On Supernatural, the Winchesters deal with death about as often as they fill the Impala up with gas … which is to say ALL THE TIME. Whether it’s the potential for death, which is just part of their jobs, or actually dying, which both Sam and Dean have done multiple times, or even if it’s Death himself, he/it no longer scares them (if it ever did).
Furthermore, the show has handled death any number of ways, whether it’s Dean’s emotional plea to bring Sam back to life in season 2, or on the other end of the spectrum, Dean dying over and over for comedic purposes in season 3’s “Mystery Spot,” when the brothers find themselves in a world created by the Trickster.
And yet, the show’s more comedic handling of death resulted in an hour that star Jared Padalecki will never forget. “I feel like all I can do is be totally honest as Sam Winchester, and he’s not a funny guy,” Padalecki says. “The way I treat the death, like ‘Mystery Spot,’ which was a kind of comedic episode, was miserable for me. I was crying day in and day out. I mean it. This is not hyperbole. That was a miserable, miserable, miserable week in my life.”
“I could only treat it like it was reality,” Padalecki says, even surprising co-star Jensen Ackles with his revelation. “I had to treat it like Sam, and Sam would be mortified. When [Dean] kept on getting shot, I was playing, as best as I could, my brother is dead. My brother is dead in my arms. He got shot. A f–king piano fell on him, whatever it was. For me, it was miserable because I was legitimately trying to convince myself that my brother had died from some funny way, but it’s not funny if it’s happened to you.”
As for how the show is able to use death over and over and somehow still create stakes, Padalecki says, “I think the writers have created a world where we get to see it play out, and then start over. It’s like playing Kid Icarus but having a continue on the game over. Playing video games without a continue sucks. If you get one life, game over, [I’m] not gonna buy it.”
Ackles adds: “That’s why you get the cheats.”
Supernatural returns Thursday, Oct. 13 at 9 p.m. ET on The CW. Padalecki and Ackles also will be turning up at EW PopFest in Los Angeles on Saturday, Oct. 29. Get tickets here.