The Road So Far:
Color me embarrassed!
I gave up on Supernatural last season after six episodes. The previous season had turned into a disaster (I stopped reviewing it after nine episodes and didn't even start reviewing Season 8) and new showrunner Jeremy Carver didn't seem to have any specific direction in mind despite telling the press that he had a three-year plan. I dipped back into the season to check out episodes twelve and thirteen ("As Time Goes By" with their time-traveling grandfather, and "Everybody Hates Hitler" with a Golem vs. Nazi necromancers), and while I enjoyed the episodes, and loved the new headquarters, there still didn't seem to be a real focus.
Well, I was wrong. The very next episode, if I had bothered to watch, introduced the trials to close the gates of Hell. And with that, the race was on. There were still your standard done-in-one monster-of-the-week episodes, but by the time we reached that final five episodes things were going full scale apocalyptic and dangling threads from earlier in the season came together in a finale that found Crowley (Mark Sheppard) captured by the Winchesters, Metatron (Curtis Armstrong) betraying Cas, and all of the angels being cast out of Heaven!
Carver is on hand to script the Season 9 premiere and doesn't waste any time setting the stage. Sam (Jared Padalecki) is dying in a coma thanks to the damage done by the uncompleted trials and Dean (Jensen Ackles) is desperate to save his life, going so far as to call on angelic help from any quarter. Cas (Misha Collins) is earthbound and powerless, his Grace stolen by Metatron and most of the angels on earth are out to get him. And they still have at least some of their powers. And their angel-killing knives.
We have a couple of guest-stars of note as well. Julian Richings is back for a brief appearance as Death and Tahmoh Penikett is along as the only angel that can be trusted — or can he? — Ezekiel. Both are welcome sights and while Penikett may or may not be around for further episodes, his character still has a very important part to play in this season's proceedings.
A secret part that I'm not gonna spoil.
Hell, Carver even found a way for Bobby (Jim Beaver) to show up, despite having his soul rescued from Hell and sent on to Heaven last season as the Second Trial. And as loyal viewers know, everything is better with Bobby.
So what we've got here is the start of a Big Time Threat, a secret between the boys, Cass on the run, and the King of Hell tied up in the trunk. It's solid from start to finish, with great character moments for each actor, and the promise of more to come. Sam's main conflict this week was deciding whether or not to give up and die or keep fighting the good fight. The resolution of this dilemma is one that I really want to see play out. Given Sam's past, there are plenty of good Crisis Nuggets to be tapped along the way.
Cas, though, is the one I'm most interested in at the moment. He's human now; powerless and alone. In a single episode with no Grace he's already put his mortal body through the wringer, nearly dying a couple of times and losing more blood than can be healthy. But on the upside, by episode's end, he seems to have gotten the hang of things, deciding that stealing clothes so he has money for food and water is an acceptable choice.
It's going to be interesting to watch him figure out the fundamentals of humanity (I'm sure we'll be getting some toilet humor along the way) both physically and morally. The fact that this one was entertaining and intriguing enough to motivate me to write about it is a good sign in itself. It's been too long since I really cared about what happened to the Winchesters. I hope this is the start of good times to come.
Paul Brian McCoy is the writer of Mondo Marvel and a regular contributor/editor for Comics Bulletin. His first novel, The Unraveling: Damaged Inc. Book One is available at Amazon US & UK, along with his collection of short stories, Coffee, Sex, & Creation (US & UK). He recently contributed the 1989 chapter to The American Comic Book Chronicles: The 1980s (US & UK) and has kicked off Comics Bulletin Books with Mondo Marvel Volumes One (US & UK) and Two (US & UK). Paul is unnaturally preoccupied with zombie films, Asian cult cinema, and sci-fi television. He can also be found babblin
g on Twitter at @PBMcCoy.