Around the Water Cooler: “Supernatural,” The Season 9 Premiere (SPOILERS)

THE SPECS:

Who: “Supernatural” currently airs on network TV, specifically on the CW, Tuesdays at 9:00 PM.

What: “Supernatural,” a drama depicting the tale of two brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, respectively), who are “hunters” of all supernatural ilk, be they demons, monsters, or angels on high, in a quest to save the world from things that go bump in the night, things that cause apocalypses, and things that are generally just out to get them (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here: http://www.aceshowbiz.com/tv/supernatural/summary.html).

When: The Season 9 premiere aired on Tuesday, October 8, 2013, on the CW at 9:00 PM.

Where: The show is set in no specific locale; the brothers ride all over the country in a 1967 Chevrolet Impala and live out of hotel rooms via fake identities and money scams, though the Winchesters are originally from Lawrence, Kansas.  The time is present day.

Why:  Oh so many seasons ago now, I followed Jensen Ackles–a fine, fine man–from Smallville to his new gig, which, at the time, seemed like a new spin on the X-Files, with two brothers versus two sexually tense FBI agents.  From the opening frames of the pilot, though, I knew that it was oh so much more or, at least, vastly different than the X-Files, and this show has surpassed so many expectations, including mustering the incredible ability to remain relevant and engaging long past the expiration of the initial story arc mapped out by creator Eric Kripke.

How – as in How’s It Going? (THOUGHTS…at present)

Supernatural, now in it’s ninth season, is still going strong, though there is a sense that the creators and now executive producers, including original team member Robert Singer, might be losing some creative steam.  As of the season 8 finale, angel/protector/friend Castiel (Misha Collins), after a run-in with Metatron, inadvertently caused all angels to fall from heaven.   This premiere finds many of the angels inhabiting new “vessels,” or bodies, and trying to make do in the world, which will no doubt be a running theme of the season.  In addition, after Sam underwent the “trials” designed to close the gates of Hell, turning Crowley (Mark A. Sheppard) into something of a blubbering and emotional mortal in the process and creating a void for Abaddon to somehow come back from the dead and fill Crowley’s shoes, Sam’s near-death experience left him in a coma and wrestling with the question of whether or not he should accept death. The hour found his (un)consciousness conjuring images of Dean, Bobby (Jim Beaver), and finally Death himself while he considered that question, as brother Dean struggled on the outside to save the waning Sam, deciding to allow a friendly angel named Ezekiel to possess Sam in an effort to heal him from within while Ezekiel healed his own angelic wounds. Knowing that Sam would never agree to this willingly, Dean visits Sam’s unconscious mind and convinces him to fight for life while keeping yet another secret from his brother.  Meanwhile, Castiel is as mortal as all the rest of the angels and is hunted by those angels who blame him for their fall from grace, and Crowley remains locked in the trunk of the Impala, at least as of the premiere.

Of course, this is already after both Dean and Sam have been to hell and back (with souls and without), been possessed by angels, been stalked by angels, been possessed by demons, been hunted by demons, stopped an apocalypse, stopped a Leviathan (the guardian of Purgatory), and tried closing the gates of Hell, not to mention rescuing both their father and Bobby from fire and eternal damnation.  This is also after sizable secrets have been kept, like Sam’s ingestion of demon blood, or Dean’s alliance with Benny the vampire.  Even though these two actors are gorgeous, and the elements of Supernatural comforting and familiar in the best possible ways, there is a looming question as to where can they possibly go from here?  Like with Grey’s Anatomy, what else can possibly happen to the Winchesters that they haven’t already endured?  How long can it all go on?  On the one hand, die hard fans probably want it to go on forever, complete with classic rock montages (including Kansas’ Carry On My Wayward Son, the unofficial theme song), pie, and occasional guest appearances by Felicia Day. The lore and mythology is deep, intricate, and well developed in this show, and it’s been an amazing ride; at the same time, it would be disappointing if the show dwindled to mediocrity or worse as a result of being on the air longer than it should.

For now, angels on earth will be a great story line to explore for the brothers.  At the very least, the promise of more Castiel is always a good thing.  Let’s hope that the season builds to a satisfying conclusion, either in the form of a wallop of a cliffhanger setting up a tenth season or a moderately happy (or poetic) ending for the series and for these adorable, heroic, loyal, and courageous brothers.

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

1) Dean and Sam have survived so much, I can’t imagine that even secret possessions by angels would destroy their relationship in the end.  Still, how many times can they have this fight?  They haven’t had it yet…but it’s coming.  The familiar angst is beginning its annual journey.

2) How many miles are on the Impala after all this time?

3) Is Abaddon going to be a problem for the Winchesters this season?  Maybe the angels will unite with the brothers against the demons of hell.  How’s that for an apocalypse?

4) I’m glad they have the inherited bunker as Men of Letters.  It might be the closest thing they have to a home now.

5) I hope we see more of Crowley this season too.  Talk about a survivor.  He really was a fun King of Hell.

PARTING SHOTS

Supernatural is like a well oiled machine – it is a quality program with a cultivated, passionate cult fan base, but nine seasons is a long time for any show, and it hasn’t been as good as it was in the Kripke years (Seasons 1-5, when he was executive producer).  The looming risk for this show is that it all somehow becomes boring, though it could never be completely un-watchable, owing to the writing, acting, and quirks of the mythology (and the sheer beauty of its cast).  There is nothing like it on TV right now, at any rate, and it’s still entertaining, even this late in its lifetime.

LOOKING AHEAD:

Supernatural was automatically ordered for a full season, being one of the highest rated programs on the CW.  Will it be renewed for a tenth season?  The February sweeps will no doubt provide a clear answer on that decision.

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