Fresh off a season 9 pick-up, Supernatural continues with renewed energy in this week’s episode, “Trial and Error,” by giving a helpful nudge to get this season’s early storylines on track. With the series now running at full power, the only thing standing in Sam and Dean’s way is God’s remaining trials.
Sam and Dean – now with instructions on how to close the gate to Hell – seek out someone who signed a deal with a crossroad demon, in hopes of killing a hell-hound and completing one of God’s trials. However, when the Winchesters sign on to be ranch hands to a curiously wealthy family, the actual number of demon contracts signed puts everything at risk. After tracking down the true intended target, Sam and Dean must come to terms with who will actually be closing the door on Hell forever.
The introduction of Kevin, the Prophet, early-on in season 8 hasn’t exactly been playing out as well as producers originally hoped. For Supernatural, a show that’s known for its ingeniously unique characters, Kevin’s role in Sam and Dean’s adventures was generally that of a filler character, like Garth (DJ Qualls), whose role was meant to display some semblance of an over-arching, progressive seasonal story. Thanks to Kevin’s mother, among (many) other things, the heavy-handed use of the character early in this season had fans fearing a repeat of the Leviathan-filled season 7. Thankfully, this week’s episode appears to have solved most of this season’s lingering questions – and not just Kevin.
For the past few weeks, Sam and Dean have essentially been part of three stand-alone episodes, “LARP and the Real Girl”, “As Time Goes Buy” and “Everybody Hates Hitler”, where the drama in Heaven and Hell was replaced with a set of stories that completely re-energized the series. The challenge, it seemed, would be trying to reintroduce the earlier season storyline without Supernatural losing its newfound energy.
Fortunately, not only did this week’s episode manage to reintroduce the Word of God storyline, but it did so by using the same ingenuity that returned Supernatural to its peak weeks. Along with Kevin and the tablet returning, a familiar fan-favorite tale of a crossroad demon returned to temper audience acceptance of the (now) not-so-new Prophet character. While it’s true that the use of iconic past elements is a sort-of “cheat” to help sell new, unproven storylines, the execution of this episode was so successful that nobody could fault the aging series from dipping back into its bag of trips.
As the game of “mix and match” with crossroad demon deals ensued, the story, surprisingly, kept focus on Sam and Dean over anyone else. Like any great episode of Supernatural, it takes an interesting tale and wraps Sam and Dean around it. Although the story is important, it’s the impact that it has on our protagonists, good or bad, that makes it memorable. With some helpful Bobby-like tips from Kevin, the characters of Sam and Dean wholeheartedly reclaimed Supernatural back as their show. That is, unless Bobby comes back. (It could happen – maybe.)
Now Sam and Dean find themselves at a crossroads with God’s trials. With Sam having completed the first against Dean’s wishes, the brotherly relationship will once again receive screen time – only this time it feels very real, almost final. Although Sam and Dean have been at odds before, this is the first time that an actual ending to the Winchesters had presented itself. In season 4 and 5, everyone died and came back to life so much that death lost is importance. This week, even if it was just a little glimpse, audiences saw what the final moments of Supernatural (season 10) will actually be like. Who will live and who will die? That, as they say, is something you’ll have to wait and see for yourself.
Supernatural returns next weeks with “Man’s Best Friend With Benefits” @9pm on CW. You can check out a preview below: