If you’ve suffered through season 7, congratulations, the worst part is over. I promise it gets better. Starting now. Supernatural picks up a year later, with Dean finally escaping purgatory and Sam having gotten on with his life. Sound familiar? It should. Does this remix add enough originality, or is this just reheated leftovers? Well…
One thing Supernatural does well is introducing major shakeups, with excellent follow through. This season is no different, working towards an inventive end culminating in of the most striking final images the show has produced. Let’s not put the cart before the horse.
Dean (Jensen Ackles) escapes purgatory alongside a vampire, Benny (Ty Olsson), which the dumbest name for a vampire I have ever heard. Edward would have been better. Anywho, their relationship is revealed over the season. They worked together, battling through
a sepia-toned Canadian forest purgatory, going their separate ways once free. Sam (Jared Padalecki) however, gave up hunting, living with a girlfriend and a dog. Conflict ensues when the two reunite, as Dean is angered that Sam didn’t search for him or Castiel (Misha Collins), whose still M.I.A.
The setup was decent, as was the execution, the only problem was unoriginality. Hadn’t we seen this all before? Dean thought Sam was dead after their cataclysmic showdown with Lucifer. Dean didn’t look for Sam, instead starting a family. Why is this any different? Sam’s relationship with Amelia (Liane Balaban) was forced and awkward, taking half the season before the thread was thankfully abandoned. Kevin (Osric Chau) continued to be an old element. Why would he want anything to do with the Winchesters after how often they’ve let him down?
Most of these beats would have worked if they weren’t things we had seen before. Brothers fighting, Sam on deaths door, Dean trapped in Hell/Purgatory, one of them quitting, and of course, the love the two share resulting in a selfish act that screws over everyone else. It’s hard to judge this season without weighing it against what’s come before. At this point, how could you not? Aside from Amelia, everything was fine, it’s only when juxtaposed against the previous years does it appear banal.
The eighth episode, “Hunteri Heroici,” definitely bears mentioning. Doing what the show does best, this is another humorous episode, something that’s become a rarity. If the title wasn’t a clue, this is a parody of Looney Tunes, with a man’s comatose mental state creating cartoon like effects in reality. The climax, featuring Dean against a would-be robber, paid off wonderfully. This was the best episode since “The French Mistake” in season 6.
Like every year before, the finale delivered. There were some contrivances, such as Sam nearly dying, again, but the final image, and the potential of what’s to come, was a home run. This is what Supernatural does. Adding more bang for your buck, they set up a worthy villain this time around with Abaddon, rather than relying solely on the world shifting event.
With nowhere to go but up, the eighth season did much to set things right. Rather than venturing too far into uncharted territory, they stuck to the well, remixing much of what’s come before. While good on it’s own, set against the seven season prologue, it falters. At least they gave us “Hunteri Heroici.” Do yourself a favor and at least watch this episode.
Too much of the same or just right? Could you come up with a better vampire name than Benny? Comment below!
I put off writing this.