Here we are, Hellatus – as BuddyTV has termed the 17 – 20 week period that is now to be endured, or is that enjoyed. We here at the Winchester Family Business have adopted BuddyTV’s ‘Hellatus’ terminology for these next weeks and will be doing all we can to assist everyone [and, of course, ourselves] through this torture – to those less fortunate (or perhaps more normal) this time is known as late spring, early summer – you know, freedom from school and vacation time.
So, how do you plan to ‘get through’ this time? How have you done it before? Speaking for myself – as writer here that’s all I can do – I can tell you that this is only my second time having to endure this the aftermath of the Supernatural season finale cliffhanger. As we begin to walk together through this desert time of Hellatus, I ask you to share your thoughts on those times past and how you survived. Through sharing we will be healed, strengthened, encouraged and perhaps even amused. 
What was it like on May 4th, 2006, when after the final moments of Devil’s Trap ticked away you were left with this…
Or how about May 17th, 2007… 
(Alice: Well check that off the ‘to do’ list. Ha!)
Then there was this one on May 15th, 2008…

(Alice: Damn You Kripke!)
Which brings us to May 14th, 2009…

(Alice: Season two was a foul. It was written as series finale because the CW couldn’t get their heads out of their asses. So, here is what I consider to be the true season two season ending cliffhanger…)
My journey to here:
I didn’t have to endure the first two cliffhangers, I only discovered Supernatural last February, February 14th, 2008, to be exact; Mystery Spot. I was bored, the writers’ strike had killed anything I used to watch, and now mostly do not, and there I was on a Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. flicking through the channels – I am formerly a CSI fan, every Thursday night I could be found watching the latest offering and usually multiple other times during the week as well as marathons on Sundays [syndication don’t you know] but by now I was bored, frustrated and looking for something, anything; I got so much more than I could have imagined.
Mystery Spot intrigued me right from the beginning, the acting was excellent, the humor macabre, the emotions intense…and I didn’t know Dean and Sam were brothers until Sam pitifully begged the Trickster to bring Dean back. I knew nothing of deals, demons, there was no ticking time clock, no manipulative Ruby or despised Bela. Jo and Ellen and Ash were nothing to me and Bobby was just someone who appeared, was killed by Sam and then morphed into this other guy, the deceptively wonderful Trickster behind the whole thing.
Some things I knew right off would happen during this episode, the setup for the desk dropping on Dean, yeah I saw that coming a mile away and relished it with glee because the show is so ghoulishly dark it ‘went there.’ I thought the music was interesting and the car nice but had no idea that both were so central to the identity of the show and the brothers. I took no notice of Kim Manners as director…Kim who? I’d seen X Files before and The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. and loved them both because they were different, daring, smart, quirky, dry humored, sarcastic; as quick to poke fun at themselves as they do others and I’m so into that kind of clever, intelligent writing. 
I thought the previews for the next week promised more action and angst and I already liked that the two male leads were men, rough and rowdy as well as cool and collected. I enjoy buddies, brothers, those that have each other’s backs when no one else does. I grew up in the Star Wars days and immersed myself in the friendship of Han and Luke, later there was Simon and Simon. Give me two guys who love each other enough to punch each other, are loyal enough to die for each other [but no more, Eric, please I can’t take it], who will fight for the other against all odds, and you’ve got me heart and soul.
Once Mystery Spot and Jus in Bello had aired I decided to do a little more investigating and knew the internet would assist. The next few weeks were a blur as I sifted and sorted my way through synopsis of episodes, some full scripts, and clips. I traveled to and ordered up Seasons 1 and 2 and rejoiced upon their arrival. I combed CWTV’s site and watched Malleus Maleficarum and Dream a Little Dream of Me. When I saw Dean v Dean, I knew this was something awesome, these people know how to write.
From February 21st to April 3rd I watched the first two seasons of the show, twice. I read Bardicvoice’s reviews and any others I could find, and I found The Winchester Family Business. To say I was hooked is to say that Bobby is indispensable to Dean and Sam, in other words, obvious.
I remember thinking to myself, as I finished watching the Impala getting t-boned by that 18-wheeler, Thank goodness I have the second season right here so I can put in the first disc and see what happens, no waiting, no hellatus. I wondered how others had managed, especially as at that time, May 4th, 2006, the show hadn’t even been picked up officially for a second season; how did you do it?
A similar thought went through my mind as the final moments of All Hell Breaks Loose II finished but fortunate for me, I’d already read all the stuff I could find about the first eight episodes of the season and knew that come May 21st, 2008, I’d see each episode of Season 3 for the first time, I was certain that would make the period of time from the end of Season 3 to the beginning of Season 4 a lot easier to handle because there were eight episodes I’d never seen, surely I wouldn’t be reduced to a puddle of tears, a basket case, someone who actually wrote a letter to Eric Kripke begging him to bring Dean back immediately, at the very utmost beginning of Season 4 and reunite him with Sam in minutes—hey, wait a minute, I think he DID read my letter. Oh, wait a minute, the next thing I begged for was for him not to tear the brothers apart; the words “...his relationship with Sam will be massively affected…” terrified me. No, surely that wouldn’t happen because I had eight whole never before seen by me episodes to watch; I could do this…right?
May 15th, 2008:
I was a mess, tears, rewatching, tears, rewatching…I was elated that Kripke sent him to hell…I mean he actually sent Dean to hell…he actually had Sam watch, helpless, as his brother was torn to shreds by an unseen hell hound and bled his life blood everywhere…that was awesome! And then reality; ohmygosh, he actually sent Dean to hell! 
For the next weeks I combed the internet for any piece of news I could find. I read, reread, read between the lines, behind the lines, under the lines and through the lines of every interview, every nugget of information that dribbled forth. I wept (literally, yeah, that’s me) at the fear of Sam and Dean being separated for a significant period of time. I worried like a dog with a bone over the thought of their relationship being ruined. I counted down the weeks and the days and even the hours until the premiere…and that was when it was listed on Futoncritic for October…that’s waaaayyy too long!
I can take a joke, however, so I laughed at the dry sarcasm of Kripke teasing that Jensen wouldn’t pony up some of his salary to him so he decided to get some ‘other guy’ to take his place, I got it. It’s a joke people. This man thinks grinding people’s hands in the garbage disposal is neat, he thinks stabbing a woman in the eyeball cool, get with the program, humor, dark, dry, sarcastic – completely up my alley – byah ha ha ha!!!
Do You Spoil?
I’m not talking about how chocolate will spoil if not eaten immediately, immediately; it’s a fact, I read it in my Encyclopedia entitled: How it is Completely, Irrevocably True that Chocolate Will Spoil Unless it is All Consumed Immediately. If you haven’t read that educational book, I highly recommend it. It’s a quick read.
Last summer I spent as much time as work, sleep deprivation, the need to take care of my personal hygiene and the feeding and walking needs of my dog and cat would allow me and combed the internet for every possible hint of what was to come for Season 4. When the sides started appearing in late June, I combed through them and then headed to the ‘threads’ to read what others thought. The dialogue quickly gave away that Dean was ‘the guy’ and I quickly figured that he and Sam were reunited before too long and on the hunt. I wondered at the complete lack of any sides for Are You There, God; It’s Me, Dean Winchester but quickly moved past to parts from Monster Movie, In The Beginning and Metamorphosis.
When Sera Gamble and Ben Edlund teased in interviews about upcoming episodes including a wishing well and a six-foot-tall teddy bear I clapped my hands with glee [hey, I AM a girl, even though I’m well outside the CW’s precious age demographic]. I didn’t worry as some who read two pages from a forty odd page script and then judged the whole episode a failure. When Dean was ‘cowering in fear’ as someone or something pounded on his hotel room door as written in the side for Yellow Fever, I was way more intrigued by the fact that Dean had caught some illness [come on fanfiction gals…it’s sick/hurt Dean, y’all write about it all the time, what’s not to love!!!??]
As titles appeared and episodes were scheduled I marked my calendar and counted down the days of filming, calculating where they were in production – there was also the threat of another strike to mess with the season, so I was busy counting and calculating how many episodes we’d get this season.   It’s tough being a fan, whew. [for the record, the SAG ballots should be going out this week, May 21st-ish, for voting so I only have to track for perhaps another month to truly feel secure that there will be a full and complete Season 5…counting, counting, counting.
I knew about pumpkins and Sam identifying with a guy turned monster called Jack. I knew about wishing wells and teddy bears and Sam Raimi. I knew there was an episode going back in time and back in black…and white. As the summer continued and fall began I knew about a character called Castiel and when I saw him as an angel I quickly learned there were others, Uriel and then Anna and I completely figured out, despite Kripke and Co’s best efforts that Zachariah in It’s a Terrible Life was an angel…it also helped that they didn’t fully police their ‘fake side’ and underlined the word demon and had the word “an” before it…as in: â€œI’m an demon, Zachariah.” Nice try Kripke et al, but I’m onto you there.
While some in the fandom condemned Dean as being a coward due to the Yellow Fever sides, and others bemoaned the stupidity of a teddy bear, a black and white episode and going back in time, all along with Halloween fearing there were too many filler episodes and no substance, I just marked my calendar and made ‘dates’ for each night these gems were to be revealed.
Some spoilers are spot on – hey, Kristen got it right, there was a third Winchester brother, ‘course others got it right…it was a trap. BuddyTV was right, Dean and Sam were separated by a lengthy period of time and the show picked up several months after the events of No Rest For the Wicked. The fandom had sparked for weeks about ‘the amnesia episode’ and that Cas’ daughter was possessed – well, Cas’ vessel’s daughter, but you get the point, and I had no idea whatsoever where any of those insights came from but they were spot on target. Thank goodness no one bats a 1000 though ‘cause so many in the fandom were convinced Bobby was dead and I’ll admit I was worried since so many of the above speculations were close to the mark or smack dab on.
None of the spoilers I read, however, spoiled the season for me. I’m a passenger on this journey called Supernatural and I can get off whenever I want to. I choose to stay, Bugs and Red Skies and all, I’m sticking around. Bad writing, and less than good acting come and go but the reasons I’m sticking around remain the same…family remains.
I don’t expect apple pies but, if you’re baking, I’m gluten intolerant so can I have mine with a tapioca/rice/potato flour crust. I’m not a princess…can’t stand peas. I can handle the sight of blood but I’m not for drinking it, guess I’m a prude. I’m not much into signs but if I were, mine’s not a bad one to be born under [Taurus]. I’m not that tall, so my tales are short, I’m friendly so nothing wicked comes from me. 
I like Sam and I like Dean. I’ll take them happy or sad, bloody or clean. I like my men mostly clean but a little scruff and rough and tumble is good. Be smart, be funny, real men do cry, sing on key or off, drive just fast enough to show you have a goal but not so fast as to be a Renegade. 
Hellatus is here, and I’m ready to be Back in Black; it’s never too soon for me. Until then I plan on enjoying these weeks that lie ahead, the road as it were. I’m mapping out articles to write on whether Sam is too stupid to live, as has been suggested, and I’m gonna explore just how dumb Dean is. Much of what I write will be old stuff to many of you but hey, I missed the first two and a half seasons, so I got to catch up. Alice and I are planning at least one collaborative effort that we’ll have coming out in a few weeks [like how ambiguous that is, ‘few’] and I’m gonna have a try at what I think are the ‘game changer’ episodes from each season, that might be a multi-part article, as in four. There’ll be some looks at the Impala and the music, likely together, love the rock in roll when cruising on the road, the louder the better.
If all goes well, and I keep my personal hygiene needs efficient [time for a hair cut, longer hair takes more time] I’ll run an article a week which will help to pass the time for me. If you’re inclined, give them a glance; if you’re moved [either by gas or the spirit] jot a note. By sharing together we’ll make it through this desert known as Hellatus, and there will be peace when it is done.


# elle 2009-05-20 14:17
This is my first official Hellatus, as I only discovered this treasure early last summer. I was house sitting several weeks for a friend and Supernatural was an impulse buy of Season 1 and 2 from Amazon. It was the perfect storm for me at that time - didn't have to be at home with my annoying (even though I love 'em) family and I didn't have summer classes to worry about. Of course, once I finished half of season 1, I immediately went out and purchased the season 1 and 2 companion as well as the Winchester Guide to the Supernatural. Pretty much overnight, I was a Supernatural expert.

I endured an 8 hour Hellatus between the end of season one and the beginning of season two because I had to leave for work - and those 8 hours were TORTURE! I vividly recall standing in front of the television literally vibrating with anxiety as the truck barreled into the Impala and looking mournfully between my season 2 DVD's and my clock and forcing myself to click the "off" button on the DVD player. When that excruciatingly long day ended, I then immediately watched season 2 and began hunting for season 3.

I did watch most of the season on the internet, but I couldn't bring myself to watch NRFTW until the DVD's came out and we were much closer to the premiere.

In my scouring for season three episodes, I discovered Alice's fabulous blog on Blogcritics and immediately read each and every one of her posts. Every day I would anxiously await the newest posting for the week - and I was never disappointed.

I finally received my season 3 DVD's 1.5 days before I was due to go to Punta Cana and immediately a friend wanted to borrow them to catch up on season three while I was gone. Now, people who know me well, know that I am very possessive of my books and DVD TV series, so it was very, very hard to part with this one. (Especially after my Gilmore Girl season 3 disc set had been returned in less than perfect condition) but I did eventually let her borrow the DVDs (though not while I was away as I had a SPN marathon of episodes and DVD extra's to keep me up before we had to go to the airport - I was awake for 47 hours that "day" - thank god for SPN to get me through).

While I was on my holiday, I had my self-made Supernatural soundtrack to get me through (and now I have clips of my favourite episodes on my iPod to help survive any travelling). I even made my travelling partner watch Mystery Spot on TV one night. She thought I was nutty and obsessed, I called it devoted. Consequently, said travelling partner just emailed me about how much she LOVED Lucifer Rising.

Regarding spoilers, I do like spoilers, I always have, but I only read one site for spoilers and I found they in fact enhanced my viewing pleasure. All season I was on edge, waiting for the breakup that many had foretold and I wasn't spoiled for the big stuff i.e. Dean = Righteous first-seal-brea ker-guy, etc.

I am very much looking forward to enduring the long, long summer Hellatus with everyone here. We made it through the holiday break and then the mid-winter 3-week gap and we can survive this too! I mean, its not like it's 40 years or anything - right? ;-)
# Bethany 2009-05-20 18:07
Althought i have loved all the things kripke has done, nothing prepared me for the season one cliffhanger (i had no idea it was coming) and i remember sitting screaming at my screen NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOO! and then spending the next month or so trying to confirm that SPN had been renewed - this was the summer that the WB became the CW so if i remember correctly info on renewels came late - or maybe it just felt long. no hellatus had ever felt so long and believe me i've endured them all.
can't wait for season 4 on dvd and spending time over the summer watching all four seasons again before season 5 starts!
# elle2 2009-05-20 20:06
Hi, Clarice, Elle and Bethany,

Wonderful sharing, thank you. I'm so glad you all took the time to write how you made it hug!

Like you Elle, I'm looking forward to making it through hellatus with eveyrone here...the eight-week winter break wasn't too bad and then the five week and then the three week...heck, that's almost the whole hellatus right there and we made it through those (yeah, I know, they were not all together but positive thinking people)

Clarice, I totally agree with you on how to view, chronological, by storyline (ie all Meg episodes or all Jo or all Pamela *sniff* only three of those) then there's the one's that have kids in them and ones w/o the Impala (shudder, there are now five of those...too many!) there are so many ways to 'slice' have at it and enjoy.

Bethany, I think I read a huge amount of relief in your post that thank goodness we knew in February our beloved show was renewed...take a big bit out of this years hellatus right there.
# Suze 2009-05-21 12:59
I came in half-way through season 3 so the first two cliff-hangers were just a case of Yikes ... Next disc, quick! The Big Black Truck Of Doom made me jump a foot in the air and spill beer all over the cat ( this has happened so oftain that now he hears the theme music, gives me a meaningful glare and stalks off out of range )

At the end of season 3 I was all discombobulated and started going after spoilers like a pig after truffles to reassure myself that the end wasn't nigh ... It really didn't help at all, apart from convincing me that certain sections of the fandom wouldn't recognise irony if it spat in their breakfast. To continue with your chocolate analogy it was like someone giving you a Smartie when you hadn't eaten for a week ... A little taste that almost makes things worse ... What I needed was a big juicy series, not meagre tipbits of infomation that just whet my appitite for more. So long story short, I've kind of given up on spoilers completely ... I don't even watch the teasers that Alice kindly posts anymore. I'm really getting into having new episodes just hit me in the face out of the blue!
It's a bit masochistic I know but that sort of goes with the territory, doesn't it ... :lol:
# Bevie 2009-05-21 15:19
Cliffhangers 2006 and 2007 didn't affect me, thank God, as I wasn't watching until Supernatural Christmas. Loved that episode so much I quickly ordered Seasons 1 and 2 and began this awesome journey with the boys.

I don't know what I would have done if I couldn't have put the next disc in the player after the season 1 cliffie. What a punch to the gut, and buckets of tears here as it was.

But 2008? My lord! I couldn't stop thinking and worrying about Dean in Hell. Wanted the summer to be over for the first time in my life. Yeah! I'm really obsessed. Every time I'd think of it the tears would squeeze out of my eyes. Scoured the net for spoilers, blogs, interviews or any news of the show. During my searches I discovered fanfic and have to say that some of those fanfics beat the published novels all hollow. Those ladies really know how to write our boys the right way.

So, in order to survive this hellatus, I will be watching the seasons over and over from the 1st to the last of season 4 (have them on tape) until the new season begins. I love all the seasons, but I really love Dean in the first season, as the troubles of the world have yet to descend upon him and he is almost sweetly innocent in his snarky badassness (up until Salvation anyway). Love that guy like no other! It really hurts me to see him hurt emotionally. Hope to see some of that Dean in season 5.

Also hoping against hope that Kripke and company will be back for season 6.
# elle2 2009-05-21 15:33
Hi, Suze and Bevie,

Suze, you crack me up! -- a pig going after truffles -- HAH!!!! And your cat and my cat obviously have something in common - obsessed mommas who hug the stuffing out of their precious dog (German shepherd) isn't into cuddling too much but when I get excited about the episode he'll run over and stick his nose in my face or try to jump on me to make sure all is the confusion kitty escapes; lucky cat.

I'm undecided about the whole spoilers thing for this upcoming season...I have about a month to make up my mind and I'd best make a decision quick. so far I'm planning on simply sticking here for news and only reading interviews by the writers, after this season my confidence level has shot even higher so their interviews only make me more excited whilst giving away only the barest of the barest...maybe.

And yes, certain elements of the fandom do seem to miss the obvious...but then again, sometimes it is fun to watch them turn themselves inside out...all right, now I'm just being mean (but it was!)

Bevie, we're kindreds when it came to popping in the discs ...hurry up load you stupid DVR,,,faster please!!!! Like you I'll be watching and rewatching the past seasons but I'm also planning to enjoy some more of this gorgeous summertime weather (that is all too short here in upstate New York) since last year I basically wished it away, this year I'm enjoying it (now, if only I didn't have to work...oh, yeah, that pays the bills (especially the cable bill) I agree, therre is such an innocence to Dean in S1, it's all about helping people, saving people but as the reality of it got heavier and heavier, so did his shoulders (great shoulders). Still, he has managed to keep a good bit of his's defensive but it works.

Thanks for chiming in with your therapy thoughts.

# Elle 2009-05-21 15:54
Truffle pigs is one of my favourite analogies! I compare my snuffling dog scrounging for crumbs on the floor to that all the time. I love the imagery, Suze! I am very impressed that you have the willpower to resist even the teaser clips that Alice posts. If I see them posted while I'm at work and can't watch them, it TORTURE waiting to get home and see them.

Bevie, I'm re-watching season one (and all the others) as well as catching my mom up this summer. Season one has a special place in my heart - it's just the raw, Winchester saga before it became Heaven and Hell, angels and soul-selling. Not that I don't love the other seasons just as much, but there is something almost "pure" about season one. I agree, it's the best portrait of the boys before life [completely and utterly] kicks their asses (a few times over). I never tire of taking the journey from the beginning all over again. Thank goodness for boxsets!