After having once been one of their most formidable foes, Rowena MacLeod (Ruth Connell) stood shoulder to shoulder with Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) tonight on Supernatural, representing "Team Free Will" in one of the most heartbreaking episodes of the series to date. Whether this is the natural conclusion of her redemption arc or the start of a new chapter for Rowena -- who Connell herself says always has "another angle" and an "ulterior motive" for what she does -- is anybody's guess at this point, but the events of this episode, from shocking character deaths to a deepening schism between Castiel and the Winchesters, are going to be key components of the rest of the season going forward.
We had the chance to talk to Connell earlier this week, who shared with us her feelings about not just tonight's blockbuster episode but the end of the series. She says that when the show is finally wrapped, the SPN family as a community will be a comfort, but she will still miss the series itself.
Spoilers ahead for "Rupture," tonight's episode of Supernatural.
“There’s always an ulterior motive with Rowena; there’s always another angle," Connell told ComicBook.com. "I’ve been so lucky with what the writers have given Rowena. There’s been such development in her character so that there is a redemption arc going on with Rowena as well as the fact that she’s still Rowena, she’s always going to look out for herself and have an escape route or something to fall back on, or ate ulterior movie. Bob Berens wrote this episode, and he and I started at a very similar time. He wrote my audition scenes and I met him at the 200th party. I just loved — one of my lines from the audition sides made it into one of the episodes and is one of my favorite lines, which is ‘now do you see why it breaks my heart to see what colossal numnuts you’ve become?’ And so to do this episode with him now, with the character having evolved after five seasons was so fantastic."
She got to be with Berens from the beginning to -- maybe? -- the end, as Rowena sacrificed herself tonight to save the Winchesters, something that would have been unthinkable not long ago. Her final words, "Goodbye, boys," and Sam's visible discomfort at seeing her name brought up shortly after the fact brought fans to tears on social media. Will this really be the end for Rowena? Connell herself does not know yet, and she can't even say for sure whether she -- or the fans -- would want a definitive answer to that question.
"I’ve spent a lot of time at the fan conventions asking the fans this, and people are almost 50/50," Connell said. "People are like ‘I want a definitive ending’ and other people are like, ‘no, I want it to be able to somehow go on no matter what.’ The thing about Supernatural is that at the end of many seasons, you think, this is it, how are they going to get out of this one? and we open up the beginning of the next season with a fresh take somehow. I think no matter what you do, there’s room for the imagination of the fans to take it where they will. I’m an optimist. I see the benefit of having closure and finality, but I also would like to think there’s always some way of something surprising you in the future."
Ultimately, though, whether it's now or in a few months, Supernatural will end up in Connell's rear-view mirror -- and she is already getting a bit nostalgic just thinking about it. As an actor, she said, the thing she will miss the most is actually being on set and getting to inhabit the character she loves so much.
"When the show has wrapped and it’s all done and dusted, I will miss the doing of it," Connell said. "Standing in the space, getting to say the stuff that you get to say as Rowena to these other people, I will miss that so much. It’s so much fun. I really will miss that probably the most. I’m so fond of the crew….We’re such a family up there. I will really miss the doing of it and the conventions will be fantastic and I’m so glad we have them, but I will really miss the actual doing of it."
Supernatural's fifteenth and final season airs on Thursday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.