It's season eight and Supernatural is back.
After a full year in God's armpit, Dean managed to escape from purgatory but not alone. Following his return to the land of the living and a trek across the country to a small graveyard, Dean digs up a grave, unearthing bones before pulling up his sleeve, revealing a strange glow. Dean cuts his arm over the glow while reciting an incantation, letting the strange liquid flow over the bones and just as he finishes, a figure appears behind him. It's a vampire named Benny who Dean just freed and the two shake hands and even hug before they part ways. Meanwhile in Kermit, Kansas, Sam packs a bag and leaves a girl and dog in the middle of the night to travel to Whitefish, Montana to see Dean. To Dean's surprise, Sam tells him that he has not been keeping up with the family tradition and not only was he leading a normal life, he didn't try to find his brother either. Worse yet, Kevin Tran escaped from Crowley and is still out there but Sam couldn't be bothered to answer the phone and help. Now that Dean has spent the past year in the warzone and Sam was looking for a future outside the life, can they get it together in time to save a prophet of God?
After a summer away, Supernatural is off to good start. The story has just begun to hint at what is to come, the Winchester brothers have been reunited and the tension between the two of them is as palpable as ever. What I found to be a greatly distracting was the overall pacing as I'm not sure Supernatural has ever travelled to so many towns in the course of a single episode. As soon as the events of one scene were about to sink in, we were already off to the next location to further the story. Had Supernatural spent less time moving from point to point, Sam and Dean's tough moments would have carried a bit more weight.
Speaking of the Winchester brothers, Sam's actions to completely cut all ties so quickly as a hunter were poorly explained. I'm sure his relationship with Amelia factored more into his decision than we have seen and that other flashbacks will further illustrate this, but not even answering the phone? Sam didn't know if Dean and Castiel were dead after Richard Roman exploded and he threw in the towel on his brother too easily. Dean on the other hand, will obviously have a much darker tale to tell after being trapped in purgatory/misty Vancouver forest with the demons. His history and friendship with Benny will play a more pivotal role as current show runner Jeremy Carver mentioned in recent interview on Collider. How Dean much Sam and Dean have grown apart in the span of a year is something I am looking forward to the show exploring further and who knows, maybe Castiel might come back at some point.
We Need to Talk About Kevin is a good start to Supernatural's eighth season but it wasn't as memorable as season two's In My Time of Dying or season four's Lazarus Rising. Those two episodes immediately set the tone for the rest of the season with their strong stories and implications going forward. Hopefully season eight brings that in spades but there is no way it could be as bad as season seven.
While Sam may have gone soft and Dean may be a little crazy, the Winchester brothers are back. What exciting is that season eight has the freshest start for the series in years as we don't yet have an idea if Crowley is the true villain this season or what might happen and that's exciting (as long as it isn't more leviathans). We'll see what happens in next week's What's Up, Tiger Mommy.