Mark Watches ‘Supernatural’: S08E01 – We Need to Talk About Kevin

In the first episode of the eighth season of Supernatural, well, I was wrong about most things. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Supernatural.

Like the season 7 premiere, I ultimately felt that there’d been more shocking and more emotive premieres on this show. In some ways, it felt like 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. There’s a lot of potential here, though, and I’m eager to see what the show is going to do with what we’ve seen here.

Dean / Benny

Is their ship name Denny’s? I’m so into this, please make it happen.

Okay, there’s a lot to unpack here. The writers give us a 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 Dean’s time spent there was purely about survival. Did he need to eat or sleep? It’s heavily suggested this wasn’t the case, that he devoted his every moment for the past year (!!!!) to killing every single beast that came across his path. Well, not every beast, of course, because there is one exception.


It’s impossible at this point to ignore the hypocritical nature of Dean Winchester. While I personally wouldn’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 because… well, that’s what hunters do. The same man who held up his end of the agreement upon Sam’s death – moving on, trying to start a family, ending his life as a hunter – spends a good deal of “We Need to Talk About Kevin” berating Sam for doing the 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 can’t relate to, and that’s part of the reason Dean can’t adjust to life back on Earth as easily as he thought he might. While Sam gave up the hunter’s life, Dean was busy being a pure hunter. It’s a juxtaposition that Dean can’t get past, and I think it’s clouding his perception of Sam’s choices. Which I understand, by the way. I don’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, IT’S SO MUCH MORE THAN JUST AN EXCEPTION TO DEAN’S RULE. I need approximately FORTY THOUSAND HOURS OF FOOTAGE explaining to me what the hell happened in Purgatory between these two. There 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 doesn’t do this for just anyone. And where is Castiel? Did Dean really see something that he’d interpret as Castiel’s end? Or was he lying to Sam about what truly happened?


HE HAS A DOG AND HE IS IN A RELATIONSHIP AND I’M GOING TO EXPLODE BECAUSE WHAT. Like Dean’s time in Purgatory, Sam’s time with Amelia is given some bare-bones exposition, but it’s clear that this is what the writers intended. I imagine we’ll see more of this in the coming episodes. What else did Dean do in Purgatory? How had Sam’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. It’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 didn’t happen. Sam had no one to turn to, and so he honored the pact he’d made with Dean. That doesn’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 Sam’s dog’s name? These are the important questions that this show needs to answer. Who cares about “Benny” or “Castiel” or “closing the gate to hell forever” because THERE’S A DOG.


I would be utterly thrilled if this show decided that Kevin would be around all the time because he is a delight. I know that it’s nothing new for Supernatural to introduce a character to the nightmare that is the world of hunters and demons, but I’m SO INTO the way it was done with Kevin. (Well, aside from Channing’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 I’m bored by fridging Channing; Kevin already knew how awful this world was; the writers didn’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 Kevin doesn’t have a choice here, that he’s just part of this world now and that’s the end of it. But Kevin’s choice is important; he chose to attack Crowley a second time, and he chose to help the Winchester’s close the gates of Hell. I’m just worried along the same lines that Sam is: Will this guarantee his death? KEVIN TRAN IS SO GREAT. Where’s his mom, by the way???

Like I said, I don’t think this is a groundbreaking episode, but I appreciate the emotional beats established by these three characters. That’s intriguing to me, and it leads me to want 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 “We Need to Talk About Kevin” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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