The Winchester brothers are finally returning to our TV screens this Friday, as Supernatural comes back with its 7th season. With the season premiere only a day away, let’s take a moment and refresh our memories of the dark and weirder-than-ever stories of season 6.
The season picks up in “Exile on Main St.”, a year later after the events of season 5 finale. Dean is living with Lisa and Ben. He is no longer hunting, leading a pretty normal “civilian” life instead. While I had some doubts about seeing Dean in such a normal setting and about how the show was going to handle it, the episode was a pleasant surprise. One of the surprises was the return of Dean and Sam’s grandfather, Samuel, who was mysteriously brought back to life. With Sam soon returning back into the picture, the season seemed to be on the right track. But nothing is ever that simple on Supernatural.
In “Two and a Half Men”, we get a new look on shape-shifters, when the father of them all shows up. “Weekend at Bobby’s” (director debut by Jensen Ackles) is one of the highlights of the season, giving us a great insight into what Bobby’s days are really like. Crowley (now the king of hell) also makes an appearance and we learn some interesting things about his past as a human. “Live Free or TwiHard” has some great funny moments, poking fun at vampires and Twilight. Again, the theme of “alpha” monsters is continued, here, in the face of the alpha vampire. At the same time, Sam is not really behaving like the Sam we know, as is obvious from the scene where he lets a vampire bite and change Dean.
In “Family Matters” we learn that Sam’s soul is missing since he was brought back from hell. It also turns out that Samuel was working for Crowley all this time, capturing alpha monsters for him. Crowley is searching for Purgatory and is hoping that the alphas can provide him with some information regarding its location.
Even though the first half of the season offered some new takes on the old monsters, and “Clap Your Hands If You Believe” even had fairies (they also managed to put a UFO in the same episode), it is in “Appointment in Samarra” that things really picked up. Dean makes a deal with Death (who is always a fascinating character to watch) in order to return Sam’s soul back into his body. In exchange, Dean has to take on Death’s responsibilities for a day, which makes for a really interesting episode.
In “Like a Virgin” Sam’s soul is finally back where it belongs. This time, the Winchesters have to deal with… dragons. But even here Supernatural retains certain originality – these dragons are represented in the form of humans. They have been stealing virgins in order to bring the Mother of All into this world (who is also known as Eve). Unfortunately, they succeed at the end of the episode, as the Mother comes out of a fiery pit possessing the body of one of the virgins.
One of weirder episodes is definitely “The French Mistake”, in which angel Balthazar sends Sam and Dean to alternate world, where the two of them are known as actors Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles (so, it’s pretty much our reality). The show is not afraid to make fun of itself yet again, and this episode brings some truly hilarious moments, like, for example, Misha Collins in all of his Twitter-addicted glory. Another highlight is “Frontierland”, where Sam and Dean go back in time with Castiel’s help. In the year 1861, they meet Samuel Colt, who claimed in his diary that he killed a phoenix (phoenix ashes can kill Eve).
But the most interesting development in this season to me was the unexpected path Castiel’s character took, which makes the overall evolution of his character all the more interesting. With civil war in heaven, he made some truly surprising choices, like teaming up with Crowley. If Castiel can find Purgatory and absorb the souls there, he will get unimaginable power which will help him to defeat Raphael. It all happens exactly like that, except for one problem – Castiel isn’t exactly keen on giving up all that power once he kills Raphael. The season ends as Castiel proclaims himself the new God, and the Castiel we all know seems to be gone.
I have to admit, I didn’t enjoy the first half of the season as much, and I found the storyline of Sam having no soul taking more time than was necessary. But I really liked seeing Death and Balthazar return, among other characters. Overall, the 6th season seems somewhat darker in the atmosphere and some of the story lines than the previous seasons (not to mention the quite chilling last scene of the finale). Hopefully, at least some of our questions will be answered tomorrow.
Supernatural returns to CW this Friday at 9 pm.