Supernatural Review 8.01 - "We Need To Talk About Kevin"
Posted by Joseph Lee on 10.04.2012
One year after season seven, Dean's out of Purgatory and Sam's no longer a hunter. Time to ride with the Winchesters for Supernatural season eight!
The Road So Far: The Winchesters finally defeated Dick Roman and the Leviathans! It took getting the blood of Crowley, Castiel and the Alpha Vampire to do it, but hey, good things take hard work. There were some consequences though. Meg was taken back to Hell, Kevin was taken by Crowley and Dean and Cas were sent to Purgatory when Dick exploded. So it seems that Sam is now "well and truly" on his own.
Season Eight, Episode 1: We Need To Talk About Kevin Directed By: Robert Singer Written By: Jeremy Carver
And so begins Jeremy Carver's era of Supernatural. There were a lot of complaints about Sera Gamble's run on the show, but I liked season seven and even if season six was the weakest of the show, it was still pretty good in my opinion. I dug the exploration of ghosts using Bobby, I liked the Leviathans as villains and I really liked the story of Sam's insanity. There were things that could have been explored better but it was still good, and definitely better than some people were saying.
But that's all in the past. We have a new showrunner and the series has jumped ahead one year later. What's going on with the Winchester boys now?
It has been a year since the Leviathans were stopped and Sam and Dean are on two different paths. Dean's just escaped from Purgatory, Cas is "gone" (whatever that means, and I don't think it means "dead") and Sam has left the life of a hunter. It's not the first time Dean's had to drag Sam back into the life kicking and screaming. There are some tidbits about Sam that anger me a little as a fan of both characters, but I'm hoping they are explained in due time and Sam was just turned into an asshole in the off-season.
Kevin, meanwhile, has escaped from Crowley and that's what this episode is about. The two brothers reunite and then start working together again to find the prophet. That's when he drops the big news (as seen in the promos leading up to this episode): There is a way to close the gates of Hell forever. No more demons on Earth. I'll get into speculation below but let's just say that doing something like this would be a huge shift of direction for the show in taking away Sam and Dean's greatest set of foes.
The show feels very much like it has rebooted itself now that the two have had a year apart. We have all-new storylines and many different possibilities opened up as a result of the cliffhangers we had last year. What is Dean's deal with his new vampire ally? Why did Sam just up and quit the life of hunting? How can the doors of Hell be closed forever? Where the heck is Castiel and Meg? That's the questions off the top of my head, and I'm sure I could come up with more. That's the sign of a good season premiere that lets you know you aren't going to be able to guess what's coming next.
There may be some who complain about shifting the story to a year later but I really like that. Instead of having Dean immediately get out of Purgatory like he did Hell, we know he's been there for a year and somehow survived on his own. They're doing the smart thing by giving us flashbacks here and there to show exactly the kinds of things he had to do to get out. I'm guessing some of them were pretty messed up. He was the guy who finally gave in and tortured souls in Hell, so he's not made of steel.
As far as negatives go, there weren't any that significant. There was a bit of character assassination with Sam but I'm willing to let that slide if its adequately explained. Even if it isn't, you can sort of see his point of view so it works. Nothing's ever been completely black and white on this show. I just hope his explaination for leaving the world of hunting is more than "I hit a dog and met a woman".
So let's talk about that gateway to Hell. If they do manage to close it, it takes the demons out completely. One would assume it takes out angels as well as they'd have no more purpose (and as we learned last season, their numbers are reduced considerably). But with this show being what it is, there has to be some sort of consequence. Will the whole tablet be a ruse to release Lucifer again? Will the tablet close Hell but open up Purgatory? Anything could happen. Or maybe they're really just getting ready to play their end game and build to the end of the series. That would be a good way to finish things.
Overall, I liked this premiere. It's not the best of the season premieres but it's still good. The biggest thing to remember is that this is mostly setup for later in the season, which is very important. I have a feeling this is going to be one of the best seasons of the show in a long time.
The 411: We Need To Talk About Kevin is a solid season premiere that sets up many potential stories down the road and builds on what we've seen before. As a stand-alone, there is still some nice segments between the two brothers and the flashbacks to the lost year are a treat. I'm excited for what this season could hold.