izhilzha (izhilzha) wrote,

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Eric Kripke on Supernatural and the seeming absence of Good

Since I've introduced my good friend feliciakw to Supernatural, we've been periodically having long discussions about how the show treats the idea of evil (with demons being very real, and portrayed pretty much as they are in long-standing Christian tradition; hell being an actual destination; and a deal with the devil being an action rather than a metaphor) vs. how it treats the idea of good (broken humans traveling around, defeating the plans of evil; the Roman Catholic exorcism works on demons, as does holy water; we've never seen angels show up, but even skeptical, angry Dean admitted the...Providence, if I may so call it... of a certain villain's death).

So when I saw Eric Kripke himself answering a question about this at TVguide.com's Ask Ausiello column, I had to pass it on:

Question: I will blab to Gargamel the location of every Smurf I know unless you do this one thing for me: Tell me if Supernatural ever plans on exploring the good side of the supernatural world. You know, guardian angels, the spear of destiny, stuff like that.— Jeff

Ausiello: TV Guide's HR policy strictly forbids me from negotiating with terrorists, but I suppose I could make an exception just this once. Here's your answer, courtesy of Supernatural creator Eric Kripke: "We have a firm belief in the cosmology of this show that evil, in terms of demons, etc, is very tangible and real and out there. Angels and supernatural forces of good are much more elusive. But in my opinion - and the opinion of the writers - if God is out there, he isn't sending angels to fight the battles; he's working through a very human, sweaty, outgunned and overwhelmed group of hunters. For us, these are the angels. I think the point that's very important to us to make is that the forces of good work through humans who are flawed and imperfect and trying to make the right decisions. And that's the way God works. So we try to present that." </i>

My first reaction is almost-unadulterated squee, because these themes of God in the background, working through flawed humanity, unseen, is what I've been seeing in the show all along (at least since "Faith," not coincidentally the first ep to really draw me into the show). And Mr. Kripke just proved to me that it's intentional! *dances*

It's always nice to know that I haven't been reading loads of interesting stuff into a show when it's not really there. :-)

Mind you, that doesn't mean I think that the show is making large theological statements. I think that Supernatural is so driven by its characters that the only way it can speak about God or faith or the lack of these is through the pain and joy and experiences of Sam and Dean. (Well, and people they meet. I'm still peeved we didn't get to see more of Pastor Jim.) Doctrine, while it may play a role in an individual story ("Men cannot be angels," from "Houses of the Holy"), has little to say in the midst of the Winchesters' embattled lives; experience (what Dean saw at the end of HotH; the loud and very present evil the boys fight, the losses they suffer) speaks much louder, of the difficulties of holding onto or even trying to find faith in a God who seems "elusive," in a world where despair so often overwhelms hope.

I'm a Christian, myself. In terms of doctrine, I accept that hope exists, that while we're at war in a spiritual sense, there is help working behind (and occasionally in front of!) the scenes, that the means of salvation (both eternal and present) has been provided for us, that God is not deaf to our prayers. That He does have authority over the forces of darkness (which may be one reason I get such a thrill of satisfaction every time we see a successful exorcism on the show). I live in that hope. It's a weapon I fight with, and the rock I stand on.

But that's not the story Supernatural is telling. This isn't the story of how God saves us. It's the story (a story) of humanity's struggle with evil, with faith, our struggle to hold fast to goodness and love and trust in the face of a world that tells us evil is always going to win. It's the story of how difficult it is to face up to that fear, and defy it. (No wonder Dean's bravado is about a mile thick.) It's the story of making that choice, and keeping that faith, staying on that path, once the choice is made. It's the story of faith and free will.

Free will has to be there, or the story falls apart.

Free will has to be there, or the faith (and love) means nothing.

I'm not going to bother wishing for angels to show up, I don't think. It doesn't seem that Kripke and Co. want to go there, even if it wouldn't undermine the story. But I will wish for this: that the boys would be given a little more hope. Just a little more to go on. Watching them drive the roads of this tale, pushing on into the face of grief and despair and anger and fear, is absolutely cathartic. (Perhaps especially, in a way, for those of us who do hold to faith of our own.) But it's also incredibly painful, and I want them--I want Dean, in particular--to have a chance to reach out for hope, and find that it does exist.

Dean says he wants to believe in God.

That line wasn't written by accident, and because of Mr. Kripke's comments, I'm very much looking forward to whatever step (forwards or backwards) he takes regarding that desire.

I love this show. So, so much.

Tags: faith, godstuff, supernatural, theology, tv, writing

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