Supernatural: Meet the New Boss (Review)

Supernatural: Meet the New Boss (Review)

THEN

Purgatory; the place where the souls of non-humans go. Both demon and angel hunted for the place of legend—Crowley, the new King of Hell, looked to solidify his power with it. Castiel, in a war against Raphael that he has but one chance of winning, needs it to further his cause. In between the search, the Winchesters are re-acquainted with Death, who gives Sam back his soul as well as hiding the memories of the torment he suffered in the Box at the hands of God’s two most powerful angels, Lucifer and Michael. In the end, the walls come down, Cas gains control of the souls in Purgatory, he kills Raphael and declares himself the new God…

“You will bow down and profess your love unto me, your Lord…or I shall destroy you.”

NOW

Given the ultimatum of supplication or destruction in last season’s finale by everyone’s favorite heavenly host, Sam (Jared Padalecki), Dean (Jensen Ackles), and Bobby (Jim Beaver) decide discretion and all that jazz is the way to go. Castiel (Misha Collins) halts their profession, deeming it pointless as they are only doing it out of fear. He offers to leave them be so long as they stay out of his way. He uncharacteristically taunts Sam at his condition (he offered to change it last season if they stayed out of his way) before disappearing. His purpose is all encompassing; retribution to those who were followers of Raphael, smiting (without the fire, one presumes) religious leaders whose hypocrisy he cannot abide, hate groups and motivational speakers (WTF? Yeah, my thoughts exactly). Cas is on a mission. But something is wrong.

Meet the New Boss

Death schools Cas on just what he's gotten himself into...

It begins upon his visit to a church where he proclaims his new title to the stunned parishners, killing the pastor for his hypocrisy. Cas hears a whisper of his name and stumbles, his hand burning into the wooden pew while he simultaneously changes the stained glass of Jesus into his own likeness. When he visits Crowley (Mark Sheppard), he lets Hell’s King know that there’s a bit of a change going on with the relationship between Heaven and Hell; Cas controls the flow of souls, while Crowley is relegated to the scraps. Before leaving, Castiel’s skin starts to blister. And it continues to get worse as he performs ‘his works’.
As powerful as Cas is, the changes he brings forth across the world are not done overnight. The writers expertly provide the viewer with a unique way to calculate the passage of time; Dean fixing the Impala, wrecked at the end of last season.  But it’s more than just a marker for the audience. It’s therapy for Dean, a salve for the years as a hunter, losing friends and family alike. Most specifically, he’s dealing with a brother who—as he mentions to Bobby—is far from okay and most likely on the verge of a mental breakdown. Cutting even deeper may even be Castiel’s new and less than sunny disposition. In some ways Cas and Dean were closer than the Winchester brothers; Dean introduced the angel to his own humanity.  It was another betrayal for Dean, one that has him ready to throw in the towel.

But he doesn’t. Instead they go another route. Rousing Crowley from a nice cocktail, they ask the demon for the spell necessary to bind Death (Julian Richings). In one of the iconic scenes in Supernatural history, Death and Cas trade barbs. The ancient force explains to the “mutated angel” why he’s having such trouble; Leviathans, beasts God created before angels are banging to get out of the Castiel meat suit. Some time later, hearing Sam’s plea and recognizing his actions have been un-Godly, Castiel volunteers to return the souls to Purgatory. They are able to complete the process and all is well.

Or so we believe. Moments after he’s healed, Cas feels the Leviathans willing to break free. He tries but they are too strong; taking over Cas, they make their presence known to Dean and Bobby. “Now this is going to be so much fun…” they announce before the screen fades to black amid their gleeful chuckle.

Yet another fine season premiere of the best genre show out there. The season opener was tight, seamlessly connecting last season’s events to the new story arch. The potential of having the Leviathans as the big bad is there, though Sam’s struggle to contain his memories of hell will also factor into the direction.

As mentioned earlier, Dean is a man that appears to be losing the strength that has defined him for the past six years. He’s aging and beaten, much like the Impala, seeing things that no human, even a hunter, should ever have to be a part of. His journey will be interesting to watch, as much due to how it will factor into Sam’s own journey of the soul. To go a step further, his love for Cas and watching his friend go from the someone he knew to a megalomaniac bent on shaping the world to his own design was hard enough. If that wasn’t enough, Dean had to watch as Cas was, for all intent, eaten on the inside by creatures that defy imagination.

So much packed into 42 minutes. “Meet the New Boss” was a perfect blend, expertly tying up last year’s arc while drawing the possibilities of this year to the forefront. The writers have provided themselves a fair amount of material to work with both on a macro level (Leviathans) and the micro (the brothers’ relationship, Sam’s condition). While we will no doubt have other subplots and one-shot episodes along the way, season 7’s premiere has given us a solid blueprint of just where Supernatural is headed.

The Good:
  • Mark Sheppard, the scene stealing phenom, is back with a vengeance. Though featured in only a handful of minutes, he is as witty and engaging as ever.
  • Not to be outdone, Julian Richings had his best performance as Death yet (most likely due to the much deserved bump in screen time). Given far more screen time than any other episode, his scene with the hunters and Castiel was chock full of witty rejoinders and he also carried an air of bored contempt tinged with the slightest bit of amusement for the “annoying little protozoa”.
  • Not to be forgotten, Mark Pellegrino’s Lucifer returned. His laid back, devil may care ‘tude has always been a hit (and more than a little unsettling).

The Bad:

  • Cas dead?! Nope, I refuse to believe it. While denial may be the shiny, happy place I’m going to right now, there is quite the precedent for my hope. (Dean & Sam both former residents of Hell, Bobby-once in a wheelchair, is walking again…I could go on…)
  • Just where is the issue with Sam going? While I don’t think he’s still in the box, the thought that the last year has been going on in Sam’s head has me channeling Dallas and not in a good way.
The Supernatural:
  • Leviathans?! Well, one look into Job 41, these are some mean and nasty bastards. “Nothing on earth is his equal— a creature without fear”. Sounds like they were the original bad asses. I just hope they do a bit more with them than the dragons from last season.

Killer Lines:

  • Death: “Why should I?” (kill Castiel)
  • Dean: “Because we said so and we’re your boss…Respectfully”
  • Lucifer: “Hi Sam. Long time no spooning.”
  • Leviathan (in Cas): “Now this is going to be so much fun!
  • Leviathan’s maniacal and sadistic chuckle as the screen fades to black…

Rating: B

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– Darryl (follow @djasper07 on Twitter)
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