When Supernatural last year finished its 15-season run, it was beyond its expiry date to many.
To fans, including myself, it was bittersweet, marking the end of something that most of us clung to for various reasons.
Then came the last few episodes and the horrendous series finale.
(Major spoilers ahead.)
Not only did Supernatural disrespect two of its most beloved characters in the last few episodes, it contributed to the bury your gays trope for those very characters.
Killing off your confirmed queer character and your queer-coded character is directly spitting in the face of your queer audience.
It’s saying that everything built up between an adored angel, Castiel (Misha Collins), and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) wasn’t worth properly confronting.
Unfortunately, Supernatural wasn’t always the most diverse show, and the fandom is still rife with racism, incestuous shippers, and so on.
Even given how terrible The CW Network is, with the push for queer representation, fans still hoped for a canon confirmation for Dean and Cas – the most popular and beloved pairing in the Supernatural fandom, with over a decade of material to prove it was a slow-burn love story.
That hope was cradled and crushed in episode 18 of season 15 (titled ‘Despair’, which is apt).
Due to much drama behind the scenes, Dean and Cas (and their actors) were tossed away.
What could have been a moment without tragic results was a gut punch, especially when Cas directly confessed his love for Dean and was killed before any reciprocation.
Rewrites and the COVID-19 pandemic can be partially blamed for how rushed the scene was, but nothing about it can be read as platonic.
Queer tragedy isn’t something that’s foreign or even shocking.
Not every show can pull an Adventure Time and allow a queer relationship to be made canon.
Celebrating how far queer representation has come shouldn’t be shunned.
Folks are allowed to celebrate milestones and the characters that come along with them, but also demanding more and better isn’t bad.
Shows like Supernatural have fans all over the world, including in places where being LGBTQ is an immediate death or prison sentence.
That type of reach is powerful, so squandering it is shameful.
Not even the out queer writers for Supernatural could save anything.
Much could have been done differently all around, and blaming the pandemic isn’t enough.
Making a popular queer pairing canon only to take it away is cruel.
Barely addressing the moment afterwards is cruel as well.
Knowing what should have happened and that there was a lot of interference makes for bitter fans, and Dean and Cas deserved better.
Dean deserved to be explicitly confirmed as queer, and Cas deserved to live beyond his love confession.
Letting queer characters survive shouldn’t be surprising anymore.