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Pondering the survivals and deaths of S8 
19th-May-2013 09:42 pm
Discussion / no weapons discharge

I was thinking about the characters who survived season 8 and who we have going into season 9. I thought about the fact that Naomi, Meg, Sarah and (probably) Mrs Tran were killed and yet Castiel, Crowley, Garth, Kevin and Metatron survived.

Charlie, Jody and Krissy were the surviving female characters, with Martin and Samandiriel being the only recurring male characters to die (jury still out on whether Benny is actually dead dead).

I've never really held the belief that show killed off more women than men (especially after crunching the numbers a while back), but I gotta say I'm feeling the imbalance going into S9. I think more so because the surviving male characters are so strong (notably the long term recurring characters of Cas and Crowley).

Charlie, and possibly Abaddon, are the only major females still around for S9. Of course we may see others (Jody, Krissy), but Charlie and Abaddon are the only two recurring female characters we had this season who are still alive.

Examining the deaths we can see that Sarah's death was a plot device - to advance the tablet story line and to up the angst stakes for our heroes going into the finale (which in itself can be seen as problematic), but the deaths of Meg, Naomi and Mrs Tran did...well, nothing much really. Did they? I'm puzzled by Mrs Tran's death because we didn't see it. It could be that she isn't actually dead I suppose. Meg seemed to be brought back in order to kill her off and I can only think that they killed Naomi because they can see no use for her next season (or maybe Amanda has another gig?). Her death might have been significant if she had been the big bad (as it looked like), but her character seemed to be just getting interesting - in a multi faceted kind of way, when she was killed. Mrs Tran's death would certainly have been significant if they showed it because of her connection with Kevin and I think she was liked by fans.

Am I complaining? I'm not really sure. I'm puzzled mostly. I've always accepted that a lot of people die on this show. It's been part of this universe since the beginning and I came to terms with it early on. It just seems that because we have Castiel being added as a regular (much like Bobby was) along with Crowley, Kevin, Garth and now Metatron as recurring secondary characters it seems even more male heavy than previously.

I've always accepted it's a male heavy show (especially with two male leads) but I'm not sure why they seem to have such trouble creating and keeping good female characters.

I know they have to tread a fine line with the mostly female fandom and female characters. History shows that more often than not they are greeted with anger and even hatred (man, I remember the fuss over Ellen, Jo, Ruby and Bela when they were introduced). Those characters warmed to many over time, so much so that there was anger when they were killed. Charlie and Jody seem to prove that they CAN introduce female characters that are loved. Amelia and Becky certainly had a frosty reaction (to put it mildly...;D), but that's pretty much due to creating unlikable characters (subjective opinion of course).

I know I haven't actually made a point with all this. I'm not feeling ranty about it, it's mostly an observation. I suppose I would really love them to stop feeling that they can't have solid women in the show - and keep them.

The tally going into S9:


2 leads: Dean, Sam
1 regular: Castiel
4 recurring* secondary characters: Crowley, Garth, Kevin, Metatron

Possible returning characters: Benny, alpha!Vamp, Ben, Lucifer, Adam (ha!), Aaron (from Hitler ep)?


2 recurring secondary characters: Charlie, Abaddon (assuming the demon will take a female vessel)

Possible returning characters: Jody, Krissy, Amelia, Becky, Lisa, Kate (from Bitten)?

*based on appearing in more than a couple episodes
19th-May-2013 01:59 pm (UTC)
I've never has a problem with the introduction of any female character, and out of all the losses we've had throughout the show the one that hit me hardest and had me blubbering (beside Sam's in AHBL) was Jo's, but I think it's going to be a while before I am over losing Meg. I think they were really hitting their stride with her character and then they killed her off and for no real progression or strong reasoning. I'll admit I'm a bit put out that we lost her character, like you I'm not ranty over it just, sad I think.
19th-May-2013 02:07 pm (UTC)
I've always been open minded when new female characters are introduced. In fact, I was really excited about Amelia until I realised they forgot to actually give her a character.

Ellen and Jo's death had me blubbering like a baby! I'm glad they gave their deaths such significance though. Jo's return was particularly good also.

I was sad for Meg, especially as I can't exactly see why she had to die. At least they gave her a solid goodbye episode I suppose.

19th-May-2013 02:19 pm (UTC)
Gee, lost my comment....and I was just saying I was sick of the angels and the page disappeared....spooky... angelic intervention :o

Sorry to hear Cas still around. Yeah, I know, sorry.

I'm not sure what I want from show, but sick to death of the Crowley/angel story line. I feel remarkably disloyal even thinking that, but a world full of grace-grown trees, which are then harvested for timber resulting in confused furniture...I mean, what the...?

And all those childless couples suddenly pregnant; oh, oh, oh, an world-wide outbreak of unplanned, and yes unexpected, births creates what? More harmony or more friction on earth. Give me a ghost, werewolf or vampire any day.

wow, hyjacked for bitch fest; sorry again.

Oh, and I blame you for making me like Sam, a little more each dream, umm day.
19th-May-2013 02:37 pm (UTC)
Oh honey...you crack me up! confused furniture...lol

My positive take going into S9 is that the angels getting their grace back etc will be the overall story arc but we'll MOSTLY get MoTW stories. I think Dean will be in for some big character arc stuff (I think he was short changed this season) and SamnDean are at least going into the next season on a positive footing (it seems).

and er...nod nod re the other stuff.

Good to hear from you!! I wondered if you were still watching...(silly for me to think not <333)

19th-May-2013 02:49 pm (UTC)
I think the other side of this, which we have to wait and see about, is who gets resurrected and who doesn't. I think you're right that male and female characters die in about equal numbers, but it seems to me that the only ones who come back are male. Sam and Dean and Cas have all died any number of times; Bobby came back and went to Heaven in a very open-ended way; and as you say, Benny isn't dead dead. Jo and Mary had brief returns, it is true, but I think it was always clear they were only temporarily visiting as ghosts. It feels like once a woman dies, that's it, they're done, whereas when a man dies, you can never rule out seeing them again. (Unless I'm missing someone?)

Of course, I would be ecstatic if they decided to prove me wrong and bring back Meg and/or Naomi. :D
20th-May-2013 09:55 am (UTC)
Yeah. I can't think of anyone who breaks that rule. I'm thinking that Sam and Dean (and now Cas) are special exceptions so they "have" to return when they die. Bobby was treated that way as well - but even there we can see the pattern. We only have male leads and regular male characters. It's probably the main reason why it feels so uneven.

It was suggested that Naomi might not be dead dead as we get a wing shot - but there have been other angel deaths without wing shots (Samandiriel).

Maybe we will be proven wrong and Meg and Naomi return. :)
19th-May-2013 02:56 pm (UTC)
They did get a bit more testosterone heavy than usual, didn't they?

I'm not entirely sure why Ms. Tran had to die off screen either, it seems strange. Crowley got to her maybe she'll show up as a demon again and boys can 'cure' her?

Now that I think of it, Bela could return as a demon as well.

I really hope they find a way for Abaddon to return to that vessel. Alaina Huffman did such a fabulous job with that character. Castiel's vessel has been wrecked more than once, Crowley's too I think. IDK.

Part of me hopes Amelia and Lisa don't make a return and they stay safe (and alive) in obscurity.

Randomly, I kind of want Amy and Benny to meet up in Purgatory and compare notes about their BFF's the Winchesters.

Edited at 2013-05-19 02:56 pm (UTC)
19th-May-2013 03:04 pm (UTC)
Mrs. Tran may not be dead. I always withhold judgement on that until I see it FOR CERTAIN on the show. And even then, you never know.

And BOY, would I love to see Amy and Benny swapping Winchester stories! That needs to be written.
19th-May-2013 03:15 pm (UTC)
I usually don't keep tally of the male/female ratio of things, to be honest. First off, I prefer male protagonists and maaaaaaybe I find myself resenting 'pretty girls' a little more than I should.

The claims of misogyny lobbed at the writers of the show, I tend to shrug at and go "meh." A character is a character, be they male or female. I don't say to myself "Shit, why did another woman have to die?" I question "Why did they feel they had to kill that character? What point did it serve?" This, especially, with Meg.

Sometimes we, as a fandom, have only ourselves to blame. We have, in the past, wailed about any female character that dared come between us and the Winchesters. And now we're complaining that there aren't enough substantive female folks on the show?

Do we happen to know if the Gamble year produced more juicy female characters than seasons with male show-runners? (Sera will forever be my queen for producing Soulless Sam, just sayin'. :D)

Edited at 2013-05-19 03:16 pm (UTC)
19th-May-2013 03:33 pm (UTC)
Do we happen to know if the Gamble year produced more juicy female characters than seasons with male show-runners?

I wouldn't particularly say so. She's largely responsible for bringing Lisa back, though, I think? And the show didn't kill Lisa, or Meg, when she was in charge. Does Gwen count as a juicy female character? Sort of. She died before we got much of her. Jody was brought back and made awesome, though (and not killed). And of course, Charlie first appeared in S7, but she was written by Dabb (and/or Loflin) IIRC. We got to see Tessa again, and she didn't die either.

...Actually, now that I look at that paragraph, I'm gonna have to say maybe things were better under Gamble. We got strong reappearing female characters who didn't die, and the ones we already had (Meg, Lisa, Jody) got much more to do and more interesting stories than they had before. Plus, Charlie was obviously a big fan hit. All things considered, that's pretty good.
19th-May-2013 04:23 pm (UTC)
The thing that comes to my mind about Naomi is that with all angel fallen out of heaven and being human she, too, would be just another human now and her character might be "useless" without the role she was playing. I've been wondering actually if the fallen angels will have any memory of who they really are or just think they are persons with lost memory or so. But then again, Cas is now human, too, and is still part of the story. Hmmm... with Cas being human now we may get to see him in different clothes? I mean he would have to change and wash them now and then.. ;)

I wonder if they made Kevin say that about his mum dead as an easy way to have her out of the picture as they have no use for her in the future and people might ask what is going on with her. Or they want Kevin free of emotional attachments or more grown up without a mother in the background still.

So, yeah, don't know. These were my thoughts popping into my head after reading your post. But yes, I'm all for strong women in the show, too. Maybe they'll come up with new ones?... *hopes*
20th-May-2013 02:29 pm (UTC)
with Cas being human now we may get to see him in different clothes?

This was one of my thoughts!! I would LOVE to see him in something else. I was watching Misha in his own video the other day and was struck how nice he looks in other clothes. There would be no reason why he'd stay in the coat.

Mrs Tran is a mystery and I hope they do provide some answer for that one. I think they could still have her out of the picture without her being dead...maybe. Weird one.

I hope they come up with some new female characters - I'd actually love to see a regular hunter or hunters...;)
19th-May-2013 04:27 pm (UTC)
I agree, bb. I feel like trading Naomi for Metatron was - not a good deal. Metatron is not interesting to me, while Naomi was. Though we didn't see the shadow of her wings, did we? Maybe she isn't dead. Maybe Metatron used the drill to access her 'operating system' and shut her down temporarily, and she fell with the rest of them. Yes?

Meg's random death made me really angry. She was the longest-running character on the show, other than Sam & Dean. If they were going to cure a demon, it should have been her.

Same with Linda Tran (who I quite liked) getting killed offscreen. Again, it may have been scheduling conflicts with getting the actor back on the show, but I feel like she deserved better. Specially since they decided not to close the gates of Hell after all, so she died for nothing, really :( Holding out hope that she isn't actually dead, though. Maybe Crowley stashed her somewhere?

Bringing back Sarah Blake just to kill her was really upsetting, too. It really wasn't a good season to be a female character on this show, was it?

I might add Tessa the reaper to the list of potential recurring female characters. Mary Winchester and Jessica Moore have both come back a few times, though mostly as hallucinations or through time travel.

Supernatural has always had a bad reputation for killing off female characters, and I've always defended it on the basis that they kill off male characters at just as high a rate, but it's starting to feel more unbalanced.
20th-May-2013 02:44 pm (UTC)
Maybe Metatron used the drill to access her 'operating system' and shut her down temporarily, and she fell with the rest of them. Yes?

Ha! I like the idea! Not seeing the wings could means she not dead dead, but we didn't see Samandiriel's either...so...Hmmmm....

If they were going to cure a demon, it should have been her.

Ah, this is an interesting one. I would have agreed with you only I think it being Crowley is what made that scene at the end so powerful. He wasn't a willing participant, whereas Meg would have been. Sam may have also been more inclined to finish the trial is it was Meg. I'm not sure, but I figure now that she was killed so she wasn't an option for the end. (though that's not a good reason because they could have found a way to get her out of the picture without killing her).

Bringing back Sarah Blake just to kill her was really upsetting, too

Yeah. A classic case of fridgeing if there ever was one. I feel though that her death had a purpose (not a good one mind you) and it created higher drama in the following episode when Jody was threatened. It took Sam to the brink and I'm not sure what other character death would have done that. I never considered that they'd ever bring Sarah back - it is a shame it had to be like that.

I had forgotten about Tessa and Mary and Jess might make some more appearances for sure.

and I've always defended it on the basis that they kill off male characters at just as high a rate, but it's starting to feel more unbalanced.

Yes, exactly how I was feeling. This season may be the most imbalanced I'd say.

19th-May-2013 11:13 pm (UTC)
Our fridge is full.

The longest running female character on this show is the Impala.

On a more serious note,  this season seemed to be more gratuitously violent than usual and they piled on the pointless deaths.  Maybe it was all the torture or maybe it was them trying to show how evil Crowley was.  SPN's always been violent but it seemed different this season.  There were deaths by self-inflicted gunshot and I don't remember that as much in the past.  Maybe I'm just getting old and  squeamish.

I don't really want to get too attached to guest characters anymore because that way leads to disappointment.  And abandon all hope on this show if you are a mother or less frequently a father or grandfather.  SPN is the land of the abandoned and orphaned.

Really though, I think this show is as much about loss and how we react to death as it has ever been about saving people and hunting things.  The thing about having all male leads is that it's that perspective that we get the bulk of the exploration done from and it's left to guest female characters to pick up whatever the writers want to express from a female POV.  Either that or one of the male characters ends up in a position of having to present something more traditionally done by female characters on TV.  We got reactions from Amelia, Charlie, Krissy, and Kate that were pretty well explored and smaller looks at women associated with various victims.  Where with the guys' POV, we see some men associated with victims but mostly reactions from the same characters over and over and we note how they vary with the circumstances and time. I don't think it evens it up but the variety with the female voices is interesting.
20th-May-2013 02:56 pm (UTC)
Our fridge is full..

Ha! Oh I wish. Amelia and Lisa are still alive, so I'm sure they'll find some room if they need to.

The longest running female character on this show is the Impala.

Indeed. She's even been resurrected a couple of times.

Maybe it was all the torture or maybe it was them trying to show how evil Crowley was.

Yeah, I think that definitely contributed to the extra feeling of violence (shame they didn't stick to Crowley being smart rather than brutal).

SPN is the land of the abandoned and orphaned.

Yes. I wonder if that's deliberate because Sam and Dean are orphans...

And *nods* re the POV voices. I've seen the show as more about death and grief than the saving people part for a while. That's been clouded by how maybe meatsuits they kill these days I think.
20th-May-2013 02:52 am (UTC)
LOL, the two leads are never going anywhere. The fate of everyone else, male or female, is up for grabs. "Nonessential personnel," you might say. ;)

I remember the fuss over Ellen, Jo, Ruby and Bela when they were introduced

TBH, the only female character I didn't care for was Bela. Not because she was female, but because she was so callous, so mercenary, and caused so much trouble for the guys. I wasn't in fandom when Ellen and Jo were introduced, but as I caught up to S2 on DVD, I loved them from the start. Seriously, people didn't like them? Wow. (Knowing this fandom, I suspect the ones complaining the loudest were the first to yell "misogyny" when the characters were killed off. Oh, man, this fandom.)

. . . and I may never forgive them for killing off Meg, just when she was getting really interesting. That was NOT cool.
21st-May-2013 07:16 am (UTC)
Seriously, people didn't like them?

It was mostly the "spoilers" that came out before they arrived. Jo was suggested as Dean's love interest and well...that was that. The hatred that was lobbed on Jo was pretty huge. Kripke didn't seem really that interested in the idea of The Roadhouse either (there was pressure from the CW to have more female characters introduced). He said that's why he burnt it down at the end of S2.

I think Jo was really well developed as the season progressed and became dear to many.

Bela and Ruby were apparantly brought on because they were told to include more women also. Luckily they gave Ruby a very solid purpose and is probably the most well developed female character of them all (as in having an individual purpose). No really sure what they were trying to do with Bela. She also only became really interesting as she was dying.

20th-May-2013 06:28 am (UTC)
Sometimes I think SPN fandom works backward on this? My issue is less that female characters die, though I often find how those scenes are shot and otherwise executed to be pretty troubling. My real issues are: that men are far more likely to be introduced, and that ONLY men get resurrected.

The male-default thing is a big problem for me. ie, there's no reason for multidimensional wavelengths of celestial intent to be overwhelmingly (or, as they were until Gamble took over, uniformly with one exception) male-identified. There's no reason why Metatron is played by a male actor except that the people behind the show think we'll respond better to a male actor. And that skews the numbers considerably.

But yes, there's something we need to think about as fans, if we have this pattern of only coming around to women when they're killed off. That's hardly a pattern limited to SPN fandom, but it does seem to be exacerbated to an alarming degree. And explains the no-female-resurrections problem, now that I come to think of it.

As per S8, I'm a little more optimistic. I attached very easily to Amelia, so her continued survival is a big plus for me. Also, I'm somewhat skeptical that Linda Tran is dead, tbh? Given that our evidence for that literally amounts to "Crowley said so," which is...less than convincing.
21st-May-2013 10:39 am (UTC)
that men are far more likely to be introduced, and that ONLY men get resurrected.

Yeah - this is definitely a pattern. When I stop to think about it all I just don't understand why they could have say, a female character like Bobby (or Garth). Abaddon was a nice female addition, but it looks like her meat suit was destroyed. I suspect Metatron was chosen to be male as we just had Naomi as an "evil" angel. *shrugs* not sure.

I attached very easily to Amelia

Oh you did? That's good. I wish I had been able to. I'm very glad she survived. I suspect if we ever see her again, it will be to kill her. Maybe it's better that we don't see her again.

Linda is a mystery. I wasn't sure if it was Crowley who said so. Kevin said it - maybe Crowley told him that? Maybe Kevin looked for her and couldn't find her and assumed she was dead. A weird one.

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