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. 
   
THEN:
 
What was it like on May 4th, 2006, when after the final moments of Devil’s Trap ticked away you were left with this…
 
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Or how about May 17th, 2007… 
 
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(Alice: Well check that off the ‘to do’ list. Ha!)
 
Then there was this one on May 15th, 2008…

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

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(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…)
 
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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 Amazon.com 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.