What Supernatural is about is right there in show’s unofficial, yet still sort of official, theme song, “Carry on my wayward son, they’ll be peace when you are done…” Supernatural is the story of two brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester. It’s their story and really always should be their story.
Supernatural shouldn’t be limited to Sam and Dean’s experiences as hunters. The Supernatural fan base is predominantly women and it’s about time that they start being more represented on the show. Supernatural may be about the wayward sons, but it’s about time that the wayward daughters get equal footing.
Supernatural‘s Deadly History with Female Characters
Supernatural has a long history of introducing awesome, capable and strong female characters. Only to kill them off halfway through their run. That’s to be expected on a show like Supernatural. It’s a deadly world. Even Sam and Dean have died multiple times, as have a number of other male characters. The difference is that the male characters will typically be brought back (statistically speaking) and the female characters, more often than not, stay dead.
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There’s also an alarming favoritism shown towards male characters over female ones. There is tendency to replace the role a female character was holding with a male one. The most famous example (or infamous depending on your perspective) was with Castiel and Anna in season 4. Anna was meant to be Dean’s angel guide and Cas was only supposed to appear for a couple episodes. Supernatural liked Cas and Misha Collins so much though that they expanded his role and lessened Anna’s until she basically disappeared. They brought her back in season 5 but it was basically to just be brutally murdered. Now it’s hard to argue that Supernatural hasn’t benefited from bringing Cas into a full time role. It’s Castiel after all, everyone loves Castiel. It’s just one example of many that involves male characters dominating Supernatural.
Ruby (and Lilith) were the central antagonists until Lucifer rose and then they were killed off, even if they totally deserved it. Meg Masters was the Winchester’s demon ally for a while but Crowley soon replaced her. Finalizing the transition, Meg got an unceremonious death scene in season 8.
Early on in Supernatural Ellen Harvelle and Bobby were about equal in the mentor ship roles for the Winchester brothers. They were the surrogate parents for Sam and Dean. Yet as the series went on Bobby became more and more important and Ellen diminished until she died (a heroic) death with her daughter Jo. Of course Bobby did eventually die but he has been seen afterwards and he’s set to return again in season 11.
It’s a continuing problem even in more recent history of Supernatural. Rowena had one of biggest episode counts for a female villain. Yet once Lucifer got out of the cage, she got her neck snapped. Then of course there’s the lovable Charlie who wasn’t necessarily replaced by a male character but just died in a completely needless and overly bloody way.
It’s Time for a Change
The problem here isn’t really representation or sexism or anything so “PC”. Sometimes the story demands what the story demands. Jody Mills has been a long running strong female character on Supernatural and she hasn’t been killed off yet. The problem is more that the story has become predictable. Jody hasn’t died yet but fans would be lying if they haven’t seriously entertained the possibility once or twice. Supernatural‘s history is such that once an interesting female hunter is introduced, the expectation is for them to die.
Supernatural has gone for 11 seasons too. No one is suggesting the show be taken away from Sam and Dean. It’s time that things switch up slightly. There should be more a focus on the female characters and less on the male ones. Things should still be seen through Sam and Dean’s eyes but maybe it’s time their regular recurring cast isn’t so predominantly male. It’s not if Supernatural doesn’t have options.
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As we saw in “Don’t You Forget About Me,” Claire Novak isn’t anywhere near ready to be a full-fledged hunter. She’s brash, violent and thinks way too often with her fists. Still it would be interesting to see Sam and Dean try to deal with the erratic Claire on a more regular basis than occasionally visiting her at Jody Mills’ unofficial home for wayward girls. There’s no reason that Claire couldn’t appear as much as her semi-father Castiel before he was officially made a series regular.
Supernatural also introduced an incredibly interesting female hunter as recent as “Into the Mystic.” Much was made of Mildred (because she was hilarious) but Eileen the hunter was given one of the strongest debuts for a new character in recent memory. There was even some not-so-subtle hints of romance with Sam. God knows the younger Winchester needs a love interest who is not a complete wet blanket of a human being.
Supernatural has made some strides to balance out the gender imbalance in season 11. Claire’s role is growing as Jody and Alex’s. Honestly Claire, Alex and Jody are a much healthier and female version of Sam, Dean and John before Supernatural began. Amara is an incredibly compelling villain that is so strong she needs to the Devil himself to try to beat her. Steps are definitely being made but it’s time to finalize it. Supernatural is always looking for more supporting characters and it’s time that position was filled by more female characters.
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But what do you think?
Who is your favorite dearly departed female character on Supernatural? Are there any you want to see return? Any you hope stay gone forever?
Supernatural season 11 airs Wednesdays at 9pm on The CW.
(Images courtesy of The CW)