By: Teah Henry
Spoilers for ‘Supernatural’ below!
On November 5th, the internet exploded. The election was happening, there were rumors Putin was resigning, and Destiel was confirmed canon.
Destiel is the ship between the characters Dean and Castiel from the show ‘Supernatural’. Castiel was introduced as the angel that brought Dean out of Hell in season four. He was only supposed to be in a few episodes, but he quickly became a fan favorite and ended up sticking around until the show’s final fifteenth season.
The reason the ship becoming canon is such a big deal is because ‘Supernatural’ has been notorious for queerbaiting. Queerbaiting is when a piece of media, usually T.V. shows, hint at their characters being LGBT+ without ever planning to make it explicitly clear whether they are or not. This is to attract queer audiences while also not upsetting more conservative fans.
Queerbaiting is not a good practice. It treats the LGBT+ community more as a spectacle than actual people who do exist, and it’s a pretty cruel trick to play on a community that rarely gets representation.
‘Supernatural’ has been accused of queerbaiting due to their hinting at Dean being bisexual, and that him and Castiel have unresolved romantic feelings for each other. The hints are just enough so some viewers will pick up on it while others might not, and the fans that did pick up on it have been wanting ‘Supernatural’ to have their characters be openly queer so there’s more representation on screen.
‘Supernatural’ has been losing fans throughout the years (mostly due to its long run and increasingly bad writing). A lot of previous fans had moved on by 2020, and gave up on the show making Dean bisexual or Destiel canon. Even Tumblr, which was known for being mostly used by fans of ‘Supernatural’, became less focused on the show and users moved on.
However, on November 5th, the second to last episode of ‘Supernatural’ aired, and Castiel confessed to Dean that he loved him.
The internet went crazy.
Destiel was trending on Twitter, and Tumblr became full of Destiel posts. Many users joked that their dashboard was only posts about ‘Supernatural’.
Not only that, but after Castiel confessed, he was dragged to The Empty, deemed by fans as Mega Hell, which is where angels go when they die. Many people saw the homophobic implications of being sent to Hell after having a gay love confession. There was a small line in the finale that Castiel was dragged out of The Empty, and made it to Heaven, but we never see him again.
Anyway, I don’t think we should praise this show for finally going through with their years of queerbaiting. The confession wasn’t even enough, many fans denied it was a love confession and claimed it was platonic.
Not only that, but Castiel doesn’t show up again for the last two episodes. Dean doesn’t even talk about him. He confesses his gay love, gets dragged to Hell, and then we never even hear Dean’s feelings on it. It’s not a victory for queer representation.
Despite that, it was fun to be on the internet and witness all the reactions to Destiel becoming canon. I think ‘Supernatural’ has left a big footprint in internet history, and rests as a good example of what not to do with queer characters.