So you’ve neglected ‘Supernatural’ for the last 80% of a decade? Or maybe you have a terrible memory? Do not fret, the season 8 “The Road So Far” will have you caught up and ready to roll in less than 90 seconds. I’ll wait…
All caught up?
In the Winchester world it’s been a year since we’ve seen our heroes. Summer hiatus hyperbole at its finest. A couple camps, serenely slumbering until a sound and a bright light flashing through the sky wakes them. Is it a monster? A ghost? An alien? Nope, just a nearly feral Dean Winchester fresh from purgatory. With fancy new weaponry and a penchant for stealing campers’ backpacks.
Less than a week passes and Dean has hitchhiked his way from the Maine campground to Clayton, Louisiana; population less than 1,000. Dean, now sporting the latest in newly procured plaid and denim, waits til nightfall and does what he does best, he digs up a grave. This one however, is an unmarked grave seemingly nowhere near a cemetery and as he digs he’s grumbling as he’s wont to do. As he reveals the skeletal remains he also reveals that his forearm is glowing like it’s smuggling a radioactive meteor. That explains why he’s been cradling his arm. He slices open his arm and the glowy goo drips onto the bones as Dean chants his chant and presto! Dean Winchester went to Louisiana and resurrected an aesthetically pleasing Creole vampire. Of course he did.
The vamp’s name is Benny. He and Dean are hugging buddies. This is gonna go well, I’m sure.
Meet the new title card. Full of word of godliness.
Now we’re off to Kermit, Texas. The apparent new home of Sam Winchester, an adorable dog and a lady in bed. Sam packs a bag, pets his dog and sneaks off in Dean’s Impala in the middle of the night to Rufus’ cabin in Whitefish, Montana. The woman in bed is not as asleep as she’s pretending to be. So… I’m thinking she ain’t a one-night stand.
Sam heads into the cabin and is immediately assaulted by Dean with the entire arsenal of Winchester approved bad guy tests. Dean confirms that Sam is not a demon, Leviathan or a shapeshifter and demands that Sam do the same. Sam declines. That’s a red flag in my book. Dean takes it upon himself to dump all manner of liquids on himself and slice open his arm. Now that both boys know for a fact that they’re legit and on the up and up, they can have their “hey, you’re not dead anymore” hug. Dean Winchester is definitely into embracing in this episode.
Sam gets the info dump that Dean was in purgatory and now he’s not. Really forthcoming, Dean. Sam asks about Castiel, Dean says Castiel is no more, but kinda hedges on the details. Sam breaks the news that he gave up hunting. Dean is not pleased. Sam defends his choices, because he was completely alone and lost. We also get to watch Dean’s heart break a bit when he realizes that Sam didn’t look for him. Like, at all.
Dean takes it upon himself to pull out the box of burner phones and check Sam’s voicemail. Turns out Kevin Tran has been trying to get a hold of Sam for over 6 months. Once again, Dean is unamused.
Sam tries to atone by tracking down Kevin and telling Dean that he was wrong to abandon everything. The brothers follow a lead and head out to Centerville, Michigan to find him. Sam has kept the Impala in Dean approved condition, but Dean is wary. And Dean thinks he smells the faint aroma of canine in the car. Sam deny, deny, denies.
At their first motel stop Dean stands in front of a vending machine, baffled by the junk food options available to him and flashes back to the horror of fighting for his life in purgatory. Apparently, purgatory is filled with vampires. Dean steals a Slayer scythe from a vamp, decapitates him, nearly gets his jugular flowing in open air by another and gets saved by yet another. The latter other? Benny. This is how they met. Benny saved Dean’s throat and offers him the knowledge of a way out, provided that Dean lets Benny’s soul hitch a ride out. Dean’s intrigued, but, naturally, Dean is slightly preoccupied with finding his angel. No one is surprised. Benny isn’t into the idea of a threesome, but Dean isn’t giving him a choice when it comes to Castiel. Again, no one is surprised.
Back in the hotel room we learn that in the past year Sam has found a place that sell big ‘n’ tall and perfectly fitted jeans, Dean disapproves of Sam’s rationalizations, Sam law knowledge is still intact because he defends his rationalizations like a champ. In his fitted jeans. The winner of this debate is Sam Winchester.
Dean’s no dummy though; he figures out that not only did Sam quit but that Sam quit because he got a dog and met a girl. Dean’s heard this outta Sam before, as in all his life. Sam’s acting like he’s never had a girlfriend before. Did everyone else just feel Jessica Moore roll over in her grave?
The next morning Sam and Dean, complete with Fed suits that I’m pretty sure they shouldn’t technically have anymore, head out the to university to track down Kevin’s girlfriend, Channing.
Channing and her tumblr-speak roommate are less than helpful, in fact Channing says she stopped caring when Kevin flushed her vicarious Ivy League dreams down the toilet. Way harsh, Tai. After Sam and Dean leave Channing slits her roommates throat to make a blood bowl tele-communicator. Because she’s possessed. Obvs.
Sam sits outside a cafe and researches; it’s like riding a bike apparently. He spots a dog that looks nothing like his dog, but triggers a canine companion flashback. Seems a dog darted into the street and Sam revved into the dog. Now, Sam an upstanding guy and therefore took the dog to the vet. Also, I’m sensing some transference on Sam’s part, that’s a whole lotta freak out. The female dog doc not only patches Lucky II up, she also snarks and shames Sam into adopting the orphan pooch. Oh… I get it. She’s the lady friend from Sam’s bed.
Back outside of Sam’s head, Dean joins him at the café table and within seconds a waitress lays down a burger and fries in front of Sam. Sam slides it over to Dean and Dean’s world lights up. What do you get the hunter who has nothing? Ground and grilled meat between two pieces of bread. And, not only did Sam get Dean the best post-purgatory present ever, he also creepily cyber-stalked Kevin Tran all the way to Fairfield, Iowa.
Off they go. There’s a huge amount of pavement eaten up in this episode.
Kevin’s been holing up in an old, dilapidated church. Kevin Tran got a haircut, a Super Soaker full of holy water and set of brass ones. Improvement. He tells Sam and Dean about how he tricked Crowley and got himself out of demon captivity. Kevin Tran is now a hunter and a prophet all rolled up in a tortilla.
Dean Winchester is freaking impressed.
Kevin also tells them that what Crowley wanted was for Kevin to decipher another Word of God tablet. Kevin did. It’s a user manual for how to permanently close the gates of hell.
Sam Winchester is freaking unwilling.
Dean, once again, pulls Sam’s head out of his ass. And to clarify, I mean he pulled Sam’s head out of Sam’s ass, not Sam’s head out of Dean’s ass. I know with this show it’s not always easy to tell…
Sam apologizes to Kevin for bailing on him and gives him a patented Sam Winchester pseudo-pep talk. Kevin is mollified and trots off to get the Word of God, The Sequel. Of course that’s when Crowley and Channing’s meatsuit show up. Crowley tries to make a deal with Kevin, ‘cause that’s kinda Crowley’s thing, but Kevin sees right through the promise of his girl and his happiness. The newly crowned king of booby traps bests the king of hell and Kevin and the Winchesters use the holy water distraction to make their getaway. Not before Kevin catches a glimpse of Crowley snapping Channing’s neck with a flick of his wrist. Look ma, no hands.
On the road again, Kevin quietly sits in the backseat of the Impala. When they stop for gas, Dean makes a production out of getting a phone call from an automated telemarketer and then tells Kevin, “yeah, yeah, dead girlfriend, it happens man, pick up your balls and rally”, before declaring he’s heading off to the head. Dean is sensitive like that.
Instead of a bathroom break, Dean hastily redials his mistress now that his wife and kid are out of earshot. Seems Benny is having trouble adjusting to life in the future outside of purgatory. Dean sympathizes. Benny gets weary and philosophical.
And with a few quick words of double entendre Dean Winchester whacks a bottle of champagne on the bow and launches his new ship.