‘Supernatural’ Writer Spotlight: Brad Buckner and Eugenie Ross-Leming
Brad Buckner and Eugenie Ross-Leming are the only constant writing duo on Supernatural. They wrote their first episode together all the way back in season one, and in season fourteen, they passed the huge milestone of thirty episodes written. Only Bobo Berens and Andrew Dabb have more writing credits than they have, which of course, makes choosing three of their episodes to focus on here incredibly difficult.
After browsing through their writing credits, the one thing that jumps out immediately is that Buckner and Ross-Leming are instrumental in moving the plot along. In every season from nine to fourteen, there has been a significant storyline shift written by them. Some examples include “I’m No Angel,” where human Castiel is kicked out of the bunker, “Soul Survivor” where Dean is given the demon cure, “O Brother Where Art Thou” where it’s revealed Sam’s visions are from Lucifer and not God, “LOTUS” where Team Free Will is taken into custody from the Secret Service, “War of The Worlds” where Sam and Dean learn that Arthur Ketch is alive after all, and in “Gods and Monsters” where Nick’s evil side is exposed for the first time.
Those are all huge episodes, so it begs the question, what are our favorite moments? Let’s take a look back.
Season 8, Episode 7 – “A Little Slice of Kevin”
This was a monumental episode not only for the season, but for the show as a whole, as this is the episode Misha Collins makes his return as Castiel after Dean failed to save him from Purgatory. There are several flashbacks to Dean’s memories, ultimately leading to Castiel having to reveal that what Dean thought happened (him not being strong enough to pull Castiel out of Purgatory) wasn’t the truth. Castiel of course, chose to stay behind in Purgatory to pay penance for everything he did as Leviathan!Cas, and though he doesn’t remember how he came back, the end of the episode introduces the fact that angels rescued him from Purgatory so that he could report back on Sam and Dean’s activities.
One of the reasons I enjoyed this episode so much was because it was one of the first times we really saw Dean put words to how much Castiel’s friendship means to him. He was adamant that he didn’t leave Castiel behind in Purgatory, so much so that he actually created a false memory of what happened because it was too traumatic for him to remember that Castiel chose to stay behind. The conversations between Dean and Castiel in this episode are some of the deepest we’ve seen them have. From Dean telling Castiel that he doesn’t need to feel like hell for leaving him behind and for failing him, “like he failed every other godforsaken thing he cares about,” to Castiel telling him, “You can’t save everyone, my friend. Though you try.” The dialogue was phenomenal and this episode remains one of my all-time favorites.
Season 11, Episode 18 – “Hell’s Angel”
In this episode, Castiel is possessed by Lucifer. Crowley finds the Horn of Joshua and brings it to Sam and Dean with the intention of using it and Lucifer to take on Amara. Dean says he wants Lucifer out of Castiel’s body first, and though Sam questions him, reminding him it was Castiel’s choice to let Lucifer in to vanquish Amara, Dean and Crowley stand firm and it’s decided they need to contact Rowena in order to do the exorcism. They set up an angel trap, including sigils and a ring of holy fire, and do a summoning spell on Lucifer. After a brief conversation with Castiel, they lose him again and Crowley smokes out of his vessel to enter Castiel. He finds him lazily watching television in the bunker and tries to convince him to push Lucifer out, but Castiel maintains he’s their best shot at defeating Amara.
I enjoyed this episode mainly because of this interaction. There’s no denying that Misha Collins was outstanding at depicting Mark Pellegrino‘s version of Lucifer, but what was really interesting to me was getting a glimpse of everybody working together. My favorite scenes in Supernatural are ensemble scenes, and here, we got to see Sam, Dean, Castiel, Crowley, and Rowena all working together towards a common goal. In this episode, Bucker and Ross-Leming really prove that they have a clear understanding of each individual character but also the unique relationships between all of these very distinct characters. Sam and Dean, Dean and Cas, Dean and Crowley, Crowley and Castiel, Rowena and Crowley. They’re all very different dynamics that were highlighted succinctly in this episode because of Buckner and Ross-Leming.
Season 13, Episode 18 – “Bring ’em Back Alive”
“Bring ’em Back Alive” was one of the biggest episodes of season 13 for several reasons. Dean entered the Apocalypse World with Arthur Ketch as his sidekick in search of Mary, Sister Jo and Lucifer have it out and stop working together, Apocalypse version of Charlie Bradbury was revealed, Gabriel tells the story of where he’s been using Enochian writing on the walls, and ultimately uses his powers to incinerate Asmodeus.
This whole episode is further proof of what I said earlier: Buckner and Ross-Leming have been responsible for moving the story forwards in huge ways since they started writing for Supernatural. There were several jaw-dropping moments in this episode, but again, something that I really enjoyed was that all of the characters were written wonderfully. Castiel had his sassy comment about Dean working with Ketch, Sam was gentle and caring with Gabriel, Sister Jo up and left Lucifer after he started treating her badly, Dean opened up about how the loss of Charlie affected him, Ketch saved Dean’s life, and after Gabriel helped Sam and Castiel defeat Asmodeus, he did what Gabriel’s always done and takes off, only interested in taking care of numero uno.
It’s almost unfathomable that Buckner and Ross-Leming were able to work all of that into a single hour, but what’s even more impressive is that the episode didn’t feel rushed at all. Each individual huge moment had its time to shine before it moved onto the next seamlessly, and that in itself is a momentous feat.
For a full list of episodes written by Brad Buckner and Eugenie Ross-Leming, you can check out their pages on IMBD. Buckner and Ross-Leming have already written for “Unhuman Nature” in season 14, and so far, they’re announced as the writers for episode 12, “Prophet and Loss” as well, so be prepared for more big moments from them coming up soon.
Stay tuned for the next in our series tomorrow, where we’ll be showcasing some of our favorite moments from Bobo Berens!