‘Supernatural’ Recap: Occupy Purgatory

Discussing Season 8, Episode 1

[Spoilers for the season premiere from here on out]

In a heavy flashback season premiere, we get a little taste of what’s to come, and we say hello to the Impala. All is right in the “Supernatural” universe when Dean nags Sam about the classic car. A year has passed, and like so many other episodes, we open with a couple camping in the dark and dreary woods. They hear a little scuttle outside, and of course, like all naive campers, they go to check it out. This time, it’s not a demon lurking in the leafy greens or even a shape-shifting monster. Nope, it’s none other than Dean himself — all mud-stained and crazed, which is acceptable since he just returned from Purgatory. He waves a gun and then steals their backpack. Purgatory has turned him into a little thief.

Four days later, Dean strolls along to some rock tunes, stopping by an open grave. He pours his blood over a skeleton, and a mystery vampire named Benny appears out of thin air. They greet as friends, not foes, and we learn later on that Benny helped Dean in Purgatory.

Flash to Sam, brooding in a darkly lit bed with a woman. Yep, a woman. And a dog. So while Dean’s been fighting for his life (and soul) in Purgatory, Sam’s been shacking up with a lady friend. The tension between the brothers escalates due to their long-term separation. Even so, the brothers first reunite by hugging it out. But not before Dean douses Sam with salt, holy water, and even slices his wrist for good measure. Sam, oddly enough, trusts Dean and doesn’t want to reciprocate the holy-water bath.

And then Sam throws out this bombshell. He has given up hunting. What?! Sam says, “You were gone, Dean. Cas was gone. Bobby was dead. I mean, Crowley even shipped off Kevin and Meg to parts unknown.” Dean: “So you just turn tail on the family business.” Sam: “Nothing says family quite like the whole family being dead” — and then this was the clencher that summed up my resentment for Sam — Dean snaps, “I wasn’t dead.” Sam uses the rationale that for the first time in his life he was completely alone, and he didn’t have a road map. Haven’t the brothers been down this road before? Dean has entered hell and escaped. Purgatory actually seems like a safer bet to return to the normal world — so why would Sam give up so easily this time?

Moving on to Kevin Tran. The college student-turned-Prophet left some alarming messages on the Winchester’s phone, so of course they plan on tracking him down. Kevin has a new haircut! And we learn — through another flashback — that Crowley ordered him to read a tablet with The Word of God. He sees the message, “Hell’s Gates” and how to open it. Kevin fools Crowley by letting him think he’s going to open the Gates and release all the monsters, but instead, the sly boy reads from another chapter — killing the demons. The tablet, thankfully, is safe, and Kevin let’s the Winchesters in on a rather important line. “Banish all the demons on the face of the Earth. Lock them away forever.” And we have the big bad of the season! Both sides — good and evil — will be racing to either open or close Hell’s Gates.

Surprisingly, Kevin dominated the episode with his quick wit and added comic relief that we’ve been missing from Castiel — who appears AWOL at the moment, still stuck in Purgatory perhaps. Plus, Kevin is the last thing from a wimpy schoolboy. Even as he tries to accept this new (and very strange) world, he still has time to fight back and snap a comment at nasty Crowley.

In yet another flashback, Sam takes a badly hurt dog to the vet where a pretty doctor greets him. We can only assume she’s his bed-partner. Usually I am pro-Sam, but he looked more worried about the dog than his own brother stuck in Purgatory. Not cool. Sam also broke an Impala rule by letting the dog in the car. It seems as though Sam replaced his brother with a furry canine.

Back to reality (or a version of it anyway), Kevin, Sam, Dean, and Crowley come face-to-face. Kevin’s college buddy has been possessed by a demon, and as she breaks from the haze for a moment, he blurts out the bad news. “There’s a demon in you, and you’re going to your safety school.” Yep, those two are equally terrifying. Kevin retaliates against Crowley, but it ends a bit bloody for Kevin’s friend, who’s  immediately killed by Crowley’s power.

At the end of the episode, Dean receives a call from the southern gentleman who also happens to be of the vampiric species. They chit-chat about life outside of Purgatory, and Dean breaks off their close friendship by telling Benny that he can’t phone him so often. To which Benny replies (rather creepily), “Purgatory was pure. I’m kind of wishing I had appreciated it more. You know, like you.” Cryptic, and part of me wonders whether Dean’s vampire friend is going be an Independent in this war. What do you think?

Next Wednesday, “The Word of God is up for sale, and the price is your soul.” I wonder who’s going to bid on that one. How did you like the season premiere? Did you enjoy the flashbacks or did you wish the editor stopped using dissolves? What about the addition of Benny, the fanged friend? And did Kevin dominate this episode? Or were you too busy replaying the scene where Sam whips his hair back (a la Fabio)? Give the man a pair of shears already.

A chance for your tweets to appear on the recap: From now on, I’ll be adding fan tweets to the TV recaps. How does it work? Easy. Tweet your reaction using #CW69, and your tweet could end up on the recap the next day. Tune in next Wednesday for the live-tweets! See you then.

Becca Ritchie

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