“Another year has passed me by
Still I look a myself and cry
What kind of man have I become?
All of the years I’ve spent in search of myself
And I’m still in the dark
‘Cause 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”*
Season eight begins with a “Man in the Wilderness”, Dean emerging from Purgatory, resembling a rabid killer. Stealing a backpack like a hungry thief, he demands directions to the road. Four days later, cleaned up but noticeably hurt, walking purposefully to somewhere, Dean’s destination is a graveyard. He steps off a grave and recites a spell while cutting something glowing out of his arm. Our new guest/monster/vamp Benny(Ty Olsson) roils back to life and appears to be Dean’s bud! Thank you “We Have to Talk About Kevin” writer and new co-showrunner Jeremy Carver and our Boys for pulling off quite the divisive, subtle season premiere. So let’s do this!
Beginning with Sam’s conflict, we see him sneaking out of a relationship with not even a goodbye, just rubbing his dog’s head. Sam driving the Impala is jarring! Entering Rufus’ old cabin in the hills, Sam gets ‘monstered out’ by none other than Dean. The brothers first “let’s just do this” hug was just plain uncomfortable and forewarns of their strained relationship. Dean explains that he’s survived the year in Purgatory and that he didn’t see Cass die but that he saw enough to say that Cass didn’t make it. Castiel’s essence(my take) didn’t survive Purgatory. While Dean was in Purgatory for a year, Sam pursued a normal life, a life that he’s always wanted, the same amount of normalcy that Dean experienced with Lisa. Dean grills Sam about the year until Sam fesses up that he didn’t look for Dean, quit hunting, hit a dog and met a girl Amelia(Liane Balaban). Best quote of the ep is Sam’s “nothing says family like all of your family being dead”!
So…. right off the bat, Carver gives us the huge difference in the two brothers: Dean would NEVER willingly stop looking for Sam and Sam desperately wants to be normal. This sets the tone for the entire season I’m certain. Dean will not let this go and Sam will feel guilty. My opinion!
Leading a normal life for Sam entails ditching his phones. Dean immediately starts listening to Sam’s messages and discovers that Kevin is in deep doo. Dean quietly berates Sam: Kevin was their responsiblity and Sam wouldn’t answer his phone. Sam agrees to help find Kevin and discovers where Kevin’s girlfriend Channing(Lisa Neptuno) attends college. The guys question her but she insists that she hasn’t seen or heard from Kevin. After slashing her roommate’s throat, we know that Channing is a demon, talking to some evil force thru the chalice. Totally geeking the computer, Sam does discover where Kevin is hiding and also blesses Dean with his first cheeseburger since Purgatory. The boys check into a hotel and Dean flashbacks into purer times for him, killing or be killed Purgatory. This flashback allows us the savage feel of Purgatory, Dean searching for Castiel and being saved by Benny the vampire.
In the hotel room, the boys converse with Dean visibly uncomfortable to the point of sitting on the floor rather than the bed. Sam wants Dean to sleep, they have time to find Kevin. Dean calls Sam out on his attitude of “Kevin survived for a year without us, he can make it one more day”. I’m loving that Sam embraces normal emotions right now. Dean is on a killer’s edge and Sam has no sense of urgency which for the past year, has shaped them both.
Sam states that he hit a dog which in turn led him to meeting a girl, a veterinarian, Amelia(Liane Balaban). Sam tells Dean that he found something that he’s always wanted: I assume that’s just a normal, get out of bed, eat breakfast kinda life. Sam flashbacks when Amelia says to him, “there’s my hero” regarding caring for the hurt animal. I believe that Sam desperately needed those words after losing Dean and that Amelia, like Ruby, is just another demonic pawn. The difference between she & Ruby is that the dog will be the hook for Sam and not the girl. His beloved, saved pet will end up being something evil!* For Sam to just walk away from “something he always wanted”, no looking back raises red flags for me!
Sam and Dean go find Kevin who has become a full-out prophet whom God has trained well. Kevin shares his info on the “demons” tablet that Crowley wants interpreted, a tablet that has spells for closing the gates of hell and getting rid of all demons. Unfortunately, Crowley, with Channing, finds the threesome. Kevin has an escape plan and his holy water trap enables the three to bolt but only to slo-mo drive-by Crowley breaking Channing’s neck. The Winchester’s and Kevin get down the road but Kevin is in shock. Dean receives a call that he blows off as an auto-ass(shout out to the automated political calls happening). Stopping at a gas station, Dean heads for the bathroom, rounds a corner, and immediately returns Benny’s call. Benny’s at a funeral, calling to check in. He tells Dean that this real life is not so black and white as Purgatory, as Dean calls it “pure”. Dean tells Benny again not to make contact until the two of them can acclimate. Benny tells Dean to keep his nose clean which for me is a subtle statement that Dean will have a massive time adapting to humanness.
The episode was full-out basic ‘Supernatural’. Carver has started the season delving straight into the Winchesters’ differences which will cause the fans to argue til the very end! It was beautifully filmed, wonderfully acted and surprisingly subtle. I’m very excited for this season and this premiere didn’t disappoint! Please let me know what you think and as always…. stay supernatural!
*Alexis* provided my aspect for the dog being a supernatural being and Amelia being a demon.
*Lyrics by Styx “Man in the Wilderness” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nf-S7H9bZo4&feature=player_detailpage