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Home > Supernatural: Modern Mythos Part II

Supernatural: Modern Mythos Part II

Supernatural

The Winchesters As Eternal Rebels

In Supernatural, the Winchesters, not being people who will just let fate trample over them, are cast into the role of the eternal rebels in a fight against an authoritarian tyrant. While Chuck is missing as God, the Winchesters take over his role of deciding what is good and evil, extinguishing villains as they deem fit. When Chuck reveals himself to be God, and a cruel one at that, they decide to take over his role as the deciding force in the universe.

As the societal trend continues to move away from organized religions, the Winchesters show that the values we traditionally hold dear are not influenced by a supreme deity so much as the inner goodness of the people themselves. The Winchesters don’t need (nor want) Chuck or anyone to tell them what’s right and wrong. They’ve decided for themselves and found those in charge of their universe to be lacking. So, they keep fighting. 

Throughout human history, people have tried to understand the unknown. Since the invention of photography and audio recordings, people have attempted to capture proof of ghosts and contact the deceased. On the show Supernatural, the Winchesters utilize a collection of tools to help them detect ghosts and other entities. While many of the devices they use are their own invention, some are used by “real” ghost hunters in an attempt to use scientific methods to prove the existence of other worldly beings. 

Before technology such as heat sensors and infrared videos helped paranormal investigators search for proof of spirits, people relied on mythology and religions to satisfy their questions to answers unknown. While religion is waning in modern society, science has taken up the task of searching for answers based on proof, not faith. 

Supernatural helped create a newfound societal interest in the paranormal again with plots filled with ghosts and also featuring paranormal investigators the Winchesters continuously have to save (and ironically have to convince ghosts are real during their first encounter). The number of reality TV shows featuring paranormal investigators began increasing significantly at the beginning of the millennia. 

These shows take the fictional aspects of Supernatural and combine them with scientific methods designed to prove (or deceive) the existence of ghosts to viewers. The investigators present themselves as knowledgeable, skeptical scientists. They provide the history of each haunted location (typically the scene of a horrific murder/death) to establish a narrative that there is a pattern of unexplained events and bring vans full of scientific equipment specially designed to detect the paranormal. 

Though the Winchesters recommends taking the threats portrayed seriously for safety’s sake, peering into the genre of horror through a critical analysis focusing on social science can provide a wealth of information into the values of a society. Supernatural exposes and explores the individual need to have a strong sense of self while participating in the larger mass grouping of society as a unit. The loss of a sense of self is the loss of individuality, which is valued highly in our culture. 

The ability to see oneself as an individual, capable of making their own choices and embarking on their own course of action is a strong theme in Supernatural as the Winchesters declare their allegiance to “Team Free Will” in spite of what fate has in store for them. Demons, monsters, angels, even Chuck himself cannot deter the Winchesters from fighting against oppressive forces seeking to control the masses as one would a marionette. Chuck may be the ever-present writer of reality, but the Winchesters are sentient protagonists who will make their own story. 

Supernatural

The ability to see oneself as an individual, capable of making their own choices and embarking on their own course of action is a strong theme in Supernatural as the Winchesters declare their allegiance to “Team Free Will” in spite of what fate has in store for them. Demons, monsters, angels, even Chuck himself cannot deter the Winchesters from fighting against oppressive forces seeking to control the masses as one would a marionette. Chuck may be the ever-present writer of reality, but the Winchesters are sentient protagonists who will make their own story. 

Through the series, Supernatural incorporates real world anxieties and values, replacing the actuality of the concern with a symbolic villain to defeat. Fear of the ‘other’, apprehension about the loss of autonomy, and threats of totalitarian control and exploitation all have been central concerns in society. The Winchesters have defeated greedy Leviathans who tried to take over the world, petty angels and demons that are required to possess a human ‘vessel’ to interact with the living, and a cruel God who has created the entire universe for the sole purpose of enjoying creating tragedy.

In this sense, Chuck represents God not as a benevolent protector and source of all things good and pure, as depicted in so many religions. He is a sadistic being who brought about the entire multiverse solely because he thoroughly enjoys watching his creations (the Winchesters specifically) suffer and perish in unimaginable ways.

The creatures portrayed on Supernatural are liminal figures: neither fully dead nor fully alive. They are typically former humans that have been infected with a bite from a vampire or werewolf or some other ritualistic transformation that causes them to lose their human status, and as a result, their sense of self deteriorates until they are reduced to “other” status. People possessed by demons or angels maintain their sense of self in that they are still sentient but trapped in their own body helplessly forced to watch another entity use their person for their needs. They watch without the ability to intervene. They are punished for another’s actions without the ability to express or prevent physical pain. The fear of losing one’s sense of self at the hand of authority is a common one in fiction. Those in power have historically misused said power for their own privilege at the expense of many innocent lives. 

The Winchester’s fight for free will and to keep their souls over 15 seasons is a testament to a fictional narrative that is part of the common human experience. Everyone wants the ability to live their lives on their own terms without outside oppressive influences. The Winchesters are a characterization of that drive to maintain a sense of self. They don’t force others into their way of thinking past trying to save them. Once the innocent in danger is safe, they are left to live out the rest of their lives with just the memory of monsters lingering in their minds. Their innocence has been lost, but their sense of self remains intact.

Supernatural

Supernatural (2020) Season 15 Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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