Episode 802: “We Need to Talk about Kevin”
I’m unsure how I feel about this opening volley into the new season of Supernatural. I knew that they were going to be focusing more on the lives of the Winchester brothers and less on “The Apocalypse OMG” because, as Walt Disney once said when asked about doing a sequel to his “Three Little Pigs” short, “You can’t top pigs with pigs.” In other words, they’ve done the end of the world twice now, so where does a show go from there?
I was looking forward to seeing the brothers growing closer, perhaps, and exploring what it means to be a family. A really, really broken one, but a family nonetheless. However, now I’m not so sure about where this is going to go.
Dean has been in Purgatory for a year, which we are going to see in flashback scenes throughout the season as we piece together what happened exactly. He gets back, due to a deal with a devil, or at least one demon, with a particularly badass obsidian blade that I hope we see more of and get the origin story behind. Because it’s seriously badass.
Understandably, when he gets here after constantly battling demons for his life, he’s a haunted man. Everything feels like a threat. Every shadow is another attempt on his life. Children playing cops and robbers trigger Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder flashbacks of his life in Purgatory. Every bite of normal food is like manna. The sight of a vending machine full of candy is hypnotizing.
Here’s where I start having character issues. Dean has become the ultimate hunter, but in the process, has also become the ultimate heartless jackass, especially to his brother. They had agreed that if one of them were lost, the other would move on and not look for him. Which is what Sam did, so of course Dean blames him for that. And for wanting to have a life. And for having a girlfriend. And for basically breathing. That’s going to get old really fast.
The dialog was very Hollywood-unrealistic at times. The vet where Sam brings a dog he’s hit with a car says very strange and accusatory things, such as “if you were such a good person you wouldn’t have hit that dog.” What vet says that?? It was an accident, and he brought the dog in to save its life, and the vet questions the basic morality of the good Samaritan who is obviously extremely upset about what’s happened?
Back to Dean, who is currently very unlikable. Turns out he’s kept in communication with the demon that hitched a ride with him out of Purgatory, and is hiding this from Sam. They seem to be buddies, this demon and Dean, and rather than trusting that Sam would understand why he did what he did, it’s a huge secret that you know is going to come out at some point and bite everyone in the ass. Which is fine, artificial tension, blahblah, we get it. Maybe Dean’s doing it because he wouldn’t trust Sam to have done the right thing if the situation were reversed. But it’s another wedge between the dynamic duo, and one that isn’t necessary.
Perhaps it’s because I’m a mother with a family of my own, but when I heard that this season was going to be about the Winchester brothers primarily, I had hoped that maybe, finally, they would get a chance to be a real family, maybe for the first time in their lives. Less hunting, more about them being brothers, and trying to find their way in a world full of monsters and PTSD and loss while supporting each other. Maybe Castiel could become closer to them as well, and it would be a positive thing for all of them. They could be their own little safe haven in a stormy world.
Unfortunately, it looks like we might be headed in the exact opposite direction. My ratings senses are tingling, and it doesn’t look good. Maybe my hopeful angle on it wouldn’t have been any better for the numbers than the constant antagonism that’s likely coming, but I don’t see how it could be worse than this doomed path of conflict and deception they’re on now. Personally, I’m hoping for a mid-season turnaround so I have something (anything!) positive to hang onto here other than the return of The Car.