In less than a week, the mid-season hiatus will be over and we will finally learn what Dean is going to do about Gadreel’s possession of Sam. We will learn what role Castiel and Crowley will play in defeating Metatron and Abaddon…and we will learn about the inevitable fallout of a gullible and misguided angel who betrayed people who trusted him.
We all witnessed the same thing at the end of “Holy Terror”. Gadreel killed Kevin. He laid his hand on our young, unsuspecting prophet and scorched him from the inside out. Glowing white light, then slumped, lifeless body. Although the scene shocked me, I wasn’t upset by what I saw because I completely and totally believed that Kevin would be resurrected somehow, or that he wasn’t really dead. Maybe, like Pamela, his eyes were burned out but he was still alive. Maybe Gadreel faked Kevin’s death to convince Metatron of his loyalty. Castiel had angel powers again so surely he would resurrect Kevin. I whole-heartedly believed these scenarios…until the next morning. When I awoke the next day, Osric Chau had posted this intimate insight into his feelings about leaving the Show he had come to love so much:
Badonk-a-Donkey @OsricChau 4th December 2013 from TwitLonger
Three characters might be enough to sum up everything going through my head right now but I'm gotta do what I do and vomit over my keyboard hoping for feelings to come out with the rest of the gloop.
As I was filming this last scene, I could not help but feel a deep sadness for what was to come. It was inevitable after all, of course it was, Kevin Tran advanced placement of Neighbor Michigan was supposed to die a less than heroic death by the end of Supernatural's 7th season. Sam and Dean would take a moment to sigh in regret and then move on as they should and we would have done the same. This show was supposed to be nothing to me... but it became everything.
It's weird to stop and think just how far Kevin has come since I first met him and how much he's been able to accomplish in such a short time. He's lost everything and everyone he's ever known, forced to run and hide and at such a young age, you kinda wonder how else he was ever gonna rest in peace.
They said every prophet was supposed to have an archangel tethered to them for divine intervention should there be danger. Chuck had Raphael to protect him from Lilith but by the time Kevin had become the prophet, the arch angels were either dead or locked away. I like to think that the SPNFamily had been Kevin's angels all along and the biggest reason for his survival. I thank you for that. These thoughts were swimming through my head as I lay there on the floor in darkness.
I had prosthetics on my eyes so I couldn't see, nor could my eyes be seen. That was for the best because it was in those moments that I said my farewells. To the studio, the houseboat, the Men of Letters bunker where I spent so much time. To craft services, the caterers, and the candy tray, where I spent even more time. To the faces I've gotten so used to seeing over the last two years, I had to say "see ya later" because I just couldn't bring myself to say goodbye, all the while hoping that the glue holding my eye pieces in place weren't in jeopardy of dissolving.
It's been an amazing ride and though I knew it was coming, it's still this strange sensation that I can't quite readily describe in this mindset. I've met so many wonderful people and I've made so many memories I'll cherish for a lifetime.. but it's that time where I say my thanks and take that last step into the fandom and let that world envelop me as I continue to support the show and the fans that have changed my life. Thank you for everything you've done, everything you're doing, and everything you continue to do. Thank you.
And yes, I do think #KevinLives. In all of our hearts :)
I was stunned. Osric was telling me that Kevin was dead. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t want to believe it. I scanned social media sites and found that the entire SPN Family was in tears. The day before we all learned of Kevin’s fate, Osric posted a fictional account of Sam and Dean throwing a birthday “party” for him in the bunker. At the time he wrote it, he presumably already knew his character was going to die. Perhaps he had already filmed the final scene. That gave his account of life in the bunker a whole new meaning.
We had all shared the life of this young man between his senior year high school and his 20th birthday. We knew his fears, his sorrows and his triumphs. We watched him grow up. Supernatural Wiki re-posted a character study done by Osric, in which he theorized what Kevin might have felt at the beginning of these fateful few years. It was haunting to hear Kevin’s thoughts as expressed in his "Thought Diary."
Kevin learned to defend himself when he was on the run and alone. 8.01
His diary ended by referring back to his life before he became a prophet, when college acceptance was the biggest challenge he had to face. Back then, before his life took the left turn that ended with him slumped against a pillar in an underground bunker, he sat at his computer staring at the blank screen that dared him to write his college admissions essay. He confessed to his girlfriend, Channing, that he had “absolutely nothing to say”, presumably because his life had been scripted and predictable until then. He simply didn’t have enough life experiences to be interesting. Then we was “chosen”, kidnapped, abandoned and left running for his life. When Kevin recorded his diary above, he had changed in ways that few could imagine. He ended his diary by observing that he would be able to do a good Admissions Essay now.
Kevin worrying about college, before he was a prophet 7.21
We all shared in Kevin’s growth through sacrifice, courage and loss. We all experienced the loss of his girlfriend, his mother and his friends. We saw him find enough courage to face down the King of Hell. We knew he sacrificed every dream he ever imagined. He was so young and had so much potential. We were all a part of his life now, and he was a part of ours. Every Supernatural fan was asking, why did he have to die? Videos, drawings and photo tributes starting popping up. Webcasts discussed every aspect of his death. Interviewers asked if Kevin would be coming back. Ironically, someone on Twitter mistook me for a writer of the Show instead of a writer for this web site and sent me a desperate message in their grief, using rather pointed language, all caps and 4-letter words to ask me why I made Kevin die!
Kevin’s last meal? 9.09
Did the Supernatural universe really kill this trusting 20 year old kid who had just become part of the Winchester family?! Everyone was in shock. I tried writing about what was happening within fandom, but I couldn’t write anything coherent. I was just too….depressed. Quite literally, depressed. When I stepped back and thought about what we were all feeling, I realized that we were experiencing grief. We all knew this was “just a show” but our emotions were reacting as if we had just lost a close friend. Jared and Jensen have often commented how their minds might know a scene is imaginary but their bodies feel the actual force of their emotions. We were experiencing the same transference.1
The 7 stages of grieving, initially suggested by the works of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, have been amended by several subsequent theories. Essentially though, the stages of grief are more or less the following2:
1 Shock and Denial
2 Pain and Guilt
5 Depression and Sorrow
6 Testing and Reconstruction
I realized that this model reflected what we were all feeling for Kevin. The night of the show we were all in shock. I remember sitting on my couch with my mouth gaping open for several minutes, speechless, staring at the TV screen, expecting it to provide an epilogue or preview that would say “Just Kidding! No Worries! Kevin will be fine!” When it was obvious that the show was not going to deliver answers for at least another 6 weeks, I clearly went into denial. I was convinced that Kevin wasn’t dead. Cas would fix it. Gadreel would undo it. Something would happen to surprise us all. Once I read Osric’s essential confirmation that Kevin wasn’t coming back (at least as far as Osric knew at the time….wow, I think I’m still in denial!), the pain and subsequent tears began. Very soon afterward, though, I was furious with the Show. Raging anger! Why would they do that??? If the tweet I received was any indication, other fans were feeling that rage as well. I really didn’t have anything to bargain with or for, since I am powerless to affect the direction of the story, so I skipped that stage and went straight to depression and sorrow. Now, weeks later, I am able to write about the experience, and I have begun to imagine where the show will go without Kevin. That seems to me like reconstruction. But acceptance? Not yet.
If we, as mere observers of Kevin’s life and death, are all experiencing the various stages of grief, I have to wonder how Dean and Sam will react. In the episodes that will make up the second half of season 9, what emotions will they have to bear (and us along with them)? I think it is safe to say that we already witnessed the first two stages of grief from Dean. Dean stood shocked as he stared at the results of Gadreel’s cold and calculated kill.
He quickly transitioned to denial as he repeatedly called Kevin’s name hoping he would answer. Then the pain he was feeling was written all over his face in the shot that has haunted us for the past 6 weeks:
Dean knows death, though. He will soon channel his pain into emotions he recognizes all too well – guilt and anger. He will blame himself, then rage will consume him, driving him into some type of bargain…with Crowley or maybe Castiel.
What about Sam’s reactions? At this point, we don’t know if he is aware of what has happened. His urgent plea to Death, though, was that no one ever die again because of him. He is surely going to cycle through shock, denial and pain very quickly.
He will then zero in on guilt, blaming himself for something that was out of his control.
Then he will fill himself with anger, most likely aimed at Dean. We are in for a very rough ride watching this natural human progression of emotions over Kevin’s death.
Herein, though, lies my hope. I am hoping that Dean never gets past bargaining. I am hoping that his desperate pleas to Castiel and/or Crowley lead to Kevin’s resurrection. I am hoping that Sam’s guilt and pain is felt by Gadreel and that he atones for his terrible judgment and betrayal by reversing all the wrongs he has done. If you follow my Threads articles, you may have noticed that I seem to be developing eternal optimism about plot developments that I don’t want to accept. I have never accepted bad news until there was literally no way around it. Is this optimism, though, or denial? Just like Kevin expressed in his Admissions Essay, I seem to be learning new things about myself every day. Until season 9 ends and we know the outcome of Gadreel’s motivations and intentions, Castiel’s resumed grace, and the extent of Crowley’s rehabilitation, I hold out hope that one of these incredible supernatural beings that has shown many times they have power over life and death, will bring Kevin back to us. Am I alone in this optimism? Is there still cause for hope?
Osric posted his New Year’s Resolutions on-line last week. They are truly inspiring, and give a personal insight into this wonderful actor we have come to know. I get goose-bumps every time I read them. Follow the link if you want to read them in their entirety, but the closing, well, I couldn’t say it better myself.
But much like Kevin I started off this career as a stereotypical Asian character, playing a monk or nerd several times over. And it was necessary because I am Asian and a lot of those stereotypical traits do apply to me, but season 7's long gone, and 2014 brings in season 8 where we start to really get to know Kevin, what he truly values and how he handles himself under pressure. Soon after comes season 9 (not including the mid-season finale!), and that's when I'll be able to show you all the things that'll make you have to explain to your friends, "Cause he's Osric Freakin' Solo."
Here’s to eternal optimism, Kevin. I’m not ready to move into acceptance yet, and I hope neither are Sam or Dean.
1 The idea of fans experiencing very real emotions about their favorite fictional characters is a theme prevalent in the Fandom at the Crossroads and Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls books, written by Lynn Zubernis and Katherine Larsen.
All screencaps courtesy of www.homeofthenutty.com.