Episode Title: "I Think I'm Going To Like It Here"
Writer: Jeremy Carver
Director: John Showalter
Season 9 of "Supernatural" marks the second season of Jeremy Carver's tenure as showrunner. After one season under his belt, credit is due; saving a dying horse is no easy task. But Carver has done a great job thus far injecting new life into the world of "Supernatural." He's taken the show in new and exciting directions, though repetitive at times. Introducing the Men of Letters, a secret society into the show's mythology added a bit of class to "hunting", but feels a bit too late in the series to justify its appearance in the show. Garth (DJ Qualls) as the "new Bobby" is difficult for even a hardcore fan to handle, justified by Qualls' minimal screen time. So far, he's not yet confirmed as a returning guest star for the season.
To Carver's credit, he has injected an emotional side sorely laking in the show since Eric Kripke's time as showrunner. Last season's "Brother Redemption" was among the best in years. The story of Charlie Bradbury's (Felicia Day) mother made The Hobbit a heartbreaking story. Benny (Ty Olsson) became the show's first and only sympathetic vampire.
Carver has a great vision for this show, hopefully, with this season, devoid of the kinks that hinder it.
Last season ended with the overthrow of heaven, by the angel Metatron (Curtis Armstrong), and that led to Castiel (Misha Collins) losing his grace, becoming human. The last image, one of the most powerful in "Supernatural's" run, was of thousands of angels falling to earth. They looked beautiful and destructive as meteors falling to earth.
The CW wasn't bashful about proclaiming Sam dead in previews for the the season premiere. Though, the episode is split between three major points of view; Dean (Jensen Ackles), Sam (Jared Padalecki) in his own head, and Castiel as he makes his way in the world.
Sam's impending decision is represented by the Dean and Bobby (Jim Beaver) in the world within his head. Dean, represents fighting the good fight, while Bobby represents giving in, finding peace after a life of saving people. Both sides collide with each other in the Impala, until Bobby silences it all and takes Sam on a walk in the woods. Together they lament on the fact that Sam did some good in this world eventually leading him to a cabin. Sam's condition is beautifully represented by a scar on his face that looks similar to the angels falling to earth. Whether it's intentional or not, it adds another layer to his condition.
In the real world, Dean is left to fight for Sam's life the best way he can: he prays. In the last few seasons, Dean's prayers have become more personal, first as a means of communication with Castiel. Now they've become pleas of desperation, for help. Little does Dean know that by doing so, he has placed a target on his head. In a world now filled with lost, scared, and angry angels looking for vengeance on the parties responsible for their expulsion from Heaven. Few of them are loyal to anyone now, but one does come to Dean's aid, Ezekiel (Tahmoh Penikett) of "Battlestar Galactica" and "Dollhouse" fame saves him from the clutches of other angels and agrees to help save Sam's life
Castiel struggles to make his way in this new world. He's the only angel without grace, making him more human than any of them. When Dean's prayer goes out, many have made their home in vessels of all kinds, some of whom able to handle their new angelic spirits better than others. The media portrays the falling of the angels as a freak, global meteor shower. Still, this is a world that knows nothing of its supernatural counterpart, instead relying on Occam's Razor to fill the gaps.
Castiel relies on the kindness of a stranger in a truck, giving him a ride and a few dollars cash. This single act casts the world in a bit of a reversal, where angels take on human traits and the kindness of strangers places them slightly above these Divine figures. He meets another lost angel on the road, Hail. They both decide to band together until a phone call from Dean changes things. Dean urges Cas not to trust any other angels, despite Castiel's insistence to help. Eventually giving in to Dean's demands, much to the dismay of Hail who hits Castiel with a 2 X 4, knocking him out.
All throughout the episode, Castiel is subject to tests of sorts, pushing his nature to the limits. Whether it's killing his own kind, learning his own physical limits, or stealing another person's clothes in a laundromat in order to get a drink of water. Castiel begins to embody all of the traits of mankind, living in a savage world.
Bobby's talk with Sam leads him to a cabin in the woods, one that stands for the surrender he has wanted for a long time. Entering the cabin, Sam finds Death (Julian Richings) waiting to take him. Sam still embodies the surrender that he has carried with him all last season. This time, with Death, he makes up his mind that, if he's dead he wants "to stay dead." On the outside, Ezekiel shows Dean this conversation; at the last minute, Dean appeals to Sam, for him to come back. Doing so requires Ezekiel to possess his body, a moral dilemma that becomes a "cross that bridge when we get to it" situation.
For a multiple point-of-view episode, John Showalter manages to put together a great season premiere. It is jarring at times, but the new world is beginning to take shape. A new world filled with beings who were once more than human, now finding themselves vastly less and without direction. Granted, "Supernatural" has a long way to go before giving the fans an idea of the direction it's headed in. If next week's preview is any kind of indication, then we've got a long way to go.