‘Supernatural’ Premiere Recap: Reunited and on the Road Again

'supernatural' s8 preview
Here are eight things to know about Season 8's premiere.
Supernatural has often ended seasons with one Winchester Brother yelling emotionally for the other. Season seven, however, ended with an ominous message that for the first real time, Sam (Jared Padalecki) was well and truly alone. He was left on Earth while his brother was banished and the rest of his family and hunter buddies were dead. The message of being on his own was similarly driven home for Dean (Jensen Ackles), standing by his own lonesome in the densely populated woods of Purgatory.

How could the two manage to survive, let alone hunt the things that go bump in the night, without each other?

Well, that is still to be explored through flashbacks that inform both brothers’ off-screen year’s experiences as season eight unfolds. What we know now, though, from the season premiere, “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” is that Dean is back, and he’s once again pulled his brother back into “the life,” though neither of them can quite let go of the experiences or emotions that come from the past year apart.

Spoilers ahead for Supernatural’s eighth season premiere, “We Need To Talk About Kevin.”

“We Need To Talk About Kevin” started in the middle of nowhere, Maine, where as all good Stephen King fans know, only terrible things happen. Only this time, the terrible thing was that the portal from Purgatory opened and spit out one Dean Winchester. It turned out, it wasn’t so bad at all—even when he pointed his new mega-weapon at two scared camping kids and stole their backpack. He was bloodied; he was disoriented; he was a man back from combat. But at least he was back.

It was a bit surprising to see Dean trek to the middle of nowhere Louisiana, not to reunite with his biological brother but to unearth a brother bonded by the battlefield. Watching him bleed on a corpse of what we came to realize was a vampire was a major moment to test Dean’s character. But the embrace that came after screamed volumes more. He was always a guy who killed first and rarely asked questions at all. Last season, he hardly thought twice about tracking down Sam’s childhood friend to end her before she could kill any innocent people. Yet, here he was bringing such a creature back into his world. Despite his warning to “keep your nose clean,” we have no doubt this decision will come back to haunt him.

Of course, once Dean and Sam finally did reunite at Rufus’ cabin, it became clear just why Dean didn’t visit him first. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to; it was just that he couldn’t. Sam ditched most of his methods of contact when he hung up his hunter title and tried to live a normal, quiet life.

Sidenote: it really fascinates us that Sam was able to live a normal, quiet life for a whole year. Though he pointed out that he “stayed in the know” by reading papers and still noting strange things that sounded like they could be cases he and Dean normally would have went on the road to explore, being able to be out of the game for a whole year was a two way street. Sam ignored the cases, but more notably the demons and monsters ignored him. After all he went through—and all he did—we couldn’t help but be shocked, and somewhat inspired, by that.

Dean, on the other hand, was just shocked and disappointed—and mostly by the fact that Sam didn’t even bother to look for him. But a little by the fact that he didn’t answer his phone when people called for help, too.

Kevin Tran (Osric Chau) spent six months trying to get a hold of Sam before assuming he was dead and giving up, which put him six months into the wind by the time Dean and Sam actually set out on the road to find him. Tracking down his high school girlfriend at college (well, her safety school), they were convinced he couldn’t be too far behind. She (or rather, the demon that was inside of her) shut them down, but they pressed on and found him anyway, fighting Crowley (Mark Sheppard) and his minions to keep Kevin safe and ultimately take him on the road with them.

And with Kevin came a key piece of the new mythology. Crowley originally took him hostage to decode tablets for him, but Kevin used his high-IQ to manipulate the master himself. He sent Crowley into a field, telling him there was a Gate to Hell there, and he would do the spell the tablet called for in order to open it. Instead, though, the ritual he performed actually banished Crowley’s minions and gave him enough time to escape. But that’s not all: Kevin also came across the word that the Gates of Hell could potentially be closed forever. Knowing this, it’s no wonder the Winchesters risked their necks (literally) for him!

Now, even if they manage to actually close these gates, it doesn’t mean that all the nefarious creatures will vanish from our world, but anything that can be done to decrease the numbers and lighten the load from Sam and Dean’s plates would be welcome, right? Although, it does raise the question of if and when this happens, what would Sam and Dean actually do with their lives if they had the chance to be normal not for one year, but fifty more?

We may be getting ahead of ourselves, though. Sam and Dean still have to get through gradually telling each other what the past year was like for them and fighting the things that come at them weekly. They each took great strides in this season premiere at explaining their individual experiences, but they each also left a lot of nuances unsaid. Dean was left shaky and on edge, not quite comfortable with the world to which he returned (except for the cheeseburgers, of course), while Sam was left pining for what he left behind.

Right now, through brief flashbacks that we know will get more involved in later episodes, we got to see the start of Sam’s normal year. He hit a dog with the Impala, rushed it to the animal hospital, and there was guilted into taking care of it longer term, which honestly and admittedly felt unfair…to the dog. Sam admitted he was on the road a lot, and he was so deep in grief at the moment he sat in the vet’s office, he was in no shape to care for another living thing. In the end, it just ended up abandoned again. He, the dog, and Amelia (Liane Balaban) shared a house and a bed—until Dean finally tracked him down and took him back on the road.

Dean, meanwhile, was slicing and dicing monsters and striking a deal with Benny (Ty Olsson) in Purgatory because Benny saved his hide one day in the woods, only to tell him there’s a loophole for humans that find themselves there. Benny would show him how to get out, if Dean allowed him to tag along. Though neither fully trusted each other in the beginning, we know that they both kept up their end of the bargain in the end. And both may prove to regret it—not necessarily because they will stab each other in the back but because there was something “pure” about Purgatory that is missing now that they have returned.

Topside, though, Benny seemed to be up to his old ways pretty much immediately, even if slightly longing to go “back to the island,” so to speak, because life fifty years after he originally walked the earth was unrecognizable to him. Stalking a cemetery during a fresh burial, it seemed clear he was responsible for the demise of whoever was in that coffin. By this point in the story, Sam and Dean had fallen back into old partnership patterns, and Dean’s reaction to Benny’s call was one of obtrusion and almost shame.

Regardless, the relationship dynamic—with or without Kevin as the third wheel—felt both new and familiar in the best of both possible ways. “We Need to Talk About Kevin” tapped into some truly classic Supernatural sentiments for the show and the characters themselves alike. The tension may be high; the stakes may be higher; but that just means our excitement is following suit!

Buzz Moments

OMG!: When Sam asked Dean what became of Castiel (Misha Collins), Dean implied Castiel had perished in Purgatory!

Thank you, TV gods: As strained as it was, the heart-to-heart Dean and Sam had in the motel room was a welcome and mature moment for the recently reunited duo. Sure, they’re both still keeping secrets from each other, but they got a lot off their chests, too, and certainly opened the door to sharing everything again.

Awk-ward: Purgatory was presented as a place of constant combat for Dean. Yet, when he had to fight against Crowley’s minions, he was tripped up a bit too easily—as if he was the one slightly out of practice. And he had that new mega weapon to rely on, too!

Hotness: Um, this probably says more about us than you wanted to know, but a bloodied and darting-eyed Dean on the Purgatory battlefield? HOT!

Fab-u-lous: There were some really stellar lines of quippy dialogue in this season premiere. The ones that immediately stand out were Dean’s “It’s a treasure” about his first cheeseburger in a year and Kevin’s bad news priorities to his girlfriend (“There’s a demon in you and you’re going to your safety school!”).

Can. Not. Wait.: Is it just us, or does anyone else think Crowley sent his new demon minion into Kevin’s mom? If using his girlfriend didn’t get to him, maybe the only other woman he’s ever loved will?

Celebuzz Meter (1-10): 8

Do you think Kevin can be completely trusted or could the mission to close the gates of hell forever be one formed from false prophecy? And just what happened to Cas!? Let us know your early thoughts about Supernatural season eight in the comments below! 

Danielle Turchiano