Review: Supernatural - Exile on Main Street (ep. 6.01)

Recap: After starting the apocalypse, Sam and Dean fought off angels and demons and Lucifer from attempting to destroy the world.  They stole all the horsemen’s rings and attempted to send Lucifer back into his box by having Sam say yes to being his vessel.  Dean got the crap beat out of him, Castiel went explody and Bobby got his neck snapped.  The Impala saved the day with the help of the sun and a little army man stuck in its ashtray.  Sam jumped into the hole, pulling the Archangel Michael (using little half-brother Adam’s meatsuit) in with him.  Dean went to Lisa’s, who took him in despite the fact that he was verging on being an alcoholic and probably a mean depressive.  Sam hung out under a busted streetlamp, staring at the pseudo-happy family having dinner inside.

Spoilers for Exile on Main Street below.

Now it’s a year later.  Dean is normal, which is so wrong.   He tucks his shirt in!  He does construction jobs and drinks beer with the neighbor at a bar where the waitresses always flirt with him!  He makes sure all the doors are locked at night and checks on Ben before he goes to sleep.  And yet he still keeps a jar of holy water and a gun underneath the bed (which is probably not a very safe place with a kid around, but whatevs).  But worst of all, the Impala is hiding beneath a cover in the garage, cache of weapons in the truck, and he’s driving a giant ugly truck!

Who is this Dean Winchester and where did the real one go?!

Signs of his existence are still there.  He keeps his favorite handgun in the glove box of his ugly truck and investigates screams and creepy noises that would make most people run the other way.  And he still gets scared by small little dogs, ghost sickness or not.  Somewhere, our Dean is hiding, clawing his way out of suburbia and wanting to get back into the game despite the familial responsibilities he picked up along the way.

Family reunions with dead people can be awkward.Then hallucinations of Azazel, returned from whatever plane of non-existence he was shipped off to after being shot with the Colt, starts attacking him and ginormatron Sam appears from out of nowhere with a syringe of cloudy liquid.  He seems Sammy enough, but can we really be sure that there’s not some latent Lucifer-ness hiding deep within him?  Then his namesake, Samuel, is alive too, even though Dean watched him die back in the 70s.  Someone somewhere has a plan for people named Sam, bringing them back from the dead.  Was it God?  Some other mystical figure yet to be named?  Castiel?

Speaking of, where is Castiel?  I know he returned to heaven, but one would think he would check in now and again after making attachments on the ground.  Perhaps he has his hands full as the new sheriff of heaven, but I very much need my awkward nerdy angel fix, thankyouverymuch.

Or perhaps, hunters have been brought back from the dead due to the influx of monsters acting crazy post-apocalypse.  The children of the djinn Sam and Dean killed off in season two’s “What is and What Should Never Be” have hunted them down for revenge, though why now?  Why after a year?  Did it take that long for the djinns to track them down or has something more recently occurred off screen that brought them to this?  So many new questions to explore this season, though the biggest just might be who the hell are these new Campbells and what are they doing capturing a djinn and locking it up in a cage?  Interrogation?  Torture?  Experiments?  Oh, please tell me there’s a mad scientist Campbell hidden away somewhere experimenting on monsters!  Come on, Ben Edlund, you know you want to go there!

So Sam and Grandpa have been alive for almost the entire last year that Dean has been half miserable living with Lisa.  Bobby at least knew about Sam and no one told Dean because they all think they know what’s best for him.  That is bullshit.  I’m surprised he didn’t punch someone.   I guess he really has become domesticated.

New show runner Sera Gamble managed to reference so much of the pilot episode - the reunion of brothers after such a long time apart, Sam trying to get Dean to return with him on the hunt and pull him away from his domesticated life, the scariness of being out of the game and then diving headfirst back in, the hallucination of Lisa burning on the ceiling while Ben drank Azazel’s blood – that it was a refreshing change from all the drama-heavy episodes of season five and quickly showed that we’re going back to monsters of the week and individual victims.  It lacked a lot of the humor and one-liners that usually appear, but it was creepy again.  Everyone was so human and there were real stakes involving people besides “Oh no, the world is going to end!”

Hopefully that creepiness stays, but the humor and fun returns as well (and Castiel!).  With the addition of Lisa and Ben – and Dean ultimately choosing them over his brother – there’s a new dynamic to the relationship of the Winchester brothers and a new element that has to be taken into account.  Dean is right.  By showing up on Lisa’s doorstep, he’s put them into constant danger.  He’s better served staying there to protect them than leaving them alone.  It’ll be interesting to see how TPTB can incorporate this into the road show Supernatural always was.

So now we have a new set of shadowy characters, possibly blood relatives of the Winchesters, and a family unit constantly on the verge of trouble (but who thankfully know about the darkness creeping in the shadows).  Monsters are attacking every which way, including against their nature (nocturnals attacking during the day?  Brand new creepy crawlys no one has seen before?).  We have a new home base that isn’t Bob’s dusty and book-filled cabin, and somewhere we have an angel friend with all his shiny powers waiting to return.

Yes, Sera Gamble, I do believe you’ve already won me over with your smaller, more intimate stories and boatload of new questions.  Is it next Friday yet?

And, according to the preview snippet, next week it looks like we're getting MONSTER BABIES!  Which is AWESOME!

 

And as a side note, the new title screen?  Best one yet.

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