Sunday, October 14, 2012

Supernatural - 8.01 - We Need to Talk about Kevin - Recap

Supernatural - 8.01 - We Need to Talk about Kevin - Recap

Note: This recap is almost twice as long as a normal recap. The opinions shared within are strong. Yes, they are only my opinions. I do not speak for the fandom. No, I do not have a crystal ball or advanced screeners to know what will happen in subsequent episodes. I acknowledge that things may change. They always do. This is simply how I feel now. A brief review and the grade are at the bottom if you would like forewarning. And no, this is not the worst premiere Supernatural has ever had. Not even close.

Previously - the Wendigo motto came back, Cas killed a lot of angels and housed Leviathans, Dick was lamely named and conceived, season 7 had great special effects, Bobby died and was a ghost and died again, Dean morphed into Lucifer and back again, there was gross, Kevin was a prophet complete with glowing eyes, a man died by cutlery, Kevin knew how to read the Word of God and kill Dick, monsters go to Purgatory, unicorns fart rainbows, blood was key AGAIN, Dick died, Crowley took Kevin, Sam was alone, and Cas ditched Dean in Purgatory. Whew! That's a lot. All to the tune of Jethro Tull's Locomotive Breath.

100-Mile Wilderness, Maine (One Year Later) - A noisy flash of light awakens a camper, who quickly wakes her boyfriend. Since we're before the title card, Boyfriend has the right plan. Campers never fare well on Supernatural. They see a shadow on the tent wall and hear rustling nearby so naturally instead of turning off the light and staying very still, she insists he check it out, making me wonder if she planned to off him herself and found this more convenient. Everyone knows the only thing more likely to be monster food than a camper tucked safely in a sleeping bag is a camper wandering around at night. Girlfriend stays safe in the tent as Boyfriend screams "Hello" in that always helpful way that determines your exact location. Boyfriend claims it was a deer which of course is A) wishful thinking and B) stupid. You know that two-legged shadow you just saw dude? When's the last time you saw a deer walking on two legs? Following the law of natural selection, you are both prime candidates for monster chow. Except….it's Dean, a very bloody, very dirty, very confused Dean but Dean no less. Nice to see you so soon. Whoa Dean! There's no need to draw a gun on these nice campers. Granted they aren't brainchildren but I'm sure something else will eat them. Just give it time. Dean asks for directions to the highway and steals a backpack. It's "twelve miles that way" so Dean starts running to the tune of Man in the Wilderness by Styx, another nominee for best song-to-scene. Check out these lyrics. Aren't they perfect?

Another year has passed me by
Still I look at myself and cry,
"What kind of man have I become?"
Oh all the years I've spent in search of myself
And I'm still in the dark cuz I can't seem to find the light alone
Sometimes I feel like a man in the wilderness
I'm a lonely soldier off to war
Sent away to die, never quite knowing why
Sometimes it makes no sense at all.

Dean walks down a tree lined path in an obvious nod to Lazarus Rising, but this time his arm is noticeably hurting. He walks through the day, stopping at a cemetery at night. He heads to a windmill and counts off paces with shovel in hand. Dean: "This better be you, you SOB." I get the feeling this isn't your typical salt and burn, especially when Dean rolls up his sleeve to reveal something bumpy glowing red inside his arm. Ouch! One arm slice and Latin spell later, red electricity goo pours over the bones Dean uncovered. Voila! Instant vampire resurrection. He even comes back with clothes on - how convenient. While Dean would normally start swinging that homemade head detacher at this time, instead he makes sure the vampire is all in one piece. The vamp responds by showing his teeth and asking what they do now. If it weren't for spoilers I'd be dumbfounded during their adios speeches. Dean tells Benny the Vamp to keep his nose clean. He responds, "We made it bro. I can't believe it." Dean: "You and me both." I know combat makes strange bedfellows but yikes this is weird. It's a heartwarming goodbye hug between Dean and a vampire - and a sentence I never expected to write. Thankfully the cool new, Word of God title card gives me time to get my balance back. (So much better than last year's black goo.)

As we head to Kermit, Texas, I laugh. Sorry, cold medicine makes me think Supernatural: Muppet Style. Perhaps season 11. Sam is obviously here because a beautiful Baby, as good as new, sits in the driveway. Aww, I've missed you Baby. Don't go away again. I'm glad Sam had you repaired but I'm sorry Dean didn't get to fix you. Sam packs while looking over the sleeping body of a woman as sad keys of future heartbreak and sorrow plink wistfully in the background. It's effective. I'm sad already and Sam's only rubbed a dog's head. As Sam plaintively walks out the door, sleeping woman awakes but doesn't question him. Either she knows it's the end or Sam habitually makes Quick Stop runs in the night. As Metallicar purrs away I curse reading spoilers because this sure looks like a current breakup but the spoilers hinted that Sam and his ladylove were Splitsville well before Dean reappeared. Now instead of relishing Jared's acting I'm too busy deciding if this is a flash back or not. It will have different implications if Sam left her for Dean than if they split up and Dean came back later. Clarification please. All my pondering stops though since a mysterious figure is watching the house as Sam drives away. Oooh, I like this. Who was that shadowed man? SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT I have many theories but none satisfy. Cas, fresh out of Purgatory looking for an ally in Sam? Crowley, hoping Sam will lead him to Kevin? Angels, also looking for Kevin? Benny, gauging how big a threat Sam will be? Future Big Bad, in a twist from what I predict will happen this season? Miscellaneous demon #32, camera guy #4, set visitor who needed a walk on part? Who knows? They all have glaring problems but it is going to keep me guessing for quite some time. Nice job Jeremy!

In an attempt to hit every state in 42 minutes, Sam heads to Rufus' more ramshackle than before cabin in Whitefish, Montana. I look lovingly on the wide shot of Baby and worry for my mental health as I obsess over this car who has been gone far too long. The purr of her engine and squeaky doors make me sigh like a teenager with a crush. It may be time for an intervention. As the screen pops up, "Guest Starring Mark A. Sheppard", I sigh as an adult with a major TV crush. Both make me blush and feel a little silly. I'm too old for this. Luckily my sighing stops when my heart does the same. Dean flies out of nowhere, knocking Sam to the ground. After a Borax, holy water, and silver knife test trifecta, he decides it is really Sam and tells Sam to test him. The sheer presence of overwhelming Dean is enough for Sam to know it's his brother, but Dean's been gone too long and tests himself when Sam refuses. Dean: "Come on." Sam: "No Dean, can I just say hello?" Ha! Apparently not until Dean's arm resembles a suicidal teen. This is the second time he's cut that arm this episode and we are only 8 minutes in. Dean: "Alright, well let's do this." Sam: "I don't know whether to give you a hug or take a shower." I'm glad they go with the hug option. Brother hugs are always a plus and this is no exception.

After much contented sighing…from me, Sam reacts: "Dude, you…you're freaking alive! I mean what the hell happened?" Dean: "Well I guess standing too close to exploding Dick sends your a** straight to Purgatory." May that be the very last Dick joke we ever get on Supernatural. Sam is clearly shocked that Dean was in Purgatory for a year. Dean is surprised to have survived. "Yeah time flies when you're running for your life." Sam asks how Dean escaped and Dean evades because it's episode 1. We have to save that for later. Sam brings up Cas and Dean again evades, leaving the impression that Cas is dead. Sam pushes for details but Dean shuts down. Going to the still working fridge (wonder who pays the electricity bill), Dean grabs some beers because what's a brother chat without alcohol. He asks Sam about his phones not working and Sam reluctantly admits he stopped hunting. At first Dean thinks it's a joke. Dean: "Yeah and Sasha Grey's gone legit." (Confession - had to look up who Sasha Grey is. For the record, she's a porn star.) Sam explains that everyone was dead or Crowley-napped but Dean doesn't take him ditching the family business well. Sam: "Nothing says family quite like the whole family being dead." Dean: "I wasn't dead. In fact I was knee deep in God's armpit killing monsters, which I thought is what we actually do." Sam: "Yes Dean and as far as I knew what we do is the thing that got every single member of my family killed. I had no one. No one. And for the first time in my life I was completely alone and honestly I…I…I didn't exactly have a road map. So yeah I…I fixed up the Impala and I just drove." And then comes the bombshell. It hit hard and frankly it will take time to digest. Dean: "After you looked for me…" (Sam says nothing.) Dean: "Did you look for me Sam?" (Sam looks away.) Dean: "Good. That's good. No, we…we always told each other not to look for each other. That's smart. Good for you. Of course we always ignored that because of our deep abiding love for each other but not this time right Sammy?" Sam: "Look I'm still the same guy Dean." Dean: "Well bully for you. I'm not." Dean walks off.

Warning: I am about to rant and rant hard. Skip the next 4 paragraphs to avoid. I promise you won't miss anything if you do……RANT - What THE HELL Carver? Are you kidding me? I spent the summer delving through subtle digs about how Sera Gamble ruined the brothers and how you, writer of A Very Supernatural Christmas, obviously know the brothers better than she ever did. I scrolled through love letters of how you would save the show, getting it back on track. If I'm having such a major reaction to your first 12 minutes, I can't imagine what those people think. First off, nowhere in Supernatural's history did the brothers even hint that they wouldn't look for each other if one went missing. That's not canon; that's not what I've seen in the 149 episodes before this. In fact it goes against the very tenets of their brother bond. They always look for each other. ALWAYS! The only time they didn't was when they went to hell and that was for very concrete reasons laid down before they ever left. When Dean went to hell he told Sam not to try to rescue him because it would be welching on the deal and Sam would go to hell in his place. When Sam went to hell, Dean could not do anything for fear of letting Lucifer and Michael out too. These specific instances have nothing in common with this situation. Dean disappeared without warning. You know who also did that…Sam in The Benders, Born Under a Bad Sign, Hunted, Girl Next Door, etc. According to you Jeremy, Dean should have left Sam with The Benders due to this brother code we have never heard of before and which has certainly never be followed.

Some people argue this new code is based on Bobby saying, "When it is your time to go, go." Again it does not fit the circumstances at all. Bobby was saying that if your choice is to go with a reaper or stay and be a ghost, go with the reaper. He said nothing about just moving on if your brother's missing. Bobby would be the first person to smack Sam upside the head and call him an idjit for not trying. Speaking of, I also heard that Sam didn't because he couldn't. I readily admit he had very limited resources for finding Dean but that doesn't mean he had NO resources. First off he has Bobby and Grandpa Creepy's book collections. To not look in these AT ALL is a crime against Sam's character. There are also other hunters, whom Sam himself mentions in this episode, and Sheriff Jody has been willing to help in the past. Sam wasn't the only one left on earth to know of the supernatural. Also if he thought Dean was truly dead despite having no proof at all, the least he could have done was try the Ouija board, a séance, or spell to contact him. For that matter, as much as I would hate it, why not contact Missouri? He could have also tried to reach Tessa or Death like Dean did for him. I'm not saying any of these things would work. In fact I'd have been happy if they didn't, but to say Sam didn't even try is so completely out of character as to make me wonder if something is up with Sam. This is not the Sam I've known for 7 years and it's not a Sam I can reconcile. Nor does PTSD cut it in my opinion. I've heard fans trying to spin this as a way for Sam not to be out of character. I could see Sam being jumpy, panicky, erratic, but to not even look - no siree. I don't buy it.

The only ideas I have as to why a show runner would so badly write a main character is 1. Sam is not Sam and it will be a major midseason twist. 2. Jeremy Carver purposely wrote Sam out of character to service his plot line. 3. Jeremy purposely put the fandom in a tizzy for reasons only he himself knows. 4. Jeremy does not know his main characters and therefore can't write them in character. If the answer is #1, it's a show runner fail. We've already had this plot and as much as I loved RoboSam, he doesn't need to return. More importantly, this is Jeremy's first chance to show his vision of the brothers. Having Sam completely off in her first show runner episode blew up in Sera's face. I'd hope Jeremy wouldn't make the same error. If it is #2, then it's a writer fail. I'm sick of SPN writers making the brothers out of character to further their agenda. Not to mention, it wasn't necessary here. If Sam tried, failed and gone on to a normal life, they'd be in the exact same situation. To say he didn't even try only wrecks the character while getting the same result. #3 is either a show runner fail or a misdirect. Still, it is no secret that many Supernatural fans were unhappy with season 7. I was not one of them but for many fans it tested their loyalty to stick with SPN. Many people said they'd give it a chance this year simply because Jeremy was taking over. If this was his shot at reconnecting those fans, he might have blown it already. If Sam must be out of character for some super secret reason, it would probably have been best to wait until the 3rd episode. Give fans a glimpse of your future for the brothers and lower the boom after they are reinvested. #4 is the scariest reason and I really hope it isn't. If Jeremy really believes this is who Sam is deep down, even a more mature Sam, then we'll be scrambling to see glimpses of the brothers we love all season long.

Let me conclude by saying I wasn't concerned when I heard Sam settled down with a girlfriend and dog. I was actually happy for him because the brothers deserve some happiness. I didn't panic about Domestic Sam or even that he didn't want to hunt anymore. Those are natural reactions and in character for a world weary Sam. I wish this is what we got. However Sam not even trying to find Dean is way out of character and it can't be spun otherwise. For Sam, who wanted out completely, to continue looking for supernatural deaths in the newspaper but not do anything about it is ludicrous. If he really wanted out, he would avoid newspaper and internet searches all together. We've gotten a Sam unrecognizable to his former self. This isn't maturing; this is Stepford Sam, a plot device to end all plot devices and anvil dropping to create yet another brother divide. At this point creating false-ringing situations for the mere purpose of having the brothers at odds has gone beyond dramatic tension and entered into annoying or worse, boring. Jeremy Carver needs to end this poor example of writing and get the brothers on track right away because it is not a positive sign for season 8. Now before I get reamed, yes, I know it's only the first episode. To be honest I still have faith that it will be a great season. There are lots of positive things going on. However a show runner that can't write one of 2 main leads in character shouldn't be there. He needs to prove he can.

And back to our episode….Dean sifts through a big phone collection while Sam cooks dinner. Obviously Sam kept his unused phones at Rufus' so at least they weren't truly ditched. Sam is eating dinner when he gets the full power of a Dean "What the hell!" glare directed his way. Kevin Tran, angel whisperer and AP student, left several messages saying he escaped from Crowley and needed Sam's help. Sam of course got none of the messages when he ditched the phones. Sam looks more visibly guilty as the messages go on and Dean keeps glaring until Kevin finally says that he won't call anymore. Dean throws the phone at Sam's chest. "He was our responsibility and you couldn't answer the damn phone." Ouch! But mostly because it's true. I'm sure people are upset about Dean's attitude here but he spent 1 year fighting for his life only to find that his brother, whom I'm sure he thought was moving heaven and earth to get him, never even tried and then left a teen who needed them hanging. Not on purpose of course but it's very in character that Dean would be ticked. However, I'm suddenly delighted because who should return to Supernatural but….Smart Sam! I've missed him almost as much as Baby. Sam filters out the background noise in Kevin's last message and figures he was headed to Centerville, Michigan to meet his girlfriend. Yeah for a return of my smart, capable hunters! May we see a lot of you this season. Dean, not ready to let Sam off the hook, says the lead is thin. Sam: "It's the best lead we've got." Dean calls him on the "we" and Sam says, "You were right. He was our responsibility so let's find him okay." I may not have a strong united Winchester brotherhood yet but at least they have a common goal. I can build off of that.

They head out to traverse yet another state when Sam tosses Dean the keys. Ah, Baby! (sigh) Dean acknowledges Sam has not "douched her up" this time like in Lazarus Rising but I think it supports the theory that Sam knew exactly who he was meeting in Rufus' cabin. I firmly believe the iPod dock was in her for months but he removed it before going to Dean. Still Dean smells dog and Sam gives the best "I don't know what you're talking about" face around. At the Palm Motel, I finally get the brother scene I waited all summer for. It's a blink and miss it thing but it says a lot. Dean stands in front of a motel vending machine, shocked by choices he never had in Purgatory. Sam sees Dean shell shocked and gives him that patented Sammy worried face. It's a small but very poignant moment. Sadly, it's interrupted by 2 brothers playing war. As they race by him shooting each other, Dean flashes back to Purgatory. It's dark as Dean chases a monster from the days when all men wore ponytails and cravats. Dean's bloody, dirty and carrying a knife. He corners it against a tree saying, "Take a breath. Calm down. Where's the angel?" The vamp flashes his teeth and lets us all know that humans are an endangered species in Purgatory. Since he doesn't have info on Cas, Dean grabs his homemade weapon of a blade attached to bone and beheads him. It's a cool scene, but Dean is soon attacked by another vampire. While he's struggling to get his new weapon, Benny from the beginning scene jumps in the fray and beheads vamp #2. And thus begins a beautiful friendship…or an alliance that will make me throw things at my screen by episode 12.

Back in the hotel room, Dean is visibly on edge and wants to go find Kevin. Sam validly states that they need sleep and Dean instead of admitting that beds are now foreign to him, lashes out at Sam for not looking for Kevin and by extension him. Sam says Kevin has taken care of himself for a year, people were okay and Dean is okay. I have issues with the last one since it's plainly not true but I get what Sam's saying. Dean does not. And we get another retcon from Jeremy. "Look I did what we promised we'd do. I moved on. I lived my life." My eyes roll so hard I see my esophagus and my blood pressure rises but don't worry since Jeremy makes Sam look even worse to his brother and me. Argh! He tells Dean he still scoured the paper for weird deaths across the country. He just didn't do anything about them. Not even to call Garth with a heads up and Garth needs those. For some reason he thinks it will make Dean feel better about the situation when of course it doesn't. I just want the real Sam back. You know, the one who called Bobby about a hunt in Free to be You and Me, even though he was done hunting then too. I can reconcile a Sam who avoids the papers so he won't be reminded about hunting, but why in the world would he actively look for cases he isn't going to do anything about? How does that make him feel better? New Sam makes no sense to me. Then he says, "Or maybe another hunter took care of it. I don't know." And I'm off ranting again. You mean those hunters you did not call to help you find Dean? Those hunters? Gah! Get me out of these brother talks and back in the mytharc stat. All they do is depress me.

Dean doesn't buy it either. Dean: "Hmm, what could possibly make you stop just like that. A girl? Was there a girl?" Sam: "The girl had nothing to do with it." Dean: "There was a girl." Sam: "Yeah, there was. And then there wasn't. Anymore questions?" I still have questions Sam. When did "the girl" stop being a part of your life? Was it yesterday? I like context. Mature Sam makes his first appearance now and I like him. "Listen I know this is going to sound crazy to you. I don't even necessarily need you to understand but you need to know. I didn't just drop out Dean. I found something. Something I've never had all my life." It's a change in the brother dynamic I fully support. Usually when at odds, both brothers try to convince the other that they are right and the other person is wrong. Either that or the hide and keep secrets to avoid having the conversation at all. Here Sam is willing to concede that Dean might feel differently and that's okay but Sam needs to let him know what happened. I love this new form of communication. If only it went both ways. Hear that Dean. Time for you to grow up too. But no dice. Instead we get Amelia back story. Sam admits he met her when he hit a dog and Dean majorly overreacts. Big time overreacts and for the first time in years I question Ackles' acting choices or maybe Singer's direction. It doesn't come off as PSTD to me, just overplayed with a bizarre piece of dialogue on top of it. Dean: "Hey the rules are simple Sam. You don't take a joint from a guy named Don and there's no dogs in the car." Don't bother asking who Don is. Jeremy isn't telling.

Sam finally turns it back on Dean who has his own explaining to do. Sam: "Look at you. You still got that look. You're shaky, you're on edge, you're uh…what was it like?" Dean says Sam wouldn't understand but Sam re-asks. Dean: "It was bloody, messy, 31 flavors of bottom-dwelling nasties. Hell most days felt like 360 degree combat. But there was something about being there. It felt pure." Pure? That's an odd way to describe Purgatory. I would share Sam's reaction but we're right back to where we left off in the flash back. Benny is disconcerted by Dean's lack of gratitude, since he claims to know a way out of Purgatory. Dean cries "Bull" but Purgatory wasn't made for humans. Dean asks for proof but no dice. Benny: "You're either in or you're out." Dean's not buying it at all. Dean: "So you just want to guide me out of Purgatory out of the goodness of your undead heart?" Benny: "More or less." Dean asks what's in it for him. Benny wants a ride out too. Dean: "So you're looking for a soul train." Dean is unlikely to believe the vampire who just took out a friend to meet Dean. Benny: "He was my friend. Now you are. First rule of Purgatory kid - You can't trust nobody." Dean: "You just asked me to trust you." Benny: "See you're getting it now." Dean: "Hmm. First we find the angel." Benny: "Oh three's a crowd chief." Dean: "Well hey, either you're in or you're out."

In jarring contrast we leave Purgatory for the bright, bright skies of academia. Remember 42 hours ago when we were looking for Kevin Tran. Looks like we stopped emoangsting long enough to search. Alas Channing Ngo, Kevin's ex, knows nothing and she's not exactly sympathetic either. Sam thinks she's trying to protect Kevin and says they can protect him better but that's up for debate these days. Channing shuts Sam right down by proclaiming her hate. Huh? I'm confused. So are the Winchesters. Dean: "I thought you two had a thing." Channing: "Yeah when he was going to Princeton." Dean: "Wow, just like that." Love the brothers' reaction. Pretty sure mine was the same. That's one callous ex and the roommate's no prize herself. Not that it matters because as soon as the brothers leave, a possessed Channing kills her roommate right when said roomie is setting her up with a Jewish student via online campus dating? Do they have a college version of Oh who cares. The roommate was annoying and Channing has Meg's blood communication bowl. Love the continuity. She updates the demon hotline with news that Dean is out of Purgatory. Good to know that someone knew where he was.

At a campus café, Sam looks for clues via the laptop when he hears a dog barking. Time for a Sam flash back. He races into an animal hospital with a wounded dog wrapped in a towel. The dog ran in front of Baby and sadly, the Impala won. Sam is frantic, yelling for a doctor and freaking out when the nurse implies that they might not be able to save the dog. He starts yelling, "Save this animal!" scaring the nurse. Amelia walks in and makes Sam leave so she can tend to the dog. Before leaving Sam says, "I did this." Yikes! Now he's going to feel guilty although he had no control over it. I feel for you Sammy. I'd freak too if I thought I killed someone's dog. Dean interrupts the reverie with news that he has bubbkus, but that's okay because Smart Sam worked his laptop magic again. Yippee! Even better though, Good Bro Sammy ordered Dean a burger and I don't know who's more touched, Dean or me. Awww! Best brother moment of the episode, even better than the hug. Sam found Kevin on the college security footage but Dean's so happy devouring his burger he isn't listening. Sam: "It's a burger." Dean: "It's a treasure." Aaww again. I have my brothers back. Sam geek speaks all the things he did to find Kevin while Dean hilariously chews his food, obviously having no clue what Sam is talking about. Dean: "That is spectacular work. Any chance I can get that in English?" Short version, the brothers are now headed to Fairfield, Iowa. One more state and they'll earn American Road Trip souvenir collector's cups.

The end result - Kevin's in an abandoned church. Dean picks the lock and they walk in to a SuperSoaker armed Kevin, ready with Borax. Bwah! Kevin has a new look and new attitude. Both look good on him. Dean: "No, stop. Stop. Not Leviathans. It's us." Kevin: "What the hell happened to you guys?" Dean: "The Cliff Notes? I went to Purgatory. Sam hit a dog." Um, yeah…bwaaahhhh!!! It's sad but it's funny. Kevin has gone to the Revolution School of Clean Clothes in Tough Situations. He's well showered for a person squatting in a filthy abandoned church. He also added his own graffiti to keep out demons. Dean: "Who taught you all this?" Kevin: "I guess God." Sam: "God taught you how to trap demons." Kevin: "Technically yeah." Sam asks how he escaped Crowley and I'm curious too. After all, Crowley is the snarky, manipulative King of Hell. Enter Kevin flash backs. Kevin: "Will there be torture now?" Crowley: "Torture? Heavens no. No, quite the opposite my young prince. Sky's the limit for you and I." Crowley taps his inner motivational speaker but Dean interrupts the flash back. Just how many Words of God are there? Will they have to find 66 tablets to counteract the 66 seals? Kevin is like, "Dude I became a prophet last year. How am I supposed to know?" and the flash back continues. I love how accommodating Crowley is to Kevin, making sure he's temperature controlled. He must want this bad. Kevin claims there's a hell gate in Wisconsin and the tablet has a spell to open it. Now why would God write that down? Just as Kevin is about to light the spell, Dean interrupts again. Dean: "You showed the King of Hell how to open a hell gate so that all the demons in hell could come out all at the same time." Kevin: "What? No." How dumb do you think he is? Instead Kevin killed the demons, stole the tablet, and ran away, leaving Crowley standing in the middle of goats. Bwah! Dean is all proud of that little AP student.

Sam heads us into the season's mythology by asking where the tablet is. Kevin, taking a page from Dean with the Colt, says it's hidden. I pray that Sam is not possessed and looking for info from Kevin. That would completely suck. SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT Or maybe Sam is possessed by those new angels that will be invading the show soon and that's why he's so out of character? Maybe he did look for Dean, couldn't find him and then settled into normal life before the angels appeared and convinced him to help Kevin by being a vessel. Not that I want this to happen. I really, really don't. Not like it's likely anyway. Conjecture over. SPOILER ALERT OVER Dean tells Sam to back off the tablet as Kevin drops the big bombshell. Dean: "Were you able to read anything else off the tablet before you stashed it?" Kevin: "Only the stuff about closing the gates of hell. Forever." Dean: "Come again?" Kevin: "Banish all demons off the face of the earth. Lock them away forever. That could be important right?' Dean: "Closing the gates of hell forever? Yeah, yeah…that could be important." I get excited for this season again, while I laugh at Dean's reaction. Woo hoo! We have a straightforward, personal quest as the mytharc. Love it. Check one thing off my season 8 wish list. And then I plummet as the brothers chat AGAIN outside the church. I know many fans felt a dearth of brother chats in season 7 but this is ridiculous. It slows the action and every time they open their mouths someone's out of character. My eyes are tired from the Tilt-a-Whirl rolling they've done all episode. Since I can't avoid it here's the actual conversation. Make of it as you will. Dean: "Okay, if this kid is right, he's sitting on a bombshell. Hell he is the bombshell. What?" Sam: "That. I mean there's no way Kevin's getting out of this intact is there?" Dean: "Well I think he's doing pretty well for himself so far." Sam: "Yeah, he got out." Dean: "And now he's in it whether he likes it or not." Sam: "So free will? That's only for you." Dean: "I can't believe what I'm hearing. Sam we have an opportunity to wipe the slate clean. We take Kevin to the tablet. He tells us the spell. We send every demon back to hell forever. Every single b** that destroyed our lives. Killed our mother. Killed Jess. And you're not sure?" *** So yea Sam for pointing out Dean's hypocrisy. Now why exactly does Sam need Dean to tell him demons are bad and this is a great opportunity? Why Jeremy, why?

Sam heads into the church to talk to Kevin now 100% behind the quest. Why? No idea. They didn't show that part. Sam: "Kevin, I uh…I owe you an apology. Um look when you disappeared and Dean disappeared I needed to clear my head and I'm thinking maybe you were one of the pieces that I should have been there to pick up." Kevin's having a hard time adjusting to a prophet's life. Sam is realistic and I like what he says. Sam: "Yeah, it sucks right now. I know that. Um, it might suck for a lot longer but trust me on this. It gets better." Sam points out that if they actually close hell, neither Crowley not any other demon will hurt him again. He could go back to his life. Um, Sam aren't you forgetting the angels? They have a vested interest in the prophet too. No time to think on this because as Kevin walks away, Sam goes full on flash back. Amelia says the dog will live and in a spectacular show of unprofessionalism, guilts Sam into taking the dog with him despite Sam saying he lives on the road. Amelia: "Don't you think you're responsible?" For what? The dog ran out in front of Baby. I agree with Sam. He brought the dog in and presumably paid for its care. Amelia snarks about Sam deserving a trophy and I get the overwhelming urge to put my hand through the TV and smack her. What the hell lady? What is your problem? Amelia: "Well maybe if you were such an upstanding guy you wouldn't have hit him in the first place." Excuse me! You're a vet right. You are aware that animals dart into the street and there's nothing you can do. At this point I was yelling, "Screw you lady! Leave Sam alone." at the screen. Sam capitulates and takes the dog. Yep, this is the new character we're supposed to like. That's another fail on Jeremy's part. He knows that many fans were apprehensive about this character. Heck Jared Padalecki himself was startled to hear the story line. So it makes sense to win over the crowd as quickly as possible right? Guess not. Let's make her an unlikeable, unprofessional witch instead. Great plan! I still hold out hope for her. After all, Sam falls for her and as far as we know she's not a demon or monster so she's already ahead of the game. I bet others are not quite so willing to give her a chance though after that stunning display of wretchedness.

Back at the present day church, demons are on the attack. Floor boards split, rendering the devil's trap useless. Dean hands Sam Ruby's knife and he pulls out his nifty beheader. Sam: "What the hell is that?' Dean: "It's Purgatory." Ha! That sums it up. The demons break in. Demon1: "Dean Winchester, back from Purgatory." Dean: "Spanky the demon, yeah I heard about you. You're the one who uses too much teeth right?" A fight ensues and I'm excited for some much needed action. Dean has handy combat skills, Sam is not even a little bit rusty, and Kevin can hold his own with a squirt bottle. Sadly it's over too quickly but hey, it's Crowley! Every episode is better with Crowley. Crowley: "Hello boys. Dean, you're looking …well let's just say Purgatory didn't do you any favors. Where's your angel?" Dean: "Ask your mother." Crowley: "There's that grade school zip. Missed it. I really did. Moose, still with the pork chops. I admire that." Ha! Love Crowley snark. Kevin demands Crowley let Channing go but Dean says she's probably dead already. Crowley snarks about Kevin stealing his tablet and killing demons, but he'll throw Channing in for free if Kevin comes with him. To prove Channing's not dead, Crowley lets her talk and Channing questions where she is. Kevin: "There's a demon in you and you're going to your safety school." Channing: "What?" BWAH!!! Best line of the night. You may have a demon in you, but the real tragedy is a safety school. Love this! Kevin agrees to go with Crowley. Dean: "Can't let you do that buddy." Kevin: "Or what? You'll kill me?" Very good point AP! Crowley: "Chin up gentlemen. I'm a professional." Dean: "This ain't over by a long shot Crowley." Crowley: "Really Dean. Who writes your stuff. A marshmallow." Ha!

But things don't go the King of Hell's way. He goes to collect a lingering Kevin, making Ruby's knife glow hot and fall from Dean's hand in the process, only to get doused with holy water by Kevin. It's classic Home Alone. Kevin shouts for the Winchesters to run (Argh! Another secondary character saving the brothers) and they all drive off in the Impala to Crowley's chagrin. However, he snaps Channing's neck in front of them so we finally see evil Crowley again. I like that. It foreshadows good things if he is the Big Bad. Man do I hope he is! The next morning when they stop for gas, Dean gets a phone call. He says it's a wrong number; he's obviously hiding something. Meanwhile Kevin is devastated by Channing's death and doesn't want to eat. Kevin: "Awesome! The King of Hell just snapped my girlfriend's neck. How 'bout you?" This is a good time for Sam sympathy, but instead we have jerky Dean. Dean: "Alright listen to me. I'm sorry about your girlfriend. Okay I am, but the sooner you get this the better. You're in it now whether you like it or not and that means you do what you've got to do." Shut up Dean! Remember "Empathy Sam, empathy." Time to live by your own words you unsympathetic jerk. You gave Sam the glare when he laid it on the line with Adam in Jump the Shark. Thankfully Dean leaves the car before doing any more damage….

….and promptly calls Mister Wrong Number back. Hello Benny. Dean is shocked Benny got a phone. I'm shocked we get Benny again in the present time. Yeah! He's intriguing…for now. Benny was in Purgatory for 50 years and sympathizes with Dean's adjustment problems. So many choices available topside. Dean reminds Benny that while he doesn't regret what they did in Purgatory, they did agree to separate. Benny feels rejected and laments the purity of Purgatory, using similar words as Dean. Of course he says it all in a slow sinister drawl while at a funeral so I question his motives. Dean tells him to call in an emergency but I'm too busy wondering why a vampire that can't have dead man's blood would be interested in a funeral. Benny tells Dean to keep his "nose clean too brother." I'm intrigued by why he always calls Dean brother, a constant reminder of their soldier camaraderie. They hang up and Dean looks pensive, worried. I worry too because right now I like Benny. However, I live in fear that he will be Dean's Ruby and I barely lived through that twice already. I have no desire at all to revisit that suckage again.

Review - In the end this was not the worst premiere Supernatural has ever had. After all, there was The Magnificent Seven. I just don't think it's near In My Time of Dying and Lazarus Rising or even Meet the New Boss status. The major problem I have is how out of character Sam is which gets harder to believe in every rewatch. I fully admit that if there's a plausible reason for why Sam acts the way he does, I will like this episode a lot more. If not, it will probably continue its downward spiral in my esteem. I also think it was very slow in parts with way too much telling not showing. 3 heavy brother chats in 42 minutes is a little much. However, there were many pluses too. Crowley's always fun and Benny and Kevin were pleasant surprises. I look forward to learning more about both of them. I adore the Purgatory flashbacks; they were one of the biggest highlights. The return of Smart Sam was another one. I hope he lives on throughout the season. I hope Smart Dean joins him. The best thing though is the straightforward mytharc quest that ties the brothers in personally. I think this simple, focused theme will help fix mytharc problems of the past. All in all, while I'm disappointed this was Jeremy's debut, I'm still really vested in season 8 and I still have high hopes for its awesomeness. There is a lot of potential here and if Jeremy can fix the mess he's made out of Sam's character and the brothers in general, I think we're in for a great ride.

Score - 3

Scorecard - Here's how the rankings break down in my scorecard.

1 = One of the best episodes in all of Supernatural, or in all of TV for that matter.
2 = A great episode when judged against other Supernatural episodes.
3 = A good Supernatural episode, which means it's better than almost anything else on TV
4 = An okay episode when judged against other SPN episodes, meaning still better than most TV.
5 = A poor episode, meaning only better than some TV.

Screencaps by Home of the Nutty, Supernatural Fans Online, Wikipedia, and Gather.

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  1. why was Crowley surrounded by Goats?

  2. It was supposed to be funny. Kevin sent Crowley to the wrong place intentionally - in this case a place with a lot of goats.

  3. Ahhhh, yes, i sussed it out, btw it was funny. It made me laugh ;D
    I think thats why Mark Sheppard tweeted 'Goats!' around the time it was aired lol

  4. Mark Sheppard always makes me laugh. He makes every scene better.