in the day. I’m pretty proud about the ones I got right!
( Access the full list of links ... )
I regret with all my heart that, shortly after Season 7 began, I was unable to find the time to keep this updated as I'd intended. However, I was irregular in Season 8, but I'm onboard for Season 9!
The Haiku Episode Guide to Supernatural
Work in progress, Copyright 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 Mary F. Dominiak, aka Bardicvoice
This will be updated as the series continues, and missing entries from seasons seven and eight will be added as I manage to finish them.
The first haiku for the series was essentially written by Eric Kripke: the rest are mine.
Saving people, hunting things –
The family business.
My series end haiku, for whenever:
This is how it ends.
Fate. War. Love. Faith. Redemption.
“Bitch.” “Jerk.” Rock song plays.
I don’t write nearly as many stories as other fanfic authors, but I have enough that I thought putting up a master post to provide easy access might help people find them, both the old and the new. So, in mostly reverse chronological order as written, here’s a master list of links to all my Supernatural fanfiction. I've begun to record my stories into MP3 podfic format; as I complete recordings, I'll be adding the podfic links here, under the description of each story.
Just so you know, I am strictly a canon writer (except for the stories set in the past on which I’ve been Kripke’d). There is no slash here. There are relationships that may include non-explicit sex, but all of them were established in show canon. Only one of them went farther in my story than in the show itself; pardon me for giving Bobby and Jody the chance to consummate a relationship before Bobby died. :)
( Go to the list ... )
I'm leaving this as a sticky post, so I'll add to it over time and cross out ones that have been answered.
( Read the questions ... )
I'll add to this later (NEVER run out of questions, and need to set them up for additional folk beyond Jared and Jensen!), but I wanted to put it out there. Hope it proves useful! If you've got good questions to add that you'd like to make available to others, leave them in the comments, and I'll move them up into the body of the main post to make them easy to find.
This collection of individual stories is a work in progress. My intent is to write one short story for each year of the Impala’s existence, putting the car and its owners into the context of the absolutely real-world American history I lived through: the civil rights struggle, the space program, Vietnam, and more, complete with an absolutely period-appropriate soundtrack, since classic rock is so much a part of this show. I began this in July 2009, long before Swan Song aired, so my early history doesn’t match canon any longer, but I’m not going to change it. Despite the long breaks in writing this, I do intend to finish it and bring it current; I just haven’t any idea when I’ll accomplish that, given other demands on my time. I’m only ten years in so far. Each story can be read individually, but it would be best to start at the beginning, since early stories in particular include characters you don’t already know who continue in time. They’re each quite short.
This page links to each individual story.
Chapter 1 – June 12, 1967: Black And White
Chapter 2 – November 20, 1968: Cursed
Chapter 3 – July 20, 1969: Moon Magic
Chapter 4 – August 27, 1970: Culture Clash
Chapter 5 – April 22-24, 1971: Blowin’ In The Wind
Chapter 6 – December 26, 1972: Paint It Black
Chapter 7 – November 22, 1973: The Dark Side of the Moon
Chapter 8 – August 9, 1974: Along The Way
Chapter 9 – April 30, 1975: Shelter From The Storm
Chapter 10 – June 17, 1976: Stars and Stripes Forever
Characters: Bobby and Castiel, discussing Sam and Dean
Warnings: Umm, Winchester brothers being Winchester brothers, no matter what.
Word count: 100
Summary: "Each soul makes its own Heaven."
( Read the story... )
9.01 I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here: There Ain't No Me If There Ain't No You
Sam's inner debate:
Fight for life, or die in peace?
Dean loads angel dice.
Commentary and Meta Analysis
Put me on the list of fans who loved this episode. I know it created controversy among fans – hell, what episode doesn't these days, given the different lenses fans always watch through? – but it worked brilliantly for me. In this discussion, I'm going to look at angels in the human outfield; what was going on in Sam's mind as he lay in that coma; Dean's decisions; Castiel dealing with humanity from the inside; and the enigmatic Ezekiel.( Read the rest ... )
In his internal debate about living or dying, Sam unconsciously stacked the deck against his own survival by emphasizing all the things that make human life hard: struggle, conflict, anger, pain, loss. All too often, I think we, like Sam, lose sight of the very things that make even the hardest life worthwhile: love, concern for each other, generosity, acceptance, forgiveness. Sometimes, we need to take a leap of faith and place our trust in someone else to find our way back to ourselves. Every time we do that, we take a risk – but don't you think life and love are worth a risk?
Want to read my commentaries and meta earlier? They always post on The Winchester Family Business a few days before they appear here. Check http://www.thewinchesterfamilybusiness.
Staying In Love With Your Partner (Show)
Relationships are seldom easy. Oh, some friendships can be – but love? Keeping things both fresh and committed can be hard, because the people (shows) we love are uniquely able to hurt us as well as delight us. Here's some advice on making your relationship with your beloved partner (favorite TV show) work!( Read the rest ... )
So, those are my basic bits of successful partner (show) relationship advice. Do you have additional ones to contribute? Weigh in!
And stay in love!
Supernatural University: Tragedies, Bloodlines, Legacies – The Evolution of the Family Business
“Saving people, hunting things: the family business.”
That's been the tagline of Supernatural from the very beginning, memorably given voice by Dean way back in the second episode, Wendigo, and repeated multiple times every season since. But it's never been a static concept; every part of that phrase has undergone evolution as the seasons progressed. In this discussion, I look at how the show has changed our understanding of family and the family business from its original presentation of hunting, hunters, the Winchesters, and saving people to where we stand at the beginning of season nine. Welcome to a multidiscliplinary Supernatural University analytical session!( Read the rest ... )
Anticipation, It's Making Me Wait …
Season nine promises to continue exploring the Winchesters' MOL legacy and – through the consequences of Sam's trials, Dean's decisions, the angels falling, and Castiel being rendered human – the tensions in both the Winchesters' immediate and extended family. I suspect we'll see even more evolution in the family business concerning what it means to save people and hunt things.
But no matter what comes, I know family will always remain at the heart of the show. After all, this all started with another family business that diversified from its origins – Kripke Enterprises, a metal scrap dealer in Toledo, Ohio!
Supernatural University: Demonstration Angel
Even in the Supernatural universe, Castiel is absolutely unique. Oh, every angel is unique, like every person – each one is an individual with its own identity and personality – but from everything we've seen, Castiel stands alone as the only angel ever to die and be restored … not to mention experiencing that more than once. He's done things no other angel ever contemplated, and doesn't behave like any other angel we've ever met. Why is Castiel so unique? What is his purpose? Welcome to a speculative Supernatural University session in myth, theology, philosophy, psychology, and television production!
In my previous meta on angels as a group, I said I think Castiel represents the quintessential angel, the truest vision of what God intended angels to be. In this article, I'll look at Castiel from three very different but inextricably linked perspectives:
In practical television production terms, I'll explore why I think the writers – the show's other gods – designed and introduced him the way they did, why certain things happened to him along the way, and why I believe his initial role expanded largely because of what Misha Collins brought to his portrayal.
In terms of character development, I'll explain how I think he's different psychologically from most other angels we've seen, and postulate that his contact with Dean and Sam caused him to consider concepts he otherwise wouldn't have.
- In story terms, I believe his innate differences, combined with his experience, are why he keeps being brought back from the dead: I propose the show's in-story God may be using him as both an exemplar and a test bed for angel development: God's demonstration angel.
Supernatural University: Calling All Angels
This is the first of two articles exploring angels in the Supernatural universe. In this one, I'll be looking at the role angels have played and how that developed through the history of the series, including how angels relate to monsters and humans, and how I think their role has both meshed with and changed the show's “bible” over time. In the next article, shifting from the general concept of angels to the specific, I'm going to explore in detail the unique role of Castiel and put forward my own theories on his nature and purpose. Welcome to a multidisciplinary Supernatural University session in myth, theology, philosophy, psychology, and the nature of television production!( Read more... )
Supernatural University: The Rainbow Connection, Or Can You See What I See?
Addressing the emotional fan reaction on the internet to catastrophic events in The Rains Of Castamere episode of HBO's adaptation of George R.R. Martin's Game Of Thrones, Smithsonian Magazine tweeted an excellent article on how and why we bond so strongly with fictional characters. The neatest thing – to me, anyway – about the theory put forth in that article is that it would also explain very simply why we Supernatural fans can all watch the same show and yet have such vastly differing, strongly held interpretations of the characters of Sam and Dean, not to mention other characters in the show. Here's a little Supernatural University psychology and physics discussion about why fandom fights about characters will always be fruitless and never resolve into sense.( Read the rest ... )
8.23 Sacrifice: It Was Always God's Intention, The Ultimate Sacrifice
Exile angels for revenge.
Closing Hell is death.
Commentary and Meta Analysis
My reaction to this episode was mixed. On the one hand, the performances, direction, and technical production aspects were absolutely stellar, and it filled my eyes and broke my heart in good ways; on the other, I had serious issues with aspects of the story, especially the divine metaphysics of falling angels, and it took a couple of viewings for me to get comfortable with the dialogue concerning Sam's confession to Dean and Dean's response. In this discussion, I'm going to address Metatron's expulsion of the angels and the emotional situation between the brothers.( Read the rest ... )
And here's my point. You've doubtless noticed my joy in this episode was not unalloyed. I have issues with the metaphysics of falling angels and with the idea of curing a demon by making it artificially feel remorse though injections of human blood. I've had criticisms of other episodes in this season, and throughout the run of the series.
But you know something? My delight in this show goes beyond my criticisms of the specific details that didn't work for me in a story or a season. I'm not concerned with having everything the way I want it to be. What makes me happy is having Supernatural itself: the story of two brothers who love each other and build a family of much more than blood, for whom saving people is the family business. What makes me happy is the passion and love of all the people behind the show who consistently make it more than an hour of entertainment; the quality it has that makes me think and write about it for long hours after an episode – or a season – has come to an end. What makes me happy are all the people I share my passion with, and the way they give it back to me.
Those are the blessings set before me, and with them, I'm content.
But really impatient for season nine.
8.22 Clip Show: When They're All Gone, What Will You Have Left?
How can you fight on
When why you fight is destroyed?
Crowley's leverage ...
Commentary and Meta Analysis
This episode really turned up the pressure on the Winchesters, with Crowley finding the precise psychological lever to pull to hurt the brothers in the worst possible way as leverage to force their surrender. At the same time, it paired Castiel with Metatron in a simultaneous assault on Heaven, rocketing the season toward its end. In this discussion, I'm going to speculate on curing a demon; share concerns about Metatron and his plans for Castiel and Heaven; and look at the effectiveness of Crowley's ploy to blackmail the Winchesters.( Read the rest ... )
Clip Show left us with many more questions than answers, and those questions provide many different avenues the story could follow. I don't know where it's going, but wherever it is, I'm buckled in and along for the ride!
I apologize for being so late to post this here: all the problems with LJ lately made putting long things up particularly hard!
8.21 The Great Escapist: When You Create Stories, You Become Gods
We can all be gods.
Our minds write our own stories;
Angels, demons, men.
Commentary and Meta Analysis
Ben Edlund never disappoints! This episode was chock-full of information advancing and reinforcing the overall mytharc of the series. I suspect I'll be doing many more analytical pieces during hiatus, because there was too much here for me to deal with in a single write-up. In this discussion, I'm going to look at angels rewriting their roles, the impact of the trials on Sam, and the nature of the trials themselves.( Read the rest ... )
Good stories take us out of ourselves and put us into other universes. When we watch an episode of Supernatural like this one, we can be escapists getting away from the problems of our personal worlds, much the way Metatron fled his angelic troubles to become absorbed instead into human fiction. But great stories can also take us deeper into ourselves and enhance our understanding of and connection with others, as Sam and Dean managed to force Metatron to become involved by personalizing Kevin's story and their own.
Perception can be everything. And if we open ourselves to it, our perceptions can change, and we can become better, more focused, more involved, more caring people.
8.19 Taxi Driver: No Reason To Think I Won't See You Again Somewhere Down The Road
Reaper shows the way.
Sam frees Bobby's Hell-trapped soul;
Benny says goodbye.
Commentary and Meta Analysis
I was thoroughly caught up in the emotion and rollercoaster nature of this episode while it was playing – tribute to all the actors and highest marks to the VFX crew – but once it ended, all the logic and plot holes weakening the script became glaringly obvious. I'm still going to treasure this episode despite the script issues, though, precisely because the characters' emotions were so profound and true.
In this discussion, I'm going to explore Reapers; speculate about Kevin, Crowley, and Naomi; celebrate Benny; and theorize about Sam and the trials.( Read the rest ... )
8.17 Goodbye Stranger: I Can't Take Any More Lies – From Anyone
Lucifer's lost crypts
Conceal the angel tablet:
Win and lose at once.
Commentary And Meta Analysis
This episode was a game-changer in many ways, and I enjoyed them all. It also harked back to much of the show's history while shining a different light on it, and I appreciated that as well.
In this commentary, I'm going to speculate a lot about Crowley's history, contemplate what's happened to Sam, and delve into the bond between Castiel and Dean.( Read the rest ... )
As I noted, I have more to say, but no time at the moment to say it. I'm on tenterhooks for the rest of this season, and for what season nine will bring; I think the show right now is on an amazing creative roll, and however much it scares me, I can't wait to see where it goes. Especially when this is what the episode left with us to think about: