Supernatural is one of the most creative shows of its time. A perfect balance of light and dark, with fresh and innovative plots every season, its hard to watch just one episode at a time. While many see it as an escape from reality...I see it as the opposite. We could all learn a lot from the Winchesters and their cohorts, and I'm hoping I'm not the only one who has felt it more than once while binge watching. The following are just a few of my favorite moments in the show that got me right in the feels. Spoiler alert, of course!
- Swan Song: Nothing can convey the moral duality of humanity like the life of Sam Winchester can. The poor thing has struggled with balancing the light and dark sides of his psyche for...pretty much the entirety of the show. When he became Lucifer's vessel in season 5, it was refreshing to see this seemingly horrible event become such a heavy life lesson. Lucifer being written as a calm, collected mastermind was genius. The tenderness of his tone coupled with the logic behind his heavy monologues made for a creepy yet endearing personification of the Devil himself. Even with so much to love, the Devil does have a temper...and its terrifying. From the time Sam said yes to the moment he overcame his possessor long enough to sacrifice himself for the world, he taught me that people are not solely good or evil. We are a balance of the two. No matter what life throws at us, we have a choice every day to react to it: with malice or compassion. We're capable of both and there's a happy medium somewhere-its all about deciding to find it.
- Mystery Spot: This episode tends to be a fan favorite due to the humorous tone of the plot. Of course Dean dying in so many hilarious ways is a great break from the heavier happenings of the show, but where I find the life lesson is in how Sam breaks the never ending cycle of Tuesdays: by singling out the one thing that is different and seeking it out. It can be so depressing, so paralyzing to feel like every day is the same. Even though the days always end a little differently, that much consistency is horrible for the spirit. My takeaway from it is this: If you feel stuck in a never ending, monotonous cycle of what seems to be the same day over and over again...find a different aspect of your life that may hide in the background and bring it to the foreground. Seek out the new and foreign. You are the driver of your own Impala. Take it wherever you see fit. Remember to do at least some things in the Heat of The Moment.
- Yellow Fever: Yet another one of Jensen Ackles' comedic gems, the lesson here is rather obvious-stress kills. I, like many others, suffer from anxiety. This condition is conveyed in this episode with accuracy and conviction, as a disease that increases in intensity until your heart gives out. Yellow Fever hit home for me in a serious way. After laughing until I cried...by the episode's end, I had decided to finally seek help with my raging anxiety. It brought the severity of my condition to light and gave me the push I needed come out of the shadows and fight in the best way possible. That Eye of the Tiger scene is such a motivational tool when looked at beyond the surface. This episode is one of the first to have undertones regarding mental health; the cast and crew are very passionate about awareness and fighting stigma. Its one of the best things about the whole Supernatural experience. #AlwaysKeepFighting
- When the Levee Breaks: Demon blood is a hell of a drug. Addiction is no joke, and Sam's struggle with it spares no sympathy. As he detoxes, we see what rock bottom can do to a person and those that love them. This issue is all too real for some, and this episode can definitely touch some sensitive scars. Sam transforms, under the effects of the demon blood, into an almost unrecognizable version of himself. Even during detox, he has not yet come to terms with the effect his actions had on the people that love him the most. Toward the episode's conclusion, Sam and Dean have a heart to heart that turns volatile. Upon hearing is brother call him a monster, Sam snaps and throws the first punch one of the most heartbreaking Winchester fights to date. Many people, including myself, can identify with Sam and/or Dean here. Watching these two tear themselves apart breaks my heart and forces me to reflect upon the questionable paths I've led myself down in life, but the biggest lesson this episode has to teach is that recovery is possible. Even through frustration and anger, through pain and guilt, the biggest of challenges in life can be overcome with enough effort...and a lot of love.
- It's a terrible life: While the beginning of this episode is rife with comedy, it speaks to a common curiosity-would someone's destiny fail to be fulfilled if everything was different? We meet Dean Smith and Sam Wesson (I see what ya did there), a Sales Executive and Tech Support respectively, at the same corporation. Their paths cross when Dean needs some work done on his laptop. Upon meeting, the supernatural forces at work in the building bring the two together. They fumble around this new found partnership at first, but by episode's end are essentially the same Sam and Dean they were in the first place. There are some things in life that are just going to happen, no matter the circumstances. Your purpose in life will light your way...regardless of the path you choose.
- Faith: This particular episode is a 45 minute controversy. Sam takes Dean to a faith healer after he was electrocuted; doctors gave his heart a 30 day life expectancy post accident. They interact with the healer's congregation, and actually begin to believe in the man's abilities. However, in true Supernatural form, they discover the healer has bound a Reaper. When the healing ceremonies take place, the Reaper is forced to eradicate sickness from the subject...at the cost of another human life. Instead of taking a negative view of religion out of this, I grabbed at a simpler lesson: Things are not always what they seem. What may seem like a fortunate turn of events may not be so. It's important to be optimistic, but maybe with a dash of caution.
- Meet The New Boss: This episode seemed to be a delicious final piece of food for thought. Castiel has taken in all the souls that escaped a portal to/from Purgatory in an effort to keep the world safe. But it backfires horribly. All those souls and all that power take him over and he proclaims himself as the new God. His power trip cost many lives, divine and earthly alike. The souls that give him his power are fighting tooth and nail to get out as well, making things even messier for Cass and his "children". The final lesson is simple-the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Even when people are positive they are doing the right thing, they tend to forget that their view of the right thing may not be the best thing for everyone. When overwhelmed with desire to do something for the good of others, take a step back and think it through.
Love it or hate it, Supernatural is a force. The cast and crew work very hard to deliver entertainment that surprises, excites, amuses, and teaches us. Even if you don't catch the lesson in every single episode, catching a few of the big ones may change your view of life. I have spent most of my adolescence and early adulthood watching Supernatural...and I believe I'm a better, more balanced person because of it.
*Shout out to Jared Padalecki who has ignited a fire in me. I feel strong enough to be more active in the fight. The fight against my own mental illness, the fight against the stigma surrounding it, the fight within to keep going. You are a beacon of hope and encouragement in a sea of judgment and alienation. Thank you. #AlwaysKeepFighting
Supernatural season 11 begins October on the CW.