The TV show Supernatural is not for the faint of heart. Rather, it’s an incredibly gory, violent, and oftentimes disrespectful show, but most people wouldn’t have it any other way. There’s a reason why people keep coming back to Supernatural and why the program is currently on its 13th season. The overall premise of the show, which features two brothers going on an endless road trip and fighting demons and monsters, is a fun one. Supernatural is definitely a show that has a little something for everyone. Even excluding the aforementioned general disgusting bits interwoven into the narrative, there’s humor, amazing characters with equally impressive story arcs, and a real sense of family that audiences continually get hammered with.
At its core, Supernatural is a beautiful show; you’ll never find anything quite like it. It’s even more rare to come across something that can be so derisive, yet have those moments be completely overlooked. Though Supernatural does have the tendency to get a bit extreme, as we’ll see later, fans largely choose to ignore the nasty and lack-of-inclusivity themed moments. Today at CBR we’re looking at 15 times Supernatural was able to successfully sneak past the censors (and likely you).
15. BOBBY’S DEATH
Bobby Singer was a foundation for Sam and Dan Winchester throughout most of Supernatural. Their surrogate father, in light of their actual father either being dead or not caring much for them, Bobby was a fan-favorite of the highest caliber. When the evil Dick Roman suddenly shot Bobby, the aged hunter was put in a coma. Though he woke, he still ended up tragically dying. The episode quickly took a turn from dramatic to downright horrifying. Viewers weren’t expecting the sudden death, especially the death of one of the most loved characters on the show.
Supernatural is notorious for killing characters and then bringing them back, so numerous fans of Bobby were hopeful that the grizzled hunter would make a triumphant return. That didn’t happen and fans were left more downtrodden than ever.
14. RUBY MANIPULATING SAM
Neither of the Winchester brothers has been particularly lucky where love is concerned. Maybe Supernatural is just that sort of show, but everyone they seem to get close to either ends up dying or trying to kill them and then dying. The demon Ruby fell into the latter category. Apparently, someone believed it was a good idea for this female demon to string Sam along for nearly an entire season, all the while convincing him to drink tons of demon blood.
There have certainly been gorier moments on the show, but anything involving drinking or consuming blood, especially if you’re not a vampire, is a strange thing to force on a human character. Regardless, Ruby was actually just preparing Sam’s body for Lucifer, but she drove a wedge between the brothers’ relationship and is an example of how female characters on Supernatural are essentially either sinister or cannon fodder.
13. SPITTING UP RAZOR BLADES
Dark magic is just one large mess waiting to happen in Supernatural. There’s a reason why it’s called “dark,” as the situations it creates are pretty horrendous. Witches seem to be awfully keen on using dark magic, and back in season four, audiences were privy to an especially visually upsetting and bloody moment. The episode opened with a man who starts spitting up razor blades after eating some candy.
As you’d expect, he doesn’t survive the experience, his insides torn savagely apart from all the razor blades floating inside his body. Turns out, the villain responsible for the grisly deed was a witch. She was hell-bent on summoning the demon Samhain on Halloween, in the hopes he’d raise other nasty critters from Hell. The brothers don’t stop Samhain’s resurrection, but Sam eventually exorcised him.
12. THE THIRD WINCHESTER BROTHER
John Winchester had the habit of briefly popping into his sons’ lives; he was an enigmatic figure. As it turned it, the enigma of John Winchester deepened when it was revealed he’d had a secret son. Incidentally, John met a nurse in a Minnesota hospital in the ’90s and the two had Adam. If John had abandoned Adam, that’d be one thing, but he apparently met up with his estranged second family every once in a while, all behind Sam and Dean’s back.
There was plenty of potential with Adam, but Supernatural got rid of him before he, or his relationship with Sam and Dean, could be properly explored. In season five’s finale, Adam effectively dies and then is never mentioned again until an offhand comment gets tossed out in Season 10. All of this went to show that John Winchester definitely wasn’t the father everyone thought he was.
11. THE DEATH OF DEAN’S DAUGHTER
When it comes to family, Sam and Dean are constantly spouting its importance. However, a couple characters that ought to be important die quickly and are never mentioned again. Dean’s daughter is one of these characters. Did you forget Dean had a daughter? It’s okay if you did because Supernatural has gone to great lengths to never mention her again after Sam killed her. That’s right, Sam, Dean’s brother, killed his daughter. You’d imagine that would have a more lasting impact on their relationship.
Anyway in the season seven episode “The Slice Girls” Dean discovers he has a daughter named Emma; she isn’t entirely human. An Amazon-meets-demon tribe used Dean to impregnate Emma’s mother and sends Emma to kill Dean to complete her initiation. When they meet, Sam shoots her. Though the situation demanded harsh measures, Sam murdering Dean’s daughter is only mentioned once more, in jest, the following episode.
10. KILLING ALL THE MINOR GODS
In no way, shape, or form is religion handled delicately on Supernatural. After all, the entire premise of the show deals with fighting the paranormal. In season five, Lucifer is running wild and killing any who might oppose him. Though other gods exist in Supernatural, the TV show goes to great lengths to demonstrate only a few beings in the universe can oppose him. In the episode “Hammer of the Gods”, the writers clearly felt they needed to showcase Lucifer’s power level.
What better way to do that than have him wipe out nearly every god from other cultures? Sam and Dean meet a group of gods trying to stop Lucifer’s apocalypse; everyone from Chinese folk god Zao Shen to Thor, makes an appearance. They all die. To some, it could be mildly disrespectful to witness their favorite gods killed just so the show can make a point.
9. TWO LOVERS EATING ONE ANOTHER
To the casual observer, love and Supernatural go together like wine and some kind of demonic vinegar. People rarely find love on the show, as though it’s some kind of forbidden notion; those that do typically die horrible deaths. Such was the case in the season five episode “My Bloody Valentine”.
Like many TV shows, Supernatural establishes an episode’s threat before the opening credits roll. Depending on how gory the intro is, you get a decent indicator on what to expect for the rest of the episode. “My Bloody Valentine” had one of the goriest and most disturbing intros in Supernatural history. The episode’s beginning features two lovers who end up eating each other to death; it’s pretty gross. Turns out, the Horseman Famine is behind the gruesomeness. For a seemingly decrepit old man, he was especially twisted and violent.
8. CROWLEY LICKING THE FLOOR
Not every indecent or stomach-turning scene has to involve people getting devoured or killed in ghastly ways. Sometimes the horror is psychologically cringe-worthy, though no one dies. In Season Eleven, Lucifer has taken over Hell and made Crowley, the former king of Hell, his unruly prisoner. Lucifer, who has taken over the body of Castiel to add insult to injury to everyone involved, is not content with Crowley merely being his prisoner. He wants the former king to be his obedient lapdog, incapable of thinking for himself.
Sadistic as ever, Lucifer orders Crowley to lick the floor; the floor mind you, that’s covered in blood, guts, and grime. The whole time, the Devil calls Crowley “puppy”, making the scene even more grotesque. All in all, the ordeal is almost too humiliating to watch.
7. A HUNTER GETTING EATEN ALIVE
Cannibalism upsets a lot of people. There’s something inherently macabre about watching a human being eat another living person. The episode, titled “Metamorphosis”, revolved around Jack, a seemingly ordinary man. That is until he started eating raw meat and found out he’s a rougarou. If he eats human flesh, his transformation will be complete and he’ll become super powerful. The Winchesters tell him to control his urges but Travis, another hunter, decides to take a more hands-on approach.
Attacking Jack and his wife, Travis plans to burn them both alive; the wife is pregnant with another rougarou. Travis is relatively unsuccessful, as Jack attacks Travis, and starts eating the dude’s entire neck. All the while, Travis is very much alive and it’s downright horrifying. Jack continues to eat until there’s little left of the hunter, which then completes the deadly transformation.
Nerds and super-fans don’t often get portrayed in a positive light on many TV shows. Supernatural often depicts them as weird, antisocial, outcasts. That’s where the character Becky comes into play. She’s the motif for a person who becomes so obsessed with a TV, celebrity, etc. they would do literally anything to be a part of it. In this case, that includes Becky drugging her favorite character and marrying them without consent, which she does to Sam Winchester.
In the season seven episode “Season Seven, Time For A Wedding”, Becky uses a love potion to drug Sam repeatedly and marry him. Even though the episode ended with Becky complaining about how they “didn’t get to consummate their marriage”, the episode’s lighthearted tone doesn’t feel so light in retrospect. Her character was meant to be a tongue-in-cheek tribute to some of Supernatural’s passionate fanbase, but it came across as insulting and weird.
5. SLEEPING WITH SOMEONE WHILE POSSESSED
Sleeping with someone without consent is never okay. In light of that, there are an unsettling number of instances on Supernatural where a possessed individual will be forced to sleep with someone else. Even more disturbing, is how Supernatural handles the idea of rape, as it approaches the subject in an overly carefree manner. One particular example was in season five’s “Swap Meat”.
Here a teenaged nerd performs a spell that has him swap bodies with Sam. Throughout the course of the episode, Gary enjoys all the best parts of being in the body of a hunky model/monster hunter. Not only does he go out and have sex with attractive women, while in Sam’s body, but he also opts to go hunting with Dean to cash-out on an unscrupulous bounty. Additionally, there’s just a bunch of demons taking advantage of their victims to have tons of illicit sexual encounters.
4. CHARLIE’S DEATH
Without question, one of the most beloved characters in all of Supernatural was Charlie. Despite her massive popularity, even Charlie could not last long. She went to show that female characters seemingly do have a rather short shelf life. For a lot of people, Charlie represented the diversity that many clamored for. She helped insert the LGBTQ community into the show, and who demonstrated that women could be awesome hackers and save manly men like the Winchesters.
Alas, Charlie met her demise when she refused to hand over the Book of the Damned to Eldon, proving her unwavering loyalty and love for the Winchester brothers; she was an ally and the closest thing to a sister they’d ever had. Even though Dean avenged her, the hole she left remains pretty large, not only for the characters in the show, but Supernatural’s essence overall.
3. CERTAIN SWEAR WORDS
Maybe you weren’t aware of it, but Supernatural is a violent show. Sometimes violent shows come with bad language. It’s not exactly a new idea and generally it isn’t an offensive thing. Still there is something to be said for the over-usage of the b-word in Supernatural.
Though there are plenty of swear words in the English language, but bitch is used particularly often, spat venomously at truly malevolent entities or villains. It feels like every episode the word is thrown around, particularly by Dean or Sam, in order to refer to a woman. The word itself is a rather derogatory one and really hits the nail on the head. Maybe it is a tad overly sensitive to be offended by a word, but with the way women are treated on Supernatural, on-screen, and within the fanbase, it leaves behind a bad taste for some.
2. THE LACK OF DIVERSITY
Supernatural is one of the most popular shows out there, but in the year(s) of 2017 and even 2018, diversity has become the norm. No longer do TV shows have to focus on predominantly straight, white, men. In an era of inclusivity and proper representation of American viewers, you’d imagine Supernatural would catch up with the times. It’s not a big deal for many, but there’s a whole group of folks who rarely see themselves represented as heroes or as a character who stick around for more than a couple episodes.
Over its many years on the air, Supernatural has been an almost straightforwardly white show. People of color have certainly appeared in the series, but they’re mostly all dead now. For a TV show with such a wide and diverse fanbase, maybe it’s time for Supernatural to catch up with the people who love it so.
1. THE KILLING OF NEARLY EVERY FEMALE CHARACTER
One of the biggest controversies to surround the Supernatural TV show has been the treatment of its women characters on-screen. Rarely do female characters have a chance to shine, and when they do, it’s only briefly. Even actor Misha Collins, who plays the angel Castiel on the show, shared a similar opinion, stating, “You [writers] have killed every other female character who had more than a two-episode arc. Charlie’s still around, although she’s not a threat to the boys as a romantic interest because she’s gay.”
Those are some words of derision, but it’s a pretty fair point. Remember, Supernatural previously killed off Ruby, Bela, Anna, Meg, Jo, and Ellen; along with Sam’s girlfriend Jessica. Mary, the boys’ mother, died almost immediately during the pilot episode! With Mary’s return, it could be a sign Supernatural writers have heard the years of criticism and acted on it.
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