‘Supernatural’ Season 8 Premiere Review & Discussion

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supernatural season 8 premiere sam dean Supernatural Season 8 Premiere Review & Discussion

After Supernatural season 7 left much to be desired, all eyes were on the longtime series as it makes its way into season 8 – which we now know may lead to season 10. Bringing in former Supernatural writer Jeremy Carver as showrunner, has the series been able to right itself from past mistakes, returning the series to its former, leviathan-less self?

The Supernatural season 8 premiere picks up one year after the events of the season 7 finale, where we find Dean (Jensen Ackles) escaping Purgatory and Sam (Jared Padalecki) in love. This storyline essentially mirrors the season 6 beginning where Dean had found love and Sam escaped from Lucifer’s cage, so it’s not surprising that more than a few moments feel eerily, then awkwardly, similar to scenes we’ve seen before, now in reverse.

The entirety of the premiere’s intended tale is interesting enough: reuniting the Winchester brothers and slightly revealing a seasonal arc, with perhaps a few candidates for season 8 foe. Still, the episode is not exactly the return to form fans had been waiting for. Instead of a clear, direct focus about what’s actually occurring, audiences are met with more of a mish-mash of past season storylines needing to be cleaned up and hints at oddities that happened during the time jump in the series (including Sam’s dog).

While the premier should have been focusing on establishing a strong start to a (now) planned three season arc, it spends much of the time attempting to make sense of where season 7 unfortunately left them, quickly slipping in hints of an important artifact – one that references a Hell Gate. Lacking the familiar faces of Castiel (Misha Collins) and Bobby (Jim Beaver), the attempt to return the series to its intimate roots feels all but loss as the inclusion of so many additional characters makes the episode itself feel crowded. The need to create an emotional tie to Kevin (Osric Chau), the Prophet, is necessary, but the teeny-bopper transition the episode took in order to include his former girlfriend in the story felt unnecessary, resulting in some of the episode’s weakest scenes. Fortunately the series makes use of its aced sleeve, Crowley (Mark Sheppard), to help smooth over many of the episodes rough spots.

supernatural season 8 premiere crowley Supernatural Season 8 Premiere Review & Discussion

When the episode isn’t following the Prophet on the run, we’re left with the anticipated reunion of Sam and Dean. Considering Supernatural viewers have gone through enough of these reunions, they all tend to have a similar flow to them, catching everyone up on what important information we need to know about what was missed. However, this reunion largely failed to do that. Given the likelihood that Dean’s friend is going to soon become an enemy, too much time was spent on highlighting the hidden communication between the two, instead of cluing audiences in on why we should at all care about this character who didn’t exist last season. This would also help reveal more of what happened to Dean in Purgatory – something that this episode lacked.

For the first time Supernatural fans got a glimpse into one of the often talked about settings in the series mythos, seeing exactly what type of hell our favorite characters find themselves in. Aside from a few lines citing terrible things, the only thing we saw of Purgatory was fighting in the woods. Not terribly terrifying or challenging – at least from what we’ve currently seen – but still something we’re supposed to believe drove Castiel to “give up,” or to cause Dean to hush up about it upon questioning from Sam. Perhaps something that would have been better sold if we had Castiel present in some fashion. But, alas, not yet.

Right now we’ve got a Prophet that’s likeable at best, Crowley chasing after the Word of God, a friendly Leviathan making secret phone calls, and a “given up” Castiel waiting to make his return (along with someone else). This isn’t exactly returning to form. After last season’s Leviathan-filled storyline, many were waiting on the producers’ promise to return the series to its former self. Instead of epic battles involving every mythical and religious figure, the series was going to create a more emotionally intimate tale with the brothers at its core.

supernatural season 8 premiere prophet Supernatural Season 8 Premiere Review & Discussion

Because there’s so much going on in the Supernatural season 7 premiere, often jumping from the past and present, it’s difficult to get that familiar sense of an epic adventure waiting to occur. While there’s no doubt that Supernatural can still deliver such things, the premiere felt too chaotic to get a real sense about what the future of this season holds, or whether the promise of returning to its roots will be met.

Hopefully the push for a premiere next to the Presidential Debates, leaving episode 2 to follow the highly-anticipate Arrow premiere, is a sign that it’s a strong episode the network wants to pair with such a publicized premiere. So, like many Supernatural fans have done as of recent, we’ll just have to continue to wait and see.

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Supernatural airs Wednesday @9pm on CW

Follow Anthony on Twitter @anthonyocasio

TAGS: supernatural

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  1. I think the friendly Leviathan you refer to is actually a Vampire, but I could be mistaken.
    I’d have to mostly agree with this review of the premiere, but it is possible that they needed some exposition to position themselves for the rest of the season.
    I think they were possibly trying to imply that Dean may have had to betray Castiel or do something Castiel couldn’t fathom to escape purgatory, and that’s why Dean really says he “gave up”, not because he died. I think they will use flashbacks to fill in the blanks as the season progresses, and the flashbacks will become one of the backbones of the season.

    • Cas left Dean.

      • If you’ve read the latest spoilers you’ll know that Cas left Dean in order to keep him safe.

    • Correct, benny is actually a vampire.

  2. False prophet. No archangel to attack Crowley….false prophet. Calling It

    • All archangels are gone. Gabriel and raphael ate dead. Michael and lucifer are locked in a gage.

      • Are* cage*

      • Ok well with that still calling False Prophet lol….way to mess up that view. Thanks for the info though. I could only catch 7 every once in awhile

        • Three archangels already checked out in season 5 then the last one (Raphael) in season 6.

          But as far as I know… we will see more angels coming up. There’s just not many of them left.

          • Theres 15 Archangels, granted some arent as well known as Gabriel Raphael, Michael and Lucifer but they are still available for the script writers to use somehow.

            • Didnt know that.

              • There is on angel still hasn’t been mention, “Joshwa” the one who listens to God.
                Where is God in all of this? Cass tryed to find God and didn’t get it done.
                Also there is “Jessy” Half human, and half Demon, known as the Anitchrist. Is he retuning in the following eposide or season?

  3. Benny is a vampire not a leviathan. And also i think it will get better. They couldnt just abandon what happened in season 7 but i have faith they will work it out.

  4. While not exactly a bad episode the premier itself was a bit of lackluster reminding me of season 6 premier- only difference here is that this feels more of a wrap up from season 7 finale.

    A lot of what happened was either awkwardly placed or just felt too similar to what we have already seen. There has been so many reunions on the show, one brother believing the other is dead,secrets being kept from the other brother. I still want to know how did Crowely stage the betrayal against the Leviathans. I think it would have been better seeing Dean in Purgatory while Sam fights a war all by himself while also regaining an interest to what he once wanted- a normal life. Dean facing the monsters he spent so many years killing and Sam thinking of what could have been if Jess had not been killed would have made for a greater start. Dean would have to go bak to all that hunting skill and the knowledge he learned from Hell and rebuild his relationship with Castiel while Sam learns to balance of life from what he now accepts as his duty- the family business- and have ths new life from a girl he probably saved. WOuld have been better than the vet who treated a dog ran over.

    It was not a bad episode but it lacks a feel of adventure or intimancy with the characters. There are too many conveniency that occured: Dean getting out at the start of the episode to a simple plot of transporting a vampire named Benny, Sam just left to an old shelter he used as a hunter -but he was not a hunter no more- out of the blue while recieving no calls from the girl, Kevin escaping rather easily from Crowely…

    It was not a bad episode but it doesnt have the same feel and tone or exciting nature from before. Everything is too familiar, convenient and our heroes are no longer depicted as men of action. Last season had a good start despite some problems but went on to be lackluster, so hopefully this eason would have the opposite effect.

    • I’m with you on this one.
      They should have kept them apart from each other for a while – at least 6-8 episodes to involve them in entirely new dynamics with different characters. They could have easily built upon the alliance out of pure necessity between Dean and the vampire. Had they gone a similar route as “Person of Interest”, that is leaving the cliffhanger up in the air and actually putting the characters through its immediate repercussions, I’m sure both Dean and Sam would have had an incentive to grow – each for himself – to make their inevitable reunion more meaningful and rich in terms of conflict and the clash of two deeply alienated brothers.
      But I gotta admit that the Word of God is a neat McGuffin that could keep us at the edge of our seats, given the writers throw in some twists and turns that don’t bore us to death.

    • It wasn’t a “simple plot” of transporting a vampire named Benny… There was so much more to that arc than they showed, and they hinted at it. They still had to find Castiel and get him on board. They still had to actually put the plan into action. And something must have gone terribly wrong for Dean to lie about what happened to Castiel.

      Dean probably gave Sam a message to meet him at the old hunting cabin up in Wisconsin. That’s not out of the blue… He knew Dean would be there. He didn’t need proof that Dean wasn’t a demon, did he?

      As for Sam leaving and his girl not saying anything or calling him? He probably said something to her to let her know what he’s doing. That’s why he’s being so coy. You could tell he was lying when he said it was over… There’s a lot more to everything and Season 8 (at least the beginning of it) will explore what happened through flashbacks.

      Season 6, Sam came back but he had lost his memory. This time, Dean came back and both of them are keeping serious secrets from each other. It’s adding a new foil to the way they treat their reunions.. This can be explored

  5. The episode gave me enough glimpses, that I am interested in seeing more as it unrolls. I was disappointed in Crowley. In the past, he was a good bad guy in that he helped the boys, when it suited him to do so. But last night, he showed a brutal side. Mark Sheppard indicated that Crowley will have a bigger roll this season.

    As for the ratings, hopefully Arrow will be agood lead in for SPN.

    • Interesting that you were disappointed in Crowley, because last night was the first time he has ever really interested me as a character, or at least convinced me that he could be a legitimate bad guy for the bros. to fight. Yea it was kind of a brutal scene, but hey the king of hell should be pretty brutal, and for that matter so should all of the future villains on this show.

      • Mark Sheppard likes to tease us fans about what Crowley really is. He relishes the ambiguity of his character, having fun with him of course. I got to meet him in Dallas at a recent convention, and spent an hour talking about his work. The scene may be a precursor to his character growing darker, as he put it, but I was still sadly shocked.

  6. Im thinkin Cas became a monster or Dean had to use Cas to escape.

    • Maybe angels are capable of becoming super monsters if they are in Purgatory for to long?

      Add a whole new twist to one of my favorite shows if that happened.

  7. That is “role”, not roll. I won’t g ive spoilers, but he said Crowley will surprise.

  8. Really? there is no Leviathan in this episode. the friendly Leviathan hes referring to was one of the vamps in season 2. the episode when the boys first met Gordon.

    • The vampire was kinda ringing a bell with me two, however Dean didn’t seem to notice remembering him. And also Benny implies he died more than 50 years ago because he says “a lot has changed in the past 50 years”.

      so he sure looks like the vampire from season 2, but I think he isn’t.

  9. I think that because season 7 had to be wrapped up in some way the writers hands were tied.
    But I am interested in the new arch and in Benny, and I do like Kevin.
    I know that we will see more of what happened in Purgatory, and Cas and we will also get to know more about Sam’s girl.
    I felt like the episode peeked my interest and left me with a lot of unanswered questions.
    It makes me want to watch more, to figure out what happened in the past year and so on.

    I think the “weakness” of the episode definitely came up from the fact that they had to wrap up last season.
    And I also agree that it maybe would’ve been better to keep them separated for at least a few episodes and reuniting them later.

    I do have a good feeling about the season though. Seems like Crowley is finally elevated to “main villain” level again, so this may be the year to defeat him. I do like Crowley, so they better make this good.

    • I guess it’s hard on the writters recovering from a fairly bad season, the leviathan arc was sooo weak. and Dean coming back from purgatory should have at least an entire episode, not some lame flashbacks that don’t give you much.

      I do believe Crowley will be the main antagonist now. however i doubt he will be defeated this season. I think he will be the final Villain to defeat in season 10

  10. Good old Dean…..He couldn’t stay in either hell or purgatory. Between him and Sam they’ve already been to hell and back

  11. Here’s the problem. I think the showy has taken a direction the last couple seasons that’s all but painted them into a corner. I think it’s actually difficult to carry on the story after going to hell and back and fighting against the apocalypse. Kind of tough to top that.

    Remember the early days of supernatural when they were finding all kinds of strange creatures to battle? Back when they often mixed in some damn funny humor in some of the episodes? Before they decided to just go really dark like they mostly have been doing the past few seasons? They need to bring back some of that fun again. I mean between some never before heard of monster and a bit of slap stick or just smart ass references (Like Dean’s reference to Sasha Grey this time around. Funny if you knew she was a porn star, but if not then it really made no sense….I like that kind of slipped in humor like that) . Anyway I just hope the get back to what used to make the series work so well….Especially after getting rid of so many of the old cast

    • My thoughts about the apocalypse is what if it wasn’t the real apocalypse?

  12. I think this was both, a super interesting episode but it was a weak episode.

    It had so much potential in giving us the sense of what the season will be about, and it did. But it failed to deliver the close up of several things that were left hanging at season 7′s finale.

    The flashbacks were showing interesting things, but were not strong enough in my opinion.

    My least favorite character is now Sam. Come on! it’s been several seasons that he’s just a weak hunter, relying on Dean to keep on pushing him around.

    What i really loved about the show is that it really proposes an arc to end the show. A spell to banish all demons from earth forever. That’s season 10 finale material.

    I guess this arc will mean gathering stuff around, finding perhaps more tablets for Kevin to read, defeating enemies standing in their way (specially obviously crowley) and the writters will complicate this so much to extend it all the way to season 10.

    I’m excited and anxious about Benny, i can’t really figure him out is he a bad guy? is he a good guy? what are his intentions? Dean seems to trust him but the vamp just looks shady doesn’t him? I have the idea that maybe the relationship between Dean and Benny was the thing that caused conflicts between Dean and Cas. Maybe Cas betrayed Dean, i think maybe it was the opposite because Dean seems to be hiding it out of guilt.

    Despise the weak premiere, i love the show and i love the new arc they’re proposing. let’s hope they deliver i’ll keep watching anyway

  13. Wow. Couldn’t disagree with you more. I thought the episode was great start to finish. This episode was jam-packed with a lot of information and sets up a lot of storylines for the rest of the season. You do know that this was a 42 minute episode, right? How much stuff do you want in one episode?

    • Exactly the episode was jam-packed, and rushed.

      I’m not saying I needed more “stuff” in 42 minutes. I’m saying that the episode was divided in several sections and they didn’t quite fit.

      There were parts where they were closing stuff that was left hanging from the last finale.
      There were parts that were flashbacks from what happened in the year that took Dean to get outta purgatory.
      And there were parts that introduced new arcs.

      and all this parts were mixed and mashed and didn’t give importance to each part.

      For me it wasn’t great from start to finish. If it was for you well that’s great for you :). Yours is kind of the only opinion i’ve read that they thought the episode was great.

      • It was like a bunch of teaser scenes with answers coming later.

  14. I watched it last night before I went to bed and I had that feeling the real Supernatural is back. Don’t get me wrong I didn’t hate seasons 6 and 7 but as most of us know it had its hit and miss moments. Season 8 really had that return to form for me. I am looking forward to seeing how everything has played out for the brothers in the past year. Have a feeling a lot has happened and that this will be a great season.

  15. It’s definitely not a perfect episode but I feel like it’s a pretty good start to the season. I didn’t feel like it jumped around too much personally, I’m looking forward to how the flashbacks factor into future episodes as well. The only thing that felt awkward for me was how quickly things resumed to the hunting status quo, but that couldn’t have been helped. The reason why Sam and Dean weren’t separated for longer is because the people who work on the show felt that the fans wouldn’t be happy with them being apart, so they had them get back together right away, coming up with the idea of the flashbacks revealing “subterranean” story lines that will affect the present stories, so. Also, I was irritated that two more female characters were killed unnecessarily. The first one could have been any anyone else and the second one was a woman of color, a rarity for this show, and I don’t feel like Crowley normally would have killed her, at least not right away. The show has frequently treated its female and POC characters poorly in the past and that didn’t change here (we have Kevin Tran at least, who’s a great character– even if his “quest for manhood” was initiated by a woman dying). Anyway, the conflict between the brothers feels very natural and I’m glad they’re not as codependent on each other. I felt like Sam doing what he did was in character… he made an error in judgement. I really like where The arcs for Dean and Cas seem to be going as well, since they both needed purgatory in order to confront their issues.

    I don’t know if the show is ever going to tackle the idea of another apocalypse, though that’s something that I’d like to see happen, as well as the consequences afterwards. For those of you who are interested in an SPN story like that, look up “supernatural redemption road”. I mentioned it several months ago on another SPN article here but I just wanted to mention it again here. RR is a virtual season 7, taking place after the events of season six and creating this alternate story of what could have happened in season 7, starting with a longer storyline involving Godstiel (leviathan free!). It’s 24 written episodes long and it’s really good so check it out if you’re interested. It ends this Sunday.

    • Come on….I don’t know if anyone is keeping track, but if someone was doing a body count my guess is that there’d be something like a 20 to 1 or at least 15 to 1 males killed to females. I think hou’re just being way too sensitive about feamales being killed. In the end everyone except Sam and Dean actually dies (I mean dies and stay dead). If you’re going to focus on every female death as some unequal treatment to women, then you’re going to have a bad time. Do like the rest of us and just be numb to all the killing. I mean if you want to get real…..How could Sam and Dean be fairly nice guys with body counts up into the hundereds or even thousands? Even if they’re deamons they’re occupying what Crawly referred to as a “Meat Jacket” that was at least human before deamon possesion…..So in reality as Dean said….She was most likely already dead anyway.

      • As much as some people might use the idea as an excuse to sweep the argument away, I’m not being oversensitive. I love the show, but female and POC characters are treated poorly most of the time. The body count you describe is inaccurate, and something like this isn’t as simple as a body count anyway. It’s not just how many female characters die, it’s why and how they die. If you look back over the history of the show, pay attention to not only the way that female and POC characters die, but also the way they’re treated when they’re alive. Missouri from season 1 was forgotten about even though she’s supposed to be a family friend. Isaac and Tamara were forgotten about after one episode. Gordon was a total psycho. It’s like the show thought that Route 66 covered all of their issues race-wise (thank the lord for Kevin Tran, who’s not only a MOC but also a recurring character who’s actually surviving). Anna was forgotten about for half a season and then showed up acting totally different, only to die in that same episode. Jo and Ellen, Gwen Campbell, Ruby, Rachel, Bela, even Hester the female angel from the end of season 7, all great characters whom were killed at the expense of what worked for the show. Their narratives only enter the show when they’re needed and usually they’re either ignored or killed off the rest of the time rather then consistently developed throughout their run on the show, or worse, they’re not even rounded characters at all and they’re either objectified or demonized with no sound explanation. The show usually treats these characters horribly, instead focusing on developing the male characters, especially the white male characters. It’s not the same when male characters are demonized or underdeveloped because males (again white especially) don’t suffer the same treatment as other characters do. There are more diverse and well treated male characters then females/POC. If a male character is underdeveloped and evil it doesn’t matter because the entire roster is already filled out for them, it’s not the same with females and POC (and also LGBQT but that’s another discussion of the show for another time). The show has always suffered from these issues, as much as I love it, and sometimes they try to improve it, but in this episode they executed the same bad habits the show had before.

        • WOW….if you love the show so much why are you picking these things out and throwing sexism and race into your comments? Just enjoy the show.

          • I do enjoy the show. That’s why I watch it. But I also think it’s important to talk about this stuff. In the comment you’re referencing, I was replying to another person’s comment who said that female characters are treated equally, when in my original post, I said that they are not, as demonstrated by this episode.

        • My god do you take this crap too seriously. First and foremost it’s just dumb entertainment that really isn’t designed to be politically correct. If you’re going to take this show so literal then maybe it’s time to move on. I mean you find these nuggets so offensive yet the massive killings by a couple of good guys doesn’t seem to bother you enough to stop watching. That’s because it’s just mindless entertainment that isn’t designed for higher intellectual considerations. In fact it’s at it’s best when it’s even Dunbar and funny….like when they were trapped in that tv mode an were in everything from sitcoms to soaps. I laughed so hard I about fell out of the chair……..it’s all entertainment ….if you don’t like it….move on

          • I don’t consider Supernatural mindless entertainment, I consider it an entertaining show that contains a lot of valuable messages, but even if I did consider it that it wouldn’t make the show exempt from criticism regarding important issues. Nothing is exempt from critical discussion. All stories are made in a certain time and place by a certain person living a certain life, and all stories, even the dumb ones, contain ideas that are sent from that circumstance. All art contains these messages, and people consume art all the time. The art speaks ideas to them and people speak back. It can comfort or challenge certain viewpoints or biases, it can make people experience lives they’re not living, it can make them more aware of the world, it can get them to connect with the people around them, and it can teach people important lessons in life. Even the ones that appear dumb still have to be upheld by some idea. It’s culture, and all shows, not just Supernatural, are a part of it. You don’t have to be considered an “issues” show like Glee in order to do this. All stories do it, and just because certain ones are more glorified or even more “controversial” when doing it doesn’t mean that all the other shows suddenly aren’t. I feel that Supernatural has often upheld certain sexist and racist connotations during its run. You don’t have to engage in conversation about it, you don’t have to agree with what I’m saying, you don’t even have to read these comments, but what you should never, ever do is tell people that it’s just entertainment and that they shouldn’t talk about these issues. Because even if you think that you’re not affected by both the bad and the good messages that Supernatural sends, you are in some way, and so are countless other people.

            • Ok…I’ll make it simple…..You’re taking it way too seriously. The show isn’t some big political and/or more message vehicle. You can interpret such messages in anything you watch, but in the end some of it is indeed just entertainment.

              I never said you shouldn’t discuss such things. I merely was pointing out that it was a sasted effort to try to ind such things in the vast majority of TV because first and foremost they are trying to create a vehicle to profit from through advertizements. In order to do that they need to create something that’s entertaining enough to draw and keep viewers. That’s generally the extent of their actual motive beind each show. Not some hidden political message one way or other. In fact I’m guess that some of the very things you find offensive were last minute changes some director made that weren’t that way in the original script…….Once again….That’s entertainment…….But I guess as long as you and I never have to be forced to watch it together in the same room…We can both enjoy it in our own way….I for the basic show and you for the critical exploration….

              • That’s the thing though, it doesn’t have to be a big political/message vehicle. Most shows aren’t, and yet culture is made up of them and the ideas that they send. Talking about this stuff isn’t a wasted effort. Just because I talk about this stuff doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy the show itself.

            • BlueHeroBH – You have every right to your opinion. On the other hand, I hope the people that write or control the show never listen to it.
              When you start looking at shows through the “politically correct” spectrum (and PC IS one the worse things that have happened to our country), people start double-checking themselves, and screwing up perfectly good storylines, most of the time destroying what makes the shows interesting in the first place.
              The job of a writer is to tell a good story. There is no way they can accomplish that if they start thinking like you. “Ok, now this character dies so that Sam and Dean can…Wait! We can not kill her because she is a woman and we have misstreated them in the past. Or wait, he’s black, or asian, wait, we can not kill them because the PC police is out there…let’s try to think what we can do so that they can…” All of that is pure crap. If the character needs to be killed to continue the story arc, well, good riddance. I don’t care which color the character is, male or female. Crowley WOULD have killed ANYONE just because they annoyed him, as punishment, or just for fun. You think the writer should have changed that because she was asian? Please!
              Here’s hoping Supernatural keeps bringing the horror story and never compromise. That would definitely bring the end of the show as everyone’s interest (except maybe yours) wanes.
              Matter of fact, I was starting to like the prophet kid, and now I find myself thinking it would be pretty cool if he is just working with Crowley to fool the boys into doing some damage to the world.
              Heh! Maybe they will get to kill him.
              Dean has never believed in PC rules, and his character is ll the better for it.

              • Political correctness is not inherently a bad thing. It has a negative connotation to it even though it’s actually really important; people make it out to be some terrible thing because they don’t want to discuss something they don’t feel is important, or they don’t want to think about it, or they don’t want something they like to be criticized, or because sometimes people can go overboard with being PC and give the idea a bad reputation (just like with anything else in the world mind you) but it’s not a bad thing, and it’s certainly not one of the “worst things to happen to this country”. It doesn’t matter how much it might annoy you right now because it’s not about you. It’s never been about you. Representation and treatment in media is really important because it’s part of our culture. People all over the world indulge in shows, such as with Supernatural, and when a show supports sexist and racist traditions, it continues to help hurt other people.

                Your surface level analysis of my comments just indicates to me that you don’t really seem to understand this, or you don’t want to, so let me reply and clarify. This response is long as you can see, but that’s because I feel it’s important to set time aside to explain this to other people. This is not as simple as a “how many X characters have died compared to Y characters”, although that’s certainly something to keep in mind too, but it’s how the characters are treated when they’re alive, and what the context is of the treatment of their narrative, the relationship between their narrative and the main narrative, and the context of how their narrative seemingly ends. It’s how certain characters are treated in similar ways across the run of the show, it’s how they’re treated unfairly compared to the white male characters, especially the main group. Female, LGBQT and people of color characters are treated unfairly. When these characters are there (if they are at all, in relation to POC and LGBQT characters) their stories are either sacrificed in order to make room for the main narrative or they are reduced to certain tropes, or cliches, common story elements, instead of being fully developed (such as the idea of women having to die in order for men to go on their quest of manhood– two women died in the pilot, sending the three Winchesters on their journey, and in the season 8 premiere Kevin’s girlfriend died to initiate him into the hunter life– the problem isn’t that these things can’t happen at all, but when they happen to execute a common practice, when it becomes a recurring thing in a show that doesn’t handle these issues and characters well, it’s a problem). This isn’t to say that every side character should get their own episode or spin-off or whatever, but just as with most characters it’s important that they are fully developed within the context of whatever they have to contribute to the show. And again, the problem is that these three groups of characters are almost always treated unfairly while the male, especially white, characters are not, really (because again, white male characters have inhabited every kind of fully developed character ever and can’t be treated unfairly compared to other kinds of characters).

                We don’t need to know Gwen Campbell’s entire life story. We don’t need to know every detail of her daily life. But when female and etc. characters are treated like Gwen across the board it’s a problem. Throughout her run in the first half or so of season 6, we got to know almost nothing about her. She said to Dean in Family Matters that she thinks she’s treated unfairly by Samuel because she reminds him of Mary Winchester, his daughter. She also said that she feels like she’s often left behind by the other hunters (who are all male). Those are some of the only blips we ever get about her. We get the sense that she’s got an attitude and is generally a strong person, as indicated by her dialog and how she’s a hunter. But she gets no development. She gets no story of her own. She’s a character who showed promise, but mostly only showed up to do whatever the plot demanded of her, without ever considering WHY she’s doing the things she’s doing or how she got there. She was ripped of these things and died in And Then There Were None…, never having a lasting effect on the show, never to be mourned or mentioned again. The problem isn’t that Gwen didn’t get episodes dedicated to her, but the show didn’t use her, that she wasn’t treated like a real character, like most female/POC/LGBQT characters. That’s just one character though, so of course you have to consider how other female characters on the show are treated. What about Eve? She was presented as the big bad of season 6 for the first 19 episodes. We got absolutely no time dedicated to getting to know her character or developing it. She was given no narrative of her own, even though her origins and nature are really interesting. She showed up when needed, giving the mains monsters to fight, and died, easily, the moment she got more then a passing scene with the other characters. Mark Sheppard (Crowley) remarked at one of the Supernatural conventions a few weeks ago that the show treats female characters differently then the male ones. He’s on the show and even he can admit it. He talked about how he met the actress who played Eve while shooting a scene and that she’s very nice and talented. The next scene he saw her after that meeting was standing over her corpse in the diner. Another female who wasn’t treated like a real character. What about Rachel? You probably don’t remember her, but she was Castiel’s assistant in Frontierland, the western episode in season 6. She had apparently been helping him with the civil war that, at the time of that episode, had been going on for nearly two years. This was the first time she was ever mentioned. She showed up in two scenes. One was to scold the Winchesters for wasting Castiel’s time. The other was confronting Castiel about the souls, in which she was killed. This happened in the span of twenty minutes. We know almost nothing about her and she wasn’t treated like a real character, introduced only when the show absolutely needed her. And let me stress this– characters always have to contribute something to a plot. They have to have a function. The problem that I keep stressing with these characters though is an important one. Even though characters have functions in a story, they can’t be treated like functions. Even if they have two minutes of screen time. They have to be treated like people, because in the sense of a story they are. A character’s relationship with the plot is not meant to be one-sided, it’s meant to be two-sided, with the character and the story feeding off each other, rather then the story using a character as needed and then tossing them aside with no consideration for who they are. This wouldn’t make the story worse– it could make it much better.

                I don’t know if Kevin’s girlfriend would have been treated differently if she weren’t asian. Probably not. That’s not even what I said though. I don’t think Crowley would have killed her normally because he would have used someone Kevin cares about and hold them hostage in order to lure him back. Unless he made an irrational decision he would not have killed her. And even if you buy that Crowley acted out of anger in killing her, it’s still another example of another female character dying in order to initiate someone on their quest for manhood, into the hunter life. It’s not that something like that can’t EVER happen in a story, because it certainly can. But the context is really, really importnat. In Supernatural these aren’t coincidences. The context is not appropriate. It’s not a black and white thing, because in Supernatural it’s troublesome treatment of female/POC/LGBQT characters is a pattern threaded throughout the show in varying degrees– it’s something that has and continues to happen. Characters exploited, stories sacrificed, cliches executed.

                Dean isn’t better off for being the way he is. Dean is a mess. He is broken. He is a wonderful person at his core, but completely broken nonetheless. His life has been horrible. Him resorting to treating different groups of people certain ways isn’t better for him, it’s showing how he relates to people after what he’s been through and how messed up he is in different ways.

                I am somewhat baffled at your claim that everyone’s (but mine) interest in the show would wane if all characters were treated equally because you are so far off point as to what I’m talking about. This isn’t about you and how interested you are in the show or how other people missing the point would be turned off by the “worst thing to ever happen to this country”, which it’s not. This is about how the show treats certain characters and supports a lot of presumptions that the general public has about them. It’s about how certain groups of people having fair representation in media. It’s about culture. It’s about all of us and how we treat each other; not just as characters, but as human beings. Treating people fairly isn’t “compromising” and it should not be viewed as such.

  16. I am a HUGE Supernatural fan and couldn’t wait for the premier. But I have to say that I was left wanting. I think that they always bring them back too soon. When Dean went to hell..he was back at the beginning of the first episode of season 4. Don’t get me wrong season 4 was Great. When Sam went to hell…he was back before the episode was even over. Now Deans back from purgatory within the first 5 minutes of season 8 premier. I think they should at least have had Sam (who I think they made seem really weak.) trying to find out something about his brother. I know that he was alone, but come on..He could have at least captured some demons to question, tried some kind of spells or something to try and find Dean and Cass. He did NOTHING. He threw away all of his phones. The only way Dean could get in touch with him if he did somehow show back up. Sam didn’t have clue where Dean was or if he was actually dead or not, why would he do that. I think they should have had them separated for a couple of episodes and then reunited them somehow more exciting than they did. Show Dean in purgatory fighting or torturing some demon he’d captured there for information on how to get out. And show Sam at least trying to do something. And….I hate Sam’s hair! He looks like he was the one in purgatory for a year. Dean however, shows up with a fresh haircut and a tan. LOL. I really hate to rag on the show because I really do love it…I just really hope that it is a good season. I guess maybe I was just expecting more.

  17. There is on angel still hasn’t been mention, “Joshwa” the one who listens to God.
    Where is God in all of this? Cass tryed to find God and didn’t get it done.
    Also there is “Jessy” Half human, and half Demon, known as the Anitchrist. Is he retuning in the following eposide or season?

  18. So absurd talk about angels or purgatory, just want to see and watch sam dean beat the evil

  19. Thought the premiere was fantastic and definitely has the feeling of the first five seasons, thanks to Mr. Carver. Lot of mention of angels (archangels), and that a new group of angels would be introduced this season so I thought that the following information might be of interest to some. The word archangel can be translated to mean chief angel. The word archangel is used only twice in the bible, Thessalonians 4:16 and Jude 1:9. Only Michael and Gabriel are mentioned by name with Michael being expressly named an archangel (in Daniel he is referred to as “one of the chief princes”. Most Christian traditions consider Gabriel to be an Archangel. The name of the archangel Raphael appears only in the Book of Tobit (Tobias). Raphael said to Tobias that he was “one of the seven who stand before the lord” (It is generally believed that Michael and Gabriel are among the seven). The Seraphim mentioned in Isiah 6:1-7 are the highest ranking angel and serve as the caretakers of God and constantly sing his praises. They have been described as having six wings two to cover their face, two to cover their feet and two to fly with. Lucifer has been listed as a seraphim, but was said to have had twelve wings. The names Micheal and Uriel have also appeared on the list. Lucifer has also been referred to as the King of Babylon. It is believed that the only angels that have been known to interact with man are the archangel and “angels” (messengers) who are the lowest order of angel and the most concerned with the affairs of the living (which would describe Castiel). Lucifer was created by God to be given a very special role, he was established by God to be the angel of worship, and was created to dwell eternally in the presence of God his ministry surrounding the heart of heaven (Ezekiel 28:14) Lucifer had wisdom,beauty,ability, and perfection, yet he wanted more, he wanted to become like God (sounds like Castiel who also became a fallen angel) Lucifer was removed from God’s presence and cast out of heaven. (Awesome’s question concerning Joshua (joshwa) Joshua is an old testament figure, he served Moses through the instruction of God. Joshua was one of the twelve spies(scouts) sent by Moses to reconnoiter the land of Canaan when the Israelites fled Egypt on their exodus. At one point God instructed Moses to lay hands on Joshua designate him leader and follow him. He led the Israelites into the promised land and helped conquer it. Though not an angel most certainly a saint, and given his job during the exodus and relationship to God it is understandable why they would want to utilize his services in locating God. It has been indicated that Joshua lived to be 110 years old. Purgatory can refer to a wide range of historical and modern conceptions of postmortem suffering short of everlasting damnation. A possible reason Castiel could be stuck in purgatory is that demon in catholic theology means much the same as devil and often times denotes a fallen angel rather than a evil spirit. It’s also possible that Crowley himself was once a fallen angel and would explain why his eyes never turn black. It is obvious that the writers of Supernatural have done their research which makes watching Sam and Dean beat the evil even more pleasurable.

  20. I love this show! I enjoyed the premiere. The characters are affected by the things they have endured throughout their life.and Jared and Jensen are great at developing their characters. I think that they left just enough mystery, and Jensen Ackles did a wonderful job portraying a man that has been at war for a year. I am always amazed at the creativity of the writers to put so many unexpected twists in the plot. I loved the character of Cas, but he will never be the same so get over it. What do you want, the show to lay it all out for you in one episode?The impala is back- Yay! and we started out with Jethro Tull- This is the show I fell in love with. Can’t wait to see next week’s show!

  21. Great review, Anthony Ocasio! I wonder if the production company was asked to save-a-buck on Season 8, as so many other TV shows have been asked to do? To me, the premiere episode also had a bit of a cheap-seats feel to it – especially the lackluster Foley work, and the sometimes less ambitious lighting – compared with previous seasons.

  22. Looks like (as I had thought) Eve is holding Cas hostage, when Crowley asked Dean where he was, Dean said “Ask your mother.”

  23. Blue Hero, you make a lot of good and salient points, but I dont think this show is meant to be taken that seriously. A show that was way better at sending a message and a cult classic was the X-Files and that will forever remain my favorite show. A lot of the way they exposed government/corporations like Monsanto/military for the hypocritical liars they are has now proven to be true. But supernatural is much more about biblical mythology than it is about present day life.

    • Supernatural is about family, love, humanism, free will vs. predetermination and much more in the context of biblical mythology. While the context might be old, the stories Supernatural has to tell are very relevant to our society today, and will continue to be for who knows how long; because much like The X-Files, Supernatural touches on fundamental aspects of being human.

      Even if it weren’t meant to be taken seriously it doesn’t matter, as I have been saying. You don’t have to be a period piece show like Mad Man or an issues show like Glee in order to take these issues seriously. You don’t need to be anything at all– there’s no prerequisite you need to have in order to treat people fairly. All shows should take all of these issues seriously, even if they’re just comedies or whatever, because all stories are to some extent grounded in reality, in humanity. Not to mention that these stories are being absorbed by people all over the world, in which the messages the show sends speaks to them. Females, POC and LGBQT are often times starved for representation in media because things aren’t “meant to be taken that seriously”, and it not only affects the way that others view and treat them due to the way characters are written, but also how they feel and connect to others throughout their life and also how they view themselves. And all of these things mean that all stories have a responsibility to portray this human aspect by touching on different parts of the human spectrum, so to speak. Race, sex, gender, sexuality, etc. Even in something as big and mindless as the Transformer movies, which are chock-full of sexist and racist bits, or something as in the middle like a Thursday night comedy, or something as highly conceptual and respected, the human aspect of it needs to be taken seriously.

      • I dont disagree with anything you said Blue, however the issue I have is that if these actresses really feel that strongly about what’s going on they should bring it up with whomever created this double standard on the series. And if their issues dont get addressed, refuse to participate. They’ll have other opportunities. It was going on even when Sera Gamble was there, and she’s a girl! So why is it happening?

        I do wish they had stronger female characters, like Joss Whedon’s Buffy and Angel series did (two of my other favorite shows) but I doubt the writers on this series could measure up to Whedon’s greatness. Supernatural is a wonderful show, but Whedonverse was on a whole another level. The only female characters who were given even somewhat strong roles were Tessa and Ruby.

        One thing I am appreciative of is that Supernatural did bring in the mythologies of other cultures, even though they did so in a lesser position.

        I just think what you’re talking about is symbolic of the double standards in our own society. Heh, we criticize other societies for their double standards and inequalities, but we have the same in ours; we just cover them up better. Just look at how the military treats women; I believe there is a whole base in Texas that has been shut down because all the male officers have been found to have been harassing or assaulting female recruits.

        And as I write this, I’m thinking of the congressman from Georgia who said evolution was an idea from the “pits of Hell.” And then there was the one who said women who are “legitimately raped” cant get pregnant. With “leadership” like that you wonder why the statistics of the number of women who get raped (1 in 4 I believe) or the number of children who get molested (1 in 6 I think) isn’t even higher than it already is.

        • You’re acting as if actresses in general are frequently offered parts that are treated better then the ones offered on Supernatural, like female actresses have a wide variety of stuff to choose from with non-offensive content. They’re not, and they don’t. This is bigger than just this show. Most roles that females are offered are treated poorly. Actresses take the roles either because they don’t know any better or they’re doing the best with what they have. It doesn’t make any sense to chastise them for taking problematic roles when the roles shouldn’t be problematic in the first place.

          I don’t know exactly what you’re trying to say regarding Sera Gamble, but sexism doesn’t stop when a women works on the writing staff. Women tend to be more aware of the sexist notions that different works support but they’re pretty much just as capable of perpetuating the same ideas, and even if a woman/women tried to get this stuff in a show to stop, working with other males writers and male executive-producers like on Supernatural, their cries would mostly go unheard because men tend to cling to authority. Unfortunately, the atmosphere that the show seems to be created in doesn’t help either. Many of the people who work on the show aren’t aware of this. A couple months ago at an SPN convention Jensen Ackles was describing the original reunion scene between Dean and Cas in The Born-Again Identity, an episode that Sera wrote, and he said that the dialog there was written to be different (you can catch one of these lines in the original commercial for the episode– “a part of me always believed that you’d come back.”), but that him, Misha Collins and the director Robert Singer (long-time executive producer, notorious for his treatment of females and other characters in the show) couldn’t get through filming it because the lines didn’t sound like two actual men talking to each other, describing it as more feminine and emotional, and that Sera’s a girl so that’s how she writes. They said that they were laughing so much that they couldn’t get through it. Laughing about two men having an emotional moment. You could argue whether or not the original dialog is in character of Dean and Cas but that’s not even what I’m talking about, that’s not even what’s important. Both actors described it as “the gayest thing the show has ever done”. That is not the gayest thing the show has ever done. The gayest thing they’ve ever done is feature a storyline with a gay character, which has been few and far between, upon which all gay characters either have their sexuality played off as a joke or have it used against them. You can catch bits like these even in season 7 when Sera, a women writer, was heading the show. Sera once described her visiting the set, saying that she was “intimidated”. Given what we know about the people who work on the show and the kind of atmosphere they work in, I think it’s safe to say that Sera, despite whatever complains you might have about her work on the show, was treated very unfairly, both by the cast/crew and the viewers. Supernatural is a show about white heterosexual dudes killing monsters and being manly men. I love the show as I’ve said but all of the things I’ve mentioned are HUGE problems.

          You ask why it’s still happening? Because having a women writer on the show doesn’t fix everything that’s wrong with the rest of the staff, and suggesting that actresses somehow share some of that responsibility by saying that they shouldn’t take these parts is also a folly, because this isn’t their fault. You say that this show isn’t meant to be taken that seriously? I would say I don’t care whatever some of these people are intending to with the show, they share a responsibility to portray all characters and issues well, and trying to shove it aside as entertainment or act as if women are the solution as opposed to the staff just realizing what they’re doing isn’t fair and trying to change it, is wrong.

          • It doesn’t matter whether they are offered better parts or not, there are way more important things in life than the almighty dollar. I would have more respect for these people if they stood up for what they believed in and stood by their principles. If they really cared so much, they should picket in front of the studios, bring their case to the media and embarrass the writers and the producers. But no, they dont have the guts to do that. When I was going after my first job, back in high school, and some of my peers were working at fast food places, I said I would rather be homeless and on the street rather than forward the junk and trash food company agenda. Well the same applies here. One should put one’s beliefs and principles ahead of any amount of money or career, no matter what it is. Monetary greed is one of the biggest problems in our society today, and the fact that so many sacrifice their morals and principles for whatever reason is absolutely deplorable. If they cared to deeply about this issue, they would be doing whatever they could to stand up for themselves and the inequalities in our society by embarrassing and derailing the status quo, by whatever means necessary. Even if that means resorting to violence (I dont have the usual sheeple attitude towards terrorism.) See, I do feel that strongly and would resort to that. As Bobby once said, “Let’s commit our act of domestic terrorism already.” The reason why government and big corporations act the way they do is because the people let them, the fact is they should fear us, not the other way around. There are way more of us than there are of them and regardless of what they attempt to do to scare us, I do know that one day they will lose…… because that’s been the entire history of human civilization.

            And yea, it is those actresses fault too, for helping the system by being a part of it. The only way to stop it is to destroy the system and start back from the beginning. I dont just mean regarding actresses and their roles, I mean everything. And they have to be willing to do whatever it takes because the goals justify the means necessary to achieve them.

            • We’re actually going to see if democracy is even still alive in America when Prop 37 passes or not. If it doesn’t you know that Plutocracy is in charge, with how the big food corporations have poured money into the anti GMO labeling campaign. As I said in my previous post, these companies must be brought to judgment by whatever means necessary……

              • I don’t even know where you’re going with this anymore. First you tell me that the show isn’t meant to be taken that seriously, much like other people here, taking my comment about what you consider a non-serious show seriously, and then you start agreeing and disagreeing with me, suddenly taking it seriously– do you think the show shouldn’t be taken seriously because the actresses don’t ‘stand up’? What changed? Actresses and others aren’t lined up outside The Supernatural office protesting, so suddenly they’re not to be respected and can’t be taken seriously? And I don’t know what fantasy world you’re living in where you think you can even begin to compare your life as a male and a story of you not wanting a fast food job in high school to the life of a female and taking an acting gig that could be considered offensive or become offensive later at some point in time and all the gross culture that comes with those things that DEEPLY AFFECTS THEIR LIVES in that way, because really you can’t. Despite whatever sense of righteousness you think you have, not everyone is going to be able to turn down pretty much anything that comes across their table, and they’re certainly not going to have the same skewed view of the world. A lot of the time actresses take parts that could be considered offensive for their careers, and later in life if they do well, they’re able to book a wide variety of parts that aren’t such, which can help ‘the cause’ or whatever you want to call it. It’s not anywhere near as simple as “do what I did in high school as a male in a man’s world and don’t take the job because that’s the exact solution to change things” because it’s definitely not. Someone else would just take their place. And that’s not true of just the acting business, it’s true of any business. Revolting purely from the outside changes nothing. And reaching back to what you said in your comment before about actresses challenging the parts that they’re offered, talking to people who run the show about it, do you think it’s really that simple? Even for males, unless you’re an indispensable star to the show, you’re pretty much not going to get listened to at all unless you have some kind of advantage outside of yourself, ignoring all the scheduling difficulties and the technical process of script to screen and the schedules at which people get their scripts. Especially on a show like Supernatural which treats all characters other then Sam and Dean utterly disposable, especially females, POC and LGBQT people. And to say that the writing is offensive in an environment like this show’s? Sera was the freakin’ show-runner and this kind of stuff still happened. Suggesting that they should should ‘challenge the system’ in the way that you did doesn’t apply because this business in this culture doesn’t work the same way. You don’t know what you would do in their position because you’re not and you’ll never have to be. And why does it fall to the actresses to change things? You say that they’re only partially responsible but that they’re the ones who have to start the change. You don’t suggest that viewers write in about this, or suggest talking to the writers or anyone else about it, or anything else that would help– not even talking about it in an internet comment section so that people can individually begin to change the way they see the show. Why? Right– because it’s “not meant to be taken that seriously”, but suddenly when we’re talking about the actors in these parts it falls on their shoulders to completely reinvent the business by doing what you did in turning down a fast food job in high school, and when we’re talking about a serious comment on an episode review of you consider to be a non-serious show, it suddenly becomes serious and should be rebuked, rather then any of the other comments here telling me that these issues don’t exist and that I should stop talking about them.

                • Well as I said, I wasn’t referring to merely acting. And I just mentioned my first job, to let you know what my outlook was from the gitgo, dont think that I’m still at that level anymore, I’m actually working on my first book and am a public speaker and activist. I’m referring to how the government gets away with torturing people who haven’t even committed crimes…. two of my good friends who are environmental and animal rights activists were assaulted and raped by cops in Colorado and their families were terrorized by the FBI—– yea that’s the right word, terrorized. Yet, when ordinary people speak up and do something about it, they get villainized? This is why, despite his faults, Julian Assange is a hero for exposing government for what it is.

                  As far as the show is concerned, of course I dont take it seriously—– if I did I would deplore Dean’s lifestyle of boozing and womanizing first and foremost. I dont even like how liberally they use guns, it sends a bad message. But what you’re talking about are social issues that go far beyond any TV show. I can enjoy the show and yet violently disagree with the message it sends and compartmentalize social issues. I take the social issues we’re discussing very seriously, not TV.

                  • and I never said you should stop talking about it, I actually agreed with your points. I was merely saying that the show isn’t meant to be taken seriously and I wish the people involved in it (if they do want it to be taken seriously) would actually stand up for themselves.

                    Maybe I’m just tired of always standing up for other people and wish they would do it themselves, at least some times.

                  • and let me make it clear, by revolting I mean exposing and embarassing the powers that be….. similar to how animal rights activists exposed how farms mistreat animals, by injecting them with chemicals and hormones (which alter our own biochemistry and metabolism) and even though some states have tried to make whistleblowing corrupt farming practices a felony (not the crimes the farms are committing!) a large public outcry has made them change their minds. Same with the internet privacy act. See, protesting and petitioning does help, even though politicians are in the pay of large corporate lobbies, they still know that the public can vote them out of office. I just wish more people exercised those rights and helped effect real change rather than just sitting on their butts, watching tv (including mass media), and doing nothing.

                    • and I actually liked season 7 because the corporation that the leviathans were establishing reminds me of Monsanto (this was also mentioned elsewhere.) I wonder how many socially conscious people actually watch this show?

          • BlueHero, I think you’re going too far in your analysis…

            The cast and crew often stated that female characters didn’t last in the show because of the fans. They tried to create many long-lasting female characters but it often didn’t work with the audience (like for Anna or Bela).
            Female fans apparently can’t stand seeing their favourite actors being potentially in love and male fans find love stories too emotional for them. They usually hate the female characters and campaign for their withdrawal. That’s why bad girls and older women lasted longer than young and pretty girls : because there was less chances that it would lead to a love stories.

            It’s not really the writers’ fault as they listen a lot their fans… Besides, characters like Ellen and Jo lasted for what, 5 seasons? That’s a lot! Only Bobby and Castiel earned such a permanent place in the show beside Sam and Dean. And it nevertheless had an end for Bobby too.
            The women who last are usually like the boys : they’re fighters, they’re strong, they can save other people. Like Ruby, Ellen and Jo, Jody… And Meg who has been around from the start!

            The problem is that they often cast gorgeous young women who are very bad actresses. Their character becomes very dull very fast. That is why, I think, older women and less stereotyped actresses (such a Meg) lasted for longer : they chose them upon their acting skills more than their physical appearance.

            This comes from the fact the show started by playing with the teenage movie stereotypes : the dumb muscular guy dating a dumb pretty girl who both die horribly killed by a monster. You can still find these side characters in many episodes and guys are not always “manly” when they’re not Dean, Sam and their friends.

            You say they show tough guys and it’s bad. No, Dean is tough but it’s a problem very often! The show tried so many time to highlight that. Dean can’t share his feelings as easily as Sam and it destroys him. They’re not showing it as a good thing. It’s just part of Dean’s personality. Being a macho guy is a facade and he didn’t help him much during his life.
            On the other side, Sam doesn’t have much problem to express some sensitivity. He’s way more relaxed with that. And he doesn’t really make jokes about people looking gay or not… Sometimes he does, but I see it more as a little brother thing, because Dean is doing it. It’s part of Dean’s character too to be so scared of feelings that he tries to joke about people who express them. Compared to Dean, Sam copes way more easily with emotions. I mean, Dean seems to deal with them better but it also ends up with him being overwhelmed and depressed at some point because he couldn’t express them. Sam seems more fragile but in the end, he never experiences situation as close to depression as Dean.
            And how many time the fact the boys didn’t communicate led to big problems?

            I really think the show is not praising the apparent toughness of Dean. It’s just a character’s feature.

            And you can’t extrapolate from a few comments on what Sera lived. I don’t think the female staff members are treated unfairly or Sera wouldn’t have been offered the showrunner position…

            As for the treatment of LGBT character, you know, Supernatural is not so really talking about sexuality so I don’t think it is really the show for displaying LGBT characters… It would seem a bit phoney to me to state that such and such characters are gay… Besides, the show runners know perfectly well how the fans have phantasies about Sam, Dean and Castiel being gay. Sam and Dean sometimes deny strongly being a couple, but I guess that if someone thought you were dating your brother, you would feel slightly uncomfortable. As for the “gay scenes” between Castiel and Dean, the show plays with some ambiguity sometimes and it doesn’t seem to bother Dean very much. After all, maybe Dean likes men as well as women and that’s why he tries so hard to look like a womanizer? It’s up to the audience to make up its mind…

            • 1) I’m aware that the people who run the show say they don’t include female characters as much because of the immature fans. But so what? Why should they listen to some of the fans over something like that? It’s not like it’s even criticism worth listening to. To me it’s really bothersome to think that they would let their creative vision and much less obligation to treat characters of all kinds with respect be muddled with because a few fans cut the female characters down. It says quite a bit about the show and how it’s run, and after seven years you’d think things would have changed. The fans are still doing it, now to Amelia, and some of them aren’t going to change, so they might as well.

              2) I’m not sure where you’re pulling the tough guy comment from… from what I said about the trenchcoat reunion scene that had dialog changed? Because I agree that Dean tries to overcompensate for his masculinity and that he’s very emotionally closed off, which are bad things. The problem I think is that Jensen and Misha said that the original scene was really gay, when there was nothing explicitly gay about it. And making a comment about how the original line was too emotional because it was written by a woman… not cool. The actors don’t have any problems saying lines like “I need you” or any of the no-homo jokes that are in the show and no complaints were raised then as far as we know? It’s also fair to say at this point that Gamble was treated differently being a woman writer. Back in season 4, Sera was the one who had to bring up the idea of Ruby using a dead body so that when Ruby and Sam had sex there wouldn’t be any consent issues. I don’t have the exact quote on me at the moment, but apparently she had to keep insisting on it because it was made light of by some of the other writers. Thankfully it got put in. Women are definitely treated differently on the show… and not just on screen like I mentioned in 1, but also offscreen with Gamble. And I don’t think the show has portrayed Dean’s emotional state and pseudo-masculinity in a positive light most of the time, though going by some of the comments fans have made some people want him to never be emotional and finally deal with his trauma which is terrible. There are many times when the narrative declares the Winchesters to be right even when they’re not, and there are times when the show itself tries to overcompensate for whatever masculinity in some way, but mostly Dean’s macho behavior isn’t portrayed in a positive way, as I recall.

              3) Why does there need to be a special space for LGBQT characters? Saying “this isn’t that kind of show” or “this show doesn’t talk about that” is pretty ridiculous, because it makes it invalidates LGBQT characters as if they’re not human or something. There doesn’t need to be a very special episode about it. You just treat the character you’re writing as a human being and just do it. To date, the show has displayed only 6 or so gay relationships on screen I believe, compared to the dozens and dozens of heterosexual relationships, and five of them have ended horribly in some way, which is actually kind of disturbing. I’m not really sure what you mean by “it would seem a bit phoney to me to state that such and such characters are gay…”, because the gay characters don’t need to be Sam or Dean, or anyone else the show has already introduced. Even if in some hypothetical situation the show wanted to go there, people can be other things besides gay and straight. They could be bisexual, asexual, etc. for example, the show could introduce a new character entirely, or something.

              4) And in regards to the last comment about it being up to the audience to make up their mind… if you mean the show introducing some situation where a character is hinted to be non-heterosexual without explicitly stating it, that’s not representation. That’s called queer-baiting, when a work baits people with characters who are hinted at being lgbqt but never actually stating it explicitly, and this is typically done to appease to the fans who are looking for those characters without upsetting the general audience. This hurts representation, and unfortunately Supernatural has been guilty of practicing this in the past (with the Sam/Dean jokes and etc.), teasing the idea and making light of it, never really deciding either way on the issue. This hurts representation of lgbqt characters in media, and by extension, lgbqt people in real life as well. Every work of fiction has the basic responsibility of treating characters of all kinds with respect and not pulling stuff like that. So I’d rather not.

  24. BTW I think the whole idea of demons being sent back to hell forever might have a little catch to it. Sam was once the vessel of lucifer and used to drink demon blood. If there is even one molecule of that left within his system if that spell works, he may be sent back too……

    fodder for the next season finale?

  25. ————–

    —??

    What Sam’s new vet girlfriend is actually god????

  26. loved this episode from start to finish.

    welcome return to form. bring on season 8

  27. So anyone else notice that Benny is the same actor that played one of the good animal eating (not human eating) vampires for season 2 episode Bloodlust. JUst wondering if he is the same vampire or is he playiong a new part?

  28. Hm…Have to disagree with most of this review. Benny’s a vampire, not a friendly levi, as others might have mentioned. I do agree with Kevin’s ex girlfriend being an unimportant part to the episode and I admit, I didn’t care for her that much as demon or human, but most of this episode came off as strong.

    You can’t expect every detail, or even major details, about what happened in purgatory to happen in the first episode of the season. They gave us enough to wet our whistle, and my whistle is definitely wetted. I loved seeing focused, hyper-deadly Dean running through the forest. Loved Benny, and even the apparent friendship they’ve developed over who knows how long they’ve been there. (If Purgatory is like hell in any fashion, it’d have been a /loooong/ term there). I can’t wait to find out more. I don’t get the idea that Benny’ll be an enemy in the future. I hope he doesn’t turn into one for two points, but the main is.. Dean /needs/ friends. Beyond Cas, even beyond Bobby, he needs that social interaction, that sort of trust (even if it’s really skewed in this case).

    The episode was a bit cluttered, but it had a lot of solid highlights and I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in store. I think many of your concerns will be addressed, just not all at once. (like us not getting much info on Purgatory)

  29. Why does Supernatural persist in this habit of not showing what happens on the other planes of existence? We only saw hell in flashbacks and the same with purgatory. Why not show them in real time and have Dean fighting his way to get out of purgatory and re-uniting with Sam for the season finale (or at least the mid season finale?) That would actually give them some fodder to go for 10 seasons…….

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