"Supernatural" and time. It's always proven to be quite a quandry for the Winchester's and us fans, don't you think?
There's a couple of different issues with time that are being put up for discussion today. First, how do you think "Supernatural" has handled the whole concept of time travel? What I find most interesting is that each time jump into the past hasn't really affected the current timeline upon return. The only time it did is when Balthazar unsunk the Titanic in "My Heart Will Go On." It did affect things a bit in "The Song Remains The Same" but one memory wipe later and all was back to normal. "In The Beginning" it was noted by Castiel that no matter what Dean did, all roads would lead to the same destination. Is it possible Henry's visit changed Sam and Dean's futures too much, or was that all part of the master plan? It's kind of a brain twister, isn't it?
Are you hoping that the show is done with time travel, even though they now know on a spell on how to do it? Do you think it's good or bad that there is such a spell, or does it not matter since they have an angel at their disposal? What would you like to see Sam and Dean go back and change if they had a chance?
There's also the issue of the timeline itself! If there have been two big time jumps in the storyline, how are we real time again? Since I raised the debate recently after "Trial and Error," I got this great analysis from Adriana that I think would make a wonderful "Let's Discuss" bullet point. After all, we really love to obsess over these things:
Before I start, I've got to say that I don't think we should be too finicky on this subject. Trying to synchronize the time in the show (let’s call it fictional time) with reality time (meaning: air dates) is almost impossible and it's useless, I think, considering that the reasons why a show (or an episode) is aired on a period or another are various, different for each country. For example in Italy "Supernatural" is a summer show, so we don't have Christmas Hellatus, breaks for Thanksgiving day, Easter etc. and a season only lasts 3 months-3 months and a half.
But when I read again and again that the time in "Supernatural" should be two years ahead than in reality I felt the need to prove it wrong.
I will try to make my point, and believe me, this is just for fun and because I have time to spend today. I don’t mean to pick a fight with anyone, or be disrespectful, because I’m totally enthusiastic about the show.
Let's call fictional time FT and real airing time RT and count only months (though we know that summer breaks is often a few weeks longer than four months).
Considering only the period of time between two consecutive seasons (both fictional time and real time) and starting from "Lazarus Rising" (we read on the newspaper it's September 18th and this is true in the show and in reality) we have:
BETWEEN SEASON 4 AND SEASON 5: RT + 4 and FT 0 (Dean and Sam are watching Lucifer rising and suddenly find themselves on a plane – same moment) = in season 5 the show is 4 months back.
BETWEEN SEASON 5 AND SEASON 6: RT + 4 and FT + 12 (Dean’s year with Liza&Ben covers 4 months of summer hellatus) = 8 months ahead. As in previous season it was 4 months back, in season 6 the show is 4 months ahead.
BETWEEN SEASON 6 AND SEASON 7: RT + 4 and FT 0 (Dean, Sam and Bobby in front of Castiel/God - same moment) = 4 months back. As in previous season it was 4 months ahead, in season 7 the time in the show and in reality is perfectly synchronized.
BETWEEN SEASON 7 AND SEASON 8: RT + 4 and FT + 12 (one year in Purgatory covering 4 months of summer hellatus) = 8 months ahead.
So now the show should be 8 months ahead than reality. Right?
Wrong again. This is right only if we calculate the difference just on the basis of the time passed between seasons. What about time during the seasons? "Supernatural" generally airs once a week, so we have 7 days between two consecutive eps, but I don't think this is true in the Winchesters' life too. We also have a winter break that lasts 1 or 2 months (more or less) and some weeks without our show sooner or later during the seasons: sometimes in spring, or for Thanksgiving, or for whatever reasons. This doesn't happen in the story. For example, I don't believe that it took 42 days (from December 5th to January 16th) for Dean to drive from Carencro, Louisiana to Kermit, Texas, from the end of "Citizen Fang" to the beginning of "Torn and Frayed."
For said reasons we can assume that in the Winchesters’ story some facts are closer together in time than episodes air dates, so there is more time left for off-screen stories between the seasons (when needed). I mean, if the story sometimes accelerates and sometimes slows down, at the end the characters can look at the calendar and read the same date as we do, without problems in fitting past events in the previous years of their lives. Usually it takes almost 8 months for the CW to tell the story of an entire season but that doesn’t mean that the story covers 8 months in the characters’ lives.
All that said, I think it's real hard to date exactly every fact in the show and of course we are not always sure that time, stated in terms of day, month, and year, is correctly calculated and shown every time we see a calendar in "Supernatural." But it's believable (if not true) that there isn't too much difference between fictional time and real time and I'm willing to bet that, though sometimes there may be gaps, sooner or later during the seasons everything aligns again (at least approximately).
This I do know: the story is set in the present days (like our lives are) and I’m pretty sure that Dean, being born on 1979, is now 34 and Sam is almost 30.
Anyway, does it make any sense trying to force a story into reality so meticulously that it could fit the pattern of air dates and do you really think that this is the task of a writer? For me they should just take care of time inside the show, assuring continuity with previous seasons, building character development through the years, giving the characters time to deal with losses, to get over traumas and hard blows, believable periods of recovering after injuries and physical damages, etc.
So, what do you think? Is Adriana right? Or do you think it should really be 2015? Where would you place the "Supernatural" timeline right now? What do you think of the show constantly messing with timelines?"
This is a free form discussion, so any thoughts are welcome. The above questions and points are just guidelines. Invent your own questins about "Supernatural" and time if I don't have it covered here. Just remember to follow our general rules, especially being nice and showing respect, because we're all about that.
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