TV Review: Supernatural 8.1, ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’
[rating: 4] “Banish all demons off the face of the Earth; lock them away forever. That could be important…right?” Supernatural…
“Banish all demons off the face of the Earth; lock them away forever. That could be important…right?”
Supernatural Season 8 kicks off with a return to basics and a somewhat return to form. As a fervent lover of the Kripke-era, I don’t believe the show will ever truly capture the soaring heights of Seasons 1-5 but We Need To Talk About Kevin was a surprisingly simple and nostalgic premiere episode.
At the climax of the disappointing Season 7, Dean was transferred to Purgatory alongside Castiel via an exploding Dick (thankfully, we can move away from these God-awful puns now) and Sammy was left all on his own. Fast-forward a year and, somehow, Dean has found a way back with the questionable help of vampire Benny. He’s back to reality and immediately sets about tracking down Sam. Sam, to Dean’s dismay, has left his former hunting life behind and has done his very best to settle down into something resembling a normal life. It’s a subtle play by new show-runner, Jeremy Carver, but an interesting one all the same. It’s almost as if Sammy has to start again, just as he did all those years ago when a detached Dean trundled up to his doorstep to yank him headfirst into a life he’ll never truly escape.
I have a lot of respect for Sera Gamble and what she did/wrote for the show, home-nuggets aside, but if this season chooses to practically ignore the tone and soul of Seasons 6-7, it’ll come out on top. The phrase, “see you later, home-nuggets” can stay in the same inky hell as Dick.
Dean’s reaction to Sammy’s ‘indifference’ is also intriguing – did he not do the exact same thing two seasons previously? There are many differences between the two brothers but I must admit my surprise that Sam never tried to ‘rescue’ Dean. The one thing that can be said for the both of them is that they’d do anything for one another. The relationship between Sam and Dean and chemistry/dynamic between Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles is what has driven this show forward since day one.
Alongside Dean and Sam trying to adapt to each other’s seemingly new roles on the show, the brothers hunt down Kevin, one of God’s Prophets from last season. Crowley, the serial one-liner, is also on the prowl.
What this episode achieved was quite magnificent considering how little time it required and how effectively it managed it. The season has a clear direction: close the gates of hell, banish all demons off the face of the Earth. One hell of an end-game.
Dean and Sam will take centre-stage. I adored Castiel and Bobby as characters but they grew too large and with the ensuing Angel and Leviathan wars, the brothers became left behind, shadows of their former selves. It was too much, too fast. We Need To Talk About Kevin displayed a new trend, a new tone and a new season but never forgot its roots. The slow-motion shot of Crowley killing Kevin’s girlfriend was terrifying – he’s not there to amuse and entertain us (…anymore), he’s there because he’s a villain. THE villain. And he’s one bad-ass son-of-a-bitch.
Finally, the show will definitely begin to untangle the knots of Dean’s experience in Purgatory through flashbacks and I assume this will be paired with Sammy’s own experience. However, though Dean’s initial flashes showed some glimpses of the total carnage he experienced (and accentuated through Ackles’s trademark end-of-episode stoic stare), Sam’s flashbacks involving him frantically caring for a dog whilst bantering with a pushy doctor seemed slightly out of place. I assume a bit more happened to Sammy during the year rather than his bi-weekly visits to ‘Pets At Home’.
Overall, a solid start to Season 8 and a definite end in sight – I wouldn’t be surprised if the show was wrapped up this season or the next. They’ve got themselves on a strong track and it’s important to focus on the characters that matter.
Sam and Dean.