In the years of 2007 and 2008, Hollywood was struck with the little annoyance of a writers’ strike. Like everything else, Supernatural was affected by this, and I believe Bela Talbot was one of the worst casualties of the strike.
Now before the haters pelt me with rock salt, let me make a case for her. First it was nice to have a reoccurring brunette hottie on the show (no offense to Meg, Jo or Ruby but blonds do nothing for me). I can’t blame Sam for dreaming about her, even though she shot him. Second she did expand the SN universe in a much needed way. Through her, we got to see that not all humans who knew of the “underside” of reality were hunters. There was more to the world than just black and white, Bela was a solid gray. She added dimension and depth and opened up possibilities.
Still, what did the writers’ strike do to her? Well, she had the skills to be a worthy love interest for Dean. Even though they started out hating each other, given a full season we could have seen them grow into a full appreciation, even romance toward each other. She was set up to be hated at first, but Kripke promised that she’d become more sympathetic. How could she when half of the season is gutted? Instead we are given a tearful death bed confession that tries to turn everything about her character around. Is it a coincidence that her deal’s due date was so close to Dean’s? I think not for they were two souls entangled, almost polar opposites:
He mourned the loss of his parents. She longed for the loss of hers.
She thinks only of herself. Dean gives up the perfect life to save just one girl.
He is poor. Bela is rich.
Yet even with these contrasts, we see an undercurrent of similarities. They both their jobs with a touch of dark humor, and look at the world very cynically. Both seem to long for a meaningful relationship, but try to drown their need with distractions.
Is there a future for Dean and Bela? Only Kripke will tell. Until then, we can only dream about what may have been, had they only been given enough time. They might have fought Lilith together, and been dragged into hell holding each other.