By Cynthia Boris
Lust, pride, gluttony, sloth — and that’s just Dean in the first five minutes of the episode! Supernatural is back and it’s a little darker, a little sexier and a little more crowded. It wasn’t just the seven deadly sins taking up screen time but we had Bobby, Ruby and a pair of married hunters filling out the bill on the season opener.
On the upside, the bulk of this episode looked a lot like the horror movies it pays homage to. With the good guys barricaded in the house while the demons gathered outside was very Night of the Living Dead, but I was surprised that there were no “surprise” moments. With everyone peering out between the slats of the boarded up windows, I thought for sure some villain would pop up and scare me out of my chair.
Middle of the road for me was Dean’s new personality. I wasn’t crazy about the happy, carefree Dean until I realized that it’s likely one of the stages of grief that terminal patients go through. Denial is Dean’s river at the moment but I imagine that’s likely to change as the season progresses. I did enjoy the coughing fit moment and swapping spit with Lust was way hotter than it should have been.
On the downside, everyone felt a little off balance in this episode and not in a “plot point” way. There were so many outsiders and so little brother interaction except for the beginning and the end, I felt cheated. And dare I raise the point? Katie Cassidy’s introduction was horrendous. I really wanted to like the girl. I was totally behind adding the female characters, but this was a disappointment. The way she popped in, saved the day and popped out — I thought I was watching Supergirl on Smallville. Yes there were three demons, but apparently it only took one to get well-trained, 6’4″, muscled-to-the-hilt Sam down on his knees in a choke hold. I could have lived with her helping him fight if only she hadn’t handled it all herself and then disappeared like the Lone Ranger when it was done.
Plot aside, I thought the look of this episode was stunning. First off, it seems like it was filmed in a different aspect ratio than normal. It had a very tall and narrow feel to it. The colors and lighting, particularly in the scenes just before the demons broke in, were amazing. The new title card rocked and did Dean shave, or something? He looked younger than we’ve ever seen him.
Saving the best for last is, of course, the final conversation between the brothers. I’ve gotta give Kripke kudos for addressing this right in the first episode because I, like Sam, was already tiring of him catering to Dean’s whims. What caught me off guard was the way Sam’s feelings were played. I was expecting whining, emo boy. What we got was angry and I like that. I like that Sam is pissed as hell at Dean for doing this selfish thing and I love that Dean admits it and doesn’t care.
I’ve always thought that Sam could go on without Dean. It wouldn’t be easy, but he’d find a way to make a new life for himself. Dean could never live without Sam. He’s spent his whole life as a caretaker and without someone to take care of he’d have no reason to go on.
With less than a year to live, Dean’s going to have to face a lot of new realities that he’s never faced before and Sam’s going to have to step up and become the big brother for a change. It’s a nice new dynamic that will kick the series into emotional overdrive and that’s something Supernatural has always done very well. I look forward to seeing how it all plays out.
I’m heading back to the DVR to watch the episode again with the help of at least three of the seven deadly sins. I’ll leave you to figure out which ones!