Supernatural seems to want us to know that it’s getting back to basics this season. It opened with Dean’s classic line from the pilot “Dad wants us to pick up where we left off…” and after The Road So Far montage we do. We pick up right where we left off last season. Just, you know, one year later, because this is Supernatural, and that’s how these things work.
So we open, as we so often are wont to do, on an innocent pair of campers in Maine. They’re awoken by a blinding light, out of which pops Dean. Alive! Covered in blood and grime! Wielding a crap ton of weaponry and a look of severe suspicion! He hitchhikes his way to Louisiana and, cradling his left arm, goes to dig up an unmarked grave. He uncovers the skeleton and bleeds his injured arm, which turns out not to be injured, but instead glow-y and filled with what appears to be the soul of Benny. You don’t know Benny? The vampire? Well Dean sure does because they embrace like brothers before we cut scenes.
Did I say brothers? Well speak of the devil because here’s Sammy sneaking out in the middle of the night away from his border collie and wife (girlfriend? hookup? beard?) He heads to Bobby’s to meet up with his supposedly dead brother (nothing new there) who tosses borax and holy water on him, cuts Sam’s arm, and then does all three on himself to prove that both of them are human. And THEN we get the real brotherly hug. Finally. Sheesh.
Dean gets a haunted look and talks about Purgatory and how Cas didn’t make it, and yeah, yeah, SPN, we saw it in the teaser. What we didn’t see was how upset Dean proceeds to get when he finds out Sam didn’t go looking for him. At all. I’m sorry, but that is so not the Winchester way, Sammy. 10 points from Ravenclaw. Still pissed, Dean checks Sam’s old burner cells and finds a slew of nervous, terrified, drunk, and depressed messages from Kevin Tran (AP!) and the boys go off to find the missing prophet.
On the road again, we get the first of the Purgatory FLASHBACKs. Dean’s hunting vamps and asking for “The Angel.” He gets hit from behind, and is saved by another vampire – Benny. Dean cocks his head and gives his supposed enemy a quizzical look (that better not become a look of longing or so help me…) And now we get brotherly conversation time in a cheesy motel. Dean’s trying to understand how Sam could just stop hunting, and guesses it was because of a girl. It was. Her name is Amelia and Sam hit her dog. (Realizing that’s why the Impala smells like dog Dean rattled off the two most important rules: “You don’t take a joint from a guy named Don, and no dogs in the car!”) And then Sam asks about Purgatory. What is it with these two? What was it like in hell? What was it like in the cage? Questions, questions. Going by the FLASHBACK it was sepia-toned and grimy and full of wheeling and dealing with vamps. Benny wants to cut a deal for saving Dean. He’ll show him the exit, but as only humans can leave Purgatory, he needs to hitch a ride inside Dean to get out himself. So that explains the new glow-y blood ritual we got.
The boys dress up in their
funeral FBI suits and go to question Kevin’s ex-girlfriend. She hasn’t seen him. That loser totes didn’t get into Princeton. Whatevs. Dumped. So they leave. Too bad because it turns out the GF isn’t really at school for the learnings. She’s a demon (GASP) and we get ourselves a good-ol fashioned demon call in the form of fresh blood in a goblet. Love it. So who’s in the meat suit? A random? Or maybe Meg? (Please not Meg, please not Meg.)
Sammy, hair blowing in the wind worse than a Pantene commercial, sees a dog on campus and FLASHBACK we get the night that he ran over Amelia’s dog. Dean’s got no leads, but Sam’s ordered him a burger and fries so it’s all good. Honestly, the look of childlike glee on his face looking at that basket of greasy goodness was precious. So Sam tells Dean he internet-traced Kevin in a long and convoluted manner and Dean’s all THERE IS NO WI-FI IN PURGATORY, MOOSE-MAN and they head off to Iowa to find the college dropout.
Kevin’s hiding in a church with a machine-water-gun filled with Borax, and a not so good haircut because there can only be one with flowing locks on this show. Kevin, how did you escape? FLASHBACK! Crowley dragged the boy in to read off of a new tablet with a whole new word of God on it. Honestly, this scene could have been nothing but Mark Sheppard being smarmy and I still would have loved it. But what actually happened was that the tablet held The Idiots Guide to Demons – how to summon, banish, and destroy; even how to open or close the gates of Hell. Forever. The AP whiz-kid tricked Crowley into standing in a field full of goats (Mark Sheppard is my favorite), killed the demon bodyguards, and took off.
So the Winchesters have another brotherly discussion. Sam’s waffling on how much he really wants to keep involving Kevin in this. Dean can’t understand the hesitation. Taking out the demons? The guys who killed mom (dagger 1) and Jess (dagger 2). Sam shuffles back into the church and apologizes for leaving Kevin in the lurch for the past year, and then change-of-hearts and convinces him to work towards taking out the demons. Kevin agrees and Sam looks nostalgic so FLASHBACK to basically nothing. We see vet!Amelia snarking Sam for bringing in the stray dog he hit, but not wanting to take the dog in the end. I don’t know what Sam eventually sees in her, but it better be apparent soon because girl was MAD RUDE.
Before the trio can leave the church BAM! The devils’ traps split and in come two crony demons, taken out by Ruby’s knife, but they’re quickly replaced by Crowley and ex-GF (whose name I just learned was Channing. Huh.) Kevin reassures his ex in the quickest way possible “There’s a demon inside you and you’re going to your safety school.” Classic. Kevin takes a deal to go with Crowley for no more bloodshed, but ooooh that sneaky child. He tricks the two demons under a trough of holy water and dashes out of the church to make an Impala get-away with the boys. And get away they do. But not before (in one of the cooler shots of the episode) everything slows down, and Kevin watches the demon exit Channing, just before Crowley snaps his fingers, thereby snapping her neck. Brutal.
The Impala pulls into a gas station. Kevin’s all broody in the backseat, something about seeing the King of Hell kill his girlfriend, so Dean tells him to suck it up and goes to take a leak. Except what he’s actually taking is a super-secret-phone call. From Benny! Who is being a stalker at someone’s funeral. Potentially important, probably just a throwaway. The two share a moment in which Benny fondly remembers Purgatory and wishes he had appreciated it – just like Dean. And BAM! credits.
OK not a bad premiere. Not the best. I didn’t get as many brotherly feels as I was hoping for. But we got sassy Crowley, and jokes, and a shiny Impala, and Kevin Tran. We’re moving away from all the excess creatures and getting back to what SPN does best: demons. The use of FLASHBACK is going to get old really quickly if they don’t start showing more intriguing things. Purgatory just looks like a standard hunt for Dean so far, and Sam’s love life is SOBORINGUGHJUSTSTOPITNOW. Hopefully, with the return of Cas the show will feel a bit more satisfying.
Here are your classic rock tracks from this week’s episode to add to your Supernatural playlists:
“Locomotive Breath” – Jethro Tull
“Man in the Wilderness” – Styx