Season eight of Supernatural debuted last night on the CW. Seeing as that over the past eight years we’ve seen Sam and Dean Winchester separated and reunited over and over again, this premiere was similar to those others. After being dumped in purgatory during last season’s finale, Dean has apparently found his way back to the real world. Although, not without help. Through a few flashbacks we are shown that Dean has forged an alliance with a vampire named Benny who offered him the location of a “humans only” gate right out of purgatory. Of course, there’s some quid pro quo here. Benny wants out as well and since the gate is only intended for humans, his soul is going to have to hitch a ride…inside Dean. They somehow make it out of purgatory and Dean fulfills his part of the deal, carrying Benny’s soul inside himself and depositing it back in Benny’s unearthed bones in Louisiana. The two part ways and Dean heads off to track down his brother.
It’s been a year since Dean was trapped in purgatory and apparently Sam has given up his hunting lifestyle altogether. The two are reunited and after passing the standard demon-check tests, share the obligatory man-hug. Dean is furious that Sam has given up hunting and gets him to admit that he didn’t even come looking for him over the course of the past year. As usual, neither brother wants to explain their actions or give any more detail than is absolutely necessary about the time they spent apart. Dean makes no mention whatsoever of his new pal Benny and Sam only reluctantly tells his brother about the woman he’s fallen for. Dean gives little information on the whereabouts of Castiel, only to tell Sam that he “saw enough” to know that Cas couldn’t have made it out of purgatory. It turns out that during Sam’s year-long retirement; Kevin, the prophet and reader of the word of God, has escaped from everyone’s favorite Winchester nemesis, Crowley. The brothers head off in search of him and to no surprise, show up just about the same time the king of Hell does. Crowley wants Kevin to interpret the word of God and help him open the gates of Hell, allowing all of its inhabitants to spill out at one time. Dean wants Kevin to use his knowledge to permanently close those gates sending all baddies currently on Earth back to Hell and leaving Earth demon-free. Sam doesn’t seem to be fully on board with closing the gates which leads us to believe that more happened in the past year than he is letting on. They wouldn’t be the Winchesters though, if they weren’t keeping secrets from one another and hiding their ulterior motives.
They rescue Kevin from Crowley, however, not before the prophet’s girlfriend is killed by the king of Hell. Dean is especially callous when Kevin shows signs of cracking under the pressure following his girlfriend’s demise, leading us to believe that the already cold hearted Dean has come back from purgatory even more heartless than before. The episode ends with Dean sharing a phone call with his vampire pal, Benny. He happens to be calling from the site of a funeral. Is it the funeral of his first victim since returning to Earth? Only time will tell. The two share a brief chat, acknowledging that they should only talk once they are both “adjusted” to being back or in an emergency. However, before the conversation ends, Benny reminisces about how Dean was right about the “purity” of purgatory and how he wishes he had appreciated it more while they were there. Dean silently agrees and leaves us wondering what exactly these two went through in purgatory and what exactly it took for them to gain their freedom.
In conclusion, this premiere didn’t keep me on the edge of my seat. Although, it was just as entertaining as Supernatural tends to be on a regular basis. The show has been on for eight years now and it has become a bit formulaic. It’s a formula that obviously works, though, or I wouldn’t be sitting here reviewing its eighth season premiere. I am interested to see exactly where the story is going to take us this season. Original creator Eric Kripke had only planned for this show to run three seasons and extended it to five. Subsequently, he left after season five and only stayed on as executive producer. It has now reached eight seasons and at Comic Con 2012, new showrunner Jeremy Carver alluded to an overall story arc that would culminate at the end of a tenth season. I believe ten years on the air for a show originally only intended to last three is pretty impressive. As long as the writers can keep us guessing about everyone’s ultimate intentions and wondering when one, if not both, of these reluctant heroes will sacrifice themselves PERMANATELY, I will continue tuning in to watch their exploits and you should as well.