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What's next for 'Supernatural' season 8?

Now that the season premiere has aired, nearly everyone in the Supernatural fandom is talking about what’s going to happen next in season 8. Is Castiel coming back? What’s up with this Benny dude? Is Dean acting strange, or are we just looking too much into things? Of course, the only people that really know what’s going to happen are the writers; even most of the actors are (or at least have been acting) fairly in the dark about things. But, hey, the fandom managed to predict that Dean was going to end up in Purgatory—a twist that came completely out of the left field for most people—so who knows, maybe there’s some insight to be had.

The first information we managed to gleam from anyone was whatever the writers and actors/director decided to divulge at Comic-Con this year. But, of course, since they don’t want to spoil anything, their answers were frustratingly vague, and most of what they hinted at was clarified in the first episode. Dean’s vampire Purgatory mate Benny, Sam’s girlfriend, the race against Crowley in order to close the gates of Hell—anyone who tuned into the premiere is pretty well informed about that already. There’re just a few things we got hints of that we might not have assumed otherwise.

Benny, for one, isn’t going anywhere fast. Dean may have said they shouldn’t talk for a while, but apparently that’s not going to happen. Both Jensen Ackles and Jeremy

The Winchesters must be hiding at least one supernatural being from each other at any given time.

Carver have confirmed Benny’s importance in the series—marginally, at least—Jenny saying that he “won’t be going anywhere” and Jeremy constantly emphasizing the importance of new relationships in Purgatory, which as far as I can tell can only mean Benny. (This is of course setting up the show for a scene we’ve seen about a million times before—tune in at some point for the inevitable ‘I can’t believe you’d keep this a secret from me!’ ‘Well I can’t believe you’d keep this a secret from me!’ argument between the brothers. Hopefully Sam won’t run off this time.)

As for the Purgatory story line as a whole, it’s going to play a large role at least up to around mid-season, according to Jeremy Carver, and possibly farther. They’re planning on keeping it open for story-telling possibilities, though of course we’ll get at least some measure of resolve when its main purpose is up. Ben Edlund told us that there’s going to be a whole separate storyline in Purgatory as well—so don’t assume it’s just padding the episodes.

There wasn’t much towards the whole Hell-Gate scheme, other than “it’s happening”—though Jeremy Carver has reportedly come up with a three-season plan, however, so if all goes well we’ll get up to the 10th season of Supernatural. Whether that’s all leading up to the closing of the gates of Hell is still to be determined, though it seems likely. And, of course, their antagonist throughout all this is Crowley, who is finally shaping up to be the clear-cut ‘villain’ of a season all his own.

Or…is he?

The one snippet of information we collected that doesn’t seem to fit into anything so far is that, apparently, we’re going to see a familiar face. “A returning character most thought long dead from the first three seasons will be a big bad as the first season’s plot line intersects with the eighth.” For once, the speculation seems to be all over the place, because absolutely no one knows what this is supposed to mean. Arguably, the first season’s plotline was either the search for John Winchester, or marginally the fight against the Yellow-Eyed-Demon. So, is John coming back? Or Azazel? Are they saying “the first three seasons” because the character plays a large role in all three, or are they just trying to throw us off? Are they talking about the first season’s plot line in a literal or more figurative way? Who even knows. And since this is Supernatural, the list of deceased characters in any given range runs about a mile long, which widens the base of people to pick from. Popular ones seem to be, besides the obvious two; Mary, Jessica, and Bela. But really, no one has any idea.

The rest of the information is pretty straight-forward—we’re getting our first look at Castiel in episode 2, in the Purgatory flashbacks, and the episode that Jensen directed (episode 3) is going to be very bloody. What? Blood? In Supernatural? Never.

That’s it for the stuff from conventions, but there’s still one more source to look at. That is, Misha Collins. It’s pretty hard to keep secrets about a character whose wardrobe changes with every significant plot development—when Castiel was kicked out of his vessel, Jimmy didn’t wear the overcoat for most of the episode. When Cas went power crazy, he was covered in blood/Leviathan ooze. When he was finally revived as Emmanuel, he had a different wardrobe entirely—and lately, he’s been stuck in the whole scrubs and overcoat look, which he went to Purgatory in. So, with these changes, you can usually tell more about what’s happening with the character using chance shots from people going by set. Or, considering this is Misha—twitter pictures. And from what we’ve seen, Castiel’s future looks bright.

For some reason this just doesn’t scream “Purgatory” to me.

It’s no secret that Cas is looking pretty down-trodden in Purgatory. He’s covered in dirt and god knows what, and is sporting some scruff that looks pretty familiar—many have been worried that he’s heading down a slippery slope to his “End” self, in the disaster scenario in 2014…even though the show runners have specifically said they didn’t want to go down that path. In any case, we’ve nothing to fear—when a bunch of bloggers got a chance to visit the Supernatural set a little more than a week ago, they interviewed Misha, who was looking as clean-shaven as can be, in a very familiar-looking suit and backwards tie. Then, Misha found a group of girls on the Supernatural set and took a picture with them—which of course ended up on the Internet, exhibiting the full suit-and-coat combo in peak condition, which we haven’t seen since season 7’s premiere.

Of course, there is some room for skepticism with the way this season is going so far. Namely, we’ve been inundated with flashbacks, so this could just be some Castiel scenes that belong in the past. Feel free to think whatever, but we have been told that Castiel fans are going to like some mid-season episodes, so I’m going to stick with the hope that the angel is going to be back full-force and hanging with the Winchesters.

That’s basically it for anything “official,” unless anyone wants to go into the vague “the brothers are going to have to work on their relationship” sort of things, which seem pretty obvious from the first episode. But, really—the fan speculation is the best part anyways. And remember, we’re not all completely insane. The popular theories sometimes end up scarily accurate to what actually happens in the show.

Now, most of the fans (or at least the ones I hear from) are, unsurprisingly, concerned about what happened to Castiel. Sam and Dean are back in the first episode and immediately start on some new quest, but what about Cas? He’s hardly mentioned—in the present, at least. Dean seems extremely concerned about “the angel” in Purgatory flashbacks, but when asked about him in the present, he somewhat brushes the question off, saying that Cas “let go” and he “saw enough” to know that…what? It’s meant to be assumed that Castiel is dead, but we’re fairly sure that that’s not true. And most of us would like to believe that if Castiel was alive and stuck in Purgatory, Dean would be all gung-ho about getting him out. After all, they’ve already opened Purgatory, what, two or three times, depending on how you count it? On a difficultly scale of “getting a soda” to “stopping the Apocalypse,” I’m thinking opening a gate you’ve previously opened before isn’t all that high. So, why doesn’t Dean try?

Applying Occam’s Razor, the answer seems to be that the angel is already out of Purgatory. So where is he? How did he get out? Why isn’t Dean talking about him?

The fandom has speculated the answer to two of these questions in something that we like to call the “Vessel” theory. The logic goes something like this; Apparently, there’s a portal in Purgatory that only humans can go through. Dean is the only human in Purgatory. Castiel is out of Purgatory. Therefore, Castiel—like Benny—had to hitch a ride in Dean’s body in order to get out. But, if that’s the case, then where is Castiel now? Why did we see Benny and not the angel?

The answer to that is simple; Castiel is still riding around in Dean’s meatsuit. Angels, after all, were meant to inhabit human bodies while on Earth, so it wouldn’t be very obvious that he’s in there. And sure, we haven’t seen any cases of angels riding backdoor to the human’s consciousness, but hey—demons can do that, why not their celestial counterparts? Basically, the theory is possible.

But ‘possible’ doesn’t exactly lead to ‘plausible’, and many people were just discussing the theory for S&G’s while waiting for the first episode to air. That is, until it did air,

Irrefutable evidence.

and there were some strange, easily dismissible changes in Dean. Notably, we didn’t see him sleeping (I mean come on, how do you hitchhike from Maine to Louisiana in four days and get any sleep at all), and when asked about it, he changes the subject. Also, he didn’t eat, except for when food was purposely put in front of him. So, either something horrible happened in the transition between Purgatory and Earth—i.e. what happened to Sam when Cas did a horrible job of pulling him out of The Cage and he lost his soul—or, Castiel is still hitching a ride with him. Angels don’t need to eat or sleep; and, of course, everyone likes pointing out that the only thing Dean ate was a hamburger. You know who else likes eating hamburgers?

Cas.

That’s the biggest theory going around right now, and it, at the very least, makes sense. But, besides what the fans think is going to happen, there’re any number of things that the fans want to happen, and with a fanbase like Supernatural’s…well, fandom gets stuff done.

[subliminal messaging] BRING GABRIEL BACK [/subliminal messaging]
Overall, it seems that the fandom wants more funny things in the series—or at least, have the most ideas for happy sort of things. There’s an overwhelming majority of us that want Gabriel back on the show, and one of that majority is Richard Speight, Jr. himself. And hey, if the fans want it and the actor wants it, what’s to stop it from happening? I mean, some people could argue that he doesn’t fit in the plot, but has Gabriel ever? As much as it pains me to say it, the biggest influence Gabe ever really had was in his last five minutes, when he told the brothers how to trap Lucifer back in his cage. Significant, yes. But that was one episode. Who’s to say we can’t have another one just to lighten things up a bit?

And, since we’re on the subject, fans have a pretty good idea of what they want the episode to be like, too. Whether Gabriel causes it or not, there’s been massive fandom uproar about the lack of a musical episode. I mean, Buffy had one, and it’s up there in the best Buffy episodes of all time. Psych is getting one. Why not Supernatural? With Jensen’s beautiful voice, not having one is almost a crime. And sure, the crew might say that it passes a line of ‘silliness’ that they’re not willing to cross, but this is the show that aired “The French Mistake,” for goodness sake. Who even knows what they’ve got up their sleeve next.

In any case, season 8 is going to be a wild ride, whether we’ve predicted correctly or not. If we’re right—well, look at all these cool things happening! And if we’re not, then knowing Carver and Edlund, it’ll probably be even crazier.

That’s all for now—if I’ve missed anything then feel free to enlighten me.

Unless it’s the whole Crowley thing. I plan to give that its own article. Stay tuned!

Catch the next episode of ‘Supernatural’ on the CW at 9/8c on Wednesday, October 10th!

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