As Season 8 of Supernatural ended, Metatron (Curtis Armstrong) had committed the ultimate betrayal and expelled all of the angels from Heaven. They all fell to Earth like meteorites, on fire and losing their wings. Castiel (Misha Collins) lost his wings as well, and Metatron stole his angelic grace from him, turning him into a human with all of the human frailties, like hunger and thirst. Plus, all of the angels are now seeking revenge upon Castiel because they believe he shares the blame, with Metatron, for their downfall. Which, admittedly, he does.
Castiel always means well, but he has to be one of the Heavenly Host’s biggest screwups.
As if this celestial drama weren’t enough, we also kick off the season with Sam Winchester (Jared Padalecki) in a coma on his death bed. It seems that one of the Winchester brothers is always dancing with Death. Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) actually prays for angelic help in saving his brother, a prayer which is answered by an angel who calls himself Ezekiel (Tamoh Penikett). In order to save Sam, Ezekiel possesses his body to heal him from the inside. Sam can eject the angel at any time, since his permission is needed to allow the possession, so Dean agrees to keep the symbiotic relationship a secret for now. We know how secrets end up in the Supernatural universe, though.
It goes without saying that I’ll probably let a few spoilers slip during this review. Please heed this warning.
The season is set up in an exciting fashion. The Winchester brothers have Crowley (Mark A. Sheppard), the King of Hell, as a captive, and lock him away in the Men of Letters dungeon at their bunker. Meanwhile, Abaddon (Alaina Huffman), the last Knight of Hell, is trying to usurp Crowley’s position as Hell’s ruler. Sam and Dean find Castiel, and then take him to their secret bunker. However, Ezekiel, the angel possessing Sam without his knowledge, doesn’t want Castiel there. He has his reasons. We find out what those are later in the season.
Bartholomew (Adam T. Harrington) emerges as a leader of one faction of angels who want Castiel’s head. He is an angelic Big Bad. So we have main antagonists on both the angel and demon sides in this season.
This season-long arc threads its way throughout all of the episodes. Eventually, we discover that the angel inside of Sam is not Ezekiel. Instead, he’s Gadreel, an angel who was in Heaven’s dungeon before the Fall. Apparently, he’s the dunce who allowed the serpent into the Garden of Eden or somesuch. Eventually Gadreel falls under the influence of Metatron, who intends to set himself up as the new God in Heaven. Metatron orders Gadreel to kill Kevin Tran (Osric Tran).
Since Heaven is closed off, Kevin does get to come back as a ghost for one episode, but he’s really dead. It’s never a good idea to get too attached to characters on this series. At least, characters who aren’t Sam or Dean.
Crowley ends up helping the brothers in their quest to defeat Abaddon. He has a self-serving motive, of course; he needs their help to defeat his rival. There is one weapon that can kill a Knight of Hell, it seems. It’s called the First Blade, the mammal jawbone (was it an ass?) that Cain used to kill his brother, Abel, committing the first murder. Turns out the First Blade is mostly useless without the Mark of Cain. Dean gets the mark from Cain (Timothy Omundson) himself, while Crowley begins the search for the First Blade, which Cain had dropped into the deepest part of the ocean. The actor playing Cain also played “God” Johnson in Lucifer. I guess he’s fated to playing a biblical character. Ultimately, Crowley determines that the First Blade is in a collection kept by a rogue Man of Letters who calls himself Magnus (Kavan Smith). This actor used to be on the series Eureka. This series understands its nerdcore audience. Dean gets the blade from him, after beheading him. From A, to B, to C. Three episodes from the finale, Dean kills Abaddon.
The remaining two episodes of the season are about how the Winchesters and Castiel defeat Metatron. Gadreel redeems himself by sacrificing himself to ensure Castiel can escape after being captured by the angels. Castiel gets Metatron to discredit himself in the eyes of his followers and then Metatron is locked in Heaven’s dungeon. I bet we’ll hear more from him later.
As the season ends, Dean Winchester is apparently dead, killed in his battle with Metatron. Sam tries to summon Crowley, ostensibly to make another of the famous Winchester “deals” to revive his brother, but this proves unnecessary. Crowley is there when the First Blade brings Dean back to life. Only, Dean has black eyes, like a demon. A cliffhanger for Season 10, and a good one.
I enjoyed the season arc this time around. There was some genuinely interesting and exciting stuff going on.
There were a lot of filler episodes as well. Charlie Bradbury (Felicia Day) is back for a single episode that posits the fact that L. Frank Baum was a Man of Letters and that Oz is a real place. A fun episode, even if it doesn’t push the seasonal arc forward a hair. Dean also becomes Doctor Doolittle for an episode and can talk to animals. We get more Dean backstory when we find out he spend time in a Boys’ Home when he was sixteen, and we also meet Robin, the townie who was his first girlfriend. The Roman Goddess Vesta guest-stars in an episode where Dean gets to have sex with a porn star. We get another werewolf episode (never my favorite, for some reason) which features the hunter Garth (DJ Qualls), who has become a werewolf as well. One episode features the Peruvian fat-sucking creatures as our monster-of-the-week. The Supernatural take on Slenderman appears, as the Thinman, in the same episode featuring the return of the Ghostfacers. More flashback story with Grandfather Winchester again, and how Abaddon ended up in her current human vessel. Sheriff Jody (Kim Rhodes) also makes a couple of return appearances.
One episode that I thought was the worst of the season was titled “Bloodlines.” It was, in fact, a backdoor pilot for a planned spinoff called Supernatural: Bloodlines that never happened. I like to think it was because this episode was so terrible. The Winchesters are barely guest-stars in the episode, which is about organized crime in Chicago. Think the Godfather saga, with each of the crime “families” a different branch of monsters introduced on Supernatural. You could easily give this one a pass without missing out on anything important.
While the story road through this season could sometimes be a bit uneven, it was mostly a positive experience. I put this season at about even with Season 8. Good television, even if every episode wasn’t solid gold. But, the season loses points for killing off Kevin Tran and turning Garth into a werewolf.
Firewater’s After-the-Fall Report Card: A-
Even a mediocre Supernatural episode has its entertaining moments. Heaven’s open for business again, so it’s onward and upwards from here.