This is a recap and review section for popular, or at least fan-favorite, series. Generally utilized whenever I speed-marathon something I love.

As Supernatural starts its eighth season, a feat that more and more shows seem to be reaching, but an impressive milestone anyway, we seem to be reaching what could very likely be the end of the series. While I’d rather not have another “will they, won’t they” moment that COULD act as a series finale but isn’t (Season 5 finale), it would be sad if this were the beginning of the end, with Bobby supposedly gone for good (except maybe in flashback form) and Castiel nowhere to be found (although Misha Collins has stated he’s returning and I have heard he’s due back next episode, which again, could be just in flashback form), and many other fan-favorites from the show’s lore having already bitten the dust in past seasons (Jo and Ellen, Rufus, Satan, and of course Daddy Winchester just to name a few). New characters in the past few years have managed to retain some likability (Crowley as a personal favorite, Becky decidedly less so, Kevin seeming to be a fun newer addition, and a few less-successful, but still fun hunters thrown in on occasion like DJ Quall’s Garth), but few have felt like strong additions to the core guest cast (Although I’m still hoping for more than a one-off from the always-excellent Felicia Day), so it really is starting to feel like they’re giving a lot of long-time helpers their closure leading up to a definite conclusion…which could certainly be a doozy to send the show off right, but I’ll get back to that. This is all about focusing on the lead-up…no fun to spoil the ending already!

So…no point in recapping the whole series, because if you’re reading this, I would hope you have the basic knowledge down, and if not then catch yourself up on Wikipedia and come on back, I’ll wait.

…Okay that was a lie, let’s continue.

This isn’t the official logo for season 7, but trust me, it’s cooler.

After what many considered a “series lowpoint” season six (which is still better than most shows in their funk and left fans with a handful of excellent episodes such as Weekend at Bobby’s, The French Mistake and My Heart Will Go On), season 7 started off very strong. Castiel had sucked up all of the souls in Purgatory and killed his former superiors in a show of power in the season 6 finale, and the premiere started with Cas claiming himself God and demanding his friends bow to him or die. He quickly changed face, however, when he realized they weren’t sincere and spared them to begin “righting the wrongs of the world”. This is followed up by a well-done yet nearly out of character section with Bobby, Sam and Dean fixing the Impala (again…poor car) and listening on the news to all the crazy things Cas is doing to fix the world because they supposedly can’t stop him (not that that’s kept them from trying in the past). Sam, still wrestling with the breaking down of his Hell-Wall in his mind, snaps at one point and basically goes into a coma for a while so Dean finishes up the Impala with Bobby mostly as a means to cope with it all. Sam wakes up and overhears them talking about how screwed up he must be and decides to “play it cool” to relieve suspicion, despite the devil riding shotgun in his interior. Eventually the boys and surrogate father decide they have to do SOMETHING and end up trying to bind Death to put a stop to the newly proclaimed God. Death and God have a nice chat where they each talk about whose power is stronger and in the end Cas simply snaps his fingers, unbinds Death, and vanishes with a smirk, hoping Death will take care of the Winchesters for him after their betrayal. Death instead informs them of how to knock Cas off his heavenly horse because the only thing he hates more than the meddling Winchesters is a power-tripping false god. They all pop back over to where Cas’s God-powering ritual took place and get him to come along, because he’s afraid of his own power after inadvertently killing an entire room of political supporters over a squabble about false idols, and go about the process of sending the souls back to Purgatory to relieve the strain on Cas’s dying body. While this is happening, Sam wanders off on an errand for the others and is sidelined by the devil, who manages to convince Sam that everything that’s happened so far is just part of the torture and he’s actually still in Hell. He ends the episode cowering under the devil’s words while Cas, newly freed of his godly powers, has to face a new problem…more dire creatures from Purgatory held on inside of him…Leviathans. They crawl up into his brain and take hold of his meatsuit, giving Collins another opportunity to act totally differently as he proudly proclaims that the Leviathans are the baddest mothers in existence and the heroes of the story just let them loose on the world. Cue dramatic takes between characters, and credits.

Creepy.

Phew! That was just the premiere! Talk about a big start…but don’t worry, the rest is much more concise.
After a quick repeat of Levia-Cas’s speech from the premiere, the next episode kicks off with his body starting to give way again under the strain of the Leviathans, so he stumbles out to the conveniently placed local watering hole, that also feeds into the whole country’s water supply and lets one rip…sending a ripple of black goo in all directions, and his token trenchcoat floating back to shore where Dean picks it up and sheds a manly tear over the loss of his closest friend. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the end of everyone’s favorite angel. If you believe me on this, you should probably stop reading this recap and just watch the actual season again, cause you missed some key points!

Okay…everyone out of the pool…an angel exploded.

So, after watching the water turn black with big baddies, Sam and Dean head back to regroup and plan. Meanwhile, we get a great montage of people getting infected with black ooze through various watery means to the tune of “Black Water”. Okay, we get it. Supernatural is very meta. Moving on. We get our first glimpse of how the Leviathans act and how they’re able to change forms just by touching someone (but usually eat them anyway because they’re always hungry, and two of the same person raises suspicion) and the stage is basically set for the season as a whole. The episode ends with Bobby’s house and shop in charred ruins after a run-in with the forked-tongues foes and Sam and Dean feeling lost and alone just in time to get attacked as well, dropping a car on one of the Leviathans, but not before Dean gets a broken leg and is picked up in an ambulance…which takes him to Sioux Falls General Hospital…where the Leviathans have taken hold of various doctors and surgeons in order to provide themselves with a steady stream of food. Next episode quickly resolves this, however, with Bobby rushing in to save Dean and carting him and his leg cast off to Bobby’s apparent summer home in Michigan. While Dean is incapacitated (Jensen Ackles directed the episode, so they needed a way to keep him out of most of it), Sam catches wind of an old hunt from his youth involving the first girl he ever liked, a Kitsuni (a cat-like monster that feeds on pituitary glands). Yes, that’s right…Sam Winchester’s first kiss was with a cat-girl. Put that in your fanfiction and smoke it. This episode is mostly filler, along with the few after it, and the only story arc moments we get for a while are that the Leviathans are still on the hunt to track down the boys, and that the leader of their gang is high-profile business owner Dick Roman (which still seems like a ploy for them to get by with more dick jokes than usually allowed on The CW, but that’s not a problem). A brief intermission from filler episodes, Slash Fiction, opens with the boys seemingly holding up a bank and killing everyone inside before we find out that the Leviathans have actually shifted into their likenesses and are causing trouble across the country in the same order that the boys originally STOPPED trouble from their dad’s journal (with nice throwbacks to episode one that always help remind us of where this show came from). Meanwhile, Sheriff Mills pops by Bobby’s house to show her thanks for saving her from the baddies during a hospital stay in an earlier episode and accidentally finds a way to melt their faces off…literally. While Bobby is below-deck torturing a captured Leviathan with everything in their demon-hunting repertoire (to very amusing commentary, I might add…they sure know how to write amusing villains in this show), Mills goes about cooking dinner for the two of them and, after spilling something on the floor, uses a strong borax cleaner to take care of the mess. The liquid borax seeps through the floor boards, conveniently placed above where Bobby and his plaything are, and sizzles the Leviathan’s face and arms, the only thing that’s had any effect other than cutting off the head…which could somehow reform to the body eventually anyway. Bobby runs up to find out what happens, kisses the long-time helper, and calls the boys to let them know they have a way to stop the murderous doppelgangers, just as the boys are thrown in jail for all the crimes they didn’t commit. The police officer on watch doesn’t believe their story, though, until he sees the Leviathans shift into a few of his guards and eat another of them right in front of him. Soon the boys are freed and the officer is playing Robin to their Batman as they gather the ingredients needed to subdue a couple Purgatory-beasts. They manage to burn and behead their own look-a-likes, which Dean seemed to enjoy a little too much, and separate the bodies and heads so they can’t reform. Now that they know how to keep them dead, they just need to know what they’re up to. Unfortunately, it would be a while before that happens, as a bunch of mostly filler delays any kind of through-line this season might have had and is really only improved by watching multiple episodes in a row to get ANY kind of sense of continuity from the season as a whole.

Leviathan…unfortunately some of the best special effect work this show has had.

However, what this season does provide is one of the most heart-wrenching episodes of the series since In My Time of Dying, the season 2 premiere. First there is an action-packed episode that at least gave a few glimpses into the overall plan of the Leviathans in How to Win Friends and Influence Monsters, where we see Dick Roman and his company Sucrocorp doing some kind of drug tests that cause massive weight gain through higher cravings and stunted emotional responses akin to being stoned, leading to emotionless, fat cannibals. Anyway, in this episode Sam, Dean, and Bobby infiltrate the Sucrocorp base of operations to try and put a stop to Dick Roman and rescue Bobby, who was kidnapped. Bobby, however, finds secret and valuable information in their files before escaping his captors and getting to Sam and Dean’s getaway car just in time. However, the episode ends with a visual of a hole in Bobby’s ever-present hat…which unfortunately was still on his head when it was shot by Dick Roman. Cue Death’s Door…Bobby’s farewell. This is a well-made, emotionally powerful episode that sets the stage for the rest of the season. Bobby is rushed to the hospital, already in a coma from the bullet wound to the brain, and the boys are freaking out as they pace the hospital halls waiting to find out if they’re going to have to deal with the death of another person close to them. The bulk of the episode, however, takes place inside Bobby’s noggin, and for the first time ever fills in his only-ever-hinted-at backstory dealing a poor relationship with his father and his failed marriage, as well as why he never had kids of his own. Let me digress for a second here to say that Jim Beaver originally thought that Bobby was going to be a one-time addition to the show, and now six years later he’s the most-featured guest star and one of the most-loved characters, and after all that build up we’re finally getting all the blanks filled in just in time for his death. That’s powerful. So, back to Bobby’s coma. He basically spends the whole time running from the reaper inside his own memories, Eternal Sunshine style, with help from his deceased hunter friend Rufus to try and find the door that will wake him up and let him get a message to the Winchesters about what he found in Dick’s files. So little hints are dropped early on about where he needs to find this door, which is basically hidden in his most repressed memories, but until then it goes through some of the favorite, and least favorite, memories from the past, creating a fully-disclosed trip through Bobby’s history. We see that he broke his wife’s heart by refusing to have children because he didn’t want to be a bad dad like his was, and then see how awful his dad was and how Bobby himself actually shot the man in the head (Which the reaper later refers to as “The only genetic case of ‘bullet to the head’ I’ve ever seen…”), and finally how, after relaying his message to the boys, escaped the reaper all the way to his last remaining memory…just him and the fully grown Winchester boys arguing about the merits of a classic movie while fighting over snacks, proving that the most important thing in Bobby’s life was always those surrogate sons…and then they vanish also and Bobby is left in darkness, to decide whether to go on to the afterlife or float in his own nothingness. Truly tragic.

Bobby’s last word: “…Idjuts.” Manly tears.

The next episode starts with the aftermath of Bobby’s death, and Sam and Dean just sitting in silence in that house in Michigan, totally lost. It shows their coping progress over the next few weeks, which is a nice touch and further proof that this season COULD have had a much more successful through-line, but then the episode once again devolves into a monster of the week story, with only passing nods to the overall arc. And yes, it’s still good and it still has emotional weight…such as Frank’s speech to Dean about how unless you’re going to just give up you have to fight past the sadness and just get it over with, but that almost seemed like too little to just suddenly set the status quo back to normal. Granted the laughs were pretty sparse in this episode, but it had also only been a month since Bobby died, and they were already on a totally Leviathan-free case. And this episode was followed up by Time After Time, where they fought the God of Time, Chronos…and then The Slice Girls, where Dean hooked up with a chick in a bar (little soon to be getting it on, no?), left Bobby’s flask in her house…which seems careless with something so precious, solely for the sake of plot…and then had to deal with his quickly formed daughter almost killing him (which was actually a nice nod…even though she was a monster, he couldn’t bring himself to kill her because he was tired of losing family). After that was Plucky Pennywhistle’s Magical Menagerie, which would have been an excellent standalone episode, with one of the best titles so far, if it wasn’t for the fact that it still had so little bearing on the entire season arc…plus clowns are the worst. then one last filler episode in Repo Man, which shoehorned in an old case from the fourth season being brought back to taunt them again, and while I’ve always said that this show is at its creepiest when its humans, not monsters, doing the crazy things…this is another episode that seemed out of its element in this season. I love a good old fashioned demon story as much as the rest, but even when I was speed-marathoning the season…I had to go 5 episodes in a row without a single story that had any bearings on the main arc of the season, other thana few moments with Frank in that first post-Bobby episode about how Dick was doing something in a field but they couldn’t figure out what. There was also a nice bit of momentum at the end of Repo Man where Sam couldn’t maintain his hold on Lucifer anymore and the episode ended with the devil in full control, laughing evilly as only Mark Pelligrino can do, but then came Out With the Old, which seemed like another filler episode, where Sam was once again (mostly) fine…although he made a few passing references to the Lucifer despite his lack of visual, and had some sleeping troubles as a result, but for the most part felt like it should have come BEFORE the previous episode. However, it actually ended up being the beginning of the end of the season, with a few Leviathans having touched down in a small town full of cursed objects. While the boys were dealing with the mystery behind them, the Leviathans were buying up more real estate to expand Dick’s empire. The episode ended with the Winchesters killing them, but not before one of them gave away another tidbit about Roman’s end goal: curing cancer. This is one of the most interesting elements about their story, but unfortunately it goes unresolved for a few more episodes yet, because when they go find Frank to get more info, his RV is empty and blood-splattered, inferring that the Leviathans got to him before they did, leaving the boys even more alone yet again.

It seems insensitive to put something witty here. People died.

But never fear, Cas is here! yes, The Born-Again Identity brought back everyone’s favorite angel, but in a new skin…metaphorically speaking, since angels and demons only change actors when the contractual obligations go south. So Misha Collins returns, but unfortunately the explosive Leviathan diarrhea has left Castiel’s body an empty shell of his old life, with even a new name…Emanuel. Yes, when Sam is stuck in a mental institution after the devil takes the wheel on Sam’s mind, Dean promises his brother to find a cure and goes through every contact he has to do so. Unfortunately, most of them are unavailable or dead and he’s left stranded. Luckily, the as-yet-unknown Ghost Bobby knocks the family journal off the table, revealing a calling card for a hunter Dean missed who leads him to a faith healer, Emanuel. Dean, relieved to find Castiel still alive, welcomes back his old friend but discovers the newborn man has no recollection of him. Still, being a faith healer, Dean convinces “Emanuel” to come along to try and heal his brother and along the way Meg joins in as she’s also been on Castiel’s tail. Once the three of them get to the hospital, they discover it’s been taken over by demons and have to fight their way in. Castiel manages to destroy them all, unlocking his powers and memories but leaving him mortally ashamed of his past actions now that he’s back in the right mind. Castiel tries to leave them but Dean convinces him to try and fix Sam to make up for all that he’s done instead of just running from it. When he can’t seem to cure Sam he instead absorbs Lucifer’s consciousness into his own and remains in the mental institution, angel and demon fighting for dominance, with Meg watching over him as a nurse. So now, with Sam back in control of his own mind, they can go back to the Leviathan hunt, right? Not quite. Another quick partial filler, Party On, Garth, has the return of DJ Quall’s convincing the brothers to help him track down a Shinjo (an alcohol demon), which is a creature that can only be seen while intoxicated. This leads to a very amusing episode where Dean can’t seem to even get drunk because of his prolific drinking over the years, even more so this season, and when they finally are able to see the creature, can’t seem to coordinate themselves enough to kill it. Luckily, the odds seem to be in their favor as the still-unseen Ghost Bobby lends them a hand in the fight and they manage to subdue the creature. This convinces the brothers that he must still be watching over them, and clicks on the EMF meter to test that theory. It lights up around Dean, but they’re still not convinced. He grabs Bobby’s flask and leaves…and for the first time Bobby is shown trying to get them to pay attention to him, to no avail. This leads into Of Grave Importance, where the boys are called up by an old hunting friend to investigate a mysterious mansion full of spirits, but their hunter friend is nowhere to be found. Meanwhile, Ghost Bobby is doing his own detective work in the land of the former-living, trying to find out what is drawing in all the ghosts to this spot and what happens to them once they’re there. Once he discovers the identity of the ghost killer, and the now-ghostly friend that brought them to the house, he tries to harness his ghost-powers to send the boys a message. He eventually succeeds and they burn the bodies of the victims and stop the main ghost of the house that’s been absorbing the others to increase his power. As the boys put him to rest, however, Bobby absorbs the spirits of those set free and gains enough power to make himself known to the Winchesters, who are furious with Bobby for sticking around. Angry at how ungrateful they are, he disappears again but sticks around, unseen, as they talk about how scary it’ll be when he inevitably becomes vengeful and they have to hunt him.

Ghost tickling gone wrong

Now, with Cas AND Bobby back, the boys are back on the Leviathans to finish out the season. Dick Roman, after acquiring Frank’s hard drive from the RV he ransacked previously, enlists a team of hackers to get all the information they can from the drive in order to track down the Winchesters and find out how much they know, and if Frank has any other valuable information they might need. In comes Charlie, played by fan-favorite Felicia Day, a nerdy, wise-cracking lesbian genius who hacks the drive with no trouble and sends a message to the Winchesters about where to hide it, after she discovers what Roman is up to and wants them to come help. Also, Bobby relays all he learned from being captured by Roman, which is basically that they’re trying to turn humans into the perfect food source for them…plumping them up, making them slow and lazy, and curing all diseases so they can potentially live unfettered for a long time. The boys’ renewed vigor in their search takes them to Charlie’s house, where she’s run to after seeing her boss eaten by one of Roman’s lackies. They explain to her that she needs to erase the hard drive, but also to hack into Dick’s email account so they can find out what more they need to know about his plan in order to stop it. After a lot of nerdy back and forth between Charlie and Sam, she is convinced to break in for them. She succeeds and discovers that Dick is looking for some important artifact at various archaeological sites, like the field Dean and Frank found out about earlier in the season. Flash forward to Sam and Dean secretly intercepting the package delivery with the artifact and swapping it with a borax bomb that explodes in Dick’s face when he opens the box. Unfortunately, Charlie is also in the building when Dick opens the box and he catches on to the deception, locking her inside with intention of killing her, despite her unique skill set. Bobby had stowed away with her, though, and helps fight off her attackers until Sam and Dean arrive with more Borax. Dick is pleased by Bobby’s ghostly revenge and coaxes him into showing himself. Bobby, in a fit of vengeance, makes himself known to Dick and ghost-pushes him with more force than the boys are comfortable. They retreat with Charlie and the flask, preventing Bobby from finishing his revenge. Charlie goes into hiding, the boys worry about Bobby’s vengeance, and Dick worries the boys will figure out what’s on the tablet they found…and the final stage is nearly set.

When all else fails, call Felicia Day

Sam and Dean, now with time to actually investigate, break open the tablet they stole from Dick, which unleashes a lightning storm that strikes a teenager named Kevin destined to be a prophet. This also wakes up Castiel from his devil-coma, memories still in tact but mental state less so, and Meg calls the boys to see what’s up with him. They bring the tablet for him to translate and he tells them that it’s the word of God but he can’t read it. Cue Kevin the Prophet, who comes in and steals the tablet before anyone can catch him but is stopped by two angels, explaining that its his job to intercept and interpret the tablet. The angels try to kill Sam and Meg and Dean banishes all the angels, including Cas. The remaining group, including Kevin, retreat back to the cabin to translate the tablet, which has instructions on how to kill a Leviathan. After he finishes the translation, though, the two angels catch back up and kidnap him, and they are killed by a Leviathan who take Kevin for their own means. The brothers, now with the ingredients for their Leviathan murder weapon, get a vial of blood from Castiel as the first part of the ritual. Next episode (a “bonus” for this season, since they spent too many on filler and needed an extra to finish up the story), deals with the boys getting the remaining ingredients in the form of Crowley’s blood and that of the Alpha Vampire. Crowley refuses until they have the rest of it, so they go to find the Alpha Vamp that they didn’t get to kill last season…a feat made more complicated when they find out that Dick’s Sucrocorp has put the fattening drug in corn syrup, so everyone in the nation is infected, and vampires are dying from the infected human blood. The Winchesters find the Alpha Vamp only to be told that he’s made a deal with Dick to share the humans…except when Dick’s minion Edgar shows up to kill them all they realize that Dick never planned to keep his deal so they decapitate Edgar and the Alpha agrees to help them defeat the common enemy by giving them his blood. The boys return home to find that Bobby has vanished, after leaving the flask in their hotel room to keep him out of trouble, and now have to not only find Crowley, who can’t be summoned because Dick has him trapped, but also bring back Bobby, who ran off after possessing the hotel’s maid.

The prophet Kevin helps Sam learn how to cook up a Leviathan weapon.

Dick tries to bargain with the kidnapped Crowley to give the boys the wrong blood for their weapon in exchange for Crowley’s free reign over Canada. The two come to an agreement just as Sam and Dean pilfer a righteous bone from a nun’s crypt. Sam and Dean then hack the Sucrocorp security cameras to find Dick only to discover that everyone is Dick…and he had all of his minions take his shape to protect himself. While there, they find Bobby, in his maid disguise, going into Sucrocorp for revenge. Sam runs to stop him and is nearly strangled to death before Bobby regains control and leaves the maid. They go back to regroup and summon Crowley, but are unsuccessful. Meg and Castiel show up, however, to explain that all of the angels are either dead or in hiding just in time for Crowley to finally show up, furious that Cas is back. Whenever he realizes that Cas is nuts, though, he gladly gives up his blood, tells the boys the deal he was supposed to have with Dick, and that Cas is their secret weapon to finding the real Dick, since he can see the Leviathans for what they really are. Before they make their move, though, Bobby shows up, barely able to control himself, and urges Sam and Dean to burn the flask and put him to rest before he gets worse. They do so, in another tragic moment for the character this season…after already losing him once…and promise Bobby that they’ll take care of Dick. After their goodbyes, they go to work…Meg crashes the Impala into the building to act as a distraction but is captured by Crowley’s demons. Sam rescues Kevin and they go to blow up the lab making the drug that’s been fattening people up, and Dean and Castiel confront Dick, stabbing him in the neck with the Leviathan-killing nun-bone (try saying THAT out of context!). Dick explodes in black goo but then Crowley betrays everyone. Dean and Castiel disappear, Crowley kidnaps Kevin, and Sam is stuck in the building surrounded by the final battle between Crowley’s demons and the remaining Leviathans. The final shot of the season is Dean and Castiel being dropped in a dark and sinister Purgatory, where evil eyes surround them, and Castiel disappears…leaving Dean to fend for himself against everything he’s ever hunted.

Ouch…right in the Dick

So there we go! That’s season 7 in under 5000 words…not too shabby! But wait…season 8 started? Well…guess this recap isn’t done then!

Best Supernatural logo yet!

Season 8 picked up a year after season 7 (a common thing for this show), with a pair of campers and a flash of light in the woods triggering Dean emerging to their campsite in full Warrior mode, brandishing a makeshift machete, covered in blood, and looking more jittery than a toddler with a cappuccino. He points a gun at them (which couldn’t possibly still have ammo…) and asks where the nearest road is and it’s pretty clear that he’s a changed man from his year below ground, probably more so than any other instance…including Hell. After a quick travel montage, it cuts over to Sam, leaving a woman’s bed in the middle of the night and driving from Texas to Michigan, arriving at the cabin that’s apparently become their new home. He opens the door and Dean tackles him, going through the ritual of holy water, borax, and cutting to ensure he’s really him before Sam can even get a look at the brother he hasn’t seen in a year. Sam is then totally surprised to see the man before him (although he doesn’t really act it, but more on that later), and they have the usual season premiere reconciliation. Then when the reveals about what they’ve been up to arrive, Sam brings up that not only did he not look for Dean, but he ditched all the phones and signs of the old life and just lived normally for a year. Which is what bothers me…he had a girl and a dog in Texas, but he just took off in the middle of the night to Michigan to seemingly meet his brother…who he didn’t know was alive until he saw him…and didn’t have any way of being contacted by before leaving. So why did he go to Michigan and leave the girl? The episode doesn’t say, and it just seems like an awkward oversight in an otherwise excellent premiere. Just makes me think something is up with Sam if he’s sneaking away to this cabin…but they didn’t do ANYTHING to make that even a thought other than the fact that they don’t say anything about why he was there…which is suspicious.

You can SEE the tension between them.

So anyway, they’re reunited, Dean is bitter…suitable tension in place for the brothers this season. So Sam makes dinner while Dean just gets to work on what he’s missed (apparently he didn’t need to eat for a year, cause I can’t imagine there being a good deal of food in Purgatory…but whatever…another oversight) by checking Sam’s discarded phones for messages. Turns out, for six months Kevin the Prophet was trying to contact Sam for help after escaping from Crowley. So after another guilt trip, Sam goes to work trying to find out where they might find Kevin. A poorly shoe-horned audio decryption later, they find him surprisingly close to them in Centerville, Michigan…supposedly…but instead just find his ex-girlfriend, who, unbeknownst to them, has been taken over by a demon. A demon that uses the ol’ chalice communication trick from Meg’s early days on the show. Nice throwback, new showrunner Jeremy Carver. Turns out Kevin is actually in Iowa. They find him in an old church, where he’s holed up defending himself with a heavy-duty holy water gun. They finally reunite, Sam gets an apology in, and we find out the through-line of this season: closing the gates of Hell forever. No more monsters. Exciting, right? Sure sounds like the set up for a final season…but as fans should be aware of by now, things never go as planned in Supernatural, just look at their attempt to keep the devil from rising and leading to the Apocalypse. Carver has gone on record in saying that he has a plan that could take the show to its conclusion after season 10, if the desire was there, so I’m sure the arrival of Crowley as the new big baddie will throw a wrench or two into the plans. But yes, of course the expositional reunion didn’t last long, and soon Crowley and Kevin’s demonized lady friend were on the scene to ruin everyone’s day. Kevin agrees to give himself up in order to protect the girl and goes off on his own to get his things ready (really, Crowley? You’re the master of tricks…don’t let your prize walk off by himself). In his impatience, Crowley goes to check on the boy and is welcomed by a holy water trap that subdues him long enough for Kevin, Sam, and Dean to get away in the Impala. As they drive by the entrance of the church there is a nice moment where the shot slows and Kevin watches his girlfriend’s neck get snapped by Crowley’s demon powers as he smiles at his manipulation of the scenario. The end of the episode has the three arriving at a gas station, Kevin still noticeably shaken up over what happened. Dean leaves to take a phone call and Sam tries to talk him down…the rift never more apparent between the two brothers. Cuts to Dean around the back of the gas station on the phone with his Purgatory buddy, Benny, who he allowed to hitch a ride on Dean’s arm to escape Purgatory and reunite with his body. Kicker? Benny is a vampire. For someone who was so keen on killing Sam’s kitsune friend last season when “Sam couldn’t do it” it is a little surprising that Dean befriended a vampire…even calls him “brother” like they’ve formed a blood bond over the past year…and didn’t just kill them as soon as he was back in his body. This honestly just makes the season more interesting, though, as I can’t wait to see how they handle this new element of the boys’ relationship, so I can’t complain about how it seems out of character. After all…desperate times…and Dean does seem truly changed now, so it’ll be interesting to see where it goes from here. And since it looks like Cas is set to return next episode and have a much larger presence this season than last, it’ll be interesting to see how their relationship has been affected since Dean came back also…and to see what happened to Cas in Purgatory in general.

Dean and Benny, Purgatory escape artists

But moving ahead, I do hope one thing is for sure…Carver’s new three year plan better include a more consistent through-line, because seasons 6 and 7 were both a mess of good, bad, and everything in between.