This is the part where I still get to feel like the luckiest person alive. Sera Gamble, Executive Producer for Supernatural, was again kind enough to answer some burning questions that surfaced during the first half of this apocalyptic fifth season. Considering the lengthy list I sent her, which included a lot of my own tough questions along with ones from the other writers on this site, I'm thrilled with what she sent back.
Sera, just like my previous interviews with her, is coy with spoilers, although she does drop a couple about the next episode due to air on January 21st, "Sam, Interrupted." As you all remember, the preview shows the boys in a mental hospital. She also offers some teasers about the archangel Michael and his interest in Dean, what she thought about some of the episodes already aired and plans for the 100th episode. She did avoid some speculative questions about season six, the future direction of the brotherly relationship, and season five ratings so far, so we graciously accept her silence as a "no comment" for those.
So, I'll issue the warning now, SPOILERS AHEAD. For even the worst of spoilerphobes though, it's mostly Sera having fun with us. Which I do love.
Remember, we are uber fans on this site, so the questions tend to be a bit more detailed than the normal "Give us some juicy spoilers." After all, we are a curious bunch here at The Winchester Family Business. So if the questions seem longer than the answers at times, that's just the way we roll.
Anyway, on with the Q & A. Enjoy!
Alice: So, this isn't the warm and fuzzy apocalypse after all, is it? This Lucifer guy is pretty dangerous. He wants to wipe out humans, he wants to wipe out demons, and he doesn't care too much for angels either. Is his goal pretty much to be the last being in the universe? When plotting his storyline, what is Lucifer's main motivation?
SG: More of Lucifer's plan will be revealed as the season goes on. Can't lay it all out for you without spoiling future episodes!
Alice: I'm still trying to wrap my head around how these angels keep bringing up the parallels between Michael and Lucifer and Dean and Sam. Are they doing it to justify their concept of pre-destiny? Don't they see Sam and Dean have reconciled from their betrayal of each other and are determined to fight together? Or does none of that matter to them once the betrayal is done?
SG: Sam and Dean may have reconciled, but that doesn't negate the parallels between their history and Lucifer and Michael's. Their family stories are still eerily similar. And yeah, from the angels' perspective, it's all well and good that Sam and Dean think they're gonna fight togetherâ€”but they're the predestined vessels, so ultimately they're gonna give in.
Elle: Lucifer was able to take hold of his back-up vessel in lieu of Sam. Any chance that Michael has a back-up and we'll be able to meet this character without Dean's consent to being "an angel condom"?
SG: You will meet Michael soon. I can't say more about the form he will take.
Karen: Is Michael planning to approach Dean himself about becoming his vessel? I realize Dean couldn't withstand Castiel's true voice but I would think he would be able to hear Michael's since they are destined to be together.
SG: Yes, Michael's going to approach Dean. No, Dean cannot tolerate hearing angels' true voices.
Elle2: Any hints on when Dean is going to get his amulet back - or isn't he?
SG: The amulet figures into an upcoming episode. If I directly answer your question, I'll give too much away about both Dean and Cass. Not to mention God.
Alice: There is something the Trickster/Gabriel said that's still sticking with me. "And it's going to end bloody for all of us. That's just how it's gonna be." No matter what Sam and Dean do, people close to them die (or get paralyzed) and they can't stop these foretold events from happening. In the writer's room, do you guys question what it is about these guys that motivates them to get out of bed in the morning? Do you see Sam and Dean ever hitting a breaking point? Or does the next episode in the nut house answer that question?
SG: We touch on this in the mental hospital episode, yes. We regularly comment in the writers' room that they function under an impossible amount of stress. But hey, that's what makes â€˜em heroes.
Jasminka: As a therapist who treats trauma survivors and terminally ill patients I've been amazed by the psychological continuity this show managed to establish. Taken from what we know of Sam and Dean, their personalities are so well-drawn that their reactions are absolutely organic, especially after their traumatic experiences (I see many or those reactions on an every day basis when speaking to people who have survived war or torture in war). I'd love to know - do you seek psychological advice in these matters or does it come out of the writers' room just as organically? How much do you actually discuss the psychological impact of the traumas the brothers survive?
SG: We talk about the brothers' psychology all the time. This inspired an upcoming episode where Sam and Dean have to check themselves into a mental hospital to deal with a monster. We thought it would be funny if they got admitted simply by telling the truth about themselves. We played the diagnosis part for laughs, but we also got into the reality of how these guys live. At one point Dean lists how much he drinks, how little he sleeps, how few connections he's had, and you're hit by how deeply troubled he actually is. It's a miracle he and Sam keep it together.
Elle2: Any insight into Bobby's continued development in the second half of Season 5?
SG: A case will bring Sam and Dean to Bobby's town. That episode brings new insight into Bobby's current state of mind and also expands his backstory.
Tigershire: Will we see Anna again? If no, will we ever find out what happened to her? My assumption was she was dragged back to Heaven for reprogramming, but considering recent turn of events - perhaps a more, permanent, decision was made?
SG: Anna's in an upcoming episode. You're right, she was taken to Heaven for reprogramming when Castiel turned her in. The episode will explain what happened after that.
Alice: As far as the standalone episodes go this season, I think they've been very strong. How cool was that to get Chad Everett to play older Dean in "The Curious Case of Dean Winchester?" Was he awesome or what?
SG: We loved Chad as Dean. He brought so much enthusiasm to the partâ€”he really did his homework, and he captured lots of little mannerisms and quirks. That's on top of looking a lot like Jensen. Couldn't have asked for better.
Alice: "Changing Channels" was a huge conversation piece at the recent "Salute to Supernatural" convention in Chicago. Everyone loved its mad genius (as do I). Was that a collaborative effort among the writers, or did all those TV show parodies actually come from Jeremy Carver's twisted (but brilliant) mind?
SG: Each episode is collaborative. No brilliant episode is ever brought to fruition in a cave and you certainly can't lay the blame for a crappy one on a single writer's head. That said, this episode was Jeremy's idea, and he carried it through a head-spinning break to take it from merely clever to grounded and important within the mythology of our show. It's one of his gifts, as you can tell from other episodes he's written. He really does deserve all the admiration you're aiming at him.
Tigershire: Do episodes like "Abandon All Hope" make you cry too?
SG: Abandon All Hope was the first time I actually cried watching a director's cut. At first I thought maybe I was just having one of those days, but I checked in with the other writersâ€¦ I don't want to incriminate anybody, so I will just say that one or more male producers also shed what we like to refer to as A Single Perfect Man-Tear.
Elle2: You've grown from writer to supervisor of other writers to producer and executive producer. If given the chance to shed all the responsibilities and only concentrate on writing, would you do it? Why or why not?
SG: No way. Writing's the hardest part of the job. It gets easier as you get more experienced - but it never gets easy. All those non-writing responsibilities let me engage other parts of my brain for part of the day. It's a relief.
Faellie: It seems to me that writing for a long television series may be different from writing for almost anything else, because there's the possibility of an on-going collaboration between actors and writers, each constantly bringing something new to what we see on screen. Has the way you write any of the characters in Supernatural changed because of the way they've been played?
SG: I try to write all the recurring characters with the strengths of the actors in mind. It's a perk of the job, getting to know an actor that well.
Karen: When the series does come to an end do you have a different take on how you would of like things to wrap up with the brothers? Or are you completely of the same mindset as Mr. Kripke?
SG: I think Eric and I are on the same page about it.
Alice: What's the next episode you'll be writing?
SG: I just finished an episode that takes us back in time to revisit Young John and Mary Winchester.
Alice: Wow, the 100th episode is coming up! Who'd have thunk? Any big plans for that one in particular?
SG: Party, of course. My only firm plan is to have a couple of drinks with the crew. Bob Singer promised he'd play guitar. You didn't mean the actual content of the episode, did you?
Sounds like it'll be one great party! A well deserved one too. Thanks again to Sera Gamble for taking time to answer our probing questions. This hiatus all of a sudden just got longer.