I hope you’ve enjoyed our Auld Lang Syne series! The Winchester Family Business staff has certainly enjoyed sharing our favorite articles with you throughout this holiday season. Since I helped pull together all the articles in the series, I thought it was fitting that my reflections be last.
It wasn’t hard to pick my favorite reflections. There are a few that mean a great deal to me personally for reasons I will share below. The challenge was limiting my choices to the top 5!
I had to leave some out, such as my Behind the Scenes report from the Chicago set of “Bloodlines”. That wasn’t the first time I had watched live filming (I still remember being in the audience of The Bozo Show when I was very young, and twice being at the taping of The Oprah Show, which was always filmed in Chicago), but it was definitely my most exciting set visit! I was able to talk with Jim Michaels for a few minutes and ever since then I believe he remembers who I am. It was also a crazy few days jumping into my car and frantically driving into the city to try to catch Jared and Jensen when they were spotted in town (I always just missed seeing them!!).
I also had to leave out “What is it Like Going to a Supernatural Convention” (I tried to creatively approach a complicated event); “Sam and Dean’s Bedrooms” (because that was just so much fun to write and Jerry Wanek noticed the article); and “The Miracle of Supernatural” (because I wrote that letter from a very emotional place). OK. I’m cheating. I mentioned these even if they aren’t in my top 5 (being the site editor has to have some perks!)
My Five Favorite Reflections
So what made my favorites list? Number 5 would probably have to be my hour long interview with Lynn Zubernis of Fangasm fame. Having a full hour of undivided time for an interview is certainly rare, but what made this article special was how much I personally grew from the interaction. I specifically asked questions that had troubled me as a middle-aged fan who fell hard for a TV show. Lynn’s book touched on several of the answers, but the deeper insights she shared during our talk really helped me understand and accept being in a fandom. I highly recommend reading this interview (and her book!) in you are interested in learning more about yourself and why Supernatural means so much to all of us.
Originally Published: April 10, 2014
Next on my list is my character study of Sam Winchester. Jared had commented at a Supernatural convention that Sam is the cumulation of Season1 Sam, Season2 Sam, etc. That observation really struck me, so I researched and thoughtfully examined what Sam Winchester was like in each of the first 8 seasons of the show. I’m particularly proud of the outcome because it helped me understand his growth as a person and a brother. A few weeks later, I published an even longer, more elaborate character study of Bobby Singer, but Sam’s is still close to my heart.
Originally Published: June 17, 2013
My next choice is special because it is very personal. On the birthday of my nation, the Fourth of July of 2013, I reflected on what it means to be a hero. My examples all related to someone being kind and “saving” a friend or family member. I can’t read the article without shedding a tear. It is also a small tribute to a fire fighter friend of my daughter who had just lost his life in the line of duty. Yeah, tears every time.
Originally Published: July 4, 2013
As with several other WFB writers, I have to include my first article for The WFB in my list of favorites. The first article starts the journey. It is often inspired by something that moves each of us so much we are driven, compelled, to write about it, even if we have never written a story before. There is also the immense emotion that accompanies seeing your personal story on line for the first time, forever becoming a part of a website you admire. My fateful event was attending my first Supernatural convention. It affected me so deeply, I had to write about the unbelievable metamorphosis that had taken place to get me to walk into that auditorium. I labored over this article for weeks, but I still pull it out, read it and smile, because it brings me back to every emotion I feel when I think about Supernatural.
Originally Published: November 25, 2012
Auld Lang Syne Selection
There was never any question which article would be my favorite. It has to be my letter to Jared after his performance in “Sacrifice”. This article is my most widely recognized writing. It was only my fifth piece for this website so I was still unbelievably naive and new to both writing and the Supernatural fandom. I was deeply moved by Jared’s acting in this episode, but my emotions were compounded by his sister-in-law’s horrible car accident that happened within days of when Sacrifice aired. Jared flew home for the emergency, missing his personal appearances at Supernatural conventions in England and Italy. I was so touched by what he must have been feeling given his state of mind after filming “Sacrifice” that I sat down and wrote this letter in one draft. Genevieve (who was pregnant at the time) saw it and replied to The WFB twitter acount that this meant a great deal to both her and Jared. Of course I was thrilled beyond measure that they read this. Then 5 months later, Jared tweeted me personally that this letter helped him in what we now know was an afternoon of depression for him. Every single day to this day, someone likes or retweets his thank you to me, which means that every day I receive a Twitter notification and copy of his tweet. It makes me smile everytime, even now, more than two years later. It is certainly not my most eloquent writing and it isn’t profound, but every syllable was written from my heart and both Jared and Genevieve were touched by it.
Dear Jared (A Reflection on “Sacrifice”)
Originally Published: May 21, 2013
It has been almost a week since your SPN family sat in front of their TV screens in awe of the season 8 finale. If everything was as it should be, you probably would have watched it with us, live tweeting occasional comments and interacting with friends, fans and fellow cast members. I imagine you would have experienced a few anxious feelings wondering how the episode would be received, but after a while you would have relaxed a bit, and allowed yourself to absorb the joy of knowing that the show was a success. It should have been an hour of exhilaration and professional pride for you. Instead of basking in excitement, however, I know you are completely consumed with a family crisis right now, so I assume you either missed the show entirely or have not had the time or the heart to tune into fan reactions. At some point in the future, though, when your life starts to return to normal, you will check in with Twitter and emails again, you will think about work again, and you might just have a fleeting sadness that you missed the enthusiasm that surrounded the season’s end. You gave so much of yourself to us in that episode that I thought we should return the favor. So I would like to capture here the thoughts and feelings of as many fans as possible while the finale’s effect on us is still raw and unmuted by the passage of time.
Jared, your performance in “Sacrifice” was nothing less than stunning. The entire episode was a masterpiece, but your portrayal of Sam’s suffering and heartbreak was breathtaking, literally. Every analyst’s review and fan comment I have read has used words like “award-winning” and “ground breaking” with phrases like “raised the bar yet again” and “hit it out of the park”. You brought passion to every minute of Sam’s self-doubt, physical pain and human need. The scenes with Mark Sheppard were touching, believable and transformative. (You have mentioned that working with a variety of other actors stretches your creative capabilities, so I am so glad you got a chance to craft that scene with such a deeply talented actor as Mark. Together, the two of you struck a perfect balance between intensity and sensitivity, resulting in an incredibly moving character exposé.) Then Sam’s climatic revelation to Dean was arguably the most poignant scene in the series. It was long ago established that you and Jensen have unmatched chemistry, and while he added immeasurably to the emotion of that dialogue, you truly owned that moment. Your gut-wrenching confession of (perceived) failure was a window into our most guarded human frailties. You showed us a human’s soul, leaving our hearts pounding and our nerves wrecked. (I can’t imagine filming that scene several times to get the angles, camera shots, etc. perfect. You had to go through that over and over again!)
I can’t say I’m surprised. While your acting is always superb, over the past eight years you have given us several outstanding performances as Sam. You reduced us to puddles of empathy in “Heart” (s2), “Croatoan”(s2) and “Mystery Spot”(s3). We enjoyed your humor and comedic timing through entire episodes of “Bad Day at Black Rock” (s3), “The French Mistake” (s6) and “Plucky Pennywhistle’s Magical Menagerie” (s7), as well as through quick one-liners, as in “Reading is Fundamental” (s7). You left us awed in horror as you transformed yourself into a mocking and sinister Possessed!Sam in “Born Under a Bad Sign” (s2), showed us unforgiving rage in “Fresh Blood” (S3), then mystified us as you delivered a haunting, emotionless Soulless!Sam in season 6. There have been the intense, highly emotional scenes such as those in “I Know What You Did Last Summer” (s4), “Sex and Violence” (s4), “When the Levee Breaks” (s4), “Swan Song”(s5), “The Man Who Knew Too Much”(s6) and “Hello Cruel World” (s7) (Sorry! I started out to list just a few of my personal favorites but the list just kept growing!). Then, at the end of season 8, you began the road to your best performance yet in “The Great Escapist”. None of these achievements, though, prepared us for the perfection we saw in the finale, in “Sacrifice”. Your vulnerability was gripping and unforgettable.
Without taking away from the prior seasons’ accomplishments, the distinction that elevated this episode’s performance was that the impact did not come from what was happening in the scene. The audience was not affected by watching you die from being stabbed in the back, or watching Dean be killed after a season of trying to save him. We were not watching you kill Lilith or raise Lucifer. No, the power of your scenes came solely and completely from what was said and how it was said. There was only dialogue. There were simple movements like you drawing blood on yourself, holding a syringe up to Crowley or showing your arms to Dean but these were there only to support the dialogue. The intensity of the moment came entirely from the honesty of the human emotion. The movements of your eyes, voice inflections, breath, posture, the way you walked, the way you stood and the heartbreak in your face all delivered the dominance of this episode. Acting at its absolute finest.
During the New Jersey convention panel, Jensen said you were “wrecked” after filming the finale. With all respect, you did look tired. Then when your family crisis happened and you had to leave Rome unexpectedly, Jensen said you were “heartbroken” about missing Jus In Bello. He said that interacting with fans rejuvenates both of you and that talking to fans is what makes the long hours of your filming schedule worth it. So ironically, while we were watching a fictional show about sacrifices, you were being asked to make a real life sacrifice of your own for the good of your family. Hopefully, though, our comments give back to you some of that wonderfully grateful, positive enthusiasm that you missed. I wasn’t one of the people affected by your absence in Italy or England, but I know I can speak for at least some of them when I say there is no need to explain further or to feel bad. We are your family too. We understand. We are proud of what you did and we support you.
Our love to you, Genevieve and her family. Our thoughts, hopes and good wishes are with you all. When you are ready, read these comments, and understand what your performance meant to us.
Love and gratitude
and your SPN family
WFB friends, I know many of you already left your reactions to “Sacrifice” in review comments, but this is the place to discuss what you specifically thought of Sam in this episode. What did you think of Jared’s performance in the finale? How did it affect you? Feel free to list your favorite “Sam” moments of the series as well or good wishes to the family! I will tweet or mail this to him at a future date (when it seems appropriate), but even if he never sees it, we will have recorded our reactions and that kind of positive energy always has a way of reaching its intended target!
Copyright 2013, Nightsky
I’d love to hear what you thought of the WFB’s Auld Lang Syne series. Would you like us to do this again sometime? Do you have any favorite articles or series of articles that we missed?
The entire staff of The Winchester Family Business wishes you all a wonderful 2016. We hope to keep your trust and your readership for many more years to come!