‘Supernatural’ Premiere Preview: 8 Things to Know About Season 8

'Supernatural' S8 Set Visit
Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki and Misha Collins preview S8.
'Supernatural' Casting
The CW Series snags 'Stargate's' Amanda Tapping.
When Supernatural returns to The CW for Season 8, things look mighty different for our beloved Winchester Brothers.

A year in Purgatory left to fight a number of unknown creatures in unknown territory has turned Dean (Jensen Ackles) into a warrior — one who has trouble adjusting to a slightly more “normal” life once he’s topside again. But Sam (Jared Padalecki) went the other way for the past 12 months, deciding just to pack up his knives and try to live a much more quiet existence.

“You’re truly alone. What does that mean? What kind of impact does that have on somebody and how might that affect your mindset after so many years?” New series showrunner Jeremy Carver explained the theme that carried the boys through their off-screen year and into this season premiere when Celebuzz attended a screening of the premiere at The CW offices in Burbank, Calif.

The two reunite quickly on the Season 8 premiere, “We Need To Talk About Kevin,” and the strain from their recent unshared experiences proves to pale in comparison to some of the new problems thrown their way.

What do you need to know before watching “We Need To Talk About Kevin”? Note: Spoilers ahead.

You guys, Purgatory is pretty! While it’s meant to be a dark place where terrible evils lurk (and of course, a stark contrast to Sam’s own life last year), it’s such a natural, “pure” place. On the premiere, we see Dean running through the woods, and of course the vibrant colors that signify life and beauty in our own world are desaturated, but call us crazy: We’ll take slightly gray trees over man-made metal skyscrapers any day!

For the first time, Sam really has lived his own life, and Dean has trouble dealing with it — while still keeping secrets of his own. Sam doesn’t really waste any time in admitting to Dean that he not only “took the year off” (as Dean puts it) from hunting but that he didn’t even really look for Dean after he vanished. Left alone and kind of at a loss, he decided to just live his own life and let other hunters worry about the weird cases he’d read about in the news. Though this is what Dean and Sam have always promised each other they’d do in a situation without the other, they have never truly stuck to that before. Sam stands up for himself and his decisions, but Dean doesn’t deal well with the revelations — and in turn, he does not share his relationship with Benny (Ty Olsson) with Sam the way Sam tells him about his relationship with Amelia (Liane Balaban).

“Right now, Dean is piling on Sam, and so what happens as these brothers start to discover more about what they’ve done in this past year, and might those tables turn?” Carver wanted fans to consider. “Everybody will get their licks in.”

A bond formed on the battlefield but solidified in blood. Perhaps surprisingly, the first thing Dean does upon returning from Purgatory is not track down Sam. It’s not that he didn’t try, but Sam has made himself harder for other hunters to find these days. So instead, we see Dean meet back up with his new pal from Purgatory, Benny. We glimpse what their relationship has become before getting to see it begin, and this sets up a fascinating arc to come later, told through flashbacks, as Dean grows to rely on this guy out of necessity and loyalty — even if not 100 percent trust.

Old habits die hard. Reuniting for the first time, Dean automatically puts Sam through the wringer in a thankfully comical (because otherwise it would be repetitive) series of tests to ensure what he is dealing with really is Sam. Of course, they threw some Borax into the mix now, too, which we have to wonder — Leviathan or not, doesn’t that sting!?

The King of Hell is even cockier than usual. Crowley (Mark Sheppard) has always been one for a smirk and a quick wit, but he seems even more comfortable with his power than ever before. All it takes is a snap of his fingers for him to command demons, and he does so ruthlessly.

Just where exactly was Kevin (Osric Chau) all this time? After being dragged away by Crowley, Kevin was forced to read the Word of God for him and his minions. The implication was that Crowley would use Kevin to do his bidding as much as possible, but Kevin was a smart kid — on his way to an Ivy League — and he had a few tricks of his own up his sleeve. Unfortunately for him, he was really counting on the Winchesters — or at least Sam, specifically — to help him out, and the fact that they were not there for the year may have taken its own toll.

Though the themes may be heavier this season, the show has not lost its charm or humor. Both Dean and Kevin are characters who have been through the wringer for the past year. Dean is certainly used to it, while Kevin is still adjusting and coming to terms with the implications of him being a prophet. But both guys still manage to sneak in some great lines and references (two non-spoilery ones have to deal with Sasha Grey and safety schools, respectively). Is it just a coping mechanism? Maybe. But we love that the show can keep the characters’ unique voices, even when going through tonal shifts.

And Castiel (Misha Collins) is still a mystery. Though Sam asks Dean right away what happened to Castiel in Purgatory, Dean remains a bit cagey, just noting that things got really bad for Cas down (?) there. Sam assumes that means Castiel is dead, and Dean does not truly confirm nor deny the notion, still visibly hurt by what Castiel did.

Supernatural returns to The CW on Wednesday at 9 PM.

What are your plans for Winchester Wednesdays? Let us know in the comments below!

Danielle Turchiano

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