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'Supernatural' EP Sera Gamble Talks Dean's Drinking Problem, Sam's Worst Nightmare & the Midseason Cliffhanger

by Laura Prudom, posted Oct 21st 2011 2:15PM
Dean and SamWe're only five weeks into Season 7 of 'Supernatural,' and already, we've seen (alleged) character deaths, lies, explosions, a broken leg and a couple of seriously creepy visitations from Lucifer -- and the show seems to have no intention of slowing down any time soon. Tonight's episode (9PM ET, The CW) even boasts 'Buffy' alums Charisma Carpenter and James Marsters as a quarreling couple at the center of a suburban bloodbath.

But with so many unexpected twists, questions are sure to follow. Yesterday, I caught up with executive producer Sera Gamble to get some insight into Dean's current mental state (and Sam's, for that matter), the Leviathans' nefarious scheme to draw the Winchesters into the open and a potential return for a fan-favorite character (but not the one you're thinking of).

Spoilers ahead.

In this week's episode, we see Dean [Jensen Ackles] self-medicating with alcohol more than ever before -- even while working a case, which used to be a major Winchester no-no. Are we heading towards a Very Special Episode, 'Supernatural' style?
[Laughs] We don't do Very Special Episodes of 'Supernatural' like that, no. The guys are pretty rough and tumble, but I don't think we teach the boys difficult lessons about their lifestyles in that kind of '80s sitcom way.

Dean's certainly displaying a lot of the same tendencies we saw after John's death: keeping a secret and repressing a lot of his feelings -- when will we see that come to a head?
Obviously this isn't something he can carry around forever. An event in the next couple of episodes will bring up what's going on with Dean in a pretty substantial way, between Sam [Jared Padalecki] and Dean. You know, even beyond the fact that it's kind of wrecking him emotionally; it's precisely the kind of thing that will bite you in the ass.

Short of therapy, if he's questioning his identity as a hunter and as Sam's brother, how do you foresee him getting back on solid ground?
Well, it's a struggle for him. I think, especially beginning with what happened with Castiel, he's been forced to question his place in a new way. And then seeing how his brother is dealing with everything so differently than he is ... I think we're the only show in television where both of our lead characters have gone to hell! [laughs] Now that Sam has recovered all of his memory, he's struggling, but in a way that's different than Dean did. And Dean is not always taking it well. So, it's something that we explore in various ways in the coming episodes. I mean, we're conscious that there's something in the core of Dean's character that's kind of snarky and fun, and we didn't want to lose that -- I mean, he's "Dean" about it, if you will. But he's struggling with a lot of different things coming up.

Jensen AcklesThe season 7 synopsis mentioned a secret that Dean is keeping that could tear the brothers apart. Is Dean keeping two secrets, or is the Amy revelation the one that you meant at the time?
Right now, the way that the Amy thing is playing out, yeah, I would say that that's a pretty big secret in the first part of the season. We certainly are going to throw new and interesting stuff at you further down the line this season, but we have different flavors coming up. I wouldn't call this the emotional arc of the entirety of season seven. It's a story that came up in this episode as we were working in the room that ended up kind of taking on an emotional life between the brothers.

It's clear in this week's episode that Castiel [Misha Collins] is still on Dean's mind and he's definitely still on the fans' minds; is there any new information you can offer about his return?
I can't tell you anything solid about it. I don't have any solid information about when you would see him back. I can just say that I will tell you as soon as I have something to tell you!

This week, we see that there's actually a pretty effective way of incapacitating a Leviathan; is that going to come into play again later in the season, or are they going to have to find another way of taking them out?
You know, it's not every day that you get to have a thousand year old witch walk into your motel room and happen to save you. And characters like the witches they ran into in episode five are not helpful -- they're not there to help Sam and Dean, they're not particularly interested in fighting Leviathans. It was temporary luck for Sam and Dean and Bobby that they basically get a window of a few days in which, as they say, "the guy lost his spinach" before he gets back to full power. And during that time, they can kind of experiment on him. But it's not like they have a witch on speed dial.

In next week's episode, Sam and Dean are forced to go on the run after the Leviathans put them back on the FBI's radar; is this going to be more serious than what they had to deal with courtesy of Agent Henriksen in season three?
It's a little bit different; the Leviathans kind of take on their identities and go on a killing spree, which Sam and Dean take rather personally. And them popping back up and becoming undead, if you will, for the FBI, in that way it becomes -- at least for a while -- a similar problem that they found they had with Henriksen in that they become a bit more recognizable. But underneath, at the core of it, is the fact that the Leviathans are able to kind of get inside some of these databases, and are able to manipulate the system in this way. That's the concern. It's actually less that a Henriksen will come after them, and more that a Leviathan will come after them in this way that forces them further off the grid.

Sam actually seems to be coping pretty well in episodes four and five, but I'm assuming Mark Pellegrinothat's not going to last too long?
I mean, he's evolving. In terms of what's going on in his head, it's something that he kind of incorporates into his day, having to deal with it. But we're dealing with the second half of the season now. I'm in the room with Ben Edlund right now -- in fact, I just walked out of it to come and take this call. We are talking about Lucifer, we're talking about, hopefully if he's available, seeing Mark Pellegrino again, although he's a very busy man. But even if we had decided that that problem would be over, Mark was just too good in that episode! He was just so entertaining to watch, and he just brought such an interesting take to those scenes. But we have all along kind of had a plan for how we would reintroduce that issue for Sam.

Episodes nine and ten are usually pretty mythology-heavy, what can you tease about those episodes this season?
Yeah. We definitely advance the Leviathan mythology in episodes nine and ten, and we kind of back into it in an unusual way, we kind of do a different spin on it this season. I'm going to be a little cagey about how, but I can say that our way into episode nine is really fun and hilarious -- Ben wrote the episode. The boys come into the case thinking that the Jersey Devil is loose in the woods eating campers. And Biggersons, our fictional family restaurant, is heavily involved in the episode, and it's just all of the surreal, disgusting touches that we've come to love in this kind of episode.

What about the cliffhanger you're ending on before the midseason hiatus?
The boys will be really personally invested in hunting down the big bad by the middle of the season, and they will have a pretty serious run in with them. You'll meet the guy who is kind of at the top of the food chain as a Leviathan in episode six, and then we'll run into him again in episodes nine and ten. And hopefully the audience will have a really good sense of the kind of dude he is, and he'll cause really serious damage and big problems for the guys, and it becomes an intense fight between them.

Can you talk about the second half of the season at all, since you're in the midst of plotting it out?
Sam gets beaten up by clowns. It's really bad. [laughs] There's some fun ones, we have a good mix of fun and serious, but in this batch we've been especially fond of a script in which Sam's worst nightmare comes true: he is beaten up by angry clowns.

'Supernatural' airs Fridays at 9PM ET on The CW. Check out our recent 'Supernatural' set visit coverage here. You can read Mo Ryan's weekly recaps here.

Are you excited by the prospect of Mark Pellegrino's return, or disappointed by the lack of Castiel? What are your predictions for the midseason cliffhanger? Share your thoughts below!

Follow Laura on Twitter: @LauinLA

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Kimberly Morales

Well, even though I'm a Dean-girl, I do like Castiel. I agree, the show became too "Angel-heavy" with their mythos and problems, but I love Castiel's character. I love the innocent, dry humor he brings to the table. Dean is snarky and dirty--Castiel is his opposite. Sam is the effed up voice of reason. I think this season is much better than the last one. The soulless Sam Arc, the Samuel Campbell arc, even the Lisa and Ben arc. . . all sucked. Went nowhere. I love Castiel. There should be a way of including him and Balthazar for that matter, without getting too involved with all the angelic conflict.

November 25 2011 at 12:42 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Supernaturals Season 7 is the best in years the overblown and over extended Angel mythology which cost this show half its fandom in Seasons 4-6 (most in 4) by nearly suffocating the brotherhood is thankfully gone and finally the show is back to being the story of Sam and Dean. Not that I disliked Castiel or the Angel mythology but they were both done to excess when they should have complimented the show as he was a secondary character and one that should have been gone in early season 5 with his crimes and betrayal against mankind and brotherhood exposed ( not this repeat of his crimes on steriods in season 6 ) But it might just be too little too late to save Supernatural, Kripke could have screwed it to hell when he or the network got all dewey eyed over an Angel and forgot what this show was truly all about and for so long we will have to wait and see

November 24 2011 at 1:52 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Karla McGrath

I'm not sure what I miss more - Castiel or the Impala. Not loving this season because of the lack of both.

November 14 2011 at 5:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Zina Jamil

I don't get why there are no comments about Sam being beaten down by a clown SO FREAKING COOL. And honestly this has come has a shock to me, supernatural fans never used to disagree or complain about anything because we all trusted in the show and its potential, the minds behind it everything thats why it was so strong. Season five was perfect season six was pretty good too, Sera gave us soo much Frontierland, French Mistake, My Heart Will Go On. And as for season seven not hosting the great misha collins...come on people they have a plan, everything will fall into place and until then I'll be watching the show every minute. The ratings go down because it shipped from a Tuesday night, Wednesday, Thursday night and now on a FRIDAY NIGHT the "death slot" which only strong shows get because all the new shows need the...publicity you can say.

November 10 2011 at 7:35 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Zina Jamil's comment
Karla McGrath

Their plan stinks! I trust that their plan stinks and I want the car and Castiel back.

November 14 2011 at 5:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Later season had some really great episodes it was when the show was finally starting to get back on track. Season 7 is great love seeing the resets and repairs being done to the shows main characters and its history after the damage Kripke caused by the disaster a briliantly started angel mythology had become.
When he kept creating reason s for it and Castile to stay when both should have been gone. I can't wait to see Sam beat up by clowns but what I'm looking forward to most is the brothers putting monsters second to taking care of each other as Jared and Jensen spoke of. The brotherly love returned in S 6 but doing this putting will solidly cement their relationship Look forward to the second half of season 7

November 24 2011 at 2:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm disappointed about not knowing about Cas's return, but I do love Mark Pellegrino!! I felt like Sam evolved out of his issues quite abruptly and I felt like there should have been more. So hopefully we will see Mark and get more involved in what is happening in Sam's head!!

November 07 2011 at 10:07 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ilovemychem15's comment
Zina Jamil

Actually Sam's still struggling its just that we don't see it. LeviathinSam made that pretty clear when they were talking in Conner's Diner and at the very beginning of Defending Your Life when he pressed his hand.

November 10 2011 at 7:37 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

love the show bring cass back great show ever i have watched it from day one

November 06 2011 at 7:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think the show has been at kind of a creative standstill since the end of season five--right about the time Kripke left. While I do not share the mysogynistic reasoning for this that some members of this supremely mysogynistic fandom voice, I do feel that Sera Gamble is not up to the task of being show runner. Since Kripke left, she has taken the show in a wildly diffrent direction, one that is, well, very girly--it's like letting your baby sister play with your GI Joes; painful to watch. Sera needs to be to demoted, Ben Edlund needs to be made show runner, that or they should move the show to a cable network like Showtime, to give it the viceral edge it now needs, with maturing characters and a boutique fanbase. But Sera is anathema to Supernatural, now. Fire her.

October 31 2011 at 1:46 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Why is it that everytime a woman gets control of the helm of a show it goes down in a great burning fireball of garbage???? Look what happened when Kelly souders and Brian "kelly's bitch" Peterson took over Smallville.....No more needs to be said, that show was just one sad joke after the next until it finally flickered out into oblivion with a finale no one will ever remember. Pathetic, bring kripke back or just put it out of its misery.......

October 28 2011 at 11:48 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

What is the point of bringing up the ratings constantly? While the show's ratings have slipped, they have been slipping consistently since the beginning of the fifth season. And while the first season had the advantages of starting on Tuesdays on the WB, it's still the highet rated season overall. Please don't paint all Deanfans with the same brush. Not all of them loved Castiel or the angel storyline or feel like he's never had a storyline. And to some of the commenters here: If you really hate the guys' relationship then why the constant commenting from the same people? Neither of the Js are going anywhere (unless the show is canceled) and it's kind of obvious that the brothers are going to be there till the end. Why keep watching if the characters make you so angry. I wouldn't be too sure about Misha Collins getting another job anytime soon--according to a recent interview, none of the people he was auditioning for seemed to have a clue about Castiel or the show he had been starring in. He's really only popular inside the show fandom. I don't see Jensen itching to leave anytime soon either--he just stated he is in it for as long as the show sticks around.

October 27 2011 at 7:11 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Love season 7 ,liked Cass but he and the Angel mythology long overstayed their welcome and it took the show down and did damage to the main characters because of it .. Now it looks like Gamble and Singer are doing some repair work on the shows history and damage doen the characters by going backwards before moving forwards. Repair work needed after kripke in S5 contradicted all the facts of season ignoring the fact the Castile was Deans Ruby. Now they are setting things straight , its about time and its great the show has returned to being a story about Sam and Dean

October 26 2011 at 6:29 PM Report abuse -7 rate up rate down Reply

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