Stars: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Mark A. Sheppard, Osric Chau, Ty Olsson, Liane Balaban, Lissa Neptuno
Writer: Jeremy Carver, series created by Eric Kripke
Director: Robert Singer
Network: The CW, Wednesdays @ 9 PM
Original Airdate: October 3, 2012
It seems like Sam (Jared Padalecki), Dean (Jensen Ackles) and the SUPERNATURAL audience just can’t catch a break. Yes, the Season 8 opener, “We Need to Talk About Kevin” admirably gets to the fundamentals of this year’s arc right away and also swiftly reunites the brothers. For those who don’t remember, or are just tuning in, Sam and Dean were separated last year when Dean and his angel friend Castiel (Misha Collins) got blasted into Purgatory, which is where dead monsters go when they die.
It’s a year later. Dean escapes from Purgatory, with help from a dead vampire, in exchange for helping the expired monster come back to Earth. Dean soon finds Sam, who for once apparently kept the promise the brothers continually make to one another, stopped hunting, didn’t try to get Dean back and instead attempted to make a life for himself. Dean is hurt and insulted by this.
Let’s just stop here for a moment. After everything that’s happened, after thinking they might never see each other again, Dean finds a reason to be angry at Sam. As for Sam, why the hell didn’t he try to find Dean? Okay, perhaps Sam didn’t know Dean was in Purgatory, but by now he knows there are other dimensions to check out, that disappearance does not equate to nonexistence and that Crowley is often full of baloney. Maybe we’ll find out later, but for now, Sam’s explanation that he found a girlfriend (Liane Balaban, shown in flashbacks) and tried to live a normal life is a reason for us to be exasperated with both of them.
Among the activities Sam ditched was responding (or even listening) to phone calls from Kevin (Osric Chao), the brilliant high school student who was anointed a Prophet of the Lord last season and can translate the Word of God, written on tablets. When Dean makes Sam finally listen to Kevin’s messages, the brothers set out to find the young man and keep him from the clutches of current King of Hell Crowley (Mark A. Sheppard).
The Winchesters succeed in rescuing Kevin, who believes he’s found a way to send all demons back to Hell forever – though this costs the life of Kevin’s girlfriend Channing (Lissa Neptuno).
The inclusion of Channing in the storyline allows for one of those great SUPERNATURAL zinger lines, the reason many of us just can’t quit this show, as Kevin explains to Channing what’s happened to her physically and academically: “You were possessed by a demon and you’re at your safety school.”
It does seem strange that when Kevin mentions that apparently God has taught him how to read the tablets that the Winchesters, who spent quite a long time schlepping all over creation looking for the Almighty, don’t have more of a reaction to the suggestion that He’s around and in the game after all. Priorities, fellas! This does explain in meta-narrative terms why Castiel isn’t on the scene, because he’d certainly be curious.
Speaking of Castiel, all we know from Dean is that something went very wrong in Purgatory, Cass is “gone” and Dean doesn’t want to talk about it. This either means that we’ll see in flashback why we’re never getting Castiel back, or we’ll see in flashback why Dean is mistaken and we will get Castiel back. It’s certainly going to be interesting to see how Dean’s survival in Purgatory is explained overall.
What we have in “We Need to Talk About Kevin” (apart from the co-opting of an indie movie title for the episode) is a promising premise for the season, the inclusion of the likable and talented Chao as a sidekick, some good dialogue, some requisite sibling sulking and the Winchesters together again. Carry on now, wayward sons!
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Article: TV Review: SUPERNATURAL – Season 8 – “We Need To Talk About Kevin” – Season Premiere