Supernatural Season 9 Premiere: 9 Things that make you go “huh?”

When recapping Season 8, I said that this gif represented my extremely variable feelings: Hate! Love! Hate! BOTH!



After watching the season 9 premiere, my main reaction is this: 


Gif from here. 

And because (especially in Supernatural), there are many great “huh?” gifs, I figured I’d list “My 9 ‘Huh?’ moments from the premiere”, with gifs for each. 

1. If Sam is dying anyway, why did we even bother with the finale? 


shrug winchester boys

 Gif from here. 

In my season 8 breakdown, I talked about how the finale was both incredibly stupid (they walked out from closing the gates of hell so that Sam wouldn’t die) and emotionally satisfying (they were honest with each other, hashed out some old shit, and “chose each other”).

Then in the premiere…Sam is still dying. Dean is told by a doctor that there’s nothing they can do, and that it is in “God’s hands”… to which Dean predictably explodes because God in this Universe is a deadbeat dad.

All the supernatural gifs! 

So…if Sam is dying ANYWAY, then why have that whole hullaboo about walking away from the trials? And WHY is he dying? He didn’t complete them, so…? 

It just undercuts any gravitas that decision might have had: Don’t save the world! You’ll die! …Ooops, you’re dying anyway. 

I just don’t get it. 

All the supernatural gifs!  

It seems to me like it would have made MUCH more sense for Sam to have completed the trials and closed the gates. After all, all the angels fell, so they have plenty of new problems to worry about…Crowley could still be around because he’d be human…and I’m sure they could wank a way to keep Abaddon around. 

So, they could keep all the good stuff AND Sam’s imminent death would seem a lot more significant and meaningful coming on the heels of having accomplished something like that, which would prevent the next “huh?”: 

2. Why does Sam want to give up and die? 

In this episode we get a “journey through Sam’s head,” which would be a lot more interesting if we hadn’t already seen that at the end of Season 6 (“The Man Who Knew Too Much”) when dream-Sams fought each other, AND seen a “walk through Bobby’s head” in “Death’s Door”. Not to mention Dean debating with a Reaper whether he should live or die in “In My Time of Dying” way back in Season 2, which kind of started the whole trend.


Hipster Dean debated his death in a metaphorical realm before it was cool.

Image from pinkraygun

Hee, hee, okay, googling for that produced a lot of pictures of Young Jensen Ackles in glasses that I just have to share.




Holy shit, there’s even a Tumblr called Ask Hipster Dean

Oh, Internet.


Ahem. Sorry.

Don’t get me wrong: I love a good “symbolic walk through your subconscious” episode…and it’s fine to homage earlier episodes…but this was really crummily done. Dean and Bobby each handily explain that they represent two sides of Sam: the one that wants to fight (Dean) and the one that advises giving up and accepting death (Bobby). Thanks for spelling that out, guys. 


Let’s debate obvious symbolism and EXPLAIN how it’s obvious! 

Bobby-in-Sam’s-head is kind of jerk to Dean-in-Sam’s-head, giving Sam all the credit for saving him from Hell (ugh, don’t mention that episode, it makes me twitch), saying Dean-in-Sam’s-head “yips” too much, and praising Sam for everything he’s done: “You’ve saved the world! You deserve a rest!” 

Okay…yeah. Sam did save the world (which he kind of helped break in the first place…) but that was four seasons ago. He’s just coming off ATTEMPTING to do something huge (closing the gates of Hell) and deciding NOT TO so he could LIVE and FIGHT ON WITH HIS BROTHER. So…why is now exactly the moment be like, “Nah, I’ll just die. I’ve done enough!” 

Once again, just like beginning of season 8, Jeremy Carver’s Sam seems solely to act for plot reasons, contradicting everything that’s come before. Remember that Dream Sam episode? Sam decided to live, forcing himself to remember horrible memories, because “I’m not leaving my brother alone out there.” (It’s perhaps also worth noting that that is the last episode to date that the original showrunner, Eric Kripke, wrote). Over and over again, Sam has chosen to keep fighting. I just don’t believe he would…let go.

Except when I totally will! 

Also, why have all of Season 8 be Sam accepting the hunting life again, why have him emotionally commit to said hunting life in the finale, only to have him be like, “It’s cool. I need a break, yo”? 

But again, why am I even bothering to analyze this? The reason why is obvious: to create more conflict. If we have Sam explicitly say that he wants to die, then we get more potential conflict from what Dean does (don’t worry, there’s a big “huh?” coming for what Dean does).

Basically, Sam’s death wish is a conflict generating device, and I don’t know why I’m expecting consistent characterization. 

Gifs of Sam! 

3.  Why are we repeating the finale of Season 2 (THIS TIME MORE MORALLY AMBIGUOUS AND WITH ANGELS!)? 

So, in this episode, Dean is really sad that Sam is dying. He cries, asks Cas for help (Cas can’t respond, as he’s now human), so Dean sends out an all-purpose SOS to all the fallen angels. This results in several of them coming after him and some battling is done. One of the angels, however, Ezekiel (Paul from Dollhouse/Many other Sci-Fi shows), offers a way (a DEAL, if you will), and Dean agrees to it.  Dean then keeps said deal SECRET from Sam. 

Sound familiar? 

I Think I'm Gonna Like it Here

Man, the number of “brooding at hospital bedside” shots this show has…

I already talked about how I’m way sick of “Sam sick/Dean worry/Dean save Sam” trope. Dean’s crossroads deal in Season 2 to save Sam was awesome. It was a moving moment, it had huge repercussions, it was morally ambigious, Jensen Ackles acted the shit out it…We all loved it, guys. But stop trying to repeat it. Mix it up! 

And stop trying to create angst between the brothers because of SECRETS and LIES.  It has been done. Stop going back to that well over and over. Mix it up! 

I have this to say about Dean’s new “deal”: redundancy is not consistency. It’s basically the same problem as Jeremy Carver’s season 8 premiere: Sam suddenly wanting a “normal life” was technically consistent, since he wanted that way back in Season 1, but it wasn’t actually consistent, because, um, a lot had happened since then. Nikki mentioned that the show somehow feels both repetitive and contradictory of itself at the same time, and I think this is a primo example. 

Dean doing something desperate to save his brother is technically in character, but Dean supposedly learned a lot  from what happened with that…Dean was able to let Sam make his own decisions at the end of Season 5, even if it meant losing him. It’s not like he was happy about it, but he could do it. 

And as recently as the beginning of Season 8, Carver seemed to be intent in putting distance between the brothers: Dean actually offered at one point to let Sam go off and be normal if that’s what Sam wanted. Then, suddenly Dean is all “I know best” and desperate to sacrifice anything for Sam once more. It doesn’t even track very well in the last season. Going backwards is not the same thing as being consistent.

In conclusion: 


4. Um, why did Dean non-consenually put something inside his brother? 

Trust me, I don’t want to go there. I am not being dirty on purpose, or even with any kind of “yay! homoeroticism!” glee. Whatsoever. 

Dean’s “decision” is thus: the angel, Ezekial, says he can save Sam if he possesses Sam, or uses him as his vessel. See: possess? “Get inside of”? It’s really hard to say that without sounding dirty. 

Regarding demon possession in Season 2:

Charms. They’ll fend off possession. That demon’s still out there; this’ll stop it from getting back up in you. 

That sounds vaguely dirty, but uh, thanks.

And one of my favorite lines, after Sam has been possessed by the demon Meg:

DEAN: Dude, you, you like, full-on had a girl inside you for like a whole week.

That’s pretty naughty.

Transcripts from the superwiki

When the boys are trying to avoid being Angel vessels in season 5, Dean continually refers to it as “getting my sweet ass” or being “used as an angel condom”. So…the whole thing…just…just…

Angels can’t get “up inside you” without you saying “yes,” so Dean basically tricks Sam into “yes” so that Ezekiel can get “up inside him”. Then Ezekiel says that Sam can “expel him” before Sam is fully healed, so it’s probably better if Sam’s memory of the whole thing is wiped. Basically, Zeke is gonna hide inside Sam until Sam is healed. 


So…any way you slice it, Dean basically tricked Sam into agreeing to something that he probably didn’t want to agree to…that involved use of his body…then his memory of it was erased…Someone else took over his body and could take it over at any time…

The rape analogies are kind of hard to avoid. I feel like I don’t really want to go there, because I’m not really qualified to go there. And because the rape analogy only exists on a metaphorical level. But, still. The whole thing is more than a bit ick, though it’s clearly meant to be ick. Which brings me to…

5. Why bring up the vessel/consent thing if you’re only going to explore it with Sam and no one else? 

Stare of obsessive fangirl disapproval 

I was actually really hoping they would one day address the idea of vessels and consent again. It used to be a big deal, with demons, that demons took over someone’s body while that person was still alive, and this was a truly awful fate. Saving the vessels used to be a big concern of the show. Some of the best episodes involve this issue, which is a tricky moral one. Lately, however, they usually ignore it, killing demons with no concern for the human vessel. 


You just killed a person! Not that you care anymore. Image from the superwiki.

With angels, the issue was even trickier, because the vessel technically had to say “yes.” In an episode that Jeremy Carver wrote (cough, cough), called “The Rapture,” we learned Castiel’s vessel is some poor schmo named Jimmy. Jimmy agreed to be Castiel’s vessel because he wanted to help out, but we learn being a vessel really blows (it’s like “being strapped to a comet”). Jimmy only agrees to keep on being the vessel because he doesn’t want his daughter to have to go through it, too (vessels are the result of certain bloodlines). 

Ever since that episode, I’ve wondered about poor Jimmy. Is he still in there? They’ve never even fleetingly attempted to explain why Castiel always comes back in the Jimmy-vessel (the answer is, of course: it’s Misha Collins, and they want him back. Which I’m fine with. MORE THAN fine with. It would just be nice to have it even SORT OF addressed, like, ONCE: “Turns out I have a special connection to this vessel…” okay! BOOM. Moving on. Solved). The Jimmy-question has always haunted me: like…if Cas has sex, is Jimmy still in there?  Yiiiicccck. 

And now Cas is human, the question seems even more pressing. Cas is “human,” but he’s human in Jimmy’s body. 

Plus, what about all those fallen angels? Apparently, you still do need consent to inhabit a vessel. How did they get so many people to consent so quickly? 

In other words, I’m okay with ignoring the issue if the show is consistently ignoring it, but they themselves have brought up the “consent is important!” issue now. But…only with regards to Sam. 

So the message seems to be…consent isn’t important…unless you’re a Winchester. Sam’s consent or lack thereof is clearly supposed to matter…but poor schmoos like Jimmy et al…not so much. 

If the vessel thing ends up being important consistently throughout the season, I’ll happily take this all back. But somehow I doubt it.

6. Why was Jared Padalecki’s acting as Ezekiel so bad? 

I will usually be the first to defend JP’s acting: he has his over-the-top aspects FOR SURE, and he can’t pull bad writing together into something relatable the way Jensen Ackles can, but he’s very funny when they let him be, and I enjoyed his Lucifer-wearing-Sam, and once in awhile he unexpectedly gut-punches me with an emotional scene. There’s a reason why I feel so invested in Sam and Dean, even if Jensen Ackles and Dean are my favorites. 

But, man, JP as Ezekiel was so bad.

He actually held out his hands stiffly in front of him, not moving them, like a beginning actor terrified of being onstage. It actually looked like his (deliberate and hilarious) bad acting in “The French Mistake.” 

 Watching it was kind of embarassing. 


7. Wouldn’t it have been better to have switched Dean and Sam’s plotlines?


I know this is stupid and wanky territory…but It just seems to me that throughout the “trials” from last year, and this new development, if the boys’ roles had been switched, much of the complaining I’ve done (this is repetitive, going over ground we’ve covered before) would be solved. Dean could be the one with the crazy-ass “something’s wrong with him” story and Sam could be the fretter. And if Sam, feeling guilt over abandoning Dean, did something morally comprised to save Dean, we’d be in new territory we hadn’t really covered before (sort of, but not really).

In this “switched” scenario, Sam would FINALLY get to be the one who saves Dean, but at a terrible cost. Dean would be possessed, which hasn’t happened to him before (it has happened to Sam before, twice). It would make more sense with the beginning of season 8: Sam could be responding to his guilt over ditching Dean; Dean could feel ready for “a rest” after Purgatory.


 I know! It works, right?

It just…would make way more sense to me, and be a variation on a Supernatural theme, rather than a bad cover version of an old song. 

But I am not writing the show, and, alas, however much I yell at the TV, they never listen to me. 

7. Why was I so bored with Cas’ plotline? 

Cas has a “being human” plotline that I’ve long thought was a good idea. I love Misha Collins, and I thought he did well. We even got him shirtless, and then in a new outfit. Yay!

shirtless misha

Damn, son! Image from Vulture’s inexplicably positive recap (see below)

But…somehow I was SO BORED when he whenever he was onscreen. Maybe it was because he was so slow to figure out he wasn’t an angel and that the other angels were mad at him? (Both points seemed rather obvious). Maybe it was because that stuff with the female angel didn’t make a lot of sense to me and I didn’t care? Maybe it’s a little too late for this plotline, since Cas has been sort of human before, as well as living an amnesiac human life, so it just takes more to interest me? Maybe because he was off by himself, rather than interacting with Dean and Sam? Whatever it was, I was bored. And I was sad that I was bored. 

8. Why are the reviews so good? 

Here are positive reviews from The Huffington Post, Zap2It, The Onion AV Club, EW, and Vulture. All rave. Vulture even says Supernatural’s stubborn insistence on the same plot is what…makes it stay fresh? What? Some of the posts rave about Jared Padalecki’s acting. 

[ETA: MaryAnn Sleasman over at has a much saner response, thank goodness.)

9. So why am I doing this to myself? 

Really, in the big picture, many of my complaints are the same as the ones I made here, when I talked about not recapping Season 7. The details change, but the big points are similar. 

But the truth is, I know I am going to keep watching the show, because Season 1-5 got me so attached, and cognitive dissonance and Stockholm Syndrome makes it easier to keep watching now I’ve struggled through season 6-8 (IF I QUIT NOW IT MEANS I WASTED MY TIME). So I might as well watch with gifs and internet commentary. 

As far as I’m concerned, the show ended with Season 5, when the original story ended and Eric Kripke left. This stuff is just fun and frustrating fan-fiction, about which my ability to rage has been burnt out. 

Plus, the show’s very inconsistency is the thing that’s keeping me engaged at this point. Who knows, maybe we’ll ditch all this crap in a couple of episodes. And eventually there’s going to be a fun one-off episode, right?