I just want to say a few words to everyone who is dealing with the finale of Supernatural and the end of our beloved show.
What you’re feeling and experiencing now? It’s quite and absolutely normal.
The grief, the feelings of loss, the sadness, the anger, are all ok. Doesn’t matter if you loved or hated the finale, the fact is that Supernatural is over. It’s hard to believe that we won’t be turning on our TV’s next Thursday or Friday (depending on where you are) and getting lost in our favourite show.
For many of you, this is the first time this has happened, especially with a show you've invested so much in, and it’s probably a bit overwhelming to feel so much for a TV show and the characters. But, for some of us, it’s not our first go round the block with this.
Let me take you all back to the 3rd of October, 1992. (Yes, I know, there’s a lot of you who weren’t even born then, or were still very young. I’m showing my age.). On that date another show started, one that would become incredibly important to me, and many others, for the next 6 years.
It was called Highlander.
It told the story (following on from the movie) of Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod, an immortal who lived with his partner Tessa, and a thief turned friend, Richie Ryan. Duncan was part of The Game, and Richie also became a player in the classic fight between good versus evil.
I was hooked from the first episode. I couldn’t get enough of it. Back then, there was no Twitter, no Facebook or Instagram. Barely any email. We only had dial up internet, so nobody could use the phone if you wanted to be on the net. You wanted fanfiction? You bought zines, or joined a zine mailing list, where zines were snail mailed to you, and once you read them, you mailed them to the next person. There was no AO3, no Fanfiction.net.
When you wanted to talk about the show, you joined a chat room, a very basic, text only chat room. So I did. Every night, for 6 years (the run of the show) and longer, I would faithfully log into the chat room and talk all things Highlander. The one time my computer broke and was away being fixed? I was beside myself because I was missing out.
I was a Richie girl, and I was Beltane in the chat room and fandom. My best friend in the fandom, Mouse, was a Methos girl. We would talk and laugh and joke for hours with fifty or sixty other fans. In my lunch breaks at work, I’d sit in the car and write long letters to Mouse (remember, no email), and she would send me back the same. (Mouse, if you’re out there, I’m sorry I lost touch with you, and I still think Methos is an OAP).
We went to cons; I flew from Australia. Back then, fans could volunteer to work at cons, behind the scenes, putting together information packs and con bags, for the love of doing it. I met Mouse, and many others from the chat room at these cons, and loved every minute of it. The stars didn’t have bodyguards, and just mingled with all of us. It was heaven for a dedicated, obsessed fan like myself.
Then they killed off Richie.
I was gutted. I had to call in sick from work. I couldn’t get out of bed. The chat room was awful. We were devastated and railed against the writers for what they did. Everything people are going through now, I, and my fellow fans, went through then. But, as I said, there was no Twitter or FB, just us and our chat rooms.
But, as angry and upset as I was, as my friends were, life goes on. It was tough for many months, the feelings of loss and grief, and anger. Anger that my beloved Richie had been killed before the show ended, and that he died at the hands of his best friend, Duncan. Anger at the writers and producers. It wasn’t fair. I loved Richie so much, and now he was gone. What would I do now? We wrote long letters to the producers and writers, but it didn’t change anything. In Highlander, once you lost your head, there was no coming back. It subsequently turned out that Richie was killed for financial reasons. Stan Kirsch, who played Richie, was the cheapest actor being paid. Knowing this made things worse, not better.
But, as I learned, the world goes on. So, little by little, the pain, grief and anger faded, and I became grateful for this character I’d come to love, and lost. And I realised I could still love the show, and be proud to be part of the fandom I loved and that had given me so much. I wrote some truly awful fan fic, (which eventually got better) and it helped, and I read every story I could get my hands on. I created my own world in which Richie didn’t die, and in which I controlled the story. It also helped, and my world righted itself and I moved forward, but I never forgot my Richie and the show. Stan Kirsch, who played Richie, died in January 2020, and I felt so very sad again.
Fast forward to November 19, 2020. So much has happened this year. COVID, shutdowns, so many deaths, so many changes to how we live. And, the end of my beloved Supernatural. It was always going to end, as everything truly does, but it didn’t make it any easier.
The finale was so many things, depending on your favourite character. All those feelings and emotions came flooding back, and I was back in 1997, crying my eyes out for Richie, but this time it was for Sam and Dean. Something had changed though. This time, I could be a bit more objective, and knew that no matter what I was feeling now, it would eventually pass, and I would be left with feelings of gratitude for the show and characters that captured my heart and mind for the past 15 years. I’m not there yet, but I will be one day.
Now, I’m letting the grief and sadness wash over me. I find myself suddenly tearing up, even crying, when a memory catches me unaware. I hear "Carry On Wayward Son" on my playlist, and tear up. I hear "Brother", and I cry. I see veggie bacon in the supermarket and start sniffling again, which as garnered me some weird looks in the Deli aisle.
But you know what? It’s ok, and I know that. It will happen for a while yet, and I’m ok with that too, and you should be as well.
So, my advice to everyone who is feeling anything about the finale, and the end of the series? Accept your feelings as valid. Don’t try to repress them or ignore them. Take the time to acknowledge what you’re feeling is real, and that’s ok. Ignore anyone who tells you that you’re being silly, that it’s just a TV show. It wasn’t ‘just’ anything. It was, is, and always will be an important part of our lives for 15 years, and you don’t just throw that away once it’s over. Cherish the friends you’ve made through this time, and keep in touch.
One day, you’ll wake up and the world will look a bit brighter again, and so will the next day, and the next. Believe in the magic that Supernatural brought us, and live the lessons that it taught us. Uphold its ideals, and you will make someone else’s life that much brighter. It won’t be today, tomorrow or even next week, but it will happen.
Until, and after, then, carry on.
Because we are Supernatural, and that’s what we do.
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