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The Best Version Of Death According To Supernatural Fans

In 2020, the CW horror series "Supernatural" concluded with an explosive finale. The show, which ran for 15 seasons, followed close-knit brothers Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Sam Winchester (Jared Padalecki) as they battled demonic and ghostly forces. During its extended run, viewers carefully watched for narrative clues and offered theories concerning the complex lore and timeline, ranging from the credible to the bonkers. From believing that John Winchester was possessed by an archangel to arguing that the viewer was a stand-in for God, fans have meticulously combed through the "Supernatural" canon for years (via Reddit).

At the same time, not all plotlines satisfied the passionate fanbase. Notably, many viewers condemned seemingly divisive story arcs, including Bobby Singer's (Jim Beaver) heartbreaking death (via Reddit) and Mary Winchester's (Samantha Smith) startling return (also via Reddit). Moreover, fans often called out the show's propensity for killing off female characters. Even lead actor Misha Collins, who played the beloved angel Castiel, criticized the writers, saying, "When I read the scripts, I cringe sometimes." He added, "[Y]ou have killed every other female character who had more than a two-episode arc" (via Hypable). In response, many fans turned to fan fiction platforms online, where they could share and read stories that reworked plot points from the show. In fact, "Supernatural" ranked second in popularity on leading fan fiction site FanFiction.net (via NPR).

In this way, "Supernatural" is far from unfamiliar with polarizing storytelling. Of course, when it comes to debating key moments from the series, viewers also have strong opinions on secondary characters –- including Death itself.

Many fans consider Julian Richings to be the best version of Death

In a "Supernatural" Reddit thread, a deleted user shared a sense of disappointment at the removal of the "old Death." Played by Julian Richings, the original Grim Reaper first appeared in the penultimate episode of Season 5, entering onscreen as a formidable foe for the Winchester brothers. As the user explained, "I know the old Death [...] doesn't have a lot of appearances but I really enjoy the episodes with him." They added that the original Death was a truly fear-inducing figure and that his first episode was enough to spook them out. In contrast, the Redditor found the new Death, Billie (Lisa Berry), largely underwhelming.

Other fans similarly applauded Richings' characterization of Death, praising both his iconic entrance and subsequent interactions with Dean and Sam. u/Cyanide72 provided their own assessment of Death, writing, "From his pale 'steed' to the song playing in the background, it's one of my most favorite moments from the show." In agreement, u/SwampRSG noted, "Between his lines, his cadence, his delivery and his expres[s]ions (or in this case lack thereof), makes him PERFECT for that role." The user opined, like the original poster had, that Billie just didn't live up to her predecessor.

Building upon these critiques, another user articulated why exactly Richings so perfectly embodied the chilling character. As u/DoublyDead explained, "Richings was death. Billie is an actress just playing Death."

In the end, Richings' portrayal of Death proves that a lengthy appearance on the series was far from necessary to make a long-term impact.