From 2005 to 2020, “Supernatural” put the spotlight on Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (soap opera star Jensen Ackles): brothers who’ve taken it upon themselves to travel around ridding the world of all kinds of, well, supernatural evil.
Some of these entities are relatively tame and don’t give them much trouble, while others are far more dangerous and threaten them as well as all life on Earth. Regardless, more often than not, they each put on a brave face and did what they had to do. After all, that’s what they grew up watching their dad do.
Tormented by the death of his wife and mother of his children, Mary Winchester (Samantha Smith), John Winchester (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) was a hunter on a mission. The Vietnam War veteran did end up stopping many dark, dangerous creatures, but he mainly sought revenge on the demon Azazel, who took Mary’s life. In the process, he chose to train Sam and Dean how to be hunters themselves instead of hiding them from the horrifying reality of their world. As they entered adulthood, however, he suddenly disappeared without so much as an explanation.
Now years removed from the end of “Supernatural,” fans remain conflicted over John’s parenting techniques. Here’s why seemingly no one can come to a verdict.
Was John a good father or not?
Redditor u/creme15 opened a thread in June of 2022 asking their fellow “Supernatural” fans for their opinions on John Winchester as a father. In their eyes, he certainly made plenty of mistakes and wasn’t the perfect parent, but deep down he loved Sam and Dean, as evidenced by him sacrificing himself to save the latter. Several comments bring up a similar belief, explaining that he had good intentions for his sons but couldn’t always realize them effectively. Not to mention, he often had to contend with his own trauma, making it even more difficult to be a picture-perfect dad.
In the thread, it’s mentioned that the John Winchester character is sometimes oversimplified or reduced down to his shortcomings. Apparently, Jeffrey Dean Morgan himself took note of this from how he saw the characters talk about John. Therefore, as he told Entertainment Weekly, he prioritized “fixing” the Winchester patriarch when he returned for the 300th “Supernatural” episode. “I really wanted the opportunity to be able to come back and make amends in a way and try to fix the sullied name of this character,” he said, adding that getting to work with Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki was a big plus, too.
John Winchester likely won’t top any lists out there of best TV dads, and it’s easy to see why. He’s imperfect and failed in many ways while trying to be a decent parent, hence all of the enduring online chatter about him. Still, he’ll remain a key name in “Supernatural” history, all the same.