Supernatural will soon celebrate its 300th episode, and it appears to building towards an atonement angle for Sam and Dean. On February 7, Supernatural will air "Lebanon," a special anniversary episode named after the city the Winchesters' bunker headquarters is secreted within, and two returning guest stars have already been confirmed to appear: Jeffrey Dean Morgan as John Winchester and Kurt Fuller as the cunning angel Zachariah.
As seen in several pre-released images from Supernatural's 300th episode, "Lebanon" will see Sam and Dean granted a wish and subsequently be allowed to be together with both their mother and father for the first time since Sam was an infant. The pictures hint at emotional reunions and heart-to-heart conversations aplenty, but while "Lebanon" is sure to celebrate Supernatural's past, nostalgia is unlikely to be the entire thrust of the episode.
One of the overarching themes of Supernatural season 14 so far has been the balance of light and dark within the Winchester brothers. There's no denying that Sam and Dean have helped a great many people and saved the world from certain doom on several occasions, but their determination and recklessness has also brought danger, pain, and suffering to many.
In the season 14 midseason premiere, "Nihilism," Supernatural re-introduced Pamela the psychic, a character who was first blinded and then killed in the course of aiding the Winchester brothers. This version of Pamela was merely a projection in Dean's mind, but still served to remind viewers of one time the Winchesters badly messed up, while also demonstrating that an element of guilt over Pamela's death still lingered within Dean's mind.
Last week's episode, "Prophet and Loss," played with similar themes. It saw Sam, Dean, and Castiel revisit the ill-fated prophet Donatello. Originally an atheist college professor, Donatello's status as a prophet thrust him into the world of the supernatural, and he was eventually recruited by the Winchesters to translate the demon tablet and figure out a spell that would allow travel to parallel worlds. Like Kevin Tran before him, the translation process, among other things, cost Donatello his sanity, and Castiel made the decision to forcibly extract the information from Donatello's mind, thereby leaving him in a coma.
In fairness, Sam and Dean did protest against Castiel's actions, but the case of Donatello remains another example of an innocent civilian being dragged into the Winchesters' lives and paying the price. "Prophet and Loss" allowed Supernatural's trio to atone for this act several seasons later, finally managing to spark Donatello back to life, to the hilarious surprise of his Doctor. Like the Pamela episode before it, the return of Donatello came relatively out of nowhere and continues the theme of revisiting past Winchester mistakes and attempting to put things right, if at all possible. Certainly, this could be nothing more than a way to work as many cast members as possible back into the show to celebrate Supernatural's anniversary, however the pattern could also have a deeper meaning.
The Winchesters' current predicament is one partly of their own making. They involved Lucifer in their trip to the Apocalypse World to rescue Jack and Mary, and the devil, unsurprisingly, went on to conspire against them. With Satan's help, the evil alternate version of the archangel Michael managed to travel into the prime universe with the intention of destroying it. This fact has not been lost on the Apocalypse World's Kaya, who also called the Winchesters out on their morally gray path towards rescuing Jack and Mary.
With a Winchester family reunion just around the corner, it seems likely that the morality of the Winchesters will be explored further in season 14. Perhaps speaking to their father will give Sam and Dean a renewed sense of focus on how they operate or maybe he'll be able to remind of them of the mistakes he made as a hunter and how things could have been handled differently.
This ongoing theme of the Winchesters righting wrongs and getting closure, as well as making amends for past mistakes, may also tie into how they ultimately defeat Michael. At present, it isn't obvious how the powerful archangel can be beaten and it's surely only a matter of time before Dean is possessed once again. However, as the Winchester brothers continue to atone for their various failures, their good deeds may once again inspire some divine help in the battle against Michael.
Supernatural season 14 continues with "Lebanon" on February 7 on The CW.