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Scoop from the 'Supernatural' Set: Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles Talk Souls and Secrecy

by Laura Prudom, posted Nov 12th 2010 3:40PM
Jared Padalecki and Jensen AcklesIt's tough being a Winchester; no matter how careful you are, or how white your picket fence is -- chances are you're going to get bitten by vampires, mauled by werewolves, impersonated by shapeshifters, possessed by demons and sent to hell more times than you can count.

The good news is, even if you take a trip to the fiery pit downstairs, it's a safe bet that you won't stay there for long. The bad news is, depending on who drags you out of the frying pan, you might come back missing a few ... essentials.

Such is the case for poor Sam Winchester (Jared Padalecki) who found himself unceremoniously resurrected without his soul by the demon Crowley (Mark Sheppard) -- a fairly major oversight, we must say, which has rendered Sam more than a little scary this season.

Tonight's episode of 'Supernatural' (airing at 9PM ET on the CW) sees Crowley making the Winchester brothers an offer they can't refuse: if they can track down another alpha monster, Crowley will restore Sam's soul. We're guessing it's easier said than done.

TV Squad was among a group of journalists invited to visit the 'Supernatural' set for the filming of tonight's episode. Keep reading to discover what's in store for our favorite demon-hunting duo. But beware: spoilers ahead!

When we visited the 'Supernatural' set way back in September, the first episode of season 6 had yet to air, and we were all still tragically in the dark as to Crowley's master plan. We certainly couldn't rely on the infuriatingly enigmatic Mark Sheppard to offer us a hint -- the notoriously spoiler-phobic actor was determined that fans should experience the plot's twists and turns with fresh eyes.

"Nobody really wants to know -- you think that you want to know, but you don't. You don't wanna know when I'm gonna be in it or not be in it, you just kinda wanna know that I exist," insisted Sheppard, slyly deflecting our attempts to trick him into revealing anything with a smugness befitting the King of Hell. "I've got an idea of what's going on, but I think you're going to be fascinated by where this goes."

Mark SheppardHindsight is 20/20, and now we know that Crowley is the mastermind behind raising Sam and Grandpa Campbell (Mitch Pileggi) from the dead, using Sam's soul as leverage (no pun intended) to force the Winchesters and their extended family into collecting alpha monsters, in order to torture the creatures into revealing the location of purgatory -- or so he says.

"Can anyone really trust Crowley? Can Crowley trust Crowley?" Sheppard mused philosophically. "There's an awful lot at stake, and the motivation behind what people are doing seems to change, and there seems to be a bigger story behind things ..."

We've already seen Crowley -- and by extension, Grandpa Campbell -- reveal that they've been manipulating Sam and Dean (Jensen Ackles), but are they the only ones who aren't telling the boys the whole truth?

When we caught up with the cast and crew at Comic-Con earlier this year, 'Supernatural' creator Eric Kripke was already dropping hints that honesty wasn't going to be the default policy this season: "No-one is who they seem and everyone has ulterior motives," he teased. "There are a lot of twists and double-crosses ... "

Could Sam and Dean's former heavenly helper Castiel (Misha Collins) have a similarly shady scheme up his sleeve? Collins -- who is a dab hand at deflection himself -- certainly seemed to imply as much during our Comic Con interview.

"Cas is on his own specific mission, which is to restore order to heaven, and at times it's going to run counter to Sam and Dean's missions," he confirmed, before giving us a vague hint regarding his character's involvement in the mythology of the season: "Why are these monsters so active, what brings them about, and why is there so much monster activity? The answer ultimately does lie with something that Cas has something to do with. I can't tell you what that is, but Cas is definitely involved, and heaven and hell are involved."

If Crowley is so thoroughly invested in finding purgatory, we're willing to bet that Castiel is equally invested in stopping him -- which is liable to lead to an epic showdown between the pair, as Collins confirmed when we last spoke. But is our favorite angel simply looking to keep purgatory out of hell's grasp, or does heaven have its eye on the prize too? We're guessing that we'll have our answer -- or at least a killer cliffhanger -- before 'Supernatural' breaks for winter hiatus.

But forget about heaven and hell; the core of 'Supernatural' has always been the relationship between Sam and Dean, and thus far this season, we've seen that relationship put to the test more than ever before.

During our visit to the set, we observed Ackles and Padalecki filming what has become a staple 'Supernatural' set-up -- the pair looking dapper in suits and ties as they impersonate federal officials to investigate a crime scene (this time located on a dock) as a mutilated body is carried away.

Not only were we permitted to watch filming, we also enjoyed a tour of the creepy Campbell compound, most notably Grandpa Samuel's office, its walls lovingly plastered with fictional newspaper clippings and grisly images of legendary creatures ripe for the hunting. Production designer Jerry Wanek also showed us around the standing set for Bobby Singer's impressive house -- some of its rooms are often repurposed and brightened up as interior kitchen or living room sets for other houses, but the basement was still intact (it's not nearly as dusty in reality as it looks on the show).

Additionally, there were a number of sets left over from the previous episode, so we were treated to the unnerving sight of the Hannibal Lecter-esque cage that held the alpha vampire in last week's episode, with an ominous splatter of (we hope) fake blood still pooled beside it. But the highlight of the set tour for the 'Supernatural' enthusiasts among us was undoubtedly the chance to sit inside Dean's iconic '67 Impala, the site of so many memorable moments on the show.

We were also able to steal a few minutes with Ackles and Padalecki between takes, and the duo were eager to discuss the newJared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles direction -- and veritable role reversal -- their characters have taken this year. In the first seven episodes, we've seen Sam and Dean share a number of verbal and physical confrontations, and Ackles didn't expect that to change, at least for the foreseeable future.

"They do have their common denominator, and that is that they're both hunters," he observed. "So they get back on the right track, eventually, but there is still a strain in the relationship that has yet to be worked out."

"I think the common denominator is also that Sam and Dean both want it to be better," Padalecki agreed. "In their own way, they at least both want the same things. Maybe they word it differently, but it's no longer Sam going, 'All right. I've got this demon, I'm going to go see what's happening this way. You do whatever you want, we'll meet up later.' It's now like, 'Let's just try and work together and let it flesh itself out and hope for the best in the end.'"

While it's too much to hope that Sam and Dean's tensions will be magically erased in the space of a couple of episodes, Ackles was confident that the brothers will find equilibrium as the year progresses. "From what I understand, once we get towards the meat of the season, everybody kind of gets back on the same track. We find out a lot more as to why their motivations have shifted a little bit," he reassured us.

Clearly, the Winchesters' main motivation going into the second half of the season is the retrieval of Sam's soul -- a task that will be made more complicated by the return of another fan favorite character -- the resilient demon Meg (Rachel Miner).

While next week's episode, 'Do You Believe in Fairies,' sounds like pure Ben Edlund escapism, the episode following it will kick the mythology into high gear, as we see Meg kidnap Sam and Dean in an effort to extract information regarding Crowley's whereabouts. Sam takes the opportunity to cut a deal with the demon (never a smart move) if Meg promises to torture Crowley into freeing Sam's soul. We also hear that Castiel will return in the episode, but that the angel will find it "difficult to work with Meg."

The last time Cas and Meg had a face-off, Castiel was trapped in a ring of fire, and Meg was working for Lucifer. We weren't the only ones who sensed a little bit of unresolved sexual tension between the pair back then (Miner later confirmed that she and Collins were playing up that chemistry between their characters), and in light of a recent spoiler in which Collins hinted that Castiel was in line for some mouth-to-mouth action in an upcoming episode, our Spidey senses are starting to tingle. Could Castiel willingly kiss a double-crossing demon chick, or will he try to seal some kind of deal with Meg instead? We'll have to wait for episode 10 to know for sure.

Season 6 is about honoring the show's roots in many ways, not only hearkening back to season 1 with its monster-of-the-week formula, but also reintroducing past characters such as Meg into the mythology. In 611, likely the last new episode to air before the holiday break, Death returns to town, both in the form of Tessa (Lindsey McKeon), the Reaper we first met in the season 2 premiere, and the legendary Horseman himself (Julian Richings), last spotted in a Chicago pizzeria. The original Freddy Krueger, Robert Englund, also guest-stars in the episode as an unlicensed doctor who helps one of our boys out with a "life-or-death problem."

It's safe to say that season 6 of 'Supernatural' has defied expectations at every turn, adding a whole new dimension to the characters we've come to view as family (or maybe our imaginary boyfriends) over the past five years. Whether you've loved or hated the startling new direction the show has taken, it's impossible to deny that the stories are just as compelling, the stakes just as high, and the outcome just as unpredictable as it's ever been. We'll be along for the ride as long as the Impala keeps rolling.

To see pictures from AOL's visit to the 'Supernatural' set, including our chat with Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, check out the gallery below (all photos courtesy of Warner Bros. and Michael Courtney).

What do you think of Sam's missing soul storyline? Any guesses for what Crowley's endgame might be? Do you think that Castiel and Meg are headed for a make-out session? Share your predictions for upcoming episodes below, and don't forget to tune in to 'Supernatural' tonight at 9PM ET on the CW.

Follow Laura on Twitter @LauinLA.

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Season 6 has been pretty aimless, so far. It feels like a rip off of season 5, with Dean trying to save Sam-this time from his souless state, rather than his possossion by Lucifer. The spirit is not there, any more. I have never sensed that the powers that be did not know exactly where they were going, until this indefinite season. I would not make an effort to own the sixth season, were it released, so far, and I am pretty faithful about buying shows I enjoy after their run. Production values seem lower, currently, and the boys could stand a bit of basic maintenence, as well.

November 15 2010 at 7:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Fantastic article! Thanks! Really enjoying Season 6 - I was worried, but each episode gets better and better. Kay said that it's the same old storyline, but sometimes things happen like that in real life, SSDD. It's always a fun ride with the boys and as long as the impala is rolling, so I am.

November 12 2010 at 11:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Thanks so much for this article! It would've driven me crazy to have to keep this to myself for 2 months!
I love the way Mark Sheppard talks about Supernatural. He seems to really understand the show and wants to preserve the integrity of the story and make it an exciting experience for the fans.
Season 6 has been incredibly intense and we're not even halfway through. I love where Supernatural is going. I love the possibility of Castiel having his own secret agenda (as long as he finds his way back). I'm staying neutral on Meg for now (because I actually did like her last season). I'm excited for this new Sam and Dean dynamic. I'll go wherever this show takes me.

November 12 2010 at 6:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Honestly? I am bored by Sam's "soul" storyline. How is it different from Sam's dark destiny storyline in Season 2 or his demon blood addiction storyline in Season 4 or his "Lucifer's vessel" storyline in Season 5? I didn't realize that the new producer was going to fall back into the same tired old formula. I'll be happier if the missing soul is a side story but now it looks as if it will drag tediously out all season. I'm hoping that other characters and their motivations will become the focus also, and also the tension between heaven and hell, because frankly, Sam and Dean and their self-involved concerns are getting really old.

November 12 2010 at 6:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mack golard

The closest Sam ever got to having a pet was in Flagstaff, when he found Bones. At that was only for two weeks. He remembers thinking how those were the best two weeks of life. He lived on his own, lived by his own rules, and he had Bones, the most loyal dog ever. Dean hadn't even known about the dog until their little trip to heaven.


November 12 2010 at 4:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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