Supernatural: Time Is on My Side

Sergei Bachlakov / The CW

Ticktock, ticktock...the clock is ticking down on the big Supernatural deal that sends our boy Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) down to hell in exchange for the life of little bro Sam (Jared Padalecki). Can they undo the contract before it's too late? The time to determine these things is drawing nigh—yet another reason to love sweeps—so to get a few hints about the outcome, plus a smidgen of insight into Supernatural's fourth season, join me for a brief interrogation of boss Eric Kripke.

• What's left to learn about Lauren Cohan's Bella

• What stories were left behind in the wake of the writers' strike

• What fans can expect from next season's adventures

• Click in for the answers to these Q's and more!

What's in store for us on this Thursday's episode, "Time Is on My Side"?
We continue to ramp up the tension around Dean's upcoming deadline of whether or not he will be going to hell. 

I assume the drama is extended to the finale though...
Yes, there's a good chance they'll fail to save Dean on Thursday. His soul is coming due, and the boys are getting more desperate, trying to find ways to stop it. This episode is about them trying two very different, desperate methods to save Dean. Then on top of that, it's sort of tied in with a really creepy urban legend about a couple-of-centuries-old doctor living in the woods on the East Coast who basically keeps himself alive by stealing organs...We're kind of delving into that, and it's definitely one of our creepiest episodes. There's a lot of surgery while your still alive and maggots, so that's really good times. And then we really climax our Bella storyline for the season. Lauren comes in...

Does she make it out alive?
Tune in and find out. But it's not great news for her, and we show a couple of cards we've been holding onto all season, and we sort of reveal why she is, who she is and what kind of secrets she's been holding, in a way that will surprise the audience and kind of tie her into the story. 

Will the boys ever best Bella again? It's been said that she seems too smart for her own good.
We were well aware of that note, and we designed this storyline for her to let the boys best her in a way. Hopefully, it will play conflicted and human, and we've already announced elsewhere that Lauren will not be coming back next year, so I think we kind of send her off in an appropriate and dramatic way. 

Do you get to show everything you wanted to show about Dean's deal or was anything pivotal sacrificed because of the writers' strike?
We did get to show everything we wanted to show—it just came at the expense of every other storyline in this last part of the season.

And then about the finale, "No Rest for the Wicked," I assume Jensen Ackles' character dies and that's the last we'll see of him on the show?
Yes, Jensen wanted to focus on movies, and he wouldn't give me the 25 percent salary kickback I demanded, so he's leaving the series. Chad Michael Murray is joining the cast to replace him, and next year will be like that season on Dukes of Hazzard where it was Vance and Coy instead of Bo and Luke. Everything's gonna be a little bit off, but it'll be good...I think you'll like it.

Love it. Seriously, though, how long will it take Dean to climb out of hell?
I seriously can't answer that question...and who's to say he goes to hell? 

OK, let's jump to season four! What can we expect from that? Besides Coy and Vance.
We're gonna spend a little less time talking about giant movements and war and more time talking about the brothers' relationship and how they react to that war. I think we sort of have a new species of supernatural being that we'll be introducing in season four that will take people by surprise. We have a few tricks up our sleeves.

And now for my favorite part of the show: Fan questions! Lindsay from Royal Oak, Mich., wants to know, "Do you still want to do only five seasons of the show and why?"
Yes, I do, because when you're creating these types of stories, you want to go out on top—when you're still creatively effective—and you tend to inevitably get a little floppy in the storytelling when you go too long. So you want to pull the plug on the patient before you get a little too deteriorated. Also, this kind of a story, that has an epic sweep and has heroes and demons and the end of the world, you want the saga to come to an end definitely, and you want to watch a final episode that doesn't peter out like a limp balloon. You want it to end so when you cut to black, you can truly say, "That is the end of that story." So, I'm really campaigning hard to do that. 

Another fan, Smilineyes, asks, "When or how will we learn about Mary Winchester's side of the family?"
In terms of Mary, we're definitely delving into all of that. I think my goal is to answer those questions sooner than people are expecting us to. I think in the first half of season four we'll actually answer a lot of those questions.

Fan Sandy asks, "The episode 'Croatoan' seemed to be all about testing Sam to see if he was immune to a demonic virus, but then the subject hasn't come up again. Will the results of the tests be significant at some point in the future?"
We have the Croatoan virus on our board of ongoing mythology, and it will return in some form or another that we're working on. 

Any last things the fans should know?
Tune into the finale. I think it will be a jaw-dropper and crucial viewing to understanding season four. I think we send the season off in grand fashion.

—Reporting by Jennifer Godwin

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