The Road So Far.
CARRY ON WAYWARD SONNNNnnnnnnnnnn!
It was all so simple in the beginning. ‘Saving people. Hunting things. The family business.’ You kill a wendigo, drink a few beers, move on to the next cheap motel. Things got a bit more complicated, though, once black smoke demons began vomiting themselves out of people’s mouths and actively tried to bring about the apocalypse. Then, friggin Angels came riding down from Heaven with their flaming swords stuck way up their asses and repeatedly tried to jump start the book of Revelations. Lilith. Leviathans. Lucifer. Shit got hectic. But, as complicated as it all got, it all could be boiled down to two very simple things. Heaven and Hell. Everything the Winchesters battled against, everything that sought to end all life on Earth could be traced back to one of those two fundamental realities. (I’m not counting Purgatory so back off. Why? Because the Leviathans were created by God and he lived in Heaven.) Season 8 was different. There was no ‘big bad’ to fight. No looming apocalypse. Just a bunch of monsters killing people and those in power moving their chess pieces around on the board. In a way, season 8 was more of a throwback to the first season. Sam and Dean, on their own, trying to protect the world from those who would watch it burn. All while being ping ponged back and forth between the forces of ‘good’ and ‘evil.’
This was also a season where I said ‘Awww, what the hell, Dean?’ every 5 minutes.
Like many other seasons before it, season 8 opens with one of the Winchester boys escaping from the afterlife and the other one doing their best to exist in the world on their own. Dean has managed to escape from Purgatory with the soul of a vampire named Benny hitchhiking in his arm. Sam has quit hunting entirely and has settled down with a veterinarian named Amelia. We learn that Purgatory was a 24/7 battle royale and Castiel has chosen to stay there as part of some sort of penance for his past atrocities. Throughout the course of the season, It is discovered that there are two different tablets, an angel tablet and a demon tablet. Each one, written by God, seems to catalog everything you could ever want to know about Angels and Demons. On the demon tablet, Kevin Tran discovers that the completion of 3 trials (kill a hell hound, rescue a soul from hell and reform a demon) can forever close the gates of hell. Just like that, the Winchesters have themselves a mission. Also, it’s important to note that they don’t discover this until episode 14. And just like the Winchesters, I will close the gates to Season 8 with 3 distinct trials.
Hypocrisy. Redemption. Loyalty.
No, those are not the Chinese symbols I have tattooed on my leg. Wait. One of them is. Shit. No, those are actually the three words I would say best describe Season 8.
Alright, Dean. Quit being an asshole already
You can imagine that Dean wasn’t too happy when he escaped Purgatory to discover that Sam had taken a year off from hunting. Every opportunity Dean had to remind Sam of his most recent (in a long line of) fuck ups, he took. Which is complete bullshit, when you think about it because when Sam was sent to Hell, Dean didn’t waste any time giving up the lifestyle and settling down with Lisa and Ben. Then! Not only did Dean help a vampire escape from Purgatory, he lets him go off on his own! Which is also complete bullshit because Dean killed Amy, even when Sam promised Dean that she wouldn’t be a threat to humans. This hypocritical bullshit WILL NOT STAND.
And what’s up with the angels being no better than the demons? They’ve equally tried to end the world. They’re emotionless and kill without mercy. I guess the only real exception is that some angels actually do want to protect the world and do good. Still… We meet a higher up angel named, Naomi, who brainwashes Castiel and forces him to do her bidding. Luckily, he’s able to break his programming before he brutally murders Dean. Kind of sounds like something a demon would do, amirite? .. Hypocritical bullshit.
I think I’ve lost track of all the ways Sam has disappointed Dean. He ran off to college and abandoned his family. He kept it a secret when he was drinking the demon blood. He was also drinking demon’s blood. He released Lucifer from the cage. All of Sam’s happy thoughts were when he snuck away from the family. Etc Etc Etc. It’s pretty well established that Sam is seen as the weaker of the Winchesters. Despite having been able to both regain control of his body from Lucifer and handling having his memories from Hell returned to him. He ain’t no joke. But, his self image is that of a failure. So, when the trials began, you could see a change in Sam. This wasn’t an opportunity to just close the gates of Hell, it was a chance to finally redeem himself in the eyes of his brother. Sam shouldn’t worry too much though, because the prize for ‘Second Biggest Screw up in Desperate Need of Redemption” would definitely go to Castiel.
Castiel decided to stay in Purgatory because he felt he had a lot to atone for. He murdered thousands of angels. He was responsible for the release of the Leviathan. He helped stop the apocalypse which would have brought paradise to Earth (Questionable. I know). The consequences of his actions continue to ripple through eternity. Always with the best intentions, Castiel’s actions seem to only cost more lives than they save. This season found Castiel, once again, seeking redemption for all his past sins. So, naturally the season ends with Castiel being tricked by the angel Metatron and being responsible for every angel being kicked out of Heaven and exiled to Earth. Way ta go, numbnuts.
In a desperate move to complete the final trial and ‘redeem a demon,’ the Winchesters pull a brilliant con on Crowley and trap him with the intention of reforming his wicked ass. At first, it doesn’t appear to be working, until Crowley emotionally screams that he ‘deserves to be loved!’ The trial was one step away from completion, leaving Crowley in a ‘who knows what’ state. Is he actually reformed? Did he find redemption? What happens when the King of Hell has a conscience?
Also, Meg gets to go out in a heroic blaze of glory.
Are you with us or against us, Castiel? Are you with us or against us, Meg? Are you with me or against me, Sam? It’s gotten to the point that you can’t even trust your own grandparents in this world. Everyone seems to have their own agenda. The question of loyalty is probably the most prevalent question in this universe. It’s the driving force of every action committed on the show. Angels proving their loyalty to God. Demons proving their loyalty to Lucifer. Sam and Dean forever proving their loyalty to one another. OKAY. I know there is A LOT of references to Sam and Dean as a couple on the internet. Shit, the writer’s even joke about it in Season 6’s ‘The French Mistake.’ But, holy shit, this season felt like watching a couple break up and then get back together again. Dean was jealous of Amelia. Sam was jealous of Benny. It got to the point where they both were forced to cut the ties to their others and fully commit back to each other.
It was Dean’s extreme loyalty to Sam that stopped him from completing the trials. Which would have closed off Hell forever! Way to go numbnuts. It’s Angels extreme loyalty to Heaven that drives their terrible actions. Their desire to fulfill the destiny God tasked them with. Even when loyalty is in question, they surgically force it on each other. Sick and twisted, yes, but so god damn loyal. It was Castiel’s loyalty to Dean that kept him from murdering him, despite the mental condition from Naomi. It was Metreon’s loyalty to God that made him banish all angels from Heaven upon learning how corrupt and manipulative they had become. Loyalty is a very powerful emotion and seems to bring out the best and worst of everyone consumed by it.
Every season of Supernatural has that one episode that stands out. A creative risk that doesn’t necessarily move the story forward, but just shows how creative and passionate the film makers are for this world. Bitten was that episode for me. It’s basically a found footage episode where a small group of college kids chronicle the slow transformation of turning into a werewolf. Where Sam and Dean only appear in brief cameos. It shows a different perspective to the show and ends up being really brilliant and emotional.
The award for my favorite episode title, in Season 8, was actually a tie between’Man’s Best Friend with Benefits’ and ‘Hunteri Heroici.’ With ‘Everybody hates Hitler’ coming in at a close second.
Season 9 Premiere Review
WARNING: Spoilers ahead if you aren’t completely up to date.
It’s been a while since a season of Supernatural opened minutes after where the last season ended. Usually someone is in Hell for a couple of months or some other type of malarchy. Dean has stopped Sam from completing the trials and angels are raining down from Heaven. Sam is close to death. Castiel is mortal and lost on Earth. Thousands of misguided angels are trapped and are without vessels. Crowley is locked in trunk of the Impala, possibly no longer evil? Heaven is on lock down. Where the hell do we from here?
The season opener saw everyone trying to catch their bearings. Sam is close to death and Dean is desperate to find a way to keep him alive. This feels familiar in some way? It wouldn’t be an episode of Supernatural if one of the Winchesters wasn’t desperately searching for some magical way to bring the other back to life. This salvation comes in the form of an angel named Ezekiel. An angel that Castiel vouches for. Because of Sam’s desperate condition, he reveals that the only way to completely heal him, would be to hide his soul inside of him. ‘Fix him from the inside while he fixes himself.’ Against his better judgement, Dean agrees to this and then continues to break Winchester rule #1. Do NOT KEEP SECRETS. How many times has keeping a secret from one another bit you in the ass? Now, Sam has an angel inside of him and Dean has to pretend like he doesn’t know that. This will not end well. Sam is going to find out and he’s just going to look at Dean and shake his head. ‘Really, man?’
The most fascinating part of this episode was Sam’s journey in his head. Faced with the option of literally fighting for his life or accepting his death. It wasn’t until Death himself showed up for the privilege of taking Sam Winchester, that he decided to move on. Everyone on this show fights so hard to stay alive. But, at some point, we all have to go. If you’ve lived a life where you’ve repeatedly saved the world, isn’t that a life worth walking away from? Especially one where Death himself thinks was ‘well played.’
It’s really hard to predict where this season is going to go. Earth is full of lost angels with no purpose. Will the world soon learn that there is more going on than what can be seen? How will Castiel handle being completely mortal? Now that Crowley is captured, is the throne of Hell is up for grabs.? Will Hell make a mad dash for Heaven? Will God finally step in and make an appearance? I really don’t know where this season is going.
Despite it starting off with the Winchester boys making some pretty classic blunders, this season has potential to be like nothing we’ve ever seen.
PS. Adam is still in the cage.
Final Score: 7 out of 10 (with potential!)
BONUS! Here’s a photo of me and Crowley at Comic Con…and yes…He does seal all his contracts with a kiss…