Are you ready, kids?! Last week was the premiere episode of Supernatural, and we got out first peek into a world without Dean (for now), and it’s looking to be a pretty good ride.
After some montaging to catch us up and a quick peek at Brooding Sam driving, we start off with a Muslim man praying, when he’s interrupted by Dapper Dean AKA Michael. Michael explains who he is and asks the man what he wants. Realizing he’s talking to a full-blown angel (and knowing this is more “Warrior of God” than harp player), the man tells Michael he wants peace, love, and some other good shit. Michael calls him out on his lies and airs his dirty laundry before throwing him around the room like a ragdoll without so much as lifting a finger. Show off. Michael tells him that he’s been all over the world talking to all kinds of people for the past few weeks and has deemed the human race lost, and not worth saving, which… I mean I kinda get. Humans as a whole are kind of a hot mess, but we invented pie and that should be worth something, at least.
While things aren’t looking good for our prayerful friend, back at the bunker things seem to be getting into a rhythm, now that all the refugees from Apocalypse World have settled in. Sad Sam joins the bustle of the newly populated bunker and Mary gives him some exposition about where Ketch and Cas are (London and Detroit, respectively). Mary is trying to keep up the hopes that Dean can still be saved when there’s news of vamps on I-90 and the other hunters hop-to. Sam, Mary, and Maggie (who is still not dead, but also barely registers from last season) stay at the bunker to mope and strategize some more. Also in the bunker are Bobby and Jack, who are boxing downstairs since Jack no longer has powers and is also a literal one-year-old, except this smol baby needs more help with things like not getting his ass handed to him in a fight than with sticking things in electrical outlets. Or, wait– he DOES know about this, right? Quick! Someone babyproof the bunker!
Jack tells Bobby about the hard time he’s having, and Bobby tries to comfort him, which isn’t easy when you’re an all-powerful Nephilim turned baby hunter (not literal baby hunter, that’s someone else’s job, we’re getting ahead of ourselves). Bobby tells Jack that all he needs is time and practice and to keep fighting as long as he can. I love Bobby and if nothing else came from last year’s storyline, I’m glad his return was one.
After his sparring match, Jack heads back to his room where Sam joins him, once again reassuring him that everything will be okay, which might be more convincing if Sam didn’t look like just breathing was taking everything out of him. Before they can really get into it, however, Mary knocks, cryptically telling Sam “he’s awake.” Sam heads to the dungeon and of fucking course, there’s Nick. Somehow archangels are the only creatures who can be killed while leaving their vessels intact, BUT DON’T TELL RAPHAEL. OR GABE. I was really hoping to be done with the whole pointless, dried husk of a storyline that is Lucifer, but Nick being “alive” means that there’s still a chance that the writers can beat the dead horse again later, and again a Winchester sacrifice (Dean’s this time) will be for nothing. Yay. Anyway, Sam asks Nick if he remembers anything from the decade he was Lucifer’s meat suit (which, honestly I thought the demons just built a Nick suit when Lucifer came back, I didn’t think the ACTUAL Nick was still in there, but hey who needs continuity? This is Supernatural!). Nick unhelpfully remembers bits and pieces of shit no one cares about and then makes a comment about how hard it must be for Sam to look at him, which, again… I’m not buying that this is Nick. I hope it is, because then he can go see what the fuck has happened in the past ten years and live his life away from the Winchesters and their bunker, but again, this is Supernatural. Before they can get too deep into their “hey sorry the angel inhabiting me literally tortured you for years” bonding, Sam gets a call from Cas.
Speaking of Cas and bad decisions for good reasons: The reason Cas is in Detroit in the first place is to meet a demon contact named Kip, of course. When we meet him, there is no other name that suits the man, regardless of the fact that I don’t think “Kip” was on any baby name list 600 years ago, which is how old the smarmy hellion claims to be. We first see Cas in a bar, waiting for Kip, who shows up in an actually pretty decent suit, but he’s the kind of asshole who wears sunglasses inside and uses diner slang in a bar, so the suit hardly matters. The two talk and Cas asks if Kip knows where Dean is, to which we get some more Fresh And In Season queerbait when Kip straight out says that he thought Cas and Dean were attached at the “*dot dot dot* everything.” Cas doesn’t deny anything (of course), but gets grumpy and tells Kip that he’ll burn his demony soul right out if he doesn’t quit fucking around, and you get a glimpse of the smart, competent angle that everyone but the writers seems to know Castiel can be. Kip then pulls out his ace: Everyone in the fucking bar is a demon. Everyone. I guess Cas forgot to turn on his Demon View, because waaaay back in season seven we were told that he could see their true faces. Low on Grace or not, Cas is still an angel, and a Seraphim, not to mention a legend in Heaven for his strategic thinking, and yet he allows himself to get into literally the most predictable situation.
I’m not even blaming Cas; perhaps he’s so distraught over the loss of Dean and the prospect of Michael burning through not only the elder Winchester, but the whole fucking world that he got sloppy. I’d like to think that, but the more reasonable and evident conclusion is that the writers either forgot or were just lazy with continuity. Either way, the demons beat up Cas and tie him to a chair, while Kip calls Sam from Cas’s phone.
Taking a break from the hunt for Dean, we see Sister Jo is back at it, working her charms and swindling people out of their money. She’s heading home in the dark, counting her wads of cash with the confidence a woman can only have if she’s a celestial being that can literally explode anyone who bugs her when out pops Michael! I gotta say, I do enjoy watching the Ackles play off each other, and thanks to this scene, the audience gets a chance to see what angels look like to other angels, and it’s cool as fuck.
Jo can tell this isn’t Dean, and not just from the tailored clothes and the penchant for watch fobs. She’s understandably shaken to see Michael, and when he asks her what she wants Jo tries to be flip about it by naming some designers, but Michael sees through it to her “real” desires of love and a family and I won’t lie, I kinda share Michael’s disgust. The humanness and desire for human things isn’t something angels feel. It’s the whole reason Cas is “broken.” These were never motivations we’ve seen for Jo before, but sure. Michael deems the angels unworthy of his help and flies off, leaving Jo a bit less confident in her walk.
Okay, back to Sam’s phone call from Cas Not Cas: Kip tells Sam he’s ransoming Cas (because of course Cas is bait, must be Tuesday), and so Sam, Mary, Bobby, and for some reason Maggie and Jack (who are both more hindrance than help at this point) head into the obvious trap of saving Cas. But hey, at least they know it’s a trap, so there’s something. While the merry band of hunters have heart to hearts on their roadtrips (Mary tells Sam she can’t think of the negatives regarding Dean, which, duh. Bobby tells Jack he’s got his back which, again, duh), we’re back in the bar, where Kip tells Cas that the reason he’s holding Cas is because someone asked him what he wanted recently (guess who??) and he didn’t know. So Kip thought long and hard and decided he wanted everything. Seems reasonable.
Right about then, Sam comes into the bar alone, having given all his weapons to Mary, who along with the others surround the place, except Jack and Maggie are found immediately. Kip literally does his best Crowley impression and tells Sam he wants to be King of Hell. Sam, like us, is confused as to what the fuck that has to do with him until Kip says he wants the “Crowley Deal” meaning that Sam and Dean will look the other way on some crossroads deals and demon on demon skirmishes in exchange for the occasional help or information. Kip also casually drops that while he’s not scared of Sam, the other demons are so Sam’s support would go a long way. Sam replies with what we’re all thinking and tells Kip he’s no Crowley in a sick burn before adding on that they never had that deal with the late King of Hell. Kip starts to get grouchy at this and threatens Sam, who still says no to the deal, just as Mary and Bobby bust in, guns blazing. What follows is some big ass fighting with parkour demons and an over-enthusiastic use of slow-motion as the hunters are kinda getting their asses kicked. Apparently, no one has been practicing fighting demons much and Cas is literally sitting in the middle of it all, tied to a chair with what I assume is magic angel rope. Eventually, the tides turn and after Sam kills Kip (Thank Chuck) he declares to the remaining demons that there will be no new King of Hell, and if they want the job, they can fight Sam for it. So I guess Sam is now HR of Hell, and the demons, who are smarter than their would-be King, smoke out.
Back at the bunker, we get more exposition about what Ketch is doing in London, which is looking for the magic angel repelling egg they used way back when on President Old Neck. Cas apologizes to Sam for going to demons, but Sam says he’d have done the same thing and just wishes he’d thought of it which… he didn’t? They bond over their shared grief while Mary and Bobby bond over beers. Later Cas goes to talk to Jack and when Jack tells him about how useless and worthless he feels, the young Nephilim finally has someone who understands what it’s like to fall. I’m really excited to see this relationship grow since Cas is the only one in Jack’s family who can truly sympathize with the pain and darkness that comes from being utterly powerless after a life of being all powerful. Cas talks to Jack about family and reassures him that he’s got more than he realizes.
Meanwhile, Sam gets a call from Jo, who finally gives him a lead about Michael, but it ain’t good, as we see that Michael has finally found a species worth saving. A species whose desires are pure and upfront: Vampires. Oh shit.
Alright, so I overall enjoyed the premiere and am looking forward to the shorter season. Yes, I’d be happy to get all the Supernatural all the time, but I think, especially with a show as long-running as this, having a shorter season will allow for tighter, more exciting storylines with less filler (I’m looking at you, Monster of the Weeks). Don’t get me wrong, I like a good standalone episode as much as the next fan, but I’m a much more serial person. I like the big picture. I’m excited to see where Michael takes us and Dean, and I really hope to get some insight as to what Dean is going through while being trapped in an archangel, especially since it seems that, according to Jensen and the writers, Dean’s aware of what is happening, just powerless to stop it.