Well, looks like it’s that time again—time for the emotional torment we’ve all come to know and love, commonly referred to as “Supernatural.” Season 8’s premiere was jam-packed with plot development, while still giving us insight into what happened over the year we missed as viewers—but not too much insight, because these people like to keep us on our toes.
In an opening something reminiscent of season 4’s “Lazarus Rising,” Dean comes back with a bang—or a flash, at least, scaring the crap out of a couple of campers and
stealing their stuff, luckily having run into a plaid-wearing gentleman so he could get back into his getup right away. Then he hauls ass to Louisiana, and digs up a grave out of nowhere, and then bleeding the infamous Benny-the-vampire out of his arm, thus bringing him back to life.
I don’t know, man. It’s Supernatural.
In any case, Benny and Dean actually have a civil conversation—more than civil, really. Spending a year in Purgatory evidently got Dean over his ‘supernatural creature = bad’ bias, and even gives Benny a hug.
Not even Castiel gets hugs.
After the new title card, we see Sam for the first time this season, sneaking out of a dark house and leaving his girlfriend and dog behind, which he obviously gained over the summer. But wait—what’s that? A mysterious silhouette standing outside of his house.
Then, of course, Sam shows up at their quickly becoming regular shack, where Dean is already camping and waiting to jump his brother, running him through a quick gauntlet of creature-tests before deciding it’s actually a genuine Sam and initiating the required returned-from-the-dead hug. Then goes the exposition, telling us (and Sam) the ‘I went to Purgatory’ story, along with some extremely vague can’t-really-call-it-an-explanation from Dean about where Castiel is. We’re supposed to believe the angel’s dead and gone for good, which is obviously not true, though it may be possible that Cas is still stuck in Purgatory. The writers don’t seem to want to reveal anything about that quite so soon.
Afterwards, it’s Sam’s time for exposition, revealing (to Dean’s obvious disbelief and displeasure) that he quit hunting when he thought that Dean had died. Which of course sets him up for a good old fashioned Winchester loyalty talk, which he doesn’t take all that well.
Dean then starts going through Sam’s messages on the phones he ditched, to see if he can catch up on what happened during his “year off” (and somewhat casually refuses dinner, which may be an important point. More on that later). He finds more than a few messages from Kevin, progressively getting more upset at each one, when it becomes apparent that after Kevin managed to escape from Crowley (all on his own), he had to fend for himself because Sam wasn’t answering his phone.
The Winchesters’ relationship is obviously off to a bad start this year.
Sam quickly gets back on the track, however, using one of Kevin’s phone calls to find out where the Advanced Placement Prophet had gotten off too, assuring Dean that yes, as long as he had his brother, he was willing to hunt—especially since, as Dean so lovingly put it, Kevin was their “responsibility.”
The next day the brothers saddle up in the Impala, Dean immediately noticing the scent of “dog” and Sam feigning ignorance. Luckily there are more important things to worry about, and they go to find Kevin, starting the hunt at the university where his high school girlfriend is attending, since Sam tracked him to that area.
Again, we get another short scene that hints at Dean’s not eating, before it switches to a flashback of Purgatory, where Benny saves Dean from another vampire—but more
importantly, shows that Dean had been actively looking for Castiel in Purgatory (or at least “the angel”—I wonder why his name is never mentioned?), which leads to the conclusion that Cas had, at some point, disappeared. This probably, paradoxically, comes as less of a surprise to the lesser-involved people in the fandom. If one had seen only the season 7 finale before this, it would make perfect sense that Castiel had gone missing. He was gone at the end of the episode. But, to those keeping track of interviews and panels and the like, this brings a measure of confusion to Misha Collins’ statement that Cas is “out for a beer, and will be back shortly.”
Or, it could just be the fact that Misha was taking a bit of artistic license with the definition of “shortly.”
Anyways, back to the episode—Dean doesn’t seem to be sleeping, and brushes off Sam’s inquires by continuing to guilt trip him about quitting hunting and not helping Kevin. Sam, for once, holds his own, insisting that they’re not the only hunters out there that can deal with things. He also speaks about his girlfriend sort of in the past-tense, though we saw her in the beginning of the episode. Hmm…
Dean also spills a little information about Purgatory, leading into another flashback where Benny offers him a way out, on the condition that said vampire can hitch a ride—which obviously happened, as shown by the beginning of the episode. But Dean puts a condition on the condition, and that is that they find “the angel.” The lack of conclusion to this little conversation obviously leaves things to be wondered.
The next day, Sam and Dean show up at whatever college Kevin’s girlfriend is attending, and questions said girl. She, however, seems to be completely unworried about
Kevin’s whereabouts, painting a completely horrible picture of her character. That is, until we learn that she’s a demon, when she cuts her roommate’s throat in order to contact her boss (most likely Crowley) and tell them that Dean Winchester is walking the Earth. Again.
The next scene quickly transitions into a Sam flashback, showing how he ran into a dog and took it to an animal hospital, because they fix animals there.
Sam also managed to find Kevin on the security cameras, and did a bunch of computer stuff to trace him to Iowa. Quick transition to the aftermath of doing a bunch of people stuff, which is finding the decrepit church that Kevin’s been holing himself up in. Kevin, of course, douses them in borax, but once that ritual was over with, he continued on with—gasp! More exposition.
Apparently Crowley was trying to use him to interpret more “Word of God” tablets, one of which had the instructions for opening a gate to Hell somewhere in Wisconsin. Crowley, of course, had Kevin do the ritual to open the gate…but made the mistake of letting Kevin do it mostly on his own, so obviously the prophet took the chance to tweak the ritual a little, blasting his guard demons to oblivion and escaping.
After this little explanation, Kevin gets into the real exposition, as in telling us all what this season (and possibly, the next—and the next after that…) are going to be about. On the tablet were instructions on how to close the Gates of Hell. All of them, forever, permanently banning all demons from the face of the Earth. Which, a few seasons ago (when four demon possessions in a year was a huge deal or something) probably wouldn’t have been that good a deal, but hey. I’ll take it.
Dean, of course, is all for this idea—but Sam is opposed to forcibly dragging Kevin into the mess in order to do it, deciding
to sit down and have a little heart-to-heart with said prophet. Then Kevin conveniently decides to leave, giving Sam some time to have another flashback. So, we’re back to the animal hospital, where the vet (obviously Sam’s new love interest, Amelia) goads him into taking the dog with him after it’s all fixed up.
When Kevin comes back out to deliver his answer, demons show up at the hideout and get a severe beat-down by the Winchesters plus one. Until Crowley finally decides to show up with Kevin’s demon girlfriend in tow, trying to convince Kevin to come with him. The prophet agrees to exchange himself for his girlfriend…except he doesn’t, and totally lures the two demons into a holy water trap.
Then, as Kevin’s leaving, he snaps his girlfriend’s neck in as plain sight as possible.
Welcome to hunting, Kevin. Here’s your gun and dead girlfriend.
And of course, as a wrap up to the episode, Dean has an extremely cryptic chat with Benny, his new best friend.
Overall, an excellent episode, opening into what is no doubt going to be a great season—with plenty of foreshadowing and hints dropped that we get to wonder about.
Catch the next episode of ‘Supernatural’ on the CW at 9/8c on Wednesday, October 10th!