You might have thought that the cast and crew of Supernatural would be prepared to answer a question about the somewhat gratuitous and unpleasant death of a fan-favorite character last season. But watch this video of their Comic-Con panel, and see for yourself. (The relevant portion starts at 35:00.)

Spoilers ahead...

A fan asked, “Considering that women have too often been used to further plot of the male characters, why was the decision made to kill Charlie and dump her in a bathtub?” At which Mark Sheppard applauds and looks gleeful, while the rest of the cast exaggeratedly kicks back to see how the producers will answer this one.

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Showrunner Jeremy Carver—probably mostly joking—tries to pass the buck to producer Andrew Dabb. Then says, “That’s an excellent question. It’s tough, just because any time you have a favorite character on a show—”

“—and the show is called Supernatural—” interjects Jared Padalecki.

“People die on the show. And unfortunately... there’s so many ways to answer that. It’s tough for me to answer. She’s an absolutely beloved character, beloved in the show. And when we’re in the writers’ room, uh, we have to go where the story takes us. And we try and do it without...”

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And then the cast starts clowning around and pretending to hide. “I’m out of here! Tell me when it’s over!”

“This is the worst day ever,” says Carver. “I want to thank everyone up here for the support.”

Then he makes another stab at explaining that the show has had favorite characters over the years, and they all die. And if the writers do their job right, then you fall in love with those characters before they die, and “it’s one of those horrible, sad, yet dramatic, things that we do on the show.”

And then Jensen Ackles points out that Charlie was only supposed to appear in one episode, and the fact that she came back for multiple episodes means that “we got her more than we had orignally had planned anyway, and we should be thankful for the time that we got to spend with her.” [h/t Elizabeth]