In the first episode of the eighth season ofÂ Supernatural, well, I was wrong about most things. Intrigued? Then itâ€™s time for Mark to watchÂ Supernatural.
Like the season 7 premiere, I ultimately felt that thereâ€™d been more shocking and more emotive premieres on this show. In some ways, it felt likeÂ Supernatural was merely going through the motions. We needed to get Dean out of Purgatory; we needed him to reunite with Sam; we needed a hint of an ongoing story arc for season eight. Thereâ€™s a lot of potential here, though, and Iâ€™m eager to see what the show is going to do with what weâ€™ve seen here.
Dean / Benny
Is their ship name Dennyâ€™s? Iâ€™m so into this, please make it happen.
Okay, thereâ€™s a lot to unpack here. The writers give us aÂ lot of hints about what Dean was up to for that year in Purgatory. I loved the glimpses of the place because a lot is said with very little. All we know is that Deanâ€™s time spent there was purely about survival. Did he need to eat or sleep? Itâ€™s heavily suggested this wasnâ€™t the case, that he devoted his every moment for the past year (!!!!) to killing every single beast that came across his path. Well, notÂ every beast, of course, because there is one exception.
Itâ€™s impossible at this point to ignore the hypocritical nature of Dean Winchester. While I personally wouldnâ€™t dare to judge him for his alliance with a vampire in order to survive and escape Purgatory, this is coming from the same man who ran Sam through the ringer for wanting to ally with Meg or Ruby and who killed Amy and who has consistently maintained that all monsters are to be killed regardless of their use becauseâ€¦ well, thatâ€™s what hunters do. The same man who held up his end of the agreement upon Samâ€™s death â€“ moving on, trying to start a family, ending his life as a hunter â€“ spends a good deal of â€œWe Need to Talk About Kevinâ€ berating Sam for doing theÂ exact same thing. But how does this relate to Benny? How is he tied to all of this? I think that Benny and Dean share an experience that Sam canâ€™t relate to, and thatâ€™s part of the reason Dean canâ€™t adjust to life back on Earth as easily as he thought he might. While Sam gave up the hunterâ€™s life, Dean was busy being aÂ pure hunter. Itâ€™s a juxtaposition that Dean canâ€™t get past, and I think itâ€™s clouding his perception of Samâ€™s choices. Which I understand, by the way. I donâ€™t expect Dean to come back from a traumatic experience and be perfectly fine with the world and himself. Life in Purgatory was, as far as I can tell, an unending nightmare. It makes sense that in this context, Dean would relent from one of his immovable moral stances.
But holy shit, ITâ€™S SO MUCH MORE THAN JUST AN EXCEPTION TO DEANâ€™S RULE. I need approximately FORTY THOUSAND HOURS OF FOOTAGE explaining to me what theÂ hell happened in Purgatory between these two. ThereÂ has to be more to it. Why would Dean offer his assistance to someone like Benny? THIS IS NOT A SMALL FEAT FOR DEAN WINCHESTER. He doesnâ€™t do this for justÂ anyone. And where is Castiel? Did DeanÂ really see something that heâ€™d interpret as Castielâ€™s end? Or was he lying to Sam about what truly happened?
HE HAS A DOG AND HE IS IN A RELATIONSHIP AND Iâ€™M GOING TO EXPLODE BECAUSEÂ WHAT. Like Deanâ€™s time in Purgatory, Samâ€™s time with Amelia is given some bare-bones exposition, but itâ€™s clear that this is what the writers intended. I imagine weâ€™ll see more of this in the coming episodes. What else did Dean do in Purgatory? How had Samâ€™s life changed when he believed he was truly alone? I worry, though, that the narrative is going to continue to be harder on Sam than it has been to Dean. Itâ€™s clear that the show is pinning Kevin Tran on Sam and blaming most of what happened to him on Sam. I do understand the context of it; Sam and Dean had sworn to protect and take care of Kevin, and in the wake of the season seven finale, that didnâ€™t happen. Sam had no one to turn to, and so he honored the pact heâ€™d made with Dean. That doesnâ€™t mean he should be off the hook for ignoring Kevin when Kevin clearly needed him, but I want there to be some sympathy for Sam Winchester. Of course, ALL OF THIS BABBLING ON MY END COULD BE FOR NOTHING. Perhaps this is the point of all of this!
What is Samâ€™s dogâ€™s name? These are the important questions that this show needs to answer. Who cares about â€œBennyâ€ or â€œCastielâ€ or â€œclosing the gate to hell foreverâ€ becauseÂ THEREâ€™S A DOG.
I would be utterly thrilled if this show decided that Kevin would be around all the time because he is aÂ delight. I know that itâ€™s nothing new forÂ Supernatural to introduce a character to the nightmare that is the world of hunters and demons, but Iâ€™m SO INTO the way it was done with Kevin. (Well, aside from Channingâ€™s fate, BOOOOO.) Kevin adapted to this world remarkably fast, given that he double-crossed Crowley and avoided capture for over a year. (Which is why Iâ€™m bored by fridging Channing; Kevin already knew how awful this world was; the writers didnâ€™t need to kill her, too, in order to demonstrate that to him.) Amidst this, though, Sam wants to make sure that Kevin has a choice. Dean is convinced that KevinÂ doesnâ€™t have a choice here, that heâ€™s just part of this world now and thatâ€™s the end of it. But Kevinâ€™s choiceÂ is important; he chose to attack Crowley a second time, and he chose to help the Winchesterâ€™s close the gates of Hell. Iâ€™m just worried along the same lines that Sam is: Will this guarantee his death? KEVIN TRAN IS SO GREAT. Whereâ€™s his mom, by the way???
Like I said, I donâ€™t think this is a groundbreaking episode, but I appreciate the emotional beats established by these three characters. Thatâ€™s intriguing to me, and it leads me to wantÂ more. I want to know how Sam, Dean, and Kevin will adapt to this world, and I also want to see if they can truly close the gates of Hell FOREVER.
The video for â€œWe Need to Talk About Kevinâ€ can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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