Skip to main content

Supernatural: An Extimony in Disguise?

By -Demona- ~

If you haven't at least heard of the TV series Supernatural, you've obviously been living in a cave.

At first blush, the CW's popular television series might seem like your typical Monster of the Week show about two brothers who share their surname with a brand of rifle. But, interestingly, it dares to pose theological questions that other shows dare not ask, in a highly entertaining (and sometimes very meta) format.

Supernatural has, of course, gotten so entrenched in our collective consciousness that it's currently gearing up to begin its Ninth Season, after the Season Eight finale where the angels plummet en masse from Heaven.

Supernatural (season 5)
Supernatural (season 5) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
All of the angels still sucking air, that is. Many of the (ostensibly) immortal beings died over the course of the show. Some were bad to the bone and others weren't so bad, but were still prone to high-handedness and racism against humans ("hairless monkeys" was the preferred anti-human slur).

The one decent angel who was in humanity's corner is the heroes' guardian angel—Castiel—went from jerk, to rebel-against-the-angelic-establishment-for-his-human-peeps, to well-intentioned extremist, to two kinds of batshit insane, to a repentant sinner himself. Yes, a recently fallen angel is one of the good guys!

The kicker? Castiel's big sin was accidentally setting loose the Big Bads of Season Seven: the Leviathans (a nasty, prehistoric, pre-angel race that hungers for anything made of yummy meaty flesh). A crime against humanity, rather than a crime against God was the sin of which he needed to repent. God had locked the Leviathans away in the first place because He, purportedly, feared they would nom up all of His Creation. Being an absentminded Daddy, when He locked them away He somehow forgot to swallow the key. Because setting free the Leviathans? It's a scaled-up version of a child getting his hands on his Daddy's gun.

Speaking of the Big Daddy, God never actually makes an appearance in the world of Supernatural. Not once. This is frequently lampshaded by the human protagonists, monster-hunting brothers Sam and Dean Winchester (the latter essentially calls God a dick for not stepping in to avert the Apocalypse). Indeed, the most powerful being ever seen on the show is Death, who promises to reap God one day before turning the lights off on this ol' Universe.

Death's also the only super-powered being the Winchesters have a healthy respect for. Death's first scene in the show proved how powerful a deity He is—the massive, deadly storm plaguing Chicago at the time was a then-chained-by-Lucifer Death cracking His knuckles (and grabbing a bite of pizza) in preparation of the Great Reaping the Apocalypse would have ushered in. Dean had originally planned to do away with Death via Death's own scythe, but Death simply took it back with a cool thank-you and warned Dean not to get snarky. Death summarily refers to Lucifer's attempt to start said Apocalypse as "a bratty child having a tantrum."

Also? Death drives a sweet white '59 Caddy with the license plate “BUH*BYE”. (A savvy nod to the pale rider in the Book of Revelations? Yes, please!)

"This is the angel of death. Big daddy reaper. They keep this guy chained in a box six hundred feet under. Last time they hauled him up, Noah was building a boat." —The Winchesters' mentor, Bobby Singer, on Death (SPN 5.10 "Abandon All Hope...")

"[I am] as old as God. Maybe older. Neither of us can remember anymore. Life, death; chicken, egg; regardless, at the end, I'll reap him too."

"God? You'll reap God?"

"Yes, God will die too, Dean."

—Death and Dean Winchester (SPN 5.21 "Two Minutes to Midnight")

It makes sense that the penultimate, and ultimately unconquerable, supernatural force on the show is Death Himself. He is the one power whose work we can actually see in front of us, the one we desperately try to run from, but who reaches us in His own unhurried yet implacable pace.

Death is the one being who makes His presence felt, and He doesn't care if you believe in Him or not, because your opinion on the subject doesn't matter to Him. What you believe has no importance to how He does His job.

Because you're still gonna die, anyway. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but give it time. He's got plenty of it, but you don't.

Seeing such a smartly put-together dude like Death makes the Almighty look all the more clueless. God's big moment when Lucy finally broke out of lockdown? Sweeping the Winchesters a few hundred feet away from Lucifer's true form, as Big Bro Satan emerged in the middle of a blinding column of light that annihilated anything in range. Oh, and God put Castiel back together after Lucifer turned him into chunky salsa (which literally took all of two seconds).

Thanks, Dad. That's very helpful. How about locking your bratty kid in his room again and changing the lock before he destroys everybody else's toys? No? Too tough for ya, Big Guy? Oh, that's right—You must be extremely busy. So many prayers to ignore and demons, man-eating minor gods and eldritch abominations to let run around loose. Oh, and you can't even say so yourself, huh? Just gonna let your gardener pass the message along? Fabulous. Guess who's not getting a Father's Day card this year?

Yes, pretty much all of the above snark is actually in the show itself, in one form or another.

"I... I don’t get it. God’s not talking to nobody so..."

"...why's he talking to me? I sometimes think it's because I can sympathize—gardener to gardener—and, between us, I think he gets lonely."

"Well, my heart's breaking for him."

-Dean Winchester and Joshua, Heaven's Gardener (SPN 5.16 "Dark Side of the Moon")

Ultimately, one lone human's filial love and selfless sacrifice in the name of that love is what guarantees the Michael-Lucifer Armageddon Cage Match comes to a world-saving screaming halt.

The Winchesters save the world over and over again. The only being they "pray" to is Castiel, because he can hear when his charges call his name wherever they may be, because Cas can hear radio waves and... stuff (no, seriously). The Winchesters, and the many monster-hunters who sacrifice their lives to ensure that people can sleep at night, are the heroes of the story.

Meanwhile, God's turned off his smartphone and His most powerful kids have their thumbs up their collective butts.

Supernatural is a show that champions the best qualities that make us all human, while beheading the idolatry and blind obedience of religion.

Sounds like one hell of an extimony to me!