Dear Jensen and Jared,
There is so much to say about “Road Trip”. We asked the writers for “feels” and they delivered big time!! It is really hard to know where to start. This wonderful hour of unparalleled story telling included stunning plot twists and outstanding acting. Andrew Dabb scripted a brilliant study of emotions that were overpowering and blinding in one moment, and insightful and sensitive the next. Through Andrew’s writing, Jeremy’s vision, Bob Singer’s direction and your fabulous acting, the Supernatural family did not watch this story unfold; we were a part of it. We literally felt every transformation experienced by Sam, Dean, Castiel, Crowley, Gadreel and the host of supporting characters who completed this drama. Through humans, angels and demons, we were swept into a tidal wave of conflicting emotions. We pitied the ache for redemption and acceptance that drives people to desperate acts. We felt a grief that consumes and overpowers all reason and rational response. We were comforted when compassion, understanding and forgiveness were offered by a friend to relieve guilt. We experienced Crowley’s conflicted identity as the personification of evil who believes in fairness, and Castiel’s slow realization that he was in the presence of the being that allowed the downfall of paradise. We felt Gadreel’s confusion, Dean’s desperate self-loathing and despair, and Sam’s exhaustion from his own fight and from trying to get his brother to understand and accept love of himself and others.
Jensen, at the Chicago convention in October you commented that this episode was among the hardest acting challenges you had ever faced. You must have been emotionally drained by the unending pain you had to portray. You alone had to say our goodbyes to Kevin. You had to expose the betrayal Dean felt after taking the risk to trust Gadreel, and the guilt Dean felt knowing he lied and abandoned Castiel. You had to bare Dean’s suffering while he made yet more impossible decisions and listened to Sam being tortured. All of Dean’s anguish had to come through you, yet everything about you created the tortured soul that is Dean. Your voice, facial expressions, eyes, movements, hesitations and tears all made our hearts break for Dean. Laura Prudom said in her review that “the whole enterprise was anchored by Jensen Ackles’ powerhouse performance”. I completely agree. You were the core that made the story sincere and genuine. You gave the story the credibility that transported the cast and audience into that dark place of despair. For that, I want to thank you for your willingness to empty yourself into your character and your unwavering commitment to excellence.
Jared, Ryan Curtis revealed that the scene where Gadreel was tortured with pins being pushed into his head was filmed on Halloween. That was the exact day that you tweeted to me “Today’s been a rough day. Havin’ a hard time…” You have since shared that the restraining strap on your head was cutting into your lip the entire time you were filming that shot. So you had to find a way to convey Gadreel’s suffering and maintain the intensity of the scene to support Jensen as he channeled Dean’s agony, all while you were actually in pain. I have to imagine at one point during the day you also had the fleeting thought that it would be a lot easier (and a lot more fun!) to be home trick-or-treating with your family! You had every right to feel that was a “rough day”! Later you admitted, “the scene with Gadreel and Metatron is possibly the 1st time I ever asked for another take”. It seems this episode was difficult for both you and Jensen. So we are right back to thanking you for the sacrifices you make for us and for this show. Your dedication to always give it every last ounce of your talent really does affect the quality of the final product and its impact on the audience. I see why this was your “co-favorite episode of the year”. You deserve to be proud of it.
There has been a lot of speculation about whether the two of you would want to continue with Supernatural. Are your talents being wasted since the critics and awards seem to ignore a genre show filmed in Canada? Would your careers stagnate if you signed up for more than 10 years on one show? Would your prime acting years be better spent trying to get movie roles? After seeing “Road Trip”, I have a completely different perspective on this. “Road Trip”, and “Sacrifice” from season 8, were masterful demonstrations of your talent, as well as the exceptional talents of Mark and Misha. Putting the four of you together sparks a chain reaction that results in something that is greater than the sum of its parts. Truly something exceptional. You have said many times how much you appreciate your co-stars, but we are all lucky to benefit from your combined artistic creativity and dedication. You each contribute your unique gifts. Jensen, you have a commitment to dig deep and always deliver the best. Jared, you have the drive to never let down your fans or your fellow cast members because they deserve all you can give. Mark brings his wry, witty, brilliant understanding of character delivery and Misha gives his irreverent, funny, undaunted ability to conquer any challenge (plus his ability to put up with the two of you!). Add to that Jerry and Serge’s unmatched talent in set design and lighting, Jeremy’s story writing leadership, a devoted crew, your friendship and chemistry…and you have the perfect storm of talent. Whenever there is a nucleus of this caliber of people, magic happens. M*A*S*H, West Wing, and so many others. Supernatural is becoming that thing.
In addition, Supernatural has broken through many barriers in the TV industry. Cast, crew and fans are family. Together we are experimenting, refining and redefining our reciprocal relationship on social media and at conventions. Misha is changing people’s lives in a very real way by harnessing the power of his fans into Random Acts of Kindness. The show’s successful shattering of the fourth wall is groundbreaking. The SPN Family is relentless in getting you recognized in every award we can influence. I can now see that it is only a matter of time before you and the show turn heads of studio executives, critics and nominating committees. We may not have the reach of the big network ratings, but this kind of quality gets noticed. You don’t have to leave to get the critical recognition you deserve…it will come to you. Your work will demand it.
As actors, you have to make yourselves publically vulnerable to find the motivations and emotions of your characters. I just wanted to let you know that your fans appreciate it. We recognize and are grateful for your work. You really delivered in “Road Trip”, but then you always do.
SPNFamily, do you have any reactions to “Road Trip” that you would like to share, or anything you would like to add to our letter? What made “Road Trip” special for you?