The legacy of “Supernatural”

Destiel is canon, but at what cost?

Supernatural Spoilers, Trigger Warning for queerphobia and mental illness

I started watching “Supernatural” in my first year of college. My roommate turned it on and told me to watch it, unknowing of the ruin, despair, and hope it would be in some of the worst times of my life.

This was around the time when I wasn’t exactly questioning my sexuality, but I knew something was off about me. I identified then with Sherlock, and anyone I had a close relationship with was a Watson. BBC’s “Sherlock” is another show that is accused of queer-baiting due to Sherlock’s rejection of women and abnormally close relationship with John Watson. I was aware of this, but vehemently rejected the idea of a Sherlock/Watson ship. “Sherlock” was the only explanation I had for the mess in my brain, and I clung to it for well over a year.

“Supernatural’s” violent content wasn’t helping my illness and I left school, cutting off my access to it. After a few months, I regained it while living in motels. Every morning I was once again reunited with the Winchesters, unable to process what was happening in this reality and threw myself into another. This other reality, while violent and filled with a misappropriate amount of tall white guys, made sense. A closeted gay angel being rejected by his family, being driven to drink, and killing monsters with his best friend was more rational than this.

It was cut off again, then regained. I slowed down a bit, and didn’t binge watch as aggressively as I used to. By then I could clearly see that Cas, Dean, and myself were, and are, gay. I started seeing them as my family and their bunker as my home. It’s the most welcoming, comforting, home place I know and had never felt that way about any rundown dwelling I’ve inhabited in this reality.

After a year in the shelter, I came back to school a few months before the pandemic. I had my cat with me for once, but he became ill and died, leaving me with nothing to live for. I roamed the empty grounds, made a failed attempt to learn the position of the stars, and turned to “Supernatural.”

Then, on September 5, 2020, Cas came out. He declared his undying love for Dean and died immediately as a direct result. This was devastating. In the 15 years the show was running, they repeatedly tried to cage Cas in uncomfortable heterosexual situations in a vain attempt to make him straight. And when they realized they had to give up, they sent the message that queer people can be miserable or dead.

People die on this show. But they also come back, or they’re mourned in character of the survivors. The final two episodes did neither. They erased him and his sacrifice, erased the love the other characters had for him. His own son barely reacted.

Months afterwards, I still obsess. Cas could have survived if this happened, or could have been brought back in this way. Perhaps I’m still trying to fill the void the ending left in me, and it would be this way no matter how it ended. But it told me things I know aren’t true, that these characters don’t love each other and that gay people should die. Contradictions mean that one or both is false, and I choose to believe that the show messed up. It’s not the first show to have done so, and won’t be the last.

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One Comment

  1. Ray Jay Ray Jay Tuesday, August 3, 2021

    Thank you for writing this, I feel a bit less damaged by that ending to know I’m not alone. I’m bi and was able to accept and celebrate that about me (esp as a masculine bi man) through this show, and the last 2-3 seasons of it felt so violating. Wishing you healing and knowledge of your own worth. I am in a happy relationship and in my thirties after a rocky decade of assault, oppression and abuse—I hope and believe you will get there too. Love and light, queer fam buddy. <3

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