Devil's Bargain

John Winchester didn’t have an easy life. When Yellow Eyes killed the woman he loved in the pilot of Supernatural, he made a choice: He would get revenge on that demon no matter what it took. But that meant that he would have to juggle raising Sam and Dean with a life of hunting, and the brothers have spent a lot of time figuring out how they feel about that decision and the way it affected their lives. But for Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who returns as John in the 300th episode, John, at his core, wasn’t too difficult to figure out.

“I don’t think he’s as screwed-up as other people do,” Morgan tells EW. “I think he is a guy who’s got a tremendous amount of love for his family. He was willing to die for his sons, willing to put himself in a place to where he could lose his life for revenge on what killed his wife. So as much has been said about John or that I’ve heard about John, I think what is missing is that he shows love in different ways. Maybe he wasn’t a big hugger and he didn’t say the right things when he should’ve — and there’s a bigger picture about getting your kids into hunting ghosts that I should acknowledge — but I think at his core he really loved his family and was willing to sacrifice everything. So I never looked or played John in a way that there was any malice toward his sons.”

Of course, Morgan’s journey with the character might’ve ended in season 2, but the show has continued to reference John, often sharing new stories about the character or even having Matt Cohen on to play a younger version of Sam and Dean’s dad. “I used to go to conventions and people would be furious with me, and I didn’t know what they were mad about,” Morgan says. “But the John that I played certainly wasn’t this a—hole of a man.”

And when John returns in the upcoming 300th episode, he’ll get a chance to really think about the choices he made, particularly as a father to Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles). “As a parent, he could’ve done things better certainly, and I think whenever we get a chance to look back at our lives, we all think we could’ve done things better,” Morgan says. “In this episode he sees what he has done and what he has created with his sons, and there’s going to be moments where we get to address those with each son separately and as a unit, and that’s what makes this episode special.”

For more on Supernatural, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands now, or buy one — or all four — of our collector’s covers featuring Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins, Jared Padalecki, and the Winchester family (also available for purchase at Barnes & Noble). Don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

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Devil's Bargain

Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki star as the Winchester brothers, hellbent on battling the paranormal forces of evil.

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