Hugely anticipated, the season 10 opener of Supernatural did not disappoint, and was so aptly titled. As soon as SNX titles started leaking out this past summer, I knew there was plenty to fear.
All week in the lead up to Tuesday, twitter has been abuzz with excitement. The promos were just enticing enough – Dean singing (badly!) karaoke. Sam torturing a demon to get answers about his lost brother. Anticipation reached a fever pitch when the CW ran a special Supernatural retrospective, taking us back through all 9 seasons the Monday before the premiere. It was a lovely tribute to the show and fans alike.
I watch Supernatural emotionally (now there’s an understatement) and I almost never get too analytical about it. I just feel it, through and through. So here we go, with all the feels front and center.
Then: For the recap, all the painful moments from season 9 paraded before our eyes to the awesome Pat Benetar, Heartbreaker. Yep. That just about sums it all up. (I loved season 9. It hurt like hell, but I loved it). Seems like a bit of foreshadowing too, that we’re in for another heartbreaker of a show.
The show opened with that oft viewed preview scene, Sam torturing a demon, a lot, and his desperation was over the top clear. I didn’t feel like he relished stabbing and twisting the knife into a monster, but I thought he’d do anything to get her to talk. When she said ‘eat me’, the thought flashed through my mind, well he could, and for a second, with that smirk, I thought maybe he would and really go there again. I’m so very glad he didn’t take that cup and take a drink.
The loss of Dean weighed so heavily on Sam. Jared Padaleki, once again, brings all the acting chops to the role, showing Sam barely holding it together. Last year we saw Dean washing his face a few times and looking in the mirror, questioning who he was and what he was doing without speaking a word, and I saw the same tortured soul in Sam. I have to wonder how many times he’s gone into Dean’s room and looked at that note, trying to understand it. I also saw his determination, sitting for who knows how many hours at the library table, doing research until finally, a lead breaks loose.
Cas’ storyline is set up just as dramatically when he answers Sam’s call. Cas has a fading grace problem and can hardly speak he’s so weak. He clearly wants to help, but Sam realizes he can’t, and even though he said he didn’t blame Cas for what happened with that demon who broke Sam’s shoulder (nudge nudge, wink wink – we all know how that really happened and it amuses me no end that Show called Osric a demon and blames the whole thing on Misha), it’s a harsh reality that in a hunter’s life, a wounded partner can be dangerous or even deadly. Sam backtracks and glosses over the new lead. Castiel’s angel power isn’t just in his grace though, it resides as well in the wisdom of ages, his long tenure on earth and his brush with being human. He’s grown and changed since he burst on the scene in season 4. He’s learned empathy. It was a sweet moment when he asked Sam how he was. They both miss Dean and worry that there might not be anything of Dean left. Aren’t we all.
As usual, Misha Collins adeptly explores Castiel’s new circumstances, as he always does. It’s going to be a rough road with our favorite angel this season.
Sam goes off to track down this new lead, an accused killer who disappeared years ago, who ends up dead in a Gas & Sip. Sam suspects possession and it’s the first lead he’s had in weeks, maybe the only lead. And it leads him right to Dean. The look on his face when he sees his brother killing the killer broke my heart. That happened a couple times during Black. Lots of stabbity stab feels. And then he looks at the tape again in slo-mo, and there it is – Dean with demon eyes.
The emotions that play across his face are difficult to even watch and Jared just nails it. All the feels, shock, fear, sadness, anger, horror all in a couple of seconds. Wham. Yes, it’s that kind of show.
The funny parts – and I laughed quite a bit, were all DemonDean (I’m not going to use the CW-PRs Deanmon as so many of Fandom just detest that particular moniker – heh). Dean singing is probably the best thing ever, out of tune as it was. Dean smiling, Dean having a good time, Dean having sex, Dean not giving a crap about anything was at first quite amusing, since I don’t think we’ve ever seen Dean Winchester without a single care – ever. How amazing is it that after 9 seasons, this is such a different character. How many shows can swing that? I’m betting not many.
Dean as a demon doesn’t seem so bad. I felt myself relax, relieved that it was the horror I expected. But not long later, Show slapped me right up-side the head with the very real and chilling differences between the Dean Winchester I adore and DemonDean. And it isn’t good. Not at all. DemonDean is cruel. He beats a guy for what seem like honorable reasons, but he doesn’t stop the beating, to the point the guy probably ends up in the hospital. When he called his sweet, likable lady lover a skank to her face, I gasped out loud. And by the end of the show, well, my heart broke again.
Cas gets a visit from angel Hannah, portrayed by the lovely Erica Carroll, who played a pivotal role in putting Metatron in a cell in S9. Cas’ appearance at the door with his robe open and ‘sensing awkwardness’ was one of the best moments of the night. Hannah wants Cas’ help and those words, Heaven needs your help, sent alarm bells ringing in my mind. Metatron used those exact same words in S8 to trick Cas into going along with the fake angel trials. I’m not sure Hannah is that devious, but she’s very much like S4 Cas, following a rigid set of rules the angels have come up with to set heaven back in order. They’re after some wayward renegades who don’t want to go back upstairs, who just want to be left alone. I think if Cas wasn’t so weakened from his fading grace, he would have stopped Hannah and been able to get through to her, but he so wants things in heaven to be fixed, and he’s loyal to a fault, so he went along with her and it didn’t go well.
Side note: The river scene was just beautiful, stunningly filmed, and makes me want to visit Vancouver even more. One day. There are some pics floating out there in the twitterverse of the camera platform they had to build and I hear the water was icy cold. We have the best film crew in the biz. Yes, we do.
Bottom line; one angel dies and the other runs away, but in the process maybe Hannah learned a little something about the value of chaos and human emotion. She sure needs Cas’ help with that, but will she listen? I like the angel storyline. Cas is one of my favorites and I’m getting nervous that this season might be his turn to die.
Sam gets the dead demon’s phone from the Gas & Sip guy (another hysterical code brown moment), and being SmartSam, figures out who is running the show. The conversation between he and Crowley is another excellent moment of the episode; Sam being smart. Crowley being manipulative. But then…Sam says the words I waited half of Season 9 to hear:
I will save my brother.
Determined Sam is my ultimate favorite.
Everything goes all to hell though, when Sam is captured by Cole, a new and intriguing character played by Travis Aaron Wade, who it so happens, is a marine turned actor. He brings to the role of Dean’s hunter a sense of authenticity that was natural and unforced and while I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to like Cole one little bit – he hit Sammy a couple times after all and he’s after Dean! – I’m very curious to find out what happened to make him attempt to hunt down a Winchester. We can only wait to find out.
Crowley alerts Dean to the fact that Sam is onto them. He was certainly responsible for that little oops, making sure that phone was left, taunting Sam, talking too long, knowing full well that Sam would figure it out. Pulling Sam to them was the only way he could get Dean to leave that bar. Leave the girl and move on. Move the party, as he said. He’s definitely got plans for Dean, but we don’t know what those are just yet. Mark Sheppard’s Crowley was just enough snark, digging at Sam about not looking for Dean when he was in purgatory, pushing Dean to do what he wanted, pulling strings as he is wont to do. The master of manipulation. A pointed reminder that the King of Hell is an evil SOB. I love him and hate him with a passion.
The topper of the show for me was when Cole calls Dean using Sam’s phone and Dean, thinking he’s talking to Sam tells him he’s left an open bar tab for him and to have at it. There was a softness in his voice that reminded me of RealDean, who for a second didn’t seem like a demon. It’s the ying and yang of DemonDean who knows that his brother is after him but really doesn’t care. That is probably the most horrifying aspect of this new Dean; the terrible realization that he doesn’t care about Sam. We see how very different he is during this conversation. When he asks Cole if Sam is dead there’s not a hint of emotion in his voice. Jensen Ackles was absolutely chilling in this moment. Go ahead, slit his throat. Whatever mess Sam’s in now is his own doing. I’m not coming to meet you, there’s not going to be any trade.
I keep hoping this is a bluff and that ingrained duty he’s had all his life – save Sam – is still in there, but I fear it isn’t.
There’s the killer moment of the show : Sam looking at the phone held down to him. His missing brother, who he’s been looking for the last six weeks, is on the other end. Finally. Filmed in such a way that time stuttered, the camera focuses briefly on the screen. Sam doesn’t speak when commanded to do so. He stares at his brother’s name. There’s so much anguish in that look! No words necessary. That’s about the moment I started full on crying and stayed that way through the remaining beats of the show, watching Dean drive off, not caring.
Jensen Ackles is such a stunningly nuanced actor. The portrayal of DemonDean, a new character for him after 9 seasons, is done to chilling perfection. I’m terrified of just how dark he’s going to go.
I give it a 10! This is possibly my most favorite premiere episode since Lazarus Rising in S4. This season promises to be one helluva ride.
Here’s what I hope to see in upcoming episodes. Sam saves Dean. Dean back to just Dean. I love the demonDean storyline, but seriously, I’m not sure how much my heart can take it. I want Dean back. I want the brothers back. I want a brother hug of epic proportion to make up for the fact that there wasn’t a single one in S9 and NO, Sam hugging his dying brother does not count!
I’m probably not going to get what I want as fast as I want it.
(screencaps by Supernatural Screencaps at Home of the Nutty.com)