Earlier this month, “Supernatural” (2005 – present) premiered the first episode of its 10th season on the CW. The show has an incredibly strong fan base, which is why it has lasted close to a decade despite the ups and downs to which long-standing TV shows are prone. “Supernatural” left fans, as it so often does, in a state of nervousness and panic after the final episode of season nine. In the last episode, brothers Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) managed to kill of one of their biggest enemies, the demon Abaddon (Alaina Huffman), and permanently imprison another, the angel Metatron (Curtis Armstrong). During this intense fight, Metatron killed Dean, who somehow was able to come back to life — as a demon.
Now, the show finds itself following three different storylines — Sam and Dean’s individual stories, and that of the angel, Castiel (Misha Collins). Dean has spent this time perusing various towns with King of Hell, Crowley (Mark Sheppard), and is indifferent to the fact that his brother has been frantically looking for him. Meanwhile, Sam follows a lead on Dean’s whereabouts and tries to enlist Castiel for help. Once he realizes that Castiel is in poor condition since he lost his angel grace, he decides to go alone.
In the midst of these goings-on, Castiel also has to deal with rebel angels, who refuse to return to heaven. Even though Metatron is imprisoned and all of his previous followers realize that he is untrustworthy, they are less than eager to return to the confines of heaven. There is minimal interaction between the show’s three main characters — Sam, Dean and Castiel — which shows the distance created by last season’s drama.
This season premiere was, at its core, a way to catch fans up on what has happened in the past six weeks. The focus was not so much on plot as it was on the emotional transformations of the characters, especially Dean’s. Last season, when Dean took on the mark of Cain in order to kill Abaddon, he lost the ability to control his emotions — particularly rage. Fans saw the start of Dean’s downward spiral toward the end of last season and it culminated in the finale’s final moments: His eyes turned completely black and fans knew things would not be the same.
Now, we see Dean behaving as though completely indifferent to what used to matter to him the most, namely his relationship with his brother. It’s slightly painful to watch Crowley and Dean be so friendly towards each other, considering his demise was once a primary goal for the brothers. The former enemies act cordial and joke around with each other — they seem to be friends and partners in crime. This shift in dynamic doesn’t affect Dean the way that it would have when he was completely human. Fans see a new, dark side of Dean and it will be interesting to see how the writers explore his character within the context of his relationships with Sam and Castiel.
The start of season 10 isn’t particularly exciting or action-packed, a nice change of pace from the bloody season nine finale. The premiere and subsequent episodes will definitely act as a platform for future, more complex storylines as the season gets rolling. Still, this beginning also lacks two of the show’s defining qualities — supernatural beings and the powerful and convincing interactions between the three main characters. This change may annoy fans, since these two qualities are what make the show so alluring, but there’s good reason for it. This season will be different, and the obstacles that Sam, Dean and Castiel will inevitably have to overcome are nothing like before. There are many directions in which the writers could take the season and hopefully, they will keep fans guessing. “Supernatural” has produced nearly 200 episodes to date, but the creative minds behind the series have managed to bring something new and exciting to every season. Season 10 is expected to follow suit.