The experience of watching “Supernatural” for this season is going to be very different than the fourteen seasons before. It’s Season 15, the final season of the show I’ve been loving for fourteen years and reviewing for almost as long. I usually write an emotional, bouncing-with-anticipation review of the season premiere after waiting impatiently, my heart in my throat and overflowing with gratitude that I get another twenty-plus episodes with my favorite fictional characters. I’ve never watched a season premiere and thought oh god, we’re one episode closer to the end – until now.
I wanted desperately to just watch the episode and savor every second of it, every moment with the Winchesters and company something to cherish now that I know we won’t have that many more moments with them. I didn’t want to think about how it was the last time I’d sit down to watch a season premiere, or that now we have one hour less with “Supernatural” than we had the day before. I just wanted to squee, but I couldn’t shake the knowledge that we’ll need to say goodbye soon. One down, nineteen to go. Somebody stop me from counting down the number of times we get to see Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, and Misha Collins!
I’m sure my reviews will be a little different this season too. I can’t be cavalier about anything – not about my intense love for the show and the characters, and not about my frustration when any of those 42 precious minutes of an episode are squandered. So, expect even more passion than usual (if that’s possible) and a little more rage than usual every now and then. I’ll try to temper it, honest.
‘Back And To The Future’ wasn’t the strongest season starter we’ve had, and there were things that made me grind my teeth or scratch my head, but there were also things I enjoyed. I selfishly – and perhaps unfairly – want every second of the last season to be exactly what I want to see, and I recognize that’s not going to happen. I’ll still likely rail against it anyway.
‘The Road So Far’ had Bob Seger’s ‘The Famous Final Scene’ playing, which is not only melancholy and dramatic (which I thought was fitting) but meta as hell, cueing us into the fact that this season is probably going to be very meta indeed.
And then we got the last title card. Sorry, I couldn’t help the L word.
The song bled right into the graveyard scene where we left Sam, Dean, Cas and Jack at the end of Season 14, which was interesting. It’s a mellow song for an all out fight, but it sort of worked, and I liked the way the entire scene was filmed, our heroes battling the hordes in the darkness, a flash of angel blade or rusty fence spike, Cas scooping up Jack’s body, Dean jump kicking a ghost as he ran through the graveyard. They take shelter in a crypt of some sort and try to figure out what’s going on.
Dean is angry, and I have to remind myself that for the characters, Chuck was just there a second ago, just snapped his fingers and killed Jack and opened the doors of hell. Dean is pessimistic about their options – killed by the ghosts or starve to death in there.
Cas: Well, I wouldn’t starve…
Dean: Well good for you.
Dean and Cas aren’t getting along too well.
Sam comes up with an idea and they try to dig through a wall to a sewer pipe and I immediately wonder why Cas isn’t helping with that. A zombie ghost crawls out the hole they’ve made, and Cas stomps its head, but it zaps out of the body (with some really well done VFX). Jack’s body stands up and says hello, which was a surprise – and I like surprises. Castiel does not like this particular surprise.
Cas: Get out of him!
Cas wants to kill the demon defiling Jack’s corpse but Dean stops him when the demon insists he can be useful. Sam takes Dean’s side, and Cas reluctantly goes along.
The demon Belphigor was one of the best parts of the episode. Alex Calvert was perfection, getting to be snarky and sassy and in control and playing a totally different character than Jack. I didn’t realize quite how much I missed Crowley until we got Crowley Jr. Sure, he probably isn’t who he says he is, and sure, he’s probably going to betray them in the worst possible way, but I enjoyed every minute of Belphigor onscreen so for now, he can stay.
We cut to some teenage girls having a slumber party and some eye rolling happened in my house in response. The girls are someone’s idea of obnoxious teenage girl stereotype, focused solely on appearance and money and saying things like “divorce is awesome”. What?? Obviously they’re going to die but I just wanted the scene to be over so that was sort of okay. The original “Supernatural” Bloody Mary episode is the one that scared me the most. I watched it with my daughter and I can still remember the two of us curled up on the couch clutching each other and screaming as she crawled out of that damn picture frame. TERRIFYING. That episode was dark and was smart enough not to show too much and we cared about the family being terrorized. This group of girls we didn’t care about and it was broad daylight throughout and nobody even said “Bloody Mary” three times, so the scare factor just wasn’t there.
The next few parts were confusing for me. So souls were released from hell – apparently there are 2 or 3 BILLION – but they needed to take bodies so they made zombies from the graveyard where they happened to pop out? Is that right? Is that the only opening, so all 3 billion have to come out right there? If it’s single file, it’s gonna take a while. Or is it happening all over the world? Do the boys even know? Cas says that they’re ghosts technically, and I’m confused about that too. Ghosts that possessed dead bodies? I hate being confused about this show.
The boys take off in the Impala and soon happen upon a car abandoned and bloodied with no body. Somehow Sam and Dean figure out that it looks familiar (does it?) and that it was a Woman in White, maybe “theirs”. I’m not at all sure how they know this, since all they have is an abandoned car with a bloodied windshield. But we get a flashback so we know they’re right. Somehow.
Meanwhile, an evil clown ghost ala John Wayne Gacy stalks a mom and her daughter (not his usual MO) in their home. That was scary, because clowns….I agree with Sam Winchester. This one does act like a ghost; it can zap in and out of rooms. And it’s creepy as hell. Whoever that guest actor is, kudos.
However, this scene goes on so long that I’m wondering out loud where Sam, Dean and Cas are. Don’t waste 5 of the 42 minutes of my nineteenth to last episode on people I don’t freaking know!
Sam unfolds himself from the car and takes off down the street on those long long legs under his short FBI jacket.
Dean wants to go with him and have Cas stay with Belphigor, but Cas says no.
Cas: Dean, I can’t. I can’t even look at him.
That’s a nice bit of canon remembered, because Castiel can of course see the demon possessing Jack’s body.
So Dean stays with Belphigor, which gives us a scene I really enjoyed – and some of “Supernatural’s” trademark humor in the midst of horror.
Belphigor looks out the car window, admiring the men and women walking by.
Belphigor: People are crazy good looking now…when I was alive, we worshipped a giant rock that looked like a huge penis…. People were ugly. They had humps. Like lots of humps.
Belphigor ogles two attractive young men.
Belphigor to Dean: Look at ‘em now. I mean, look at you.
Belphigor: You….you’re gorgeous.
Me: He’s not wrong.
Dean looks comically uncomfortable, partly because Belphigor is in Jack’s body.
Belphigor: Who was he?
Dean: He was our kid. Kinda.
Oh, that hurt. Despite all they went through, Dean still feels that way. It’s a terrible loss for all three of them.
They come up with the idea to confine the ghosts to the town, which Belphigor conveniently knows the spell to do. Cas is quite aware of this, to his credit. If it seems like too much of a coincidence, it probably is. Do we really think Belphigor was a lowly clock puncher?
As they work to clear the entire town (it must be a very small town indeed), Sam, of course, ends up in the house with the evil clown. He puts down his salt gun to help the little girl down from the shelf where they’re hiding (psshhh I don’t think Sam Winchester would do that) and then doesn’t pick it up again while he spends time reassuring her, so of course the clown zaps in behind him and ends up nearly killing him.
Cas bursts in just in time to save the day, but not before the evil clown gashes Sam across the chest.
Cas is able to heal him (and mend his shirt too – that’s a first I think!). When Cas also tries to heal Sam’s wound from the God gun, Sam has a red-tinged vision of what looks like Lucifer-possessed Sam snapping the neck of his pleading brother. WHAT?? I liked that part. I like that we don’t know what’s going on with the wound and that we don’t know if Sam is seeing the future or some Alternate Universe Sam and Dean or what. I like not knowing, so thanks for that, Show.
Sam brushes off Castiel’s concern and insists he’s okay, but Cas knows something is up – he sensed a kind of energy he’d never seen before. Hmmm.
Traumatized lady: ??
Castiel: I’m an angel.
Lady: And the clown?
Sam: A ghost.
Lady to Sam: And you?
Sam: Just a guy.
Fandom: We beg to differ, you’re Sam Fucking Winchester!
Dean, meanwhile, calls Rowena and convinces her to come help (after calling her ass exquisite and saying please) and honestly, she’s not wrong about her ass at all. Belphigor confesses to Dean that he’s “a fan” – specifically of Dean’s time in hell as Alistair’s apprentice torturer. Dean is clearly uncomfortable being reminded, but he does get some interesting information. All the doors in hell are open – including the Cage. Michael was just sitting there when Belphigor left, but who knows.
Belphigor: I’m sure he wouldn’t hold a grudge…
Dean and Belphigor are attacked by the ghost of the Woman In White, which looks so bizarre to me standing in the middle of the street in broad daylight. I love “Supernatural” for its darkness, and its ghosts look a lot more scary when you can’t see them that clearly. In broad daylight, they look too theatrical, no matter how expert the makeup is.
The good guy sheriff gets killed and Belphigor uses the fresh heart for the confining spell – which he says unbelievably SLOWLY and makes me gnash my teeth. Sam and Cas fight off the three or four ghosts that are after them (during which Sam accidentally shoots Cas and Cas stops in the middle of the fight to deadpan “You shot me” accusingly).
Again, the broad daylight doesn’t work for me, takes all the scare factor out of the scene. When Sam and Cas see the spell create a border, they make a run for it, the ghosts running after them. What? Why are the ghosts running instead of zapping in front of them or something?
I’m confused again, but I do enjoy Jared’s long long legs as he runs, so there’s that. Sam scoops up the little girl and carries her like she weighs nothing and he looks like a big damn hero so there’s that too.
When they reach the other side of the barrier, Sam spins around and confronts a raging clown, who screams his frustration.
Sam: Shut. Up.
I loved Sam getting to prevail over his nemesis the evil clown ghost.
Everyone squeezes into the back of the Impala so Sam and Dean can have their customary places in front and they take the traumatized mom and daughter to the school where the entire town is apparently holed up.
Sam walks them in for some reason, and Dean looks at Cas.
Dean: You okay?
Cas: Yes, but…
Belphigor: Wow. Awkward.
It was. Apparently Cas and Dean are not going to see eye to eye for a while. Jack’s death has put a wedge between them that will take a little time to work through. Castiel is taking his death hard, looking bereft, and Dean is too – but he’s expressing it with lots of anger. Neither are very good at talking about it.
The ending scene was well worth the price of admission. Dean opens the Impala’s trunk and faces his brother, saying it’s “time we fixed you up.”
Sam protests, but Dean insists.
Dean: Let me see it.
Sam exposes the wound, and Dean checks him over, something you know the Winchesters have done for each other countless times over the decades. Scenes like this, small moments that show us what their lives are like, are the things I treasure the most. I was over the moon to get one in the premiere.
Dean as Sam winces: Remember when we were little…
Me: Ohgod, where are my tissues?
Dean: I’d try to distract you when I was ripping off a bandaid…
Sam: (smiling a little) Yeah, you’d tell some stupid joke.
Dean: Knock knock.
Sam: (scoffing but answering anyway) Who’s…
Dean holds the alcohol pad to the wound at that moment, beaming because some things never change.
Dean: Still got it.
He’s all big brother proud, doing what has defined his life for most of his life – taking care of his little (big) brother.
Their relationship is much more reciprocal now, though. They start to talk, and now it’s Sam who’s in a sense taking care of Dean.
Dean’s angry, feeling a little hopeless, talking about how they’ve just been rats in a maze.
Dean: We could go right, we could go left, but we were still in the maze. So what did it all mean?
Sam: It meant a lot. We still saved people. And now he’s gone. He gets bored, he moves on. And you know what? GOOD. Because it’s just us now, for the first time. If – WHEN – we win this, it’s just us, and we’re free.
Sam speaks with such conviction, and Dean listens intently, then turns to Sam.
Dean: So, you and me versus every soul in hell.
Dean: I like those odds.
Sam: (smiling) Yeah, me too.
Then the episode pitched itself right into “special”. Dean and Sam lean over the open trunk, our perspective looking up at the brothers. It’s instantly familiar to any fan, and we know what’s coming next.
Dean: Well, you know what that means. We got work to do.
For a second, we get a flashback to the identical iconic scene in the pilot, the way that episode ended – and began this fifteen-year incredible journey.
I loved it. The symmetry of it, the recognition of just how iconic and how meaningful that scene is. I loved that it ended the very first season and ended the first episode of the last season. I let the tears fall and was glad for them. That’s what I want. I want to feel, I don’t want to hold back. I want this show to inspire the kind of strong emotions that it has always brought, even when some of those emotions are the intense grief of impending loss.
It wasn’t a perfect episode, but there was plenty for me to love in that 42 minutes. And for now, I’m grateful.
Tonight it will be “Supernatural,” episode number two – two down, eighteen to go.
I’ve got my tissues ready for “Supernatural” 1502 Raising Hell, and we’re excited for the return of Kevin Tran!