Sure, Rachel Gatina pulled a few stunts during her tenure on The WB/CW’s One Tree Hill — including steering a limousine off a bridge, nearly killing four people in the process — but even with all those wrongdoings under her belt, she still deserved better.
Danneel Ackles — who portrayed Rachel, and returns to The CW in tonight’s episode of Supernatural — certainly agrees. While many antagonists, including actual murderer Dan Scott, were given elaborate redemption arcs, Rachel’s story simply went from bad to worse. Following the show’s post-high school time jump, Rachel became addicted to heroin, stole money from her best friend and married Dan, only to be left with divorce papers and an empty bank account before disappearing entirely.
“There have been a lot of things that have come out recently about One Tree Hill, so I’ll let you just kind of decide why you think that happened to her,” Ackles tells TVLine of her character’s ending. “Our executive producer and creator kind of had a way of — when he was done with you — making you leave the show the worst possible way.”
Some context on the above: Ackles was one of 15 female members of One Tree Hill‘s cast and crew to sign an open letter in Nov. 2017, accusing series creator Mark Schwahn of fostering an environment in which women were “manipulated psychologically and emotionally.” According to the letter, “Many of us were put in uncomfortable positions and had to swiftly learn to fight back, sometimes physically, because it was made clear to us that the supervisors in the room were not the protectors they were supposed to be.” This inspired 25 women from Schwahn’s current series, E!’s The Royals, to write a similar letter, resulting in his termination.
“My Rachel had a very different life,” Ackles says. “I think Rachel is in a wonderful place right now, happily married to some good looking guy. She deserves some happiness.”
Your thoughts on Rachel’s unfinished story? Drop ’em in a comment below.
Reporting by Vlada Gelman