Keith R.A. DeCandido (kradical) wrote,
Keith R.A. DeCandido

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So I finally watched "After School Special," the latest Supernatural episode, which included some flashbacks to the Winchester brothers in a high school they were only enrolled in for a few weeks, Sam apparently as a freshman, Dean apparently as a senior. It was an excellent episode, one that really did a good job of showing us what the boys' childhood was like, and also a reminder that high school may not be hell (the boys, Dean in particular, have seen hell), but it sure ain't pretty.

That's not what I loved about the episode, though.

No, what I loved about the episode was that one criticism I received of my second Supernatural novel Bone Key related to this passage:

[Sam] marveled at how Dean still fell into old habits. When they were kids, Sam was always the book-smart one who liked studying, while Dean was more of the type to beat up the nerds, and who hated admitting to knowing anything. Smart made you an outcast, and given their hard-travelling ways, Dean had enough issues in school with that. So he adopted the jock persona of not caring about learning anything.

That tendency still bled into his personality, to Sam's annoyance, to the point where Dean would profess ignorance on subjects Sam knew damn well he was knowledgeable about. Anything to not be the nerdy kid.

Now what I was trying to do was explain why we were seeing several occasions where Dean was professing ignorance about subjects about which he had to know full well. The out-of-the-box answer, of course, was so that Sam could provide the audience with exposition by answering Dean's questions. But I thought that made a nice in-the-box explanation for it, and it fit Dean's personality, to my mind.

Not everyone agreed with me, though, and more than one critic used this as ammunition in a negative critique of Bone Key.

And what happens? "After School Special" establishes that that was exactly what Dean was like in high school.

This is even better than when Dean picked a lock at the top of season three....
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